According to my 25 year old self – I’d failed at life.
Another product of Broken Britain, experiencing a quarter life crisis. Signing on at the Job Centre with all my fellow fine art graduates, I was lost and broke.
I remember that year crying to my mum on the phone that I should have been a nurse.This post is for any 20-something creative graduates who wants to belong somewhere. Please don’t loose hope.
In 2009, I filled in a lot of application forms in. I counted 97 on my old hard-drive. If you are constantly job searching and hearing nothing back my advice for you is thus: stop job searching, go for a walk, see a friend. You’ve got the rest of your 20s to find a job, study, go travelling. Honestly chill the fuck-out.
So here’s where it all began for me.
Did you ever go to the job centre and have the privilege of printing out pages and pages of jobs, only to feel it is a complete waste of time? Yep, I did too until I landed my self a job as at arts & activities coordinator at a dementia care home.
It was like a divine intervention finding a job where they wanted someone with an art degree and secondly it was within walking distances of my home. Within 2 hours of printing out one of those long thin job ads sheets, I was employed with a contract. Goodbye JSA.
It was a random experience but I gave it my all. I ran a morning exercises class, hosted a discussion on the daily news, organised parties and dancing, ran painting activities and started an afternoon choir.
We decided to give this little fella a crown.
A spot of paining.
Recently I’ve been sorting out some old notes when I came across a conversation I had wrote down whilst trying to communicate with a profoundly deaf man , with Dementia in his 90s.
Here’s how my notes read (I’ve changed the man’s name for confidentiality reasons).
It was nice of you to join my exercise class this morning!!
(He replies and says his hearing aid isn’t working).
We have entertainment later…..hopefully! You ready to have a dance?
Mr Jones used a zimmer frame but he laughs and says SURE!)
That’s the spirit.
He tells me he is 90.
We’ve been talking about the “Dunkirk Spirit” this morning and the 1930s we thought your were only 19 when you became a solider? You’re looking well!
Mr Jones tells me about Dunkirk.
Mr Jones I am looking forwards to when you get your new hearing aid. Because then you can join in our discussions.
(Mr. Jones doesn’t join in much but he says YESSS).
Great we need another trouble maker!
He laughs, whilst reading my notes.
It’s lunch for me now!
I say good bye. Mr. Jones who kicks back on the sofa for a snooze.
Surrounded by elderly residents, I learnt so much about life. If I’m ever throwing a tantrum these days. I remind myself. Would I really give a shit about this if I was at the end of my life? Usually the answer is no.
Working with the residents also reminded me how much I missed my nanny buff and family. The experience was the catalyst for moving back “up-north”, though I cried for a full week when leaving London my home for 6 years. The reality is, I couldn’t be happier living in Doncaster near my family. And although I do miss London and all my friends. It was the right decision to move back and my random job helped me to make that hard decision.
In 2012 after working a series of badly paid jobs, I landed a dream job at St John’s Hospice as a arts and crafts therapist. This is a phenomenal job and I get to work with brilliant nurses too, so although, I cried to my mum, I should have been a nurse, I now get to work alongside the best.
So, listen-up all you young creatives on your random and unique journeys, you never know what’s round the corner, so chin-up and enjoy the ride.