Ebay saved my life. Really, it did!
A place to buy and sell unwanted items that are just collecting dust! Making extra penny’s from unused items has never been so easy. Your junk is someone else’s treasure. My junk was worth more than just a few pennys though, the platform changed my life. Find out how below : –
I have written this blog post to hopefully inspire you and to help you realize even if you are experiencing very difficult times right now you CAN change your life around. This is the part of my journey where life started to change for the better…
Graduating from Architecture 2008
I graduated from Architecture in May 2008 at the foot of the recession and there were very few part 1 positions for architects, even when searching for jobs the architect job agency said it seemed odd there weren’t that many openings..this being the case I was forced to look at my options again and they were limited.
My partner at the time suggested trying teaching, something I never wanted to do but as she suggested she threatened to leave me if I didn’t try it and with few jobs in my hometown I felt pretty trapped into doing it as there were few jobs in my city…it seemed like a good 2nd option before starting it.
Teaching me an important lesson – 2008 / 2011
This course was a 2 year course as I was retraining from being an architect graduate to an IT teacher.
At the university it was a lot of fun because I was learning lots of new IT programs, computing being my second passion after creative topics so absolutely loved learning new programs and code.
The bit i didn’t like so much was the school environment and in particular, the staff rooms.
I saw people being cruel towards other teachers and workplace bullying teacher to teacher of which I don’t approve of, it was literally school playground stuff!
In my second placement my university foolishly sent me a school that was closing due to a political amalgamation …
why would you send someone with passion and creativity to a school that is shutting down, is that a way to make them interested in pursing a career in tutoring?
Things went from disappointment to despair
At first things seemed fine at this second school placement but things soon became bad…very bad.
I was getting accused of not shouting at my students enough, not understanding what I was doing, making me lie to children that I was a games designer, not helping with any teaching objectives, making me stand in a classroom as a pupil was made to announce who they fancied and many other unprofessional and unsupportive remarks, in turn, making my life very difficult in the pursuit of trying to make me give up.
They made my life so difficult that I felt I couldn’t do the job even though I created 3 new units of work ( everyone else at my university just created one at this placement ) and my pupils seemed to like my lessons and my teaching style.
Basically I had become a victim of work place bullying…probably due to the fact they were loosing their job and here I was just starting in their profession.
The way they treated me led me to thinking I couldn’t do my passion of becoming an architect or this 2nd option of helping others…I felt worthless and hopeless but I wouldn’t allow these bullies to win! I fought through the pain of their mind games and completed the placement…
…once I had completed the placement I suffered my first severe breakdown. I didn’t want to be doing this degree in the first place and these people where making my life even more difficult than it needed to be!
It became too much and thus I got signed off sick from university for 6 months because of this experience and found it very difficult to be in a classroom environment again. I just couldn’t face it after my last two experiences of schools and people being bullied.
When I had recovered a little, the university redeemed it’s awful student care mistake by sending me to a private school for my final placement which was a beautiful place with good willed teachers and a great mentor to boost but even so, the experience of what I had been through with the two teachers who made me feel worthless in the profession still made me petrified of teaching and being in the classroom.
It was like confronting a dragon each day regardless of whether my mentor was kind hearted or not, the damage had permanently been done so I had to find strategies to help me overcome and face my fear.
Gladiator Courage – Jan 2011
Strange as it seems, I watched the film gladiator at this point in time and connected the story of a Gladiator who had great potential to become a leader of Rome to have it all taken away by the jealous son of the emperor and thus a slave. He had further heart ache as his wife and son was murdered and he was forced into the arena, a place of fear and death.
By taking Maximus’ story of courage into mind to face adversity every day to prove to his enemy he will have vengeance it gave myself strength and courage to face something I feared and didn’t really want to do.
Gradually, this worked for me and I managed to complete the final placement with the help of the mentor and I felt a sense of relief.
It was over but…the trauma had just begun…
Breakdown After Teacher Training June 2011
I remember July 2011, I had done all I needed to do and I could finally put the teaching degree behind me as a very awful decision in my life, but what I couldn’t put behind me was the aftermath of the recession & my teaching experience, I began to count the cost…
I had put huge financial investment into 2 degrees. With a large debt of over 30k, with still no opportunity of being able to use my architectural degree and after the terrible experience of the teaching profession I was definitely not going to be entering into teaching in the UK…
I became despondent and I began to think what the hell was I going to do? I felt like a failure, feeling useless, totally destroyed of all my confidence and my place in the world.
My ex-partner wasn’t being supportive and couldn’t understand the pain I was in still pressuring me to bring money in even though I had just graduated…i was starting to see very little point in being alive, my life felt over…
…i began to feel myself breakdown ..I remember it clearly…laying on the floor…shivering and sweating at the same time…asking god for a new start…praying..begging…life had become a very unhappy experience with what seemed no future and a relationship that made me miserable. (This can happen to anyone and the BBC have recently wrote about the rise in suicidal thinking & depression among graduates here )
Getting help from professionals & family – Jul 2011
This was the largest breakdown I had had over the last 3 years at this period and I my mind was racing with so many thoughts…
I rang my parents and told them how I was feeling and how I didn’t want to be here anymore…things were getting really really serious, I was contemplating the worst although I loved my family which was the only thing that kept me going.
Realising the urgency of things my parents made a doctors appointment where I took a questionnaire where I was deemed ‘at very high risk of suicide’, the only reason I didn’t do anything was because of the effect it would have had on my family.
My parents wanted me close whilst I was in this bad place and hesitant as I was to leave my ex-partner totally alone, I left to go back to my parents home whilst I was in this very dark place of contemplating suicide.
Recovery began July 2011
Whilst at my parent’s most of the time I would be laying on the sofa , sleeping, attempting to recover from my experiences only waking to watch the twilight zone for maybe an hour a day in the early afternoon..
I didn’t go out that often at all from this point…I didn’t want to be out in the world any more, not what had become of my world, affected by the decisions of others in power as much as the bad career decisions of myself.
Harry – July 2011
Harry is a Westland Terrier and my parents bought him for my younger sister who had been nagging them for a dog for over 6 years.
Obviously dogs love to walk and he was a very likeable character walking with swagger and a sense of utter joy wherever he went.
He was the greatest little guy full of nothing but love and acceptance. Just seeing his little white face and his big brown eyes was enough to bring just a little smile into a broken heart no matter how low I was actually feeling.
Animals can be great for that.
Hat of Invisibility – Oct 2011
Although I didn’t want to go out as my depression and anxiety was sky high, I put on a hat and my biggest wooly jumper and started to get out more often walking the little guy around the local block..starting at night, going not very far but at least it was a start and I was setting goals again.
Gradually, Harry and I walked further and further outside of this small comfort zone that I knew so well from my childhood and began to also venture out of a daytime and extend the walking distance recovering slowly.
If it wasn’t for Harry, the recovery over social anxiety may not have been so quick or possibly, not even happened at all.
See this painting “Hold on” which depicts this time of my life.
Unsupportive 7 year relationship ends – Dec 2011
My partner at the time had also been pretty low for a long time as she didn’t like her job (also a teacher), her only family passing away a few years previous and with my terrible bad luck with job opportunities in my chosen industry during the recession.
Not only this but my work place bullying experience on my second degree, as well as her having a bad relationship with some members of my family she could no longer cope any longer and chose to leave me on boxing day, 5 months after my breakdown,
At the time I was quite shocked, I had supported her through many difficulties, protected her from family tiffs and looked after her at all times possible and this was the first time I needed a little support and she couldn’t do it but I do understand why she did it..
she had no idea when I would return to full health, if I would get a career and she also didn’t feel a part of my family due to an argument that occurred in the early stages of our relationship between my elder sister and she was tired of it all.
Although a little disappointing the relationship had been very high pressured for the majority of its 7 year length and became more and more stressful for me as the years passed on a personal and family level.
I became her everything, she had no direct family,her mother died during my degree, her step dad didn’t support her very well, and I knew this..
There was no way I could leave someone with nothing at all, no matter how I felt about our lack lustre relationship, if I was happy or not, but I always remained faithful to the relationship,
When she left, I can’t deny, i did feel a little bit less depressed, it had been a very heavily pressured relationship. A weight had been lifted from my chest which allowed me to start turning my life around…
Babbel helped me start learning Espanol – Dec/Jan 2011
Opportunity didn’t seem to exist in my home town and I realized with the time off recovering I had to try and do something to recover from my breakdown in more ways than just mental exhaustion. I began to learn a new language on online program Babbel.
Spanish was a language I had always wanted to learn as I was growing up, (particularly because of Penelope Cruz I must say! ) and so in October I began to study the language on Babbel the online platform.
I knew if I wanted to turn my fortunes around when I was well again that if I learnt a new language English & Spanish are the two major languages spoken as well as being spoken in half of South and North America, it was for these reasons that I chose it as the language I decided to try and improve upon.
Also, on the website, you have the opportunity to speak to native speakers of the language you are learning but are also wanting to learn your native language too.
Along the way I spoke to Mexicans, Spaniards, Peruvians & Colombians. One Colombian I spoke to a great deal and fortunately, she was studying here in London UK so,
we decided to meet up…
First trip to London – Jan 2012
Strangely enough I had never been to the capital of my home country in the 27 years of my life but I got on so well with my language buddy that I thought it would be worth meeting in person.
I realised I’d only been going as far out as my own village so going to London was pushing myself outside of my comfort zone to the extreme…it was a big difference to just walking around the block just a few months previous!
Kindness & admiration
When we met we got on so well with lots of conversation and she was such a wonderful woman, especially after how my ex had treated me, I had almost forgotten what it had been like to be treated with a little bit of admiration & respect after 7 years of being in a relationship that was high pressured and unhappy.
She was such a beautiful woman. Exotic, big brown eyes, long dark hair and with the brightest smile I had seen in a long while.
Her personality was fun and bubbly, something just clicked between us, more than just language buddies and the feeling was mutual.
Unfortunately, it was a bit of bad timing; she had been studying business & English in the UK for a year and the day we met was her last day on her visa before having to return back to her homeland so we only had that single day to get to know one another in person.
We were both quite upset at this prospect after getting on so well but we agreed we would see each other again and I would do everything in my power to visit her in Colombia so we could be together. We exchanged scarfs with our perfume/aftershave sprayed on so we didn’t miss each other too much amongst the wait.
No job, no money, Ebay comes to the rescue – Feb to Mar 2012
I had no job & no money, that situation hadn’t changed and I was still recovering from experience of the recession, higher education leading to nowhere & my relationship turning on its head.
How could I keep my promise to my new found admiration? I wasn’t really in a position to get back into the job market, my mind was still recovering from my personal trauma so my next option was to sell things on Ebay.
When I got back to my home town I went into my parents attic and found all my old toys, I photographed them and listed all the items on Ebay.
I then continued to sell all the other bits of junk I could find in the garage..It was a true treasure hunt! In the first couple of weeks I already made around £300 but I needed about £600 to get a ticket to Colombia…
I kept on looking for things to sell so began selling some of my tutoring books from university and old DVDs and games too.
I even sold things that my ex had bought me as birthday and Christmas presents.
This had two benefits as not only was it helping me raise cash but it was also like I was burning away all my past in order to move forward but still taking the pains forward, learning from what I had experienced.
Within just two months of determination and a small entrepreneurial spirit I had the money to go to Colombia so that is just what I did!
I was on my way to Colombia!
Travelled to Colombia – Apr 2012
Some might think it was a crazy move to travel all the way to the other side of the world for just one girl but this girl was the girl I had been dreaming of since I was a young teenage lad.
She showed me appreciation that I hadn’t seen from either my ex or my career path in a long while and I didn’t feel that the UK had very little to offer me other than my family of course and I also didn’t agree with the way the British government runs the country. Not only this but I didn’t fit the typical english lifestyle of people my age, so was contemplating a new start of moving to another country where I could use my long and experienced education.
Travelling alone – Apr 2012
This was the first time I had ever travelled abroad alone.
It was obviously a very profound experience that not many people would do especially after having a severe breakdown..and if you remember, I was only walking Harry around the housing block of my village of a night!
No longer than 30 minutes walking a day to.. travelling to the other side of the world to a country that according to the British government is apparently was meant to be the 4th most dangerous place in the world at the time and one of the biggest exporter of cocaine.. according to government stats.
Was I afraid, not at all. It was actually a really good experience! On my first flight from Manchester to Madrid I met an elderly gentleman from South Africa who shared the flight with me.
He was very interesting actually, he had such a full and varied life.
He informed me all about how he used to play semi-professional football(soccer) in the South African League semi-pro.
He told me how he had built radios before computers became the main form of communication, took part in the South African civil war and how he had been close to death when he was nearly murdered in South Africa when two natives broke into his home to burglar his possessions.
Luckily, he managed to escape. Such a fascinating guy that I actually really enjoyed listening to!
I would never spoken to this guy if I had traveled with someone else I am sure of that!
Arriving in Madrid airport and feeling sleepy
When I arrived at Madrid it was midnight and I had to wait another 12 hours before I could continue my journey onward to Bogota the capital of Colombia.
It was a long time and staying awake was challenging to say the least.
I had to force myself to stay awake, my eyes rolling and how i managed to stay awake I will never know! I even imagined my little Harry was on the plane to Colombia with me! Lol.
Reaching Bogota Airport
Bogota Airport was a very unusual airport on arrival in the fact the airport is so large that you have to get Airport buses EVERYWHERE!
It is huge and was still undergoing major renovations and improvements when I was there.
In a country where Spanish is the main speaking language finding your way about is difficult when you have pretty basic skills of the language ( being told of by a native for pronouncing Medellin incorrectly! ) but I did manage to find my way to the correct bus stops and on one of these buses I got talking to another guy, this time a German gentleman.
He wore a straw hat and had a ginger goatee looking not dissimilar to Shaggy from Scooby Doo.
He explained how he was in Colombia due to working for cruise ships as an entertainer travelling the world sharing how he got to see so many different sites and cultures, he absolutely loved his job.
He was very good at speaking English and also a top guy…
It seemed I was more open to communication when in a foreign country alone and it didn’t matter what nationality or background you had either, we were all equals as travellers.
Arriving in Medellin Airport – Apr 2012
I eventually landed in Medellin, the home of my new love and there she was waiting for me with her mother.
Over 26 hours without sleep, it was definitely worth the trip just to see the girl who started to change how I felt about life again.
Although, on arrival, I am not sure I looked exactly like Brad Pitt at that point, probably more like Frankenstein!
Arriving at their home
When I arrived at her home I was greeted by her Father, a very tall , broad Colombian man but also very kind and gentle.
He loved to cook and he had gone to the trouble of making me a traditional Colombian dish ( talk about throwing me in the deep end) as soon as I had arrived! 🙂
It was a pita bread with what seemed a strong cheese but the cheese wasn’t really to my liking, it had quite a strong odor but I attempted to eat it anyway out of politeness of the kindness they had showed both of cooking for me but allowing to stay in their home for a few weeks.
Whilst i was in Medellin my relationship with my Colombian girlfriend continued to improve and we had a great time but the nearer it came to me leaving we both felt a bit sad…
Actually…really sad. I was still out of work back home and I had no savings, so how we could be together?
My financial and career position were still elusive to me…but once again, I swore to her we would be together and I would do everything in my power to find work, either in Colombia or back in the UK ASAP.
Leaving Colombia and setting the goal of return – Apr 2012
It was a very sad day when I had to say goodbye to her and her family. I really fell in love with her and felt so much a part of their family whom I had grown to know.
They had all made me feel so welcome. I became close to her family in the time I was there and her grandfather even gave me a book by Oscar Wilde (wrote in Spanish) to try and help me learn Spanish more quickly. I was so humbled by their generosity and caring nature that I didn’t want to leave…4th most dangerous country!? I think not, it depends who you meet and where you go.
Travelling to the other side of the world where life is so different really opened my eyes and I didn’t want to go back to my old way of life…where nothing had really gone right for me for nearly a decade.
Changing perspective on life
As I sat down in the Avianca airplane , I felt the thrust of the engines push the vessel into the sky at full throttle..as it did so, I felt myself going further and further away from this girl who had changed my perspective on life so drastically on its head.
As I looked down out of the window of the plane seeing the ground get smaller and thinking how sad I was to leave her, I looked at the landscape of the earth and the buildings and it got me thinking
…is it really worth being depressed over lack of opportunity and money, is my problem really as big as it feels in the whole scheme of things?Am I going to let others stop me doing what I really want to do? Am I going to let the recession stop my dreams and put a hold on my life? Really!? We are so small and each life is so insignificant in terms of the size of the universe. Even the Prime Minister, the President & all those Hollywood Celebrities are so insignificant when you really take a step back and really think about it. The universe is vast and we are here to enjoy life for the short period we are on this planet for and not be suppressed by small circumstances and negative thoughts.
I definitely had time to reflect on my 20 hour journey back and what I realized is that we are all striving for an answer to find “happiness” in ourselves in one form or another and it is our sheer determination that will let us reach it or not.
Back home – Apr / May 2012
Medellin to Bogotta, Bogotta to Madrid, Madrid to Manchester…I was back in my homeland feeling quite sad…
i had sold everything from my past so now it was time to really turn my life around if I really wanted this girl in my life and find a job ASAP.
I applied for lots of jobs and positions not just in my home town.
I applied for jobs all over the country! I didn’t care where the job was I wasn’t going to waste my skills, education and talents anymore! I was a man reinvented, going to live my dream and I was determined to do so.
Perspective continues to improve
Going to Colombia had changed my perspective on life entirely, I was a new man and a man with a can do and will do anything attitude.
I had learned a great deal from all my difficult experiences and my small adventure, I was ready to show the world I can make a difference and for the better.
The first ten jobs I applied for I heard back from three of them and one of which gave me an interview…the only problem being it was on the opposite side of the country.
When the employer contacted me they even asked if I knew how far away they where. Of course I did, I didn’t care about location anymore, all that mattered was that I worked!
Being determined and having the fire in my heart became one of the reasons that I got employed in the end because it does take great courage to move away from all you know (particularly after suffering so much )…but moving away also allows you to grow.
I had experienced my fair share of negativity in my life and I was only in my late 20’s,
I wouldn’t accept any more bad luck or negativity in my life.
If I hadn’t got this job I would have simply marched on until I got accepted somewhere even in another country. A burning hunger and determination to work filled my every essence of who I was!
I got the job and felt extremely lucky!
It was the first interview since being back in England and I got it. I was so happy I couldn’t believe it.
My fortune had turned around in just over 6 months! Everything I had experienced and everything I had learned had led me to this point, undoubtedly later than I would have liked but I was in total appreciation of the opportunity that I had been given and vowed to myself to try 110% to achieve as much as possible, learn as much as I can and show this person I am committed to adding value to their company.
When someone puts faith in you it must be repaid. I was delighted, someone had finally seen I had value to give their company at last. The first thing I did was phone my Colombian girlfriend to tell her the good news…
Changed my life around
…three months into my job the long distance relationship began to suffer.
We argued every day, we lacked trust and it was not feeling quite the same any more and so I ended it.
I didn’t really want to but I realized she wasn’t happy, I could see it in her eyes every time I would speak to her on Skype and neither was I. Learning from the past I realised staying in unproductive relationships are bad for both parties.
It was the right decision but I will always be grateful to her and remember her as the girl who helped me turn the corner. If I hadn’t met her I may never have found the determination and fire to change my life to where I am today.
Extreme difficulty allows you to find the best in yourself
What I have learned from these experiences and what you can learn from this are : –
- Even when things are so dark and difficult with no idea of when THINGS WILL IMPROVE, they will eventually with determination.
- Unwavering determination is THE KEY to making you successful
- NEVER LET ANYONE PUT YOU DOWN because most of the time it is only because they are jealous
- LIFE IS TOO SHORT, if you want to do something, do it! You never know this might be your last day
- Don’t allow your partner to bring you down, dictate to you, or under appreciate you, RELATIONSHIPS ARE MEANT TO BE FUN, LOVING & FULFILLING, there will be ups and downs and you should be there for your partner in their darkest hour but when you are both unhappy, even if your partner has not officially said anything there it is time to take a step back and ask yourself if you are undervaluing yourself and your happiness, remember there is someone perfect for everyone!
- TRAVEL DOES broaden the mind, if you can, travel somewhere abroad ALONE! It will open your mind.
- DONT LET PEOPLE TELL YOU CANT
- DONT DISREGARD FAMILY, they are the ones that will always be there for you in your darkest hour when others wont. If you have a bad relationship with family try and mend broken bridges.
- LET GO of things and people that no longer serve you, whether material or emotional.
- IGNORE THOSE WHO JUDGE you but don’t know you, everyone is just looking to be happy and when they see others are achieving that wonder why they are happier than them.
- FEEL SORRY FOR BULLIES because they are lacking something in their life that they see something good in you that they don’t have.
Note for you : –
I wrote this with the hope that maybe if you are experiencing difficulty that you can find some solace and inspiration in my story that things can change even if things seem very bleak, it is never too late to change your life around.