Coming Back To Life
Hands up who else had to study The Great Gatsby at school? It was one of my set texts when I took my English Literature A-Level 10 years ago (yikes!) and it was one of my favourite pieces of work to study. As a 17 year old romantic trying to find their place in the world, the themes of the novel resonated deeply with me and many of the quotes I had to learn by heart have stuck with me for the last decade. I've found myself repeating one of them over and over in my head during the last few weeks, and that is "life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall". Every year it feels like the perfect summary of the brand new energy that September brings, but I don't think it's ever held quite as much truth as it does for me this year.
You see this year, I'm not only emerging from a bit of a summer slump, I'm waking up again completely. After a year of living within a thick, dense fog, I'm slowly but surely starting to come back to life.
It's funny how with matters of the head and heart, you never realise quite how hard things have been until you start to feel better. But as I rediscover the parts of me that have been hidden for the past 12 months, I can barely believe that I've somehow managed to remain upright while trudging through all of the shit that has been thrown our way.
But manage it I have, and I've learnt a hell of a lot about myself along the way. Which is why as I wake up from this past year of mental hibernation, I'm not just getting back to being my old self, but I'm learning how to be comfortable with all of the new parts too.
It's impossible to go through what my family and I have been through in the past year and not be changed by it, and after a year of sadness and heartache, I'm starting to realise that there have been some positive changes too. It's hard to admit that anything good could come out of something so tragic, but it's true that I'm stronger, kinder and much more appreciative of life than I could ever have imagined before.
And that strength and knowledge, combined with the energy and drive that I'm rediscovering, has given me a whole new lease of life. I feel more fiercely ambitious than I can remember feeling before, because the goals I'm chasing now serve a greater purpose than just appealing to my ego.
I know now that life is painfully short, and that has made me more passionate to really do something with whatever time I have, rather than plodding along through the traditional society approved path of life without really paying any attention. I want to create and design a life that makes me happy on all levels, rather than having to settle for whatever is currently on offer.
And now that I've got that fire in my belly again, I've never felt more ready to make it happen. I'm awake again, I've got my eye on the prize and I won't stop until I'm there. After being on pause for the past 12 months, I feel like life has started all over again, and I can't wait to see what's in store.
Photos by Matt McCormick