I’ve been making quite a conscious effort to share my journey reasonably regularly so far and this is a largely self-indulgent decision. One day, when this adventure is a mere twinkling star in my past, I’ll have these statuses and photos and ramblings to look back on, like a very public scrapbook, and I’ll be able to use them to remember all of the forgotten things. I’ve been lucky that other people seem to be interested in coming along on this journey with me though and I think I underestimated how motivating and reassuring and comforting it would be to have a virtual crowd cheering me on.
It has also been a definite learning curve. Sometimes the status you think is a truly stellar example of hilarity and humour gets almost no response, and then the update you think is pretty bland ends up with 200 likes, 12 shares and 30 amazingly kind comments. And I’m not going to stop telling my bad jokes but it’s definitely interesting when you start to be able to gauge people’s reactions.
One reaction that I’m consistently surprised by is that people seem to see me as quite a positive person. That’s odd because my version of me – the person I wake up with every morning, see in the mirror every day and have been hanging out with for 23 years straight – she isn’t even remotely positive. She moans a lot and although I do try to refrain from telling you every single time I don’t enjoy a footstep, I also try very hard to be honest. I know how reassuring I find it sometimes to learn that somebody else struggles with the things I struggle with and I don’t want to create any illusions. I’m increasingly realising that I’m pretty into honesty, even when it isn’t all that pretty. (Except for when it comes to who ate the last biscuit. I’ll lie about that until the very end.) It did worry me that this honesty would translate as full time Negative Nancy-ing though.
As a naturally quite miserable person, I guess I just have to try a bit harder than some other people might to look on the bright side, and it is something I’m getting better at. I made a video clip a month or so ago about the Be Glad game. It went down quite well and I’m glad (hehe) about that. I started playing Be Glad whilst inter-railing a few years ago with one of my university housemates. We kept deciding that it was an excellent idea to drink litres of cheap Greek wine then embark on 13 hour ferry rides at 7am the next day. In actual fact, that was always a completely terrible idea and led to a lot of very unpleasant days.
The rules of play are simple. You just have to think of five things you’re glad about with the overriding theme being it can always be worse. Arguably any problems I’m facing at the moment are equally as self-inflicted as the Greece-wine-ferry situation, after all I could be at home right now drinking tea and watch Poirot reruns with my Grandma instead of running around Cornwall. It’s a good game to resurrect on a glum day of self-inflicted pain and Type 2 fun because there is always something to be glad about. Honestly, always.
Today’s Be Glad list:
1) I’m in a coffee shop drinking a really good coffee. Like, a really good coffee.
2) I can see the sea!
3) I have spent the past week running with, staying with and spending time with some truly wonderful people and I feel incredibly fortunate for that.
4) My dad is coming to visit next week and has promised to bring me an apple crumble.
5) It has barely rained all week and my feet are getting progressively drier.
This isn’t to say that you aren’t allowed to feel glum sometimes though. As Miriam said in response to a recent Tweet, ‘you wouldn’t be human if you didn’t experience the vast maw of random misery’. Nothing makes me feel worse than somebody trying to discount the validity of a sad day. Of course, it’s good to keep things in perspective, but it’s often kind of irrelevant how small the problem will seem a year from now. How you feel right now is how you feel, full stop. It’s just good to know that sometimes all it takes is a few mind games to bring you out of the slump. Take a few seconds to think of five things you’re glad about and perhaps that will be enough to turn a down day into a great day.
If you enjoyed reading this and you’re feeling generous, it would make my day if you could consider sparing a few pennies for my chosen charities Young Minds and Beyond Food. You can do so by donating here – http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/runthecoast