Positive thinking. What led me to this mantra? Having such a solid idea of what I want to do with my life, then leaving university and realising that means I actually have to do something now. Not that I had planned to sit on a sofa doing nothing for the rest of my life – far from it. The future had seemed such a distant prospect when I was choosing my A levels.
The mind-numbing panic that comes with that realisation at some point during your third year at university is one that all undergraduates will experience – when they realise that reality is actually not as far away as they think. Our lives are mapped out for us in a clear path through school, sixth form and university – but what happens after that?
Career goal: becoming a published author. The absolutely monstrous hurdle in my way: how on earth do I do this. You can’t just decide one day, “Yup, I’m going to be an author and sit in my little shed and write.” You have to be well known to be able to make a living off it, which is common sense really.
The mind-numbing panic increases when you realise that this means you have to get a proper job, preferably to do with publishing or screenwriting or the like. The panic tends to stay when you’ve applied for everything you can find and you get no response whatsoever.
This is where I had my existential crisis. The “No one wants to hire me I must be crap at everything I’m never going to be published” crisis.
This was of course not using positive thinking. It got worse when I decided to move in with my then boyfriend of two and a half years, who turned out to be a twonk, and having to move back home again 2 months later because he decided actually I don’t like you any more, I want to go out with this other girl. A week after I moved home my Grandad, affectionately known as Beysey (long story), who has vascular dementia, ended up in hospital with a chest infection. When I was driving my Grandma to and from the hospital every day, it made me think and re-evaluate what was important.
My November crisis made me realise how important my family and friends are to me, and how grateful I am that they have always been so supportive of my writing.
Luckily the existential crisis has been averted momentarily, as I have managed to get a job as a Learning Support Assistant (LSA) in my old secondary school, where my Mum and step Dad, Tom, are teachers. Even that small corner stone of my past life has changed so much – my Mum is now the deputy head and my step Dad is the Additional Learning Needs Co-ordinator (ALNCO), so he’s technically my boss, which is weird.
It’s been said that if you have a positive outlook on life, you attract positive things to you.
So bring on the positive. I am positive. I am awesome.