What I’ve learnt from 2011
I felt the need to mark the passing of another year. Yet I don’t wish to simply follow in so many other’s footsteps and write down some paltry list of resolutions that I will probably forget in about a month, when the new year fever has abated. Instead I’d like to pass on some of the thoughts and feelings that have run through my head in the past year as I’ve found myself moving and changing for the better.
After university, the free time I suddenly found myself with afforded me with the luxury of doing some things that I probably wouldn’t have otherwise done. The most important of these being writing. I’d begun writing a story in my last year of uni and decided it was time to carry it on. I fleshed it out a bit and made some progress and ended up with the nice beginnings of a book. At which point I had a realisation that slightly rocked the boat. It was something that perhaps other people would have realised long before but for which I took years, probably into a decade to discover about myself.
I love writing.
I’ve always loved writing. I’ve been pretty darn good at spelling, writing, reading and proofing the written word since I was in Primary school. It’s not even like I shouldn’t have known, I mean the signs were all there; I had a reading age of 14 at the age of 9. I finished all the books in the curriculum and started on the library and I nearly always got full marks on my spelling tests. I loved to read in my spare time asking mum to lend me some of her books because I wanted something more grown up and intelligent, something to test myself with. I wrote story after story when I was younger and English was always my favourite class at school. Even at university I carried on having ideas for stories and books and gradually as I learnt how to write essays and construct proper arguments my writing evolved even further.
So how, you might ask, could I have overlooked such an obvious passion for words?
For a long time something held me back. I only began to notice all of these things when I got to a point when I just simply didn’t know what to do myself any more. I had, so to speak, a quarter-life crisis. It wasn’t that I wasn’t happy at work, it was simply the feeling that I wasn’t doing what I felt I was meant to do. So I began to search for what that might be. I looked around at jobs and I asked other people for advice and I generally had a mini meltdown breaking away from almost everything around me so that I could take just a minute to think clearly about my own future and what I should be doing with it.
Discover what you love and never let it go.
At the very, very tip of all this I asked myself what I would do if I could do anything in the world, regardless of money. The answer came instantly and although it’s a dream and a romantic one at that it provided me with an answer that I couldn’t ignore.
I would sit at a desk, in a small thatch cottage, on the edge of a deep, blue loch in the Highlands and with the only distraction being the crackle of the fire to keep me warm and the snore of my Labrador asleep on the rug, I would write to my hearts content.
Of course realising your dreams, your abilities and your future are quite different from achieving them in reality. With a film degree, no real experience of writing and the harsh realities of writing for a living, I knew that it wasn’t really an option for me to attempt to make this something that could pay. Not to mention the fact that making my own writing into work would take all the joy out of it. So instead I opted to put my skills to good use in the world of copy-writing and proofing, determined to make something of myself.
Stay scared, it’s the best place to be.
It was scary. I have to say that. It was pretty darn terrifying to be honest. I’d gone through years of the safety of school, college and university all to find that at the end of it I wasn’t prepared for what I wanted to try to do. On top of which I knew I couldn’t do anything where I was currently living. So I had to begin again. This blog was part of the start of it for me, it afforded me the chance to begin to write something other than fiction. To carve my own signature onto words and show myself to the world. Then with the help of my amazingly talented boyfriend, we made me a more visually appealing CV that would help spark the interest of those I would send it to – it was a long shot still but anything is better than sitting at home imagining your CV just got dumped in the bin because it looked like all the rest. But it wasn’t enough. I got to a point where I realised I really did need to start again and the only way I was going to do that was to admit that I didn’t know much and that I was really willing to learn. So I quit my job, I made the move to the city where I now live and for 4 whole months I did nothing but send off my CV, attend interviews and write.
I could have done none of this without the support of my boyfriend of course and my dwindling savings. But there is a the light at the end of the tunnel. I got myself some work experience, which in turn helped to bolster my CV, which in turn got me an interview at my current place of work. Somehow I must have impressed them and I was offered a short contract to see how I could do. I know that it’s not permanent and I know that this might not be the end of it all for me. There’s every possibility that I might be back on the road to CV hell again and with the state that the world is in currently I pray that I don’t end up back there daily. But right now I’m the happiest girl in the world. My boss believes in me and encourages me, my co-workers support me and help me out, and gradually I’m learning and growing and becoming who I want to be. I can see my future more clearly now, I have a goal and I intend to do my damnedest to get there.
So what’s my point?
I simply wanted to share with you my experience. Everyone is different, everyone sees things in different ways. Some of you might have great ambitions and others have none. I’m not giving you the answers, I’m not saying that things will always work out the way you intended. I just want you to know that making a change can be good, scary but infinitely good. Getting out there and doing something new can bring you friends, love, happiness, experience and unexpected surprises.
As for me I intend to do more of what I did last year.
- I plan on writing as much as possible – I want to make sure I don’t neglect the creative side of myself as it’s the part that makes me most happy.
- I want to continue to learn and grow at work, no matter what is thrown at me I know I can deal with it, all it takes is confidence and the willingness to ask for help.
- I’m going to keep asking myself what makes me happy and evaluate if what I’m doing is right so that I never lose sight of my aspirations and dreams.
- Most of all I’m going to take risks. I want to live life more fully instead of just jogging along at a happy pace. I want to be more spontaneous, more alive and more true to myself.