Friday, 24 February 2017

7 Tips For When Life Doesn't Quite Go As Planned...

As you may already know, life lately has been more than a little bit crappy for me.

I've had to take a pretty big paycut during training at my new job, and though I know it's not forever it's still difficult for me at the moment. (Come on, licensing...!)

Me and my boyfriend have been having numerous troubles.

And of course, the big, obvious one - My house purchase fell through over a bloody plant, leaving me temporarily homeless and now living in hilariously overpriced shared accommodation with a godawful housemate who likes to listen to really loud bollywood music at about 3am. (Or rather, he likes the empty lounge to listen to this music, while he goes to his room three doors away and forgets about it. But that's another story)

Despite all of this, I'm not feeling quite as terrible as you may think I would. In fact, the inspiration behind this post was the fact that I had my mid training one on one with my tutor the other day, and got an overall very positive review. The write up she did for me even comments on my current personal issues (because, let's be real, as much as I gloss over it and treat it as an annoying rant rather than anything overly traumatic, the uenxpected homelessness was kindof a big deal) and compliments me for the way that I dealt with it. It explicity states that they tried to send me home a few times so that I'd be able to do and deal with it and sort myself out but that I refused, and that I managed to keep myself in good spirits and joke about it a few times. And I'm actually proud of that, because it's true - I feared the worst, but I coped just fine. I'm particularly proud of this because the Nicola of a few years ago would definitely not have reacted anywhere near as well and would probably have ended up fighting a full on mental breakdown over something far less serious, but here we are. We live, we learn.

And on that note, here's a couple of tips from me for dealing with it when life doesn't quite go as you planned.

001. It's true - sometimes it's a good thing that life didn't go the way you wanted it to, because sometimes things can end up so much better - although different! - than you'd hoped. 
If you'd asked 18 year old me where I thought I'd be ten years later, I'd have probably told you that I'd quite like to be married with perhaps one child, though I wouldn't be entirely certain on the child thing just yet. The irony? I'm still not. And that's okay! So I never quite settled down how I thought I wanted to, but I've also been to more countries than anyone in my main friend groups and am pretty damn good at the solo travel thing. And I enjoy it! I'm actually glad that life took me this way instead of settling down. I look at the lives of my friends who did get into serious relationships very early and I'm happy for them - but it's not for me. I get bored easily. I like constant change. I like to be somewhere that's busy, and clean, and I like to be spontaneous. I always thought I wanted that kind of life, but in retrospect? I'm glad I don't have it.

002. It's okay if you don't actually know what you want to do.
I was so happy when I got onto the university course I really wanted to do - education. I spent years and years doing every bit of work experience I could to get in. And you know what? In all honesty, going to university is one of my biggest regrets. I've majorly changed career several times, from teacher to police officer and now into train driving. You'll change, you'll develop. Maybe you'll love your job, and maybe you won't. It's okay if you don't. You can change career as many times as you want to, and you shouldn't feel bad for it.

003. Find the positive parts about your situation.
So, my rent is hilariously high right now, which is kind of what happens when you had one day to find a flat and move straight into! But, find the good things. Rent is high, but it includes a residents gym and so I make sure I use it. It's on the Thames, and I like walking along it. My commute to work is really short, and that allows me to do all sorts of other things that I enjoy. Why focus on the negative things? You know you've got to put up with them, you know they're only temporary, so ignore them and just enjoy the benefits of the situation too.

004. Make it work.
While the rent being so high isn't quite so terrible for me as I had savings already, it's difficult for my boyfriend who is in the opposite situation and had a lot of debts. So, we make it work, and we don't make it a negative experience. We found that the Tesco a few doors down does ridiculously good deals if you go at exactly the right times, and so we make a game out of it and seeing what we can find. The other day we spent 7p (no really, 7p) on a huge load of broccoli, some jacket potatoes, some really amazing cheesey garlic bread and a bottle of orange juice. It was amazing. Right now, Chris is at work but I've already seen that there are piles of blueberries and I'm going to head back over as soon as I've finished writing this to see if they've gone down anymore, so I can surprise him with the romantic gift of heavily reduced fruit...

005. Don't dwell on it.
While of course, making a plan on how you're going to fix the situation is a great idea - don't overdo it. Dwelling on something is never good, and it'll just make you feel bad in the meantime.

006. But - do positively plan!
Me and Chris are currently on opposite schedules. He gets home from work at around midnight. I get up for work at around 6am. If I happen to leave early and he happens to start a bit late, we have a brief situation where we run into each other at the train station. And that's about it. But, we know it's going to happen and we work around it. Even if that is just leaving a surprise broccoli bouquet in the fridge for the other person, and pencilling in dinner with each other.

007. Find the humour.
No one wants to be around a moaner. Everyone knows your situation sucks, and they do feel bad for you - but it's awkward for them if you're down about it all the time. If people approach you and talk about it genuinely to you, then of course, go ahead and tell them your feelings and rant all you want. But outside of that? Make it funny. The people in my training class don't want to hear me moan unprompted and it doesn't make anyone feel good - make a joke about your situation and they'll be much more on your side, and you'll feel better for it too.

That's some advice from me - what's worked for you?


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