Perhaps predictably, I woke feeling very drained and depressed today after the interview yesterday. It didn’t help that I was woken up (and not early) by a phone call from the recruitment agency that have got me my interview on Friday. The interview is now in the morning, not the afternoon, which is better for me in terms of having time to come home and relax a bit (and if necessary blog my experiences to offload) before Shabbat (the Sabbath), although I might have to miss my shiur (religious class) on Thursday night this week to have an early night. I’m still terrified that I’m going to mess up the exam component of the interview. I feel my interview experiences lately have not gone well and even the jobs I have managed to get have left me feeling that I’m under-performing, either in terms of not managing the tasks well or managing well, but in a role for which I am overqualified.
I was up late last night, partly because when I wanted to go to bed, I had an idea for a post for my Doctor Who blog (which I haven’t written on for months) that could be a bit controversial, although as only about three people read it, that’s not a huge worry (it’s on the programme’s diversity agenda, but not from the usual angles, either for or against). I do feel it is something worth saying, which isn’t always my impression of my writing, including here. I took some notes for it, but I didn’t really have the right mood or the time to write it today. It could probably usefully wait until I’ve re-watched some more of the last series of Doctor Who.
My mood did improve as the day wore on, albeit that I could suddenly plunge back into depression if triggered. I did some cataloguing practice and feel more confident than I did when I failed that cataloguing test last year. I think I know how to use the indicators and sub-field codes reasonably well, I just need more confidence. I think my bad performance in the test was partly due to depression or anxiety and partly to the type of test being different and potentially confusing (autism again?). However, my concentration is appalling. I hope it would be better in the test or at work. Still, I managed two hours of cataloguing practice, a half hour walk (listening to a slightly gross In Our Time about parasitism), half an hour of Torah study and helping with the laundry, which is a lot more than I thought I would be able to manage when I woke up this morning. I also managed to edit/redraft another chapter of my Doctor Who book (on the TV Movie, which reminded me of the quote referenced obliquely in this post’s title). I still lost an hour of cataloguing practice from my plan, though. My Dad is right: I really can’t stick to plans.
Regarding being triggered occasionally during the day: I think on some level I want to be triggered. There are websites I’ve blocked because they’re triggering, usually political stuff or sites that discuss antisemitism or controversies within the Orthodox world or occasionally because the people involved in the site have upset me on a personal level. However, I do frequently turn off the blocking software to visit these sites, which is counterproductive. It doesn’t help that I don’t really have any sites that are meaningful for me to read and which are updated frequently enough to use them when I need a break from job hunting. Or maybe the rush of righteous indignation is empowering, alerting or even enjoyable in some way. Perhaps there’s even a kinship of outrage; they are outraged at this, I am outraged at this, therefore I am, on some level, like them and included with them, even if they don’t know of my existence. The problem is that I can’t switch it off afterwards and end up brooding at how bad the world is.
It’s funny, being a sort-of member of two different cultures and not quite a full member of either. I mean Orthodox Jewish society and secular Western society. Both seem to me to have a lot of flaws, some quite serious, and sometimes I wonder how long either can survive without change, although change in a positive direction does not always seem likely. But then, it could just be a product of me being on fringes looking in; maybe things seem more rational and sustainable from the inside. It does seem sometimes that the world is going to a variety of Hells in a variety of handbaskets. On the plus side, I can only die once; if the antisemitic terrorists get me, I can’t die of climate change, and so on.
I came across a blog post by someone I used to follow online, who I haven’t regularly followed for years. She said she was once an “influencer” but now her time is mostly taken up with work and family, rather than writing, which is her dream (although her job is some kind of writing, I assume just not the type she had in mind). Surprisingly, I find myself less envious of the work, spouse and children than of the idea of living my dream. I can’t imagine seriously being able to do that. I’m not even entirely sure what my dream actually is. I assume writing on subjects that interest me (Doctor Who and classic British telefantasy; Judaism and antisemitism; mental health and autism). I’m not sure how to monetise that. Realistically, most people are probably not living their dreams and I’m not quite sure why I would be the exception. Although being a professional writer does seem more slightly likely than getting married and having children.
It probably doesn’t help that I’m not ambitious. There isn’t really much I want, or maybe there just isn’t much that I expect to get. I’m not suicidal, but I am a bit world-weary. The good things of this world seem to be outweighed by the bad, at least for me, and the good can only be gained by going through a lot of bad. I’m not really convinced I have much in store for me in Olam HaBa (the Next World), but at least there is a possibility of the pain ending. Also, significantly I always imagine the Next World, whether good or bad, as being alone. I know most people who believe in life after death believe they will be reunited with dead friends or family and I suppose I’m open to the idea, but when I brood on it, I tend to think of myself alone with God and my thoughts, whether good or bad. That feeling of “Oh, well at least I won’t be embarrassed in front of other people any more” is dangerously seductive to someone who has struggled to fit in and deal with social conventions all his life. (I don’t know why I don’t think I’ll be embarrassed in front of God; perhaps because He knows all my sins and bad thoughts already.)
It probably would be good for me if I had more life-goals. My Mum wanted to try to set me up a while back with the daughter of friends of hers, but I was reluctant because I knew she wanted a professional and I didn’t think I really fit the bill. I suspect other women would think similarly. But even beyond dating, more goals to root myself in this world would be useful. Even having clearer writing goals might help. I don’t have a dream income (I have absolutely no idea what a good income even is, as I’m pretty vague about money), dream house, dream car (don’t drive, no intention to learn in the near future)… I’m not even sure I have a particularly strong idea of my dream wife, despite laying out some criteria yesterday. I’m just floating through life, fortunate enough to have parents who are willing and able to support me, trying to work through my ‘issues’ and get some kind of career/life, but totally uncertain about how to do it or what a successful result would look like.