Japan was the most extraordinary trip of my life. It was everything I’d ever wanted it to be and more. The food, the culture, the people. It was like I finally broke out, broke away and had an adventure.
I did things I’d never do, met people I’d never meet. Learned about a place I’d only seen in my imagination for years.
Yet now as I sit on the brink of returning to work tomorrow, I feel a bigger sense of trepidation than when I sat alone in a hotel in Osaka. Before I’d seen the beauty of Hakone, the tragedy of Hiroshima or the craziness of Tokyo. I think about what I want from my career and life, and I realise just how much further there is to go. There is something ironically safe in the unfamiliar, in the novel. When you’re in a place where you know nothing and no-one, there’s nothing else to be done but to embrace it. To push on.
I cried most of the journey back from Japan. I felt that I was leaving a part of my soul there. I don’t think I’d ever been in a place where I was embraced so much but knew so little. I didn’t want to leave. I felt there were new friends to be made, new secrets to discover.
I don’t hate my job by any means, in fact I’m very lucky to have it, but I positively dread returning to it. I dread the monotony of the day. I dread living between bed and desk, with all the vim and vigour of life lost except in brief glimpses.
My life is turning grey and I’m not sure how to inject the colour back into it. I guess I could meet someone, fall in love. But in this great dank city it seems like the most alien of possibilities.
I think about the job I used to love and the company I used to think was a safe haven. A place with people who have made me feel belittled and bullied and now I view with different eyes. Eyes that have been opened to some of the harsher realities of a place that pretends to care, but doesn’t really. Of a place which has made it clear that I’m not the investment I thought I was. In this company, at least, there will be no promotions, no opportunities. I will simply be. Simply exist until they decide they’re done. I feel that I must move on before then. But where, and to what?
I began studying for my Google Analytics exam over the weekend. It’s harder than I thought it would be and I don’t know if I’m really clever enough to wrap my head around it. It makes me yearn for a job that could just be…simpler. Where I could just lose myself in imagination and stories every day. It’s just idle fantasy, but that’s what I wish. To be just me and my words. Maybe I should re-train as a journalist or something?
Either that, or I have to throw myself into the digital side of my job and my new learning. Obsess and embrace it. Invent myself as a leader and innovator of the space. Pass my Google exams and get on the road to the dream job: the Content Director role.
Although sometimes I wonder if I really have the drive and work ethic to make it work. If I’m clever enough. If I’m lucky enough. In the 3 days since coming back from Japan, aside from tackling Google’s impossible labyrinth of an Academy, I’ve spent hours just sleeping off the jetlag. Waking up. Reading. Dozing. Reading. Sleeping again. I felt like I wanted to simply sleep for days. That it was difficult to find a reason to wake up. The freedom to do what I want was what kept me awake and going. I realised how much I loathe being at the mercy of someone else in an office. But I can’t break away, when it comes down to it I like working. I like contributing and making things.
In the most quiet, delicate way I feel like I’m falling apart. No binge drinking. No pills. Just inside me I feel like I’m standing on a knife edge, unsure of which way to jump; not being able to process what it is I really want.
I turned 28 in Japan. Surely by now I should have my shit together and be on the way to a great career. Meet someone, fall in love. Live the life that I want. And yet, why is it that the things which can seem so every day are the hardest of all the achieve?
When I was going out with Chris and has just started at my current job, I felt like the world was coming up roses. I got up and couldn’t believe that it was possible to be this happy. That life could be this generous. But it was a fleeting moment lost in time; a dream that I had to wake up from. Now what I have is the merest shadow of that. A vague and formless existence which could perhaps, just barely, be called happiness. If for no other reason than I don’t have much reason to complain.