Every chapter of our lives has some form of closure to it, but it also has a question to help us turn the pages onto the next one. With the ending of each we can always find valuable lessons and takeaways to help us move forward into the next chapter. It might not always be an easy reassessment to undertake, but I’ve found enormous value in doing so when I look back on each one that has come before.
I can see a couple of core chapters to my life:
1. The early years, innocent, fun times. Being a devil child. The basics.
2. The school years. Formative, but heavily tainted by years of bullying. Compensating for that bullying by treating others poorly at times. Feeling lost.
3. Early college — feeling like I was finding my way & then falling further than ever before. Feeling like I’d found love and losing it. Losing myself.
3. The latter part of college. Shared some great times with some wonderful people. Enjoyed many days but struggled to curtail anxiety levels in any great form.
4. Post-college: internships, scraping by, getting a bit lost again. Stumbling into a job thanks to a friend. Finding some sort of routine. Growth.
5. The steadier years: finding more of what I like. Began exploring photography. Worked two jobs but felt content enough. Lacked any confidence.
6. Late 2017 & 2018 — change. Family matters took priority. My father’s health worries. Worrying about losing him. Feeling content in my jobs but wanting to push myself to try something new. I wanted to chase photography so I invested in a bunch of camera gear and spent too much — but I’m still glad and grateful to have the gear. Applied for and got a job working with Amazon (still my main job).
7. 2018-Present: started well in my job. Thought we were going to lose dad on more than one occasion. Did well at work but let myself get burnt out. Burnt the wick at both ends as the saying goes. Felt exhausted. Moved back to Kerry. Found more balance. Found myself. Embraced my curiosities. Spent way more time behind a camera — fell in love with the process of making images and stories. Continued to do well in my job, but felt like something had gone missing. Felt a disconnect. That feckin’ yoke hit in March and cocooned for months. Got a bit too anxious at times. Realised how much sitting at a computer all day isn’t for me. Shot more photos and loved every second of it.
So what’s next?
It’s hard to say. I just know I need to lean into the things that bring me calm & joy and build from there. To lean into the habits that alter my wellbeing in a positive direction, in the face of challenging times. To realise that each challenge isn’t a negative, and is instead home to a world of opportunities for growth. To chase that growth and to be kind to myself.
What are you struggling with?