Day-to-day when you think about how your year has progressed you may not notice much of a change. However, if you think about where you were last year compared to where you are in this moment, you’ll notice significant changes. At least I have.
Usually people would reflect back on their year at the end of December or the first few days into January. For me though, I made significant changes in my life in November 2016. Now a year later I’ve realised just how far I’ve come and how much these changes have impacted my life since.
Work Life Balance
My previous job in the newspaper industry left me exhausted. Some days I’d work from 9am until 8pm, come home and do more work. Some days I’d be working at the weekend on my own freelance work and be called into the office. It was no way to live my life. Frequently I’d cry at my desk out of exhaustion, frustration or sheer hatred of where I was.
There is no such thing as a perfect job. Some days I feel like I’ve made zero progression since moving, whereas others I appreciate the quiet down time that allows me to do my own thing. Zero tears have been shed, I have not been signed off sick with stress and exhaustion like before and I even enjoy the company of my employees – most of the time.
The work-life balance took a lot of work to get right. But now I see it’s all been worthwhile. I’m happier in myself, enjoying the work I’m doing and even creating projects I’ve wanted to work on for years. So really, it’s been a no brainer on the work front.
Granted there are some things I miss about my old life. The pressure at work was good to some extent but work is not everything. If anything, I miss my apartment the most. I miss the red kitchen and the power shower. I miss having a landlord that fixes the problems within a day or two and I miss the quiet of living in an area that was no inundated with students.
When I signed the contract for my current house I knew I would be living in a student area. But the house was perfect. It allowed me to have more of a home office, the location was ideal and the character and potential of the property was massive. Yet, it’s rented accommodation, there will always be problems.
The house was advertised as refurbished, and it was – sort of. There was a new kitchen and flooring throughout and of course that lovely magnolia paint on the walls typical of all rented accommodation. But the problems quickly showed. The shower didn’t work for two weeks. The damp proof course failed, and a year later it’s still damp and yet to be redone due to poor communication between the estate agents and landlord. The roof leaked whenever it rained. Not to mention the boiler and heating system is about 30 years old.
But the house was a stop gap. I knew that in a year’s time I would be ready to buy. I tried in April but it fell through. But with any luck in the next couple of weeks I’ll have the keys to my new house that I have saved for since I was 16. So, despite the current living situations issues, I’m where I wanted to be location wise and I’m where I had hoped to be in life – ready to officially put the roots down and get on the property ladder.
The last time my life and time was truly my own must have been in my first year of university – seven years ago. The work was relatively simple and there was an abundance of free time. Since I completed my masters this year my time is once again my own. I’ve been able to go to the theatre more; the cinema when there’s something worth watching; go on dates which I haven’t done in years if ever; travel and visit family; and most importantly, I’ve been able to fall madly in love with my nephew. Before I wouldn’t have been able to give the time up to be with him undistracted, but despite the distance, whenever I do see him he has my undivided attention and I don’t see that ever changing.
Overall this year has been crammed. But you don’t realise it day-to-day. It’s been an incredibly busy year of work and university, freelancing, family, arts and culture and so much more. 2017 has been a very positive year. If I had not have made the changes I did last November then things may still be as stressful and exhausting as they were.
Changing jobs and relocating really has made the world of difference to my life in the last twelve months. But I’m well aware that I had to go through all I did previously to get me to where I am today.
If you’re feeling stuck, or lost in your way, just a couple of changes can make all the difference. Just remember that there is no perfect job or perfect colleagues and the perfect house and location does not make all of your problems go away. But finding the right balance in life with a couple of changes to mentality might make you look back in the next twelve months and show you just how much things have changed for you too.