“I’m back!” I exclaim, to the two people that read this blog. I’m kidding; I am the only one who reads this blog. Ah, there I go again with the self-deprecating humour, a skill with which I am so accustomed and eager to flaunt to the world. It’s a reflex that I am still contending with. Recently, I’ve been practising different methods to combat my self-doubt, my overthinking, and general anxiety about the future. One method I have found useful is mindfulness; bringing my attention to the present, and focusing on that, instead of freaking out about situations that don’t even exist, my imagination hurtling full-throttle into the future without so much as a seatbelt. Mindfulness, amongst other methods, is slowly but surely helping me clamber out of the shallow rut I have been stuck in recently/for approximately two years. It feels good.
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It’s been nearly a year since I published anything on this blog, and that makes me incredibly ashamed. The past year hasn’t been a bad one, but I can’t say it has been an especially good one. I have nothing to whinge about, really. Conversely, I have nothing that positive to take from the last year, nothing to showcase proudly for the world to see.
I started 2018 with the classic New Year New Me attitude that I have frequently ridiculed when others announce their plans to improve and create their ‘best self’. January commenced, and I was teeming with positive hopes for the year ahead; an ambitious plan to exercise more and cut out the junk food that I had been forcefully funnelling into my body for the better part of two months prior to Christmas. My main goal, as ever, was to write.
Inevitably, March rolled around and nothing had really changed. I did stop drinking for the first two months of the year, something which I really enjoyed (clear mind, and all that jazz) and it felt super beneficial to my mental health. I was never a massive drinker, but on the rare occasion when I did have a drink, I would end up consuming it to such excess that I would wake up the next morning with little memory of the previous night. I don’t handle alcohol very well. Inevitably, that next day would be wasted. Detained to my bed, I would wallow in self pity and an agony normally accompanied by regular vomiting sessions. On these occasions, I would feel sinfully guilty, thus squashed back down into my rut of anxiety riddled, unproductive days.
Alas! Enough about my boozy blunders! I am positive now! Recently, I have kept busy and productive. I have been running more, which I am proud of and thoroughly basking in the benefits it forges for both body and mind. I have enjoyed it so much, I plan to write a blog post about my experience with running — in particular, using running to achieve a better headspace. I have a goal this year to take part in a half marathon — a target I believe I can reach. I have signed up for the Mencap 10K charity run in October. I’ve been relishing my ‘runner’s high’ after every session, and the activity itself creates a breathable calm in the muddled mess that my mind has been stuck in for this past year or so. For a better state of mental wellbeing, I cannot recommend running enough.
In my attempts to keep busy and better myself, I would always come back to the same thoughts and concerns about my career. I know, I know, change the record — wasn’t this what I was yammering on about in my previous blog posts? Have I nothing else to talk about? Well, maybe I don’t.
As a kid, I truly believed I would have an amazing job when I was a ‘grown-up’. I still don’t feel like a real grown-up, even though I am over halfway through my twenties. My job as a waitress was fine. But that was it: fine. Aside from the more ‘difficult’ (pain in the arse) customers that I dealt with sometimes (frequently), it was a pretty stress-free job. I left all work based worries behind when each shift was over. I could relax as soon as I left the building. It was safe, it was comfortable, and I think I secretly enjoyed how good I was at it. It felt good to be held in such high regard — I was the best employee they had there. And… so what? It wasn’t even a challenge anymore. Sure, it felt great to be respected and praised, but I found myself realising that I would rather be struggling, starting out at the bottom of a ladder I really wanted to be on, than comfortably relaxing mid-way up a ladder I hadn’t any real interest in. What if I reached fifty and was filled with regret that I had never even attempted to follow my dreams?
Excuse the long winded introduction… it’s been a year since I’ve written anything for other human eyes. That long-ass preamble takes me to my point: I have quit my mediocre job to focus on my writing. It feels strange to write it down like an announcement to the few people that might ever read this. So, here I am: writing.
It’s been a difficult process. For someone that wants to be a writer, you would think I would find it easier to get my arse in a chair and merrily type away. Instead, I will clean the whole house, bake banana bread (I burnt it), go for a run and attempt to practice yoga in an effort to put off sitting-down-and-just-bloody-typing. I have recently concluded — drum roll, please — that I am a perfectionist. I feel completely overwhelmed by the idea of creating something from scratch that I, and I alone, am responsible for. I will be culpable for any errors. To put it bluntly: I will be responsible if it turns out to be a bit shit. This makes me anxious (classic). I get anxious that it won’t be absolutely perfect — so why bother, right? Wrong. Nothing is perfect anyway, so I may as well just go for it and see what happens. Just like when I am running; the starting is the hardest part. I am not a perfect runner — nor will I ever be — but I am a better runner after every session, and I feel like a better version of me for having the guts to give it a go at all.
I digress. I am improving myself in all aspects of life. I am writing, now, and will continue to write for the foreseeable future. I have let go of any expectations or anxiety about where it might take me, instead I am focusing on now and how it feels to put these words on this page right now. Slowly but surely, I believe I am getting somewhere. I finally, for the first time in years, feel like I’m heading in the right direction and it’s a pretty cool feeling.