It’s very late or very early, depending on how you look at it. My body refuses to give in to the tiredness that is lingering in my now puffy eyelids. I can’t sleep, not right now. My mind is too consumed with overthinking.
The Rolling Stones are crackling on the record player behind me. A gospel choir is hauntingly harmonising with Mick Jagger as he preaches that ‘You can’t always get what you want.’
I take one look at the spinning vinyl, and I can’t help but say out loud to no one but myself,
‘Fuck off Jagger; we get it.’
I have written about things not working out countless times, I’ve never been able to crack that magic code of aligning family, social, work, and my love life all in one go. If two or three elements are working well, I can guarantee you the fourth one is a complete catastrophe.
Right now, in the current climate, it feels as if nothing is aligning, and I feel completely and utterly useless.
It doesn’t help that social media gives us live updates on how people are thriving in quarantine by either baking meals that qualify them for MasterChef, completing fitness routines as if they are filming audition tapes for Survivor or creating artwork that belongs in a museum or even more impressive featuring on an episode of art attack.
Me? I consider it an achievement if I’ve managed to fall asleep before 3 am and the water doesn’t bubble over when I am boiling frozen dumplings.
I am reading about people all over the world who are going on meaningful and emotional facetime dates and making incredible connections.
Whereas my dates have started to consist of watching them do their dishes and then ask me if I can help pick colours to go on their fishing bait. I requested pink and black.
(I am, however, still strengthening friendships with friends through facetime, so still highly recommend doing that.)
I am doing okay in isolation, and I am in a fortunate position in that I am safe and I do have my own space with access to the family when I need them. So, I am not for a second complaining about that (just to clarify)
But I would be lying if I said there aren’t times where I have looked into the mirror and seen an incredibly unremarkable person in the reflection.
I have found that while I am for the most part getting by during this period, there are instances that I’ve felt a bit flat, lost, and completely disheartened.
Like a few other people, I have subconsciously put unnecessary pressure on myself. For some reason, I feel as if I need to become a certain person or version of myself in isolation that’s just not possible.
I’ve realised that I am desperately clinging to the dream I watched disintegrate before my eyes with the announcement of the AFL’s suspension. (AFL= Australian Football League)
I think I’m holding on because I know for the first time in a very long time I was headed in the right direction in life. A direction that showed promise of the possibility of all elements aligning, it has broken my heart realising it could be out of reach again.
When it comes to career, I’ve always been motivated and If you know me, you know I can be a tad determined when I’m going after something I want. I don’t really like taking no for an answer.
I would like to say that passionate or driven is the more complimentary way of phrasing it. However, the more accurate would probably be annoying or unrelenting persistence, or as a date once called it “an uncomfortable level of drive,” as you can imagine there was not a second date.
Earlier this year, my life was finally coming together, it felt as if the pieces of the puzzle were falling into place, and I was exactly where I was supposed to be. I’ve come to learn this was the case for quite a few people.
For me personally, I had begun my new life in Melbourne and was in heaven. On a daily basis, I was getting exposure to a world I had been trying to squeeze my body into the door of for over a year. A door I was warned repeatedly I might not ever even get a foot into. That only fuelled me to go after it more If I’m honest.
Both inside and out of work people had finally begun to notice that I knew more about the sport other than who the best-looking players in the league are (there are ten standouts btw, not that any of my friends agree with my top pick).
There are now times people genuinely listen to my opinions in conversations that have a bit more depth. That is after the majority of people have finished opening the conversation with ‘so, do you actually follow the footy?’ hmmph.
Now I could sit wallowing in self-pity that I feel as if I am now back to square one career-wise, and I could continue practicing self-loathing due to my inability to look like a Victoria secret model or bake fool proof packet cupcake mix – But that episode has been replayed too many times, and it’s time for a change.
That’s not too say there won’t be times of feeling inadequate among peers, or that I’m magically going to start liking what I look like, and it certainly doesn’t mean that there won’t be days that my sleeping patterns rival that of a sloth.
However, I’ve put the wheels in motion for a change. The old-fashioned way, of course.
I wrote down a list of goals or To Do’s for the week, achievable ones that were tailored to myself, and what I need to do in order to have a bit more of a purpose in this time and feel more satisfied in myself as human. (I am considering it an achievement if I do 75% of them)
The goals are not complex, some are as simple as sitting down and finishing a book – I am finding my attention span is that of a goldfish or practicing my golf putting – although I do believe I can prove the whole practice makes perfect theory wrong.
Then others are focused on keeping me excited about the future. So, I’m going to attempt to get back into trying to secure interviews with individuals within the industry, My Gmail sent box is about to become the place where dignity goes to die
I have also made a point to start collating questions, researching, and asking around for answers in efforts to broaden my knowledge base across the AFL.
That small taste I got of the AFL world has made me now hungrier than ever to get back to the dream; it’s honestly all I can think about most of the time, I really just want to be given an opportunity to make an impact and a difference.
So, with a new wave of motivation, I am going to do everything in my power to get my foot wedged firmly back in that door, even if that means banging on it until my knuckles bleed.
While Jagger does belt out that ‘you can’t always get what you want’ he does follow with ‘but if you try you might find you get what you need.’
So, how can You try and what can YOU do to get what YOU need?
Well for starters we can stop comparing ourselves. There has never been a more imperative time to find what makes you happy, what warms your heart, and what fuels your passion.
For me, that won’t ever be cooking or creating art. Instead, it’s listening to records and watching old movies as I write, having conversations with people in the industry, and studying the game. I also don’t mind having a cheeky Malibu and Pepsi max with the girls on facetime if we are being completely honest.
So, If that process of doing things that make you happy or fuel your passion has been hindered, because like myself you have been feeling a bit disheartened, or a bit down due to comparison please take a second to just stop for a moment.
This speed hump (okay monumental pot hole) allows you to slow down and gives you a moment to realise you’re doing incredible – You really are.
There is no right or wrong in this time. If you feel as if you’re not accomplishing as much as what someone else is, or if someone looks like they have their life together while that’s incredible and we can be happy for them, put the focus on yourself and what warms your heart.
That’s got to be your number one priority.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve decided that there is no way I am letting a negative mindset derail the hard work I put in over the last couple of years on being comfortable with having different interests. I also don’t want to have to completely change the goals I had set and were close to achieving or lose the passion I developed for the AFL.
I am especially not letting that happen just because I can’t do 50 push-ups or cook a soufflé during isolation. (If you can do either of these things, props to you!!)
One thing is for certain; I’m not giving up on the AFL dream, how could I? I’ve got to have faith that I’m only just getting started. I might just have to head back to the drawing board and work a little harder than what I thought I was physically capable of – yikes!
Remember that Its okay to not feel okay all the time,and I’m here to talk if you need.
Stay safe, stay well, stay sane.
As always, never be a stranger.
– M xx
Ps. I loved hearing from a few new people after the last post, it’s comforting to know a lot of us are going through similar emotions and feelings no matter where we are in the world.