(And why you should trust your decisions!)
2019 will officially go down as the year I decided to grab life with both hands and really fuck some shit up (sorry for the swears, Mum!). I changed career, moved houses and cities, decided London wasn’t for me after 4 months, moved back…
Besides the year I went to uni, I don’t think I’ve ever made so many big decisions in such a short space of time – and you know what? Even though it’s been scary as hell, it’s also been pretty great!
Since my complicated early uni days, I’d become a pretty timid decision maker. I have a tendency to overthink, to plan too far ahead and to focus too much on the future to really appreciate the now. Sure, it’s good to have dreams, but to wish your life away on things that aren’t happening yet and judge yourself for not being exactly where you want to be – despite you working hard and being on a positive path – is just plain silly. So I backed off making big decisions, paid too much attention to what other people might think if I chose wrong, and basically made myself fit into the box I thought other people might find appealing.
And then something shifted. I suddenly felt like I could make decisions for just me again, without worrying what other people would think. I’d spent 4 years doing a degree I didn’t enjoy, surrounded by people I didn’t like spending time with, in a pretty toxic environment. I mean, I had some good things – Felix, family support, pretty great friends I didn’t study with, and supportive work colleagues – but I hated my everyday life. So I took a leap, changed uni, changed my degree slightly, and spent another 2 years finishing that degree. I knew the subject wasn’t what I wanted to do anymore, but I was determined to graduate after all that time, and so I worked hard, and finished uni with a 2:1.
Then after graduation, I kept working in the shop where I’d worked for 3 years whilst I looked for something else. And I struggled. I kept looking and sending out my CV, never getting beyond the application process for jobs near where we lived. They all seemed to want experience, even for entry level roles, and I had very little to offer. And then, something came up. In London.
Taking a job in London in order to kickstart my career, and leaving Felix and the dog behind in Cardiff, is probably the biggest decision I’ve ever made for myself. It was the first decision I’d made just for me in a long time, and it made me feel strong, brave even. I was finally becoming that badass business babe I’d always wanted to be, and even though I was scared shitless, I knew I had to take the shot, and I felt so ready to leave Cardiff and move to a city I’d wanted to live in since I was a child. I knew it would be hard, and that I would miss Felix like crazy, but I had to take the leap.
So I handed in my notice at the shop, accepted the job offer, found a room to rent, packed a few suitcases and moved to the big smoke. I cried a lot – as did Felix, which made me love him even more – and just fucking did it.
Skip forward 3 months, to living in a flat with people I still didn’t really know, with a bathroom ceiling that had just fallen down, and a life that made me feel anxious on a daily basis. I spent most of my evenings lying in bed watching Netflix because I didn’t have enough money to do anything else, eating whatever convenience food was cheapest at the Tesco Express between work and the tube station, worrying about everything I needed to get done the next day, and thinking about how much I missed Felix, Astrid and our little house.
With the contract on the flat about to expire, and with the prospect of potentially signing on to a new place for a much longer period of time, and in a less safe borough (which would probably have been fine for most people, but I’m a scaredy cat at the best of times!), I knew if I was going to go it either had to be soon or a fair while in the future. The old me would have felt compelled to stick it out, to stay indefinitely for fear of missing out on opportunities. But new me decided life was too short to be in a place you’re not excited by every day, and to be away from all the people who make you happy in order to scrape by. I don’t regret the experience, or taking the risk, but I also don’t regret my choice to choose not to stay once I stopped enjoying it.
And so that brings us to November. For now, I’m working from home (which is really lovely, considering how much I missed being here!) and trying to catch up on life with everything here. I’m looking forward to another Christmas in Cardiff (my first one not in retail or having to work for most of the festive period), and to quiet evenings on the sofa and prepping the house for the holidays.
I’m back where I belong, with the people I love, and it feels wonderful.