Saying Goodbye

I am very sad to report that this will be my last post at Voyages and Vinyasas, at least for the time being.  You will have noticed that I haven’t been blogging much over the past months, after having a serious case of writer’s block.  I have decided to launch a new blog with a new focus over at www.another30something.com.  I have really appreciated your support with the blog – it has meant so much to me – and I hope you’ll follow me over to the new site and continue to enjoy my writing.

This site won’t be going anywhere but you won’t be seeing any new material here.

So long, readers!

So long, 2015

2015 has been an incredible year for me.

On New Year’s Eve 2014, I stood on the brink of a four-month voluntary placement in Bangladesh and I had no idea what the year would have in store or how things would work out.  And here we are, a year later, and somehow I’ve managed to achieve what I set out to do when I left the RAF fifteen months ago!

I just want to say thank you to everyone who has helped me reach my goals this year.  It hasn’t been easy and it definitely wasn’t always graceful but, with your love and support, I have ended up achieving more this year than I hoped for.  I’m definitely ending 2015 on a high 🙂

I also have to apologize for complete neglecting the blog over the past few months.  For those in the know, it’s largely down to me starting an amazing – but very challenging – job.  I have some great ideas for 2016 so please keep checking in and I promise you’ll be hearing more from me soon.

In the meantime – to paraphrase a new podcast I came across recently – I hope something wonderful happens to you today and every day in 2016.

Happy New Year!

happy new year

 

choice, text, definition, dictionary

Making hard choices…and loving it

This week marked my first anniversary of life as a civilian.  It has been a whole year since I formally left the military and embarked on a whole new way of life.  And what a year it’s been!  There have been a whole lot of ups and my fair share of low points but I wouldn’t have done anything differently.

It’s easy to look to back with the benefit of hindsight and see all the dots joining up.  But I’ve had to make some really difficult choices along the way to get here – to a point where it feels like life is working itself out.  Ironically, one of the reasons I left the military was to have more choices, to be able to make my own choices for a change; having made what I thought would be the hard decision – the decision to leave a successful ten-year career with no real plan, to be honest – I’ve been a little surprised at how difficult these choices can be sometimes.

In my RAF days...

In my RAF days…

I met with one of my career advisers this week, a woman who I now consider a friend, who reminded me of the dilemma I thought I faced when I was offered the opportunity to go and volunteer in Bangladesh with VSO.  I don’t really remember that now; almost as soon as I had decided to go, it felt like exactly the right decision.  And I guess that’s how you know you’re making the right call.  You sleep on it and when you wake up, it just feels right.

I’d love to give you all some sage words of wisdom about how to tackle your own tough choices.  But I’m really not sure I’ve figured it out, if I’m honest.  I generally feel like I’m bumbling along, just trying to put one foot in front of the other and hoping – believing – that it will all fall into place.  If you want some good advice, I strongly recommend you head over here and check out Ruth Chang’s TED Talk.  As for me, I suppose I would just say a couple of things.

Opportunities don’t just come along.  You have to create them for yourself.  But when you do, don’t take them for granted.  Seize them with both hands and squeeze absolutely everything you can from them.

Every choice has an opportunity cost; by going down one path, by definition, you can’t go down another.  It’s really difficult to weigh up the pros and cons of different options but, as a rule, favour ‘sure things’ over ‘may bes’.

Talk to people.  Don’t keep going round and round the same thoughts in your head.  But don’t abdicate responsibility either.  It’s your choice: you have to live with it so you have to make it.

If in doubt, do it.  I firmly believe that you only live to regret the things you don’t do in life.  Better to be able to look int he mirror and say ‘I tried’ than ‘if only I had…’.  Yes, it’s scary (see my post on The Fear from a couple of weeks ago) but it’s also invigorating and exciting.

The principle I try to live by at the moment is that I want to have stories to tell when I’m an old lady; I am going to bore the pants of the other residents of my nursing home one day!  What will be important to you when you’re ninety?

Just some of the memories that have made the last year so special 🙂

I can, hand on heart, say that making that decision to leave the military was one of the best I’ve ever made.  I still have no idea where I’m going to end up but I am loving the ride!

excited, little girl, roller-skates, black and white, 1940s

Not actually me but pretty much sums up how I feel about life right now!

A Monday Manta…3rd August 2015

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.

So throw off the bowlines.

Sail away from the safe harbor.

Catch the trade winds in your sails.

Explore. Dream. Discover.

Taking in the view
Mark Twain

You Are Amazing

After I published a post a couple of weeks ago, talking about The Fear, I have had lots of beautiful messages from my friends and family.  Partly, I think, out of concern – don’t worry, I really am kicking life’s ass at the moment!  That post wasn’t meant to be negative at all; I just wanted to be honest about how scary life can seem sometimes because I don’t think we admit to being human enough.  But I was so touched by the messages I got from all sorts of people.  There was one from a dear Bangladeshi friend, who’s words were so poetic and heartfelt that they made well up.  There was the little message from a former colleague just letting me know he enjoyed the blog.  Or the reassuring comments from old friends: you’ll be fine, chick.

Why am I telling you all this?

To remind you how amazing it feels when somebody takes the time to reach out and say “well done”, “good work”, “you’re pretty awesome”.  Especially for me blogging, when it feels like you are putting all this energy out into the world, to get an acknowledgement or a compliment makes it all worthwhile.  But it doesn’t just have to be the big stuff or even people you know: how good does it feel to get a compliment on your outfit from a stranger on the tube?!

As this gets published, I will be at a festival with two of the most gorgeous women I know – gorgeous is all aspects of the word, just beautiful people – and I’m going to make sure I tell them that.  So here’s my challenge to you: pick up the phone and call/text/What’sApp/tweet/Facebook etc somebody and just say something lovely.  It doesn’t need to be huge but I guarantee everybody has The Fear every now and again and maybe all they need is a little reassurance from a friend.

Friends forever

Friends forever

I always welcome feedback on the blog, good and bad, so please leave a comment below or get in touch!