“How strange that the nature of life is change, yet the nature of human beings is to resist change. And how ironic that the difficult times we fear might ruin us are the very ones that can break us open and help us blossom into who we were meant to be.” - Elizabeth Lesser
A lot has happened in the last 5 months. I sat all of my final exams, I left Sheffield for good and moved back home, I prepared for the trip of a lifetime, I spent 8 weeks away from home - the longest I've ever gone without seeing my family, I experienced things that challenged my perceptions and things that reinforced them, I flew to a city I'd only seen in photographs and explored it on my own, I visited a place that I've dreamed of for years, I climbed mountains, I slept under stars, I watched the sun go down at 30,000 feet only to fly across the Atlantic and watch it come back up again, I came home, my best friend turned 21 and moved away, I spent hours writing job applications and then I started work.
5 months ago my days revolved around lectures, revision and friends. Hazel used to come over in the evenings and we watched movies, drank wine and ate chocolate. Rich and I would spend hours in Western Bank, breaking off to buy flapjack and get attacked by ducks in the park.
4 months ago I'd been home for 4 days. All of my stuff was everywhere and I was trying to figure out (a) how the hell I'd accumulated so much stuff and (b) where everything was going to go and what I was going to do with it all.
3 months ago I'd been in Costa Rica for just under a week. I'd already been eaten alive by mosquitos and the noise of the jungle at night was strangely familiar. I was falling in love with living so simply and learning to develop a healthy hatred of ants.
2 months ago I left a hotel room at half 3 am and boarded a plane bound for Atlanta. I spoke for 5 hours to a man who moved his family from Florida to Alabama so his kids could grow up somewhere slower and safer. I was so hungry in Atlanta airport that I ate McDonalds and actually enjoyed it, and then I chatted to an Irish woman all the way to San Francisco. She found her husband when we got off the plane and he explained to me the cheapest way to get to my hotel. Then I got a taxi anyway because I was exhausted and it was by far the simplest option.
A month ago I'd been home for less than two weeks. I was spending my days looking for work and getting frustrated because everything I really wanted to do required the one thing I didn't have - experience. I was enjoying being home, but hating the fact that I had nothing 'figured out'.
Now? Now its Sunday and tomorrow I'll start my 4th week at work. Its not at all what I thought I'd be doing when I graduated, but its a good job and I enjoy it. I still don't have anything 'figured out', but I think I'm slowly starting to realise that it doesn't really matter. I'm also starting to realise that the funk I've been in the past few weeks is because I've been trying to resist all this change. Not the external change so much, but the internal change. The shift in perspective and outlook that I've had over the past little while. For so long I had this 'plan' of what I wanted to do when I graduated, and for a while there I was beating myself up about the fact that it didn't really work out. But actually, now that it hasn't really worked out at all I've realised that where I am now is better. So much better.
So now I'm just trying to figure out this new normal, and I think I might actually be getting somewhere.