On autopilot

I spent the most of the last 2 years on autopilot. This is something I’ve actively been trying to come out of in the last few months that I have been off work. For me, autopilot meant that I was letting days, months, years pass by without ever feeling or experiencing anything.

I spent 2 years of my life agreeing to things I don’t want to do and pleasing others to the detriment of my mental health and career. I was constantly in doing mode and never took time out for myself. Simple self care made me feel guilty. I’d say that I was too busy to watch a film, I had to be “doing” something else at the same time. There was “no time” to enjoy seeing friends or going to the park on the weekend. The irony is that doing anything that brought me joy made me feel bad as it felt like a “waste of time” to me. I had no respect for life. What is living if you can’t enjoy it?

In my case, autopilot was a coping mechanism for dealing with situations that were making me deeply unhappy. During this period I got absorbed by routine and time flew by. Every day I would wake up and dread the day ahead but I’d go along with the routine of working and also doing a part time masters. It was during this period that I began to suffer from sleep deprivation which didn’t help the situation. Autopilot for me meant that throughout the day I’d find myself unable to put my phone down, scrolling through endless memes on Instagram as an escape from reality. I would be day dreaming about an inaccessible better life all day, while doing minimal thinking in the present moment.  There was little time for things I enjoyed.

In all honesty, I had difficulty letting go of the autopilot rut I was in. The situation kept me fed (I was obese but thankfully I have since lost 21kg which will be a later post) and not making any meaningful progress on any aspect of my life.

Autopilot is never a good state to be in. I’m lucky to have only lived through 2 years of autopilot so far, I’m glad it wasn’t longer. I don’t want to be on my deathbed, realise I’ve been on autopilot and then get a serious case of retrospective FOMO when it’s too late.

From this life experience I’ve learnt that those self important men and women in Waitrose with three kids in their trolley, juggling bags of organic kale and comte while on the phone doing some “business deal” are the very definition of what I don’t want to be.

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