Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Thoughts on turning 25 // Musings

I recently turned 25 and the thought of being mid-twenties excites and scares me at the same time.

All us twenty something year olds have come a long way from 16 and I've never felt more confident yet less confident about myself and the future than I have right now. It's a weird place to be. I feel confidence in certain things, such as my appearance, my sense of style, that I'm surrounding myself with the right people, that I can walk away from a person or situation that proves to be nothing but toxic. I feel (hope) that I've finally mastered the art of small talk and introducing myself to people at events and confident that I'm able to question things, the status quo and think for myself; among many other things. However, I still struggle with confidence in terms of my career, relationships and my own talents and abilities in general. I still second guess myself with relentless questions of what am I doing, am I doing this ok, am I right to think this or to question that at work? Am I steering my life in the right direction and will I ever be able to keep a plant alive for more than two weeks?

I've always been mindful of time and the fact that it's a rare commodity. While it's good to realise this, it often sent me in a state of panic - that I hadn't done much, or anything at all, of what I wanted to do, whatever that was. I felt that everything had to have been done yesterday and while people said 'you'll figure it out eventually' I often thought 'what if I figured it out now, wouldn't that be so much better??' I was reassured by my friends and good old buzzfeed articles that I wasn't alone in experiencing the dreaded quarter life crisis. But sometimes, strength in numbers doesn't offer much comfort - that magnifying glass on your life is a little too focused on what you should be doing that there isn't room to see what you have done.

The thing about time though, is that it will pass regardless of whether it's spent planning or panicking. Often panic can cause you to stop, not sure what direction to go in, afraid of making a decision out of fear of it being the wrong one. So for my 25th year I'll choose to plan and to actively chase life, instead of letting things just happen with no real input. I'll put myself out there more, start writing more, traveling more (or as much as my bank balance will allow), taking care of myself and those around me more and keep on learning. I'll also learn to let go more. Make no mistake though - I'm under no illusion that life will go as planned 100% of the time because, as much as I'd like to, I can't control what's going to happen. So when things don't go exactly as planned, I'll learn to roll with it, adjust my plans and see what happens.

Every decade is a struggle. I remember struggling through my school years, trying to build a sense of identity and understanding of the world around me. And then you move through it and come out the other end with a closed chapter and an eagerness to start the next. Mistakes are made time and time again but lessons are learnt to keep you pushing forward, and that's all we an hope for from every birthday we are blessed with.

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Thursday, 14 January 2016

Getting over cringeworthy moments // Musings

One of my favourite places in London at the moment is St Pancras International Station. I love that they have piano's placed there for people to play while waiting for their train and how the somewhat peaceful melodies from the piano players of London is nicely juxtaposed against the busy station and rush of travelers.  It's a place that I could easily sit and people watch for a couple of hours, which I've done one too many times while waiting for a train back home. And what I've learnt from watching people rush around, worried with their own lives, is that people are so consumed with themselves, that they're really not looking at you. How often do you try to get to sleep only to be met with your brain recalling about 11 times from your life where you embarrassed yourself to what felt like the point of no return. I remember giving a presentation at uni once and was so nervous to do so as I didn't have a clue what my topic was about. Despite spending the entire week researching it, I still couldn't get my head around it and couldn't change it to something I actually understood. So I walked up to the front of the class feeling like a complete fraud and the moment I started speaking my voice began to shake uncontrollably - something that's never happened to me before which made it even worse! When I think about it now, I cringe and laugh with absolute embarrassment. But really, who remembers that part of the day in so much detail apart from me? No body will go home after school or work and over analyse every single word you gave during the presentation because they'll go home and over analyse every single word they gave during the presentation. 

I always wonder if people spend as much time as I do overanalyzing every single detail of the day and I've come to the conclusion that they do, of course they do, just from their own perspective. You're the main protagonist of your story, so you're bound to over think situations at work, with family and friends or replay old conversations over and over again, insisting that you messed up. In reality though, who even remembers in such excruciating detail your most cringe-worthy moments, apart from you? As my homegirl Eleanor Roosevelt is quoted as once saying, 'you wouldn't worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.' So chill in the knowledge that people have their own schedules and views of the world that doesn't involve or have anything to do with you. I don't mean this in a 'nobody-cares-about-you' kind of way, but more of a 'nobody-is-really-watching-you-so-chill' kind of way.

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Monday, 11 January 2016

6 signs you're doing better than ok // Musings

So it's Monday morning. Again. And as you've wolfed down your breakfast in under 10 seconds flat and rushed out the door to catch the bus/tube/train the sinking 'oh no, not this again' feeling has found it's way back home to you. Some Monday's feel productive, they feel full of energy and inspiration, just waiting to be explored. While other Monday's (I'd say the majority, right?) feel like a return to the reality you tried so hard to forget about over the weekend. I'm not sure what it is about Monday's, but for me, it's a time were I have one of those 'omg-I'm-a-total-failure-at-my-own-life-and-everyone-is-doing-so-much-better-than-me-and-oh-God-why-did-I-text-him-last-night' kinda days. You know those days? Those are the days were it's absolutely paramount to remember that the negative voices in your head have absolutely no idea how incredibly awesome you are at handling life right now. How you've gotten through whatever life has thrown at you and how you will continue to do so. And if you need help remembering that, here are some simple signs that, actually, you're doing better than ok - you're doing great.    

You got the basics down
You don't even have to think about food or shelter. Maybe paying rent is a struggle and you have more month at the end of the money but it's all good - for the most part, you don't worry about the necessities, like clean water, education, leisure, healthcare and freedom of choice. As Paolo Nutini says 'I got a shelf full of books and most of my teeth, a few pairs of socks and door with a lock. I got food in my belly and a license for my telly and nothing's gonna bring me down.'

You got them clean sheets yo!
Serious question now - what is better, than doing all your laundry on a Sunday afternoon and getting in to bed on Sunday evening to freshly washed sheets? Nothing. Nothing is better than that my friend because it is pure bliss and you get the opportunity to experience this every Sunday.

You've changed, man.
You've improved a certain skill, you've learnt to let got of a certain past or you've just become more confident than you were last year. The beauty of life is that we're constantly learning, evolving and growing. It's such an achievement to say that you've tried something, regardless of whether or not it worked out, you've made a certain decision and stuck to it or learnt very important lessons.  

You have people who care about you
You have those people in your life. The people you can just chill with. You don't have to say much, just be. Those people who you know will take care of you when you're in a snowstorm of a situation - the friend who's like a mother or your actual mother who will constantly nag at you to tidy up after yourself but will cry with you while you try and mend your broken heart.
You have the people who will motivate you and banish your fears with their soothing words - the ones who believe in your ridiculous dreams even more than you do but will tell it to you straight when you ask for an honest opinion.

You can look back on a time in your life where you thought things wouldn't get better 
Remember that time you thought to yourself 'what on earth am I going to do?' 'How can I sort this out?' 'I can't do this at all'. Yet, you're still here, surviving, moving forward and learning the important lessons of life. I always like to remember when I was at uni, 2am in the morning and I'd have a mountain of work to do. I didn't think I'd get any of it done of course, every times, I'd tell myself 'I can't do this' and yet, I did do it, I did finish the assignment and I did hand it in. Simply because it had  to be done. And that's the same with life - you will get through it because, well, you have  to.

You've traveled 
You've decided to experience a culture different to your own. You've witnessed a world that operates in ways that you'd never seen before and come to realise that there is more to life than what you, yourself, experiences everyday.

What other signs show that you're doing better than ok?

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Thursday, 7 January 2016


Yes. I.  Moved. To. London! Let me just repeat that one more time... I have moved, my self, to London. I now get annoyed at slow walkers and seriously worried that there's a higher risk of developing asthma because of all the pollution... But how does it feel to be in the capital?? Expensive. Bloody expensive. And tiring - My move happened so fast and it's taken me longer than expected to sort everything out. Let's start from the very beginning, I guess that's a good place to start.

So I was previously working in a call centre in customer service for the first part of 2015, hating speaking to angry customers and day dreaming about holidays to foreign lands - you know, the usual. Then I started to get quite ill and my work place wasn't the most helpful which added strain to an already stressful situation. Long story short, it got to September and I spent some time in hospital. During my stay I got a call from work confirming what I had been fearing - that they would 'ask me to leave' my job role as I'd exceeded their sick day limit. Feeling like a failure I literally had no idea what to do. The day after that happened, however, I got an email from the HR department at an organisation I'd previously applied for a job at but completely forgot amidst the stress of work. I was confused, excited and worried all at the same time. Actually, I seem to walk through life in a perpetual state of confusion, excitement and worry so nothing new I suppose! Three weeks later I'd left hospital, attended the interview, got the job (!!) and moved down to London.

I was exhausted.
But, nevertheless, it was great.

Except that finding a place to live in London is like finding a needle in a haystack. Despite there being houses everywhere, there are still more people than places. And when you do find a place, there's the risk that you could end up living with the worst person. GUESS WHAT HAPPENED TO ME?? I was lucky enough to find a place before starting work. But unlucky enough that the place I found was probably the worst place I've ever lived. The actual flat was lovely, but the lady I was living with just was not. She lied/twisted the truth about a few (important) things and made me feel totally unwelcome. After one too many panic attacks, I knew that I had to leave. So I did after just one month. I left but didn't actually have any where planned to go - talk about a stupid decision but it seemed to work out for the better. I stayed with my cousin/family friend, the commute to work was about 2 hours and cost me a fortune but I felt instantly happier and safer. So I continued my hunt for a place to live through Sparerooms, going to 2 or 3 house viewings everyday after work and trying to convince complete strangers that I should live with them. I'm not sure what's worse - house viewings or job interviews?? Three months and an empty bank account later, I found a place and so far no crazy flat mates. Thank. The. Lord.

Things could have been better, but they could have also been much worse so I hold on to that to make me feel better about the past couple of months. Besides, 2016 is here, I'm in a job that I'm actually enjoying and learning from everyday, my health seems to be somewhat under control and I'm living in and exploring London as much as I can, that is, until the ridiculous prices forces me back to Nottingham.

When have you made a big move?

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