I am now more than half way through this challenge and have a whole new respect for content writers. I knew it wouldn’t be easy but this is a lot more challenging than I anticipated. Challenging in an awesome way though, nothing is more satisfying than writing a post I am proud of.
After a particularly heavy weekend I was in no frame of mind to write, being so hung over and all. So today I will put 3 days of posts together and answer this simple question – what are somethings you are trying to figure out?
I am trying to figure how to be true to myself and how to be 100% authentic. Sometimes I get caught up in my own thoughts and over think the littlest things. Of late I have realised that I am my own biggest obstacle. I let people and situations dictate how I act or what I can do. As much as this can be seen as an unsettling revelation it is also a blessing in disguise. It means that if I learn to trust myself and my instincts, if I spend time trying to make myself happy and not listening to others, I will begin to get out of my own way. If you are your own biggest obstacle, with hard work and a positive mindset, you can become your biggest cheerleader.
I am trying to figure out how to have patience. There is still so much I want to accomplish, at a certain point you wonder if your head is in the clouds. Will I ever have enough money to move out of my parents house? Will I ever find love? Will I ever have the booming career I always wanted? I know I’m still young and all things take time.
‘Have patience. Everything is difficult before it is easy.’
I KNOW I have to trust the journey and keep doing what I’m doing. Things don’t come into existence over night, it takes what feels like years of hard work to get that pay off one day. If there’s any place you are falling short, try filling in those gaps in these quiet years. Understand that one day you will be older. The probability is that within 10 years you would have settled down. So rather than being impatient do what you can only do now.. now! Move in with friends, quit your job to go travelling, or work a ridiculous amount of hours in your current job. Now is the time to do those crazy things you may not be able to do in a few years.
I am trying to figure out how to truly believe I’m beautiful. This is a hard one isn’t it? We know beauty is the eye of the beholder. We know beauty isn’t skin deep. We know beautiful comes in different races, and sizes. We know there needs to be more to a person then just there looks. That doesn’t stop us looking in the mirror and not being happy with what we see sometimes. That doesn’t stop us having that friend we are the slightest bit envious because they are drop dead gorgeous, or have your dream body.
For me it comes in waves. Sometimes I’d get all doled up for a party and look in the mirror and think ‘damn girl, you lookin’ fine!’ Most of the time I look in the mirror and get that uggggh feeling. I guess this is one of those things that’s a work in progress. When I catch myself being down on my appearance I stop myself. I either find a way to fix those flaws that my mind won’t let me forget or drop it. How’s me obsessing going to make me feel better?
So there is lots I’m trying to figure out. With a lot of these I suspect it’s something you figure out over time. With age and experience comes wisdom. There is lots I know now that I didn’t when I was 18. There is lots I will know when I’m 30 that I don’t know now.
Well I haven’t completed anything on my bucket list so technically this could all count as things I’ve been putting off. Or in better terms thing’s I’m yet to do.
Going back to university and getting a degree is something I really want to do. The reason I have been putting this off is because I have already been to university. I feel I was pressured into it because that’s what you did – you finish college and go to university. I chose the wrong degree and was completely uncommitted to it from day one. I remember sleeping and drinking my way through freshers week, missing most of the introductory/ orientation days. This was a pattern that continued throughout my 3 years at university. I half-assed did everything and can’t remember going to a full week worth of lectures. However despite all this I still earned a full degree’s worth of student debt!
Some amazing things came out of my 3 year failed university adventure. I made the most amazing friendships. The friendships I made at university have lasted until this very day and I wouldnt change them for the world. I will touch more on this in my Geneva post coming up at the end of the month 🙂
I also learnt to live independently and loved it! Paying rent and bills; cooking myself up a storm in the kitchen; taking care of my own laundry and managing the weekly grocery shop are all things I successfully learnt to do on my own. This is partially the reason why I really want to move into my own place – I know I can handle it.
I now know what kind of personality matches my own in terms of living arrangements. You can’t just move in with any friend, and that’s not to say you don’t have a meaningful friendship. It just means that you are the kind of people who can remain friends as long as you DO NOT live together!
All this being said I wish I took away from this experience the one thing that I went to uni for, a degree. So in order to make this happen I have had to think about a few things. Money being the biggest thing. I’ve asked myself a few questions that have helped me make some big decisions.
What degree would you do?
I’ve been really enjoying writing and it’s something I have had always had a passion for. English Literature is what I’m thinking at the moment. Or even creative writing. I’d like to better my vocabulary and get more creative and experimental with my writing.
Full time education again?
No! I know it will take me twice as long to do it part-time but this way I could fit it around my work schedule. I need to earn while I study because I do not want to put my dreams of moving out on hold for another 3 years. I am really unfussed about how long it will take. Life isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. Slow progress is still progress.
London. I have had my fun venturing outside the capital and experienced country living. Well sort of – does Northamptonshire count as country living? I would definitely want to stay close to family, friends and job while I’m studying. Although thinking about this now, what’s stopping me from getting a job, moving away and studying in some other place?
Within the next couple of years if I can figure out a way to pay for it. At the moment I’m doing an apprenticeship with the NHS so I’m currently studying. So once I’m done with this and I’m hopefully in a new, permanent position and I can go off and get my degree.
What else would you do differently?
In one word – focus. I’m going to focus on my studies and make sure I complete with the best result I am capable of. If I really am as mature as I’d like to think, I would use this new opportunity to learn from and not repeat my past mistakes. I will have to make a pact with myself that I am going to completely commit, keep myself motivated, not procrastinate with homework!
Finally getting a degree is the biggest thing I’ve been putting off. Writing this has helped me figure out exactly how much I want it and what steps I need to take to get it. As always I’ll keep you updated 🙂
I’m going to go get researching! Any London university/course suggestions?
Honesty can be a difficult policy when it comes to getting real and sharing what you actually want from life. If you never share then no one will know if you fail. You will know though and will always wonder if the problem was that you didn’t believe in yourself. Maybe if you shared your dreams somebody out there could relate. Somebody out there could help you, the same way you could help with certain things. Somebody might quit thinking that there dreams are stupid if they hear yours are similar. So this is my bucket list / things I want to achieve. In no particular order of course…
1) Start a Stay Bliss YouTube channel
This has been on my mind for the longest time but the thought of starting my own channel terrifies me. I don’t know if I’m cut out to be a YouTuber! For one thing I have no idea how to edit videos. I know with a bit of self-belief, some classes and a lot of organisation I can do this. However for now I am very happy with blogging 🙂 I’m still working out how to use wordpress…
2) Get a tattoo
I want a ying yang tattoo somewhere on my body…
3) Travel to and around Indonesia
I have always wanted to visit Bali and want to take an eating trip around Malaysia. Their cuisine looks seriously tasty.
4) Run a Stay Bliss conference
Yes it is what it sounds like. I would like to run a 2-3 day Stay Bliss conference. A place where we can all get together and encourage each other. I’d get motivational speakers, mediation experts, beauty gurus, love experts, financial advisers to come and chat to everyone. The whole thing would be completely geared around helping people live the best most positive life they can. As you can see I’ve put a lot of thought into this. I’m just in need of money, a lot of money.
5) Get my own place
If you read my blog prior to the challenge you know that for me moving out of my parents house is the next big move for me. Right now I’m looking for a house-share. Getting my own place is something I’d like to do when I have enough money to rent on my own.
6) Work in a fun start-up company
Hover boards, scooters, rum cocktails etc working at a startup company sounds like so much fun!
7) Start again somewhere like San Francisco or Seattle
They look like really pretty, carefree places to live – that speak English.
8) Find actual real love
I guess this would be nice
9) Publish a book
Something I would definitely love to do but still thinking about. A completely fictional novel about the England gangland perhaps?
10) Get a degree
I never completed university and this has always bugged me. I would love to go back one day and get a degree in English Literature.
So that’s all I can think of for right now. It feels really great to share. Now that I have it all in writing on a public forum like this it will be all the more easier to focus and achieve. I’ll be sure to keep you updated, who knows you may get an announcement about a YouTube channel or a conference soon! In the mean time I encourage you to think about your own bucket list. Write them down so you can fully enjoy the feeling of slowly checking them off.
As I approach the 1 year birthday of my baby which has been stay bliss, I’ve reflected on my past posts which sum up the lessons I have learnt throughout the year. To say I am a different person now would be a slight exaggeration, however I do feel that I’ve grown and matured throughout this time. One thing I noticed I tend to forget sometimes is my personal life. The focus for me since this time last year was finding a career. As happy as I am about my current position, I realise that you can’t limit your focus. I cannot stress enough how happy I am with the place I am in terms of my career. For the first time in a long time I have a purpose. I have a fixed goal that I am working towards and am totally enjoying the journey. However as I reflect, I have urged myself to dig deeper. After all, having a career isn’t everything! I can’t put everything into building a life as a professional woman whilst neglecting other things that should matter just as much.
The biggest thing I have neglected is my family life. I plague my own life with issues that at the time feel like the end of the world. Sometimes I’m so concerned with it all that I forget to just be. 2017 for me is about rectifying this. It’s about spending quality time with my family who have been nothing but patient and supportive whilst I attempt to sort my life out. The great thing about family is there essentially stuck with you! You only get a couple of parents, sisters & brothers and a few cool cousins, uncles & aunts to call your own. I know it doesn’t matter how long I stray, as long as I find my way home. Staying bliss this year means to return home. If that is not an option for you, it may mean building a new one. Identifying the issue is step 1, resolving it is the much-needed step 2.
After a conversation with my girls about themes and suggestions for this post, I got the chance to listen as they reflected on their year and the lessons they took from it. One word came up time and time again – Perspective.
As young teenage girls and boys we become so self-critical of ourselves. Critiquing is not always a bad thing. The criticism (both positive and negative) we give ourselves and we receive from our peers helps learn and develop. However sometimes we take this to far. A sentiment my friends definitely share. What starts as self-motivation turns into, ‘I am fat’ ‘I am ugly’ ‘I am boring’ ‘I’m never going to make it in life’ ‘I will always be where am’.
In order to move forward and be happy with your life there needs to be a shift in viewpoint. As we grow up we begin to understand how hard life can actually be. With this knowledge you can look at your life, your age and your achievements objectively and allowing yourself to be happy about what you have. Maybe even throw some positive criticism your way.
The point my girls were trying to get across to me about the lessons they have learnt this year is ‘everything takes time.’ We are similar ages and interested in similar things. We have the same major goals such as job stability, living independently, learning to drive, travelling the world etc. We could certainly be envious of each other, as everyone has reached one or more of these goals in some capacity. It is easy to be hateful and jealous of people who are achieving. We choose instead to support each other, celebrate with each other and use one another as inspirations. Deep down we all know that with hard work, motivation and a good support network, we will be checking these goals of our lists in no time. For the mean time we will stay calm, and not fill our mind with trivial comments. Everything takes time.
I also spoke to people who have spent the last couple of years adjusting to London life. The question of what they have learnt and decisions they have come to, came from different perspectives as well. Despite the different outcomes and the realisation that London is an unforgiving place, I see what a difference it makes looking at the world through blissfully tinted glasses. I met someone who has made her very best friends in London because in her words some people are destined to be friends due to being ‘bonded by circumstance.’ To me this is a perfect example of taking the bad and making good. Not by dismissing it, or trying to change something negative that happened into a good thing. Instead by using it as fuel and not letting it stop you achieving. Everyone struggles but that is what bonds us. This is what makes you feel less alone and able to strive towards a goal hand in hand with your people.
My good friend who was the subject of my ‘saying goodbye’ post, had a completely different experience of london. He spoke about the city leaving him feeling invisible but also feeling pressured to be confident. The two years he spent in London forced him to change his outlook on life.
“There comes a moment, a short second, where everything you once saw or believed is shaken. Your attention is pulled into focus and you’re forced to stare life directly in the face with a whole new perspective. You will find clarity in the strangest places. As easily as the confusion cascaded upon you, it will subside and everything will be quiet. Your friends, family and work mates would have all given you their opinion which is likely to be the classic ‘do whatever’s best for you.’ It’s all true and you know it. Sooner or later though you realise that no viewpoint matters more than your own. Give yourself a break, hold your own as life as treasure regardless of where you find yourself. Take that moment and run with it. It’s always a matter of perspective.”
This has been the most fun and challenging post I’ve had the pleasure to write. Getting the opportunity to get everyone’s take on perspective has been eye-opening. The key thing I have taken away from this topic is that our happiness is paramount. If you find that you are unhappy or unfulfilled with your life for any reason, your viewpoint of the situation is the first place to seek anwsers. Are you looking at the issue objectively? Is it as bad as it seems? Is there a change you can make that will directly impact and begin to resolve these issues? Life is not black and white, believe me I know. But what has helped me overcome trying times is taking a big step back and looking at everything honestly. The anwser is mostly – this can be fixed. With patience, support, white wine and a LOT of hard-work there is a way out of this situation.
We all go through completely different things, and are struggling in some shape or form. The things that differentiate us and keep us moving forward is our perspective. Looking at your life objectively and patting yourself on the back when life calls for it.
I have definitely had a very blissful year! Hopefully this time next year my outlook on life will be very different, exciting! Thank you if you have subscribed, commented, liked or read a post from time to time. Here’s to another great year 🙂
Stay Bliss, Laura
P. S a big thanks to my girls, Morgan, Cameron and Kat for all the help with this post!
If you have read my week 7 and beyond post you will know exactly why this week is such a big deal! Having a new job and staying in employment for 8 whole weeks is such a big deal for me, and the way I finally prove to myself that I am not the failure my mind keeps trying to convince me that I am.
I should be jumping around like a lunatic, celebrating this achievement as I’ve been trying so hard to get here. The problem with reaching the important milestones in your life, is sometimes personal issues means they can get overlooked.
As human beings it is important to remember that not everything will always go to plan. We can be fighting a battle that we are totally ready for and all of a sudden another battle jumps out of nowhere.
This is what has happened to me. My festive period hasn’t been so festive as relationships I once valued have come to an end. I notice now more than ever how much one aspect of your life effects the rest. I think this is the biggest battle we all face and the hardest question we ask ourselves. How do we keep our lives balanced?
I genuinely do not know the answer to this as my clarity on the subject changes daily. The biggest thing I’m dealing with right now is figuring out how not to let the negative overshadow the positive. As much as I know the sensible thing to do is ditch all my worries or ‘keep calm and carry on’ as the saying goes – this is easier said than done.
I have decided the way I am going to pull myself through these uncertain times is to make myself a series of promises. Ironically one of the promises is to stick to my promises.
Another is to make sure no matter what happens in my life – I will make the time to celebrate my achievements. No matter what turmoil I find a has plagued particular aspect of my life, I will not neglect to celebrate my wins in the other.
For everything I’ve lost there are always constants that I still have. I still have some amazing friends and family. I also find myself making new friendships which have brought even more depth to my life. I promise to value these and I promise to make sure the people I love know that I love them.
Most of all I promise to always value myself. I know who I am and am proud of who am I. I have made the biggest effort to make sure I am and remain a genuine and real person and I will let nothing or no one make me doubt that. Happiness is an inside job (as I always say!) which starts with knowing and accepting yourself as you are.
If you don’t even like yourself, who will? If you don’t give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done, who will?
So I say a big congratulations to me 🙂 I’ve worked extremely hard to get to this point, and promise that this is only the beginning. Onwards and upwards.
I have been thinking a lot recently about all the different times you find yourself saying goodbye. When you think about moving on to start a new chapter of your life, this is normally due to a end of a relationship, a family move or job move etc. One thing I have never really thought about is saying goodbye to a friend.
A friendship doesn’t tend to have the emotional ups and downs that a romantic relationship might. It’s just a steady flow of love, advice, drinking and venting sessions – give and take. Friendships for me are a constant, something you never worry too much about because it will always be there, as it always has. Friendship to me is the equivalent of the comfiest pillow I own. You never picture that pillow going away.
So alas here we are. As much you wish your friendship alone can solve any problem, mend all heartbreak, and be the cure when there’s no other way, this isn’t life. As we grow and we learn, we realise there is some hard decisions we have to make for ourselves. There are some tough choices that not even our friends can help us make. Sometimes that choice is moving away.
So to the friend who inspires me. To the friend who’s bravery I’m in awe of. To the friend who life has dealt some tough blows. To the friend that came back swinging every time. To my friend that did the unimaginable. To my friend that now has to go.
Life carries on and changing directions is all part of that. The maturity you have shown in making this decision is just one of the reasons why I love you. There is still plenty of time for you to come back and live your London dream.
I talk a lot about making sure you look after yourself. Your physical and mental wellbeing should be the most important thing. Happiness can sometimes be the most difficult job of all because you are forced to make difficult choices regarding what will truly make you happy. Honesty is easy for most of us until it comes to being honest with yourself. The task of having to accept the ‘this isn’t working’ feeling is daunting. It is daunting because it is so easy to get caught up in that feeling. It is so easy to dwell and depress yourself by rehashing the millions of reasons why this isn’t working. It’s at this point you result to convincing yourself you are failure as your self-worth plummets.
The even trickier thing to do after the acceptance is finding a solution. To sit and wallow about how awful life has become is easy. the real work is in fixing it. So when you have the opportunity to watch someone help themselves, it’s a beautiful thing. Of course you extend your arm of friendship and support. Your presence to them is present enough. The fact that you are willing to help makes them feel less alone. You will sit and chat for hours, empty your purse, traipse around London looking at houses with them.
No. They need to do this alone. They need to fight their own battles and create their own solutions. That’s okay. You understand because you’ve been there too. Now you get to bear witness as they become their own hero. Their life is back on track purely because of the choices that they are now making. This is nothing short of amazing and watching this makes you further your own action plan for your life.
As I’ve said before babe, you amaze me. I’m so proud of you and the choices you are making. Saying goodbye to you is going to be extremely difficult. However I know you have thought this through and this is best decision you could have made. You will always have my love and my time. My arm is forever extended to you if you ever were to need it. Changing your plans doesn’t mean you are failing. You have grown up and matured in ways I never did. The man your have already become is a man I am so privileged to have in my life. I can’t wait to watch you continue to grow and achieve the impossible. You are the most loving, caring, funny and honest guy I know.
I wish you all the best. This is not goodbye, this is a see you soon.
Stay Bliss, Laura
For my dearest Cameron – btw we are partying from now until you leave and that’s a fact!
So this is just a quick post to say that there’s a lot of new things to come. (Yay!)
I have been absolutely loving this blog, it has fast become my baby and I have been looking for new and exciting ways to develop it. The biggest thing I am in the process of planning is a couple photoshoots with some photographer friends of mine. On every post I try to use a featured image that captures the gist of the message of the post. I thought going forward, it would be a good idea if these images were mine. So be prepared for a lot photos of me looking off into a dreamy landscape or indulging in cup of coffee or even typing away on my laptop.
You don’t need to wait for the new year to have a new start. From the moment I started my new job I decided to reinvent myself. I am going to do all the things I’ve always wanted to do but let fear and procrastination stop me. I want to make some new friends (you can never have to many close friends right?) and also enrol in a couple of college courses. For to long I let the fact that university didn’t go to well for me dictate where I could go in life. I thought ‘I don’t have a degree so I will always be a the bottom.’ FALSE. I can do whatever my mind can concieve as long as I put the work in. So can you.
Photoshoot, creative writing course, photography course etc. I can do and will do it all – not for anyone else, for me.
So here’s to the start of a weird and wonderful ‘stay bliss’ adventure. Maybe one day I’ll meet a partner and add to the happiness I have already established for myself. For today I say I am happy. It took a lot of work, many ups and down but I am.
If you are not there’s no need to worry. Believing in yourself and making yourself happy is the hardest job in the world. However it is the most rewarding and a job that will carry on forever. Allow yourself to wallow for a while, keep holding on and celebrate all your wins. When you reach a moment of happiness, embrace it! Hold on to it and celebrate yourself for letting sunshine into your life. Look to your loved ones for support and look into yourself for the motivation to keep going. Be honest with yourself and hopefully at the very end you can congratulate yourself on a job well done.
I’ve changed domains – staybliss.blog (it’s got a ring to it) 🙂