If you’ve ever been to Thailand, you’ll know there’s a phrase that you see everywhere. Same same, but different. One of its most common uses is to refer to fake designer goods, but is also used more generally to mean something that’s largely the same, but with some small differences. Right now that’s kid of how my life feels. Same same, but different.
On the surface, not that much has changed in my life since I got back from my gap year travelling in August 2013. I’m still living in Leeds, close to my family, working for the same company who gave me my first proper job and hanging out with my Leeds-based friends who I’ve known since high school. But if you look a little closer, there are so many differences which reassure me I haven’t wasted the last three years (unless I have. Have I wasted the last three years? Oh god, what am I doing with my life?) Shush brain! Moving swiftly on…
I might still be living in Leeds, the city where I was raised, but I’m no longer living with a boyfriend I was falling out of love with, or squatting at my parents’ house while I came to terms with the demise of a four-year relationship I’d outgrown. Instead I’m living in a lovely ‘grown-up’ flat in city centre with one housemate, feeling rather adult and revelling in having the best of Leeds right on my doorstep. I’m so in love with this city at the moment; the voice in my head whispers that it’s horribly unimaginative to be 25 and still living a 20-minute drive from where I grew up, but right now Leeds is such a great place to live and staying here has been 100% a conscious choice.
I’m still working at the same company I started at in 2013, but my job role, and the company itself, could not be more different. The business has moved offices and grown in both size and maturity, and I’ve grown with it, progressing from a marketing assistant role through several job titles involving social media, content and SEO to become the site’s content editor, getting my own responsibilities and even the odd work trip abroad. I have a bad case of imposter syndrome and don’t think I’ll ever stop feeling like I haven’t quite got it together, but sometimes I take myself by surprise with moments when I realise how much I’ve learned.
And while I still have a big group of friends who I’ve known since my teens, the last few years have brought new relationships too. Colleagues who’ve become friends (and one who’s become my boyfriend), people I met while travelling who I’ve managed to stay in touch with, and an amazing group of blogger gals who I met online and have started hanging out with IRL. It’s amazing to have this new group of ladies in my life who are not only lovely human beings but are also full of ideas and creative talent; I always leave their company feeling so energised and inspired.
Sometimes when you haven’t physically moved in life, it can be easy to feel like you haven’t progressed at all. It’s easy to pinpoint our journey through life when there are obvious signposts; university, moving city, changing job, getting married. But how do you make sure you’re moving forward when the scenery around you is staying the same? I think it’s a case of looking back, of remembering a time when you were struggling or nervously starting something new, to see how far you’ve come and how much you’ve grown. At first glance it may look like you’re in the same place, but a closer look will reveal all the little details that have changed your life for the better. Same same, but different.