Friday, 15 March 2019

What They Don't Tell You About Being An Adult

Like a lot of people, when I was growing up I had this idea that by my late twenties I would have my shit together. I would know what I’m doing, be fully in control and heading in the right direction to meet my goals with a carefully laid plan of how to get there. Now that I am apparently a certified adult I realise that things are a little different.

It’s all too easy to look at other people’s lives and think they have it all figured out; a new car, a promotion, starting their own business. I often wonder how they do it? Why are they so in control and with a faultless plan to a path of success? It’s easy to forget that what you see of other people’s success is the trophy at the end of it, not the countless hours spent working, numerous sacrifices or bumps in the road required to get there. It is never as easy as it is made to seem, an illusion it is all too easy to fall for in a world of social media highlight reels.

The secret to this success is that there is no secret at all, and what they don’t tell you about being an adult is that really nobody has a clue what they are doing. I don’t mean that nobody has a plan, more that sometimes life has it’s own ideas and can direct you away from where you want to be, or sometimes things take a lot longer than you first thought to achieve.

Dress & Sunglasses - Bali Market's / Belt - Primark 

 This is no bad thing, I have found that life has a funny way of steering you in the direction that is right for you, no matter how heartbreaking and like you are drifting away from your goals it might seem at the time. For example; I originally wanted to go into journalism, however despite years of writing for free both during and after University I never even got a sniff of a paid gig, let alone a full time job. Now I work in PR & Influencer Outreach which is occasionally met with an impressed reaction when I tell somebody new what I do for a living. Apparently it sounds cool from the outside, but the reality of how I got into my own career is totally different and not the original plan. I am now so grateful things didn’t work out how I once wanted them too, my job can be extremely fun and creative, sometimes not feeling like a job at all. On other days it can be meetings after meetings, problem solving and an exploding inbox, but nonetheless I love working in such a new and rapidly changing industry.

Often times I find the easiest way to get through life is to go with the flow and see where it takes you. I have found that you never know what is around the corner for both good or bad, and that life has this funny little way of working out in the end even if it seems like an endless maze sometimes. 

Being an adult comes with a lot of choices that can be hard to navigate, often we compare one to the other and find it hard to decide which route to take in fear of making the wrong decision. However it also comes with a lot of perks, like having ice cream for breakfast, spending all weekend holed up in bed watching Netflix or staying out dancing to 4am on a weeknight if you want to. It’s these things, and the lessons learnt and memories made along the way, that are really the important things about being an adult, not the tick list of successes at the end of it all.

While what they don’t tell you about being an adult is that while it can sometimes be utterly confusing, it also comes with a lot of perks and one hell of a story to tell.

Photos taken at Le Pirate, Gili Trawangan, Indonesia.

Thursday, 7 March 2019

The Problem with Finding Yourself

Finding yourself, what does that really mean? It was one of the things people said to me a lot when I started sharing the news I had made the decision to quit my job and disappear to the other side of the world for a while. “Have fun finding yourself” or “Oh, you’re really going to find yourself while you’re away” were said so much to the point that the two words lost all meaning.

 While I did have a lot of things I needed to sort out in my own head, and was desperate for a break from the everyday life which hadn’t been so kind to me over the past couple of years, I got to the point where I found the phrase almost upsetting, like other people also thought I had lost some of the essence of who I am. Perhaps they were right, perhaps all the events of the last few years had led me to forget who I am, and what I believe I stand for.

 Over the last few months I have found myself flung into social situations I might have otherwise shied away from and doing things that I never would have usually dreamed of. It has shown me a side of myself that I knew existed, but didn’t show itself very often, and I love that side of myself. It’s the side that gives me great anecdotes to share over pints with friends. The one who dives head first into meeting new people, the one who is passionate about culture and finding out how other people live, who loves trekking through countryside to see something new.

 The problem with the phrase ‘Finding Yourself’ is it is counter intuitive to what it actually means. You are not lost and you never have been. You are who you have always been, continually shaped and moulded by society and the events in your life. Some of these events change you for the better, and some change you for the worse. Sometimes being true to yourself can be inexplicably difficult and sometimes it comes naturally. The trick is understanding yourself and why you react in certain ways to different situations. It is understanding that following your own head and heart is the best thing you can do, regardless of what anyone else says.

 There is a quote by Emily McDowell which sums it up perfectly: “Finding yourself is not really how it works. You aren’t a ten-dollar bill in last winter’s coat pocket. You are also not lost. Your true self is right there, buried under cultural conditioning, other peoples opinions, and inaccurate conclusions you drew as a kid that became your beliefs about who you are. Finding yourself is actually returning to yourself: an unlearning, an excavation, a remembering of who you were before the world got it’s hands on you”. 

What I needed was the opportunity to reset, to let go of everything that had shaped me into somebody I didn’t quite recognise . ‘Finding yourself’ eludes to the idea you are looking for something misplaced, where as I see it as more of a stripping back of everything that had shaped me in ways I didn’t like.

I imagine when I return home in a few weeks jokes will be made asking if I found myself while away. My answer will be no, I returned to who I knew I was all along.

Photographs taken at The Sand, Nusa Ceningan, Indonesia. 
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