A Life Update: Isolation, Inspiration and Motivation

The last time I sat and properly wrote an update on my life, I was moving to New Zealand.

Whilst I did go and try to start my life in New Zealand, I was only there for a week before the borders began to close and I had to make the hard choice of staying put or coming home (something you can read about here).

When planning my NZ move, I'd spent the last 11 months living out of a suitcase and was ready to settle down for a bit more of a longterm commitment. 

I was feeling unstable and restless, and not having a place to call home has been taking its toll on me. I felt like I wasn't making proper connections and didn't have any roots.

When I boarded the (first) plane to fly back to the UK, I was already pretty aware that I wouldn't able to return to NZ for the foreseeable future. A writing opportunity had just been pulled from beneath me due to Covid-19, and it set the tone for my freelancing throughout lockdown. 

Not the ideal time to be travel writing. 

I knew, that with borders closing and the virus spreading, I would probably be losing my NZ Working Holiday Visa, but it was something I had to live with if I wanted to be with my family during this unprecedented, crazy time.

What followed in March to April, was one of the hardest periods of my life. Firstly, I was back in the UK, where I wasn't expecting to be until at least 2022. Secondly, I was living at home with my parents for the first time in a long time and, thirdly, we were in the middle of an international pandemic - and the UK was not handling it very well. 

Whilst my parents were lucky enough to keep working, and my sister was on the frontline at our local hospital, I felt completely lost. I felt like I had no purpose, and my whole world had been turned upside down. Every plan, every thought over the last year just didn't apply anymore. 

I wasn't even in the 'right' country.

Let me be clear, I know that in many ways, I was extremely fortunate. I was lucky enough to have a roof over my head, my lack of job had no impact on my life except for my mental health and I actually was freelancing a bit, so had enough money that I wasn't dependent on my parents financially.

But this is all subjective. Ultimately, whether you're drowning in 3ft of water of 10ft of water, you're still drowning. 

So to combat this lack of purpose, I started to give myself projects. 

I started to find things to occupy my time and my mind with. I redecorated my bedroom, I made a whole scrapbook of my life thus far. I started running. I made a lot of banana bread (like seriously, SO MUCH BANANA BREAD). 

I started walking our neighbours dog when she was at work. I spent weeks and weeks completing puzzles - a hobby I'd never given a second thought to until lockdown. 

And more than anything else, the one thing I did consistently, every single day, was looking for jobs.

I promise this is not about to turn into a Linkedin article.

For three months, I scoured every search engine and job site I could think of. I was rejected time and time again. I am the queen, the QUEEN of Zoom job interviews. I had dogs barking in the background, siblings entering the room unintentionally, the internet cutting out. 

I did it all.

And don't get me wrong, there was no magic spell. But by filling my time, the days turned into weeks and the weeks turned into months. 

It was draining, and bloody hard. But we all got through it.

And now here I am, four months after returning from New Zealand, and almost a month into a brand new job.

The most ironic bit of all this is that jobs were taking weeks, if not literal months to get back to me. 

In one case, I'd had my first phone interview on April 8th - and was still in the interview process at the end of June. 

Yet the job I'm in right now was a week-long affair. I saw the advert, I applied, my now-boss asked for an interview, and I was offered the job to start ASAP... which happened to be two days later.

Somehow through all of this madness, I've landed a role in which I am still writing as my career, and am 100% remote, meaning I can work wherever I like.

So, yes, there's no getting around it, the last four months have been bloody hard. They've been hard for everyone.

My plans have changed, and ultimately, this year will probably change my life's course.

Instead of two years in New Zealand, my new priority has become the EU and moving to a Schengen country for a while. It's also turned into London - LONDON, where so many of my friends are, where the people who I love and miss the most are located. Both could be whole new adventures for me, which I would never have even considered had this awful, awful four months not happened.

But in those four months, I've also spent invaluable time with my family which, had this not happened, I never would have. 

I've never been so grateful for the support system that I'd always taken for granted from wherever in the world I am.

I've seen so many people talk about writing off 2020 - and for so many people, me included, this year has not turned out as planned. But there are also a lot of people who have gained a new perspective, who have reconnected with their family, who have reached out to old friends and who have thought harder about their priorities.

There's also a lot of banana bread recipes out there which have been perfected. 

Anyway, a whole other blog post will come on this, but personally, I don't think 2020 should be a write-off.

It's been a hard four months but if you're reading this, you got through it, however narrowly - and so did I. 

So that's my life update for now. Thus far, we've made it.

Love, Alice xoxo