Productivity Is Not Always The Answer
My original plan for my first post of 2022 was to do a letter to my past self as I reflect on my life so far on my 25th birthday. That post is still coming and I did create a TikTok related to it which you can watch here. However, 2022 threw an unexpected curveball at me. Less than 5 days into my 25th year I tested positive for covid and I am now just a mere three days into my isolation. But somehow so much has shifted and changed for me in these past three years.
I started this isolation period feeling insanely guilty for something completely out of my control and worked far too much in day one without resting which of course naturally led to me feeling worse. Throughout my twenties I have had a massive realisation through a lot of therapy (shoutout to Anxiety UK) that my whole being revolves around my fear of failure particularly in a career space far too often. Through talking to many of my friends, I have discovered that fear of failure is a shared generational trauma most likely caused by being the first high schoolers to live their lives out through social media, an immense pressure to go to university and get a 'real job' and the countless wearisome girlboss eras we have lived through.
When I was younger I used to dream of walking through New York City wearing a suit and holding a coffee whilst having a meeting through an earpiece. This 'dream' came entirely from the media, I could not have even told you what job I would have been doing in this scene. All I knew was that I wanted to be in that scene. Hustle culture has been dragged and then brought back to life countless times in my mere 25 years so far. When I started my first ever 'real job' this academic year I felt so incredibly lost. I had moved to a new place where I knew no one, had to do more real adult things than I had ever done at university and had to do all of that whilst continuing to navigate an ongoing pandemic.
For the whole first 3 months of my current job I worked from 8am - 8pm sometimes longer on a daily basis, continued to isolate myself socially and had weekly breakdowns. I lost so much of my sense of self during that time period that I couldn't have even told you what I liked doing. I mortified myself by having a complete breakdown in my car on my brother's birthday. I countlessly questioned what I was doing this all for and yet did not stop myself from continuing the same toxic pattern. I am still working on shifting my toxic relationship with work to a healthy one but as time has gone on I have set myself rules for the sake of my own health. No work after 5:30pm latest, at least one week of my holidays where I do not look at any work at all and allowing things to not be perfect.
This isolation so far has forced me to realise that although my relationship with career isn't nearly as toxic as it used to be, it is also not healthy yet. I do not want to be remembered as the woman who never stopped working, there is so much more to life than that. Now I dream of walking down a beach with a book in my hand, a water bottle in the other, with no phone or earpiece in sight. Ambition is not something to shy away from but it is something to fear. This post was really just a massive ramble as isolating alone means I cannot speak these thoughts outloud to anyone else currently but if it even resonates with just one of you it's enough for me. Set boundaries and recognise the warning signs before burnout happens, and if you are isolating binge the damn tv show without a device in hand. The latest gossip girl has been my drug of choice so far.