The Habit: An Unexpected Journey

AKA: The Two Daily (And One Weekly) Habits That Helped Me In 2016

img_2245It’s strange reaching the end of The Year So Awful It Became An Adjective knowing that on a personal level, it was possibly my happiest, most fulfilling year yet. It’s also strange to look back and realise that most of the lovely things which happened to me in 2016 were things I hadn’t seen coming in 2015: I got engaged, I got married and I went to Santorini (yes, these three things are connected); I got a place on a political mentoring scheme (with Jess Phillips MP as a kick-ass mentor); I performed an all-singing, all-dancing All That Jazz routine in front of an audience (although the less said about my rendition of ‘I Dreamed A Dream’ the better); I started using London’s bicycle hire scheme and now regularly zip around the capital on two wheels, grinning like a 10-year-old (although this could be because I’m high on traffic fumes).

Even if the only thing I’d done in 2016 was marry the kind, caring, supportive, loving, handsome man I did, I would call the year a success. Dammit, I’d call my life a success. And the fact that this year involved other happy achievements, too – plus the fact that I’m looking forward to 2017 as much as I am – is down to a few things, I think. Most notably: a shift in attitude to life, and most importantly, to myself. I’m going into next year feeling braver, more resilient, more confident, more me than I’ve ever felt in my whole life.

And the reason for this post is to share three habits I adopted in 2016– and which I’m taking into 2017– that I think have helped me make that shift in thinking (and feeling). They’re habits which have had brilliant knock-on effects: they’ve helped me to achieve certain goals – not least because they’ve helped keep me on track throughout the year – and they’ve helped me to deal with life, and all its challenges, better.

In short, they’re habits which I’ve found hugely helpful – and I hope you’ll find helpful, too. And they are… *drumroll*… [Read more…]

R.I.P. George Michael. I think you’re amazing.

wham

A few huge posters adorned my bedroom wall as a schoolgirl – I mentioned one of them in a blog post just the other month, in fact – but I’m not sure I gazed adoringly at any of them as much as the one pictured above.

(Full disclosure: the photo above isn’t of the actual specific poster I owned, but that of an identical one which somebody is currently selling on eBay. I am now, of course, sorely tempted to bid on it, US postage costs be damned.)

Fantastic by Wham! – debut album titles don’t get much better than that, do they? – was one of the first Proper Pop Albums I ever owned, and throughout my childhood (I was 12 when Fantastic came out), I was most definitely a Whammy rather than a Durany. And who could blame me? What was not to love about these two beautiful men with their beautiful hair, beautiful grins, beautiful tans and beautiful day-glo fingerless gloves? Nothing. Especially when you’re an 12 year-old-girl.

[Read more…]

Ghouls Just Wanna Have Fun

jacko-thriller

As a child, I was utterly terrified by Michael Jackson’s Thriller. So terrified that even putting that picture above these words now, at the age of 45, causes a slight shiver of anxiety. I was also confused: surely a ‘thriller’ was an exciting, dramatic film? I didn’t understand why Michael Jackson was singing about movies like that while dancing with zombies.  Surely he should have been calling it Video Nasty?

But I did appreciate the musical delights of Thriller – and also the tiger cub he was stroking when you opened the gatefold sleeve (my sister, older than I and therefore with more sophisticated tastes, bought the album. In 1982, I was all about Bucks Fizz and  The Kids From Fame. My sophistication would not come until 1986, when a month’s pocket money would pay for Janet Jackson’s Control).

[Read more…]

Never Too Late

wedding

Life is what happens while we’re busy making other plans, as Allen Saunders (and later John Lennon) said – and that’s my excuse for not having posted a blog post for a while.

Coming into 2016, I didn’t realise this would be the year I’d get engaged, let alone married. And here I am in October, with a ring on my finger and a spring in my step and a feeling of true contentment – at the age of 45 – that I’m still getting used to.

I’ve just written about this for Standard Issue – tying it in with my joy at watching the former Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls on this year’s Strictly Come Dancing.

There is a connection, trust me. Because whether it’s a ballroom dancer or a bride, I hope that both my and Ed’s stories can show that it’s never too late to be what you might have been. And that we all have it in us to write wonderful new chapters in our life.