Categories
Adulthood

Go with the flow, it’s the best way to go

We all have moments in our lives when we compare ourselves to others. We might think that’s how I need to be. I need to be more this or I need to do that less.

Moments that you suddenly feel that your life is due a big change which will solve all of your problems and worries, but often these moments last a week or so and you’re soon back to old habits.

Recently I’ve had one of these moments but it’s not to dramatically change. This isn’t to say that I don’t have moments like this all the time when I promise to friends or to myself that I won’t do something or will begin doing something differently.

This time though I decided that I simply need to chill out a bit more and take it all in my stride. I find that if you say the words ‘just go with the flow’ to any given situation that you’re facing then usually you’ll feel much better about it and it will often provide a weightlifting feeling, even just for a minute.

If you’re worrying about the future – let it be. If you’re overthinking about something somebody said or something that you said to them – let it go. If you’re wondering what will happen next week – just let it.

Often we’re pressured into having a plan. Whether that is to plan daily, weekly, monthly, yearly and even, sometimes, life long. Living this way can be stressful, frantic and lead you to unnecessary stress.

There’s so much talk of having a five year plan, especially with regards to your career. Of course, it’s good to have a goal or an ambition and the wish to progress further into whatever it is that you love. However, bothering yourself constantly with the needing to know (often about things that you can’t know much about until they occur) is pointless and life just doesn’t happen that way.

People have plans over when they want kids, what age they wish to get married, when they think they should have moved out. However, something that these sorts of people often forget is that life doesn’t always happen in your favor.

Sadly someone who has been holding out to turn twenty six so they can start trying for their first child may find that they can’t have children at all or that they have complications so that process is going to take a lot longer than they had initially expected.

Someone who wished to get married by twenty five may never find the right one or split a few months before their twenty fifth birthday.

The person who wanted to be on the property ladder aged twenty eight may find a better use for their savings or have a total change of circumstances which means they achieve this earlier or have to wait until they are older.

While it can benefit you both mentally and financially to think beyond the here and now and it is a good idea to plan to a certain extent, five years is a long time so don’t hold everything by that.

Have a loose plan but don’t fret when things change because they will. A lot can happen in a week let alone a year and more so in five so be aware of this and allow for fluidity in your planning.

You might plan a monthly saving amount so that you have a house deposit by twenty five which is great and something that a lot of change shouldn’t affect.

You might aim to be at a certain level in your career by the time you are thirty which again is valid and achievable but note that things may turn your life in a different direction.

This is why having a five year vague idea, as I like to call it, as well as the mentality to go with the flow is a great way to spend your twenties and many other decades through your life come to that I am sure.

It’s not easy and I’m still very much a work in progress on this but it’s working for me so far. I feel happier, more positive, more focused and motivated to succeed in what I wish to do.

I have aims and ambitions but I’m accepting that these things take time and I don’t know how long I need to give them. Having markers such as reevaluating my situation every three or four months and having a good look in a year or two is how I’m working because I’m experimenting and an experiment isn’t final.

I no longer feel I need to justify my actions, no long feel I need to say why I’m doing certain things in life and not others, no longer need to explain why I’m choosing this but rather just need to let it all be.

It will work out, I keep telling myself, at least I hope it will.

Categories
Adulthood

How meditation helps me

I’ve always thought of meditation as sitting cross legged on the floor with your arms out and your forefinger touching your thumb on both hands.

A low humming noise sometimes comes into the picture and aromatic soothing scents fill the room, which is decorated all colourful and bright with things bought from the hippy shop down town.

However, until recently I figured that there are so many different ways to meditate and my gosh has it helped me out.

My days are spent – as most of us experiencing adulthood – juggling one hundred and one activities at once. I go to work, have about five different writing projects on the go as well as wanting to go out, do things, shop, tidy all the usual stuff that comes with the life of a girl at twenty three.

When I get home from work at one thirty each day and sit at my desk to write in my break I can usually handle half an hour before my brain turns to fuzz and I either need strong coffee or a nap before I can begin doing anything productive at all.

A week ago I discovered the app ‘Head space’. I was in one of these blank moments when my Word document was empty and my inspiration was elsewhere when I decided to sit down and begin day one of my meditation app.

I lay on my bed ignoring his instructions to sit and opted for the ten minute session rather than three (what can you achieve in three minutes?) and began.

He took me through breathing exercises, noticing your physical body, listening to sounds to ground you in the moment as well as letting your mind go off to wherever it desired.

He described thoughts as traffic that you should allow – watch – but not necessarily address all.

I freaked when he would guide my mind back knowing somehow that it had wandered, which it always had, and I felt amazing afterwards when he asked me to think about this.

Not only did I feel totally relaxed and found the exercises calming, but I took just ten minutes away from the day, ten minutes to myself, ten minutes out of life to completely revitalize my brain and I returned to my laptop with a fresh new mind to begin the next task. I found it incredible that this had happened in just ten minutes.

Now I’m on day seven and I take the time each afternoon when I have attempted as much work as I can manage before my brain switches off to lay down and mediate for ten minutes. It is amazing how much ten minutes can make a difference and I am benefiting more each day. I am sure what I write post-meditation is much better than the stuff I struggle to produce before!

Whether it’s an app, a CD or revisiting exercises that you have done previously, if you’re getting stressed in the adulthood frenzy that is life, then make ten minutes in the day for you to meditate and feel the benefits that are sure to come.

 

Categories
Adulthood Observations

I am learning

At the age of twenty three I thought it inappropriate to write this week’s blog post focusing on the things that I have learnt in life due to the fact that it isn’t an overly huge amount so far.

I mean, of course there are billions of things I have learnt to improve my knowledge and understanding of this crazy world, but in terms of mastering valuable life lessons, the process is yet to be completed.

Therefore, I felt it much more accurate to talk about the things that I am learning as I grow and will hopefully have fully accomplished one day.

I am learning not to care so much what people think, a tricky one that I think takes years of practice.

I am learning to stick with what I love and to do it well. This is much better than doing something else that I think I should be doing purely based on other opinions, but only making a half halfhearted effort to do so.

I am learning that people don’t always mean what they say and sometimes they don’t necessarily say what they mean.

I am learning that a cup of tea solves any given situation, no matter how good or bad.

I am learning that there is always a reason to celebrate with a large glass of vino.

I am learning that a good laugh with good company is another form of therapy and sometimes a chat about absolutely nothing can help to clear out your mind.

I am learning that there are certain days when you just aren’t feeling it but after a good cry you’ll usually feel better and you will have your mojo back in no time at all.

I am learning that hormones are very real.

I am learning that when you feel sad about something, talking helps and even if you feel that the person you talk too has much more going on, your issue is yours and the majority of people are more than willing to help.

I am learning that some days just go your way and you feel great even if it is raining and dull outside.

I am learning that photos are the best keepsake to look back on when you feel that you begin to negatively evaluate your current position in life.

I am learning that time out is always needed, whether it’s a long weekend, an entire week or just half an hour on a really bad day.

I am learning that dogs are happiness with four legs and their presence makes your insides smile.

I am learning that that is a skill, to make your insides smile, and to keep everything in life close to you that makes this happen.

I am learning that you don’t have to hear people tell you that they love and care for you to know that they do. This emotion can come in so many different ways such as a message or phone call checking up on you. Perhaps they get you a present just because. They may hug you that bit tighter or smile a bit more when you enter the room. They may help you with a boring task that only benefits you. All of these are expressions of love.

I am learning when to keep thoughts in my head and how to hold my tongue and think before answering or saying something I will regret.

I am learning about toxic relationships and that holding grudges only makes your angrier, it is much better to listen to the old sayings and kill them with kindness.

I am learning to take a step outside your own head in times of anger because sometimes it is more within you than towards the given situation.

I am learning that jealousy is a bad trait but sometimes only natural.

I am learning that being happy for others and seeing the best in people are great traits to have.

I realise how unorganised this post is but I tried a little stream of consciousness exercise which turned into word vomiting out the things that I am beginning to learn. I am also fully aware that there is so much I could add to this but I will save those for now.

 

Keep on learning folks!

 

 

Categories
Adulthood

How much we’d get done if hangovers weren’t a thing

I was struggling to think of a topic last Friday when I sat down to write that week’s post due to many things but one of which was my poor state from the night before. I felt the pressure to get a post out to you all for want of keeping up my weekly blog record and the fact that my intense organisation didn’t allow for things to remain not ticked on my list. Believe me, I annoy myself..

It had been a busy week with the beginning of a new project and many hours at my other work which had left me feeling pretty exhausted and not getting much else done. Hence the desperate flee to my keyboard on a Friday morning in attempt to produce some content for you all. No ideas were springing up and I was feeling much like Bridget Jones pictured above. I had been working on my secret project for the past hour mind so I wasn’t feeling a total failure.

I resorted to going back to bed, laying flat on my back and plugging in my headphones to see if my new found love for two other Ed Sheeran songs would get my creative juices flowing. I then laughed at myself for the current circumstance I was in. Hungover, flat out and thoughtless.

This was when I thought how much more we’d get completed if hangovers never happened. If you could go hard the night before, drink copious amounts of gin, add wine into the mix and maybe a few Sambucca shots to end it all but feel fabulous and hangover free the following morning. Wouldn’t it be wonderful?

I’m not saying I am a total drunk and live in a sea of hungover days followed by messy nights, but they do crop up in my life fairly frequently and often when I need to get things done.

It’s fine at work, I can fight it. Working in place that sells the means to a cure helps a lot. A bottle of coke, something else that’s full of sugar and a sausage sarny usually does the trick, but while sitting at my laptop trying to write or staring at my ‘floordrobe’ covering my rug, the work ethic disappears.

I sat there with a line up of beverages to soothe my pounding head beside me. A strong coffee, a pint of water, a bottle of orange juice and a tub of gum to change the taste of last nights consumption, but still my head felt empty and my brain loose as if it was spinning round and round the masses of space it found surrounding it.

It’s OK if you have the average daily tasks to complete when hungover because the dishwasher can still be emptied, though a few glasses and plates may get broken in the process. The washing machine can be turned on as long as you take extra care when shutting the door for fear it’ll make your head pound more. You may even manage a shower and after this you could potentially face hoovering though not for long because that sure will add to the banging head.

I also find that some days my body surprises me with a hangover free wake up call despite the amount I drank the previous night. I’ll drink two bottles of wine, a few beers and how ever many shorts, then feel fine the following day. Yet I can share half a bottle of wine with a friend and wake up with a raging headache. Work that out? I’ll never know.

One day maybe someone will find a genuine cure. One day maybe I won’t drink so much or will be able to go for just the one. For now though, I’m happy to laugh off my sorry states and hey, it’s produced a good read though maybe a slight cop out on my part.

Yours,

Drunken Fool

x

Categories
Adulthood

One year on…

When I sat at my desk today ready to write this week’s blog post, I felt exhausted. I had an idea of the topic but having just got in from a busy six hour shift and a mad dash to town after in the beautiful heat of the day, my brain’s creativity was elsewhere. I took a sip of strong coffee and stared at the calendar to my left, trying to think up something exciting – anything at all.

It was at this point that I noticed that this time last year I had just finished university. This time last year I wrote the post ‘University, I’ll be forever grateful’. This time last year I was packing my suitcase and jetting off to Bali. Oh to be reliving this time last year right now!

Reflection is always a good thing to do in my view. Whether it’s as soon as you hear John Lennon’s ‘Happy Christmas (War is over)’ during the festive season each year, on new years eve or at another significant point within the year, its always good to look at what you’ve done, particularly if you’re panicking that you haven’t done much.

Life speeds by more rapidly as the years come, each week in your diary seems to come around quicker than the one before and when you’re young and unsettled, it’s not necessarily a bad thing but can sometimes seem scary.

People constantly quiz you about your plans and seem to unknowingly put pressure on you to compete with the rest. I’ve never been somebody to compete and the older I get, the harder I find it, yet opinions of others do affect me. In fact, the one thing that ever makes me question my decisions is what others will think and I hate it. I’ll be very happy with decisions I make and really excited about the future, yet it takes one person to negatively speak their mind, usually people who mean nothing to me, and I go straight back to the drawing board. With the significance that this week holds in relevance to last year, I felt I’d write a piece a year on from officially finishing uni and beginning a new chapter.

I returned home from three years studying in York this week last year and masked the sadness of it being over by jetting off to Bali for two weeks with one of my great friends. My post uni plans weren’t set in terms of employment, but I had a plan until the end of the year at least.

I would return to my home until August and work at the village shop and post office until then. I’d then take on the world travelling for just over three months around Europe, America, New Zealand and Australia before returning and going on a week’s work placement completely out of my comfort zone at the Guardian Media Group in London. I knew the Christmas period would be manic at the shop, trust me it may be little but its HUGELY busy, so I kept my loyalty to my bosses and worked near on fifty hour weeks over the busy period, we all did.

This is when my plans got vague. My experience of the graduate job search so far had been that most of the people I knew hadn’t had much success as of yet and were doing much the same as me, working and searching. So, I tried. I tried to juggle my full time hours with the graduate job hunt while pursuing my passion of becoming a writer. I’d work all day, write in my three hour break and attempt to squeeze in job hunting in that time too.

Now people can talk excessively about the various options that young people can take after school, and in hindsight I’d potentially have seeked another route in. However, scrolling through numerous pages on ‘Indeed’ and other sites proves that there are still copious amounts of jobs out there requiring a degree, especially in journalism and media, the area I wish to pursue.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, as is having a closed minded opinion at the age of seventy when you haven’t a clue about how enriching university is in so many ways and how competitive and demeaning the graduate job search can be as well. It’s often near on impossible because you must have the experience as well as a first class degree and be able to balance a ten meter pole on your head while running down a hill. I realise I am slightly over exaggerating but often it feels this way and certainly requires a great deal of your time focusing on this one thing. Trying to fit in a life, a job and your passion as well just doesn’t work.

This is why I soon came to realise that I had to choose. I had to choose a focus for now and do it properly. I either must go wholeheartedly for the job hunt and put the writing to the side for the time being. Or stick to the writing and pick up the job search when it’s more a priority and I have a clearer idea of what I’m hunting for.

My passion is writing. If any of you reading this are regular viewers of my blog, you’ll know this by now and I write every day without fail. I write blog posts and I write freelance for companies. I write for my village magazine, for my sisters photography projects and I’m frequently asked by friends to check emails and job applications, CV’s and letters to assess the wording. I’m not heightening myself I’m just saying this is what I love.

When I’m stressed I turn to writing. Tired? I can still find room to write. Happy? I write it down. It’s something I turn to in the majority of situations. Being just twenty three years old aspiring for a career in an industry which usually requires you to stick at your day job until years of hard work to establish yourself as a writer on the side brings you the success you desire, I thought what better circumstance could I be in to start now.

This is why my decision was to pursue my passion and go for goal to become a writer. It won’t be forever and when it’s essential and I don’t have so much freedom, I will put it aside if I’ve got nowhere and continue the slog of job hunting. However, right now I am young and I don’t have any financial pressure which I am very lucky and grateful for which gives me the freedom to experiment. A career in writing is just that, an experiment.

Everybody who judges you is subjective. JK Rowling got rejected numerous times and look at where she has ended up. I’m not saying I’m the next J. K but I just feel that in this competitive day and age sometimes its refreshing and needed to think outside of the box. Outside of London and attending interviews, filling in application after application for jobs that your heart isn’t fully in and to go for something, perhaps less conventional, that fills your heart with passion.

It may not work out at all, I may completely land on my feet, but all I know is that right now I am happy with my decision. People can look at me all day long asking what I’m doing with my life and roll their eyes when I claim that I’m working on a book, contacting agents and sending masses of daring emails, but that’s me and it’s how I roll.

My advice to anybody in this situation would be to go for it. Don’t look to your peers always for a comparison. Be happy for their success but be true to your dreams and goals. Try to ignore the constant judgement from people who don’t necessarily know. You will be successful, you will achieve, your degree was worth it.

I’m still working on the above and people’s judgments continue to hugely affect me but hopefully when I can prove how hard I’ve been working behind the scenes then they may believe that convention isn’t always the way. For now I am embracing my youth, the freedom it brings and the ability I have to experiment with various projects. That’s me, one year on.

I realise I’ve gone off on a personal tangent here and the key message within this post is about reflection. No matter what stage you are in in this wonderful life, if ever you feel things have got a little mundane and nothing seems to be happening, take time to look back. Take a period of time such as a month, a year, or even just a day and write down all the good things within that. You will surprise yourself because so much can happen in such a little amount of time, things that seem to pass unnoticed but count, of course they do.

 

Categories
Adulthood

Never underestimate the power of a short getaway

No matter how organised you are, no matter how much you think you’ve got it all together, whether you feel you’re a pro at juggling family, work, socialising and everything else – we all need time away from it all.

A few days ago I returned home from a weekend away and it wasn’t until I was back and ready for bed that I noticed how completely refreshed I felt. Life’s been a little hectic of late for various reasons, but three days (almost) away has given my body and mind the boost they needed.

I think we all have times where things can get a little overwhelming and we feel as though there are not enough hours in the day to get everything done as well as deal with the stress it causes. From a short break to a sunny place in Europe to a trip up north to visit friends, always consider a mini holiday somewhere, anywhere, when you’re feeling like you’re stuck under the swamping pile of life.

My weekend was spent doing just the same as I usually do when relaxing; drinking copious amounts of gin accompanied by friends who just go with the randomness of my brain while eating our body weight in nachos. I didn’t do anything out of the ordinary and if I’d stayed at home I’d have probably partaken in similar activities. However, there’s something about getting on that train, or driving somewhere different which brings a whole new level of revitalization.

It begins in the journey and continues from thereon. Particularly if you choose to go by some form of public transport which doesn’t require your full concentration at all times. The act of sitting aimlessly staring out of the window at the fields and clouds passing somehow instantly relaxes you. The change of scenery helps too, like a breath of fresh air.

Life can get tedious and mundane, I don’t mean that negatively. Life is great but the routine can suck you in so much that you feel trapped from time to time and need to break out. Breaking out of the routine into a new environment for a short while allows you to breathe. You don’t even have to think about all that’s going on in your daily life because this is new and seems to temporarily remove those thoughts and feelings from you.

When you return, even if the situation remains stagnant back home, you definitely feel stronger, more ready to handle anything and deal with it better. You have more energy, you have a clearer mind and you feel good. Your tolerance radar has gone down to zero allowing you to handle the people you were beginning to lose your patience with. Everything is OK again.

So next time things start to get on top of you and you feel engulfed by stress, be encouraged with the knowledge that you too can always get access to a quick escape. You too have the ability to feel as refreshed as I did on my journey home. To feel comfort in knowing that you’ll always be able to get away when times get a little tough. Get away and discover the power of a few days respite from the hustle and bustle of every day life.

Categories
Adulthood

A goal’s a goal, but always enjoy the present moment

I work on average forty hours a week and people still think that I don’t have a job?

Judging from firsthand experience, most people in their late teens or at some stage during their twenties begin their undergraduate studies expecting these to lead on to a good career. They may not know at the point of starting what this career will be in, where it’ll be or whether they’re doing the right thing in undertaking a degree, but a strong career as the outcome is usually on the cards.

They have a fabulous time studying, partying, developing life skills that come with the whole invaluable university experience and soon come to the realisation that the job part at the end is going to prove more difficult than initially imagined. Particularly if your degree subject is broad.

You’re told throughout your studies how competitive the graduate pool of employment is and often you’re steered away from certain careers that originally sparked interest in you because ‘you’ll never make any money doing that’ or ‘you need far more experience’. You then may speak to third years or (even worse) the recently graduated who tell you how disheartening it all is finding a graduate position and you’ll be told to get yourself in Costa and put on an apron or to be ready to revise your cocktail making skills at the local as soon as Uni ends.

The negativity surrounding graduates who haven’t leaped out of their graduation ceremonies into a junior graduate position is what bothers me the most. The judgement your get from people who are judging from their experience fifty years ago. This is the part I have a huge problem with and I shall tell you why.

I graduated in May 2017. Well, no, I officially graduated in November 2017 but my studies finished in May. At this time I’d just handed in my dissertation and eagerly awaited the results for my degree. The dissertation that I’d worked on ruthlessly for a solid year. The piece of work which had brought laughs, determination, screams of frustration, tears of despair and an overwhelming sense of relief once I’d handed it in and sat downing a pint of cider black in the student’s union bar.

The results I was waiting on would show whether my hard work had paid off. The work which had to be done on top of learning to live on my own. Discovering how to deal with the emotional roller-coaster of being this age (and a girl at that) without my Mum by my side (though often on the phone). To sort little things like shopping, bills and health appointments. Dealing with not being home when I felt I was needed. These results wouldn’t come until July.

As dramatic as this all sounds and despite loving every minute of my time at Uni, what I’m trying to express is that university is not an easy escape. In fact, it gears you up for a lot of things and gives you enough stress to deal with so that your methods of coping progress. This is one of the many reasons that I decided to go travelling post third year mayhem.

I went in July until November. I explored so many countries across Europe with my sister and then took the rest of the world (almost) on myself. I had the most fantastic time, met some of the greatest people and learnt a hell of a lot about myself and life. I learnt how never to feel alone. I figured how to deal with distressing hiccups when things went wrong and how to get out of sticky situations I’d got myself in calmly and carefully. I realised that most people you meet are fabulous, but most importantly how young I am and how much of this great life I have ahead of me.

I returned from my travels and almost instantly spent a week working with The Observer Magazine at the Guardian Media Group in London. Here too I learnt so much. I learnt how big media companies work, how vibrant and open the office space makes your mind feel, how willing to teach and guide me the staff were, but the lesson which has influenced me the most is how being yourself will always pay off which I remember when I read the reference given to me by the Editor.

Since this eyeopening and highly insightful week which I’ll never forget I have been working full time hours at the shop where I’ve worked on and off for the past seven years. Frequently interested customers or people I meet in the street who know me ask what I’m doing with myself. ‘What are you doing with yourself?’ What a delightful way to put it.

They want to know whether I’ve got a job yet or how the job hunt is going. I love that people are interested, really I do. What I don’t love is how some people pass over the fact that my job is that thing I go to each week, six days and tirelessly work. Like many other of my graduate friends I am yet to start my career, I’m yet to find that opening into the role I’ll work in and progress through for the next fifty years of my life, but I do still have a job.

I’m twenty three. I’m not settled and I wouldn’t want to be quite yet. I’m actively looking, I’m working while looking, and eventually I’ll use my degree subject to pursue that career. For now, I’m enjoying life. Enjoying being young and having so much ahead of me to look forward to. I’m enjoying living in limbo and not having a clue what the future holds but being open to all opportunities that come my way whenever they do.

I’m using the skills that I’ve gained from all my life experiences every day. From school, university, travels and work experience. From friends, relatives and working in a buzzing environment where all walks of life come through the door. All the above gives me advice and helps me to develop as a person and progress towards a successful future.

Of course my career is a huge priority right now and I deeply consider it every day, but it’s not just going to come out of nowhere. Searching takes time, applications take time, rejections take time and the entire process is long. I also need a life on top of this and not to forget about enjoying the present circumstance. I love my job, I love my life and I love that my future could be anything I want it to be. I am incredibly lucky.

I’ll keep searching and anybody else in this predicament needs to stick to their guns and know how great they’re doing. Here’s a video that you may want to watch. Anybody. It may change your perspective for the better.

 

Categories
Adulthood

A note to me at fifty.

Advice is something we take for granted, sometimes even ignore. I find that I get bits of advice from all sorts of people at varying stages of life and I get it all the time. Although very different, all of the direction that I get is equally helpful and I’ve found myself recently creating a virtual folder in my memory full of pointers to help me.

  1. Always have a radio on when home alone
  2. Set realistic goals

These two came to me this morning while I was drying my hair which is also when I decided to write it all down. I’ve often thought about writing a note each year that I enter a new decade filled with advice from me in the present to my children, nieces, nephews (whatever life brings me) to read in the future when they turn that age. The idea of giving help to your past self, making sense of everything in that moment while you’re in it rather than trying to remember years down the line. Attempting to recollect how you felt, what you worried about, what bothered you and what mattered. Writing it down now will provide much roarer guidance to those who need it whenever they do, rather than relying on a failing memory in years to come.

3. listen to the radio more in general, it’s relaxing and informative
4. take each week as it comes

The list currently seems very random with no logical order but each point is valid and something I think about often. Throughout my life my Mum has always had a radio quietly playing in the background. She says it’s to keep the animals entertained while we’re all out at school and work which is true. I’m sure they love it. However, there is also something very comforting about having a bit of background noise and something very eery about not.

I find that noise links to productivity too despite being the worst at working with any sound whatsoever. I get so easily distracted that I’ve never understood people who can sit at a library desk with music blaring through their headphones because I’d end up singing along and typing the words I heard. Still, if the radio is on at the right volume level so I don’t really listen but can still hear, it helps me to concentrate more than in silence (something I failed to discover while at university).

While we’re on the topic, I’ve also decided to listen to the radio more. Sometimes there’s nothing more relaxing than shutting off for an hour and listening to a play. Not having to read anything, you can even close your eyes, just focus and chill. The interesting discussions about current news stories or fascinating research that are had reel me in and I just think why not sit in peace and listen. I learn a lot from it too which is a bonus and can still do things at the same time if needed – win win! Finding ways to relax and put your mind at peace so that you can focus on the story and not think about your worries is key and a blessing.

5. focus on others and their happiness, you’ll see benefits and feel good
6. listen more, you’ll ask less questions

As I go about my days trying to find my feet in the world I find that certain bits of guidance I’ve been given from others and learnt through experiences is repeated. These are the things that I note. Setting realistic goals is definitely up there and slides nicely together with taking each week as it comes. This applies to everything in life, it’s a coping mechanism and highlights the importance of not overwhelming yourself. As soon as you pile too much on you’ll become fatigued and not perform at your best. It’s much more productive to break it down into bite size pieces so that you can achieve and to your best potential.

I find another thing I tell myself often is about putting others first. Most people will have said to themselves probably more than once that they do this too much and never think about them. However, I think there’s so much good in putting others first and it brings joy to you. As much as you think that you’re constantly doing this and never thinking of yourself, we humans tend to talk about ourselves a lot, talk over others and forget to listen. Which brings me to my next topic. Listening. This is so important and a skill that has to be learnt. Nobody is expert at it and practise helps but once you listen more you’ll find your life less stressful because you’ll learn a lot more from others and find yourself asking less questions.

7. smile at strangers
8. Always allow room for new lessons

So as I continue through my twenties at the very start of a long and exciting life ahead, I’m beginning to be consciously aware of the advice given to me by friends and family and learnt through experiences that I have. Whether I end up sticking to my plan of writing a letter each decade or save it for one hefty ‘note to self’ at fifty full of epic advice which can be passed on to younger people will only be told by time, but I know for sure that I’m learning every single day.

Currently, as you’ll be able to figure after reading this post, my list is very messy at the moment, it’s getting lengthier by the second too, but over time I’ll be able to organise my mental folder and make a snappy list to live by made up of advice from all over the place. From many different people and during many different times in my little life.

 

Categories
Adulthood

If there’s an instruction manual to life, please pass it my way.

A new oven will come with an instruction manual guiding you how to use it. Press this button to switch it on. This setting is best for these types of meals. If you go to Ikea or another home store and buy a book shelf for your office, this too will be accompanied by a booklet both telling and showing you how to build it. Tablets will have instructions inside the packaging about how to take them safely and correctly so that you get the results that you need. A new car will always have a user guide placed neatly in the glove box.

After all it’s what you’re paying for, you’d complain if these important sets of information were left out. In fact, most things come with directions except one thing and that is life itself.

A friend pointed out to me recently how there is no handbook to the in between phase of life at around eighteen until twenty-five. No booklet telling you how to transition from childhood to adulthood. You grow up, go to school, get a job or continue with further study and suddenly you’re an adult and expected to just know despite there being no written guide to adulthood either. You’ve got to know things such as managing stress and enjoying life. You’ve got to figure out how to choose a career and secure a job which gives you an income that you’ll be able to survive on. You must know all about mortgages and bills, know how to appropriately act all the time, know how to be happy.

A lot of these can be helped by talking to parents or relatives and having support from friends and loved ones, but it all seems quite daunting nonetheless. Besides, there are countless aspects of life that are complicated and cannot be taught (or ever fully mastered). There are situations that you’re supposed to understand such as why good people die so young, why we must be nice to bad people and why those who have everything are still so sad. Why someone who never smoked or drank is taken early from this world, yet someone who smoked since they were eight years old is still going strong at one hundred.

We’re supposed to understand about living in the moment and loving it because our own mortality is real. This is still meant to happen on days when we’re not feeling in an enjoyable mood and can’t see a way of changing that. How people can be so cruel to animals and other humans. Sods law and how it’s true every time. We’ve got to work out where the last year has gone and how it’s already almost February (tricky stuff).

Love in general is a difficult thing to grasp. Relationships too and why we’re fonder of some people than others. Friendship and how we randomly select a group of humans who appeal to us and stick with them (hopefully) for most of our lifetime. Marriage; why some last and some fall apart, how do we find the one and how long do we have to wait? Families and their huge complexities. I could continue, but I won’t.

Social encounters can complicate matters further. We are expected to act in certain ways in one set of company and entirely differently in another. We must bite our tongues often and not get cross about little things people say or do, it’s not worth it. Always smile in public even when we’re feeling in the lowest mood we’ve ever felt because most people aren’t close enough to care. Then when we’re alone again we will analyse our every move and be embarrassed at certain things we said or messing up because we’re not perfect and all make mistakes.

Then comes the little questions that we consider all the time like why some days we feel so exhausted for no reason yet on others when we should be tired after a late night we feel fine. Why we can go to the pub and drink three bottles of wine followed by two gins, stay up until 3 and feel good at work the next morning, but sometimes just have a bottle at home and feel rotten the next day. Why we constantly apologise for who we are to people who don’t need an apology and love us regardless The list goes on and on.

There are lots of subjective topics in this world that we will never understand and that can’t be taught. Life is ridiculously involved. However, when things become a little overwhelming occasionally, don’t fret. It’s a huge thing our existence and nobody gets it totally right ever. Trying your best is all that you can do, I’m sure you’re doing a great job so keep going.

Categories
Adulthood

Give yourself some self care daily, trust me, you need it!

I think everybody gets into a rut from time to time, thinking that all they do is work and when they’re not working then it’s chores or something else. Sometimes this rut lasts an hour, sometimes a day, maybe even a week and it happens to us all.

Life seems to fill up quickly with stuff and even if some of that stuff is having a few glasses with good friends on an evening, it’s still tiring. We all need time out and we all need to take care of ourselves.

Personally, I suck at this, I’ll be honest with you. As any of you who regularly read my blog know, I’m currently in that strange limbo stage of life before real life. If you don’t know what I mean by this, then I shall explain.

I’ve graduated and am no longer a student. I have a job and a very comfortable life. A job that is flexible and that I thoroughly enjoy to the point that I don’t feel like it’s work (until I sit down at the end of a shift with a glass of wine and feel exhausted). However, I need to pursue my career, I need to reach out and use the skills obtained from my degree and do what I love – write.

I work at my job six days a week. During the time in between shifts, before shifts and sometimes after closing in the evenings I will be writing, searching, having chats with people in fields that interest me, getting as much advice and guidance as I can and stressing about the future. When this isn’t true is when I’ve found a window of time where I manage to fit in seeing friends and family, or having a well earned drink at the end of the week. I rarely fill my time pampering myself or reading or stopping to have a breather and if I do then it’s usually accompanied by a mind buzzing with stress.

I didn’t realise quite how bad I was at self-care until I had a chat with my sister on the way to a friends the other day (of course). She told me how I fit too much into my life and don’t allow for breaks or breathing space. Since then I’ve consciously factored in an hour to read or listen to music or watch rubbish TV each day, where I don’t allow myself to think about anything else.

On days when I don’t have to get up to a certain time, I let my body wake when it’s ready and set no alarms. When I go on my daily walks with a friend I try not to only rant and moan about graduate life, but talk of all sorts and avoid the topic where I can. But of course it does help to discuss these things with people who care. By deliberately slowing the pace of living for an hour or so each day, which I still haven’t mastered, I think I’m getting better at shutting off from it all to give my body and mind a break, and when I come back to my laptop, I do feel that bit more refreshed.

No matter how you decide to relax make sure that you put time aside every week to do so. Whether it’s a couple of hours one evening laying in bed, candles surrounding you and your nose in a book. Or listening to your favorite weekly radio show. Maybe you just want to plant your arse on the sofa and indulge in some reality TV. Whatever it is, it needs to be done.

Too often do we forget to take good care of ourselves while rushing through life, trying to earn enough money, maintain social encounters, look after loved ones, stay focused and eat well. We forget that our bodies get exhausted just living and they need as much time out as our brains do. When filling up your diary or writing out your to-do lists include caring for yourself and be sure to tick it off each day. This is often forgotten or neglected slightly and this needs to change.

No matter how much free time we seem to have, we manage to fill it with visiting friends or just busying about and we forget to actually stop. This doesn’t incorporate stopping at a friends or stopping at the pub. No, I mean stopping full stop. Having time that is just for you and doing something to help your body and mind unwind and relax. Nobody, no matter how similar to Duracell you think you are, can keep going 24/7, every body needs respite from life.

In the long run, giving yourself some well earned time out here and there will make your time doing things much more productive. Whatever needs to get finished, no matter how large or small, can always wait an extra hour so that your body can revamp. Whichever stage of life you are in, a bit of tender loving care is a must. Here are some tips to get you started.