I am rarely in it for the long haul.
I’ve been employed by 12 workplaces yet I’ve only resigned from 3*.
I knew my long-term relationship was going to end well before it actually did.
I’ve fostered amazing friendships that I knew would not realistically last past a certain date for reasons x, y or z.
Why? Because who cares if it’s not forever; I’m not going to base my life off the ifs of the future. If I can see the present value of it, I will give it my all.. And when the time comes for that final goodbye, I’ll walk away with a smile on my face knowing that I’ve gained experiences I would have regretted passing up on.
*Just for clarity’s sake, this is because I was on fixed-term contracts and not because I got sacked.
I’m currently employed on a 6-month fixed term contract and I love it. Contrary to popular belief, I actually work really hard. Not because I’m scared they will sack me, but because I want to. I’ve only got half a year to take away as much as I possibly can from this role. So of course, I’m going to use my time as effectively as I can. When I started I forced myself to pick things up faster than I usually would have. I’m now two months in and I already feel like part of the furniture. I’ve even somehow managed to make friends who I would gladly hang out with outside of the office which is pretty damn cool.
When I’m conscious of a fast approaching end date I give it my all from the morning of Day 1 all the way until the afternoon of my final day (after which I will proceed to crack open a beer and try to convince whoever is left in the office to send me off in style). So yes, I do jump from role to role; but I always set the expectation from the start. Bar one, every employer I’ve had has known very well that I’m not after a long term commitment. No matter how badly I want a role, I will never accept an offer unless it’s going to be mutually beneficial for both parties.
The same goes for partners and friendships. The main killer for me is distance. I love travelling and my love for travelling has left me with a trail of could-have-been-awesome-friendships-and/or-partners. Moreso friendships than partners but you get the point.
Last July I was sitting alone on a sofa in a hostel in Lyon. There were an abundance of people that I could have made the effort to socialise with but I chose to stick to myself. I just wasn’t in the mood to roll out my script: When did you arrive? Did you go and see the Basillica today? How long have you been travelling for? Where are you heading to next? Etc. The list of scripted hostel icebreakers goes on and on and on.
And then a young (and rather good looking) Belgian chap sat next to me and sparked up a conversation with me in French. I felt really silly as I sat there umming and ahhing before he asked ‘Anglais?’. Lucky for me, his English was much better than my French. After about an hour of chatting, our conversation grew to encompass two other solo travellers. Eventually the clock hit 7 and we went out for a quick bite to eat. For anyone that’s been in a similar situation, you probably know the drill. A quick bite to eat almost always somehow turns into a quick stop by the bottle-o and before you know it, you’re watching the sunset by the river with the cheapest yet highest alcohol percentage bottle of wine you could find.
After a drink or two, we chuckled at the the situation before us. We had all shared really personal details of our lives to essentially strangers. It was at this point that one of the girls said something that I don’t think I will ever forget; “It’s funny because we’re having such a good time now and I honestly do get along with you all.. But I’m well aware that after tonight I’ll probably never see you guys again. After a month or so I doubt we’d remember this night. Heck, you probably don’t even remember my name right now. But that’s the beauty of it isn’t it? To be constantly living in the moment. To know how to just enjoy the present for what it is.”
She was right about me not remembering her name. But she was wrong about me forgetting that night and in particular, that conversation.
Only a few weeks later I returned home and for various reasons, pretty much set an end date on my relationship at the time. It was difficult to do but we promised each other that we wouldn’t let an end date ruin our remaining time together and for the most part it worked for us.
So my question is, why are expiration dates so bad? So what if my lease and employment contract are both due to end in 4 months. So what if I’m friends with people who will eventually relocate permanently for jobs/family/lovers. So what if I date someone just for fun; and that’s the key word, isn’t it? Fun. As long as there’s a mutual understanding, why not make the most of situations, have some fun and just enjoy the present for what it is.