I want to make the most of my time
Alexa is our intern at The Mix. She talks about the the challenges of the working world, and how she realised the importance of taking #MyTime to breathe.
My name is Alexa. I am 23 years old and grew up in sunny Los Angeles. I currently live in London and am working towards a Masters in Advertising and Public Relations, whilst interning with The Mix.
I was excited about making money
I was very lucky to get hired right after I completed my undergraduate degree in 2013, working for major corporation doing what I loved – graphic design. I was on cloud nine and didn’t think things could get better. I was one of the few people from my university to get a job in their field, and was excited about making money, being able to do what I wanted and enjoying the freedom that time and money could give me.
Well, money finally arrived…but my time disappeared. The demanding nature of the job was overwhelming and I experienced panic attacks. I couldn’t sleep. I would be at work from 8am to 3am the following morning, and was expected to return bright-eyed a few short hours later. The stress made me feel like everything was spiralling out of control. How was I expected to be a decent friend, manage being in a relationship, tackle family responsibilities and have the time to do something for myself? I noticed all my creativity burning away.
Social media was my new best friend, and my biggest enemy
I had wanted this career so badly, and I just hated it. For someone who values and uses creativity for self-expression, I couldn’t even think about bringing myself to do anything. When I was at university, I was able to paint, play bass or go on a walk when I was this stressed out. Trying to find balance in the short weekends made me feel angry and jealous. Social media was my new best friend and biggest enemy. I hated being stuck in my office and scrolling on Instagram to see how much fun everyone seemed to be having whilst I felt trapped. At the same time, I was able to mentally escape to different places via travel accounts.
I reached a breaking point when I asked myself ‘Is this worth it?’ (which by the way, took me 3 years to get to). I realized that this feeling of freedom was what I really wanted, not the money. I felt like I had sold my soul for something I didn’t want. I couldn’t be forced to be creative anymore. I felt suffocated, and realized it was now my time to breathe.
I realised that my time is my own
I looked for support from mentors at university and work. The overall advice I received was ‘ This is life, you have to work hard – we don’t sleep either.’ It made me realize how out of touch my generation is compared to others. Was it so bad that I didn’t want my time to be consumed by a career I was not happy with? What makes me feel so different? I started to think about this disconnection, and how priorities have shifted in the minds of young people. This thought started to empower me. I realised I can make choices on how I want to spend my time, because at the end of day, it’s my time, not theirs.
I wanted to change everything – my career, my location, and my state of mind. Figuring out my next step was no easy task, but it felt great to feel in control of my life. I could finally breathe knowing that I was not trapped. Knowing myself, I knew my next career move would have to be creative, but in a different way than art. This would allow me to pursue art and music in my free time, so I could start to enjoy it again.
Managing my time felt empowering
I quit my job, moved out of my flat in North Hollywood and moved back home. Giving myself that time and space, I felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I decided to pursue my Master’s degree and move to London, which is something I had always wanted to do. I felt empowered knowing I would be able to use my time to improve my life.
Going forward, I won’t force myself to spend time doing anything that doesn’t feel right. Time is a valuable thing, and I want to make the most of it.
Updated on 25-Apr-2018
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