And another thing…

I forgot I had this blog.

80% of the time being an adult is pretty tricky. There was a time, pre-Canada, that things had little effect on me. I never over thought things, I just did them. Jobs were easier. There wasn’t as many rules and lists and probation. I started a job and did it. I was quickly thought of as reliable, and a good worker.

Then I experienced micromanagement for the first time. After quitting that job, I started a new one, only to get fired after two weeks because I, according to them, ‘couldn’t cut it.’ I subsequently landed a job as a box office manager at a comedy club. I worked unsociable hours and spent most of my time alone. I hated it.

Then I came home.

Except home hadn’t changed, I had. Sure, friends had settled down. That is expected of our age group. I needed to recharge my batteries anyway, so at first, it didn’t bother me. Then it became a challenge. People were not as available as they once were. I had gone from living a busy ex-pat life to one that came to a screeching halt. And little has changed.

It’s been over a year since I’ve returned. I fight a constant battle to keep myself occupied with an array of hobbies and interests. Since returning I’m on my second job , which on the surface is fun, however, a task as trivial as slicing lemons becomes ‘this isn’t how we slice lemons.’ I despair. It doesn’t matter. None of it does.

The people I work with are younger than me. Most of them are students. For most, this is probably their first job. They have certain degrees of responsibility. I call it the ‘McDonald’s Effect’ (based on the corporation’s penchant for awarding stars to give the illusion of responsibility, instead of a pay rise.) Give minimum wage workers a set of keys or a title, and they have power. Not a pay rise. Power.

At least they think they do.

When I had that false sense of power, I felt like I was making a difference and my ideas were important. When I entered more corporate office work, none of that mattered. I was at the bottom of the pile, my ideas didn’t matter. I went from having control to having none at all. It was a tough wake-up call.

Now, ten years on, I see it for what it is. None of it matters.

Just like the lemons.

 

 

 

 

A Shift In Thought

Back when I started this blog I wrote about how I should start living my life on purpose. Should being the operative word there. Why should I try and live my life that way, hammering out lists of things I should be doing to feel like my life has purpose?

I often think back to a certain time in my life where I was flourishing and progressing. I was doing a lot of things at the time: writing my dissertation, revising for exams, working two jobs, running my successful food blog and keep myself open to everything. When university ended I was suddenly left with a lot more free time. I started to get slightly depressed because I started to put pressure on myself and what I should be doing right at that moment in time, a pattern that followed me when I moved abroad.

Since returning to the UK and dealing with the anxiety issues I had, that train of thought came rushing by again, and I started to wind myself up with searching for a job. However, I felt indifferent and unmotivated. I didn’t want to do anything. I needed to rest my mind and slowly decide what to do next. And you know what? It worked.

Last year I started to think about Belfast and about doing a master’s degree. It was that kind of calling I had when I wanted to move to Canada, to get a degree in Event Management and to start a food blog. The key factor in all those things is I didn’t write it down on a bucket list or plan in advance that I would do them at x age. They all happened when they happened and I never planned the way they would go. I felt that Belfast was my next calling, so I applied to do a master’s at Queen’s University. I was accepted 24 hours later.

After that I dived back in to finding a job for the summer. Nothing seemed to be working out for me, and I felt no desire to work at any of the places I was interviewed at. That was a feeling that I hadn’t had before. Then, sadly, I lost my grandmother and was granted the rest of an inheritance that will allow me to fund my move to Belfast and pay for my master’s. Funny how things work out.

In the early days of my time in Canada I was open, ready and eager. Then I started to think about what I should be doing, where I should be working, who I should be dating and then I stood among the chaos when it all unfolded spectacularly. The fear returned and I lost control. But I wasn’t supposed to have control in the first place. It happened as it happened. I tried to control things and didn’t follow my heart.

With the recent events I have encountered at home, it has struck me that this  was going to happen and that I never needed to worry. I was always going to move to Belfast. I was always going to do a mater’s. Maybe I was so indifferent to work for the first time in my life was because it isn’t supposed to be a focus right now.

All I needed was the space to figure this out:

“Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart.”

I think that sums it up.

I’m Working On It

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The endlessly beautiful Rocky Mountains

I don’t know if it’s the fresh spring air but…..I really missed blogging. Like blogging on my old blog type blogging. That tiny seed of an idea that suddenly pops into your head and you can’t do anything until you make it grow. THAT. After some sage counsel it was brought to my attention that I was pushing away some of the things I love and enjoy. Blogging was something that I pushed aside big time during my move, and I always felt that something was missing. It was the outlet of being creative. Designing and planning content. Wow. I missed it all so much.

Initially I was going to just blog on here with a ‘no frills’ approach. But now I realise that blogging was something I was really good at and loved to do. I don’t think I ever really fell out of love with it. There are so many endless possibilities that can come from blogging. From the success of my last blog I felt that it became part of my identity in some way. People would be interested and talk to me about it.

In a previous post I had talked about writing a book. Well I am still attempting that, but the more I write that the more I want to keep writing here.

So why not write both?

 

Anxiety

My anxiety is a horrible thing. It sits there in my head controlling everything. Sometimes I feel like I want to burst I am so full of inspiration and ideas. Other days I cry. I cry a lot. I cry because I wondered what I did to deserve this. I wonder how long it will take to feel like myself again. So I reached out for help.

The NHS is a wonderful thing. But not when it comes to mental health. A huge reason why I left Canada was because I was so beset by setbacks, anxiety and zero self esteem that I knew I was starting to lose it. I came back to seek out help, hoping that the comfort of familiarity would ease my troubles. I attended an appointment with my GP, told him what I had been feeling and he asked me to do a test. I already knew I had Generalised Anxiety Disorder, I’d figured that out with a few simple Google searches. The tests concluded that I do have GAD and, maybe something I wasn’t as willing to admit – physcological trauma.

That was back in January and I am still waiting on my referral. Settling back in has been a challenge in its’ own way. Friends are all married, engaged and buying houses. Single friends breeze through Tinder like their lives depended on it. Not feeling ready to date (see: physcological trauma) and not already coupled up, I fall somewhere in the middle and that is a lonely place to be. I’ve also found it really difficult to settle back into work. I knew I needed to take a break, but then I start to feel better and take on a temporary role. Then I freak out that I’ll be stuck doing that job for the foreseeable future. Even the thought of two months is panic inducing enough. I did end up calling my doctors after waiting the four week I was told to wait, only to find that they had given incorrect details to the counselling service which meant I never received information for my referral. After a few teary phone calls they promised I would have something by next week. I hope that’s the case.

I am not one to freely admit I need help, so this was a huge thing for me to do. So to be sent away to ‘change my diet and do more exercise’ while I waited for someone to help me was not the result I expected. There is only so many podcasts, books and websites I can use to help. I can’t do this alone, that’s why I reached out for help. Not having regular social interaction has also impacted me massively. I am a social person, and my time spent in Canada was always filled with friends and adventures. Now, being back home, I am lucky if I even get a reply to a text. Lives go on. I don’t in there any more.

It may sound like a whine. Whatever. It’s my struggle. And it IS real.

 

 

Following A Fear

The more and more I write this blog the more I find myself furiously typing away at my laptop, mining my life for ideas and attempting to cut the count down to 500 words. I find that there is a lot more that I want to say and that posting it all here might not be the best platform. I want to write something separate from this blog, as it was supposed to be a way for me to explore what I am passionate about. So I’m putting this out there right now: I’m going to write a book. I’ve written and published ebooks before and ran a successful blog, so I am pretty confident I can do this. I want to do this. I am afraid of it. But this is has been calling me for a long time. And guess what? I was afraid to do it. Not anymore 🙂 .

The Other Side (NOT a post about death)

Remember the story arc in the second half of Louie season three? You know, he gets approached by CBS to potentially take over The Late Show with David Letterman. Louie ponders over the position and constantly doubts his capabilities to do the job. He seeks assurance from his ex-wife, or so we think, only for her to confront him on his biggest fear: that he isn’t good enough. She reminds him that he’s put twenty years into his comedy career and that it was all leading to this. He is still hesitant (as Louie often is) to really connect to the idea that he might be the right person for the job. He wanted his ex-wife to bail him out. Tell him he has bigger responsibilities as a father and he shouldn’t do it.

I can relate to this.

Well not the father/parent part. But the part about talking yourself out of something because you don’t feel good enough. Once Louie accepts he can do this, that he has as good a chance as anyone, does he really start to throw himself into the idea of it. He starts to work out, hone his material, he takes lessons in hosting a late night show, he starts to live the idea that this could be THE job. This could be it.

And then he doesn’t get the job.

I think we can all relate to those times where we are doubtful that we will ever succeed. That this isn’t an opportunity for us, that it was meant for someone else. We feel like an imposter the whole time. We think we’ll get found out. I feel like that right now. I’m finally sitting down and deciding what I want to do with my life right now. It is a constant battle. Do I feel like everything I’ve worked at has led me to anywhere? Not really. Being an anxious person and a questioner by nature. I throw myself into the idea of one thing and hoping I get given a chance. I think of every possible outcome, good and bad, that could arise and prepare myself for the worst. Always the worst. I’m drawn to people who tell stories of when they had to overcome something, work their way through something, to come out the other side and feel validated.

I’m still waiting for that other side.

When Louie doesn’t get the job he is relieved. He knew he could do it. He knew he had what it takes and he isn’t broken by it. He was ready to let that whole idea go. He let go and felt free again. He saw that there wasn’t THE definitive job and his life would go on and other good things will come to him in time. This was his other side.

I recently applied for several jobs that I am so sure that I would be great at. I see the potential in them and the potential in me that would finally help me to get on track with a cohesive path in my life. But it isn’t up to me. I do my end of it. I submit the requirements needed. I go to the recruitment weekends. I network, get stuck in with tasks, project confidence and capability in the interview and show an engagement in the company and what we can offer each other.

I fantasise about the person I could be. The life I could have. I start to think that THIS is the THE job.  That this is the only path and no other will come to me. This is the only opportunity. Others are successful and I am still waiting. I gave it everything.

This could be my other side.

 

 

 

Old Passion: Blogging

In the search to find out the things that could help me discover my passion, I turned to something I used to be passionate about: blogging.

I used to run a pretty successful food blog. The thing is that I hated being labelled a ‘food blogger’. The blog felt like so much more than that. It felt like an extension of my creative side. A side I had only just discovered. I worked really hard on that blog. I felt like that was my real job. I did all the design, photography, writing, editing and social media for it. I was out interviewing local businesses and invoicing magazines who requested my photography. I worked on it during the days and went to my bar job at night. By the time I was getting ready to leave for Canada I was working with high profile brands such as John Lewis, Tesco, Marks & Spencer to name a few.

And then I stopped.

I thought that if I put in as much work as I did at home as I did in Canada, the blog would be as popular. But that wasn’t how it worked out. Canada ain’t cheap. Rents are crippling if you want to live anywhere remotely connected. Life there in general is expensive. Even deodorant. So I had to get a 9-5. I had a new life to pay for and new friends to spend time with. Something had to give.

There were times where I wanted to pack it all in and head off with my camera and laptop. I missed that creative connection I had to something. I tried and failed to think of ideas that I could work on. As series of pretty harsh setbacks halted that altogether. But lost in a confusing haze of anxiety and listlessness, I never once asked myself ‘is this who I really am?’ Why did I give up what I enjoyed to do something just to make money and survive. Why didn’t I manage my time better to be able to do both? These are questions I now know the answer to: I can do it. I just have to want it badly enough.

This blog won’t be like the other one. I put a lot of pressure on myself to make it successful. What I did learn is that I enjoyed many aspects of being creative; meeting like-minded people who inspire me, discovering new things and taking pictures. I wish I wrote on their more instead of letting the pictures doing the talking. So this blog is the counterpart to that.

This is just the beginning.

Day 3