Of Moving, Taking a Break and Finding New Inspiration

We have all heard the saying: If you want to be a writer, you have to be a reader first. And I completely understand where it’s coming from. Reading is the best way to learn about different writing techniques; it educates you on other people’s viewpoints and generally widens your vocabulary. Yet, the past months, I’ve struggled to ‘find the time’ to read.

The thing is that technically, there is always time. However, I often feel like I should be doing something more ‘productive’ than reading (in quotation marks, as it is a stupid notion, yet one I am unable to get rid of). And when I feel that but am too lazy to actually do something productive, I end up on my phone. It’s a vicious cycle. 

This drive to always be productive (productive being mostly work related by the way) isn’t the most sustainable or healthy mindset in the long run, and about a month ago, I realised I was burnt out. I kept pushing forward but had lost sight of my goals and dreams. A stressful job and flat situation does this to you – renting in London can be a nightmare. I used to write monthly reflections, however, haven’t written one since March. I simply didn’t feel I had anything to write about and although I kept pushing, I knew I had failed my goals. I even sat down to write one almost every month, only to give up halfway through, feeling frustrated and resignated.

So, at the start of July, I packed my bags, terminated my flat and went home to Germany. Seeing my family again brought the security of love, a safe place to stay and home-cooked food, and the first week I spent almost every minute I didn’t have to work asleep. Moving home for a while also meant I had a lot more free time that I previously spent food shopping, with friends or commuting. Free time I was supposed to spend writing and figuring out my next steps, yet I didn’t.

Over the past four weeks, I’ve spent my free time being anything but what is often considered as productive. I have slept, read, caught up with family and enjoyed the hot weather by the lakes. I struggled to let go, still feeling like I should be more productive when all my body and mind needed was rest. Sometimes, the most productive thing to do is allow yourself to take a break.

About a week ago, I finally felt something shift. I realised I’d started to regain the mental strength to plan for the future again. Not having an ambition or dream to work towards felt scary and like I’d lost my sense of identity. (I’ve also been thinking whether we always need a dream, or if just existing in the now can be as gratifying as chasing a dream. But that’s for another post.)

To get back to what I actually wanted to write about, I think reading has played a big role in my recovery over the last month. I finally had time to read. I’m currently reading Americanah by Chimanda Ngozi Adichie and – while I was sceptical when I picked it out of my dad’s vast collection of critically acclaimed books (no offence meant, it’s just that the books that win prizes are often an amazing but more difficult read than your standard romance novel and I’m a tad lazy) – it’s one of the best books I’ve ever read. The main characters’ stories made me realise what it means to have passion and that struggling with what one wants from life is okay. It’s also an amazing reflection of the perception of race in America vs in Africa and inherent privilege. The book very quickly managed to reignite my love for writing, based on the insanely amazing writing style as well as the main character’s own blog that she so passionately talks about.

So, I’m back. If you’ve made it this far, thank you for putting up with my rambling. I want to slightly change direction with my writing and add a new part to my blog called ‘Life Updates’. The first one is this one. I want to be more realistic about my experiences and struggling with finding what I want to do with my life and going through the everyday struggles of growing up. I finished university last year and thought I’d know by now, but I don’t. I’m learning that maybe that’s okay. Join me on the journey 🙂

Have you figured out what you want to do in life? Tell me about your journey in the comments!

If you want to connect, you can find me here:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.