Hands up if you think you peaked in high school? Or early 20's? Everytime I ask this question so many people shoot up their hands and explode with stories of when they 'had it all'.
For me it was age 22/23, I thought I had things pretty well lined up. I had achieved good grades, a degree, stable job, long term boyfriend, money to pay rent, friends, I lived in London, I went on holiday multiple times a year. All sounds pretty good right? On paper absolutely, these are the things one is supposed to tick off as they grow up aren't they?
From the outside I was riding the wave of life pretty well. You might even say I was winning. I wasn't completely satisfied deep down but I was ticking off the established adult checklist so, so what?!
I was working through the correct life stages I learned about in high school. I thought I was on track.
In high school, certainly in mine, so much emphasis was placed upon not failing. We were all taught in the same way, then placed on a conveyor belt headed towards "success" with so many things to check off on the way to getting there.
Don't get me wrong, I have some great memories of high school, but I also felt an extreme pressure to succeed at all times whilst I was there. Something I am still trying to unlearn.
Despite being "on track" age 24 turned up and smacked me square in the jaw.
Life is funny isn't it? As I grew a year older a number of items I had ticked off the adult checklist disintegrated and the other ones no longer made me feel very happy.
In the years that followed I sort of stumbled through life trying to rebuild what was lost. I remember saying to myself if I could just get this back, that back, recreate what I had, I'll be okay. Anyone else tried to do this? Spoiler alert - looking back doesn't work.
I kept this up for a few years, it was a bit of a confusing time.
Eventually, several years on I had one the best conversations of my life. It was with a friend from high school who was then experiencing some similar life deconstructions and we were laughing about how we'd already peaked. We joked with each other that it was all downhill from here.
Bit grim I know, but then I remember shrieking something which became a mantra for us...
...what about a re-peak?
We were quiet for a moment before we erupted in laughter followed by excited conversation, but seriously, what about a re-peak? Why did we have to resign ourselves to our lives being over?
For some reason putting a name to it gave us the gift of looking forwards instead of backwards. It set something powerful in motion. We were going to re-peak.
We decided that the beauty of the re-peak is that it erases the idea that you can only peak once. Turns out you can peak as many times as you want! Go figure.
It's a common narrative these days that you learn a lot from your failures, but it's so true! Things fall away and times change but the opportunity to bring something positive from the wreckage is available to you indefinitely. You can always re-peak!
This mindset has allowed me to think so much more courageously. I can still be considered and thoughtful, but I no longer have to be afraid or at the very least, not as much.
Do not rebuild what you have lost, start construction on the next phase of your story. Seems so simple in principle, but it has taken me so many years to start believing in the power of things not working out and what comes next.
The re-peak is real, so who's in?
Love always, Catherine.
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