Why I need to learn to ‘go with the flow’

I would love to say that I am someone who appreciates every moment, lives for the day, and focuses on the present. But in reality, I do everything but this.

I am a compulsive planner. I can’t help it- everything in my life has to planned meticulously: what I’m doing, where I’m going, what I’m eating. My most used app on my phone is Notes, and every day I fill it with my plans for that day, the next day, and the day after that. I don’t know why I do it, I just know that if I don’t, I feel stressed, my brain feels almost ‘fuzzy’, and I find it hard to concentrate if I don’t have a plan in place. In this sense, my obsessive need to be organised is a good thing: it helps me stay calm, it means I’m never late for anything, and it means that I never really forget things.

BUT, on the flip side, it also means that I am never really focussing on the moment- I’m always looking forward, always thinking about what’s happening next, so much that I’ve realised that I’m not actually appreciating all of the little things that make life good on a day to day basis. I struggle to appreciate the moment, because I’m always thinking about the next one, rather than the one happening RIGHT NOW. Which is really the only one that matters.

The thing which inspired me to write this post was a video I shared on Facebook from Children in Need. It told the story of a family who lost their daughter to a rare genetic disorder, and then 2 years later lost their son to bone cancer. Whilst making me cry (I very rarely cry), the video also made me realise how important it is to focus on the present. Their story, aside from being unbelievably heart breaking, was also a very real reminder that no-one knows what is going to happen tomorrow. No matter how much planning I do, I  can never predict what is going to happen. The horrific plane crash involving the Brazilian football team which happened on Monday night is another, very real, and very sad, example of this. We never know what is round the corner.

Whilst this is scary (especially to me-who likes to think that I can control everything), it has also made clear that I need to start focussing on all the good that’s in my life on a daily basis, instead of always thinking about what’s happening next. What I’m going to do tomorrow can be decided tomorrow- it’s what I’m doing right now that is important.

So, from now on, I am determined to start appreciating every day a little bit more. I’m not going to be able to give up planning completely (old habits die hard), but I am going try to focus on the present, and to go with the flow.

Megan x

PS. I’ve just realised this post probably makes me sound like a psycho. I promise I’m not.

 

Why it’s time to GET MOVING

On Monday I read an article in the paper which made me angry (actually I read lots which made me angry…but no-one wants to read a blog post about Donald Trump). The headline of this article read…

“British children in bottom of world fitness league”

This fact, whilst it angers me, is not surprising. Today, children are brought up watching T.V., playing computer games, and looking at iPad screens. I am sure that these are all fantastic ways to keep children occupied, but the fact is they are doing serious damage to the physical and mental health of today’s youth.

Exercise is something which I am passionate about- I was never the ‘sporty’ type (that was always my sister’), and until the age of about 15, I wasn’t particularly interested in exercise at all. Since then, however, thanks mainly to my Dad, keeping fit has become an integral part of my daily life. I go to the gym 4 times a week, do Pilates in my uni room, and walk to and back from uni every day. I am not by any means trying to paint myself as some kind of exercise Goddess- I am far from the fittest (5km is plenty, thanks), or the strongest, but I exercise because it makes me feel like a better version of myself. When I exercise every day, I feel strong, healthy, and my mind feels clearer. If I’m stressed, I know that exercising will help me relax. It is the one thing I make time for every single day, because if I don’t do it, I feel rubbish. Exercising plays a big role in my positive outlook on life, and, for me, it is the best medicine.

And whilst I’ve focused on the effects that exercising has on my mental health (exercise is proven to help with depression), there is also an abundance of physical benefits too. Decreasing the risk of Type 2 diabetes, cutting the risk of strokes, cancers, osteoporosis. Obviously, it is not conclusive to say that if you exercise you definitely WON’T get these things, but it certainly won’t do you any harm.

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Somehow exercise is easier when this is your view…

SO…when I read the above headline this week, it made me angry because, as I’ve just shown, exercising has SO MANY BENEFITS, and there are SO MANY different types. This country offers an almost infinite amount of different physical activities- everything from football and tennis to Zumba and aerobics on a trampoline (who knew?!). There is literally something for every person, regardless of age or gender, or ability.

This then begs the question- why on earth are our youngest generation at the bottom of the global fitness league? As one of the most developed countries in the world, this fact is, quite frankly, shameful. We should be bringing these children up to love exercising and being outdoors- not in an obsessive, “I want to look good” way, but because it could (almost certainly will) help them to become happier, healthier people.

Which is why the title of the blog is “Get Moving”. I don’t care if you never read any of my blogs again, or if you tell everyone that I’m talking nonsense. If I can persuade ONE MORE PERSON to do a little bit more exercise, even if it’s 30 minutes, 15 minutes, even 5 minutes (it’s better than nothing!) a day, then I will be a happy girl:)

Megan x

PS. I’m always happy anyway, I’ll just be even happier.

 

A post dedicated to my besties (because they asked me to)

When I published my first blog post, the first thing my girls asked me was “can you write one about us?”- at first I wasn’t exactly sure if any one other than them would enjoy reading about my lovely, but slightly dysfunctional, friendship group. And then I realised that, as this is a blog about me, it only makes sense to write a post about 6 of the most special people in my life.

Me, Amy, Chloe, Paige, Erin, Charlotte and Sophie have been best friends for over ten years. We met when we were in primary school, and by the end of year 6 we’d formed a pretty close knit group. That was 8 years ago, and, somehow, different schools, boyfriends, jobs, and arguments (lots) have not stopped us from being friends. Even now, with us all either at uni, college, or working full time, we still speak all the time, and when we’re together (which doesn’t happen anywhere near as often as I’d like), it feels like nothing has changed, which is part of the reason why I think we’ve been friends for such a long time. We all appreciate the fact that we all have other things going on in our lives, and we make time for each other when we can. This is why I am so lucky to have them; I know that no matter how long I go without seeing them, nothing will change, because we know each other inside out. We have literally grown up together- I can name all of their ex-boyfriends, all of the people they’ve kissed (we actually made a game of this once), and I know all of the foods which they hate (Erin-everything, Charlotte-salt and vinegar and ketchup, Amy-cheese). I know all of their parents, their pets, and I know the way to their houses with my eyes shut.

Obviously, there’s more to our friendship than boys and food (although this is the topic of conversation 90% of the time). I love that I can always count on them for advice, for support, or just to laugh with me at something funny. When something happens to me that is even slightly out of the ordinary (which is not very often), my first thought is always to send it in our group chat, where I know I’ll get at least one (hopefully) reply. It is a massive comfort to know that even when I am in London, sometimes feeling a little bit lonely and lost, I can message my girls. It’s like having 6 friends with me all the time- because although they might not be with me physically, they are with me-either on my phone or in my heart.

Obviously, we all have issues, and our friendships are by no means perfect.We argue, we wind each other up, and we all have little things which get on each other’s nerves. But the point is that we love each other anyway IN SPITE of these, and because after more than ten years, we’ve learnt to see beyond them.

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Of course, I know that not everyone is lucky enough to have such a close knit group of friends, and not everyone needs one. Plenty of people are content with just one or two really close friends. But for me, having my 6 girls around me makes me feel safe- it’s like a comfort blanket, I know they are always there- as my support network, my wing women, and my own personal comediennes. Without them, I would, literally, feel lost.

So, to finish, the point of this article is not to massively inflate the egos of my wonderful best friends (although I’m sure I have succeeded in doing so). It’s to show how SPECIAL friendship is. I feel like today, in our world dominated by social media, real life friendship- the belly-laughs, know each other’s secrets, tease each other constantly kind, is underrated. It’s been replaced by a new, virtual kind, where no-one really knows each other and friendships are built on instagram likes and edits. And these might fill the gap for a little while, but will ultimately never be a substitute for a friendship which is built on real life memories, trust, and (in our case definitely) arguments. This is why I think it’s so important to treasure your friends; whether it’s meeting for a coffee, FaceTiming, or even just sending a text- just knowing that you have people to lean on can be so comforting. And, in difficult times, having REAL friends to talk to is a lot more reassuring than speaking to a faceless ‘friend’ on the internet.

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BEST HOLIDAY EVER

So girls- this one’s for you. In spite of how much you bully me, I am more grateful for you than  you know. Thank you for all the memories so far, and here’s to making millions more-Ladyboys forever xxxxxxxx

Megan x

A fresher who hates clubbing…(read on if you’re confused)

I am a fresher who hates clubbing. Nope, that’s not an oxymoron, I genuinely do not enjoy clubbing. At all. It’s claustrophobic, you can’t actually hear to speak to anyone, it’s easy to lose your friends and to top it all off  (from a student point of view), it’s SO EXPENSIVE! If you’re a student and can afford to pay £4.80 for a single vodka and mixer then I bow to you, but for the majority this isn’t the case. So there you go- clubbing, in my experience, leaves you alone, deaf, and in debt. Obviously I am exaggerating here; there is, evidently, an abundance people who love clubbing (hence the massive crowds), and in this lies the problem. At uni, it is unbelievably easy to feel as though you have no choice BUT to go clubbing. With club nights every evening of Freshers’ Week, and almost every person you’ve met going, you can be made to feel that if you DON’T go you’ll be missing out on the vital ‘getting to know each other’ stage and will end up at the end of the race to make as many friends as possible. Well, A) it’s not a race, and B) I can say from personal experience that NOT going clubbing does not put at any kind of disadvantage in terms of making friends.

As a well known “club hater” (ask any of my friends), I only went clubbing twice in Freshers’ week, and both resulted in me wishing I was in bed less than an hour into the night. That’s not because I had bad company, but just because I’m not a fan of the atmosphere inside a club. Each time, I ended up asking myself the same question: why am I here when I KNOW that I don’t like clubbing? And the answer, both times, was pressure. Not pressure from any one specifically- it was entirely my own choice to go out both times- but just pressure to fit in, pressure to conform to standards which don’t really exist anywhere except in our own heads. And so really, this post is about more than just my personal hatred for clubbing. It’s about why young people, in fact all people, feel the need to do things which we don’t actually enjoy doing just because society has made us think that we should. Which, if you think about it, is ridiculous. I love all of my flatmates, and I have lots of friends on my course- none of whom I have met through clubbing.

And so, I am making a pledge to myself that as of now, I will no longer spend £10 on a ticket to a club unless I KNOW that I am going to have fun, because it will inevitably result in leaving early and having to pay a ridiculous price for a taxi fare. I am no longer going to stress that people will find me ‘boring’, or ‘uncool’, just because I don’t go out every night, because at the end of the day if people can’t except that that’s who I am, then they’re not really people I want to be friends with anyway. And this is something that I encourage everyone to do, whether it’s clubbing that you don’t enjoy, or sport, or wearing what society considers “normal”. If you don’t like it, don’t do it. Life is too short to spend time doing things which don’t make us happy.

Megan x