Adulting & Growing Old: What Adults Never Told You When You Were Young

I’m coming up to 34 years old next month, and I have to be honest, I still feel 19 in my head. I think I always will.

I’ve been blessed with a young-looking face, and people always think I’m about 6 years younger than I actually am. I used to hate this but now I like it, and I hope it doesn’t change.

Me and my husband used to look at photos of when we had first met and compare them with current ones, then comment on how we hadn’t changed. But now we look at those same pictures and notice a massive difference. I’m getting old! Not really, but I’m definitely looking older.

Last week I found my first white hair – not grey, white – and I was so happy. I love the idea of getting older, and I feel like I’ve hit another milestone. I’ve been looking for greys for a while now, but since I dye my hair (and have done since I was 16) I rarely see my natural colour. For some reason this time around, my mousey-roots making an appearance hasn’t bothered me so I’m holding out dying my hair until I snap back into hating it again. My plan is that if my hair goes white I won’t have to dye or highlight it any more. I’m aware that won’t work, but let me dream for a while.

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When I was a kid, I knew that as soon as I hit 18 I’d be an adult and have it all sussed out. But along with no one telling you how much aftercare having a tattoo takes and what REALLY goes on when you give birth, it’s one of those things that people don’t tell you when you’re a kid and leave you to work out yourself;

You’ll never really feel like an adult. (Shh don’t tell the kids).

I often see a term banded around on twitter – ‘Adulting’, and I think it’s perfect. For example “I had pizza for breakfast #adulting” or “Spent the afternoon doing my accounts, and now I’m off to a wine bar #adulting” It’s used perfectly to illustrate the psyche of an ‘adult’ who has the brain of a teenager doing things they feel that can or should do but not quite feeling like an adult.

I’ve always said that I never want to feel like an adult. If I start feeling that way, things will be dull and boring and I will have lost the fun. I also say you’re never truly old until you hit about 80, so I’ve got some time to go.

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You spend your young life learning how to be when you’re thrust out into the big wild world, but you never really stop learning. You can continue to educate yourself both academically and by learning from experience and the experience of others. Everyone you meet teaches you something about people and about yourself. You never stop making mistakes, learning from them and choosing which path to take.

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I find growing older to be the biggest adventure. It’s exciting. I want to be a sponge taking it all in, adapting myself to it and moving on to the next thing. I know a lot of people who went through a funk when they hit 30, but I was the most excited. This year I turn 34 and whilst I’m not so keen with my skin changing, my ability to go out in the evening on a ‘school night’ diminishing and my life responsibilities going up, I still know there’s so much ahead of me. There’s time to learn, change, experience and move forward. There are people I haven’t met, places I haven’t seen and so many things I need to learn about myself.

Who wouldn’t want to move forward and experience all of that?

This Week I Have Been Mostly….

this week i have been mostly

This is more of a life update post than a weekly update, but I’m sure you’ll allow me some creative licence!

The past few months have been pretty heavy going, with life changes and busy things happening. The attacks on the UK have been very triggering for me, so I was pleased I had a few scheduled posts ready to go, so I didn’t have to think too much about blog content when, being truthful, I just didn’t feel like blogging.

Twitter has become a hostile place to hang out, at times, with a lot of unnecessary bitching and drama for drama’s sake. I’ve taken a bit of a step back on there too. Instead I’ve been enjoying taking photos, and looking up from screens a bit more. Seeing what’s around me, and then sharing it with my followers on instagram.

As well as bits and bobs happening in my life, that I won’t go into right now for fear of jinxing, we did get offered the opportunity to take an amazing trip, which we decided to go ahead with and will be venturing out on in October.

Friends of ours are going to be in Orlando for a couple of months at the end of the year and offered us use of one of their spare rooms whilst they’re there. If you’re a new reader you may not know, but I am a huge fan of Florida (and Disney!) and fell in love with the place when we visited last year for our 10th wedding anniversary. This was an opportunity too wonderful to pass up, so we booked out tickets and are starting to form plans for our week there. Neither of us can wait, and we’re so grateful to our friends. I don’t want to wish the year away, but I really can’t wait for October now! It’s given us an amazingly exciting thing to look forward to, after what could potentially be a very stressful few months.

So other than that, there’s not been a huge amount going on. We’ve cancelled a few plans, a few events have been cancelled out of our control, and the country seems to be in a bit of disarray at the moment. I’m taking each day at a time, and I’m not going to lie and say I’m doing fine, because I’m not. My mental health is taking a battering, but I’m putting a smile on my face and getting on with my life, because what’s the alternative? I don’t have a bad life, people have things much worse than me, and I know I’ll keep on going. One great thing I will add is that the warmth and sunshine we’ve been having has done wonders to lift my mood, as have my friends and family. Never underestimate the power of laughter and turning your face to the sun when you’re feeling down.

So that’s my little update; a bit of a brain fart I know, but hey, this is what my brain is like right now!

My Itchy Feet; A Blog About Possibility

This time of year, when we’ve all had some quality time off, we’ve woken up when we wanted, chosen what we were going to that day, been adequately lazy and then probably a little more lazy than that, and been completely our own bosses, it’s very hard to go back to work.

Yet, tomorrow we all get up at stupid o’clock and once again join the rat race.

This year seems a little harder for me since it’s the first year out of many that I haven’t had a holiday or big event to look forward to. And last year was a biggie as I had one of my best friend’s wedding and my 10 year anniversary to Disney World to look forward to.

Reading everyone’s 2017 blogs has got me yearning in the same way as I do most years.

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So this year I’m putting fingers to keys (because pen to paper seems so 2008) and I’m going to type out some things I really want, just so that I can be accountable for them. These aren’t necessarily things I want for next 12 months, but for years to come and who knows when I can start putting the wheels in motion. But here’s a start:

I want to properly learn a new language

Let’s face it, it’ll probably be French. I already have a basis in French and I find it the easiest to get to grips with. But I want to be able to confidently hold a conversation with someone in another language without getting flustered and confused.

I want to learn a new skill

For a while I thought maybe calligraphy, but I’m not artistic enough for that. Today I thought I might want to learn shorthand – so maybe I’ll look into that.

I want to get a degree

This is a big one. I’m aware of the work load – and that’s partly why I haven’t taken the leap yet. I really really want to learn Law. For years now I’ve loved the idea of going back to school and learning basic law and then doing a degree in criminal law. I know it’s a huge one, and I am aware it would be hard. Especially since there’s no way I can do without working full-time. Sometimes I feel like it might be too late, but then is it ever too late? I love the idea of using that part of my brain again and being good at something – at least I hope I’d be good at it. But it takes time, money and a LOT of energy so I know it’s not something I can just jump into.

I want to travel

For a long time Gary and I have wanted to take a month off, travel, even just go to New York, rent a place for a while and live there. I’d love to be creative in a place like that. One thing I mention a lot is travelling the UK and taking photos of the kind of places no one takes pictures of. Then making a living selling those photos. It’s a big dream, but again it means taking time off work or leaving work and then how do you fund it. I’m seeing a lottery win in my future…..

So there’s a little insight to my itchy feet. Who knows what the future holds – but for now all bets are off and nothing’s off the table. It’s frustrating but at least I’m happy in the knowledge that any or all of these thing are possible eventually. I just need to work hard to get there!

Looking Back, Looking Ahead

We have now reached that awkward stage in the year where Christmas is over, the new year hasn’t arrived yet and we’re all sort of in limbo.

I like to use this part of the year to reflect on the last 12 months, as many do. I also like to take down the Christmas tree as soon as I can and start tidying and cleaning. No doubt some kind of diet or detox will be on my plan due to all the rich food and drinks I’ve consumed over Christmas. I also tend to try a new skincare routine, which I love for the whole week and then have to go back to work, lose the will to spend the time on my face and go back to soap and water….. (shock horror!)

Anyway, one thing I have done for the past 2 or 3 years is look back and look forward in a more tangible way. Each year, on Christmas Eve, Gary and I read a letter we have written the previous Christmas Eve. It’s a letter we’ve written to ourselves asking about things for the future year. Things we want to achieve, things we wonder and things we’d like to change. We read our own letters and then read out anything we want to each other. I honestly had no idea what I’d written in this year’s before I read it.

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I really enjoy this new tradition we started 3 years ago, because it really puts a timestamp on the mentality I was in when I wrote the letter a year previously, and it sets the tone for the next letter. A year goes so fast but it’s easy to forget how much we do, see and how much we change in that 12 months. Reading my letter year on year really reminds me of this. We keep each year’s letters and at some point in the future I’m sure we’ll re-read them. Or maybe we won’t. It’s just nice knowing they’re there!

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Another tradition we started last year and brought through to this year is a Happy Things jar. I cut strips of coloured paper, and whenever we feel grateful or particularly happy or excited about something we write it onto a strip of paper. Then we roll up the strip and pop it into the jar. On New Year’s Eve we open the jar and take it in turns to read out what’s written. I really enjoyed doing this last year so I’m excited to do it again this year.ny4

 

These are only new traditions, but they make me feel really happy. I love the idea of continuing this for many years to come. Counting my blessings is so important to me. It helps to keep me grounded and grateful for the things I have and what I have achieved. It calms my brain and makes me a better person.

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If you like the idea of these simple traditions, why not start one (or both!) yourself? It’s so easy to write a letter to yourself, and as long as you don’t forget where you put it you’ll have something to look forward to in a year.

I’d love to hear if you do anything similar in your family. Share your traditions with me!

Bad Things Can Be Good Things

Over the last few days weird things have happened. And they’re the sort of things that would normally upset me or stress me out. One of the things really DID stress me out (losing all the photos [over 1000] on my iPhone after a corrupt backup failed to restore my stuff) But I seem to be dealing with it all quite well and it feels as though all these things have happened for a reason, which is nice, even if they’re all bad things.

Things are slowly progressing with the house purchase and we should be exchanging contracts  imminently. I’m itching to move and can’t wait to be rid of the noise and stress the neighbours cause. I also can’t wait to start decorating, as you will know if you follow me on Pinterest (hit me up if you want to – I’m Erin M)!

I’ve had some fun and games blogging too, since I wrote a really long post and then my computer messed up and lost it all……. I’ve also noticed the font on my WordPress theme is more raggedy than normal….. Very odd.

The weather has been a little milder than I’d have liked, of late. This is mainly because I have bought some new running gear for colder weather and then the weather went back to warm and I can only wear my shorts and vests again. Bring on the cold autumn chill 😀

In other news, I’ve been browsing the search terms that bring people to my blog once again, and there’s some chestnuts. A LOT of people searching Grave Encounters. If anyone can comment and let me know why this is being searched so much all of a sudden, I’d be interested to know – it can’t just be because of Halloween? Someone even stuck the exact url for this blog into Google to locate the post- seems a little backward to me, but each to their own! Some of the more obscure ones include:

  • Al Pacino nails
  • Post menopause bleeding
  • Beyoncé Camel Toe
  • Weekend surprises at home
  • Sex hormone
  • YouTube video on the toilet

If anyone wants to explain those too, then be my guest! I guess no press is bad press, as long as you are finding your way here 😀

That’s it for now, but in the meantime, here’s a photo of baby freaking out over a snowman. You’re welcome.

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Yay for Holiday

I’m on holiday for a day shy of two weeks! Whoop! I’d love to say I’ve got loads planned but some of my plans have fallen through, so I really don’t. BUT I do get to spend the whole Bank Holiday weekend with G Man which never ever happens. I hope the weather is good!

Last night I went out with people from work to say goodbye to the current manager who is returning to her home of Scotland and will be working in Edinburgh. I need to plan a trip to visit her – maybe during Fringe? We had dinner and then went and had a drink in a bar looking onto the real snow ski slopes and watched the skiers and snowboarders. It was really nice and relaxing!

I’ve got odd things planned during my time off, including going to the new house of one of my best friends and having dinner there, the night before I return to work. It’ll be really good way to end my holiday 🙂

The weather was amazing at the start of the week so I got into the garden and ploughed the lawn (you don’t mow our lawn…..) which was really satisfying to do. It’s already growing back though since we had rain at the tail end of the week. I’m really hoping it improves again though because everyone’s just so much happier when the sun’s shining!

I’ve got some nice meals planned for this week – using my slow cooker again on Wednesday as I have the time to prepare stuff and set it on cooking. I’m also planning on going into London again and have a mooch around – maybe even take some photos! I still really want to get into running too – I’m sure it’s more than just a fad – so I might go into the Asics store on Oxford Street and check out what they have. They have a running clinic where they can scan your feet and running movements and work out which shoe is best for you. I can’t wait to get started!

Yay for holiday!

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This Week & Thoughts

Since I last posted, not a huge amount has ‘gone down’ (see how ‘with it’ I am).

  • I went out to dinner with two of my best girls and had a wonderful time. Laughing hysterically and always having about 3 conversations at a time. We apparently enjoy tangents.
  • I met another friend for lunch on Saturday which made for a very enjoyably 1 hour lunch break. Every little helps on a Saturday in retail!
  • I wrote a tweet about Justin Bieber which got over 40 retweets from little teeny boppers – I found that hilarious.
  • I started reading “The Fault in our Stars” by John Green, which I’m really enjoying. As much as I’ve been enjoying reading the Moomin books, I was starting to feel my brain going to mush so it’s nice to read something a little more adult.
  • This week Jenny Lawson released the paperback version of her amazing book “Let’s Pretend this Never Happened” – despite the fact that I already have the book in paperback.
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    Apparently my copy is a lie and this new edition is its paperback release. Colour me confused. Anyway, I really want this new edition because it has an additional chapter in it – but only in the US version. Annoyed much?! (p.s. Jenny I love you!) Anyway…..

  • I have rediscovered Damn You Autocorrect and it’s iPhone app, and spent many hours wetting myself laughing over it. So what if some of them are faked? They’re still damn funny!
  • So many of my friends are getting married or planning their weddings, and I’ve been getting so excited over it all. One of my best friends has asked me to go dress shopping with her next month and I CANNOT wait. G Man and I have also been invited to a wedding reception in June – I need to find an outfit!! I love weddings!
  • I’ve been enjoying saying ‘Yes’ rather than freaking out and saying ‘No’, of late. It’s been refreshing to say yes and mean yes.

And here are a bunch of thoughts that have come to me over the last week:

  • Why is there a fashion for girls to wear foundation coloured lipstick? It looks like no one explained what a foundation stick was and they accidentally put it on their lips. It makes them look ill.
  • Leggings as trousers – this one could run on and on.
  • So many young people I know have ‘health’ problems which they use as excuses not to do stuff. They act like old men and women and when they get to adulthood they’re going to regret not making the most of the freedom they had before responsiblity.
  • Too many young people wishing their lives away waiting for a day in the future when they could be making every day amazing and every day count. (Do I sound old and bitter yet?)
  • One of my tweets from last week: “My mantra used to be feel the fear and do it anyway. Since doing that, I feel the fear a lot less. I don’t miss it! #progress
  • What’s with this trend of not using ANY capital letters in blog posts? No where. None. Nada. These are educated, well spoken ladies, who should know better.

So that was my week! I’m off to finish reading my book now……

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This week I have been mostly

This week I have been mostly:

1) Enjoying blogging again. And at the same time enjoying other people’s blogs again. It’s a big wide world out there and I like being able to live some of it through you.

2) Realising that it’s a big wide world out there. So much to see and do. Why would people want to live their whole lives stuck in one place, sheltered from all the excitement that’s out there?

3) Appreciating my friends. I have quite a large bunch of people whom I would consider to be my close friends. I love that I’ve known some of them all my life and some of them only a few years – but it seems like I’ve known them all my life too!

4) Getting used to going back to work after my holiday but staying in a good place in my mind. Change can be made at any time. It’s my life.

5) Rolling with the punches. You gotta do what you gotta do.

6) Feeling no shame in being who I am and feeling what I feel. Again, it’s my life. It’s liberating.

7) Being proud of my friends for being who they are and doing what they do. It’s amazing to watch them grow up in front of my eyes and become who they are and will be. Change can be wonderful and scary. Embrace it.

8) Looking back on how far I’ve come. I’m a stronger person than I was two years ago. Yes I was dragged kicking and screaming through some of it. My friends and husband helped me with that. (I also learned to allow people to help me!)

Wow that’s a lot for a week considering it’s only Tuesday…..

A Family is what you make it

A lot of stuff has happened to my family over the last month. I won’t go into it all here but it has really made me think about family. We all get along. Yes, we have our differences and we argue, but it’s the dynamic of our family. The events that have happened recently have helped to show my parents how I have grown up and how I react to certain big things that happen in people’s lives. It’s shown them and myself how I cope and how we can all support each other. It’s taught me how protective I am of my family too!

It’s also made me think deeply about how we make family what we want it to be. When people leave we re-adjust and we create siblings from the people around us. It’s not all about blood. I have so many close friends whom I would consider family – brothers and sisters. I know I’m lucky in that respect and I hope they would consider me in the same way. It’s nice to meet up with a friend who you haven’t seen in ages and be able to be comfortable and pick up from where you last left off.

I like that I can choose my family both from blood, marriage and friendship. I surround myself with people that I love and am there to support them and they support me. At this stage in my life, I didn’t think I would meet new people who I would consider in this way, but I have.  They are people who I would see myself being friends with for years and years to come. They’re my kind of people, and it makes me feel blessed.

 

How Do You See Me?

I think everyone wonders how they are perceived by others. It’s a natural human curiosity, which I personally think is fueled by the media. We all know that the tabloid’s reports on celebs are usually bogus, so why are we so naive as to think that the impressions our peers have on us are accurate?

The first time I realised that people may see me in a different way from how I saw myself, was right at the end of my last year of high school. I’d just done my A Levels and everyone was having to write applications to Colleges and Universities. I had decided not to go, but was being forced to write long paragraphs about myself anyway, just to appease the teachers. (I think they hoped I’d change my mind, not realising how badly they’d warped my idea of the whole education system forever). So we had to fill out a little questionnaire to help us along our way. So I asked one of my classmates, and a good friend, how she had perceived me when she’d first met me. She said when she  joined the school (first year of 6th form), she was scared of me. This surprised me a whole lot! To be fair I was, at that time, slipping into a rather deep depression, but I had still thought of myself as an approachable, fun loving good person. (In fact as I’m writing this, I’m sure there was something that Oprah did once about realising you can be a good person, but at the same time not be a nice person, and then admitting to yourself  ‘I am not a nice person’.) Anyway, this really surprised me and sent me on my way to thinking hard about how others perceive me.

Another time this happened, was when I was 19 and I started to go out with one of my work friends, who quickly became as best mate. We would often just jump into her boyfriend’s car and drive off to other parts of the country on a whim. It was the first time I’d not really had anything else to do and a lot of cash to burn so we just went with the flow. At the time I’d be struggling hard with what I now know is an Anxiety Disorder. But I found that by just letting everything go and doing whatever came into our minds really released me from all of that. It was an amazingly freeing feeling. So much so, that my friends told me that I was the “most laid back” person they had ever met. Inside I found this hysterical. I think I am probably the most uptight and anal person they had ever met, but because they didn’t know the background and the internal stuff, they saw my relief and free feelings and perceived me as amazingly chilled. It was refreshing!

In my line of work, I have to be very careful about how I am perceived. I am a manager of people, a lot of them young, and for many of them they are experiencing their first job. I am very careful to try and keep a line (a thin line) between friend and manager. I find it kind of hard because most of these people turn into actual friends, so I have to sometimes flick a switch between friend and manager, very quickly. But I think my crew understand this and are able to see the whys and what fors. I hope they trust that when I do this it’s for a valid reason. And I think I’m, for the most part, perceived correctly by these people. I know my face reads exactly what I’m thinking (which I hate) and I think my colleagues are sympathetic to that.

But just yesterday I had a funny conversation with my work mates about another colleague who for some reason has taken to thinking what I say is gospel. We had been discussing a Christmas party and I had flicked through the brochure for a venue and expressed an interest. She had said she would probably get a room at the hotel, and I’d said not everyone could maybe afford it, and that my husband could even give one of them a lift home if she’d wanted to have a drink. The next day I find that she’d been preaching to my friend saying she wasn’t allowed to stay at the hotel and that I was giving her a lift home. Full stop. And also that we weren’t allowed to go to any other party because ‘Erin doesn’t want to’. This, other than being ridiculously funny and untrue, was puzzling. How did I all of a sudden become the queen of the Christmas party? So I immediately stripped all responsibility to organising the thing (which I hate anyway) to my said work mate. The fact that I had kept saying to her that many other venues would be coming into store with their leaflets to sell us their parties, obviously went over her head.

Now I know I sometimes come over a little strong and hot headed. I am aware of this, and sometimes I can use it to my benefit. And at no point am I going to squash my personality to please another person. But I do believe that I am able to mould by behaviour to my audience and choose which parts of my personality show in relevent situations. And it’s something I’m still working on.

I wonder what my obituary would say?