I know this seems ridiculous but for a long time I’ve felt like my life peaked when I was 17. I was in college, had a bunch of amazing friends, and was always out on adventures with them. After that I became very lonely at University and started having trouble even getting out of bed. I didn’t get out of bed until my parents got home from work and made me. I was not in good shape. Luckily, moments like these have always been temporary for me. I, of course, didn’t know that at the time. I had no idea where I was headed or what would happen next, I just knew I wasn’t in the right place, doing the right things. Even though I would bounce back a bit, I never quite got to a place where I was as happy as I was at 17. I decided it was impossible and that life was always just going to be hard. Maybe I was doing it wrong.
No matter what, every time I find myself to be somewhere I don’t want to be, I try to fix it. Well, it usually starts by me trying to ignore it, but that never works. After ignoring it for long enough for me to kind of crack, I start making changes. That’s exactly what I did in University. I got myself a job, met some new people and started to get better. It wasn’t long though before I realized I still wasn’t that happy. I was just more distracted. So, I tried again.
With every new job came new issues. I’d hit limits because I didn’t have a degree or I just wasn’t well suited for the job because of who I am. Either way, there was always something missing. Finally I decided to go back to school, learn something new, and try again. It was great for a while. It helped propel my career forward by a lot. It was great. I learned a lot and I enjoyed it. But still, something wasn’t quite right. I kept going after milestones I thought were important. They were never enough.
When the pandemic struck I had everything I had worked towards. But then, a lot of my daily activities were stripped away. I no longer went to work, I no longer saw my friends, or anybody, and I no longer spent time in the places I often spent time in. My first reaction when lockdown was first announced was not fear or worry, it was relief. I knew I wasn’t doing anything right. Life is hard and it’s always been hard for me, but there’s a line. There’s a point where your life becomes too hard and the signs you’re doing it wrong start showing up. The stress, fear, and exhaustion came creeping back in. I would crash on weekends and had no energy for anything fun. It’s ok to experience some of these temporarily but to experience them so frequently that you need to spend a day sleeping to recuperate, is not normal. The pandemic provided me with a hard reset on my life. It allowed me to rest a little and I was able to see where all the cracks were. The thought about needing changes were creeping back in. But how? I was in isolation.
At first I just waited. I waited for next steps, I waited for vaccines, I waited for everything to start up again. I didn’t necessarily want to go back to what I was doing but I thought it was necessary in order to move on from it. That wasn’t true. Eventually isolation dragged on long enough and I fell into that pattern I described above. I wasn’t sleeping well, I was stressed all the time, I was getting sick often without even being exposed to people, I was craving the next break, or vacation, or whatever, just to recuperate and feel just a tiny bit better. I was not enjoying my life anymore. I realized I had to be the one to change it, again. I had to make this feeling end.
It’s really hard to make changes, especially when you feel like you are drowning. I learned changing one little thing can give you enough of a boost to get there. Little changes like opening a window, enjoying a delicious donut, watching my favourite movie, or calling a friend. Then bigger changes came like getting outside more, changing my activities, spending more time with people. These led to even bigger things like moving, and going out to stores again, and reintroducing things I wanted to do. I started spending a lot more time outside, going on little adventures with the people closest to me, and making happy memories again. Then it happened. Somewhere along the journey I realized I had everything I wished for.
It’s easy to feel stuck. Especially if you are on a path towards a goal you’ve set out for yourself. A wish of yours may be achieving that goal. That’s awesome! But the trip to get there doesn’t have to suck. It doesn’t have to tear you down and exhaust you. I think it’s important to remember that you can still enjoy your life while you’re working towards something. I have a tendency to forget that and often feel trapped. It’s hard to believe, but you don’t have to feel that way.
With my new home can new opportunities with friends. My new job unexpectedly helped me reconnect with someone awesome and brought me more amazing people to share my life with. Every little wish I made and every little step I took towards those wishes changed everything for me and I’m happier than I’ve been since I was 17. I wished for it, yes but I didn’t expect any of it. How do you even know what to wish for if you don’t know what that thing you’re looking for looks like? I guess what I’m saying is keep trying. Keep trying, even if it’s just to see what happens. Why not? The places you end up while on your journey may be even better than what you wished for.