As the anniversary of my graduation approaches, I have been thinking about how my life has changed. Graduation was the happiest day of my life. I could never imagine how quickly that bubble would burst or how boring daily life could be. I will never forget the days I spent on the sofa, eating crisps and chocolate while watching day time telly. I will never forget the shame I felt walking into the job centre for the first time. I felt lower then dirt, the staff made sure of that. The one thing that kept me going was my daily job search. I was not deterred by the constant rejection and the endless application forms. I knew this was just part of the journey. Then I got a job in Students’ Union. I spent my days trying to improve the lives of students while I was struggling with my own. I loved my job but I found full time work difficult and my dreams had taken a back seat. The daily commute was draining and I spent my weekends at home dreading Monday. By January 2014, I was ready to give up. I hadn’t spent three years studying to have an ordinary life like everyone else.
I knew that things couldn’t continue like this. I started reading more and meeting up with friends. I was amazed to find out that everyone felt like me. University had not prepared us for the real world. I always thought I would be a full time writer. I’m no J.K Rowling but I knew that I had something valuable to offer the world. Despite having a good job I still felt cheated, like I had failed and I would spend the rest of my life miserable. The truth was, I was living with an unbearable sadness and I didn’t know what to do. I became distant with family and friends and I always wanted to sleep. I was eating more and my clothes became tighter. My mind was clouded with negative thoughts and at times I thought it would be better if I wasn’t here at all. This was my lowest point. After a brief course of counselling (which I didn’t find helpful) I knew that I was the only person who could change my life. I have learned a lot about myself over the past year and I continue to learn. I know that I will never be perfect, my life will never be perfect. Despite this, I know that I can live a happy and fulfilling life. I want to share a few things that I have learned and that I hope will help you on your life journey.
Your thoughts create your life
I think this is the most important thing that I have learned. A bad mood is not invisible and the negative stories in your mind start to manifest in your life. I have always been a shy person and tend to think that people don’t like. This is also known as social anxiety. I have always had low self esteem and this made me think that others didn’t value me. This isn’t true, I am a popular person and people like being around me. Instead of repeating this negative thought in social situations I began to tell myself that people liked me and enjoyed my company. I began to become more interested in other people and tried not to judge people before I got to know them. This has changed my life dramatically. I see everyday as a fresh start to overcome challenges and create happiness. I won’t let something such as my daily commute dampen my spirits and ruin my day. What are the negative thoughts you keep telling yourself? You may have a negative thought that is true such as “I’m not attractive”. This doesn’t mean that you have to let this ruin your life. You have two choices, you either accept this or change it. Whatever you decide to do, you must take control of your thoughts.
A “dream job” doesn’t exist
Since I wrote my autobiography at 10 years old (ironically called Golden Memories), I always thought I was destined to be a writer. I spent my whole life reading books and writing diaries. When I started university, I realised 300 hundred other people had the same dream as me. Many of them were obsessed with reading and writing and English had been their best subject at school. I must have realised then that I wouldn’t be a full time writer. It’s only when I left university that I realised that there are different types of writers. The novelist is the most famous and celebrated writer. Just because I didn’t turn into a novelist overnight does not mean that I am not a writer. What is your dream job? You may not be working in your chosen industry but I bet you are using most of your key skills. I think having a job where you can use most of your skills/talents is all that you can really ask for. For most people, work will never bring ultimate fulfilment. In order to enjoy your time at work you must accept it for what it is.
Living in fear is not living at all
As we get older we become afraid of life. When I was younger I would live without consequence. This wasn’t always a good thing but I was living. I didn’t have the adult concerns of money or work. When I started working I thought about money all the time. I was constantly afraid of running out of money and this meant I started forcing myself to spend less. I missed out on many experiences because I believed I should be saving for a rainy day. Then I realised I lived in England and most days were rainy days. It is impossible to be prepared for every eventuality and I just wanted to live. You should do the same. All fear is real but your danger is often imagined. What fears are holding you back? It’s time to look at these and make a positive change. It won’t be easy but when you live without fear everything becomes so much more exciting. It’s time to take control of your life.
When I graduated I believed that I could fly and when I fell I struggled to stand again. I have realised that flying is a privilege that only few people will ever have. Life will always have ups and downs and things will happen that I don’t always understand. I am learning to accept this. I hope that you will continue to follow my journey and learn to fly.
For those who are interested in personal development have a look at Tiny Budda. This website has amazing articles on the big questions we constantly ask ourselves.
My strong belief in dreams and personal fulfilment came from reading a book called The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. Why not have a look at this short Youtube video.