Sometimes in life, you just have to take a deep breath and dive in. Last week, I made the curious decision to dive into an old blog of mine (RIP: 2012–14). Why? Narcissism, slightly. But mostly because I was looking for a post about goals, curious to see whether I was living up to 22-year-old Nikki’s expectations.
I didn’t find exactly what I was looking for I did come across an interesting post called ‘personal development’ from January 2014. I’d forgotten the struggles of being 21, so I’m going to share it with you today:
Whenever I see the phrase ‘personal development’, I close my mind – it’s sounds boring and tedious – the sort of thing you’d have to fill in sheet about during a PSHE lesson.
But I’ve come to realise that personal development is something we should strive for everyday, and it should be fun and inspiring. We can get so trapped in the mundane details of life that we forget the most important thing is to enjoy it, to be happy and fulfil our personal goals.
I recently came across a diary I kept for a very short time in early 2012. I was in my last year of uni and wishing the academic year would hurry up and finish. I wasn’t particularly into my course but I desperately wanted to be ambitious about a career – the only problem was, I didn’t know what that should be.
Without whipping out my tiny violin, I was lonely because almost all of friends were in long-term relationships and had life-consuming dissertations to commit to. And, worst of all, I didn’t feel at home at university. I felt out of place and uncomfortable, longing for trips home so I could feel happy and relaxed. In the end, I basically lived at home and commuted for the lectures I couldn’t get away with skipping. I was very anxious, scared to face the unknown ‘life after uni’.
I don’t know if you can relate to the problems I had in my third year, but if you can, I hope this makes you feel less alone – it’ll all be okay, I promise! At the time it felt completely horrendous, but I now appreciate that overcoming your problems will make you a stronger, wiser, more compassionate person.
It’s two years on and I’m so much happier – I’m on a better path. I finished uni with good results and moved back home properly. A few months after graduating, I got job, started this blog and began writing for a fashion website. This made me realise how much I loved writing (and fashion).
I’d spent my childhood writing stories but that kind of career felt like a pipe dream. I was always told that thousands of people wanted these ‘dream jobs’ and for most, it would never work out. It felt like there was no point in perusing it. Instead, I’d chosen a ‘smart’ degree – but it wasn’t quite right for me. I wish I’d been true to my likes and interests, and had more belief in myself.
This is why it’s so important to follow your dreams. If there’s something that really interests you, something that sets your pulse racing a little faster, no matter how silly or difficult to achieve it seems, go for it. You need to try or you’ll spend the rest of your life wondering ‘what if’.
And back to 2018…
It’s modern-day me again! I’m actually really glad I wrote about something this personal (which wasn’t my style), so I can remember what it was like to be 21 and 23. Pictures don’t tell us everything, do they?
It reminded me that everyone gets overwhelmed and lost sometimes. Maybe you need to lose your way so you can find the right path again.
I’ve done a lot in the past 4 years, going from an unpaid intern (only just finding her feet) to a fully-fledged editor (trusted to manage her own publication).
So, you know what, I think 22-year-old Nikki would be pretty thrilled with that.