Out of the darkness

 

 

 

Depression is boring! And i for one am probably the most bored of it! It’s the main reason I’ve struggled to write a blog post in the six weeks that I’ve been in Hong Kong. Because the only thing I can think to write about is the one thing I’m most scared to admit! I should probably start a blog about gardening or knitting instead of one that pours my heart out but unfortunately I don’t have the millions of dollars required to own a garden in Hong Kong and I’m really bad at knitting so here we are! …..(Actually if truth be known when I did have a garden (small concrete yard) in London, I hired a gardener to clear the weeds after I discovered just how many spiders can live in the undergrowth!)

I’ve been in Hong Kong for six weeks and at a time when I should have been brimming with excitement, the depression that has plagued me for well over half my life reared its ugly head and threatened to take a hold! When I arrived here I wanted to be happy, I wanted to be excited, I wanted to breathe in everything the city had to offer! I knew the skyscrapers were amazing, I knew the beaches were beautiful! Yet the pain in my heart cast them all behind a fog that I struggled to see through! And I couldn’t understand why, after years of wanting to move abroad, it hurt so damn much to be here! Yes I knew I’d be homesick but this was something more! I had to admit that the depression, that black dog was definitely here in Hong Kong! It snuck up on me before I left and was probably the reason my case weighed so much as I headed to the airport! Ok it’s also possible that the amount of clothes i’d crammed in took me over my weight limit, but Depression definitely took up way too much of my baggage! It brought with it fear, self doubt and self loathing; three things I definitely didn’t want to pack, not least because my measly 20Kg already meant I’ve had to leave many pairs of much loved shoes behind (I miss them daily)!

So there, I said it! I’ve had depression for over half of my life! And I think even those close to me might be surprised to read that! Because it’s not something I talk about, it’s not something I dwell on and it’s not something I like to admit! Even now I’m scared that I shouldn’t be writing about it! I’m scared it will make me seem pathetic, miserable and weak! That people will read this, roll their eyes and tell me to cheer up! That people will think I’m a weirdo, a freak and not someone they would want to be around! (And yes I am a bit of a weirdo as one person likes to point out…but only in a weirdo chic way…. Like geek chic but without the need for fake glasses)
I think those insecurities probably go hand in hand with the depression but it doesn’t make them any less real!

Trust me when I say, it’s not that easy to just cheer up! And that’s what makes it so damn boring! There are only so many times you can admit you’re not really ok when you’re asked, without sounding miserable, without sounding ungrateful for your blessings or without sounding like you just need a good kick up the ass! And I hate that! I hate that depression takes away part of who I am and replaces it with someone I don’t like or recognise! I hate that in the past few weeks I’ve felt lost! I hate that I haven’t felt like me! Because without depression I’m fun (some would even say funny), happy and ridiculously cool to be around ūüėČ

I’ve spent most of this year talking about and trying to ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’ and so I finally decided that maybe this post had to be written! If for no other reason than for me to be confident in who I am and to face it head on! Yes I’ve suffered with depression, yes it still causes me a problem but no I’m not miserable, or boring or pathetic! As someone who’ll always like a post on Facebook if it supports mental health, as someone who’ll share posts that talk about removing the stigma and raising awareness I think it’s about time I raised some awareness by being honest! I shouldn’t be ashamed of something on the one hand whilst claiming to support it on the other!

In a lot of ways I hope I’m stronger because of this! Before I moved to Hong Kong I spent well over a year weaning myself off the anti depressants id been on for 16 years! Physically, it was a horrible process! The withdrawal made me sick and dizzy as my body struggled to adapt without the medication. Finally being able to go a day without a tablet and not feel sick was an incredible feeling! So much so that I failed to recognise the emotional impact it was going to have. For weeks I was incredibly teary ( even more so than normal) and feelings of insecurity plagued me! This probably wasn’t the best time to be moving to the other side of the world! But, despite the timing and the impact of going without medication I’m determined to stay off them if I can! Being physically dependant on tablets is not something I ever want to experience again!

And despite the fear, I think I’ve put my all into my first few weeks here! Ive battled to ignore the feelings of misery and instead I’ve gone out and got involved! And I’m starting to feel better; At least for now…I’m still definitely scared of those feelings! I know that sounds ridiculous; feelings can’t hurt me… But then again some would argue that neither can the cockroaches I found in my bathroom, yet that didn’t stop me screaming the place down and squirting them with the shower head when I discovered them! And I still tread tentatively when I enter…. Note to all…. Check your shower curtains before you get in the shower!! (Shudder shudder)!
But I’m determined not to let the fear win…. After all I still need a shower at least once in a while!

I know I’m blessed, I know I’m fortunate, I know I’m having some amazing experiences right now and Hong Kong is an awesome place! I’m definitely starting to feel happy about my decision to move here despite the ¬£10 average for prosecco (seriously it’s bordering on a violation of my human rights) and the lack of real dairy milk…. Australia what do you put in it?? Ruining dairy milk is an actual crime!

I’m still scared of being forgotten, I’m still scared of losing my friends at home but I think this might be just what I need! After all if I can get in a netball court for the first time in twenty years and live without false nails (I know I’m achieving so much right now) I can pretty much do anything!image.jpeg

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Finding my focus 

Sometimes all it takes is one night. I’d been feeling a little bit out of sorts when I first arrived in South Africa. Don’t get me wrong, I know I’m incredibly lucky to do all the travelling that I do but there’s a part of me has that started to hate doing it on my own. When I was on my last trip in Mexico I really had thought it might be my last trip alone, that I was going to get swept off my feet when I got home and finally be able to share my adventures with someone. And I think the problem has been that I’ve been so focused on that, on what I’m missing or what hasn’t happened that I’ve stopped focusing on what I have and how amazingly blessed I am. I almost got to the stage where I thought I’d trade my free spirit for one that was content to sit on the sofa snuggled up to the man I love, and part of me thinks I still would. 

Travelling is one of my favourite things in the world to do and so when I was presented with a month off work I knew I had to use the opportunity to see more of the world. And yet as soon as I booked it I started questioning my decision….I’m already moving to the other side of the world, why would I want to spend even more time away from the people I love? It felt like a ridiculous decision. In fact I’ve been questioning a lot of my decisions recently, wondering if I’m making the right ones. Wondering if I’m giving up too much by moving away, am I leaving people and opportunities behind when I should be staying? 

But then I had one of those nights where you meet people who reaffirm your choices, people who understand where your coming from, they understand your doubts and your fears and suddenly you feel you belong in the world again. There was one girl Imparticular whose outlook was so similar to mine and we laughed at how much we worry when we’re travelling about all the things we don’t have time for or the choices we’ve made….what if that tour would be better? Or that hostel? Should I have flown to that place instead……and so it goes on….it’s ridiculous I know. To worry about these things instead of appreciating all the things I’m getting to do…but meeting someone else who felt the Same was such a relief. And suddenly I was able to focus again. On the amazing things I’m getting to see and do.

Meeting like minded people is one of the most comforting things. When you meet people who you really connect with. And it always amazes me when I’m away and strangers become friends. It’s one of the reasons I loved living in London and it’s one of the reasons I do love travelling so much. Making new friends, meeting new people, learning about how other people live their lives definitely opens your eyes .

And atleast my worries confirmed that I made the right decision to come away again….because now I’m immensely jealous of everyone I’m meeting whose away travelling for months on end seeing even more of this beautiful continent. 

But I’d still rather be sharing my world….travelling alone is exhilarating, you meet more people than when you travel in a pair, you can do what you want. You have to rely on yourself as you negotiate different languages, travel systems and customs. It makes you stronger and I’m grateful I’ve been able to do it. I’d highly recommend it. 

But I’ve done it now. A LOT. So I’m ready for something new, an adventure shared with someone, where you have to compromise, where you don’t have to just rely on yourself. 

I’m hoping there’s a travel buddy waiting somewhere around the corner….someone whose shares my passion and wants to see as much of the world as I do….but someone who once in a while wants to snuggle up on that sofa too.

Any takers? Get your passport ready…..

Missing Out??

The past few weeks have passed in a total blur where nothing has seemed real. I accepted a job in Spain, only to be invited to Hong Kong two days later for an interview. Four days later I was on a plane to Asia having been finally offered the redundancy I’d been threatened with for 18 months. A week later I’d accepted the job in Hong Kong and passed on the job in Spain. Two weeks on and I’m sitting at my parents house having ¬†finished work and left London. Is this really my life right now?

My final week in London was filled with tears. People kept asking if I was excited about Hong Kong, but every time I uttered the words that I was actually moving there it felt like I was reading a script…lines written for me that had no relevance to my actual world. And I couldn’t really think about the future as the present was suddenly filled with goodbyes. And each goodbye seemed so strange, on the one hand it didn’t feel real…I couldn’t get my head around the fact that I might not see the people I hold so dear for so long. And yet on the flip side the sadness was palpable. I cant be excited about the future when I can’t see past the pain of right now. And don’t get me wrong…no one is holding a gun to my head, this is my choice and I’m not going to feel all ‘woe is me’. I’m blessed by such an amazing opportunity and all the possibilities that it brings…but I do feel sad right now. And that’s a testament to the friendships I hold so dear and the people who have such special places in my heart.

I honestly hadn’t expected it to hurt so much as I packed up and got into my car yesterday. I hadn’t expected the gut wrenching heart ache as I waved goodbye. I hadn’t expected to miss Peckham and Tooting and Clapham Common with such severity. But as I drove through those places I was hit by how much I’m going to miss. Pub quizzes and Sunday Roasts, climbing walls and pole dancing classes, church and theatre shows, festivals and gigs, football matches and rugby games and cheerleading competitions. And most of all…the friends I’ve made. London is full of so many incredible memories and I hold each one so close. I’m so grateful to all the wonderful, interesting and unique people I’ve met there and who have made my world that bit more special. Maybe I’d underestimated my emotions, because when you leave something so momentous behind its going to hurt.

And of course the doubts have snuck in. I believe everything happens for a reason, I believe in doors that are opened and opportunities that arise. I believe in taking those opportunities and walking through those doors. But I’ve realised I’m still allowed some hesitation and a few worries. ¬†I’m realising that just because moving abroad is something I’ve wanted to do, the reality is still scary. The reality still comes with pain. Amazing experiences in life, though they should be appreciated, don’t have to come without sadness.

At the moment I can’t help but ask if I’m definitely doing the right thing? What if I’m leaving things behind that I should be staying around for? What if I’m missing an opportunity right here in the UK? What if what if what if…..

I need to remember that I cant live on ‘what if’s’….a wise person keeps telling me that no-one knows what the future holds. He’s also been right when he’s reminded me that every time I’ve been scared about a change in my life, its moved me to a better place. And although I’m recognising that I’m allowed to have doubts, I’m also recongising that maybe he’s right.

So for now, I’m going to try and appreciate the now. I’m going to take a few deep breaths every time the pain steps in and the tears fill my eyes and remember it only hurts because I’m blessed with such great memories…and I’m going to accept the glass of wine my mum has just offered me.

Once upon a time…

So its official…and by that ¬†I mean its on Facebook. I’m moving to Hong Kong….Moving…to…Hong…Kong. Actually MOVING there….to live!!

It totally doesn’t feel real.

Moving abroad is something I’ve thought about and wanted to do for so long and yet now its happening, I still don’t quite believe it. In fact I doubt it’ll sink in properly until I’m sitting on the plane out. But it is happening.

One of the reasons it doesn’t seem real is because, despite contemplating it for years,¬†I’ve had to wait for other things to slot into place and for the timing to be right in order for it to happen. And I’ve certainly had to be patient over the past few months as the situation with my current job worked itself out. (OK, OK I wasn’t always ¬†all that patient in the last few weeks but a person can only take so much)

And now I have to believe that everything that’s happened over the past few months; all the unknowns, all the waiting; has all been for a reason. Because I do believe in timing.

Last night I happened to be at a friend’s house and the friend in question lives on the very street in London where I first moved nearly 8 years ago. Now London is a big city and there are a lot of streets so to find myself back there felt quite poignant. After I left his house I decided to take a trip down memory lane and so, feeling sentimental, I drove to my old flat and pulled up outside. Instantly I was back in that moment in 2008 when I pulled up outside that flat for the very first time. I could almost taste the memory of being there, on the verge of something new, at the start of my London adventure.

As I drove home, I drove past Canary Wharf, The Walkie Talkie, The Gherkin and the Shard and finally I crossed over Tower Bridge. Iconic sights. And yet familiar sights…because, this once new City is now the place I call home. (Sorry to all my Northern girls…but I truly believe you can have more ¬†than one home…Blackburn is home too fear not).

It was a gorgeous drive and I drank in the sights. I never get tired of driving over Tower Bridge, I never stop appreciating how privileged I am to live in a city where these things are all on my doorstep. Its one of the many things I’ve loved about living here and one of things I’ll definitely miss.

And when people ask why I moved to London my answer is always the same…I always wanted to live in London but I moved when I did because the timing was right. And prior to the move my dream seemed almost unobtainable…I’d managed to rack up quite a bit of a debt and the soaring rents in London seemed an impossibility. But I was determined to live here because it felt right, it felt like I was meant to live here. Its proof that dreams are nearly almost within reach if we want them enough because I found a way, even though my rent more than tripled after I moved.

So I suppose sometimes we just have to be patient, sometimes we have to wait. But never ever ever give up on your dreams..¬†they wont all come true at once but sometimes waiting for the perfect time means they’ll be all the more amazing when they do.

 

 

Change Is a Coming 

So I’m sitting at the airport right now about to board a flight that could literally change my life forever! It’s exciting! But also scaring me half to death! 

I knew this year was going to bring change! I’d planned it that way and it is what I want! But that doesn’t mean I havnt had a few second, third and fourth thoughts along the way!

Because, whilst I’m excited about new opportunities and new adventures there is a nagging feeling… Why do I want to change my life when I actually like it as it is! I love my friends, I love my family and there are so many fun and and exciting things going on right now; things I’ll miss out on! I know I could carry on with things as they are and be perfectly happy! Yet change is exactly what I’m planning! 

And change can be a scary place! Fear of the unknown is often always bigger than the fear of standing still! But despite the fear I don’t want to live my life based on ‘what ifs’. I’ve always been very much a believer in grabbing life by the balls and going for things… More than once I’ve uttered the phrase ‘what’s the worst that could happen’ 

So as scared as I am…and sad to be making changes that will move me away from people I love. I’m pretty sure that I can’t be making the wrong decision here! Whilst we so often fear the choices we make, I’ve come to the conclusion that a choice to move forward is better than missing an opportunity for something amazing! 

I know I’m fortunate! I spread my wings because I have a secure foundation built on the love of my family and friends! People who will be there for me if it all goes wrong. And I’m so so grateful for that. 

So right now I’m going to take a leap into the unknown! 
So here’s to

the futue, to new memories and looking forward to what comes next! 

  
  

Do What You Love to Do.

I didn’t have the best day yesterday and when I left work I had half a mind to cancel my plans, head home and dive under my duvet. Hiding from the world definitely seemed like the best option. But as I contemplated this, something inside me raised it’s head (just a peep) and I realised that as good an idea as it seemed, making an effort with my evening would actually make me feel better.

So I headed to the nail shop to get my nails done before meeting some friends to climb at the climbing wall. Now, to most climbers these activities would seem mutually exclusive. I’m yet to meet another climber with false nails and I’m always getting comments about my talons. But I learnt a long time ago that just because you want to do something doesn’t mean you have to do it the same way as everybody else. I want to be the one who breaks the mold, who does it a bit differently…what is it they say…’Do not go where the path may lead, go where there is no path and leave a trail’…I love that quote!!

When I worked on Camp America they thought I was crazy…I was always the one in the bright pink polka dot top or the huge plastic earrings whilst everyone else was happy in t-shirt and shorts. But I didn’t care a bit. I loved expressing myself through over-sized jewelry and crazy outfits. My fashion sense has definitely changed a bit since then but I’d like to think my sense of who I am hasn’t at all. And part of who I am is definitely tied up in the things I love to do…

I had a great evening climbing yesterday because its something I love, it clears my head and gives me a sense of achievement every time (I know if my climbing partner is reading this he’ll laugh because I’m usually moaning about how rubbish I climb…but I do LOVE it really ;). And it struck me last night that finding¬†something you love can make you feel as alive as finding someone that you love. Finding something you love gives you a sense of who you are and where you fit; in a world, that is all too often, hard to make sense of.

I definitely don’t have all the answers. I still care way too much about what people think and some days I feel so lost I don’t think there’s a map on earth that will help me find my way. But one think I know for sure….no matter how much you want to hide under the duvet, you’ll always have a better day when you face the world head on and find the thing you love to do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

6 things I learnt from watching ‘How to be Single’

So apparently it is OK to be single these days (even the movies have now caught on to the idea)…but if you ARE single then you clearly need advice on how to do it right (I’m pretty sure I’m failing in all areas) so off I went to see this latest Rom-Com to glean some much needed guidance.

1. BLOODY ENJOY IT

‘I ¬†know breaking up sucks, but do you know what’s worse…wasting a night in New York city’

Now clearly we don’t all live in New York, but that doesn’t mean you cant enjoy ¬†a night out, or a night in, or a new hobby. One of my favourite things about being single is the freedom…I can go out when I want, with who I want, for as long as I want and I don’t have to check in with anyone. Sometimes I take it for granted but at the moment I’m recognising that its a privilege. Being single means no compromising on being YOU.

2. Find a Wing Man

I am literally in Love with Rebel Wilson…she is ridiculously funny and, whilst her humour isn’t for everyone, I laughed out loud A LOT in this film. ¬†She also had some fantastic words of wisdom.

 

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3. Do what you want to do

Use the WI-FI in the bar downstairs because its free. Date the younger man. Have a baby with a sperm donor. Go and see the giant Christmas tree you want to see, even if that’s means going on your own (you never know who you’ll met along the way). Do internet date, don’t internet date…who bloody cares its your life…DO IT YOUR WAY!!!!

Life takes us all on different paths and that’s OK!!!!

4. Make sure that what you have is actually what you want….

If you’re going to break up with someone to ‘find yourself’…make sure you really don’t want to be with someone….if you change your mind, it might be too late.

If you like someone…ASK THEM OUT for goodness sake, because really what have you got to lose? chances are that losing the chance with that person is going to be worse. So just grow a pair…unless you want an invite to their wedding (to someone else)

 

5. Not every relationship is meant to work out

It was so refreshing to see a movie where boy meets girl doesn’t necessarily last forever. Sometimes people come into our lives for a season… (obviously it helps when they’re as beautiful as Damon Wayons Jnr) sometimes people have other things they need to deal with first, sometimes relationships don’t last forever.

 

 

6. Part of being single will be spent looking for someone to be with

Although being single and hanging out with friends is a perfectly valid choice, there is also nothing wrong with wanting to have a boyfriend or girlfriend either. There is nothing stopping you from seeking out the perfect partner whilst STILL being strong and independent.

Now Playing #HowToBeSingle

 

Liebster Award

I¬†am very ¬†excited to announce that¬†‘Single in the City‘ has been awarded the Liebster Award for new blogs. I am so grateful to have been nominated by¬†¬†Melissa at¬†FabYOUlous Life; not least because I love love love this blog. ¬†Melissa says on her blog that FabYOUlous Life is…’a place where YOU are celebrated for¬†everything that makes YOU beautiful, unique and of course‚ĶFabYOUlous.’ Sounds pretty dam good to me. Check out her post 10-Simple-Steps-to-Make-2016-Your-Most-FabYOUlous-Year-Yet

In her nomination, this is what Melissa said about¬†Single in the City….

Carrie Bradshaw’s got nothing on this girl. I love her spin on being young and single in a the big city (which happens to be London in this instance.)…thanks Melissa; Got to love the assimilation with Miss Bradshaw…she’s my second favorite ‘Carrie’ ūüėČ

 As a Leibster Award winner, I have been instructed to answer 10 questions that Melissa has for me and then I get to nominate 10 other new bloggers to receive the award and answer questions that I pose for them. It is such a fun way to recognize and celebrate bloggers who are new to the blogging scene but who are already making an impact with their work. 

¬†To start things off, here are the answers to the questions that Melissa¬†had for me…

How long have you been blogging?
I’ve been blogging since January; it was my ‘new thing’ for 2016. I studied writing at University and I’ve always enjoyed writing but somewhere along the way life got in the way and I hadn’t written anything other than a facebook post or a text message since my days at Uni. It’s great to be writing again as I do love it
writing
What inspires you?
I’ve always been the kind of person who lets my heart rule my head and I’d say the same about my blog…I like to write from the heart and I usually end up writing about whatever is on my heart at the time. ‘m also inspired by my friends and let’s not forget my fave TV show ‘ Grey’s Anatomy’ haha had to be in there.
What’s your favorite social media platform and¬†why?
I’ve always been a huge fan of facebook but recently I’ve been getting more and more into instagram; mainly because some of the pictures I’m following are truly stunning.
Who is your biggest supporter?
It has to be my girls (they know who they are)…we have a Whats App Group and they’re always reassuring me abut my blog posts and giving me great feedback, encouragement and support. Don’t think I’d even be doing this without them. LOVE THEM ALL LOADS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Do you have a¬†‘day’ job? If so, what is it?
I manage a Sure Start Children’s Centre; Bessemer Grange, in Southwark. i love my job as i get to work with some great kids and we also offer a wide range of support to families.
Bessemer Grange Children's Centre's Profile Photo
What are your top 3 hobbies, aside from blogging?
Pole Dancing, Ariel Hoop and Climbing.
I’ve been Pole dancing for nearly a year and it’s great exercise, great fun and a great confidence booster. I took up aerial hoop this year¬†and I love learning something new every week. I’m a big believer in¬†challenging myself and it’s great coming away from a class knowing I’ve¬†achieved something and managed to do something I’ve never done before.
I’ve been climbing for years but I got back into it last year and again I just love it. Its great for clearing your head as its very hard to worry about¬†anything else in the world when you’re hanging off a rock working out where to put your feet or hands next. I’m off to Majorca in March to climb outdoors and its so fun to be away with like minded people enjoying the outdoors.
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What kind of shoes are you wearing right now?
I’m currently in my trainers as I’ve just done a Zumba class…The only time I’m out of heels is when I exercise.
Do you keep a blogging schedule or just wing it?
I’m currently just winging it; which is definitely a bad thing as I’m realizing all the advice suggests having a schedule.
What’s been the biggest obstacle for you since you started your blog?
Definitely TIME…I need more hours in the day!!!
Now for the blogs I’m nominating….

Sciintilla: She says ‘My message is very simple: wear whatever you want and have fun doing it, be only yourself’ … definitely resonates with my own ideas about fashion!!

Sun Dragon Lady’s Cavern of Lost Words; This blog has really inspired and re-assured me that blogs can be about whatever you want them to be about. This blog features some great inspirational and thought provoking quotes.

simplylaura5word: As a Christian women It’s great to find a blog described as ‘insight into the word of God’ Laura is another ¬†women writing from the heart and looking to inspire others. In my opinion she’s certainly succeeding.

The contented family project¬†: Honest, real and funny. I loved¬†‘To the mother that wants to scream’. A must read for all mums.

Lifeanexperience¬†‘Life starts the moment we start living’. Feeling uplifted and inspired after reading some of the wonderful quotes on this blog. Great way to start the day. Raj’s words really struck a chord with me; great writing and some beautiful thoughts.

teachingtinyminds: From a teacher who writes – This blog will be a great resource for early years teachers. I loved the experiences of Forest Schools (which I’m also a fan of)

poundtravel As a keen traveler who loves exploring on a budget I loved some of the backpacker budget travel advice.

thinkoutsidethebox: beauty, travel, product reviews and more. This blog has something for everyone.

mummyinatutu: Katie says she’d wear a tutu everyday if she could…I love her already; truly a woman after my own heart. Check out her post ‘the one I loved, the one I lost‘ for¬†a heart wrenching and poignant read.

So for these fantastic bloggers I pose the following questions…

  1. Why do you blog?
  2. How do you get new readers to connect with your blog?
  3. What’s the best thing you’ve ever read?
  4. What writers inspire you?
  5. If you could be somewhere else today, where would you be?
  6. What’s the best way to spend a Saturday?
  7. What’s the best bit of advice you’d give a new blogger?
  8. If you could get one celebrity to read your blog who would it be and why?
  9. What are the best and worst things about blogging?
  10. If you had to eat one food forever what would you choose?

Congratulations to all my nominees, it’s been so much fun reading some new blogs and seeing what’s out there.

Continue reading “Liebster Award”

Love, love, love….

So it’s here…Valentines Day. That one day in the calendar that can strike fear into the heart of any single person. A day that is extremely hard to avoid and a day ridden with pressure.

But….¬†its a day I love! The hopeless ¬†romantic in me cant help but.

And I know I’m actually in the minority here. I know a lot of people; whether they are in a relationship or not, aren’t fans of the 14 the of February. Mainly, because as with all holidays, consumerism has replaced the real meaning with a money making industry that topped ¬£2billion in the UK alone, last year. It’s rammed into our faces as soon as the tinsel disappears from the window displays and the shops capitalise on ensuring there is a sense of obligation to spend big.

But if we can see past the pressure to book the perfect restaurant or purchase the perfect card, what better thing is there to celebrate than love?…yes we should tell our loved ones that we love them anyway, not just because the date in the calendar commands us to. But how many of us do? How many of us get swept away in the humdrum of day to day life and so often forget? So I think it‚Äôs nice to take time out to say ‚ÄėI love you‚Äô. What better words are there?

Valentines day is being made to feel special by your new man after you’ve been so hurt in the past, proving that you deserve every happiness and that brighter days are coming your way. Or the rare date night you and your husband set aside whilst the kids are looked after by someone else. Valentines day is the newly married couple who don’t actually need the card to be written to feel the love in their home and their family. Valentines day is celebrating the person (or the people) who make your world turn.

And I got these snippets ¬†of how today was spent from the friends who turn my world. The friends who make me feel loved. And yes I’m getting gooey and sentimental. But I don’t need to be in a relationship to feel the love that’s all around me (I know I’m teetering close to the level of sickeningly cheesy that most normal people can tolerate). But I like February 14th because I get to take a moment to appreciate ALL the people in my world who love me and all the people I love back in return.

I spent my evening with my housemates; enjoying a roast dinner, a couple of drinks and wonderful company. It was a lovely evening and I couldn’t have had a nicer end to my day. What’s more, I didn’t actually know that this was how I was going to spend my evening, it wasn’t planned, and that in itself just goes to show that we never know where the next bit of love in our lives is coming from. Maybe it’s just around the corner.

So maybe you spent today alone. Maybe you didn’t wake up next to your soul mate and spend all day gazing adoringly into their eyes (I’m sure that’s how most people will have spent today). But that shouldn’t make you sad. Because who knows what next year will bring, or the one after. And in the meantime tell your friends how important they are, or your family. Take a moment to tell the people you love, that you love them.

After all tomorrow is the 15th February…and that’s just an ordinary day ūüėČ

 

 

love

 

Reasons and Seasons

I was thinking this week about the people who come into our lives and the purposes they serve. I’ve definitely noticed that some people walk into our lives for a season and others stay for the long haul. But even the people who stay for a short time can have happened along for a reason, and they change us, making¬†a real difference to who we are.

When I was 24 I traveled around South East Asia for the first time. It was an amazing experience for many reasons but one particular time always stands out in my memory.

It was a Friday evening and I was heading to get some food in the Mall beneath the petroleum towers in Kuala Lumpur before catching a night train to Singapore later the same night. As the escalators snaked around and up the four floors to the food court I happened to glance down at the escalator a floor down and see a man heading up behind me. He was extremely attractive and I couldn’t help but smile at him. Then as the escalators continued up and around I caught his eye and smiled again (I might have also stuck out my tongue). Both times he smiled back. As the escalators reached the fourth floor I decided to stop at the top and wait for my mystery man and upon arriving at the same floor he came over to say hello. (I should probably point out that I was with a friend at the time who was questioning all of these moves)

We ended up having dinner together that evening and I discovered that he was from the USA and he was on his own travelling for 18 months. He was keen for me to stay in Kuala Lumpur for the evening to go to a party but I explained that our train was leaving in a couple of hours. I wanted to stay but my friend who I was travelling with wasn’t keen and so in the end I had no choice but to say goodbye. However, before I did, I gave him my phone number and suggested he include Singapore in his travelling plans. He was reluctant, but my friend offered her flat as free accommodation and he said he’d try and head down to see us the following day. I couldn’t take a number from him as he was travelling without a phone and this was back in the days when not everyone had facebook.¬†As I walked away that evening I remember giggling with my friend that I’d been so brazen as to stick my tongue out at a guy on an escalator (It doesn’t seem like such a big deal now but back then it really did). Being in another Country, miles from anyone else I knew had definitely made me braver than I would have been normally.

I never expected to see the man from the escalator ever again and yet low and behold, the following day my phone rang. He had arrived at the bus station in Singapore having spent all day travelling from another Country just to see me. I’ve never been so shocked, or so flattered.¬†We spent the next few days hanging out and exploring Singapore together before he got on a bus to his next destination and I never saw him again. I don’t think I needed to. We’d shared a lovely holiday romance and we both knew that that was as far as it was ever going to go. And that was fine. Great even. We had a wonderful time together and I learnt that sometimes its worth being brave and taking a chance. For him, he took a huge risk in travelling to another Country but sometimes life is about taking chances and letting ourselves follow mysterious, unknown paths to the most wonderful places.

chances