“Mum, I got it!” August 2014, North London, crossing the road in a dodgy neighbourhood. The happiness I felt was sublime. I’d done it – I’d worked my socks off for two years and finally got a job working for a charity I believed in. I couldn’t wait to get started.
18 months later, we were having a different conversation.
“Mum, I quit.”
“You quit your dream job?”
How often do we stop and look at our lives? Can you step back and see it objectively? I tried. I stepped back and saw several things. I had a great job, an amazing group of supportive friends, I ran and did yoga and was lucky enough to enjoy a busy social life that had me recovering on Sundays with Toblerone and Netflix. Tick tick tick for any 25 year old’s checklist.
But I wasn’t myself. This wasn’t me. The clothes I was wearing, the city I was living in, the job I was doing, none of it felt quite right. And that overwhelming claustrophobia descended, I could feel panic lodged in my throat, could feel the tears sting my eyes shut. I knew I had to change.
I finally handed in my notice to my shocked director at the end of November 2015. My team was nonplussed. I’ll never forget my desk buddy Marta when I broke the news; her eyes were so wide you could the whites all around her irises. “Why?” her polish accent stretched the word into two-syllables. “To do what?” I shrugged. In truth I had no idea what I was going to do – the future was a giant neon-lit question mark in the fog. What I did know was this: the only thing scarier than plunging into the unknown was not changing anything at all.
It was time to live by the philosophies I kept preaching to others: be brave, take risks, you only live once, you only regret the things you don’t do… if I believed life was an adventure so much, why wasn’t I living one? Changing and challenging ourselves are the only ways we can grow as people. It’s inevitable. No one was born to hit a certain ceiling or personality or experience. We all have so much to learn all the time.
This blog is the start of a dream that has always been in the back of my mind, biding its time until I was brave enough to follow it. I’ve always wanted to write – I just forgot for a few years, trying to chase somebody else’s dream job. My dream job doesn’t exist yet. It’s about time I created it.