Over the past few years I have noticed that I am becoming progressively less tolerant of noise. I am becoming the annoying old battleaxe always telling people (namely my kids and dog) to be quiet and calm down.
Its important at this point to note that at the time of writing this blog I was sat in a kids dance class listening to the baby shark song!! Never have I wanted silence so badly and I cant think what inspired this particular blog!!
I think the need for silence, or just quiet, is a direct result of the anxiety and mental health problems that I have been experiencing for the last few years. My reasoning behind this is that my head feels so full all the time. Full of all the things I have to do, full of all the things that are
You know the saying “you are only as old as you feel?” well if that was true I would be eternally 21. Although not strictly true because after a particularly taxing day with the kids I can end up feeling 81!! However, generally, in my head most of the time I feel I am 21 and its definitely the age I would go back to if I could. It was my favourite age, not necessarily because of the situation I was in then, but because it felt like the perfect age – not too old but old enough to do everything (apart from retire!!)
But now with the benefit of a couple (ahem) more years under my belt, I can look back and think there are a few things I wish I had known then. So, I will share them with you and who knows if you are a bit closer to my ideal age perhaps they will be of use because let’s be honest there isn’t a fat lot I can do unless they eventually invent time travel.
Please note these are in no particular order and no tip is more valuable than another.
1) Take good care of your pre-baby body and value it. It doesn’t matter how much of your baby weight you lose and how few stretch marks you get as a result of pregnancy, your body won’t look the same. That being said, you aren’t currently at your healthiest and whilst in the future you definitely improve that situation, I would do that sooner if I was you because as I have already said it won’t be the same again after kids and you only have 4 more years until you are pregnant!! You could wear denim hot pants at least once if you get your act together!!
2) Get loads better at saying no to people and don’t feel guilty about it. In the long run it will serve you well because eventually you will have no choice but to say no in order to stay sane. It is important that you value your worth more than you currently do because there are some rocky times ahead. You will manage a lot better if you became assertive earlier on and are able to build up a greater resilience now. It will help you to recognise the relationships worth investing in and weed out those who will cause more harm than good. It will be hard and it wont sit comfortably with you but it will be worthwhile in the end.
3) Invest in better storage so that you don’t have to keep giving your clothes to the charity shop and then regretting it. If you worked on improving storage in all of your houses and also got over your issues with clutter you would have a much better wardrobe collection to chose from now. Vacuum bags and the loft are the way forward, invest in them before 2018 because they will change your life.
4) The guy you are with now, he is the one for you. He always has been and he always will be. It will be tough at times and you will need to work hard so be prepared for that. Don’t make any changes to your timeline but if possible throw caution to the wind and holiday more because once the grown-up stuff like mortgages, weddings and kids happen it becomes much trickier. You have the potential to have an amazing life together and he is the best person to ride out the rocky times with so don’t lose sight of that. You will both be big picture people so try not to get too hung up on the small here and now stuff.
5) Overall life would be easier if you could make some sort of tangible plan for your career rather than this sort of see how it goes approach you are working on. It may seem difficult at the moment because all the avenues you are pursuing are dead ends. But although you don’t realise it now, this is the easiest time to make changes and try new things. The path you are on will see you ok but it is not the most direct route and you won’t end up where you hope you will. That degree you have just achieved, you can ride on its glory for about another 3 years but then it will wear off so you might want a backup. Again, this is the best time to do it, because its difficult to study and renovate a house or raise these babies you are adamant about having at 25. Finally, don’t forget the reasons you picked a degree in Psychology and Criminology, these are areas that you are deeply interested in and that truly fascinate you. In 12 years’ time you will regret not pursuing them and you will be actively seeking ways to break back in to that field. I mean I guess you will because I definitely haven’t got to that age yet (cough cough).
Its easy to look back now and think I wish I knew then what I know now, but there are many experiences that I have lived that have shaped who I am now and my life. I cant change things and honestly I probably don’t want to change things (not the big stuff anyway – there are probably a few questionable outfit choices I would like to remove from my history) because the impact would be too great on my current. But I will do my future self a favour and tell them now to try and be happier and more present in their life. Things are tough and it can be a real battle to get through some days, but these challenges are shaping you and your future. Use this learning to make the next 12 years the best ones yet so that the “5 things I would tell my 33-year-old self” blog will be even harder to write.
And finally, I have one last final bonus life tip, possibly the most useful piece of information I can share to anyone reading this, particularly anyone nearer to 21 than I am – DO NOT EVER mix wine, vodka and tequila, it does not go well. Most importantly, DO NOT EVER EVER do this the night before your wedding. You will still have the most amazing day, but you will be paler and more jaded than you hoped. Plus everyone buys you drinks on your wedding day and if you are hungover you will not take full advantage of this!!!
One of the things that has stuck with me the most since I accepted I was ill (different from when I became ill) came from a great friend who simply said “your wardrobe is just too full”.
So, after the initial panic that she had indeed seen the complete and utter state of my dishevelled wardrobe with the back panel hanging off, I realised what she actually meant. She simply meant that I had taken on too much to cope with. I had been metaphorically cramming stuff in to my “wardrobe” and shutting the doors until eventually those poor doors had enough and came flying off and hit me hard.
The most frustrating part of it all was that my “wardrobe” was filled with loads of other people’s things that I was storing for them and consequently I had less room for my stuff.
But after about 3 months of counselling, I was able to manage some of the stuff. Chuck some of it out, refold some other stuff and generally get a better idea of what was actually in there. Suddenly things felt a bit better and less pressured. There was a small amount of space now in which to carefully place a few things that wasn’t going to cause another massive wardrobe explosion.
But as time has been going on, and since the counselling has stopped, I have been trying to manage the wardrobe on my own and the time has come to admit that it is starting to feel a bit bulgy again. Only this time it isn’t because of any major things, its just a series of life’s little niggles that are building and building and I don’t have the right level of resilience to fight them all the time.
So is that it then? Am I now so broken that I can’t even deal with normal life? That’s a very scary and sobering thought that I am trying to process. I mean surely everyone has to deal with the same everyday stresses – working, being a parent, running a home, trying to have a social life, maintain a relationship etc etc etc? so why is it that I am finding it so difficult to deal with all these things when I have already invested heavily in trying to make space in my wardrobe.
But the thing that makes it different now is that I am much better at self-reflection. I am not caught up in a whirlwind and I have time to stop and take stock of the situation. I am more rational than before. All of these things combined have led me to the realisation that actually the issue is the quality of my “wardrobe”. I need to work on making myself more bespoke fitted wardrobe and less Ikea flat pack special with the flimsy plastic door inserts!!
So that is my project for the next few weeks and months. Watch this space because there is a shiny, sparkly and sturdy new wardrobe in the making. In the mean time if you could refrain from putting your stuff in my wardrobe that would be great.