If you’ve read my recent post, Turning 35, you will know that I recently celebrated my Birthday. And if you follow my Instagram account (@Themindfulgingernut) you will know that my lovely mum and dad brought me a book called ‘Self-Care for the Real World‘, by the fantastic Nadia Narain & Katia Narain Phillips.
One of the early challenges in the book is to write down five things you’ve done that make you feel proud of yourself. Sometimes we get so bogged down in the day to day that we forget to remind ourselves of our achievements. Other times, the Imposter Syndrome kicks in, and we simply can’t find our achievements for the grey cloud that surrounds us.
I wanted to share with you, the 5 things that make me feel proud of myself. It would be lovely to hear what your 5 things would be too, so please feel free to share your’s below.
5 things i’ve done that make me feel proud of myself
I have a degree in Geography and Third World Development
I also studied American Studies during my first year at the University of Northampton (or the University College of Northampton/UCN as it was known back then). I can’t believe it’s been 13 years since I graduated. Where has that time gone? It was never my intention to go to University. I loved school, and sixth form, but the thought of going away to uni and carrying on studying hadn’t really appealed. But as I got closer and closer to my final months in sixth form, I started to think that maybe I should go. After all, if I didn’t, what else was I going to do? I didn’t have a clue what job I wanted, so it only seemed right that I joined my friends, and started to look at university’s. I had a slight interest in charity work, and looked at courses that may help me to go and do charity work in far flung continents. It was then that I came across the subject that became my minor, Third World Development. Once I had decided to do this, it was all about finding a major to compliment this. Funnily enough, my ideal course was sitting in my home town of Northampton. So off I went in 2002, insanely shy, quiet me, signed up to do Geography and Third World Development at UCN. Unlike many local students, I managed to get into halls of residence so I could get the most out of my university experience. I met some lovely people, both students and tutors alike. I also got to travel to some incredible places, carrying out field trips in Majorca, Amsterdam, Valencia and South West America. I like to think I studied hard, but partied hard too. Shy little me was no more. I came out of university much more confident and outgoing than I had been when I walked in on that first day in 2002. I am proud that I achieved my degree, proud that I made the most of my time there, and proud of the new found confidence it gave me. I certainly wouldn’t be the person I am today if I hadn’t gone to university.
In June 2006 me and my dad travelled up to Yorkshire to attempt the Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge. Dad, who worked for the Motor Neurone Disease Association at the time, often came home telling us about new challenges that the Charity were arranging. I can’t remember whether it was my idea or Dad’s to take up this challenge, but who ever’s it was, we knuckled down with a training plan, making sure we covered hills as well as distance. I have particular memories of us training in Derbyshire one weekend, climbing Mam Tor in the snow and ice and being up to at least our knees in snow drifts as we edged towards the top. In order to practice the distance we would need to cover for the Challenge, we also walked around Rutland Water, all 26 miles of it. 5 miles from the end, just as the rain started to hammer down on us, I felt something pop in my calf. I managed to walk through the pain, and thankfully it was nothing more than a badly pulled muscle. But it was all good practice for the Challenge ahead. The Three Peaks Challenge consists of Pen-y-Ghent (694 metres), Whernside (736 metres) and Ingleborough (723 metres), and a distance of 24.5 miles (although I would debate this as my pedometre definitely clocked up more miles that day!). We woke up at the crack of dawn, met with our fellow walkers and started out on our challenge. The aim of the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge is to complete the peaks within 12 hours. It wasn’t an easy challenge. But thankfully with my dad by my side we coached each other on and ended up completing the challenge with 20 minutes to spare. I’m proud of myself and my dad for completing this challenge. Getting out and walking in the countryside truly is the best way to appreciate the landscape that surrounds us. I don’t think either of us could’ve achieved the challenge without the other being there. We knew we were physically ready for it due to the prep we had done beforehand, but how do you mentally prepare yourself for a challenge like this? You can’t. But we got through it together.
I moved to London
If I think back to where I was 10 years ago, I would’ve laughed my socks off at the thought of living and working in London. I was a complete and utter country bumpkin, who would come down to London once or twice a year to visit friends for the day, but would always be grateful to go home again to the fresh country air, and couldn’t really understand how or why people would want to live in the city. I’m now even more grateful of going back home to the fresh, country air every now and again, but moving to London 3 years ago, was possibly one of the best decisions I have ever made. And it was all on a bit of a whim. I didn’t know if it would work out. I had always been quite shy and wasn’t particularly adventurous, but I knew it was an opportunity I couldn’t refuse. And here I am, over 3 years later. There have been times I could’ve thrown the towel in. Not because of the city, but mostly because of the stresses that have come with the job I am in. However, even in my darkest days, I knew that if I was to look for a new job, that too would be in London, the place I now call home. I am proud that I have stuck it out, proud that I have started to explore places off the tourist trails, proud to call London my home.
I’ve been on holiday on my own
Just over 2 years ago, upon realising that most of my friends were married and/or had children or both, as well as being single at the time, I had a dilemma on my hands. I was in desperate need of a holiday after a year living in London. I desperately needed some sun, and some R&R. I had two choices. To take another week off and stay in the UK visiting friends and family. Or get on a plane and take my first holiday on my own. And that’s just what I did. I was keen to go somewhere that wasn’t too exotic, where people would speak relatively good English (just in case I got in any bother), and to visit with a tour operator that would ensure I was in a reasonable hotel, with transfers thrown in. So off I flew in September 2016 to Puerto de le Cruz in Tenerife. I was nervous flying on my own as I wasn’t an experienced flyer. I only had a handful of flights to my name. I was also nervous about the transfers. How would I know what coach to get on? The flight and the transfers however were both fine. The only real shocks I got, were the lack of English speaking people both working and staying at the hotel (it appears that North Tenerife is where all the native’s go as opposed to the Brit’s), and the transfers coming home, which despite being on my booking form, were not coming to pick me up on the day of my departure! However, the rest of the holiday was fantastic. I met some lovely ladies on an excursion to Mount Teide, who were also travelling alone, and spent a lot of time walking around the town of Puerto de le Cruz, as well as relaxing by the pool, and working my way through a good number of chick lit. I could’ve so easily taken the easy option, and stayed home in the UK. But I am proud of myself for taking a leap of faith and getting on board that plane. I haven’t been on holiday alone since, but I know that will soon change, as I can feel that familiar pull telling me to just bloody do it! Where to next I wonder?
Earlier this year, I decided to start writing a blog. For me, my blog is my way of dealing with a whole load of crap that has festered in my mind for far too long. I am massively open and honest in my musings, which I know comes with it’s risks, but it is sometimes the only way I can voice my thoughts. I still keep a lot internalised, but I find writing incredibly therapeutic and calming. I have not created this blog to find fame and fortune. I have created this as a way of coming to terms with some of the things that have happened in my life. I also find great joy in writing. I had never thought about blogging before. But when it was suggested to me, I started to look into it immediately. It took me less than a month from thought to creation. I can’t begin to tell you how helpful blogging has been so far. And the great community that comes with it. I have met (in the online sense) some wonderful people who continue to inspire me on a daily basis. But in addition, people I have known for years are taking an interest, many of whom have taken me completely by surprise by reading my blogs, and letting me know how much they enjoy them. I’m proud that on another whim, I created my site, proud of having such wonderful online and offline friends who take the time to learn more about me, proud that I am helping others by writing about my experiences, and god damn relieved that this muddled mind of mine is finally freeing up some space to find time to reflect and to be proud of all that I have achieved so far.