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An Army of One

By Raggamuffin · Apr 18, 2021 ·
  1. I met up with an old work colleague yesterday. We went out to get coffee (I had decaff) and spent a couple of hours chatting. This is the first friend I've gone out to see in a very long time. We've had people come over our house occasionally to help out with the house etc. but these were always Kristy's friends, and little more than acquaintances to me. I haven't seen one of my own friends in well over a year and it felt really good.

    He's joined the army and is currently on leave from his first term at officer's academy. I enjoyed talking with him about his training and how he's been keeping. It's strange - I find war utterly futile and immoral, and yet I'm fascinated by military history and such like. I felt like skirting around questions about how I'd been doing, as I feel like I've been stagnating for a long time and felt rather embarassed in my lack of progress compared to how much he'd been accomplishing. Truth be told, my fears were misplaced; he took a real interest in how I'd been and was asking questions I hadn't expected at all. We actually had some real in depth conversations which I was so thankful for - because at work and at home all I seem to encounter is small talk or joking around.

    I gave Joe a CD and USB stick of some of my all time favourite music. I rarely meet people who appreciate a lot of the more aggressive underground music genres, and yet Joe really loves the music I've shown him. A lot of these genres he'd never heard of before, and I was happy to share what I found.

    We had a good laugh, and there were some moments where we had each other in hysterics. We reminisced about our last job which was ran by a group of Evangelical Christians called the Brethren. The owner of the business was excessively demanding and fired countless people in a short space of time. In the year and a half I was there over 20 people had come and gone. Whilst I admired the work ethic and apparent wholesomeness of the Brethren community, I couldn't help but feel rather out of place and somewhat unsettled by them too.

    He said we should meet again during his next leave, which I'm looking forward to. By that time I imagine we will have sold the house and I'd be living back at my parents. It's strange really - I'm looking forward to moving back to that village. It's a beautiful place to live and I will be able to save up money so quickly. I'm also planning to get my moutain bike out of my dad's workshop and get it serviced at a bike specialist. It's been stood, unused for about 4 years - so it'll need checking over, and probably some new tyres.

    Back when I first met Kristy I used to cycle regularly. Out in this village there's lots of farm tracks which go through the fens. These are very old, single track roads which are usually in very poor condition. The only traffic they really have is farm vehicles using them. Out in the Fens it's flat as far as the eye can see. It was all marshland before the area was drained, with the help of Dutch engineers around 400 years ago. Cycling again will be fun - I'm really looking forward to riding my old routes.


    I rang my parents on Friday whilst driving home from work. I had another back and forth conversation with my mum. Normally my parents will spend entire conversations talking at me, and it's a rarity to have a back and forth, flowing conversation. In recent months however, we've had several good conversations which has been a nice break from the norm. I've felt rather starved for human interaction for quite a long time, and things have been improving in recent weeks.

    I'm feeling increasingly positive and excited the more I've explored possibilities for my future once I leave here. I feel like it's wisest to get back on the property ladder again after I've spent a few months saving more money at my parents. The idea of renting was fuelled by a fear of being lonely - but in reality, I know that I have friends and family close by - it's me who hasn't made the effort to see people for years now. I have been the cause for my loneliness, and my fears were caused by my own indifference towards socialising.

    One thing I've noticed repeatedly over the years is that I leave a good impression on people, and those who I'm closest to feel a real bond with me. I guess sometimes it pays to be different, if a little odd.

    When I spoke with Joe yesterday, he told me how he's never really had time for relationships. I found this interesting, and competely agreed with his beliefs that people often stagnate and don't progress with their own self development when they're in a relationship. I can trace a massive spike in my depression and anxiety as soon as I started dating. It seems strange how drawn towards relationships I was - how much I craved them, and believed they were necessary. Yet, there's real strength in being happy with yourself and being single. So much more time and potential to work on myself. Have my own place which is furnished and decorated how I want it. Live a life how I see fit.

    For the first time I feel content with being single and excited about the future. I'm also thinking my job might improve as our manager discussed with us on Friday how he's spoke with the director about us needing a 4th person on our team. This will be reviewed next week. One thing that's clear about this job is that a lot of people have worked there a long time. It's a safe job which has weathered the lockdowns.

    My plan was always to pay off my mortgage early. I could get it paid off entirely before I'm 45, possibly even before I was 40. Then I could focus on working part time and spending more time doing my art and photography. Whilst I'd love my art and photography to take off before then, I know that I'm playing the long game here. That's not to say I won't finally start attending some art and craft fairs in the future, because I want to - and I know that it'd do me the world of good to see new places, meet new people and hone my people skills.

    It's strange really, for someone who is so antisocial - I'm actually really good with people when the mood takes me. I can be outgoing, super polite and helpful. I've also noticed that when I put my mind to it, I'm very good at influencing people. So maybe I could do well with arts and craft fairs.

    I just have to manage my expectations. Whilst I can be outgoing and social - it is very draining. Similar to my experiences with alcohol, cannabis, coffee and sweets - I tend to be very all or nothing. With socialising I need to remind myself to try and strike a balance to ensure I'm not lonely, but also not perpetually drained.

    We did another storage container run yesterday. We have one more to do next weekend before the plasterer comes the week after. I still find it rather amusing how light I'm travelling compared to Kristy. I took a photo the other day in the container. With my 3 boxes on the right and all the rest of the stuff being Kristy's.



    About Author

    Ed, 34, UK

    I'm an underachiever with numerous talents. Exhausted by people and being stuck in the rat race. Unable to shake depression for nearly 2 decades.

    Approaching a year and a half sober. I've undertaken numerous lifestyle changes in recent years. I'd hoped they'd provide some solace from mental health issues. In reality, I know work is my main stressor. 16 years spent in jobs I've never considered careers, or worthy of my time.


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