This time last year, I was feeling overworked, overwhelmed, and a bit like I was underachieving. I was constantly worried about needing to do better, but afraid at the same time that I couldn’t. It was also around this time (but confirmed in August) that I was beginning to realise something I thought I’d had my heart set on for nigh on four years would no longer be an opportunity for me. A fair amount of the pressure I was under was pressure I’d put on myself, but a large part was external too.
I look back at last year, and I’m struck by one thing in particular: my outlook is completely different. This is down to a whole array of things – I’ve left behind people and activities that were weighing me down, I’ve had time to grow some lost self-confidence, had a little bit of work experience, found other goals to pour my efforts into, and spent some time looking out for myself instead of doing what I thought others expected of me.
The last twelve months I’m sure have brought their fair share of ups and downs for everyone out there, because I don’t believe for a minute in the idea of a perfect life. I think it doesn’t matter who you are, we all end up facing our own obstacles and pressures, even when we find ourselves doing something we always imagined we would. That’s surely one reason we tell stories to each other, gossip, watch TV, and read books. Because they reassure us that everyone has things they have to overcome, because they let us escape into someone else’s problems for a while instead of our own.
As hard as it can be to stay patient, given time, things start to turn around. When everything starts going downhill, and you can see clearly something may be headed to shit, it is the hardest thing to believe that it will turn out alright. And yeah, things got worse. August to October was simultaneously more and less stressful – making it even more confusing. But then they got better. Sometimes, half the problem can be solved by deciding to take back control, and say no to anything leading your life out of your control.