Yes, soul searching, you read it right. Most people would say I spent 6 months doing nothing, which to them not knowing what I’ve been debating and thinking through in my mind is probably correct. But to me, it was 6 months I needed. Time to think, clear my brain of everything and really truly decide where I want my life to go and how I’m going to get there. And now hopefully, I think I have finally figured out some form of life plan for myself (or at least for the next year or so).
Someone recently reminded me that this is the first time in 10 years that I haven’t had to do summer exams, and yes I keep repeating that fact, because it’s crazy. Sometimes, usually always, I just need to remind myself of how far I’ve come and what I’ve achieved just so I know I can do it all over again if I have to. For the first time in 10 years I’m not stressing or panicking over exams in which the outcome will affect my future or what I can do next. Yesterday, I read an article about the importance of not only taking sick days when you’re physically ill but also for your mental health, just taking a few days to regroup, relax and restore your brain up to full capacity. I feel like after all my brain has been through over the past 10 years, and especially the last 5, it also needed a break – 6 months worth of sick days to be precise. After graduation, I knew I just wanted to take time to myself and figure everything out (I didn’t realise it would take quite so long, but I needed it). So, it really is no surprise to me that I’m currently unemployed. Do I wish I could have figured everything out sooner, got an ‘adult’ job and started the rest of my life like all my friends, yeah I do, but it’s just not me and where I wanted to be right now. It’s not where my brain or my mental health priorities needed to be. But, here I am now getting my brain back to full capacity and ready to get my life back on track.
After returning from Nicaragua I struggled to settle back in, I just felt like nothing could ever be as amazing as the experience I had and that my life in England would never live up to what I’d achieved in the past 3 months. It was the most fulfilling and purpose-full time of my life, for the first time I felt like I was doing something good, something true, something important. It was as if I was living my best, fullest, most honest life – I’d found my purpose. That probably sounds ridiculously stupid and utterly sad, but it’s the truth. It’s taken me this long to say it out loud to anyone – that making a difference in the world, however small, means more to me than success, money or fame. People have outrightly said to me that there’s no money in your dream profession, I’m crazy for pursuing it and that I’m creating a pointless student debt that I’ll never pay off. And I listened to them for months. That whole wrestling with whether to go with your heart or your brain, yeah it’s true. My brain was like, money I need it to live and the people telling me I’m stupid for throwing that away must be correct. But my heart believes that finding my purpose and living according to what sets my soul on fire, that makes me impassioned and fills me with the most joy, is what’s most important. To me, that is striving to find my place in making a difference in the world.
I finally decided to go with my heart and see where it took me, and I am so happy I did. It meant applying for postgraduate study in International Development, despite it not being what everyone thought I should do and also something that I personally thought I wasn’t smart enough for. But I did it, got accepted and I now I can’t wait to prove to myself that I am smart enough and also good enough and strong enough to succeed if I really truly want to, and I do. This masters is the start of my adult life, listening to what I want instead of what others believe is best for me. Not worrying about whether I’ll be rich in monetary ways but whether I’ll be rich in happiness. What has come back tenfold since I started admitting this, is friends who understand and agree with what I’m doing, who themselves have had people tell them they are making the wrong career decisions and wasting their degree. But they persisted with what they believed anyway and they are happier for it now. Having these particular people around me, to guide me, to experience life with – well I must’ve been one hell of a person in a previous life to deserve them, thanks universe (again).
Who knows where I’ll be after I (hopefully) graduate in a year and a half, who knows if my dream profession and chosen career path is even attainable for me. But, at least I know that, for know, I’m trying and that’s all I can do.
The final note I want to leave this post on is that of a thank you to my parents, they might not agree with some of the choices I’ve made and will make in my life, but they are always by my side and will support me regardless. However, I especially want to thank them for what they’ve allowed me to do over the last 6 months and how they’ve allowed me to do it. I’ve been living rent free, provided with food and been taken on holiday, and believe me I realise how lucky I am for that and I honestly don’t know how I’ll ever repay them. So I guess I just need to go out into the world and find my fire, my purpose, that which makes me truly happy, to hopefully make them proud.