Posted in Life

Reflecting on May and Goals for June

Well, who else can’t believe that we’re about to go into June?! This year has been one hell of a bumpy ride so far and certainly not one we’ll forget, but hey, at least it’s going quickly?! Normally, I wouldn’t want time to pass by so fast but this year I’m taking it as a positive and hoping that next year can only be better.

I’ve certainly gained a whole new perspective recently and have really started to consider what’s important in life. May in particular seems to have been a month of reflection for me, so I thought I’d share what I’ve been thinking about, as well as the goals I have set for June.

I’ve realised recently just how much I enjoy blogging and would definitely like this to take off one day. I’m under no illusion that it will happen quickly and I’ve got a lot of work to do, but it’s still nice to have a hobby to work on after a tough day at work, as well as a big goal to work towards!

Publishing this blog means that I’ve finally managed to implement a blogging schedule that allows me to post weekly, although let’s save the celebrations for a another couple of weeks just in case. Consistent posting was my first goal for my blog and so far has been my biggest struggle for a number of reasons:

  1. Procrastinating – I’ve realised this month that I spend all my time doing the wrong things. My biggest downfall is Instragram and I end up spending hours aimlessly scrolling on there, instead of writing and working on my blog. The thing is, I’ve found Instragram to be an easy platform to grow on, even though I get the least amount of blog views via Instagram, so I found myself stuck in a rut of procrastination, whilst telling myself I was working on my blog… I clearly wasn’t!
  2. Lack of time – Time can short for me… I have a full time job (keyworker, woohoo!), a house to keep clean, a puppy to look after, as well as friends, family and a boyfriend that I can’t just neglect to spend all of my time on my little corner of the internet. That being said, I’ve realised that it’s not necessarily a complete lack of time, but more a lack of utilising the time that I do have.
  3. Daydreaming – I’m a sucker for getting lost in a daydream, I always have been and probably always will be! Unfortunately though, I keep everything in my head and just think about all the things I want to do, rather than getting on and doing them. Sometimes I might make it as far as making a list but even then I still don’t really get on with it.

So, after all that deep self reflection… these points bring me to my goals for June, and beyond:

  1. Just DO – It’s ok to daydream but those ideas need to be put to paper and worked on. It’s not just my blog, even at home I will write a list of things that need to be done, then just daydream the day away without doing any of it… so less procrastinating! I won’t say that I’ll stop altogether, because let’s face it, I probably won’t.
  2. Set smaller goals – I think part of the reason that I struggle to get things done (blogging or otherwise) is that I often set myself too big a challenge or goal. I will write a mammoth to do list and then beat myself up if I don’t acheive everything on it… then I feel so disheartened that it makes me want to give up. I’m sure if I spread these tasks throughout the week and worked on smaller goals and to do lists, I will be able to utilise my time more.
  3. Switch off sometimes – Sometimes I get sucked in to everything and forget that blogging is my hobby and an outlet, not an extra thing to get stressed out over. I have enough worry in life, without getting worked up over the fun things too! Throughout June, I’ll be setting aside some time each week to switch off and remember the real world. This means not scrolling through Instragram and doing something off of a screen instead (I’ve got so many books to read for starters) and I’m fairly certain I’ll be thanking myself in the long run.

Overall, I’m looking forward to what June has to bring. I turn 28 this month too, so come back next week to read the 28 things I’ve learnt in 28 years!

Let me know in the comments what your goals are for June and I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Posted in Anxiety, Life

10 Things I Do To Help My Anxiety

I’m going to come out and say it: I’ve suffered with anxiety for most of my life. When I was a teenager, I had frequent panic attacks, often cancelled plans with friends and made myself physically ill with stress and worry. As I grew up and saw more of the world, my panic attacks eased and, in many ways, I got “better”. Except, I wasn’t better at all, I’ve just learnt how to cope a bit more and function as an adult.

At the start of this year, I realised I finally needed help. The problem is that of course, I let my anxiety get in the way and now, we’re in the middle of a lockdown and the whole world is now in state of panic. The new “C” word understandably puts a knot in my stomach and I’m sure I’m not alone. Due to my work, I knew this was coming a couple of months ago and have therefore been an anxious wreck for some time. I now regret not getting any help before now and although I’m sure there’s still avenue available, it just doesn’t really seem feasible all the time we shouldn’t be leaving our homes – and whilst I’m too scared to do anything or go anywhere. I’ve come to appreciate my health and the need to look after ourselves, so as soon as it is safe to do so I will finally get the help I need.

This post isn’t about the “C” word though, and it’s not a complete story of my anxiety as to be honest, we’d be here quite some time. I thought that just for now, I could share with you some of the small things that make a difference to how I feel day to day:

Fresh air, or a walk if you can. If you feel up for it, go for a walk, it doesn’t have to be far. I find that I instantly feel calmer after a few deep breaths in the fresh air and a quiet walk somewhere to clear my head. Some days, it’s a struggle to get out the door and all I want to do is curl up, but once I’m dressed and outside, it really does help. If you’re really not up for a walk, even just opening all the windows and letting the air in helps.

Play with my puppy. I have dreamed of having my own Corgi for several years and a few weeks ago was incredibly lucky to finally get one. Nothing is more calming than playing with my lovely boy! Of course, playing with a puppy wasn’t always an option but even before we got Reggie, I’d spend a chunk of time scrolling through photos of other corgis… maybe that sounds weird, but it’s always helped.

A hot bath or shower. Nothing is more relaxing than a lovely hot bubble bath, or if you’re in more of a rush then a shower will still help, at least I find that it does anyway. I like to sweat out all my problems without having to go to the gym!

Deep breaths. This sounds like a given really but taking a few deep breaths and just giving myself a moment to focus is a key part of my day, sometimes several times a day! Try to relax your shoulders, really breath in through your nose and gently breath back in again out of your mouth. Doing this for a couple of minutes is so beneficial for relieving anxiety and stress.

A distraction – like colouring or reading. A simple hobby to focus on, like a good book or colouring something in, is a nice distraction from my anxieties. Watching a film, drawing or painting, anything that you enjoy that will also distract you. Set yourself some time to focus on something else.

Tidy up. It’s so true what they say – tidy space, tidy mind. Unfortunately I often struggle to get motivated to get house work done, even though I hate the mess. It really depends on my mood. I think it’s important not to be too hard on yourself and force yourself to do too much when you haven’t got the motivation or energy, but if you can, tidying up just one room or small space does actually help. Once I get started, I often can’t stop and go full nesting mode! If it feels like too much, I declutter something else, like the photos on my phone or a small task like clearing out my purse. A small victory in the day to be celebrated!

Speak to a friend. Sometimes it’s hard to talk about your problems, I know that for a factbut it does help. Even if you don’t talk about what’s bothering you at first, just reach out for some communication and a good laugh. Talking about your concerns can follow later.

Make plans. I’m terrible for making plans and then sticking to them but having something to look forward to always gets me through anxious times. It helps to focus on something that will be happening after you’ve faced your demons, or whatever is worrying you.

Drink water. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate – you’ll feel so much better! Being dehydrated makes me feel so unwell, which I’m turns makes me panic more. Just drink your water!

Write it all down. This is something I’m still working on. I struggle to communicate my anxieties, because a lot of the time I don’t actually understand it myself. I don’t know why I’m in a blinding panic, I just am. Processing it by writing it all down instead is super helpful, I just seem to forget this and bottle things up instead!

I hope you’ve found these helpful, let me know in the comments what you do to ease your anxiety and get you through the day!

Posted in America, Anxiety, Life, Travel

My First Solo Trip With Trek America: Arriving in LA

This post contains links to outside websites but these are not affiliate. All views are my own, I’ve not received any type of payment for this post – but if Trek America wants to hit me up then I’m down!

For someone who has always wanted to travel the world, I’m not particularly comfortable on any mode of transport. To be honest, that’s putting it mildy. I hate to drive anywhere new, especially if the roads are busy, I also hate being a passenger when someone else is driving. Flying is completely mind-boggling and utterly terrifying, and I generally won’t even consider getting on most types of boat. I have done it, but I don’t like it. Trains are about the only thing I don’t mind for some reason.

All that being said, I’ve always understood that to get anywhere I’ve always wanted to go… I usually need some kind of transport to get me there, probably a plane. The fear never goes away but I try not to let it stop me.

You can imagine though, with flying already on my long list of fears, going it alone makes it even more terrifying.

A young couple were sat next to me on the 11 hours or so flight from London to LA. They made polite small talk when we first boarded and then cuddled up together, while I kept to myself and tried to relax. I’d been having nightmares for weeks about the journey, but a short while in to the flight, I managed to doze off – still clutching my drink. Luckily, this was before my coffee drinking days and it was only a glass of water, as I ended up throwing the whole thing all over the poor guy next to me. I must have been having another one of my said nightmates, as I jolted myself awake, of course holding on to my cup of water… I was mortified and it certainly didn’t help with all the anxiety bubbling up inside me, but the couple were very sweet and made sure I was ok. Plus, I suppose it’s quite funny looking back on it!

Other than that, the flight was thankfully uneventful and there was no need to put the safety instructions I’d memorised to any use – not that I’d be any good if there was an emergency, as I’m sure I’d full on panic and do nothing. I imagine I watched a few films, although I don’t remember that detail now. I just remember landing in LAX some time in the evening, relieved to get off the plane, but still filled with the terror of what I was embarking on. Things were about to go downhill too.

The Trek America trips start at various “gateway” hotels in the departing cities and when you book the trip, there’s an option to stay there the night before the trip starts, as they tend to start early in the morning. Trek America can even pair you up with another solo traveller, either on the same trip, or another trip, to keep the cost of the room down – damn single supplements!

The gateway hotel in LA at the time of my trip was called The Hacienda. From what I gather this doesn’t seem to be the case anymore, although I could be wrong. The hotel was only a couple of minutes drive from LAX, with a free shuttle service to and from the hotel. You’d think this would have been super easy to use and yet, I managed to make a total hash of it…

I went to the information desk, who call the hotel and request the shuttle to make a collection from the terminal. Then I waited outside as instructed, assuming the shuttle would simply stop… it didn’t. I went back in and told them at the information desk, who tried again for me. It didn’t stop again. I went back inside… you need to wave it down, they told me. Ok, sure, I’ve waved down a bus at home before. I went back outside, waved the shuttle down, and guess what? It drove past me again. Short of standing in the middle of the road, I didn’t understand what more I was supposed to do and by this point I’d been waiting for easily over an hour, beginning to despair. The trip was off to a total disaster and it hadn’t really started yet. This clearly was an awful idea, I should just pay for a flight home now, I thought to myself, close to tears.

I approached a couple of taxi drivers, desperate to get to the hotel and willing to pay anything they requested… no one wanted to take me, which I still find surprising because I was practically begging them to take my money. I got the impression they didn’t want to rip me off as they kept saying I was better to take the free shuttle, so I guess it was kind but I was desperate to get out of the damn airport.

The hotel was close, but it wasn’t walkable. The roads were busy and several lanes wide, and this is before we all had google maps readily available on our phones. In fact, I barely had wifi for the entire trip – hasn’t technology come far in just 8 years?!

So, I stood outside in utter panic. I’m never going to get there, I kept thinking to myself. Then, by pure stroke of luck, I overheard a family discussing the hotel they were staying at… it was the same as mine! They were waiting for some more family members to arrive and then jumping on the shuttle, hallelujah! It’s so unlike me to approach a group of total strangers, but I was honestly desperate by this point. Plus, they seemed friendly. I explained my tale of woe, and asked if I could wait with them. Of course, they said, but they were going to be waiting for another couple of hours. I honestly didn’t care, knowing that the shuttle wouldn’t drive past a much larger group. The hotel can’t have been popular as there were no other shuttles in the time I waited with the family, who were a chatty Eastern European bunch. When the rest of their party arrived at the terminal, someone requested a shuttle, which arrived and actually stopped. I was finally on my way, completely exhausted after the journey and slightly passed caring enough to be nervous anymore.

The drive to the hotel was so quick, I couldn’t beleive it, I’d waited so unbearably long for a 2 minute or less drive. I was SO grateful to that family and for fate to bring me a group going to the same place, or perhaps I’d still be trapped at LAX to this day.

Upon arriving, I checked in straight away and was informed that my room mate was already there. My stomach twisted. I wondered who it would be, what would they be like, what if they’re really annoyed about me arriving so late… Mainly I hoped it was someone due to be on the same trip as me, and friendly enough that I could stick with for at least the start of the trip.

For the sake of anonymity, I won’t use full names. The girl in the hotel room was “S”, a young German girl and very sweet, thankfully. She’d put the lock on door so when I first rocked up, I couldn’t get in, but she’d stayed awake waiting for me and jumped up to let me in. She greeted me with a huge grin and was chatty straight away, automatically putting me at ease. I was so relieved, this is all going to be fine now, I thought. I never actually told her how much she really did calm me down that first night and how much I appreciated it, I wasn’t particularly open about my anxiety then.

“S” had been an au pair and was doing a bit of travelling in America, I can’t remember why she wasn’t going home for Christmas but there must have been a reason – I really should have kept a journal so I could remember these smaller details. (If you’re thinking on booking a solo adventure like this, I implore you to keep a journal.) I do remember saying up chatting for a short while, before FINALLY calling it a night, now full of excitement for the trip to begin.

My memory of how the next morning exactly played out is obviously quite hazy but we were up early, as we had to join the trip for 7.30am. I was sorting my suitcase and found a card from my mum. She’d snuck it in there without me realising and had written to me about how proud she was, I was close to tears reading it but I took a deep breath and gave myself a minute to appreciate how far I’d come. I still have the card to this day.

S and I went downstairs and met the rest of the group together. Besides the tour leader, there was just one guy out of the whole group, we’ll call him Dutch, because he was. There were another 2 German girls, a Canadian, an older Japanese woman, I was the only Brit and the rest of the group were Koreans. I was suprised to be the only Brit, having been told it’s common to have mainly Brits in the groups, but I wasn’t bothered. Everyone was baffled that I’d chosen to be away from home for Christmas, as they were all studying in the States, or already doing some kind of travelling and wouldn’t have been home anyway.

The tour leader, “C”, was a guy in his later 20s and exactly what I’d imagined. He had perfect teeth and a wide smile, enthusiastic and wearing a baseball cap. I distinctly remember being relieved that I didn’t find him attractive, because I was NOT ready for anymore guy drama. I’d left behind my worries of the guy who ghosted me for Australia, as well as an on/off ex that had crept back in to my life somewhere along the way. Say it with me: no more guy drama!

The group was briefly acquainted and there were formalties such as recording travel insurance info, then “C” handed us our itineraries. It was in that moment that I knew this was about to be the time of my life.

Screenshot of my FB post, having just received the itinerary – the last bit of WiFi for a few days!
Posted in Life

Hello Again/8 Things I Want To Achieve This Year

A new year… same me?

I vowed several years ago that I wouldn’t bother making resolutions at New Year anymore, as I often set myself up for failure and disappointment. However, I do always find that you can’t help but to reflect at this time of year, hit refresh, and set a few goals.

You may or may not know, that the main reason for my recent absence from blogging is due to having not long moved house. My boyfriend and I bought a lovely new place together but, there was a gap in moving from the last place in to the new one – with it being a busy time of year in general, and still going to work full time, things have been a little bit up in the air! Now that we’ve been in a few weeks, busy making it our home, and in to the New Year, I feel like I can get back in to a routine again and set some goals for the next 12 months and beyond. So, hello, again! These are the 8 things that I would like to acheive, or work towards, this year:

  1. Write more.
    I have always enjoyed writing, hence starting this blog. However, I put it off for far too long to now end up quitting, or not give it the effort to keep it going! Not that I’ve wanted to quit, but unfortunately, when life gets busy, it’s the first thing to let slip. I want 2020 to be the year I develop as a writer and a blogger.
  2. Read more.
    As a kid, if I wasn’t scribbling down my own random stories, I had my nose in a book instead. As life got busier, it wasn’t just writing that went on the back burner, my tendency to read diminished also. I often find I’m too tired now, or it’s just easier to stick something on the telly instead and not have to think too much. How lazy is that?! However, my collection of books keeps growing and I owe it to them to get them read! I’d like to finally make sure I set aside time in the evening to read, instead of sitting on my phone… it shouldn’t be a challenge, but unfortunately, I think it could be a tricky habit to break.
  3. Worry less.
    This doesn’t really need explaining does it? I worry far, FAR, too much and frankly, I need to chill out a little. I’ll never not be a worrier I don’t think, but it’d be nice to learn to try and just let things go a bit more, and not care so much about what others think.
  4. Walk 1000 miles.
    Country Walking Magazine do this every year now, but this is the first year I’m giving it a proper go. I often do a few miles at the weekend, but doing 1000 in just a year might be a challenge. I’ve done 8 so far, so at least I’ve now made a start. In fact, I’ll be keeping track on social media with the tag #walk1000miles for anyone who is interested.
  5. Get a dog.
    Now that we’re in a bigger house, and can actually be home more, this WILL be the year we get a dog. It’s not even an option anymore, I need a pup in my life!
  6. Look after my health.
    I know for some people, this might not be something you need to actually work on, but for me, it’s something I haven’t been overly great at for the past couple of years. I let stress get on top of me, I don’t eat enough veg, and I definitely don’t have a good skincare routine. As I’m getting older, I’m realising that I take my health a little for granted perhaps, so I would like to work on that this year and we’ll in to the future.
  7. Drink more water.
    In the same context of looking after my health, I must drink more water. I actually only ever used to drink water during the day and rarely anything else. Then a couple of years ago, I started drinking coffee… Since then, if I’m thirsty, I end up making another coffee, instead of just having water. Lately, I’ve been feeling really dehydrated, and well… that’s just no good is it?!
  8. Get organised.
    My biggest challenge of all, and to be honest, probably my resolution every year since I was old enough to need to be organised for myself… I am not organised, plain and simple. I buy a diary every year and never use it, I double book myself constantly, I’m always late and just generally never prepared. It’s time to improve – I won’t say it’s time to change, because to be honest I don’t think I ever will, but I can at least TRY to be more organised!

So, there we have it, in writing, the things I would like to achieve in 2020. It feels like more of a commitment if it’s written down, or is that just me?

I’m already off to a good start, so I feel like this year could really be a good one! If you’ve made it this far, please do let me know your goals for this year in the comments and see you again soon!

xo

Posted in America, Anxiety, Life, Travel

Booking My First Solo Trip With Trek America

This post contains links to outside websites but all views are my own and I’ve not received any form of payment for this post – however if Trek America wants to hit me up then I’m down!

In 2012, I travelled alone for the first time. I cannot explain how much of a big deal this was for me.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve spend most of my days crippled with anxiety and yet with a yearning to see the world, for a carefree life. I’d stumbled upon the Trek America site a couple of years before and when I told my Mum she was as flippant as always, “yes it sounds lovely, but you won’t even go to the shop round the corner alone”, or words to that affect. She wasn’t wrong. We’d played this game many times before, me telling her I was going to do something wild and outrageous, travelling solo somewhere, anywhere. She’d nod along for the most part and then bring me crashing back down to reality, reminding me of the panic attacks I was having day to day just going about my mundane life. This went on for a considerable amount of time, all throughout my teens and in to my early twenties, when I then started seeing a guy who was planning a one way trip to Australia. To my suprise and glee, he asked me to go with him,

I’d been saving money anyway for my own daydream life of a travelling Wonder Woman, so I didn’t need to scrimp much more together. As the trip approached though, I needed just a bit more time to save and so I asked this guy, could we delay for a month or two? I don’t remember exactly what was said but he wasn’t particularly impressed. Looking back now, I can see why his reaction wasn’t what I expected, however he esentially turned quite nasty, before ghosting me altogether and leaving for Australia without much of a trace. I’d had my share of heartbreak already but this was quite a sting and honestly that fiasco could be a whole other blog post.

Not long after though, as I dusted myself off and prepared to just get over it, it dawned on me that I never really wanted to go with him anyway. Australia wasn’t really high on my bucket list at this point – America was the place I wanted to explore the most, after a taster with a school trip to Washington DC in 2010 and then a family trip to San Francisco in 2011. Plus, we’d not been seeing each other that long and I knew deep dwn it would have all gone tits up quite quickly anyway. I pondered all this for some time while going about life as usual. I can’t remember exactly when I ended up back on the Trek America site, or my exact process of getting to the point of booking, but after trawling the site and memorising all the itineraries, I landed on a short 10 day trip over Christmas, as that was the easiest time to get off work. Plus it wasn’t too long that I might freak out and not go, but long enough that it still seemed enough of a break and adventure.

Wild West.

Looking online now, the exact trip doesn’t seem to exist anymore but it started and ended in LA, and included two nights in San Diego, a visit to the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, a night in a cowboy camp, Route 66 and Christmas waking up in Death Valley. Incredible right?

I remember the moment that I clicked the final button and the trip was definitely booked, I felt like there should be some kind of ceremony and fireworks, but nothing happened. The world kept spinning, and yet something for me felt like it was going to change forever. At the same time, nothing really felt real yet, I carried on at work like normal for the next for the next few months, saving up every penny for the time of my life and telling everyone all about this adventure I was embarking on. Everyone was encouraging, although I think most people couldn’t grasp the fact that I was going away for Christmas but for me that wasn’t an issue at all. I was ecstatic and the time of year wasn’t even a factor. Most people I told were also amazed at how brave I was to go alone, although honestly it really niggled at me as, being hard on myself as ever, it felt like this was merely a tiny stepping stone to some real travelling.

The tour was due to depart in LA on an early morning and so I flew out the day before. Not before getting absolutely wasted on a night out with some friends though, dressed in American flat patterened clothes, as a mini send off!

That night out kept me sane, I’d have only sat up all night talking myself out of the trip if I’d been at home.

I remember distinctly arriving at Heathrow Airport, almost sick to the stomach with fear. My Mum and Aunty had come to see me off, my Mum still tells the story to this day – she knew how nervous I was because she bought me a Krispy Kreme doughnut and I couldn’t eat it. Funnily enough though, and what we didn’t know at the time, was that a coffee and a doughnut would become something of a ritual whenever my Mum and I were at the start of some kind of journey together. Sadly, my Aunty is no longer with us and this little send off is just something that makes us feel like she’s coming on the adventure too.

Time ticked on and I had to go through security… alone. It was impossible for my Mum to come any further with me and it was at this point that I nearly didn’t go.

My eyes welled up, my heart jumped in to my throat and nausea swept over me. My mum help me tightly and said I had to do this now, or I never will. She knew how devasted and broken I would be if I let my panic control me, yet again. The disappointment in myself would have been completely unbearable. She promised me that I would have an amazing time and she’d be meeting me back at the airport soon to hear all about it, it would be over before I knew it so I needed to go and enjoy it. Take one step at a time, something of a mantra for her and I.

I took some deep breaths and thought of all the times I’d had a panic attack and not gone through with something. All the upset and disappointment over the years, how I’d come so far by even just booking the trip and turning up at the airport. I thought of how I would have to tell all my friends and family that yet again, I didn’t do it.

Shaking and holding back the tears, I did it, I went through security. Another step closer and no one had yelled at me, no one had died. I wandered around the shops on the other side to keep myself busy. I bought a travel pillow in the shape of a dog that looked like mine that had not long been put down. Hot tears pricked behind my eyes that I waited.

I waited.

Then, on Saturday 15th December, 2012, I boarded a plane alone, for the first time.

The plane took off and I couldn’t turn back. Mum told me later on that she’d waited in the car until she knew the plane had actually left, as she was sure I’d come running back out and not go. Secretly, I think part of the reason I didn’t do that is because… how do you even get back out of the airport once you’d passed security? I’d surely have to find someone to speak to, which would cause more stress, may as well just get on the plane by that point!

I settled in for the 11 hour flight as the panic of what I was doing slowly lifted. The first obstacle had been overcome and my adventure was about to begin.

To be continued…

Posted in Life

Life As A Musical

Ok, hear me out… real life should be more like a musical. I’m sure there are some people wh aren’t keen on musicals who will disagree, but honestly, wouldn’t it be amazing waking up to a big musical number to start your day?! Think, ‘Good Morning Baltimore’ from Hairspray. I’d love nothing more than to start my mornings feeling the way Nikki Blonsky does, full enthusiam and ready to take on anything.

It genuinely upsets and offends me that I can’t sing… or dance for that matter. Although perhaps it’s for the best, as I can tell you for sure I would probably drive everyone mad, incessantly singing and twirling and leaping. There are some unlucky souls that have seen me at my most comfortable, singing or dancing away and I’m sorry if you’re one of them!

I really do feel that every day life would do no harm from having huge musical numbers and flashmob style dance routines.

My day to day is generally quite mundane and routine, but on my morning drive to work, I listen to musical soundtracks and can almost picture the pedestrians I’m passing by, dancing and twirling away. I’d sing something about slaving away day to day, pouring myself a cup of ambition à la Dolly Parton, ‘9 to 5’. (Now that’s a musical I’m dying to see!)

The hours at work pass by painfully slow. I can imagine singing and lamenting, wishing the days away so I can make it to the weekend. Perhaps I might have to deal with someone difficult and there would be a tense, punchy number or I could bellow out a tune like Barbara Streisand’s ‘Don’t Rain On My Parade’.

On my way home, I like to listen to motivating tracks like ‘Defying Gravity’ and ‘You Can’t Stop The Beat’ and I’m lifted up again, my brain once again filled with show-stopping dance routines. As the week progresses , I’m more and more excited about the drive home. I can almost picture a complitation-style scene of each drive home, my face more and more beaming until Friday rolls around and I get out of the car at home, my boyfriend would greet me and we’d perform a fabulous finale dance rountine. Something memorable and catchy like ‘We Go Together’ at the end of Grease. The end, a lovely happy ending.

It’s impossible to choose a favourite musical, it completely depends on the kind of mood I’m in. I have to say though, in case you hadn’t picked up on it, I’m currently really enjoying the Hairspray soundtrack again, having not seen the film or theatre show in years. The songs completely lift me up, as cheesy as that sounds, because I know it does, but it’s so true. I always feel inspired and if I’m ever in a bad mood or upset in anyway, that soundtrack is one that can totally cheer me up. In fact, it’s great to drive to as I tend to suffer with road rage and a super upbeat cheery show song sorts me right out!

On the flip side, another favourite soundtrack of mine is Les Misérables. Quite frankly though, it makes me sob, no matter what. If real life were a musical, you likely wouldn’t want it to be this one, as beautifal as it is.

Music for me really has that ability to completely transform my mood. It’s like I can really feel the music, all of it. I’m sure it all sounds daft but I think I reason I prefer musical soundtracks is the rawness, you can hear the feeling behind the music of the band as well as the emotion behind the singing.

The reality is though, musicals aren’t at all like real life, which is perhaps why they’re so great. It’s far too impractical for everyone to sing to each other day to day, for reahearsed but somehow spontaneous dance routines, for ballads to help you make that life changing decision. Reality is mundane daily routines, sprinkled with every day magic, such as listening to soundtracks that we love and that epic Friday feeling.

I can still daydream though…

Posted in Life

An Introduction: Figuring Out Life

Hello, my name is Katie. I am now 27 years old and I have never really known what to do with  my life.

Well, what do you enjoy? People will ask. I always answer with, travelling. Right, but what else? Well, I guess… watching movies, shopping, but these are just general hobbies. How can I do something I enjoy with my life, you know, like a CAREER?

I see other people enjoying their jobs, albeit I’m sure with their own stresses along the way too, but how did they get there?

I’ve always been a daydreamer and had lots of different ideas about what I’d like to do when I grow up but nothing ever really sticks and I always put off the work in to actually doing it.

I think part of my problem now is that I’ve been in the same job since I was 16 and so now I can’t imagine anything different. It was a complete accident and of course stemmed from the fact I didn’t know what else to do, so… here I am many years later, still stuck.

When I was a kid, I wanted to be a muscian or a writer. I had guitar and piano lessons, but hated  having to practice and didn’t understand why I wasn’t just able to play like Elton John instantly. Writing stuck with me a long time though. I’d write anything and all of the time. Reading too, I loved books. I would use my five minutes between lessons walking to the next class with my nose in a book. I would write my own short stories and ask my friends to critique me. My proudest moment at school was making a friend cry with an emotional story I’d written The fact I had made someone really feel something with my writing was immense! I published stories online, wrote poems and my own song lyrics, I loved just writing and creating a separate universe to my own boring life.

When it then came to picking A Levels, I had already decided I didn’t want to go to university… but I also didn’t know what else to do, so I thought I’d just study subjects I thought I’d enjoy until I figured it all out.

I accidentally chose English Language, instead of Language and Literature, so there was no creative writing element. Instead, we had to constantly pull apart and find flaws in books that I just wanted to read and enjoy for what they were. Suddenly, reading felt like a chore and writing just felt pointless. Still, I enjoyed creating and dived in to my art A Level instead. The problem was that again, I just wanted to paint and enjoy it, which isn’t what doing the A Level subject is all about. I couldn’t be bothered with any of it anymore after school finished, education had really ruined the enjoyment of anything creative.

I finished my A Levels with less than great grades and still no idea what to do with my life. I actually ended up deciding to join the Army but yet again, I struggled to really commit to working towards the goal. I already had a Saturday job where my mum worked and she refused to let me wallow, so I ended up full time. Ok, I thought, it’s just temporary.

I hated the job and 18 months later, I quit with nothing else to go to. I did get another job part time, but out of fear I also agreed to stay with the original job at the same time. A few months later, I hated the second job and went back to full time with my original job. It’s still only temporary, I told myself. I’ll quit and just go travelling soon.

Fast forward a few years, life changed and evolved but I still stayed with the same company. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate it, but it’s not the creative or carefree life I always daydreamed off. In fact, I couldn’t tell you the last time I picked up a paint brush or pencil, and I write nothing more now than to do lists that never really get accomplished.

Until today.

I have spent years thinking about starting a blog. Researching how to start. Procrastinating, daydreaming of becoming a relevant writer and maybe even one day writing a novel. Just imagine! Well, that’s all I WAS doing… stuck in a fantasy world and feeling like I would never know what to do with my life. Really, it’s been staring me in the face for a long time and I’ve either been too afraid, or busy, or tired, or whatever. Why was I putting it off? I honestly don’t fully know, but after all these years, it’s time for me to take control, so here we are. A new weekly blog of random rambling, reviews and other rather interesting things.

My name is Katie, I enjoy writing and so I should just bloody write!