Tag Archive | life

The Big 4-0h No….

Rum. Drink lots of Mount Gay Rum you wont feel like youre forty😈

– Jackie, 2017

The first forty years of life give us the text: the next thirty supply the commentary. – Arthur Schopenhauer

We don’t understand life any better at forty than at twenty, but we know it and admit it. – Jules Renard


In around 4 months time, I will be hitting the grand age of 40. Essentially, I’m now “mid-life”. A quick Google at life expectancy in women puts it at around 83, so its fair to say I’m almost halfway through my life, all being well. My sister never made it to 40. She passed away at 39 and a little under 2 months. I’m officially older than my older sister. For that very reason, I’m not scared of turning 40. No siree. I will grab it with both hands. Its a milestone my beloved sister never reached so I plan to not only reach that milestone, but to travel as far past it as possible. I vowed to make the year leading up to my 40th birthday as good as I possibly could. Despite external forces trying to bring me down, I’d say I am pretty pleased with the way its turned out. So far anyway.

Just lately though, my body and physical appearance have been trying to stop me in my tracks in my war of taking on 40 and winning.

I feel 40.

I look 40.

How, and more importantly, WHEN, did this happen?

Now, I wouldn’t say I was a vain woman. I like to, or at least try to, look nice. Back in my twenties, a night of very little sleep had no effect on my appearance the next day. My youthful skin looked fresh no matter what I did, or didn’t do. I’ve never been one for lotions and potions. I get drawn in by pretty packaging and floral scents, use them for a few days and then get fed up of the routine. The older I get, the more likely I am to hit that darn snooze button instead of getting up to cleanse, tone and moisturise. As I said, in my twenties, it seemed it didn’t matter. However, have I shot myself in the foot approaching 40 by not keeping the routine through my younger years? As the lotions and potions of days gone by gather dust on the bathroom window sill, a night of very little sleep now leaves me waking up looking like an extra in The Walking Dead. My skin, at best, looks grey. The furrows in my brow, if filled with water, could quench an entire continent during a drought. When I smile, the corners of my eyes no longer crinkle cutely to give expression, they fold. They fold up like rows of jumpers on a display shelf in Primark. One on top of the other. The reflection staring back at me from the mirror no longer represents the twenty something young woman I often still think that I am.

Therein lies another issue. Thinking. My mind. Its going, you know. Often first thing in the morning or later into an evening, I get words wrong, sometimes forgetting them all together. Its frustrating. Is it my age? Or is it just because I’m tired and in desperate need of a holiday? I don’t know. I do know it scares me. My spritely 13 year old son finds great amusement in correcting me when I call his iPad a laptop. Or the TV remote, the DooDah. I do remember eventually, but not quick enough to include it in the sentence I’m using. There’s nothing wrong with my memory, as such, I remember what I did when, appointments etc. Every blissful second spent with Mr Amazing is etched into my mind. My son tells me he needs £3 for something or other at school in two weeks time though, nah, its gone. I have to be reminded, constantly. Then disappointment and annoyance sets in when, on the morning in question, my son asks for the £3 and I don’t have it. I have sent him in with pockets full of silver and copper before now. Again, is this age, or just another side effect of my over active, over thinking paranoid mind not being able to hold onto more than one thought at a time? I don’t know. All I do know is, its getting worse. 

Then we move onto the physical side of things. Three years ago I was a size 16-18. I’m now a size 10… ish. Post Christmas I’ve edged up very slightly to a 12, but that’ll change. Trust me, I’m a lot happier to be going into 40 as a size 10-12 than I would’ve been at a 16-18. That is not at all to do with vanity, it really is from a health perspective. My walk home from work is all up hill. When I was bigger but younger, it was a struggle. When my size changed it felt easier. Hell, it was easier. The scales have tipped again though as age has crept up on me. The perfect combination to tackle the hill of doom is a healthy weight and youth. Not a healthy weight and age. The steepest bank on my journey home really takes it out of me. I don’t get out of breath but each footstep is a struggle. Luckily my son has his own key as he often beats me home when we’ve been to town together. I’ve never been a big exerciser. My weight loss was down to a lifestyle change, not a healthy eating programme teamed with a rigorous exercise regime. My job isn’t overly physical, but I am on my feet for around 8½ hours a day. Radox Muscle Soak and a Heat Lotion are becoming my legs best friends.

Something else that’s been playing on my mind as I try to slam on the breaks at the cusp of turning 40- Fashion. How do I dress? Do I suddenly rush to the hairdressers and get a sensible short grown-up cut, or can I keep my past the shoulder mousy brown unruly mop? Turning grey doesn’t bother me. So far, the only grey hair I’ve spotted is a reoccurring wiry thing in my right eyebrow, but he’s easy enough to say sayonara to. Pluck and go. I am accutely aware that turning grey will potentially change what colours suit me, but essentially grey goes with everything. More choice isn’t a bad thing. No, grey hair doesn’t scare me. Mr Amazing wears the salt and pepper George Clooney look very well. I’d be happy to join him. Clothing however…I’m lost. When I lost weight, I was able to wear shapes, colours and styles my size 16 frame would never of even considered. I used to get fashion so wrong. In my job before my current one, I was not only manager, but the oldest one out of a team of 5/6,  even more at Christmas. With youth comes the ability to wear whatever you want and not look too dressy or too casual. The girls were in vest tops, jeans and heels but looked dressed up enough for a night clubbing. If I put on the same ensemble, I looked as if I was nipping to the shop to get a loaf of bread. So, I’d often chose a dress, something plain, subdued, but still I looked as if I’d got bored of the wedding party I was at and gatecrashed an 18th birthday party. I never got it right. 

Now working in a ladies clothes shop, essentially aimed at more “age appropriate” clientele, I think I’ve got it just about right. I can wear a dress and not feel too dressy. I can wear jeans with some kick ass boots and not look like I’m going for a walk with the dogs. I got it. But that’s at 39….will things change at 40? I know I sound unreasonable, but having been wrong and right in the past, I don’t trust myself to get it right. 

Being 40 doesn’t scare me.

Its just the side effects of 40 are coming along far too quickly for my liking.

So, what can I do? What can I change? 

FOOD/DIET

Feeding a 13 year old boy seven nights a week, its very easy to fall into the trap of cooking a meal that he will enjoy and I tolerate. I don’t feed him junk food every night, but on the occasion he does deserve his favourite battered chicken and chips, I often do myself the same, just for ease and to save time. Not ideal. Neither of us are big vegetable lovers and although I try and include it in our diet, I struggle to find something we both enjoy. After researching foods I should be eating, I’ve made a conscious effort to improve my diet. Now, when cooking fresh meats for my son and I, when he has chips and peas, I’ll have stir fried noodles and peppers/onions. Takes minutes in a wok. In my quest for discovering the best foods to eat, I read a lot about “superfoods”. Now they were big in the early 2000s and I dismissed them as being bland, tasteless rabbit food favoured by size 0 celebrities. However, I came across Quinoa. 

“Pronounced “keen-wah,” this protein-packed grain contains every amino acid, and is particularly rich in lysine, which promotes healthy tissue growth throughout the body. Quinoa is also a good source of iron, magnesium, vitamin E, potassium, and fiber.”

I figured it was worth giving it a go. I got a pack of the red and black variety, which was apparently was “ready to eat”, or could be cooked in a similar way to couscous. Straight from the packet, it did absolutely nothing for my curious tastebuds. However, that night I made a stir fry with Quorn chicken and straight to wok wholemeal noodles. I threw a handful of Quinoa in just before serving, and thoroughly enjoyed the slight nutty taste that came through. I’ve not yet tried it cooked on its own, but at least I’ve found a way to throw a bit of goodness into my meals!

SKIN

Most people tell me to drink more water, that will help my skin. I hear them. I try. I just don’t enjoy it. Anyone that watches The Gilmore Girls, just think of Lorelai Gilmore. Coffee. Coffee is my one vice. I drink decaf at home, have done ever since being pregnant. I can’t give it up. I’m addicted. I sleep so little at night with or without it, I’ve given up trying to cut down. (I tried, with zero effect on my erratic sleep pattern). 

So, my only other choice, along with the healthier foods, is making a resolution to stick to a skin care regime. Again I turn to my trusted friend Google. I wanted affordable but effective. Several reviews led me to http://www.nipandfab.com . With product ranges called Vipers Venom and Dragons Blood, along with claims of being the best skin care products around £10, I was drawn in. The “Frown Fix” was what I went in search for. Adding that to my basket I noticed an offer of free night cream when you purchased the blurring fix serum. Oops, how ever did they end up in my basket too?

I have been using the products for a week and I can honestly say, my skin feels smoother. Visible results apparently show after 4 weeks. So as long as I keep up the routine and try not to frown while inspecting my frown, I should be fine. Time will tell.

Of course, along with the negative eventualities of getting older, there are also a few silver linings. I now know I don’t have to like everyone I meet, and I’m OK with not everyone liking me. I have a wealth of knowledge and experiences to pass onto my son. The people in my life now are the people that I want there. I’ve learnt, the hard way admittedly, what true love should feel like. I already know my tolerance levels of alcohol.  And Bulls*#t. 

I’m feistier.

I don’t settle for any less than I deserve.

Finally, I know what I’m worth. Someone has made me realise that I, just the way I am, am perfect for them. After years of never feeling good enough, knowing the impact I can have on someone else’s life just by being me, is priceless. 

And worth the 40 year wait.

I am (Wonder) Woman, hear me ROAR (*purr)

I am not perfect, nor will I ever be. I am a work in progress, and that is definitely good enough.
Quote by Unknown

I’ve always been good at what I do. That’s not meant as a big headed, bragging comment, it means that I do my best in any situation I’m put in and that my best is often good enough. What I do and can do is acceptable and will get me by in life. It’s comfortable. I can do it with ease. I don’t need to push myself and I don’t need to put myself in an unnerving position. I’m a capable person.
However, could I be BETTER at what I do?
Yes, most definitely. If we’re honest, couldn’t we all? There are very few people who would put themselves in a challenging position through choice, just to see how much better they could do if they strived for better than the minimum effort required. You take a test and the minimum pass score is 85%. You get 85%, you’ve passed. Hands up, who would be pleased with that? Me. I would. I’ve said before and I stand by my statement, that I’m happy with my lot. I truly truly am. I don’t want more, bigger or better. I never will. Although I’ve started wondering, if, by not exploring my full potential, I’ve restricted my own “lot” without even realising it. In life, we tend to take the easy option. I mean on a day to day level. Many jobs demand the very very best of a person’s ability, jobs where “good” isn’t good enough. I take my hat off to surgeons, precision engineers etc who have no choice but to achieve perfection.

If I applied that principal to everything I do in life, where could being better than good take me?
How could my life change if I decided to break out of my comfort zone and push for excellent instead of good?
What potential do I have locked away inside me because I’ve always settled for good?

I’m onto a win win situation with this one. I’m already happy. So if I strive for excellent and only get good, I’ll still be happy. That’s down to my mind set. Some people set themselves unrealistic goals, fail and then aren’t happy. That’s not me. So, if, per chance, I took a risk, and failed, I’d still be a winner.
At school I was a good student. I walked away with all 10 GCSEs. All grades B or C. No As. I got enough to get me onto the college course I wanted to do. It was good enough.
At college, I passed the course. I didn’t pass with distinction or merit. But I did pass and that was good enough.

My first job leaving college was a part time sales assistant at a stationery shop. Within a few short months, I became a supervisor. I have my head screwed on and I have common sense, a trait, I’ve come to learn, that not everyone has. (In this particular job, a colleague asked how to get a dirty mark off something and he was told to use elbow grease. He seriously asked where he could get some… say no more). A couple of years in, the manager went on holiday over Christmas leaving me in charge. I achieved the best figures that store had ever seen. Yet, when the managers position became available, I didn’t want it. I was happy and content in my comfort zone, stepping up when I had to, then handing the reigns over when I could.

My next job was at a computer shop. Still retail but more sales focused. Again, starting off as a sales advisor, but by the end of my three year stint there, I was assistant manager. Redundancy meant I had no chance to go further in that job, and as I was made redundant whilst on maternity leave, I was forced to look for any part time job to keep us going. Two interviews and two job offers later, I chose to work for a famous camera shop. 20 hours, part time sales. Within six months I was a full time, and when the position became available, I went up against a supervisor and got the position of Sales Floor Manager. The manager was above me still, but I was the most senior shop floor based staff member. Redundancy hit again (you’ll notice a theme here), so I was job hunting again.
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This time though, I decided to apply for manager jobs. The problem is, most employers state you must have at least “x” amount of years experience in a managers rule to be considered. I’d only ever been second in command, so really didn’t fancy my chances. I went for an interview as a sales assistant at a computer mega store and was offered the job on the day. However, when I turned up for the interview and was greeted by a lad with his feet up on the counter and told to go for a walk because I was too early, I knew the managerial instinct in me could not work there as just a sales assistant. I did accept the job offer, when you have a child you can’t be fussy, and I knew I’d be able to do the job. I did however, have another interview lined up for the very next day, which I still planned to attend. It was for manager of a toy/gadget shop. Manager….. Having a job offer already took the pressure off a bit as I knew I wouldn’t have to be on the dole for long. Attending the interview I was still nervous, and as expected I was quizzed about why I’d never taken a managers role. I thought I’d have no chance. An hour after the interview, my phone rang and I was offered the job. My first managers role. I gleefully turned down the position at the computer store. After 4 years of being the best store in the area, redundancy hit me for the third time. This time the only jobs I applied for were manager positions. Knowing my own capabilities now, I didn’t want or need to settle for less. Having absolutely no “fashion retail experience” whatsoever, I applied for a job that said it was “essential” to have. I got the job as manager of a ladies fashion store and four years later I’m still here. With no essential previous experience in fashion retail. So, you can see that when I say I’m a capable person, it’s accurate.
I love this job, and I think that unless redundancy wants to be really cruel and hit me for a fourth time, I’m gonna stay here. I’m settled, I can do this job. I’m comfortable. I don’t want the next step. My ex couldn’t understand this, and sometimes I felt my job and the effort I put into being good at it was frowned upon.
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To me though, job satisfaction and time with my family was and still is more important to me than a high end job with better pay, which, more often than not, means that you spend more time away from home. Area managers travel the country, attend meetings at a head office not local, don’t get home till unsociable hours. That’s not for me. I’m sure I could do it. I just don’t want to.
Put me in a challenging position and I will shine. Do I want to be in that position every day? No. If I’m honest, I’d rather be different to everyone else rather than be better than everyone else.

“Being a one of a kind means we are automatically the best in the world at what we do.”
― Victor WIlliamson

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In July last year, my shop was unexpectedly closed due to the shopping centre wanting to change the look and clientele in that area. A visit from the big boss reassured me that we were going to be relocated, but he didn’t know how long that would take, but he didn’t want to lose me or my team. It took three months to find us a new home. During those three months, we had to cover other stores. I don’t drive, so for five days a week I was relying on trains and the occasional lift and worked in Redditch, Kidderminster, Stratford, Stourbridge, Evesham, Hereford and Shrewsbury. Worcester to Shrewsbury on the train is not a nice journey. Especially when you were faced with an 8 hour day on your own the other end….. Travel time to stores was not included in our pay. I’m on a 40 hour contract but was easily doing nearer 55 with the extra travelling involved. I live less than a 15 minute walk from my own city centre. It was a big difference. I wasn’t getting home till around 8pm most nights. Later if covering Shrewsbury. My social life went out the window. I’m not going to lie, the temptation to jump ship after a month of doing that was strong. But like I say, I like this job, and I am the manager. I had to lead by example. I knew my team were feeling it too, and I felt an obligation to them to stick it out. After two months and still no news of our own shop, I really almost did give up and started to look at what jobs were out there. Feasibly though, I couldn’t see myself being able to attend interviews as the stores I worked in were needing my cover so couldn’t change days. It was frustrating. About 2 weeks or so before we finally moved, my assistant manager spotted some post in the doorway of an empty shop unit rumoured to be a possibility. It was addressed to our company. We still didn’t know how much longer we were expected to cover other stores but this is where my best came in. I can truthfully say I was right at the edge of my tolerance of rush hour trains and really didn’t think I’d be able to do much more, but, as the requests to cover other stores kept coming, I messaged my girls with a message saying the end is in sight now, as annoying and tiring as it was, we all needed to suck it up, pull together and stick with it.

Our store opened in October, and the new location is challenging at best. It’s not on the main run for our customers and it took a while for people to find we’d relocated. Almost 6 months later we still get people coming in saying they didn’t know where we were. Our figures are being pitted against last year’s takings in a much more prominent position, I could be giving my all, my very best and some and we still wouldn’t achieve those figures in this location. It’s been dis-heartening to say the least. My team are fantastic, we consistently hit bonus based on how many people who enter the store actually buy. We are proving that we are doing our very best with those few that do come through our doors. With this is mind, I do put my all into this job now. Some managers are blessed with busy shopping centre locations with footfall throughout the day, no matter what the weather. I am doing my best with an out of the way setting, no footfall when it rains, customers TELLING us they don’t come to us anymore because of where we are and stating to us that we must be quieter than our previous location. With a practised smile I tell them that we’ll do well wherever we are positioned, due to the exceptional customer service we provide and having loyal customers like themselves. I’ve accepted our figures won’t compare to the previous location, but that doesn’t mean my attitude will change. Good will have to be good enough because our situation won’t allow for more. But I can be best at being good…..

Last month a friend of mine came to me with a business opportunity, which has so far been very very successful for him. He wanted me to join his team. I was extremely sceptical about it, really not seeing what was in it for me. After taking the time to explain how it worked, he convinced me that I could put as much or as little effort into it as I wanted to, and basically it would pay off. I agreed. As with everything, at the moment I am doing the minimum required and I am already starting to see potential, starting to see where it could take me if I gave it my best and pushed myself out of my comfort zone.
Being good is obviously working for me. I wake up with a smile on my face, looking forward to whatever the day wants to bring my way. Willing to embrace and deal with the ups and the downs that are inevitable. I have a partner who surprises me, supports me, appreciates me and maintains the smile on my face.
So right now, my life is ticking along quite nicely on being just good. My inner Wonder Woman can rest a bit longer, but watch this space, I have a feeling she’s in there.
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Moving On

Something happened earlier this week that made me question myself and what I’m doing. In fact, two major things have happened.
My marriage broke down exactly 15 months ago. Since then I have been on several dates and actually had three relationships, including the current one, which, by the way, is into its 7th month (cue happy dance). My ex started a new relationship a month or two after the split and by all accounts is still with her and lives with her. My first relationship after the split started in the January. Not long before my ex started dating again. Everyone, including my ex, made comment that it was too soon. So my question is this. How long is long enough after a long term relationship breaks down, to start dating again? Also, is it different for men and women, and does it depend on who left and who was left? Because, quite frankly, I’m confused.
So here’s the deal. Quick recap if you haven’t read my previous blogs. I met someone in January 2015, a month after my husband of almost 15 years left me saying he no longer loved me. I loved my husband unconditionally. He is the father of my purpose in life, my gorgeous son. I wasn’t good for a while after that but for my son and my parents, I picked myself up and as a result, met someone without even looking for it. It wasn’t a conscious decision to put myself out there and meet someone new. I wasn’t ready then. It happened anyway. I only told close friends at first, as even I thought it would be seen as too soon. Then, out of complete respect for our marriage and history, I told my ex. I thought it was best he heard it from me than from mutual friends who had seen me with another man. At the time, his words indicated he was pleased for me. A couple of weeks down the line it transpired that he too was talking to someone, the woman he now lives with. Friends were concerned I should’ve spent some time on me before embarking on a new relationship, but to me, I thought, why not give it a go? As I said, I didn’t see myself as ready but I liked this guy, he seemed to like me, how would I ever know if I didn’t try. Life is too short, a motto you’ll hear from me over and over again. I’d done my grieving for my marriage but, at the end of the day, I was no longer loved so, I had been emotionally released to move on. I didn’t stop loving my husband straight away, but mentally there was no point in holding onto something that wasn’t going to grow back. He had, unfortunately, made that clear by the time I met my first new boyfriend. It was clear to me that the marriage could not be salvaged, and let’s face it, who, after hearing the words “I don’t love you anymore”, could go back into a relationship with that person and ever feel confident or secure again? I knew it was over. Why should I go through the heartache of trying to fix what couldn’t be fixed?
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For a short while everything was fine, but then, for no reason it seems, accusations started flying my way. Didn’t I think my relationship had started too soon if I really was in love with my husband when the marriage split? What? I’ve said before, no one knows what’s going on beyond what we’re willing to tell them so who is anyone to judge whether it’s too soon? It seemed irrelevant that he too had moved on. Was it acceptable for him because he’d quoted he hadn’t loved me for two years? Was I, as the dumped party, meant to wallow in sadness indefinitely over my loss? A lot of people could not understand how I could move on so quickly from an 18 year relationship, my ex included. My closest friends were great, supportive and happy for me. It was the people I didn’t see often that seemed to pass comment. Seriously though….. what am I meant to do? I didn’t “get over it” immediately. Even in my new relationship, remnants of my life before kept creeping in, affecting how I thought, how I felt. I wasn’t over it, but I also felt the need to carry on. I had to carry on. I didn’t want sympathy. Many people didn’t know until months after that our marriage was over. I most certainly was not, a broken woman. Maybe that’s where I went wrong. People wanted to see me lose it because, placed in the same situation themselves, maybe they would. I didn’t. I couldn’t. My family needed my strength. I didn’t know my own strength. My ex happily moved on and introduced his new partner to our son, yet I was the one getting grief over meeting someone? I wasn’t crying in a corner over what I’d lost everyday, because, quite simply, I couldn’t. My son didn’t need to see that. So when I met someone and it felt right, I went with it. My choice, right? The relationship only lasted three months but in that short space of time I gained self confidence and a deep understanding of what I wanted. I couldn’t stay in the past. I couldn’t dwell on what had been, what could’ve been. I wanted to feel wanted and in order to feel that way again I needed to keep moving on. Hence going online to find someone. So, just to clear things up, not that I need to justify myself, before that first new relationship I hadn’t decided to move on. It came my way and I went with it. After that ended I did make a conscious decision to get on with my life, and that’s exactly what I did. That’s all I’m still trying to do. I’d done nothing wrong yet I was being made to feel guilty. What’s all that about? I fail to see what other choice I had. He wasn’t coming back, that was certain. I was SINGLE.
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When that first relationship broke up, it hurt, of course, but it’s true I’d been through worse. I faced the expected “is it because it was too soon?”, and statements of “I did think it was too soon” from well meaning acquaintances. But for me, and under my circumstances, it wasn’t too soon. It was necessary in my journey towards making the decision to move on. I enjoyed it, and I bloody well had fun. The ex showed concern over my split but I did not want to talk to him about it. It was none of his concern. Quite frankly it wouldn’t be right. Advice left, right and centre that NOW I should focus on me and my son, people saw that relationship as a misjudgement on my part. As you all know if you’ve read my blogs, I didn’t take their advice. Only I could possibly know what was going on in my head and whether I was ready or not. I wasn’t looking for a guy, any guy, just to fill a void. I wanted a partner. The second one came along in May and I told more people about this one. I didn’t tell the ex but I think reference was made to my partner when we spoke. People couldn’t think any worse of me, right? Wrong. I heard a rumour about myself that I had a different man every week. Laughable…. but it led me to think, so what if I had!? What possible business is it of anyone’s? As long as I wasn’t putting myself or my son in danger, would I not of been entitled to do that, if that was what I wanted? Still, no-one passed comment on how quickly my ex found someone and subsequently moved in with her. I myself accepted that very quickly. What was the difference? Why was it ok for him but not for me? Because he was male? Because he left me? All of a sudden my life seemed to be the talk of the town. Yet all I was doing was getting on with life. It really wasn’t that interesting. It was normal, wasn’t it?
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Back when my current relationship started in August, I told no one. Not a single soul until at least three dates in. I didn’t know where it was going but was happy to find out without the input of others. In fact I don’t think I went out of my way to tell many people that I’d split up with the previous one. I just casually dropped it into conversation that no, I wasn’t with that one anymore but it’s ok I’ve been with someone new for a month or so. I can’t seem to win. People still wish to judge. The difference is, after this weeks events, I no longer care. So what happened to make me not care what ANYONE thinks about my time as a single woman since my split? I have let a friend of mine stay at my home recently. One day this week my son came back home to collect his stuff for his subsequent three nights at his Dads. For some reason, he couldn’t get into the house and he made the assumption that my friend was in the house with the keys in the other side. They weren’t. They were out. In actual fact the lock was dodgy, which was worrying. Another incorrect assumption was made by someone else was that it was my boyfriend in the house and that they’d fallen asleep. Jumping to conclusions. Incorrect conclusions. And this annoyed me. My first thought was to get the point across that it wasn’t my boyfriend. I do have one, but this assumption had been based on the wrong person. The reason that riled me so much was because earlier in the week, the first major thing to happen was my boyfriend and I had talked about what we were and where we were going, leaving me feeling confident, happy and secure in my current relationship for the first time since my husband left. I didn’t want silly accusations to ruin that feeling. However, I then got to thinking “why the hell does it matter if it WAS my boyfriend”?. I’m a grown woman. I am actually, contrary to popular belief, ALLOWED to move on. A few months down the line and it could well be my boyfriend in the house.

So, move on is what I will continue to do. Think what you like about me, I hold my head and my morals high. There is no choice but to move on, but you can choose when you do it, and whenever feels right for you is exactly when you should.
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You are what you listen to. PART ONE.

Hands up who loves music? I mean really LOVES music? Me me me! Now, I’m not musically inclined myself in any way, shape or form in the fact that I don’t play an instrument. I’ll admit I was pretty handy on a keyboard at school but playing never really grasped me in the way that it does a true musician, so I wasn’t compelled to keep it up. Listening to music though, that has taken up a large percentage of my free “down time” in the last few years. Recorded TV programmes are eating up the memory on my SKY + box and I end up deleting a whole series of a show I used to love as I just don’t watch much television anymore. I’m going to throw it out there and say, I actually wouldn’t miss it if I didn’t have one. On those beautiful and rare occasions when I am home alone, I much prefer to pump up the volume on one of my favourite CDs, or dust off the vinyl in preference to channel surfing and watching rubbish. Music speaks to me.
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I have this talent of really listening to the words of a song and making it relevant to certain people and situations in my life. Once that link is made, it remains, and that song will forever remind me of that person or time. I guess in a way, we all do that. Couples often refer to “our song”, this being the song that they most likely chose to be there first dance at their wedding. Words that spill out into the atmosphere telling their very own love story. A song that contains a phrase that they perhaps use themselves and can relate to on a much more personal level. At work last year we had a conversation about who would play us in a movie of our lives. At the same time I was compiling the soundtrack in my head, knowing exactly which songs would mark which point in my journey.
Growing up, my parents bought me my first “music system”. Double tape deck, radio and a record player on top. At the time this was probably top of the range. My sister and I would sit listening to the Radio One top 40 charts with our finger hovering over the record button on the tape deck to catch our favourite songs. No apologies to be made here, but I was once a young teenage girl, and I have no shame in admitting that boy bands and “pop” ruled my life. Most old school friends of mine will have vivid memories of me being a Bros fan, a Brosette as we liked to be called. My love for music went a lot deeper than they ever knew. As children we are judged. If I’m honest, I think I was actually teased quite a bit. However, I liked what I liked and didn’t care. It wasn’t just the attraction of the blue eyed, blond haired twins from Lewisham (although, ladies, have you seen Matt Goss at the age of 47? Wow), but I loved the uncomplicated lyrics of their songs, particularly their later stuff after the third member left and strangely when their popularity had well and truly had its day. Their music matured but their fans refused to grow up with them. Then, enter Take That. I was 14, ok! I’ll admit with this one that the manufactured bubble gum pop boyband had two plus points for me in the early days, namely Mark Owen and Jason Orange. Even I can’t fool you that the lyrics of “Do What U Like” resonated with me on any kind of deep level, or that the controversial video containing footage of their naked bums being covered in jelly and mopped by a hot woman sent out a profound message of any sort. They didn’t. They were fun and they looked good. Billions of girls agreed with me. In 1991, very very early days for the band, think leather cod pieces and barely there string vests, I was lucky enough to meet them. All five autographs were gained and I was walking on air. As the group grew in popularity, they were allowed to grow in musical ways too, but unlike Bros, this time the fans grew with them. Gary Barlow unleashed his song writing talents onto the smitten teenage female population and we all fell in love again. This time, the songs were meaning something. “A Million Love Songs” won an Ivor Novello award. Gary wrote it at the age of just 15. He is now a six times Ivor Novello award winner and was appointed an OBE in 2012 for services to music and charity. Take That are now an established “man band” and I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen them. They are 100% the best show men I’ve ever seen. Back in the early days, I have vivid memories of them performing a Beatles medley which involved walking along a suspended platform into the crowd. Just last year, on the “These Days” tour, they flew above the audience in a flying car. I’ll always be a Take That fan. Oh, and I’ll always be a huge fan of The Beatles, you can thank my Dad for that one.
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Behind my boy band obsession though, bubbled an unassuming indie girl. A side that my fellow students knew nothing or little about. In the same year that Take That formed, a band called Shed Seven hit the music scene. Shed Seven are an Indie Rock band from York and were one of the groups which contributed to the Britpop music scene that evolved during the 1990s. They never received the degree of mainstream success achieved by bands such as Oasis and Blur, but in my eyes, were heads and shoulders above the rest. Before even listening to their lyrics, I was transfixed with their grungy, heavy guitar sound and the wailing vocals of the legend that is Rick Witter. Between the years of 1993 and 1995 I attended Art college and Shed Seven, together with The Bluetones, wrote songs that became the sound track to my life. In 1996 it was announced that Shed Seven were coming to play at a venue in my home town. My sister and I got tickets that same day. Nov 1996. We got to the front row. We got squashed, we got covered in spilt beer, the sweat from the brow of Rick Witter fell onto us. And I fell in love with live music. Rick, in my opinion, is the only vocalist I’ve heard that sounds even better live than on a recorded track. Gary Barlow sounds exactly the same live, which is a feat in itself, but Rick…. every single word is sung with the emotion behind the lyric. He feels the music, and he puts everything into it. Last year, I got to see them again. Now all in their 40s, the energy is not lost, and the classics I loved back in the 1990s still hold their own now. I have never forgotten one beautifully penned lyric by this group. Under estimated in their time but still kings of indie and lyrics to me.
The Bluetones are another lyrically wonderful indie band. I fell in love with the dulcet tones of front man Mark Morriss the first time I heard Slight Return. Most indie bands weren’t renowned for their strong vocals, most, like Rick to some degree, although that guy can hold a note, would verge on screaming or shouting, or, in the case of Liam Gallagher, sing at an almost “can’t be bothered” pitch and hold it well throughout the song. Marks voice is nothing short of beautiful. For me, hearing such a great voice singing words that I could relate to, was just heavenly. The lyrics to their songs read almost like poetry, but turn into personal anthems the minute you team them with the music and Marks voice. I have seen The Bluetones live several times, and I’ve seen a couple of Mark’s solo gigs. His vocals are flawless. I can’t help but wonder how they know about my life in order to be able to sing about it so well. I have the entire back catalogue of both bands on my iPod, and they are by far the most listened to bands on there. No other bands or artists had come close to these two. Ed Sheeran released the album “X” which is definitely in my list of favourite albums, but I listen to it every now and then. Taylor Swift (yes my music taste is vast) is probably everyone’s choice of artist to listen to when going through a breakup, or missing someone… the words to ” Wildest Dreams” will always remind me of saying goodbye to the musician alley cat. However, try as they might with their catchy lyrics and memorable hooks, no one could make me run out and buy all their albums and listen to them on random almost daily like my two indie loves. Until May 2015, and that’ll be revealed in part two of this musical blog.
I have met both Rick and Mark and I can quite honestly say, I’ve been star struck. I’ve heard you should never meet your idols because the reality doesn’t match what you imagined.
Thankfully that wasn’t the case for me.
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SHED SEVEN – HIGH HOPES
Run a mile
‘cos all the while
You’re cramping my style
Bleeding me dry
Grab a hold
To steady your soul
And test if they’re real
All the spotlights you shone to help me
Find needles in the hay
Let them lift away
‘cos I’ve got high hopes
I believe
In the roots that keep me complete
And I’ve got high hopes
All I need
Is your hands to steady my feet steady my feet

THE BLUETONES- NEVER GOING NOWHERE
Some words will cut you
Like the sharpest blade
I don’t love you anymore
I don’t love you anymore
Nothing is different
But something has changed
I don’t love you anymore
I don’t love you anymore
As I speak these words
I cant believe what I’m saying
I don’t love you anymore
I don’t love you anymore
I keep my thoughts in little boxes
Labelled A-Z

Some words can break the skin
And let the daylight in
I don’t love you anymore
I don’t love you anymore
Your once charming foibles
Now drive me up the wall
I don’t love you anymore
I don’t love you anymore
I keep my thoughts in little boxes
Boxes underneath the bed
Under the bed with your photograph
And the image is fading

Time has flown
You’re all alone
You’ve always known
Its never going nowhere
Act your age
Turn the page
Leave the stage
It’s time to move on
And me and you
How high we fly
We always knew
Its never going nowhere

“Being happy never goes out of style”

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Starting now, I choose to be happy.
The other day I walked past a little gift shop that was displaying a sign in its window that read:- “Happiness is not a destination. It is a way of life”.
For the last year I’ve felt like I’ve been working towards a happier life, a better life. People around me are booking their next holiday whilst I’m left thinking, maybe next year. A couple of people I know have recently got new jobs, and I thought, could I do better? Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve always been someone who is content with my lot in life. I’ve never wished for a bigger house, chance of a lifetime holidays etc. Of course, if those things became available to me, I wouldn’t turn them down, but I wouldn’t feel my life was any less fulfilled if they didn’t. However, am I always happy? Honestly? No.
After recent knock downs and set backs, my mind set has very much been along the lines of ” things can only get better”. A phrase that indicates that over a period of time, things will slowly start to pick back up. Why can’t that indefinite, undetermined time be now? In a previous post I touched upon the fact that I’m paranoid, and find the worst in any situation. I put this down to the fact that I’ve not been completely happy. I’m not sat in corner crying my eyes out all the time. I’m certainly not depressed, I know people who have been there and my state of mind does not compare. Some days though, I struggle to get out of bed because I’m just not “feeling it”. So, can I, or anyone, choose to be happy? I believe the answer is yes.

“Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.”
― Abraham Lincoln

Looking for quotes to use in this post, I came across some very interesting points that came off the back of some research that was carried out. “Research shows that happy people have modest levels of expectation and aspirations — they want what they can get — while unhappy people never seem to get what they want. They also know how to avoid disappointments and how to generate pleasant surprises. This is because they strive for realistic goals and are happy with their lot”. So, what this is saying is that unhappy people are mainly unhappy because their goals and expectations are way beyond what they can reasonably achieve. They set themselves up for a fall. They are achieving a life that most people would be envious of, yet because they reached too high, THEY feel they have failed. Now, I’m not saying don’t have hopes and dreams, far from it, in fact, reach for the stars. Be optimistic. Be glass half full. Be realistic. Set a goal that you can, with the right focus and mind set, achieve and be proud of. If you happen to over achieve on your goal, then of course that’s brilliant. Just don’t get stuck in the “I could’ve done better” zone. Happiness doesn’t live in “if only”. Watching the 2012 Olympics with my son, we watched British athlete Christine Ohuruogu win a fantastic 400m silver medal. As an athlete against world wide competition, I would’ve been thrilled with a silver. Ok, yes, she was reigning Olympic Gold medallist, I’ll give her that, but her interview afterwards left me and my son amazed, to the point that almost four years on we remember it.

“I was stunned. I was heartbroken actually, I really was,” said Ohuruogu. She added: “To lose your title like that, it was tough. But Sanya’s a worthy competitor and she ran a good race so I have to be happy with what I got. It could have been worse. I came here with one thing and one thing only on my mind and that was to continue my reign as Olympic champ. I’m just a bit disappointed.”

Ok, she’s a competitive athlete. She’s already won an Olympic gold. Of course she wants to win. What’s the point in doing what she does if she doesn’t? However, all that we teach our kids at school about how it’s not the winning that matters, it’s the taking part, was thrown out the window when she said “so I HAVE to be happy with what I got”. She visualised herself as winning, and only winning, so that just finishing in the medals was not good enough. Ultimately, she wasn’t happy.
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How do we choose happy when life just wants to throw it’s shit at us? I do truly believe it’s down to mind set. Remember, this whole choosing happy is new to me too. Trust me though, I’ve read about it, true happiness is a real thing! I’ve come across a few interesting ways to ensure your choice to be happy is supported and nurtured.

1) LIVE FOR THE RIGHT NOW.
Don’t dwell on yesterday. Don’t hold out for tomorrow. Grab the right now. The past is the past for a reason. It’s already played its part in shaping and moulding us into who we are today. Most importantly, we can’t change it. Also, don’t get stuck on a future that hasn’t happened yet. If we stay happy and positive we are more likely to naturally fall into the idealised future we hold in our heads, but if reaching that ideal is the only thing that will make us happy, we may never get there. If you can’t be happy today, what makes you think tomorrow will be any different?

2) DON’T COMPARE YOUR LIFE TO ANYONE ELSE’S
Sounds obvious but we’re all guilty of doing it on some level. You visit a friends house and its tidy, immaculate, you wish you had the time. You’re told a story that someones partner bought them flowers for no reason, you’d like that. Someone you know gets paid to go abroad for work….. if only. If we were all the same the world would be a boring place, right? Ambition is healthy and makes people happy, but envy makes people unhappy. When one relationship after the other failed for me last year, I found myself looking at other people who had recently started dating, and wishing for that too. They’d lasted longer than me. They were going on holiday together. I never got to that stage. However, if I was to focus on my goals and dreams, I could enjoy my achievements. Looking at it now, I wouldn’t change anything that happened in 2015. I’ve made new friends, learnt how to like myself again and discovered how I want to be treated by a man.
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3) JUST BE YOURSELF.
Its important not to worry about what others think about you when choosing to be happy. I’ve heard all sorts about myself in the last year, 99% of it not true. I used to worry about it. Now though, I’ve realised I know the truth, so do those I choose to be in my life, and that is all that matters. I am authentic. I’m just me.
Happy people are spontaneous, natural and real; they’ll say what they think and feel with no hidden meanings, and they aren’t concerned what others think of them. From now on, I don’t care. Bring it on! I am me. Take me as I am.

4) STOP WORRYING.
Ah, ok, so this is gonna be the hardest for me. I’m a born worrier. If I don’t get a text from the boyfriend, I worry he’s gone off me. If I say what I think, I worry I’ve upset someone. I worry about a store visit from the area manager. I worry about the reason why someone’s called me and I’ve missed their call. Apparently, 90% of our worries never come true. So, the same as not dwelling on if only, we shouldn’t worry about “what if”. It really might never happen.

5) USE YOUR RELATIONSHIPS
We get happiness from interacting with other people. We get happiness from helping other people, and its good to remember that sometimes we are someone else’s “other people”, and there are people in our lives that want to help us too. Use them, and don’t be ashamed to do it. You know you’ll return the favour because they mean something to you. Know what you want from friendships and relationships. If it doesn’t make you happy, let it go. Last night my son and my boyfriend were happily killing each other on a Star Wars game on the PlayStation. And I laughed, I laughed so much I cried. The way they get on with each other makes him even more attractive to me. That’s what I want. I’m not letting that go.

So, to summarise, learn to value the things that you have in your life RIGHT NOW that make you happy. Choose happiness.

“Happiness is holding someone in your arms and knowing you hold the whole world.”
― Orhan Pamuk, Snow

“Sometimes life knocks you on your ass… get up, get up, get up!!! Happiness is not the absence of problems, it’s the ability to deal with them.”
― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

“A mathematical formula for happiness:Reality divided by Expectations.There were two ways to be happy:improve your reality or lower your expectations.”
― Jodi Picoult, Nineteen Minutes

A year in the life of…

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1st January 2015, I found myself single on New Year’s Day for the first time in 17 years.

Christmas and New Year had been, quite frankly, crap for my family for the past couple of years. Infact, the whole years themselves hadn’t exactly been wonderful. Life changing, yes, wonderful, no. This blog isn’t about that, although I will give you a quick overview to help understand where I’m coming from when I say that the description “crap” was actually the worlds biggest understatement.
April/May 2012- My mum discovered she had breast cancer. A mastectomy, chemo and radio therapy later, she did have the all clear.
Nov 2012- My only sisters marriage broke up.
28th Dec 2013- My only sister passed away at the age of 39, cause of death listed as “sudden adult death syndrome”. No warning. They might as well call it we don’t have a fucking clue syndrome.
Dec 2014- My mum, dad and I all have to have our hearts tested off the back of my sisters passing to make sure there was nothing hereditary they’d missed. My sister’s three boys had already had the tests and been cleared.
Early 2014- My dad has a hernia operated on. Soon after he is diagnosed with prostate cancer. Thankfully not aggressive, but he would have to live with it for the rest of his life.
11/12th December 2014- My husband of just over 14 years left me. We’d been together since May 1997. We met when I had just turned 20.
That’s all I’m going to say on that, but if I refer to some things, you’ll now know what I mean. Through love in our marriage, our amazing son came into the world. Truly the most wonderful gift ever.

So, starting this year single was, in the greater scheme of things and honestly looking at the bigger picture, not the worse thing my family had had to endure. I was still here. I have a very handsome now 12 year old boy who is in a very lucky position of having two parents who absolutely love him and want the best for him.
However, it became apparent that there was a lot I didn’t know about me. First of all. I didn’t know how to be on my own. I’d never had to be. I lived with my family until March 1998 when my ex and I moved in to a rented property together. We eventually bought a house in December 2002 and our son was born in August 2003. So, apart from separate nights out, I’d never been alone. Even I didn’t realise how big a deal this was. After the split our son started spending three nights with his Dad, which was great for him, but what was I meant to do? How was I meant to do this? I’m not being a drama queen here, but truthfully, I didn’t know. As I said, we met when I had just turned 20. He was my first serious boyfriend, as the school boyfriends don’t count. We started living together less than a year after meeting. It was always me and him.
For the first few weeks of 2015, I tried to fill each of the three nights I had to myself with going out. It was ok. It was expensive. It couldn’t carry on. The thought of being home alone with my own company genuinely filled me with dread. I wasn’t sure I liked single me. I couldn’t remember her.
As we headed towards the end of January, I picked up a pencil and started drawing again. Something I never really had time to do with a very chatty son around who needed love and attention and feeding.. things which, in a heartbeat, I would put above doing anything for myself. However, now I had three nights a week where that wasn’t the case. I loved drawing, with my music on, glass of something in my hand.
Then the completely unexpected happened. I met someone. I didn’t go looking for it. It was there, and opportunity came my way. Again, this blog isn’t about that, more about the journey of the whole year. So, long story short, I spent three months with this guy. I’ll admit, I fell for him. In hindsight it probably was a bit too soon. I was vulnerable and as many friends told me, I needed to focus on me for a bit first. The way I saw it though, I now had something to do three nights a week, and more often than not, that’s exactly what I did, went to his. On the occasional night I couldn’t, the nights spent with me, myself and I were much happier. I did like me afterall. I don’t regret those three months at all. It was exactly what I needed right then and there. He made me laugh, made me feel wanted, made time for me. However, looking back, we hardly ever went out. The nights were spent at his. I knew I was a social butterfly. I was happy and content, but it was becoming hard work trying to break him out of his own little shell. The break up in April wasn’t nasty, he just felt he wasn’t ready after his own marriage broke up. He was honest and decent about it. I was upset and felt lost all over again but….. I also knew I’d faced worse and got through it. For the briefest of time I wanted him back. I would’ve waited for him to be ready. Life however, had other ideas. The spending time on my own was now bearable, enjoyable even. Though I still felt I was missing something. My friends were/are great, but, I knew I did enjoy company on a more companionship level. I wanted to move on again. If there was one thing my sisters death had taught me, it was that life was too short. I wasn’t about to start wasting any time. No one knows how much we have left.
At the end of April, I started yet another “first” for me. Online dating. Now, before you judge me, I work full time and my son is with me for four nights a week, and for those four nights I turn down any offers of nights out unless they include my son too. Opportunity to meet someone the old fashioned way doesn’t come around often. The guy I met in January seemed to be the exception to the rule. So online I went. Kept my profile short, simple, but honest. The very first guy I started talking to was, and probably… if I’m honest still is, my soul mate. We clicked. We chatted every night into the early hours. His life and split and interests mirrored mine to the point I was starting to think I knew this person and I was being cat-fished. We arranged to meet, early May now, seemed silly not to, but before the date he took the opportunity to break the ice by bringing me coffee into my place of work. The click was definitely still there in person, and the date later in the week was probably the best I’d ever been on. But…. and there is a but…. he had a wobble and told me he went online for a confidence boost and wasn’t expecting to start talking to someone he got on with let alone wanted to meet, and if he was honest, it probably was too soon and he wasn’t over his ex. I was gutted, he was me but male… we should’ve been so right for each other. The date still continued after this revelation, and it still ended with a really unforgettable kiss. In a very very strange turn of events, a situation at work led me to spend a great deal of time with this guy over the months July-October, as he offered to give me lifts to work while my own shop was being relocated. It’s fair to say we have remained friends and he’s grown to be a good friend, one I can vent to if needed. I’m very happy he’s still in my life.
After that date didn’t lead to a new relationship, back online I went. Another guy had contacted me. O.M.G. Not gonna lie here… DROP. DEAD. GORGEOUS. 6ft 2″ God wanting to talk to me. Note he only had one picture online… didn’t really trust the guys with only one picture but chatted away anyway. Very easy to think it may not be the man in the pictures. We exchanged numbers and online chatting progressed to texting…. constant texting……. I asked for more pictures which he dutifully emailed and they were all of the same guy so looked promising. We went on our first date in the middle of May. Yes, it was him, and yes, there were fireworks. What followed was the most rollercoaster of a relationship in the history of short relationships…..He revealed that first night that in just two weeks time he was due to go away for the best part of three weeks!! He cursed bad timing as now he didn’t want to go! After two dates, a night in a hotel and him asking me if I’d wait for him because he really liked me and wanted to see if it would go somewhere when he got back, I found myself walking on air for three weeks while a guy I’d only just met was texting me sweet nothings from a foreign country saying how he didn’t want to be there and wanted to come back to me. It was everything a girl wanted to hear. And did I mention how good looking he was? The girls at my work loved my soap opera life and looked forward to the next instalment!
The first meeting when he got back was undoubtedly passionate and felt long over due. The guy sure had missed me and for a while, the world he promised me didn’t seem too far away. As time went on…. I saw him less and less. Text contact was still there, but he was elusive, tied up with work, cancelled or didn’t show up then come up with an excuse. We never ever argued in person, instead taking to arguing over Whatsapp! Then we’d see each other, and he smiled and I forgave him. He earned the nickname alley cat. He was 100% committed to me, and I still believe that, but it became apparent that he had a lot of issues he needed to deal with before committing to the kind of relationship I wanted. He wanted me to wait till he got his life sorted. I was ready for a relationship NOW. I had to let him go. I didn’t want to. For ages he seemed to think I was still waiting but for me it was over. By July, as much as I still deeply cared about him, I couldn’t deal with his drama on top of my own and I needed a partner to be there for me. He wasn’t. On rare occasions it seemed he had a intuition that I was going through something and I’d get a text at the right moment. But physically, he was no longer there to hug when I needed a hug. Over the last few months he’s realised that I will always be there for him if he finds himself in a situation I can help with but that’s all. He’s moved to Leicester now, I stored his work stuff at mine until he found a place but now he’s gone, contact, understandably and necessarily, is down to the occasional “hi, how are you?” and that’s it. I don’t want this one back. I won’t now want any more from him. That’s one explosive relationship that needs to but put down to experience.
By now I’ve realised I’m a woman who can take a few Knocks but get back up and straight back to it. Seems nothing puts me off. Back online I went. This time trying a different site. Oh my, the guys on here were a different breed, and I don’t mean in a good way. And .. despite putting my location, I was getting messages from guys miles away… I don’t drive… for me, that wouldn’t work! There was one, only one, who was good looking on the one picture they’d posted, and his profile seemed similar to mine, not much info but looked genuine and honest. I viewed the profile but by the time I found him, it was late at night and I logged off. By now the traveling to work situ had kicked in, so I didn’t go back online for a couple of weeks. Genuinely no time to arrange to meet anyone. When I did go back on one Saturday evening in August, the guy I’d viewed had messaged cheekily saying “so you view my profile without saying hi? :-)” , ha ha, I liked it! I messaged back explaining the situation and apologising. We chatted very briefly before a suggestion was made about meeting up. I was free that night, so I said so. Took him by surprise. Took me by surprise. The other two I’d met was after several weeks of chatting. I’d only just said hello to this one. He was unsure and thought I wouldn’t turn up. Seemed he’d chatted to ladies before who, at the mere suggestion of actually meeting, just did one and stopped talking to him! I knew I was going to go, I’d been at work, I was on my own on a Saturday night and I wanted a drink!! We arranged a meeting place, he gave me his number but I didn’t give mine and I started getting ready for the date. I wasn’t even nervous, I was a pro at this now, and despite their issues, the previous two guys I’d met online had been who they said they were, and both genuine guys who strangely are still in my life. Although not, and never again, romantically. I was ready to settle down. The guy I was about to meet, I knew very little about. Hadn’t yet built up a connection with him. Hence no nerves. Yet, walking to our meeting point I did get nervous for that very reason. I didn’t know much about him. Didn’t know we had anything at all in common to talk about. I’m not shy but if conversation isn’t two way I struggle to think of stuff to say to start a conversation. Also, walking into town it was windy and rainy… I looked good…. Not! He’d told me he’d be in a silver MG and I’d told him he could go park up as I categorically wasn’t getting in a car, however fancy, with a stranger. So when he pulled up to the kerb in the car at our meeting place, I said again, I’m not getting in. He said “well, where`s the nearest pub, we’ll drive there and then if you’re still uncomfortable, you can go”. He had a glint in his eye that didn’t go unnoticed, it was a nice glint. And the smile he gave me….. Right there I fell for that smile. Yes. I was stupid. I got in the goddamn silver MG, laughing at myself in my head, but something inside me told me to trust my gut. My gut instinct was this guy was more surprised that I’d turned up, and had stayed in his car in case he was stood up and had to swing back round and go straight home. Now, he did just wanna go for that drink. As I’ve previously stated, this blog is about my year as a whole, not a dating blog. This most recent online dating encounter was the one I had the least expectations about. Although completely out of my comfort zone having not had the weeks worth of chatting, we got on. We laughed. We shared several sneaky kisses in the pub. He drove me home and 100% genuinely came in for a coffee.
17 weeks later, I’m sat here writing this blog. We’re still together. Since that first meeting we’ve seen each other at least once, if not twice, a week. We’ve grown. I am very very fond of him. His eyes are endless pools of green framed with eyelashes to die for. His laugh is infectious, his smile still gets me every time. This one’s nickname is simply “gorgeous”. The guy works shifts yet still makes time for me. This relationship has out lasted the one back in January. Every morning we wish each other a lovely day via text and every night bid sweet dreams. Then when we see each other we fill hours with good conversation, laughter, maybe a movie, quality time together. This is what I’ve been working towards. Took a few tries to get there. The journey led me here. And right now, I wouldn’t change a thing.
The point of this blog? No one knows what someone else is going through, beyond what that person is willing to share, and people, even those who are closest to you and know you the most, are quick to judge situations based on what they believe in their own heads to be true. Truth is, although I didn’t directly put myself in the situation I found myself in at the beginning of the year, I am dealing with it, and genuinely just wanting to get on with the life that is still there for me. And I’m going to be ok.