This time last year, I was really missing something. I was working from home and knew some lovely people locally, as well as living with my Mum who I'm very close with. But I didn't have a friendship group. I tried joining yoga classes and going to networking, but the reality was I had to force myself into uncomfortable situations to even have a chance of meeting people. It all seemed like too much hard work, and anyway, I had my family for love, and neighbours for passing conversation and trips to the pub. I felt like I didn't need anyone else.
Unsurprisingly, this way of living soon wore thin. I started comparing myself to people who were at different stages of life with different values, and felt unsatisfied with what I was achieving. My self-confidence was diminishing, and although I was comfortable and safe, I wasn't progressing. I would joke that 'I love it here, but if I don't move soon I'll find myself still here when I'm 80, with lots more dogs' (I'm not a cat person).
So I moved. I booked an AirBnb in Falmouth for three nights, to check that I liked it there and to look at some rooms to rent. I loved it, and agreed a six-week let in a house by the beach, which would give time before I committed to something more permanent. Six months later and I've been in my current house for long enough to call it 'home' and feel thoroughly settled in my new town.
I feel enormously lucky. Some of that 'luck' was carefully engineered, but actually a lot of good things have happened through chance encounters and timings being right. I happened to be in a house-share with another writer who is now a great friend, and we also work together in the local bookshop. I booked in with a massage therapist who turned out to have social prescribing work in common with me, and then invited me to join her monthly craft group. I was lucky to stumble across a lovely rental house where I am allowed to have my dog Ted with me.
I have also sought out many opportunities; there are numerous networking events and arts and culture initiatives in the community, many of which are free to attend. The best decision I made was joining the paddleboarding club on Gylly Beach, which comes ready-made with sports and social activities with lovely humans. I had to throw myself into this group and it's true that you get out what you put in.
As the end of the year approaches I'm reflecting on how much I've achieved in all aspects of my life, rather than just worrying about my career work. Today, I'm feeling good and grateful and proud of myself for recognising what I needed and taking action to make it happen. The work can wait (for now).