Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Achieving | It's Not a Race

Last week while on my way home, from somewhere that is not relevant in this context, I was entertaining a monologue in my head about the thought of turning 20 this month. The further the car went down the country road, through the village, I thought, Holy, Mary, Mother of God I will be 25 in five years’ time.

The car chugged up Biddy’s Corner and I panicked at the chance of not fulfilling everything I wish to at least attempt by that age.

It is funny to think, as children, how much we meticulously planned out our lives. I was no exception to entertaining my notions: I was to be married by my mid-twenties with a child en route (lol), at the blossoming stage of my career (whatever that was going to be) and a book either published or in the final stages of writing.

Oh dear, how these notions shift and alter with time and sense.

First of all, the thought of marriage anytime soon is nothing short of terrifying, baffling and hilarious. That would involve some element commitment, and I can assure you that is a hard-sought thing nowadays! Any potential familial arrangements for thought are postponed way, way, way into the (far distant) future.

A career? Let me get my degree first. Although I would love to be involved in radio broadcasting.

Is there a lack of geographical representation of voices on our airwaves? Absolutely.

Are we lacking gender balance in radio at a national level? Of course we are.

Why am I still interested, then? I’ll cross that hurdle when I need to.

Although, I do want to assure seven-year-old Catherine that it is more than alright not to be married with two kids racing around within the next handful of years. Right now I am more concerned about my recent revelation, Jacob’s Mediterranean Style Crackers than becoming anyone’s wife right now.

I am aware that there are young teenagers building start-up companies, becoming media pundits before they have sat foot in a journalism or communications degree, featured on the most “Influential 30 under 30” list and drink their coffee stronger than my literal, entire being. I am also beginning to learn that it is okay for me not to be these things either right now.

There is a part of me that enjoys the notion of the hustle, and by the very fact of what I am studying, I am encouraged to indulge in it also. That notion that is championed by our societal hierarchy: work yourself into the ground, and surely to God something good will come from it. Learn how to do have a firm handshake, attend those coffee networking mornings (even if you hate coffee), sell your soul to a sharp-shooting entrepreneur while you’re an undergrad student and still somehow manage to keep a social life/dating life/fall in/fall out/fall in again of love as you climb up your respective corporate ladder.

Oh, and sure look, if you can be happy at the end of it aren’t you a lucky divil?

We always feel we need to move onto the next thing before we have even finished the last. With this way of thinking, it does not allow us to take a moment to spare a thought for what we have achieved. Furthermore, I think that those who are more creatively-inclined feel the pinch more. We are a group that do not rely necessarily on investment (although that is nice, too) and talking the big game in crisp shirts with Apple watches on our wrists to get our projects in motion.

What does someone like me rely on then?

Quite simply; ideas.

Where can I get these ideas?

Situations, people or even a pretty walk home somewhere (preferably not in the dark though, that’s when things take a nose-dive. Next thing you know you’re falling into a ditch or a pothole. Overall, not a fun time for anyone involved.)

Of course, opening my mouth and letting air circulate to vibrate my vocal chords in order to produce sounds to converse with other kindred spirits is a big help.

I do get blank spots, quiet spots in the cogs of my mind that should be thinking of


Aren’t they a great thing when you have the right ones?

And it is during these quieter times, the thought of achieving is almost laughable and what has been got and sought for previously is irrelevant. Young Johnny might be sponsored to head off on a first-class flight, with champagne provided beside him that he is not legally allowed to drink, to give a Ted talk to beady-eyed corporate gurus. Meanwhile, I am here, and all I would want or wish for is to see Dermot Kennedy live to fuel my literary heart.

Although another part of me screams to just be authentic, true and do what I can in the hope that things that are meant to be will happen in their own time. I might not be a city-slicker-hot-shot but I do know that I always treat the people around me the way in which I would want to be treated too, I would literally make tea for any soul, I tap into my interests without making too much of a fuss, hell my feet can take me to beaches and gigs when my parents were told once I would never walk.

These are things I would not bring up in a networking meeting, but they are still my own achievements which are valid to me and I am accepting that sometimes that can be enough.

It is okay if you do not know what you are doing what your life right now. If things were so easy to come by in the palm of our hands, the rewards which we would then redeem would not feel as sweet. The way our world is turning, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to remain any way at peace within our own minds.

Whatever I do achieve, whether in the byline of a newspaper or the credits at the end of a production of some kind, it might make all the boys I knew that could not keep to their word by me think:

“Damn, I really should not have left her ‘on seen' all that time ago.”