I’m just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round
I really love to watch them roll
No longer riding on the merry-go-round
I just had to let it go
In March 1969, at the peak of his success, John Lennon made an unusual career move.
He took to an Amsterdam hotel bed, along with his artist wife Yoko, and stayed there for a whole week. They did the same thing the following May in Montreal.
Months later, John left The Beatles – and spent the rest of what transpired to be his short life as a self-proclaimed ‘house husband’, raising his son, Sean.
Most of my generation can’t turn our phones off for fear of leaving someone in the lurch – and there were John and Yoko, calmly ‘watching the wheels go round and round’ while their respective careers drowned in a puddle of Paul McCartney’s tears.
A week ago, I left my stable, staff writer job in order to go freelance – and since then, I’ve been thinking a lot about John and Yoko’s bed-in. Is there anything wrong with just taking a step back; being comfortable to watch the world move on around you?
Theoretically, I should be relishing the chance for at least a week off; there’s no mortgage to pay yet, nor children to feed; it’s a privileged position and, after three hectic years in the journalism industry, a deserved one.
Except the reality is very different. As a restless millennial, here I am – one week in – clawing the walls, hustling to launch my freelance career with something groundbreaking, like a public interest piece on cats with alopecia (suffice to say, my outbox is looking a little strange at the moment).
If I’m completely #nofilter level of honest, I find it difficult to justify this new state of being. While my peers – other restless millennials – are off on their 57.1 minute commute, travelling to offices or public institutions, it’s likely I’m stalking the house in a wine-coloured dressing gown, like a poor man’s Hugh Hefner. Looking at the gaps in my weekday calendar where I haven’t booked shifts or assigned myself work, I feel panicked and unstable.
Ambitious as we all are, as young professionals we tend to value our self-worth with our paid employment, proudly rolling off our job titles at parties knowing it gives this or that impression to people. So when that’s gone – when your purpose, your workload and your salary is defined by, well, you – you’re immediately scrambling for ways to justify yourself. Which is hard to do, if you’re not resting on the laurels of co-founding The Beatles.
Or is it?
Life is short, a cliche which proved especially true for John. But, despite the breakneck speed of BBC News alerts, commuter tubes and Katie Price’s love life, there’s always time to take a week off. At least that’s what, in the tradition of my favourite Beatle, I’m trying to tell myself.