I was going to launch this blog tonight with a post about my adventures exploring the Loch Ness. Instead, I’m going to take a moment to reflect and write this.
As I type, a team of men is ripping down my kitchen roof in order to raise it by six inches, I am eating a hardboiled, cold egg (which is a super weird thing to do, according to my last housemate), and I’m watching Greys Anatomy.
In the beginning of COVID, doing a single thing which wasn’t work made me feel guilty and like a terrible employee. I’ve since learnt that shovelling food into my mouth with one hand and answering emails with the other isn’t conducive to a good work life balance, even with the line between the two blurred as it is.
I’ve written dozens of potential posts over the last weeks, and I still don’t feel prepared to launch this blog – what happens if I miss a week? Historically, I’ve only ever been able to commit a little to social media endeavours. For a few years, I posted YouTube videos consistently, and then I moved countries and became more interested in contributing than headlining.
The key reason behind my hesitance to do much of anything is because the older I get, the more I realize how little of an expert I am. I’m constantly exposed to high performers, incredibly driven people, and mentors with years of valuable experience.
This doesn’t hinder me in my career – it inspires me to learn and work hard.
But blogging is another kettle of fish: when I was sixteen or seventeen, I had no hesitation in dishing out life advice to the masses. Now I’m a lot more cautious, and a lot more aware of potential side effects and miscommunications. When I was eighteen, I released a YouTube video about overcoming depression, with no idea that I still had two years of it to go.
Experience has made me a lot more humble.
But this is where Greys anatomy comes back in. The scene I’m watching shows one surgeon breaking apart as she miscarries, sobbing into the arms of another – despite all her expertise, there is nothing she can do.
Say what you want about Greys anatomy, but it’s a poignant scene. I can’t help but get a little teary eyed, because I can empathise with what she’s going through. Sometimes we can do everything right and get it wrong, and sometimes life simply happens outside of our control.
I’ve developed three sayings over the years that I resort back to again and again (a mate called them Lenaisms) when things go wrong. They are these:
Never apologize for being human.
You did the best you could with the information you had at the time.
Every bad experience makes for a good story, and every good experience makes for a celebration.
When I miscarried, I would have done anything to hit pause and rewind, but it wasn’t meant to be. When I think of that experience and of my others – of doing the work to overcome my complex PTSD, my short stint of homelessness, and of the work it took to turn my life around after years of depression, I realize that I would never tell someone else living those things that their thoughts weren’t honed enough to be valuable.
It might be surprising to hear that after overcoming that morbid shopping list I’m nervous about starting a blog. It’s a little funny. I also think it’s oddly wonderful. I’m alive. I’m thinking. I have high expectations of myself.
I’ve become acutely aware (upon reflection) that even the experts are nervous.
So instead of trying to convince you that I know everything (because I don’t), I’m just going to share with you what I’m thinking. Consider it a live brainstorm, with me acutely aware that my opinions could shift radically in the years to come. I’m also going to share the things that make me happy: art, travel, exploration, writing. Life is too short for overthinking.
Each coming Wednesday I’ll be sharing a story – of my travels, experiments, or thoughts. I hope you’ll enjoy them, and if you’re interested, you can stay updated by subscribing to my newsletter – I’ll include a sign up form at the bottom of this post.
I’ve got some great things coming up: stories about exploring castles and lakes, tripping over cats, ceramic pomegranates and snorkeling, a podcast announcement (I can’t wait).
I’d raise a glass to lifelong learning, risk taking, and overcoming adversity, but it’s 7am and hardly appropriate. Still, it’s nice to acknowledge that although we might never end up experts, we do matter, and the pursuit of fun is honorable (and depending on your life so far, the greatest act of rebellion there is).