October the Eighth

(here I am, rock you like a hurricane)

It’s currently just gone midnight on the morning of Sunday, October the eighth, and I feel like taking stock.

Partially for your credit, it must be said. The last post to be published on here went up eleven months ago (three hundred and fourteen days, to be exact) and so those of you to whom I speak exclusively on here have been treated to an unprecedented media blackout from the team here at JP Casey Industries.

But that face is that most of the practical realities of my life, and my general outlook on things, have changed considerably in the last year or so, and I feel like writing them down, or at least trying to name a few of the changes, will help me inflate my own ego through the medium of frilly buzzwords like ‘perspective’ and ‘introspection’ and ‘self-improvement’. Or perhaps I wanted to start blogging again, and a brief, ‘previously on JP Casey’-type post was as good a way as any to get started.

So the biggest change, at least according to conventional wisdom, is that I graduated. I received a 2.1 in English Literature and Language from UCL, which, I’m told, is quite a thing to have done. However, the direction of this change defies that conventional wisdom. I’ve left university with the overwhelming sense that I’ve not learned anything, that I’m a less capable and independent adult than I was when I started, and even less sure of the direction I want to take in my life. I feel like this experience isn’t singularly unique to me – in fact, most of my friends seem to be in an identical or largely similar boat sailing across the paradoxical oceans that make up our lot – and I feel like we need to think more intelligently about the actual role of university in society.

Sure, in some cases, a student will be awarded a degree in a subject that leads to a sensible and relevant career, or will give them useful skills with which they can find a sensible and relevant career. But for every one of those, there’s an English graduate who can kinda write tweets sometimes and is left with a part-time dodgeball refereeing position as the closest thing they have to a direction in life. Not that that example is based on myself, of course. No way. Not at all.

University, for me at least, provided questions, not answers. It made me think more critically about who I am and what I want to do with my time, but hasn’t given me the answers to those problems, or even given me the skills to go about answering them myself. It’s ironic that an institution that boasts of learning, knowledge and teaching is actually a black hole of tangible knowledge about oneself; maybe we should reverse the entire process, where students are brought in to ask professors about topics that they find interesting, in an attempt to discover more about themselves through the questions they ask, the answers they expect, and how they respond to unexpected answers. And maybe UCL could pay me twenty seven grand for the privilege.

Another significant practical change that I stopped doing everything. Yes, almost literally everything. I went from training six times a week for three sports teams to playing zero sports. From essays every other week to not writing anything in, well, at least eleven months. From seeing my friends, teachers and teammates every day to locking myself in my room for four days at a time, armed even with several water bottles and bags of crisps so I would be able to sustain myself in my self-imposed social exile, like the solitary dwelling in a bomb shelter surrounded by the nuclear fallout of socialising, the tumbling toxic clouds of conversation, the pungent radiation of human existence.

But then I started reading Asimov and I decided that metaphors such as people being equivalent to nuclear winters are workable.

It is true, however, that my calendar is decidedly more empty than it used to be, not least because I am, at the time of writing, unemployed as fuck. Which is a technical term for when you’ve been applying for jobs for four months without success, and are now equally afraid of not getting a job, as you’ll remain in your sad, lonely stupor forever, and of getting a job, as you worry you’ve forgotten how to wear clothes and talk to people in a vaguely professional environment. It’s a good phrase; I use it often.

I tend to do things in extremes, and that’s no more apparent than in this sharp change. I did enough for three people at university, and now am barely doing enough for a third of a person now that I’m a graduate. I’m perpetually exhausted, unable to work on ‘constructive’ projects such as job applications, writing and working out for more than three hours a day before my brain, knees or arms crumble underneath themselves. Maybe I’m lazy. Or scared. Or defeated. But I like to believe that my laundry list of extra-curricular projects, accumulated over a decade or longer, is evidence against such damning accusations, and ought to be considered more seriously than the messy four months of ‘Oh God Why Am I Awake’ nonsense that followed them.

The solution, then, is somewhat evident: do more things, but not so many that they burn you out. And I’m trying – I work three nights a week, not five; I read regularly but don’t pressure myself to do it every day; today I started work on a rewrite of my novel (yes, for real) and didn’t even set a NaNoWriMo-style word count deadline for each of the next 3,520,349 days – but it might take a while before results appear.

Which is fine. I’m not in any financial rush to find a job, and while my mental health is hardly perfect, I certainly have better days, which are not to be sniffed at.

But I guess the main change is that I’ve stopped looking for change. Woah. Profound af right? Someone get me a Man Booker prize. Is that Leonardo DiCaprio on the phone, asking for my involvement in an Inception sequel?

Joking aside though, I’ve developed a tendency to split things apart into neat chapters, and approach them as such, as if every chronologically separate part of my life ought to have a neat beginning, where I adapt to this new and strange setting, middle, where I encounter problems and try to work through them, and end, where I reach a satisfying conclusion and meet my Prince Charming. But divisions of chronology are not divisions of psyche, and the expiry of my stupid student ID that still reads ‘Casey Casey’ does not necessarily mean the expiry of some part of my person, and its replacement with a new character.

I’m still sad a lot, and overly intense and excited in patches; I play too much Bloodbowl and spend too much money; I enjoy writing but have no idea if or how or when to make it anything more than a hobby; I like jotting things down in extended lists of three but am wont to ruin an otherwise neat observation with a ham-fisted and fourth-wall yanking attempt at a joke.

So I am sorry that I’ve not written a lot lately, if these are things you have enjoyed perusing from time to time. I’ll try to keep these up but, as described above, am not pressuring myself to do anything, so another one of these might float across your reader or your timeline at some point soon. Until then, I’ll try to address the problem that I’ve written over seven hundred blog posts and still have no idea how to neatly end these damn things.

Author: JP Casey

They/them. Chaotic gender neutral. Straight Edge. Writer. Journalist. User of full stops.

9 thoughts on “October the Eighth”

  1. Le me: *is deceased*
    HOLY MOTHER OF GLUTEN hello. I genuinely don’t know where to start. Do I respond to each paragraph? Do I bash out a Rise Against-themed welcome? Do I sit here and drag out a comment only to subconsciously do so in an attempt to veil my joy at seeing this crop up in my Reader?
    – BP (hey there) (it be me)
    P.S. Please do keep writing, if you can!

    1. Hello! You can do all of the things if you would like, they would be lovely :3 I’m sorry if I left you hanging on a comment months ago, I came back to this site to find like 300 spam comments and just mass-spam-marked them so apologies if one of yours got caught up in the purge >< How are you / have you been etc. etc.? 🙂

      1. Right let’s go then.
        1.
        – “JP Casey Industries” classic
        – Change is healthy, and a fresh outlook is something I’m intrigued to read more about
        – You’ve graduated! Aw well done. It does make everything surreal though as I think I remember reading an old blog of yours where you were in sixth form(?). Or maybe it was first year. And now..you’re like, done. This is wild.
        – still dodging the ball that’s good that’s good
        – mind is blown is it too late to retract my UCAS
        – oh :/ whilst I’m sure they were Doritos which are good, a self-imposed social exile doesn’t sound the best
        – good luck with securing a job
        – stay awake? Please?
        – my fingers are going to fall off let’s just conclude with me happy to see this post
        2.
        I kind of want to write one of the paragraphs where you conjure something up using song titles but that is actually very difficult. Either way, I’m still grateful that you wrote about Rise Against all that time ago. I have merch and nearly all the albums – bar Wolves because for some reason, the deluxe version which has like 2 extra songs was nearly double the price of the normal one and my broke ass was like um. It sucks how they’re coming here on tour but I’m slaving over past papers.
        3. I think I’ve done this. Hehe.
        Oh no it’s totally fine! I’d have done the same and plus, I think it was just about UCL life? Year 13 has hit me, you see! I IS OLD.

        1. Hello! I have returned from (apparently) a year-long hiatus to respond to comments on WordPress (yay?) JP Casey Industries is doing well, and even has a job now (they are a journalist!); Wolves is a surprisingly good album (although I am sorry that it is over-priced for some reason?); and I just turned 22 so I know the OLD feel (somewhat).

          1. Christ OMG HELLO
            I just choked on my air there. “My air” wow as if I bloody invented nitrogen. How are you! It’s so nice to hear from you – you’re a journalist now that’s FAB. 22 – you can now be reduced to a Taylor Swift song. Don’t worry, next year you’ll be Blink. I’m about to have my soul crushed (God knows what uni I’ve ended up at) and I’m mindlessly reading “how to prepare for uni” guides. Also wondering how to not starve should I end up in L*ndon. I’ve acc died from witnessing your resurrection. HOW ARE YOU. TELL ME MORE!

          2. *waves* I am indeed a Taylor Swift song and it is excellent. If you do wind up in this hellhole, find a Lidl, buy vegetables from it, and never eat anything else ever. Also not spending money on alcohol helps :p But good luck at What Uni I’ve Ended Up At it sounds like a fun place :’) I has a new post about being, like, alive and whatnot so that is a thing if you would like to do a read ><

          3. I misread the other post as dining and I was intrigued. But now I’m more intrigued about mining. Sorry I’d have commented over there but I can’t work out how? Wait, so no co-op? But I have my 10% student discount! Good thing I don’t drink, so money will be saved there, but in turn I have two weaknesses, cheap eyeliner and Doritos. I got into an awful habit of buying those big pack Doritos (only when they’re on sale for a quid though) during exams. Stress-eating, am I right? I even got the bloke at the local Martins to bring the price down for me. I’m not a haggler but I needed those crisps. I still can’t deal that you’re alive – don’t get me wrong, it’s all your readers here could ever wish for, but especially at a time like this when Results are coming out and whatnot – I think I’ve echoed this sentiment before but it’s crazy how I used to read your posts back when you were an English student! Anyway.
            Aw, nice to see you’re still a gamer. Although there was one game you spoke about a lot GAH what was it? Skyrim? NO, FOOTBALL MANAGER. Do you still play that? My brother told me about how one of his mates turned up to a lecture in a suit because his team “had a big day”.

          4. Sadly my inability to taste makes a dining blog difficult :p Hey if you can make the co-op work go for it! And also exactly the same on the weaknesses oops. Dude don’t even on the English student thing – how have I both not failed and not been unemployed O.o And I do (on both counts!) but I have been playing a kajillion other things because why do one thing when you could do all of them. And I have 100% done that myself so I understand entirely.

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