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January blues

// img credit: ghcf.co.uk

If I had to choose a word to sum up the beginning of the year so far, it would be 'glum'.  It is cold outside, dark, and damp.  All memory of Christmas has been swept from the house; decorations packed and pushed back into the loft, cards taken down and recycled, Christmas songs and films removed from radio and TV circulation.  I detest the relentless commercialisation of this time of year - 'buy this for Christmas' turns to 'buy this in the sale' and the switch is flicked from '3 packs of party food for 2' to 'lose weight, get fit, become a 'new you'.  The pressure to think about change is inevitable, not only because of the tradition of resolving to do new things, or do things differently, but because once all of the Christmas excitement is gone you're left with the bare bones of life.  Christmas brings family, lie ins, days out, a break from reality; for me, two weeks of bliss.  A taste of what life could be like without all of the things that hold us back; work, commitments, a ceiling high pile of ironing.

In many ways I have a very priveliged life.  My own house with a lovely boyfriend and a fluffball of a dog, in a lovely part of the world.  A couple of holidays a year, good food, good friends, a loving family.  I am happy and healthy and with a bit of luck I have a nice, comfortable life ahead of me.  I love to plan and am a creature of habit so shouldn't I take comfort in the fact that, if I wanted, I could duplicate one week with another, pick up my 10 years' service award at work in four years' time, then 20, then 30 and so on, watching my government pension slowly build up and then enjoying 10 years (if I'm lucky) of freedom before the inevitable?  I'm just not sure that's living.

It probably sounds a bit juvenile; the proverbial child stamping his feet, not wanting to go to school because he wants to stay at home and play with his toys.  But we teach our children to have big dreams, to have goals and visions, to go out and seek adventure and to follow their hearts, when in reality very few are able to fill their lives completely with the things they love.  We can do that a little bit, when we're not working, doing chores or sleeping (or talking or thinking about work) but instead the great majority of our time is spent making money or doing work for someone else.  A friend said to me recently, "True prosperity is finding something you love, and getting paid for it" and I guess that's the crème de la crème, to do something for those 37 hours a week that doesn't feel like work.  I wish I knew how to do that, or had the courage to relentlessly pursue it.  When I dream I dream of adventures, of living in different countries, of travelling the world, of weeks away in the campervan, of ticking restaurants and cities off a list, of duvet days and reading every book I own.  I'm already 28, which isn't old, but is the age when I feel like you're supposed to have figured it out, be settled, and have cleansed your body of itchy feet.  The realisation that I can't fill my life with these things is a bitter pill to swallow and one that is currently playing havoc with my gut.  Please tell me I'm not the only person who feels like this? ... I'm sure it will pass soon.

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37 comments

  1. Absolutely brilliant post darling! Your writing is so good.
    I have felt the same for many years and since having Immy and not having to work for a few years has enabled me to get on track a little bit with finding my dream job. The thought of doing a job I don't enjoy for 45+ years makes me sick. Is this the best we can hope for? I'm optimistic that our dream jobs are out there! On Tuesday I'm starting as an (unpaid) Assistant to a Stylist/Vintage Event Planner/Clothing designer, I'm hoping it'll lead to something exciting. I'll enjoy it along the way even if it doesn't. Good luck finding what makes you happy! xx

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  2. I felt exactly like this while at my desk job of 4 years, so after a brief stint at a fashion shop that I thought would be better and wasn't, I went freelance. It was a huge leap given that I don't have that much experience in my field and I won't lie, it hasn't been easy.
    Suddenly living month to month rather than being able to plan 6 months ahead on a steady salary has been a huge learning curve for me. I've had to stop buying clothes. I daren't go near the shops now in case I'm tempted.
    I work some afternoons in a cake shop and had a christmas job at Boots to pay for my next holiday but it's completely worth the incredible sense of freedom that I have. I'm excited when I get home from my holidays now because I literally have no idea what's going to happen. I don't have that Sunday evening 'back to work' dread because every week is totally different.
    I don't think freelancing is for everyone. You have to be able to cope with the complete lack of control and ability to plan anything but for me, I don't think I could go back now. I initially gave myself a year (from June) to see if it would work out and if it doesn't, then I'll start looking for another job. But 7 months in, it's looking pretty good so fingers crossed that my good fortune continues. (I still have to do the ironing though so it's not all rosy hehe)
    I know it can be tough leaving a secure job but if there's something you really want to do then just go for it! Life's too short! Or just wait until you have kids and then never go back ;)
    xx

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  3. You have expressed this so articulately, it's like you have written down the way I feel, only much better than I could ever have put it! I'm pleased to know I'm not the only one who feels like this, I already have so much and sometimes wish I could just be happy and content with that but can't help longing for a change to the daily grind. To spend my days earning money doing something I love is what I dream about on a daily basis.

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  4. I'm in a similar position to you except I'm married and I've not been working at my current workplace as long. I got really freaked out a few months ago thinking 'this is it- I'm going to be here forever- should I just numb my brain, work here until retirement and have kids even though I feel like I want more?' I figured that wasn't the right attitude towards having kids and the wrong attitude toward my own life- so I looked for other jobs and now I have a new one waiting for me in February. I'm really nervous about stepping out of what I know and where I am, but I am also excited.

    What I'm most scared about at the moment is that I'm quite career-driven (after a slow start due to family illness and depression) and in two years time I want to step up the career ladder again and then maybe work in London... I'll be 29 then and that's also when I said I'd start having babies- and I feel a responsibility to my husband to have them sooner rather than later too.

    I think that life is too short to numb your mind when you want more or something else... Maybe you should become freelance/ self-employed... Flawed logic coming up, but it *seems* that the people with the most amazing/ beautiful/ jel-inducing lives on the internet are self-employed and they *seem* to have it all. It's actually making me want to go self-employed, but due to the slow start I mentioned earlier I don't think I could personally handle it.

    Back to the point, I think everyone feels like this from time-to-time and I think the harsh reality for most people is as you mentioned... But at least you get out and do things that you want to when you have the time and take the time to appreciate and contemplate what's around you- a lot of people don't even do that.

    Not really sure what I'm on about anymore. Sorry. x

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  5. I'm 28 too, about tobe 29. I have felt miserable at work for just over a year now, and was seriously thinking about looking for something else after the wedding, but then thought twice when we fell pregnant, because with 11 years service I didn't want to mess up by (minimal but slightly subsidised) maternity allowance.
    Even though Sam is my partner in every aspect, when I decided that I couldn't see myself going back to my job post baby telling him was hard, but he knew instantly that it isnt just me being lazy and wanting to sit on my bum all day and agreed to support me however he can (which will be hard as he earns a lot less)
    I made the decision to leave partly because I dont enjoy it any more, and partly because the stress levels are awful NOW, and will only be worse once I am juggling a baby, living further away from work (£ reasons) and managing a multi million pound hotel on a very low salary compared to other hotel companies, so I dont know how I would manage without a break down!
    I plan to do an intro degree thing with the OU and hopefully it will lead to a further qualification then a job doing something I enjoy, and can choose my own hours doing... And if that doesn't work out I will re enter my job market place when kid goes to school or similar!

    In short, no it isnt odd to feel like you do, I think lots of people do and not many talk about it!

    Much love, and thanks for another through provoking post! x

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  6. 28 is not old. there is certainly enough time to do everything and go every where you want. no matter if its living in another country or holidaying. I moved to cyprus 2 years ago and while its been great its not all cocktails and suntans. and i have missed out on a lot being away from england but our experiences are what you make them. whatever you desire to do just bite the bullet and find a way x

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  7. Oh Rosie, like everyone else that's commented I've felt exactly the same, I'm sure we all have at some point. Some people are happy to plod along, some of us want adventure and excitement which we'll never get from the whole 'work, eat, sleep' routine. Rosie you only get one life! Live it! Save your socks off and take a sabbatical from work after your ten years service and go campervanning! So many people aren't brave enough to give up their routine, their 'safety' of what they know. Then they'll look back on their life when they are too old and regret not going after all those dreams they wanted to pursue. Who cares if you have to live out of a bag and live hand to mouth and get places on a wing and a prayer, if, when you're old and past it, you get to sit in your wing backed chair smile about everything you experienced and achieved? It's the 'right' thing to do by working til you're too old to do anything when you're retired, but it leaves a lot of people miserable and unfulfilled. Life is about experiencing every little thing you can! Just follow your dreams no matter how scary. Rent your house out, quit your jobs and go travel the world!! You'll only regret NOT doing it! X

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  8. Love your writing! Nope you are definately not the only person who feels like this. I am so grateful for everything I have but I also have such itchy feet to go travelling and see new places and try something new but feel like a lack of cash and current work commitments are holding me back. I think its important once in a while to stop thinking about the consequences and just take the plunge. Think I am going to sit down and write a bucket list and start working through it and experience everything of the world I can and spend time searching for my ideal job in the process :)
    Lianne x
    rubyrubyslippers.blogspot.com

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  9. It's like you've read my mind Rosie! When I was younger, 28 seemed so mature.... I thought I'd be a "grown up" by now but the reality is that I have a week to go until I'm 29...I'm in a job I hate, I'm desperate to move from our teeny flat into a bigger place and wondering will we ever go travelling again. These thoughts come along in waves and I find it all very overwhelming when they all hit at the same time.

    We are making steps to move house very soon and we have agreed that next year we will go back to explore a little more of the world with the hope to one day move to Australia (big big dreams) ...I have also made a promise to myself that I will not be in the same job by this time next year, so I'm hoping that this year will settle a couple of those waves. In the mean time, I can't wait to reply with "It's great, I love it" when someone asks how work is going...

    I've rambled a bit and but know that you're definitely not alone in your thoughts :) x

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  10. Rosie I think you have summed up the wrestling you do with yourself in your twenties perfectly - at least my experience of it having just turned 27 - and that of a fair few of my friends too. It's such a weird position when you realise that almost a decade out of sixth form you're nowhere near as 'grown-up' or sorted as you thought you would be. Frightening to not be where you want to be but even more so to not be sure of where that is!? Argh! Do you ever find yourself envious of people born with that 'I will be a doctor/actor/teacher/surfer when I grow up' surety?!

    Jem xXx

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  11. Rosie this is so well written, I'm a few years younger than you but I completely agree with everything that you've said. I feel like i'm already on my path to my pension and i'm 22 next month which is scary and really silly too! We are more than young enough to not write ourselves off yet, until you have proper ties to things you can still up and go and enjoy living on a beach or in a camper van or whatever the dream is. Don't feel like there isn't another choice because there always is- it just isn't always the easiest thing to go out there and grab it.
    You're going to do great Rosie :)
    Poppy @ lets drive far away x

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  12. I know exactly how you feel. I am stuck in a perpetual quarter-life crisis and getting older terrifies me to my very core. Very well written. I think, especially going by the comments on this, a lot of people in their 20s definitely feel the same!

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  13. I'm in my third year and about to start the last term of uni and maybe the last few months of the best years of my life which terrifies me. I'm really trying to stay positive and try and pursue my dreams but the reality of what it could be does scare me a lot, especially of what situation I might be in in a years time. However I think all you can do is try and stay positive, I don't know what your ultimate goals are but your blog is amazing Rosie so you definitely deserve big things and I hope you get them soon!

    Rosie
    x

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  14. This is brilliantly written and you have managed to describe exactly how I am feeling at the moment. I am trying to concentrate on finding something that can define me as well as my work - I would simply say that, while you work out what you want, you already have a great blog and a real writing talent :) x

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  15. Rosie, I'm going to put this bluntly. I love you. I love the way your write, how you're so honest and descriptive, and you say things that most bloggers wouldn't be sure of posting. You're brilliant, never stop blogging please :)

    burgundybeauty.blogspot.co.uk
    x

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  16. I love your blog. I always feel as though I could have written posts like these.

    I just did this very thing and left my job that was making me anxious and unhappy and stepped out into the unknown so I'm kind of winging my way to a happier future at the moment. Keep meaning to blog about it but it's scary!

    xx

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  17. I had this exact conversation with two of my oldest friends last Friday... We're all nearly 27, and have all settled (more or less) into the careers that we planned, and the ones that we studied for. But... none of us are exactly happy with it. We're quite happy, and if this is the way adult life works, then that's fine, but... Two of us have vague plans to maybe retrain, but is it just that the grass is always greener? Should we spend time and money trying to do other things? Should we stick with our jobs, save up, go on an adventure? Is it naive to assume that you're always going to love your job? Is it a bit ridiculous to expect 17 year olds to arbitrarily choose a degree subject (and sometimes, therefore, a career) and then live by this decision for the rest of their lives?

    Wish I had some answers!

    xx

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  18. This is such an honest post & I agree with so many of the points you make. At 27 life isn't how I thought it'd be but it'd not bad either - I feel guilty for wanting more.

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  19. I'm definitely suffering from the post-Christmas blues myself and this time of year, with all the 'new you' messages and campaigns in shops, magazines, tv etc does always make me question myself. I'm a similar age and too wonder if I have enough time to do everything I want to do, and if I'm on the right path.

    I think so many of us have a 'grass is always greener' view of the world and are constantly searching for something which can't ever quite be pinned down.

    Thanks for such an honest post. x

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  20. You are only 28! before the power house of business in the 1980s if you got to 25 and were to far ahead it was bad, it was encouraged to invest your life and save but the last 20 years have given us the chances to be free from this. At 28 you shouldn't have it figured out you should be still figuring it out because funnily enough you can't be in the same situation all your life everything is always changing and even if spending 35 hours week doing something that isn't what you want how can you change it?

    I felt like this last year with my job and things until I moved roles and I love what I do even if it's hard.
    I sometimes want to just run away for several days and take my boy with me and read and laugh and forget the rest of the world.

    I make sure I take time out for myself in life so I can still go wandering in strange places, go out for dinner or just get on a train and go somewhere!

    Never lose that sense of adventure it will hold you in good stead )

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  21. I think this is such a tough thing to get to grips with at lots of stages in your life. Up to a certain age I always had a clear image of the next stage, or I felt I knew what was expected, when I reached a point where I couldn't imagine what the hell was going to happen as I progressed next, I had massive meltdowns- the one where I ended up in hospital, the one where I went off the rails and the radar, the one where I got a bit obsessive... and in later years, I've allowed myself to feel pressured into believing that at uni I should always be having a fab time and going out lots, or enjoying in depth academic studies of the use of the Konjunktiv II voice in German literature.

    I agree, there is more to living than replicating every week, but I also wonder if we always loved everything we did, if we would love them as much. I love the job I've taken, but damn I was glad it was Friday as I left yesterday. I went into central london to shop and for a drink with T on NYE, for the first time since moving here, and it was lovely because we don't do it every week. We went to a new city for an epic gig this December, which was amazing because it was a huge treat.

    It's important to do the things we love, and to make time for those things, and to make an effort with them, because we make ourselves miserable if we don't, but the bits we don't enjoy (FYI 2 loads of washing down, a massive pile of ironing, hoovering, mopping and more wardrobe clearance to go....) make the bits we love all the better. Cleaning and washing is not my idea of a day off, but when T & I sit down in OUR space, TOGETHER, for dinner and a glass of wine tonight, it'll be all the better. When we go to gigs, on holidays or out for dinner- ourselves or with family, we know we do so without spending on credit cards we can't repay, because we both have to get up on Monday.

    I really hope none of this sounds condescending or judgemental- and that work hasn't been too distressing this week. I just know how you feel, having been here many times in my life, and that's what I've taken from it.

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  22. What a great thought provoking post again Rosie. I think we all strive for more in life don't we? Constantly a new thing to aim for and when you achieve that, onto the next challenge. I have similar dreams and aspirations of seeing places and doing things, although I think I would quickly get bored if I could do all those things now without having to work towards anything or work at all. Im definitely in the camp of having to do these things in order to appreciate the things we love and work towards the things we love, but maybe that's just me. Dont get me wrong though, id much rather work part time (from home!) than full time if I could! xxx

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  23. This is such a great post, I think everyone feels like this and the christmas holidays certainly bringit out more, I currently sat with a huge load of uni work to do wondering why I ever decided to become a student in the first place! I never wanted to go down the whole 'job' route, my plan was always to be self employed when I graduate, but now that that's going to be fairly soon the worry is starting to hit me and I'm wondering whether I should sacrifice my dream job of working all by myself for getting a 'proper job' and being able to afford a nice life outside work...it's such a struggle :( xx

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  24. From reading all the comments on this post, I'm sure you realise you're far from alone! I'm in the same situation. 28 and still not sure what I want to be when I grow up. When I was 23 I was teaching and I definitely didn't want to do that. So I quit and went into the charity sector. Not just like that mind, lots of interviews and volunteering first. I still think that's the best move I could have made, but I still have the feeling of 'is this really it?' I've come to the conclusion that I may never know what truly makes me happy. But at least with a steady salary, Ben and I can make plans. Go on holidays and have a lovely home. I work a 9-5 desk job. And it can be dull. But I feel my home life is lovely and perhaps that's all I'm working for, to have a great home life. I'm not sure I'll ever find the 'perfect' job for me.

    Jen | sunny sweet pea xx

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  25. Save some pennies and come adventuring with meee! Life is too short for the january blues xoxo

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  26. I definitely feel this way. I am very lucky in my life with job/family/friends etc but I do wish for more adventures but a full time job just doesn't allow it. I always meant to do Camp America, now I think I am even too old to do that (I'm 28 too!) The way I tackle it is to always make the most of my annual leave - every day is precious. I try to make sure I go to at least 2/3 other countries every year. January is a great time to book holidays, it gives you something to look forward to! I have just booked to go to Rome in March and Switzerland in June - both only 3 work days each. I'm hoping for a "big" holiday in the summer, perhaps to the USA. If I stay at my job 3 more years I will get 2 months paid leave - I plan to make the most of that and do something amazing! Perhaps your work would let you have something similar or some unpaid leave?

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  27. This is so well articulated, as most people above I feel like it could be written from my brain! I think 28 (my age too) is a really tough time. Especially with 30-obsessed society and the fact that the generation before us would be mostly married, settled, popping out kids and in their job for life by now... it's hard to suddenly be faced with so many decisions and the pressure to decide how your whole life is going to be, RIGHT NOW! I take alot of reassurance from my parents who have both changed jobs and lifestyle various times in their 50s & 60s which makes me realise that you are never just "stuck" at any age, even thought it may seem that way on dark days.

    It helped me to really look at my life this year and make a bunch of resolutions that really pinpointed the niggly areas I was unhappy with and helped address ways to alter them. It's amazing how small changes can make you feel back in control of your life and your destiny. I have no doubt you can achieve anything you want though Rosie! You're obviously an extremely talented writer and have a real eye for creativity and relating to people. my bloglovin' list is epic in proportions but yours is always the one I look forward to reading the most. Good luck with this year and thanks for being so refreshingly honest.

    Bee x Like a Skeleton Key - Blogger is allergic to wordpress and wont verify me to comment linking to my site! I get this problem all the time with OpenID if there isn't a name/URL comment option, wah! So apologies for the random google account comment.

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  28. Love this. I totally know what you mean. Two of my best friends have just come home after 18 months away living in Oz and travelling the world and on hearing their stories it does make me want to go but I battle between 'doing the right thing' aka earning money, saving and growing up and just taking the plunge to take off. Maybe one day I will and I defo have the yearn, but do I have the guts? Not sure.

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  29. I've just read this post and I do understand the slight malaise of reaching our late 20s and that feeling of 'is this it?'... I'd been going out with a guy for nearly 8 years (up to last year) when it occured to me that 'this was it'... and it hella scared me!! After much soul searching I ended up finishing the relationship and moving on which was incredibly hard at the time but for the better for me. I'm obviously not suggesting a break up, god no! But am acknowledging that sometimes things happen unexpectedly which do make you feel better about the situation at hand and I hope this happens for you too!! :)

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  30. I adore this post Rosie, such a good read & really got me thinking. Starting talking to my friends about it the other night too.
    It is sad that really, can we follow our dreams, can we do what we want! I know I can't. Is that just because of money? It's because of my whole life situation.
    I like you, feel very privileged and happy in life in general. My parents have been amazing, holidays have always been part of my life. I now live with my gorgeous Boyfriend and get to spend time with two of the most amazing dogs.
    When you think about it though how sad is it that you can't fulfill your dreams, properly!
    I am happy, I love the small things in life & they are turning into my dreams and aspirations but I don't know what I want to do & what I want to be. I just want to blog all day & cuddle puppies in my past time <3

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  31. Brilliant post. I'm 25 in 4 months time and I just jacked in a nice little marketing job with a stready salary (and the prospect of getting my own place) to pursue my dream of becoming a make up artist. My gut is telling me to go back, get an office job so I can have your life - cosy, comfortable, stable. But I guess, the grass is always greener and like you say - getting paid to do something that doesn't feel like work is the dream, right?

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  32. Oh yes this is SUCH a familiar feeling. I think its a consequence of the world we live in- we get to see all these amazing things that others do and know all about it in a way that our parents and grandparents never did. Plus the internet provides such a sugar-coated view of other people's lives. I know I only focus on the good stuff! I call this my covetous feeling- I want all sorts of things including a different life. And feeling unsatisfied is, to be blunt, shit. talked about this a little in my last post too, and I counteract it in a few ways. Firstly if there are dreams and changes that are possible, reasonable, legitimate etc, then put things in motion to make them happen! Second, make time for my adventures. I might not be able to afford exotic trips or not to work but making time to try new stuff with friends and bf makes everything feel refreshed. And it usually involves alot of laughter too which is always good. Finaly I do the old fashioned thing and count my blessings. Rather than compare myself to those I'm envious of, I compare myself to those having a tough time. And that makes me cherish the good stuff even more. Big love through the slump. You'll come out the other side
    xxx

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  33. Such a great post Rosie and your way with words is amazing!
    I have to agree with you about this time of year, it's just absolute balls. As I get older, I can understand why people get so fed up and even get depressed.
    I used to take those little 'sunshine pills' a couple of years ago and yep, they seemed to make me feel slightly better but the thought of taking a pill to make me feel happier just made me feel even more depressed!
    Since going into higher education after working full time for 2 years I feel hell of a lot better for it. I realized in that short space of time that I cannot hack staying where I was for the rest of my life so decided to go for my dream. No idea if it's going to happen but I am trying which makes me feel super :)
    Huge amounts of love for this post and I do hope you get a small step closer to your dreams. Your life sounds pretty darn good and I am glad that you do cherish what you have. The amount of people I see on Facebook that complain about every little thing they can just makes my blood boil. They need to take a page from your book and appreciate the little things in life! x

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  34. You're not alone in feeling this way!
    I live by the idea that if it doesn't frighten you, even a tiny bit, then it's not worth doing.
    (Obviously this does not apply to cuddling kittens and writing Thank You cards, neither scary tasks, but both very worthwhile).
    xx

    http://wethingin.blogspot.co.uk

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  35. Finding this crazy late, but it's not just you! Sometimes it's just nice to have a bit of solidarity in this. So thank you for sharing and I hope things are looking up!

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  36. Agree with everything here. I think I'm on the brink of a quarter life crisis. A 9-5 soul destroying job that I dream of leaving behind to work self employed with my little business (but so scared of losing my steady salary) and no sign of being anyway near getting a mortgage before 30 when my parents were married, owned a home and had 3 kids by then. Crazy.

    Life is so different today! I guess we just have to stay positive and focus on the good things, and above all, keep dreaming and setting goals!

    Dayner Lloyd @ Mozzypop

    Shop: www.shopmozzypop.com
    Blog: www.mozzypop.com

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  37. Right now I own a small business. Not those small beans of selling some crafts online but a retail location in my town. As of right now we have a 2 year possible expiration date. We've excepted it even though that is some time and could turn around. We have been in business for 5 years already so we are happy to have such a good run. Why am I saying all of this? Well, I have no idea what I am going to do with myself once this is all said and done. I have now extended education from high school. I've mostly done retail. But do I want to go back to those small beans after running a shop for 7 years? Will I be a stay at home mom? Who knows. And I'll be 31!

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Thank you in advance for your lovely comments, they mean the world to me! If you have a question or want to get in touch, tweet me at @rosieoutlook.