Rediscovering Your Past
16 Oct 2020 - Richard Horridge
If I made a triptych that represented 2013, it would look something like this.
While my life has improved in many ways since 2013, there is still a lot to learn from looking back.
In 2013, I (foolishly) thought I had my life under control! I started the year in the latter half of my second year of university, enjoying the independence and freedom of living in a house with other young people. I worked on various interesting engineering projects, and was responsible for large parts of an integrated design project, during the final stages of which I was still able to make the long trip south for my mother's birthday party (unfortunately I couldn't dance by this point!). I was active in the hillwalking club, regularly taking large groups up Lake District fells, and I got my first taste of winter mountaineering.
In the second half of the year, I went on a trip to central France with my parents to stay with friends. I brought my road bike and explored some fantastic areas with Ali. I took another flight in a hot air balloon over the Loire valley, making a landing in a friend's vineyard and having lunch. We took a cycle touring trip around the central UK, seeing lots of interesting places.
Back to university to start third year, I started weightlifting. I carried on mountaineering. I started reading lifestyle, travel, nutrition and fitness blogs along with reading more and more widely. I got my chance to meet an icon of mine, Bill Bryson, when he came to open the university library. I trained with ice baths and pitch black cross country runs for the Tough Guy challenge. I took a trip by rail around the northwest of England, rediscovering some of my own past.
All was not well, though, by any means. As the summer began I felt increasingly isolated. I had always struggled with food and the increased focus on health and fitness contrasted with my destructive eating patterns. At times I felt as if I wasn't in control of my own life. I entered a volatile relationship with someone as unstable as I was, expecting it to solve all my problems. It didn't, and I slipped into a deeper depression and a heightened sense of anxiety. I applied for an internship at Rolls-Royce and was unsuccessful, puncturing my fantasy that academic success throughout life was assured. Before the first month of January 2014 was over I had dropped out of university and my troubles were just beginning.
While I have a tendency to look back on this time in my life negatively, there are many things to be proud of and that are worth rediscovering. At the time I was quite fit and was reading a wide range of literature, two things I would like to get back to. I was educating myself on a wide range of things and I was making a conscious effort to improve my life. Now, with my increased sense of self worth and resilience, I would love to rekindle some of those feelings.
It is never too late to rediscover your past. I reconnected with my hold housemates Harry, Wil and Adam recently. I've kept in touch with hillwalking friends and been on many trips with them. I've recently started reading some of the blogs I used to frequent and have bought a few more books to read.
Once my Autumn election campaign is over, I plan to go dark on social media throughout November and try and discover more of my sense of self.