That feeling of looking back and realising you’ve made it
Mon, 20 Sep 2021 23:44:44 +0000
I have this terrible habit of re-reading my old journals.
At some point last year, I remember sitting on my bedroom floor in an oversized t-shirt and no pants, going through the box where I keep all my old, battered, well-loved notebooks.
Normally if I’m doing this it’s not a good sign, and that day was no exception. I was feeling pretty down. I was feeling lonely and stuck, depleted and unappreciated. I wanted a new job and a stable relationship. I wanted to feel safe and secure.
I was leafing through a journal from about a year before, and those pages were saturated with the same miserable tone: one year ago I was also feeling stuck and lonely. Nothing had changed in well over a year.
It’s so scary to look back and realise you haven’t grown.
I have set many expectations on myself throughout my life. I have had many different versions of myself I wanted to become, which I mostly haven’t achieved because they were vague, ethereal, not based on solid foundations, or simply unrealistic.
But there have been times when I’ve looked at myself from the outside and liked what I saw.
I can pinpoint one specific moment in 2013, when 27-year-old me was cycling through Victoria Park on a rusty second-hand burgundy road bike in the autumn fog. I remember feeling the wet air on my face, the leaves being crunched under the wheels and thinking, I am exactly where I want to be.
I lived in London, the city of my dreams, and worked as a contractor in one of the biggest publishing companies in town. I was surrounded by books all day, cycled to work, and finally earned my own money.
I had just started dating the guy who would then become my husband and the best person I have ever met. I had a cute room, cooked yummy meals, and lived with questionable flatmates who however provided me with invaluable writing material.
It’s now 2021, and many things have changed. I am constantly reinventing myself, so my ideal persona needs to be revised at all time.
One thing that hasn’t changed is my die-hard habit of re-reading journals.
Recently, I grabbed my journal to jot down some thoughts, and it incidentally opened on a very relevant day:
24th July, 2021.
I bumped into B. tonight after work. She looked fabulous. She quit last summer and she’s now doing great. Selling her art and spending her days sculpting. I told her I was so done. I wanna quit my job too.
The day I found that entry was 23rd August, 2021: the day I handed in my resignation letter.
When I realised only a month had passed, I felt all the feelings.
Quitting my job had been such a hard decision to make, but a very overdue and necessary one. I had been thinking about it for such a long time, and it was strange to think that bumping into B. had been only the first of a series of events that had built up and rapidly led me to finally resign.
Quitting my job was one big step towards the new version of myself I want to achieve.
This time round, I no longer want to become that cute person on the bus who reads books in a woolly coat. Now it’s more like, I want to earn this much money by this point in time, and this is how I’m going to do it.
I am at a turning point in my life where lots of things are about to change, and I am at the very beginning of creating the person I want to be. But if I look back, I am also exactly where I want to be.
When my last big turning point happened in 2018, just like right now, I was equally excited and terrified. And just like I am doing right now, I used the terrifying part to fuel the exciting part, and focused on the blank canvas in front of me.
Back then, I was dreaming big. I wanted to be a minimalist. I wanted to live sustainably, store everything in jars and only own second-hand clothes. I wanted to wear jewellery that had a meaning to me, to grow my hair long and look like the hippie I am. I wanted to be a writer and find a platform to publish regularly. I wanted to better my relationship with my body and become more confident in my own skin. I wanted to eventually live in a van.
Fast forward three years, I have all those things. I am all those things.
Of course, in the meantime I’ve come up with other aspects of my life that I want to change and improve, and I’m working hard to make that happen.
But if I look back at 2018 me, I wish I could tell them to keep on working towards those goals. To believe that they can do it, because they will. I wish I could tell them that everything will go according to plans.
To future me, I will tell that they’ve got this. That they have the strength to keep on working hard. That it’s ok to be afraid, but that they should focus on all the confidence that they now have.
To future me: one day you will look back, and you will realise you have everything you have ever wanted.