My life sucks: I have no job, no real income, and I am unable to make any solid plans for doing anything. I am always stressed about money and can’t do a lot of the things I’d like to do. I have no ability to get new things.
My life rules: I don’t have to pay rent, and so am able to subsist on my current savings, without depleting them too far. I get money from the taxpayer just for looking for work, and I am able to do things now and again, using my ‘let me not go crazy’ stash of money. I won’t starve, and I won’t freeze. I have everything I need.
My life sucks: My career has been tainted by a previous role, even though I was trying my hardest to do the right thing, and I am struggling to move forward. On top of that I have to appear as a witness at trials, and it’s never clear when that will be, but it is stressful and takes up my time.
My life rules: My CV is good, I have had a security-cleared job since the aforementioned one, and when I do find work the pay will likely be good. I have helped the police bring people to justice and behaved honourably.
My life sucks: I live in an isolated area, far from my friends, many of whom have left the UK anyway. It takes hours to get to and from the city, where all the action is. The area where I live is quiet and boring, and I have the same conversations over and over.
My life rules: I still have a lot of good friends here, who take the time to make plans with me. I am still able to get into town for drinks, writing group, and other events. I was able to get a bike, which makes travel a lot easier. The area where I live is safe, and I am able to spend time with my Nan.
My life sucks: I have no girl, and there seems little chance of that changing any time soon. The girls where I live are all either in college or married, and the social scene is non-existent, unless you count nights down the pub. Opportunities to meet someone are few, and it’s not impressive to say I’m unemployed and live with my grandmother.
My life rules: Opportunities sometimes have to be made. I am able to go to events and go out with friends from time to time. Despite my living situation, things won’t be this way forever. The city is filled with talented, beautiful, intelligent women, and some of them even think I’m cute.
My life sucks: I’m stuck in a rut. I have achieved very little, and compared to people I know, my life is pretty much a failure. I am not married, nor do I have a house or a stable career. I seem to be caught in a cycle of progress and stagnation.
My life rules: I must examine my life on my own terms, instead of those used by others. I have been the victim of circumstance, but how I respond to it is entirely my choice. I have the means to make things better for myself, and every day I am working hard to do so. I must maintain a belief in the future.
My life sucks: my day-to-day life is boring. I have a routine, which involves exercise, job searching, writing, housework and maintenance. I struggle to find glamour in the ordinary.
My life rules: I am disciplined enough to work every day, exercise every day, write or edit every day. I have been able to complete stories. If I were working, I’d still be stung by the grind of routine, but it can bring stability and purpose. I have access to the internet and free entertainment.
My life sucks: Consistent rejection has the power to diminish my sense of self-worth, in the areas of job applications (~300 applied for), online dating, stories and books submitted to agents and publishers.
My life rules: Consistent striving builds character. Nothing in life worth having comes easy. I am putting in the effort, so I will not die wondering. Odds are, sooner or later, something’s got to give.
My life sucks: I am frustrated, restless, my mood is often agitated or unhappy. I feel as if I am in a situation I do not deserve. I struggle to avoid feelings of isolation, loneliness, and despair.
My life rules: I am (pretty much) healthy. I have the intellectual and emotional intelligence to understand that the situation will change, and to understand that the world doesn’t owe me anything. I have a good network of friends and family who I can turn to for assistance.
‘Better than a dog anyhow.’