Piecing together the fragments of my life…

As this year is approaching an end, I started reflecting on the progress I made since January last year. It’s been 12 long months of learning, exposing myself outside my comfort zone and evolving into a new version of myself. My old blog article about growing means being uncomfortable can be found here

I started 2022 with lots of anxiety because I was under the impression I was going to fail and achieve another great year. I guess back at the time I was scared that I could fail in sorting out the biggest problem of my life: having a social life, making friends and avoiding big conflicts with people.

Instagram post in January last year

I was so scared back then of spending another year in solitude. I think I’ve never said it loudly: loliness scares me, yet I’m a solitary person. I wanted to be better and do better even if that meant getting outside my comfort zone meaning being a potato couch, difficult personality, not the easiest person to deal with. Then, in the middle of putting my life together or attempting to, I decided I wanted to move to another place with a new job.

Starting from scratch in a new place didn’t match my idea of fostering personal relationships!

I remember coming back from Dublin, my first trip after my PhD, and feeling incredibly lonely. It was a Friday afternoon, I wanted to go out and enjoy my new Cardiff life, but I knew no one here. That moment started a spiral of existential anxiety and depression. I looked back at my life and could only see a lot of disorganised events, me moving from one place to another, from one city to another, another Job, new people,new situations…new headaches, basically a fragmentary life.

My life as a collection of moves

I’ve lived in 4 different cities, moved countries, lived in 10 different flats in 13 years, met people, lost people, made new friends, friends left the country, started relationships, broke relationship, toxic work colleagues, nice work colleagues, work colleagues who became friends or more, other I never heard of ever again, old headaches, new headaches, more depression, more anxiety, old medications, new medications, maybe happiness, who knows?

In the big spiral of existential anxiety, headaches and depression, it became clear to me that I didn’t need to chase new experiences and situations. I had to look back at the past and reconnect to what I had already created. I’m a difficult person but, over the years, I managed to create strong and trustworthy relationships. I have close friends I met 1, 5, 10, 15, 30 years ago. I don’t see them every day, we don’t talk every day but they pick up the phone if I need help.

Raglan Castle

I started looking back at all my past relationships I neglected, all people I left behind especially in Italy. I went to Italy on holiday last summer and spent time with my family. They’ve always been there for me. It was my turn to make time for them. I had my sister coming over and, with lots of ups and downs, we rebuilt a relationship that stopped 8 years ago. I had my friend coming to visit from Rome, I haven’t seen her in 10 years. My next stop is reconnecting with the place that made me who I am, I have to visit Nottingham, on the to do list for next year. I’m ready for hibernation and come back from lethargy in spring.

Connecting the dots of my past experiences meant being open and vulnerable about the way I felt and why I had to withdraw from relationships and situations. I started speaking up my truth, telling the version of my story and how I felt in specific situations. I don’t think I’ve ever managed to do that, especially with people I have strong and close bonds. I always left when I was disappointed, didn’t feel adequate, didn’t fit, didn’t adapt, didn’t like situations or conversations. I’ve been revaluating past events, situations and relationships with the knowledge and experience I have at the moment. It’s been liberating and refreshing to be that transparent with people and myself. And, ultimately, it’s helping to see the fragments of my life as a positive experience rather than an inconsistent series of events.

I’ve learnt something from every experience, I made progress, I built my own personality and identity. I decided who I want to be and I shouldn’t take it for granted. I’m my own story and every single event, the good and the bad, contributed to the person I’m today. This is power and experience, not an inconsistent and fragmented life! Bye

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