Coming Back

Toward the end of last year I was busy with family, work, the first year of my counsellor training and tying to live more mind fully. The last post I wrote was about “Exploring Expectations” and how expecting too much of yourself can actually lead you be less mindful, less productive and quite often more disappointed with yourself. I revisited this post today in a bid to understand where my head was at I wrote the piece against where I am now and what has happened / has been done to bring me to this point.

My whole life I have dipped in and out of projects that I thought were a great idea to begin with, learning as much as possible about them, buying every book on the market and watching every tv programme available usually to discover I had set the bar too high – sometimes in terms of academic ability, financial ability, other times in terms of actual real-time leaving me feeling stressed, frustrated and disappointed with myself.

 A few years ago I bought myself a complete works of Jane Austen because I thought that I should read them. I love reading so why would I not love “the classics”. Even my mother, who is probably one of the smartest people I know and will read pretty much anything, told me I was being daft. “Why do you want to read them, I know you and you won’t like them?”, she asked me and I said “Well, I just watched the Jane Austen Book Club and I loved it, so I should read Austen and see what the fuss is about”. My mum looked at me and said “Maybe you should just read the Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler, its her story you like”.

She was, as always, right. I battled my way though Northanger Abbey feeling frustrated but then took my mother’s advice and read her suggestion and enjoy every word from the first to the last. My copy sits on my shelf to this day tatty, and curled as one of my all time favourite reads. My complete works of Austen sits fresh off the press as the day it was printed.

My point being, and I do get there eventually, is that this year I have been forced to reevaluate what does actually make me happy and give me a sense of achievement against what I perceive will. It has been a tough year, as a family we have dealt with serious illness, and two significant losses and these life events have made me realise that you don’t need to be constantly acheiving or doing to be happy, that you don’t need lots of material possessions to be content and that time with friends, family and loved ones is more important than absolutely anything else because you never know when that time will be taken from you.

Someone very special to me has encouraged me to begin writing again when they realised how much I enjoyed it. Its not about subscribers, or likes. For me it is about getting my thoughts that could turn negative when that little mindless bot starts rampaging around my brain destroying everything in its path down on paper and out of my head. I feel really excited to be pushing the publish button on here, not because it is anything of a great work of writing but because it is something I Love To Do.

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Exploring Expectations #2

Following on from my Exploring Expectations #1 this is the second post in the Exploring Expectations Series.

New Years is a bit of a time for giving your slate a bit of  clean and having the opportunity to start afresh.

Your slate could be something as simple as cleaning out the fridge, getting rid of the last bits of Christmas food and re stocking it with healthy food and making a meal plan, to planning a trip of a lifetime. But, no matter how large or small your slate, it is a good idea to think of what expectations you have in relation to your choices.

What do you expect from removing the chocolate from your fridge and replacing it with superfoods? Are you expecting a body like Beyonce after a month and is this attainable or would a gentle transition into eating a healthier diet long term be more within your attainable expectations. Think about how you will feel if you aren’t Crazy in Love with your body after a month against how you might feel after a few months of gently introducing healthier options in to your diet and under which situation you are most likely to have your expectations met.

I found myself thinking over Christmas that come January I would sign up to give up alcohol for a month, practice yoga every day and try out Veganuary. I would write a blog post at least every two weeks and begin to read all the books I have in the cupboard and sort out my finances. I would go visit my family at least once a week and make more dates with friends to see them out socially.

I then wrote it all done realised that I also had to fit in work, school runs, swimming clubs and Scouts. Without military planning I was probably setting myself up for a huge set of expectations unmet. So I went back to the drawing board.

I have my whole life been one for taking on projects that seemed like a great idea at the beginning only find I didn’t have the time to complete them, or get stressed out with the pressure and then give them up. This has often led to me feeling like I have failed and it is a born out of placing to0 high expectations on myself but not having the tools to deal with the unmet expectations.

So, this January I am going to monitor my alcohol intake, I have put the Dry January app on my phone and each night before bed I honestly note whether I have had a drink or not. I had a gin and tonic last night whilst I watched the TV, do I feel like I have failed? No. I feel like I had a gin and tonic whilst I watched TV.


I have decided to integrate some vegan foods into the weekly family diet, foods that I know will get eaten. This gives me both the chance to experiment and enjoy a new way of eating but also not have a lot of waste and arguments at the tea table.

I am absolutely going to read the books I already own and not purchase anymore and I really made the most of the last 30 minutes of 2017 by browsing and purchasing books on Amazon before the New Year rung in!

And finally, family and friends. By far the most important thing and the resolution I am going to do my utmost to keep.

What are your thoughts on resolutions? Let me know.

Have a great week everyone.