Lately, life has been a bit random. Quite a few things were unplanned and unexpected, leaving me at a bit of a loss and wondering what the hell I should do with myself. Somewhere along the line, my priorities changed. A few chance meetings and random conversations later, I was able to regain some control.
When I mentioned chance meetings; I was at the Barbican last week to see The Japanese House: Architecture and Life after 1945 exhibition in its closing days; I bumped into a lady that I went to secondary school with (we were in the same year and form group), and it turns out that she's one of the assistant curators at the V&A Museum.
It was amazing to see her again after 12-13 years, especially as we ended up going to different Sixth Forms, so I never saw or spoke to her again once we'd finished our GCSEs. There I was thinking she'd obviously got the curating job after university, but it turns out she never went to university until she was 23; she trained as a pastry chef after leaving Sixth Form.
I had been toying with the idea of perhaps (finally) working towards a degree for the last year or so whilst I had been studying for my DipHE. I just wasn't ready for university ten years ago, but at the same time, I had convinced myself that perhaps I was ten years too late. Perhaps five years ago would've been ideal, but five years ago I was in the middle of trying to get shot of some deadwood in my life.
Recently, I'd managed to encourage and convince S to perhaps consider some further study, but somehow I seemed unable to convince myself that I was capable of doing the same thing. I went to a school that basically decided that you were of no use to anyone if you didn't go off to university, so I'd always had that chip on my shoulder of having applied to Imperial College London and being one of the first students from a comprehensive school to be awarded with an Arkwright Scholarship. It all seems a bit of a waste now, but if you're not ready for university, you're not ready, and I do feel bad for some kids that feel pressured (like I was) into applying when they're not all that sure about the subjects they're taking ar college, never mind university.
So I went into the world of work. And whilst I've had a fantastic ten years working for The Firm and have ended up in a job role that I enjoy and that not many people my age get to do, I didn't want to limit myself to that, never mind a life completely dedicated to the railway; I've been able to travel the world and see a few things.
I thought that a month in Australia was life-changing, but a week in Japan even more so. Since the spring, I've been able to start learning to read and write in Japanese and it has been fucking amazing .
So I took the plunge, and I started filling out applications:
I applied to study Language and Linguistics (BA), with Japanese as an additional language option, at Birkbeck University of London (I also picked International Law (BA), Global Politics (BA) and Journalism (BA), all with the additional Japanese language option, as backup choices). It was so weird filling out a UCAS application for the second time around, but this time doing it for myself and not with a gun held to my head.
The most exciting thing about the subject(s) I've chosen; with the language option, there's an opportunity for me to do a fourth year experience abroad. So in my case, that would be spending a whole year in living Japan (I practise kitsuke so at least I'd be able to blend in a bit!)
Over the next few weeks, I'll be waiting to see if I've been entered into clearing. I'm nervous and excited at the same time.
It's nice to feel brand new again, with a new sense of purpose; my ikigai.