Finding purpose

Sometimes I feel a little lost for things to do or lacking purpose. Don’t get me wrong, I have lots of things in my life that give me purpose. I have a wonderful partner, a (mostly) enjoyable job, good friends and a nice home. These are things I have lacked in in my earlier years and so, they do give me a sense of purpose. But it feels like I am lacking purpose in the smaller things in life.

I don’t feel like a have a ‘thing’. You know how people have ‘things’ that they do, or are into or interested in. I don’t feel like I have that. There are things I enjoy and I like doing like gardening or reading or playing PlayStation… But they don’t really give me a sense of purpose or much achievement.

When I was younger I had a few things that were really important to me as person.

Music. I was massively into listening to new bands and going to gigs. I still enjoy it now but it isn’t a big part of me like it used to be.

Sport. I loved playing football and hockey but when I hit university I moved on from it, in part due to the massive drinking culture with sports societies.

Socialising with people. When I was a teenager and in my early adult years I had a fair few people who I got on with very well and would call friends. We would spend time together, go places and generally have a lot of fun. As I’ve grown up friends have moved away, grown up and been distracted by life (myself included) and so my pool of friends is very small. Not that that is problem, but it is a difference.

I go through these phases of really wanting to focus in on something or learn about something. My last blog post was about a podcast I’ve been listening to about Greek Mythology, I am still listening to it but find myself not being as connected to it as I was. I started blogging because I wanted it to be more of a thing in my life yet I really struggle to keep on top of it or have the motivation to write. I was really into swimming for a while and then life got busy and I was too lazy to build it into my routine again. All of these things I been trying tend to fall by the wayside. It is so frustrating and I only have myself to blame.

Basically, I feel like a very dull person who does not have much interesting to say or give to others because I don’t have a ‘thing’.
I think I really need to push myself to be motivated to try new things and meet new people but it’s scary and different and requires more of a drive than I have. I wish I was more like the younger me. The more carefree me. I guess this is what happens with growing up? Maybe it is that I am ready for a next stage in my life, whatever that might be. Who knows?

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The wonderful world of Greek Mythology

Since I was a child I have always been interested in Greek Mythology. There isn’t any particular reason for this, just that I find the stories fascinating.

I have been listening to the Podcast Mythunderstood for the last week (Twitter page: _mythunderstood) which is hosted by Paul and Sarah. It is my first experience of podcasts and it has certainly developed my love of listening to them!

Greek mythology is full of confusing, hardcore and fairly harrowing stories. I am only 10 episodes in and already my mind has been blown. I had a very basic understanding of Greek myths previously but I have learnt so much in a short space of time, from Zeus being a rapey bastard to where all of the Greek models of wooden penis’s come from.

Greek mythology is so far removed from my day to day life and I think that’s why I am enjoying the experience of learning about it so much. It is worlds apart from being a youth worker and it is providing me with escapism and entertainment (particularly during my commute to work!) The only challenge I am having is retaining enough of the information. There is so much to Greek mythology and so many cross overs of relationships and experiences that I have even tried to make sense of ‘family trees’ to get my head around it. Safe to say that that didn’t help all too much. It’s almost like I need to map it out on huge paper! Maybe that is a project for a later date.

What is the purpose of this post you may ask. Well, firstly, I am excited to be learning something new and having something interesting to fill my brain with. Secondly, I am hoping that someone might be able to point me in the direction of other podcasts, books or websites that contain information about Greek Mythology. I am so up for finding out more and I want to drown my brain with Gods, Titans, Demi-Gods, heroes and all the bits in between!

If you can help me out, please do ping me a comment!

The grand house move

Dear the 3, maybe 4, people who actually spend time reading my blog,

I have been very quiet recently due to the grand house move! My apologies to those of you who were interested enough in my ramblings to have missed them!

It has been approximately a month since my partner and I moved into our new house. We have moved from a noisy, busy city to a small town about 20 minutes away from where we were before.

The new town basically feels like bliss in comparison. I am really not a city dweller! Small towns and fields is much more where I’m at!

The new place is lovely however we are still living amongst several boxes and bags of just… stuff. I think I was much more idealistic than my partner about the move. As the logical, forward thinking one, he was pretty certain that we would still be amongst boxes a few months into having moved. In my idealistic way, I was sure we would be unpacked and sorted within in a week. Oh how I couldn’t have been more wrong!

As a side note, I have never had to deal with so many empty cardboard boxes. They are everywhere… in the shed, in the living room, in the kitchen, upstairs… rest assured, the ones that are a bit old and bashed will be recycled but… seriously… we could have just built a house from all of the cardboard boxes we had!

On the plus side, the boxes are basically hidden away so I don’t have to look at them. Having lived in chaos and amongst possibly the most messy people I have ever met a few years back, I now know that I need some sense of order and tidiness in my home. It quite literally makes my brain hurt if there is a tonne of crap lying around. My partner is less impacted by it. This is the first time we have lived together just us so it is a thing to negotiate.

One of the huge benefits of moving out of a city is that we can actually afford to have a place with a garden and enjoy it! Most of my weekends have been spent doing something in the garden, ranging from trying to find ways to get slugs away from the new plants or mowing the lawn in the most cack handed way imaginable. All of these are new experiences for me but it is so enjoyable!

I thought I might miss living in the city. It is where my friends live, it’s where I have spent the last 10 years or so and it is where I experienced a huge amount of highs and lows. So far, I don’t miss it at all. I still work in the city so can see friends easily, and to be quite honest, when I say friends, I mean the two or three people that I actually like spending time with.

So, the grand house move has been good so far. I am fairly certain that the more time goes on, the more my partner and I will need to negotiate different things but, for now, things are ticking along okay. My hope is that in a few months time we will be more sorted and by that point… I will have some fish friends!

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.

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.