“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.

Where have you been?

This is a question we always ask someone when we haven’t seen them in awhile, or when we haven’t seen any social media activity from them. The answer to the question sometimes is exciting filled with adventure and laughter, other times its filled with illness and sadness. But we still ask.

Recently someone asked me, “Where have you been? i haven’t seen any blog posts in awhile”, honestly i didn’t know how to answer. I responded with the “oh you know i have just been busy with work”… Was that the truth? to a certain degree yes, but internally no.

The last month i haven’t had much energy to write, not because i didn’t want to but i didn’t feel inspired to do so. I didn’t really feel much of anything, i have had some great adventures but i didn’t write about them. Why? because my brain wouldn’t shut off about the things i can’t change, because i was worrying and over working my mind until i felt overwhelmed just waking up in the morning… Did i talk to anyone about this? of course not…  The words depression and anxiety have been swirling inside my head now for a few months, when i don’t have the energy to do anything, i don’t have the motivation to clean up, just feeling worn out and hopeless. I found myself focusing on what i was missing in my life, my family, friends that i don’t seem to have time to see, fulfillment at my jobs. It was like a deep abyss that i found myself diving headfirst into its center.

But today is a new day, a friend posted a quote today from a travel book i am sure we have all read “Eat, Pray, Love”… (if you have not read it, i highly recommend it).

“There’s a wonderful old Italian joke about a poor man who goes to church every day and prays before the statue of a great saint, begging, “Dear saint-please, please, please…give me the grace to win the lottery.” This lament goes on for months. Finally the exasperated staue comes to life, looks down at the begging man and says in weary disgust, “My son-please, please, please…buy a ticket.”

This sparked the fire inside me that over the last few months had been burning down to embers, I got out of bed, looked in the mirror and thought “Buy a ticket….” now of course i am wishing it was an actual ticket to go on some miraculous adventure globe hopping and seeing every single wonder of the world… and then finding the ones that may not be so wonderful. But in todays case… i mean buying a ticket to participate in my life again, writing again. Why do we pray and pray for something to be handed to us, is that really what we believe life is? The easy street handed to some but not to others? i think about it like baking a pie, the dough should be made the day before and left to rest, then rolled out, you can’t just throw everything together and expect the perfect pie. you have to take time and  put effort into it.

The last month my eating habits have been terrible (i blame the pies), i have not been taking care of myself, i haven’t been giving my all at work, i haven’t really given my all in building/maintaining friendships. I really settled for just existing but still dreaming. Maybe thats one of the keys to life, dreaming gets you through the dark, but to create your own path out… you have to participate in its creation.

Now September did hold some amazing memories. We finally made it out to Clearwater Marine Aquarium, we managed to see their celebrity dolphin’s, Hope and Winter from Dolphin-tale and Dolphin-tale 2. They were incredible and watching them up close really made my day.

We also assisted someone in need when they had an accident and no one else was willing to take any quick action to help them. Word to the wise, when a car is in a pond, don’t just take photos and don’t try and open the car door, the water pressure will hold it closed. Open the trunk or the windows if you can. Luckily the driver was just in shock.

My advice to all of you, no matter what you are going through… buy the ticket, you have no idea where it could take you.

 

Have courage and be kind.

Courage and kindness. We hear those words all the time when we are kids. We are raised to be nice, kind, compassionate and treat others how we would like to be treated… at least that’s how I was raised.

Even now at 30 years old kindness is something i strive to keep in my life. As simple as opening the door for someone. Compassion doesn’t cost, relating to someone on the most basic level doesn’t cost you anything. We are only on this earth for a short time, wouldn’t life be better if we had compassion for others, we have the courage to pursue our dreams and we treat everyone with kindness. The downside is in most companies having those personality traits is seen as somewhat of a weakness, we are seen as those people who are not strong enough to stand up and speak because we “are too nice”.

We are all humans, when it comes down to it, we are all going to die (morbid I know). Would you like people to say about you? “He was a kind hearted person, he treated others so well and he cared”… or “he was a great business man, he always seemed stressed but he had the money”.

Words can hurt or heal, so why use them to hurt people… be kind… be sincere and believe in yourself. If you are speaking the truth with kindness you can do anything.

Remember we are all human, remember being a kid and being told to be kind, remember how kindness feels to receive it. That feeling is what you are gifting to someone else.

I’ll get off my soap box now.

Life is not a competition

Life is not a competition, there is no comparison between two people at the same age. Because at 25 years you own a mansion, new car, are married with 5 children and a dog… that doesn’t mean that every person should have those by that age… and who am I kidding in this economy, at 65 that’s not gunna be likely either. But that’s not the point.

I created this blog as a free space where there is no judgement based on age, race, religion, sexual orientation or gender… I don’t care about how much you make per hour, how big your House is, if you drive a new car or if your available balance is longer than your phone number. I care about what’s inside you, your heart, what gets you excited, what lights your spark.

If life is a race then what is the finish line…? I don’t want to run through my life trying to compete against those around me in regards to what counts as a success. Success is different for everyone, happiness is different for everyone and life, believe it or not, is different for everyone. The struggles and climbs we have at any age can be relatable but they are not a comparison by any means. We all have dreams of what we want to accomplish in life and that is great but those dreams and aspirations should be your own and not to keep up with those around you. Surround yourself with people who support you for being you and love you for being you… not how much you make or what you own.

The successes can be something like you paid all your bills on time this month… depending on the person, that might be a HUGE deal. Please don’t ever live your life comparing it to others around you… I beg you… if you find yourself looking at your life and saying “it’s not good enough”, remember that you are the one in control and you don’t have to answer to anyone about what classes as a successful day in your world. Even the people at the top of the financial pyramid have their worries and bad days.

When you have those days that you feel down because of someone else’s opinions of you, put your hand on your heart and feel it beating, that means you are still here, your life is still going and the chapters ahead are still being written…(did that sound too cliché?)

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.