When to Make a Noise

I think it’s safe to assume, from the way you often wander past me hours after your bedtime, that I have already succeeded in teaching you, Thing one, when to stay quiet.

Eldest son saunters past Mum in dressing gown, he is whistling and has a plate of snacks. The clock shows it is almost midnight.

However for the benefit of Thing 2, I should probably reiterate, if the authority figure hasn’t noticed a missed deadline, that is a good time to stay quiet. 

Youngest son drumming and singing “It’s the final countdown d-d-der-der!” and Mum looks cross and shouts “Annnd that’s BEDTIME!!!”

What I really want to talk about is when to make a NOISE.  Just to be clear, I’m not talking about some magical time of day where you can chase each other around the house screaming and smashing things without me yelling:

Mum screaming “Shut up and stop chasing each other I haven’t got time for A&E today!!!”

I am talking about the times when it IS a good idea to draw attention to yourself.  One good example of this would be when you have completed an arduous task at work.

I don’t mean you should stand on your chair and announce your brilliance to the office, no-one likes that guy, BUT you do need to make people aware of your hard work because often when you do a job well you make it look TOO easy.

Wonder Woman is happily juggling tonnes of paperwork into an Out tray

I have a wonderfully efficient and diligent colleague at work, who quietly solves all kinds of messes, and ploughs through swathes of unpleasant work, but she doesn’t get half the credit she deserves – whereas I, filter-less complainer that I am, make sure that everyone in the office knows of even the smallest hurdles I have jumped.

Smug woman saying “...And then the printer wasn’t even plugged in so I had to do that too!” Colleagues applaud enthusiastically.

In an ideal world, my diligent colleague’s way would be the correct way to behave; it certainly is admirable to quietly work wonders expecting no recognition BUT the problem is that it literally ISN’T recognised, and instead of reward you simply get more of the same.

Wonder Woman unhappily juggling paperwork with a large bundle of paperwork being hurled in her direction whilst someone shouts “Catch!”

This brings me neatly to my final point, the other time it’s important to make some noise is when you do spot someone quietly doing something amazing. 

Tell amazing people how amazing they are, and why.  Let the quiet heroes know their fabulousness has been noticed, even if it’s only by you for now. 

Hopefully one day it will put the world back to how it should be, where filter-less complainers like me don’t get all the glory.

Learn What You Love

It can sometimes seem as though everyone around you has found their passion, or purpose in life, whilst yours remains mysterious and intangible.

This is NORMAL and it’s something most people go through at some point in their lives.  Not everyone has a dream, nor is it imperative that they find one.

Man screaming “Have you seen my passion in life?! ...ANYONE!!!” Boy handing him cake “Is this it?”

Some people seem to be born with a passion for a specific goal.  Perhaps they have a rare or exceptional talent, or perhaps they were simply at the front of the queue when drive and determination were given out.

Baby: Mother, I wish to be a concert pianist. Mum looking at the Bon-Tempi: I’d better get saving then.

Most people are not this lucky and will spend a significant amount of time trekking down many different paths, still unsure if they actually want to reach the end of ANY of them.

Many people berate themselves for not madly loving anything in particular, but that is terribly unfair, what if the thing you will love is something that you haven’t even tried yet?  How then could you possibly be expected to know whether you love it or not?

It would take a lifetime to try ALL of the things you haven’t tried yet, and honestly, some things are probably left untried for a reason…

Upside down in skis falling off a mountain – Ohhhh yeah, this is why I don’t skiiiiiiii!

So if you want to find out what you love, start with what you like.  (If you aren’t sure what you like, start by ruling out what you hate.) 

Practice what you LIKE, to discover what you LOVE

For example, if you quite like drawing, or doodling even, practice it.  Do a little bit of drawing every day.  This will help you improve, and most activities are more fun the better you get at them.

Experiment; try cartoons, still life, oil paints, computer animation, dried pasta and glitter, whatever the hell you like, as long as you try it and have fun.  Also, be kind to yourself about the results – this is your first go, you won’t produce a Rembrandt.

Dad baking and splattering stuff everywhere – Mum: What are you making? ...Aside from a mess? Dad: I don’t know yet, but this is FUN!

You Don’t Have to Have a Dream!

Most importantly, please remember that you don’t HAVE to have a passion at all; it’s not compulsory. 

You don’t need to have one big dream, as Tim Minchin said best in his wonderful 9 life lessons speech, you can have lots of little dreams, or as he calls them “micro-ambitions”.

Don’t Have A Dream by Tim Minchin “Don’t have a dream. Do things well and pursue things that seem interesting. Practice passionate dedication to the pursuit of short term goals. Be micro-ambitious. Put your head down and work with pride on whatever is in front of you, as you never know where it is going to lead.”

(If you want to view Tim Minchin’s full speech click on the above picture.)

So in summary, you don’t have to have an all-encompassing passion in life.  There is nothing wrong with pootling along aimlessly like the rest of us, but if you do want to look for one, the best way is to practice stuff you like, to discover what you love.

 

Should Versus Could

Isn’t COULD a great word?  I could eat some ice-cream, I could change career, I could find a rule of three to hammer home this point comically, but I don’t have to, it’s my choice.

What about SHOULD?  I should be checking my work emails.  I should eat healthier.  I should have started writing this article before 2am… 

COULD is full of possibility, whereas SHOULD is full of responsibility. 

Boss telling Mum to work smarter Mum thinks: I COULD tell him where to stick this job... But I SHOULD probably wait until I've found alternative employment.

We can’t live without SHOULD entirely, because ultimately it is just a more polite version of MUST, and as adults there are things we must do to make our lives, our relationships, and our society work. 

Little boy: I SHOULD wash my hands after using the toilet. Mum: Yes, but DID you?!

However, some of us add in more SHOULDs than are good for us.  Some of us see SHOULDs where COULDs should be. 

1st: I SHOULD have done better. 2nd: I SHOULD be stronger. 3rd in catsuit: I SHOULD be a Kardashian!

Worse, some people like to try and wrongly impose their SHOULDs on others.

Grandad: You SHOULD be more like me. Stop worrying about this Health and Safety nonsense... Grandad is wearing an eye-patch and the door handle is hanging precariously at eye-level

It’s not a problem I’ve suffered from recently, in fact many people who know me would argue that I may have dropped a few more SHOULDs than I should have – but then I take absolutely no notice of other people’s SHOULDs anymore, and I’d recommend you could try doing that too.

Grandad continues: ...but you SHOULD always put the milk in first. Grandson: Nope, it's personal preference. Also let's remove these pointy things from eye-level! (taking down dangerous door handle)

When I was younger I listened to too many SHOULDs.  I thought that I should be the same as everyone else.  I thought that I should fit in, and I thought that I should work on changing the things about me which were different to others.

People who live their lives listening to every SHOULD that they come across aren’t truly free to live their own lives, but that doesn’t mean they should do things differently, it just means that they could do things differently. 

Sad in dressing gown: I SHOULD do some exercise. Happy in jeans and trying out a hula-hoop "I COULD do some exercise".

It is quite normal and understandable to let historic SHOULDs rule your world, everyone does sometimes, but if you want to you could try a new thing too, where sometimes you replace should with could, and live life the way you choose.

Do Something

“Do Something” sounds like an 80s film starring John Cusack, but you’re thinking of Say Anything – which is a great film – but what I want to talk about is how important it is to actually DO something.

Say Anything Parody - Turn that music off and get a job so I don't have to keep explaining you to my Dad!

Despite the film reference and the above picture I’m not saying you must do something meaningful with your life, like get an important job or track down the girl of your dreams; I’m simply saying that the only way forward in life is to take ACTION of some kind, rather than just spend forever planning, and pondering possible outcomes.

Quote - The Journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." - Lao-Tze

This proverb is clearly saying that no matter how long the journey, you’ll never get to your destination if you don’t take that first step. 

To be honest, I always found it uninspiring because I couldn’t think of a journey of a thousand miles that I wanted to take – I’m not much of walker; I usually only get exercise by accident, if at all.

Mum running after bus shouting "Wait!!! ...This isn't my stop!"

I’m a massive hypocrite too because I am the actual QUEEN of prevarication.  I like nothing better than discussing every possible hypothetical component of a task to effectively delay starting it, but that’s why I’m writing this blog, because I want you both to be BETTER at life than me.

I talked about starting this blog for a couple of years before actually doing it – I let little things, like not knowing how the hell to write a blog, or get it hosted, or administer it, put me off, and yet having started it here I am, still barely knowing any of that, but I’m doing it, and doing it has been so much fun and taught me so much.

Mum shouting at screen "New Edit too?! Aw man, the only Guttenburg I know about is Steve!

As Grandad’s DNA is in your genes I should also mention that the best way forward in life is a COMBINATION of planning, pondering outcomes AND action, but without action there can be no progress.  (Though without any planning, and pondering outcomes, that progress might be minimal or dangerous…)

Grandad El Paso driving car towards a rickety bridge over crocodile infested waters "Don't worry, I know a short-cut!"

We all have times in our life where we want to make a change.  Sometimes we don’t even know what that change is, just that we wish things were different.  In most cases we won’t know how to make a change, because, by it’s very nature, a change is different to anything we are familiar with.

Mum looking at ipad "This new job sounds perfect for me! If only I were qualified to do it, or had any experience of whether or not I'd enjoy it..."

For this specific problem Richard Alderson of Careershifters has some great advice in this fabulous article:-  https://www.careershifters.org/expert-advice/how-to-change-career-when-you-have-no-idea-what-youre-doing  Here he explains that the best way to find out more about a career that interests you is networking, prior to taking steps towards it.

This lack of knowledge about what a change may bring can leave us stuck in a frustrated cycle of wishing for change without being able to affect change in any way for fear of causing the wrong kind of change.

We can’t always know what the outcome of making a change will be.  It may well be worse than what we make the change from, so it makes sense not to change too big too soon. 

However, unless we make a change of some kind, NOTHING will change.  So if you’re unhappy, take baby-steps if you need to but, introduce some change.

 

The Sunshine Blogger Award

Happy New Year, and what a lovely way to start the new year by being nominated for this lovely award  …last year – apologies it has taken me so long to officially respond but I wanted to really do it justice so here goes…

First a big thank you to Sandy (@SundayWithSandy) for nominating me.  I love the Sunshine Blogger Award because it’s all about positivity and sunshine, and Sandy is full of sunshine and positivity so please visit her blog:-

Logo - Sunday Morning With Sandy

The aim of the Sunshine Blogger Award is to showcase positive blogs within the blogging community, a community that have been very supportive in this, my first blogging venture.   

Here are Sandy’s questions to me (along with my answers – followed by my nominees and my questions to them):-

1. Where are you from?

England, U.K.

2.  What is your favourite kind of music, and who is your favourite musician/group?

I am one of those awful people who love EVERYTHING.  My playlists are mixtapes from hell – Dolly Parton, Creed and Sia, peppered with Sinatra, TLC, INXS and S-Club 7  …or Neil Diamond and Lionel Richie.

3.  Who is your hero?

Katherine Ryan (Comedian)

4.  And why?

Because she is a fabulous trailblazer, and funny as hell.

5.  What would your dream vacation be?

Any vacation where the kids stay at Grandma’s…

6.  If you had your final meal, what would it be?

Why?  What have you heard?  Probably cheese.

7.  What is your favourite season and why?

Spring – it’s full of hope, and lambs.

8.  Tell me something about you that not a lot of people know?

I have a very big mouth so there is very little about me that not a lot of people know.

9.  If you could describe yourself in one word, what would it be?

Loquacious.

10.  If you could meet anybody in the world, who would it be?

My sister, who I’ve already met obvs, but I would meet her more often.

11.  And why?

…because it would save massively on our phone bills.

My Nominees are (simply click on banner to visit sites):

1          Natalie  (@craftagogo)

CraftAGoGo is a site specifically aimed at those who own a Cricut or similar electronic cutting machine however it is so much MORE than that.  This site is full of wonderful crafty ideas and a beautifully written blog full of humour and interesting takes.  Plus, you can get a second look at the original crocheted Wills and Kate as seen on the BBC’s homepage for the 2012 Royal Wedding as it was the author’s own work!   

2          Chris  (@ChrisWWerner1)

This site is packed full of useful advice, presented in an easy to read, humorous way.  I mainly read this blog for the super useful life, skills and leadership advice but the site also includes plenty of brilliant info on how to blog, very useful tips and tutorials, budget advice, budgeting tool, book recommendations and so much more!  

3          Tanya  (@tawnyk22)  

This blog is an eclectic mix of subjects, covering all aspects of life but I go back to it time and time again, not just for the variety (and the hilarious film reviews) but because I love the way the author writes with humour and honesty.

4          Khadra  (@TheGoodTheHuma1) 

This blog is all about mental-wellbeing and even though I am (debatably) well myself I enjoy Khadra’s articles because they are written beautifully with a really deep emotional intelligence and understanding of each subject.  I find the advice on how to help people experiencing crisis invaluable for explaining practical ways to help, and all written in a soothing, caring voice. 

5          Shaun  (@Shaunhasablog)  

I’ll be honest with you, it’s no coincidence that more than one of my nominees write blogs about mid-life issues, and affecting change.  This blog has a really interesting and positive take on this subject (and many others) and the positivity is really contagious. 

6          Jill  (@MidlifeSmarts) 

This blog is full of tips, advice and lots of laughter – I thoroughly recommend the 5 minute yoga, and I really appreciate the mid-life advice.  Each article is interesting but concise so it’s easy to read a few articles in the queue for a sandwich.

7          Julia  (@hellofrifran)

This is a fabulously useful blog if you are gluten-intolerant, veggie or vegan with lots of tasty recipes to boot but I’m nominating this blogger because along with recipes and useful easy to follow advice, she has a positive and upbeat writing style.

8          N.N.Light  (@NNP_W_Light)

A great site from a wonderful author who, along with book reviews, does a great line in inspirational quotes and blog articles.

9          Nina  (@KidWildflowers)

I enjoy the honesty in this parenting blog and it’s great to hear positive outside the box ways of approaching things.  Written with humour and genuine care.

10        Krystyna  (@LazyFrugal)

As the name suggests this blog is full of useful money-saving tips, but more than that, one look at the lovely smiley face of the author tells you how much happiness is packed into this blog at a simple glance.  Clue: It’s lots!

11        Hyperbole And A Half – This blog is no longer blogging but I thoroughly recommend visiting it’s archives if you need a laugh

https://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/

I LOVE this blog so much that I couldn’t not include it even though it’s so famous it’s doubtful that there is any way you haven’t heard of it already but still.  I’m not sure about positivity exactly but it makes me howl with laughter! (…Still, not a werewolf.) 

My questions to my nominees are:-

1. How would you describe your blog in one or two sentences?

2.  If you could only keep 5 possessions, what would they be?

3.  What skill would you like to learn and why?

4.  What has been the highlight of this year so far for you?  (I’ll accept last year’s…)

5.  What animal would you most like to be, and why?

6.  What kind of TV show is your favourite?

7.  If you could get the complete truth to one question, what would you ask?

8.  What is the best or worst thing you ever bought or received?

9.  If you had to change your name what would you change it to and why?

10.  What is the best compliment you have ever received?

11.  What is the worst smelling location you have encountered?

I look forward to reading your answers (especially question 11!) and finding out more about you all.

The Rules (a guide for nominees)
1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and link to their blog so that others can find them.
2. Answer the 11 questions that the blogger who nominated you asked.
3. Nominate 11 bloggers and ask them 11 different questions.
4. List the rules, display the Sunshine blogger award logo in your post and/or on your blog site.

If anyone I have nominated does not want to take part I will not be offended; I have simply nominated those blogs that I enjoy.  Also if anyone has any questions or would like the link to their blog altering (or removing) please contact me here or via Twitter.