This post is slightly off topic for this blog, no weddings, hen parties or crafts in sight but I felt I wanted to share this with you.
I’d love, if you make it to the end of this post (I do go on a bit I’m afraid), for you to leave your thoughts…..
PS apologies for the way it reads, it’s a bit ‘stream of consciousness’
I’m not a religious person, I find religion uncomfortable, it doesn’t ‘fit’ with me. I understand and respect those with religious beliefs, sometimes I even envy them, but alas, it’s not for me.
That said, sometimes I feel as though the Universe is trying to tell me something, either that or it’s just pure old coincidence, either or, it doesn’t really matter to me.
Sometimes the things you read, the people you speak to, the events in your life collide to hit you on the head and make you take stock, to reflect. Nothings serious, severe or life-threatening has happened to me or the people in my life, it’s not one of ‘those’ moments. It’s been more like a really slow boil, and all of a sudden today I looked at life properly. Not at all the minutiae of life that we so often worry and concern ourselves with, but my life as a whole.
Where did this moment happen? Was it in a profound place? An area of outstanding natural beauty? A place of worship? No. It took place sat outside, on a cold block of stone, fashioned to be a bench at 8:30 on a Sunday morning, in the smoking area (I don’t smoke), with my little (25 years old) sister, outside Terminal 3 Departures Lounge, Heathrow Airport.
Why was I there? I was dropping my sister off for her flight to Lapland! Lapland! Where Santa and the Elves live! She’s off to work as a Holiday Rep out there, for 6 weeks, she gets back to the UK on 23rd December (remember Santa’s busy over Christmas!) She’s never had a job like this before, she just fancied it, applied, got the job and now she’s off.
And whilst we were sat there, her having a cigarette, me chatting on about nonsense, a thought came to me: “What an amazing thing to tell your children”, not the having a fag outside Heathrow Airport bit, but that you went and worked in Lapland. And as I thought that thought I wondered, what would I tell my children (if I ever have any), or what would be on my Obituary (macabre I know)? How would my life be summed up? What do I want my life to be?
I’ll answer that question later, but firstly, how did I get to this point? What has taken place in my life that has bought me to this point of reflection? A number of things, things I have read, people I have spoken to and how I feel generally.
I guess a lot of this self-reflection has come about because I have been thinking very hard about what I want to do as a job, as a living. And that has led me to start taking those first tentative, terrifying steps into starting up my own business. Now, I am a long way off being self-employed, and who knows the business may not even take off but I feel that I have to do this, otherwise I will regret it for the rest of my life. Maybe this is what happens on the approach to 30 years of age. Maybe it’s a result of now being married and thinking forward to whether kids and the such like is part of our future. Who knows?
Now, I follow a large number of blogs, all of them appeal to me for very different reasons, some are just pretty, some inspire me to make, some make me think. Two of the blogs that make me think are as follows. Firstly, the recently created Create.Space blog, written by the fabulous Laura Babb, who has become a friend through our application to guest blog on Rock My Wedding during the planning process of our respective weddings. Laura is an inspiration to me in many ways, but one of them is the way that she has created the career she wanted. (Laura is a fantastic wedding photographer and I would highly recommend that you look her up!) I don’t think Laura knows this but it was a conversation with Laura when we met at the Rock My Wedding Real Brides event, that has stayed with me and gave me the confidence to go ahead and try setting up my own business. The second blog is written by an American (I think! please correct me if I am wrong!) man, who lives a very different life to me, but I find what he writes incredibly inspirational and I often reflect on the posts that he writes. Leo Babauta writes the Zen Habits blog, I have no idea how I came across this blog, but I now subscribe to it and I regularly receive words of wisdom through my Inbox! The posts from Zen Habits that have most resonance with me are the one’s regarding living in the moment, living simply and motivating yourself.
On Create.Space recently Laura has published two posts that have made me sit up and take stock. The first was Keep harvesting and the crops won’t mature. That post made me take stock because Laura quoted the artist Polly Morgan who said “You’re brain needs periods of rest” and I wished that I could say that I did so much creative ‘stuff’ that my brain did need periods of rest. I realised that I don’t ‘rest’ my brain, instead I work an often difficult and stressful job, that doesn’t allow me the creativity that I crave and then once I get home I ‘plug’ myself into the TV and my laptop, then I sleep and do the whole thing over and over again ad infinitum. The second thing that got to me was actually a link from the Create.Space Facebook Page and her link to a post on personal Manifesto’s. The post itself was published by 99u.com (very pertinent!) and had the title of 5 Manifestos for Life, Art and Business. I started to wonder what my Manifesto would be. And until today that was it.
The two posts on Zen Habit that caught my attention were: 15 Great Excuses not to Form the Fitness Habit and The Willingness to Think Differently. Now the first ’15 Great Excuses’ doesn’t just apply to exercise, take the word ‘exercise’ out of the post and replace it with anything that you’re putting off in life and the post applies. I don’t know about you but I am all about the excuse. I’ve made so many excuses to myself about why I don’t do or haven’t done the things that I want to do. But they are just excuses and I need to stop making them and get on with what it is that I want to achieve with my life before (dramatic pause)….before it’s too late.
The second post, Willingness to Think Differently, resounded to me because often I do ‘think’ differently, but I don’t ‘act’ differently. I feel as though my life as it stands is the picture of conformity. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I want my life to ‘stand out’ somehow.
There are many things in my life that I am proud of, I am proud that I recently married my Neil, I am proud that I have good friends in my life, I am proud of my Degree, I am proud of qualifying as a teacher. But I feel that I have not lived up to the expectations I had of myself and of my life (I’m sure I’ve read about something similar recently). I want to travel more, I want to spend more time with the people I love, I want to make more, create more. And I feel as though for many years now I have been ‘stuck’ and that I am in the process of slowly dragging my feet out of the sludge that I have allowed to hold me in place for so long. Now, let’s be clear, I don’t want a ‘different’ life, I want my life but I want to make and take more opportunities, more chances, I want to build on what is already a good life.
There are a few things that I have Pinned to my Motto’s for Life board that reflect this sense of taking stock and moving forward. I have saved these images to my iPhone and I regularly look to them when I am feeling lost. The three below are the one’s that stand out to me most at the moment.
I could go on, there have been other conversations and moments over the past few months but I feel I’ve gone on for long enough!
Now this isn’t a post about moaning, now I’ve identified all these things, I want to do something about it. So here goes.
My Personal Manifesto is:
The person I want to be is:
What am I going to do to achieve those goals?
Creative: Make more (do this by wasting less time on TV and the Internet, ‘unplug’ myself, this I am going to do by having a TV ban and I am only going to go on the internet/computer if I have a list written out of what I want to do/use it for, no more of this spending hours mindlessly trawling the internet, I’m going to be purposeful!)
Active (1): Exercise regularly (be that walking, classes, the gym.
Active (2): Don’t make excuses (I’m too tired, It’s the weekend, etc)
Healthy: Ask myself if the food I’m eating is helping me be healthy, active and creative.
Tidy: (this one’s from my dad!) Tidy up as I go along!
Organised: Know how much I’m spending, ask myself if what I’m buying is helping me to achieve my life goals, make lists to organise my mind
Apologies for the profound post and the massive word count, I just had to get this out of my head.
So, ladies (and gents), what would your manifesto be? What quote stands out to you right now?Have you had an ‘epiphany’ and what did you do about it?