As someone who prizes creativity and creative outlets, I don’t see the harm in writing the occasional ‘personal’ post on my blog. Usually, this process starts with venturing to Pinterest; where I will find a quote or a gathering of ideas to inspire me.
In this post, I am taking a leaf from Laven Daire’s book and trying to openly discover more about myself. Seeing as I like to write self-help books and take a vulnerable approach to doing so, I don’t see the harm in taking this approach.
So, here we go…
How do I feel at the moment?
A little tired, because even though I told myself that I would get a good night’s sleep last night, I didn’t. Instead, I drank three glasses of Merlot, read Fearne Cotton’s book on happiness until 1 am, and set my alarm for far too early an hour. I also have underlying anxiety, which I know being tired exacerbates.
What do I need more of in my life?
- Space to myself; So that I can work on my creative pursuits and my desire to (eventually) become a pilot.
- Sleep; So that I don’t feel so anxious or worn down.
- Time with friends and family; Because social isolation is a killer.
What would make me happy right now?
More opportunities to travel. A better connection with the calmer portion of my mind, which is something I am always working on. Finally, a happier and prettier working space. Or, if I am being really greedy, a little meditation corner somewhere in my home.
What is going right in my life?
My career in medicine means that I am always gaining new skills and making positive contributions to the lives of others. I exist in a relationship where we both have our struggles, but we ultimately try to understand each other. And, we work together to grow closer to our goals.
I have a family that loves, supports, and nourishes me. They won’t allow me to wallow in despair, which ultimately builds my character. Finally, I have the strength, creativity, and tenacity to write. I now care less about what comes through my fingers than when I was in my twenties, which means my creative outlet benefits me on a spiritual level as well as a financial one.
What am I grateful for?
- My grandparents, who support me and love me unconditionally
- My daughter, who also loves me unconditionally
- My ability to gently persuade others
- My inherently kind nature
- Kindles, because they let me access books that I love to read immediately
- Hot yoga, because it relaxes me infinitely
- The ability to hop on a plane or a train to explore
- All of the technology at my fingertips that allows me to work and explore new ideas
- My ability to write and my confidence to remain creative
- My recent weight loss, which has left me feeling more energetic and confident
When did I experience joy this week?
This week I ventured to a place that I’ve visited a handful of times before: Dan yr Ogof caves in Wales. Although it’s usually teeming with families who are attempting to drag screaming children around, being able to visit one corner of its features brings me joy.
The Cathedral Cave, which also acts as a wedding venue, is exactly how it sounds: a cave that looks like a cathedral. Its vastness and the way the waterfalls tumble through its ceiling at random intervals refreshes me, leaving me feeling as though I’ve come into contact with an area of nature that few have the chance to explore.
A list of my small victories and successes
In this week, some of my smaller victories and successes include:
- Snagging a new client
- Moving closer to securing a property I love
- Realizing that my dreams involve writing more than I first thought
- Booking a vacation to Disney World for myself and my daughter, before she grows too old to appreciate its magic
What’s bothering me this week? And why?
My life is hectic beyond belief. It’s like there is a constant swirl of chaos in which I must operate, yet somehow I’m managing to do it.
As a freelance writer, I have always relished bouncing from task to task. It keeps my mind vibrant and helps me learn new things. But, right now, I am:
- Nearing the end of an intense training period
- Trying to find the perfect place to live
- Preparing for a new job
- Prepping a child for her first year at high school
- Navigating the changes in my relationship
In many ways, it’s like steering a yacht on a stormy sea. Bizarrely, I get a great sense of satisfaction from negotiating these stormy waters. I am learning all the time. Not just in terms of intellect, but coping skills too.
So, if there are benefits, why is the chaos bothering me? Right now, all of the chaos is happening at once and there is no control over it. While I’m not a control freak when it comes to people, I do love to control the chaos in my own life. For reasons I won’t delve into here, the chaos is outside of my control right now.
What are my priorities at the moment?
When I began working my way through my book on discovering self-love within a month, I found that independence was my main priority. Now, my priorities are as follows:
- Spending more time with the members of my family who I treasure the most, especially my daughter
- Establishing a working environment that brings me joy, because that is what I lack right now
- Completing my training
Sometimes, these priorities clash. As such, I need to plod my way through the world of meticulous planning.
What do I love about myself?
It is so important for us to all find something we love about ourselves. Self-love is part of what gets us through life. Because, when a client starts giving us hassle, a relationship comes to an end, or we need to venture to a new city, being able to love ourselves is what will get us through.
So, I will unashamedly say that the thing I love about myself right now is that I am inherently kind. Like most people, I’m capable of shouting, screaming, and throwing tantrums. My emotions will erupt in the wrong way, but at the heart of my everyday adventures, I try to deliver kindness in the hope that others will feel a greater sense of balance in their own life too.
Who means the world to me and why?
I can see a little bit of repetition coming in here. Once again, those family members who I am close to, my daughter, the friends who relentlessly support me and listen to my rants when I feel down, and my partner. All of these people are important to me because they help to lift my spirits when I feel as though a rock is weighing them down. They also provide the emotional support a therapist would usually get paid for, which means they’re invaluable and cost-saving.
Figuring out who means the world to you is essential. Again, harping back to the social isolation thing, having a support network of some form helps you feel less alone in this world.
If I could share one message with the world, what would it be?
That your emotions are entirely valid. They have a biological source. They stem from a blend of years of evolution combined with rapidly being catapulted into an environment that’s not designed to handle them.
Each day, we face floods of adrenaline and oodles of cortisol, both of which are stress hormones. In the days of caves and tigers, we had somewhere to send those emotions. Today, we’re hardly able to escape from the situations that cause them.
So, if I could share one message with the world, it’s that your emotions are valid. And, you can handle them. Whether it’s through daily yoga, mindfulness, or using a self-care plan, you can allow your emotions to remain valid, without letting them control you.
What advice would I give to my younger self?
Realise rapidly that emotions such as jealousy, anger, guilt, and sadness are rarely worth your attention. Rather than feeling jealous of what someone else has, take a close look at your own attributes. Or, instead of hurling straight towards anger, consider whether someone made a shitty decision because they were acting from a point of love.
While the world is brimming with stories of deceit and hurt, few people are out to harm you. Similarly, you are as human as anybody else, so there’s no need to waste your time executing feelings of guilt. Live your best life and you won’t be able to make room for these emotions.
What lesson did I learn this week?
This week, I met my partner’s parents for the first time. He was incredibly unwell, which left me balancing entertaining them, caring for his son, and meeting my duties as a freelance writer.
What did I learn from this? That I can achieve all of these outcomes, while being myself. Trust me, just doing you is the best way to get through most scary situations.
If I had all the time in the world, what would I do first?
Honestly? I would quit my job, write a book, travel the world with the people I love, and expose myself to new experiences. But, my love for saving lives, writing, and diversifying my approach to life holds me back. To an extent.
What is draining my energy? How can I cut it?
There are two primary forces draining my energy: my connection with certain people in my life and my worries. How do I cut it? I create more space from them, in a way that’s gentle and does not hurt my feelings. As for the second, I address them through engaging in self-love and trying to alter my outlook. One book that has helped me do this is Feeling Good by David Burns M.D.
Feeling Good details ways to recognize abnormal thought patterns and transform them into calming ones. It’s a heavy read, but worth your attention.
What does my ideal morning look like?
Sometimes I achieve my ideal morning, and when I do it sets me up for the day perfectly. It includes:
- Waking between six and eight AM, depending on the amount of work I have to do.
- Drinking a large glass of water before doing anything else. This is my first chance to rid myself of the toxins my body has been battling through during the night and rehydrate my brain, ready for the day ahead.
- Grabbing my amethyst crystal and holding onto it while listening to a track from my meditation or mindfulness apps. While I am still a tad skeptical about the whole crystal healing thing, I have been using them lately and I am exploring them more.
- Engaging in a few basic yoga moves
- Running downstairs in my pajamas, grabbing a cup of coffee, and starting off with my favorite project. Right now, that’s my book on being more independent in relationships.
- Working on paid freelance writing projects between having some more cups of coffee, stretching, and maybe trying some more mindfulness exercises
What does my ideal day look like?
For the sake of brevity, let’s say that I’ve already started answering this question with the infographic and bullet points above. If I were to continue past my working morning, I may do a little more editing on my book, then make a fresh and healthy lunch, before heading out for a walk.
When I first began freelancing, I adored the idea of exploring stately homes, castles, ruins, and quiet forests. That part of me hasn’t died down at all, and as the days are starting to extend in terms of light, my ability to do so is increasing.
So, continuing from the above, after finishing my healthy lunch I would:
- Put on my walking trainers, which are exceedingly muddy, and venture out for a walk
- Explore a castle, forest, beach, or hiking trail, while practicing some iPhone photography skills (another new hobby of mine)
- Spend the afternoon being creative
- Return home to drink some peppermint or chamomile tea
- Enjoy some Malbec, some food, and write a little more
- Pick a movie that’s on my self-care indulgence list and watch it
See, I really am a basic person, aren’t I?
What makes me come alive? When was the last time I truly felt alive?
As someone who used to fly for a living, traveling makes me come alive. Seeing new places and exploring areas I never believed would appeal to me sets my heart alight. That fire burns even brighter when I have the chance to talk to someone I never would have spoken to before because they’ll broaden my horizons in unexpected ways.
The last time I truly felt alive was when I went to Lisbon and climbed on top of the Padrao dos Descobrimentos. Technically, legally, I don’t think you’re meant to do that as a tourist. And yes, cocktails were involved. But the exhilaration I got from doing it was unsurpassable in terms of excitement and a weird sense of achievement.
Who inspires me the most and why am I drawn to them?
I love the shit out of this question, because it’s prompting me to write a book about the powerful women who inspire me. I’m steering clear of my relatives. Although many of them have helped me through overwhelmingly difficult times, I feel as though those experiences are too personal for me to fling into the pages of a book. For now, anyway.
Instead, I am inspired by women who did things when they shouldn’t. Like Anne Boleyn involving herself in a religious reformation. Or her daughter, Elizabeth I, having the stomach of a King. Most importantly, Amelia Earhart daring to be the first woman to take flight.
I am drawn to them because they broke through barriers mercilessly, and to a degree they suffered as a result. Now, I am not saying I want to suffer. I do, however, want to accept that my progress in life will come with a degree of struggle, which I will always strive to work against.
Where does my pain originate? And how can I heal it?
We all have pain. Every single one of us. Whether it’s lurking in the background with little effect on your life or it’s at the forefront of your mind and trying to run the show, it’s worth acknowledging.
As Gabrielle Bernstein highlights in her book The Universe Has Your Back: Transform Fear to Faith, our childhood experiences, social input, and the assumptions we form in our minds contribute to how much our pain is able to take hold of us. One of the best ways you can heal yourself is to acknowledge your pain, accept that your emotions are real, and begin finding outlets that make it better.
For me, those outlets include talking, being creative, and engaging in self-care. It’s for that reason that I created a self-care planner that I hoped would help others through their pain too.
What are my strengths? What am I really good at?
Just like we all have pain, we have strengths too. Acknowledging these strengths isn’t self-aggrandizement; it’s a fantastic means of boosting your self-esteem, which we all need to do more of. After all, if we’re not our own biggest cheerleaders and there’s nobody around to do the job for us, how will we thrive when we can’t see the good in ourselves?
To me, my biggest strengths are juggling a million things at once. I achieve this through using apps that let me write out lists, keeping a pretty journal of my thoughts and to-do tasks, and setting reminders. Like every person, I do allow the odd small task to slip off the radar. But, for the most part, I am the queen of spinning plates.
What is something I’ve always wanted to do, but was too scared to do it?
I have always wanted to visit new places with my daughter. The idea of exposing her to fresh experiences leaves me feeling as though I will broaden her mind. But, the thought of the two of us traveling alone leaves me feeling uneasy.
I’m starting small with this one. We’ve done Disney World before, now we’re doing it again in October. She doesn’t know yet, but I want one last chance to capture the magic she’ll still feel at her tenderly innocent young age.
What is something I would love to learn?
Can I name two things here? Of course, I can; it’s my blog after all.
Like many people, I will go down the cheesy route of stating that I would love to learn another language. As for the language I would love to learn, it’s Portuguese. Maybe it’s because I romanticize my recent trip there a fair bit.
Alongside that, I am aching to learn how to take a good photo. But, as Elizabeth Gilbert states in Big Magic, we don’t have to strive for perfectionism when it comes to our creative endeavors. On that note, I’ve included a photo I took recently above.
What hobbies would you like to try?
iPhone photography aside, when free time starts to come my way, I want to throw myself into the following:
- Wine tasting – as in sommelier level, not just getting smashed
- Horse riding – I can do this a little, but I am not brilliant by any means
- Clay pigeon shooting
Yes, I know this is all very middle class.
Where would I like to live in my ideal life?
Growing up, Paris was always alluring. There were a few reasons for this. First of all, I visited the city for my eighteenth birthday, stayed in a gorgeous hotel on the Left Bank, and had a fleeting romance with an economics student who was studying at the Sorbonne.
Then, there was my fascination with Coco Chanel. The more I read about her, the more I felt the draw of the city seep into my veins. In later years, reading Vivienne Westwood’s accounts of her time there made the desire worse.
Finally, there was Moulin Rouge. Yes, I know the movie is devastatingly sad. But it still made me want to live in a grubby little apartment where I struggled as a writer. Fortunately, I never had the desire to live as a courtesan with TB.
Paris still appeals to me on a big level, and hopefully post-Brexit I can still do that. But, I’ll have to wait a few years and hit a number of goals first.
Where would I like to travel in the next five years?
On that note, I will keep Paris firmly out of the travel wish list equation for the next few years. Instead, my not-so-humble aims include:
- Returning to Cape Town, so I can go shark cage diving, revisit the beach full of penguins, and further my wine expertise.
- Venturing to Milford Sound, even though I’ve never really liked the whole Middle Earth thing.
- Exploring the hidden parts of Norway, so I can escape everything that makes life so hectic.
- Hitting Iceland, just to see the Northern Lights.
- Making my way to the Isle of Skye, which is my most achievable travel aim right now
What can I do to take better care of myself?
Sleep. Sleep, sleep, and more sleep. Oh, and fruit and vegetables. Then, exercise. For someone who’s a medical professional, I am admittedly awful at taking care of myself.
My sleep is sporadic. It will fluctuate depending on how excited I am about a project. Exercise is the same. For example, after a bad night’s sleep earlier this week, I walked around some caves for a few hours with my partner and his family. See, little sleep, lots of exercises.
I can routinely drink a glass of wine, yet if I perch an apple next to myself it doesn’t make its way past my lips. Maybe I don’t want to keep my partner away.
Now that I am in my thirties (only just) all three of these things require balance. I will take my own advice and the advice I dish out to patients. Who knows what I will achieve.
When have I done something I thought I couldn’t do?
This is going to sound ridiculous to those of you who have never worked in aviation. But, I became a flight attendant.
And no, I wasn’t just a ‘waitress in the sky.’ In my first week at one airline, I resuscitated a man on a live runway. I once spent two hours helping a Greek lady who didn’t speak English find her family, when she was in the wrong airport. Also, I became a whizz at restraining people on the way to Bangkok and Las Vegas.
Aviation is a scary world to enter, and I’ve now furthered that by starting my PPL. That’s a Private Pilot’s License. I never thought I’d take any interest in how a plane works, but now becoming a pilot is part of my journey too.
At the end of my life, what do I want my legacy to be?
To have done everything I desired, without hurting anyone. That includes becoming a commercial pilot, enjoying my time in the medical world, and continuing to write. I want my legacy to include freedom, and I want to lie on my deathbed flooding with happy memories.