Storytime today! Because one year ago today was potentially one of the most nerve-wracking days of my life.
At the beginning of January, I had started a new job based just south of Manchester. I knew I would be working with both my office and colleagues in the London office, but I don’t think it had quite registered that that would involve trips to London.
You see, at that point, the only trains I had managed post-anxiety were 5 minute local-stopping trains. I had never travelled to London alone. I’d only been there a handful of times in my life. I’d never stayed alone in a hotel, apart from trips with family where I was maybe in a room next door to my parents.
I was doing pretty well in terms of my anxiety, but those were still big hurdles.
Anyway, when it was dropped into conversation that I’d be making my first trip to the London office in a couple of weeks, I replied just as casually that yes, of course that was fine.
It would have to be! I knew I would find a way to make it ok, because I wasn’t going to let my panicking get in the way of these new opportunities.
Fast-forward to the night before the trip, the 19th January, and my nerves were through the roof. I’d been trying to talk myself down for hours, and the latest ‘what-if’ I’d arrived at was ‘What if my first train is delayed and I miss my connection to London?’
I called my dad, who suggested I book a cab to Stockport for peace of mind, so I called and booked it then finally managed to fall asleep.
I woke the next morning and immediately flew into a blind panic: I had forgotten to set my alarm.
This is so unusual for me, and I’m usually awake so early it wouldn’t matter anyway.
I guess all the panicking had worn me out so much I’d forgotten to set the alarm and slept like a baby.
My taxi was to arrive in ten minutes. And I hadn’t packed my overnight bag.
I have no idea how I did it, but I got dressed, packed my bags, and flew out of the house ten minutes after waking, and spent the taxi ride trying to calm down.
The train journey itself was uneventful as a journey, but inside I was petrified!
Just under two hours later, I arrived at Euston. I’d been told ‘oh, it’s easy. Just walk to King’s Cross then the office is up on the right’. Having been to London only a couple of times before, even this small walk was a huge magical mystery tour.
I made it to the office in time for a 10am meeting, immediately surrounded by people who I’d exchanged emails with but never met.
Meeting new people was of course another thing which raised my panic levels.
The two days in the office were a whirlwind, and I spent about an hour each with various members of the London team, learning about their job roles and the company as a whole.
That night, I stayed in the hotel, ringing my parents in the evening to do a little celebratory jig that I was doing it, I was halfway through!
I hadn’t realised people often start work a little later in London, so was at my desk promptly at 8.45 for a 9am start… and was alone for a good hour!
Another whirlwind of a day followed, before it was time to brave the train again.
When I got home on the 21st, I was so relieved, proud and exhausted.
To some people, a work trip like that is second nature.
To me, last January, it was an enormous test.
But I did it.
And I’m reliably informed that no one could tell I was absolutely petrified.
And now look at me: I’ve moved here!
I live in the place that that trip to terrified me.
And I’m loving it.
Sometimes, it’s worth pushing yourself to do something you’re convinced you’ll struggle with.