Thursday, 28 May 2015

Endings and New Beginnings

Yesterday was the day I handed in the last piece of work for my degree, my dissertation. The night before was the night I read through the piece of work for the last time and made the final changes. I closed my laptop about 10.30pm, unsure of how I felt about finishing it. A little while earlier I had heard the rumble of my neighbour putting her bin out for early the next morning and realised I still needed to put mine out. I wiggled my feet into my wellys that live by the back door, pulled the bin along the side of my house and parked it on the pavement ready for the bin men.

As I went to go back inside I paused and took in the night air. It felt still, calm and fresh. I could hear rustling in the bushes (I did not investigate), the noise of the traffic, the train passing along a nearby track and even a number of areoplanes. I felt present. Pushing all other thoughts and feelings aside, I wrapped my dressing gown around me and grabbed a glass jar I have been saving for an occasion such as this. I lit and gently placed a tea light inside and carried it to the table at the bottom of my garden. There I spent some time gazing into the sky, lit by the moon, streetlights and the odd star.

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Submitting assignments always evokes feelings of both fear and excitement. The excitement and sense of achievement at having finally finished a piece of work, I found non of them easy, alongside the fear and self doubt, have I done enough to pass? Something about the dissertation felt different. Handing it in signaled the end (if I pass and graduate successfully in October), the end of a three year journey that has passed in a flash, the end of life as a student. There have been some aspects of being a student that I am going to miss; having the flexibility to take a day off from studying to enjoy the weather, making up for it in the evening. Part of me is worried about having to work from 8.45 to 5.20 with an hour for lunch.

Having said that, handing in the final piece of work also signals new opportunities. Our last group session was a few weeks ago now, during it we were asked about our hopes and dreams from here on out. I realised that this degree is really just the beginning, there are a lot of areas that interest me and that I would like to gain experience in. Looking at things from that perspective is quite exciting. This afternoon I visited my new place of work and the team I will be working with as of the end of June, it made it feel more real than the job offer I received a few months ago. For now though, I am finalising plans for my solo road trip around the South of England. Time for exploring new places, dusting off my camera, lots of reading and relaxing.

Or strike out with nothing but a map and a dream. | 30 Insanely Easy Ways To Make Your Road Trip Awesome
Image from Pinterest

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Achievements and Limitations

3. Another weakness that Tris has is not feeling good enough. She is unsure is she has what it takes to do thing, so she ends up holding herself back.

This fear of mine often stands in my way. Slowly, over the last five years my confidence in myself has steadily grown. It is still not great, my last written report from a University Placement Supervisor included the familiar feedback; needs to have more confidence in her ability. Small and large achievements over the years have been like building blocks, slowly building up my confidence. Some of my achievements include; getting a diploma, getting into university and being offered a job in an area that I am excited to work in. Each of these experiences reinforces the fact that I am good enough, I just need to believe it.

I realised a few years ago that I did not want to allow my fear to hold me back and I found a quote that I really liked, 'The key to living is to not be afraid.' I added a few sentences to it and had it tattooed on me, to continuously remind me how I want to live my life;

Have no regrets, 
Learn from mistakes and wrong choices, 
Take every opportunity that comes your way, 
The key to living is to not be afraid. 

I push myself to stick to this, throwing myself into situations that make me feel uncomfortable at times but that I want to experience. I have volunteered at a number of different organisations, each one has taught me something, made me question my beliefs and values and reawakened my gratitude for the family and lifestyle that I have. I have also gained new experiences through going to university, meeting and working with new people. One of my university placements even led me to doing a skydive last year! 

How to Be Confident, Beautifully Confident - Free, Printable 30 Day Challenge |
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I would be really interested to hear about other tricks for overcoming fears

Friday, 22 May 2015

Gentle Giant

Fear was the first emotional felt, 
But we soon came to learn that your bark was much worse than your bite,
A proper sized dog was what we agreed, 
And that you most certainly were. 

You grew in size and strength,
But you were always a gentle giant at heart,
Beautiful both inside and out.

They say that a dog is a mans best friend,
And for many years you were mine, 
When I needed space you would walk silently by my side,
Offering comfort and company,
Even now, long after leaving home you still have a place in my heart. 

Sadly old age has you in its grasp,
And it's time to say goodbye,
We were witnesses to your life and you to ours, 
You will be missed, remembered and loved, 


Sunday, 17 May 2015

A Sunday Stroll

I love these kinds of days in May, bright and warm, bringing with them the promise of Summer. I enjoy making the most of Mr Sunshine even if the temperature is still a little chilly, I will happily wrap up with extra layers. Being a student has given me more flexibility around when I work as long as my work is completed by deadlines, therefore, I have sometimes been fortunate enough to leave the books for a while during these bright days and go out for a walk with my Nan. Or, if I don't have the time to drive the twenty minutes to hers I take a short walk along the river near my house. Having grown up near the sea I like being by and in the water, I find it calming.

What I don't love is feeling as though I am wasting the lovely weather, being stuck inside in front of my laptop working on my dissertation. So today I combined a walk along the river with a trip to the shop to get some essentials, allowing me to feel less guilty about stepping away from my laptop. These last few weeks I have felt a bit crap and run down, the last time I felt like this for a period of time I checked it out with my doctor, my blood results showed that I had low iron levels which was contributing to how I felt. So I have decided that I will try increasing my intake of Iron and see if I begin to feel any better. Today while I was out I picked up some broccoli and spinach and when I go and do my larger shop in a few days I will be stocking up on a few more Iron packed foods.

Another excuse I like to use to make myself feel better about stepping away from the books is keeping my garden in some sort of shape. Both my Nan's enjoyed gardening, my almost 92 year old Nan still potters around in hers. I, however, did not inherit green fingers. I'm going for the natural look but still have to cut the grass, strim the edges, pull out a few weeds and water the plants occasionally. Also, my parents put a lot of effort in creating the borders for me a few years ago and both Nan's have bought me plants over the years. I have been brought up to respect and take care of gifts which is the main reason why I try to keep on top of it. Plus I like to sit outside and invite friends to join me in the summer and like my home to be a level of presentable.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

I Carry You With Me Always

A year ago today I sat by my Nan's bedside alongside other members of my family as she silently slipped away. Even as an adult I think death is a horrible and difficult concept to come to terms with, to get your head around that person not being in your life anymore. At least not in the way that they had been until that moment. I think about my Nan often because I would do the same when she was alive, I would talk to her about many different things. I feel a sense of loss and accompanying sadness when I have things that I want to talk to her about or tell her. I feel it when I think about the things I want to accomplish in my lifetime, those things, moments I wanted to share with her. One such moment is my graduation. If I pass this final year of university I am to graduate in October. I remember having conversations with Nan about going to university and talking to her about what course to choose and now she will not be around to celebrate with me. During my course I have learnt about Kubler-Ross's five stages of loss; denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. At certain times I still feel all of those things, apart from denial. I can accept her death most days and can even think of it positively in that the last few months of her life were not spent as she would have wanted. Today, in the late afternoon I went and sat in a place that holds many memories of time we spent together as I was growing up. I'm not really sure what I believe happens after you die but I do believe that Nan is somewhere watching over me and even though she will not share things with me in person, the thought that she is around and will share them with me in a different way comforts me. I carry her with me always.    

The Lake

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

A Study Break

I have twenty four days left before my final assignment submission date. When I was juggling completing my placement as well as assignments I looked forward to having full days to study. This last week has been hard! It started positively and was quite productive but the Bank Holiday weekend was a struggle, I just felt fed up. A night listening, and singing along, to a band at a local pub with my family helped as did today. Today I went into university for a half an hour dissertation tutorial and spent about four hours chatting with friends and other students on my course. It was so nice to spend the day out of my pyjamas, out of the house and to have some social interaction. I love my cats and their company but they cannot provide stimulating conversation. 

This evening I decided to go swimming. I don't know why I leave it so long in between sessions I really enjoy being in the water. I've been told by family members that I've enjoyed being in the water from a young age. My earliest memories are when I wanted to be a mermaid like Ariel. Since then I have fond memories of swimming and swimming pools; times with friends and holidays. I find swimming peaceful and calming. I enjoy the fact that when I go alone, I can clear my mind and just focus on being in the moment; focusing on my breathing and the sounds of the water. 

Image from Google Images

Monday, 4 May 2015

What Should I Be Doing Now?

I will turn twenty five in September and there is a question I sometimes consider; am I where I want to be in life? I am not where I thought I would be, I'm not a successful, highly paid, manicured, sharp suited  businesswoman working in a city. But things change, people change, I changed. Yes I would like to earn a decent amount of money, an amount that would allow me to support myself and to live a comfortable life but I would also like my work to mean something.

Wanting my work to mean something was the main reason for my change in career from shipping to social care at the age of twenty. A career that has been built upon year by year through paid and voluntary work experience as well as academically through my YMCA diploma and the last three years at university.

The last five years have been about working towards my 'end game'. If I am lucky enough to reach it it won't be for another few years. At the moment I want to focus on my new job, the one I will hopefully begin properly when I qualify in July, and focus on me a little bit more.

Focusing on myself to me is about finding out what my interests are outside of work and being healthy, physically and mentally. I want to exercise more and enjoy it, try yoga, meditation and mindfulness for longer than a week. I want to find inspiration to write and take photographs. Most importantly I want to continue to build my self confidence and my sense of independence.

Continuing or kicking off my challenge with myself I have booked a two week solo road trip after the submission of my final university assignment.

it is in me....stop depending on others, be independent so that you know weather or not something is going to happen
Image from Pinterest