Thanks Allison; I had no idea that the questions 'who am I?' and 'what am I doing with my life?' would be so difficult to answer.
My name is Tom, I'm 25 and live on the outskirts of London. I am the Brit. I enjoy reading, walks on the beach and drinking too much. Ten months ago I started a blog as a place to record the thoughts I have that would make my friends and colleagues think I was a complete oddball if spoken aloud (at the moment, they think I'm only part oddball, which I can live with). Over the course of the following months I discovered a host of other blogs and the weird and wonderful writers behind them. I'm an incredibly nosey person, so having the opportunity to read what is in many cases an online diary was like catnip to me. But it became more than that; I read blogs from all over the world and soon found myself following the trials and tribulations of 20-somethings in New York, Manila and Kolkata, as well as the highs-and-lows of post-grads in Norway, Canada and South Africa. Some were funny, some thought-provoking, some shocking. All were interesting, different, unique.
And then came autumn, bringing with it a wailing and a gnashing of teeth. Bloggers everywhere succumbed to bad moods, intense nostalgia and identity crises, as if a huge raincloud was hovering menacingly over the Blogosphere, refusing to move away. It was then that the TSG was born, as Allison has already described, as a defence against 20-something angst, the lure of Radiohead and the feeling that everyone else is moving faster than you.
And that brings me to what I'm doing with my life. By day I work in International Sales for a children's book publisher. It's not quite as dull as it sounds, but after 2 years I'm beginning to wonder whether I'm actually going anywhere. Have I become complacent? Will I sit at this desk for the rest of my working life? Of course, I realise that I'm lucky to be employed - if the recession has done anything it's woken me up to the fact that I have been lucky. But I moan nonetheless. I moan because when I was growing up, I expected to have my own home and high-flying, high-paying career by the time I was 25. Maybe even a personal trainer so that I could fight the effects of the wonderful food and fine wine I'd gorge myself on at expensive restaurants every night of the week. I expected, in brief, far too much. Instead I'm still at home, feeling like an eternal teenager, struggling at the bottom of the career ladder and budgeting down to the last penny to make sure that I can actually, once in a blue moon, afford to go out with my friends. Even if the hangovers are getting worse.
So this is what I need the TASG for. To stop me being such a miserable sod and to remind me that though life can be a struggle, it can, and should, also be a laugh. That there's a blue sky behind the rain clouds and a lot to be grateful for. So Allison, Lauren and anyone who reads, comments or follows this blog, prepare yourselves for a tough job. In return, I'll try to limit my grumpiness and lend a transatlantic shoulder to cry on, some helpful advise or an ear to listen, whenever necessary. It will be like the kids in Captain Planet, you know - the ones with the rings. Together, we are more powerful. I hope someone knows what I'm talking about.
Lauren; this is Major Tom to Ground Control. Over to you. Over and out.