it’s okay to feel like a failure

Hi, I’m Rhianna, I’m 23, and I just quit my job. Is there another one taking its place?

No.

Do I have a plan?

No.

Do I know what I want to do?

No.

I was in this job 4 months, and I was so excited when I got it. I was leaving my retail life behind, I was taking steps into a real life, a real career, something meaningful. I had no experience in publishing, I’d been rejected again and again, and these people had decided to take a chance on me. It was with my dream company, not quite my dream job, but I told myself it was a step in the door, and my life was finally starting. It required some compromising, it was a temporary position for 6 months, and I didn’t live in London. At first I stayed with my dad in the week in London, coming home on weekends, but I missed my boyfriend and my mum too much, and felt like I was living in a weird bubble where I didn’t do anything, and I wasn’t even at home. I then started commuting, and it seemed to be fine. Then I realised just how tired I was, all the time. I was getting up at 5 everyday so my boyfriend could take me to the coach before he started work, and not getting home until past 8 some days. I would then cook, eat and try to be asleep by 10 to start the next day, often not sleeping well because my brain just hadn’t had time to calm down. I cancelled countless plans and meetings with friends on weekends because I just couldn’t bring myself to come to London on a day I didn’t have to, I didn’t have time to see anyone in the week, and after the Christmas break, I realised I really couldn’t face doing it for that much longer.

My skin was suffering, my general health and happiness was suffering as I did not have time to do regular exercise, making me lethargic and unhappy in how I looked, which put a strain on my relationship because I was constantly unhappy with different things. I found it so hard to be positive, so hard to convince myself that I had things to look forward to, because when it finally got to the weekend, all I wanted to do was sleep, and then got frustrated because the two days disappeared so fast. I was snappy and grumpy and miserable and I didn’t like myself. And yet, when I handed in my notice two weeks ago and had to explain to my managers, I felt so guilty. I felt like I was letting everyone down, and myself down. This was my dream company, couldn’t I just stick it out? As someone who’s anxiety stems from not being good enough, I was terrified that by making this decision, everyone was going to judge me, after all the faith that they had put in me and my abilities, I was a failure. I had failed.

And yet, as I type this, and read all the reasons why I am doing this, I know it is the right decision. I loved that job, I loved the people I worked with, I liked the jobs I do, I loved the company, but I don’t think that amount of travel is worth it unless it is literally the job you have been dreaming about your whole life. I liked my job, but it wasn’t a forever job, so why was I sacrificing so much of my life? It had got to the point where I found myself googling ‘what am I interested in?’ and as I looked at the search results that popped up, I mentally hit myself over the head. Who the hell has to google what their interests are? I realised I needed the TIME to have interests, to have hobbies, to concentrate on me and really know what it is I enjoy. I want to go to classes and learn new things and see my friends and do whatever exercise I want, and I want to have a reasonable amount of sleep every night and have time to cook meals that take longer than half an hour. But my knowledge of all this, doesn’t stop me feeling like a failure some days. And maybe that’s okay. I hate feeling like I’ve failed, or got something wrong, or messed up, it makes me extremely panicky, but for this time, I have to push through it, because I’m 23, and I need to put my life first.

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