2018 – the countdown is on.

 

Wednesday 22nd November – where has this year gone?

this time last year i had just booked a flight to the other side of the world. i was unhappy and running from who i was and what i had become. i was confused about who i was and what i wanted from my life. i was convinced that running away from myself and my life would be what i needed to figure myself out. i thought that it would provide me with the clarity i sought.

i know it sounds dramatic but its true.

well, i didn’t get on that plane.

i can safely say it was the best decision i’ve made this year.

so much has happened to me this year, none of which would have been possible if i’d have run away.

i feel like i have really grown this year, i have made peace with a lot of events that have happened, i have gained the clarity in most areas in life that i so desperately sought. i don’t feel as though i’m as lost as i once was. 

here are some lessons i’ve learnt this year, some lessons that life has reminded me of, just in time for 2018. 

family is everything

this year i have been especially grateful for my family. we’ve been through a lot together this last year and it has only brought us closer as a unit. i am lucky enough to say that i like my family, as people, not just because we’re related. a fair amount of my friends seem to spend time with their family because its what they feel obligated to do. i do not. i do it because i really bloody like ‘em!

 your friends aren’t always your friends.

at 28 i’m sure i should have outgrown the ridiculousness of this but alas, i am still learning that your friends are not always that. they will not always support you, they will not always understand you. an example – the reactions that some friends made when i told them that i wasn’t going to Australia… well… lets just say it stung.

being able to acknowledge when i am wrong / when i’m being an arse is one of my biggest strengths.

this year, more than ever, i have realised this is quite a rare trait. I can hold my hands up when I have been a sucky person, or a sucky friend. i mean, i hate being wrong – i always have been an insufferable know it all so i hate having to say i’m wrong – but i can, and will, admit i am wrong when i am.

i recently messaged one of my oldest friends, someone who has continually reached out who I have rarely responded to, and apologised for being a shit friend. i didn’t try and excuse my behaviours, i just tried to make her see it was me and not anything she had done and that i still adore her.

only you can take care of yourself and your health,

 the last few months are the months i have been the most grateful in my life for our NHS. i have been feeling the benefit of my tax money. i am now, hopefully, on the up both physically and mentally, but it has given me a new perspective on all things health related – so much of it is within our control, the care we take of ourselves has the biggest impact on our health. what we put in our body to fuel it, what exercise we do (or don’t do) and the impact that has not only physically but also mentally. we need to make sure we’re taking the best care of ourselves. the situations we put ourselves in, the pressure we put on ourselves, the people we surround ourselves with… we might not be able to control every illness, every accident, but we can make sure that we are taking the best care of ourselves; that is within our control. you have to make your own health a priority.

your gut knows when it is not right – listen

everyone will give you their opinion if you let them and whilst it can be helpful to gain the perspective of an outsider ultimately you know when it isn’t right. trust yourself.

 you can’t force anything.

if it’s meant to be it will be, sure you need to make an effort initially but if it becomes too much like hard work and you’re not feeling the benefits, you’re not feeling satisfied then let it alone. chalk it up to experience and move on.

the idea of something is often better than the reality but you should still try.

You never know, you might just be surprised.

 if you have people in your life that make you feel like you have to apologise for who you are and what you like, get rid of them.

 or at the very least, distance yourself. i understand we all like to take the hand out of our friends, me possibly more than anyone, but if this turns into them making you feel bad about yourself it is not ok.

people that don’t love themselves cannot love you. same for those that don’t like themselves.

exactly as it says.

 support can come from the most unexpected places – appreciate it.

this year i have had support and understanding from someone that i never would have expected, i don’t think i will ever fully be able to thank them and i don’t think they will ever fully understand how much i appreciate all they’ve done for me.

 

2017 has in some ways been so confusing but i feel a different person this side of it. this year i can really see the change in myself, i can see how i’ve changed for the better. i’m much more sure of myself, i’m much more appreciative of who i have around me. i stopped running long enough to catch up with myself. 

2018, you’re a few weeks away but i’m excited for the adventures already. 

the return of saturn.

xoxo M

Social Media: an alternate reality.

“How can you be skint? You never go out, I never see you post anything.”

A simple sentence from a conversation I had with someone a while back that has stuck with me. I use social media a fair amount. Normally to see what everyone else is doing when I’m bored. I am not, and have never been, one to post every aspect of my life on social media, yes I enjoy a good Facebook post, or Instagram pic, but I don’t post everything I do in my life on social media. Call me old-fashioned but I like to save some stuff for myself, and, if giving up Facebook for lent at the beginning of the year taught me one thing it’s that, it’s actually great to give your full attention to people you are with, rather than talking to them whilst also thinking about the perfect status update to tell your virtual friends how much fun you’re having.

Since I had that conversation I have thought about that comment a lot. It’s got me to thinking. How much is too much? As in, how much is too much to share on Social media?

We all have those friends who use social media like a diary, there are four or five (at least) status updates a day, a constant stream of ‘check ins’ and photos so we can see how much they are loving life. There are those that use social media to post their dirty laundry which I secretly love because, well, I’m a nosy bitch, those that use it to tell us when their child has coughed, or smiled or done a poo “Oh my god, Bitsy just took her first poo on the toilet!!” seriously, stop with these status’ no one other than you cares about that shit – pun intended. There is that couple that has been together for minutes but has already dropped the ‘L’ word all over your news feed “I have the best boyfriend in the world. I love you so much, baby!!!” – again, stop it. You’ve been together for 2 minutes take a seat. Then at the other end of the spectrum there are those users that rarely post anything – even though you know they are lurkin’ in the background silently stalking and judging. How do you find the balance of ‘just enough’? Only you can really answer that for yourself but if most of your timeline is full of your own posts you’re definitely on the ‘too much’ end of the scale. Same goes for those that post more than 3 status updates a day (and I’m being generous when I say 3).

The incessant stream of ‘loving life’ posts and photos has made us obsessed with creating the ‘perfect’ life. You go out on a Saturday night to a club, there is a 99% chance that the majority of those there will be, or will have, taken 101 pictures on Snapchat to show their friends all the ‘LOLs’, they’ve then Instagrammed those photos (while spending time making sure they use the correct filter). It seems we spent more time posting about what we’re doing than actually doing it, living it. This narcissistic behavior is laughable but more than anything this makes me kind of sad. When did we become so unhappy with our real lives that we feel the need to ‘edit’ it? When did it become normal to compare our life to the lives of people we haven’t spoken to since year 11?

I was speaking with someone recently who was talking about their relationship and how seeing what other couples do on social media has left them feeling not 100% satisfied in their relationship. My response? Social media isn’t real! No one is going to post about that slanging match they had the night before because someone left wet towels on the bathroom floor again. No one is going to share a photo of themselves when they go to the local greasy spoon for the hangover breakfast – they take a photo of food instead.

It is so easy to fake everything on social media; relationships, partying, fitness, food, travelling… it’s not all glamorous. We just want everyone else to think it is.

There is no perfect relationship – everyone argues. The partying photos are always at the beginning of the night, not of the drama in the toilet with one friend with her head in the loo because she had 1 too many jagers and another crying over that guy she went on one date with back in 1947 who she has seen here with another girl. The gym and healthy food posts that make us all feel like a big tub of lard (only me?) – those people are looking for approval. If they were really 100% with what they looked like wouldn’t feel the need to post everyday about their gym workouts and comparing your fitness lifestyle to others’ isn’t fair to you or them. We all have different bodies, lives and priorities, and no one is going to display the worst of that for the world to see. I would also bet my left foot that greek yoghurt girl has stuffed her face with chocolate eclairs at least once in the last few months.

Travelling is only glamorous in retrospect. Being stuck in a big tin can for hours on end with recycled air leaves your skin dry, hair gross and body achy. No one wants to see a picture of me grumpy, hair all over the place, red –eyed from tiredness, so I’ll wait for a few days to acclimatize myself to the time change and then give you a perfectly filtered picture of me and my pals, drink in hand watching an amazing sunset.

So maybe, just maybe it’s time we throw a little reality back into social media. Or we can carry on pretending, but we’re going to have to start changing that witty tagline to something more fitting. And next time you see that someone has uploaded the ‘perfect selfie’ just remember there are 100 of the same photos on their camera roll that didn’t make the cut.