It's the question that dogged me the last few years. What are you doing? Still at the cinema? What are your plans? Tell me your future. Tell me you're doing something. The part of me that wanted this progress and momentum was equally, or perhaps unequally, counterbalanced by fear of that step.
After 2013 was a year of health worries and anxiety, I wanted 2014 to be a year of actualisation. Of making real things that I could look back on and feel proud of. I wrote short films that got made. (And short films that didn't.) I was paid to write a feature film. (It probably won't get made either.) I started a podcast. I wrote music. And yet in the background, the bigger question still lingered. What next?
And now I'm a professional TV writer that lives in New Zealand. I live here. In a different country. As a full-time writer on a TV show. Overseas. It's my job. In fact, I've almost been here a month, coming up on four weeks this Tuesday. I've worked three full-time weeks at a production company making television. In not-Australia. Apparently, that's what was next.
Much of what I do here is framed implicitly with reference to my old life - and how could it not be? It doesn't feel like a holiday here, but it kind of does. It doesn't feel like home yet, but it kind of does. I feel constricted here, and yet kind of free. No car, no TV, and long workdays limit my preferred modes of relaxation. It feels like a holding pattern, like I'm waiting for something to click into place, but I can't work out exactly what it is yet. Maybe that's an expression of homesickness. I haven't been hit hard by it yet, though I'm sure it will happen eventually. It's a buzzing background noise of moments missed.
I've been making the effort to meet people, to be proactive in forming new connections. The work crew are all lovely, and I've been out to dinner, drinks and show with different factions a few times now. That helps. The housemates are also great - easy to live around, welcoming, sharing. Nice to hang out with. I've been walking the neighbourhood a bit; with the desk job and no Voot, I've been feeling itchy for activity. I don't mind catching the bus for that reason - a bit of time to unwind and stretch the legs at the top and tail of the day. It will be interested to see whether I feel compelled to write for my own pleasure at the ends of these days, or what form my creative passions take instead.
My expression in the last year or two, my output through stories and songs, seems like it was born from a search for progression. The fear of stagnation. Trying to trigger growth through sheer willpower. Freeing yourself from your own self-imposed limitations and stepping forward. Finding change. Potentiator; violent but effective. Have I now vanquished that? Am I scaling a mountain of self-improvement, or deflecting threats against the integrity of my unchanging self? And what comes next? What new challenge, what new impedance will call attention to itself and worm its way into my words and conscience until I can't bear to overlook it any more? A new mountain, in the hazy distance.
But hey, that's progress.