Before I knew you existed…

I recently started watching The Blacklist and while I knew I’d started the series before, I couldn’t remember where I’d got to because it was years ago. Alex asked exactly how long it had been and I jokingly said that it was before I even knew he existed.

After writing about how people can make lasting impressions without realising it last week, this got me thinking about how much life can change in just a short period of time. With Alex being at the heart of my future, it seemed strange to be reminded of a time in my life when he didn’t factor into any decisions that I made.

Sometimes people enter our lives for fleeting moments, sometimes they stay for longer than we’d want, and sometimes, just sometimes, we meet people that we hope will stick around forever.

At the moment, I feel incredibly lucky because my mum has just moved closer to me meaning she can pop round for a cup of tea whenever she likes; I’ve had a lovely lunch date with my Dad and a fabulously drunken dinner with my Maid of Honour recently; I have a day out planned with my Nana, I’ve just heard the news that a close friend is moving closer to the North East and, of course, the countdown to when I get to marry Alex is well and truly on.

In order to encourage those who we want to stay forever to do just that, we have to remember to remind them just how much they are treasured. So, with that in mind, do you have anyone special in your life that needs a little reminder of how much they mean to you?

Lasting Impressions

A reiki teacher I knew in London got in touch recently to say she was planning a healing energy share and my heart lifted a little when I saw her message. Her classes undoubtedly used to be the highlight of my week, with her bubbly energy never failing to brighten my day.

Back when she knew me, it’s fair to say that I felt a little lost with where I was at in my life – not unhappy but not happy either. Being able to catch up with her and hear about how much her life has changed since we last saw each other in person was wonderful, as was being able to share all of the amazing things that have happened to me since I moved up to Newcastle.

It got me thinking about how we never really know how much of a lasting impression we make on those around us. I knew Louise for a matter of months and yet seeing her name pop up in my inbox made me feel exactly how I used to feel when I was in her presence – calm, content and completely reassured that everything would be okay.

In a similar vein to the closing question on my recent post about making sure we’re reaching out and talking to our friends when we need to, who could you reach out to that you haven’t spoken to for ages? Is there someone who you know would love to hear from you? If so, start the conversation and brighten their day a little 😊

Good and Bad Fortune

Bad fortune has good fortune hiding within it, and good fortune is what bad fortune hides in.’

This is today’s quote on my Wayne Dyer calendar and it really caught my attention because it ties in nicely with the book I’m listening to on Audible: The Subtle Art of not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson.

Throughout the book, Mark is attempting to make his readers understand that striving to feel happy all of the time just isn’t practical, and that it is often the reason why so many people feel more miserable than they need to the majority of the time.

If we learn to accept that the world works in ebbs and flows, that there will sometimes be bad times and there will sometimes be good times, things become much simpler. In the chapter I’ve just finished listening to, he describes how the situations we can perceive to be terrible can actually become the catalyst for us making a significant change in our lives – from the ashes of one thing coming to an end, something wonderful can be born.

Can you think of a time in your life when something amazing happened because something you perceived to be bad had actually created the scene for change first?

Go on, reach out!

I recently had a catch-up with one of my best friends who only lives about an hour away. As is always the case when we see each other, we pick up exactly where we left off, and as we’re saying goodbye, we reiterate that we’ll be better at keeping in touch this time. Soon after, we find that months have passed and we quickly realise that we’ve done little more than exchange a few text messages – cue the panicked message from one of us as we try to get our next catch-up in the diary. This pattern has been repeating for three years now and I doubt it’ll ever really change, but our last catch-up reminded me that it probably should!

As soon as we sat down and settled in for a lengthy chat over a glass of wine, we both started regaling each other with stories of how our Christmas and/or New Year was more than just a little sub-par. After I’d finished telling the tale of how my New Year’s Day was spent ‘ugly crying’, feeling emotionally exhausted, and wondering what on earth 2019 had in store for me after such a crappy few weeks, she explained that she wished she’d called because she had been feeling a little down too.

In the ‘Instagram world’ in which we find ourselves, it’s so easy to look at the lives of others and assume that everyone else is out there living their best life, while we’re curled up on our beds wondering what shitty thing life is going to throw at us next… but my friend’s comment brought to mind that we’re sometimes responsible for alienating ourselves.

On New Year’s Day, neither of us reached out and tried to talk to one another. It seems ridiculous because when we’re face-to-face, we don’t hesitate about sharing anything with each other and yet when there’s some distance there, we don’t want to feel like a nuisance and so we keep our feelings to ourselves, assuming the other won’t want to be bothered.

If one of us had reached out and told the other that their New Year hadn’t got off to the best start, how much would our day have changed? How would it have turned around if we’d had someone to talk to and listen? How beneficial would a conversation, some laughter and knowing that we’re not alone have been?

I know you know the answer, so with this in mind, which one of your friends could you reach out to today and ask how they are? Or, even better, do you have something going on in your life that you would share with a friend if they happened to call right now? If so, why not be the one to initiate the conversation?

On the Other Side

At the back end of last week, I spent a few days helping my Mum move house, and while it was exhausting, it was also a really interesting experience.

I was there to help my Mum pack all of her worldly belongings into boxes and close a chapter of her life. In the run up to the move, she had struggled to organise the chaos that packing naturally causes because she was caught up in the memories associated with each item. When you couple this with the thoughts of sadness about moving out of her home and the apprehension of what her new life in a new home and a new city would entail, it was nothing sort of a recipe for disaster.

Have there been times recently when you’ve found yourself caught up in your emotions?

As soon as I arrived, it was interesting to witness how my appearance automatically changed things. Mum seemed to intrinsically know that everything was going to be okay in a way she couldn’t see before, and her stress levels visibly decreased a notch. I felt extremely grateful to be the one who was able to provide her with that sense of peace.

Fast forward to the following day, which was a full 12 hours of packing boxes and moving furniture, and there were numerous ups and downs for my Mum to deal with. In the middle of all of this, I needed to be the grounded, positive person who could bring a sense of calm in the midst of a storm. As an objective witness to the whole thing, for the first time, I began to get a glimpse of what it must be like to go through life in the laid back way that Alex does. Instead of being the one who was bogged down by emotions, I was able to be the one who could easily see the wood for the trees, as it were.

As I am someone whose anxiety can get the better of them from time-to-time, it was interesting to see just how much my Mum’s emotions were hindering our progress at certain points in the day. So often we let our emotions blindly lead the way and we struggle to pull ourselves back, even just a fraction, in order to look at the situation objectively and find a solution. It was a great lesson for me to learn and observe, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I can remember it when it’s my emotions that are heightened because I’m stressed or anxious about something.

Has there been a time when you’ve helped someone and learnt a valuable lesson about yourself and how you handle situations in the process?

Falling Out of Routine

Anyone else noticed how easy it is to fall out of your routine?

For most of last year, I religiously posted on my blog twice a week, every week. Over Christmas I decided to give myself a little break from writing so that I could enjoy the festive period, but that week long interlude seems to have stretched on and on. I’ve now found myself approaching the end of January only to realise that I haven’t written a thing for over a month.

I started my blog because writing makes me really happy and it’s one of the only creative outlets that I have. Instead of treasuring this in turbulent times, I have fallen into the trap of allowing this to be the first thing that falls by the way side when times get tough – and busy.

Now that I can see the wood for the trees and things seem to have settled down in all areas of my life, I am finally back at it and loving every cathartic minute of putting pen to paper.

What’s something in your life that you’ve been making excuses about not doing? What could you prioritise today that will make you feel 100% better if you do?

The Magic

Lately, I’ve been working through the exercises in the book, The Magic, which is part of The Secret series. Alongside other exercises which deep-dive into particular areas of your life, one thing that’s consistent for each and every day is to make sure you’re giving thanks for ten things that you’re grateful for. We’re often rushing through life at warp speed and we fail to notice all of the wonderful things around us as a result.

So, as Christmas approaches, I’d like to encourage you to think about what you’re grateful for. To get you started, have a read of one of my previous gratitude lists here. 

How much of your life are you living on autopilot?

Over the past few months, as wedding planning has taken over and I’ve also found the time to revise for exams, do my Christmas shopping and get cracking with my new-found hobby of ‘Del Boy wheeling and dealing’, I’ve begun to wonder what exactly it was that took up my all of my time before.

It feels a little bit like when you have conversations with people who already have children and they tell you that you should be making the most of the time you have now because when you have kids of your own, you’ll long for these days.

I didn’t realise I was on autopilot before, but as circumstances have changed, I’ve adapted and found time that I didn’t know I had.

If you think about it carefully, how much of your life would you say is spent on autopilot? Are you living with intention or simply going about your normal day-to-day routine? If it’s the latter, what can you do this week to shake things up a little and start breaking out of your usual habits? 

Learning New Things

I’ve been on a Prince2 Project Management course this week. It was an intense 5-day training course, with two exams peppered throughout the week. Needless to say, I’m exhausted from trying to take in all of the information in such a short space of time!

It took me back to the days of university when learning lots of new things was an everyday occurrence and all part of the fun. One thing I had forgotten (or rather, blocked out) was just how stressful it is to take exams and know that you only have an hour or two to shine, otherwise you fail.

When was the last time you took an exam? Did the nerves you used to feel at school come creeping back too?

For some reason, I assumed that with life experience and knowing that exam results really aren’t the be all and end all, I would be able to calm my nerves, but that wasn’t the case – it turns out the pressure of exams still gets to me!

But, with that pressure and the nerves comes that sigh of relief and sense of pride when you find out that you have passed and accomplished what you set out to achieve. It was a long hard week, but I’m incredibly proud of myself for completing the course.

What’s the last thing that you’re proud of yourself for completing? 

The Power to Change

I have Louise L. Hay’s affirmation calendar on my desk at work and last week one of the affirmations was: ‘I have the power to change my life for the better, and I am doing it now!’

I read this and instead of the words filling me with feelings of worry and doubt, I knew them to be true. Slowly but surely, I have started to take things into my own hands and when I read those words, I was filled with a sense of pride.

Instead of just worrying about my new job not being all I expected it to be, I have started the ball rolling to make it more like what I want and what the company needs. Instead of worrying about not being able to save enough money to pay for our wedding, I have started selling as much as I can on the likes of Facebook Marketplace to help contribute towards our savings fund.

If you’re feeling like things are a little outside of your control at the moment, have a think about what you could do to make this affirmation feel true for you too!