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I'm relearning my story

Paul MiddletonPaul Middleton

I lost myself. I've recently found myself again. Yay!

Welcome back to me

I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. I still don't, really. But I have always had a very clear understanding of who I was. That was, until a few years ago, when it seems I forgot.

Growing Up

When I was younger, I didn't really care too much about what was going to happen in the future. I didn't plan, I lived in the moment. I've always been resourceful, and I figured I'd work stuff out like jobs and money as and when necessary.

It worked. At least, I earned good money, had fun and learnt a lot. I made bad choices, of course, but nothing that I wasn't able to recover from. I found that giving stuff a go was more fun, even when you failed, than not trying at all, or taking the safe option. "How hard could it be?", my ex-business partner would say, and he was right.

Losing my way

But something changed around the time I closed/sold my business (2013). I lost the drive to start new things. I was scared to fail, and scared not to spend my time making money to support my family. I took a salaried job that I still have now.

I'm not blaming the job, or the workplace (though heaven knows it's a challenging place to be), but these were doubtless contributing factors to a change in mentality. I became comfortable accepting my pay cheque and stopped pushing my own projects forward. I work hard, but some days I can kick back into cruise control and grind out a few hours that don't require much thought or effort.

This is dangerous, because you can become accustomed to the status quo and start taking things for granted. Work becomes the place you go, rather than the thing you do, or the result of your efforts.

Finding my way back

I recognised about a year ago that I wasn't happy. I put this down to the fact that I didn't know my purpose, and I didn't even know my talents. I still don't.

I read a lot and I listen to podcasts. I prefer LinkedIn to Facebook, and I spend time on tumblr. I have a diverse range of interests ranging from high-tech to art and, like you I'm sure, I constantly judge myself against the top 0.001% who appear to be doing these things - things they love - expertly.

How? How do they get to do these things, whilst someone like me, with all the passion and enthusiasm in the world, felt trapped and unhappy. Something needed to change.

Escape plan

Top of the list was my job. I realised that it was not "speaking to my most authentic self" (as Sir Ken Robinson would say). I started to apply for the jobs I wanted. But it's difficult to sell yourself when you're not entirely sure what you're selling.

"Employ me, I'm great. I don't appear to have a lot of experience for this role, but trust me, it'll be fine"

It wasn't a heartfelt campaign, and the exhaustion of working in a job that was increasingly frustrating meant most evenings I was too tired to do anything when I got home.

And who's to say I wasn't jumping from unfulfilling role to another? I needed to work out what it was that I really wanted.

Are you still reading?

Probably not. I'm bored of writing, so you MUST be bored of reading!

I'll come back to this another time when I have a better idea. In the meantime, this is what happened:

  • I released that I was no longer the person I used to be
  • I realised that I was waiting for someone or something to rescue me
  • I got off my arse and started doing things for myself

I started a new website (that hasn't been updated in a couple of months, but so what?). I started reading again and, most importantly, I started this blog.

I've found myself again - the carefree creative who gives it a go.

Image credits: View from my kitchen, 1st Oct 2016, Me