One Year On

I'm feeling strange today, pensive and changeable. I'm conscious of the fact that one chapter is finally ending, yet I don't have a clue as to what the next one is. My last A-Level exam is tomorrow, and I've finally reached the conclusion to this chapter of my life, however, it's anti-climatic and unsatisfying, and I feel far more unsettled than I do content.

It's funny that how, when we have a traumatic experience in our life (especially one which sets in motion a chain of life-altering events as a consequence) how our sense of time pivots to where everything revolves around that experience, almost like time never quite moves past it.
That is how my life has felt this last year, and although the memories of that time itself are now merely faint flickers of painful memories, I still find that I am struggling to pick up the consequences and move on.

There was my life before, and there is my life now, and I feel as though there is a distinct line between the two. I feel like an entirely different person, to the extent where my old hopes, dreams and ambitions now feel as though they once belonged to a different person.

Despite it being a year on, I have far from moved on, and I think that this is worsened by the fact that I have had to re-live many of the same experiences. Whilst many of my old friends have settled into entirely new lives and made entirely new friends, I've had to return to a place which I once loved, without any of those people or classes which made it so great in the first place.

It's been like returning to a ghost town, plagued with memories of a life which no longer exists.

I had a few, select friends in college, friends that I considered my closest friends. Yet, we're barely in touch anymore, and I completely understand that they've moved on, they're a year into a new life, and you know what, I'm really happy that they're happy.

However, for me, it really stings, because I haven't had the opportunity to build a new life yet. It reached a point when I realised that I was always the one making the effort to get in contact, and even then, maintaining a conversation would be difficult, it often just felt like they weren't interested.

I've reached a point now where I struggle to go on my personal Instagram, because when I do, and I see all of these pictures of people I once considered my closest friends, in entirely new lives, with entirely new people, looking happy, and like they're living the sort of life that a nineteen-year-old should be, and it really hurts, because it makes me feel so alone.

All of the excitement, colour and vitality that the world used to hold for me, it doesn't anymore. The world seems grey, miserable and uninviting, and I have reached a point where I prefer solitude, I've been hardened.

I don't have a clue what's coming next.

I'm taking a proper year out, a 'gap year'. I need it, I need to reset my life and figure out what the next steps should be. I want a degree, more than anything, but I genuinely fear that my exam results will not be as good as they should be, due to how unpredictable my mental state has been. I don't know what interests me, or whether I even want to move away from home for University anymore.

I feel as though I need to rediscover myself, and I really hope that taking a year to remember that the world has so much to offer, beyond academics and careers, will be crucial and healthy for me.

However, that is not to say that I am comfortable with this decision, in fact, it's terrifying. I am aware that I may end up at a University I wouldn't have been entirely happy with, purely because I don't have a grade safety net to rely on anymore, this is it, the grades that I receive in August are the final, real deal. I will also, by September 2020, be completely detached from my own year group, and I will no longer have any sense of that shared, collective goal of getting to University.

I really hope that this won't disadvantage me.

I'm sure that everything will work out in the end, I know that I'm resilient, and I am proud of myself, I think that it is important to acknowledge this for myself. Although there have been many wobbles, I have got through the last year, I have sat most of my exams (the last one is tomorrow) and no matter what grades I get, I have developed something even more important, tenacity.

As I figure out what the next year will consist of, I'll be sure to write about it on here, as I love sharing my story with you, no matter how tangled and complicated it has been and will continue to be.

However, the one thing that I know for sure, and the one thing that I remind myself of, is that the places that I've ended up have always been the right ones, and I need to trust in that, trust in fate, trust in the fact that everything, always, works itself out eventually.

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