Friendship

I can literally count my friends on one hand, and I am okay with that.

As a child, the amount of friends one has seems to be key to being able to exist happily, I was no different throughout my early years in school. I am now nearly 30 (that’s slightly terrifying!) and can very happily say that I have very few people who I consider a friend.

In the last 7 or 8 years I have really discovered who my true friends are. Those who have stuck by me through some of my most challenging times and have been an unwavering support for me.

In more recent times I have had people who I thought were very close friends, no longer feel close anymore. I have discovered that people change, or that I didn’t know them as well as I thought I did. One person who I believe lied to me about an illness and a surgical procedure, to this day I will never understand why. It sounds minimal, and ultimately, should I care that much? However, it makes me question other areas of our friendship where he may not have been completely honest. Another person became an employee where I work. Over time I have seen that we aren’t so similar after all, we come from very different perspectives and see the world, and the work we do, in very different ways. It hasn’t been conducive to continuing a friendship.

At times I feel sad that this is the case, people who I once held in very high esteem no longer being a part of my life in the way they were before. Ultimately though, it’s life. People change and move on. Sometimes we see people for who they truly are and sometimes, we just stop ‘clicking’.

I am very lucky in the friendships I do have. I have a wonderful human in my life who has been a part of my life solidly for nearly 10 years. I can rely on her to be there for me, listen to me, laugh with me and challenge me. She was the one who helped hold me together when my world was falling apart and for that, I will be forever grateful. She is my number one human that I count on my one hand (aside from my partner, obviously he is pretty high on the list!)

I think as we get older we solidify our friendships more and more. I know that more friends will come and go over time but my hope is that those who I hold tightly in my one hand are here to stay.

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Shopping

Today is a bank holiday and I have set the morning aside to go shopping. I hate shopping. Particularly in the place I live, on a bank holiday, as it is going to be crazy busy. It is also bloody hot. All these things combined do not make for a happy shopping experience… for me or my partner who has the joys of coming with me.

On the list today is:

  1. Birthday present
  2. Shirt for a wedding

This is not a long list by any means and I even look at it and think yep, that is a pretty straightforward list, but it still fills me with dread. Not so much the things themselves but the experience of having to find them.

What I like to do is know exactly what I need to buy and what shops I need to go in and then leave as quickly as possible! I am not a window shopper or someone who mooches around shops. Get in, pay, get out is much more my style.

The shirt is going to be a problem… I want a very specific shirt that I’m not sure even exists. I think I’ve just made it up in my head. I’m also worried that if I do find said shirt, I won’t actually like it! I can always go for plan B which is a plainer shirt with a much more fun tie, but then I have to find a shirt that isn’t boring but will also go with the tie. It is a dilemma.

I am not looking forward to going shopping today.

3 months in – the return to counselling

I have been seeing my counsellor now once a week for the last three months. It has been a good decision on the whole, however my bank account is not so happy about it.

The counsellor I see knows me very well. I have been seeing her on and off for the last 5 years. She knows most of my quirks and my ways to attempt avoiding tricky conversations, humour being the main mechanism. Safe to say that it tends not to work anymore.

Generally I find counselling very helpful. Just to have a space that is completely mine for 50mins a week does a lot of good to my brain and helps me to get my head around things I think or feel. At times I still censor myself for fear of saying the wrong thing or offending. My counsellor has told me explicitly to say what’s in my head but as my experience in work is to tread on eggshells, it’s difficult to not do that in other settings.

The last few weeks we have been talking about anger. Anger is something I resist feeling. It scares me. I don’t know what to do with it. I don’t know how to be angry or to express anger so I bottle it up and do nothing with it (on the most part). Not good.

My biggest fear is that if I become angry with someone, they will leave me. My mum did that when I was a teen. I’d do something, she would get angry and not speak to me for weeks until I apologised (whether I felt like it warranted an apology or not!) I have no positive template for anger as the other side of anger I have experienced is an abusive relationship. So… there is no model I can follow.

I think I’m making my way slowly down a path of learning to try and express anger and it being an okay thing to do. This is going to take time. I know it won’t happen immediately. The thought literally terrifies me but I am hoping that it is a step in the right direction.

Does anyone else feel like this? I feel fairly alone.

Phones up, heads down

Sometimes I feel I’m living in a world of people without faces. Whether I’m walking to work, on the bus, in a park or in a shop I tend to see more of people’s phones than their faces.

I make a real point of trying to not to be on my phone when I’m out and about. I feel like it is a missed opportunity of actually being in the world if my head is in my phone all the time.

Whilst I acknowledge for some people it is a coping strategy, there was a time when phones did not exist and people had other ways to cope. Being in the world can sometimes be better than being sucked up by a digital world.

It makes me quite sad to see that people’s lives seem to have been transferred to being lived online. Train journeys are a good example of this. I spend a fair bit of time travelling for my job and the majority of the travel is through some beautiful countryside. I make a point of shoving my phone in my pocket and trying as much as possible to not be distracted by all the crap news, embellished stories and perfected pictures that seem to take up social media.

I think we have now crossed a line where, for children and young people in particular, the world is consumed by lives being lived online. This is largely not reality. You can say what you want to say, perfect the ideal selfie and construct or manipulate experiences to sound better, bigger and stronger. It is damaging.

And so going forward, I will persist in my challenge to not be on my phone whilst out and about, and do what I can to encourage kids I work with to not live their entire lives online. Some adults should really take note too – we should be the positive role models for kids rather than encouraging or not challenging living in an online world.

Bumbling through

For the last three months I feel like I’ve just kind of been bumbling along. Work has not changed, it is still stressful and frustrating coupled with the impending doom of losing hours. Home life is fine but we are moving soon so a lot of my brain energy is taken up thinking about that. Not that I can do anything about it right now…

I just feel like I’m kind of staggering through life at the moment, which isn’t a pleasant feeling!

I am excited for moving although it is always coupled with stress for me. I will be moving with my partner which is the start of a new adventure for both of us. All very exciting but the actual physical moving is so daunting.

How do others cope with moving? Do you have a plan? Do you have a timeframe of packing? I tend to start packing up quite early but then live amongst boxes. But if I pack too late I get agitated about timing! Feels like a lose lose situation!

Blogging fail

So my plan was to blog at least once a week. I have failed miserably at this over the last month!

Life tends to catch up with me really quickly and the things I plan in or want to make time for fall by the wayside. It causes me no end of frustration.

I am currently away for a week, hopefully with the opportunity to have some down time, head space and find a sense of calm.

Tomorrow, I travel a few hours to spend a few days with my family, something I haven’t done for about 10 years. It will hopefully provide us with a chance to reconnect, away from the distractions of work and the general tasks and chores that take up so much time.

We are staying in a lodge somewhere in the countryside. With the countryside being such a big part of how I destress, I think it will give me some much needed time out! However, watch this space as 5 days away with my parents could be trying after a while!

I aim to blog again soon, with the intention of it not being a month until the next one!

Life of a Youth Worker – Intense pressure

Today I just want to cry. Work seems to be taking over my life at the moment and I don’t know what to do about it.

It is making me tired, impatient and grumpy which is not fair on my partner or anyone else around me.

I took a few days off this week to recover from a cold and that helped a lot but I still had to have my work head on as I was still involved in decision making whilst I was off. It feels never ending at the moment. I genuinely had a moment of considering whether I can do this job anymore. The first time that I have seriously considered it. It didn’t last long but still, the thought was there.

The thing is, I know that this period of intensity will pass but I don’t know when, and that is what unnerves me. I feel like I’m stumbling through one day to the next. Working over my hours, working over the weekend, considering going to work at 7am just so I have enough time to do everything I need to do.

There is a part of me that thinks why should I go out of my way, but I care about my job and I care about the kids I work with. I think this is part of the problem though, I am putting my job before anything else.

And so I am left with the feeling of just wanting to cry. I have just finished working for a few hours today and I still don’t think I have got enough done.

I guess I will keep powering through until the intensity reduces and I start to have some kind of normal routine again!

Urgh.