A navel gazing post today. Sometimes it is good to reflect on what makes me the person that I am today. I’m shamelessly borrowing this from my old blog. It’s still in the background hidden from view as a resource to borrow from when I’m feeling a bit lazy. Did the things that I wrote about in 2017 stand the test of time? Yes! I’m happy to report that I haven’t changed very much. So here are ten things that I’ve done that have really made a difference and transformed me. Maybe they’ll spur someone out there to take a leap that changes gives their own life a fix.
Being a mum: My son has brought me so much joy. There’s a scattering of angst too but that’s minimal in comparison. The most important lesson he taught me is the one about putting another person before myself. I’m way less selfish because of parenthood.
Living in my motorhome: Paring down possessions is liberating and an ongoing process. A couple of books and a big bagful of clothes went to the recycling bins at Sainsbury this week. A Trader Joe bag was gifted to a delighted American friend. I’ve put some stuff on Facebook marketplace and scheduled other bits and bobs on Ebay. A nine month period of van living taught me the basics of living with less. My brick built house has been less cluttered as a consequence. Having space rather than wading through piles of crap is a joy.
Changing career: Time spent hiking the Appalachian Trail nearly a quarter of a century ago marked the transition between my life as a tax accountant and one as an occupational therapist. I drink less champagne these days and no longer hob nob with the rich and powerful. In spite of the stresses of working in the NHS I can say that I’m rarely bored. Each day is different. I’m still learning all the time. And I make a living in a way that is a much better fit with my values.
Practising Mindfulness: A long old journey now of more than a decade. I was doing this way before it went all mainstream and trendy. And I know from experience why it’s caught on. For the past few years I’ve really cracked the early morning meditation. It’s also an ongoing practice in daily life. It helps me on my journey of accepting that the present moment is really all I have. This has got me through some sticky times including a period of illness where life was a bit touch and go.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy: Studying this to use at work revealed that changing my own thinking could transform my life. I continue to develop this from more spiritual perspectives but good old CBT was my starting base.
Embracing creativity: Okay I’ll never be Picasso or Shakespeare but not being an expert no longer stops me playing with being arty. And sometimes I’m really pleased with the results.
Wearing insoles in my shoes: Foot problems were compromising my ability to walk, hike and run. Investment in special insoles has sorted that. Minimsing the impact of physical pain has definitely been a life changer.
Fostering Gratefulness: Taking time to be thankful reaps so many dividends. I focus on what I have rather than lack. This includes my daily writing practice.
Getting out of an unhappy marriage: Not the easiest decision for someone who truly took their marital vows seriously at the time they were made. With a kid in tow leaving was even harder but sometimes things are broken beyond repair. Being on my own taught me self reliance and resilience and gave me time to reflect on what I really wanted in a relationship. I’ve done all right this time around as a consequence.
Taking responsibility for my own happiness: The final one may be the most important. It is my reaction to what others throw at me that causes me to suffer. In the main, except when someone is particularly irksome, I’ve shed the blame and the bitching!