I am in Waitrose and I am about to cry. It isn’t because of the prices, nor because of the semi-religious experience that shopping in those wide, airy aisles inspires in me, nor because Lula now strapped firmly into her buggy after hightailing it around the store, is screaming ‘But I WANT a croissant!’ over and over until every person in there is standing with their hands clamped to their ears, staring in horror at the middle class monster I have spawned. No, I’m not crying about that, although I want to. I’m crying because I have realised my days of shopping in Waitrose are numbered.
I don’t always shop in Waitrose. Some days I slum it in M&S. Ok, that’s not true, though I’d like it to be. I’m actually a Sainsbury’s girl. Waitrose is my treat shop. Some women go for facials – I go to Waitrose. Some people go to church – I find enlightenment and a rather nice line in rice crisp things at Waitrose. My days of shopping there are numbered however, because I have only just realised that very shortly I will have no money. Even though I resigned a while back now, this particular fact didn’t permeate my consciousness until today. If it had I probably wouldn’t have resigned. Denial is a handy psychological tool.
Come January I won’t have anyone paying me anymore for delegating, practicing creative writing in fundraising reports and reading Lainey Gossip in my downtime. I won’t even be able to shop in Lidl. The thought is enough to turn my insides liquid (the thought of having no income, not the thought of shopping in Lidl – I get my catfood there). I have never not had money coming in. When I was a kid I had pocket money (actually one of the many bonuses of my parents divorcing was that both of them paid me pocket money – it was like double funding). When I was a teenager I had money earned from temping (I was a very good receptionist though I did get fired from Accenture – the thing I am most proud of in my life – yes even more so than having a child). And I’ve spent every year since graduating earning. What will happen at the end of January when no money comes popping into my account? Well, not much actually because I’ll have the money that is supposedly buying a new bathroom with marble tiling and gold plated taps to see me through for a while. And when payday does come around, I will be laid out on a massage table under a coconut grove in Patnem beach in Southern Goa so hopefully I won’t even notice.
However, John says I need to focus on thinking up ways of earning income when we are away. I worry that maybe he doesn’t want to ‘keep me.’ As if I would be a kept woman I want to yell, but secretly and appallingly, I think I wouldn’t mind it. The feminist in me is like a caged beast. I can hear her snarling at me. Oh, Ok. I let her out. I need to earn my own money. I will not take money from my husband. Just from the bank.
So, I sit with my pencil hovering over the paper trying to work out what possible skills I have that I can use when I am away travelling. An hour passes, then a day, then several months. Then it comes to me. I can be a consultant. There are so many people calling themselves consultants then surely I can too. What do you need to be a consultant? You need people to consult you. And you need to be able to look like you know what you are talking about. I know I can do this latter. It is what I do in my job every day. I am well practiced. I just need people now to consult me about things. What should I consult on though? I only have two ideas so far: I could consult on how to commit career suicide. Or on how to not get divorced whilst planning a round the world trip (though I might have to wait on this one until we’re safely on the plane or I might not have any credibility).
Failing that, I can write. And try to get paid for it. And maybe one day my blog will be as big as Lainey’s. Though with fewer pictures of Robert Pattinson on it.