Time for some brutal honesty…
I said a couple of posts ago that I was blogging for me. And this is exactly that. Being honest, and letting people in to the world inside my head is exhausting, and completely out of my comfort zone. I’m a renowned ‘bottler’. I would much rather keep things locked away, almost to the extent of throwing the key away, rather than dealing with the things I end up thinking about and experiencing. One of my challenges for the last few years has been learning how to open up, first to myself, and then eventually to other people. In some ways, I’ve partially achieved this: opening up to a few select people. However, I’ve still got a long way to go. It’s very possible that it’s one of the things I need to learn this year, and I feel like blogging could possibly be the way forward in that sense.
I have briefly mentioned that my plans have changed for this year, although I’ve said very little other than that. Following on from finishing life at Sixth Form, and successfully completely my A-levels, I had planned to spend the year on BMS World Mission’s Action Teams programme. This involved spending 10-months together with other ‘Action Teamers’, three of whom would form my team. With this, I planned to spend 6 months in Nepal, volunteering in a number of different ways, and truly using this year to honour God and do my best to help others who are less fortunate than us. And I say that loosely. They may live a simpler life, with far fewer items in a material sense, but that doesn’t detract from the life they lead – often their approach to life is inspiring. I’m aware that I’ve just generalised – but from my own experiences, and those of others, I believe it to be the case. Anyway, those plans dropped out of the window a few weeks ago, when I came to realise that it wasn’t the most sensible to continue with them. These plans changed ultimately due to a number of circumstances, which I may elaborate on at some point in the future. At the moment though, it’s a bit too raw to fully explain.
What I really wanted to talk about today was how I’ve felt over the past two weeks. Although the decision was made about a month ago, as a family we went away for a fortnight, and it was only at the beginning of September that reality began to set in. School started again, people began going off to uni, my dad went back to work. But I’m at home, with no routine, and no idea what I want to get out of this year, or how to fill it. For the past four years, (although it could easily be more, school has always been the major part of my life), I seem to have been driven solely by exams. Be it GCSEs, AS levels or A levels over the past year, nothing faltered. My life was dictated by school hours, essay deadlines, rehearsals and the never-ending to-do lists. To have those stripped away from me, and everything else, leaving me with practically nothing, has been really hard, and has left me feeling very vulnerable.
Over the last few weeks I’ve started saying goodbye to my friends who are moving to university this year. If I’m honest, it’s been a really strange experience. These are people who I’ve seen pretty much five days a week for the past 7 years, some of them even longer than that. All of a sudden, they’re moving all around the country – some up to 300 miles away from home. No longer are they just a 5-minute drive to pop and see, but several hours away. Although I’m excited at the prospect of going to visit them, and seeing more of the beautiful country I call home, I can’t help but feel sad that things are changing. Deep down, I know it’s not for long; Christmas will be here before we know it, and they’ll all be home again, but in the present moment, it’s hard to say goodbye.
Change is an inevitable part of life, but that doesn’t mean it’s something I like. There are some people who thrive off change, however I am very much the type of person who is comfortable in routine, and change causes more stress and anxiety than I’d care to admit. That said, the challenge that comes with change often is rewarding. Stepping out my comfort zone into something new is daunting, but ultimately brings new adventures. As my friends are stepping out of their ‘norm’, out of their comfort zones, and setting up new lives in their university towns, it’s likely they will face a number of challenges that come with finding independence for the first time, such as cooking, living and even having to be their own alarm clock. Part of me is slightly jealous of their plans falling into place, while I feel stranded and that things are yet to come together.
That said, ideas and options are falling into place, and I can’t help but see God’s hand in it. I’ve only been looking for two weeks, and already plans have emerged. While I still feel like I’m living in a time of uncertainty, it’s a test for me to learn to wait, and trust. And I’m trying. I just ask that you try and bear with me, at least while things come together?
I’ve moved into an unknown territory today in being so honest – but I want to try and learn how to harness honesty. In this day and age, honesty is sometimes put on the back burner, because we all live lives hidden behind screens and a social media profile (more to come on this in the future…). But in being vulnerable, and learning to have deeper conversations, I’m hopeful that more fruitful relationships are formed – ones in honesty and openness, where trust is first and foremost.
And that concludes today’s rambles…and this edition of ‘Honest Reflections’. And to those of you who are off on new adventures, and I’m saying goodbye…let’s change it to ‘au revoir’. Take this with you, because the words of Dr Seuss hold a valuable truth. Christmas will be here before we know it – but until then, farewell!