2021 wiped

the author with footballer Stefan Rollnick, celebrity Harry Kersh, and Danny Ings

2021 has not been as bad as 2020, probably, just about. I thought I would start off with that positive first. Christmas last year was bleak, I ended up alone watching Taxi Driver in my flat in Bristol. This time around, there might still be a pandemic and life is still rather on pause, but things are in a slightly better place.

My apologies for the slightly self-indulgent blog again, but I enjoy the opportunity to reflect, to think and to talk. Perhaps some of you might find comfort or solace in reading this, or hopefully it might just be interesting. I know I should not apologise for my presence, but just allow this one.

People seem to appreciate me being open about my mental health and just my life in general, so this might help. Being able to talk about what you are going through is just one step in many to being ok, but it certainly is a start.

I haven’t had covid, I still have a job, I’m alive. These are all big positives. I have made new friends, met some interesting people, I have even been to Dubai for work. I continue, somehow, to be employed to write about cycling, something that still seems ridiculous. I have been to lots more pubs than 2020, and seen more of this country.

I think I achieved all of the goals I set out in last year’s blog. I went to my first bike race as a journalist. I have made friends, I have options for people to go to the pub with. Bristol feels a bit more like home, although I would still say I was unsettled.

In the end, I ran over 1100km and cycled over 8100km, so it certainly was my most productive year athletically so far. I’m trying, really trying to be more adventurous and to be more self-confident, although that takes time.

Things still are far from normal, however. Obviously, some of you reading this will probably be in isolation currently, or dealing with friends or family members with covid. My twin sister had it over Christmas, which made for a less entertaining time all round.

The pandemic’s effects for me, however, have been in it still being difficult to meet and make friends. I don’t know if it’s an age or a covid thing, but people seem very set in their friendship groups and reluctant to make more. I feel trapped on the outside, looking in.

Halloween was particularly tough, as a particular example, as I was not invited to a party and simply watched people in real life and online having fun. It seems easy in those moments to feel like the loneliest man in the world, that everyone is having fun apart from you. I know that isn’t the case, but I struggle. I struggle when I’m on my own and not doing anything on an evening, especially when it’s dark, especially when that’s a Friday or a Saturday.

Despite having lived in Bristol for over a year now, it feels like most of my friends are in London, seeing each other, going to parties, and having fun. Fun that I’m 100 miles from, trying to force new friendships. It is very tough.

I spent most of the year in my dream job, writing for Procycling magazine, but sadly that had to come to an end. Just when you feel settled, something comes along and changes that. Fortunately, I have a new job at Cycling Weekly and I really want to throw myself into it, that’s one of my targets for 2022. It is remote, however, which means even less chance to meet people, whether that be my new colleagues or others. Working from home is good sometimes, but not all the time, and not as a lonely 26-year old.

I came off my antidepressants after three years, something I am still adjusting to: my mood really does swing now, and it is something I have to take into account. To balance this out, I have been going to therapy, which is helping. I am obviously still depressed and anxious, but I feel in control of things at the moment.

I know a lot of people love me and value me as a friend, but it is still hard to believe this. It is easy to feel that I am boring and unfunny, unattractive and uninteresting, that this is why I feel lonely and am still single. I think it stems from how I was bullied at school, made to feel like I was always killing jokes and excluded from conversations.

My desire to be liked and to be cool, my difficulty dealing with not being liked, and not being included, probably partly comes from this too. It is good to know this, and I am still trying to work on my self belief and confidence, but it is also tiring to feel this way, to know that I hate myself a lot of the time.

There have been moments where I have felt truly ok, at peace. Those times are great, especially if you can step back and treasure them. A lot of these have been on long bike rides or runs, but also in the moment with friends. My trip to Frome, my visits to London in the summer, two of my best friends getting married, these kinds of set pieces have been great. There are also much more prosaic and regular times where I have taken a breath and been fine. More of this, please.

I’ve joined a running and a cycling club, and I’m on the look out for more ways to meet people, whether that’s book talks, clubs, maybe a brass band, maybe a language class.

Do not stop asking people in your life if they are ok, but also do not pester too much if they say they are. I appreciate being asked, and most of the time I will try to be honest with whoever is asking. I like being messaged about anything.

I no longer dream of a “normal” 2022, whatever that is, I just want to have fun. To enjoy my job, to enjoy the company of all sorts of people and try out new things. I’m starting that tonight with a murder mystery party, something I’ve never done before. More adventures are needed.

Happy new year!

--

--

--

26 year old journalist

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

#COVIDCatLady, Day 49

Watcher on the sidelines 3

Redefine the Way You Look at Failure

It’s Mercury Retrograde again… What to do & how to cope

A woman and man working on a laptop together, the symbol of mercury and retrograde

Is the World Yours?

This 1 Mental Shift Eliminated 80% Of My Anxiety Recently

Change Is a Constant

Ego is the enemy — Review

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Adam Becket

Adam Becket

26 year old journalist

More from Medium

For whoever reads it, believe me, you’re not alone.

From the Concrete a Rose Bloomed

To All The Witches