Oh look, Alice is moving again. How original. But I’ve told myself this time will be the last. At least for a while.
I’ve lasted eight months in Manchester and to say those eight months have been character defining is an understatement! From walking away from my ‘dream’ job, to battling with depression and other health issues, it’s been a tough journey for sure. But there’s been plenty of wonderful experiences too, and I want this post to be an homage to both.
Let’s start with the bad. I’ve tried to be as honest as possible with you all on my blog, arguably more honest than I’ve been with people in real life. During my time in Manchester I’ve felt myself trying to conform to someone else’s expectations. I’ve tried to break into the big media companies as I told myself that’s what I should be doing – I’m a First Class journalism graduate, after all.
I was trying to be successful. To have a job that would impress people. To conform to society’s expectations of what excelling in oneself looks like. And if I’d tried hard, really hard, I would have fit the conventional definition of success sooner rather than later. It wasn’t so much that I was a square peg trying to get into a round hole, but an oval peg – it almost fits but not without an enormous amount of pressure.
And that pressure got to me badly. I felt like my life was a string of rejections, from potential employers to friendships and relationships. It took all my energy just to tread water and keep my game face in place and that was exhausting.
I’ve written before about how freeing it is to stop trying to be someone you’re not, and it’s so true. So I finally made my peace with everything and decided to play by my rules and put MY happiness first rather than what I thought were other people’s expectations of me.
Now I don’t know about you, but I find that the universe has a funny way of coming along with a new opportunity just as you’ve accepted the status quo. I don’t believe in fate per se, but everything in my life seems to align in such a way that I’m starting to get suspicious!
And so an opportunity to move back to Edinburgh came up. It’s no secret that I love Edinburgh and I’ve been longing to return to Scotland since I left. But, like many young people, I wanted to see whether the grass was greener elsewhere. I don’t regret moving to London or Manchester one bit, but I’m so glad I’m able to return home.
So that’s enough doom and gloom: let’s focus on the good parts of my Manchester residency. I’ve made a few friends for life, both in the blogging scene and otherwise. Northerners have a great soul and there have been many people who’ve tried hard to make me feel at home. The Manchester blogging community is the most inclusive I’ve ever met and I will definitely miss being part of this effervescent group of creatives.
On that note, moving to Manchester has been the catalyst to me seriously upping my own blogging game. I’ve taken part in my favourite photo shoots of all time and finally started to see the fruits of my labour as some of my favourite brands have approached me for collaborations.
Blogging aside, I’ve learnt so much about myself and what really makes me tick, and I’m so glad. As American professor Joseph Campbell once said: “There is perhaps nothing worse than reaching the top of the ladder and discovering you’re on the wrong wall.” I’m relieved to have realised I was climbing the wrong wall now rather than in ten years time.
So that’s it for now. Over and out, Manchester. I’ll be back, but I can’t wait to focus on building my life in Edinburgh.
To all the wonderful people I’ve met in Manchester, thank you. And to those of you who’ve kept reading my blog and following my journey, I am so grateful.
So… who’s in Edinburgh and wants to collaborate?