Getting Back on the Right Life Path

Getting Back on the Right Life Path

Do you sometimes wonder if you’re on the wrong path through life – but can’t see any way to rework your footsteps and join a different one?

After I graduated from University, I wrote in my journal:

“It is exciting to have my whole life ahead of me and know that I could do pretty much anything I put my mind to. It’s daunting but exhilarating to stand at the summit of 16 years’ full-time education and gaze out at the land around me. I could go anywhere from here.”

But I didn’t “go anywhere”. I took a well trodden path by getting a job (tech support) in London, leaving home and renting accommodation. The first couple of weeks were fun: I’d worked in temporary office jobs as a student and enjoyed the environment, I was excited to be in London, I was learning a lot of new techy things at work.

But after a month, I wondered “Is this all there is now? For the next 40 years of my life?” And I stumbled across an article online: Steve Pavlina’s 10 Reasons You Should Never Get a Job:

“It’s funny that when people reach a certain age, such as after graduating college, they assume it’s time to go out and get a job. But like many things the masses do, just because everyone does it doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.”

Lessons learned: Just because “everyone else” is taking one route (whether in their job, social life, eating habits or spending habits) doesn’t mean that you have to follow them. Take the time to look for the beginnings of other paths, even ones which are hidden and rarely trodden.

The Wrong Path Narrows Quickly

Whilst the wrong path is easy to join, every step makes it harder to turn back. Your “wrong path” might be overeating (not only gaining more and more weight, but entrenching bad habits deeper and deeper), getting into debt (which can spiral out of control), or abusing alcohol and drugs (an incredibly hard path to break away from.)

After I’d been working for about six months, my boyfriend moved to London (he’d be starting a university degree there in the Autumn) and we joined together to rent a flat on a year-long contract. We looked for what we could afford based on the assumption that he’d get a temporary full-time job. Unfortunately, finding work proved more difficult than either of us had guessed, and my savings dwindled from £5,000 to just £32. I was lucky enough to get a raise at work, though, which stopped us dipping into the red – and once my boyfriend’s student grant came through, I started to save up again. But, at this point, I was convinced I’d need to stay in my job for at least the next three years, whilst he was studying.

Lessons learned: Lack of money is probably the biggest factor for many of us in sticking with the wrong path and not going after our dreams.

The Myth of the One True Path

Once you’re well onto the wrong path, the other people you meet tell you it’s the only path. They may hate it and wish they were walking a different way, but they refuse to accept that other paths can actually be safer, more enjoyable and lead to better destinations.

I found that colleagues were often fed up with the humdrum Monday to Friday, 9-5 routine. But whenever I mentioned that I was saving money (usually to explain why I was bringing in lunch from home, or why I didn’t go out often), they were bewildered. They couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t just live paycheck-to-paycheck, like everyone else.

Lessons learned: Be willing to ignore your peers. You don’t have to conform to whatever the “norm” is, especially if it’ll take you further down a path you don’t want to be on (spending too much, eating/drinking in an unhealthy way, schmoozing or blagging your way up the corporate ladder…)

Rumors of Other Paths

Sometimes, people might wander across the path you’re on, then head of into – as far as you can see – a bewildering maze of trees. These people might be artists, freelancers, writers, part-time workers, full-time moms, charity volunteers, world travelers … the one thing they share in common is a certain glow, an inner joy.

As I traveled down the wrong path, I met some of these people. Consultants who worked with my company. Full-time authors at writing conventions. I read and listened to freelancers, entrepreneurs, life coaches, and others, learning from their books, blogs and podcasts. I realized that there really were other paths, not just this grey, endless one.

Lessons learned: Stay open to other possibilities. Just because you’ve never tried something – or perhaps never even heard of it – doesn’t mean it’s not real.

Escaping Your Path

One of the hardest things about being on the wrong path is that you can’t turn back. There’s no way to undo the weeks, months or years that have passed: they’re gone. Wishing that you’d made different choices, or that you’d had better advice, is a waste of time … you can’t change the past. But you don’t need to start again from the beginning of the path. You can cut through the woods.

I saved up for eight months, replacing the whole £5000 that I’d spent the previous summer. I freelanced “on the side” for five months, earning enough money from writing to convince me I could do it for a living. I also did some free work on websites, building up a small portfolio. I worked the hardest I ever have in my life, and there were times when hacking through the forest seemed like far too much work – but the alternative was that long, grey path.

Lessons learned: It’ll be a struggle when you leave your path. Whether you want to quit your job, lose 50 lbs, travel to every country in the world or earn a million dollars – the initial stage will be hard and frustrating at times.

Into the Sunlight

There will come a moment, one shining day, when you hack through the last of the tangled brambles to stand blinking in the sunlight. Your feet are on your new path, which turns and twists through pleasant greenery, and the birdsong above brings an instant feeling of calm as soon as you step out into the light.

Thursday 31st July was my last day in technical support. I finally started on the path I should have taken two years ago: writing, blogging and creating websites. The slow, plodding pace of the old path is gone, and the new one is filled with diversions, resting places, and wonderful fellow travelers.

Lessons learned: Do whatever it takes for you to get onto the right path – it’s worth it.

Are you on the wrong path? What are you doing to fight your way back to the right one?

Photo by: Tambako the Jaguar

Ali Luke

Ali writes about personal growth and development on her blog, Aliventures. As well as blogging, she writes fiction, and is studying for an MA in Creative Writing.

Latest posts by Ali Luke (see all)

45 Comments

  1. Hi Ali,

    This piece pretty well sums up the way things were for me before I decided to take a different path.

    The sad fact is that I’d been on the wrong path for years, and I knew it.

    In January this year I started along a different route, and it’s great. I believe I’ve done the right thing and I believe I can make this new direction in life work for me.

    I confess that I sometimes fear I might need to tread the old wornout tracks I used to follow (for the reasons you’ve highlighted).

    Not today though. Today I’m full of confidence and I look forward to a brighter future.

    Thanks.

    Dave.

    Reply
    • Thanks Dave, it’s fantastic to hear it’s working out for you after eight months :-) It’s really inspiring to me to read about other people’s journeys, especially because I feel like I’m still tottering along the first few steps of my new path…

      Ali

      Reply
  2. This post strikes at a primary symptom (inertia) of a disease (lack of self-awareness) that most of us are suffering.

    Many of us, unknowingly, are following in the path of social conventions. Once we find the job, the car, the house and the life that has already been “planned” for us, the comforts of routine make change even more difficult, especially with the passing of time.

    Self-awareness “awakens” us to this misleading path of least resistance and reveals the path to a meaninful existence — our own path…

    “People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

    “You can not travel the path until you have become the path itself.” ~ Buddha

    Thanks for the post…

    Kent (The Financial Philosopher)

    The Financial Philosophers last blog post..The ‘Diminishing Marginal Utility’ of Wealth

    Reply
  3. Thanks, Ali, for sharing about your journey. It sure sounded awful to have to live on your meagre savings. Your story on turning around thereafter, is highly inspirational. You deserve every bit of success, for sticking to what you believe in and working hard towards it!

    All the best always,

    Evelyn

    Evelyn Lims last blog post..How To Build Intuitive Awareness For Inspired Actions

    Reply
  4. Ali,

    This is an inspiring article hitting all the right points and steps for correcting your path.

    I took the socially acceptable path of getting a job because teaching is my passion but I was never like the typical “employee.” Because I was not a “rule-follower” I questioned many of the guidelines and procedures and did my own thing instead. I had more freedom and flexibility than most of my fellow professors because I insisted on it.

    In addition to following my vision of how teaching should be done, I always engaged in entrepreneurial endeavors at the same time. I guess you could say I straddled the fence, but I never felt I took the wrong path.

    In fact, I changed paths many times. When I tired of one direction, one school or one business, I detoured and carved a new path.

    It has been a gratifying life and in retirement I’m continuing to follow my passion as an author, speaker, coach and consultant.

    Flora Morris Brown, Ph.D.s last blog post..How Far Will You Go If You Risk Succeeding?

    Reply
    • Flora, thanks so much for sharing that. I’d not really considered the alternative of carving out your own path — but I imagine you did a huge amount of good in shaking up the schools you were in and being an inspiration to your pupils!

      I think teaching is one of the best jobs anyone can do. I know it’s a tough and unappreciated one (there are a lot of teachers in my immediate family!) but as someone who was blessed with some fantastic teachers herself, I can assure you that you will have made a huge difference in many young lives.

      Ali

      Reply
  5. I think that, at some point in life, we have all chosen the wrong path. The difference is, however, that while on the wrong path, most of us realize it or come across someone else who helps us to find our way off of it (whether by backtracking or simply cutting a new path).

    Reply
  6. Excellent article! I think it’s important to know, too, that the “wrong” path may have been just right for us only six months ago. We have to maintain flexibility, constantly monitoring ourselves – is this still right for me right now? That way, we can avoid that narrow, restrictive sense of being in the “wrong” place altogether.

    Blessings,
    Andrea

    Reply
    • Andrea: very well said – you have perfectly summed up my thoughts in regards to this topic.

      Ali: thanks for the great article! :)

      Reply
    • Great point, Andrea, perhaps we sometimes “outgrow” the path we’re on and no longer find it interesting or a challenge. Or perhaps it diverges into several new paths and we have to pick which one to take!

      Reply
  7. How right you are. I only recently decided to make a major change in my life, you caught on only two years working for the corporate world. For me it took a little longer, but I’m now living my dream and working along side my husband as he builds his dream as well.

    Recently I came across a quote, cross stitched on a pillow and it has had a profound effect on my life and I figure it might on others as well:

    Never get so busy making a living that you for how to make a life….

    How true it is. I’m going to book mark this post and point my clients to it when they are struggling with their own decisions and path.

    Nice writing, well done.

    Reply
    • That’s a lovely quote, Renee, will have to remember that one (especially as I’m a cross-stitcher!) Thanks!

      Reply
  8. thx for posting this article it lifted my spirits a bit im stuck in a rut at the moment myself that i cant get out of i went to college and became microsoft certified and i got my A+ qualified pc tech.since ive finished it ive not had one job offer thats been a year since i finished the courses every job i go for is wanting someone with experience or a driving licence i cant even afford to go sit lessons i feel as if im stuck in this grey void my life is standing still and i cant seem to get out of it its horrible lol anyways enough of me. glad to see things have worked out for you :)

    Reply
    • Hi Steven, so glad the article helped a bit. Sounds like you’re having a really frustrating time of it. Can you do something like offer computing help in your local area? (I belong to a forum for my area and there’s quite a few people doing computer repairs etc.) It might not make a lot but could tide you over till you find something more permanent.

      Reply
  9. I enjoyed your personal story and the lessons you drew from your choices.

    I especially loved the section “Rumors of other paths.” It’s true we meet these people now and then, who are living their dream and possibly ours.

    We need to realize that they made it possible by making choices; often difficult ones. As long as we are willing to back our choices with consistency and integrity, we can all do the same. Then one day, someone will meet you, and they will say “that person is living their dream. Maybe I can also.”

    Cheers,
    John

    John Rocheleau – Zen-Momentss last blog post..3 Reasons and 7 Ways to Live in Creative Joy

    Reply
  10. I figure as long as I’m learning and growing I’m on the right path. Even when I get into situations that I don’t like it doesn’t mean it’s “wrong”. I simply take my time when that’s appropriate and figure out what I want to do next. In addition to preparing for the next step, I learn as much as I can from the present situation. That strategy has worked just fine for me.

    Jean Browman–Cheerful Monks last blog post..The Joy of Being a Blockhead

    Reply
  11. PS When I was in my mid-twenties I tried to figure out what my “dream” was. That approach never worked for me. I then noticed that even though I didn’t know what was around the next corner, I could tell when I was on the right path. So I relaxed and decided to trust my instincts.

    Jean Browman–Cheerful Monks last blog post..The Joy of Being a Blockhead

    Reply
    • Great point, Jean. I know in my own life, my “dream” has changed a few times! I’m still trying to figure out the trusting my own instincts part, though. I think I’m getting better at it (slowly!)

      Reply
  12. One of the most interesting things is that the ‘wrong’ path is often very easy to get onto. Not so much because it always requires little effort, but that there is very often plenty of reinforcement to take those paths.

    This ties in with why it is hard to leave them when you decide it is wrong for you.

    Jarrod – Warrior Developments last blog post..Are You Timeless?

    Reply
  13. Steve gives some excellent advice. Thanks for sharing your personal story as well, it’s great you have your journal from so long ago :)

    I started my own company but had a hard time with that, I’m currently in a job that I love, but I know I won’t be here for too long

    best wishes

    Glen Allsopps last blog post..What Message would you Leave before you Die?

    Reply
  14. Thanks for this inspiring post. I’ll share one approach to “doing what I love” that has been helpful to me in recent months. I was a full-time attorney at a law firm until ten months ago. I saved a lot of money while I was there, and so when I left and started my own business ventures I didn’t have any immediate financial concerns. After a few months I decided I wanted another income stream, so I took up temp/contract work on the law side. This has helped ensure that I don’t have any financial issues to weigh on my mind while I’m doing my “real work.”

    Now, a potential drawback of this strategy is that because you have a source of steady income from temp and contract work, you’ll have less of an incentive to make sure the business on the “what you love” side is steady. But I think if you have actual passion for your “real work,” that’ll be incentive enough — at least that’s been true in my own case.

    Reply
  15. I’ve never bought the argument that “real work” means you have to get paid for it. Think of the Buddha, Jesus, etc., etc. Hey, it’s okay to have a day job to support your real calling if that turns out to be necessary.

    Jean Browman–Cheerful Monks last blog post..The Joy of Being a Blockhead

    Reply
  16. I think it has a lot to do with being in one’s comfort zone. finishing college and getting a “real job” is the very definition of “comfort zone” for many people. Breaking away from it is tough.

    Having said that, it’s important to remember that for some people, the “job” path works out beautifully in terms of speedy advancement, great monetary compensation, and eventually, the freedom to choose one’s own schedule. I’m saying that from personal experience: I’ve watched my husband flourish in the corporate world.

    Vereds last blog post..Are You A Parent? Stressed Much? You Should Check Out UpToUs

    Reply
  17. Thanks for sharing that, Chris, I definitely agree that building up a safety net of savings is a good idea (a bit like being fully equiped for a long hard trek before leaving your path.)

    Though I agree with Jean too that a number of people are called to do something which doesn’t involve financial gain — I’ve known a number of wonderful Christians in the various churches I’ve attended who have a “day job” to support themselves and their family, but whose passion is the children’s work or community volunteering that they do.

    Vered — an important addition, thanks! It’s so easy to get YOUR right path fixed in your mind as “the one true way”. Of course, for a lot of people a corporate path IS the right one — I think it easily could have been for me if I’d been in a company I was passionate about.

    Reply
  18. My journey was pretty similar, except that I took 10 years of working and made the leap without any money saved. Good for you for planning it out!

    Reply
  19. Interesting that I should come upon this article now. I’m currently at a crossroads in my life and unsure of which direction to go. I know, I hear you saying that I should go the way my heart tells me I should. The trouble is that my heart isn’t being too noisy about the matter right now! I used to want to do one particular thing and even started the education process toward that goal but life events put it on hold. Now that dream doesn’t seem quite right anymore. Hence the next step for me will be figuring out exactly what my heart’s desire is; in the meantime, I have to stay on that grey path.

    Reply
  20. good morning…i did not read all of this discourse however did read the beginning and was struck by the idea of the “wrong path.” I believe that in our lives there is no “wrong path” which seems to play itself out in your speaking about your “colleagues” thinking you should live “pay check to pay check” etc. What I think then is that this was the “perfect” place for you to be given that you understood this place you were was not your hearts desire. It is like we have to go somewhere to determine that we want to be somewhere else.

    I think there is an element of judgment about others being where they are or making the choices they are making such as the living pay check to pay check. If that is indeed not working for them then like you that is thier determination not one that you have the right to make for them.

    As I read this I had a need to respond given that I think part of my work has been to understand that I might want to make different choices for me given that the path I am on is not supporting me however to allow others to be where they are without judging them for it or making them wrong…it is powerful. I do not believe we/I have the right to tell someone where they are is not okay for them, at some level I also believe that where we are at any moment serves us in some way…

    A little provocative insight of my own…more work if you want to look at it.

    marjorie

    Reply
    • Hi Marjorie,

      I think you’re completely right — since writing the piece (particularly through reading some of the great comments above) I’m realising more that a path which could be totally wrong for me could be totally right for someone else.

      It’s so easy to end up blinkered by what *I* think is right for me and expect everyone in the world to feel similarly! But of course, that’s an awfully egotistical point of view, and one I’m striving to rid myself of.

      Reply
  21. Hi Ali – Good for you getting off that path. I totally understand where you’re coming from and it’s brilliant that you’re sharing your mistakes with us.

    I would also add, that it isn’t always lack of money that keeps you on the wrong path. Earning too much can sometimes do that too. I have been there – but extra money doesn’t really make you live better – you just live differently. For example, I never used to have time to cook a meal. I may have been making a money, but spent a fortune on having to eat out all the time.

    Cath Lawsons last blog post..Business Ideas: Can You Keep A Secret?

    Reply
  22. Hi Ali,

    Great Article.
    It is very hard to change the path and get into a new routine.We all basically need the safety net.We are having beliefs,right from childhood,from parents,from the society to lead our life in a certain way(ex.9-5 job).
    If we have passion for what we are doing,have a back up plan,it is possible to break from the routine and get into what we want to do.
    I want to retire from my consulting job 5 to 7 years from now,go back to india,develop my IT company and start an education foundation to help poor children,to open a personal development library,to speak to students and common people to realise their self-worth,the importance of self esteem,self confidence,to teach them what i learned so far in life,to write a self development book.
    Hope my dream will come true and i will change my path and do whatever i am passionate to do.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Note: By the way,your website is simple and attractive.

    Best Wishes,
    Kannan Viswagandhi
    http://www.growing-self.blogspot.com

    Reply
  23. This was an absolutely fascinating read, many thanks for this. I agree wholeheartedly when you say that a person should do the utmost to get back on the right path but it takes guts to do that and to get off the wrong path, which may still feel much more comfortable!

    Reply
  24. This article was fantastic… actually I come from a country (Italy) where once you have chosen your path it is extremely difficult to come back. And it seems strange, but when I arrived in U.K. I found that in this country there are people studying and changing different works all their life and nobody bothers about. For me, and for the culture I had, was a complet shock.. now I am 27 and I realized that I went on the wrong path and I really need a drastical change but, as the article said, I am very afraid of doing that because it is the first step… and I still struggling with the italian culture where at this age you are considered already old to start anything new..
    Anyway the article is wonderful! Congratulations with the author!

    Reply
  25. My path has always been an inner one: Following the Path, One Step At a TIme, so I never fell into the trap of identifying with making money/worldly achievement. My philosophy is, “Stay curious and open to life. No matter what happens, keep learning and growing. Find what you love to do and find a way to share it with others.” It helps if there are a lot of things you love to do. :)

    Reply
  26. I found this quite naive. You think that the discipline and frustrations of paid occupation are the wrong path for you – fine – but that ‘artists, freelancers, writers, part-time workers, full-time moms (!!!), charity volunteers, world travelers’ exude an ‘inner glow’. And you are doing – what exactly?

    This is very romantic escapist stuff. The frustrations of grown up life teach you resilience and patience and maturity – as your poverty and savings disciplines proved. Good luck and take care.

    Reply
  27. I was touched by your Life Path Post. There’s the thing I should read or heard about things that I am struggling about my own path, my own career and life. Thanks Ali for those words of encouragement to pursuit my own dreamed path!

    Reply
  28. My husband and I feel like we’ve been on the wrong path. We met in college, became professionals together, married after school and looked forward to starting a family. 13 years later we’re hitting rock bottom. We were never blessed with children, we’ve tried to adopt without success. The company I started years ago has dried up after my being sick and then no work coming along. We desparately want to move out of the city and have tried unsuccessfully to buy a house several times. We have the greatest marriage – I don’t know anyone that would have stuck with either of us through the past few years. We need a change. Any suggestions!?

    Reply
    • Hi Tanya, it centainly seems like your on the wrong path, sometimes in life things happen for a reason and if the timing isnt right it just wont happen, i belive that you and your husband have came through alot of dissapointments up until now. the fact that you have not changed your path is why that no doors have opened for the both of you. i think that if you embrace a new path no matter how scary it seems at the time it will benifit you both alot more in the future. i think that if you move out of the city in the meantime even if you rent it is the first step on your new path, reacess the situation when you have done this and do what feels right in your heart from there on. Try to listen to your own inititive alot more, you would be suprised how right you are alot of the time. try not to listen to negative people and keep the dream alive. I hope this is of some use to you both. I really hope things work out for you two in the near future, always remember that you have to walk through the darkness to get to the light. Goodluck!

      Reply
      • Hi Andy,
        Thank you for your words. It everything we already know, but it wonderful to hear from someone else, which we don’t ever do. So, thank you. We’re looking to the light!
        Tanya

        Reply
  29. Have recently headed off into the woods after a lifetime of doing what was expected of me and providing for my girls. I followed the idea “leap and the net will appear” John Burroughs.

    I like your description of the woods opening up to a sunny day. I have experienced that feeling in the past but you have expressed it so beautifully and I can keep that vision in my mind as i walk through this forrest of doubt.

    I currently am retired early from a desk job, packed up my house and moved away. I want to do something more meaningful with my life without falling into the trap of living other peoples lives. I want to be fully me first so I can be fully present. I’m sure this is the lesson I am learning now and I have faith I am not just lost in the woods.

    Thanks for your article Ali

    Reply
  30. Wow… what a great write up!

    Appreciate the candidness. I think this is so relevant to, lets see…. EVERYONE!!!
    Funny how money has so much power, even though its not the power itself. WE are…

    rock on!

    Reply
  31. This is such a nice story – remind me of …well, ME! Almost.. :) I have changed careers so many times in my life, I look back at it now and I think I must have been nuts! But, you know, I never regret any of them except when I changed for money. Not that I didn’t enjoy that career (it was IT too -just like you!) when I had it and I got what I set out for (a nice paycheck) but everything I buildt from my few years it in (before the recession knocked the wind out of me) is gone.Now, I think why did I leave a job I loved? Because I was BROKE – so your story about the money – oh, I know how true that is. :) I have had several friends do the same – if it wasn’t for money, I bet lots more people would being doing what they truly were meant to do.

    So now I have to, yet again, switch and rebuild – I, personally, am kind of used to. Well, I am used to changing careers but not starting from complete scratch. I often wonder if my “crash and burn’ was the Universes’ way of telling me “You made a mistake. You are not supposed ot be on that path. We are kicking you off NOW!” If that is true, well, I got the message loud and clear.

    Like you, I have also started writing. I was always told I was a good writer in college and I am starting down that path and I like the freedom of the non-9-to-5 thing – being a night owl the 9 to 5 thing is torturous for me. And also now I know I can also leave IT behind (feel like a relief since the pressure of trying to get a job in the IT field today is too much) but still take the skills with me. I can return to a job similar to the one I left prior (hopefully) one day and maybe with the combo of a few different, I can rebuild my life again – and start over.

    Thanks for sharing. :)

    Reply
  32. While reading this blog I am also listening to a message on the background about staying in your lane. We should own our lane and love our own lane. Thanks for the great read!

    Reply
  33. This is what I needed at this point of time in my life. I could almost relate to everything you wrote. I have been working for quite sometime for one one of the biggest IT companies and am on the verge of quitting my job. I am going to leave my monthly paycheck and work towards something that will bring peace of mind. Road is tough ahead but I am ready for it!

    Thanks again for the lovely article!

    Reply
  34. I really enjoyed reading your article Ali. I could really relate to a lot of what you said.

    I want to share how my path has gone and where I have got lost…

    I’ve been on the wrong path twice in my life. Paths that for a time were right for me, but then things that initially made me happy started to do the opposite.

    I joined uni at 18 to study performing arts and dance. There was a lot of pressure from school to go to Uni and I was advised to study something I enjoyed. On reflection I should have taken more time to think where it would take me and the opportunities it may open up. But being 18 I was keen to leave home and get as far away as possible!

    Nine months in, 6 hours from home and on a course full of highly competitive people (obsessed with their weight and themselves!) – I could see it wasn’t the right place for me. I completely shut myself off and I was very unhappy. The uni course took the enjoyment out of dance for me and I haven’t danced since.

    Being so far from home made me realise how much I rely on my family and how important they are to me. I was due to go back to Uni in September with all my accomodation sorted. But I pulled out at the last minute – the first year had cost £7000 and I was scared having wasted that amount, but I knew going back would make me very unhappy.

    I spent a year working two jobs, back at my mums, not knowing what to do with myself, feeling pretty lost, and like I had failed.

    It was by chance that I got talking to my sisters friend about how I loved working with children. She told me about her niece who is a Children’s Occupational Therapist. I looked it up and from the first few sentences I read about it I knew OT was the job for me. I haven’t looked back since.

    I went to a uni 2 hours from home, with more like minded people and thoroughly enjoyed myself – qualifying as an OT 2 years ago. During uni I met the first person I’ve ever loved.

    When I graduated I applied for a job that was available back near my family and one that was where my boyfriend lived. I really wanted the latter and was convinced I did better on that interview. But I didn’t get it, I got the one back home. I knew I had to take it with it being so competitive applying for jobs.

    This is where my path took an unhappy turn. Problems that had been in my relationship before moving home, that I had turned a blind eye to, were worse with the distance. We stayed together for 5 months after I moved home. I was unhappy with how things were but I stuck my head in the sand and convinced myself it would be fine, that it was just down to the distance.

    When he broke up with me I had been in denial about how bad it had got that I didn’t think we would break up. I hit rock bottom, I was all over the place and I crashed my car on a particularly bad morning on the way to work. I was lucky no one was hurt but my car was written off. That was a turning point – nothing and no one is worth that. It could have been much worse and it was entirely my fault being so distracted.

    It was at that point I stopped. All the sadness, all the days spent feeling like life was over had to stop. My life wasn’t over, I had tonnes to live for – I had a job I loved, lovely friends and family around me. He had done me a massive favour. Released me from something that neither of us were happy in, and that I would have not walked away from.

    That was January 2012 and from that point on things have very quickly moved forward for me. Since that part of my life ended, things have got better and better. Everything just started slotting into place.

    I brought a lovely car that is far more reliable than anything I have ever owned before. I started going out with friends and enjoying myself again. My job rotated from working with older adults into working with children. A job that I absolutely love and where I have always been aiming. I found a gorgeous studio flat on the sea front that is mega cheap, that over looks a park and a steam railway.

    I signed up to a dating website in March last year that friends had recommended. It was just for fun really to meet new people (as where I live is a pretty rural place). I didn’t think anything would come of it, and I wouldn’t ever meet anyone that would match how I’d felt before.

    The only guy I ever met up with from it, on April 30th 2012, is exactly the type of person I need to be with. All the things that were wrong in my old relationship are the polar opposite with my current partner. He brings out the best in me and I feel so secure, happy and loved. I feel silly for having stayed in such a negative relationship for so long but I didn’t realise what a relationship could and should be like. He is my best friend and we are always there for one another.

    We now have a beautiful 5 week old baby girl who I am cuddled up in bed with as I am writing this. Although very quick nothing has felt more right.

    I have learnt that sometimes it is time to change course. Making that change is hard and it takes a lot of courage and bravery.

    I wasn’t brave enough to walk away from my old relationship. But I was lucky that he saw sense and put us both out of the misery we were inflicting on ourselves and each other. It seems if you aren’t quite brave enough to make the change something will occur that will force a change.

    I also think the whole time you resist change and pursue something that is wrong, the harder and sadder things will get. My mum always says that if something is that hard it’s not right. She kept telling me things have a way of working themselves out when I was at my lowest point. And they really have – I could not be happier just over a year on.

    Anyone who is struggling and having a hard time, be it with a job or a relationship. It won’t be like it forever, things happen, life keeps us moving on even if we don’t want to.

    Don’t resist change – embrace it, initiate it and never stay in something that is making you unhappy. Life is too short and the changes could bring you the best thing ever.

    I am happier than I have ever been. Life is never perfect and everyone has their ups and downs. But as long as the ups far out way the downs then you’ll know you are on the right path.

    Thank you again Ali for your article it’s really helped me reflect on my own journey.

    Reply
  35. I really enjoyed reading your article Ali. I could really relate to a lot of what you said.

    I want to share how my path has gone and where I got lost…

    I joined uni at 18 to study performing arts and dance. There was a lot of pressure from school to go to Uni and I was advised to study something I enjoyed. On reflection I should have taken more time to think where it would take me. But being 18 I was keen to start life as far away as possible away from home!

    Nine months in, 6 hours from home and on a course full of highly competitive people (obsessed with their weight and themselves!) – I could see it wasn’t the right place for me. I completely shut myself off and I was very unhappy. The uni course took the enjoyment out of dance for me and I haven’t danced since.

    Being so far from home made me realise how much I rely on my family and how important they are to me. I was due to go back to Uni in September with all my accomodation sorted. But I pulled out at the last minute – the first year had cost £7000 and I was scared having wasted that amount, but I knew going back wouldn’t make me happy.

    I spent a year working two jobs, back at my mums, not knowing what to do with myself, feeling pretty lost, and like I had failed.

    It was by chance that I got talking to my sisters friend about how I loved working with children. She told me about her niece who is a Children’s Occupational Therapist. I looked it up and from the first few sentences I read about it I knew OT was the job for me. I haven’t looked back since.

    I went to a uni 2 hours from home, with more like minded people and thoroughly enjoyed myself – qualifying as an OT 2 years ago. During uni I met the first person I’ve ever loved.

    When I graduated I applied for a job that was available back near my family and one that was where my boyfriend lived. I really wanted the latter and was convinced I did better on that interview. But I didn’t get it, I got the one back home. I knew I had to take it with it being so competitive applying for jobs.

    This is where my path took an unhappy turn. Problems that had been in my relationship before moving home, that I had turned a blind eye to, were worse with the distance. We stayed together for 5 months after I moved home. I was unhappy but I stuck my head in the sand and convinced myself it would be fine, that it was just down to the distance.

    When he broke up with me I had been in denial about how bad it had got and I didn’t think we would break up. I hit rock bottom, I was all over the place and I crashed my car on a particularly bad morning on the way to work. I was lucky no one was hurt but my car was written off. That was a turning point – nothing and no one is worth that. It could have been much worse and it was entirely my fault being so distracted.

    It was at that point I stopped. All the sadness, all the days spent feeling like life was over had to stop. My life wasn’t over, I had tonnes to live for – I had a job I loved, lovely friends and family around me. He had done me a massive favour. Released me from something that neither of us were happy in, and that I wasn’t being brave enough to end myself.

    That was January 2012 and from that point on things have very quickly moved forward for me. Since that part of my life ended, things have got better and better. Everything just started slotting into place.

    I brought a lovely car that is far more reliable than anything I have ever owned before. I started going out with friends and enjoying myself again. My job rotated from working with older adults into working with children. A job that I absolutely love and where I have always been aiming. I found a gorgeous studio flat on the sea front that is mega cheap, that over looks a park and a steam railway.

    I signed up to a dating website in March last year that friends had recommended. It was just for fun really to meet new people (as where I live is a pretty rural place). I didn’t think anything would come of it, and thought I wouldn’t ever meet anyone that would match how I’d felt before.

    The only guy I ever met up with from it, on April 30th 2012, is exactly who I am meant to be with. All the things that were wrong in my old relationship are the polar opposite with my current partner. He brings out the best in me and I feel so secure, happy and loved. I feel silly for having stayed in such a negative relationship for so long but I didn’t realise what a relationship could and should be like. He is my best friend and we are always there for one another.

    We now have a beautiful 5 week old baby girl who I am cuddled up in bed with as I am writing this. Although very quick nothing has felt more right in my life.

    I have learnt that sometimes it is time to change course. Making that change is hard and it takes a lot of courage and bravery.

    I wasn’t brave enough to walk away from my old relationship. But I was lucky that he saw sense and put us both out of the misery we were inflicting on ourselves and each other. It seems if you aren’t quite brave enough to make the change something will occur that will force a change.

    I also think the whole time you resist change and pursue something that is wrong, the harder and sadder things will get. My mum always says that if something is that hard it’s not right for you. She kept telling me things have a way of working themselves out when I was at my lowest point. And they really have – I could not be happier just over a year on.

    Anyone who is struggling and having a hard time, be it with a job or a relationship. It won’t be like it forever, things happen, life keeps us moving on – even if we don’t want to.

    Don’t resist change – embrace it, initiate it and never stay in something that is making you unhappy. Life is too short and the changes could bring you the greatest happiness.

    I am happier than I have ever been. Life is never perfect and everyone has their ups and downs. But as long as the ups far out way the downs then you’ll know you are on the right path.

    Thank you again Ali for your article it’s really helped me reflect on my own journey.

    Reply

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