Open letter to all the lovely people in my life

NYE 2013

There are some right daft buggers in my life, people who touch my life in so many wonderful and unexpected ways and none of whom I’d be without. You know who you are and I love you all and try my very hardest to love you all for just exactly who you are. I learn so much from you all and am so happy to have your lives overlap with mine in whatever ways work for us.

I wish you all joy, fun and love. Always. My life would be nothing without the people in it.

Spontaneity: take 2

I wasn’t expecting today to be quite as spontaneous as it turned out to be. I actually had a plan, but stuff happened that needed my attention and the plan was no longer so relevant. So I went with it and my day was challenging, a little bit because my expectations were subverted on a few counts, but mostly because of my internal monologue about stuff.

A run down on the wins and fails of my day …

What worked … What didn’t work so well …
Writing a long email to a friend in order to crystallise and navigate the stuff in my head. Being awake at 5am and spending 3 hours writing out the stuff in my head and taking it all very seriously.
Getting out of bed and of the house on the spur of the moment within about 20 minutes despite being knackered. The museum I decided to go to being closed hence not being able to see the exhibition I wanted to.
Being fine with the museum being closed, wandering in the rain and then happily deciding to sort out some boring chores type stuff that needed doing. Wandering around M&S soaking wet, trying to choose knickers that weren’t horrible when I felt like an (unattractive) drowned rat.
Attempting to use humour to engage female shop assistant on the trials of buying knickers. She asked me with utterly straight face “did you try them on?” NO I DIDN’T! HONESTLY, I CANNOT THINK OF ANYTHING MORE STRESSFUL IN AN ALREADY STRESSFUL SITUATION OF BUYING UNDERWEAR. WHICH I HATE DOING. THAT IS WHY I WAS TRYING TO JOKE ABOUT IT. Not my finest hour 😉
Racing the bus around the corner from TKMaxx to the Royal Pavillion and winning! Realising I am considerably less fit than I was 6 months ago when I could do that without slowing down.
Being honest with a friend who let me down at the last minute with plans for NYE about my frustrations and feelings about his lack of communication about the situation. This then leaving space for reaffirming our friendship by talking about a few of the things floating round my head at 5am this morning and him helping me shift my perspective and take it all a bit less seriously. Not managing to meet my mate Ash for a cup of tea due to traffic in Brighton being crap.
Meeting Ash for a pint (well, rum & coke for me) later on. Setting off smoke alarm I didn’t know I had in my flat.

A day without plans

I don’t cope very well without having a plan for how to occupy my time.

Today’s learning about myself is just how much I rely on planning and following self imposed rules to manage my anxiety levels. This is no bad thing, it drives me to be both organised and productive. I plan myself into achieving a lot.

My day started with a loose plan for coffee with a friend that didn’t make it to confirmation. No problem, I just needed to figure put what I wanted to do with my day. Therein lies the problem – I am crap at deciding what I want to do on the fly. In fact, I am pretty bad at tuning into what I want to do, full stop.

There are all sorts of reasons for this (may be a subject for another blog post) suffice it to say that what I want to do at any given time is only one of many considerations for what I eventually decide to do. My anxiety is that whatever I want to do is not good enough (other people’s judgments of me) Or that what I want to do reflects more the path of least resistance than something that will add to the grand tapestry of my life (my own judgment of me)…

I hadn’t made that last distinction until I wrote it just now. I definitely need to keep on moving away from “being good enough” and towards “adding to the grand tapestry”. However, sometimes the path of least resistance is okay too. In fact, deciding to honour one over another is a decision I can change at any time. This paragraph is very much me unplannedly thinking out loud, which is interesting as it does link back to the original point of this blog post on a number of levels …

I found myself in a cafe at the end of my adventures today and I had an epiphany where all my low level anxiety about my decision making during the day evaporated! I was wondering if being in the cafe rather than having a coffee at home (always my default option, as it is cheaper) was the right thing to do and I realised I was there just because I wanted to be.

I realised that is what today was about, simply deciding what I wanted to do rather than appealing to the plan or to someone else’s decision or rationalising every last detail. And my instincts about how to guide this are pretty good, if I give myself space to tune into them. I find it hard to do that, to put aside my anxiety about being productive for long enough to allow myself to be creative and see what happens. I find it incredibly restorative when I do, though, and I definitely want to master both planned and unplanned being. It is all about having faith in my decision making ability and not NEEDING to stick to the plan.

I’m working on it … !

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‘Self portrait of overly analytical young woman in a cafe’ 😉

Warmth

Carried on a swell of voices, the light, laughter and animation in the room crashes in on me. This is my new home, I am surrounded by people I love and this is where I belong. For a moment I’m outside the flow of dialogue just enough to understand this for the gift it is, to be surrounded by such warmth. Certainty settles on me that these people love me for who I am, not for who I am trying to be. Unexpectedly the experience is one of coming home on a number of levels and my gratitude is so overwhelming that I need this moment to myself. I save further analysis for the company of empty wine glasses later, slipping myself back into the flow of the present to be with you all again.

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