So, to continue with my life ramblings and to provide more recent background as to how I have ended up 220 miles from home with a professional career and being a triathlete, I have delved into my mental archives and drawn upon events which have shaped who and where I am today. It tired me out just writing about it – there should probably be a health warning attached.
N.B. Don’t get the violins out on my account. I promise the below has had a hugely positive impact on my life and has given me a greater awareness and appreciation of other peoples circumstances. I can empathise.
In 2015 I graduated from the mothership, Harper Adams University with a much worked (and played for) 2:1 degree in Rural Enterprise and Estate Management. Many a night was spent in the 24H room together with Sexual Scare (the local club) and the Student Union Bar. I would suggest all in equal measure. I had a lot of fun during my first and second year and gave my social life 110% effort. As a result, I made a lot of very valued friends who I am still in touch with and wish I could see more of.
During my placement year (in Mid-Wales) I met my (ex) boyfriend and once graduated decided it was an excellent idea to move my entire life to the West Midlands because, well what could possibly go wrong!? At my current firm in Shrewsbury, I worked my butt off to get my Chartered Status together with further exams to become a Fellow of the CAAV. Detail is boring but these exams loomed over me for almost 24 months and put life on hold.
These years (2015 – 2018), together with my final year, have by far been my toughest. I lived on my own in the middle of a tiny Welsh village. I went from going out twice a week to barely ever and felt completely isolated. I worked from 0800-1900, 5 days a week coming home to an empty house with no signal. I sacrificed a huge amount; my family, my friends, a social life, a lot of my confidence and just buried my head in the sand.
I put a huge amount of pressure on myself to: have a successful career; be a supportive girlfriend; comply with societies ‘norms’ (get married in your 20’s, have children); be financially independent; be a good friend; have a social life; make time for my family; be fun; live up to this apparent great life so many people seem to portray on social media. I created a very good front to everyone in the big wide world.
I appreciate that this post is very heavy but it is hugely relevant to what I am doing and where I am now. Often in races and during training it really is mind over matter. Physically you can reach a limit but it is often your mentality that can take you that bit further. I will refer to this again in a future post but I have turned this mentality around into something positive. During these years I was pretty low and felt mentally weak. It wasn’t until I forced myself to think about it and what was making me feel like this that I found I was stronger than I realised. I look back now and realise I was not being weak, I was purely being stubborn and not wanting to admit that:
- I was potentially wrong to relocate away from home;
- that I was unhappy;
- that I missed my friends and family back in Essex; and
- that the whole relationship was a situation that couldn’t be fixed (through no fault of either party).
I am now exactly the same with my training sessions and in races. I just can’t give up, for better or worse I am more stubborn and determined than I ever have been before.
Another reason for me posting this is because time and time again, I speak to friends who are in a similar situation to what I was then. It makes me realise that it is not uncommon and I want to shake them and tell them that they are better than that and that if you set you mind on something (no matter haw small), you can achieve it and you can achieve it on your own.
Mental health is a huge thing. I would not say I have ever suffered with depression but I certainly believe that sometimes in life we all find ourselves in less than comfortable situations and often it is external influences that trigger this which are out of our control. All of the factors affecting my happiness were within my control and realising that made me undertake some serious life admin which admittedly took some balls.
You have to be selfish sometimes, make decisions for the sake or your own happiness and that isn’t a bad thing.
I promise to be more upbeat going forwards but I want this blog to be real life. Not just what is ‘photogenic’. We are all human and we can’t always be flying high, that is just a fact of life.
Oh and, I don’t think I was wrong to move away from home. I am very content in Shrewsbury.
I also refuse to apologise – very un British on me.