From a young age, I knew that pursuing the path of the writer would not be easy. But what I hadn’t accounted for, was the envy I would feel towards my friends’ successes. I knew pursuing a career as an author meant choosing the road less travelled. But there was a difference between knowing something and experiencing it.
The more I learnt about Hayao Miyazaki’s process, the less I feared creative collaboration. Following my idol’s approach, I was able to be assured that sharing my ideas with other creatives could be an enriching experience and help bring my projects to fruition.
In times of transformation, like shifting from the identity of ‘student’ to ‘graduate,’ it can be hard to allow ourselves a moment to pause. Add in the constant lens of social media, which shows us only the highlights of our peers and friends’ lives, we’ve been conditioned to feel like if we’re not working perfectly to plan, then we must be falling behind.
When I came to the realisation that both the career I had spent years studying towards, and the job I had worked so hard at were not for me, I went into crisis mode. I spent the better part of a year agonising over all the possibilities. I had so many interests, and strengths, that I could potentially turn into a career. With my career search, inevitably came the soul-searching. I had to consider facets of myself that I never had before, and I was confronted with the age-old questions: “Who am I?”
Getting a High Distinction on an assessment won’t pay for dinner, but at the same time, you still want to do well in your studies. So, where do you draw the line between studying and work? And how can you put uni first while trying to earn a living? If you’re set on studying and need to make a living, then neither of these things is something you can just ‘give up’ on. You need both to survive.
In a few ways, finishing my degree felt like a non-event. I celebrated after I submitted my last assignment, of course I did, but nothing really happened. There was no graduation ceremony, just me waiting for three weeks for an email to say I had been successfully awarded my master’s degree. That was it. It…
Just like how a recipe has an estimated preparation and cooking time, societal values have decided that we must follow a certain timeline as to when we hit milestones: finish high school at 18/19, go straight to university and finish at 22, get a career level job and start climbing the ranks from there. But just as cooking from a recipe can take us longer than the prescribed time, so can life.
I first read Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist in 2017. I read it again in 2019. And then again in 2021. Every time I have returned to the pages of The Alchemist, I have found something new to learn, a new perspective to take on or another reason to return to it again a few years…
Determined for me to experience the magic of reading, my Grandma applied her first Law of Knitting. Like a good ball of wool, she enlisted the help of Roald Dahl’s classic tale The Witches. Using her Laws of Knitting, My Grandma helped nurture my love of reading. You can’t expect to knit a scarf in one go. You’re going to be slow as your hands learn how to move and thread the wool. You’re going to have to backtrack if you drop a stitch.
“Stop comparing yourself to others.” It’s easier said than done, right? I know I am guilty of this quality but as Franklin Roosevelt once said, “comparison is the thief of joy” and comparing your own talents to someone else’s will ultimately self-sabotage your own. When you begin to compete with yourself you essentially begin to drown out the success of others. Instead of focusing on what age so and so published their first novel, you shift the focus to, if I focus on this manuscript and set myself a deadline, I could look at publishing this soon. By doing this you ultimately develop an action plan to mapping out your success.