Six months ago, my life was completely different. I was working in learning and development for a welfare to work company, travelling the UK spending on average three nights a week away from home. I was doing something I enjoyed but I was lonely. As I wrote in The L Word, the loneliness was starting to affect my mental health. I couldn’t get into a routine, I was struggling to maintain friendships and feeling disconnected from everything.
When I wasn’t travelling, I was working from home on my own, something else that increased the loneliness. On one particular Monday, something told me to get out of my PJs and leave the house. I craved people around me. I needed to feel connected, something needed to change. So there I was in my local pub, my temporary office for the afternoon and I took a picture for the ‘Gram. The caption read “Because I literally can’t work from home anymore!!!”
Twenty minutes later, two humans walked into the pub who would change my life. It sounds dramatic but it’s a fact. These two humans turned out to be opening a co-working space (engine). The space was six weeks from completion so I turned up one Friday night with my paint brushes and offered to help. That was that – I was part of the family. Slowly but surely, after lots of late-night conversations in a building site over microwave meals and the din of temporary lighting, my mindset started to shift. These humans inspired me. They were young and ambitious and showed me I could do anything I put my mind to. After all, if they could, why couldn’t I?
A week or so after engine opened, in walked Paige. A person who I instantly knew was a kindred spirit. Within 5 minutes of meeting, we had decided we would work together (see The Happy You Project for more info). Then I met literally 100 or more other people who have given me life in a massive or small (but still important) way. I’m now part of a community.
I write this blog post on a really big day. The day my first paid writing piece is published in Happiful Magazine and on the day myself and Paige launch our passion project, The Happy ‘Hood (a zine celebrating all things happy in our town, Northampton). I made all this stuff happen but I couldn’t have done it without a catalyst, something and someone to inspire and motivate me. I needed to see people taking chances and creating a life for themselves.
The connections I’ve made in my community and everything I’ve been able to do in the last six months is because of that one moment in time when I interrupted a conversation in a pub.
I put into the universe that I wasn’t happy and the universe gave me engine.