Last week, my job as a sport science intern at a football club came to an end. I started a new job this week doing admin in my local general hospital. At this point in my life, I don’t really know what I am doing or where I am going. I know what my hopes and dreams are, but I can’t just magic them to happen. Other people my age seem settled in careers and have started or are looking to start families. I just feel so far away from this. I feel so far behind other people my age.
I went for a job interview a few weeks ago and the interviewer asked me why I was only at the stage that I am in my career given my age. And this made me want to crawl into a hole and hide. I have been working as intern for a year at the age of 30, when most people who intern are in their early 20’s. I feel like I cant afford to not know what path I need to follow at the age of 30 because time is ticking on. It’s alright for someone of 22 to not know what they want to do and to try different jobs and internships because they still have so much time ahead of them. But not me. That is what my head says anyway.
I know that anorexia froze me in time. I spent the ages of 19-23 virtually entirely in hospital and when I returned to the real world at nearly 24, life had moved on…my age had moved on, but I was still that scared teenager I had been. And even when I was back living in the real world my life has been so restricted by anorexia that I still feel like a teenager. That is not to say I haven’t made progress because I have; a lot. And now I do things in my life that I never thought possible. But I still feel like I am playing catch up and I still feel like I am a million miles away from most other 30 year olds.
So I am trying to come to peace with my mind at the moment; when I am at this cross roads. I know this new admin job is not going to be long term – it is just a pit stop as I try and think about what I want to do…and give me time to try and focus on achieving my dreams. I think that because I have felt that I have missed out on so many years, I am terrified of life passing me by and I feel like I want to achieve EVERYTHING RIGHT NOW! But I know this isn’t realistic, I just have to be patient. And with regards to life passing me by – I am just committing myself to keep progressing my recovery to make sure this doesn’t happen. Living with a mental illness is hard and it can have such a big effect on your life, I know this all too well. But I am determined that it is not going to stop my life any more. Only I have the power to make this happen. Only you have the power to take the risks or make the changes that will help you get the things that you want. Yes, I do believe there is a lot of luck involved with life, but if you never try then you will never know. The only things you will regret in life are the things you didn’t do.
So to the person that interviewed me and questioned my lack of career progression given my age – I am sorry that I don’t fit your neat timeline of reaching certain milestones at certain ages. My life is different. My life, your life, everyone’s life is different. We don’t have to fit into neat boxes at certain age categories. I do believe that everything happens for reason. My life is my life for a reason. Your life is your life for a reason. We don’t live to have made certain achievements by a given age. Yes, anorexia had froze me in time. But it has also taught me that more important than anything, to me, is happiness, family and friends. That is what I live for. So please, live for what you makes you happy. Happiness can come at every age…I believe that to have happiness in your life is the biggest achievement of all.