Yesterday I was asked to be Godmother to my friends' gorgeous twins - I felt so blessed I didn't know what to do with myself. In truth I've been feeling a little down of late...
I could tell you it's because we've had to move house a lot over the past two years, or it's because I've put weight on, and I'm not getting to the gym as much as I'd like to. But in a way, it's nothing I could put my finger on - just waking up with a feeling of... well... nothing. I'm not used to that feeling - normally my go-to setting is happy, 'up', optimistic. But recently, those feelings have been an effort for me to reach for.
Of-course, it's not really a coincidence, given that a lot of things have been going on for me, personally - but I've also brought about a big change in my professional life - so, put together, it's all a little bit unsettling.
In December I made the decision to leave a job I'd been in for twelve years... that's longer than any relationship I've had! It's funny, it wasn't a simple decision either, and I still have moments when I wonder if I did the right thing - but, from a health point of view, I know it was the right choice for me personally.
I have, for as long as I can remember, worked in various places, for different companies, at different times of the day - sometimes involving shift work. I actually enjoy the variety - the challenge of fitting as many different things into a month, week - or even day. And I've always felt utterly grateful to anyone who was willing to employ me! I enjoyed my job presenting, I loved the people I worked with - I knew I was lucky to do something that millions would want to, given the chance. But the nights were getting to me... working until 3am, and then getting up to work a day shift, was taking it's toll on me. The tricky thing was, I felt a bit ashamed of the fact - like it was an age/ability thing, that I couldn't admit to - other people were fine doing it, why wasn't I? But I have always been able to remind myself that it's unhealthy for me to compare myself to others - as that invariably leads to feelings of being 'less' somehow. Being a TV presenter for so long, I've spent a lot of time purposefully ignoring the emphasis put on 'image' - being that I was large, comparatively, to everyone else who did the same type of job on camera. Working out gave me the endorphins I needed to feel good - inside - which made me care less about what people thought of my 'outside'. But I can't say I always felt great, with the feeling I was 'big' on camera.
In short, I had to tell myself that this was not a time for comparisons. Having made the decision to leave 'the night job' and make a fresh start, this was a time for asking myself what would make me really happy, going forward.
It's funny isn't it - we all know what makes us unhappy... for me that could be anything from heavy rain and being stuck indoors, to worrying about a loved one, a feeling of 'repetitiveness', or money issues. But how good are we at knowing ourselves, when it comes to what makes us happy?
So I had a hard think. What makes me happy? I came up with the following things (in no particular order, and not exhaustive);
Freedom - Coffee - Walkies with Rod - Engaging with children, teenagers, adults...everyone really - Doing something that makes me feel like I'm making a difference to my own life, and other peoples lives - Sunshine on my face, windy days - Being able to spend time with Martin, with my Mum, with my friends - Going to new places, trying different things - Being creative - Freedom, yes, again.
(I'm going to share some random pics that make me happy now!)
I'd love to hear what makes you happy... if you can, leave a list here - or even email it to me firstname.lastname@example.org
(*NB There are changes afoot with this Blogger platform - comments you leave may not appear, comments left previously on other posts might now disappear, it's all very frustrating!)
So - getting back to where I started this train of thought - yesterday, when I was asked to be Godmother, it made me realise I'd stopped looking forward to anything. I'd stopped being creative. I realised that I needed a goal, something happy to work towards. Normally that would be something like booking a holiday with Mum, and/or Martin (which we have yet to do for this year) - yesterday it was the christening that thew me a lifeline. I came home and made a dress, from start to finish, in four hours! I've never done that before... It was like I'd been bottling it up, just waiting for the fog to clear.
And although I've not, historically, been very good at being patient - that's what I'm going for this year - patience with myself. I'm going to keep on checking in with my Happy List above, and I'd invite you to do the same with me, with your own Happy List. I'm going to remind myself of all the many things I'm grateful for - and I'm going to create ways to reach new goals that make me feel excited and fulfilled...
I'm looking forward to sharing the journey with you.
With love, and optimism,