Have you ever wished for your life to be different? Maybe where you live, your relationships, your job. I was listening to one of my podcasts who posed this question and offered some suggestions on how to make a conscious decision to make the best of what and where you are by way of doing more cultural, physical and experiential things in your area.
If you don’t really like your home instead of neglecting it, create a room or a corner that you love, make it as exquisite as you desire. I’m not Mrs Houseproud and cleaning things, vacuuming and housework aren’t my favourite pastimes, however as we have so much stuff, I also find it a waste of time. When I have cleared a surface to make it tidier and more homely, it doesn’t take long for it to get more stuff left on it. I am often very frustrated by the amount of stuff we have in every room, on every surface. It means we don’t have nice things to look at, or can have people round for tea and cake or a meal because clearing chairs and the table would take a day or more to clear. And because a lot of this stuff isn’t even ours, there’s not a lot I can do about it. I have fantasised about a time when I can do something about it and how much more floor space would be created, and seating, and dining space. When I am in a position to do something about it, it will happen very quickly and dramatically. Things will be given a time limit to be removed. I shall revert to something I used to tell R to get her to tidy up “move it or lose it”.
Seek out culture and arts in your home town. Find creative activities, festivals, lectures and concerts to attend. Obviously over the last year or more, this has been very difficult as most things have been cancelled, but we are usually quite good at culture. We have an annual West End Theatre trip, and we have been to wine tastings in the Cathedral, book tours by people like Boycie from Only Fools & Horses. I was given several lovely cultural gifts for my 50th birthday that I need to schedule in, from West End shows to tea at the Shard, to making chocolates at Hotel Chocolat in Covent Garden. Lots of fun things to get lined up.
Explore hobbies you could enjoy right now, fill life with simple pleasures. My two main hobbies are #bellringing and #cakes. Again, both have taken a bit of a back seat due to restrictions but ringing is certainly starting to open up again now. I want to be a bit more discerning about what I do and don’t go to though. We used to go to absolutely everything, even events in other districts, but I no longer feel the need to be present for everything. C has already said no to something, which is most unlike him.
Explore creative ways to make your job more enjoyable. Take some initiative with an idea, or put fresh flowers on your desk to brighten the place up. I am lucky that I have some autonomy in my job and have opportunity to be creative in response to needs. I’m not a particularly creative solutions type person, but recently I have created a whole framework for the organisation that I am quite proud of. I’m not sure putting fresh flowers on my desk every week would make much difference but the idea is that it doesn’t need to be something grand. Even having meetings outside in the fresh air, or a walking meeting, now we can meet face to face, changes things up a bit.
Take responsibility for your emotional state and get creative. I have always said that how you respond to things is within your responsibility. I am trying to handle things differently, more objectively, and understanding.
Discover physical activities that are in vogue where you live. If you live near water, take a water sport or enjoy boat rides. Not for me, I have a water phobia. If you live in the mountains, go for hikes. I live in a city centre. Flat as a pancake, but we’re not far from countryside and have some lovely walks and woods and nature parks within short driving distances. Certainly during the better weather, we do try to go for walks when we can.
Invest fully in relationships. To create successful relationships show up and give 100%. This is probably the most difficult. There are relationships that I know I should make more of an effort with, but as I don’t get anything back, I find it demotivating to put so much effort in, with no return. Where my values and another person’s don’t align, I struggle to find a way to be invested.
Show up as your best self. Commit to dressing, walking, talking and loving as best you can today, not tomorrow. This is where I am putting most effort into at the moment. I am trying to discover what my best self looks and feels like, so trying different things, from consciously changing actions, behaviours, thoughts, deeds and words. Still a work in progress.
Live with a heart full of gratitude. Choose to find the beauty and appreciate in where you live. I am lucky where I live. I live in a nice home (despite it being full of stuff and three stories), in a location that makes life easy getting in and out of the city, near enough to work, close enough to outdoor spaces. I have a husband who is incredibly clever, at pretty much everything. I have an incredibly intelligent, funny, caring and awesome daughter who has a fantastic outlook on life and works hard for what she wants. I have a good job that allows me work/life balance, autonomy, stretching enough but not overly stressful. I have an understanding boss who allows me to do all that. I have some good friends and family who join me for random #bellringing activities and who appreciate what I do.
Start you day with the right questions. How am I going to make today my best day ever? I do take a few minutes every day to think about the day ahead and what I need to do and how might be the best way to go about it. I try not to look too far ahead so that I don’t get overwhelmed with information and start worrying about things that are further away. At the end of the day, I often reflect on what I’ve done and always remember a question R asked me when she lived at home “what did you do today?” Sometimes that’s a hard question to ask as I don’t always produce anything tangible, but I create, support, facilitate, progress, develop and maintain.
Take exquisite care of what you have. Am I truly caring for what I already have? I probably don’t, and some it that relates back to my responses to the first point above. I am however, trying to take better care of myself, my wellbeing and priorities. I am making better decisions about what I want to and who I want to be with. I think starting with myself, other things will naturally follow as I discover things about myself.
How are you blooming where you are planted?