Landslide

Landslide

I was never originally afraid of change. It always seemed very attractive to me when it was pushed into the near future and I didn’t have to really worry about it much. In other words, I wasn’t afraid of the idea of change. But the next few months are a period of change for me and yes, I’m afraid. 

Stevie Nicks sang Landslide on Thursday night and I cried. Not only because that song was a big one in my childhood but because it makes sense to me right now. I’ve become quite comfortable with how my life has been the last few months and now that things are changing, I’m afraid of how it might change me. 

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Despondency

Despondency

I’ve stopped telling people how I feel. It has almost become a competition on who has it worse which doesn’t help anyone. I know it’s hard to remain objective when you feel like what’s happening to you is the worst possible thing but just like someone else’s beauty isn’t an absence of your own, your problems existing doesn’t mean others’ are trivial. So in order to deal with what’s on my plate, I’ve stopped sharing it.

I think that the best description on how I’ve been feeling lately is despondency. I am overwhelmed the point of being downright disinterested. The things that make me happy, don’t. The people I find comfort in, I can’t. I struggle to get up and go to work, to eat well, to get any kind of exercise, to read, to write. The only feelings I do feel are anxiety and frustration. And extreme fatigue.

Part of that is the medication I’m on, it kind of sedates you. I know if I take it in the morning, it knocks me out completely. Part of it is the emotion of the last number of months. Part of it is subconsciously knowing I have to move back home in a few months. Part of it is the constant managing of my finances so that I have enough to live on.

It doesn’t matter how much sleep I have, I will wake up tired.

So, in other words, it’s just the stress of life. But that doesn’t make it any less difficult to deal with.

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25 for 25

25 for 25

I turn 25 on Friday.

I don’t think I’m as horrified as I could be (or should be). I don’t mind birthdays but they were never really a huge focus in my life. I’m not a “it’s my birthday month” kind of person, I honestly just want to get on with my day.

It took me a while to realise that your birthday is just another day in the calendar. You’re not supposed to (or expected to) magically feel anything in particular. Things aren’t meant to be miraculously different. You won’t discover the meaning of life or find enlightenment. It really is just another day. So I’ve stopped having massive expectations for my birthday and allowed it to just be. And for that, I am much happier.

But classing myself as being in my ‘mid-20s’ is a little frightening. Here I am, 24 going on 25, with a handful of achievements and dreams of a couple more.

I share my birthday with Reese Witherspoon and William Shatner (v cool) as well as my best friend (medium cool) who was born in the same hospital on the same day in the same year just hours apart. He and I only met in college but our lives ran pretty parallel to one another until then.

In those 25 years, I’ve done a lot. As much as anyone would really. There’s nothing particularly extraordinary about my life. I haven’t achieved anything massively spectacular or survived any enormous amount of trauma (aside from mental health struggles) but I have learned a few things; things that have helped me, things that I wish I knew before I learned them, things that have been difficult to come to terms with and things that have more or less saved my life – both metaphorically and literally.

So I thought it’d be fitting to share twenty-five of those things here and maybe when I hit fifty, I’ll have another twenty-five to throw at you.

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Buddy Holly

Buddy Holly

When I told my American History Professor that I wanted to write my Michaelmas term paper on Buddy Holly, he looked at me funny. Not in a “who is that” kind of way but more in a “sounds pretty specific but ok” way. I wrote my paper on race relations and Buddy Holly’s music – spoiler alert: not a whole lot to write about there – but it was a paper I wrote more for myself than anyone else.

If you have read this blog long enough, you’ll know about my struggles with anxiety. In fact, I seem to be starting all my blog posts like that now. But this one is a little different.

When I was younger, Buddy Holly never meant more than a dorky kid with black rimmed glasses that tried his hand at rock and roll. I didn’t know any of his songs or his impact or his untimely death. I didn’t know he inspired Elvis or The Beatles or Bruce Springsteen or that he broke the foundations to what is now rock and roll. He just wasn’t someone I was bothered about.

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Everything I’ve Learned

Everything I’ve Learned

Do you want an emotional and soppy post? No?

Tough, you’re getting it anyway.

I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for the people around me, the people who have shaped me since I was a child, the ones who have been constant and the ones who drift in and out. And it’s especially true for periods of transitions where you’re a little in the dark. In the last 18 months, I moved out of home, I started a new job, I went back to college, I sought treatment for my anxiety and I took a two week travelling trip to the US on my own. This is more than I could probably have imagined for my 24 year old self when I was in college.

But transitions like these are hard.

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2009 v 2019

2009 v 2019

I see everyone posting their 10 year challenge pictures.

Ten years ago my life was widely different to what it is now. Sure, everyone’s is – be a bit weird if it wasn’t, right?  But ten years ago, I was preparing for my Junior Cert which  was a catalyst for some of the major issues I faced in my late teenage years and early 20s.

Up until 2016, I categorised my life before and after 2009. My life was calm, smooth and pleasant before 2009 and after, it became a chaotic, anxious mess. Because 2009 was the year that I first experienced Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

I’ve written about my OCD before. Numerous amounts of times. In fact, I’m pretty sure you’re all sick of hearing about it because God knows I am. I can’t say I was an anxious child growing up – I don’t really remember – but if you had said I’d an underlying mental health issue, I don’t think I’d have believed you.

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Winter Reading

Winter Reading

Ok the title of this post is a lie.

I didn’t finish one book between October and December.

Not one.

Compare that to my incredible one-book-every-four-days feat in April and you’d think I maybe I had forgotten how to read.

Truth is, life gets busy. And in order to do the things you want to do, you really have to make time for it.

You also need to acknowledge that life is too short for a book you can’t get into.

But I have managed to start again this month and read two books I think are worth reviewing – I’m cheating with one of them – it’s a short story. I’ve also written a bit about the two books I struggled with last year and maybe someone could shed some light on how I could possibly get through them.

 

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Mr Salary – Sally Rooney

My best friend knows I am a huge HUGE Sally Rooney fan and bought this short story of hers for me for Christmas. It’s thirty pages of tension, growing pains, missed opportunities and bereavement. I adored every last word of it. Perfect if you want a half an hour read.

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Respite

Respite

I’d be lying if I said Christmas was my favourite time of year. Give me Autumn, late summer or Spring over Christmas any day because honestly, find this time of year to be the single most lonely and stressful time.

The strive for perfection I gave up on long ago but the idleness, the lack of routine and the copious amount of food, which I admit used to be a blessing just a couple of years ago, has become a source of stress and anxiety. That mixed with the weather, my non-existent sleeping pattern and the lack of socialisation (as so many of my friends have left Dublin for their homes all around the world) gives way to a path of crankiness, unfounded doubt and worry.

But today, I did something about it.

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Edinburgh

Edinburgh

When I first suggested going to Edinburgh in December, most people said ‘don’t’. They said it was miserable and dreary and yeah, at times, it was.

But I didn’t mind so much. The weather went hand in hand with the festive atmosphere that was coming to the surface at what was the first weekend of December.

The place was unbelievably busy between the Christmas markets and the many, many events the city were running. It rained a lot – the first clear day we had was on Monday, the day we left – but the atmosphere was cosy, our hotel was wonderfully warm and generous and I found that Edinburgh is the perfect size for a three-day exploration that also lent itself to daytime naps and hours-long afternoon coffee.

I spent most of my time exploring so there’s not a huge lot to say about it – the photos really say it all (and it’s photo heavy – sorry!)  – so I won’t be writing up a full itinerary but if I had to recommend a few things it would be:

  1. The Scottish National Gallery – about half the size of Dublin’s (which is already pretty small), you could do it in 20mins but is home to some beautiful Monets, Degas and some of Scotland’s own art.
  2. Victoria Street (the first photo below) – which was said to be the original inspiration for Diagon Alley. The shops are just as whimsical and chaotic as you’d imagine. It’s also home to countless Harry Potter gift shops and narrow specialist stores that are dubbed the real Olivanders and Flourish & Blotts.
  3. Edinburgh Castle – not the castle itself but the walk up to it. If you get there early in the morning, you’ll miss the crowds and get to enjoy the most famous part of the Royal Mile all to yourself complete with bagpipes, warm coffee, and cobbled roads.

But despite the crowds and the rain, Edinburgh was the best way to round off the busiest year in travel I’ve ever had (I’m talking seven cities, ten flights and infinite bus rides in ten months). I think I’ll stay at home for at least the next six years.

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