Creating my happy life on the other side of fear.

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Confessions

It is 10:20 am now. I have been sitting in front of my computer for about 2 hours, trying to decide what to write about and not being able to make up my mind. Do you get that sometimes? You have so many vague ideas, but can't quite grasp any of them? They are like mist, you can sort of see them, but when you try to grab them they evaporate. It is very annoying, let me tell ya.

Then I remembered that today is Humpday confession day with Kat, and I thought I could tell you some embarrassing things about myself. But then I saw that so many peeps already linked up, and felt like I'm the last one to the party, and why can't I ever get my shizz together in time like the other, better organized bloggers, and it's too late now - but here we are, an hour later after that silly thought, and I'm doing it anyway. Fashionably late.

source

As you all know, I love this blogging gig with all my heart. Even though I'm not doing it quite right. Most people seem to post in the mornings, so their readers can catch up on their morning commute, during breakfast or in the office during that first unproductive hour.
There are stats out there! I know because I read them. When to post (I believe it was the morning?) to get the most views; how many times and when to promote yourself on Twitter; and a bunch of other stuff, but by then I stopped reading.

Confession #1:
I sometimes dream of being "blog famous" (feel free to cringe), but I will never be the person with the scheduled posts, the organized timetable, and the baffling knowledge of how SEO works.
I can usually justify it with telling myself that I'm a free spirit, uninhibited and wild! But the truth is, I simply don't know quite how to go about it. Obscurity it is.

 Why can't I be famous like Brandon? (source)

Confession #2:
Twitter is baffling to me. What's the proper etiquette? For example, when someone tweets your post, what is the correct response? Do you favourite it? Thank the person? Do a happy dance in the privacy of your own home, but stay coolly silent on the internet? I simply don't know. Help!
In case I didn't react in the proper fashion (which is most likely the case), I want to apologize. Please know that it makes me feel very loved (and a bit blog famous) when someone does that!


Confession #3:
If someone brings in treats to work, I am the one who will greedily help herself to at least 3 way more than the socially acceptable one serving. But not in front of the same co-workers, are you crazy? I will have one, especially in the company of others. Then, half an hour later I will sneak back, and get some more. If nobody is around, I'll grab two. And don't think for a second that I have any qualms about taking the last piece. You snooze, you lose!

Confession #4:
I have an almost unhealthy obsession with my Corgi. I'm basically one of those annoying mothers who can't.stop.shutting.the.frigg up about their babies. I try to restrain myself in public (nobody likes a crazy person), but poor Richard gets to hear about her awesomeness all day every day. I mean, look at that cute face!

   
Confession #5:
I will forever scatter pictures that have nothing to do with the topic at hand through my posts. Because - well, no reason. I like pretty pictures, and can't always find a suitable context. So there!

Random photo, because flowers need to be photographed every single day.

Do you have anything you need to confess? Please do, so I'm not the last one! ;-)
Link up here

Love, Miriam

I'm also linking up with Liz today! Go and say hi!

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Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Snapshots

Guys, it's spring here! I'm one of those typical boring bloggers who keeps talking about seasons, but I can't help myself. Nature's changing seasons is one of the great pleasures in life for me - what can I say, I like change. And seriously, is there anything more exciting than seeing nature coming back to life?
(I guess there is, just humour me please.)

Anyway, over the last few days I thoroughly indulged in the warmer weather with walks, a picnic and a campfire. Spring, I heart you.


xoxo Miriam

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Monday, 28 April 2014

Ready, set, go - what if you're not ready?


Being ready.
Over the weekend I have been thinking a lot about this. There are many decisions we have to make in life: what sort of career we want, if we want to move in with our significant other, kids or no kids, do we want to live in the city or the country, gluten or no gluten... it is an endless list.

Let's say you have been living with your partner for a while, and now you are contemplating getting married. Well-meaning friends may say to you: "You will know when you are ready."
But is that really true? How can we when we have to make a leap into the unknown? You can never really "get ready" for something you have never done before, you have to learn as you go along.

Quite honestly, when we decided to get married, none of us knew for sure if it would work out. Of course we didn't admit that at the time; we found out years later, had a good laugh about it and thanked our lucky stars that it all turned out so nicely.
All we knew at the time was this: We had lived apart for a few months (I went to Wales, he was in Canada - remind me to tell you this part of our relationship saga another time), and we didn't like it. Not one bit.

So we decided to just go for it and see what happens. We loved each other, and that needed to be enough.
But were we ready for marriage? Nope, not really.

I'm by nature a overthinker. Taking leaps of faith does not come naturally to me. But I have also learned that overthinking can hold you back big time. You can always find excuses not to do something new: it is the unknown, with the real possibility of failure.

But over the last 15 years or so, I have experienced that some of the best decisions I have made came from a place where I was decidedly not ready. Some worked out, some didn't. And you know what?
Even the ones that didn't work out had their purpose, and I don't regret any of it.
Let me give you a quick rundown:

  • At 19, I had absolutely no idea what I should do after high school. For strange reasons, I decided to study forestry. Possibly one of the worst fits I could think of - I have no head for plant names, especially not the Latin ones. FAIL
  • But here is the huge good thing that came of it: Through the other students I gathered the courage to visit Canada; and the college black board helped me find a place where I could go to. Which, if you have been reading for a bit, led to my meeting my future husband. WIN
  • Once in Canada, there were lots of decisions I needed to make that I was not ready for. Pretty much all of them, to tell you the truth. After I had been there for a year, I was desperate to get started on a career of my own. Even though I didn't feel remotely ready, I applied at a tourism college - and was accepted. To be honest, it was a questionable establishment and has since closed - but it gave me a huge boost of confidence, helped tremendously with refining my English, and gave me the opportunity to work abroad. Was the tourism sector right for me? No. But it gave me more positives than negatives. FAIL/WIN This one is a tie.
  • The marriage question came next. As explained above, we took a chance, and it exceeded our wildest dreams. WIN!
  • Now 25, I went the safe route and did what I had known since childhood: retail and playing the organ on Sundays. After a couple of years I needed to finally get a grip on my life, and went for something that scared me quite a bit: attempt to get into a "real" college and start a career in health care. After a year of upgrading plus 2.5 years at college, I came out at the other end of the tunnel with a decent job that I actually like. WIN
  • Then, a bit over a year ago, I decided to start a blog. Did I know anything about blogs? Nope. Did I have a concept? Not at all. Did I know what I was doing? Hell no! I learned as I went along, and it has become my most treasured hobby and one of the biggest joys in my life. WIN
Are you trying to make a change in your life, or are facing a big decision, and just don't know if you should dare because you are not ready?
Here are the 5 questions I ask myself when I'm in that situation:



What is the worst that can happen?
If you contemplate making a big investment that will leave you homeless if it doesn't work out - don't do it.
If what you want to do may potentially harm you or others - don't do it.
But if you have your heart set on acting, or singing in a band, or moving to the big city, or making a career change - what happens in case it doesn't work out? You may realize that you have no talent. It stings, but at least you tried! You may fail - but now you know. In my experience though, more times than not it will work out. If you are passionate about something, you are willing to work hard, and hard work usually pays off.

Will I regret one day that I didn't take this chance?
That's the biggest one for me. I picture myself, 80 years old, sitting in my rocking chair, and looking back at my life - will I regret the times I tried and failed? No, I know I won't. But a failed opportunity? That is harder to swallow. Fear is not a good enough reason not to try!

What would Jennifer Lawrence do?
Everybody is scared. Even if you can't see it, they are. Watch the biography channel if you don't believe me: every success story is paved with disappointments, failed tries and years of hard work. The secret is to believe in yourself and not to give up.

Can I continue living my life the way it is now?
Contemplating a change usually means that something is missing in our life. We are restless, or unhappy, or dissatisfied. How bad is it? Can we continue living that way, and live with the dissatisfaction? Or will it get worse and worse, to the point that we can't stand it any longer?

Will I learn something from it?
Either it works out or it doesn't, but there is a lesson to be learned either way. We learn way better and more efficiently from own experience - those life lessons are invaluable.
Plus, from a blogging point of view, mishaps and mistakes are fun to write about!

What about you? Have you done something you were not ready for? How did it go? I would love to hear your stories.

xoxo Miriam

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Sunday, 27 April 2014

Style: A picnic with Corgi is never a good idea

Don't get me wrong, it is a lot of fun. But don't think for a minute that you will be able to read, eat, or simply relax. Oh no!
That crazy 19-pound furball wants to run, play, and pull you along with her. She can't lie still.
But I'm happy to report that Lily and the other dogs get along very well! And she still wants to come into the house with us afterwards, proving my biggest fear wrong. I guess once you have introduced them to a couch they don't want to give that up! Just like us humans.


Dress: Forever21; clogs: Lotta From Stockholm; glasses: Joseph Marc from Clearly Contacts; necklace: gift

 

I hope you are all having a lovely and sunny Sunday!

xoxo Miriam

Linking up with Lena and Jenny

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Saturday, 26 April 2014

A box full of ducks

Happy Saturday! Today I slept till 10am, stayed in bed till 11am, and then had a very leisurely coffee with Rich and one of the kids. Heaven!
We also got a special delivery: a friend brought over a box of ducklings! Totally normal around here.

Lily is beyond excited! She wants to play with them.
"No way! Don't let that crazy dog near us!" 
"What?"

Me: "No worries little duckies, I will protect you. You are safe."
"Phew! Now we can rest easy."
Cutest little foot I have ever seen.  

"Bye!"

Have a great weekend!

Love, Miriam

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Friday, 25 April 2014

5-minute post

This is a 5-minute post, brought to you out of the sheer desperation of wanting to say something on here and after only 5 hours of sleep, due to me having worked till midnight last night and being back to the grind this morning at 6:45am. Yes, AM. Someone called in sick and I swooped in and saved the day. Being a hero is exhausting!

Okay, let's see, what can my foggy brain come up with?

1. I'm writing this on my phone, first time ever! No clue if it will even work.
2. Driving my husband's truck to work makes me feel awesome and like a tough chick. I'm also told that girls in trucks are hot. How's that for a Friday morning pick-me-up?
3. A patient told me the other day that I'm good at my job. So sweet! Never mind that she was schizophrenic, I'll take my compliments where I can get them.
4. Coffee and undereye concealer are lifesavers. Just saying.
5. So is dry shampoo.
6. And wet wipes.
7. Guess who didn't have a shower this morning?
8. I managed to read a couple "get-ready-for-summer!" countdowns this morning, and they always make me anxious. Summer is awesome, but why do I need to get ready? It's not a date, is it? Stop with the pressure!
9. I have no pictures for this post. First time ever!
10. That took way longer than 5 minutes, typing on a touch screen is a pain.

Happy Friday!!!

xoxo Miriam

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Wednesday, 23 April 2014

The voices will be silent

Sweet, evil procrastination. Procrastination and I have a long-standing relationship. We know each other. I have given up trying to break up with it - I think I'm stuck with it for life.

Our relationship has formed a routine over the years. It is a sort of dance, really. First comes the thing to do. It can be anything:
- I should call my parents.
- I need to make a doctor's appointment for that weird mole on my back.
- Write that novel. 
- Clean the house!
- Clip Sheila's nails. (Sheila is one of our dogs.)
- Write that novel.
- Hmm, I really should get a start on painting the laundry room.
- Send out Mother's Day cards!
- Write that novel.
- Paint the front door.
- Write that novel.

(This is just a sample of my current to-do list. There are more items. Some of these have been on it for quite some time. Weeks? Months? Years?? Oh, who is counting.)

The next step is that I always have the various items in the back of my mind. A small voice keeps reminding me regularly.
First, it's a pretty quiet voice. It will speak up when I have a few days off work coming up: You could do [insert any item of the list] on your day off! I think that's a great idea. I'm motivated. It will feel so good when that's finally done!

The day arrives. I sleep in (obviously). I make coffee (obviously). I sit down in front of my computer...
dum dum duuummm (sound of doom) ... that's usually where it goes wrong. I get sucked into the wonderful, enticing online world and don't surface until hours later. By that time it's noon, and I usually really do have some non-negotiable things to do (like buy food, walk the dog, remove the bits of hay and dirt from the carpet), and once that's done, it's too late.
But there is always tomorrow...

Design done by me, saying found here

The thing about tomorrow is: The voice will be a bit louder. A bit more insistent. 
And it gets louder over time. Eventually it will get to the point where I simply can't stand that nagging voice any more, and do that thing from my list just to shut it the f*ck up!

Ladies and gentlemen, the day has arrived for one particular item on my list. You may have noticed that it keeps showing up, a bit louder each time: 

Write that novel.   

The voice is shouting at me now. I can't stop thinking about it, it keeps nagging me, and I have come to the point where it will be easier to just do it instead of having to listen to it. 

Here is the thing: I have so many excellent excuses! So many reasons not to do it! Here are just a few:
- I don't know what to write about.
- I need more life experience.
- I'm not good enough.
- It's crazy.
- My novel will suck.
And there are many more.

But then, two things happened recently that have changed my mind.
First: I found out about NaNoWriMo. Second, I bought the founder Chris Baty's book No Plot? No Problem!.
Chris managed to throw every excuse I could come up with back at me with a solution.

- Don't know what to write about. Is that really true? If I'm honest here, I have had a million and one idea for a novel. Just ideas though, not fully formed stories. That's what always held me back - I thought I needed to know the full story before. But it ain't so. I have experienced that with blog posts: sometimes I just start without knowing where it will end (here and here). Those posts are so much fun! You feel like you are taken on a ride by your own imagination, curious to where it will end. Chris promises that the characters we create will develop a life of their own, and the story will develop as you write it. I cannot wait.

-  More life experience/wisdom needed. If you wait for that, it will never happen. Every season of our life has its own challenges and pleasures. The novel you write in your 20s will be different than the one you write in your 50s, but does that mean it will be less good? What it will lack in wisdom it may make up for in exuberance (or something).

- I'm not good enough. I always automatically assumed that I would want to write a good novel. And while that's undoubtedly true, the spirit of NaNoWriMo is to start and finish a book. The point here is to cross that particular item off the list. Of course I hope it will be decent, but you know what? I will never find out if I don't try, and if my expectations are too high I will never even get started. So I give myself permission to write a terrible one. The pressure is off!

- It's crazy. Yes. But normal is boring.


- My novel will suck. That's okay. See above.

So here it is: I will give this a go. Starting May 1st. Because procrastination has its limits, the voices are too loud, and I just wanna see what happens! Also: hundreds of thousands of people have done it. And I can't help but think to myself: If they can do it, so can I.

The biggest reason though?
The voices will be silent.

Eeks!!!

xo Miriam

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Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Happy Earth Day!

In honour of Earth Day I thought I would share some pictures I have taken lately, of what I consider earth's most precious gifts to us: beautiful nature and animals. 
Happy Earth Day to you all!


xoxo Miriam

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