Now I’m back at an old job that I thoroughly enjoy, I get on with my dad better than ever and my whole family too, really. I live between home and my boyfriend’s flat and I am now eight months into this serious relationship where we are planning to move in with each other.
As you can see, a lot has changed. I suppose it’s natural for life to have it’s ups and down’s but of course the down’s can be terribly hard. I’ve always stuck with the mantra that you have to get through the bad stuff to get to the good – and to learn from the bad stuff – but lately I’ve also realized that sometimes you have to take a step back too, whether that’s to get a grip on your life and reevaluate where it’s going or taking a step back entirely.
Don’t believe me? Read on.
Over the past few years, I’ve definitely gone backwards a lot – especially in the last year or so. I struggled a lot when I was out of work and ended up signing on to receive benefits. There’s a huge stigma around this and it’s easy to see why. I often thought that by signing on, people would think I wasn’t good enough to get a job. Of course this isn’t true and I was definitely entitled to the benefits I received, but at the time, I was super embarrassed.
Eventually in the summer I found a job working at H&M again. To be honest, I didn’t want to go back into retail, even though I had enjoyed it at the time. But I always said if I were ever to go back to a retail role it would be with H&M – a reputable company who are great to work for. Still, considering I’d left my job at H&M for my ‘dream job’ only for that to fall through a year later and see me return back to H&M, it’s clear to see why I felt like I was going backwards.
On paper, it was going backwards in some ways – but for the better. I’m now in another store which, honestly, is in a lovely town and has nicer clientele, I’m on a regular income again and I work with a team who are really encouraging. People get promoted quickly in my store and just a few months in has seen my manager given me a lot of positive praise and promises about my future at the store. Although I loved my time at the Luton store, I was young and just wanted a job; I wasn’t bothered about future prospects and none were available at the time. With just a few months into my new role, I already feel like I’m moving further than I ever did during my two years at the Luton store.
After my mum died, cracks started slowly showing in my family when in reality this should have been a time that our family should have been relying on each other and growing closer. In some ways we did, but in other ways not so much. Things got so bad between my dad and I that I actually moved out of my family home for a few months. I regret that time so much now, but it helped me get a proper grip on what was important when it comes to family but that sometimes a bit of space can be a good thing. Over time, my dad and I started repairing our relationship by going to dinner once a week before I eventually moved back home. I actually don’t see him that much anymore as I now almost live with my boyfriend, but it works for us. He’s met someone so I no longer feel guilty at not being home. Although there’s still a split between immediate family and extended family, it has brought us immediate family closer together – my brother, sister and I are closer than ever now which is lovely.
Likewise, since meeting my boyfriend and since that time spent living at my Nan’s, my dad has commented that I have grown up a lot. I can see it too. Most of my money goes on weekly shops now or home accessories, and there’s something really nice about the regular routine I’ve settled into when staying with my boyfriend. My nan even gave us a slow cooker last week and I was over the moon!
Before I met my boyfriend, I had been single for a long time. For the first year or two after my split with my last boyfriend, I sworn off men and relationships completely. Then when I came around to the idea again, let’s just say I struggled to meet a decent guy and fell after f*cboy after f*ckboy. I dabbled with online dating websites which led me to taking a break from dating altogether last year! You know my reasons and it actually went well. I concluded in the end that I was going to be a lot more relaxed about dating and was only going to go back to online dating by reinstalling Tinder and using it a little. Of course I gave in and ended up signing back to other sites, completely backtracking and going backwards into that bad habit.
It worked out great in the end though because in February I was lucky enough to meet Vincent and I’ve never been happier. We’ve travelled together – a little in the UK and also when he showed me his beautiful home country of Romania – we get on with each other’s family’s so well and, well, he just makes me so freakin’ happy.
So it’s clear to see my life has been filled with ups and downs over the past few years and the bad times got so bad that last year I ended up suffering from small anxiety attacks. Not only did I feel like my life was going nowhere, but I also felt like it was going backwards if anything. I couldn’t see anything getting better, though of course it did, bit by bit.
When living with my nan, I took a road trip up north with my uni friend Becky, to visit our old uni haunts and watch the airshow. During that trip, I purchased a beautiful art print stating that with each piece the picture becomes clear. At the time, this comforted me and I knew that hopefully better times were to come. In fact, I incorrectly took it as a sign that maybe the bigger picture was me moving back up north and having a fresh start! Thank god I didn’t, despite announcing to everyone that I 100% was at the time – oops!
During this time, my ex and I also briefly-sort-of-stupidly almost gave things another go – now we’ve put our negatives behind us and actually get on really well as friends now but my god that would have been a disaster just waiting to happen. Though luckily we didn’t go through with it – so no actual example of moving backwards here – we did consider it and I guess that’s proof of why moving backwards sometimes isn’t okay too!
However, now I see that it was all part of a bigger picture. I can see that I had to go backwards to move forwards. I understand that my downs taught me more about myself and made me stronger as a person. It has comforted me and makes me feel better, knowing that in future if I do have to step backwards again, it’s not necessarily a bad thing.
It sucked that my dream job didn’t work out, but if I hadn’t of been out of work for so long, I wouldn’t have ended up working at H&M again. No, it’s not a writing job, but it has prospects (including prospects involving that line of work) and if I hadn’t have gone backwards and searched for work, I might have ended up anywhere miserable. At least I fell back into a role I know and love and that I have a future at. And I have that amazing discount again, let’s not forget that! Other little benefits include the fact that I genuinely take an interest in my fashion sense again and have began building a wardrobe full of staple, must have pieces and I’m also in better shape. When you go from sitting down in an office all day to being on your feet going up and down stairs for eight hours a day, it really makes a difference, as you can imagine!
And not working gave me the time to finally give in and take my dream trip of travelling around Mexico! I mean apart from job hunting and this trip there wasn’t much else I did when I wasn’t working, unless you include falling in love with a boy and spending my free days binge watching a lot of things on Netflix…
If I hadn’t have given in and signed back up to online dating websites after my dating ban, I would have never have met my boyfriend who makes me so happy. The idea that I may have never met him otherwise scares me and makes me sad.
If I hadn’t have moved out of my family home and into my nan’s, my relationship with my dad and I might have been irreparable at this point. We were both so angry and so stricken with grief still and had I stayed at home for us to be at each other’s throats all the time, we could have fallen out for good. Living with my nan was tough – in fact we actually argued a lot too (she doesn’t even believe in the internet so imagine how hard I found it to blog all that time!) but it made me really grow up and stop being so selfish.
So although this post may seem a bit rambly and like the story of my life, I hope it helps some of you if you’re ever in a similar position. If you ever have to leave a dream job to go back to an old one or find your relationships with family members suffering, remember, everything happens for a reason and it could always be a lot worse. Use this time to take a step back from things and remember what’s really important. Understand that going backwards isn’t always a bad thing and sometimes it can work out for the better in the long run.