Standing down

I guess at one stage or another it happens to most of us. Maybe it’s age, or perhaps it’s the change in commitments the follow day that’s got me looking at my watch at 9pm in a busy bar, wishing I was at home.

The problem is, there’s another side to me that disagrees very strongly to that thought. Unfortunately she tends not to show up when I’m actually out.

No, she appears at the planning stage, popping her head up with a nostalgic glow anytime someone mentions a night out. She fills my heart with anticipation when I hear others talking about big nights and whispers softly in my ear “if you want to be fun, you know what you have to do, staying in is for boring people.”

But, as I find myself waiting at the bar, trying so hard to enjoy something that 5 years ago would have been pure pleasure to me, she disappears and leaves me alone.

It’s time to admit it, this just isn’t fun any more.

It was, but not anymore.

Now don’t get me wrong, I still have a good time, it just show up in a slightly different form these days. Like an afternoon BBQ or, dinner with friends. Unlike the old days where we’d dance off into the night chanting  “eating’s cheating and sleep is the enemy.”

It’s time to admit those days are gone.

But once again she raises her head and cry’s, “but you’ll be no fun”.

It’s true, those days are gone, and it’s not even a matter of seeing what’s replaced them as fun. I already know that.

What’s hard to admit, is what used to be the best thing in the world, no longer is. No matter how hard I try to recreate it, it’s gone. It’s time to stand down.

As I look around the packed dance floor I’m happy to see, it’s someone else’s turn now.

I’m no longer hard wired to believe a good time is only had if it ends with a spew. I’m thankful for the fun I had and grateful for what’s replaced it.

I love my mornings, my family time and not to mention feeling healthy. I love a few beers in the afternoon sun and laughing until it hurts at dinner with the greatest friends.

In this moment I cherish them just that little bit more, as I realise time will pass and soon enough it will be someone else’s turn.

Even free spirits thrive on routine

I hate routine, at least I used to think I did.

As a serial short term employee, I craved new and exciting experiences.

As soon as I’d mastered a role, when the everyday tasks become a repetitive chore, and it all got a bit too samey, I would polity but ever so efficiently exit the building.

Soon enough this behaviour led me to the only logical conclusion; I would only be happy if my life was forever changing. Never the same, never stuck in routine. I craved freedom and adventure, I am a free spirt, don’t hold me down.

Perhaps I was looking at things from the wrong angle…….

Studies have been done across all areas of success, from loosing weight to running a business and they all point back to one common trait – dedication to routine. Not just for a few days or even weeks, but repetitively acting in a certain way, day after day, and not stopping at the first sign of success, but setting this new way of life in stone.

Think back to any point in your life when you’ve felt great. A time when you were killing it.

Without a shadow of doubt for me, it was a time when I had my morning routine nailed. I did the same actions, at the same time, in the same order, every single day.

Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t for the full day –  just a simple morning routine of hot water and lemon, a walk, writing and a coffee. The point is I wasn’t bored, I didn’t crave change, I was actually the happiest I’ve ever been and, when my circumstances changed, I took it with me and life continued to fly in the right direction.

Perhaps I’ve had mundane routines confused with creative rituals all this time? Or maybe it’s as simple as being the creator of your own routine that’s important.

Whatever it is, for me a little bit of a routine goes a really long way. Waking up and not having to think about the first actions I need to take seemed to throw me out of bed with out question and sets me up for the best day I could possible have.

What’s your routine?

You don’t need to leave to feel free

I’d never felt more in touch with myself than I did right then.

In that moment, as I stuffed very few belongings into the worlds smallest bag, I knew I was doing the right thing. This trip to me, was a celebration of what I’d achieved, not an attempt to find myself.

If anything I wanted to get lost.

Over the last 6 months I’d had control over every element in my life. I knew what I needed to do to feel great and how much I could get away with before I felt bad. I had exactly the right amount of sleep and just enough late nights to convince myself I was having fun.

I was in control of my diet and in the best shape I’d ever been.

I was bored!

Maybe I was trying to find myself after all.

Whatever it was, it worked.

I felt amazing, with as much time and space to do whatever I wanted, I came home feeling fully charged and totally in touch with myself.

The only problem is, one year on and i’m in need of a little boost, and taking off round the world isn’t an option this time.

Perhaps it’s easy to make yourself happy when you’re only priority is making yourself happy.  But how do you maintain that level of selfishness when everyday life gets in the way?

As I think back to that time, I picture myself there. I remember the smells and imagine myself walking the street and exploring. I remember how proud I felt for achieving things on my own and the sense of accomplishment I had for just doing something for myself.

Now I bring that feel into my everyday world and wonder, what can I do to have that here?

Everyday is a brand new adventure and you don’t need to pack a bag to experience the life you already have. I’m giving myself permission to explore. To take time away from the everyday, to discover those feelings again.

Making time for you doesn’t need to be as dramatic as booking a round the world trip, it could be as simple as a weekly ritual of taking a walk alone, getting your nails done or reading a book. The trick is just remembering to doing it.

Why you don’t like change

I used to pride myself on liking change. In fact, I found it hard when things stayed the same for too long.

But then why, when it comes to making a few changes in my life, changes I know will transform things,  am I so resistant?

I’d dig in my heels, look away and hold my breath.

In life, it seems that we thrive off change and new challenges, even when we hate them at the time. Change forces us to adapt and learn, it’s what makes us grow.

However, I’m all too aware of the repetition we seek out in everyday life. We find comfort in doing things the same way. I catch myself drawn to the same seat on the bus every single time I get on.

And, with a wardrobe full of clothes, why then do we wear the same things over and over again?

I may like it when things in my life change, but how proactive am I at instigating that change and finding new challenges?

I recently read Mel Robins, 5 Second Rule, she explains that we’re hardwired to avoid anything that makes us feel uncomfortable, especially change.

That’s why you’ll never really feel ready to take that leap of faith, or put yourself out there – you just have to make yourself do it anyway.

From getting fit to finding your dream job, Mel says that if it means simply putting one foot outside your comfort zone, your brain will go into overdrive to protect you. It will do everything it can to talk you out of taking action.

Change is scary, staying the same is not.
Change requires action, staying the same does not.
Change is unknown, staying the same is not.

The way I see it, is we have a choice when it comes to change. Each of those 3 sentences can be split in half. One half is negative and the other is positive, it’s up to us which half is which.

Mantra this, and change your life

To say I didn’t enjoy school, would be an understatement.

I remember being 15 years old, and trying to make the walk to school last as long as humanly possible.

I started to notice a pattern on the days I dreaded going in. I would find myself repeating in my head over and over again, “It’s going to be a horrible day”. I think I honestly believed that if I prepared myself, it wouldn’t matter if it was a bad day, because I’d already called it.

And of course, it always was.

Then one day I decided to try something different. I started to repeat in my head, over and over again, “today is a great day”.

I remember it feeling so forced, and I’m sure I rolled my eyes with every repetition.

But, I kept doing it, the whole walk to school.

Today is a great day.
Today is a great day.
Today is a great day.

I’m not sure what was more annoying, the fact it worked, or the fact I actually did have a good day. But, none the less things got a little bit brighter.

Ever since then, I’ve used matras to keep me and my mind on the right track.

I repeat a short phrase to myself, over and over again, most often while I’m walking somewhere.

I’ll say anything from “I love myself”, to “I am successful”. And, from time to time I still find myself repeating the words, “today is a great day”.

The trick is to talk in the first person and as if it’s already true. Try not to use any negative words, like not. Because, your brain can’t identify them and only hears the instruction.

So if you say “I am not late” over and over, all your brain hears is “I’m late, I’m late”. And with the power of matras being what it is, you’ll most definitely end up being late.

And that’s it. Just pick something you want and start saying it over and over again.

It doesn’t even matter whether you believe it or not at first. All that matters is that you say it, over and over again.

From brightening your mood to increasing productivity, mantras will change the way you view the world.

What are you waiting for? Give it a go right now.

Why your friendships don’t have to last

A great friend once said to me;

“People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.”

At the time, I thought nothing of it, other than it was simply a nice saying. But every once in a while, this saying popped into my head and over time it started to make more sense.

As I kiss goodbye to one more friend, whose presence made my life so much better, if only for a short while, I know in that moment – I’m better off for knowing them and saying goodbye, than never knowing them at all.

I also know the reality of living not only in different countries to the people I love, but also the impact living in different time zones can have on your relationships.

So let’s be honest here, this goodbye is goodbye. Sure, we still have Facebook and it doesn’t change how I feel about you. But the closeness we once had, is gone.

Thanks for teaching me how to be sassy and fierce. You’re the reason I stand a little taller today.

I can’t help but wonder, how important is the length of our friendships?

What about the friendships that don’t end because of distance, but end because we simply grow apart?

It doesn’t mean the friendship was a failure. Nor does it discredit the fun you had when you were together. It simply means that this chapter of your life is over. Thank’s for the season, I had a ball.

And, for the friendships that last a lifetime, I will always be grateful.

Some lifetime friendships are like waves, building in strength and then subsiding, only to reappear at a different moment.

And some friendships are constant. Forever, regardless of distance, or stage of life.

This doesn’t mean the season or reason friendships are less important. It simply means they’re shorter.

And so, for all the people I’ve been lucky enough to call my friends, regardless of the length, I am forever thankful.

 

A lesson in not giving a f*#k

The less f*#ks you give, the happier you’ll be.

As I zipped up my old hoody, I looked down to admire how close in colour it actually was to the washed out, horribly fitting tracky bottoms I had also chosen to wear that evening.

It was clear that a long time ago both these garments were very different colours, but not anymore.

As I headed out into the street, knowing this outfit choice was not my finest, my instincts told me – this is the moment you’ll bump into every ex and their beautiful, well dressed, pristine girlfriends!

I shrugged off that feeling and replaced it with this thought, – the less you give a f*#k, the happier you’ll be.

That sat much better with me in my current state.

Happily, I trotted down the dark street, and collected the beers. I held my head high as I announced my arrival at the pizza shop and then promptly scurried back to the safety of home.

I may look slightly homeless I thought, but I’m definitely happy.

But, what exactly had I stopped giving a f*#k about?

Had I stopped caring about how I felt? Or what other people thought of me? And, could caring about either of these things, really be holding me back in the happiness stakes?

I decided to test it out. The next morning I picked out the smartest outfit I could find – it wasn’t exactly a ball gown, but it was the best I had. I did my hair and slapped some make up on.

It felt good.

Caring about how I looked made me feel happy too, it also seemed to make my boyfriend happy. Clearly officewear was more up his street than hobo chic.

I know it’s pretty obvious that caring what other people think doesn’t get us anywhere. But it’s easy to forget, what we think and feel about ourselves drives almost every emotion we have.

So next time I decide to not give a f#*k, it will be about what other people think, and not how I feel about myself.