Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Today's flab-e-loss experiment and catching up

Neglected my blog again, but I’ve been working and in between working, trying to make sure I don’t neglect my friends, family or boyfriend.

My new love!
I’ve actually not had a bad week, apart from the massive and quite tiring shifts at work, I’ve spent time with Marc and on Sunday, had a few drinks with two of my best friends, then after yesterday’s placement, we went shopping. Luckily, I received two random job seekers payments from when I left uni and didn’t have a job, so I bought a pair of boots as a ‘well done for getting off the dole’ present.

So there has been little chance for anything that scares me, unless you count being in charge of a group of 11 year olds and not knowing my way to the buildings I was meant to be showing them! I kept quite calm, I know I didn’t exactly seem sure of myself, but at least I know where everything is if I have to do it again. My group were definitely the worst behaved, but I think that was just bad luck.

I did something else different today. Egged on by my sister, I bought a set of four sessions on a Flab-e-loss machine at the local tanning shop. For anyone baffled and wondering what a Flab-e-loss is, it’s a poor man’s power plate, you use it for ten minutes and it violently vibrates your fat in the most unattractive way possible. The sensation in my legs at one point can only be described as like being electrocuted, without the horrible twitchy heart racing sensation (owning a horse, I’ve accidentally touched my fair share of electric fences.) To be honest, I’m dubious it even works. I was nervous about giving it a go, but I have nothing to lose. My uncertainly comes from the fact that I’m not really sure ten minutes of your thighs bouncing together involuntarily can help tone them up, the woman on before me who claims to have been using them regularly for months certainly didn’t seem to be reaping many benefits (she was far from toned) yet swore she had lost inches from her waist. I very much doubt I’ll keep it up, I probably toned up more from the run to the shop and back than the ten minutes I spent realising I have a lot more body fat than I previously thought as even my back began to wobble.

So that was today’s fun experiment. Again, I’m sorry for the lengthy absence, but I’ve spoken before about how sometimes you have to prioritise, and this week I have prioritised work as, well it’s my work and I need money and spending time socialising, because generally, if I can’t fit something in, it tends to be my friends, which isn’t really fair on them. I’m taking a little bit of time for myself right now by writing this and intend to post it then sit with my kindle.

And also a huge well done to Team GB for getting team silver in the Equestrian! I was so anxious watching it in the best possible way! Great result from a great team. 

Go GB!

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Late night post explaining the last one

I am hopeless with technology and unless it is Facebook, Twitter, my iPhone or a word processor, to be honest, its trial and error. My friend recently set up a beauty blog and it is going really well really quickly, so I allowed her to take control for a while and sign me up to a blog hopper thing, detailed below, so hopefully, I can start to reach a winder audience.

I'm also attempting to work on one of my creative writing chapters and failing because it's 12.31am and I'm very tired! However I'm trying to remember that life does not stop at 11pm and that I can probably churn out some half decent writing. This entry being the exception.

To be honest, I just felt that I needed to update after the BBlogger post, because it seems so out of character with the rest of the blog, particularly because it was my friend who wrote the comments and picked a couple of the blogs I'm now following. If that is you, don't worry, I have since read through what she has written and while it is not in my style, it is sincere and I love reading other people's blogs, so keep up the good work guys! Apologies to anyone who noticed the temporary hijack of the positive fear!

Oh and new followers and viewers, follow on Twitter: @ThePositiveFear

Bbloggers Unite

Wednesday 25th July 2012

Quick post encouraged by a fellow blogger friend who has signed me up for this:


Hoping to get a few followers and hopefully more people reading and enjoying!

There are a few simple rules to follow, but it's really easy to understand. Normal blogging will resume with the next post, probably coming at the weekend.

Learning to take my own advice

So a busy couple of days and lots more stuff going on, but focusing on the positive, The Dark Knight Rises has to be the best film I’ve seen all year. I went to see it with Marc when it came out last Friday and we were so speechless that we walked from the cinema and drove from the car park without uttering much more than ‘what did you think?’ We took a moment to gather our thoughts then geeked out all the way home.

Due to an unfortunate series of events, I ended up having to bail on plans with Marc at last minute the other day, a lot was going on and I was already upset, but I managed to convince myself that he was annoyed and not talking to me and several texts and unreturned phone calls later, convinced myself we were in trouble. After talking to one of my friends, I realised just how common this is. Why do we over react like this? While I know he would have to be a total arse to throw four years of a happy relationship away because of one night of cancelled plans and that if he was upset, he would calm down, my inner psychopath was working herself into a frenzy, alternating between being angry at him for being such an arse (even though technically now I think about it, he hadn’t done anything) and feeling abandoned and upset and desperately trying to engage him in conversation by sending messages to both his phone and iPad.

I asked him about it yesterday, to which he looked confused and said ‘there wasn’t anything wrong. You needed to stay home and I’d just finished a twelve hour shift, was in a horrible mood and didn’t want to see or speak to anyone really and felt like that all weekend. It wasn’t you and I was asleep for a lot of your texts.’

So I had worked myself up over nothing again. While this does prove my theory that men also have a time of month where they hate life and want to eat everything and sulk, it also makes me feel like a total drip. What ever happened to women being strong and independent? If it was one of my friends behaving how I was I would have told them to ‘man up and get on with your life, it doesn’t stop for him.’ But when it comes down to it, I care just a little bit too much, and am partial to a bit of self-blame, whether the conflict is with Marc, my family or my friends. So I need to change this. I need to start viewing the situation as though I were an outsider and take my own advice, even if it is uncharacteristic and therefore scary. I need to stay calm and not jump to conclusions. In this case, I should have told myself to ‘calm down, it might not be anything you’ve done, and if it is, he’ll calm down eventually.’

Currently, I’m trying to put myself forward for a year 7 orienteering day at the uni on Monday. It’s a paid position, which is always a bonus as yet again, I am overdrawn and car tax is looming, but I have no idea what I’m meant to be to be doing. I’ve not once worked one of these events and felt like a bit of an idiot emailing to ask what is expected of me. In fact, I almost pulled out because I didn’t want to look inexperienced and stupid next to the workers that have done it all the time. But I realised I’ve looked worse. I’ve just spent 6 weeks running a workshop and before that, did a starter activity with a class whose full time teacher was watching every minute of it. I’ve done scarier things, all experience is good experience and it’s only one day. Plus it helps towards my car tax, so I’d be stupid to turn it down.

As for the rest of the day, I shall be making the most of my day off by reading and maybe seeing one of my friends for a bit, which hopefully won’t cost me money, because we all know I have very little will power where food or fun is concerned. 

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Thinking about the future

So the other day we were observed at placement. Predictably, it was one of the more difficult sessions we have done, but I also think it made us try harder and we got positive feedback and two new potential references as a result.

I often have second thoughts about what direction I’m going to go in with my career, but I think my main issue is that I’m scared to commit to something in case it makes me unhappy, however, it’s never too late to change your mind and this is something I need to remember.

All experience is good experience. The bad experiences make you stronger and the good ones open doors and let you see where your strengths lie. Your job does not define you, sure, it makes up a big part of your life, but it does not define who you are, nor does it determine who you will be or what you will do in future.
One quite personal example of this is my Dad. He has worked for the same company for 16 years and now due to a series of events and a long time thinking about it, he feels it’s time to move on. He wants to pursue his passion and ambition of running a charter fishing business full time, he’s done it at weekends with great success, but now he gets the chance to really make a go of it. I know the economy is terrible and he’s 52, which some may consider a bit old for a change of job, but I think it’s never too late to do what makes you happy, and he has plenty of qualifications to fall back on and had faith that he won’t end up out of work for long, if at all.

It’s so easy to think that whatever you do after school or university will define you forever and ever, but it’s never forever and ever, it’s only the beginning of a life time of decisions and admittedly, not all of them will be right or ideal, but it’s the experience that counts, and even a bad experience is more life affirming and character building than no experience at all. Let your hobbies and interests and the friends you make and people you love define you, don’t worry so much about the job! We all need money and we all need to work and may not always enjoy it, but you can never lose sight of what’s important, which is your happiness. If you’re stuck in a job that makes you unhappy, view your situation as temporary, you won’t always work there, you can still be anything you want to be and it’s never too late.

So what am I going to do? Well, I have a year to decide and nothing to stop me taking any opportunity that comes my way. I’m only 21 and have a life time of stupid, badly thought out decisions ahead of me, and to be honest, I can’t wait to see what’s next. 

Monday, 16 July 2012

Moving on from yesterday

Tomorrow I go to placement, and then am visiting Marc until Thursday afternoon, so won’t get chance to write tomorrow or Wednesday. I don’t want to leave on a bad note after last night.

I don’t like to leave anything badly, it’s something I can always remember my sister telling me when she used to instruct and help my horse riding. It’s a bit different with horse riding, because say your horse keeps refusing a jump and you quit, you won’t push yourself to do it next time, and the horse will know it can get away with it. So I would never end on a bad note, and that’s something I have since applied to everything I do. I don’t want to leave my blog entry, especially for new readers (welcome by the way! I see my stats have increased again) because I don’t want them to think this blog is just for ranting and moaning about how unfair life is.

So although yesterday’s online rant was beneficial, today I have moved on and forced myself back into some kind of routine, even if I did wake up ridiculously late. It would have been so easy to let my foul mood continue and to just sit and brood, but I got up, showered and dressed, then went to town to buy a birthday present for my mam and some clear nail varnish. The rest of the day just fell into place. After seeing Alley (the wonderful blogger of Smiling,moving,living,loving and ten year strong friend) at work selling birthday cards, I thought I’d see what she was up to when she finished and we ended up going for a late lunch and a needlessly long drive to get there. I then printed off some worksheets for tomorrow, spent an hour having a drink with my parents at the pub. I thought that would be weird now that I work there, but surprisingly not. After that, I went to my sister’s house for our new Monday night tradition of watching Top Model and The Inbetweeners and ordering take away.

I also bought a new top from River Island, because it was beautiful and only £10 and I thought ‘why not?’ The answer to that should always be ‘because you have no money, Rachel. You are on minimum wage and the taxman currently owes you £50 and your car tax is due in August.’ I’m actually hoping that my tax rebate will pay for my car tax.

So I’m back to my usual self. Keeping busy and living beyond my means. In all the recent change, I have perhaps lost track of my long term aims, so am actually looking forward to going to placement as it is my last day at that school and giving it my all. The man from uni who has helped organise it all is coming along too, so I hope it goes well so he can put me forward for other opportunities in September. It’s been a great experience and I’ve got to work with some really ambitious kids, I hope they’ve been inspired by what we’ve had to say, or at least that they remember it in future when they think about applying for further education.

I’ve often said that my current situation is not ideal, and it’s often infuriating, but this may be the only year of my life where I have the independence of an adult without all of the responsibilities that come with it, and without education. I don’t earn a great deal, but I earn enough to get by if I stop buying clothes, and I get to spend time with my family, friends and Marc, which makes me happy and I can focus on the things I enjoy. I have it good really, and am surrounded by many more helpful and supportive people who I love than I am negative people, so really, yesterday’s rant was a bit unnecessary. Things have a way of righting themselves, and if they don’t, we are adaptable!

So tomorrow I get back into the swing of things and as for the rest of my night, I’m finally going to start reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Nothing like jumping on the bandwagon late!

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Dealing with anger

I was going to write a lovely little entry about how even when things are bad and you relapse back into negative thinking and unhappiness, the little things can make it all better again. And they can and most certainly do make a monumental difference.  For example, I felt really down yesterday, and it was little acts of kindness that cheered me up. A birthday party at work cut a slice of cake for all of the staff that was shaped like a boob, they tipped generously and then I got off an hour early.

Thanks to a few generous tips last night, I didn’t really lose any pay from finishing early, and ended up with a slice of the boob cake. Then I had a spontaneous visit to Marc’s, who remembered me mentioning that my mam had played two songs from the Top Gun soundtrack that morning and now I really wanted to watch it. (Thanks to Top Gun, I have a thing for leather jackets, aviators and general 80’s fashion.) So he found it on Netflix, ready for when I got there. These little things most definitely made my day, just like a long walk with my sister and a giant can of Red Bull cheered up today.

However as is the case with this week, what happens when you are not the cause of your unhappiness? What happens when bad things happen that are out of your control? Or when people act like a special kind of arsehole and that is the root of your unhappiness? As opposed to negative thinking or being inactive/unproductive/stuck in a rut as I’ve written about before.

I can’t give too many details, mainly because a) I don’t know who reads my blog and b) there is all kinds of trouble I could bring upon myself by naming, shaming and blaming, so I will refrain from divulging the details, even though I bet most people are dying to know. But this isn’t about me; it’s about encouraging others through my own struggles. As well as to some extent, entertaining them. I hope.

Let’s just say people have hacked me off and things are going on that I can in no way, shape or form control. I’ve spent a couple of days feeling sad and helpless, unmotivated and not doing anything about it, however as I was driving home from work, (driving and in the bath are where most of my best subconscious thoughts occur) something in me just clicked and suddenly, I wasn’t sad, I was angry.

Firstly, when anger strikes and you can’t address the cause directly, or in no way that will change the situation without causing more trouble or getting arrested, sacked or hated depending on the context, you need an outlet. The air in my car was blue with curses and swear words, mainly favouring the f’s, b’s and maybe even a whispered c. That wasn’t really enough, but I suddenly wanted to blog and I wanted to write. I wanted to do something, anything, for myself. While anger is a negative emotion, it is a much more powerful one than sadness. It’s proactive and a motivator and shouldn’t be entirely shunned. Anger says you’re not happy, but you will act upon it, you will do something about it, whether it is a silent act of rebellion like writing, or channelling your rage into something like sport or running or something pointless that will make you feel better anyway like punching a pillow or singing angrily to Papa Roach in the car.

Finding an outlet for the anger is satisfying, and once you’ve acted upon it, you can move on and get on with normal life, as opposed to harbouring suppressed resentment. The more Christian or maybe just more moral or mature of us would say ‘forgive’ those who have angered you. But right now, I don’t really want to forgive or forget, so I will just take solace in the fact that I can’t change anything, I can’t stop people being special breeds of arseholes, but at least I myself, am not an arsehole. And writing this has helped me calm down, and given me a much better blog entry than it would have been. 

Apologies for excessive use of the word arse. It was the least offensive swear word I could think of and non swear words just didn't cut it. 

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Amy's 21st

Without going into detail, this week has been pretty difficult. As I often do when things get difficult, I disappeared off to Marc’s for two days, which is so much easier now I can drive there! What took my 90 minutes and two busses now takes me 20-30 minutes depending on traffic. I had a chilled few days; we went to the cinema and out for lunch and I returned this morning feeling much happier.

The great thing about where I live :) 
I came back this morning and still haven’t got back into running, so I gave it a go, ran about 1km and then found myself taking pictures of my surroundings. I went down to the beach and dene again and just ended up wandering around, then sitting on a bridge, watching water from the beck flow down to the sea. I enjoyed it and it was beautiful, but I really do need to run again. Perhaps somewhere ugly where I can’t get distracted as I’ve eaten two three course meals in 24 hours.  

The rest of the day was spent baking cakes with Alley and organising where we were going to pick Clare up from. It is my friend, Amy’s 21st birthday today and we had arranged to go out for a meal. I love my friends to bits, but it’s the first time I’ve seen them all together since finishing uni, and if I’m honest, I was really worried that without uni, we wouldn’t have anything to talk about. We’re all getting on with different things, none of which are what we originally planned, so we’ve all been really distracted lately and not really had time for each other. I suppose a lot of what I'm worried about is the fact we're all moving on. We're all getting on with different things and have no idea whats next, and I guess I just often wonder if we have a part in each other's plans anymore, or whether the end of uni meant the end of a friendship.

However, it wasn’t awkward at all. I was quickly reminded why we’re all friends in the first place. It’s because we’re all strange, slightly awkward individuals with our own quirks and individual interests. If anything, not having uni anymore gave us more to talk about, plus, we're all in the same, uncertain yet ambitious boat. I was over the moon when Amy said she’d been following my blog, and even told her mam about it. She’s quite shy and anxious, and she said it’s helped her stop worrying so much what people think about her and now she wants to do something every day that scares her.

Me, Alley, Amy and Clare
I tried to explain that I don’t do as much that scares me as I should, but sometimes even just something you wouldn’t normally do, like talk to someone new or like I often find myself doing, writing for the sake of writing, may not seem like big things, but actually help over-come self-consciousness. Whatever she’s taken from it, I’m just thrilled that she’s been inspired by something I wrote, that my writing has even just made one person think or one person put themselves into a situation they wouldn’t normally be in and turn a negative to a positive. It reminded me why I write this blog really, that it’s not always going to be exciting and new, but sometimes the most basic of fears are the most human, and the most difficult to overcome. It’s almost like it’s in our nature to expect to be judged negatively.

So we had a nice night. Laughed at ridiculous jokes about cheese, discussed how sticky toffee pudding might make you feel funny and just generally had a laugh. We may not have uni, but they’re still my friends and we do still exist outside of our degrees, so I feel quite stupid for thinking it would be awkward! Of course it wasn’t awkward, we’ve just all met through education, and as long as we keep in touch and keep making time for each other, we can support each other through more.

And I’m going to work on my other writing when I have posted this. For some reason this week, I find myself thinking about it when I’m not working on it, so I think it’s time to take advantage of this new found enthusiasm and get something down.

I’ve also noticed a big jump in page views, particularly from the USA, so welcome to The Positive Fear, I hope you enjoy reading my musings, even when they’re not particularly noteworthy. It’s all about the little things you know!

Follow me on Twitter: @ThePositiveFear

Friday, 6 July 2012

Just checking in again!

I finally got that feeling back, the one where I’m writing and I’m thinking of nothing else. Where I understand my characters and know what I want the reader to see, where I truly care about what is happening with them and want to keep the plot moving. I decided to ignore the ‘naff’ comment, got out of my writing rut and did something productive with my night in. I re-read the last couple of chapters, corrected a few bits and started on another one. All in all, I’ve written about 1000 words tonight and have 10,200 in total. I need to make time to do this more!

So I got my new haircut today and I love it. I unfortunately couldn’t re-start the fitness as British summertime is in full swing and it’s been torrential rain and thunderstorms all day, so the last place I wanted to go was running. But I have done my placement work. Monday really isn’t as far away as I think, and while I have 10 or 12 hours of work to get through this weekend (I can’t remember. I need to check the rota when I go in tomorrow,) I know that with that, seeing Marc and seeing my horse, it will fly. After the disappointing placement the other day, the last thing I want to do is go in unprepared on Monday. I want to make the best of it, so have done the work tonight, while I have nothing else to do but read, write and maybe watch Season 7 of Scrubs.

Talking about my writing, I’ve been toying with the idea for a while, and after uploading pictures of my new clothes yesterday, I’m thinking about starting a fashion and beauty blog too. However as I sit here in my baggiest, most faded, grungy looking jumper and leggings, I’m not entirely sure I have any authority, influence or credibility when it comes to fashion, so perhaps I should just keep track of ideas and if I find myself considering it again, go for it.

I think the only scary thing I’ve done today apart from facing my own writing again, was admitting to a room full of people at the hairdressers that I don’t actually like Fifty Shades of Grey – That I read 100 odd pages of it and lost interest. However, I’m not going to slag it off, good on E.L James. It’s doing really well and has definitely got people talking. As an aspiring writer, I’m far from perfect. In fact, have in the past been called ‘naff’ and ‘boring.’

And I realise that this is a boring blog entry, and that would be because apart from my new hair and writing, I have done very little of any interest to anyone today. So I will end it here, happy with my renewed productivity and interest in things I love and new hair. I’m going to go watch Scrubs and get an early night! I’m having the weekend away from blogging, so will hopefully return with all manner of interesting things to talk about!

Thanks for your continued support, interest and patience! 

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Guilty Pleasures

I haven’t even been paid yet and I’m already treating myself. As soon as I left for Middlesbrough on Tuesday to meet a friend for coffee, I knew that I was going to be buying myself a pair of jeans from Topshop. I was wearing jeans and a top, so didn't need to take a t-shirt in to try with the jeans, but I had spotted a t shirt I liked so took that in the changing rooms as well, you know, just to see how the jeans would look with it. Needless to say, I ended up with both items. It would have been rude not to.

I actually do like Cash - And it
looks great with a leather jacket!
I have also booked a hair appointment for tomorrow, but view that as a necessity. Anything that looked remotely styled or like a fringe grew itself out months ago and my sister’s attempts at home colouring my hair have ended up patchy. It looked intentional and quite cool is what I told myself at first, but now the ends are practically black, roots are fair and in between is a combination of black, brown, copper and natural blondish patches and dead ends. I don’t know why I let it get this bad. I will end up walking into the hairdressers and sobbing ‘please fix it again?’

So I talked about getting the work/life balance right, and this week I have got it totally wrong in the opposite, more fun way. I’ve seen two of my friends and then absconded completely from Tuesday night to a few hours ago to Marc’s where apart from going to the cinema and for a small walk, we have done virtually nothing productive.

Placement was brief and not as well organised as it should have been, which led to an awkward hour of me and the girl I run it with trying to seem like we knew what we were doing, when all we were in fact doing was making the kids do drawings in an attempt to engage them. Lesson learnt. Just because last week was cancelled, does not mean we can do no prep work at all and think we can just wing this week. Even though nothing disastrous happened, I think both of us felt that we had let ourselves down a little bit, so have planned next weeks and actually intend to not get too distracted by other things, and to rediscover our enthusiasm.

So I’ve let myself slip financially, professionally and nutritionally. I’ve been for two runs since doing the Race for Life and still haven’t sent my sponsor money back. I’ve been to the gym once in the past month and have just gorged myself on chocolate buttons. And I still haven’t written creatively since getting my feedback with the word ‘naff’ in it. I didn’t even really feel like writing this right now, but knew that I needed to get back out of my lazy habit, as I don’t want to get stuck back in a rut of doing nothing and feeling bad about it. I’m glad I did write, as it’s taken on a life of its own as writing often tends to do, and I have been able to address my little relapses.

So tomorrow, I think it will be new hair and a new start. Well not so much a new start as a kick up the backside. I’m not at work so I have no excuse. I will be healthy again, start writing again and start putting my money towards paying my parents back for car insurance and putting back into my ISA for potential holidays and adventures instead of using the account as a bail-out fund.

It's not often I find jeans that fit me properly, but Topshop's Leigh
supersoft skinny jeans are a God-send!
But that’s not to say that the last few days of indulging whims haven’t been fun. I loved being able to say yes to my £52 Topshop splurge (I’m dragging out use of my student discount) and saying yes to coffees, lunches and a late night showing of Spider-Man. I loved lying around with Marc, stuffing ourselves with chocolate and skipping the gym and most certainly do not regret booking tomorrow’s hair appointment. I’m a firm believer that you have to treat yourself or take a day or two to do nothing but enjoy your own or someone else’s company, else you will go mad. After all, all work and no play make Jack a dull boy. (I MUST re-read The Shining!) 

But it is important not to let these little guilty pleasures get out of hand else you lose sight of what you’re working towards, or eventually become miserable as well as fat, penniless and stuck in a rut.

 So its not so much back to work, but back to organisation, back to doing instead of just being, happy in the knowledge that I will be doing instead of being with good hair, plenty of sleep and a fantastic pair of jeans. 

Monday, 2 July 2012

Addressing the work/life balance

Just another short one tonight because it's getting late.

I mentioned yesterday about how sometimes, you just have to slow down, even if it means saying no to things and just focus on the big commitments. Well today was a perfect example of how if you focus on the big things and make time for them, then the little, more fun things you wanted to do just follow, without you having to panic and rush around trying to fit them into your schedule.

I went for my shift at work and it was completely dead. I pulled two pints, made six soft drinks, waited on one table and checked on another. All of which took about half an hour. Then the other two and a half hours were either spent cleaning things for the sake of cleaning or filling out the training sheets that I just rushed through the first time. Then I got let off an hour early.

On my list of things I wanted to do this week, I wanted to ride my horse. Riding is something I have been doing for 15 years or so and I have had my horse for nine. I'm lucky that my horse lives out and is pretty self sufficient as far as domestic horses go, because between me and my sister, we only just manage to look after her properly with everything else we have going on. It's so easy to fall out of the habit of riding and just fall into the cycle of bring in, groom, keep in, turn out, muck out instead, especially when you're in a bit of a rush or the weather is bad, and riding is something that as you get older, I find that if you stop doing it, it makes it more intimidating when you do. You wonder how the horse will react to the seemingly spontaneous ride. Will they be more spooky? Will it be difficult and undisciplined? So you fall into the trap of 'I'll do it at the weekend' and then you get there and the arena is in constant use and you think 'I'll do it when it's quieter.' It's a vicious cycle that today I decided to break. I brought my horse in, groomed, tacked up and rode. And I loved it.

Yes she was hard work, which I expected because she's not the best schooled horse in the world and she has had about three weeks doing nothing but eat, crap, escape from her paddock and sleep, but she worked really hard and I enjoyed it and feel like it may have been the first step towards getting back into the habit of riding.

So I got home at 5pm and suddenly had all of this spare time that I didn't think I would have. So I have watched some TV, painted my nails, chatted to my dad and looked into my breakdown cover, and now I am laying with my laptop, blogging and planning to make a CD for my car before bed. Because I'm old school and my car stereo won't do anything flash like plugging an ipod or phone into it.

So that is that. I have work training in the morning and managed to rearrange plans with my friends for tomorrow. Things should never be all work and no play, but when you over plan them, the fun quickly disappears from play. So focus on the work, and then the things you want to do soon follow, and feel even more welcome for it.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Just say no

I feel like I’ve been hit by a bus. Last night I ended up at work until 12.30am and went back for another all day shift today. And have to go back tomorrow. I know I wanted a job, but this is a shock to the system! However, I have finally stopped getting stomach cramps before work and driving, so immersing myself in stressful situations seems to be working.

I did want a job, and do need the money, but don’t like not being in control of when I’m free. I’m a total control freak in other words, and a chronic people pleaser. I don’t like saying no to people in case they think I’m a bad friend, bad girlfriend, bad employee, bad horse owner, bad person in general. I just always have a fear of not being good enough.

Since starting uni, I’ve always tried to do everything. I’m fantastic at juggling and like to think I have my work/life balance sussed. However, I’ve come to realise that sometimes, the very work involved in trying to keep this balance throws it all out of whack and just makes everything more stressful.
To put this into some sort of perspective, here is a list of things I want to and have to do this week:

-Work for placement
-Work on my blog
-Work on my creative writing
-See my horse and ride
-See Marc
-See my friends for coffee
-Go to the gym
-Go running
-Get my hair done
-Go for drinks with a girl I made friends with at work
-Do my nails
-Re-watch Easy A and Mean Girls
-Read Drive and start on The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Now there is my problem. I’m working 17 hours this week and most of those things are pretty time consuming. The only way round this is to pick the things that have to be done, in this case, work and placement. Then plan everything else around it. Now as technically I don’t have a weekend with work and all, I want to spend two days with Marc, so as I’ll already be out of town, I can go to his after and spend the next day with him and spend time with him. I may get to see him another day this week, but I need to find out when he is working too.

So then the least time consuming things like my horse and my writing. Well I do them around the big things. They’re responsibilities, but they’re also enjoyable and still ‘me time.’ I go for drinks with the girl from work because it will be fun and different and I don’t know when we will next have the same night off. My other friends, I was meant to be seeing tomorrow, but my work rota changed. So there’s the thing that scares me: That I have to say no.

I know I don’t make enough time for them, but I also know that now we’re all doing different things, it’s always going to be difficult and as friends, they’ll understand. We all have plans for someone’s birthday next week anyway, so I’ll get to see them then. They won’t think any less of me, they won’t hate me and bitch about me or never speak to me again, they have had to cancel at various times in our friendship, so me doing it won’t hurt anyone.

So as for the little things like my hair, nails and reading, they will still get done. My hair appointment is booked so I can’t rearrange because I did last time, and I think it’s massively important for everyone to take even just ten minutes to unwind with a cuppa and a book, or some music and a bottle of nail varnish. Or for any male readers, some Call of Duty or whatever men do when alone. (After four years, Marc is still often a mystery!)

So if you find yourself with a list like mine and struggling to manage or make time for yourself, say no before you make yourself ill, even if it’s just fifteen minutes or so to sit with a coffee. The world will not end if you do.