Too Much Of A Good Thing

bank-accountsSo I don’t know about you but there’s this thing I do where I simply have to check my bank balance every time I think about it. I’m not one to misdiagnose myself with OCD because, let’s face it, I’m a slob. Those of you who’ve had the good fortune to see me in my natural habitat no doubt had to climb over mountains of clothes in various states of worn-in-ness, and fight through a sea of coffee mugs to attain some measure of comfort. I’m compulsive about very few things and only my reaction to one wall socket switched on with nothing plugged into it will elicit any reaction that borders on some sort of asperger’s syndrome scale. I’m trying to be zen, remember?

But when I think about my bank balance, I must immediately make use of the marvel that is online banking and have some numbers appear on one of my various screens to tell me how much money I don’t have any more. While most actions of the compulsive nature have a calming effect, mine has more of a belt-tightening effect if I’m honest. Usually I’m a little out, but over the years I’ve become pretty adept at knowing vaguely how many pennies reside in my pot. It’s one of my odd, but comfortingly useful life skills I seem to have picked up as I’ve gone along. Coupled with this are my abilities to: equally pour out wine for two or more people to an acceptable measure of level of accuracy (oddly, I become more accurate the more wine I drink); and the MARVELLOUS skill of, when shopping, being able to bag all my groceries into multiple shopping bags that all weigh the same (or at least balance out over each hand if there’s an odd number of bags). Please don’t burn me at the stake for being a witch.

However there comes a time, once in a blue moon, when my internal bank balance calculator takes a bit of a holiday. This isn’t usually that much of an issue but it’s most fun when my need to check on my monies also decides to go a-wandering. I’ll drift for a week or two without a care in world about finance and then *pop* I remember that such things exist. Yet what somehow happens each and every time these two events converge is that when I can bring myself, snivelling and practically weeping at the thought of how destitute I am soon to be, to call upon the online banking gods to deliver to me my fate is that I am vastly richer than I thought I was.

And what is my reaction to finding out that all is well and that I’m not as shit with money as my subconscious thought I was?
– Why surely, Andy you save it. Or at least you settle comfortably into the knowledge that this month will be under budget and all will be well?

Nah. I see it as a challenge: How fast can I spend my cash surplus? I bet all of it can go in one day! How about some new and obscenely overpriced underwear? And now to stock up your drinks cabinet, yes? And what self-respecting geek doesn’t collect out-of-print graphic novels that sell for dangerous amounts of money? Why not look at how expensive cars are?

It’s at times like these that I realise how financial crashes work on Wall St.


Quarter Life Crisis?

im-adult-nowThe difficulty rating for waking up in the morning can be expressed as the following equation:

Where omega is my overall mood from the previous day, p and e are the people and events that I will see in the coming day (if I have anything planned) a is the ABV of my blood upon waking up, w is the number of hours I have to work that day and m is the money in my bank. There is an x-factor that I’m beginning to think is controlled by the phases of the moon multiplied by our distance from Jupiter when it’s raining in the Amazon with a bit of cosine thrown in for good measure, but I think this rudimentary formula suits the purposes of this blog.

I’m in my twenties, my mid-twenties even. It’s only a couple more years before I qualify for being made into a mediocre sit-com and only a few more before parts of my body start falling off. I know I’m not supposed to have it all worked out yet, and this is great because I most emphatically do not have anything worked out.

Oh I’m fine – honestly! I have a cushy job, I live with one of my best friends in the middle of an amazing city. I waltz out of my front door to this amazing view (no seriously, that photo was taken from right outside my front door), I am disease free, I enjoy immense privileges just for being an educated white male in a western country, and most importantly: I’ve discovered what types of wine go with what. Some people spend years hopelessly chugging Merlot.

But everyone seems to have some sort of plan, a scheme, a conspicuously full diary filled out with life things and targets. And here’s me being perfectly happy just rolling down the hill of life and scrabbling at daisies on the way to the bottom. Then again, that’s not even true is it? Well, I’m sure some of you are very planned out and organised – you’re probably the type of people who frequently check unimportant things like the oil levels on their car, how much their radiators need bleeding (in July), and whether or not they remembered to mail their tax return. Sure, some of you are settled but I get the feeling that the majority of us are largely not. Or at least we plan to be settled in a few years time but we’re just going to throw our arms up and say “wheeeeeeeeeee” for now. I am, obviously, talking to my peers in their twenties here. If you’re fifty, have kids, a house, a car, and still haven’t worked out definitively whether or not you like olives, you may have problems.

Why do we need a plan though? Isn’t a plan something the Baby Boomers did? As a whiny, self-centred, ungrateful Millennial (as Time magazine would love to describe me) I can just meander through this and hope the government (read: mum and dad) pick up the pieces right? Well, sort of. I don’t actually care about plans and ambitions and whether or not my pension will be able to cover my impending alcohol problem in my eighties; at least, I don’t care yet – I might do in a bit; but what I do care about is what I really want to do.

I just don’t know.

And that’s lie number one. I do know. I want to be any of the following: Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader (only if the previous two are taken), commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions and loyal servant to the true Emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife, and I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next, Magneto, Wolverine, Indiana Jones…

Seeing as all of those are weirdly unattainable, I think I’d rather be a writer. Like  a big writer. A writer of big things and famous characters. Someone who makes people laugh while crying. You know the type. But the road to there is a slow a tortuous one which I intend to plod along while I continue also doing other life stuff. So what to do while I actually live? Well who the fuck cares as long as I’m happy right? Right? I guess that’s the question that keeps popping up like a rigged fairground gamestand. Do I have to squeeze my life to fit other people’s expectations? I think not. To fit other people’s needs, even if they encroach on my own? Probably, but I can be a selfish twonk who won’t like it. To placate others? No, but it’s sometimes best to I guess. What about just to be kind? I think I quite like being kind – it’s like a drug and I should probably up my dosage. Then again, with questions like that, I generally begin to whittle down at whatever life I’d mentally sculpted and the end result is different and I’m unsure how I feel about that if I’m honest. And oh, look, I’ve just discovered the ancient philosophical battle between the self and other.

I like to hope that everyone drives through this part of mental road blockage in their twenties but some of you are just so damn smooth that you look like you’ve got it made. What with your weddings and your baby bumps and pictures of the above. However the internet repeatedly tells me that everyone is just as befuddled as I am when it really comes down to it; and I think I truly believe that this blog sounds incredibly like something that goes through each of your heads from time to time. Perhaps I simply needed to type it out to feel better about myself. And perhaps it can make you feel like you’re not the only one who feels like they missed the class at school where everyone was told how to do stuff and things.

I hope that if I’m to have a quarter life crisis, this is it. I don’t have the money to go buy a Porsche.

Incredibly Related Video Of The Day That Also Covers All Of This But In A Much Better Way Than I Ever Could: