2am thoughts should never be disregarded… 

I’ve been thinking lately about those poignant thoughts you have in the dead of night – the ones that not only wake you up, but also make you want to take immediate action. You’re laying there in a shroud of darkness with all your neurons firing, worried that if you drift back to sleep you’ll lose these seemingly life changing thoughts, but at the same time just enjoying this moment of clarity. 

This week I had one of those moments. I woke up to a message from a friend overseas, asking if I was enjoying being home. I read the message and put the phone back down, willing myself to get back to sleep – but I simply couldn’t. I was frustrated at the simplicity of the question – was I enjoying myself? I’ve been home for nearly 6 months now on what I’ve decided is my ‘gap year’, recovering from extreme anxiety and stress brought on from work, and it’s been H.A.R.D. Harder than anything I’ve ever gone through. To reduce the last 6 months to something simple as the word ‘enjoyment’ would be a complete joke, when I’ve worked very hard to overcome personal challenges and come out smiling. Yes, I might post pictures on social media of pretty things, adventures, time at the beach and snuggles with my animals – but social media isn’t reality. It’s how we like to frame ourselves to the world and often ourselves, and certainly doesn’t tell the story of all the difficult times between those happy memories.

Since moving home I’ve had messages from numerous friends saying how jealous they are of all my pictures, and how happy I look. And while I can’t disagree with them – I’m a THOUSAND times happier than I was a year ago, I’ve still got a while to go. I suppose it’s my fault as well, for perhaps not divulging all my deepest darkest fears and worries to certain friends – sometimes we just want to keep a small portion of ourselves private. I’m so grateful for growing up as a teenager without the influences of social media, where reality is staged and happiness only looks attainable to the rich and famous. Our social media accounts are not our lives – they are a colourful way to document things and express ourselves, but they definitely only represent a small part of the whole. 

I’m sure that most of you will agree with me that we should all strive to live in the present a little more, and worry a little less about what we see online. Ask your friends how they are – don’t make an assumption based on their Instagram or Facebook account, because more often than not they’re craving that human connection. And while you’re at it, grab a journal for those 2am thoughts – you never know what might need jotting down in the dead of night 🙂 

Photo credits – jetmour & moodyports

I could run. Or, I could stay.

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We’ve all been there before – a new situation, experience, job or activity that kicks in our fight or flight response. We want to run back to the comfort of familiarity, things we know, smells we like. We try to smile genuinely, to appear engaged… when all we really want to do is run back home, snuggle under the blankets and curse ourselves for trying new things. But pushing ourselves through this first period of discomfort is essential for growth. Stepping into the unknown makes us stronger, more resilient, and ultimately better prepared for the next challenge.

As I embark on my new challenge I’ll try to remember these things in the face of obstacles, where my instinct to run is sometimes overwhelming. Nobody likes learning through mistakes and being the ‘young apprentice’. My brain is overloaded with new procedures, unfamiliar systems and practices. But I need to take a step back, realise that learning takes time, and patience is key. Putting too much pressure on myself to know everything at once is just stupid, and we should all cut ourselves some slack.

So, with tired eyes, I’ll push myself up and try again today. I’ll lean on my family and friends for support and words of encouragement, but ultimately will find the strength within to persevere. That’s all I can really ask for today, and that’s totally fine 🙂

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Photo credits – circleofpines & airpixels