The past twelve months have been somewhat of a rollercoaster ride for me. You see, when I was 22, I moved overseas for a job. I was supposed to stay a year then come home. In reality, I only returned for two months before the next job, for the next year, came along. The pattern continued, with fewer and shorter intermissions, until I’d blinked and realized it was five years since I took that fundamental departure flight.
One year ago this week I came home, for good. I mean, I keep saying it might not be forever and I don’t want to be tied to a location for the rest of my life. I did however accept a permanent job and rent an apartment in the UK, which for me, is about as permanent as life gets. I’m still looking to add a cat into the equation, but I’m not quite there yet.
Transitioning from life abroad to life at home hasn’t been easy. There are times when I wonder how I could ever have given up such a rocking lifestyle, and times when I wonder how I coped with being so far away for so long. Like the time the ants were in my towel, yeah, that was particularly unpleasant.
Anyway, earlier this year as I was battling with my emotional confusion and mixed feelings, indecision about my future and an inexplicable need to plan out the next five years of my life, immediately, when I discovered a way to control my thoughts. Rather than letting them buzz around my brain like the annoying mosquitos that I left behind, I started to empty them out into a notebook.
You might call it journaling, but I think of that as more of a regular thing. For me, it’s a kind of writing self-therapy. When I’m feeling low, overwhelmed, confused or uncertain, I open that notebook and I start to jot down the main points that are bothering me. I then begin to shape them into something coherent, like a list or a story. I take the problems and I try to write solutions in the form of tangible goals. I use the space to remind myself of how far I have come and of all the positives in my life, contrasting with the negative emotions that are plaguing my mind.
Then I close the book, put it back on the shelf and leave it alone until the next time I need some headspace. It works. My mind is clear and I always feel better for it.
I’m 98% certain that my life-struggles are not completely different to everyone else’s, so I figured I’d share my little slice of mental paradise with the world. Next time you feel the need to rant, scream, cry or otherwise unload, try writing it down. No one has to read it, no one has to know what you wrote, it doesn’t even have to make sense, but I guarantee you’ll find at least a little relief from doing it.
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