A little perspective. When things just keep getting worse…

“There are people who would love to have your bad days”

I was having the worst week of my life. Now I’m the first admit I’m an emotional sorta gal, but this particular week really tipped me over.

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It began on a Thursday, I went to the dream PhD interview, after 6 months of talk with the supervisors, finally had funding and it was just this hurdle left. I prepped and prepped, did hours of research, spent days driving to and from work answering out-loud the “100 practice interview questions” Google throws up (I did look a little bonkers), and managed somehow to arrived on time without looking like a drowned rat during the typical welsh weather: rain.

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And yet, the worst happened. The questions threw me, my mind went blank and I arrived at home in tears. My dream had shattered. I guess at this point, you just have to hope that the classic “I’m sure it went better than you thought” line, actually paid off.

Saturday night, my friends from home arrived. We went out, had the best night, and then proceeded to be followed home by a disturbing pretty creepy man. Called the police, they were wonderful, got home safe and three separate police visits later, we went to sleep at 4am. Sunday, 8am, more witness statements and a delirious-tiredness-hangover hybrid to boot.

Sunday also coincidentally was my 3 year anniversary with the boyfriend. Said boyfriend had forgotten three year anniversary, so my carefully picked out card and present was greeted with a very apologetic expletive.

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Monday, the characteristic M4 pile-up traffic was made worse by a bus fire accident (everyone was safe), and I was three hours late getting home from work.

Tuesday came round. And I got the news I’d been expecting. No PhD for me. Back to the drawing board and to begin giving up more endless hours of my life in an attempt to pursue my dream career (academics, don’t worry, I have had my fair amount of warnings about pursuing this perilous path). Finally picked myself up, to then slam my hand in the washing machine door. Fab, bruised soul, bruised appendages.

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Sorry Tim Hunt, what was that about being #distractinglysexy?

Wednesday, I had a fieldwork day to get to, up at 5am and was massively over-prepared to get to site in good time. Except, sod’s law, my front tyre had burst overnight. Gone completely flat. It was 5:30am, and no garages were open till 8:30. Typical. Having a job has taught me not to stress (so much) in these situations, they simply cannot be helped. But when it’s 7pm at night and you’re still out trying to survive Storm Barney in a river, you start to lose that frame of mind.

Thursday. Foolishly thinking this week couldn’t really get any worse, I went to grab some food during my lunchbreak. Bright sunshine greeted me on the little 10 minute drive to Boots, I’d got little dolly shoes on and was not phased when I couldn’t find a parking space near to the shops, I was happy to walk. Took 3 steps on my merry way, and hailstones cascaded from the heavens. I am not kidding. I tell you what, if there is a God, he has a wicked sense of humour. I arrived back to the car cradling a soggy sandwich and some squelchy shoes that needed disposing of immediately.

Friday night, and I was going out for dinner with my best friend. The end to a really rubbish week. I sat down with a huge sigh ready for that glass of wine, put my favourite yellow handbag on the table and proceeded to begin my tale of weekly woes.

To find I’d placed that bag, on a candle.

Yep, the final straw was I set my handbag alight in front of lots of people in a restaurant. The couple on their first date next to us found it hilarious, and I guess at least comedic value paid off in this case. You never know, in 5 years they may be married and I’ll feature in the wedding speech as “that girl that set her bag alight the first time we met”.

That was one of the worst weeks I’ve had in a long while. I was a poorly souffle of emotion by Saturday.

Then, whilst I was out for dinner, news headlines began splashing across my phone screen.

Suicide bombers, mass shootings, hostages and 130 people dead.

The 2015 Paris attacks had begun.

When you meet real tragedy, your battles are put into perspective and the quote at the beginning could not be more truthful. I’m going to try to start each day with a grateful heart, even when your beloved yellow handbag is set alight.

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