Updated: Jan 3, 2019
In honour of the new year vastly approaching, (turns out by the time I finished writing this blog post 2019 is tomorrow, whoops), it’s probably time to do my annual reflection on the last 12 months and talk about my feelings. It can’t be avoided any longer.
Reminiscing over the past year, I’ve been on some crazy adventures and met some incredible people. This year involved the revamping of my blog, and amongst all the hard work and chaos of the revamp, I discovered how much opportunity there is in blogging and making money via social media platforms. My eyes were opened to a world paved with these digital nomadic career paths that I had no idea existed.
All my life I’ve always just assumed that being able to turn your hobby and/or passion into a full time and successful career (whether that’s acting, travelling, making music, whatever floats your boat) was something that people like me (normal people) had no chance of. “It only happened to the lucky ones, and I’m certainly not a lucky one.” I’m not sure if I’ll ever find out how or why that was engrained into me – maybe as a kid I worshipped artists like Michael Jackson and Freddie Mercury so much that I turned the idea of “success” into this unreachable realm.
Growing up in a reasonably well-off middle-class family, I was very fortunate and had a very enjoyable childhood that involved lots of holidays and (as far as I’m aware) little financial difficulties. I had never really thought about it until one day when I was about 9, whilst sat on a ski lift with my mum (I know, how much more middle-class can I get?), I suddenly had this massive realisation that one day I’d have to be making my own money. But how was I going to make enough money to have all the opportunity that my parents had? How was I going to one day afford to take my own family skiing?
Now obviously at this point I was only 9 so looking back, I want to scream at my younger self and just say ‘CHILL OUT GIRL! JUST ENJOY YOUR CAREFREE LIFE WHILE YOU CAN GOD DAMN IT’. I guess it was since that moment that my ‘future’ and the thought of what I was going to be when I grew up started to fill me with dread. At that age I probably wanted to be a singer or something, but ‘OBVIOUSLY’ that was never going to happen, and I knew I would just have to settle for something else.
This brick wall of thought continued to appear throughout my life and was unequivocally present during my teens every time I came up with a new career path. “Fashion designing looks fun!” “Being a music producer could be pretty cool!” “I’d love to be a famous movie director one day!”… Oh wait nope, you can’t have fun, you’d be much more suited with a 9 to 5 office job because that’s the only type of job you have a chance in getting.
(By the way I have no idea if this is normal thing to think growing up, or if you’re just sat there judging me thinking how messed up this is.)
Anyway, carrying on….
At 17, the time came when I had to actually realistically consider what I wanted to do. I applied to study Sound Engineering at University as I thought, “Hey, designing sound for films seemed like a solid option”: a 9-5 with a small but steady income where I can still do one of my favourite past times which is watching movies. (I love getting lost in them).
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m hugely passionate about sound, and I love my degree dearly. If you know me well, you know I can’t get through a film without nerd-ing out about how the editors did something cool with the audio or how “I could have totally done it better” if the sound isn’t so great.
During the first year of my degree and just a few months after my blog had formed through documenting some hard times, I discovered my love for travel. Fast forward two years of sporadic blogging and reading almost every self-help book under the sun, I slowly began to learn that supposedly it is actually possible to pursue your passion/hobby as a full-time job.
In all honesty I still have a hard time believing it, and like I said, I have no idea if that’s a normal thing to think about or if my brain is just weird. Whether YOU believe it or not is a different story! The thought of being able to travel whilst making money quite takes my fancy (I say that pretty light-heartedly when in actuality it’s truly my biggest dream), but the issue is believing that I can get there. Is it a serious lack of self-esteem or is my brain just a brutal realist?
As with self-employment and any sort of creative venture, it requires a certain amount of motivation which sometimes I don’t always have. I’ve spent the last month or so fighting off different illnesses, so with this on top of suffering with depression and anaemia, I haven’t always had the energy to put my brain to work. That’s definitely something I’m trying to work on, with the help of my good pal Mel Robbins.
After the blog revamp, I officially set out on this journey to see if this nomadic life was in fact at all possible. It was all looking very promising over the summer, but when September rocked around, and I started my final year of studies at university, my time and priorities had to be shifted and focussed on you know, getting a degree. Instagram and blogging, if you want to do it properly, is a full-time commitment in itself, so it’s had to take a bit of a back seat.
It’s got to that point where people are starting to ask the question that I honestly think Satan himself must have been the first to ask. “So, what are your plans for after university?”
*Cue the dry heaving*
A year ago, I would have replied with a hint of confidence saying that I’ll probably be working for some sort of production company editing the sound for movies or something. I thought by the time I got to third year I would be even more certain with what I wanted to do, but as it turns out… not the case.
The thought of having a 9-5 job for the rest of my life utterly terrifies me. Personally I believe life is so much more than that, and the only thing that doesn’t fill me with any sort of dread is actually exploring the world whilst I’m still young and have minimal responsibilities. Sounds alright, right?
Enter: the whole debate about whether you’ll be employable if you haven’t done anything ‘CV-worthy’ straight after graduation. I can’t count the number of times I’ve had that discussion with my mother. It’s definitely something that should be considered as it is important for a lot of career choices and the last thing I want to be is unemployable.
My answer to the devil question at the moment is something along the lines of “I just want to travel!!” in the tone of what I can only describe as a whining toddler and is then quickly followed by me pretending to cry of desperation; wishing it was only that easy.
I guess for now I’ve got to continue focussing on my studies, do my best to release as much blog content as I can, and hopefully put all my time and effort into achieving my goals once final year is over and I have more time. God knows how but I’ll wing it.
I’m sort of just spilling my brains out onto paper at this point so if you’re thinking that the end of this blog post is going to be me revealing that I have all the answers, sorry to disappoint. I’m not sure where I’ll be in 6 months – hopefully the other side of the world making some incredible memories. Maybe I’ll just see how long I can ignore my responsibilities, or maybe I’ll actually make a penny or two doing this blogging thing. (Pray for me that it’s the latter please).
Whatever the destination, I’m really trying to just sit back and enjoy the ride. A quote from a book I’m reading called ‘The Power of Now’ by Eckhart Tolle comes to mind:
If you’re a struggling creative, stuck at a crossroads, or just generally confused about what you want in life, let this be a sign telling you to keep going. Keep making your art, keep writing more chapters of your book, keep looking for what excites you by saying yes to new experiences.
Hopefully my complete uncertainty and ambiguous future can act as a beacon of reassurance to anyone who is feeling the same as me – I’m with you pal! As always, my messages are always open so feel free to drop me a line if you ever want to chat.
Happy new year!
P.S. Here's an added bonus - my 2018 summed up in video!
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