WAKE UP

The last month or so has been tough emotionally and it has served a reminder of my own mortality. There has been a number of people passing away around me; their ages across the spectrum and most of them a massive shock.

I was at the funeral of one of those people last week and whilst I was sat there listening to his eulogy and hearing his son speak about what an amazing man his dad was, something clicked. It almost shook me awake to my own life and to how much I have to be grateful for; to all the wonderful people I have in my life and how I perhaps have been very selfish with my time and energy – what would my last memory of them be if they passed? What was theirs be of me if I did?

 

I do realise this sounds very morbid and is probably a bit heavy for a Tuesday night but these thoughts have been taking up a lot of space in this little brain of mine for a while so I figured it was best to get it out there and share it.

 

Being completely honest I have been a selfish mother****** lately with my energy and my time. I have been going through a ‘Why me?’ ‘Why is it always me?’ “Why can’t everyone leave me alone, stupid twats’ phase. I don’t throw pity parties often but boy, when I do! WOO! I have not wanted to talk to anyone, let alone be around them. Work is my perfect escape – with a new team in a new location there is no one that knows me personally to care to ask about my life. They just want Michaela the manager, not Michaela the person and that has suited me just fine. I’ve ignored calls, cancelled plans, told people I was busy when I wasn’t just because I wanted to be alone. I am a true Gemini in that there are two sides to me. I am equal parts introvert and extrovert. I love people but also hate them. This last while I’ve kept to myself because it is easier. There has been about 5 people I’ve been genuinely pleased to hear from in the last month – call me an asshole, it’s fine. I have been one.

 

How many of us have found life through death? It’s a shame that it takes something as final and tragic as death to wake us up. To make us realise what a good thing we’ve got going on. It’s a reminder to live life to the fullest because tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. Truth is, none of us know what is going to happen so why spend your time being anything but happy? Why spend your time being anything but honest? Be kind. Trust Karma will meet those that need it. Don’t settle for any reason. Don’t be afraid to change your mind.

 

The pain and discomfort of grief will follow us everywhere we go – anyone who has lost someone knows this but we can choose everyday what we do with it. We can let it defeat us or let it strengthen us; fall apart for a while, for a day or a week when you need it but remember to pick yourself back up and start again. There is so much more for you to experience. Choose hope every day.

 

Tell the people you love what they mean to you. Hug them. Love them. Treasure them. Give them the one thing above all that they deserve – your time. Try to be grateful for every day; I know I will.

 

“Every day’s a gift, that’s why it’s called the present”

 

xoxo

Travelling with pals? Give this a read.

Heyyyyyyyyyyy you guys!!!!

Anyone who knows me well will know I love to travel; my passport is most definitely my most prized possession. It has taken me lots of places and is taking me even more this year. From Barcelona to Boston, Cork to California, New York to Naples, Paris to Postonja… I’ve done my fair share of travelling.

The majority of my trips I have gone on are with friends and I can tell you now there is nothing better than exploring a new place with your pals to cement a relationship. The good memories (like taking photos with Peter Pan at Disney) to the not so good (getting lost in Postojna) become fun memories and great stories that will make you laugh for years. Travelling with friends means you get to know them better than you ever have done, spending time with people 24/7 is a sure-fire way to ensure that. However, if you are not careful it can also be a sure-fire way to arguments and silly disagreements. In worse case scenarios there can be friendships lost forever. We all know those friends who went away together and came back barely speaking, right?

Over my travels I have learnt quite a lot, not just about the cities and cultures of the places I’ve visited, but also about how to travel with companions. I realised in Paris how much I had actually learnt about travelling with friends over the years. How to avoid arguments and how to ensure that you all, no matter how big or small the group, get the most out of your trip!

Here are my Top 5 tips for an argument free va-cay…

  1. Make sure you both/all understand what it is you want from the trip

Do you wanting to spend all your time on the beach with a cocktail in hand? Is your companion a person who is all go-go-go, sightsee-sightsee-sightsee?

I am someone who loves to walk around wherever it is I am and see loads of things but even I can only take so many museums. However, the idea of spending more than 1 or 2 days being a beach bum is the least appealing thing to me, ever. I could never enjoy spending a whole week lying on a beach, I’d be too bored so having a chat about what you all want is a sensible thing to do… and this brings me to my next point quite nicely.

  1. COMPROMISE

 

Compromise is key in all relationships, possibly more so when you are travelling. You’re in a foreign place where you either don’t understand/ have a basic understanding of the language. This confusion and unfamiliarity is a breeding ground for anxiety and short tempers (trust me, I’ve been there). Even if you do consider yourself fluent in the language of the place you’re visiting chances are you still don’t know the local customs and slang.

Compromising will help you get the best out of the experience. You really want to go and see that statue? Basilica? P.O.I? Your friend wants to go shopping? Well why don’t you do one today and the next tomorrow? It seems like a pretty basic tip but you’d be surprised how quickly it can go out the window when you have your heart set on something or somewhere.

  1. BUDGET

Money. This can sometimes be a sticky subject, even between the best of friends. However, in order to know what you can all do and get without making someone have to re-mortgage their home or sell their car, you must have this discussion. Both before you book and before you plan excursions.

One thing I am extremely lucky to have is friends that are honest about this and what they are will to scrimp on and what they are not. A lot of my friends share the same thought as me, so long as where I sleep is safe, has a bed and a shower it can be a $35 a night hostel. I am not a princess and, being on holiday, I don’t plan on spending much time in the room anyway. I’d rather spend less on accommodation and have more money to upgrade a long haul flight, or go and eat at that Michelin starred restaurant (foodie4lyf) than have a fancy hotel room.

Decide before you go how meals are going to work. Are you going to pay for what you ate or split it down the middle? Where do alcoholic drinks come in to that equation? If you have 5 beers that cost $5 a pop but your friend that is paying is drinking tap water all night is it really fair that your friend is footing that bill?

Talking about it and understanding what the other person can afford stops any embarrassment or anyone feeling left out-of-pocket.

  1. Divide and Conquer/ Make sure you get some alone time.

Don’t be afraid to split up! If there is something you want to do but your bud doesn’t and visa versa why not go off and do your own thing for a bit? You will, more than likely, have your phones with you. Agree to stay in touch and meet at a certain time and place and you’re good to go. Not only does it mean that no one begins to resent the other, it gives you much-needed alone time to soothe any frustrations. You’ll also enjoy sharing those escapades over a cocktail or two at dinner that night!

Be sure you don’t hold those differing interests against each other too. If you would rather stay up till the wee hours talking with a bunch of randoms she just met, or with the receptionist in your hostel then that’s fine! Go for it. Just don’t get shitty with the rest of the group that would rather get a relatively early night before a long day of travelling.

Spending time along on a trip is healthy for you; some people (me) need it more than others. Don’t think this is weird, don’t take it personally if it is your companion that wants or needs more alone time than you. Very often they just need some time to process everything – holidays are very often sensory overload and we all need a moment of calm.

  1. Be considerate of other people’s feelings.

 

Be conscious of your travel buds mood and fatigue. Are they ratty when they are hungry? (Sophie) Or when they get to an airport? (Sophie). When they are tired? (Me). Don’t take this too personally. We all get crabby from time to time, just ignore them, I do. They come around eventually. Don’t hog the bathroom, respect that they need 10 minutes to be silent in the morning (me) before you; the incredibly energetic morning person (Leanne/ Jade’s mom) jumps on them.

More than anything though… Have fun! Take too many photos, make a fool of yourself, leave part of your heart in another city (Valencia), live like the locals… make the most of your trip – after all, it may be the only time you visit that place!

Wishing you stress-free, happy travels,

Xoxo

Micks

 

 

 

 

A lesson to learn from Robin Williams’ passing

This post originally appeared on my old site micksmusings.tumblr.com

http://shitleesays.tumblr.com/post/94527359918/what-did-he-have-to-be-depressed-about

I was planning on writing something around Robin’s passing and depression but I think this blog says it all and takes the words out of my mouth. I urge you to read the blog on the link.

I am currently fighting depression for the 2nd time in 5 years. The first time I had it I was 20, going on 21. I refused to take drugs because I thought it was the ‘easy way out’ and I constantly asked myself “what do I have to be depressed about?”.

Only when I was better did I see that, like it says here, that it wasn’t a case of feeling sorry for myself, or having a bad day. I couldn’t just shake it off and crack on. Depression isn’t that nice. On those days when I couldn’t get out of bed, didn’t want to get out of bed, didn’t want to wash, eat, talk to anyone I wasn’t able to just ‘get over it’. Because I couldn’t, depression is that nice.

It took me almost 9 months to get better, I hid my diagnosis from everyone. Only one friend knew, and my doctor. Not even my mum knew. I was at uni, living away from home, and it’s easy to hide it when you are not around people who know you 100%. If depression has taught me one thing it is that it’s amazing what you can hide behind a smile. After I was better I told my close family. My mum, it turns out, had suspected all along but hadn’t wanted to push it because she knew it would make me run in the other direction and shut everyone out even more. She was just glad I’d got my ‘spark’ back.

Depression is isolating, it is lonely and, on the worse days, it makes you question the point of being alive anymore. Yes that might sound dramatic to you, but to a depressed mind it isn’t. It is a real question.

Depression defies sense. There is no logic with depression. This is what I, as a very logical person, struggled with, and still struggle to understand about my illness. If I stubbed my toe and then cried, I would know I was crying because I’d hurt my toe. When you’re depressed you wake up and burst into tears for no reason. It doesn’t make sense.

This time around I was able to catch my depression earlier, with the help of Audrey and Val at work (living angels, those two). They had noticed behaviours in me, and knowing I had suffered before, they urged me to visit my doctor, “fine, if it’ll shut you up” is what I replied. Turns out they were right, after bursting into tears at the doctors, we had a conversation about my options. This time she convinced me to try tablets, I told her my feelings about it being the ‘easy way out’. Her response was “if you had a chest infection, would taking antibiotics be the easy way out? No, it wouldn’t. All you’re doing is taking medicine to fix an illness, but this time the illness is in your brain”

She’s right. The tablets have worked wonders and I’m feeling back to myself. And I’m not ashamed to say that I take them, and that I suffer from depression. It is not something to be ashamed of.
Over 350 million people ( according to WHO) suffer from depression worldwide. Robin Williams was one of them.

If anything good can come from his passing, I hope it is that more people become educated about depression. That more people realise those that suffer from depression aren’t all ‘weirdos’ ‘attention seekers’ ‘nut jobs’. We are just unwell. And we can be fixed even if we think we are un fixable, it doesn’t have to end like it did for Robin.

Let’s break the stigma. Let’s talk about depression. Let’s help those who suffer get better.

Robin, thank you for bringing so much joy to so many people. You may not have been able to see your light but we all can, and always will. You will be remembered as one of the greatest comedic actors of all time. You will be missed.
Xoxo Micks

My bucket list

This blog originally appeared on my old blog site micksmusings.tumblr.com

Sitting at dinner with Dennis and little bean on Friday, Dennis and I were talking about our plans for the next while and I mentioned that I’m hoping my next adventure will be Peru and trekking the Inca Trail. I mentioned it was on my bucket list, to which Den replied “I’d like to read your bucket list, write it and put it on one of those ‘musing things’ you write. So here it it, and remember, if this is boring to you, you’ve only got Dennis to blame ; )

The term ‘Bucket List’ comes from the phrase ‘kicked the bucket’ so in normal words it means ‘the-things-I-wanna-do-before-I-die list’. They are normally associated with people who don’t have long left on earth, we hear through family, friends and the media of those who have been diagnosed with (very often) a terminal illness who decide to do all those things they always said they would do, these things become their bucket list. It becomes a race against the clock for those people to complete as much of their list as possible. The most recent example I can think of it Stephen Sutton, the lad was diagnosed with cancer aged 15 and then wrote a bucket list of 46 things he wanted to do before he lost his fight with the disease. One of the things he aimed to do was raise £1million for the Teenage Cancer Trust. Unfortunately, Stephen lost his fight in May, but not before he had raised over £3 million for the Teenage Cancer Trust (you can read more about the incredible Stephen here: www.stephensstory.co.uk )
I always wonder why does it take something like death and illness for us to sit and really think about those things that we want to do with our time?
We all know our time on earth is limited but we often take our tomorrows for granted. The average life expectancy in the UK according to the UN is 80 years old if you’re male, 83 if you’re female. When we are young, naive and impressionable becoming old and grey is the last thing on our minds (as it should be), we get caught up in day-to-day activities, lost in the rat race and before you know it you’re 75 and you never got any of those things you always wanted to do done. You never wrote that book, swam in that ocean, saw that band live, climbed that mountain. You were so caught up in making money for the machine, creating the life that you THOUGHT you should have, that everyone EXPECTED you to have, that you never got to live the life you always wanted, filled with adventure, silliness, creativity and imagination.
So, thanks to Dennis prompting me, I’ve got a list of 50 things I always wanted to do (some of them I’ve already done). I think you should do the same, I’d love to hear yours.

Xoxo Micks
Mick’s Bucket list: 2014

  1. Trek the Inca Trail
    2. Go on an African Safari
    3. Swim with Sharks
    4. Learn a new language
    5. Sky dive
    6. Road trip the USA (DONE: summer 2013)
    7. Sleep under the stars
    8. Complete a half marathon
    9. Meet a real, live penguin
    10. Attend a music festival (DONE: Glastonbury 2010, Wireless 2012 – I wanna do Benicassim next)
    11. Volunteer on a project close to my heart
    12. Have Breakfast at Tiffany’s (DONE 2013)
    13. Celebrate Holi festival in India
    14. Visit the birthplace of The Beatles (DONE 2011/2013)
    15. Sleigh ride through the snow with huskies
    16. Toboggan down the Great Wall of China
    17. Visit the Tiger Temple in Thailand
    18. Ride an Elephant
    19. Go to an airport and get on the next plane outta there, no matter where it’s going
    20. Go on a ‘girls’ holiday. ‘Beeeeefa! Get in. Let’s get fuckin’ mortal!
    21. Donate blood
    22. Fly in a helicopter
    23. Take a gondola ride in Venice (DONE: July 2009)
    24: Visit Auschwitz
    25. See a show on Broadway – preferably West Side Story which is my fave
    26. See Ringo Starr and/or Paul McCartney in concert
    27. Learn to surf
    28. Find a career that makes me happy
    29. Visit the Amazon Rainforest
    30. Fly a kite on a beach
    31. Spend Christmas abroad – preferably somewhere like NYC
    32. Travel abroad alone – at least once
    33. Visit NASA! – I’m not actually sure if that’s allowed
    34. Throw a drink in someone’s face – just because!
    35. Get a tattoo for my bro (DONE 2013) RIP Martin ❤️
    36. Learn to fly a plane : ) be afraid, people!
    37. Go to an outdoor cinema (DONE, thanks to Rachpal. 2014)
    38. Toast marshmallows on a campfire (DONE, Cape Cod 2013. We weren’t camping but it was a campfire, so it does count. It does!)
    39. Genuinely surprise someone. Genuinely. Like a proper “OH MY GOD” surprise
    40. Get my palms read
    41. Chase a tornado/experience a tornado – no I don’t have a death wish, they just fascinate me. I blame my mother.
    42. Attend a ‘Murder Mystery’ party – such fun!
    43. Visit Old Trafford
    44. Complete a colour run
    45. Own my own home, complete with vegetable garden : )
    46. Visit Paris at Christmas (DONE, 2012 I think it was…)
    47. Go to the Opera
    48. Go to the Ballet
    49. Make a wish at the Trevi Fountain
    50. Find my forever person