Thoughts on 2016

IMG_9931Yesterday I posted this image to Instagram, and although it’s what I wish I believed, honestly it’s a stretch to say the least. I don’t tend to post personal stuff here much, but I’m feeling the need to share for some reason, so here goes..

2016 for me has started with sleeplessness and anxiety. Work is quiet (eerily so) for the first time in years, Pinterest is full of inspiring, motivational quotes – ‘do more of what you love’, ‘follow your dreams’, ‘I can and I will’ – and I’m left feeling completely lost, painfully conscious that I have absolutely no idea what it is I want to be doing. I’m torn between the practical need to earn some cash to pay the bills, and the desire to stop, take some time out, and try to find a purpose, to work out what direction to head in. Everyone has an opinion about what I should do next, but every suggestion feels wrong or just out of reach. I’d do anything not to talk about it at all. The word ‘can’t’ swims around in my head, my impulses are always negative. Can’t, couldn’t, shouldn’t, won’t. Is that fear? But I feel like it can’t be fear if I don’t actually know what it is I’m afraid of.

Who are you if you don’t have dreams? And don’t get me wrong, I do have dreams – to travel, to explore, to be present in my children’s lives, to be the best mum I can, to create a lovely home, to be creative – but when it comes to work it’s like my dreams all evaporate and my mind goes completely blank. There’s nothing there. Where’s my burning desire? Where’s my ambition? Where’s my sense of ‘me’? I seem to be the only person so clueless – everyone else exudes purpose, direction, dreams, plans.  I feel like I’m all surface with no depth, like I’m missing some key part of myself.

The new year, with its sense of starting afresh doesn’t feel exciting this year, it makes me feel panicked, trapped, cornererd. I’m filled with anxiety, and it knaws away at my insides while I try to sleep at night, keeping away the rest I’m desperately aware that I need. The anxiety courses through me, my whole body seems to vibrate with it, and then during the day I busy myself with mundane household tasks, with sorting and decluttering. Because really that’s what I want to do with my mind, but I’m not sure how or where to begin.





  1. Susan
    January 4, 2016 / 6:50 pm

    Oh Hello! hello I hear you. Thank you. What an honest post you’ve written. It’s spoken from your own heart but you’ll have also spoken to me and many others I guess! We cannot be the only two clueless ones surely!! I can say I’m sorry that you’re all at sixes and sevens as to what you want to do as I feel exactly the same. From working full time to now being a stay at home mum for past six years I’m all ” is this me?” Is this what I REALLY want? How do you find what you want??? “. Still don’t know I’m afraid to say! What I do know though is its ok, I’ve relaxed about it a lot more, relaxed about the not knowing, that’s ok.

    My advice is to not be harsh on yourself. Go easy, no rush. Us women put way too much pressure on ourselves. We should learn from looking at men. They have a more relaxed and logical approach..not always right though I hasten to add! I’m the boss of our house ha, but my husband is laid back and I could learn a thing or two from him.

    • Heather Young January 12, 2016 / 2:09 pm

      Great advice, thankyou Susan. It’s great to hear I’m not alone, and that definitely helps me to feel a bit less stressed about it. I’m going to try to relax and see what happens…

  2. January 4, 2016 / 7:51 pm

    I hear you. Other than expecting to be a novelist in my teens, I’ve never had much sense of ambition or direction; I’ve fallen from one career to the next through luck (sometimes good, sometimes bad). I’m coming to the end of my maternity leave, can’t afford childcare on my salary (so will most likely have to leave that job) and find that I’m not at all worried about losing a career, just about losing an income. I suspect this directionlessness is more common than people let on.

    • Heather Young January 12, 2016 / 2:12 pm

      I sort of achieved my ambition before I had the twins, and I haven’t found a new direction or ambition since then! I think the pressure of earning an income has a big impact on my levels of stress – if it was just about career then I know I wouldn’t be so hung up on it. Thanks for your comment – it’s great to know I’m not the only one in this boat!

  3. January 6, 2016 / 7:39 pm

    I’d like to give you a big hug right now. I can relate to pretty much every word of this post. It’s somewhere I’ve been many times before and, I expect, will be a place I’ll be again. I think it’s the result of freelance life, working solo from home, being creative and also a bit of a perfectionist. I expect there are many others out there who feel the same too. For me, the things that help are often taking a bit of a step back where possible to try and re-evaluate things and give myself both a bit of inspiration and find motivation to take on new things and jump into the unknown. It’s hard though. You’re an exceptionally talented woman though Heather, so I have no doubt that you’ll work it all out in the end. xxx

    • Heather Young January 12, 2016 / 2:14 pm

      Thanks Molly – you’re totally right that it’s all part of the freelance life. Often I wish I had a permanent job, but then I remind myself of all the benefits of being freelance (mainly the flexibility). I think also that you reach a point of freelancing about five years in, when all the contacts that gave you your safety net before have started to move on and you realise that you have to really put yourself out there and make new contacts. That’s something I’m terrible at, and loathe having to do – I love my comfort zone!

  4. January 7, 2016 / 11:09 am

    Good morning! I discovered your blog on Pinterest, early this morning when I couldn’t get back to sleep. I love your transparency in this post. May I suggest– I’m older than you, in the next season of life, with grown children and an empty nest– that perhaps your ambition is in exactly the right place for your season of life? To be present for your family and create a lovely home is something that only you can do. And this season in your children’s lives is very fleeting. I haven’t read enough of your blog to see if you’re a Christian, but offer your anxiety and fears to God, then … Wait. Carry on with your “mundane” chores, but focus on the beauty and sacredness off caring for those souls in your care.
    I say this because I remember slogged through the relentless demands of motherhood, but from the other side — I’m so thankful I was able to do it.
    Saying a prayer for you this morning.

    • Heather Young January 12, 2016 / 2:17 pm

      That’s a great angle to come from, and it does actually give me a boost. My children will only be small for so long, and I want to give them as much focus as I can while they’re little. Many thanks for taking the time to comment and lend support.

  5. January 7, 2016 / 5:47 pm

    Coffee, hugs and nonsense chat coming your way! You are amazing, stylish, creative and blinking lovely with it. I often find myself in a which way now rut, I can’t give you sound advice but I take 2 steps one is back and one is to the side so that I can look at things from a different angle. I was only having a chat with someone today about having it all, getting it done and still having time to breathe. xxx

    • Heather Young January 12, 2016 / 2:18 pm

      Was great to see you at the weekend for real life coffee, hugs and chat. Looking from a different angle is definitely what I need to do. Thanks for being there x

  6. January 7, 2016 / 6:49 pm

    I haven’t watched this yet, but it’s on my list, as it seems I have some similar feelings to you. Maybe it has some interesting thoughts?

    Emilie Wapnick: Why some of us don’t have one true calling

    (I don’t know if you remember me. I used to blog, a long time ago now. I still lurk around my favourites though!)

    • Heather Young January 12, 2016 / 2:18 pm

      Gayle! Hello stranger! Of course I remember you, I miss you! Thanks for that link – I’ll definitely check it out. Love TED talks…

  7. Gwyneth Anderson
    January 12, 2016 / 3:47 pm

    Hallo Heather, 2016 was a truly horrid year for me as for the first time in my life anxiety, stress and depression took a hold and I had a breakdown. I took the decision, along with my husband, for us both to leave social care and for me to give up being a social worker, a career that I had previously loved. However, despite those decsions, there was an enormous pressure to pay the bills and keep a roof over our and our son’s heads!!
    What I found that really helped was reading a book on mindfulness. I found that on the days that the anxiety was not crippling then I would be superbusy looking for jobs, filling in application forms, leaving the housework, making lists, calling contacts etc and that on days when I felt anxious and low, trying hard in the mindful way not to ‘think my way out of it’ (which is what conscientious, kind, intellient people tend to do) and tried (it was very hard at first) to go with it.
    In short, do as much as you can when you feel ok, spend time being anxious when you are as it serves a purpose, albeit a horrible one sometimes.
    The other thing that I did was discover blogs like yours which really helped with the over thinking!! I am very thankful for them.
    Blimey! a small essay to a stranger but it’s so important to reach out and make connections.

    • Heather Young January 24, 2016 / 4:29 pm

      Hi Gwyneth – thanks so much for your comment. I had got into the habit of using the HeadSpace app last year but that’s fallen by the wayside, and I think it’s definitely worth trying to do again. I’ve also gone back to my old yoga class after a break of about six months. I feel so much better after a class, so I’m determined to keep up with it. I really hope that 2016 is a better year for you x

  8. Gwyneth Anderson
    January 12, 2016 / 3:52 pm

    of course, that should read 2015 doh!

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