I haven't posted in weeks - apologies! Given that this is a lifestyle blog, I haven't had much of a lifestyle to share lately! I've been pretty busy, which is a good thing. However, a few things have changed in my life since I wrote my last personal post.
Last time I wrote about my personal life, I was telling you about my unemployment situation and sharing my thoughts about it. Things seemed pretty bleak at that time of writing. Shortly after writing that post, I was preparing to leave Wales and move back home to Newcastle to live with my mam.
Then I got a job - not a fantastic job, but a job nevertheless. I got a job as a checkout clerk in a supermarket. It was a huge achievement - perhaps a miracle even - that I managed to find a job that gave me a decent amount of working hours. It would buy me more time to look out for jobs in the new year too!
And hey, I was enjoying my job!
You might think it is a basic job, but interacting with people all day was actually really enjoyable and I was surprisingly keen to get out of bed and do it every day! I realised that I work incredibly well with people and have a great ability to connect with others. Things were great! I was looking forward to that first wage slip and was already in consideration for another job with the NHS!
In the run-up to Christmas, it all took a sharp and sudden nose-dive and I actually found myself teetering on the edge of breakdown.
Despite making it to the last stage of a very long and gruelling application process, I narrowly missed out on the NHS job. After all of the practicing for theory tests, dictation exams, typing-speed assessments and panel interviews held in creepy mental hospitals in the middle of nowhere. I was surprisingly devastated, much more than I thought I would be really. I've noticed that it's always the same in these situations: you can imagine and plan for the worst outcome, but you'll never feel truly prepared to handle it when it happens.
I was then told that my job contract at the supermarket wasn't going be renewed, and that I'd be made jobless after Christmas. After losing out on the fantastic NHS job, the news of having to also join the dole queue was totally disheartening and hope-destroying.
Furthermore, after gagging to receive my first wage slip and get the train home to be with my family at Christmas, there was a mistake with my wages. I was only paid half of what I was expecting. I couldn't afford to go home and treat my family for Christmas, who were still unemployed and had become so desperate that they had even started visiting food banks. I managed to send a small amount of money home, but it wasn't the same. I didn't feel any better for it. After all of the nonsense we'd been going through, we just needed to be together in one room.
Finally, just a few days before Christmas, my 3-year-long relationship with my boyfriend imploded. I had felt for a while that the relationship wasn't right, but I was determined to understand these feelings and work past them. My partner was a kind, intelligent man and a good person, but our interests and our lives had diverged and I no longer saw myself settling in the relationship. With everything else seemingly reduced to tatters, pretending to myself that I was happy and secure in a relationship was something I no longer had the capacity to do. I decided that I had to face the facts. I'd taken a lot of hits so far, but I pretty much volunteered for this one.
Ultimately, I spent Christmas alone. My friends were at home with their families. A slight pick-up was being able to salvage some cheap food from the supermarket to eat on Christmas day! Apart from that, I spent a lot of nights talking sense to myself and fighting the seductive urge to give into depression. It was the worst Christmas I've ever had, and the worst I've felt in many years.
Although it was my worst Christmas, I did receive an enormous amount of clarity. No matter who you are, where you live, how many friends you have or how secure you are with your dosh, it can all disappear when you least expect it. I don't want to trouble you with nightmares, but I urge you to savour the things you have: family, friends, money, time. Six months ago, I never suspected that my quality of life and my happiness would decline in the way that it had.
This experience made me look at myself with complete humility, without all the bullshit I drummed into myself for years to justify myself to and compete with other people. I was able to observe who I really was and what I was actually capable of achieving. The reality just was not nice. The experience taught me the value of strong friendships that stand the tests of time and distance, and the dismay of the superficial ones. There aren't many opportunities in life through which you can learn that I think.
Since I've made sense of things however, life has really started to improve!
Just a few days before the end of my job contract, my employer decided to hire me permanently! Me and my boyfriend are now good friends. My mam is still unemployed, but my sister's husband has now found a job to support her and their kids. I'm now earning just enough money to pay my rent, eat decent food and treat myself to a new coat and shoes.
I finally bought a new phone!
I'm keeping my eye on the job adverts too! I've decided to stop relying on my university degree and qualifications to get anywhere, and to pitch for success on marketable skills. I've rediscovered my talents for art and languages - I've joined Arabic classes on Tuesdays!
I'm also wanting to get my head around HTML and website designing so I can make myself super-dooper useful! I also started a YouTube channel this time last year, which has recently become hugely successful and is now viewed by 100,000 worldwide! I'm keeping my eye on the future still and planning my medical school application for this year; hopefully I'll be going next September!
Also, starting next month, I'll be able to begin saving money to travel later in the year, but I'll have to be very strict with myself and not splurge on eBay junk! I'm currently considering to train in teaching English as a foreign language, to let me make money while travelling. It seems like it might be a good idea, but I'm researching it at the mo'.
I'm a lot happier recently! I haven't completely worked out a clear-cut plan to get where I want to be, I'm still working it all out. I'm playing with a few different ideas and just appreciating how much better off I am at the moment. I might not have any of it next month I guess!
I hope to share positive news in my next personal post! :)
Thanks for reading,