What If My Dreams Don’t Come True?

Just two words can leave me in a cold sweat. Two words that have had me tossing and turning throughout the early hours of the morning, putting those dreams on hold or shattering them and most importantly, having me doubt every cell that swims flippantly through each and every vein in my body. So, as I come to the last year of my twenties, I look back at my ‘what if’s’ with an arched eye brow and an eye role here and there.

What if I don’t get the job?

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It happens. Sometimes you lose out to someone with more experience. Sometimes you realise that you had completely fucked up in the interview process through nerves that made you come out in a rash that looked ‘medical attention’ worthy (just me then?). Sometimes it’s not what you know but who you know. Some you win, some you lose but I think you always end up where you are supposed to be. It sounds easy to say ‘just have faith’ and that I’m flippantly putting that statement out there with no thought. But that is not the case. I have certainly lost out on many jobs. I have also been hired for many jobs that I now wish I had lost out on. Still, I completely have faith that I will end up in a job that makes me happy. One that doesn’t leave me crying silently in a cubicle, having sleepless nights and generally losing my mind. Have faith that all will work out as it should. Keep working on projects that utilise your natural talents and above all keep trying. The wheel has to turn the other way eventually.

What if I get fired?

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This did happen to me and unfortunately it wasn’t when I was a teenybopper, shovelling greasy chips into paper cartons at the local fish and chip shop. Nor did it happen when I started a sales career knocking on strangers doors trying to force a brand new gas and electricity supplier down their unsuspecting throats. Nor did it happen when I was dodging responsibilities in my last job. It happened when I felt I had found the ideal role. Right in the heart of Sydney, in an office block that revealed views of a city that took my breath away. My new role was to create documents for the bankers. A role that would have me exploring the depths of the Microsoft office suite to create visually pleasing masterpieces. The high-flying bankers would then use the documents to close various multi-million dollar deals. I got the job through a friend. Someone who helped me through the interview and a 3 hour Microsoft office test to secure the job.

I felt I had hit the jackpot. Finally I could stay in Australia – my dream place and build the life I’d always wanted. It wasn’t to be. Barely a week into the new job I was gently told to hand in my pass and make my way to the exit. Quite rightly too as I had no idea how to navigate through Excel never mind create a fancy technical graph that would leave members of the boardroom drooling. I also wanted it so much that I couldn’t concentrate, preferring to beat myself up over every single mistake that I made or the fact that I was just so damn slow. I left feeling like such a failure that my words here cannot do the crushing, overwhelmingly disappointed feeling justice.

Now I look back and see a small glitch in the road. Something that I barely think about and if I do, it no longer matters anywhere near as much as it did. It wasn’t meant to be and yes, I could sit here and think of what could have been but that really is a fruitless act. Sometimes your hired and sometimes your fired. Sometimes you resign and the boss loses out. Sometimes your fired and you lose out. As long as you tried your best and gave it your all then that’s what really matters. You never know, perhaps a few years down the line you will realise that it was the best thing that ever happened, which is certainly the case for me.

What if he leaves me?

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When I look back at my past relationships, I usually cringe. Reason being is that I was so desperate, it was embarrassing. Falling in love is wonderfully painful. With it brings a certain madness to the mind which can leave you being extremely unreasonable at the best of time. Sometimes, when you are least expecting it, that nasty soul sucking worm will start whispering to you that all is not safe and your loved one will be making their grand exit shortly. With the worm now nibbling slowly at your sanity, you throw caution to the wind and begin to latch onto your loved one with smothering force.

It not clever and it isn’t pretty. There is nothing worse than a desperate lover. He may well leave. It could be because the grass seems greener. It could be because the relationship has run its course or it could be that your insecurities are driving them away. Relationships end and relationships begin. The sooner you let go, the easier it will be…For you. As the saying goes ‘If you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you, its yours forever. If it doesn’t, then it was never meant to be’. Also, you may be surprised that when you are out of ‘that’ relationship and recovered, you may look back and think ‘my god he was a prick. What the hell was I thinking?’ Or something along those lines.

What if I’m single for the rest of my life?!

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Many people are single and more and more people are choosing to stay that way. Take a dear friend of mine who is maybe in his 50s. He has been single for the entire 12 years that I’ve known him and has resigned himself to the fact the he is going to remain single. Comfortable in his routine, it has now become harder to let someone into his life. For me, I believe that it is far more important to be comfortable in your own skin than to search for someone to fill the void. If you can’t be alone, truly by yourself in your own company, then you will have a hard time really flourishing in any relationship. Work on yourself, no matter how painful that may be. Make yourself into the best You possible. If someone does come along and sweeps you off your feet then hopefully they will have worked on themselves too and together you would make one unbeatable team. If someone doesn’t come along then at least you can say that you enjoy your own company and actually LIKE yourself. That you can fulfil all your dreams and ambitions without hoping that someone else will do it for you. Take control of yourself. Make yourself happy. Once you have achieved that then whether someone is in or not in your life will be irrelevant.

What if I can’t make friends?

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Ah, the joys of making friends when you’re an adult. Gone are the days of wandering through the school corridors rubbing shoulders with your greatest fans – your friends. When you’re an adult taking on the pressures of the working world, making friends becomes a little (a lot) less straight forward. Yes, there are going to be people who just don’t like you. Sometimes on sight. Just the mention of your name could have people kicking the office bins over in a frenzy. Sometimes there are valid reasons that you have people vividly plotting your death. Other times it really is their problem. As they say, you can’t please everyone and why the hell should you. Life it tough enough as it is without having to try to please people who will never appreciate your uniqueness. That’s not to say you run around with your head up your arse, practically choking on your own ego. Be sincere, listen to others and show kindness. People love people. It’s human nature to be social creatures. Be the one to break the ice and introduce yourself. New and amazing friendships are waiting where you least expect them to be.

What if I don’t have it ‘all together’ when I reach my thirties?

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I have a list that had been created when I was in my early twenties. It pretty much went as you might guess with emphasis on the house, car, great job, great man, holidays and money. Pretty much a fancy pants lifestyle. Now I sit in my parents house as I wait to see if the job I want (and one I know I will be good at) will come through. I have no house or no mortgage to speak of, no car, no man in sight and little savings. If you had told me that when I was writing my dream list and crossing my fingers for the days to come I would have felt severely deflated. My stroppy younger self would have thrown the tantrum of all tantrums while asking the big question ‘what the fuck is the point then?!’ Well, I can safely say that I wouldn’t have it any other way. I have one year before reaching my thirties and I may or may not tick off all my to do list and that’s ok. As long as I grow a little wiser, a little happier and a little kinder then that’s all that matters to me.

Reviewing the suitcase

I have temporarily put a pause on my wanderings in order to obtain the documents needed to teach in South Korea. Filled with promises from various people claiming South Korea to be just ‘awesome’ I have decided that’s my next port of call, even though it looks colder than anything the UK could possibly fling at me. My partner in crime (well, my gay travel partner) could not stop going on about his obsession with k-pop and his need to find a Korean husband….Immediately. Not one to interfere with such a fab goal, I have decided to help him in his quest for love, and maybe find a hot guy in the process myself. So as I unpack, back with the parent and the promise of Tesco’s delights, I have decided to review my suitcase, mainly the ‘what was I thinking’ items.

Shoes

After spending the entire duration of my trip in either flip-flops or canvas trainers, it is a fact that I really did not need to be lugging those wedges and black work high heels around the world with me. Did I throw them? Hell no. Once you find a good pair of shoes – especially the wedges – that are pain-free and go with anything, they are with you for life. Or until they fall apart in over wear which doesn’t bear thinking about. I did, however, wear the wedges once. This was purposely so I could justify them taking up room and weighing my suitcase down. And no I did not care that the roads in Hanoi do not cater for wedges.

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Bikinis

I took four and wore none. Dreams of soaking up the sun on a Thai island, sipping cocktails were non-existent. Being a person that tries to ‘go with the flow and just see what happens’ I just seemed to travel north throughout the duration of my trip. My shorts, bikinis and summer dresses didn’t get a look in. Instead I wore the same grey jumper for the entire trip as this was the only ‘winter’ wear that I had managed to bring. By the end of the trip, I was sure it was ready to sprout legs and make a run for the door.

That dress

I have a lacy little number that always makes me feel good, covers enough whilst sucking everything ‘in’, sexy but classy. That too came along for the journey, never to escape the suitcase. Thoughts of great bar scenes, eligible gentlemen and fancy restaurants was replaced by chanting in a Temple, shivering from 4.30am winter mornings starts, 21 hour bus journeys amongst questionable body odours and dribbling noodles over myself. Wearing every layer of my suitcase to shield off the cold ensured that not only did I not bother with any beautification ritual or fancy outfits but I also didn’t want to. You could barely get me change out of my multiple layers.

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Nail Varnish

Taking at least 5 bottles in my favourite colours, I assured myself that I would mix it up, colour coordinating and generally making my nails look pretty. No need to be a rough and tumble traveller, I said to myself. Just because you are ‘backpacking’ does not mean you don’t put effort in. Bahahaha. Oh the lies we tell ourselves. The majority of the journey was trying to get the damn stuff of my nails, particularly when I was living at the temple. Forgetting the nail vanish removal, I spent my time picking at the colour in a bid to rid myself of any sign of beautification (which was not allowed). Finally I manage to use some removal at the monks wife’s home and breathed a sigh of relief to finally be rid of it. Moments later M looks at me all excitedly and tells me she wants to paint my nails. Not one to dash someone’s delighted and hopeful expression, I proceed to let her do her worst, which was to paint my nails in garish colours with added flower prints. So much for looking natural.

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Ah, I said natural….

Those skinny pants

Yes, I admit it. I took my skinny trousers in the hope that a few months hauling my luggage around South East Asia would melt inches from my thighs. Who knows when I would have the opportunity to eat, therefore bring the pants! Well its true, I managed to get into them and apart from being a bit snug, they did fit. Although by this time in my travels and with a whole new perspective  to boot, I suddenly thought – arse catapulted into the pants, why the hell am I doing this to myself?! Yes life is far too bloody short to spend my time wanting to fit into a pair of trousers! How absurd that a piece of material could have such a hold on me. So I bravely left them behind – to be donated of tossed, free to make someone else just as miserable with their unforgiving lack of elasticity.

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They fit!!!

Now, I am back to parents house with all its questionable odours such as mould and dog farts. My days will be spent curled up on the sofa, devouring Netflix like a pro and in the process observe my mind as it turns to mush. I will indeed relish the art of doing nothing.

Let go

Let go.

That’s what they tell you.

I look back and see myself gripping the events, emotions, people, objects which such intensity that my mind feels crushed with the need. The pure wanting and the idea that if I just let go, my world will disintegrate around me. When I was in school – pre-rebellions stage – I would cry over a lost school book. It would be 7.30am and I would be hanging over the sofa frantically grabbing at the various objects that have fallen down the sides, never to be seen again. I cannot bear the thought of walking into school and being ‘That girl’. I know the teacher will have to give me lined paper to write on which would make the other children look at me. I cannot bear to feel those beady eyes burning holes into my itchy, woollen jumper. I know that for that split second my teacher will look at me in disappointment. Disappointment. That word lingers in my 11-year-old mind. I cannot take it anymore and the tears fall down my pillow creased face. Time is ticking so I have to give up the hunt. Give up. I walk to school with a black cloud, snaked around my shoulders. My life at that moment is ruined.

Oh how I have worried, needlessly. ‘worrying is like a rocking chair, it never gets you anywhere’. My mother tells my I am such a worrier. Or she did. She hasn’t said that as much recently as I am doing anything but worry, choosing to lounge about while I am in limbo, the end of one chapter and the beginning of another. I do though, recall the countless hours I spent on CV’s for jobs that were just not meant for me. Running over their endless questions in excruciating detail, hoping so desperately that they pick me, “oh please pick me”. The interviews that I have ‘performed in’, the countless running onto the Tube, from office to office, finding public bathrooms in between to rearrange my make-up which has been silently sliding off my face in the heat and stickiness of public transport. I have wasted my smiles on dates who leave me with such disappointment that I cannot fathom how on earth I am going to find someone who is even remotely decent. Those relationships that slip through your fingers whether it is you or them who wish to leave. It doesn’t matter. I have been furious at myself for not feeling the feelings I had just weeks ago. Love that has decided to not love any more, or maybe not love so much so you run around sticking invisible Band-Aids on the hope that everything stays ‘just so’.

Cant control myself…Let go. I have felt my face flush with the embarrassment of walking into a meeting because I am late due to transport. I feel like I am lying when I state the fact that the Tube was down…Again. I have sat feeling the frustration and anger of not knowing whether my rental deposit will ever be transferred back to me, my mind running wild with various revenge tactics.

Most recently I was worried about resigning from my job. It wasn’t my future I was worried about or finding myself full of regret a few weeks down the road. It was the actual act of resigning and what my managers would think of me. Am I letting them down, will they be disappointed in me? Of course now I can see that it mattered little. Life goes on and people move on. Mostly you will be forgotten so what really matters? Let go.

Over the years they have collected, these moments in time that completely overwhelm you and leave you crushed with uncertainty. The understanding that you cannot control the actions and consequences of others. I also understand that if I had got that job, stayed in that relationship or not cut contact with that friend that I wouldn’t be on the path I am now. A path that I know is the right one, whatever the end result may be. All I know is that being the worrisome person that I am, I really need to just Let go. Have faith that all will be as it should in the end.

Cheapies

I am currently sat in the living room with my parents. Current conversation is as follows:

Mam: You ate my cheese you bastard. You bloody ate all of it didn’t you?

Dad: I didn’t touch your cheese. I haven’t eaten cheese in two weeks.

Mam: You bloody liar, swear on the bible go on?!!

Dad: I didn’t eat your cheese.  For gods sake you watch me like a hawk. Right What goodies did you get?

Shuffle of Tesco’s bags and much bickering commences.

Mam: (with paper and pen in hand) Right, you want the steaks that’s £3 and you are having all the hams that’s £4……

Dad: (looking at me for support) She’s done the bill now she is adding on to it!!!

Mam: well I paid £3.33 for those yogurts and there was bugger all money off them

Dad: Are you going to give me change from this tenner??

Mam: 1p off, look at all those bloody steaks you got?!!

Dad: yeah but I’m trying to diet really….

Mam: Steak is dieting.

You see my parents have now reached that point in every loving relationship. After 45 years of marriage there comes a point where the only way forward from here is…..Separate food. Yes that’s right, you want cheese? You buy your own. Ham? Yep that too. Butter? Don’t even think about having one slither of my butter. Oh and don’t get me started on the bacon.

I lost my mother today for a total of 4 hours. After dropping me off at the doctors the plan was that she would park by Lidl and wait for me. Speaking to the receptionist at my doctor’s surgery, I was advised that I would need some form of ID. Being the logical, well prepared person that I am, I searched my pockets to find nothing. I did not bring my purse, money, phone or any form of ID. Although I did manage to bring a pen and cello tape. Yes obviously extremely relevant in this situation. Tail between my legs I left to find my mother and prepared myself for a stern mouthful for wasting time and petrol. But she was nowhere to be found. Wandering the car park for an hour and getting strange looks from staff opening up their shops for the day, I resorted to a taxi. Arriving at the house I banged on the door and hurried my recently awoken Dad for a tenner to pay the taxi. Expressing my concern for my mother, my dad drives me back into town. He drops me back at the doctors and tells me he will drive down to the car park and look for her. ‘Tell her to come to the doctors’ I said before he drove off. Five minute later I receive a message on my mobile which I had managed to pick up from home, saying that my mother is nowhere to be seen. By now, my panic is in over drive. My Dad drives back to the retail car park so we can continue the search of my lost mother.

Three and a half hours have now passed. My dad then chooses this opportune moment to give me multiple heart attacks by saying my mother has obviously been kidnapped. ‘Yes that is what happened. There is no other logical explanation for both her and her car going missing. She must have been having a cigarette and some one forced her to drive them somewhere. She must have been dumped somewhere. That fucking scum. If they have done something to her they are the lowest of the low…..’ And on and on this went before I was silently bawling thinking I can’t go to another funeral. I only went to one yesterday. Oh my God she’s gone, what am I going to do??!! Then my sister and her partner join us in the search, also getting the police involved as it is ‘completely out of character’ for my mother to just disappear. 4 hours later and a police man advises that they have found her…..In the other car park…….Outside carpet world……All that time she had been sitting in the wrong car park.

Suppose everyone needs carpet. Sigh.

Time warp

2009

I am browsing the second-hand books in one of my favourite book stores/café on Glebe Point road, Sydney. My hand hovers over a title that I can just about read. ‘Quarter life Crisis’. I pick it up and immediately smile to myself. Must be a sign, I believe. Paying my few dollars I wander out with my boyfriend at the time who by this point has become increasingly impatient. He hates bookstores and merely tolerates my love for them.

I am tortured. Emotionally my energy is at an all time low. I can barely string a sentence together never mind trying to succeed in a high paced IT sales environment. I spend most of my week crying silently at my desk with evenings spent on the relationship battlefield, with emotional abuse being the weapon of choice. I am desperate for answers, praying constantly to God, the Angels, the Universe to give me some sort of sign that I am on the right path.

2013

It has taken me 40 minutes to eat an apple. Reason being is that it is so damn quiet here in the open plan office that I could hear the crunch vibrating through my skull. Paranoid that my colleagues might be mentally strangling me with each crisp, echoing bite, I gave up. I didn’t even make it to the core before throwing it away. This of course made me even more agitated than usual.

I was foolish yesterday and booked a one way ticket to Bangkok for November. I have not even had my second interview for the Celta course yet and I have already taken the plunge and acted a little irresponsibly. I had to have a Desperados beer straight after the booking confirmation came through to quench my nerves. It had to be done though as I can feel my insecurities building up minute by minute. If I wait any longer I may not have any courage left.

I walked to work with a slight spring in my step which people have not failed to notice. I can smell the freedom already. It will be a fresh start but I am terrified. What if my plan of escape fails to work again? I swore to myself that starting this job over a year and a half ago that my itchy feet were thoroughly scratched. I told myself it was time to nest. I was to save my money, work hard in the corporate world, get on the career ladder, put a deposit down for a house and finally have some stability after the endless rollercoaster of jobs, travel and bad romance. Now I have done it again. I could very well be throwing away great opportunities for the unknown but isn’t life all about taking some risks? Why is it the more stability I have the more my soul wants to desperately break free.

At the time of buying that book on the quarter life crisis, I was in the middle of an awful relationship which a year and a half later I am still emotionally recovering from. I remember reading the book and looking to my partner for answers. Answers to the big questions of ‘what the hell am I supposed to do’? I never did get the answers I needed and spent many more months silently crying at my desk wondering if it was ever going to get easier. I desperately wanted someone to reassure me that everyone goes through these moments in life, except no one did. Particularly not my partner at the time. I can say that I am grateful that time in my life is over but I know how it feels to fail, which is why this challenge seems overwhelming at the best of times.

I am sitting at my desk and feel like screaming. My mother tells me that I am running away. If that is the case then I can only give myself this advice…..Run.