As a few of my goals for 2016 surround the idea of doing the work, learning, and making it happen, I’ve been all about actively making stuff.
After being so distant from creating anything for a little while my focus at the minute is just on getting my ideas out, rough and sketchy with a billion flaws but the general gist in place. I think these bits show that pretty solidly.
Pretty much my annual guide to being a slightly better human.
There’s more to say about each of these so expect rambling essays on my favourite breakfast foods, adventure and creative plans, and my love/hate relationship with bleach.
Over potentially one of the greatest burgers of my life a few Sundays ago, I was telling my boyfriend how surreal it was to seeing my old classmates finishing their Masters. It gave me this weird outsider peek into an alternate pipeline that could have been mine.
He asked me: “Do you wish you’d stayed and done it, too?”
Immediately I knew my answer:
Now, please don’t misinterpret this as me thinking lesser of studying in any way. Uni is tough shit. Getting a Masters is fucking hard and it’s still something that I regard extremely highly (and still may want to do one day). But getting this strange insight into a path where my life could have led, beyond just studying, also where I’d be living and what I’d be doing, made me 100% certain that I’d made the right decision. I don’t think I’ve ever felt like that before.
Packing your bags and getting rid of 99% of your possessions and leaving your family and your friends and your fucking 10 year plan and moving to the other side of the world because you kinda liked this busy, rainy city that you visited for the first time a year before is scary shit. Looking over at my Sloth Man, my absolute favourite person (who I could have so easily never met), as we ate burgers (ooooh the burgers) half way through another lovely, lazy, rainy Sunday, I knew I was exactly where I was supposed to be. (I don’t even really mind how soppy that sounds (I do, I have a heart of stone! I feel nothing!!!)).
I did my honours in Psychology. I took the slackers route through my bachelor’s degree then worked my ass off on my thesis. I was lucky to be given the freedom to pick my own major (largely due to be relentless and a lot of never-dying animal rights related passion) and spent a year researching, studying, and analysing people’s mind perceptions towards animals. It was meaningful work that I both hated and loved. Following from this I planned to do my Masters and eventually my doctorate in exploring the relationships between humans and other animals and how that impacts how we perceive them as edible or worthy of some level of protection. It’s the stuff I care so strongly about. The stuff that I believe needs to be studied.
But, as I sat in in an interview for the Masters program with one of the professors, and she told me about how the next two years (potentially 4 years to get that doctorate, baby) would be non-stop hardcore hard work with no holidays and no room for a job, I felt my eyes slowly glaze over. No. Noooooo. This was not what I wanted to be doing. At all.
I’d been to London for the very first time the year before. My sister and I went backpacking around Europe (read: with two large suitcases each so it was very much not at all backpacking in any sense of the word). London was so different yet familiar. It was vast with dirty streets of hidden magic and little memories of my childhood in the sweets on street corners. London is a big fucking city. There’s always a million more things to do and the building are gorgeous. Walking down Regent Street makes me grin everytime, and Camden rocks my world. Shoreditch could so easily be my home but Greenwich feels like the cutest badly kept secret.
I thought about moving to Italy or France, too. London just felt right.
When I knew for sure, with so much immediacy and certainty, that I wasn’t meant to be doing my Masters (for now, at least), it made room for adventure. The first adventure I could think of was London.
I booked my flight. Sold all my shit. The last few months living at home in Australia was the hardest time of my life. Every day was rough. It was a struggle that was so emotional I felt it physically. I made a lot of sacrifices that I still think about everyday. At the time I didn’t know if London would work out but it didn’t matter. I needed to shed to grow. If London didn’t work there was always an endless list of alternatives. There always is.
So, here’s the thing: we never know if anything will work out. We’re all stumbling. But we have to make the room for adventures. Give yourself the opportunities to have fun and figure it out. If you’re lucky you might even find a couple of fucking good burgers along the way.
Please note that the burger pictured is not actually the burger I was initially speaking about in the opening. This was, granted, a pretty good burger. It did it’s job. However, let it be noted that it was definitely not one of the Greatest Burgers Of My Life. I want to make that clear.