How long can you sit still for?

*I wrote this ages ago and wasn’t sure about publishing it but it still seems to ring true 2 years later, so here it is!

It’s funny how the world has evolved; you look at the first world countries and you see millions upon millions of people spending their days sat in offices, looking at screens and wishing they could leave already. That’s a funny version of the “free” societies we claim to operate. How is it that years of hard physical graft turned us into extensions of machines, often doing jobs that let’s face it, mean nothing in the context of humanity.

When was the last time you produced something real? Something tangible? Chances are, unless you’re one of the few who works a trade, it’s been a while. If you’re like me, it’s very likely that you produced a few emails, wrote a few lines of code or perhaps wrote a quick blog post and produced a lot of hot air explaining some abstract concept using a load of jargon-y words. I bet you thought that was a productive day, too.

Do you get the itchy feet though? The restless bum on your corporate torture device (chair)? The achy muscles that feel like they want to burst from your body because they’re so underused? No…you’re probably on the low energy current then; how about constant sugar and caffeine cravings? Incomprehensible weight gain? That headache that just won’t go? Almost everybody I know who works in an office complains about at least some of these symptoms and usually many more, so why do we put ourselves through it? We’ve built whole industries based on these office jobs that chain us to desks and they only exist because they’re mutually dependent. Why don’t we just go back to making things and using our bodies to do more than type every day?

Maybe I’m dreaming and maybe we’re all too lazy to do that, maybe we’d prefer to just sit still and moan but that’s exactly where I think the problem lies. I think that the more days that pass where people sit still and moan, the lower their tolerance becomes and the consequently, the lower their “productivity” is. So really what we have is a load of people running at a very low productivity level who should be set free to do something more useful with their time. Why don’t we make sitting jobs like national service? Something you have to do for a few years to keep the world turning and then you’re allowed out into the big wide world to do something you actually want to do.

It could just be me though; I said from day 1 that working in an office would be a struggle and the days when I’m not out and about, oh boy it really is!

Sometimes I can’t help but feel lucky

A few musings from last week…

As I sit sipping my coconut milk, caramel latte in a spacious New York hotel room located right by the World Trade Center, it’s hard not to count my blessings.

I believe that life is a roller-coaster of peaks and troughs and these can last for days, weeks or even years. Right now, mine’s on a peak and it has been for some time. I don’t know when I’ll fall off that peak or how far I’ll fall but while I’m up here, I’m sure going to enjoy the view.

So many of us find it difficult to realise what we have when we’re caught up in worrying about getting to places on time, earning more money, wearing the right clothes, etc. Actually what we need to do is appreciate what we have; for every one of us with the time and resource to read this blog, there’s someone else in the world who’s worried about the basics of survival, someone who doesn’t know where they will find clean water or food for their family.

Before my trip to New York, I was hugely anxious to the point that I was viewing it as a burden rather than perk of my job. All I was anxious about was that people wouldn’t perceive me the way I wanted them to. Sitting back for a second, I can’t believe myself and I can’t imagine how I reached that level of self indulgence. Who cares what they think of me!?! I am safe, I am well fed, I have money, family, love, respect – I have everything I need and so much more. Not to mention the happiness that comes with it these days.

So as I sit here and ponder whether or not I have the energy to head out and explore, I’m going to take one more deep breath and just remember that the small stuff really doesn’t matter, I am blessed.

Wishing you all many blessings of your own x

Is it really possible to be a new me, this new year?

We’ve all been there, every new year we are bombarded with propaganda telling us that if we buy this, eat that and wear these trainers, we can uncover a new, improved version of ourselves.

And a lot of us fall for it. We believe that there is something wrong with the person we were the previous year and we try our damnedest to fix ourselves. We throw money at the situation left, right and centre and yet somehow we usually fail. Now, I’m not saying that we shouldn’t aim to improve ourselves, because I am one of these many people trying to do this every year, but I wonder to what extent it’s really possible with the approach we tend to take.

Here’s what I mean…

Say you want to lose weight, it’s likely that you wanted to lose weight prior to January 1st and it’s also likely that during the preceding year, you had several attempts at doing so. “Diet starts Monday.” “After Easter, I’ll stay off the chocolate and I WILL lose weight.” “The summer is a great time to eat salads, so I’m sure I’ll lose weight then.”

You don’t do it, or you do it for a very short time, otherwise you wouldn’t need to make a resolution to do so the following January. So what is different about January?

Well, I’m not sure anything is except that there’s an increased focus on improving yourself in the media.

In my opinion, we can’t change things just by saying we will change them and subscribing to a few products and services to help us, we have to make a conscious decision to change our mindsets. And that is where I have a question mark. Have I really changed my mindset? There’s nothing about January itself that dictates my mindset has changed, so how do I know I’m not wasting my time?

How do I test my mindset? Am I really dedicated to the change I have publicly stated I will make?

The only answer I have is to give it time and if I fail, I guess my head’s not in the right place. If I succeed, even if only partially, then perhaps I’ve started consciously making better choices that lead me to my goal. If my head’s not in the right place for success, then I’m not quite sure how I get it there and that’s where I’ve fallen down time and again before.

And there begins the conversation again – to what extent is it really possible to uncover a new me and how would I do that if it is possible?

I’d love to hear success (or otherwise) stories from people who’ve managed to make a change for good. Let me know if you have any winning tips! x

2017: I can do this!

Hello one and all and a happy new year to you!

I absolutely love new year’s day because it feels like such a fresh start, when the world really is your oyster and you can achieve anything you want to.

Despite the Brexit debacle, I feel extremely fortunate to live in the UK right now, this whole blog post is entirely indulgent. It’s me documenting trivial things I would like to achieve in 2017; please read it as such, or don’t read it if you will find it offensive on that basis.

Over the last few years, I seem to have become rather busy with being a grown up and I’ve lost my way with blogging and other creative outlets that used to guide me through the days. I feel a bit like that part of my brain is slowly shrivelling up and I’d like to begin the process of reversal this year.

So, as in former years, I have laid out my personal objectives for the year and I’m hoping that by having this reference point, I’ll feel compelled to achieve them.

Here they are:

  • Get back to blogging
    • Between this blog and my narrow shoes blog, I will write 52 blog posts in 2017
  • Perform in 1 show
    • Playing Shelby in Steel Magnolias was the highlight of my 2016 and I’d like to feel that proud again
  • Dine in 12 new restaurants
  • Try singing lessons
  • Read at least 12 books
    • Should be easy but time really does fly!
  • Finish the year at least 1st lighter in weight than I begin it
    • Gotta get this health thing under control – old age is massively catching up with me

I’d love to hear any of your objections / resolutions for 2017 so please share if you’d like to and remember that they have to be achievable or you’ll give up before you’ve even started!

Have a FAN-BLOODY-TASTIC year everyone! x

30-Something Life

A year ago my 30th birthday was rapidly approaching and I faced it with nothing short of fear; fear that things would have to change because 30 is grown up and I was not.

Well here I am now, nearly a year on and having survived the year (almost), I’m here to tell you that 30 is nothing to be scared of.

I’ve learned quite a lot in the last year about the myths and truths that surround the move from being a 20-something to a 30-something. Let me share a few with you and please do comment if you have any others you wish to add!

Things I’ve learned about being 30:

  • You have a bit more money than you did when you were 20
    • If you don’t, it’s likely you’re doing something you enjoy more than you did when you were 20
  • You’re well into all of the age brackets you need to be in to enjoy life, whether that be legal drinking age or cheaper car insurance age – you’re there
  • The number at the beginning of your age has changed, it’s very likely your mentality remains the same as it did at 29
  • It’s ok to still not know what you want to do for a living
    • Just a bit scarier to think about how many years you’ve been in this state
  • Marriage is not obligatory
  • Children are not obligatory
  • Spending too much money in Primark is still ok
  • Wearing Primark clothes is still ok
  • Owning more pairs of shoes than you can fit in your wardrobe is practically law; you’ve had many years to collect them
  • Getting wildly drunk is still ok; chances are your drinks will taste better though as you’re more likely to be in a nice bar
  • Life does not start at 30; it started when you were born and you still have to make an effort to live the life you want
  • You’ll probably spend more time inspecting your face for wrinkles than you did in your 20’s
  • You may be fatter than you were a few years ago
    • I’ve found a great solution to that is buying bigger clothes; I can do that because I’m now a rich (er) 30 year old
  • The friends who are still by your side are probably the ones you’ll be swapping dentures with in your 80’s

The main thing I’ve learned is that there’s no need to fear turning 30 because you really do get to maintain control of your life. The world is changing and no longer are you expected to have hit certain milestones by a certain age; we’re really the first generation to experience the full freedom of that shift. Embrace it, continue to be yourself and your 30’s will be whatever you want them to be. That’s something I didn’t understand at 20, but I wish I had.

Happy ageing, fair folk! x

How significant can a piece of paper be?

As a 30 year old female in the Western world, one topic has become particularly prevalent in conversations with friends over the last 18 months; marriage. Loads of people I know have either got or are getting married, so it’s one of those subjects that keeps cropping up. I’m pretty sure I’ll find the same thing happens with the topic of babies in another couple of years’ time as the former so often leads to the latter.

I still have a massive question mark in my head as to the point of it all in today’s society though.

Let’s take an example – one friend I have confessed to me that she’s more excited about the party than the actual marriage. I totally get it; they’ve lived together for years so what is the marriage except a continuation of the life they already have? The actual wedding day though, well that’s a great big (expensive) celebration of their love and lives together. That sort of makes sense because who doesn’t love a party?

Does it warrant the cost of a house deposit / car though?

If we wander back in time just a handful of decades, marriage was a critical part of growing up. Society said that before we could co-habit or be so brazen as to tell the world we’d had sex by having a baby, we had to be married. Women also had far fewer job prospects and were expected to make lovely homes for their industrious husbands, so we can see why marriage was essential; men wanted sex and dinner on the table, while women needed a living (and sex – but nobody admits that).

Yes, I know I’m generalising and making a bit of a joke of it but my point is that previously, adult life really began at marriage. Wedding presents were homewares to help the happy couple set up their first home and begin the adventure of living together. Today, we’ve already done that and most of us frown upon those who dare to marry without testing out the living together bit first. We can have babies without marriage and our wedding “presents” are usually no more than a donation to an epic holiday fund, or “honeymoon” as we continue to call it.

So why do we do it?

Some people do it to represent their commitment to each other and that’s a great reason to enter the contract of marriage. Does it really signify commitment though? Divorce is hugely prevalent these days, so much so that marriage is almost an “I do until…”. It’s far harder to get out of a complex series of financial contracts than it is the marriage itself.

Some do it because they have a family and they would like everyone to have the same name. Strictly speaking, marriage isn’t needed to do this as you can just change your name but my issue is actually that still these days, it’s usually the woman who changes her name. I’ve seen an increase in double-barrelled surnames cropping up on my Facebook as women marry and want to hold onto some semblance of their former selves but goodness only knows what this means for the names of married women in the next generation, just imagine a Simone Smith-Jones-Brown-Thompson! Surely the changing of names is an outdated tradition by now?

And talking of outdated traditions, what is with the whole ring thing? I mean really, a bloody expensive rock gets put on the woman’s finger prior to the marriage like some sort of indicator of ownership. How is this still a thing? “Look how much of a man I am, I bought a huge rock and now I own her.” “Look how much he wants me, he bought me a huge rock and now I’m complete.”

Some might say I’m cynical and maybe I am but I’m struggling to justify marriage in my head. I don’t have any problem with others marrying and I love weddings but all of the above is what goes round in my mind when someone asks me when I think my boyfriend will propose. My answer, by the way is “hopefully never”. Sure I’d marry him if he was desperate to do that but that would be my only reason. Maybe that’s it. Maybe every couple has someone who needs that security and that’s why they get married. Me, I know I love my boy and I never want to let him go. I hope that’s enough for him too!

Snowdonia: A Holiday in the UK

Well aren’t I a lucky devil, I have just returned from my second holiday so far this year. This time we went a little off-piste though and holidayed in the UK, with a trip to Snowdonia with our beautiful little pooch-faced babychops (Lexi).

Here she is in case you’ve forgotten how stunning she is:

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Lexi on Harlech Beach

Usually we go further afield but we really wanted to find somewhere dog friendly to explore, so we rented ourselves a little house in a coastal village called Harlech, packed up our impractical BMW coupé and off we went.

What a trip!

If like me you haven’t really holidayed in the UK since you were a small child, I highly recommend it. We saw some of the most beautiful places I have ever seen, my phones had no signal most of the time and we had loads to occupy us. I can’t remember the last time I felt so relaxed. That’s not to mention the fact that our little girly LOVED it and had a wonderful time getting the sand in her paws.

Here are some snaps / highlights in case you’re thinking about a trip (these are just phone snaps; imagine the colours in real life!):

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Craggy, waterfall-y goodness at Fairy Glen

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This is how clear the water is in the streams; my dad tells me some people have this pumped directly into their taps. We drank it, we’re alive

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If you like history, there are castles galore. This one is Harlech Castle

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Feeling gluttonous? Why not grab an ENORMOUS pancake over at Scoop in Caernarfon?

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Or you can head over to Tu Hwnt I’r Bont tearoom in Llanwrst

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Need a beach? We had this place to ourselves. Port Iago (in the middle of nowhere after a lot of driving in circles but so worth it – following images are the same place)

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Throw in some zip lines, lots of delicious food and a steam train ride and you have yourself a holiday. I can’t recommend visiting Wales, especially the traffic-free, stunningly beautiful Snowdonia enough.

Much love! x

 

 

Why do some childhood fears stick?

Over the last 2 days I have thrown a ball around on a basketball court, (some might call it shooting hoops or something cool like that) and I have ridden my bike round in circles at the local park.

Whoopdy-doo!

Well actually both of these activities pushed me way outside my comfort zone. You see, as a kid I didn’t spend much time playing sport and we weren’t really an outdoorsy family. For me, outdoorsy is clearing leaves off the lawn or re-potting that plant that just will not die, no matter how much you neglect it. What I learned as a kid was how to peel potatoes, build IKEA furniture and play really quietly so that we didn’t disturb my parents.

What that meant was that I never really “got” sport. I don’t have any natural sporting ability and my hand-eye coordination is mediocre at best, so I’ve mainly just ignored the things that other people seem to love. I chose hockey as my sport in secondary school because I knew I’d get away with just standing there while everyone else got stuck in and I deliberately made no attempt to win at athletics in the summer. Why? Well, because I was never going to be the best and that terrified me.

It still does.

Yesterday, the BF spent the first 15 minutes bouncing that basket ball around on his own while I sat on the grass. There were other people in the park so I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t show my weakness, I couldn’t let anyone know that I’m not the best at something. It’s fine to say it because people assume you’re downplaying your talent but showing it proves you’re below par.

Luckily for me, the BF is incredibly patient and eventually coaxed me onto the court where I had a great time missing the (non-existent) net. He did the same thing today, calmly suggesting that if riding my bike down the pavement was terrifying, I could just walk it to the park and start there. There was no judgement, he cycled about 10 times as far as I did but he was pleased that I gave it a go. More importantly, I was pleased that I gave it a go.

So why do some of our childhood fears stick? Why do I still feel like a teenager, terrified of people seeing my weaknesses when I look at a basketball? I’m 30 years old.

My fear of exposing the side of me that isn’t perfect is so great that I miss out on doing things on an almost daily basis. I’ve always been this way and although I hide it better now that I’m an adult, I still know it’s happening. Why has this stuck with me?

It’s not a question I think I’ll find the answer to, just a pondering really. Anyone else in the same boat?