Big changes ahead

I had quite a few different titles in my head for this post. Things like…. Have I failed? Two steps backwards to move forwards. Adulting is hard. Nearly 30 and starting again…things like that.

All the options were things that have gone through my head and in some ways make sense to the action I’m going to take. There are big changes ahead for me indeed. So the Cliff Notes version is: I’m moving back home with my parents. Yep.

I’ll start from the beginning. Towards the end of last year I was feeling really fed up, mainly with my job. As I’ve said before, I just wasn’t feeling that it was something I wanted to do for the foreseeable future. I was coasting along, getting my job done but getting more and more down. I was spending a good portion of my life at work but living for the weekends when I could do what I actually wanted to do. Not to mention the draining, long commute there and back every day.

I had no desire or ambition. Gone was the girl who left university ready to take on the world. Instead I was dreaming of the holidays and marathons I could run and justifying the rest of my time, where I was sad and bored, as a way to fund the more fun times in my life. So what my job wasn’t my passion? I could afford to go on cool holidays, go out for dinner all the time and buy unlimited pairs of leggings. I was living the dream.

But no I wasn’t. And it soon became very clear that the benefit of the solid paycheck wasn’t enough to keep me from sinking into a despondent, unmotivated and sad person. A few holidays a year doesn’t make up for the fact that the majority of my week I was spent unhappy.

So earlier this year I decided to look for another job that would be more in line with what I wanted to do. Something I had a genuine interest in. Having spent a good portion of my career in a quite different field, however, I quickly realised I had very limited experience. Searching for a job with a similar salary was laughable. I hadn’t a chance in hell. So I started looking for jobs from the bottom up. Grass roots’ positions where I could learn and hopefully work my way up. And this was obviously going to be reflected in the pay.

And so I took that pay cut. I could carry on living in my flat with my new job but I would be living hand to mouth every month, and that makes me very nervous. Yes I have savings behind me but I want them to remain there and not be eaten into if I fancy going on holiday or splurging on a trip.

Instead, after long chats with my parents and careful consideration, I decided the best decision would be to rent out my flat and move back home. Long story short, I’ll be moving in September (hopefully) and the money I’ll save will basically bump up my earnings back to a happy place.

I’m obviously extremely grateful to have parents that are so supportive and willing to have me come back home (*cough* my mum is ecstatic). As you’re probably aware, I have a very good relationship with both my parents so hopefully it won’t be a painful experience for anyone. I’ll have my space, they’ll have theirs.

Alfie will obviously be joining me (again, my mum is ecstatic). My parents already have three dogs and he gets on fine with them (though he’ll still sleep with me as he always does when I stay over). It also gives me a bit of freedom (ironically) because I don’t have to rush home all the time to make sure Alfie isn’t alone for too long. My parents have a lovely garden and he’ll be well looked after if I decide to go on a date, a spontaneous work thing or stay out late with friends.

So, a big change for me. For how long, I don’t know…

Have you ever moved back home with your parents?

Would you ever consider something like this?

Do you get on with your parents?

Life Update

So I thought I’d do a little post updating you on a few changes in my life. Being almost 30 (OK, I’ve only just 29) and divorced isn’t exactly where I saw my life going but it is what it is.

Being divorced is not really a fun thing to admit when you start to get to know people, like on the Austrian Run Camp. “Is there a Mr Anna?”… “well there was” and you feel a bit rubbish. That said, I do try to maintain a positive outlook in life because I’m a glass half full kind of girl and I live by the notion of learning from experience and regretting nothing (including when I eat stupid amounts of cake).

But I digress. I’m still single and pretty chilled about it. I’ve been dabbling with Plenty of Fish a bit (I don’t and won’t use Tinder) but it’s pretty rubbish. As you can imagine, as a free way to online date it’s not great. I haven’t had experience with paying for online dating so I can’t comment there but I’m not at the point where I feel I want to pay yet…

I’ve been on a few dates but the effort level to get to those dates is just so laborious. I don’t want to know someone’s family history before going on a date, but because arranging a date with a virtual stranger is actually quite daunting the temptation to keep messaging and messaging is strong. And though the dates themselves have been alright and the guys seem nice enough, so far it’s been a no beuno for me.

Unfortunately for me it seems all the guys I fancy are either taken or live a distance away and probably have no idea I’m interested (because I don’t really “make moves”). But as I’ve said previously, I’m OK with my singleness at the moment. Sure it’d be nice to share some fun with someone else but I’m fairly happy with my current existence.

I have to say though a few months ago I wasn’t so happy. I mean, I was happy in myself, in my running, my friends and things like that, but I haven’t been happy with work. And actually work is a fairly significant chunk of your life. At least eight hours a day, five days a week, not including commuting (at least two hours a day for me). I’ve been finding myself more and more unsatisfied and frustrated. I’ve been a software test analyst for over five years at my current job in Basingstoke and over the past year realised it wasn’t actually what I wanted to do for the foreseeable future.

And once you realise that, it can really get you down. I want to be one of those people who enjoys what they do. I know everyday at work shouldn’t be a song and a dance, full of rainbows and butterflies, but at the same time I want to feel some level of fulfilment, pride and ambition in what I do. I’ve lost that with my current job sadly.

So I started looking for a new job a few months ago in an entirely different career. As it’s an entirely different area where I have limited, if any, experience it’s somewhat of a big change. And a pay cut. I have thought long and hard about this. I’m paid quite well in my current job and have limited outgoings and dependencies, meaning my life is quite easy and comfortable. I can go on holidays, book marathons, buy trainers (*cough* leggings) and eat out when I fancy. But these luxuries are no longer distracting me from the fact that I’m not enjoying the eight plus hours during the week.

Money is not giving me happiness right now. So I’m heading to a new challenge…

Yes they did send Haribo with my job offer

After the rather depressing and soul destroying process of applying to millions of different places, rarely hearing back, getting rejected, going for a few interviews, I finally landed myself a job with none other than Wiggle! This is obviously right up my street in terms of my interests and passions and so much closer to where I actually live as well. Happy days all round!

I haven’t started there yet. I still have a few weeks left of my notice to work at my current job, but needless to say I am both excited and TERRIFIED. Starting a new job is always scary. Will people like me? Will I fit in? Will I pick things up quickly? A million concerns are flowing through my head right now. And the pay cut weighing heavily on my mind.

But the time is now. I need to make that change. Someone told me a great quote from the Lean In book from Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s COO. She said that a career is more like a jungle gym than a ladder. You don’t necessarily keep moving up, but you keep striving to move forward. Sometimes you need to make side-steps or step-backs in order to progress. I’d like to think that’s exactly what I’m doing. Fingers crossed, eh?

And now for a quick review for an Organic Pillow Spray.This organic lavender spray is made in Grasse in Southern France (the “perfume capital of the world” apparently) and aims to help with insomnia and sleep issues. Lavender is well known for it’s calming properties and is often used in sleep aids. The forumla contains Litsea Cubeba and Bergamot which are also associated with relaxation and Lemon and Rosemary to promote blood circulation.

All you do is spray it onto your sheets and pillows before bed. Crucially it’s non-staining! You can buy a 100ml bottle from healthy2u.co.uk for £9.95. I personally love the smell of lavender and have enjoyed spraying this around. I don’t tend to struggle with getting to sleep but the smell is a lovely one to drift off to. Though they could have made the bottle a bit more appealing to be honest! It looks a bit like something from a chemistry lab…

When was the last time you changed jobs?

Have you ever made a big career change?

Do you use any sleeping aids?

**Full Disclaimer: I was send the pillow spray for free in return for a blog review. All opinions are my own honest ones.**

Feeling a bit lost

Initially I wasn’t really sure whether to write a post like this or not. But then I guess I like to be honest and transparent in my blog so might as well.

In general, I’m a very happy and upbeat person. I’m a glass half-full kind of girl. And a lot of times this can get me into trouble because I won’t have back-up plans or contingencies because I assume everything will be fine. I don’t like to dwell on sad things or not see things in a positive light – I’m very much an optimist. I’ll bat of things with positivity and jokes. Happiness is my default, and I know I’m lucky in that respect.

But lately I’ve been a bit down. I don’t really like to mention these sorts of things on my blog as my blog is, in general, a happy space where I waffle on about running and random fluffy stuff. But sometimes it’s good to be honest and to show that whatever you might see on the outside, it’s not necessarily true of reality.

I feel like I’m lost. I don’t know what I’m doing any more (did I ever? Does anyone ever?). I’ve just turned 29 and I don’t know where my life is going. I thought I had it all figured out. When I was growing up I studied hard, always with the goal of university and a career I loved. That sort of turned out as it should but other things happened and the years flew by and now I’m not so certain of anything anymore.

Yes it’s partly that horrible comparison trap again. Seeing what others are doing around me. My friends, family and people on social media all seeming to have such control and direction in their life. While I feel like I’m a ship in the middle of the ocean and I don’t know which direction to sail. I’m floating aimlessly. I’m not sinking but I’m not going anywhere either.

I’m happy in general, don’t get me wrong. Life is very good. I have a good job, I earn good money, I own my own flat, I have wonderful and supportive friends and family, I can go on nice holidays and buy nice things…I really have nothing to complain about. But I have no purpose and a bit of an emptiness inside. Oh I know, this is such a “first world problem” and one of those horribly cliched ideals of modern life. I am well aware of how blessed and lucky I am. But I still can’t help but feel down.

I think my issue is my current lifestyle. I live in a lovely suburban area full of lovely friendly people… but people who have their 2.4 children, their family homes and they’re all settled down. I however am not in that world. I don’t have kids, I don’t have a “family”. But nor am I living the lifestyle of a young (yes? I’m still young right?) single woman. It’s a full on 20 minute drive to get into town and the nearest shop to me is the huge Next Home shop and PC World.

I should be in the thick of it, amongst other young, carefree people who aren’t planning their baby showers or what they’ll do in the school holidays. But I’m not. I’m going to work and coming home, going to work and coming home. I can’t go out with my work colleagues because it’s an hour away from where I live (by car) and I have Alfie at home waiting for me. I can’t, on a whim, ring up a nearby friend and just head out for the evening because they either live too far away or have family-orientated plans. I’ve got all these barriers stopping me from living a proper single life. The only way to date is online dating and so far this has not gone particularly well. I feel like I’m watching life pass me by.

I’m happy and comfortable…But I’m worried that I’ll tick along like this on autopilot and one day wake up and I’m still single, still floating aimlessly and years have flown by. Something has to change I guess. It’s just being brave enough to make that change.

Have you ever felt like this?

What advice would you give?

Feeling left behind

I’m 28 years old (29 in June) and I realise this is not very old at all. And I won’t sit here and complain that I feel old and creaky, don’t worry.

I might not be a spring chicken anymore but I am not old (SOCIETY, DO YOU HEAR THAT!?). Yes I can see the fine lines on my face and the odd grey hair springing up, but I am not old. I am, however, in the minority among my friends now.

I have more pregnant friends, or friends with children or friends thinking about getting pregnant than I have friends who are not. In fact, I only have one close friend my age who is in similar position to me (i.e. unattached and childless).

I’m at that age when this is inevitable. Weddings have come and gone and time is a’ticking. My mum had my sister before she was 30 (I mean, I know it was a different time back then but still). Does this bother me? Well no not really because honest to God the thought of having children scares the living daylights out of me and I’m quite enjoying the way my life is right now. The freedom, the disposable income, the flexibility of booking holidays whenever I want, the lie-ins.

But whenever I tell my mum about a couple who’s gotten pregnant I can see a little part of her die inside. She’ll deny this but it’s true. Mother, I know you too well. And I do feel a little like I’m being left behind. I can’t join in with pregnancy conversations about morning sickness and the first trimester tiredness. I’m awkward around my best friend’s little ones. I stare in amazement at how she’s able to be a fully functioning adult, make amazing cakes and crafts, go to work and still be able to bring up two beautiful children. And she still looks amazing (Louise, you truly do).

But I’ll say it again, I’m happy with my childless life. Who knows, I might never have children. And that’s OK too. I never grew up wanting children or wanting to be a mum. I can count on my hand the times I’ve looked at a child or baby and thought, “it might be nice to have one myself”. I only have to see the Facebook statues, the Tweets, and hear the mums at the running club talk about how tired they are, how they can’t fit in a run because of Child One or scheduling conflicts or being too tired/stressed to realise that I think myself lucky to not have children.

Don’t get me wrong, I know that a part of me will feel like I’ve failed as a woman or that I’ve missed out on something crucial if I don’t have children (I know this is entirely incorrect and purely my own thinking), but right now that’s not how I think.

Yes I realise I am only 28 years old and I’m not exactly running out of time in the great scheme of things, but I defy any single woman to not have these little niggles and concerns in the back of her mind as she creeps towards her thirties.

Though I don’t want children right now, and I’m not 100% certain I’ll ever want them, I do feel like the odd one out. I’m running out of friends to turn to and chat about how good not having children is. Meet-ups and dinner dates are harder to schedule as babysitters are required or pregnancy makes things a bit more tricky. And I still get those side-eye pitying looks, almost apologetic smiles, when all things babies are being discussed when I’m there…

I don’t know where this post is going or what this post was for. To reassure myself I’m OK? To reassure my mum I’m OK? To sound like I protest too much? I don’t know.

What I do know is that something does need to change in my life. I’ve let things become a bit stale and stagnant. I need to do something to change things up. I need to embrace my single life and do something a bit more crazy than sign up to another marathon or go on holiday (and run a marathon). I just need to decide what and whether I’m brave enough.

Do you want children/have children?

Do you ever feel like you’re missing out on something?

Everything is good

January is the worst month of the year, I’m sure most of us we’ll agree. Conversely, however, I’m starting the year feeling pretty good.

To be honest, I shouldn’t really be in such a great mood. My leg is still feeling a tad niggly and my runs aren’t going as smoothly as they should this close to the marathon (sorry this is such a boring repetition right now). There’s no pain or horrendous discomfort, but I know in myself it’s not perfect and running twice in a row or pushing out the mileage or number of times I run in the week would definitely be risky. Not only this but my longest run for a fair few weeks (months!) is six miles. Seven weeks out to a marathon this is not ideal.

That said, I’m a glass half-full kind of girl (which is one of the reasons I have so many adult fails as I just presume things are going to work out and neglect to double check or consider contingency plans). I’ve got a general fitness, I’ve run seven marathons before, I have seven hours to complete it… I mean, it could go terribly let’s be honest. My leg could really start to bother me and walking could even eventually be an issue. I might DNF my first marathon. I might be in the middle of a foreign country I’ve never been to, knowing no one, half-way through a marathon I can’t complete, in tears. I mean, that’s the worst case scenario and if it happens it happens. The silver lining is that it’ll make for a great blog post 😉 In a very schadenfreuden way, failures and mishaps are sometimes a more interesting read than someone who succeeds. Obviously I don’t want to fail. More than anything, it’s a bloody expensive failure. And also, having a marathon meltdown isn’t that fun when it’s actually happening to you.

Foam rolling like a trooper

Marathons aside, mentally and physically I’m in a fantastic place.  I feel strong and healthy. Though I’m not running regularly, at the gym I’m lifting heavier weights and feeling strong. I’m still maintaining a level of fitness through running two-three times a week as well as some of my own spinning sessions and steady-state elliptical machine.Long-term readers may remember some frustrations I had a year or so ago about my body basically failing me in certain ways. Things have changed, for the better! I’ve put on about three pounds over the year – which I know isn’t massive and is probably a mix of muscle and fat. I mean, my weight probably varies a few pounds either way but long-term I’ve remained at the same consistent weight. It seems be a nice happy point for me and it’s clearly helped bump me in the right direction to feel and be in optimal health. I feel happier where I am at the moment and really like how I look and what my body can do. My main intention is obviously not lose any weight when my running increases but I’ve got a pretty good handle on this.

Key things that I’ve found that helped get me here:

  • Eating good food and lots of it. I tend to be fairly healthy during the week and then relax at the weekend. If I want cake, I’ll eat it. If I want a takeaway, I’ll have it. I don’t restrict anything but I am conscious of what I’m eating in general. I eat lots of good fats, complex carbs and protein. I’d say my diet is probably more protein and fat heavy though than carb-based. And I’ll tend to time my carbs around when I’m running to get the max benefit. But I do eat a lot, as I’m sure you’ve seen by now! I’m a three course kinda girl 😉 Essentially, I don’t worry about what I eat as throughout the week it all balances nicely.
  • Sleeping enough. I get up ridiculously early in the morning to go to the gym (3-4 times a week, lifting weights). I try not to stay up past 10pm and I find that works for me.
  • Minimising stress. In general my life is not that stressful. I enjoy my job, though my commute sucks at times. I’ve just come to accept some days are good and some days are bad – learn to control the controllables and don’t worry about things are out of your control. I have a great network of friends and family so when life does get hard I’m fully supported. I know I’m very lucky and blessed in this respect.
  • Being sensible with running. Running is a stressor and clearly my body is sensitive. So not training for a marathon all year round will help. After the spring I will be spending the summer and winter just enjoying running and entering races I fancy, but not a marathon. The training for a marathon is a fairly long and arduous process, one that my body might appreciate not doing all the time. I will be running marathons in the future, obviously, but it’s no longer as big a priority as it used to be.

So yeah. I’m feeling pretty happy right now. Mentally over the past year I’ve become a lot more happy in myself and confident. It’s nice that that’s also being reflected to how I feel and how my body functions.

What are important things for you in terms of reaching optimal health?

How much sleep do you get?

How is January for you?