I was flicking through my photos today and this one popped up. It stopped me in my tracks. Life now could not be more different from when this was taken. I was away for work and I'd escaped just for a little bit to wander, see sights. Which is not usually how it happened. When I was away for work I'd arrive and go flat out until I'd leave. But this was different. I was completely miserable. I hated this job. Every thing we did and the way we did it grated against every one of my values. I used to feel sick arriving, sick through the day and sick coming home knowing I'd have to go back again. I met some of the loveliest people in this job who I still count as friends but I also met some of the nastiest, most toxic people I've ever met as well. This day I did not want to be here but I did not want to go back. I felt like there was no way out. I felt trapped. Hopeless. Stuck. And I offer a very sincere and heartfelt apology to my travelling companion on this trip (you know who you are) because I suspect I did nothing but talk about how awful I felt... I'm so very sorry. You were and are genuinely so lovely.
But that was seven years ago. There is just about nothing I recognise in my current life from back then. My immediate family is still my family (albeit grown) but that's about it. It did get me thinking though. When we feel completely stuck and hopeless we can make changes. We can take a different direction. It's just that it happens in little bits, tiny increments that are hardly noticeable. Can I pinpoint times in the last few years where the change was obvious? Maybe one or two - like the day I started studying or the day I finally left my previous career to leap into the new one. But for the most part it was a series of a million little changes in activity, habit, attitude, perspective, approach. Nothing earth shattering in each day, just a dogged belief that I was on the right track. Was it easy? Absolutely not. I've never been so far out of my comfort zone. Did I get it right? Was it worth it? I'm not sure you can every be really 100% sure. But I'm not this very unhappy person dreading every option in front of me and desperate for a way out. And every day I see a little more of me, of the things that make me smile, in my life and that's fine by me.