I have a joke in my stand up about how all my friends are these incredible award-winning ethical nightmares. Writing children's books from their mansions while raising money for refugees and learning the piano forte for lolz. I, on the other hand, woke up with a wotsit in my hair this morning. For I! I am an artiste, (which always sounds better than lazy person who can't conform.) I am the hopeful idiot still pursuing her 'career' in the arts while most of my friends sidelined their artistic endeavours to hobbies and went to work as consultants in consultanty sort of things. Of course, I am slightly exaggerating for comic effect, but there is a not too small grain of truth to the observations.
You see my generation was brought up to believe that your job should be something you enjoy, (that's not too crazy), something that pushes and challenges you (again this makes sense) and something that nourishes you both financially and spiritually (now there is the lie). You see I have never found that financial gain goes hand-in-hand with job satisfaction. I mean sure, this exists for the rare few who lurve being corporate lawyers or the odd millionaire rock star, but for the most of us it is life's great challenge. A job we love.... and not ending up living in a box, because the job we love is making boxes (artisan) and no one is buying them.
It is in your thirties where you start to feel the difference most keenly. As your consultanty friends have been busy being adults and acquiring possessions. You have been busy acquiring experiences, experiences such as being free in the day to look after the children of your other artist mates.
The other week I happily agreed to some baby sitting for a friend. A lovely lady comic actress. I had no idea that my friend a) perhaps used to be married to Pablo Escobar, b) that bit parts on Sherlock pay that well or c) she's just generally nailing life. She owns a gorgeous house, in London. A HOUSE and not in suburban death London, a whole fucking house- so well decorated that it instantly induces an existential crisis. It was the moment I understood why interior design is so important to women:
"You should have seen her wallpaper"
"Why was it gorgeous?"
"I had a full mental breakdown."
However, if it is not a chintz induced apoplexy, it's a well-attended cocktail party that can send me over the edge.
"Look how well everyone is doing", "look at how thin she is!", "what the fuck? those voice overs must be paying well", "I think those are Louboutins".
The thing is about a career in entertainment, there are only ever a few people at any one time who are riding high. Everyone else is just standing by the cheese board waiting for their turn.
I'll often find myself at showbizzy sort of party feeling like I am in a Richard Curtis film - the party is very white - except I'm definitely not in the lead part. I am more the eccentric friend, who will (If she's lucky) one day make good and marry the simpleton from the Vicar of Dibley.
And then I catch myself. Ok, sure I am not where I want to be financially with this career and my comedy credits could be quite a little better, but these are some pretty first world problems to have. I should be happy that I am friends with all the incredible, interesting and talented people who share their Richard Curtis homes with me. I do something I love. I have autonomy - I get up on Saturdays, I read in bed, maybe I go for a run (or I eat of bag of wotsits). The truth is I do what I want and I am very happy I am not a consultant. And anyway I'd rather be the eccentric friend, everyone loves the eccentric friend...and they get all the best lines.