What a difference a year makes…

This past year has been (wait for it many cliches ahead) a real rollercoaster -emotionally and physically. It’s been a journey (yep I went there!) that at times I’ve wanted to get off, to take a break and just watch others ride by whilst I focus on remembering to breathe. Other times it’s been joyful, uplifting and full of such love that I could have burst if that were possible.

Mostly this has been related to my personal life (other blogs to follow if I can find the words) but there has also been one hugely significant change for me – my job.

A year ago last week I started a new job and so this week has been a period of reflection for me. I’ve thought about all those decisions I’ve made throughout my adult life that’s led me to be where I am and to be the person I feel I am today. Sometimes I didn’t know that these decisions would be momentous but I have to admit I knew this one would be – I just didn’t know if it would be good or bad – I just hoped like hell it would be good!!

…Well, it has been! I have gone from working in a place where I spent the first six months sobbing in the toilet every day and towards the end if I got through a week without tears falling it was a miracle, to working somewhere I feel at peace.

At my last two jobs, providing pastoral support in state secondary education, I knew I was doing good, making a positive difference and I’m glad I did what I could; but along with the fabulous highs of seeing my students succeed and achieve, both academically and personally, more than they would ever have thought possible, it was emotionally draining, lonely and absolutely heartbreaking at times; I was taking that home with me and eventually I realised I needed to move on before I lost who I was and before it affected my family more than it already had.

So I took a chance, a leap of faith into the unknown – instead of looking for another similar role that I was certain I could do standing on my head but which would come with significant angst, I found a role at a specialist university that I thought looked interesting, exciting and that I thought I could do well but which would be a challenge.

And oh it has been a challenge! But it has also been liberating, stimulating and working in such a creative, adult environment has been so calming – I’m on a voyage of self-discovery (sorry I’m not done with the cliches just yet!). I’m not saying every day is amazing or that I haven’t had bad days and I know I’ve much more to learn; but I’m loving what I do and I am finally part of a team. I haven’t experienced that utter dread, on a Sunday night, of knowing work is due…I certainly haven’t cried those tears of sheer frustration and solitude.

Life isn’t all about work but most of us spend so much of our days doing work that surely we have to be happy and fulfilled in it if our lives are to have balance and feel good?

So what have I learnt?

Be honest with yourself

Value yourself

Dare to dream – that you CAN do something different if you want, you CAN break free from what you feel confines or brings you down

Believe in yourself

Be brave

Take that step outside your comfort zone

Embrace the unknown

Set sail on your own adventure and see where you end up – whilst it might not be where you’d thought you’d be, you might just find it’s where you want to be after all xx

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