18 for 2018 – Inspired by Gretchen Rubino

I have a few books written by Gretchen Reuben, 1 was purchased on my kindle and the other in Toronto Airport when we were awaiting our flight back to Glasgow after being home. I love what she does and says, her Podcasts are so inspiring but the main thing is that they are easy to understand and incorporate into your life without really thinking about it too much but that the results are really life changing.

I’m not so much into New Year resolutions because I think that if you want to make change, it should be an ongoing process and not waiting for the 1st of January to do it. If you really have something in life that you want to do, if you can put all of your effort into it, I do believe that it is well within your reach. If you set your mind to something whether it be small to someone but of major significance to you, the end result will be empowering and with empowerment comes achievement, yes?

So what is this thing that I am banging on about? Its Gretchin’s 18 for 2018 and its all about achieving 18 things throughout the year that mean something to you and has a positive impact on your life. The 18 things can be anything and it an take as long as it takes, but within the next 12 months… I don’t think that 18 thing are really hat difficult and it may mean writing another list but I’ll concentrate on my first and see how I get on.

When thinking about this, I wanted to make small achievable goals because this isn’t about adding more stress to an already stressful existence! Its something that I can do and think or write about whenever and wherever… Something to be proud of and something that will impact me and possibly others around me. So where do I start? Well….

I read something on social media this week which was quite powerful and made me think a lot about certain situations that I have found myself in very recently.

https://i.pinimg.com/736x/a6/02/91/a60291d461dad32d6cb0f3d178331338--happenings-positive-thoughts.jpg

So this is one of the things that I want to really concentrate on in 2018.. I am very hot headed and I generally react by shouting and getting angry. In order for me to stop reacting in an angry matter, I need to step back, think about all aspects , who is involved, impact of my anger and breathe.

Breathing is the key to all life.

A lot of this first goal is about my daughter and some stuff that she is going through. She lost her Nanna very suddenly and she is currently going through the “anger” part of the grieving process but through this we also think that there may be something a bit more underlying.When she gets angry, I react in the same way, we say things that we regret , the tears flow and there is a constant atmosphere which is affecting everyone here and even the dog. So I must learn to breathe first and react second. It’s very hard.

2. Walking at least 5 miles a day. This was something that I was achieving before Christmas but after having a small operation 3 weeks ago, that stopped and I can see how much it has impacted my moods and my eating habits. The dog is also suffering because she was really enjoying her long walks and now she is only getting out to the park across the street and smaller walks. That’s not fair. I also want to get my daughter into this with me so I guess there is two parts to this goal! I think it will help improve her moods and her fitness.

3. I want to use my gym membership more and go to at least 2 early morning classes a week. I love getting up before everyone, getting my workout done and be back in time to get the kids off to nursery and school and then the dog walked. I feel I get much more done on these days and although I am all for self care and looking after yourself, my own mental health is better when I am organized.

4. Concentrate on growing my business. I love what I do and I have a good client base but I feel like I need to be more organised and reign in a lot of things as my head is a scatty mess. I need to re design leaflets, find out exactly which therapies out of all of the ones that I do, are my favorite ones and just do them. I know that aromatherapy is one at the top of my list as is pregnancy and when I do these, I get lost in them. I am also dabbling with making stuff with the oils but that can come at a later date.

5. Making time for friends. This can be done in different ways as we all have such different lifestyles, work schedules, and demands. I am going to diarise dates with those who are able to do so and make an effort to even catch up with others via skype or facetime – this is generally for friends an family on the other side of the world.

6. Paying off at least 2 of my credit cards by the summer. This is achievable because I can do overtime when the kids are sleeping or by using my other income as a Complementary Therapist. I would like to say that I am lucky to have these two outlets but to be fair, I trained and studied and all of that was achieved via hard wor. The over time think is lucky but again, I am qualified enough to have a job where over time is available and that’s down to my own skills that I learned and invested in. The other skill that I have is blogging and although I have only just picked it up gain after a long break, I know that I can be consistent and pick up the ol sponsored post if I want to. I can also make some money via selling things on eBay and I started just before Christmas, the money went towards a credit card and in one week with combining all the above apart from massage, I put ¬£65 towards a card. How good is that?

7. Entering Competitions .. its become a new hobby that I picked up on my quest to save money and become debt free. I was also inspired by a film that I watched which was a true story. Now, please note that I am under no illusion hat I will win very much and that’s ok. Like I say, its a hobby ūüôā Its simply a hobby and its something that is distracting for me after the kids have gone to bed.

8. Not accepting the negative behaviors of others , this kind of ties in with number 1 . Something happened over the Christmas holidays and it was quite hurtful to me although those involved probably didn’t even know that it had such an impact.. I don’t want to go into it and I have made adjustments to how interaction will be from now on. There was one other situation where I felt that someone in my life was always contacting me when they needed to vent. At first I was angry as I wasn’t being asked what was going on with me and my family but then I thought , well maybe I am a source of comfort and advice? This is quite empowering that I can help in a situation which is upsetting for another person and that they trust me enough to confide in? Yes! this is it! ( To ther person that this is about, you know I’m not attacking you with sharing this and no names are mentioned. I am here for you always).

9. Being more present, accountable, be there more to listen to my husband, this kids, friends.. I don’t know that this makes sense or does and that I have no reason to explain?

10. Using my summerhouse more for meditation, relation, yoga, mindfulness for both me and my daughter and maybe redesign it and make it even more welcoming. A sanctuary of light and love? I remember before I ordered it that I wanted it to feel as though it wasn’t just in my back garden but I could transport myself into that secluded forest somewhere far away.. a place of complete relaxation…

11. Stop and count my blessings.. stop thinking “if only I had more money, I could do this”¬† or “I wish we had a bigger house” etc etc. stop making it about “stuff” maybe reading more bout minimalism? I have much goodness in my life… and I mean things like fantastic friends, a good paying job, a roof over my head, fantastic family, we don’t go hungry and have food available. I have self…. an awareness. It’s the “stuff” that gets in the way. I know I said that I was comping but it’s just a fun thing and a hobby. I don’t care if I win or don’t win. Its all a bonus.

12. More family time. I need to make sure that we have more quality time from watching a film together , walks, cycling, museum. Something that is focused on us spending time without arguing! I have worked weekends for a while now as well as Christmas and new year , all holidays due to the nature of my job. Because of that,we ind it hard to spend time as a family without arguing because we have different parenting skills. This causes confusion for the kids and it all erupts like a volcano which isn’t good for any of us.

13. Home.. I want to go home this year… Home is Canada and with me paying off credit cards, it can’t be the top of my priority list as it defeats the purpose! So comping it is! If I could win a trip home, it would be a bonus but if I don’t, there is always next year.

So that’s it for now.. I will update my list on my next blog post.. the next 5 are going to be ones that I really want to think about.. maybe something like “read a book” or catch up on my pinterest board, see that film i have been meaning to for¬† months.. ?

Are you writing an 18 for 2018 list ? If so, please do share as its inspiring to read how other people are living their lives, their motivations and what they hope to achieve. Thanks for reading.

No homework for my kids.

I’ve been reading a few blogs, interacting with people on Twitter and the latter half of this year was spent telling my daughters teacher that she would not be doing homework.

I could tell by her facial expression that she either didn’t agree or had an opinion on it but possibly didn’t want to explore that as we are given only 10mins (at max), when doing parent -teacher meetings. That in itself tells you a lot about the school curriculum in Scotland…

I know I’m probably seen as that weird trouble making parent in the playground (and to the head teacher , especially when in the past I may have told her that I’m a recovering Catholic and it’s a catholic school) who rather than fit in with the parents/carers with their matching furniture/wall paper/car etc ,sings the praises of their children almost every week via social media (when actually we know how little Betty and Tommy are just as much the shit disturber as ours can be),would much rather survive each day of parenting… Without having to pull out my hair … but to be honest ¬†I couldn’t give a rats ass about being in the parenting “in” crowd.I haven’t for a while and that in itself is liberating. I like that I don’t have to make small talk now with folk that I really don’t have much in common with and can just pick up my child and get on with my life. Sounds harsh but I just haven’t got the time to get involved with the latest gossip.

Back to the point of this post, I digress, yes! Homework… My child went to nursery and then on to school which means that from the age of 3, she has been in the system. Ok, partly our choice as I had wanted to go back to studying again. However, it is a system that constantly tells our young people that you need to do all of these things like go to university and/or college,in order to feel like you have achieved. To use correct punctuation or people will make fun of you and they will define you as a person if you get it wrong and posts “meme’s” on Facebook so that you and your friends can collectively belittle a person to satisfy your own insecurities and ego. Seen it happen loads of time and I actually pity those who do this regularly.¬† Yes,I wouldlovefor my children to goto college and univerity to study if they want to and I thoroughly encourage studying as there is so much to learn in life but if they want to do something else or go into work,I won’t push them because the world adds enough pressure to our lives as it is. People define others by the job they do,house they live in,area they live,car they drive etc.. What about morals,respecting others and your own

Why does my child need to do these things in order to feel like someone who matters? Why do we have to expect them to conform? They are little beings and sometimes I feel that we have too much influence on them and we need to let them express themselves, find out who they are and to grow.  Unfortunately in our society when you do that and let them explore their personalities they can some times not be included with their peers and get treated differently by the school.

Why does this happen and why as parents do we not just say “fuck it”,?! as Fleetwood Mac says “you can go your own way”! Or do as the little bumble bee girl in the video for Blind Melon’s “No Rain” and dance in those puddles under the droplets of rain that falls from the sky! Be different, be you… Show your kids that individuality and not being the same as anyone else, is good! Embrace it! Learn from your kids and let them learn from you! I bet it’s liberating:) trying to build their confidence so that they are comfortable in a society that preys on and makes a business out of our insecurities.

This post may not make sense or cover the actual topic but I tend to go off in a tangent and not follow the rules ūüėČ

Story Fest : St Enoch Centre

  
Last week M and I were invited along to the St Enoch’s Centre in Glasgow, to be part of “Story Fest”, to meet and hear Author Lyn Nicol , read from one of her “Badger The Mystical Mutt”, books. We both had a great time hearing about Badger and she engaged really well with the other children who also attended. It was so lovely to be part of this event, its a magical experience to not only meet an author but to also hear them read one of their books aloud. We had some photos taken with Lyn at the end and she signed M’s book as well. We have since purchased more of her books, they tell a story but they also deliver messages within.

   
We loved how the St Enoch’s centre was transformed into a pop up library with comfy bean bag chairs and fake grass. It certainly drew in the children who were round about, shopping with their families as it was half term. I think to have a “library” to stop at, read for a little bit, should be a permanent fixture as it does encourage children to do more reading and adults to sit and spend time engaging with our kids rather than be distracted by our phones etc.

I love that the St Enoch Centre has events like these, this was in conjunction with Glasgow City Libraries,  and it wasn’t just our event that was run but there were creative workshops, other author appearances, the lending library and readings of books. All of these events were free, and its exciting to see how the Children’s book festival will develop throughout the years. I’m a huge advocate for families spending time together and reading to one another because not only does it help children with learning, vocabulary, and expanding their minds, it also means finding that hour or so a day/night in a busy and hectic life that we all seem to be living these days.

   

 As part of our experience, we were kindly gifted with a goody bag, which was very special as it had something for all of us in it.. From the Chocolate, from Hotel Chocolat, A HUGE stuffed Olaf from Debenhams , and a very kind gesture from the St Enoch Centre which will come in handy for Christmas shopping, a ¬£50 voucher . We also received a Voucher from Optical Express for ¬£50 and my husband will be using this as he needs new glasses – will help him with reading to the children at night! I have to say that Optical Express is amazing, I had my laser eye treatment from them and their service is absolutely fantastic!

We had a lovely experience, my daughter is so keen to get her books out at night and if you haven’t already got a library card, I highly recommended that you go to your nearest one. There’s a whole new world out there waiting for you, filled with adventure, learning and entertainment. The whole family can get involved! Go on, choose your own adventure!

 

 

Summertime Memories

I have been a busy bee! After getting my holidays finalised,I ¬†booked flights with Canadian Affair , to Toronto! I’m going home for 3 weeks with my daughter and I couldn’t be more excited. I have been pretty homesick of late and although we were all supposed to go home for a holiday as a family, the flights increased and well, we just couldnt afford it¬†so my husband will be staying back with my two year old.
 
I haven’t been home to experience a proper Canadian summer in years and I cannot wait until my daughter is able to do this with me. I have many fond memories of my summers growing up and to be able to show my daughter some of those things, is in my mind a blessing.¬† From the usual smells of freshly cut grass, the fireflies with their glowing bellies , campfires¬†with¬†their usual smoky odours¬†and sitting by the beach with a cup of coffee in hand the excitement is almost too much and I feel like a kid again myself, about to burst. … I just really can’t wait to experience all that my home town and neighbouring towns, have to offer but this time with my own child who will be making her own memories.
 
I have known most of the people that I will be visiting, for practically all my life and now its their kids and mine who will be forging strong bonds and relationships whilst us adults reminice by the fire.Also,¬†one of the¬†lovliest things is that M will be spending time with her aunty, uncle,grannie and her cousins! ¬†We will be doing things like taking the kids Camping,going to Canada’s Wonderland¬† , Niagra Falls to visit Great Wolf Lodge and various water parks, going for Ice Cream at Lorna Doons which I used to go to¬†and spending quality time enjoying everyones company.
 
There is talk about going to Algonquin Park with a canoe and doing a trek, paddling through the water looking for the local wildlife, hoping not to encounter any bears at a close distance, but catching sight of them if possible a long with moose etc. I don’t know what we will see but whatever we do, chances are it will be a first for my daughter.¬† We haven’t had these types of “firsts” since she was a brand new baby just brought home.
 
I’m hoping that before we go, I can purchase a new camera to catch these moments, which I will blog and maybe even vlog about because the trip will be jam packed and I want her to be able to have something to look back on in print and pictures.
 
Are you going anywhere this summer? Have you ever taken your kids back home to experience what you did as a child?

The Sun Newspaper,An Open Letter

Dear -Fill in the blank,

One of your journalists approached me a few months back when I was on a 2 day break with my kids and cousins,via email with the subject of “Will you talk to me”. Now, I’m sure I can be forgiven for thinking that this was junk mail and to be honest, I should have deleted it and sent it to the trash where it quite rightly belonged but I didn’t. Instead, I engaged in a lengthly conversation about my experience with Post natal depression – and against my better judgement (as I had a feeling and a “niggle”) telling me not continue or share ,but oh boy, I sure did. See,that’s what some journalists feed on .. a person’s vulnerability and/or the need to want to help people and break down stigma , that they are willing to let you in to their thoughts and feelings, to tell the story of how they nearly god damn died because of what was going on.

I have been blogging and talking about my journey for many years and until recently, I didn’t have it in me for fear of judgement, to talk about and admit to the termination that I had. Due to shame and regret? Possibly and most probably but I was told that it would help other women. You got me hook,line and sinker. Silly ,me I guess.  Now, it is true that I had told this story to an amazing woman in a previous publication(so as your title suggested, it wasn’t an exclusive) a few weeks prior to but the Sun is much closer to home and I know that the chance of people I know reading it was more likely than the other.

When I received an email to tell me that it had been published, I was away at a residential bootcamp and had no coverage apart from wifi at certain times of the day.  Imagine my shock when I opened this.


My stomach sank and I was nearly sick. I have never ever been made to feel the way I felt on day of publication.  I couldn’t read the whole thing due to tears streaming down my face and the bile rising in my throat from my stomach. Over dramatic enough for you? Well unfortunately its all true which is more than I can say for your headline which I was told wasn’t written by the journalist who spoke to me- despite only her name being on the article.

I want to ask one thing… The headline talks about how I “aborted my healthy baby”. How do you know that this baby was healthy or not? How do you think that impacts a mother on the brink of suicide, making such a difficult decision , who thinks that she’s murdering her baby? Because i’ll tell you this, I was at that stage in my life and I fought so fucking hard to get through it all and I did. It was my husband, my daughter, my cousin,uncle and close friends who helped. Your paper hides behind the guise of wanting to help and share these stories but it is YOUR paper that adds to the stigma when you print headlines like that and take advantage of people like me.  You did real good though.. I like to think that I’m intelligent,worldly and educated pretty well….Maybe not.

When I tried contacting the journalist, she wasn’t in the office but her boss was. he didn’t reply until I sent two other emails and her dismissive attitude was a  further kick in the stomach.  I responded to her mail but I haven’t had a reply back so I am reponding to a few points via this open letter  Number 1. Apparently, “Sometimes seeing your story in print can be painful”- ahh , yes especially when it’s sensationalised. which leaves me to point 2.  questioning ethics…”Headlines are meant to grab attention” at the risk of someones mental health? Really, you want to go there? 3.The Scottish Sun has tackled many sensitive subjects without complaint – lies. Ask blogger @TheRealSupermum and the doozy which was done on her.

I vowed after this “story” was published( which some of it appears to have been taken from a certain other publication, tut tut)that I would never share anything again but I looked back at some of the old emails,texts and comments on my blog of support, and thought about why I started writing and share my story in the first palce. The conclusion that I came to was my need to let women (and men) who make difficult decisions every day or go through PND,Prenatal depression or depression as a whole, that they aren’t alone,there is support and no one needs to feel shame. You won’t destroy that because I won’t let you.  Your “rag” of a newspaper is thought less of than I am. The only one who should feel shame, is you.

Regards

Angeline Brunel Dickson

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