A Forgotten Story – Birthdays & Purpose

Wednesday 25/10/2017

” I am sitting on a seat in the garden, the sun is shining and it is really warm. It is Pauline’s birthday today and they are having a bit of a tea party. Pauline is a nice lady. I get on well with her, at lunch i had the company of Jill and Nina. It is not what i have been used to – miserable people – but there are cheerful ones here, all i can say is not on the day when i shall be high above the clouds.

If only i was back at 59. I worked until i was 56 years old, looked after my mother and we had many years of happiness together. My enjoyment was making her happy and she loved me dearly! She worried as to what would happen to me when i am on my own. I miss her so much. One day who knows perhaps i will be with her again.

When i was able to get my first car i was able to take her to the coast. It was a happy time for us both. Perhaps collect fish and chips on the way back. We have enjoyed the simple things in life. I thank God i did something worthwhile in life – making someone happy.

We have just had a quiz this afternoon. Pauline’s daughter’s partner was there – a lovely cheerful man (he is always kind to me!). It is Pauline’s birthday today (she is 81), a nice lady who i can get on with.”

Doris, 89.

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Lost notes

When you find notes in your bag that you’ve been carrying around for months and forgot all about.

When they bring back all the emotions you felt while writing them. Anger. Sadness. Loss. Fear.

When a new emotion turns up when you reread them. Pity. How strange that we can feel pity for our past selves. We know the outcome of what happens from that conversation. We know the outcome that comes from those questions. We know that pain and we know the relief as well, and yet we pity the poor us who didn’t know back then.

“What do you want?

What went wrong?

How long have you been feeling like this?

Why can’t I come with you?

Will this happen again?

What does this mean”

The hope and trust and love in those words, reflected by the worry, fear and pain. And yet the overwhelming emotion is pity.

2 Weeks And 3 Days Later

So we are 2 and a half weeks on, and what have we learnt?

Not much i don’t think. Which is odd, because usually i can take a lot from even the smallest encounter, let alone something as life changing as having your partner of 3 years leave you. But i guess i am still in the shock phase, i am still in the hopeful, processing, slightly a mess phase. But then, i am also not that much of a mess?

I think what i have learnt is that you can’t break a heart twice. Your heart is never going to recover from that first break. No other set back or heartbreak will ever compare or compete. I love him, i do, but what i learnt from the first breakup is that i love myself more.

So i am not really crying, i am listening to empowering music and i am standing up for myself because i don’t need to be anyone’s bitch, i don’t need to be a doormat for anyone in my life. I am probably handling that terribly, but i also could not give less of a f***!

I am happy to buy myself flowers to fill my room, its not like he was doing it for me before. I am happy to tell my boss that its all bullshit, because it is, pay me more if you want me to do more work, or i am not going to do more work. I am happy to walk down the street with an exploded eye and still feel hot as shit because being attractive isn’t an external thing, it is a mindset and i feel hot and i will be damned if anyone else’s opinion matters. Who are they to tell me i am not attractive? Its not an objective thing.

And lastly, i am done feeling sorry for myself, i am done making excuses, i am done acting like a victim when i am a queen.

Care Home Hooligan – Part 6

So what did I learn at work today. Several things.

Firstly, that you lose people in this profession more frequently than we’d care to admit or like to think about, but it never gets easier. If you have a connection with that resident, losing them will always sting, just like the first one.

Secondly, that losing someone doesn’t have to be the end of their story. We recently lost a shining light in our home, a wonderfully caring, happy and strong woman. But, just because she has come to the end of her life, doesn’t mean it has to be the end of her story. Here is one nugget of her story continuing. A second is the hearing aid batteries she donated to the Home, she is letting a whole home of people hear and be engaged. A third is a collection of Tottenham Hotspur memorabilia, that to the uninterested football suffer like me has no value, but to the gentlemen upstairs who is an avid supporter is a heartwarming gift.

The third thing I learnt today at work, is that my job is definitely not for everyone. It has to be in your heart, in your nature. And, that if it isn’t you should not be working in this field of work, not only for your sanity, but for the well-being of everyone in that Home. An unhappy resident, quickly leads to an unhappy team and an even unhappier Home.

New Years Resolutions 2017

So it’s been a whole year since I first made my New Years resolutions blog post. Last year I set myself 3 resolutions, and like the vast majority of us I carry them over to this year as I failed to achieve them last year.

1. Learn Spanish – the forever dream, that forever dies because I don’t have the faith in myself to maintain the motivation to spend real money on lessons.

2. Lose one stone – should have been relatively simple, I had a whole year. And yet, the pull of those cakes and biscuits are unwavering!

3. Stay motivated – this I would argue hasn’t failed me as much, I still feel pretty motivated, just tarnished my time pressures. So this year I am going to remove this off the list.. yay, somewhat of a success!

4. So to have 3 healthy goals I am going to set this years new resolution to read 10 books. I managed 8 last year I believe, so I think 10 is a good target. I spend so much time starting at screens I am surprised I don’t have glasses by this point! So to postpone the inevitable I want to go back to reading, as it really is one of my favourite pastimes.

So here is to 2018, may you be better than 2017, and trust me you have a hell of a lot of work to do to top that corker of a year!

So I Put My Tree Up In November

So this may be controversial, but hey, Christmas is a season not a day….

I am a big believer that everyday you should try and find the good and try and find the happiness. For me the Christmas season is nothing but joy and happiness! Primary example being, endless chocolate and sweets and minimal guilt about eating them all because it’s Christmas.

So much to my boyfriend and parents dismay I put up my tree on the 20th of November and have been enjoying its glistening lights ever since! This post is a month overdue but I have been a little busy preparing a whole care home for Christmas.

This is the artificial tree I bought as I didn’t own one, and I’ll be honest it’s quite beautiful and a bargain! It cost me £20 from B&Q

As you can tell standard artificial tree design to put it up, two big poles to slot together and a tree topper, followed by individual metal tree branches to slot in and puff up.

This is my beautiful tree up and then with my lights that I bought last year in New Zealand. I had to get an adapter for them and I’ll be honest they are being a bit of a nightmare because they keep popping out the socket adapter! However, they are magical and long and will probably last me a lifetime.

Then it was time to start decorating! Everyone knows a tree needs a bit of red! I bought pretty much all my decorations from wilkos because I needed a starter kit. So these berries were £1 and have brought the tree to life.

The Santa and J and K on the tree are obviously not from the set. The Santa was £3 from sainsburys and the J and K were gifts from my aunty while we were in New Zealand.

So there you go, there is my November through to January Christmas tree! ❤️

A New Year Fast Approaching

So 2017 is drawing to a close and my god it feels like both a lifetime and a second.

I started the year in summery New Zealand, working far too many hours for some lovely, and some rather horrendous people. I draw the year to a close back in wintery london, working far too many hours in the most beautiful and wonderful home.

How the two worlds link I am not quite sure, because my little life on the other side of the world doesn’t feel linked to 2017, to my childhood bedroom and snow.

I slept in hostel rooms with 10 people, friends I hadn’t yet met, and now cherish. I made memories and challenged myself and leapt from a plane. I did unimaginable things and brave things and things I don’t remember because there were so many things. I drank, I danced, I laughed, I cried, I worked, I slept, I didn’t sleep, I baked, I cooked, I met new people, I made new friends, I met family, I made family.

And now I sit at home, nearing the end of this magnificent year, wondering how next year can even try to compete with the year I became me, the year I went crazy and sane all at the same time. I have hopes and wishes and dreams for the year to come, I have anxiety and stress for what it brings, I have love and passion for the people I will see.

Christmas is a knocking, so new year will have to wait. I have 35 stockings to deliver and Santa can’t be late.

Care Home Hooligan – Part 2

Halloween at a Care Home is a unique experience!

We have ghoulish snacks, concocted up by our wonderful chef!

We have devilishly good music which gets all our residents singing and dancing in their chairs! Songs from their youth and musical all preformed by a slightly off key and very Halloween singer.

But mostly, we have a laugh, we get everything decorated and doll out little hats and ears and headbands. We get everyone in a room together and dance and sing to our hearts content. We dish out sweets from a skeleton and laugh when it tries to stop us getting the snacks! We dress up like fools for their entertainment even though our hair now feels like straw and would set alight with the hint of a spark!

Postgraduate Life

The world is your oyster! Your degree will open doors for you! You will be more employable!

The comments you get before you go university, the comments you get while at university, but soon the rhetoric changes… You get comments like ‘the job market is hard right now’, ‘you don’t have enough experience’ or the worst thing of all, absolutely no acknowledgement at all.

I never realised graduate unemployment was such a touchy subject, but apparently it is and nobody really wants to discuss it. Unemployment is the harsh reality of life, everyone goes through periods of unemployment, redundancy and compete hopelessness, and yet we are trying to convince people they should feel ashamed if they haven’t found a job right away. We pin all lifes achievements and all measures of success on whether or not you have a job in that exact moment. The fact you may have just completed a degree, or been employed less than a week ago seem entirely irrelevant if when asked you can’t immediately give a long boring explanation of what it is you do for a living.

The pressure to be employed, the pressure to be successful, the pressure to move out and move on are exceptional. Everything must move 100 miles per hour and if you can’t keep up, if you can’t secure a job straight away then you are failing. This ridiculous idea that having a degree earns us the right to walk into a job when there will be someone who has worked for 3 years doing hard graft in that field during the time its taken us to secure that piece of paper is unrealistic. We are given these unrealistic expectations, this superiority complex and when we get into the real world, when school abandons us and we realise we aren’t these special people with skills and qualifications. No. In fact we have to start at the bottom because we have no experience of what it means to be an adult, or work in an office or actually work in the field we have spent 3 years writing about.

We need to manage our expectations of what postgraduate life looks like, because its not the series of open doors we have been promised. Its competitive, and we are the underdogs because we don’t have the years of commercial experience, but what we do have is proof of being educated and the ability to learn, and we have to milk that for all it’s worth. We need to stop sending kids off to university with the promise of employment, we need to sell them education with the realistic understanding that when they have completed it they can join the job market at the bottom and use that education to progress quicker up it. We need to tell them that it may take months and months of searching, of being ignored, of failed interviews and countless applications before the first sniff of a job is on the cards, and that we need to save some money up for this period while at university. That we need to be building those CVs and gaining that commercial experience while completing our degrees, that university is a crash course in life and life means working, not just in the library but in the office and the cafe.

So yes, this is a rant about my unrealistic expectations from when i left university and what i have learned 2 years on. That life is hard. That i am still unemployed. That my degree is not worth as much as the 3 years of work experience i got alongside it, but that it does push that glass ceiling a little higher and make my climb up the ladder quicker than my counterparts without the degree.

 

 

Side note:

I got offered a job today, and yet here i am writing this rant because i am debating whether a passion and love for a job is enough of a reason to take a huge pay cut, and i blame my unrealistic expectations for making a dream job less appealing because it doesn’t fulfill my salary expectations.

Reflections On My Travels

So this is a long overdue post! I promised it a while ago and as per usual life got in the way and i lost motivation and time. So here it finally is, less of a story of my travels as much as it was planned to be, and more of a reflection on the last year of my life.

So lets flash back to the summer of 2016 when i quit my perfectly reasonable job in IT and decided to travel to the other side of the world, to what i expected would be the sunny, chilled and beautiful New Zealand. In reflection, only really one of those was the case and it certainly wasn’t the weather! I packed up my little life in London, dragged my boyfriend straight from finishing his masters degree and we took the grueling 24 hour trip to paradise.

We had a 2 day stop over in Hong Kong and met some incredible people who would stay with us throughout our trip. Hong Kong beautifully broke up the flights and was a lovely start to the adventure of a lifetime. I wish we had the money and sense to have done a similar stop over on the way home because 31 hours straight travel was ridiculous. Not impossible, obviously, but definitely not something i will be signing myself up for any time soon.

When we arrived in New Zealand, we were faced with a few things we hadn’t really considered. First and forever the most shocking was that it wasn’t always sunny and hot in New Zealand, in fact the weather is basically England on a much more extreme scale. We arrived in Auckland on a gloomy overcast day, to check into a dorm room in a hostel just off the main street. It didn’t occur to us that we would be in a dorm, or that obviously that’s what happens when  you stay in a hostel. So that was a travel shock, the reality of having to share every inch of space and time with strangers. We quickly moved to private rooms in hostels after leaving Auckland, to minimize the awkwardness for us and for everyone else.

So our travels really began when we boarded that bright green tour bus that would be our home away from home. We traveled north to the brighter bay of islands, where we got to see dolphins and sit on the beach and really experience those minutes of holiday and travel. Including the diabolical alcoholism and mischievous activities in the early hours, which made great conversation on the bus the next morning. We made our down the north island to wellington. We sand surfed, caved, luged, spent a night in a Maori village, sat in a natural hot pool on the beach and of course basically drank ourselves out of pocket.

We arrived in Wellington to pouring rain, and yet it felt like we had come home. We spent the night in a hostel before spending two weeks with a distant relative of mine, who became like our mum and took care of us when we needed someone. That will be one of the things i treasure, building that relationship and having that love of family even when you are as far away as you can get from home. Wellington is where we set up our lives, made friends, got jobs, moved into a little flat, really lived like the kiwis do. And it was one of the best experiences of my life. That little flat will forever remain in my heart, as will the people and those gorgeous streets and views as you walk through Wellington and along the harbor. There are some bad memories of there, but they are by far outshone by the joy and beauty of the city and of my time there.

So after several months, it was time to pack my bag and go solo for my adventure down south. So i said goodbye to my jobs, to my friends, to my boyfriend and boarded a ferry to the south island. It was, without a doubt the most amazing and important thing i have ever done. The amount i grew within myself is impossible to describe, the relationships and bonds you can create with people in such a short time is life changing. You will be pushed to truly do what you want, to be responsible for only you and to deal with the consequence of what you do and want. You will push yourself into doing things you would never have imagined you would do, like skydive or learn to surf or crawl into bed with people who you barely know but love.

So New Zealand, you were stunning, absolutely the most beautiful place i have ever been and think will ever go, photos of you don’t look real and i cannot describe your immense totally consuming beauty. You were a challenge for my heart and my head, but most of all my liver. You were completely and utterly the best decision of my life and i cannot thank you and everyone who made you what you were for me enough ❤