Find What You Love

There’s a saying which goes “find what you love and do more of it” and as we got back from our road trip around France my soul was once again soothed having spent the past week doing just that. Sure, by the time we got home it was dark, I was sweaty and I’m pretty sure I could have napped for one-hundred years right there and then, but despite the fact that exhaustion coursed through me, I felt sated. We’d just motorcycled through France and had a jam-packed week of adventure where we ate, saw and experienced things unlike anything we had done previously.

That trip was in June 2017 and I came back at least a stone heavier, so I want to say: mission accomplished. But the truth is that just a few days after coming back, the blues hit – and they hit hard. I already knew that I was unhappy before leaving for France. The week off that we had taken for our French trip, was taken to realign myself before I started another new job. I adore life, so when I noticed that I had started to feel numb about everything, I knew it was time for a career change and a break. What I didn’t realise then, was that I had completely misread the way I was feeling. What I now know was the beginning of burnout, I mistook for general unhappiness, so an adventure-filled road trip was exactly what I did and didn’t need.
You see, I’m happiest when I’m exploring because it forces me to experience life and live in the moment. There’s no need to think past the next meal, or the next day. I never needed to analyse the fact that I change jobs every year – always growing tired after 9 months having realised I’ve gone off-course from what I wanted and seeking something new. There was no need to think about how that pattern of behaviour developed at the same time as I realised that I was capable of more. There’s just me and a world of possibilities – the day mine for the taking.
I’m an over-thinker by nature and travel keeps me distracted from myself. It keeps me stocked up on appreciation and helps me to neglect negative thoughts. But, it’s also been my down-fall because rather than embracing the uncertainty I felt, I used travel as a distraction – which has prevented me from moving forward and analysing what it is that I really want.
I’m sure you all know that feeling. The crippling anxiety which accompanies the feeling of having no idea what you want to do or where you want to be in the world. If you don’t – you’re blessed. But in this instance I didn’t give myself a solution for it, I gave myself a distraction which postponed the problem. Or postponed me from thinking about the problem at least. I mean, it was a fun distraction – I bloody love France. But it’s a bit like being hungry and eating a chocolate bar to sate your hunger: it tastes good but isn’t good for you and you’ll still be hungry again in a few hours time.

When I was younger, I was repeatedly asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, and I never had an answer. But for the past few years whenever people have asked me what I love doing my answer is simple: I love communicating. I’ve been doing it since I first uttered a spoken word, and when I lost the confidence in communicating verbally, I took to the written word instead. Basically – I never shut up. For years I thought I was supposed to because I was often told that my talking too much was a problem. A weakness. That I should do less of it because they were sick of the sound of my voice. But now that I’m older (and I like to tell myself wiser) I can see that it wasn’t my voice that was the problem. But by the time I realised this I had already been surrounded by people’s negativity, internalised it and translated it into feelings of inadequacy – and so I did what any self-doubting female would do. I stopped doing what I loved because I felt as though I wasn’t good enough.
As a person I’m so used to doubting myself that I analyse, converse and question everything. After all, if I can pick something apart first, then if anybody else tries I’ll have covered all of the bases and they won’t have anything to say. But this self-imposed quest for perfection to accommodate the silence of opinions, has hindered my progress.

Which is why I’ve decided to take a leap of faith and become a full-time freelance writer again.

Well, technically this time I did myself one better.
Because I didn’t just decide to become a full-time freelancer. I did. I am.
I’m doing it.
When I was in Italy last month I wrote a post on Instagram which said “It’s amazing how a little trip away can help you regain lost perspective on what it is you want from life. Time to start refocusing on a new path.” Because whilst I was away I noticed that in my career I kept drifting away from what I loved doing. I went into marketing because nobody would hire a writer without a marketing qualification (which is batshit crazy because they are two completely different roles despite what recruiters think) but boyohboy did I want to write. So I did it. But as I developed as a marketer and became good at my role, I moved further away from being able to write. Becoming skilled in that industry didn’t bring me closer to doing what I love like I had been told that it would, it moved me further away from it. And Italy was the first time that I had travelled and been unable to distract myself from that.
Confronting that fact has been the best thing because for once my over-thinking narrative has been silenced. When I got back from Italy I jumped straight into making my freelance-writing career happen. I took control. I left the security of my full-time job behind and committed myself to finding clients. I scoured the internet, threw a hissy-fit over how rubbish Upwork is and cold-pitched people – which is miles outside of my comfort zone. My original plan was to do this slowly alongside my full-time role and be a full-time freelancer by August next year – building up my freelancing projects up bit by bit until I could afford to transition to being self-employed without any risk. But sometimes life is out of your control and you don’t have any time but the present.
It’s been just over a month since I took the leap and for the first time in my life I have managed to do achieve something new without denying myself the excitement of uncertainty or trying to talk myself out of it first. I already have some lovely clients onboard, I’ve managed to silence my inner-voice which tells me to get some in-house interviews lined up “just in case” and instead I get to spend my days writing about various topics within the travel industry.
I’ve found what I love, and I’m finally doing more of it.