Saying Yes to More

I wouldn’t say that I’m a particularly outgoing individual.  Normally, the idea of going to an event alone, without anyone I know being there, would completely freak me out.  I like the comfort of having a friend there who I can follow about and get introduced to people by.  So, God knows why I signed up for a 10 day volunteering scheme 200 miles away, on my tod.

While procrastinating from my final essays of university, I was scouring my emails for job opportunities and came across a message from my course leader concerning Cheltenham Literary Festival.  I signed up to volunteer, almost as just something else to do for thirty minutes instead of writing my essays.  About two months later I was having a telephone interview in my lunch break, out the back of the pub I work in.  To be honest, I didn’t really expect much to come from applying on a whim.  I was shocked I was actually chosen for an interview.  Several months later I found myself on a train to Cheltenham, just me and my little bag.  I was a bit terrified to say the least.   I realised I was surrounded by people I didn’t know, who all seemed to know each other, and I was completely stuck.

My actual worst nightmare come to life.

I find it amazing that from this, I went on to have one of the best, most fulfilling experiences.  Forcing myself to speak to people and put myself in situations I’d otherwise avoid, made me realise how outgoing I can actually be.   I made amazing friends, some of who I’m still in contact with.  I met incredible people; Richard Curtis, Ruth Jones, and Simon Mayo to name a few.  I was overwhelmed by how rich and motivating the entire festival was for me.  I realised I was good at the things I wanted to do and although you can’t make everyone like you, you meet the loveliest of people in the weirdest scenarios.   I went to parties and helped at book signings and saw Michael Morpurgo in real life.

This year I hope I find more opportunities to say ‘yes’ to.  I want to do more things that are out of my comfort zone.  I don’t want to always feel safe.  It’s good to sometimes feel vulnerable and create a stronger you out of it.  I know this was only a tiny little thing in the grand scheme of things, but I’m quite proud of myself.  I applied for a thing, I was chosen for the thing, and I made the absolute most out of the experience.

Here’s to 2019 being full of fulfilling opportunities and chances to say yes to more.

Goodbye 2018: Hello Cliched Blog Post

This New Year I have fully embraced the cliché of a good old fresh start.  I am so happy to be sweeping out those cobwebs and find a new beginning.  I don’t really want to say that I’m happy that 2018 is over, that brings with it the idea that I had a bad! year.  It wasn’t that bad really, but I am still glad to see it gone.  The reason for this is that 2018 was massively overwhelming.  I felt so much pressure throughout and it is the nicest feeling to start a new year without a deadline looming over my head.  There are plenty of other self-made deadlines, but nothing that’s going to either make or break my actual future career, which is a pleasant change.

2018 left me completely exhausted.  So many things, both good and bad, were condensed into a relatively short period of time, and yet I still felt like nothing moved forward.  The big change of the year was obviously graduating from university.  I am so proud of this achievement, especially as for a while it seemed so unattainable.  Even so, while many of my friends and peers have gone on to begin incredible careers, it was somewhat anti-climatic for me.  I felt like everybody around me was either travelling or kickstarting amazing jobs and I was still stuck at home feeling sorry for myself.  I am excited to escape this rut and fully begin my own journey.  I know that 2019 is going to bring positive change.  I don’t want to tempt fate but I truly believe that this year has big things in store.  It feels so good to start a fresh year knowing I could do whatever I want.

Unfortunately, 2018 also brought with it a series of saddening losses that have affected both my family and friends.  These bereavements have demonstrated to me how strong and resilient the people I love can be, and whilst looking back makes me sad, it also makes me proud. I hope 2019 will be slightly less cruel to us.  Having said this, we did have a whole extra year with our family dog, Sweep.  He wasn’t expected to see it past Christmas 2017, and while he’s the biggest, dopiest, blind, deaf, baby – somehow a Christmas miracle pulled through and he’s still happy and with us today.

I am proud to say that I went through a lot of personal growth last year.  2017 was a terrible year for my mental health and therefore my physical health, grades and personal relationships.  I’d like to think that I had a Sweep-like miracle and have started to pull it back.  I think I owe a lot of this development to bullet journaling, which I know sounds dumb but I really believe it helped me a lot.  I expressed my thoughts about how this method of organisation has helped me mentally in a previous blog post.  I forced myself into this habit and the difference it has made is phenomenal.  I am so happy to be able to say that the dark periods are growing fewer and fewer, and that for the first time in a long time, I can see things clearly and positively.

After realising how good bullet journaling was for me last year, I picked up new interests during the summer as a way to distract myself from everyone around me catapulting themselves into their futures.  I started doing yoga as a way of managing my anxiety.  Straight away I kind of just knew that this was what I’d been missing in my life.  It keeps me grounded but also encourages me to keep on pushing myself and improving on my abilities.  I used to go to the gym in Cardiff and this was great when I’d fully got into it and had a decent session.  But, the stress it caused before I even got there (in terms of how busy it was or if I’d bump into anyone I knew), stopped me from going too many times.  In comparison I get excited to get my yoga mat out in the living room, and my goal this year is to start going to classes, but I’ll do it at my own pace.   I also embroidered a couple of t-shirts and I’m keen to broaden my creative outlet.  I find this so therapeutic and the people who have received my creations seem to love them, so watch this space.

I have given myself so many more realistic goals this year and I am genuinely enthusiastic to get started on them.  ‘Care Less’ is one of the main ones.  Not about people, but about petty things that drag me down.  I don’t need that drama and gossip in my life, and I know it never makes me happy.  I hope January 2020 will find me full of joy and pride for 2019.  I know that this year is going to hold the big turning point in my life and it both thrills and scares me.  I will look back on most of 2018 with fondness, but I am very ready to move onwards and upwards with vast amounts of positivity.   Here’s to new adventures and big beginnings.

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