I hear a lot of people telling their tiny humans to “say thank you to the bus driver!” and they normally do. Whether it’s a quick thanks, a shy thanks or a bold, almost shouting thanks I always appreciate it.
We could all say thank you more.
Here are my current thank yous:
- Thank you to everyone who has stood by me recently. Notable thanks to close friends (that drunkenly ring me to tell me they love me), my mum, a couple of colleagues and my therapist.
- Thank you to every single person who works in any emergency service. Paramedics. PCSOs. Fire fighters. Coast guards. Mountain rescuers. Police officers. Don’t listen to what “The Sun” says. Have your cup of coffee in a public place; you deserve it. Every single day you leave your house not knowing what the day will bring or whether you’ll even return home.
- Thank you to doctors and nurses and physiotherapists and porters and cleaners and receptionists in hospitals all over the world. The world simply would not exist without you.
- Thank you to my goddaughter who reminds me that happiness can be found at the top deck of a bus or at the bottom of a tub of poster paint.
- Thank you to the musicians who have managed to say all the things I can’t say and better.
- Thank you to my favourite poet who has changed my life beyond comprehension.
Say thank you more.
“Does that frighten you?”, my therapist asked me in our reflective time at the end of our session.
“Yes.”, I replied; without even contemplating it.
“Good. It should.”, was her response.
Fear drives us forward.
Today, I’m driving and I’ll be full of fear. I’m doing a rail replacement bus service in London and I’m terrified. I was talking to a colleague about it and he said “You get a buzz; the unknown roads, knowing you might get lost. It’ll spur you on!”. There was a hunger in his eyes.
There are only flashing danger signs in mine.
For me, fear is very social based. Fear of rejection. Fear of not being good enough. Fear that someone will realise that I’m 23 and basically just winging it.
You can’t wing London.
“I’m done with humanity!”, I say at least twice a week.
“America is screwed!”, “This whole world is going to pot!”
I could go on.
Humanity is a fuck up.
Humanity is also:
- A woman seeing a blind man’s shoelaces undone and stopping him to do them up.
- A man getting off a stop early, in the pouring rain, and giving up his seat for a woman with a pushchair.
- A little kid wishing me a “good day driver”.
People call the seats at the front of the bus “the best seats”. But recently someone said that my seat is the best seat and I can’t argue with that.
From my privileged seat, I see humanity in its rawest form and I wouldn’t change that for anything.
I thought that, at 23, I’d be married to my teenage crush and that we’d be living in our own house with little versions of us running about causing havoc.
In reality, at 23, I’m drunk texting my teenage crush at 3am to tell her that I love her. We’re friends, it’s fine, she obviously thinks it’s platonic…
I was wrong about adult life. I had visions of me effortlessly drifting through it, ticking off adult goals on the daily.
Adult life is me eating a “funsize” bag of popcorn for breakfast in the car on the way to see my therapist.
Adult life is me updating my union membership to premium even though I don’t know what it includes and it costs £10 more a month.
Adult life is me trying to find songs I like for my goddaughter to dance to that don’t involve words like “fuck”, “pussy” and “bitch”.
Adult life is painting pottery on my day off when I’m hungover and trying not to vomit up 5 pints of cider.
Adult life is getting excited when my Tesco vouchers come through and then spending them on Pokémon cards. Pokémon cards for me. That I collect. At 23.
Is this what life is like at 30? Does Christmas ever become dull? Will I spend my pension money on cat toys for the cats that they don’t even play with?
Is anyone actually an adult?
From the outside I think I seem fairly mature and like I’ve got my shit together. I have a responsible job and people trust me with their children. Underneath that am I just an 8 year old who wants to nap, eat pizza and play in the snow? Yes. I’m not an adult. I’m a fraud.
One delightful way I experience depression is by feeling useless. I feel devoid of all emotion and worth and think that people would be happier without me. Of course, I know that these things aren’t true but unfortunately my stubborn brain refuses to listen.
Today, I am returning to work after four months off. I’m nervous, intrigued and extremely excited.
I have no delusions of grandeur; I am well aware that I am a bus driver. I know I’m not a doctor or a police officer or a charity worker (isn’t it interesting what jobs we perceive as worthy?) but people do depend on me.
For the past four months I have been receiving my full wage under the company’s sick pay agreement. Whilst this money has been important to my lifestyle and survival it has felt like dirty money. I’ve felt guilty seeing my wages on my bank statements. It hasn’t felt right to be paid for a job that I’m not doing.
Now that I’m finally returning to said job I know I will feel like a weight has been lifted. I will, even for a small portion of my day, be feeling useful and worthy and needed. Long may that continue.
Being a bus driver is challenging; mentally. I am constantly trying to guess what other vehicles will do and work out why people love to cross in front of my bus. (Please don’t cross in front of a bus, it’s just not a good idea!)
Physically, however, my job is not very demanding. I get myself into a nice comfy position, adjust the chair and the mirrors and that’s where I’ll stay for up to four hours at a time. Bliss.
Aside from the obvious reasons, traffic jams annoy me because they give me a chance to think. Sometimes that can be helpful and I must admit that many a blog post has started life being a furiously scribbled down jumble of words whilst I’m sat staring into the car in front of me. Other times I will use them to have a quick drink, sort some of my coins out or adjust my hair (I am less vain than I sound).
Unfortunately, I normally sit in traffic jams thinking. Thinking about her and her and him and why I’m thinking about her and him. And then I start thinking about me.
I find myself musing over what I’ve done and not done and achieved and not achieved. It’s a dangerous thing to do when you’ve made a lot of mistakes and don’t want 80 members of the public to see you cry. (Yes, I still cry a lot. In fact, since my goddaughter was born I’ve cried so much I don’t think I could put a number on how many times. She makes me cry for good reasons though – like the first time she said my name or told me she loved me. So precious! Anyway…)
Self reflection is necessary, even I can see that, but isn’t always pleasant. I like to do my self reflection in the little space of time I have between waking up from a dream and getting out of bed. Sometimes that equates to about thirty seconds or, on days like today, it was more like thirty minutes.
I am my own worst enemy as I have admitted before and so self reflection is just another opportunity to beat myself up about things. I am very self deprecating. I know that I can learn an awful lot from what I’ve done in the past but outwardly cringing at myself on the bus is not a good look.
Traffic jams suck.