Sunday, 9 December 2012

Writing and perspective and the big picture

I stumbled across this blog post on twitter earlier this evening and initially, it got me thinking again about why I write, why I blog.

Writing, for me, is a day job as well as a 'hobby'. At Uni, I discovered that I actually enjoyed writing my assignments and lab reports far more than I enjoyed the lab work. All those hours agonising over agar and southern blots were incredibly tedious for me and certainly did not evoke the excitement of DNA structural discoveries or genetic sequencing breakthroughs. I know that probably makes me sound rather shallow and marks me out as an instant gratification kind of gal, but what can I say? It's probably true.

I'm happy to agonise over a headline or a paragraph, but I swiftly discovered that sitting at a microscope for 8 hours a day is merely a struggle to stay awake. The hush of the microscope room, the warmth of hospital corridors, the dim lighting of poorly serviced labs, the soothing green glow the emanates up through the slide to provide contrast for tired eyes to pick out chromosomal abnormalities. These factors are not conducive to wakefulness. Not for me at least. But the thing about microscopes is, those black rubber eye pads leave tell-tale marks on the eyes of those foolish enough to fall asleep at one. Just FYI.

So, a life of scientific research was not for me. But what about a life writing about science? Perfect. So I ended up writing about the pharma industry before moving on to write about pharmaceutical products. I loved it. Still love it. But there are many things I cannot write about in my day job. Fair balance is required, along with a certain brand of honesty that some would claim to be little more than spin. Still, I've worked on some pretty cool drugs in my time (not actually, actively 'on' them, just figuratively of course). If I ever end up with RA, I know exactly which drug I'll badger my consultant to prescribe. Influenza? Give me a vaccination every time. Cancer? Depending on the time, I have my favourites. For pretty much everything else, cod liver oil seems to be the best best. Truly magical cure-all that stuff. Stock up. You heard it here first.

So anyway, feeling constricted by the rules and regulations of the pharma marketing industry and a little jaded by being told what to write every day, I turned to blogging.

Here, on my little blog, I can write what I like, when I like. Sometimes inspiration strikes on a daily basis (*cough* lies *cough*), sometimes inspiration strikes but slips through my fingers before I have a chance to capture it in a coherent blog post, sometimes inspiration forsakes me and I turn to reviewing the odd product I'm lucky enough to be sent for review.

But anyway, I digress. I like to write, so I write as and when I can. I consider myself incredibly lucky that I even get paid for writing, for something that (usually) comes so easily to me.

But then I read a bit more of this post, about gaining perspective. And I found my thoughts taking a different direction.

I wasn't thinking about ad copy any more. Not even about writing. I was thinking about our Great Escape.

If you've been paying attention this week on twitter (which I would never assume anyone has - there are far wittier and more intelligent people on twitter than I, believe me) you may have picked up that we've hit a bit of a blip. A legal nuisance. In short, a ball ache of a situation that will have our solicitor retiring to the Caribbean at our expense.

But you know what? It doesn't matter. It is what it is. Yes, it will mean thousands of pounds more in legal fees. No, we will not be able to exchange contracts before Christmas. Yes, it's a pain in the arse. But...

It can be fixed. It can be overcome. I will have to sacrifice a shiny new KitchenAid and a Smeg fridge and forget about taking a 3 month sabbatical. But, at the end of the day, these things are mere details.

What matters is that we still move to Scotland. We still get to spend more time with the boys and I get to see my mum for lunch every Saturday and pack the children off to their grandparents at a moments notice. The sun will still rise. The white sandy beaches will still only be 5 miles away. We will still have horizons of trees not skyscrapers.

These are the things that matter. These are the things we are fighting for. For childhoods protected. For sanity restored. For families and all the crazy shit that they bring with them.

The rest of the stress that comes with relocating 600 miles? Details. Procedures. Necessary. Slightly uncomfortable, often verging on the painful. A bit like a course of vaccination for hepatitis B. Not everyone needs it, not everyone knows about it. A gentle scratch for some, a nausea-inducing needle that seems 6 ft long and the source of all evil to others. But necessary all the same.

For a change, I'm in for the long haul here. Miss Instant Gratification has had to take a vacation.

Bring it on Mr Solicitor. Let's see if we can get you that villa in St Lucia shall we?

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