Friday, 29 May 2015

Find your Inner Freak: Why it is Important to be Who You Want to Be.

Another guest post from my friend Rebecca, who is doing a great job of looking after things while I'm on hols!

This is the advice I wish I had been given when in my twenties.
Old School Photo

You leave school, you get a job if you can, you earn some dosh and you try and work out what you are going to be when you grow up. Then you realise ten years have gone and you are still trying to work out which direction you are heading so you panic a bit and stress out when you look round at others whom you consider have ‘done something with their life’.
This is why that is all pointless. The secret is that you have already made it. Success is relevant only to who you are. Therefore you should forget trying to be what you think success is based on others and look into yourself. Give yourself a break.
So what if the old schoolfriend is now backpacking round Australia, discovering advances in neurosurgery, climbing mountains while hosting dinner parties in their luxury penthouse overlooking Buckingham Palace? They might be perfectly happy and good for them but they are not you.

Who are you? Well I cannot answer that for you but here are some tips to work it out.
  • Be what you think not what you feel you should think. If this loses you friends then you are hanging round with the wrong crowd anyway.
  • Accept social responsibility. Look round, what needs changing. Change it. Get involved. Apathy doesn’t change the world. Just joining a small group from anything like breastfeeding awareness to cleaning a local river bed is changing the world.
  • Accept your achievements. You rock. If you have a job, don’t have a job, are incapable of having a job, don’t need a job; you rock. Wherever you are in life, you got there because of you. If it isn’t how you want then you have tolerated and coped, if it is how you hope then you managed that. Either way, you achieved tolerance or change. Both are equally admirable.
  • What do you love? Music? Cooking? Walking over coals? Drawing naked people every third Sunday? Whatever it is, do it. Talk about it. These are the things that make you, you. Just keep it legal.
  • How do you want to be? Want to be nice? Then be nice. It isn’t easy being nice. I fail at this on a regular basis. It can be done though if you want to.
  • Take risk. Ask that mum in the playground if she wants a coffee. Accept that random party invite where you don’t know anyone. Talk to people. The more you talk  then the more you learn. The more you learn the more opportunities you have in life. They won’t just come along by you keeping yourself to yourself.
  • Make friends with the world but be selective. Cut out those who drain you but give nothing in return. There is no shame in doing that. It is ok to not want to see people you once saw as friends. Grow and adapt, take with you those who are genuine not those you feel obligated to.
  • Love. Love those you love and then some more. Be eccentric, tell them, hug them. Have breakfast picnics in the garden, eat breakfast for dinner. Never stay sensible as who remembers the day you were sensible?
  • Be honest. Not as easy as you think. Don’t want to let people down? Well tough. Being you and being well involves taking responsibility for your own wellbeing. Learn to say no and not feel guilty.
  • Learn. I cannot stress this enough. From free online courses in origami animals, Open University degrees to looking up how to make crochet cupcakes on YouTube. Learn something. As much as you can as in your old age your brain will thank you for it. In that old persons home you will be able to sit there and make paper chickens, recite all the structures of the brain and unpick jumpers to make them into things. No learning is ever wasted.
  • Forgive yourself. Yeah you screw some things up. Who doesn’t? Accept it as the rubbish time it is and move on. You have bigger and better things to do.
  • Wear what you like. Funky socks and trainers? Hell yeah! Jumpers with kittens on? If you really must. Wear what you like, what suits you is what you feel good in not what is in a magazine.

Woman Pirate
Be a pirate!

I wish I could have read all of the above a lot younger. Having said that, I would possibly have ignored the lot. Don’t chase dreams, live the life you have. Make the best of what you have and never compare yourself to others as their success is relative only to them. Find your inner freak, be crazy, be cunning, be clever be kind. Decide who you are and work with that because we are all successful.

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