Saturday, 21 October 2017

Life Lessons From The Holiday of a Lifetime

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Hey Owlets,

Long time, no see. You may have noticed that I’ve been a bit quiet recently but I had a good reason. A month ago as I write this I was sat on the sofa having not left the house in 5 days, staring at my laptop screen but not doing any work, not daring to go on social media to see the next hateful comment, either from a stranger or so-called friends because, quite frankly, I couldn’t take anymore. My mental health was the worst it’s ever been and I don’t think I’d felt as consistently low as I was feeling then. 

In come my amazing parents. 
They’d had a cruise booked for almost a year and it was 5 days until they were due to leave - I was dreading it because they were probably the only people left who could actually convince me to leave the house. It’s on this miserable Saturday morning that Dad turned to me and said “I’m fed up of seeing you like this, there’s five cabins left - come with us”. As per usual with anything I’d not done before I was feeling really uneasy about it, but Dad talked me into it and I booked a cabin on a ship that I’m pretty sure has changed my life for good. During that holiday I deleted my social media, didn’t speak to anyone apart from the odd message to check in and having the time of my life made me realise a few things.

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The first thing was realising who my friends are. I invest so much of my time and happiness into making sure that my friends are okay; constantly on my phone helping them through the latest “crisis”. Being away from home made me look at my life from an outsider’s perspective. In that last month before I left I was completely miserable - I messaged some of my friends, or they asked me what was wrong and we talked about it. Others changed the subject instantly back to themselves and when I didn’t message them they only spoke to me when they wanted something. My holiday taught me to put myself first, because while I was busy helping everyone else I was being dragged down without realising.

I’ve also learnt that staying in your comfort zone will never get you anywhere. I was dreading going on the ship, terrified of being somewhere alien to me, not in the UK where I can hop on the nearest train and be home in an hour. Yes, I was scared. But pushing myself gave me some of the best experiences I’ve ever had and I couldn’t have done that inside my comfort bubble. From now on I want to challenge myself more, be that a little thing or something as monumental as going abroad on my own.

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Another thing I’ve learnt is not to give others the power to rule my emotions. When I got back home & logged into Twitter for the first time in 3 weeks, the first thing I saw was a hateful comment from a fake account and I actually laughed. For someone to be that invested that they need to continually create fake accounts to harass me - that’s a reflection on their life and not my own. Equally the way some of my “friends” treated me, making snide remarks and sarcastic comments - I let them continue to be in my life knowing that their negativity was making me unhappy. When I got back I chose to cut off the people that were causing my negative mindset, and as for hateful comments on the blog - who was it that said “if you’re getting hate, you’re doing something right”?

I think my time away taught me a lot about myself, but it mainly allowed me to look at my life from an outsider’s perspective. I’ve always enjoyed getting away, which is why for the last few months I was in Birmingham so much, but something about travelling 5000 miles gave me perspective that I’ve never gotten from a trip in the UK. It’s made me realise that the saying “Friends are for a reason, a season or a lifetime” is completely true. I’ve been clinging onto the people that were barely friends anymore because I felt like they belonged there but they don’t. I know who my true friends are, the people I can go through anything with and they’ll still be there. Equally I’ve learnt to recognise the transient friendships and they’re the people I’ve let go of since going away.

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During the two weeks aboard the ship I met so many kind people - people that were away from friends and family for 10 months at a time but still found happiness every single day and were a pleasure to be around. They might have been “just doing their job” but talking to them inspired me to stop coasting through a life that I’m not happy with when working hard, pushing for what I want and focusing on myself can give me that happiness that I was missing.

The final thing I learnt was more about myself and that’s to recognise and celebrate my own achievements. Over the last 18 months I’ve created something that I can be incredibly proud of that has led to opportunities that I couldn’t have even dreamed of. Yes, I’ve had a lot of support but if I hadn’t put in this hard work I wouldn’t be here - both the proud owner of The Owlet and holder of a 2:1 degree. At the start of this year I made a list of my goals and wishes. Looking back on that I’ve already completed a lot of them without noticing and without recognising my achievements.

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I know not everyone can afford to have their holiday of a lifetime, but if you are feeling like I was then take a break, get out of your home and your comfort zone as much as you can afford to. I was worrying about the cost of the holiday and Dad said to me “your health is more important than the numbers in your bank account” and after the whirlwind of this last month I couldn’t agree more. But out of all of this the most important thing I have to say is thank you to Mum and Dad, and to everyone I spoke to aboard Independence of The Seas that have given me courage, confidence, and clarity in my mind - you’ve well and truly changed my life for the better.

I needed a break, but I’m back, I’m inspired and I’m ready for life again so expect to be seeing a lot of content, because from now on I’m doing this for myself.

Love and Feathers, 
 The Owlet 💜 

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