I’ve been thinking a lot recently about why it is I’m here, and it boils down to reaching the big 3-0 last year.
If I’ve asked myself, “what am I doing with my life?” once, I’ve asked it a million times. I first graduated in 2008, and since then have floated between cities and jobs trying to find my ‘path’. It didn’t bother me too much that I hadn’t found it, until I turned 30, and suddenly my hodgepodge career wasn’t okay, it wasn’t enough.
I couldn’t stop looking at others with their successful careers and fat salaries, and comparing myself – someone with a half-arsed attempt at a career and who is STILL terrible with money. (Can someone teach me the skills of budgeting? Anyone?!)
I also couldn’t ignore the fact that deep down I was unhappy. None of my jobs felt like the right fit for me and I felt endless waves of panic that I was wasting so much time; treading water and bobbing around in a world of mediocrity. I had a severe case of Imposter Syndrome, questioning why I was never quite getting anywhere and wondering when people would discover that I didn’t belong in the corporate world.
So I took a big step back. People say to do more of what makes you happy, and after spending almost 10 years doing what I thought I should be doing, I decided to do what I actually wanted to do. Inconveniently, this happens to be writing. Probably one of the hardest careers to make real, hard cash from. Brilliant.
But I realised that this was the only thing I felt genuinely passionate about, so I started up a little freelance writing business as a side earner. Then I was accepted onto this MLitt and packed in my full-time job. I know people thought I was ‘aff my nut’ as we say up here, and some days I thought I was too, but it’s always the scary decisions that are worth jumping for.
So now I’m commuting to Dundee from Aberdeen every week and juggling an MLitt with a part-time job and a freelance writing business. I don’t think I have ever been so busy in all my puff, but I am SO happy (underneath all the stress and general terror).
I’ve been asked several times what I’m going to do after I’ve graduated and the honest answer is that I have no idea. But that doesn’t scare me at all because I know that no matter what, I won’t be treading water anymore. I’ll be swimming upstream with no idea of where I’m headed and I can’t think of anything more exciting.