I’m not sure if our kids will always listen. They are headstrong. My parents tried hard with me and sometimes it was a losing battle. Like the times my Mum tried her best to get me practising my hand writing, which is still pretty awful. I should have listened. She was a teacher for 30 odd years – I clearly didn’t inherit her excellent patience. Or the time my Dad begged me to keep up with my piano lessons with good old Mr Dale. He was so right but I was 12 and thought it was “uncool”. BIG MISTAKE, HUGE.
We all make mistakes though and it’s how we move on from them that counts.
Here are a few of my top lessons from 2017. I’m taking time to reflect over them, as I enjoy the festive period. I am excited for 2018, it’s going to be a big year. I’m taking everything I have learnt with me.
Older is not always wiser.
The worst advice I had this year was back in January from a guy in his 70’s. He suggested I start looking for a ‘real job’. I get that blogging to many is still a fairly new career concept, but I would never talk anyone out of it. In fact, I would go as far as to say that if you have a strong passion about something and you enjoy writing, that blogging is an incredible career choice. Or the blogging itself can open up incredible career opportunities. If you are prepared to put in the work and the, at times, anti-social hours.
Always follow your gut.
Sometimes we ignore it though. In the summer I took some advice, despite my gut screaming out NO DON’T! The end result was exactly what my gut feeling told me it would be. An amazing opportunity missed.
Try not to dwell on mistakes.
Sometimes we take risks and they don’t pay off. Had going against my gut feeling paid off, I would have been very happy. Sometimes it can be down to luck. As for mistakes we make – wasted energy saying “if only” is so pointless. Look how quickly this year has gone. The hours are so much better when they are used productively. I could spend the rest of my adult life wishing I could play a musical instrument well or I could do something about it. I can play two songs on the piano. My heart will go on from Titanic and Unchained Melody. My brothers can play countless tunes. They listened to my parents. I didn’t. But it’s not too late. If I want it enough then there is nothing to stop me saving for a piano and getting lessons.
Too many goals = disaster.
Yes, I want to get piano lessons at some point but right now it’s not realistic as I have to focus on other things. I know that with family and work commitments, if I add learning an instrument to my fitness and writing goals then I will become too frazzled, which will have an impact on the quality of everything I do. Something has to give.
Planning is essential to ensure we make our goals happen. Of course there have been bumps in the road, but every goal I have set for myself has been achieved through great planning and perseverance.
People think about you less than you think.
We all have our own issues to deal with. Don’t take a lack of communication personally. Sometimes people just have no energy to give and have enough on their plate. I had an interesting chat about this last week with an inspiring author. She said when she was going through a really tough time, some people took it personally and felt that she hated them. The truth was she just had no energy to make an effort because she had enough on her plate at the time. So be kind. Always. Judging is way out of fashion, it’s nearly 2018!!
Know when you can’t give anymore.
Sometimes we give and we give. It feels fantastic to give. But sometimes things happen and stress can build up. Be it sleep deprivation, caring for small people or ill family and friends, working flat out on projects, having a new-born. When you feel that you have nothing left to give start to say no. Sorry but no. I need to rest. Today I will focus on self-care. Today, I need people to help me for a change because I am running on empty. It’s ok to admit that, in fact it is so healthy.
I have been reminded this year how much kids copy their parents and role models. Bonnie see’s writing and fitness as such a positive thing. She works so hard at it and has come on so much. It’s no coincidence that these were my two big goals at the start of the year. Two things I have worked hard at.
Don’t take yourself too seriously.
It can be so easy to do but it’s not good for you.
Always make time to play music.
Life can get so frantic that we forget to turn it on. Last week Charlie and I sat snuggling to some of his favourite tunes, cough cough One Direction. He loves “drag me down” and as we were cuddling he whispered – “Mummy will you drag me up, not down please?”. Priceless. No pressure.
My brother playing on our wedding day
Music for wellness
Exercise is the body’s natural antidepressant.
One of the best things to come out of this blog is how many people write to tell me that I have encouraged them to either take up running or join a health club. Fitness is one of the best investments you will ever make. It is so hard to find the time though and it can feel impossible to remain consistent.
I think back to the PE days at school and I always used to find it a bit dull. I was never a fan of being bashed with a hockey stick or having basketballs thrown at my face. I liked swimming though. As for running, when I put my mind to it I was great. I’ll never forget winning 1st place in primary school at a short distance. Nobody saw it coming, this other fast girl Debbie had it in the bag. Then I told myself I would win it and I did. Exercise teaches us determination and mental strength.
When I was 18, I lived in America for my first summer off from University. I was sharing a house by the beach with two girls from LA. They would go running every night. They both looked great: so fit and healthy. They were glowing and would often invite me to join them. I saw it as a chore when it really wouldn’t have been.
I never want my kids to see exercise as a chore. I want to drill it into them from an early age that is is never a bad thing. It will never be something they regret. But the reason they are listening to me is because of my actions, not my words. They see me going out, even when I am tried or I have stuff to do. They see me returning feeling proud with a glow.
Making time for food.
I still get the balance wrong sometimes. Last week I had a really hard training session. I burned loads of calories and instead of making time to have a decent supper, I skipped the fridge and headed right for the sofa. I woke the next morning around 130am with the worst migraine. My body was crying out for fuel and I didn’t listen. We need food in our life, we need water. We need to make the time, even when life is hectic. Don’t skip meals, especially if you are training hard or you are busy with work or parenting the shizzle out of life. It will only end in tears.
Breakfast after the migraine
Leave the phone off the dinner table.
I wrote about this at the start of the year. Making time to sit together as a family is so hard these days. Meals should be a time to get away from technology. A time to put the laptop off, the phones away and talk. A time to enjoy food and not feel guilty about it. Like finding time for exerice, this also can take discipline to get into the routine with so many distractions and so much to do. It’s a worthy investment though.
So there you have it, a small snapshop of some of the things I have been remimded of this year. I’m excited for more lessons in 2018, some hardcore goal digging and a whole lot of fun too.