A Happy Medium

‘We need focus on getting back to normal.’

Talk to anyone about their opinion on the pandemic and it will probably feature that line. But what if the pandemic has shown us that our previous way of life was too fast paced, and we all need to slow down a little? Unfortunately, we have all learnt the hard way that life is precious, and we should take time out to be with our loved ones. A lot of us will re-think staying late in the office and forfeiting our lunchbreak to get that final report finished.

Because despite the horrendous number of deaths and the rapid decline of the economy that the UK has seen, I have learnt one positive thing over the last 18 months. We shouldn’t be sacrificing our mental health to pay the bills on time. The multiple lockdowns, shifts to working from home and becoming furloughed has helped many people realise that their job should be something they enjoy.

Finding the Balance

In the midst of the pandemic, it has become apparent for a lot of people that they have lost the enthusiasm for a job they once enjoyed, or thought they enjoyed. Where life has been so uncertain, most people have reflected on their professional life and, for many, realised that the blood, sweat, tears and hours that they have invested, are not worth the payoff.

I was one of those people.

I previously worked in oncology, and I adored my job. My co-workers were the funniest bunch of people you would ever meet, and I cherished the feeling I got when assisting patients. But, where the workload was centred around cancer, I definitely felt the burden of each and every patient I spoke to. It began to consume my personal life. All I would think about day in and day out, was death. And not just any old death. Death by cancer. It is so morbid, even writing it down. But that’s all I thought about from when I woke up to when I went to sleep. The final nail in the coffin was when a patient, who I spoke to most days, passed away suddenly. I’m not naïve, I knew it was inevitable, but it really shocked me, and I did grieve for his family. I realised that this was not something I could do long-term.

For the reward I experienced when I received a thank-you card, I just couldn’t justify the nights I spent lying awake thinking of all the patients and their families.

Following the Dream

I have always, always had a passion for writing, and I know that most aspiring writers say that, but I really have. I had an overactive imagination growing up and my long-term goal is, and always has been, to write and publish a novel.

I thought that now was as good a time as any to blindly follow my dream. I have been working at a marketing company as a proof-reader and blog writer for 3 months now and it is giving me a big hand in getting there.

This week, I refused to put it off for any longer and decided to begin my ambition of being a freelance writer. I have so many ideas and so much creativity to give, who knows where that could take me.

Don’t be misunderstood, every time I write more than 10 words, I become agonisingly shy over my work and feel scared and embarrassed to even show my nearest and dearest. But I have received nothing but kind words and feedback so far, which I appreciate to no end.

So, now I begin the journey of actually being paid for work (which seems like a far-flung fantasy right now), but I will persevere until I get there!

Don’t stay in a job just for the salary. Yes, we all have ends we need to meet, but job satisfaction is crucial and as the age-old saying goes: ‘Don’t get so busy making a living, that you forget to make a life’ (good old Dolly Parton). And the message I’d spread, is that if you want something you can’t go a day without thinking about, then it’s worth pursuing. If you get butterflies in your stomach at the thought of achieving that goal, then it’s worth it.

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