Life is good, and if you live with bipolar disorder, that’s always suspicious. You’re constantly aware of your mood swings, and if it gets too good, you need to make sure you’re taking care of yourself to prevent a manic episode.
But though my moods have been swinging over the past few weeks, it hasn’t hit any extremes. I’m still sleeping enough, meeting people but not excessively, and eating and drinking regularly. The basics, but important ones.
It has been three months in Brussels and I'm getting used to the city more and more, while I also started my new job at The Brussels Times. I get to do what I love for a living (corny yet so true), and I finally found people I really vibe with.
Working for The Brussels Times
It is my fourth week at The Brussels Times, and so far I've loved every minute of it. In journalism, money isn’t the end goal. You don’t become a journalist to 'get rich quick', and in reality, there’s no way you will get rich in any case (whether quick or slow) in this field.
Instead, the most valued thing is time. More time to research, investigate, discover and write. More time to think of topics, speak to people, brainstorm, and let your creative juices flow.
I don’t ask potential clients or employers about the salary - I ask about how many stories I am expected to write per week. Because that’s where quality comes into the picture.
In my previous job in a newsroom, we wrote a minimum of six stories per day. Or at least, that’s what we were expected to do. I, for one, often didn’t manage - though there have been days I wrote 12 articles.
It’s what distinguishes sloppy and irrelevant journalism from qualitative and important journalism. One does the job of getting clicks and likes, the other properly informs the people about things that matter.
That’s why I love working at The Brussels Times. I get all the freedom in the world to work on whatever I want and there is no quota of articles to write per day - you just write what you can. Some days that means five short pieces, other days it means one long, well-researched one.
Often, I’ll spend my morning writing two to three short pieces regarding current affairs - updates, must-knows to start the day, breaking news. Then, after lunch, I spend my time digging into the things I want to research more. Anything that captures my interest - from the reality of the war in Ukraine and rising energy costs to the EU’s efforts to create a circular economy.
The next topics I’ll be plunging into for a deep dive are Ramadan, fast fashion, and homelessness in Brussels. Some topics I know little about, meaning I'll learn loads on the way, while others are things I've covered before and can consider myself a mini-expert on. Either way, it's awesome.
So I’m enjoying myself a lot, even though I sometimes feel like I might have rushed into adulthood a bit too soon. Being settled is scary, and the last thing I want to be doing.
But then I remind myself there is all the time in the world to do what I want - you never know on which pacific island I’ll be hanging my hammock a few years from now.
Life is good. The sun is out (well, some days), I found great people, and I do what I love on a daily basis. It almost doesn’t get better than this, which freaks me out - but then I remember to simply be grateful for it all and enjoy it while it lasts.