I’ve really struggled with accepting my gap year recently. In fact, I’ve been struggling to accept it since I started it back in March.
I jumped straight into university straight out of high school. I received an end-of-school result that got me into some pretty hard hitting courses. So I jumped straight in. To be honest, uni scared the bejesus out of me. I was not ready to commit myself to full time study. I was not ready to commit myself to adulthood.
In high school I had worn blinkers. All I focused on was the year ahead. One step at a time. I never really thought about what I wanted to do after school finished because it felt so far away. It was upon me before I knew it and suddenly I was confronted with utter freedom and liberation. Noone would tell me where I should be, what time I should be there and what to do anymore!
It’s the most liberating moment I have experienced so far in life and equally the most terrifying.
I suppose that is why my ED took a stronger hold on me. It had bubbled under the surface but it really emerged when I experienced this monumental milestone of leaving school. Because I was so terrified I went back to my behaviours which I thought would give me safety but I could not have been more wrong.
I had been too quick to jump into uni. I had not completely thought out what I wanted to study and the whole process was overwhelming. I left my degree before the fees kicked in to take the time to evaluate my life’s direction.
A part of me, the self-conscious and insecure part of me, is critical of my decision to leave university this year and pursue a year of self-reflection and discovery. This is not the healthy part of me. The ED feeds off the insecurity, wanting it more and more so it can grow stronger. It wants me to be angry at myself for taking the time to recover and engage in some self-discovery. Why? Because it knows that the more I engage in recovery and the process of self-reflection, the weaker it gets.
So when I struggle to accept this year that I have taken to work and discover and think I consider how important my recovery is. The ED does not make me happy, it does not fulfill me and it is not sustainable or healthy. It wants to harm me and hurt me and diminish my sense of self. Engaging in recovery IS the most important decision I have ever made and it is a LONG term investment in my life. This is why my “gap” year is important.
Moral of the story: Looking after yourself by recovering is the most important long term investment you will EVER make