I've wanted to write a '5 things ...' style post since forever, but have always felt like they've already been done, or my life hasn't been interesting or 'happening' enough to warrant writing my own. Silly, I know, because obviously no two people have lived the same life, meaning everyone's input will be unique and entirely valid. I guess it just comes down to that whole comparison thing we all do. Adamant that we're never gunna live up to those around or before us. Adamant that we're just not really all that good. (We're wrong, by the way)
About three months ago, my life took a turning point and I discussed previously about my rapid transition into full time work here. Also, the variations in my mental health along the journey of it, which sort of intertwined with each stop on the timeline.
Although three months doesn't amount to much in the grand scheme of things, I've probably learnt more about myself, life and about those around me, in that time, than I have over the course of the entire year.
The tolls which stress can take on your being can be irreparable. But it doesn't half do well to teach you things ...
One : Time is ridiculously precious
Sure, we say and hear it all the time but it's situations like this, when we don't have enough of ourselves to give to everything; when we keep cancelling those meet ups with the people we truly value; when wonderful people are losing their lives too soon, which put that into perspective more than ever.
A year and eight months ago, I lost a friend of mine. A friend who brought so much life, light and laughter into, not only my world, but everyone's around her. We didn't see each other everyday but it never mattered. Nothing changed. I just only wish our little group hadn't been too busy to set aside a few hours to meet up before it was too late. (I miss you, Fern ♥)
I long for more time. I long for more moments with the people I love. For more hours to dedicate to my passion. For a few, fine minutes of peace.
But flashback to twelve months ago and all I could think about was wishing this all away. Hoping it would go by quick and only thinking about the next day. Yet never cherishing the current.
Now I appreciate it more than ever.
Two : Your health holds more importance than anything else
This relates to the previous point because, when you have little time, certain things become forgotten or neglected. Health often being the primary culprit. It comes down to us not wanting to be selfish. Putting ourselves last and prioritising everything around us. But what use are we to everything/one else if we can't look after ourselves?
Stress can do terrible things to your body, both physically and mentally and I never really understood that fully until now.
I also cry at everything. Now, I'm not talking about that sad part in a film when people call you soppy, after you become too invested in that fictional couple's love. I'm saying I legit sent a happy, dancing bear gif to my friend, Emily and it was so cute I started crying.
Being physically and mentally exhausted will take its toll on anybody and trust me - people understand this more than you might think. Talk to them. Those who value you, want you at your best. And you should value yourself equally - if not more than they do!
Three : It's okay to say no to things
Sure, that blogger event where all your faves hung out and networked, made friends and giggled 'til their heels fell off looked like a dream. Sure, you got that little twinge of FOMO, skipping through snaps whilst you're sat in your pj's with a cuppa, watching recorded Planet Earth from two weeks ago. But has it really, drastically changed anything?
It's amazing to go out and meet people who you'd not otherwise know, if not thanks to the internet. But do you know what's also great?
Sometimes we just have to be selfish (or risk being grumpy gits to the poor souls around us).
We can't all be social butterflies, always and it's not the end of the world if you missed out that one time. In fact, it's probably not physically possible to go to every event/occasion ever and I'm pretty sure if we could, they'd all be hella over capacity and we'd all be hella exhausted and unhappy = no wins for anyone.
Don't let your FOMO force you into something.
Chances are your wellness will thank you in future and prep you for a new opportunity that'll arise.
Four : Blogging is hard
Not in a nurse shift/forensic scientist sense because believe me, I am one hundred percent certain I would not cope in their shoes. But it is a 24/7 job, whether you're making a full time salary or not.
We work for free, sometimes for years, putting all we have into these internet spaces. Countless, sleepless nights tally up, preparing posts which level up to our impeccably high standards.
And then comes the promotion. Because we've not worked for eight hours on one post just so nobody can see it.
We need to be fresh. We need to be engaged and relevant. We need to be ourselves; documenting our lives, creatively, for everybody to see. All the while trying to keep our offline lives, relationships and responsibilities afloat. And not forgetting to be in touch with reality.
We need to have balance.
Five : Commutes are great for getting shit done
Serious. Replying emails, editing pictures, writing blog posts... chasing payments. Even contemplating life and crying a bit about it. You name it, I've done it and if that isn't a productive start to the day, then I don't know what is.
There's little I dislike more than a crowded carriage, filled with a symphony of sounds, sights and smells, but any time spent internally complaining about what cannot be changed is time that can be put somewhere more productive (and yes, crying over life-contemplation comes under that category. Overcoming obstacles is progress, people!)
N.B. Since beginning this post (on the daily commute, may I add) my work situation has changed, but the life lessons I took from this experience remain the same. And with the new year having Usain Bolt-ed up behind us, I thought it only right to continue with it and reflect on what's important.
From 2017, I'll be a two-day-a-weeker. All because I finally built up the courage to chat about my current, personal state and nobody hated or wanted to kill me for it, despite what my conscience insisted.
Hopefully this random-ish reflection session helped/inspired/banished a few minutes of boredom for at least one of you ...
And of course, I wish you all a happy new year, hate it or love it. Change is only what you make of it - so let's make it a good thing.
Photography by Michael
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