#277 // Simpler. Slower. Fuller. Freer.

I'm not interested in living a perfect life. I'm interested in living my best life.

For the last year, I've felt myself slowing down.

Firstly, quite literally. I remember when I would never let a bus pass me, would always shuffle down the right hand side of the tube escalator berating anyone that deigned to mistakenly stand on that side, always rushing. Now, I can feel my body moving at a different pace. There'll be another bus in a few minutes, sometimes less than a minute living in London, yet I've been that person in the past that busts a blood vessel at just missing a tube and having to wait an entire sixty seconds for the next one.

Job wise, I used to flit about from job to job every year to eighteen months or so. But I've got no desire to be the new girl any more. I'm comfortable, and I'm happy. And I'll say this, being comfortable isn't always a negative thing. I think we're very quick to incorrectly interchange the words settle and comfortable. Settling is putting up with less than you're worth, or doing less than you're capable of. Settling is a disservice to self. Comfort, at least in this sense, is a confident self-awareness, knowing that you have enough and are happy with what you have regardless of what's going on around you.

And this comfort, this confidence, this pace, it fits me well.

As you get older, I think you naturally peel back the layers of friendship, complex relationships, question how you're spending your time, hack away at the should do's and focus more on what you want to do. This life extraction has happened both consciously and subconsiously. The reduction of the unnecessary to make more space for the yeses, the imperatives, the passions and the things that make me happy, it's lit. It's a really good place to be.

In making life simpler, I feel freer. More content and more in control. I feel that everything that is in my life has been placed there autonomously and decisively by me. In slowing down and doing less, my life feels fuller. I may be doing less, but I'm spending more time doing it.

Also, in slowing the world around me and stopping to smell the roses so to speak, I find that I'm a much more positive and powerful person. When constantly faced with comparison, negativity, fake news, bad news, digital noise, actual noise, busyness and non-stop notifications, I've found the strength to get close to the ground and find joy in the granular, the everyday, the little things that make my world go round and keep a smile on my face.

Being able to tell the world to stop and focus on the small things seems a superpower in this day and age of trending topics and never-ending newness that moves so fast you'll feel like a spinning top twirling frantically just before it collapses to a standstill, fatigued and overwhelmed.

And it's this idea of living slowly and purposefully that I want to fill these blog pages now. I feel as though I've wasted a lot of time, and as such, I'm invested in using my time, energy and money to live a life spent well. I want to talk about how living a simpler, slower life has changed my outlook on and experience of it.
I think the problem with slow living, is that it can look like an idyllic glossy You Tube advert for the perfect life. All white and minimalist and waking up at 5am.

This whole slow living thing is a trend right now, granted. We've had hygge, lagom, minimalism, decluttering. But each passing trend signals a consistent desire to slow down, focus more but on less, simplify.

I think the problem with the slow living discussion is that it can look like an idyllic glossy You Tube advert for the perfect life. All white and minimalist and waking up at 5am. And that false reality is a breeding ground for comparison and thinking you're not good enough for your own life.

I hope to approach it in the relatable and honest way that it works for me. I mean, while it's great having slow mornings to set up each day right, I want to show its possible to embrace on the shit days too, when you're working overtime, not hitting your goals, feeling overstretched and like you look like crap that day.

I'm not interested in living a perfect life. I'm interested in living my best life, and living it well. And I think you do that by making sure that you're spending your energy, your money and your time - often limited resources that you can't get a refund on - in ways that feel right for you, honour you and honour the way you want to live your life.

I think that every one of us has so much going for us in our own lives, that if we just slowed down and checked in with ourselves as the point of reference instead of the timeline or feed, we'd be able to see, we're not as far from our best lives as we think.

I think my content has been going this way for a little while, so it will probably seem the same, just packaged slightly differently. And I hope that if this resonates with you, that you'll stick around.

#276 // Life's too short for bad underwear: A Life Affirming Moment

So you know what it's like.

You get back from holiday and the mound of laundry that was there before you left grows to twice the size with sandy, sun tan lotion-adorned clothes and bikinis added to the pile.

You're low on everything. Especially the essentials.

So when I got back from Crete a few weeks ago, I had to put on the emergency bra.

Everyone has that one bra, those couple of knickers and a few hole-y odd socks that are long past their expiration date, but always come to the rescue when times get tough, or should I say, when a lady gets lazy with putting on the washing machine.

Except they don't.

I remember the last time that I had on that bloody bra. I was in Canary Wharf shopping mall for some reason, desperately looking for a toilet. They weren't where I remembered them to be, and I was all a kerfuffle, bladder full and hot, with this bloody underwire digging into my under carriage.

The same happened at the gym a little while ago. I got there, which is a win in itself sometimes, and I was ready for the endorphins to come at me. Except what came at me was a barrage of negative thoughts about my body, as I could feel the tight elastic making marks on the top of my belly.

"What's the point of me being here? I came here to feel good and make change, but all I'm aware of is my stomach and my back fat... I'm so far from where I want to be... this bra used to fit, what a waste of time... where's the chocolate?" You know, thoughts to that effect. It was complete self-sabotage of time that should have helped me to feel proud of what my body can do.

The minute I finished the workout, I threw the sports bra in the bin, because to quote an old adage form the days of yore, when it comes to external factors that make me feel shit about myself that I can change: "ain't nobody got time fo' that."

If that base layer ain't right, it can literally spoil my whole day, making me feel fat, frumpy, lumpy and uncomfortable. And when your brain is super quick to latch onto negative thoughts, trust me, you don't need any prompts.

How am I meant to live my best life in my worst underwear?

It may be a small and seemingly silly thing, but look at the massive effect such a small thing can have? But it just made me think about the things we keep in our lives that don't do us any favours and just take up space and time and energy.

As we've established, life is too short for keeping the underwear that makes you feel like shit, but I thought I'd end on a further list of time-wasting nonsense it's also too short for:
  • Eating the diet versions of foods,
  • Staying in the crap job,
  • Not going with your gut,
  • Talking down to yourself,
  • Forcing yourself to finish the book that is of no interest to you. Just stop.
  • Similarly, watching a TV series just because everyone else is. If you have to watch the first episode three times, just give up (looking at you, Game of Thrones).
  • Keeping the face mask you only bought because of Instagram and only used twice; or that jumper you haven't worn in three years etc. because ideas around value tell you that you need to finish/keep it because you spent money on it. Lol at the way we let those items keep the shelves warm as some sort of exercise of legitimacy. 
Take the L, which is actually a win, given you're protecting your time, space and money and sanity with a lot of it, and get rid, sell or pass on if possible, and in my case, buy the new pants and move on to happier times.