So it’s been 4 months. Where have I been? What have I been doing? And how has it already been 4 months since Christmas? I wasn’t really sure myself so I decided to write down 4 things I’ve done over the past 4 months to remind myself that I actually am moving forward with my life.
Lets start big – I got a promotion at work! My hard work has paid off and a big part of the past few months has been spent applying, interviews and getting to grips with my new role. My new role is both challenging and interesting, and I’m definitely glad that I went for it. I’m learning something pretty much every day at the moment whether it’s about systems and regulations or people.
Also I get to wear a purple shirt now instead of a brown one! Woohoo!
The Lake District
One of my favourite things I’ve done so far this year is travel north to the Lake District to see my boyfriend’s family. We saw Maryport, Keswick, Carlisle and various peaks and fells. Unsurprisingly it’s an absolutely beautiful area of the country, everywhere you turn there’s a picture perfect view and we were lucky enough to have amazing weather. Everyone I met was lovely and very funny, I felt very welcome. I was sad to go home but even the train journey has some stunning views!
I definitely want to go back, stay a bit longer and make more of a holiday of it.
(The king of the castle!)
Preparing for a Driving Test
Ever since skidding on an oil spill back in November, riding my moped hasn’t been the same and I am very much “over” having one. However it was the kick up the behind I needed to continue with my driving lessons.
Driving in Bath is a lot harder than driving in my hometown. The hills are steeper and far more frequent and driving to Bristol involves a lot more big, scary roundabouts.
I have taken one test before at the end of an intensive course where I learnt how to drive in 2 and a half weeks in my home town. It was incredibly stressful. Not only was I driving for 4 hours at a time but the pressure to pass was huge. The day of the test I was also travelling back to Bath and I knew I wouldn’t have another opportunity for at least another 4 months. I failed it with 2 majors and 2 minors (Not too shabby to be honest).
I’m glad the pressure is off this time around, if I fail then I can just carry on with my weekly lessons and book another one. I am excited though to finally be able to sell my moped and get a car instead.
How To Build A Girl – Caitlin Moran
Travelling up and down the country has also given me a lot of time to read. My favourite book so far this year is How To Build A Girl. I was expecting it to be similar to How To Be A Woman, another book written by Caitlin Moran, an autobiography from a strong feminist perspective. It changed my outlook on some of the events of my teenage years and has shaped some of the choices I made throughout uni.
How To Build A Girl is instead a semi-fictional, funny commentary on teenage self-re-invention and economic class. The protagonist, Johanna Morrigan, is the epitome of “fake it till you make it” and is tired of being an overweight, “kiss-less virgin” from Wolverhampton who’s only friends are her dog and an elderly woman down the street. She decides to build a new version of herself, an alter-ego named “Dolly Wilde” a “sex-expert” who will take her from her council estate to a glamorous career as a music journalist in London.
For those of you who are familiar with Moran’s work, you may notice some similar themes between her books and it has that relentlessly enthusiastic tone she is famous for which makes for an easy read despite some of the themes being a little heavy.
My favourite exert from this book comes when Johanna realises that Dolly Wilde’s cynicism is killing her future instead of opening up doors:
“When you keep saying ‘No’ all that’s left is what other people said ‘Yes’ to, before you were born. Really, ‘No’ is no choice at all.
When other people begin to bring their guns to the party, it’s not a party any more. It’s a battle. Without realising it, I have become a self-defeating mercenary in a pointless war. I’m shooting my own future.”
As someone who is unsure of their future, I often worry that my own cynicism (and laziness) is closing doors for me. It was something I had been working on anyway but How To Build A Girl re-affirmed for me that saying “no” to opportunities and discouraging others takes you nowhere. Nothing changes when you say “no”.
If the only thing that’s stopping you is cynicism say “yes”.
A Cheeky Bonus: My Favourite Photo From The Past 4 Months
(Jordan and I visited Prior Park together in March. It was so beautiful and peaceful, like we were on holiday despite being 20 minutes from the center of Bath)
Before I wrote all this I had felt as though I hadn’t really done anything over the past 4 months. Life isn’t always chock-a-block with achievements and progress and I know I definitely get restless when I’m not actively doing anything to better my future. Writing these things down has really helped put into perspective that I have done something! I am moving forward and maybe I’m not stumbling about quite as aimlessly as before. I suggest trying this for yourself if you are wondering where the past few months have gone.