In ways, I’m feeling more lost, uncertain and broke than I’ve ever felt in my life before. Even when I was in Unversity, or working in bars and restaurants, I ultimately had a place I had to go, work to do, and people to see daily.
Working for a company, effectively freelance due to limited contact via email with the big bosses, cuts out the security and even familiarity of a typical job. There’s a certain loneliness and vulnerability to it.
Through all the worries and anxieties, much to my surprise, these newly acknowledged feelings of vulnerability, fear, and uncertainty have sparked a feeling of almost unstoppable freedom.
I’m signing up to things I never would have bothered or needed to before. I’m constantly searching for jobs, connections and one time gigs to figure out a new path or maybe just some extra cash. Any tiredness I would have used to justify procrastination is gone now and I am awake with new alertness to everything.
Everything I read, google, attend, could be one step in the correct direction, and I have nothing to lose.
I’ve started attending a floor-barre class – something I hadn’t heard of until I signed up for it. To be frank, before the class, the word ‘barre’ to me only had one meaning (alcohol) and I had no idea what I was in for (It turned out to be a form of exercise that takes ballet training to the floor) and it is a lot harder than I imagined but regardless, it was fun.
I joined a Gaelic Football team, played for the first time probably ever – because I’m nearly certain in school I was always the sub – and haven’t returned since the first training left me with a swollen knee.
I’m going for drinks with a new friend at two in the afternoon after a yoga class, I’m staying up late to publish an opinion piece on a platform that could potentially earn me money but could also leave me feeling more unheard than before. I’m entering short story competitions, I’m joining groups on Facebook I wouldn’t have even thought to search for before.
Later this month I’m attending an event about email marketing, I bought a course on search engine operating systems, I’m attempting to hold Spanish conversations with receptionists, shop assistants, neighbours, when before I would have just jumped to my cop out of ‘Sorry I don’t speak much Spanish’. The other day I applied for a job in sports journalism (I have the most limited knowledge of sports of anyone I’ve ever known) and I laughably attached a mock Sports article I had written for an assignment before.
I never thought that I could feel so lost, unproductive and unsuccessful while simultaneously doing more and applying myself to more things that I would have been too embarrassed or unaware of to do so before.
I’m reading more than ever, fiction and non-fiction; I’m even reading self-help books for god’s sake and quickly realising that the stigma surrounding them is just an inherited stereotype and shouldn’t be something to shy away from or hide. I genuinely think the word ‘self-help’ should be seen positively, as self-reflection and self-betterment.
There are good days and bad but mostly good or at the very least, productive. For a while, I began to think that moving city and changing job wasn’t as liberating as it looked in the movies (childish reference, I’m aware) but now I realise that it’s just more subtle than I previously imagined.
I didn’t experience the classical trope of struggling at work and then turning out to be the underdog by doing some eye-catching project, getting a pat on the back from the
boss, or having a horrible boss but then extinguishing their coldness with my impressive talent (read: The Devil Wears Prada/ Set it Up/ Legally Blonde i.e. most romantic comedies).
In fact, it was the complete opposite, because work just got worse and worse. It started off exciting, challenging and successful but quickly reality seeped in and it turned sour. But that so-called failure or reality check has brought out traits in myself that I never would have found had I stayed in that easy job I had in Edinburgh.
Leaving your comfort zone doesn’t necessarily get easier, as is falsely represented in movies. It gets more difficult, probably because of fraudulent expectations of time fixing all of life’s problems naturally. As the saying goes; ‘Time heals all wounds’ but not necessarily.
Waiting, in reality, has an undesirable effect. What should be done in times of uncertainty and failure, is movements toward growth, change, and adaption, instead of waiting for your old self to catch up with your current surroundings.
Every time that I have resisted the urge to give up and go backward has shaped me in a way, a result or trait I may not see any time soon but I know will emerge usefully in the future when it’s needed.
It could be argued that this problem stems from modern society, that we are all undeniably guilty of destination happiness. When I have more money, I’ll be happy. When I go on holidays or to that event, I’ll be happy. When I move to a new country, I’ll be happy. Always waiting for the destination, and not enjoying the ride.
But we need to fight against this destination happiness, and remember that a year ago, maybe two, or maybe more, all we wanted was what we have now. And now that we have it, we might be greedy, selfish, unsatisfied and wanting more.
Every day and every action is part of the puzzle, but we must make sure that the whole puzzle isn’t completed before it’s too late, that when all the pieces fit together, we’ve enjoyed the process, because that’s the best part.