It’s complicated

We, people in general, tend to overcomplicate things. Life’s fairly simple when you think about it. We’re born. Some things go wrong and some things go right. Some of us are lucky and some of us are incredibly unlucky. Some people like us and some people don’t. We make friends and we lose them. Then at some point it all has to end and most of the time people are sad to see other people go, regardless of what we may have done or not done, because at the end of the day the loss of life is simply sad.

This isn’t coming from a place of complete randomness. Life has felt overwhelmingly complicated recently.

When I nipped quickly into the Paperchase at London Euston a couple of weeks ago to grab a diary because things were a little crazy and I needed to keep track, I was just excited to be back from travelling, to be rolling on with work and to have so many fantastic plans ahead.

This week I’ve done nothing but wish life was simpler. I’ve felt like I’m losing track. Suddenly work feels like my whole life and as much as I love my job, I can’t help freaking out about all the important things I don’t have time for. The days haven’t felt as long as they did in the beginning and there’s not enough time and everything’s been a muddle.

Then out of nowhere, today has been simple.

I simply slept for as long as I needed and then rolled out of bed at 11am.

Dave cooked a not so simple, very impressive breakfast but I helped where I could and sipped tea when I couldn’t.

I sat outside and read my book and then I got too hot and moved indoors. Then I convinced Dave to walk round to McDonald’s with me and we bought McFlurrys.

We don’t feel like cooking, so we’re simply ordering in.

I feel like today has done me the world of good. Stepping out of the craziness of it all for just a little while has put my feet back on the ground again. I feel like I’d been swept up in a flurry of madness and now I’m back on solid ground.

Not only does this remind me of the value of slowing down once in a while, I now feel like a complete wally. From and outside perspective, looking back, life’s been simple really.

I have got to stop over-complicating things!

Let go of the familiar and embrace the new

I was super happy and excited but goodness I was nervous. A small part of me was just rationally worrying about the new job itself. Whether I’d be able to do it, whether the people would be as nice as I hoped, whether I’d impress like I wanted to.

I was also having nightmares about being late on my first day. Nightmares that varied from stressfully realistic and scarily weird. I had one in which I kept trying to get through doorways but random people in my life would be standing in them telling me it wasn’t safe and by the end I was shouting (luckily just in the dream) at the top of my lungs that they had to get out of my way because I had to get to work! You don’t have to be a psychologist to figure out I was very scared I’d be late.

Most of me was simply just terrified about the change from unemployment to employment. Even with 7 days a week free to do as I pleased I felt like time was going too fast and there was never enough of it. How would I cope? How would I find time to do the things I love? How would I keep in contact with all of my friends and family? How would I sleep and eat enough? How would I live!?

Commuting for the first time was a strange experience. When I walked onto the station platform singing quietly to myself at 8am, I felt like I was walking into a school assembly late. Everyone looked miserable. Everyone was sat or stood in silence. Everyone seemed to glare at me as I walked past. Pretty girls looked me up and down like I didn’t belong.

Of course, half the issue was that I was so tense and uncomfortable. The minute I walked onto that platform I forgot all about where I was headed. All I knew was that I felt small and unsure and this was all new and I wasn’t sure I liked it and a big part of me wanted to run back home to bed. I was more nervous than I knew and it didn’t take much to knock me off balance.

However, from the moment I got to work onwards, my first day ROCKED. Everyone I met was super lovely. I really enjoyed the work I did and the more I found out about my role the more I knew I was going to love it. My team took me out for lunch.

There came a point when I realised where I was, both physically and just in life and suddenly a big goofy smile spread from cheek to cheek. I was in my favourite city, working in one of them fancy office buildings, wearing fancy office clothes and doing a job I already took pride in and loved. This change didn’t happen gradually. I didn’t go through a period of adaptation. Maybe you aren’t supposed to. Maybe the reason I’ve struggled with change so much in life is because I’ve always had too much time to think about it. This time was like no other. I’m not being dramatic. Literally, one minute I was panicking. I felt like I was spiralling, losing control, time was running away with me. The next minute I realised I was calm and I settled into the swing of things and before long it was like nothing had changed at all.

I’m another 5 commutes down now and its not strange anymore. If the pretty girls are still looking me up and down I’m not seeing them because I’m too happy and confident to notice. Or my head is in my book which I’ve already mastered the art of reading wherever I am.

It doesn’t feel like I’ve just been through a change. 3 days into the job and everything is second nature. It honestly feels like I’ve been doing this for years and that is strange and wonderful all at once. Life never fails to amaze me.

An honestly good week

I set the bar high with the honesty thing and I’ve been fretting ever since. Every post that popped up on my Facebook timeline this week, had me second guessing myself. An article titled ‘What anxiety actually is, because it’s more than just worrying’, had me closer to pressing delete on last week’s post than ever.

There are people who suffer much worse than I do. Maybe I’m being dramatic. I’m such an attention seeker. What if I am just stressed? What do I know? What was I thinking posting that? 

Before I go on I just want to thank the people who reached out to me this week with words of encouragement. You restored my faith, made me feel incredibly loved and I cannot tell you how grateful I am.

So, here we are. The post is still there and I’m taking a deep breath, flopping with a cuppa on one of our blow up chairs and I’m writing another one. If I’m being honest, it’s actually been a really good week. HOORAY.

Dave and I headed back to our parents’ houses last weekend.

Sunday was my Granny and Dave’s Dad’s birthday.

First thing in the morning I joined my mum in the kitchen. I sat on one of our kitchen stools, drinking tea and chatting happily away to her while she fried bacon for sandwiches. I was so happy to be back, to have slept back in my old bed, to see mine and Dave’s parents, to see the rest of my family, to have caught up with a couple of friends. I felt grounded again.

Mummy Maggs cooked a beautiful roast and we all had a slice of beautiful birthday cake and then my granny gave me a lot of invaluable advice on living on my own and cooking for two. (BIG TIP – Bulk buy meat, separate it into freezer bags and then freeze it in perfect portion sizes for defrosting and using whenever you like). She made me feel so much better about everything.

I stole as many hugs off everyone as possible and then later in the afternoon I headed over to Dave’s to wish his dad a happy birthday and to join him and his parents in time for the EFL cup final.

Sunday night was when the nerves caught up with me again. It was time to face another week at our new flat.

Monday was actually a good day. Last week I’d let my perfectionism make me obsessive about cleaning. For the majority of this Monday, I banned myself from housework, I sat with my lazy clothes on, watching films and successfully chilling out.

Tuesday my dad came over. He was a star. He got straight to work on setting things up for us before I’d even put the kettle on. He did lots of technical stuff and all I know is now all the light bulbs in the flat work, I can have a shower without the water going cold, we have TV and internet, we’re all set and I’ve started searching for and applying for jobs! My dad and I had a great day and playing the host made me feel more at home than ever.

Wednesday I made my first trip into town. I got horribly lost trying to find the car parks but managed to stay fairly calm despite the confusing one way system and all the buses I nearly collided with. Once in town, I was in my element. I bought a few bits and bobs we still needed, grabbed a costa coffee and then headed back home feeling accomplished.

Thursday one of my bestest friends came to see me. I spent the morning sorting and cleaning, had a proper breakfast and lunch for the first time all week and then embarked on a stressful journey to go collect her from the nearest tube station, in a place where it appears London drivers like to whizz round beeping their horns willy nilly. Once she was here, having her here made me so ridiculously happy. We made more travelling plans, booked our eurostar ticket and booked into our first hostel, watched gossip girl, caught up on life and then I cooked an AMAZING lasagna. The second drive back to the tube station was much less scary. It’s amazing what a little familiarity can do.

Nearly there, I promise…

Friday I enjoyed my first ever proper relaxed lay-in in my new bed and I knew I was making progress, starting to feel properly settled. My auntie came over for the day. We caught up over a cuppa, a maintenance guy dropped by to take a look at one of the windows, we headed into town for lunch and all in all, had a wonderful day.

This weekend has been Dave and I’s first proper weekend in the flat together. It’s been fab. We ordered takeaway on Friday night. Last night we cooked steak and made sweet potato wedges and shared a bottle of red wine. We did a food shop. We made a want/need list of things we still want/need for the flat.

All in all, it’s honestly good news. I am bounding forward into my new life and I don’t currently want to run back in the other direction.

I’ve already rambled on too long, but before I finish up I just have to say that the also honest truth is that good week, or not, I battled with anxiety every day. But that’s okay… For me, a big part of living with anxiety is accepting that it will be there with you every day for the rest of your life. That there will be times when it effects you more, or less, but it will always be present. I used to spend every day trying to overcome my anxiety all together and it always left me feeling disappointed and weak. What gives me hope right now, is that I’m here at the end of another week, smiling hugely, living on despite it, actually enjoying myself and feeling strong and proud for that reason.

What I’m saying is, if you fight a fight of your own every day of your life, be proud, stay strong and keep smiling. You’re a hero and you’re not alone.

Butterflies find a new home

Move-in day wasn’t far from perfect. Everything ran surprisingly smoothly. I was so ridiculously happy when we eventually found ourselves sat on blow up chairs, in our new lounge, surrounded by our belongings, eating Chinese takeaway and drinking Prosecco.

I’m still happy. I look around me now and I still don’t completely believe everything here is ours. Ours for the near future anyway. I can’t even believe there is an ours. To think that Dave and I now have an ours makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside in ways my romantic pessimist of a younger-self would have cringed at.

Everything’s almost in it’s place now. The bedroom is sorted and I’m so happy with it. The kitchen is nearly there. There’s some bits and bobs here and there that need a home, but all in all, the flat is looking good.

I should be so content. I should be bounding forward into my new life. I’m at the start of a whole new chapter and honestly?

Today hasn’t been a good day. Half way through I wanted to pack a bag, get in my car and go home. Chapter three begins at the start of a year in which I pledged to be more daring. To say yes more. To stick a middle finger up at my anxiety… In Chapter Two I vowed not to grumble. To stay positive. This chapter’s for being brave enough to say exactly how I’m feeling.

So truthfully, today I crumbled. Yesterday I was hit by one of them 24 hour bugs and my body crashed. Then today, my mental health went down the drain. It is going to be hard to describe how I felt when the butterflies caught up with me, but I will try.

I’m no stranger to an anxious meltdown. I recognized it. I reached out to people close to me. My support network came out in full force. My brother called. My best friend called. Dave’s been great.

That’s what frustrates me most I think. Anxiety is frustrating in many ways, but it is most frustrating when it holds you back at times in your life when you know in your heart that you’ve really so much to be grateful for. I’ve some amazing people in my life. I’m young. I’m free. I just moved into a new flat. I have high hopes for the future and I have everything I need to get to where I want to be.

Just a few hours ago I was seeing everything differently. I doubted everything. Nothing was right anymore. I reached out for help, but then I felt like a burden. Then I just wanted to disappear. I knew I was being irrational. If anything stops me pressing publish on this post, it’s the fear that someone worse off will read it and they’ll wonder why I’m even grumbling. I beat myself up over that while I tried to pull myself together earlier. It did me no favours.

Right now I’m on the upward slope again. I feel nervous about next week. I’m scared I’ll crumble all over again. I’m also excited though. Plenty of opportunities ahead for sticking that middle finger up yet again. How can you be daring unless you’re scared in the first place, right?

I promise Chapter three won’t be all doom and gloom, but I also promise to be brave and to be honest. Or to try to be.

To New Beginnings

This year was for being daring, right?

I put an offer down on a flat with Dave, we got it, I handed in my notice at work, two weeks later we’ve got the keys and I’m moving to Watford!

I’m moving into a new flat, in a new town, finding a new job and I’m going to be living like a real-life adult! Call me irresponsible but I ran out of reasons not to go for it and so I did, I said yes and I couldn’t be happier.

Saying that, I’m currently sat in the middle of my floor, staring at my wardrobe and willing the clothes to fold and pack themselves. This leaving home malarky is as stressful as it is exciting and it is very exciting! Perhaps packing clothes can wait for now. With the help of my mum and a good friend I’ve made a lot of progress today anyway!

I hate to say it, but I think that’s a wrap on chapter two. No sad faces here though, this ending is the start of an exciting new beginning. Next time I write I should be in the flat! I’m smiling hugely just at the thought of it. Chapter three begins soon. Bring it on.

Time flies when you’re having fun

Last time I wrote I was going Christmas shopping and now Christmas has been and gone and a new year has begun. Can you believe it?

Christmas was amazing. Somehow, I got three days in a row off of work!! The school term had finished, of course, but I’d fully expected the restaurant to pile on the shifts. I ended another school term on a high. On my last day at the school everyone wished me well and said they hoped to see me again soon. I’ve learned so much from my months there and I’m so grateful.

Over the Christmas holidays, I’ve seen so much of my family and friends. I’ve eaten so much good food and I’ve received so many wonderful gifts. I couldn’t be more grateful or anymore filled with joy. I was working last night when the clocks struck midnight and 2017 began but it was still a surprisingly good start to the year: My manager bought bubbly and we all had a glass when the time came.

Every year I claim I don’t care. New year’s day? Just another day innit? Really I’m so excited. I love a fresh start. I’m a sucker for a new years resolution. I love opening up a new calender and starting a new diary. I’ve three diaries this year. One wonderfully ordinary. One beautiful travel journal. And the last is a journal of 365 acts of bravery. ‘Do one thing every day that scares you’.  That’s what it says. It’s filled with motivational quotes and in the front it says that the challenge is attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt. What’s not to love!?

The journal was a Christmas gift and is the inspiration for my earlier post ‘Fried egg in a bacon sandwich’ and my New Year’s resolution. I don’t know what this year is going to bring. Whatever the year throws at me, I’m going to be more daring. Say yes more. It’s going to be great. This year’s my year for being brave again.

I’m not sure what I’ve done today that was daring. Perhaps my brave act for today is still to come. What I can tell you is that the quote in my diary for today is…

“Behold the turtle. He makes progress only when he sticks his neck out.” I like it. We all ought to stick our necks out a little more often.

8 Life Lessons I’ve learned from working two jobs

Okay, I know I’m not an expert and I haven’t been doing this two job thing very long at all BUT I’m feeling philosophical so humour me and let me put my life guru hat on just for this evening?

One – Live in the moment. I’m sure you’ve heard it said before and believe me I know it’s easier said than done. Seeing as over-thinking is in my anxious nature and planning ahead is all that normally keeps me sane, I always brushed living day by day off as impossible. HOWEVER, my rota changes every week now and life’s so much simpler. I have to live life week to week, I simply can’t plan ahead and I’m actually happier because of it. Believe me, it’s the best way to live. If you’ve gotta pencil stuff in your diary, do so, but don’t think on it anymore than that. Taking life as it comes, I’m making better use of my free time too because I don’t know when my next day off will be or when I’ll next have time to get stuff done.

That brings me to number two…

Continue reading “8 Life Lessons I’ve learned from working two jobs”

IT’S CHRISTMASSSS

I’m sat in the lounge drinking tea. I’m surrounded by Christmas decorations. Can’t help smiling. The fireplace is cluttered with ornamental robins, Santas and snowmen and candles. The darker it gets outside, the brighter the lights on the tree and in the window shine. The whole room just looks so cheerful.

I had a piano lesson this afternoon. It’s been nearly five years since I gave up on my grade 5 and decided to focus on my singing. Now that I’m making money again I figure I can afford to allocate funds to getting back on the music band wagon. I’m so excited to be getting back into it again. The lesson was amazing… Just like back in the good old days: I’ve even got a practice diary.

Had a singing lesson last week too! There’s a strong possibility I’m going to be singing in concerts come April next year and as nervous as the thought of that makes me, it’ll be so good to be performing again. It’ll force me into singing more. In the new year I’m going to pledge to set aside time for music and I’m really going to. I know I say it all the time, but there really is no better cure for butterflies and I need to take advantage of it. I spent just one hour at that piano today and I feel so much better for it.

I’ve one day off this week and it’s tomorrow. I’m going Christmas shopping with one of my best friends and I am so looking forward to it. She’s studying in Cambridge so it’s a chance to get away for the day as well. It’ll be a day full of laughter I’m sure. We both shop alike, so even though we’ve both got loads of presents to buy, it should be a stress free day. We’ll stop for plenty of tea and cake I’m sure. We’re going to need it.

Still working lots. If you spoke to any of my friends they’d probably tell you I’m a tired mess, but I’m not. I enjoy a grumble over how much work I’m doing and how my feet permanently hurt and how my body clock can’t work out when to sleep and when to wake up anymore, but really, I’m doing alright. I still fit down time in here and there.

Life goes on. It’s the most wonderful time of year and so far, I’m still loving hearing the Christmas songs everywhere I go.

Let her sleep for when she wakes she will move mountains

Today is my grandad’s and my sister’s birthday. I love birthdays. Waking up this morning and jumping out of bed to give them my birthday wishes made me so happy. I love how everyone comes together too. My grandparents were here for the weekend and my brother came home too. My sister’s friends popped round with presents, we had bacon sandwiches, looked through old photos for memories sake and then I had to get off to work.

I’ve been at work for most of the afternoon so I’m now feasting on left over birthday cake and drinking the last of the red wine. Did feel a little down about the fact I had to work, but all in all I think it’s worked out okay: I got home in time to see them blow out their birthday candles and it seems to me the two of them have had really lovely days. Well deserved too!

It’s been another long and busy week. Not all work this week though. Managed to fit in an afternoon with the Alzheimer’s Society, an evening with Dave and a couple of evenings with friends. Spent Thursday night drinking cocktails which made a very nice change from carrying them on trays.

Can’t quite believe how quickly Christmas is coming up. Going to have to start making some time for Christmas shopping too. Can definitely tell winter is on the way. I’ve attached the fur back onto the hood of my coat, my scarf rack is out from behind the cupboard and so are my winter boots.

Another busy week ahead, for now I’m just looking forward to an early night. Bed’s going to feel amazing, it always does when you’re tired, especially when you’ve had a glass of wine.

No rest for the wicked

Or so the saying goes. Luckily for me, wickedness aside, I’ve finally got a day off today.

I’m sat in my room with the curtains closed because it may only be half four but it is dark outside already! I’ve lit candles and I’ve got Spotify shuffling through my favourite playlist. I’ve eaten a cooked breakfast and a roast lunch. I had a lay-in and a short nap this afternoon. I’m living a life of luxury for the day!

One of my best friends and I are making exciting travelling plans. Watch this space. I’ve started drinking Twining’s Christmas Tea again already. Couldn’t resist. I’m still reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban again. I’m finally nearly caught up with the Walking Dead. I watched the first episode of Season 7 yesterday. Gobsmacked.

Speaking of gobsmacked, Donald Trump is president of the United States. I was terrified when the result came through. For a morning I considered gathering everyone I love and migrating to Iceland. I had a discussion with my dad about the likelihood of nuclear war and he brought me back down to Earth. I cannot understand how Trump won so many votes. Now I’m just hopeful that he’ll pleasantly surprise us all. If he doesn’t, here’s hoping his powers are restricted.

Planet Earth II’s on tonight. After last week’s epic episode I cannot wait to see what else David Attenborough and the team have in store for us. Cosy evening in front of the tv for me at the end of a thoroughly relaxing day. Feeling rejuvenated and believe it or not, a little melancholy. Enough of nothing. Looking forward to the busy week ahead.