A Different Chapter

Over the course of what feels like my life, but in fact is just the last year or so I have eluded to a whole bunch of things that were happening within my personal world, via blog posts here and there and via social media. Sometimes it’s difficult to actually be a private person, yet still online. It’s a confusing situation where blurting it all out might seem as if you are seeking attention or any other such stigmas that are associated with being authentic.

Yes... life isn’t all pretty office photos and sashaying around looking glamourous, in fact on most days it is quite the opposite of that. If your life is glam errrrryday (poetic licence) then please teach us how you do it.
I don’t prescribe to the confess all mentality that suits the style of some bloggers and vloggers. I don’t have anything against it, I just don’t always want to draw attention to the hardship of “stuff”. 
The all ambiguous “STUFF”, we are all going through some version of it. Sometimes loudly, sometimes silently, sometimes publicly, often times... alone.

I feel like my so called “stuff” has been following me around for long enough as I try to embark on a new journey and a new existence, whilst still holding onto what I value most. I thought it high time to share a few snippets of it with you.

What sparked off this post was my birthday and the idea I had when I turned thirty and did a 30 days to 30 challenge for myself. In this case I wanted to do a 3 days to 33 challenge (not ashamed to put my age online btw), but once I got listing it went far over three and soon I just realised that I needed to do those things regardless of a birthday and the very small and limiting number three. In sticking to the let’s not draw too much attention mantra... the simple story is I got divorced. Allow me this dramatic moment to just fling my arms in the air and tell you it is the most awful thing I have ever gone through... the road that led to it, the actual situation, the event itself. Tears, so many tears! Trying to stay afloat when your whole life that you envisioned is shattered right in front of you and there is next to nothing you can do about it.
So you get up a little each day, you pick up, you carry on, you try to rebuild, fail, cry, cry, cry, try again, cry, okay come on try again... keep going, try. Less tears, more lessons...

During this time there are certain very, very simple things that have stuck out to me. Things that are so simple I probably don’t need to list them out for you However, if this list serves to just remind one or maybe two people of a few important things then my job here is done. So I pondered and thought what is that list, what has gotten me thinking, learning and realising even more?

Save: We are reminded to save from the day we start earning anything, be it pocket money or that very first batch of tips from being a fifteen year old waitress. No matter how little... save your money. If you haven’t been saving then please start this very minute, no this very second.

Shut out some of the noise: The world is so noisy all the time. Mostly through social media. I found that while going through a very difficult time it was as if social media was even more noisy. Happy photos of other people not going through what I was. What did I do? I started an Instagram account where I just follow accounts that I want to see, no people, just quotes and beautiful photos, art, inspiring messages. It’s a personal space to escape to and is totally private. I also got strict with the endless scrolling and dedicated time to actually enjoying my time online. Paying attention, unsubscribing and not feeling guilty for not liking or participating in everything and anything.

Discover your gurus: With all the noise comes an influx of so called helpful insight and advice. In most cases it just adds to the already overflowing brain feeling. I found The Minimalists, a podcast that I have really connected with. It has taught me so much and it aligns with so much of what I hold true. It is currently the only podcast I listen to. It might not be the one for you, but discover who and what you want to add into your life. Find your guru, enjoy their teachings.

Self Love: Loving yourself is the most difficult challenge in life. It is something I realised I needed to pay a lot more attention to. I am me and my marriage didn’t work out and I felt rejected and very unloved, but somewhere in amongst the chaos I started to realise that I needed to love me, in the most humble of ways. Look after me, understand me and stop apologising for who I am. It’s a lifelong mission and the more I learn the more I realise how many people don’t even like themselves, never mind love themselves. Let’s change that, discover what makes you... uniquely you. Nurture yourself.

Find moments of happiness or joy: In the shitty times it’s so easy to just scrap every single moment as awful. I’ll tell you this... despite having a broken heart there have still been moments that have taken my breath away, but I had to realise they were there for the seeing and feeling. I had to lift up my head and look around. Most importantly I had to go out and experience things and people and see that despite it being the darkest of days there is always a flicker of beauty to be discovered. From a beautiful day on the beach through to a rainbow while running through the rain.

Don’t wait: Life is happening. We are all waiting for that "one day". What do you want to do? 
Stop putting it off, find a way to make it happen. Waiting is just a form of denying yourself. Go and do it! It might be simple and for me many things were, but once I went and explored and got moving again I realised and wondered why had I been waiting to do some very basic things for myself? I skateboarded, I went trampolining, silly, fun things.

Exercise: Yeah, yeah... I know if you hate it then this might sound like the worst idea ever. I feel as if exercise saved my life. It kept me going and instead of becoming a couch potato surrounded by tissues (sometimes I have those days) I am now the fittest and strongest I have ever been in my life. I don’t always feel like it, but I stuck it out and it feels awesome.

Small acts for self: It’s important to have a few things that you can repetitively do just for you. I need those things to keep me sane. They are small and easy for example I like taking baths, listening to music and exercising. When I get down I can rely on those little rituals to keep me going. 

Make a vision board: I know it might sound airy fairy, but it’s a great way to see what you want your life to actually look and feel like. It need not be fancy or full of huge, expensive dreams. Mine has simple pictures on, but it’s a happy brain space that reminds me what I am working for and that my ideal life is happening and it’s my job to “style” it if that’s what I actually want.

Get outside: So easy, yet so easily forgotten too. I seemed to have forgotten that I love the beach and the ocean. I have spent more time on the beach in the last eight months that in the last eight years. Nature has a wonderful way of humbling us and reminding us that there is a much bigger picture. In most cases the experience is also free and as a single gal I need all my pennies.

Clean out: Baggage physical or mental got booted and the cleaning out continues. I blame The Minimalists, but it feels great too. Trips to charity stores, the dump, the recycling centre... each one has been cathartic in its own way. Out with the toxic junk, time to make room for better things and by that I don’t mean material processions.

Music: I have always loved music. While I lived in London I was never without my iPod and little has changed. Finding new favourite songs for every mood from kickass to crying mess are essential. My music keeps me going.

Reach out: Hey, I’m not okay and in saying that people helped me to feel better. I have also learnt that I need to reach out to others, check in, ask, listen...

Journal: It’s a cliché, but keeping a journal has taught me how to unpack my thoughts and to also see my progress. I get to say all the things that I am thinking and by letting them out they no longer hold as much power. It shows me where I was in denial, where I have devloped and through that I have gained invaluable personal knowledge.

If a good day comes, don’t question it: The days I have felt good, I have worried or wondered why today? I have learnt to just enjoy a good mood day if it comes along. If I feel better then I need to embrace it. Tomorrow might be awful again so I damn well deserve to have a positive day. 

Empathy isn’t real, experience is: I have always thought I am a very empathetic person who could understand the emotions of almost anyone. Well, guess what I can’t. Empathy is not real, but experience is. You might not really know how someone is feeling, but try to be understanding. I have tried to be patient with friends in the past who got divorced and thought I was doing a great job. Now having gone through it myself I understand that I never fully got how much they were suffering. I now know that I need to be more tolerant of others and their emotions. 

I don’t have it all sorted out and I have a far road to still walk, but in evolving I am building and changing for the better and who can argue with that!