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8 April 2012

Do stuff you like doing

I like wearing my penguin Kigu

I may have mentioned before that a few years ago I spent six weeks in Thailand with two friends; exploring, sunbathing, trekking and generally soaking up as much of the country as we could in the time we were there.  As you can imagine, it was a life-changing experience - not only because of all of the amazing things we saw, and did, but because it really gave me an opportunity to get to know myself.  I am a great believer in giving yourself space, and closure when making difficult decisions, and, the other side of the world... well, that's about as much space as you can get from anything that might be on your mind back home.

One of the things I realised about myself, around the third or fourth week of being away, is that as much as I love travelling and experiencing new things - the thrill of an amazing view, being amongst the hustle and bustle of a different culture, the freedom of living out of a backpack - I also really love home.  As silly as it sounds, this was kind of a scary realisation for me, and one that I felt afraid to admit.  When you're a certain age, travelling is 'the' thing to do isn't it? Your circles of friends fluctuate and change shape as people disappear off to faraway places, then return, months later, with a dark tan and woven bracelets around their wrists and ankles.  They go off to teach English in other countries, to live in huts in the jungle, to do charity work in the third world or tour countries in Asia.  So, I felt pretty stupid returning from Thailand having been struck with an epiphany than I am not a 'sling a load of clothes in your backpack and slum it for six weeks' kind of traveller, but more of a 'visit somewhere you really want to go and spend two weeks exploring' kind of traveller.  But it gets worse.  You see, whilst I was away in Thailand, I started making a mental list of all the things I missed from back home.  On this list were things like; long phone calls with my Mum, bubble baths, fleece-y pajamas, fish and chips, strawberries and cream, duvet days, 90's film marathons and curling up with a good book.  Not things like crazy drunken nights out, big parties, adrenaline fuelled weekends or going out every night of the week.  No-siree Bob.  For a long time I tried to shy away from this.  When we got back I'd still go out at the weekends, curse the hangovers (that seemed to get worse and worse) and the money I'd poured down the drain on cider and chips in pitta with cheese.

And then one day, about a year ago, I was invited to a house party where I knew almost no-one going.  It was about an hour's drive away and would mean finding a small area of carpet where I could lay my head and driving back in the morning.  Whilst frustratedly considering what to wear and typing postcodes into Google Maps it suddenly hit me.  "I'm 25. I don't have to do stuff I don't want to anymore."  So I didn't go.  And it was great.  Since then, I've fully embraced this new philosophy on life that is very complicated, hard to grasp and difficult to get your head around... [not really!] ... DO STUFF BECAUSE YOU ENJOY IT, OR DON'T DO IT.  Don't like busy nightclubs full of people spilling their drinks over you and trying to pull each other? Don't go. Spend house parties sitting on the stairs pretending to text people and wondering when it's acceptable to leave? Don't bother going at all! Of course, there are times when you have to sacrifice what you want to do and put other people first; to be there for friends or family, or to make someone else happy.  But don't do things just because you feel you have to; there are not enough hours in the day for that approach to life.

These days, I make lots of time for things I know make me happy.  Nothing is more important than doing that.  Here are some things topping my list at the moment.

+ cuddles on the sofa with the dog
+ long bubble baths with Lush goodies
+ seeing my Mum and Dad
+ getting home in time to walk the dog and watch the sun go down
+ having friends round for yummy dinners
+ going to bed an hour early and getting cosy under the bedspread with my Kindle
+ packing my camera and going for an adventure in the forest with the boyfriend
+ going for weekends away in the camper van
+ growing seeds and pottering in the garden
+ big mugs of peppermint tea
+ dedicating an hour to sitting and reading all my favourite blogs
+ my favourite fleece-y Primark pajamas
+ sending and receiving post
+ writing lists
+ watching TV box sets [currently watching: dexter, cougar town, the wire]

Whenever I'm having a stressful week at work or all of the things on my to do list are getting on top of me, I take a deep breath, clear the schedule and make time to do these things.  It makes everything better.  What's on your list of things that make you happy?

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comments:

  1. Glad I'm not the only person that doesn't really like nights out or drinking. I'd much rather spend the night infront of the TV.

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  2. Everything on that list describes me completely, although I'd swap the peppermint tea for Earl Grey ;)

    In my first year at uni, I used to love going out every night, but I slowly realised that I didn't enjoy spending a bucket full of money, wasting the day after moping about and regretting everything I'd done before.

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  3. I agree you should do what makes you happy! Nothing worse than a night out spending money when you'd actually rather be at home! Catching up with friends and planning trips away are the top of my list :)

    Caroline x
    Caroline's Catwalk

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  4. Lovely post Rosie, I went to New Zealand for 4 months and felt the same way. Don't get me wrong, it was nice there but I love Wales and not sharing a bathroom and robinsons squash. Missed weird things when I was away.
    I love watching Game of Thrones in my Game of Thrones tshirt with a huge mug of tea and a curly wurly, the simple things :)

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  5. I love this post, I'm definitely a homely person and would much rather be snuggling with the cat on the sofa than out drinking :)
    I'm going to try doing a few more things for me rather than trying to please everyone else for a change. Thank you for the reality check!

    Mollie xo
    molliemuses.blogspot.com

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  6. I'm learning to accept that I dislike nights out and shouldn't feel like I have to conform to a typical 27 year olds life.

    So I like knitting and cross stitching and baking, and spending time in with my boyfriend and my dogs. That's what I like and therefore that's what I shall do!

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  7. Love this! I get teased about my grandma habits quite a bit. Apparently a 20 year old student should like drinking not knitting, who knew?!

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  8. A lovely post Rosie, very true....life is far too short to not do what you want to. I too am a home girl, sofa and cuddles anyday!

    x

    http://thatbeautifulspace.blogspot.co.uk/

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  9. I have to agree whith you - visiting other places and cultures is so amazing , but it also makes you appreciate home :) I loved reading this post

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  10. Yes! Totally get this - I'm all for saying yes more but by 26 I've gotten some stuff down, like I know I hate going places at the weekend or on holidays, in fact I hate busy places in general, so I avoid! ;)

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  11. Aw Rosie this was very heart felt. Love reading blog posts like this. And well the image of you in that AMAZING penguin suit has made my day :D haha. xxx

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  12. So basically I want to firstly say that I love you in your penguin kigu. Please let's meet in our kigus with bodhi and schmidt? Secondly I am the same as you, after travelling for four years I realised I missed home... It's the small things! Such a beautiful and lovely written post cxxxxxx

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  13. This is such a great post and one I can really relate to. I wrote this post last year about how I've definitely become more introverted as I get older:http://www.skullsandponies.com/2011/08/being-introvert.html

    Thing is - I completely love it! I am so much happier just doing what I want to do rather than what I think I should be doing!

    By the way - I freaking love your penguin kigu! I've also just stumbled across your blog through our twitter #notbigdrinkers chat so I'm excited to add it to my reader! Love finding new blogs! :)

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  14. hear hear! (or here here? I am never sure and should really look it up one of these days!)

    It bugs the hell out of me when people are like, why aren't you drinking, why are you so boring. HUSH and let me live my life!

    I am already worried about having to avoid people pouring drink down my throat (not literally I hope) at my wedding in November.
    anyway #notbigdrinkers rule!

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  15. This is the best post I've read for ages I think!! I love your attitude, never really thought about it like that but all so true!

    Sasha xx

    www.fashpashblog.blogspot.co.uk

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  16. What a wonderful post Rosie! I can relate to every single thing you said! It's only recently that I too realised I don't want to travel - 4 years away at uni has taught me that home, friends and family is truly where my heart is, and although I want to see the World, I'm just as happy exploring gorgeous rural Britain with my two Border Terriers and some great food, even if we rarely get sunshine and it rains every day! I adore your blog - it really feels like 'escapism' and I hope to one day have my own little house and vegetable patch!
    Hopefully see you soon,
    Lauren xx

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  17. I adore this post! I often think I am an adult now, surviving pretty well on my own so why the heck am I hanging around with people I don't like in places I don't enjoy. I am going to adopt this policy from now on! xx
    Ella @ Belle Vintage

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  18. Best Kigu ever, Rosie (: I know exactly what you mean with simply enjoying home and all of its' comforts. As much as I love travelling, seeing new faces and exploring new surroundings, there's nothing I enjoy more than simply being at home, TV off and soaking up familiar surroundings, getting lost in a good book and having friends round for a homemade meal! I'm such a homebody but I wouldn't have it any other way. xxxx

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  19. Such a homebody too and I loved this post so, so much. Throughout I thought, 'that's me'! Great job lovely.

    xoxo

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  20. Ahhh yes Rosie!!I couldnt believe it when I had my epitaphanic moment!!im glad u said that about travelling because ive never actually done the experience,purely because I know I wouldnt enjoy it!!I too miss "home" and prefer short exploring trips rather than backpacking.It used to seriously stress me out that friends would choose to spend time with people they (and i)didn't even like,so when I stopped going because I realised I didn't have to,it made my life so much better!!I sometimes worry that others judge me/im distancing people for my decisions.But I then also think,actually they really aren't worth it in that case!My feel good things to do are cross stitch,knitting,reading,cuddles with my kitten and tea,watching football and films.xxx

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    Replies
    1. OH and baking obviously!Just seen your picture!!Love.It.Getting into pjs straight from work...guilty pleasure!I also find charity shopping so therapeutic!xx

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  21. You're such a good writer! I'm not really into going out drinking either, would rather stay home hanging out with my laptop. You must tell me where you got your penguin kigu from! It would make nights at home sooooooo much funnnnnerrrrrr if I was dressed up as a giant penguin!

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  22. You are SO right. I'm completely the same - so many of my friends are heading off to various countries after we finish uni this summer, but I'm looking forward to finding a nice, cosy flat somewhere instead. I've often beaten myself up about not being exciting or adventurous enough, but it's so true - If I don't enjoy it, then why do it? I'd rather spend my money going to arthouse cinemas and daydreaming the hours away in a coffee shops and pass on nights out in the same club each week.

    Brilliant post - favourited!

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  23. My list of things is pretty identical to your list of things! I've never been one for loud parties where I have to spend all night talking to people I don't like and I consider myself extremely fortunate that I met my husband at 17 who is into exactly the same things as me meaning that I never felt I had to go to those parties. And I couldn't be happier.

    I'm starting to realise that I don't think there's actually that many people that like the party kind of lifestyle out there - I think it's just been portrayed on TV so much that it seems like that's the done thing but I only know one or two people that actually enjoy doing that. Everyone else I know would rather have a cup of tea with their mum (but that's probably why they're my friends in the first place!)

    :) x

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  24. This is such a great post, and I agree with you completely! There are a couple of clubs that I love going to because they feel really relaxed and I enjoy a night out there, but I've stopped going to random clubs or house parties just for the sake of it because it was beginning to feel like a chore. Sometimes a night in with a DVD, some nice food and a comfy sofa is much better!
    I've never been abroad (which loads of people seem to find really weird!) and I would love to visit different countries, but to be honest my idea of a great holiday is a camping trip a couple of hours from home, where you can take the dog for a walk, read books in the sunshine and have barbecues every evening!

    Gillian x
    elevatormusik

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  25. Wow I can really relate to this! Felt exactly the same when I went travelling - realised how much I love home!
    Great post :)
    xx

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  26. I'm exactly the same! I'm in my first year of university but I've decided I don't want to drink anymore and just enjoy the fact that I like different things!

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  27. What a brilliant post Rosie, you write so well and I think you've perfectly echoed what a lot of us feel. I'm only 19 but already know the drinking/clubbing culture isn't for me. In fact I'm going out tonight, but with friends I haven't seen for 18 months, which is the only reason I'm going. Reading this has reassured me that the fact I'm not particularly looking forward to tonight isn't necessarily a bad thing - it's just who I am! You've inspired me to write a similar post with my happy list xx p.s. I nominated you for a much deserved Sunshine Award, have a look at my latest post to get involved! :)

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  28. I couldn't agree more. I find nightclubs really damn scary, especially with all the crazy people (in the not so good way) about and I rarely go unless it's a friends birthday. I would much rather have drinking times with close friends in a cosy house and that way we can all be silly together rather than infront of random strangers I know nothing about. I am glad other like you feel the same way :)
    P.s YOU HAVE AN AWESOME KIGU! It's the next one on my list to get xox

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  29. I wholeheartedly agree on every point. My friends always raise an eyebrow when I decide not to go clubbing until 6am but I really don't care. Recently I've stopped drinking and I've been shocked at how much abuse I get. Either people try and pressure me, are shocked, or else say "oh, you're not drinking, that's so crap". Because obviously if I don't drink I'm going to be boring and have an awful night out. Such bizarre behaviour! xxx

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  30. ohhh look at you, you little cutie!
    It's so nice seeing the amount of people who are fellow old ladies in young bodies. I really wish I had the _____ to want to go out every night and get wasted and stagger in at 5am, I'm like half of a 80 year old married couple but I am totally happy that way, plus it makes the odd occasion I do go out for a few drinks way cheaper and way more fun. I love everything on your little list too. There's nothing I love more than little camera adventures with the dog and boy!

    xoxoox

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  31. I almost feel like I'm reading my own diary here. Exactly the same thing happened to me when I spent a year abroad as part of my degree in Japan. There's nothing like discovering something about yourself, though its difficult to admit some things, there's a great sense of relief afterwards :)xxx

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  32. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post. Being a student, I'm sort of expected to drink lots and fall out of nightclubs most nights of the week. But I don't enjoy that. I would rather bake my own bread, curl up with a good book or create something on my sewing machine. And I don't have to feel bad about that, just because I'm doing something a little different.
    Thank you for writing this post, it's fab.
    R xx

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  33. I'm catching up on posts and firstly your garden looks amazing! What a transformation!! The next thing i have to say is how much I LOVE this post, firstly the penguin kigu is amazing. Secondly I think there are so many people that get dragged into doing things they don't really want to do and it takes a certain kind of person to turn round and say 'actually I don't want to do/go...' Lounging on the sofa reading a book, whilst the boy is sat playing on the xbox - that makes me happy :) x

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  34. Rosie, for realz are you my personality twin?? I literally hate going out and getting pissed and would much rather spend my money on a Gardeners World subscription....in fact I already do muhaha. I literally refuse to do things I don't like, I've always been this way. I got to about 20 and went, urgh done with getting drunk. I honestly only have about two drinks a month if that, I prefer meals and being at home, buying nice furniture or saving for nice holidays. I couldn't give a flying toss if people think it's borning or that 'I'm only 25, enjoy yourself!'....I am, at home watching Big Bang with a huge cup of tea and some Doritos. xxxx

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  35. Oh Rosie, this is one (and there are many) of the reasons that I love you. I lived abroad in 3 countries over 18 months, attended 3 foreign universities, had 23 flat mates and do you know, this is pretty much what I learned too. I didn't come back with a desperate hatred of the UK or our systems, I didn't come back refusing to speak English, I didn't find a new religion or a new sense of purpose. I came back realising how much I appreciated my family, how much I valued the country I grew up in, and the system of education I have experience.

    I will not cave to the mass of people who continue to say that at 23 I should be doing all sorts- going out, partying, whatever. I like playing Scrabble, I like watching Spooks marathons, I like a really nice bottle of Shiraz instead of trying to hammer out a whole bottle of vodka. And there's nothing wrong with it. Equally, if I do choose to have a night out, then I'll do it, and it's my choice. JUDGEY PEOPLE DO ONE!

    Sorry, mammoth comment.

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  36. I love this post! I went to China for 6 weeks, it was good but I just LOVE home too much to ever move away. I've never been a go-er outer and I guess I've always lived by this motto aswell, it's great to see I'm not the only one! xx p.s please can I be friends with all you girls above, just so damn similar to me!! xx

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Thank you in advance for your lovely comments, they mean the world to me! If you have a question or want to get in touch, tweet me at @rosieoutlook.