Sunday, 20 September 2015

Cogs in a Machine

So it's been roughly 4 months since I wrote a blog post. My silence has been nagging me, bothering me, but I couldn't bring myself to log in and open this page. This in itself feels like a big step.

I suppose there are lots of reasons why I went off the radar. Those reasons that only matter probably to me as realistically, this blog is more like a log book for me, a marker in the sand. I create posts that I feel might be of use to someone somewhere, but I have no idea if they actually are.

I've noticed that as you get older, time seems to go a lot faster. It feels like yesterday that I started this blog and actually, it was nearly 2 years ago. I set this up after a big personal trauma in my life, and looking back, I'm not sure I portrayed the real 'me' in the beginning. I was in a shell, on full alert, protecting and defending myself, in fight or flight mode, from a monster that wasn't even there. This is probably the most vulnerable I've ever been, but my intention was never to not be honest. Your true self really is the best you have to offer the world, and it's OK to not be perfect.

Here is what I do know: I know that I am happiest when I am making and doing, and achieving. The problem is, that happiness can easily become surface happiness. Everything in my life started to feel like an ego feeding exercise, as opposed to a spiritual or fulfilling one. When you get caught up in the rat race, when every achievement starts to dull the senses, much like I imagine it might feel like to have a drug addiction and to be always chasing a new 'high', we sometimes forget where we are going. I suddenly found myself feeling really unhappy, after years of living that way. I wanted to figure out what I actually really wanted to do with my time, as opposed to what I thought I should be doing.

I am in my late 20's. I've realised that whilst I have been successful in lots of ways, that I'm not where I wanted to be. I know that's a complete cliche, and is probably the same for most people who are lucky enough to reach this point in their lives. I do all the things I told myself I wouldn't (as age is just a number after all). I compare myself to others. I've fallen victim to routine, doing the same things every weekend, stuck in a town I didn't want to still be living in at this point, struggling with my personal life (I was pretty sure that somehow I'd be a high flying career woman with two children and happily married by this point), but I am not. I'm still acting like a 21 year old in lots of ways. I'm not earning what I thought I'd be earning by now, I'm not doing what I hoped to be doing. At the same time, I never really set myself a clear plan, either. And that's OK. I just need to learn to not base my happiness solely on achievements or what others think of me, but to search for something deeper within myself. To be content with who I am and where I'm at, wherever that may be. That's not an easy lesson to learn, especially in this whirlwind society that we live in, and it requires more humility than I thought I even had.

Don't get me wrong, I think if you asked my family and friends, they'd probably tell you that I have been successful. It all depends how you define 'success' and what success really means to you. On paper, I have three degrees. More importantly, I work in a job that I actually love. Actually, I've been so lucky to this point to always somehow find jobs that I love. The project I manage, whilst not perfect (like it's creator) is something new and useful for the city that I live in, the city I thought I'd have given up on by now. I get to play music and get dance floors moving every weekend, granted, maybe I'm not playing on a boat somewhere in the Med, but we really can't have it all. I've been commissioned to create my own theatre work. But that again is me 'selling' myself to you, and I really shouldn't feel the need to do that. The point is that I have, like all of us, been graced with many talents that I just don't have the time to use properly yet, but that I can always look forward to exploring in the future. Most important of all; I have an amazing, and wonderful group of people around me that I am utterly blessed with.

I've essentially spent the last four months in a bit of a hole (probably longer if I'm honest actually), but I needed to be there to realise that I have allowed myself to be ruled far too much by my own ego. Nothing will ever, ever be enough for the ego. It doesn't matter how successful, affluent or well liked you are, there will always be someone better. It's OK to aspire to be better, it's OK to look up to other people, and if you're lucky enough to know people that inspire you, then you can be positive about that, set yourself a bar to work towards. But there are many traits and talents that you have, that others don't. We're all just cogs in a big and wonderful machine after all, designed to serve different functions.

I'll go back to my normal posts after this, but I wanted to share this before I launched back into normality. Not to explain myself, as I don't feel I owe anybody an explanation. You should never apologise if you really feel like you have to be silent for a while. But as obvious as the above may already be to most people, it's been the most important life lesson of my 20's (so far), so I suppose I thought it was worth sharing.

To summarise the above if you are even still with me, everyone grows up with different experiences. It is alright to sometimes still feel like a teenager when you are in fact, definitely now a fully fledged grown up. My biggest challenge by far is to let go when things don't work, when I don't succeed, otherwise you will just grind to a halt. There is just no real way forward until you learn to really accept where you are in life, and how to be happy and grateful with what you've got. And though I could be better at showing it sometimes, I am so very very grateful.

Alice x