Dear Diary, I have realised I am a bum

I apologise once more for not posting particularly frequently. 

Since the Games I’ve just been having too much fun to think about it! I got back from Sardinia today, where I spent 9 days with Hannah and our friend Martina happily chilling in the sun. 

In the past week, I think I’ve eaten my bodyweight in carbs, particularly pizza. There was this one day where I ate 2 full sized pizzas within the space of a few hours. Yeah, I know. However, that turned out to be the cheapest option – when Martina and Hannah attempted to eat the healthier option of crab, the bill ended up coming to, wait for it… EIGHTY ONE EUROS. The waiter hated us for some unknown reason. We weren’t actually being that ‘English’, either, and you know what I mean by that. He was the most impatient, odious little man I’d ever had the displeasure of encountering. Martina (who is Italian) had to translate the menu for us, but apparently that was such an inconvenience for this man that he just had to let us know about it. So he ended up rushing us into the decision of crab, which on the menu was priced “per hundred grams”.  He brought out a KILO of pasta and crab. Those two meals alone were €54. He looked so smug when he brought us the bill, that we all wanted to punch him. We all momentarily considered doing a dine and dash and let that smug little so and so foot the bill himself. Other than that, it was a good little break. Went to the Sun and Bass festival one night which was a good laugh, and other than that we spent the majority of our time sunbathing on nice beaches. 


It all suddenly dawned on me more or less the second the wheels of our plane touched British soil: I have no idea what I am going to do next. 

For the last year, I’ve spent my time looking forward to stuff. I’ve been busy training for the Olympics and other competitions, moving up north, moving back home, making plans for fun stuff to do after the Games etc. Sardinia was the last of those plans. And now I’ve realised that I haven’t planned any further ahead than that. 

I know, I know. I’m an idiot. Deep down I probably always knew I’d eventually reach a dead end and plans would stop making themselves. But a part of me wanted to believe that I could carry on that way forever, not having to take responsibility for myself, being carefree and doing more or less whatever I wanted outside of training. And I suppose I still could do that. But I couldn’t justify it to myself – what would be the point in sitting around and twiddling my thumbs all day, waiting to go training? I may as well do something productive with my life while I have the time and motivation. 

A few people (including my Dad) seem to have the opinion that being an Olympian will be enough to see me through the next decade or so without having to bother about qualifications, jobs and financial issues. And maybe they’re right, but I doubt it somehow. And anyway, I’m hoping that life won’t just finish at 30ish, and I don’t just want to be left a penniless, unemployed freeloader with no qualifications who still lives with her parents. So I’m now realising that I’m going to have to take the bull by the horns and sort my life out now while I still have time! 

My next problem is that I have absolutely no idea what I actually want to do with it.

At first I thought I wanted to study journalism, because I love writing, as you can probably tell by the way I babble on in these blogs. But then I thought that maybe getting an internship somewhere like at a newspaper or magazine would probably be more useful potentially in the long run if I wanted to somehow get into journalism. Then I realised that I have absolutely no idea how I would go about doing so, seeing as I am currently a bum with no qualifications higher than GCSEs. (I did get an A* in English lit though, of which I am rather proud). 

I also do think that studying might be my best bet at the moment, as my schedule can be a bit random with the odd media appearance, training and other weird, one off opportunities that seem to arise more and more frequently. 

Argh! It is probably too late to be wracking my brain trying to decide my fate. Its currently half 10pm, I’ve been travelling all day (or what feels like all day) and my mind has gone into overdrive. What I would really like to do right now is lie on the floor, weeping whilst screaming “THERE IS NO HOPE AND NO FUTURE”. Melodramatic? Possibly…

I’ll come back to thinking about this tomorrow. For now, I think I need a good night’s sleep to clear my head. Just thought I’d let off some steam first by sharing these thoughts with everyone. Strangely therapeutic. 

Thanks for reading my particularly angsty post. Teenagers, eh?

Z. x


21 thoughts on “Dear Diary, I have realised I am a bum

  1. The most important thing to do (as cliched as it sounds) is just to do whatever makes you happy! Take each day as it comes and try not to fret about the future. I’m 18 years old as well and have spent so many times worrying about where I’ll be in 20 or 30 years, only to realise that (unless you’re one of those weird people who have their entire life mapped out) it’s often much easier to enjoy life and go where the wind takes you. That’s my attitude anyway, and I like to think I’m a happy person!!

  2. I really wouldn’t worry too much Zoe, you’re still only 18, and coming down off
    the high from being a part of the greatest sporting event this country has had
    in a very very long time. I’d chill out for a while, maybe a couple of months
    before really deciding what you want to do next.

    The world is your oyster. Not literally of course! As long you ultimately keep on
    doing what you do best. Maybe you could some TV work. I’d certainly tune in!

    • Seconding not worrying. Not everyone knows what they want to do at eighteen. I for one made a wrong decision, but found an opportunity toswitch directions and am happier than I’ve ever been. Whatever you do now doesn’t have to be forever. Like Leo says, do what makes you happy.

  3. I feel like that at times,, I think lots of people do! Hang in there and get a good night sleep!! I always feel much more at ease the next morning.

    Good things happen to good people!

  4. You’ll be fine-do what you find interesting and hopefully you’ll get paid.Once you get to my age–43!–you will realise that its the small things in life that matter,and most of us don’t get to do anything spectacular–you have done already,and I hope you continue with the sport,and improve-but if not–YOU’VE BEEN IN THE OLYMPICS!!It was a pleasure to watch you compete-and I had very little interest in your sport beforehand- you are a very inspirational young lady.Be happy and enthusiastic-these ‘teenage’ feelings will be with you through your 20’s–but don’t despair,as you get older you will learn to take life(and yourself) less seriously.One word of warning though-my brother has been a journalist all his working life and is very dissolutioned and reckons that print medias’ days are numbered.Remember-you are far from being a bum–you are FAB xxx

  5. Study sport science, then whenever* you retire, train the next generation of Olympians.

    *or before. My weightlifting coach runs sessions four times a week and has a personal training business as well as teaching in schools and still competes at least regionally.

  6. A good career, that you could freelance at, if you like writing, is commercial copyrighting, basicallyearning [good money] a day writing content and articles for lazy corporate marketing departments who can’t be arsed to write their own! I work for one of these big corporates and buy these services,.get in touch if you would like to know more!

  7. Zoe,

    Really great post. I completely understand the come down from such a build up. It almost feels like you’ve lost your identity. I experienced it to a degree myself. Although you and I worked vice versa. My parents said I should do something. While I felt what I was doing was fine. So it’s great you are motivated to succeed outside of sport. It’ll make the ride smoother.

    studying would probably be good for you- you’ll have the discipline to succeed. And the skills judging by your writing here.

    Looking forward to the next post.


  8. I’m at uni and thinking about journalism too. Been given so much advice about it, and the overwhelmingly consensus seems to be experience at local papers/magazines is invaluable. I’m sure with your reputation and a cv boosting work experience, you won’t go far wrong. It’s difficult as I’ve been thinking about it for years (I’m 20) and blogging socfaris my only writing experience so far. In terms of studying, city uni in London has a really good list of journalism courses, although obviously fees are expensive right now! Sure you’ll figure something out, it’s not easy being a uni bum so kind of know how you feel !

  9. The healthier option is ALWAYS the expensive one, but this particular case was out of the ordinary! What an annoying waiter you had! He must have been a very unhappy twit to treat you guys like that. About the not knowing what to do next, join the club, girl. I’m a 24 year old graphic designer who doesn’t know what to do next and is terrified with the future (and never in my life have I been an Olympic competitor!!). It seems to me that you have a slight idea of what you want to do, but maybe you’re too scared to take action because of what it implies. I would tell you to take it easy but always always always keep moving, that way you’ll figure it out and what you really want will come to you. Sorry if that sounded a bit corny but I happen to believe it. You may find it useful to see some videos of Marie Forleo on Youtube, they are very fun, inspiring and may help you realize many things about yourself and your future.

  10. You could totally be a writer. Keep at it Zoe, get knocking on the doors of newspapers that you might like to be a columnist for- they will all know who you are so you’ve already got one up on everyone else!

    With any luck there’ll be a vacancy at The Sun- hoping they’ll kick out Kelvin MacKenzie…

  11. Don`t worry, you are young, you have time. I`m 18 as well and life can get hard. There are times when you don`t know what you want or what you can do, when you maybe don`t understand all the options (this has happened to me). Definitely take some time, you have done amazing things in your life and you are a dedicated, strong person.
    As others said: do what you enjoy and are good at, life is too short to worry. Take it easy.

  12. Bum? I don’t think so!

    You’re living your life, reached your goal of training for the Olympics and now need to plan for the next phase of your life.

    Given your success so far, I have absolutely no doubt that you will succeed at whatever you decide to do next! You’re young and energetic, you’ll find something that meets your needs.

    As far as seeking out a journalism internship, why not check with your local papers and such? it can’t hurt!

  13. You could always pick up a side job as a Power Ranger.

    I remember back in my late teens I still had no idea what I wanted to do, and on the surface nobody else seemed to feel the same way. Lonely times. :/

  14. I wouldn’t worry too much about not knowing what you’re going to do, I don’t really know what I’m going to do beyond the next few months. And you have the advantage that a lot of people already know your name, which will make it easier to get into a job.

    Thought if everything falls though you could always become a removal woman, you should be good at that!

  15. If you’ve the time, take shorthand lessons and get a 100+ wpm qualification. It’s the hardest thing to pass when you’re on an NCTJ course, and it’s the quickest way to impress editors you’re serious and useful to their pared-down recession-squeezed newsrooms. You’ve got the insight and originality (and rarest of all the literacy) to make a good journalist – and the grit you showed to get to, and at, The Olympics will carry you through the tough times. (I’m a retired hack/editor)

  16. Hey Zoe, I love your blog, your humour and the fact that you seem to have a small Mexican boy as your alter ego (Pablo?).

    I’m with Greg Mitchell above – take a couple of months. Hell, take till Christmas at least. You’ve just been through what is almost certainly the biggest experience of your life and the comedown is bound to be A Capital Bitch. I remember feeling the exact same way that you do now when I left university. The one piece of advice I wish I could have received was to take my time and do what felt right for me (rather than my parents, lecturers, peers or whoever).

    You are clearly highly intelligent, articulate, and thoughtful. You can go wherever you want. When you’re goddamn good and ready!

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