What makes you the most happy?

Hows that for a title… now I can’t claim I thought of that one on my own, the inspiration for this post comes from my favorite book of 2018 “Not afraid of the fall” by Kyle James. 

If you are looking for a book to feed the wanderlust, I highly recommend it. Ash and Kyle take a life changing trip together through 38 cities in 15 countries. READ IT.

Anyway, Kyle mentions that wouldn’t asking “What makes you the most happy?” it be a better ice breaker instead of “What do you do?”. It really made me think… what in life makes me the most happy? its most definitely a thought provoking question and if you really want to catch someone off guard I highly recommend asking it.

When I think about what makes me the most happy of course the list includes my partner, family, friends and my adorable pup. Diving deeper into it I realized that food takes a major part in what makes me happy… not just any food but exciting, tasty, adventurous food. Food from different cultures all over the world…the kind of flavors that hit our tongue and you can’t help but let out a small “mmmm”. There is so much passion in that moment, that first bite of something new, its truly electric.

Another thing that makes me happy would be taking photos, of everything…everywhere. I have over 30 thousand photos on my phone at the current moment. most of which are not of anything special but when I look at them to thin them out… I remember the exact moment I took the image and can’t bring myself to delete it. Photos really capture a moment that will never happen again, that exact millisecond of time where every element is perfect (or not even perfect). Every photo tells a story, I know its cliche to say every photo is worth a thousand words but sometimes there is that photo that leaves you speechless with out a word to describe it…both are mind blowing in their own ways. If the photo makes you smile or brings you to tears, there is so much emotion you can convey with a single photo.

In an ideal world I would travel the world with my parter and pup taking photos and eating EVERY kind of food that is out there. Visiting every corner of the globe and seeing the world through my own eyes…Thats the dream right there.

Wouldn’t the world be a wonderful place if we all could do what made us happy… So thats my question for the day “What makes you the most happy?”

“You’re too focused on where you’ve been to pay attention on where you’re going”

Personally I struggle during the holidays, missing my family and the way things were when i was a kid, spending time together gorging on all the christmas food… spending time with my parents watching the Christmas TV specials and films. My life has changed a lot since we moved to the US 13 years ago. Back in England pretty much everything closes early Christmas Eve and is closed Christmas day. But now i work in the tourist capital of the USA…well the east coast (Orlando, FL). My work location is open 365 days out of the year… its hard to feel the Christmas spirit when everyone else in the world seems to have travelled your city with their family… and they want to complain how busy it is. Something else that makes me sadder this time of year is being so far away from my parents (who left back to England 2 years ago). I am lucky to have wonderful friends who I do consider an extension of my family who i was able to spend time with. That really helped take my mind off the 4000 miles between my parents and I.

My minimal christmas spirit was not from a lack of trying, i attended two Mickeys Very Merry Christmas Parties at The Magic Kingdom… loading up on about 50 cookies and countless hot chocolates, I was gifted 2 tickets to go and see White Christmas at the Dr Phillips Center for the Performing Arts the weekend before Christmas, which by the way was a wonderful show. I baked christmas cookies, decorated a christmas tree, blasted Christmas music and watched every single cheesy Netflix christmas movie i could. But still my spirit level was fluctuating up and down… then before i knew it, it was December 26th and Christmas was gone. Now we focus on New Years Eve… which is where i come to the title of this post, after watching “Mary Popping returns” this quote really stood out:

“You’re too focused on where you’ve been to pay attention on where you’re going”

-Mary Poppins

A statement that is too true for most of us. It is the end of the year… 2018 is coming to a close, and there have been some wonderful moments… and some tough times. The end of a year is supposed to be a celebration, Christmas leading through to New years eve, the count down for a brand new chapter. But how often do we spend this time of year looking back at the things we wish we could have changed from the last year. When really we should be looking forward to what the new year can bring! New adventures, new friends, new experiences and new places to explore.

I am so lucky for the family i have spread out across the world. Their constant support and love is more than i could ever wish for. For 2019 i choose not to focus on where i have come from and focus on moving forward, counting the blessings i do have and make sure to continue to grow.

My goal for 2019 is to do something epic every month, give myself something positive to focus on and keep pushing through. Sad emotions control too much of our lives, we let them bring us down and sometimes bring down the others around us. Remember in 2019, no matter who you are, where you are or what you are going through someone loves you.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

I love you…No Matter what

Recently I stumbled upon a song “No Matter what” By Calum Scott, I recognized his name from somewhere and after a google search I found that he was a contestant on “Britain’s got Talent” a few years ago, his audition went vial with his rendition of “Dancing on my own”.

To break down the song, its about a young boy who struggles with his sexuality growing up and being accepted by his family and friends. I highly recommend listening to it! On so many levels the song is relatable to me, except that I was lucky enough to have both of my parents accept me and tell me that they love me no matter what.

Now I have started, deleted and edited this post so many times, I kept hitting a mental block. The main verse is really what I focus on in the song and where I found the title of this post.

“I love you no matter what
I just want you to be happy and always be who you are”
She wrapped her arms around me
Said, “Don’t try to be what you’re not
‘Cause I love you no matter what”
She loves me no matter what

There are some people that no matter what happens we love them and most of the time it is beautiful and supportive… but how many of us look in the mirror every day and say “I love you, no matter what”? I know that I never do this… But how much of our time do we spend doubting ourselves and invalidating our feelings/thoughts and emotions? when we really should be kinder to ourselves and supportive of ourselves.

Too many times in life we are the ones holding ourselves back, thinking that we are not good enough, when we spend so much energy telling others that they are worth it, that they need to follow their dream, that they can do anything… but when it comes to applying that same message to yourself… you shut it down. Why do we do that?

I am sure most of it comes down to self esteem and comparing our lives to others therefore highlighting our own insecurities. I recently started a course that talked about how self esteem and self confidence are related to holding yourself back and the need for constant approval is part of having low self esteem. If you look at the people who are just oozing confidence everywhere, they don’t ask for validation, they don’t ask for reassurance and they don’t doubt themselves.

There have been so many projects I have started in my life that I have stopped because “someone else does it better” or because someone told me I wasn’t doing it well enough…or just because I didn’t believe in myself enough to follow through, I was forgetting that practice makes perfect, that perfect is really a continuation of growth and how you never stop learning and growing.

This blog is one of the projects that for awhile… I gave up on. Not because someone else was doing it better, but just that I lost focus in why I started it. I didn’t start this blog to make money or change the world, I started it for me, to tell my stories, to log my life and hopefully get to a point where others can read it and find comfort within the words. To a certain degree I started it with the hopes of holding myself accountable and forcing myself to take a few minutes out of my week where I can just sit and reflect and write down whats going through my mind.

Maybe that is why recently I have felt a bit overwhelmed with everything, its the holidays and finding time for anything seems near impossible. But even now, just sitting in silence listening to my dog snoring on the sofa next to me, this moment is perfect. I feel a weight lifted off my chest, just rambling away here.

I think we all need to remember that the love we give to others needs to be the same love we give ourselves, hold yourself up and if you fail at something, it was just a practice shot, every step in the right direction is an improvement from where you came from. When you feel yourself, or anyone else for that matter, telling you that you can’t do something… ignore them! Think about the great things, remind yourself “What would i tell a friend who was doubting themselves”. Love yourself and support yourself, grow and develop your skills and spread that love to everyone.

I am always reminded of the incredibly cheesy quote “In a world where you can be anything, be kind”… this is true to how you treat yourself, because if you can’t be kind to yourself how will you know how to treat others.

 

 

The beauty of nothing

“Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where others see nothing”- Camille Pissaro

What does that quote mean to you?

To me, it means seeing and appreciating the beauty that can be found everywhere in everything… there is beauty in nothing, there is beauty in everything.

Sometimes climbing to the top of a mountain leads you to some mind blowing beautiful sunrise, other times sitting by a fire pit surrounded by close friends is beautiful and it costs nothing.

Life moves too fast, time runs too quick and emotions can be a whirlwind but we have to appreciate the moments of nothing, the moments where we can be still… the days where I sat on the sofa reading a book listening to the sound of my beautiful dog snoring. Those moments are what makes life worth it.

Sure you can judge a life by what you see on social media, how many “likes” it gets… but the true beauty of life is the moments that might not get liked on instagram, shared on Facebook or blasted on twitter.

The amount of work that goes into finding the perfect light, the perfect outfit, the perfect spot for the beautiful photo is mind blowing and I am guilty of spending that effort too… but I am choosing to remember the beauty in those moments that cost nothing, with no preplanning. Those moments where I get to be me, no judgment, no fear, where I can let myself rest.

Every moment can only be relived in our memories, we can’t change it, we can’t take it back… hindsight is 20:20 they say, and it’s true. You can’t change what happened you just have to live with it and learn. But remember in every day there is beauty and in every dark moment there is light. I encourage you to keep your eye open and find a beautiful thing in every day.

When life gives you lemons… you get a new fuse.

Somedays when you wake up, you already know today is going to be a battle. But you still push through, other days you are woken by those fantastic words of “The dryer won’t start”. I think its a natural reaction for us all to just groan, walk to the (insert item thats not working here), we unplug it, plug it back in… check the breaker box, unplug/plug it again, and press the power button….Because you know, we are  all repair wizards and unplugging and replugging it back in fixes every issue… then we settle for the fact that today, our wizard skills have taken the day off so instead we try using a virtual wizard (Google). I advise against googling most kinds of medical issues because it is sure to be something super serious that will cost you millions of dollars to fix. But for most things a bit of light investigating on google and youtube, you can (hopefully) figure out if this is something you are capable of fixing.

Today is laundry day, i am working an awkward shift and have no clean and comfortable clothes for the shift, but luckily i don’t start work for another… 15 hours (I should be sleeping…). But i ran to my local Walmart, on their website they “might” have the correct thermal fuse… but of course they don’t, so i placed my replacement order for the part that i am hoping will fix the dryer, a $5 part ordered via Amazon for same day delivery…. and now we wait… if it shows up at the very end of the delivery window it will give me about 20 minutes to through some clothes in the dryer. But my 8am trip to Walmart, in school traffic did get me thinking.

How do you react when $#!t happens… i find that for the most part we react the same way, our blood pressure spikes, we get hot under the collar, our stomachs start churning and instantly jump to the “end of the world” out look. It seems to just be part of our nature that we are naturally pessimistic when something bad happens, i am not saying everyone is that way… we all know that person who is one thousand percent an optimist where they could lose the winning lottery ticket for 12 million dollars and they would say “Well I’m sure that who ever finds the ticket needs it more than i do”. But maybe the optimist is on to something, maybe its how we react to those moments that can change our lives. Maybe just breaking the problem down into small manageable pieces where we can look at each part and say “Ok, this i CAN do”. I felt it this morning… sitting in my car at Walmart after battling traffic, my brain starting over reacting…. but i told myself to just stop and relax. Surprisingly taking that moment to slow my racing heart… helped me break down the issue into smaller tasks that i could handle.

1.Order correct part ASAP

2.wash a small load of laundry, hang laundry outside to bake

3.when part arrives switch it out and hope for the best

That was easy right? So why cant we break down all other issues to bulletin points that we can manage? why do we have to over react and over think every aspect of life?

Those days when you know today is going to be a battle, strap on your armor and be prepared to take it one step at a time.

Are you failing yourself?

I understand the title of this post is somewhat… intense, but it is something i feel we all need to reflect on.

The other day at work i was talking to a recently retired women who was planning a trip to Norway. I gushed over her trip and explained how extremely jealous i was. Her words of wisdom were “Well if you save your money now, when you retired, you will get to live the life you want and go explore… if your health allows”

Myself and one of my coworkers (both desperate for some world travel) dove into her plans for the trip. After spending about 15 minutes talking to her she talked about how she wishes her kids would go and live life now, as they were so focused on career success, buying houses, working and starting a family. she said they were probably in my age group (30’s). I said to her that i really think thats the mentality of my generation overall, we feel at this point we should be settling down, having kids and a house.

She opened up about when she was 30 they purchased an old victorian house, poured their savings into it, spent every weekend fixing it up… she then said “what for? looking back I wish I had taken these trips when I was younger, purchased a smaller house and experienced life, as it all goes by way too quickly”.

We talked about how I had plans to travel but moving to the US changed the direction I was wanting to take my life and now its just somewhat of a routine. Her advice changed from the start of our conversation “Live your life while you have the ability to do it, the rest  can wait”. That was the end of the interaction, I wished her luck on her trip and told her to come back if she need anything else.

But this started me thinking. Are we failing ourselves by sticking to the routines? to the expectations of life that is set by the check list of what you should have by what age? What if we wait to retire? as terrifying a thought as it is, that should only be 35 years away, but with the economy the way its going, i might not get to retire until i am 70-75 or even at all.

But even then, you can only control so many aspects of your health, a lot of things come down to your genes, some things you have no control over. I have met the most athletic person who only ate healthy food, who ended up in hospital unable to walk because of a neuron disease. I met a guy who worked out 7 days a week, then got in a car accident at 22 years old and now after a year of physical therapy he is able to walk again. All he talked to me about was how happy he was to be alive, but how badly he wanted to get back at the gym as he piled on 150 pound.

Hindsight is 20:20 as cliche as that is, but you also can’t go back, every moment that passes is gone, every hour, every minute, every second only happens once, you only have     one change to live every day.  I love people watching and learning about differences between us… from my conversations with MANY people from all over the world of many different ages… the worst thing you can do is regret not living… when you reach 100 years old do you want to look at your 100 years on this planet and go “Meh that was alright…” or do you want to say “Hey you know what, it wasn’t always perfect… but it was an adventure and i loved it.”

I know which one I would rather say.

 

I always get to where I’m going by walking away from where I’ve been

After watching Christopher Robin on Tuesday I have done nothing but think about the movie.

There are so many different and wonderful ways that Pooh describes life… my favorite being the title of this post.

When you think about your life, how often do you feel that you are living the same day over and over again, no matter how much you are trying to change something. Sometimes you really have to examine the monotonous routines we generate for ourselves… wake up every morning, with barley enough time to get ready, run out the door, drive to work, run in, clock in. Check emails, work the sales floor, coffee (because at this point it’s the only way to get through the day), clock out, drive home, dinner, tv, bed… to get up and do the same thing the next day.

Isn’t that the reason I started this blog? I wanted to feel alive… explore different things. Thankfully I have. I started a 30 day yoga challenge… I did really well for a few days then fell off the bandwagon… but from those few days I learnt a lot… I have little balance, lack of control over my thoughts and a generally terrible level of fitness. But I learnt some wonderful things… patience, just living in the breathe, sitting quietly and exploring every sensation.

Also since starting this blog I have gone and explored outside of the “normal” area of my existence (Work and Home). Exploring saint Augustine, watching the sunrise from the beach. Yesterday was a somewhat relaxing day driving out to the gulf coast with my significant other and spending the day just being us…. there’s so much good in those moments… when you manage to get away together, leaving technology behind, you get to just be yourselves and laugh and joke.

We were lucky enough to spend 5 hours at the beach with my adorable dog… and for the last 2 hours we were basically alone. I sat quietly on the wet sand letting the waves wash over my legs… and I just let the tide drag away all my frustrations, all my worries and sadness…. for that moment nothing else existed. I have always had major self esteem issues and refused to swim with out a shirt on… yesterday I changed that, I took my shirt off and jumped in to the warm waters… and it felt AMAZING. The waves washed away my insecurities and I was able to just enjoy.

We had a romantic dinner watching the sunset at a local restaurant before driving the two hours back home…. back to the routine and back to the worries and concerns of life. But even now I am trying to focus on the sound of the waves breaking gently on the sand, when I feel my heart starting to race or like I want to think negatively about myself… and I count 5,4,3,2,1 then focus on something positive and I remember that i am not perfect but the way to move forward is to move away from where you have been, move away from the negative thoughts and move towards the happiness you can find within yourself.