happiness, home, house

Dreaming about a home

List all the things about your dream home.

Ummm… It’s home. It’s happy.

No, I mean what does I look like.

Ummm… It’s got me and you in it. Maybe a kid. Filled with friends and family from time to time.

Ok. I’m not sure you’re getting this. For instance, I love would love a garden.

Oh. Ok. Ummm. I’m not sure I have a lot to add to this. I’ve never really thought of a home in terms of aspirations. I’ve thought of it as a place of comfort and safety. All I ever wanted in a home when I was a kid.

Oh. I’m not sure where to go from here. I think we need a shared vision of what our home looks like but I don’t really know how to get you there…

My poor husband.

We want to build a life together, but any chat that implies plans longer than a year freaks me out.

Please, don’t misunderstand my reaction. I’m not a commitment phobe to you. I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I want to – and have been –  inspired by how you look at life and what it can be. Admittedly, I sometimes get on the ride and know that even if it’s one of those rollercoasters that make my tummy turn, I’ll go on and be safe because I’m with you.

I realise now that this isn’t enough. I want to proactively add to the vision of our life. I want to be the inspirer and the inspired who has a vision of what our life could be.

The weird thing is that I visualise our life during meditation. There is a house. It does have a garden, because we’re in it – happy – with a toddler running to our nieces and the family behind them.

I didn’t really think much beyond that, but when pushed I think I do have some aspirational things I like. These aren’t the things that drive me, but they have started to exist in my mind, the more we talk of what home is made up of.

• Rooms with lots of natural light
• Outdoor space
• A nice power shower, where the water doesn’t go cold
• Stereo sound. Admittedly I didn’t realised I liked this until I started to speak to you about it.
• A tumble dryer. Gosh, how very middle class. Washing is just easier then right?

Maybe there’s more but I’ve not unpicked it.

This list is strange for me though, please remember this.

For me, home will always be where you are, where I am and where happiness lives. If we achieve this then we’ll be living in my dream home. The one we built, not bought.

Mojo&Me xx

 

 

 

balence, career break, travel, work

Working 9-5: Dolly’s song and what this means to me

I feel like Dolly was on to something when she sang Working 9-5

Workin’ 9 to 5
What a way to make livin’
Barely gettin’ by
It’s all takin’ and no givin’…
It’s enough to drive you
Crazy if you let it

Hands up if you sang this in your head!

Anyhow, after a long career break having got married and traveled the world, it’s been a while since I worked. When I first came home I remember thinking how strange it was that I could only see my friends after work or the weekend. And because they have more than one friend, this often took ninja organisation skills to book in advance.

It was like being slapped in the face with a diary. You know, like those Filofax or planners you’d see Samatha with in Sex in the City – the one that showed how important she was because, well, she was busy. And people needed to know this.

In the digital world, the Filofax has been replaced with whatsapp groups or those online things where everyone needs to vote to see when is the best time for the most people to meet. Granted, I don’t have such big friendship groups that I need the latter and quite frankly would loose my will to live if I was an organiser in any group. I quite like spontaneity but realise that between work, family and hobbies, this isn’t always possible.

Fair to say, I am the one who wants to see people, but I also have small networks so usually meeting them isn’t too difficult. Well, that’s what I used to think before I went travelling.

Now I’m back I realise that this thing called work dictates when I’m free. It’s the overbearing five day long appointment that becomes the thing to organise everything around. Between about 6:30am – 7pm, I belong to work. Either getting ready for it, doing it, or getting home after it. That leaves me mornings (I wouldn’t inflict morning me on anyone), evenings (feed me and I’m yours) and of course the precious weekend.

As much as I love what I do, I am suddenly begrudging how much of my life it takes up. How much of my friends’ lives it takes up. How much head space I used to dedicate to it – even out of hours.

Funemployed let me get life admin done when everyone else was at work. Dentist and doctors appointments no longer needed negation with the boss. Banks are open at times outside of luchtime when ques reach the doors. Hair, waxing, eyebrows and all those lady like things that eat into weekends, evenings and lunch breaks were done when everyone else was in meetings, at their desks or dreaming about home time.

And that’s not including all the fun things. Museums, eateries, parks, tourist attractions – all had a low level humm to them during the week, conserving energy for the rush that will ensue at the weekend.

But alas, I realise now, I can’t have it all. I must work and want to for my mental sanity, the challenge and satisfaction it gives me. But I need to stay true to somethings:

  1. Work cannot take over my life. With sooooo much of your life spent at work, I don’t want to be someone who gives it even more. Even if I do work for good causes and this in itself motivates me to give every part of me and then some.
  1. In the long term, I must find a way to make a living that earns me money, makes me happy and has flexibility

I’ve changed since coming back from my travels. I know I have a dedication to the work I do, but I now have a dedication to my life. To growing it, to making it richer – not in money but in experience – and to giving it more variety and fun.

I’m putting this out to the world as my intention. I must stay strong to it, even as I complete my first week at work and am terrified everyday that I could fail.

But hey, isn’t there that old saying: If it scares you, do it. 

Only good can come of this. And I’m determined to give it a go. Dolly’s 9-5 didn’t seem that fun anyway. Not unless you were singing it.

Mojo&Me xx

balence, career break, travel, work

Same, same, but different

I start a new job next week. Yes! After a soul destroying four month search having come back from traveling for almost a year, I have a job. But there’s been a strange feeling rising in me. I feel the same, but different. Slightly, “same, same but different” – as they say in South East Asia.  

Anyhow, I wrote the below two days before we got back and it’s all I keep thinking about before I start my career again. Will I be the same doing the job I love?  Only time will tell.

_______________________________

3rd October 2016

I’m sitting in Port Elizabeth airport, in South Africa. We’ve spent the last week road tripping the Garden Route. It’s been a blast. I’m waiting for my penultimate flight before I head back to London following a year long honeymoon across 11 different countries. It’s almost over and I’m already thinking about life back home and what it can be. 

Next to me is a lady who’s in my sort of industry by the sounds of things. She’s on the phone talking  about ‘change requests’ to ‘incorporate the newest client requirements’. What they’re doing will improve the customer experience and will increase functionality. All the words are so familiar. But there’s something jarring me. 

It’s not because I haven’t worked in months, or that I’m not curious about the project. Believe me, I eavesdropped long enough to try and find out what the project was or who the client was! No, it’s something else that’s making me feel strange. 

It’s the urgency in her. A familiar urgency. An all consuming urgency. An urgency that makes my heart  beat faster, gets my adrenaline pumping and fires up my passion. 

The only thing is, I realised what it’s like to be outside of the all consuming work bubble which I loved. I realise, as I sit and hear the familiar tone of stress, the fast paced conversations and the urgency of it all, that this project is a big deal. But only really to the people involved. To anyone outside, the world has continued to move in the way it always has. 

I now understand an old boss’s advice. I’m not a heart surgeon and if things go wrong, no one will die. It will all be fine. I want to tell this woman  that. I want to tell her to stop and breath. But deep down I know this woman so well, that I even know the reaction I would get. 

“You don’t get it. You don’t care enough. Well excuse me for wanting to do my best.”

I’m sitting here wondering how I’m going to be when I go home and get back to the career I love. Will that urgent women be the voice in my head, a reminder of all I don’t want to be again? Or will I simply go back to being my version of her. 

I want balance when I’m home. I want to love what I do, without putting so much pressure on myself that I kneel over. I want a life and a career. I want to be kinder to myself and celebrate what I achieve and enjoy the ride. Not just focus on the bits I couldn’t do and what’s next. 

I think I know what my heart is saying, my biggest goal now is making it happen.

Wish me luck.

Mojo&Me xx

emotion

Homesick and stuff

I’m not one for stuff. If anything, I have an aversion to the stuff-culture. You know, the culture that says, let me buy one of these things that I don’t really need so I can have stuff. But going to my storage unit yesterday, I felt an strange feeling of belonging to, well, my belongings. I felt homesick.

It’s been 17months since I moved out of my home. The one I bought to feel safe in. The one my partner moved into and made a home with me (even though me and a cat would have struggled in such a small space). We made it work. We made memories, bought storage, fought in Ikea, killed pot plants and dealt with burst water pipes and breezy corridors.

On the day we moved out, I took a moment of mindfulness to thank my flat for all it had given me. A home. A haven. Security. Serenity. I had an attachment to this tiny place in South London that I found hard to articulate.

You see, I was ready for this next chapter – travelling for a year. My stuff being in storage was a relief to me. A part of me wanted to chuck it all out and free myself from anything attached to this old life.

But my stuff wasn’t what I was fond of. It was the bricks and mortar that made our home – the space we had created, the one I started off single in and left married. The one I bought three months before I was made redundant. The one where I entertained friends but could also lock my self away. The one I bought on a whim knowing I couldn’t continue where I was. It was a place no one could take from me. Until, of course I sold it!

I felt a twang in my tummy as we left. My throat felt like it was closing in on itself. I felt stupid. I don’t believe in owning stuff to make you happy and surely my flat is the biggest ‘stuff’ I owned. But what was this twag I felt? I realised, it was loss. It was the closing of a chapter that I knew I had finished, but wanted to keep close to my heart.

Going to the storage unit yesterday, I actually looked at my stuff and remembered things. It had all lived in our home. The stuff I had wanted freedom from, suddenly crowded my mind as it came to life. Pictures on tables, books on shelves, candles lit, artwork hanging. They were reminders of the chapter I had finished and had wanted so badly to move on from.

In the place I now call home, I now feel strangely displaced. We’re living with my in-laws as we get back on our feet having just come back from our travelling adventure.  It’s not that I hate living here, I just suddenly feel that sense of loss all over again. And longing.

I feel nostalgia for the place I once called home. The one I drive past now and see the new owner has taken down my blinds and has a pot plant. Wow. He hasn’t killed the pot plant. I’m envious of the place that still looks like a hovel from the outside, has cracks in the walls inside and a damn patch that could blow the electrics when it rained. I miss the way I felt when I was inside that flat, looking out at it with pride that I did this. I had built a home. I had escaped the life I was living and built a new one. No, it wasn’t perfect (the flat or my life). But it was mine.

I think about all that stuff in storage and want to send a note.

Dear stuff,

You know how I feel about you and your type. I sometimes feel our lives are surrounded by messages that tell us we need you to feel content and happy. Not having bought into that philosophy, I want to tell you something…

Having you in my life did actually make me happy. When I see you now, I remember what you represent and that alone puts a smile on my face.

I can’t guarantee that you will be with me forever but I can promise you this. I will make another home one day that is filled with laughter and love. I will invite you to be part of it. Not as a focal point but as things that will help create the life I want. And as a reminder of where we once were.

I can’t wait to be reunited with you when we can build this next set of memories, together.

Until then, I’m going to remember the fun we had and imagine my future, free from the burden of wanting to run away from you again. For now anyway 🙂

Take care in storage. You’ll be free before you know it.

Mojo&Me xx

emotion, happiness, mental health, selfishness, Uncategorized

This isn’t for me. Just admit it.

I hate pretence. It’s like you haven’t read the T&Cs that come with, what seems to be, a selfless conversation on how much someone cares about you.

a. “I know it’s your birthday, so I thought we could go shopping. Yes, I know you’re looking at theatre tickets, but I’d just prefer to go shopping.” The emotional blackmail was too much and we went shopping. #truestory

b. “I want to make you a birthday cake, so I thought I’d make a meringue. I know you don’t like it, but I’ve found a great recipe and it will look incredible. And everyone else loves it.” I see. You want to do this for the show of it and other people. Not. For. My. Birthday. Another #truestory.

c. “When I said I had a surprise for you, what I meant was that I was using this as an excuse to see you, because it’s been ages.” Ah, when I said I was into theatre, I didn’t mean your school play, actually. And truth is, I probably have been avoiding you because you drain me. I simply don’t have the resilience to be around you. But now you have me cornered, because you have something ‘for me’.

Please, don’t ever make me think you have selflessly put me first. In all honesty, my expectations are very low and I never expect this from anyone apart from my husband. So saying or implying that you are putting me first when you aren’t, is actually more hurtful than just saying:

a. I want to go shopping and want you to come. I can prepare mentally for this if I CHOOSE to accompany you.

b. I want to show off how bloody awesome I am. Granted, I’d still be pissed off if you did this under the guise of my birthday, but hell, at least your ego isn’t over shadowed in this light.

c. I feel like you’re avoiding me. Is everything ok? We can then talk about the real shit that is happening here. Surprises make me feel like I should be grateful to you for something, even if this isn’t that real point.

I have recently learnt how important choice is to me. For too long, I lived my life on the terms that other people needed from me. In the bubble they wanted me in. Their feelings and needs were more important than mine. Their convenience was more important than mine. Their choice was more important than mine.

Relationships which took away my choice are now changing. And with this change comes a mix of emotions. I feel loss for the closeness that was built on how I used to be, but I also feel relief. I will choose to opt out of experiences that emotionally drain me. I will choose how I spend my time, after all it isn’t in endless supply and I’ll be damned if I waste it. And I will choose who I have in my life.

There will be times that I turn a blind eye to how un-selfless your apparent selflessness is, because I realise you need me. Other times I will be hurt by it; sad that I believed you could put me first. I will come to terms with the anger and upset I feel when I realise, yet again, that I’ve been used, manipulated or deprioritised.

But always, I will forgive. I’ll focus on how lucky I am to have many people in my life that like me, or will focus on the nice traits I must have that people want to see me. I will forgive, because quite frankly I have no space for hurt. And I will grow and remember how far I have come when I used to live by the rules other needed me to.

But don’t get me wrong. I won’t do this at the detriment of my own well-being. Not anymore. I’ll do this so I can continue to build the life I want, the one I choose to have. I will do this openly and…. selfishly.

I’m sorry if our relationship doesn’t survive this. I just can’t live in the bubble you want me to be in. If your selfless love for me understands this, then we will be ok. If it doesn’t… well, I’d like to give you back this relationship. Because it was never for me. Not really.

Mojo&Me xx

blogging, confidence, fear, happiness, mental health, Uncategorized

A blogging leap into my mental wardrobe

By October 2015, I had quit my job, sold my flat, got married and embarked on a year long adventure. Otherwise known as a honeymoon/running away from being a grown up.

We had two one way tickets to Hong Kong, a backpack each and enough electrical devices to power a small town. Given this leap of faith into the unknown, it’s strange that setting up a blog to practice my writing in a safe space is, well, scary.

I work in marketing. I know no one will see this unless I proactively push it out. And then I realise what I’m doing. I’ve raided my mental wardrobe and have found a trusty favourite of mine – the fear hat.  This hat that has a case of mistaken identity. It thinks it’s my favourite pair of jeans – the ones that have moulded to me, that I could wear everyday. It attaches itself to me like I’ve picked it, like I want to wear it. But come on, how unflattering is it?! Why would I choose to wear this?!

Despite its identity crisis, fear hat has a strength that I’m retaliating against. But it’s brief interlude gave me insight into how far I’ve come since October 2015, when I left everything I knew to create something brand new.

Fear used to, and still does, cripple me. It makes think I’m not good enough, that things won’t work out, that getting out of bed is just too hard. It makes me so worried about things, that I break. It’s easy to fall into catastrophic thinking and negative self talk when fear hat is on.

But now, I’ve learnt how to take off that hat.

I’m realising how feeling my emotions and not blocking them away, is actually healthy. I worked so hard at showing the world I was ok, that I was good enough, successful enough, independent enough, that all I was actually doing was running away from my fear of failure. And my fear of feeling anything.

In accepting fear and it’s ugly wardrobe accessories, I’m actually growing. I’ve learnt to control my thoughts, to take a check on my mental well being and have learnt to have more control on my life. It’s an ongoing process and one that’s had help from CBT, therapy, mindfulness and meditation!

Changing your mental wardrobe, can happen. For me, it’s not a ten step plan or a “listicle” (although who can resist these!). It’s a process that I don’t think I should ever stop learning from. It’s an attitude, that I do have control. And it’s a belief that life can be as incredible as I make it.

Mojo&Me was about having a safe space to share my life musings. But in it’s creation I’ve suddenly appreciated who I am, what I believe and seen holistically for the first time, my path in getting here.

My dress of self-belief seems to have just come back from the cleaners – and it’s looking lovely. I wonder if it knows how much I’ve missed it. Now, if you’ll excuse me… I just need to change.

Mojo&Me xx