I love my birthday, but this year after a Christmas I didn’t really enjoy because I felt so much pressure to be someone I’m not and constrained by family commitments, I decided to spend it on my own.
There is a big different between being alone and deciding to spend time on your own. I treated this like I was taking myself out on a date. It was special and I enjoyed every minute of it. I didn’t feel lonely at all. I felt free-spirited and alive. I came home with a sense of knowing who I am and having had a good day and ready to put my feet up.
This wasn’t the plan originally, but something fell through that would have enabled me to be somewhere else and be with a friend. So instead of trying to arrange something last minute, I decided to do exactly what I wanted to do with no compromising for others. It felt like it took me ages to decide what to do, but it was really only a couple of days and I kept it simple, focusing on two three things I enjoy doing – visiting bookshops, having coffee or tea, and wandering around.
I took myself to London!
I wanted to wander so I got the tube to Covent Garden with the aim of ending up at a couple of bookshops I wanted to visit. Although Christmas is over they still had the sleigh and reindeer and it was a welcome sight as I wandered around in the sunshine.
I meandered around the back streets exploring shops and people watching as I made my way to Forbidden Planet. I had heard good things about the book floor and I was not disappointed. I could have spent a fortune in there on signed copies, but I didn’t. I added to my reading list and will be going back in the future when my favourite authors visit.
I then wandered on to Foyles and spent a lovely amount of time exploring the shelves of a large bookstore. I miss these types of shops and wish there was one closer. It felt so nice to pick up random books and explore titles I wouldn’t otherwise have seen. It felt peaceful to be there.
I bought myself two books. A coffee one because I want to learn more about brewing and one because it’s set in Toyko and I am super excited about going there in October.
I then wandered into Soho and found an amazing Japanese restaurant called Eat Tokyo and enjoyed some green tea and sushi. It was super busy, but the joys of Japanese restaurants is that they often have bar and I was not alone in sitting solo enjoying some lunch.
All the colourful sushi!
I then spent the afternoon wandering the theatre district alone Shaftsbury Avenue and observing the hustle and bustle of London. I wandered through Piccadilly Circus, up Regent’s Street and along Oxford Street, mainly because I knew the way and could wander without thinking. As it got darker I decided to head home, but I knew I wanted to make one last stop – Baker Street!
I took a longer tube journey back to the train station just to make this stop. I went to 221B Baker Street and found Mr Holmes himself outside the tube station. It was a lovely stop to make as I headed home.
I love passing this tube station, but have not had reason to get off before. It was great to see the Sherlock Holmes silhouette in closer proximity and realise it is made up from lots of mini silhouettes. That made me smile as I headed home, back to the furballs waitng for me to feed them.
I had lots of plan for exploring in December, but getting a cold and ear infection scuppered that, but taking me out for the last two week of the month. I missed the lake swims I had planned and also some time exploring locally. But I did what I could and had fun doing it.
At the beginning of the month I went to Cardiff to meet up with my friends for afternoon tea and do as much present shopping as I could. I love Cardiff and do miss living there, but it was nice to visit.
Many evenings in December were taken up by making the most of festivities and catching up with as many people as possible over the weeks before Christmas. This year felt extra busy as I changed jobs not long ago so was included in two work team get togethers. It was all good fun, but I did eat way too much in the run up to Christmas.
- Original work team
- New work team
- Work bookclub
- Swimming Club
- Running Club
- Friends catch up
I’ve been trying to make the most of my cinema card too and this month saw four films. I enjoyed all of them. I missed a couple I wanted to see, like Black Mass, but went as many time as I could.
- The Lady in the Van
- Bridge of Spies
- Christmas with the Coopers
- Star Wars
I’ve made a lot of plans already for the coming year and feel more organised for doing these posts that I have before. It is nice to remind myself of what I’ve been up to and think about other places I want to explore.
Again it may be cliche, but I love reading these kinds of posts and I like writing them. However I thin specific goals and/or resolutions don’t work for me. For 2016 instead I am going to set out some things to focus on and some values I want to live by. I want my small decisions and actions to add up to a much bigger picture going forward. Therefore having these values to focus on will help me live how I want to live and focus on the longer term, rather than instant gratification. I want to live in the present, but not let habits I no longer want to define this for me. Things won’t always go to plan and that is okay; it is part of who I am and each step counts.
So here is what I am focusing on:
Travelling – home and abroad
This has been a big part of my life that I sacrificed for the last few years, but I’ve been lucky to travel around the England for work and that will continue to happen. So the focus for 2016 is enjoy every minute of it and spend my time and money doing more of it. I have three trips abroad planned – Austria, Bruges, and Japan – and each will be very different from each other. They are spaced out across the year so I will always have some to look forward to. I even have a trip planned for 2017 to keep in mind.
Being good to myself – mind, body and soul
We all have a tendency to put others first. I have found this year that trying to put myself first has been considered selfish by other people and that got in my way. So this year I want to make it about taking care of myself fully. It’s the big things like losing weight and keeping fit, but it’s also about the smaller things such as journaling and doing my make up. It’s also about learning to say no to things are don’t fit within my values and not caring what other people think.
Clearing out junk – physically and metaphorically
I’ve been inspired by Alex over at Love Lexi Life with her year of clearing out and going minimal that I have already started to do the same. I have a lot of things in my house that I don’t use or need and it’s time to let go of it all. I’m going to go through every drawer in every room over time and really create the space I want to live in. The physical side is easier than the metaphorical side. This is links to ‘being good to myself’ above and clearing out my mind of the junk. I don’t know what this will look like yet, but I think I’ll start with social media and make sure everything I use and everyone I follow fits with who I am as a person and go from there.
Focusing on experiences, rather than stuff – imposing some spending limits
This is a big one for me and relates to focusing on the bigger picture over instant gratification. I am going to impose some spending limits on myself for the short term to change some habits and also back up the my other focuses above. I have realised over the years that having ‘stuff’ is nice, but at the same time I only use a small percentage of the ‘stuff’ I have. With clothes and accessories for instance, I would prefer to spend more money on something that will last a long time with continual use, than something cheap I might only wear once. I want to visit more places and do more things this coming year and therefore I need to make sure I spend my money on things that support that aim.
Aiming for consistency, with fluidity – words for the year
I’ve already mentioned how I felt 2015 lacked consistency, so that is what I would like a bit more of in the coming year. At the same time I need to allow myself the flexibility to be fluid and make changes without guilt or shame, which is also something that 2015 lacked. So this year I am setting these as my words to remind myself of what I need and want with my life.
That’s it really. I think everything I will do will fit into these aims, if that’s what they are. I have a couple of specific things I plan on achieving, such as swimming the Henley Marathon in August and losing a certain amount of weight, but they still fit into living with the above values. I want my blog posts to reflect this in the coming year and I’ve changed my categories to reflect this and my main loves and I suppose clearing out the clutter from my blog was a pre-emptive step on the next part of my journey.
I hope everyone enjoys the last few days of 2015 and welcomes 2016 with open arms and be ready to seize opportunities that present themselves along the way. Here is to an adventure filled year ahead in whatever forms those adventures come in!