I Always Need Reminding

So last night I was working late with a group of my volunteers and I was telling them they can follow me on Twitter (@albysaurus or @AlexSuccessIS) and it was the second handle that got us talking. They were confused about why it just ended with SucessIs and were waiting for me to finish that sentence. So I explained about this blog and how I set it up to talk about how volunteering has helped me with my mental health.

Over the years, as I started working longer and longer hours in the charity sector, I stopped volunteering and stopped writing about volunteering so much and so this turned into a general blog about my mental health.

Of course, one of my excellent volunteers would remind me why I started this blog. For those newer readers of my ramblings, let’s talk about my life. #itsallaboutme

I grew up in an Asian household. The expectation for me was to go to school, college, university and then become some sort of doctor, lawyer, engineer or high skilled profession. Unfortunately for my fam, I hated school and that had a huge impact on my mental health and eventually when I turned 18, I was diagnosed with depression and later on anxiety too. I had no idea what I wanted to do so I dropped out of university and started training to be a chef. I loved food and thought this would be a great option for me.

I soon realised that it wasn’t for me. I completed my training though and throughout that I started volunteering and running my own campaigns on various topics. This for me was the first time I felt any semblance of self worth. The first time I enjoyed what I was doing. I met so many amazing people who volunteered with me who I am still best friends with to this day. I’m even going to be a groomsman at one of their weddings in August this year.

I only started doing this stuff when I was about 20. 20 years I didn’t really feel like I was worth anything. I was told multiple times by my stuck up grammar school that I wouldn’t achieve much if I didn’t get all A*’s at GCSE (guess what, even my part time job at Homebase didn’t even ask about my GCSE results, let alone any other job).

It’s pretty great right? It took 20 years for me, but I finally felt like I was doing something useful, productive and helpful to the world. Now don’t get me wrong there were tons of ups and downs throughout my new career in a sector I knew very  little about and lots of breakdowns of my body and brain but without volunteering I don’t think I would have survived to this day.

So over the next few weeks, let’s explore how volunteering saved my life and how it’s still helping me survive to this day.

A

Happy New Year! So Long 2018!

Good lord, it’s been a long time since I wrote anything on here hasn’t it??

We’re only a few hours from 2019 so for all those who like to celebrate, Happy New Year!

I can’t believe that 2018 has gone so quickly. It feels like yesterday that I ran away to the other side of the world for a month and had the best time. I can’t believe Christmas is over already. Generally I love Christmas, people are happier, everything in London looks amazing and there’s just something magical about how the country reacts to Christmas. That said, Christmas time also leaves me feeling a little alone and quite stressed out.

Through no fault of their own, I always feel like a bit of an outcast with my family. I have nothing in common with any of them and we just don’t share the same interests. They’re all great but I always feel super uncomfortable at family gatherings. It’s hard to explain but it’s a thing. On top of that, the idea of Christmas parties, forced fun and interaction and everyone getting absolutely smashed does not add up to a particularly fun time for me. But, like I said, it’s almost over and I can look forward to 2019

This year coming up, I’m heading back to Australia. For more than a month. I’m going to be going for a year or two. I’ve been wanting to write about this for a while now but obviously didn’t want to talk about it until everything was sorted out! 🙂

For me, I felt so at home in Australia. My friends and family there made me feel super relaxed and welcome. The weather genuinely helped me feel more positive about life (apart from the constant sweat stains) and really made my mood jump up.

2019 is a huge year for me and I can’t wait to get out there and see if I can start a new life across the world, take some banging photos and make some sort of difference in another country.

So, once again, Happy New Year everyone. Here’s to a 2019 full of adventures and exciting times! 🙂

A

Adulthood

Adulthood is a weird thing. I’m turning 27 pretty soon and I have achieved very few of the things I wanted to when I was a kid. Don’t get me wrong, I’m pretty proud of the things I have achieved but lets be honest, how many of us can ever say that we’ve achieved everything that we wanted to by the time we’d “grown up”?

When I was a kid, I expected to have done all of these things by the time I was 25:

  1. Own my own house
  2. Own a car
  3. Be married
  4. Have a kid on the way
  5. Have a super high paying job where I didn’t have to be in an office but also didn’t have to do much work. (I didn’t understand how jobs worked back when I was 8)
  6. Go on 2 holidays a year
  7. Have a group of friends like in F.R.I.E.N.D.S

Now looking at my wishlist today, it’s kinda funny to think about how few of these I’ve managed to achieve. I am no where near owning my own house (I live in London and work in the charity sector. I’ve basically given up on owning a house in London…). I have no need for a car living and working where I do. I’ve been single for years which pretty much ruins the whole “be married and have a kid on the way” thing and I currently have a job where I’m currently in an office and do a lot of work and get paid less than I’d like. I only went on my first holiday in 10 years this March. I don’t really have a single specific group of friends but I do have incredible friends all over the country.

Some of these I’m more fussed about not achieving them than others. Some I’m kinda glad about not achieving and some, I have mixed feelings about.

Going on a few holidays a year was definitely something I’d have loved to do. But I spent years focused on trying to figure out what I want to do with my life. I still haven’t figured it out so I’m pretty sure I wasted a bunch of years just waiting around.

I really wanted to own my own house. Or at the very least, I wanted to be living away. That said, I tried it and I didn’t do so well. I don’t think I’m the kind of person who was built to live with other humans. I would much prefer to have my own place where I could invite people round if I wanted to but also have my own space if I wanted to as well.

I’m super stoked about the friends I have so I’m not fussed about number 7 at all. I also don’t have the most well paid job in the world but the work that I’ve chosen to do is important and is hopefully making an impact on the world.

I’m single as someone can get and have been for a while. But for a long time, I wanted to be in a relationship because other people were in them. Now, I just don’t care. If I end up in a relationship, awesome, I’d be stoked. If I don’t, that means I can use all of my time and money and energy focused on myself and take risks and do what I want, when I want.

Adulthood is nothing like I expected it to be. I never expected to have mental health issues as an adult. But one thing I’ve learned over the years is that my childhood views of adulthood were warped. I set myself a time limit and was disappointed when I didn’t meet them. But why are we all in such a rush to grow up? Why do we feel like we have to have done certain things by certain times? So what if someone you know is already married? So what if someone else has their own car? That doesn’t make your life any less awesome as it is.

The only thing that I’m super disappointed about in my life is that I’ve played it safe. I have played almost every part of my life safe for over a decade. The one thing that I need to learn to do is take more risks. And that is definitely something that I’m going to be working on this year.

My main message for this meandering, rambly post though is don’t be disappointed that you haven’t achieved everything that you wanted to at this point in your life. Life isn’t that easy. It throws curveballs your way all the time. There is no time limit for success. You can define success any way you like. Just don’t judge whether or not you’re successful based on other people’s lives.

A

Videos, New Skills and a New Passion.

So for those of you who follow me on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook, you’ll have seen that I’ve recently released my first video for Success In Selflessness. It’s a totally new avenue for me to explore and it’s a new way to reach new people so that I can hopefully support even more people to open up and talk about their mental health. If you haven’t seen it, don’t panic! Here it is:

The first one is about the benefits of forcing yourself outdoors when you suffer with social anxiety. Don’t get me wrong, I know how fucking hard it is to get out there but if you can manage it, even for ten minutes, it can give you a huge boost.

Over the last few months I’ve been dabbling with music recording, Illustrator, Photoshop, video editing and After Effects. I have unexpectedly fallen in love with creating videos. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got so so much to learn but I’m so proud of my first real attempt at a video. Rest assured that I’ll be doing more of these! 🙂

If you like the video, please like it, share it and subscribe for more! It’ll really help me out and I really want these short videos to help other people too. If you tag me if/when you share it, I’ll give you a shout out on Twitter (@albysaurus) and/or Instagram (@alexquang)! 🙂

The really wonderful thing that I’ve been pondering recently though is about getting educated. I don’t have a degree. I dropped out after a year of doing Business and Management at Birmingham City University. I didn’t do well at A Levels either. But I definitely don’t feel stupid. I’m so much more motivated to learn now that I can choose what to learn. I’m putting in so many hours into everything that I’m doing now.

The way that I see it, learning is an absolutely essential part of life. If you stop learning, you may as well stop doing anything at all. You’ll stop growing as a person and you’ll never strive to be a better version of you. I stopped striving for a while. I became complacent and I ended up miserable. I didn’t feel like I was challenging myself and I felt like less of a person.

I highly doubt I’m ever going to be a full time professional video editor but learning a skill that I thought would be just something I’d use at work has led to me discovering a new passion and I don’t know about you, but that’s pretty exciting to me!

So don’t stop learning, don’t stop pushing yourself and don’t stop being brilliant.

A