Reaching out to my friends and family through this blog has put me on a massive high. It’s one of the most life-affirming things I’ve ever done. Your replies have made me feel brave and empowered; two parts of my personality that have become rather lost in the last three years. I have grinned from ear to ear… and cried in equal measure. I’ve discovered that swallowing your fear and reaching out to people is a pretty powerful drug.
Firstly, I feel understood. One of the most challenging aspects of my condition is how isolating it is; the symptoms I experience on a daily basis are invisible. I don’t want sympathy, but I do crave acknowledgement and understanding. I’ve received that in spades. So, the deepest of thank yous.
And I’ve discovered surprising sides to some of my oldest friends. One revealed that if she were to start again, she’d run a hair salon or a high-end dating agency. At face value, neither are an obvious fit, but as I thought about these ideas more, I realised they mesh perfectly with her personality and talents. She is chatty, sociable and endlessly curious and if I were single and unlucky in love, I’d definitely put my faith in her to find my perfect beau. She’s not looking for a new career (…yet) but she’s definitely got herself sussed.
Needless to say, I’m not there yet. But I’ve felt genuinely excited by the wise words and the ideas that have flooded in. They’ve been arresting, nerve-inducing (“could I really?”), left-field (“wow, I love you for thinking that of me”) and reassuringly similar to ideas that have been whirring about in my head.
The wise words first …
“If I were in your shoes, I would want something that replaced the satisfaction, the sense of identity, the camaraderie, the focus and the money of a job (probably in that order of importance).” Bang on. I really miss working with other people and need to find a way of making that happen.
“Writing this blog is a form of therapy for you and I’d say carry on writing. Keep on blogging (good times and bad). ”
“Forget (for a moment) about trying to earn a living, is there just some way to make more time doing what you love most and then hang out there, linger there, stay there and see what evolves…” Yes, yes, yes. Although I will have to give myself a deadline; earning a living is important to me.
And two quotes that a school friend tries to live by; “Happiness is not having everything you want but wanting everything you have” and “There are two types of people in this life; fuckwits and fuckits” (I love this and I’m definitely keen to be a “fuckit”)
And here are the ideas …
Set up a new business
The high-end dating agency friend suggested I set up a business and invite friends to invest their expertise. She’d love to dabble in a new business and would consider investing in the right idea. She’s also offered to meet me with some of her work colleagues for a brainstorming meeting to try and thrash out new business ideas.
A family friend suggested I focus on getting commissions to draw / paint, another recommended mother and baby photography or using my documentary skills to make short films of kids / families to mark important milestones. Making prints for kids bedrooms, high end greeting cards and interior design were also suggested.
Writing / journalism
Lots of people suggested trying to develop my writing and to use this blog as a launch pad to reach out to other people in a similar situation who find themselves at a crossroads in their life. There must be lots of us.
Coaching / conselling
One friend suggested I dabble in social media and launch a youtube challenge to tell my story and try to become an ‘influencer’. Others suggested I use my counseling skills to train as a life coach, marriage counselor, NCT coach, doula or a music / art therapist.
It’s quite a list and there are so many things on it that properly excite me.
The biggest thing I have to contend with now is … confidence. I think, by nature, I am a reasonably confident person but I’ve been surprised at how bloody English I am when I think about actually starting a new business and promoting myself. I have no problems saying I’m quite good at photography or I’m quite good at drawing or writing, but the next step fills me with fear. Could I use those skills to make and sell products? Could I be a good enough artist or writer to be paid for doing it? Could I run my own business?
I know I need to drown out the fear and just keep screaming “Yes!” back at myself when the doubts crowd my brain. It’ll be an uphill battle ahead, but given that I’m trying to be a “fuckit” and not a “fuckwit”, I’ve got to give it a try right?