There are times in our lives where we find ourselves lost, without any sense of direction or purpose. Maybe it’s the daily stress, the worries. Maybe we’ve burned out. It’s easy to lose motivation and track of what’s really important to us, especially when we reach a turning point in our life and we need to ask ourselves “What do I really want?”.
I recently found myself in such a point where nothing I did felt right. Where it felt like I wasn’t really doing it for a purpose other than for the sake of doing something. Moving countries and finding a job is not easy. That’s why I didn’t focus solely on finding a job as soon as I moved to Latvia. I would have stressed myself uselessly with “Why didn’t they reply? Why is it so hard to get a job? What am I doing wrong?” I gave myself time. I tried doing what I always liked doing and I tried doing it to earn a living. And I failed.
I’m not ashamed to admit that; we all fail, countless times, before we get something right. And I usually give myself a hard time for failing. I scold myself constantly and make myself feel guilty. This time was no exception, especially because I was trying to do something I like and get a career out of it and I promised to do my best. It felt like I failed everyone around me. But what use is it to beat myself up constantly? It gets me nowhere.
So I took a step back from everything. I fell into a state of nothingness. I stopped having interest in anything and everything I used to like and it was hard accepting that. It still is because part of that contributed to my identity. I was always known as “the girl who had drawing skills and some talent”. But I could never stay dedicated to one thing, I had many interests and wanted to do a lot of things. And that was part of the problem.
Wanting to do so many things gives you little room to perfect one of them. As much as I want to be an overachiever, I couldn’t possibly get everything done right and perfect everything I want to do. I set my goals too high and overwhelmed myself with thoughts like “I have to do these things and I have to do them right no matter what. It’s all or nothing!”. Rei says a lot of time I talk in absolutes.
Taking a break from everything helped me see things from a new perspective and realize not all is lost. Maybe I am but I am also a believer that it is never too late and I refused to let myself slide down the slope of anxiety and depression. I started meditating, something I was never able to do. And although I didn’t get sudden vision into the future or the ability to levitate, it put my mind at ease and in order. I am far from perfecting it but the simple fact that I managed to sit still for 15 whole minutes, focusing on nothing but my breath, is for me a huge step forward. And with that little break I gave my mind from over thinking, I was able to find a small thing I still can enjoy: writing.
I like to think I know English ever since I could make coherent sentences. At least that’s what I remember from what my mom once told me. They didn’t dub cartoons back then so I would repeat the words and ask my mom (who studies English in college) what the words meant. Seeing my interest in learning English, my parents made sure that the kindergarten and school they enrolled me in had English as a second language. I went on to study it for 14 years and then continue a bit with it in college too. My high school had an intensive English program and I absolutely loved it.
That’s when I learned to write all sorts of texts, from articles and letters to short stories and novels. My specialization was language and literature as well and I was drawn to analysing texts and creating my own (even if the materials we had to study were not always interesting). What I wasn’t always happy with was reading all the heavy novels our teachers demanded. I lost my concentration over time but my love for books stayed the same. And in this critical moment I realized that writing was all I had left.
I know how to do it. It is easy to perfect it. I even kept some of my high school books and asked mom to send them to me. And it is one of the few things I am still proud of. Writing gives so much flexibility and freedom. I have always liked sitting up late at night, imagining stories and inventing characters, taking them on adventures and bringing their emotions to life. I just never done it propperly, on paper. Maybe now it is time for that to change.
Probably a lot of this doesn’t make sense unless you have experienced the same thoughts and feelings as me. But I am sure a lot of us have reached rock-bottom even more than once. So the moral of the story is: be gentle with yourselves. Give yourselves time and patience. There is no way to control what has not happened yet, nor what already passed. So live in this moment because it is the only moment that counts. Show forgiveness to yourselves and to others. Acknowledge your failures and flaws, accept them and move on. And when you feel lost or overwhelmed, take a step back and give yourself time to put your mind at ease. It will be so much easier to see things clearly.