Why Change Can Be A Difficult Thing…

Change

Without going into details— I know, you’ve found one, a millennial who doesn’t want to go into details— I am experiencing some big changes at the moment.
And although these changes are for the better, I feel anxious about them. I’ve always found change hard. Many people do, so I thought I’d write a blog post looking at some of the reasons why change can be a difficult thing.

When you’re uncertain

Sometimes you know a change is needed. You’re stuck in a rut. Relationship. Job. And you know that you need to do something about it.
But what?
Some of the ideas you come up with will be no go areas, but some will have promise, and those are the ones that can fill your mind with dread for many hours.
What if I’m not capable? What if I get it wrong? What if I end up in an even worse position?

What if my life does get better and I don’t like that it has?! (I know, the mind works in infuriatingly mysterious ways…)

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When it’s unexpected

I’m pregnant.
What?
No, I’m not, but what if your significant other one day came over to you whilst you were enjoying a solitary tea for two and let you know that she was pregnant. You weren’t trying for a baby. You had discussed it, but you hadn’t been planning on becoming parents any time soon.

What do you do?
You’re happy because you will be bringing a life into this world, but what about money? We don’t have enough. And what about a house? We can’t afford one. And my career! I don’t have one. Will I have time to start one before the bouncing bundle of joy arrives?

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When it’s tough

Sometimes the change you need will require a lot of work. Perhaps it’ll mean that you’ll have to forgo your evenings out to the theatre or the like. Maybe it’ll mean really early mornings and extremely late nights for the next two months.

Perhaps it’ll mean learning something that is tedious and difficult in equal measure.
When change requires a lot of work, sometimes we don’t bother making that change. We don’t think we have it in us to do it. We procrastinate. We think of all the real and imagined reasons for why we cant do it. And so we don’t.

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When you don’t want to change

Life is good. You know you can’t stay at your parent’s house forever, but it’s so much easier here.
You can plan your next career move without having to worry about paying bills or cooking your own meals.
But you’ve been given this opportunity? And it requires not only that you move out but also that you move to the other side of the world. You could bring your parents along for the ride, but is that the right thing to do?

Change is difficult, but most things are reversible. And if you can’t reverse it, then, well, at least you won’t go on wondering what if anymore. Plus, hair grows back.

More quickly in some places than others.

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When You’re Too Nice…

Saying No

When you’re too nice, you spend most of your time doing other people’s jobs.
“You need to leave work early? Okay, I’ll finish your paperwork for you.”
“Really, you don’t mind?”
“No, go on. You need to spend some time with your wife.”
Co-worker scurries out of office.
I’ll complete his work first. Then, I’ll move onto mine. I should get home at least ten minutes before the children go to bed.

When you’re too nice, you never voice your opinion.
“I hate this president.”
He seems okay, actually. “Yeah, he’s the worst.”
“He obviously doesn’t know what he’s doing.”
Actually, he seems to be doing a good enough job. “I know. He’s useless.”

When you’re too nice, you let people unload on you. All. Of. The. Time.
“So, I haven’t told you what he did yesterday, have I?”
Shake head.
“Well, he forgot to pick the children up from school, so I had to leave work early to do it, and when I came home, I realised that he hadn’t done the weekly shop, so I had to do it. He didn’t have his mobile on, so I couldn’t contact him, and-
The doctor walks in. “The patient needs her rest now. Thanks for coming to visit her everyday. I’m sure she appreciates it.”
“No problem. I like talking to her.”

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When you’re too nice, you never make a choice of your own.
“Shall we go to the cinema or stay in tonight?”
Shrug shoulders. “It’s up to you. I don’t mind.”
“Pizza or Chinese takeaway?”
“I don’t mind. What do you think?”
Rolls eyes. “Should we try for a baby tonight?”
“Um, yeah. If that’s what you want, I’m game.”

When you’re too nice, you apologise for everything, especially when it isn’t your fault.
“That job interview was a complete waste of time. I shouldn’t have listened to you when you said I had a chance of getting it.”
“I’m sorry.”
“And now I’ve been humiliated. It’s going to take me weeks to get over this. How could you?”
“I really thought you were ready. Did you go over the interview notes?”
“I can’t believe you’re trying to turn this around and blame it on me. I knew I wasn’t ready.”
But you said that you were. That’s why I said you should go for it. “I’m sorry.”

When you’re too nice, you don’t admit when somebody has hurt your feelings.
“I don’t know how to say this, but I actually wanted Claire to come with me.”
“Oh right. Okay.”
“You’re sweet in your way, but you’re a bit boring.”
Nods head in agreement.
“You don’t say very much, and I just know that Claire would have had me in stitches by now.”
“Yeah, you’re right. She’s very funny.”

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When you’re too nice, you go to great lengths to avoid conflict.
“So, he’s leaving you tonight?”
Nod.
“To live with his mistress?”
Nod.
“And he’s taking the children with him?”
Nod.
“And you’re not going to do anything?”
“I’ll wait until tomorrow. Then I’ll act.”

Are you a people pleaser?

Taking Responsibility

Beautiful Ones

I missed my hair appointment. It wasn’t my fault. The traffic was bad, and there were no parking spaces in the tiny car park.

The fact that you knew that the traffic would be bad at that time of day doesn’t matter. Why should you have to leave earlier? Especially when the hairdressers is only ten minutes down the road.

It doesn’t matter, too, that the tiny car park is always full whenever you pass it. Why should you have to spend your time finding an alternative space? The hairdressers should provide enough parking spaces for their clients.

He doesn’t find me attractive anymore. All I’ve done is love and care for him, his children, and now he isn’t interested.

It doesn’t matter that your unkempt locks haven’t been near a straightener for the last few years. A slight brush will do the trick.

And he says you dress dowdy? Well, what a cheek! Wouldn’t he dress dowdy if he had to spend large parts of his day hurrying after the little ones? It’s not as if you can wear a halter neck dress whilst cleaning the cooker, can you?

And make-up? It takes time to put on make-up really well? And if you had the time, you’d be the spitting image of Audrey Hepburn, wouldn’t you?

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I can’t finish writing this novel. There just aren’t enough hours in the day.

It doesn’t matter that when you sit down to write you are distracted by a million other things. Of course, you must send that email right away. If you don’t your boss will be mad.

And then there’s the new phone you need to order. It’s not as if you have loads of time to browse for one. You know, with work and looking after the children. This could be the only time you’ll have to browse for one.

And then there’s Tabitha; she needs her pink frilly dress ironed for her party. It’s this afternoon. Yes, you should have done it yesterday, but you had a long day and… There just aren’t enough hours in the day.

Work’s getting me down. Everyone is so catty and cliquey.

You don’t fit in at work, although you’ve tried your best to be ever so amicable. These people have been friends for ages; they’re not going to let an upstart like you into their circle. They’re jealous. Scared that you’re going to take their positions away from them, and, well, you don’t like to boast, but you could do their jobs whilst sleeping. Six months into the job and you already know as much as they do about it. Probably even more.

And they’re so bitchy! Backstabbing is a daily thing, especially about so-called friends and allies. What happened to the sisterhood?! Sisters are certainly doing it for themselves here.

And you hate that you’ve been dragged into it. You and the other new chick. You’ve been forced into making your own team. And yes you might spend most of your time together talking about those who have wronged you, but that isn’t your fault, is it? It’s the culture that’s pushed you into it.

I don’t have anyone. Nobody gets me.

The fact that you spend most evenings, if not all, indoors is immaterial. You’ve tried going out in the past. You speak to people, but no-one gives you the time of day.

And what about the connection? You can’t be expected to talk to any old person. You’re different. You’re unique. People just don’t see things the way you do. That’s why it’s so hard to find anyone.

People call you stuck up and self-important, but that isn’t true. They simply don’t understand you. Nobody understands you.

Poor soul. It’s hard to be so misunderstood.

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Too Many Options?

Opt

The world is your oyster…

I want to train to be a doctor.
Or a dentist.
A vet.
(Maybe I’ll do all three, but which one should I do first?)

I want to get married.
But I hear single life is better.
Can’t I do both?
That’s called cheating…

I want to have lots of children.
Actually, I only want one child.
Better yet, I’ll have no children. You can’t rule the world with children clinging to your apron strings.

Maybe I won’t rule the world, and I’ll have those children, after all.
I’ll have my first child once my career has got going.
Or maybe it’s best to have them before I start my career.
I don’t want a career. I’ll stay at home with the children.
I want to get a job. Get away from the children or I’ll drive myself insane.

I’ll go to university and get a first in English.
I’ll travel first, though. For one year, or perhaps three.
I don’t want to work for more than four hours a week.
I want to be rich.
I’m going to be the greatest entrepreneur you’ll ever want to meet. Or be.

I don’t want to go out.
I don’t want to stay in.
I want to go out and stay in at the same time. Is that possible?

Don’t you long for the days when some of these things weren’t an option? When the choice was not yours to be made?

A career was for life. Not for two or three years.
A marriage was for life. (for better or worse…)
Children were expected, if you could have them.
University was for the few and not the many.
If you couldn’t afford to go out, you didn’t go out.

Simple, right?

With freedom comes responsibility…

Don’t we know it…

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Growing Up And I’m Fine…

Growing up and i'm fine.

I am going to be twenty-nine this year.

How do I feel about it?

I don’t know. Some days I’m okay with it. We’re supposed to get older. I know that. But part of me is anxious. I’m worried about getting older.

Why is that?

For one, I don’t feel as though I have accomplished enough in my twenties.

I imagined I’d be in a long term relationship. I’m not in one of those.

I thought I’d be in a job I liked, earning at least the average wage. I’m not doing that either.

I also thought I’d be further along in my writing career. Ummm.

And then there are the regrets…

I regret not going out more. To parties. Clubs. Picnics.

I regret not taking more risks.

Sometimes, I feel as though I have wasted a whole lot of time.

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It’s true. I haven’t achieved everything that I wanted to achieve, but so what? What’s with the arbitrary time scale?

I am not in a long term relationship and that’s fine. It’ll happen if it’ll happen. In the meantime, I have goals that need pursuing…

I’m writing a book, don’t you know.

And those regrets?

Well, in all honesty, I don’t really enjoy going to parties or clubs or picnics.

And the risks?

The writing.

The thing is, I remember feeling old when I was seventeen. I was in my last year at school, and I felt old in comparison to all the younger students.

I felt old at twenty. I was no longer a teenager. I was leaving my childhood behind. Sob. Sob.

Then came twenty-one and twenty-five, and you know the score.

We’re always feeling old. I think it’s just one of those things.

Life’s a gas..

Setting Story Deadlines

Deadlines work

Job application needs to be finished by the 21st February.

Brilliant, I can do that.

Interview in two months.

Perfect, I’ll set aside some time every week to prepare. I’ll be more than ready.

Complete a novel by the end of the year.

Um, nope. Not even close…

Why is that?

I am a writer, don’t you know? And writers suffer from crippling self-doubt. In fact, they can go from feeling stupidly proud of a piece of work to think that the piece of work is the worst thing they’ve ever had the misfortune of laying their pretty green eyes on. This can happen in a single day. Perhaps, even in a single hour.

Writers can spend years and years revising and ‘improving’ a story only for it not to see the light of day.

Writers can spend many years starting and failing to finish anything. It begins well, and then they get bored or frustrated or disillusioned with the project, and they abandon it for something fresh and juicy.

So, what do I do?

Set yourself a deadline.

Another one?

Yes. Deadlines work. If you want to get the novel finished, you’ll need one. And you’ll need to stick to it.

Some tips:

Make sure you set realistic deadlines:

Realistic: Complete first draft within three months.

Unrealistic: Complete first draft within a month.

Set yourself some mini goals to help you achieve your main goals:

Main goal: Complete outline by Saturday, 31st March 2018.

Mini Goal: Complete outline up until the midpoint by the end of Saturday, 10th March 2018.

When you complete these goals, celebrate them.

Pop open the champagne type of celebration? Nope, a bubble bath and a creamy hot chocolate will do. Heavenly…

Once you’ve completed a goal, move onto the next one:

Main goal: Complete first draft by Friday, 18th May, 2018.

Anticipate setbacks and prepare for them:

Editor can’t edit your work? Do you panic? Give up? Change the deadline to the end of next year?

Or do you look at your list of possible editors and get in touch with the second one on your list?

Remember that nobody’s perfect and even if you come back to this novel years later and think that it’s a pile of ugh, then remember, too, that you will not have been the first author to think such a thought, and that you most definitely won’t be the last.

Okay, by the end of December 2018.

What’s going to happen then?

I will have written a novel.

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Can You Be Whatever You Want To Be?

You aren't owed anything in life new

I want to be a writer, a best-selling writer, to be exact.

Currently, I write six out of seven days a week. For five of those days, I write for an hour before I go to work. For two of those five days, I write for an extra half an hour after work, usually in the late afternoon or the early evening. And during my sixth writing session, I write for two hours, usually late in the morning.

Does this level of dedication mean that I will get what I want?

I’ve read dozens of books on writing and will read many more in the future. I’ve completed many a writing activity, and have taken part in writing courses. I’ve spent hours reading and watching videos on the process of both self-publishing and traditional publishing.

Does that mean I’m on my way to becoming a star?

I’ve spent over five years working on my craft. I’ve never managed to complete a novel, but after every failure, I’ve learned something from the experience and, as a result, my writing chops have improved. I will keep on learning. The writing craft is a lifetime of learning, didn’t you know?

Does that mean I’m on the way to becoming the next JK Rowling?

I’ve written when I haven’t wanted to write. I’ve written when I was feeling angry and afraid, sad and frustrated. I’ve written through migraines and period pains, through writer’s block and writer’s cramp. Well, maybe not cramp, but my hand did hurt after writing. Did I mention that I have Kerataconus? An eye disorder that has eaten away at my eye sight so much so that I have to rely on contact lenses for my vision.

Does it mean that I now deserve success? I’ve proved that I am more than just an amateur. I write when I don’t want to write. Surely, that means I deserve to catch a break, right?

Er. nope. I could write for years upon years, and go from trying experience to trying experience without ever getting a sniff of success. That’s Life.

Can you be whatever you want to be?

You can certainly try your damnedest. But you aren’t owed anything in life.

Success is a possibility. But so is mediocrity.

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