This is the second time I’ve written this paragraph.
This is a lesson to myself. That in life we have choices. Two of which being that we can either look for the negatives or we can embrace the positives. I typed out my first attempt at this paragraph, read it back to myself, then deleted it all. I realised that everything I had written was negative. Rather than look at the things I had done over the past week, the things I had achieved, the little moments of joy, I’d focused on what I hadn’t managed to do; my failings. I had allowed my inner gremlin to narrate my story. I will not let that happen. It’s time to change my narrative and get back to living life on my terms.
Life Is For Living, Not Existing
Now that I feel so much mentally stronger than I did last year, I’m finding it really useful to reflect on those dark moments and pick apart some of the reasons why I was feeling so low. One of the major factors that has unquestionably affected us all over the past two years is covid. The virus has affected us all in uniquely different ways, no person’s experience will ever be identical to another’s – it’s a same storm different boat kind of scenario. I didn’t lose any loved ones because of covid. I couldn’t even 100% tell you if me or any of the rest of my immediate family even had covid. Physically, the virus didn’t deal me a bad hand. Mentally however, it got me. It’s still got me, to some degree. I still get bouts of social anxiety, there are still some places I haven’t been back to since we’ve been allowed to, I have become more insular, I doubt myself more. If I’m being completely honest I think these issues were lurking, lying dormant in me. The pandemic just exposed and gave power to them.
Throw perimenopause into the mix as well, and well yeah times got pretty dark back there for a while. But I’m pleased to report that the HRT is working. The dark clouds have lifted. I still get the odd day where I can feel it creeping back in – usually a couple of days after my period has ended – but to a much lesser degree and I also feel armed and ready for it.
I now feel strong enough to say that I have had enough. I am fed up of just existing. Fed up of feeling like I just need to get through this. To get through another day. To make it to the weekend. I am ready to start living life on my terms again.
Fuck It Moments
In my quest to get to know myself a little better, I’ve figured out I’m a bit of a contradiction. On the one hand I love being at home – I’ve created a space that feels safe, comfortable, and it works well with the way we live as a family. Yet on the other hand, I get restless. The urge to visit new places, to travel and experience new things, see new sights, is strong. I’ve been getting a bit more into star signs of late (I’m a Sagittarius if you’re interested – might help explain a few things!) and as a sign represented by a half human half horse it’s no wonder there’s this confusion within me. The human in me likes what I know and takes solace from familiarity, but the horse in me needs to escape, to run free and explore the wild.
The pandemic has highlighted just how important holidays are to me. Don’t get me wrong we’ve still managed some pretty epic holidays in the UK over that time, but I’ve missed our foreign travels, more than I realised. We could have tried to get away I know, but the pessimistic me, the anxious me, the like what I know me, didn’t feel comfortable with the way things were in the world and the ever changing rules, so we played it safe and stayed close to home. But last week something changed in me. I had a fuck it moment.
I’m a bit prone to fuck it moments from time to time. You know, those times when you throw caution to the wind, when you don’t overthink things, and you just say “fuck it, let’s do it”. I think we could all benefit from a few more fuck it moments in our lives if I’m honest. Anyway, last week, I had one. I’d already booked a holiday to Glastonbury for the half term week. My daughter’s into crystals at the moment, plus I’d found this really nice dog-friendly property with the potential for dog sitting thrown in as well, so it was basically begging to be booked. But having booked one holiday, suddenly I got on a role and before I knew it I was Googling ‘best places to go abroad in April’. Fast forward a couple of days, a few emails sent back and forth, and some phone calls to a travel consultant and the fuck it moment became 10 days in Mauritius. If this is what living on my terms is about then I am ALL for it!
Despite having these two holidays booked, I’m now already thinking ahead to the summer – hey I’m an all or nothing kinda girl, this is what I do. I think the thing is, it feels as if we’re on borrowed time with how many holidays we’ve got left with the kids. They turn 12 and 14 this year, so for the eldest we’ve maybe got 3 years absolute tops of holidays with him left before he’ll be binning us off for fishbowl cocktails in Ibiza. It’s not long. So, I want to make sure we take advantage of every opportunity we possibly can (especially having been robbed of a couple of years worth of foreign travel) to show and share the world with them. We’ve already taken them to some pretty incredible places (Iceland, Bali, Singapore, Sicily, Greece, most of the Canary Islands, Dubai) and they’re very fortunate that we have been able to do that, but equally there are so many other amazing places out there. I guess I just want to show them that there is more out there in the world if you just go looking.
I bloody love reading. But as someone who falls asleep the second my head hits the pillow I no longer get as much reading time as I would like. Living life on my terms means I am now allowing myself to read during the daytime. It sounds ridiculous I know. After all I’m a grown adult surely the perks of being an adult is that you can do what you want when you want, right? You’d think so. However, for whatever reason I’d told myself that reading in the daytime was too much of a luxury. That I should be using that time to work, or do housework, or other more important things. Not doing something that I enjoy. Yes, I know, I know. I hate the way that sounds too. It’s that bloody mind gremlin again.
Since ridding myself of the guilt, I have been gobbling up books like they’re Haribo (and I bloody love Haribo, especially Tangtastics, they’re ace aren’t they!?!). I wanted to share one with you that I particularly enjoyed and that I can see myself rereading or referring to time and time again. It’s called You Only Live Once by Noor Hibbert and it’s a kind of self help/autobiographical book filled with some proper decent life lessons that really struck a chord with me. When something in a book resonates with me or it’s something I want to come back to I turn over the bottom corner of the page, and with this book I’ve got maybe 10 or more of these little markers.
Here’s some little gems that stood out to me:
“Being vulnerable is not a sign of weakness, it’s actually completely courageous to stand up and say we are hurting, that we have got it wrong, that somehow we have lost control over who we are and how we manage life. Being vulnerable is uncomfortable, but if we can embrace stepping into that discomfort to share our truth, we not only have a beautiful opportunity for extreme growth, but also give others permission to be vulnerable too.”
“Some people will judge me, and others will applaud me and, when we come to terms with the idea that we don’t need to be loved or even liked by everyone, we can start to strip away the mask and comfortable with who we truly are. When we finally learn that trying to please the world is impossible, then we can start to actually please ourselves.”
Honestly, every page of this book is like tonic to the soul. If you’re feeling a little lost right now and need some guidance, some points of action, or just some strong motivational words then this is the book for you.
I was aiming to publish this brain dump every Tuesday, but do you know what, living life on my terms means doing things for me when it’s right for me. Yesterday, I didn’t feel in a writing kind of mood, so I didn’t force it. Today, I did. This is the attitude I’m taking with me. To do things on my terms. To listen and understand myself more. To cut myself some slack. To do what feels right.
I hope you enjoyed this week’s brain dump. Come back next week for more!
In the meantime, if you wanna get in touch, it’s probs best to head on over to one of my socials.
Facebook – @thisishealthyliving
Twitter – @ArtHealthLiving
Instagram – @arthealthyliving
Or leave me a comment below.
Becky Stafferton is a content creator, full time procrastinator and mum of 2 kids and 1 aggy cockapoo. She tries to promote a realistic, sustainable and positive image of how to lead a healthy life, whilst also maintaining the fact that life ain’t all fluffy clouds and rainbows. When she’s not writing or sitting on her arse scrolling through social media, she can be found running through muddy puddles, making lists of lists, having a good old moan, doing random Google searches and squatting like her life depends on it.