Many people use the new year as a time for reflection and taking mental stock. I use long bus journeys.
This bus journey in particular was heading towards a job interview, unexpected, but very welcome, as a result of the phone call the other week.
It is almost exactly a year since I finished (what will hopefully be) my last stint in a temp job, called up a friend and met for burgers and pints; a joint celebration/commiseration while waiting for the future to begin. Since the job market was shoddy and it looked unlikely I'd find another temp job soon, and I was already almost over-stretching in trying to balance my work/uni/life commitments, the rest of the year looked open and empty ahead of me. I had been worried about how Uni was going, about how I would find more work, worried about money and paying the rent and the council tax and the bills, worried about where I would be headed afterwards and how I was going to get a career started, I was worried about my social life and the effect that working so hard had had on my relationships with people. I was still kind of getting over a bout of flu that I'd suffered from a couple of weeks before, feeling exhausted because my body hadn't quite recovered and because the weather was dark and sharp in the cold, lingering grip of Scottish winter.
The future began the next day when I met some of my Uni friends for nachos and I met the person who was to change the course of the year and the course of my life. In the past year I have gained my degree, had language classes, gone backpacking, had an absolute blast working in the deli, gone abroad and gotten engaged. It is far beyond what I could have comprehended a simple year ago.
My partner and I often tell each other that we balance each other out. We are individuals, unique and different and sometimes polar opposites. But we are also a team, working together and pulling the best out of each other, giving each other a kick up when one of us is down. We are each other's harshest critics and each other's biggest champions. We are stronger together.
This is a new experience for me, something I have had to learn over the past year. I am still getting used to constantly thinking of someone else in everything that I consider, in every action I take. I'm still getting used to compromising and discussing and deciding as two people, not just one.
As I stepped off the bus and headed towards the office, I barely gave a thought to pepping myself up for the interview. If it didn't work out, it didn't matter. If that's one thing the past year has taught me, it's that I can pick myself up and start again.
With that in mind I talked myself through the 90 minute interview (mostly) confidently, answered (almost) every question eloquently and drew competency examples from my whole career. Afterwards, I bid good-day to my interviewers and got a bus to work, and that's when I started to panic about my performance.
Until a few hours passed, and I received the phone call, and I received the job offer.
Needless to say, my partner is also ecstatic for me. It's a win for the team, after all!
Unfortunately my partner did not receive the same kind of news from a job application he'd been waiting on, and that news absolutely broke my heart. I would rather that he had had the good news, over and above myself. I wanted to make it right, to balance the see-saw, even push it to his favour.
So it's been a bittersweet week for our team, a strange combination of jubilation, heartbreak, and determination.
But we're riding it together, and when you balance it out, we're doing alright.