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Thursday, 23 August 2018

No but really, what now? | An honest report on not having a clue what to do with your life




My least favourite part of going on holiday (much as I'm sure is everyone's) is the return journey home. The feel of the wheels hitting the solid hard ground or the car engine switching off leaving a deafening silence. To then be followed by the feeling of waving goodbye to holiday mode whilst dragging the suitcases out the car and dealing with unpacking. Right now my life feels very much like that.

The quiet after the noise, the fallout, the slap straight into reality.

9 weeks ago that was quite literally the case. I'd finished university without much of a second thought, after my exhibition and a final London show I was wrapped up and ready to go and straight on a plane to Croatia feeling like I'd just landed in paradise. Fast forward a week later and I was boarding the plane and returning home. The last day of the holiday I felt a pit in the bottom of my stomach that followed me home, feeling the plane wheels touch the ground it was almost like I could feel the reality of life kicking in and I started to wonder, now what? What happens now? 

I don't think anything really prepares you for that moment when you finish university. That real comedown of not only no longer having something to do, but also the feeling of no longer having a responsibility or the constant demanding work to do. I'm sure it's the same leaving a job or leaving behind something that you'd signed your life away to for years. When the tie finally releases you, you are on your own in the big wide world. And that feeling, that lost, lonely feeling is scary and it's overwhelming. 

I think it only makes you feel worse when you feel like you haven't had a real goodbye either. I guess I always expected the end to feel like the final firework they let off at the end of a display, the 'big finale' something to really say THIS is it, its all over but it never came. Even after receiving my final results it still didn't (or hasn't) kicked in. 
I think somehow in that student mind-of-mine (try saying that after a couple of drinks) I could stay in the endless cycle of creating mountains upon mountains of sketchbooks, printing pointless pages and constantly explaining 'my thought process' through scribbled drawings and stuck in pictures (that isn't really my degree in a nutshell, I swear I did actual work to get a degree)


For so long through university I went avoiding thinking, talking or even letting my mind so much wander into that grey space of 'life after university'. I'd talk about it with friends and they'd say 'after university..' and I go 'oh don't, we aren't talking about that now'. but now it has come to it I feel like a rabbit frozen in the headlights.

Completely. Utterly. Frozen.

I think that isn't helped by the fact I've always been so good at driving the attention away from me or changing the subject when I feel insignificant or less adequate. I always have been good at putting others first before myself (I'm going to take this opportunity to blame my star sign again) but I don't feel like I've ever had a moment to fully question myself or what I'm doing with my life, to fully focus it on me. At least it's never truly felt this hard. Life has always felt more simple like a train that keeps on moving to go from one station to the next. I always felt like I didn't need to question myself much on what I wanted to do or where I wanted to go. I had my life planned out (though I guess that's easier to say looking back when at the time it was more than likely heavier and complicated)

Leaving school I dived straight into six form and then straight onto a foundation before doing my degree (like I mentioned in my last post). University was more a bumpy ride before choosing my course I knew I wanted to study fashion or photography and opting eventually for fashion it felt right like it was planned out for me and my path in life but here I am sat wondering where do I fit into all of this. Did I really know what I was doing at the time? Does anyone actually know what they're doing?

Its like having a conversation with someone mid-sentence on the bus or walking in the street and that person interrupting you mid-sentence to say 'oh this is my stop here, or I'm not walking that way I'm going in this direction' for them to leave you with a radio silence that fills up your ears when you start to wonder hang on, when is my next stop or what direction should I actually be going in? You have to fully focus on your own mind, your own motives or movements and make a decision for yourself I've never been good at that, god I've never been good at decisions.

I think you always think you know what you want until it comes. Growing up I always wanted to be a weather woman for some bizarre reason. Then leaving primary school I remember filling out a yearbook and mine said 'Choreographer, dancer, singer' (I was very ambitious and un-decisive back then).  My dream careers changed all the time and they seemed to be so easy to say what it is I wanted to do until you start to grow up and people ask you seriously what do you want to do. Still, I think I bullshitted my way mostly through university by saying what I think I wanted to do until the day comes where you are still here not having a single clue. 


People keep telling me, Paige you'll be fine. You'll get a job, you'll find something, things will work out. But it's easier to say than do. I'm not about to sit here and say I'm expecting something to just come out of thin air for me and I'm not going to work to get something. But it's hard to see the future and what it holds for me when right now it looks out of focus and unclear.

One of my biggest pet hates right now is the number of people that have asked 'so what are your plans now then?' or 'have you got a job?' 'are you doing anything exciting?' when really they know they'll be the first to find out if I was. I know they care but god the amount of pressure I have on myself right now is enough already.
I think one of the most solid and reasonable pieces of advice I've been given recently was from the girl I worked for in my internship. She said to me 'take some time, relax and don't rush yourself, you've worked hard and having stopped for years, give yourself some time for you because when you do get a job you won't stop and you'll wish you'd given yourself some time off.'

So right now that's what I am doing. In my own kind of way I guess because if one there's one thing I've learnt about myself is: I don't stop, I'm always working, my minds always working, whether I'm thinking of something to write or some imagery I want to create or finding inspiration or dreaming (I've been doing a LOT of dreaming just lately, real dreaming I mean not daydreaming) but most of all I've been doing me and the things I want to do for now. Creating content or just getting round to the things that have been on my mind for months. It doesn't matter it isn't exciting to others or doesn't seem a lot to others it's for ME. I need the time to figure things out and find out who I want to be and where I want to go. It's like having a break from a relationship, once that stability is taken away it's time to be independent.
Right now I have to go my own way but I will do it in my own time. And whatever I do next, my next move you will know, believe me, you will know.
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