outbreak

It all happened so fast, and it’s hard to say where it all began. It is evident now though that there is a dividing line between before and after. A ribbon tying up our lives as they were, and then an infinite section of time, in which no one knows if life will ever be the same again. We feared and anticipated so many things for this year; a global pandemic was not one of them. Everything is so unimaginably different, and yet simultansouly so mind-numbingly the same. There is no routine, and yet every day is a repetition of the day before. There is nowhere to go except the bubble we’ve created inside these four walls.

Unable to go out unless exercise and essentials deem it neccesary. Unable to meet, hug, touch each other. Look around, and everything is shut down. Shops are closed, schools are shut, exams are cancelled. It’s like the whole world ground to a halt, and we slowed down with it. We’re still carrying on and living our lives from one day to the next, but it feels like we don’t really know who we are or what our purpose is anymore. It’s an effort just to pick up a pen and write. In a world where even our own survival is thrown into question, there is little room for inspiration or creativity. The world is in turmoil around us. People are dying, and we cannot discredit the gravity of the situation.

Now we have what seems like a undefinable amount of time ahead of us, the pressure is on for us to pursue the things we don’t normally have time for. All around us on social media and in our conversations is the nagging sense that we must improve ourselves, do something useful with our time, make a difference to the world. In an ideal world, we would. We’d become perfect versions of ourselves, make the world that we will return to after this somewhere we really want to be in. But this is not a perfect world; if this year has taught us anything, it is to expect the unexpected, not to attach ourselves to a vision of how we want things to be.

The changes going on around us don’t mean we should destroy ourselves trying to be people we’re not or attempting to do things that are, realistically, unacheiveable. We cannot expect to thrive in this uncertain environment. We are surviving, stronger with every day we wake up, and that is all that matters. Perhaps we should use this time, not to recreate ourselves, but to really see ourselves for who were are. We are enough. In the middle of the chaos, breathe, and remember we are miracles, simply because we exist.

Life update

It’s been a while since I last uploaded, so I’m posting this just to get me back into blogging. I was busy with exams for a few weeks, then took some time out to relax, and I seem to have got out of the habit of blogging. Although I haven’t been blogging, I’ve not stopped writing. In fact, I’ve started working on a new novel. It’s a psychological thriller, and I’m really getting into it! I hope to have it finished within a few months. I’ve also been writing more poetry, which I will upload at some point when I get around to it! Expect more posts in the next few weeks as I improve the frequency of my blog activity!

So here it is…

Merry Christmas!

Christmas time is here again, and another year has passed. I haven’t been writing much lately, and haven’t been having so much creative inspiration. I have always found that writing is much easier to do when an idea comes to me; if I sit down with the intention to write, but have no ideas, it always proves difficult.

What’s strange about my recent lack of writing, is that I have actually been feeling much happier than I did earlier in the year. Somehow, it’s easier to write in sad times than it is in happy times. It been an adventure of a year for me; I’ve experienced mental highs and low, faced love and loss, had to say goodbye to people through death and through growing apart. In dark times, words were all I had to turn to. Death and heartbreak are easy to write about, as proved by poets for centuries.

But now it’s Christmas, and although everything may not be good, I have, to an extent, learned to face it all with happiness. I really don’t want to sound like a clichéd line in a Christmas card, but I honestly feel that Christmas is different this year. People ask me what I want for Christmas, and I genuinely don’t know what to say. I’ve made it through 2018, I couldn’t have asked for anyone better to have spent it with, and I’ve realised that this is all I really need. The lessons that I’ve learnt, and the experiences I’ve had, are worth more than anything that I find under the tree on Christmas day.

I’m fully aware of how cliché this sounds. But if we’ve all heard it so often, why haven’t we done anything about it? The average household spends around £500 on Christmas, with the average child receiving 16 presents. Why then, is it so common to hear people complaining about having to spend time with family at Christmas? Why, when people have already spent and received so much, is shopping in the sales the first thing they want to do after Christmas? If we keep spending and spending, and are still not happy, when are we going to realise that, perhaps, money does not equal happiness.

Presents and food are integral parts of the holidays, a fact that cannot be disputed. But this Christmas, I’m placing more worth on the people who are close to me. On Christmas Day, I will be sparing a thought for all those souls who are lost and lonely during the festive period. Merry Christmas everybody, I hope you have a happy and peaceful holiday.

What is happiness?

Happiness is the seemingly unattainable thing that everyone is striving for. How often are the words ‘if only…’ or ‘I wish…’ included in our sentences? Everyone is looking to have something more, because, if they have that thing, be it an object, person, success, more time… the list goes on. The fact is that we cannot always have the thing we want, and we are therefore unhappy.

Something else that I’ve noticed, is that everyone always seems to feel the need to justify their happiness; being happy is never a priority. We can’t be happy unless it’s ‘right’ to be so. For example, there is such a need for people-pleasing, that we feel that we can’t be happy if others aren’t pleased with us. Have you ever made a decision, or done something, which your friends or family didn’t entirely agree with? Even if it made you happy personally, you feel you can’t express that happiness if other people aren’t happy with you. If you haven’t pleased other people, you feel you’ve failed and therefore cannot be happy.

But happiness is a simple thing. There are so many happy things, you don’t need to thing that you think will bring you the ultimate happiness. Be happy with the little things, the sunrise in the morning, a smile from a stranger, a lost object found again.

I don’t believe that happiness is such an unobtainable thing. It’s just a matter of mindset, a matter of doing what you want. Do what makes you happy, that’s all there is to it. Let go of all the conditions placed on happiness. Let go of doing what everyone wants. Your happiness is a priority, and there’s no need to feel bad for choosing that over anything else. The life you’re living is your own. You deserve to be happy 🙂

Opinions and Lies

There are so many differing opinions in this world. So many lies. Somebody tells you one thing and means another, gives you fact which is fiction and fiction which is fact. There are so many rumours, I don’t know who to trust anymore.

It seems like everything is lies, lies, lies. What is true to one person is a lie to someone else. A lie might be true to someone in some cases. Each opinion is like a window on the world. The view is not wrong, it’s just different.

So what I have realised is that, when there are so many opinions, so many lies, you can never really be ‘right’. You can only be right in your own way. So, if there are only lies to choose from, at least choose the version of the truth that makes you happy. If it brings you happiness, it must be true.

My Organisation Tips for School and Sixth Form

It’s September! With the onset of colder weather and darker nights, Autumn is approaching. It’s time for the new academic year to start. A new school year doesn’t have to be a stressful, nerve-wracking experience. As I am about to go into Year 13, I thought I would share these organisation tips which helped me through Year 12. Hopefully this will be useful to you whether you’re at sixth form, college, uni, or about to start GCSEs.

Here are my organisation tips for making it through the school year…

Folders

Folders are my biggest life-saver for sixth form when it comes to organisation. They are massively important in keeping my notes in order. I highly recommend getting a folder for each subject you take, where you can store notes and handouts. This just makes it ten times easier when it comes to exam season and you need everything to hand for revision!

Take notes in lesson

This is something I’ve learnt after being at sixth form for a year. When I first started, I never made detailed notes in class. This meant I had to catch up on notes at home. If you make your class notes as detailed as you can, all you have to do is read over them at home, rather than writing them out from scratch. I’ve found this really helps with organisation.

Wake up early

I’m not saying this one is easy, in fact, it’s something I struggle with! But if you can make the effort and get up early, you have more time to get ready for school. I find that having more time before I leave for sixth form puts me in a better, less-stressed mindset when I get there, and I can focus better in class.

Use your free time wisely

If, like me, you’re at sixth form, your timetable will be full of free periods. At first, it seems amazing to have so much time when you don’t have to be in lessons! However, although it’s fine to occassionally use frees for relaxing/socialising, it is important to use them wisely. Think of them as time in which you can get more work done. Leaving all your homework and revision till you get home isn’t half as good as having already done some of it in frees during the day.

Make to-do lists 

This is incredibly important when it come to organisation. Just do it – it keeps you focused!

Manage your time outside of school

As with free periods, your time outside of school needs to be balanced. I always try to divide my evenings and weekends between getting revision done, taking time for hobbies and for socialising. You can’t be constantly working, so make sure to take a break and enjoy yourself from time to time.

Remember your grades don’t define you

This doesn’t mean school isn’t a priority, but sometimes it’s easy to get overwhelmed with work and forget that you actually need to have a life. Make sure your have something else to focus on, whether it be a hobby, social life, or a pet to look after. There’s so much more to life than whether or not you get good grades.

Organise Your Life

Organisation is key to a productive lifestyle. Whether this means clearing out drawers and cupboards, or setting yourself goals for each month, getting organised is important at many levels in order to keep yourself motivated and free from stress.

However, knowing how to be organised can be difficult, so I have put together a few tips.

Manage your time

Split your workload into small chunks by making a manageable to-do list. Organise your deadlines, and set aside a time when you intend to complete each task. If you don’t finish within the set time, simply reschedule for the next day or week. Make sure to prioritise tasks accordingly to your deadlines.

Declutter your schedule

What are your personal priorities and goals? Make sure to keep these clear in your mind when you organise a schedule, and don’t feel bad about saying no to things when you feel the need. No one can keep on top of an insanely busy schedule.

Plan a weekly/monthly clear-out

Set aside time each week or month to clear out your bedroom of office. Be strict with yourself, and don’t keep unnecessary things for the sake of it. Ask yourself, when was the last time you used it? If you were shopping right now, would you buy it? Organise the things you do need in a way you can easily find them when you need them.

Organise your mind

Keeping yourself mentally organised and stress-free is just as important as clearing out your workspace. Try keeping a journal where you can write out your thoughts and worries at the end of the day. Exercising and practicing mindfulness can also help to ease stress.

Set personal goals

Set goals for yourself that will help you grow as a person and boost your happiness. This doesn’t have to be related to school or work. For example, you could try to do more of things you enjoy, start a new hobby, or try to stop doing things you think may be negatively impacting your life.

Be productive, but give yourself time to relax

Being productive is important in order to stay organised and keep on top of things. However, if you are constantly working and don’t give yourself time to relax you’re going to end up tired and stressed and will consequently lack motivation. Don’t feel guilty for giving yourself some me-time in order to relax and wind-down.