40 things I…

have realised:

1. I don’t need an ‘identity’. I’ve had a few over the last ten years; runner, hiker, adventurer, traveller, writer. But actually, I’m just me. With or without those things. Previously, if I stopped doing any of that I’d have worried what that meant. Could I be me? Who was I? I do those things, but I’m not them. I am me. And that’s enough.

2. You can’t sort anyone’s shit out for them. All you can do is be there and support them while they sort their own shit out.

…fucked up:

3. The thing with A. Although both he and I wouldn’t be where we are now, and I’m sure we’re both happy with that, I didn’t see or appreciate what was right in front of me, and I miss that easy connection and fun we had. Not to mention I caused hurt that could have been avoided.

4. The way I handled some events of my separation with my ex-husband. I was all over the place, and I definitely could have been a little more tactful and sensitive.

…achieved:

5. Running an ultramarathon. I never thought I’d run 10km, let alone a marathon, let alone more than one ultramarathon. It was these that taught me that the mind is more powerful than the body.

6. Setting up and creating a shit tonne of stuff at my last job here in New Zealand, and good stuff too (frameworks, processes, templates). It was quite a tricky environment to do it in – a small company acquired by a larger company in aggressive growth mode – with a lot of constant change, but I’m proud of what I produced.

7. A distinction in my journalism course. I’m chuffed with that, because, you know, it’s nice to know I was actually good at it, but the more important thing was that I learnt a lot. Can’t wait until later this year when I can actually start to put some of it into practice.

…am grateful for:

8. Other people. The good ones, and the dickheads. Everyone can teach us a lesson, and the good ones can make life fun and full of love.

9. My health. Health is so precious and you can’t buy it. You just try and look after it as best you can.

10. My career. I don’t talk or write about work much, but I’ve been working in HR technology in some form for over 15 years and get a lot out of it. I’ve held several roles in lots of different organisations and it’s helped me learn and develop, make a difference and travel. As well as the financial rewards, obviously.

…am proud of:

11. My resilience. I like to think I have pretty good ‘bouncebackability’. Burnout last year from a stressful work environment and COVID gave it a good test but I made it through OK I think.

12. My life. I’ve spent a long time figuring out how I want to live and what I want, and I’ve worked damn hard to build and maintain it. Nothing comes from luck, although I acknowledge I have an immense amount of privilege.

13. Being able to make big decisions and run with them. They’re not easy, they take effort and can be daunting but for me, it’s what keeps me learning.

…still working on:

14. Everything. Life’s one big development.

15. Life balance. I constantly swing from overwhelm and too busy to needing to nothing at all, with little in between, and I’m still figuring out how to level it out a bit more.

…want to do:

16. Yoga, regularly. I could do with being a little more flexible regularly. I don’t want to be able to do the splits or any shit like that, I just want to look after my joints and muscles. Do I do it regularly? No, of course not.

17. Study psychology. I started, by doing a GCSE night class when I was younger, which I loved. So much so I then went on to do the A Level, but through distance learning as there were no classes nearby. I struggled with this, because I have terrible motivation for studying alone at home, and never finished it. I’m fascinated by how the brain works.

18. Travel more, when the world opens up and it’s safe again. New Zealand is amazing, but right now it feels quite small and far away from everything and everyone.

19. Spend more time writing, and try and make some kind of a living from it. I want the freedom, the flexibility and the fun.

20. More ultramarathons. Just need to summon up the energy and commitment to train for them, because THEY’RE HARD.

…can’t unsee:

21. Videos of breaking bones on the internet. They’re burned into my retinas (don’t ask why I was watching them, I have no idea) and made me queasy. I think it actually goes back to watching The Fly (the original, with Jeff Goldblum) as a kid and being traumatised by the arm-wrestling scene.

…had forgotten:

22. Just quite how much I bloody love my UK friends. I SO enjoyed my online murder mystery with them, and felt quite bereft for the rest of the day after it. They’re a long way away and I really miss spending time with them face-to-face.

23. What chocolate tastes like; it’s been nearly two years since I’ve had any. JUST KIDDING. Not about the fact it’s been two years (it has), but that I’d forget the taste. It’s etched onto my taste buds.

24. How to drive a manual car. I mean, I’m sure it’s like riding a bike and you never forget, but after two months of having my car out here – the only automatic car I’ve ever driven – I rented a manual hatchback and stalled it three times. 20 years of manual driving undone by two months of auto cruising.

…am embarrassed by:

25. Getting too drunk sometimes. It’s not big, or clever, and the older I get the less I can handle my drink well. I get awful hangovers now that come with massive anxiety the next day and I feel terrible. I don’t enjoy that and need to work on knowing when to stop (especially with wine), so I’m currently taking a break from drinking for a few months.

…have learnt:

26. Being kind is one of the most important traits a human being can have.

27. There is always a choice; in fact it’s the most powerful tool we have. We have control over our own lives, and any point we can change the direction we’re going.

28. To concentrate on myself. I really don’t generally give a shit about what other people are doing, my responsibility is myself and making sure I’m alright. Because if I do this, then those other people will benefit from me being the best I can be, so I’m not bringing a whole heap of shit into any interactions with them that could mean I’m not being kind and generous (although believe me, this still happens).

…misunderstood:

29. Around ten years ago I worked with someone who would have very set routines. The same time every day, they’d do the same thing. Sometimes those routines would be disrupted, they’d seem to get quite agitated, and we’d just laugh and think they were weird. Now, being more educated, I realise this is possibly a trait of someone who’s neurodiverse, and we should have been more accepting and not judgmental. We should have been that with everyone, full stop.

30. How hard it would be to move to the other side of the world. I thought it would be easy, similar to moving to Cheltenham; a new place where I didn’t know anyone. Just make some friends, join some clubs and Bob’s your uncle. ABSOLUTELY NOT SO. Turns out a different country has a different culture, ways of doing things and is also a BLOODY LONG WAY AWAY. It’s been way, way harder than I ever thought it would be, global pandemic or not.

…was misunderstood:

31. Multiple times, when I am just being friendly or wanting to make new friends (e.g. when moving to a new town/country), and said people are men, it’s often been thought that I’m interested in them romantically. I’m really not, I just enjoy friends of all types.

32. Quite often by kiwis. Sometimes there’s a slight difference between British and Kiwi culture which means things often can get lost a bit in translation.

…now understand:

33. The majority of people are quite often just hanging on by a thread. Most people aren’t deliberately rude, or being a dick on purpose, more likely there’s something else going on that’s affecting their behaviour. They might’ve just had a row with their partner, or their kids are acting up, or someone in their family’s just been diagnosed with an illness, or their house is a state, or work is giving them shit, or maybe ALL THE ABOVE. Although, some people are just dicks, and there’s absolutely no point in trying to engage with them. How to deal with them? Recognise they’re a dick, don’t try to excuse them and set your own boundaries about how much you have to interact with them. It other words, know it’s not your problem and breezily skip along.

34. There are no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ choices, rather, we can only make decisions based on the information we have at the time. If we make decisions with the knowledge that we’re doing the best we can, with the information we have, then we will just deal with anything that comes from it in the future with the same mindset; that there is no right or wrong, just different paths to go down, and we’re in total control of each one. Some may be ‘better’, some might be perceived as ‘worse’ but really, they’re just different paths with different choices to make. There’s no point in looking back as to what’s been lost, but rather looking forward as to what can be gained.

35. That the way we feel is all about what we eat, how much water we drink, how well we sleep and how active we are. These are the things that underpin everything. Do all of these well and your body will thank you.

…believe:

36. For me, legacy isn’t as relevant as it might be for others. The reality is, in two generations, I’ll mostly likely be forgotten. I like to think about my impact on people right here, right now, not what I can leave behind.

37. What you give out in life you get back. If you give out positivity and kindness, then you’re likely to receive it in return. Be a good egg.

…have been shown:

38. Relationships can be healthy and egos can be left outside, and mutual respect is actually a thing, not just something read about or seen in films.

39. People can do so much, and are always so much stronger than they think.

40. That poached eggs are easy to get right for some people. Other people just can’t make good ones. I am one of those other people.

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