To have no idea what you’re doing next, and to be absolutely sure that is the right decision.
26 was a deciding year. I’m not sure I wanted it to be, or even planned it to be, but I think in the end it simply had to be. I will sound like a twat, but I wasn’t ‘present’ in my life. I used to write diaries and blogs to savor a moment – that was clearly my way of processing and enjoying it – but for the past few years I stopped even doing that. When I wrote the last 2 birthday posts, that probably the most excited I’ve been all year because I actually took time to think wow, I did all that.
I have been really really busy, and really really tired.
So the biggest thing to happen at 26? I quit my job and decided to move to another city. There are other things I can and will write about this. Lots of people keep telling me it’s such a brave decision, and I guess it is, but it didn’t feel that way when I made it. It was just obvious and not really a decision in the end… it was between being asleep for the rest of my life, or finding something worth being awake for even if I don’t know what that is yet.
What else though? Well. I spent 2 weeks in Japan. It was kinda stressful at the time actually but the further away I get from it the more incredible and unique the memories become.
I went skiing for the first time. And honestly, it woke me up. I’ve experienced lots of new things throughout my life, but so often it feels like ticking boxes. Skiing felt like an absolute thrill. The satisfaction of getting my body to get down a hill burned through me like I imagine drugs must feel, and then to spend time with family in the evenings felt like the perfect mix of adventure and people that I have always craved.
I got promoted in my job again. And it was a great role, and I know I did the best job I could while I was there. Part of me is gutted to leave. But in a way still really wanting to leave even though I had a great role made it even clearer to me that leaving was just something I had to do. Right now I’ll be honest and say I feel jaded about publishing. But I can already see with a bit of time and perspective I don’t think I’ll feel that way in 6 months. I still believe communications, media and the stories we share are some of the most important things on this planet; I just need a bit of time to step back and rethink how I think they should work. I also think teenagers and young people are such a phenomenal under-acknowledged power. I would have loved to continue to grow what’s available to them in the media, but luckily my work with Girlguiding and Girls Out Loud will be able to continue some of that.
I had some brilliant trips with truly dear friends to Berlin, Paris and Gibraltar, and had a brilliant baptism into the Balkans and all its history in a week long sojourn to Belgrade, Serbia in my trustee role.
I watched the London Marathon for the first time, which really blew me away. I also hit an all time low with my health which it seems was necessary to bounce back from and really start taking my body seriously. Thus a mix of fear and inspiration is firing me to make little steps to get my diet back on track, and start running again. I have loads of time now, so no excuse 😉
And this is probably the understated but really most exciting one… I started studying for my foundation accounting qualification. I’ve always been fascinated by everything and I am hugely indecisive. When it came to university applications my plan was to apply for both arts and economics and decide depending on the offers; until I realised you could only write one personal statement. I went for arts (probably because of too much Gilmore Girls / Dawsons – role models matter..). I’m grateful for the open-mindedness and debating skills it has give me, but I always kept my toe in the numbers side, and the more I got to work on budgets and accounting in my publishing roles, the more I craved it. So initially the plan is to just beef up that interest with a basic formal qualification, but who knows.. I’ve done almost 10 years of creativity (which will never leave me), maybe the next decade is for numbers and logic? Or a magical mix of it all.
So now what? Now I’m on sabbatical. Or something. I am trying to take it easy. To give me space to think, to learn, to have new ideas. My intention had always been to take 6 months off after my masters to explore various bits and pieces, but unfortunately / fortunately I got my dream job in London straight away and had to get on with life quicker than anticipated. So now is my time to explore, and luckily working your butt off for years affords me that freedom for a few months. On the menu is finishing my accounting qualification, reading lots, spending time learning from all the amazing people I know and hopefully will know, taking care of my long forsaken health, exploring London, exploring Manchester, doing some strategy and comms work for a few businesses, and hopefully by September be doing some really great and exciting new work.
In the middle of the ride