What do you appreciate most about your life right now?

So I haven’t written this blog or done a morning journalling task for a while. What can I say? Lockdown life is distracting. I have actually taken up bullet journalling though, so I am doing some form of journalling and creating, which I am sure is helping keep me sane.

To answer the question from the Day 4 of journalling prompts above… I am very very appreciative of being alive and being free to live my life how I wish. We are in the middle of a pandemic, but even on working days I have the freedom to structure each day as a chose. I am with family (even if we do bicker a lot lol) and I appreciate them and this roof over my head and the company of these beautiful doggies, who show unconditional love and are constantly hilarious.

It’s what week 7 or 8? of lockdown … and the message here in Wales is still very much ‘Stay Home’ …which I am glad of because ‘Stay Alert’; like you may as well not bother with a message at all. hmmmm. I do appreciative many more things…

I think I will do a Matt Haig inspired list of what I appreciate most right now (P.s. I thoroughly recommend you read his books, specifically ‘Reasons to Stay Alive’, ‘Notes from a Nervous Planet’ and ‘The Humans’ – the message of these books has been so useful to me during lockdown in order to cope with the anxiety of it all and to really get some perspective- I plan on reading them all again over the next few days!):

  1. Being alive 🙂
  2. Being with my family and not alone in lockdown.
  3. Having my own room, with a well stocked book shelf and comfy bed.
  4. Cups of tea and decaf coffee with oat milk.
  5. Unconditional love from my 3 doggo siblings.
  6. Reading more. Right now I am reading ‘The Confessions of Frannie Langton’ by Sara Collins which is also really good (a quote from this book is below).
  7. Having a garden and being able to sit in it, especially when the Sun is shinning.
  8. Looking at the sky.
  9. This dining room, and dinning room table. A separate space to do my working from home and my bullet journalling.
  10. Working internet so I can zoom with my friends, write this blog, google facts and do my Spanish lessons on Teams.
  11. A whole conservatory to do fitness workouts in, decked with weights and a rowing machine. Specifically enjoying the ‘Les Mills On Demand workouts’… I’ve even tried the ballet inspired one and the boxing one is good for those days when I am in ‘a right mood’; so much to chose from.
  12. Being able to just put on my trainers and go running (I’ve been able to do this 3 times a week through lockdown but my friend in Italy was only allowed out for the first time yesterday to go for a run :/).
  13. The fact I can actually do my job from home and that I now actually have time to do the data analysis and read the evaluation forms from past events. This has been heart warming. Especially the comments from children regarding what they have learned in the planetarium shows. I often don’t get time to actually look back or celebrate the work I do; so it’s great that this situation has given me the chance to take a moment and assess and be proud of my work and not be rushing to the next event.
  14. The freedom to dream about future adventures and have hope. To be in a situation where I have the choice to decide which bits of ‘this life’ I want to keep when life goes back to ‘normal’, and which bits I do not.

I’ll finish this post with a quote I just read in my book. It felt very apt and really hit home to me. It’s a quote which shows how powerful reading is; how it can allow you to live another life to the one you are currently experiencing. It really can take you anywhere in the world and make you into anyone. You can travel in books, even if you cannot travel in real life. Reading books can be something you do to survive and this message seems very relevant in these ‘strange’ times:

‘Books were my companions’…’I am grateful I could learn something, no matter how I came to do so. It was a way to know that lives could change, that they could be filled with adventures. There were times I pretended I was a lady in a novel or a romance myself. It might sounds foolish. But it made me feel part of a world that otherwise I could never belong to.’

Sara Collins from ‘The Confessions of Frannie Langton’

What is truly worth focusing on today?

This a tough one, I find it very hard to focus just in general. So easily distracted, I am.

But actually working from home in my parents dining room (with my Dad working on the same table as me) has been ok!

I would even go as far as saying I am actually more focused here than in my office in work.

Because I have no commute to my ‘office’ I literally get up out of bed and get straight into my workout gear (I usually go for a run or do a workout in my lunch break), go downstairs and check my emails in the ‘office/dining room’ with my morning coffee.

With my coffee I flag any emails that need to be addressed, write some ToDo’s for the day in my notebook (from tomorrow it will hopefully be a new snazzy Bullet Journal – I’ll do a post at some point about my attempt to bullet journal in the future).

Then I go into the kitchen and make my porridge and then I eat that in the living room while watching the news (I can only handle a few minutes of the new in the morning if I am honest) and then I am good to go. I start work straight after that.

I take a lot more breaks here in lockdown but the actual work itself is done in less time, I think because I am able to be more focused.

I really struggle to work from home back in England because I have a small flat so the ‘office’ is in the living room, which means I can see the TV and all sorts of other cool stuff I can be doing instead of work, right there in my eye-line. Here in Wales all I can see is this screen, this table and the window to the outside.

Another reason I am able to focus better now is because just before the lockdown I invested in some noise cancelling headphones. These were a great investment, thoroughly recommend especially, if like me, you suspect you are ADHD. Also, my parents (especially my Mam) they watch the news A LOT, like every hour! So I am so grateful for the headphones because I can tune the news out, which is definitely a plus for my mental health right now.

For work, I can also just tune out and do 25 min blocks using the headphones by using the ‘Forest’ app which is really good, because after you use the app for long enough they actually plant an actual tree…

I have also signed up to ‘Brain.fm’ which is a similar app but with a different calming/focused music each time. This focusing music in combination with the noise cancelling headphones has meant that I am actually able to be actually really focused and productive here in Wales. Yay.

Also, I find having 2 or 3 things that I am trying to achieve in one day is actually better for me than just having 1 thing to do. The problem for me and my (ADHD?) brain is that I get bored of a task so quickly, especially if it is monotonous data entry or analysis, so if I can do a 25 minute burst while listening to the Forest app and then have a little break and then come back and sit down and do something else for another 25 mins then that makes all this admin stuff a lot more manageable.

Usually in my job I am out in schools or community spaces talking to people, I am a very social person and my job is being a communicator. So normally I avoid this type of daily screen work like the plague/coronavirus, it’s a bit like torture lol. But actually this extra time we have now to do all this admin is good in a way, because now all this ‘boring’ stuff I’ve been putting off, I have no excuse not to do it and it is quite interesting, in manageable chunks at least 🙂

In terms of what I need to truly focus on today… Well, I think for me it is just making sure to be present in the moment.

Just doing one thing at a time. Breaking it down and chunking it!

So if thats data analysis work I will focus on that and close down all the other windows on my computer and just have that document open on my screen. I will move my phone off the table and all the other pieces of paper relating to other tasks will get filed away so they aren’t in my eye-line.

When I go for my run outside later, I will remember to look at the sky and smile at each person I run past at a safe distance. Then later when I am reading in the garden in the Sun or sat on the sofa with the dogs watching TV I will focus on being present and grateful that I am alive and I have a job I love.

What’s one thought that has been getting the best of you lately?

AND How has it been influencing your behaviour?

Ok this is the 2nd journal prompt from the Morning Journaling website- so I thought I would give it a go.

I guess in lockdown here with my parents, what are we like 4 or 5 weeks in?

I’m sleeping in my old room, surrounded by my old fluffy toys and I am 35, so that’s a bit weird I guess.

So yes along those lines I think one of my main thoughts that has been getting the best of me is that I am regressing lol….I am single, back in Wales and perhaps a bit scared that that is going to be it for a long time. I will be single and adrift, without direction or another person to direct my love at.

It’s actually not such a sad thought to me though, it scary but I am not sad, not anymore anyway.

This fear, is also really interesting. Like I don’t necessarily feel like it’s a bad thing.

It’s very cliche to say but I am using this lockdown to actually try enjoy this extra time, where I am literally forced to remain single…I can do whatever I want…I can just take the time to assess what it is I really want.

What do I love about myself?

What I need to go forward?

What do I want my life to look like in the future?

Do I need someone else?

I am still not sure what I want to be honest.

So I just have to keep going with what feels right.

For right now.

There is some fear that this might be it.

But there is also a kind of fire in me about what could happen, it feels like I am on the edge of something and that’s exciting.

What do you need to forgive yourself for ?

Ok, I found another journal prompt website on marcandangel.com and the first one is the title of this post.

It’s about forgiveness. It’s a bit deep and scary this subject, but I guess that is the whole point of this, the act of the journaling; to stir up your thoughts, bring them to the forefront of your mind, make you see them and embrace them.

It forces you to think about the impact these deep, inner thoughts might be having on your wellbeing and your actions going forward.

I think the only thing that comes to mind for me personally is that I need to forgive myself for being so in love with someone, and still not being ‘over it’.

It’s taken me three years to get over the betrayal, and I am still not ‘over it’ and still that feels like too long to just be sad.

I am just so annoyed at myself, I am annoyed that it still feels like the volume has been turned down now, on my whole life.

Why has it taken me longer to ‘get over it’ than the time we was actually together as a couple? That’s mad.

And I do beat myself up about it, and I shouldn’t!

I should forgive myself for loving him so deeply. And forgive him for leaving.

For replacing me.

I think I shouldn’t still think of him; almost everyday, but I do.

I have to accept I may never be over it…I guess I just have to embrace all that I’ve learned from having my heart broken; from trusting someone so completely and then having that destroyed.

Because in the end it changed me into the person I am today. Maybe the problem is I don’t know if I like this person?

I think I miss that other ‘Sadie’.

The Sadie from before. She wasn’t so cynical and jaded. She trusted in people.

She loved with an open heart and so completely.

She was all in.

I don’t think I’ll be all in again. But I have to forgive myself for that.

I miss her.

But I have to forgive myself for changing.

This is what evolution looks like I guess.

Forgive yourself.

See me

I don’t feel seen 

I feel like no one knows me,

not really.

He didn’t want to know me. 

Not really.

What was in my soul, he never asked…

So I didn’t want him

And I was; I am enough. 

For myself, till this all happened 

Follow your heart they say

But my heart is confused 

I want her to know me 

But I can’t handle it 

I’ve been here before

What if she rejects me too? 

Journal Prompts

I am still feeling really uninspired at the moment so I had a look online for some journal prompts to inspire my writing of this blog.

The problem is that for someone like me with ADHD (self diagnosed :P) is that I then spent about 30mins reading through all the possible prompts on about 20 different websites; deciding that each prompt and suggestion wasn’t appropriate/I wasn’t in the mood to write about that particular subject.

So, yeah, perhaps journal prompts aren’t for me and this blog needs to be more natural and not forced…Just stuff I feel like writing about when the mood so takes me.

AND If this means I don’t write anything for days then so be it.

However, with all that being said I did actually find a journal prompt site that did have some good ones on. These were on discobumblebee.com and were on the subject of depression and anxiety.

I guess in these difficult times of self isolation and self distancing journalling might be a good idea. Even if you don’t normally suffer with depression and anxiety, you probably are experiencing it at the moment.

It’s actually a great opportunity for everyone, because we all need a little help with our mental health, especially now. Journaling can give perspective, perhaps. Anyway, it seems like a good place to start to think about what we have to be grateful for; even though this whole situation is really pretty sh*t – we are human so we have to have hope.

So here is my first ‘successful’ attempt at a post inspired by a journal prompt:

‘List 20 things that make you smile’

  1. Cwtches with my doggie siblings
  2. Creme eggs
  3. Rolo yoghurts
  4. Nutella
  5. Starting a new book (actual books preferable over Kindle books)
  6. Buying new books (many kindle book buying binges have already occurred during lock down!)
  7. Listening to audio books while running (especially thrillers)
  8. Matt Haig’s books/quotes/audiobooks/insta/twitter posts
  9. Travelling (preferably on planes but trains and boats are cool too. Not a fan of buses or taxis!)
  10. Long walks/hikes in the mountain or by the coast
  11. New shoes (specifically those with make me look like a gangsta)
  12. Phone calls with my parents
  13. Voice mail conversations with my friends in far flung countries
  14. Decaf coconut lattes (specifically from Pret on the Uni campus)
  15. Astronomy themed clothing
  16. Dancing (kitchen dancing will have to do for now!)
  17. Dead lifts (#GetThemGains)
  18. Singing/ rapping (specifically to Lady Gaga, Eminem or the Greatest Showman soundtrack)
  19. Roller derby (I miss my lovely roller wenches :/)
  20. Looking at the sky/stars/moon

Well that didn’t happen…

Well my grand declaration to write everyday that didn’t really happen did it ?!

I can’t even blame the Coronovirus because I was already ‘working from home’ when I made this declaration to write everyday…

I guess I was wanting to be productive, to do something useful in the extra time at home in front of the screen; those 30minutes I would have spent commuting I could now spend them on writing.

Writing is my dream after all.

I guess it didn’t happen because actually I am still grieving.

Grieving for all the work events that wont happen, all the interactions with the public and school children I won’t get to have. The trip to Munich with the roller derby girls, the Tenerife field trip, training with the Triathlon club at the Quays, the Southampton 10k…I am grieving still for all these things that aren’t going to happen…

Sure, I have recently finished three books just these last two days, and my XP on Duolingo has doubled. So that is positive.

I actually feel like I am doing more ‘admin’ and data crunching at home and I am definitely having more meetings…but this is weird. And I actually really dislike admin and meetings. I crave social contact in my job and in life generally lol… It is not ok and I am not going to pretend it is.

So yeah, I guess the point of this post is that I am not going to beat myself up for not writing every day. And I am just going to do my best to make the most of this situation, it is a big change, for everyone.

So yes, don’t put too much pressure on yourself to DO STUFF while in lockdown.

Just be kind to each other. And to yourself. OK?

#WeGotThis

How do I Love ?

I was debating whether to post this ‘poem’? But it might help someone, and I did say I would do a daily post so here goes.

When my brain is full, usually when I am in bed at night, before sleeping… I really want to go to sleep of course, but I can’t, because my thoughts are moving so fast and they fly off in tangents and it all gets a bit much and it usually makes me feel a bit panicked. Call it anxiety, call it anything you like but I have absolutely no hope of falling asleep.

So I have found that a good thing for me to do is just ‘brain dump’ these thoughts either into the Notes app on my phone or write them in the notebook. I don’t really think what I am writing too much; I just get them out onto the page.

So yes, this post is basically just one of the Notes from my phone which I wrote about Love; when my brain was panicking about moving on. I am sure other people must experience this fear that they may never find love again…?

I feel some comfort in that I have experienced Love in my life. That mad, intense, aching love. So maybe I should be happy with this, and I think this ‘poem’ is me trying to make peace with that.

If you find the pain in this post disturbing I’m sorry, but hopefully it will ring true for someone and let them feel less alone in their fearful thoughts.

Please don’t worry about my mental state too after you read this, it is quite raw I know. But weirdly when I do these ‘brain dumps’ as I call them, and even when I read them back and I’m like ‘bloody hell, that’s some dark sh**, I sound like I am on the edge of a breakdown’…but often, I am not, I don’t feel as dramatic and hopeless and the post actually sounds. jJust the act of writing it all down, and not thinking about how depressing it sounds. The ‘getting it out’. I instantly feel better, and those thoughts don’t trouble me anymore.

And then I can sleep.

How do I love?

How will I ever know someone like I thought I knew you?

I just can’t be bothered to try. 

I have hope it might happen again, I have to, but at the same time I’m so close to giving up. I’m ok with accepting I have been in love and been loved. I experienced it. It’s more than a lot of people get in a lifetime. 

This is just that parallel Universe where I’m alone. 

Maybe in the other one I’ve actually been sectioned because of being with you did that. You would have made me more crazy than I am now… This is the better outcome. It has to be. 

How do I be? How do I love? Again.

Being, is just so tiring. What’s the point? 

Well at least I felt something, I really did feel it and now maybe, it’s like I’ve had my time, so I just have to find a way to exist. But how? 

How do I stay hopeful that I will feel that love again? And to be honest do I really want to. That sh** really hurt.

But if I never feel it again, then really…what is the point? 

I’m really worried it wasn’t real for you and you are just a crazy who manipulated me and said whatever you needed to say to make me love you? Your actions never really were the evidence, it was always your words I relied on. You told me you loved me multiple times each day. But did you? 

They are just words. 

If that wasn’t real then what is? 

You’ve been with her longer than you was with me now, anyway. So I really should be over it. Really.

Why am I still so sad? 

Mainly I just feel numb. Tired.

Isn’t time supposed to heal this? 

Hurry up and heal. 

Why does healing the damage take more time than the damage took to do? 

I don’t know what I want. 

I need someone to tell me what to do. 

I just know what I don’t want. 

I don’t want you. 

I don’t want him either. 

I don’t want to go through that ache again.   

But where does this all leave me? Now I’m just writing into my notes on my phone so I don’t write to you. Cos you are with her. You moved on.

I can’t seem too.

This grief. 

This pain for all the love I had for you that now has nowhere to go. 

You still exist. You are still alive and it’s so weird I don’t know who you are now. Are you the same, or totally different? What makes your soul alive now? Do you love her?

How do you experience love without the pain.

And if you don’t feel pain when it’s over does that mean it wasn’t actually love? 

I seriously don’t think I could take that pain again. 

Maybe that’s why I’m here, on my own.

I don’t actually want to love again. 

Those times where you forget to post on Instagram

At 11pm last night I picked up my phone after my good friend left my flat. We have just spent a day just like it was the 90s; it was great.

She came and ‘called for me’ and we went on a bike ride in the forest, then we sat on the sofa watching TV and drinking tea. Then we ate dinner on our laps and watched more TV while constantly talking over it and having to rewind it constantly and then we sat on the floor and played Labyrinth (a board game from the 90s).

And suddenly it was 11pm, and it was time for her to go home.

And I realised when she left that the whole time I didn’t feel the need to post on Instagram. I did take a photo of us at the half way point of the bike ride and I sent it to my Mam, but that’s just so she knew I was outside getting some ‘fresh air’ because of the Covid-19.

It was such a good day. Maybe quite a ‘simple’ day. If you read that first paragraph again It doesn’t seem that special; not really. But I think when you are genuinely ‘having fun’ and totally living in the moment you don’t actually want to waste time posting about it…

I feel so lucky that I was a teenager in the 90s before social media to be honest.

Being a teenager really sucks as it is, and to be honest I was anxious and moody enough without having to worry about social media…the ‘World Wide Web’ and MTV only really started to get popular when I was 17, so I got to experience the excitement of it all, like making your MySpace profile look ‘so cool’ by learning a bit of html, but mainly this was all for my own benefit. I can’t ever remember obsessing about other people looking at my MySpace and what they might think of my teenage life, or the pink anime gif and stars I had chosen for my page.

For us, back then, before the Internet, it was relatively easy to live in the moment, and to have genuine shared experiences with another person. I think it was maybe easier to know them, not just the best bits of them they want to present to the world.

It was simpler times in my opnion, and don’t get me wrong when I got my dial up modem working I can remember totally losing my mind with the fact I was having an instantaneous conversation with someone in the United States, in real time! on MSN messenger…I literally spent hours waiting for him to pop up online, he wasn’t even that interesting, or at least the only thing interesting I can remember about him was that he lived in Chicago, and I was in Wales, and we was able to chat and then stuff I would say to him, he would see it straight away, imagine it, an instant penpal! OMFG!

Soon, I was on the PC in the dinning room long after my Mam had gone to bed, when she no longer needed the phone…I would be up till gone 2am most night writing pages on my yahoo! Geocities website like everyone else; well maybe not like everyone else, because I was so dedicated to writing pages and pages of ‘inspirational quotes’ on my website that I ended up getting sty’s on my eye where I didn’t blink enough in front of the screen.

Don’t get me wrong the internet is cool AF.

But yeah, make sure you take notice of those days. Those days where you genuinely had so much fun, just hanging out with another person and you didn’t actually have ‘time’ to post on social media. The truth, I think you will find, is that you did actually have the time to post, you just didn’t want to because …you was just having too much fun chatting and being alive, you were just being in that moment and time just flew away, but in a good way.

You weren’t bothered about making anyone else jealous, or showing off about what a good time you was having, because you was just genuinely having a good time.

(I am aware that writing this blog post about this amazing day might be construed as me needing to post, or show off about how awesome it was, and kinda totally contradicting the whole message; but ye…I don’t care. )

Setting Goals

So I recently finished reading James Smith’s book – ‘Not a diet book’; I say ‘reading’, I actually listened to it in my car in audio book form. But as far as I am concerned that is still reading ok!

I consumed this book very quickly, mainly I listened to it while going at 50 mph on the drive back and for to roller derby training in Portsmouth ( the M27 is becoming a smart motorway so this journey now takes one hour instead of 35 minutes). I took so many things away from this book, specifically the ‘calorie f***ing deficit’ mantra, but another thing that really stuck with me is the importance of having a daily goal, something that you do every day.

You don’t have to do ‘the thing’ particularly well, but the important thing is you do it, and do it repeatedly!

In the book James talks about sending his, now famous, daily emails; in the beginning perhaps no-one was reading them and in the beginning they probably weren’t any good. But obviously by doing this every day alongside his other media posts, something has clicked, because he now has a really big following and people do actually read those emails; well I know I do. 

I really enjoyed writing a daily blog about our adventures while I was on the Aurora Quest research expedition this January. I’ve always had the dream of being a writer, and ideally I would write a book, but at the moment I feel like I have too many ideas and I don’t know what that book would be on. So, it feels most natural right now to just to write about my daily thoughts and life (also I have some extra time right now because Covid-19 has meant all my work events/trips have been cancelled).

I have always felt it was in my soul to write, it is part of who I am and it’s possibly why I have so many beautiful notebooks scattered about my house and hidden in the bottom of rucksacks, all waiting to be filled up with my crazy thoughts on all the things.

I found writing something every day during the expedition was actually very good for me mentally, it really focused my thoughts from that day. Now my thoughts were out of my brain and on the ‘page’ they gave me a feeling of clarity and my brain felt less crowded. 

So… with all this being said I have decided to take James’ advice and make a daily goal.

For me, the goal is to write something here, everyday, it won’t always be long, it won’t always be sensical or informative, but I WILL do it!

May this post be the first of many 🙂