Laura’s step was light as she walked across the narrow concrete streets of Central London towards her small studio flat in Marylebone. It felt like a relief to be free of the hierarchical hold of the academic environment. She had tried her best to be the researcher and lecturer that the system required, but, to her, it felt like they expected too high demands from people. After all, everyone was human. How were they supposed to teach and research and write and present their work in return for a minimal wage?
And then they were expected to be fighting for higher positions and for more authority within the Department, while the people who advanced on the ladder were the ones who sucked up to the Professors.
Laura took a little jump of delight as she walked past her beloved yoga studio. It was such a relief to be out of other people’s power grip, eve if she did have the title Doctor impeded on her for the rest of her life.
More so, now she was free to do what she wanted; free to make her own decisions and dive into something completely new. She found the thought both comforting and frightening. It was a great opportunity for something new, but in this bad economy, what could she do to make a living? She took a few quick steps and her slender frame went flying into the thin air. She let out a little laugh and noticed that the man walking ahead of her gave her a strange look.
He must think that I am a weirdo, Laura mused to herself.
As Laura opened the door to her tiny home, she felt that she needed to talk to her all-time best friend Annie in Taiwan. They had been housemates at university and formed a strong friendship that had lasted for over ten years. Now, at the age of thirty-one, Laura always spoke to Annie when she was not sure about something important in her life. She checked the time. Six in the evening. It would be early morning in Taiwan. Probably Annie would be getting ready to go to work. She could probably Skype for a few minutes before heading out, Laura thought.
Laura switched on her laptop and typed a message to Annie. ‘Are you free to talk? xx’
As she waited for Annie’s response, Laura sat down by the French windows and looked deeply at her Buddha statues arranged neatly around her bonsai tree. She closed her eyes and took three deep breaths. Laura knew that she had many skills and much to offer to others; it was just a matter of deciding what she wanted to focus on in her life.
Her Skype made a beeping sound. Annie was online.


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