As another week draws to an end, I find myself in a contemplative mood.
I’m feeling better than I have in I don’t know how long. I’m feeling stronger. Calmer. At peace.
Yet, this fall has been brutal.
I’ve lost friends to cancer and friends to COVID. Regardless, I’ve had to say goodbye to too many people over the last several months, and in some ways I have been feeling guilty that I have been doing so well when others have not.
I temper this feeling by knowing that as good as I am doing right now, there was a time not so long ago where I was not doing so hot myself. I know I had a good friend tell me on more than one occasion that he was afraid they were going to lose me to my demons. I’ve worked my ass to get to the point I’m at, and it is finally starting to pay dividends.
Work is going well, but it is definitely a lot to take in. I’ve been been learning a lot over the last month, but it feels like there is always more. The software the outlet uses is very powerful, but has its quirks that I am still trying to work through and figure out. Still, as far as the writing goes, things are going well, and my manager is giving me a little more freedom to do what I need to do.
With my editor stepping down and having his last day this week, I am essentially full-time until a replacement is found. While it’s not allowing me to ease into things the way I was expecting, I am relishing the challenges, of which there are many, though admittedly there are many frustrations too.
Some of the frustrations relate to four years of bad habits I’ve picked up and and never had corrected in my writing style. While it took me four years to solidify these habits, it is going to take more than four weeks to break them. Canadian Press Style has very particular writing format that I’m having to get used to.
Otherwise, I think I have made very positive progress in my first month as a paid staff-writer working for the company. I’ve definitely learned a lot, and from the feedback I am getting from my managing editor, I seem to be picking things up quicker than most. It has most definitely been a learning curve.
I’m trying to look at the last month of work through the lens of being a student.
While I know that there is some raw talent within, it most definitely needs to get shaped and moulded. That is something my managing editor has been very much helping me with over the last month.
With the editor gone and me picking up more responsibility I know that the learning curve will get even steeper, but I feel confident in my abilities. I just need to keep doing what I have been over the last while to keep myself mentally strong. Namely, that is getting workouts in when I get a chance, getting my sleep, and making sure I manage some downtime.
As much as I feel some guilt over surviving when others have not, I know I have worked hard for the successes I have had. While I grieve the losses, I know I won’t readily forget them either. The memories won’t, however, stop me from working hard towards achieving my goals. I can honour those lost before me by making the most of the life I have ahead.
I have lost enough of my life gripped in mental illness, with the voices telling me I will never be enough and that I am not worth living. I have lost enough of my life gripped in grief for the life I expected but never had, for the relationships and the people lost.
Something I’ve learned in the years since I left working on the ambulance is that you never truly know where life’s journey is going to take you. I’m grateful for the journey I’ve been on. I’m grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given.
I’m doing the best to make the most of every day.