Lauren

Learning to say 'no'....

As someone I would call one of my role models in life once said to me, “Lauren, you need to learn it is ok to say no”.

Now I am in no way suggesting that you should miss out on amazing life experiences, instead I’m putting pen to paper or rather fingers to keyboard on a probably slightly rambly brain splat about personal development…cause I totally have the time and I can’t sleep anymore so why not!

As someone who’s recently found herself become more and more involved in the things going on around her, when I say recently its probably been happening for quite a few years, I am constantly finding myself worrying when I will actually have the time to sit down and breathe. I mean I totally love all the stuff I do, from politics to rowing and sometimes even attending the odd lecture or two but occasionally I do miss spending the day in bed watching Netflix eating chicken nuggets not worrying about how I am going to fit 3 activities into 1 hour slot the next day.

 

So, as I obviously had the time to think about this I decided to research a bit more, and decided I have a chronic case of people pleasing.

Here are some of the symptoms:

  • Email / Text / IM: "URGENTLY NEED YOUR HELP on this totally unrelated task!" Well, business coaching isn't my current specialty but it sounds like they could really use some advice. Why not?
  • Useless Meetings / Appointments:  "This face-to-face meeting has no objective but it's obviously the one meeting to rule them all." It's only going to take an hour. It's networking. Maybe we'll leave with action items and they'll come to us when they have a budget?
  • Excuses : "I got in a car accident. My office had an impromptu fire drill. I have to pass a kidney stone. My pet goldfish Nemo desperately needs a walk." Hmmm… There must be some real sh*t going on in this person's life, let's give them another 24—48hrs to deliver. 
  • Events :"Don't miss this extraordinary, once in a life-time, all day conference. This networking opportunity only happens every blue moon." Ya know, maybe there will be some business we can drum up?

You get the gist…

So as I am getting busier and busier and sleeping less and less, I wanted to remind myself that as a rather amazing teacher once said, ‘you can say no’. Learn to be a you pleaser rather than an everyone else pleaser.  Take that extra hour in bed and rearrange that meeting to a time that you’re less busy. Put you first.

 

Do not fear "the no." It may seem like a powerfully intimidating two letter word. But for such a tiny word, "no" is profoundly liberating.  So I’m going to give it a try, why don’t you join me?

 
 

University - A Term On

The months have whizzed past, the days added up and suddenly I find myself in second semester. Thinking back to the day I decided to leave York seems like it was in another universe. Here I am, doing uni the unconventional way, and learning more about myself everyday.

That’s not to say I don’t sometimes wonder what life would be like if I had stayed. I see pictures of the gorgeous girls I rowed with succeeding and wonder whether I would have been happier if I was with them. I hear from my flat, watch there snapchat stories and miss the few but great memories that I made with them.

And then the next day, I get up go to uni and fall back in love with Manchester again.

I walk around the campus and see something I hadn’t noticed the day before. I text Lucy and arrange to see her and realize how lucky I am to be close to someone that brings out the best in me. I get a text from Katie telling me she will be home that weekend, and I smile. And then I walk into a lecture see a flash of pink hair, and walk over to sit with the two beautiful girls I am so happy to have met. Later, I get in my car and whizz round to rowing, in a place that feels like a second home with people who feel like another family, and a crazy girl who can always make me laugh.

And at the end of the day, I get to go to one house or the other and be met with whatever drama is going on, ordered by my brother to get him a McDonalds or covered in licks by a certain puppy. But its ok, because it’s my family, its where I belong and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

So yes, I might not be living in halls drinking every night and having the time of my life. But I’m making memories, having unforgettable moments and looking after me.

I’m getting back into politics, doing the things I love and taking part in so many amazing opportunities. I’m rowing. I’m reading. I’m talking to the people I love. I’m miraculously acing my exams. I’m missing my friends. I’m making new friends. I’m reconnecting with my old friends. I’m laughing and crying. I’m living.

If you had asked me back in sixth form whether I would still be living at home and going to the uni where my parents work I would have laughed. But today, I know that the future is never how you plan it and sometimes you have to take life, one day at a time.

I now know I didn’t fail; I know that the decision I took was for me. And for that, I am proud.

Social Media And Life

Over Christmas my friends came home. And I was ecstatic, I had missed spending time with them and couldn’t wait to hear all about there uni lives. What I hadn’t realised is just how hard it would be, and how I would feel learning that whilst I’ve been stumbling through life back in Manchester they had created what appeared to be these wonderful perfect second lives.

And to be frankly honest, I was jealous.

For the past few months over Instagram, Facebook, twitter and snapchat I had seen them posting smiley photos of them and there new flat mates, drunk nights out, falling asleep in lectures, countless memes and tons of exciting new experiences. I saw them making new friends, getting into relationships and from where I was sat on the otherside of the phone, they seemed to be having an amazing time, perfect time.

And of course, as I sat through meals and meet ups and heard stories of the past few months in my head there perfect lives were confirmed. The drunk night out where so and so did this and that, the exam where they got 100% and the girl next door who was there new best friend. And it was so lovely to watch them smile, and tell me how happy they were. Yet, I couldn’t help feel the pang of hurt in my chest, the same one I felt when I left York. The reminder that maybe that could/should have been me.

And then I realised. The life I was jealous for, most likely didn’t exist. What I had seen and been told about was the good things, they had just left out the bad.

And that’s what social media does. It creates a perception. A sculpted perfect life. The moments a person wants to share. The happiest or funniest moments that they capture. The moments that make you believe that they have got what you want. That they are living, a life, a life without the sadness and emotions your feeling. And sometimes we lose ourselves in that.

We lose ourselves and work ourselves up. We wonder why we can’t be like them. Why we can’t love university. Spend every night drunk. Yet still be acing our exams. But what we forget is that these are there good days.

That they too have bad days, but these are hidden and unknown to us.

So when we sit and compare. And the feeling of jealousy and that pang of pain reappears. We forget that everyone has the good and the bad. And the likelihood is, the moments they are sharing are simply just the good.

So we must not forget, that we too have the good. And that like us, they also have bad days. And that in life “you need those bad days to appreciate the good ones”.

Adulthood Is Scary

That horrifying moment when you’re looking for an adult, and then realise you are an adult. So you look for an older adult, someone successfully adulting…an adultier adult.

If only.

Being 18, generally starts off for most people in one way, very drunk. Well it did for me anyway. And then a few weeks later it hits you that you are no longer a child, your an adult. Grown up and responsible. And most likely, you panic.

Because let’s be honest, no-one changes over night.

So your now 18, you can now:

-Buy a lottery ticket.
-Vote.
-Open an adult bank account.
-Buy cigarettes.
-Get a tattoo.
-Enlist in the army.
-Drink alcohol (legally)
-Go skydiving.
-Get married.
-Get a credit card.
-Work full-time.
-Jury-duty.
-Sign a lease.
-Sue someone.
-Buy fireworks
-Go to jail, real people jail.

You’ve reached a milestone, the part of your life when you are responsible for you. And frankly that is scary. Yesterday, you couldn’t do any of these things and now suddenly your thrown into the real world. The real world although scary is enticing. The freedom to be you.

So why do you feel as though you’ve been thrown in the deep end?

Don’t worry, its completely normal. After all, you are only a day older and overnight you haven’t suddenly developed and acquired the skills to be a successful adult (although is anyone), and your brain hasn’t magically developed whilst you slept. Yes, you may have to start thinking about the future, but don’t over think it. You don’t have to grow up over night.

Its perfectly fine to still feel 4 inside, infact its more normal than you would think. It is even ok to still love disney, trampolines and sleep with your teddy. Society has a view that once your an adult these parts of your life have to disappear, they don’t. Continue doing the things you love.

My advice, stop worrying about the future and enjoy it. Your only 18 once, and all those eighteenths you keep getting invited to? Go, some of them will be the best memories you make.

 
 

Choices

So, as you might have guessed myself and Lucy have a lot in common..she is regularly referred to as a mini me, another thing that we have in common is that our time is split between two houses.
Both our parents have split up and that means that rather than having one bedroom, we have two. That means two beds, two wardrobes, two places to make our own but it also means two places to choose to go each night. A choice that not everyone has to make. This choice isn’t always easy, one night you can be with your mum and feel like your abandoning your dad, and then the next its the other way round. But never the less, its a choice that has both pros and cons.

Choice is something we come across every single day. A choice defined in the dictionary is an act of choosing between two or more possibilities. The dictionary definition makes it sound simple. However, many of our choices in life aren’t.

Ive already spoken about uni choices, just one choice that people go through in their lives, however there are so many more. Choices and decisions are difficult to make at the best of times so if you are struggling here are some of my favourite tips:

  • Remember often whichever choice you make there will be negatives however, there will also be positives. Perhaps try listing out both the positives and negatives, although don’t be surprised if new ones pop up!
  • Pretend like your advising a friend. Sometimes we become so wrapped up in how are choices will affect other people we forget to think about how they will affect ourselves. If you were advising a friend you would tell them to do what is best for them, so do the same for you.
  • Remember this quote: “Your choices are half chance, so are everybody else’s.” -Paulina Angelique. Whichever, decision or choice you go with, you could always have gone with the other, sadly thats the nature of life!
  • Think about how you will feel when your 70. First, it will put the difficult decision into perspective (maybe it’s not as big a deal as you think it is) and secondly, it will help you make a good decision for the long term, rather than just for instant gratification.

Theres so many more tips shared all over the internet, but generally if you really are struggling the best tip is to go with your heart. When I was making a choice about university one of my rowing coaches gave me some good advice which I’m going to finish with…

You have got to make it work. You are at a junction. You cannot go back. Pick a path and stick to it. In 3/4 years you can do it again. There is no right/wrong, just a path/direction.

Picking your path may not be easy, but there is no right or wrong. Whatever path you pick, make sure it is for you.

 
 

University: It's Okay To Not Be Okay!

2 weeks ago, I packed up mum and dads cars and set off to York University. I was excited yet nervous, I didn’t feel old enough to be going to university yet the thought of all the exciting new opportunities pushed that to the side. It was going to be Freshers week, I was going to have the freedom to live on my own and I was going to study a course that for the past 2 years I had grown to love.
Yet 4 days later, I returned back home…

People had always told me, “university will be the time of your life” yet here I was ill, homesick and not having “the time of my life”. So what was I doing wrong??

Nothing it turns out, and it also turns out I wasn’t the only one feeling this way! You know those talks in school where they convince you that once you get through Alevels all the worries and stresses will disappear and suddenly life will be simple. The photos you see appear on your Facebook as older siblings and older friends disappear off to uni and spend all their student loan on alcohol and party everyday. Well, they miss out some bits.

Yes, freshers week is a blast- well it was for the three nights that I lasted. Meeting new people, and living in a flat of them is interesting, noisy but a lot of fun. The 9am lectures are as painful as everyone says, and freshers flu is real.

But what you don’t get told about is that sometimes things don’t go exactly to plan. That’s not saying always…nearly everyone of my friends is loving university and their new life there. But I guess what I’m trying to say is, for some people it doesn’t…and that is ok.

It took me a long time to convince myself that by dropping out of uni and moving to the university in my home town I wasn’t failing. I wasn’t disappointing anyone and most of all people weren’t going to say “you should have tried harder”…at least not the important people. I spent nights searching for the reasons to stay and comparing these to the reasons to go; my dislike for the course, the lack of support for when life threw me of course, getting lost everytime I left the building and the fact that I literally had no idea what I was doing most of the time. I knew, mentally I wasn’t ready to be away from home and the support network that I had built up. Yet, I was 18, this is what people did and so I kept pushing myself despite crying to various friends most nights.

I tried to force myself through giving myself a target..get to the end of next week and you can see the family and that sort of thing. I even tried to laugh and drink my way through the confusion and make a joke out of the fact that I was becoming more and more miserable and hating my course and the thought of seeing anyone or having to leave my bed everyday.

But in the end I gave in. And it was scary. It was terrifying. And I thought I would loose many friends and a lot of respect. But if anything the opposite happened.

My friends and family were happy as long as I was happy, in fact most of them were thrilled I was so close to home now. My rowing coach excepted me back onto the team, and my job took me back. The nights I had lay there worrying about it had turned out to be pointless.

Saying all that, I wouldn’t go back. Being at York was important, it taught me lessons and as everyone says “everything happens for a reason”. I met some lovely people, learnt I wasn’t the worst person at rowing and also managed to cook.

Most importantly however it taught me that life is short, we have to do the things that make us happy and not worry about what anyone else thinks. Those who love us will stick with us no matter what. So if your reading this lying in bed wondering where you went wrong? The chances are you probably haven’t and that somewhere out there someone else is worrying and thinking exactly the same as you. But, it gets better.

Today I had my first lecture of my new course and I loved it. I even met a few of the girls and didn’t feel like a complete outsider. Yes I have a long way to go, friends to make and it will take time to settle completely into this new stage of my life but I am already so much happier.

So what I’m not doing uni, the conventional way? I’m doing it the way to keep myself happy and most importantly healthy- and that is ok.

 
 

A Bit About Us

We are Lauren and Lucy, two girls who have quite a lot in common. We decided to start this blog because we decided we’ve learnt some valuable lessons (this usually comes from doing something stupid or having no common sense). Although we have valuable things to tell the world, while we do this blog, hopefully we will learn  much more. We will blog about lots of things which I hope you’ll enjoy. This is our little corner of the internet where we can be and do whatever we want. This is how we will share our journey, and hopefully it should be… interesting.