Sometimes you wonder whether you are on the right path, or whether you have strayed from your path so far that you are lost for good, or at least for a very long time.
When I think about what my plans looked like when I was younger, I certainly have not gone the path I planned to take – which was a path that would have taken me to a secure job and a reasonably good income as a teacher.
I know that some people think teachers earn a pitiful amount of money, but for me it would have been plenty.
When I was younger, I thought that I would never be one of those people who don’t have a proper job by the time they were 25 years old. I wanted to have my degree, do my trainee teacher years, and then try to find a job overseas, maybe teaching in China or Japan.
Preferably Japan. I was always sure that I would find my true friends in Japan. That they would be the people who would understand me, and respect my values.
Now I am 31 years old. I did not finish my studies (neither in Germany nor in New Zealand – for different reasons), and I don’t have any professional job training behind me. I can’t say I’m a teacher, a manager, a leader, a human resource manager, a barista, a chicken carer, or anything else. I don’t even have any paper work to prove that I’m a translator and writer. I have become one of those people. I collected experiences in many jobs – some I truly loved and wanted to pursue, wanted to gain a proper qualification, but it never happened.
Sometimes it was because I was too young, sometimes because women weren’t respected in the particular profession (a female captain, you can forget about that in certain parts of the world), other times it was because I simply was not the person they wanted, and other times it was because I did not have enough money to pay for the qualification. And other times they wanted qualifications before you could get qualified (great logic behind that, right?).
Yes, I get many jobs as a writer and sometimes also as a translator – but when people ask me what my qualifications are, I can only tell them the truth. I don’t have any formal qualifications. I’m a nobody when it comes to job titles.
I receive 5 star ratings on Elance, and my rating on Fiverr is 100% positive. Not one single negative review. Yet I am not happy, because I just write what other people want me to write, there’s not much creativity involved, and sometimes I just write rubbish for SEO purposes. I feel like I don’t have my writing energy left – or energy in general. I haven’t written anything on my novel for over two weeks. Since I left the other place, my motivation levels have dropped close to zero in many aspects of life.
I had a look at a variety of accommodation options in the UK – like becoming a property guardian (you pay a cheap rent in a property that is on the market, and you have to move out within 2 weeks’ notice), or living with an elderly person, helping them out 10 hours a week in exchange for a cheap room. It all comes with the disadvantage of probably being short-term solutions. So it would not be very different from helpx.net or wwoof.co.uk.
But when I look at the cost of renting a room or a single bedroom flat, then I simply know that I cannot afford it (plus bills and the cost of food) with the little money I earn as a writer.
Do you know of any other options that would be quite affordable in the long run? I would love to live somewhere for a longer time, make friends. It would be so important for me to have friends. Just one or two would be so much better than nobody.