Auf Wiedersehen

In a year and a day, I’ll be jumping on a plane to Germany.

I’ll have been in NZ for seven years. I don’t know why it’s important. But it is important that I leave exactly seven years after I arrive. There’s currently only one stamp in my passport.

I’ll happily admit: I’m running away.

I don’t know what from. I don’t know why. But fuck being here any longer. I love this stupid little country and I’m coming back to see even more of it, but I’m tired of it, tired of the way people live here, tired of the restrictions I feel I’m constantly living under. I’m tired of watching life pass me serenely by.

The thing is, I always tell people that changing your situation doesn’t change you. You can’t run from your problems, you can’t run from who you are. So part of me thinks that heading to Germany goes completely against what I believe – except, it doesn’t: I’ll happily carry my baggage with me.

Of course, I have and will have expectations of Germany – hot guys, cute girls, Porsches and Beemers fucking everywhere, all the things that matter in life – and there’s a strong possibility that too much dreaming leads to huge disappointments.

But that’s true for life. I blame it on movies and books and stories: you never see a scene that doesn’t matter. At no point during a movie will a boy walk past the house of a girl he likes and nothing happens. He will certainly not simply walk, lost in thoughts of said girl, and notice a few minutes later where he is.

And so we live with this stupid expectation that Everything Matters and that Something Will Happen.

And it fucking won’t.

Sitting around waiting for life to happen is only worthwhile in a movie or book.

So I can’t sit around waiting. ‘Cause nothing will happen. I’ll get stuck somewhere, content in the belief that things will magically get better or return to where they were, which is seldom better than right here.

No, I have to happen to life. I have to go and happen, I have to make my own stories. I have to make the changes I want to see.

Of course I could do that here. I could completely happen here. But I don’t want to. Nothing in me wants to stay, nothing holds me here; everything pulls me away. So I’m going to happen somewhere else.

Most people my age have settled. In a few years they’ll be married and kidded and bored and longing. But they’ll be safe. They’ll be comfortable. They’ll be happy and secure and content and dreamy. They’ll have things to work on, they’ll have work to do and a family to grow. They’ll have things to be proud of and people to love them always, unconditionally.

Not one aspect of that appeals to me. And I’m perfectly ok with that.

Because I could totally settle. I could find a lovely woman and settle into an analysis position and make my home here, make my mark right here so that when I die my memorial stone will say “BRB, gone to fetch my girl. See you kids soon.”

But so could anyone. And nothing makes me better than them for that role. There is nothing in me that makes me the sort of guy you’d marry and live forever with. Mostly, because I’ve never really wanted that.

Yes, I said I did. Yes, I love kids. But I feel that there has to be more to life. There has to be more to my life. I can’t simply raise some perfectly imperfect cultural mongrels and consider my life well lived. I just see no point in that.

What draws me is stories. What draws me is people. What draws me is love and sex and laughter and cars and drivers. Because I’d rather be broke in the passenger seat of a Porsche on the Nurburgring than wealthy in the driver seat of a Porsche on Tamaki Drive.

So I’m dawdling to Germany. And we’ll see what I do from there.

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Superficially Waiting

“Don’t be sad.” She said, pulling her skirt straight. I shuffled over and She cuddled down on the edge of the bed. “I want you to have a happy day.”

I love shoes.

Last night, She wore heels to heaven with crystalised blue and purple dancing amidst bold black. They stretched Her frame to the star and made Her body sway as we waltzed the streets, Her dress a melodious expansion.

I don’t care how I looked; She looked amazing and everyone stared. Sad Fuckers.

We’re mean. We criticise everybody we see.

“Oh My God, what the fuck is she thinking?”

“Don’t you wanna just walk up behind her and…unclip it? Like, what’s the point?”

“He’d be cute if he wasn’t smoking. And wearing different clothes. But I love his shoes.”

“Is he seriously going to town in…those?”

“Those are pretty dresses.” “Yeah, but they’re on the wrong women.”

I think we might be a little superficial.

Superficial is good. Superficial is easy. I love superficial things. Clothes are superficial. Shoes are superficial. Wine and whisky are superficial. Maths is superfical.

They’re so easy to deal with. There’s nothing really to them. We pretend there is – we add so much meaning, but it’s just shadow and light, taste and quality. There’s a specific sort of complex beauty in superficial things, an appreciable beauty, a beauty that seldom causes friction, a share-able beauty.

Love isn’t superficial. Love complicates things.

I lay last night with Her wrapped in my arms and – as she snored unsoftly in my ear – I wished and longed for the night to never end. To just be there. To be cuddled close with the covers heating and the facades gone, to be raw and human and completely simple. She wore no make-up and a too large tshirt and she snored and stole blankets and she’s never been more beautiful.

I drifted asleep.

I woke, and I couldn’t help being sad, for the night had ended and I hadn’t watched it go by.

There will be another night. Another time. Another moment perhaps where I grumble blanketless, or cover ears with pillows, or sleep on the edge. Another night where I sleep so peacefully, or wake so rested. It will come, it will be here.

Just like everything else. This will change. That will get better. Those things will end. This stage too will pass. I’ll get through it. It’ll be easier then. Just one more step.

I know that. I believe it completely.

I’m just so tired of waiting.

Russian Wine

I made a decision the other day. A decision that says “I was wrong. Fuck. I guess I should fix it.” A decision I long to rebel against in the eternal hope that it’s stupid and false and silly.

I’ve held a certain view for years. A belief more than a view, really. It was quite a simple one. I believed that education was about learning. That it mattered more what you understood than what courses you’d done.

Unfortunately, I was wrong: Education is simply a bragging right. A certificate stating “I can do [subject]” is more valuable than actually being able to do [subject].  Apparently, this is because the said certificate “proves” you can do [subject].

I would accept this view if it were true. Unfortunately, I’m one of those idiots who chose to study pure maths. As there are a reducingly limited number of us (natural selection doesn’t favour those stuck behind whiteboards exploring patterns nobody else can see), there are – consequently – a reducingly limited number of pure math courses to choose from.

The overall result of this is fairly straightforward: in order to prove that I can do pure mathematics, I need a degree in pure mathematics. There are not enough pure math courses to satisfy the conditions of a degree. Therefore, I must take courses that have fuck all to do with pure maths to satisfy my degree conditions. Therefore, to prove I can do pure maths, I must not do pure maths.

Sounds like a driving test really.

Let’s change gear.

Being a student of a “world-class” university, I expect that the courses on offer would be intriguing. Perhaps I’ll find a “Sexuality 123: The ABC of loving yourself.” or “Psychology 248: Stress, its implications and the importance of breathing.”. Ah, but I forget: university is a stepping stone to a job. So I expect to see “Web design 125: The importance of your online profile.” or “Business Management 101: How to start a business sans capital.”. No? How’s about “Accounting 100: Personal finances and surviving debt”? Or “Law 110: Your rights and obligations as an employee”?  Or, please!, “Tax 199: What the fuck is an ACC levy and why do I have to pay it?”

Sadly, no. Universities provide only one thing of value: the certificate.

So I lowered my sights. My requirements were simple: I was looking for a course I hadn’t done before, that I was allowed to do, that didn’t hold too many lectures and in some way attracted me.

It took a long time. Eventually, I found one: Russian 100. Simply, an introduction to the Russian language. I’m sure my reason for this is fairly straightforward.

Finding my second course took even longer, but I eventually had it: Wine Science 120. Simply: learning about, and tasting of, wines. After all, if you’re going to drink, you might as well make it worthwhile.

I have no idea how either of these courses apply to mathematics. But, on their completion, I will obtain a certificate proudly stating I can do maths. And that’s all that matters.

Proud Debt

I finally worked up the courage to have a look at where I sit financially.

“In debt” is the simplest answer. $9528.57 of it.

It’s made up of a beyond-the-limit overdraft and credit card, two years of unpaid taxes, four fines, unpaid bills, personal loans, ACC levies and one hire-purchase. What is really scary is this has all materialised in the last two years.

To be fair to myself, this last year has been…overwhelmingly unproductive financially. Fortunately, there are more things to life than money, so I don’t even begin to consider it wasted.

That being said, money does play a vital component to life. There are few things you feel you can do when you can’t afford to do many things, and every cent is watched carefully. Little pleasures – those idiotic things that cause the most instant happiness – now evoke guilt if purchased and tense jaws if not. And when there’s no money coming in but there is money going out, things become even worse.

That’s where I sit right now. And I hate it. I hate owing money, I hate that any money I get in can’t be used – it simply gets pushed straight out to things that have no relevance. And that hatred, that anger, that worry is useless. It still sits there. I have a $10 note – compliments of a t-shirt a stranger bought off Trademe – and I don’t want to use it. Because I’ll feel guilty for spending it on something “frivolous”. And guilt won’t help anything.

A job may sound like the ideal solution: suddenly, there’ll be money coming in. But, once the money is coming in, it’s easier to ignore it. The debts are being paid back slowly, I can buy the frivolous things without concern. The money acts as a barrier between me and the debt. I don’t need to worry about it anymore.

Unfortunately, debt has a habit of growing. Constantly. And, until I do something about it, it’s going to keep sneaking up on me.

I have therefore decided to head into my bank tomorrow and talk to them about a debt consolidation loan. It seems silly to obtain a loan to sort out loans, but it keeps it simpler. It gives me longer to pay it all off, it gives me a way of dealing with my debt that doesn’t involve “turn your head and walk away.”

And, ultimately, it removes a stress I don’t need from my life. If you’ve looked at my goals and dreams for 2014, you’ll see that sorting out my debt is one of the things I want to do this year.

It’s important to sort out the little things in life. To take the little steps that count towards the bigger goal. That’s one of the things my writing has taught me: it’s so easy to have a big goal, start working toward it, and then give up because it seems your goal is not getting smaller.

In all honesty, goals suck. When I finished writing Porsching, I didn’t feel elated – I felt stressed that I’d rushed it. When I finished editing Porsching, I didn’t feel successful – I felt relieved. They were both big goals for me – the editing in particular seemed monstrous. And I had to step back and look at what was going on.

By setting goals, I’d missed out on the little steps. I didn’t celebrate that I wrote 1700 words in the first hour. I didn’t celebrate the day I wrote 8000 words. I didn’t celebrate editing 10 000 words in one day, nor did I celebrate the little changes in one sentence that changed the way the story flowed. I kept aiming for that one point in time, and, when I reached it, all the energy I’d put in felt wasted.

Because the day I finished was a day like any other. I’d achieved this goal that had always seemed huge, but the day felt no different. There was no reason for it to be different. I’d done less work than any other day, I’d put less energy in.

In truth, it felt more like failure.

And so it is scary to think that when my debt is paid off, I’ll be 32. But I know that my last payment will dawn and I’ll pay it off and there’ll be a sense of complete emptiness because it’ll feel no different. Because I’ll forget how I felt today when my heart hammered as I typed in my banking password, because I’ll forget how I’ll feel when I sign the document for the loan. Because those are the days that matter – the days you start, the days you don’t give up, the days you do more than your aim – those are the days to be proud of.

My Lesson

Blessings aren’t few and far in between.

I’m feeling – these days – that everything is coming to a head. Everything is simmering, it’s about to boil. A hugely complicated chapter in my life is – hopefully – coming to a close next week. It’s been the most trying and character-building period of my life, and I appreciate it. I’ll be so happy to see the back of it though.

I have only 10 000 words to edit of my first full novel. That’s super exciting. I’m nervous of it: I don’t know if the story is good or shit.They only way to find that out is to get people to read the book. So tomorrow or Wednesday…there’ll be a new book out for people to read.

My perspective of jobs has also changed. I’ve done some diverse things – sales, deliveries, software development, tutoring, retail – and I feel that whatever comes next is going to be iconic. In terms of my little life, that is. I don’t know what it will be, but I believe it’ll be Vital when I look back – regardless of what it is.

I realised recently my current friendships are almost all the best and longest I’ve ever had. It is humbling to realise how long I’ve been in people’s lives – people who care about and love me. It’s a foundation I can rely upon – and they’re friendships I can build upon. I’m truly blessed to have them.

My family, too, is fairly special. My brother and sister have bought tickets to travel in the middle of the year. I’m jealously excited for them. It’s super cool they get to go, it’s even cooler to realise how much they’ve worked for it. My mom is, of course, my mother: understandably arrogant. My dad is…incredible. Over the last few months I’ve seen such a powerful change come across him. He’s a different person and I love it. I’ve always been proud of him: never more than now.

I love reflecting on how many cars I’ve owned or driven. I’m driving a basic shitbox at the moment and I love it for it’s raw uselessness. It’s a car in it’s simplest disguise and you don’t simply sit and relax: you drive it or you crash. It makes me long for more cars – not better cars. Cars with the same characteristic, cars that make you drive them, cars that aren’t simply show pieces, cars that are proud to be cars.

There’s one aspect of my life that – alone – I could consider a blessing worth anything.

I could quite happily spill all of the little details that make Someone so truly special to me, but I think I’ll cheapen them all if I do that. To put it quite simply: I fought for us because I believed She’s worth it. I thought I’d have to make all the effort to make us work because She’s struggling with life. And She turned around and has made more effort than even I could expect of Her.

She is simply wonderful to me. Everything we’ve been through becomes worthwhile when I consider She’s with me.

And that’s it really: things have been crap for so very long. It’s made me stronger and more fragile, it’s made me a better me and it’s made me a worse me. But finally, I feel like things are getting better. And I don’t by that mean that good things are going to happen: I mean that whatever happens, I feel like I can make the very best out of it.

And that’s a lesson only I could teach me.

 

Money Matters

This week has been a bit more than all over the place.

I’ve driven 970 kilometres in one week. That’s 30 kilometres below my goal. So that was a fail.

I discovered that my job is not sales. I’m actually providing a health service – I was told that if I can’t find a need for our products, I should not sell. I like that.

I also made my first sale. Which was awesome. And then I went door knocking and discovered a rather good friend lived two doors away. So we went out to dinner. I didn’t get much door-knocking done that night.

I had someone try sell me a car, disturbed a couple having sex, met the scariest friendly man, found some gorgeous cleavage and crawled through spider webs. I won an argument with a dog, had the sweetest lady slam a door in my face by mistake, had someone shout “Fuck off!” without moving from their chair, and got confused when someone answered my knock from the deck upstairs.

It was so much fun.

I also moved out of the place I was house-sitting and back home, where the most common question is “When are you moving out?”. Comforting.

I’ve slept a total of 26 hours since Monday, and I’m finding that suits me fine. I would have slept less, but two of those nights I’ve spent with Someone. I love waking up next to Her so much, that I cuddle up to Her and go back to sleep. I wish we’d spend more time sorting out where our relationship is going.

My writing is being abused. I’m editing “Porsching” and writing “Habits of a Ticketless Speedster” whilst I wait for someone to pay for “Killer Queen”. I’m very far off my goals and need to get those on track – otherwise I have nothing to show for my words. I need to balance my time better.

I’ve been to the gym three times. It must be unusual to see a fat guy sweating – every girl has to come look. Some of them are actually pretty. It’s a little embarrassing to be panting away, all the water I’ve drunk sweating away whilst opposite me a pretty girl effortlessly exercises her biceps with a weight setting I can’t manage. Smiling works wonders in those situations.

I’d just like to point out – in case you missed it – that I’ve been to the gym. Three times. In a week. I hate the gym. What the fuck is wrong with me?

I like destressing there. I like the simplistic routine – bike, rowing maching, whatever-those-weight-machines-are-collectively-called, bike, shower, home.I like the friendliness of the staff. I like the cleanliness and the emptiness.

Things are starting to look up.

For too long, I’ve felt as though I’m walking on a path that keeps giving way. Crawling more than walking, my support structure limited to just me.

I’m walking now – slowly, to be sure. I’ve found a beam with it’s own fragile support, and some guides to show me where to go. Of course, life is more complicated than a single path or beam. I still put my foot down on a tile and it cracks and gives way, leaving me strandedly dangling. But there’s a path nearby – a support of sorts – and it gives me hope. It’s not very reliable – money never is – but hopefully I can use it build more support. Hopefully, it’ll keep me going just long enough for me to find more to stand on.

And if it doesn’t?

Well, I’ve always wanted to go base jumping. I think I’ll still be ok.