Lost and found

At university, I put a lot of time and effort into study, swapping nights out for the library in the hopes of performing as best as I could in exams to achieve a much coveted first class honour in my degree. I couldn't stand the thought of achieving anything less, so I sacrificed a lot to compete with myself at the highest standard I could achieve, telling myself that as soon as it was over, there would be so much time to live the fullest life. Then, I could go wherever I wanted to go, and be whoever I wanted to be. Each year, I watched on as graduates collected their scrolls and lined up for pictures at UCC, telling myself that my graduation would make up for all of the hard work and any sacrifices I had to make along the way. I'd buy the dress, show my family around the place I had called home for four years, and celebrate with friends. 

For me, graduating would just be the beginning of the rest of my life, and I was happy to wait until then to start living life to the full, at least for the sake of not letting myself down. Learning has always been a constant in my life. Something I could rely on for security when it seemed like everything else was uncertain, and I relied on it all through my schooling years as a crutch to get me through any difficult and lonely days. When it feels like the world is against you, all you have to do is open a book to shut everything and everyone else out. It's an all encompassing fight or flight tactic that allows you to do both at once. You can sit, solitary, and withstand whatever difficulties you're faced with, masked by a book.

I relied on this crutch through school, which I found to be a really lonely place, and through a toxic relationship that scarred my teenage years, only lifting my head from the books in my early twenties, when I became myself. The notion of 'becoming' yourself, is an interesting concept, but when I look back on my life, parts of me feel detached and I don't recognise the girl who felt so overwhelmed by life, hiding from challenges beyond her years behind a book. That's scary and exciting, relieving and disappointing, all at once. 

Finally figuring out who you are at the same time as a global pandemic is not easy - and I understand that so many more people faced challenges that extend far beyond anything of this nature. Just as I thought I was about to have the world, I was back in my childhood bedroom, which I had always vowed to leave, taking life day-by-day. I think the pandemic pushed me into a monotonous routine that I carried with me as restrictions eased and I moved out and on to Dublin. Wake up, work, lunch, work, workout, dinner, sleep, repeat. Reaching twenty-four sent me spiralling. Growing up, I had all of these grand plans on how I would live my life, but instead I had confined myself to the comforts of everyday life. 

Looking back on the challenges I've faced during my short time on earth, I often tell myself, 'if I knew then what I know now, things would be different.' But approaching twenty-four, I could hear another voice. That girl at twelve, wishing for city life, at fifteen, wishing for change, and at nineteen wishing for travel, and I know I couldn't let her down. She couldn't bet on herself then, but I can bet on me now. 

So I guess this is a long-winded way of saying I've moved! For the first time in my life, I have a great feeling that everything is going to work out just as it should. 

Chat soon, 


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