What A Difference 9 Months Makes – How Blogging Saved Me

I read a lot today. I read my own writing, from my first blog post up until now. In hindsight, I believe this blog saved me from a much darker fate. The act of putting something in writing for the world to see, be it an idea or a thought, an emotion or a desire has strengthened my will to achieve my dreams, and I am proud to say that since the time I started writing publicly, my life has completely changed for the better.

It was sad to read many of my posts. The first 3 months I spent blogging was a very bad time in my life, wrought with depression and other vices that were leading me down a rabbit hole I could not see a way out of. The truth of the matter is that I am usually not a very open person. I find it very difficult to confide in people, or even talk about my state in the simplest of terms. Yet in writing, I find myself telling the world, openly, all the things I cannot seem to tell even those people that are closest to me.

I read posts about freedom and failure, materialism and minimalism. I read about my plans to remove all of the clutter from my life and about the way I want to live. As of this moment I am happy with my life. I travel, I see, I do and I feel free. Since leaving Melbourne I have learned, and learned very quickly, just what is important in my life. I own less than I ever thought possible, yet find myself wanting nothing more than a new book occasionally, or a block of chocolate. I live well, I enjoy my work, I eat well and have good accommodation, and all for less than I could have ever imagined.

Perhaps the hardest hitting revelation I had in this process is recalling just how depressed I was in my ‘successful’ life. Were it not for me putting in writing many of my thoughts I would no longer remember just how much I hated my life. The depression I felt now seems so distant, and my blog serves as a reminder to me that my well being is in my own hands. My current situation is a direct effect of acknowledging that I was not happy and making the hard decisions necessary to change. It wasn’t easy. Much of the journey has not been easy. I have had several serious setbacks and many unexpected turns, but never lost sight of my goal. However, no matter how stressful, or how broke and hungry I may have found myself in the process, the depression that once gripped me has loosened its hold and no longer exists.

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Unnecessary Anxiety

My mind is in a strange place at the moment. At work (only 4 weeks left) i’m as depressed as I have ever been, though outside of work i’m getting close to being the happiest I have ever been. Every day I undergo a complete mental reversal at about 5:30. There is excitement brewing in me about what might be to come. There is also an anxiety eating at me about just how bad work might get during the next 4 weeks. The anxiety is very hard to overcome, whilst also being unnecessary. I recognise that my anxiety stems from a fear of what is in my short term future, whilst that in 4 and a half weeks I will be on Falls Creek without a care in the world. So why do I still feel anxious? why do I still have the urge to destroy all the things?

It seems reasonable that whilst in the midst of a hard time or a stressful situation one might become stressed or overwhelmed. Though to be stressed in anticipation of an upcoming event that may or may not be hard to deal with seems entirely unreasonable, and to only make the present, otherwise potentially pleasant moment, worse. So why feel anxious? Why whilst understanding that right now, whilst i’m not being persecuted or accused of some bullshit bureaucratic¬†error, do I still feel so anxious about events which may not even occur. Further more, the events which may or may not occur depend entirely on my ability to output a sufficient amount of work. Though my anxiety about what may happen if I don’t get my work done is preventing me from completing my work. It’s all a vicious cycle of horrendous productivity. Perhaps a clear sign that I am not where I want to be.

I think subconsciously my anxiety is also a result of feeling that I am letting down my employer. I have a responsibility as an employee, that of late, I have not upheld. My first years as an engineer I produced, though at the time I was unsure how well I was doing, it is clear now that I was well over performing. It is a lie to say that I have enjoyed my time as an engineer though. I have resented (with perhaps the exception of the first 6 months) almost every moment I have spent behind a desk. It took some big mistakes and personal errors to realise that I was choosing to stay behind a desk, and that the feeling of entrapment was a result of being financially comfortable. Though now I am anxious, biting finger nails, feeling shit and wanting out. In 1 month, it will not matter what happens over the next 4 weeks. I will be out.

A Depressing Undertaking

In ideal circumstances, it is now 2 months from the day I go to Falls Creek (the snow). There is a good chance this will not happen, but in any case whatever my next step is, it will likely either be somewhere distant or on the way to somewhere distant. So I must be prepared. For those of you that are reading my posts, you will know that being prepared involves getting rid of all of my stuff. Besides perhaps a small selection of things that I will leave with loved ones.

For the remainder of today and all of tomorrow I will be photographing and listing every single book, CD and DVD I own, love and have left, for sale. Those that don’t sell I will be giving away for free. Be it to anyone that wants them or a charity store. Most likely the remaining books will go to the Melbourne Central book exchange shelf.

I wish to see more of this world, how that happens I don’t yet know and I will likely always remain uncertain about what comes next. The biggest step will be to get to the next place. The first place. And to start learning how to live with less.

The life I have been leading has now left me empty, depressed and wanting for more. But more it seems, is less. More is to enjoy the moment, to find myself in good company and in laughter. To leave behind the office and the seemingly endless professional repetition. I no longer have any desire to strive for a promotion, or a pay rise. These things are now meaningless to me. As of this June, I will no longer work jobs I do not enjoy. I will make sure that I am either somewhere I want to be, or working towards somewhere I want to be. I am the only person in control of my future. I want no handouts. I will make myself.

So for now. It is time to start taking photographs, weighing books and listing things for sale. Once I have started getting a decent amount of things listed I will place some links here.

Sigh*

Failure

Sleep didn’t come tonight. Some days are good and some days are bad. Some days are a mixture of both. This world has too many ways of defining someone as a failure, of keeping someone down and hammering in to them that they are not now, and never will be, good enough.

I find myself looking into the mirror a lot lately, asking myself ‘how did I get here?’ and ‘who have I become?’, when the truth is I know. I am an incredibly driven man, the overachiever, the one that people come to with questions. But these traits are irrelevant and useless when we loose touch with our passions, when we push so far forward in the wrong direction. The longer I remained an engineer, the more removed from what my real passions are I became, the deeper I fell into a depression that I am still struggling with and am not yet free from. Truth is, no matter how hard I think about it, I’m no longer sure where my real passions lay. I know I am in love with mathematics and the sciences. But there used to be more than that. What was it? The hunt is on.

I have faced some serious hurdles now. Woe is me right? Wrong. We all face our hurdles, some more serious than others. It is how we deal with them that defines us. I have dealt with mine in various ways. Some extremely well, leaving me with a sense of great pride, and others extremely poorly, so poorly in fact that I am lucky (and grateful) to be alive. I’m behind the ball now, still struggling back to the starting line. Though this time I am truly educated, truly prepared for what life might throw at me. I think it is likely that my greatest struggles are now behind me. We can never know what the future will hold, I could be struck by lightning today and it could all be over. We are not the masters of our own lives and we are not in control, we just think we are, and so we try our best to drive and steer around the obstacles not knowing that the engines about to blow. It is the best we can do.

Through everything, I know I am not a failure. Even though people laugh when I tell them my story and my dreams and goals, I am not a failure. My life is not going to follow a conventional path, but it will be an extraordinary one. Though I secretly hope I do, it seems unlikely I will ever marry or have kids, but this does not make me a failure. My mistakes and my shortcomings do not make me a failure. Because I am getting better, I am on the mend, and though anxious and frightened, I am prepared for anything. I know what I need to change, I know what I need to stay away from, I know what I need to do in order to be successful in my own eyes, and it is closer than anyone believes.

Live was not meant to be easy. Life was not meant to be anything. It just is. So we live, learn, fall down, fail, trip up, fall down again, get trampled on, laughed at, mocked, but then we get back up. I will keep getting back up. I will not submit to a life of just ‘getting by’ or just ‘surviving’. I will keep getting up until I am exactly where I want to be and then I might ‘lay down’ instead. Soon now, I will turn around confidently and say that I am happy, that I am where I want to be.

I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work. – Thomas Edison