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3 July 2012

My three new life rules

This feels like an important post to me - it's one I've been thinking about for a few days and planning out in my head. I hope I do it justice. And, if it's a bit more wordy than my usual posts then I hope you'll bear with me.

You probably will have seen from my last two posts that I spent several days in Cornwall last week, and that they were mostly spent sat indoors with my lovely friend Lindsey whilst the boys went surfing. Being stuck in and watching the rain fall from a gloomy looking sky outside we did what any two ladies would do; we read magazines, we drank tea and we spent quite some time putting the world to rights. I guess before I start on explaining what I decided as a result of this I should also mention that I realised that allocating time to do this is really important. Before now I've always taken leave from work for holidays, events or activities, but never just to spend time mulling things over and taking stock of life. I think it's easy to get swept up in the busy-ness and chaos of life that you never give yourself time to stop the proverbial 'Bernard's Watch' and take a look around you and work out what's working and what's not working. Being able to chat things over with a wise friend over a pot of peppermint tea was also hugely enlightening. I hope she won't mind me saying here that Lindsey has gone through several operations lately and quite a lot of discomfort and so we spent a lot of time chatting about how things like that change things, and also about relationships, material possessions and health and wellbeing (yeah... stuff got deep!) Out of this I decided on three things I want to focus on over the next few months and I want to share them with you. I'd also love it if you shared with me your own wise words (more on the later).


The first thing is something that I've been thinking for a while.  A rhetorical question - think back to relationships you've had that have broken up or people in your life who you have loved and lost. Of the arguments you had with them, or the times when things have not been so good because you've been clinging onto bad feelings or holding grudges, how much of that really mattered? How many of them would you go back and have over again and how many would you drop because you just wanted to enjoy your time together? I'll bet a lot. The people who you have around you now, will not be there forever. I think we all spend too much time having petty arguments or getting worked up about little things that don't matter, and so my pledge is to give people a break more.  People are (usually) not wilfully annoying, frustrating, stupid or mean, and everyone makes mistakes. The best thing we can do for ourselves (and for other people) is to know when to give people a break. This counts for me too - I fully intend to not be so hard on myself and give myself a break every now and then. In every situation where I find myself getting worked up about something I'm going to ask myself 'will this really matter tomorrow, or in a week, or a month?' I am in control of what I let get to me and what I just smile and let go. And I intend to do the latter a lot more.


I am well known for being a bit of a clothes shopping addict. Come payday you can usually find me gleefully ordering new clothes, and it's almost become shameful when the post trolley comes round the corner at work a few days later weighed down by packages with my name on it, with the postman making a beeline for me and shaking his head. When I was 16 I worked in Budgens and earned a tenth of what I earn now. I used to save up my wages and go to the 'Moist' clothes shop in Southampton and buy myself a pair of baggy jeans or a zip up hoodie every month. And I wore them to death, every day having the excitement of putting on my new favourite item of clothing and knowing it was hanging in my wardrobe, nestling amongst other things I loved. I used to buy £50 jeans and £40 hoodies and feel really special in them. Now, I'll blow that in Primark on ten things that sit in my drawer and never get worn. They fall apart after the fourth or fifth wear or hang forgotten in my wardrobe. They don't make me happy or fill me with excitement. I own lots of lovely things but they're at the bottom of drawers because I can never find them.

In addition, I recently read this article on a blog - 'Happiness is simple, why too many choices makes us miserable.' It was such an interesting article and basically explains that having too much choice in our life makes us feel anxious that we'll make the wrong one and causes angst and stress. It explains that the happiest people in life are those who make choices and are content with things that are 'good enough' whereas people striving for 'the best' suffer stress from constant regret and disappointment. Lately I've realised that the amount of clothes and shoes I own often makes me feel stressed. The ironing pile is so huge that the things I want are never cleaned and ironed, new things I buy are swallowed in my enormous wardrobes and I'm constantly searching for that new thing that will bring an outfit together, neglecting the hundreds of clothes I already own. This pledge is to get rid of a lot of old, unworn clothes, and also to buy for quantity not quality. I want to rekindle that love I had for that special item of clothing when I was 15 by buying one or two really special things each month rather than 20 things that I'll have forgotten about in a few days.


Do you remember those cringe-y phrases your parents used to say over and over again when you younger until every time they'd go to say it you'd repeat it back to them in their voice? Well this was my Dad's. "Your body is like a car Rosie, what you put in is what you get out. If you put rubbish in, you'll feel rubbish." I've been getting tummy aches and headaches recently, and being on holiday with my friend, who has wheatgrass shots, eats tons of fruit and veg and buries herself in books about nutrition, made me realise I don't care enough about what I put in my body. Along with this, now we live more in the countryside I want to make better use of all the resources around us and eat more organic food from local farmers. I ordered an Abel and Cole box on Sunday and I'm so excited about eating loads more veggies, trying to introduce more fruit into my diet and eating more home cooked hearty meals.

I hope you've enjoyed reading my three aims for the coming months. I feel like a bit of a hippy sometimes but I think it's important to constantly strive to make yourself better and keep yourself happy and healthy.  But this isn't all about me - now it's...

I'd really like to get you guys involved and find out what advice you live by or any pledges you've made to make you happier. I'm going to do another post in two weeks time and publish your words of wisdom with your blog/Twitter links so please do comment or tweet me (I might even get a hashtag going!) and let me know. Let me know what you think of mine too, I'd love to know!


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26 comments:

  1. I find all three to be true for me too.
    I bought a sign a few years ago that hangs in my bathroom that says:
    'Essentials of life:
    Someone to love
    Something to do
    Something to look forward to'

    I find that the times when I am stressed or grumpy is when one of those is out of place especially having things to look forward to. Even if it's little things I like to know that there are things coming up that will be fun or relaxing etc.

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  2. PS. I definitely think it's better to buy well made, classic things that you will get lots of use out of. These days I try to really stop myself just buying stuff on a whim or if I'm bored as it's just a waste of money and storage space

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  3. I absolutely love this, I've been thinking along similar lines recently.

    One of my new years resolutions was "buy less, buy better" and I've really stuck to it. Now, I only buy something if I really love it and it suits me but this "I own lots of lovely things but they're at the bottom of drawers because I can never find them" really rings true with how I used to be - and still am to an extent!

    Becky | life.style.flash. x

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  4. I had a holiday like this 4 years ago. I was walking along the Great Wall of China for charity and had hours to ponder and analyse what I was doing with my life. I was a teacher. I came back from those two weeks in China and I wasn't one anymore. Money doesn't make you happy. I was happy to be paid half the amount I earned in my teaching job to work for a charity whos ethics and objectives I LOVE! I couldn't be happier in my job now and that has made me happier in my home life too. It took me three years to finally end up with a permanent, full-time position at the charity I work for and I'm glad I toughed it out. I don't have much money, but I want to go to work in the morning and see my work colleagues and deal with whatever the day has in store. I used to be up at 6am and asleep by 7.30pm. I was miserable and not very nice to be around. Now I'm a hoot :P and I've discovered the wonders of car boot sales and ebay :) wonderful post Rosie and now you have an essay of a comment!! xx

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  5. I want to order from Abel and Cole so badly but my boyfriend has banned me because it's too expensive (which is true. But they come to your house! And all the fruit and veg is in a box! And you don't know what you're going to get! Organic! In Season! Ahem...)

    I think you've pretty much got it nailed! Personally, I really try to be thankful and appreciative of the people around me, acknowledging their contributions in my life. Sometimes I think we can forget to do this and assume that people know that we love and appreciate them. It takes no time to say 'I appreciate you loading the dishwasher after dinner', and I know I always like when someone else acknowledges my efforts!

    I think it's also good to take stock of what you do have, and what you have achieved. I am the worst for beating myself up about not doing better, not reading ten books a month and blogging every day and volunteering and doing well at work. It comes into the 'give yourself a break' thing, but I would take it one step further and congratulate yourself!

    Great post :) xoxo

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  6. Such an interesting and inspiring post, the last rule really struck a chord with me, but for a different reason than the one you specified.
    One of my final third year assignments was to create a magazine, which I enjoyed so much and was definitely one of the pieces of work I've enjoyed doing the most and put the most effort into (bar my dissertation). I got my results the other day and I got the highest grade I've personally gotten over my time at Uni, so I definitely think if you put the extra hard work in it'll be worth it. I spent loads of time doing little things for it, late at night, which obviously paid off!

    Aside from this, I think we spend a lot of time reflecting negatively on things or situations, and that we should try and look on the bright side more. I know I'm prone for doing this and I try to make myself stop and think when I'm about to have a moan (probably on Twitter!) that maybe my problem isn't quite as significant compared to somebody else's and things could be a lot worse, and that it's much better to just let it go.

    I think it's very good to spend time like this, as cheesy as it sounds, to be alone with your thoughts. I spent some time in India last year, we did a lot of travelling, but spending that time stuck in a car was ample time for just having a daydream about life and sort my head out!

    I'll definitely be applying some of your rules, or to try and adapt/think of some myself.. I think it's great to try and develop a better outlook on life. A great post :) xx

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    1. Whoops, didn't realise I'd rambled on for quite so long.. sorry!

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  7. Rosie this post speaks volumes about all of us I feel - it is so important to be aware of the little improvements we can make to ourselves and our lives that keep us happy and make life more pleasurable. Perhaps you are a bit of a hippy ;-) But I find myself often feeling the same way, that although it is brilliant to be driven and to have goals it is also important to reflect, to stop and smell the roses and to appreciate the wonderful people and things already surrounding us already! :-)

    Jem xXx

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  8. Words to live by Rosie, words to live by.

    You're damn right on all three. Learning to give yourself a break is the hardest thing I've ever undertaken. I've just gone back to writing a journal since T left, because it helps me get me head straight on days where I'm struggling- in all aspects of life. It frightens me to read back on the days where I spend those pages berating and criticising myself, because I'd never treat someone else so harshly.

    Things don't make it right either. Thankfully I'm good at not having too much stuff- although my weakness is definitely digital- books for my Kindle, TV series via iTunes.... but then again I also think it's relative. I don't go out every weekend- or even every month to eat/socialise/have nights out. I don't buy much by way of clothing regularly, I do not spend money on a car or a house. My last holiday was last year with T, and whilst my indulgence in mineral make up could be costly, I buy one or two items once per quarter maybe? So, y'know, so what, I like to have tv series available to watch offline on my iPod or books to read on my Kindle.

    As for getting out what you put in. All hail Queen Rosie and her dad. So true. I could and would live on Coffee, Diet Coke, Crumpets, Apples and Aniseed Imperials and Ham and Cheese Toasties, if I didn't remind myself not to, every so often. And I'd feel rubbish all the time. I don't think (personally) that it's necessary to go all out on slightly scary looking 'juices' but taking a second look at your plate and realising it should be half fresh fruit, one quarter protein and one quarter carbs is not too tough. Oh, and that 2L of Diet Coke, topped off with 3 cups of ROCKET FUEL coffee is just going to make me tired, grumpy and snarky and miserable.

    So yeah. I concur? I think that's really what I wanted to say....

    My personal 3 life rules:

    Treat others as you'd like to be treated. Because it works. And it makes the world a lot nicer place. And you know, I'd like it if/when I reach 80+ if someone would offer to hold the door open for me whilst I'm struggling with a suitcase at a train station.

    Come to the table with a solution not a problem. This sounds kinda harsh- don't ask for help unless you know the answer?! No, don't ask for help unless you're willing to take on board the solutions offered, and always offer any of your own ideas with a view that they may be a starting point. Sometimes you have to be willing to help yourself before anyone can help you.

    And manners cost nothing. they don't. When was the last time someone charged you to say Thank You?! I HATEHATEHATE bad manners, and I endeavour to do be as well mannered as I possibly can. Being well mannered not only makes you a good example to others but it makes others more responsive, more gracious and helps you get the most out of them.

    Enough of an essay for you?! I wish writing my research project had flowed out as easy as this....

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  9. I completely agree with the petty arguments point, my boyfriend and I can be quite argumentative because we're both stubborn and with short fuses - but the arguments are never important, and the next week I'll have no idea what they're about. So I decided I needed to choose my battles, not every argument is worth it, so I need to learn when I should say something or when I should let it slide. This is a fantastic post, I completely agree with it. I'm also so bad for buying loads of new stuff and not wearing it, last month I threw away 2 bin bags stuffed with clothes, and my wardrobes are still packed! xx
    Sirens and Bells

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  10. Brilliant Post! I have recently taken a good look at my life and adopted a "lifes to short" approach to my working life (stuggling to add that to my relationship still but I'll get there)
    I did this post recently which is here if you would like to look http://www.bakemyday87.com/2012/07/july-how-did-we-get-here-very-long-post.html

    It seems a lot of people are using there time to sit and reflect on what makes them happy in life- a lot of my friends are taking stock and changing the way they live and think about things. And I certainly agree with the clothing side you mentioned. I bet I only wear a quarter of what I own on a regular basis! I just stare at it all sometimes and think "what!!"

    Lara xx

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  11. An excellent post, Rosie, and some brilliant replies. On Pinterest I recently repinned 'Ask yourself this question - Will this matter a year from now?' and I'm sure the answer is no to most things we get stressed or annoyed about. That's the 1st, the other two are 'Do as you would be done by' (from my mother) and 'The quality remains long after the price is forgotten' (from my father)and both tie in with your post.
    xx

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  12. Huge amounts of love for this post and I have to agree with everything you say. As for the 'having more stuff won't make you happy' part is something I strongly believe in too. I see hundreds of people come to our tills at work with baskets of clothes only coming to £50 or so. I often think to myself that they probably only buy it because it is cheap. If that was full price would they really be thinking they liked it then? And it probably makes them feel better that they have something at a bargain but like you said, they will wear it a couple of times and it will probably break or, they will just get fed up with it. I have done it myself and yes, it does make me feel better for a day or so but the novelty soon wears off. I have learnt from this and I have recently been buying things in the way of homeware and crafts which will be more beneficial to others yet it still makes me happy :) Sorry, I rambled a bit, didn't I? But really, so well put, Rosie xox

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  13. I absolutely love insightful posts like this, I think it's important to sit down and take stock of life. I'm currently visiting my parents for a week, and it's been a great chance to just relax and work out what I want from the stage of my life I'm about to go into. I just visited my teenage best friend in her new house, and feel at a bit of a crossroads with where I am, where everyone else is, where I should be and where I want to be. But a part of me likes that the next couple of months could go in all kinds of crazy directions.

    I definitely agree about giving people a break, one of the life rules I try to live by is 'don't sweat the small stuff'. I'm pretty laidback (probably a little too much at times!), not much phases me and a bad mood usually lasts about half an hour. So when people annoy me, it usually doesn't last very long!

    Another one of my life rules is...have fun! I wrote a post recently on how I love being silly, and I think the ability to not take myself or life too seriously most of the time helps me to be quite chilled!

    I may, however, have to adopt your final rule. My diet kinda fell off the wagon recently, and I need to get back on it. I'd actually love to be able to grow my own veg but unfortunately I live in a flat with no garden :( I'm asking my mum for some recipes, as she's an amazing cook!

    In summary...have fun, don't sweat the small stuff, yay veggies and I absolutely loved reading (and replying to!) this post!! :) xx

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  14. This was an incredible post :) Made my day a lot more interesting!
    xxx

    I have two quotes tattoo'd on my back that I live by:

    "I dont go by the rule book, I lead from the heart not the head"
    - Princess Diana

    "Instant gratification is not soon enough."
    - Meryl Streep

    To me, both of these quotes simply mean that you need to make your own rules, be yourself and always be thankful for those in your life.

    xxx

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  15. Love this post! Sounds like the bad weather on your holiday was a blessing in disguise and your friend sounds really lovely :)
    I've never really been into shopping much, which is the reason I don't do many outfit posts, but I've always found great pleasure in saving up to buy bigger things that make me smile everyday - like my 2.5 year old Mulberry which looks as good as the day I bought it and still makes me smile every time I pick it up :) Saying that, I used to be a bit of an eBay junkie, but have spent the past few weeks getting rid of a lot of stuff :)
    I totally get the choice thing too, I read a book at the beginning of the year by Barry Schwartz called Paradox of Choice which sounds like it was exactly the same as the article you read. I've been trying to convince my husband to read it because he definitely worries too much about stuff and is one of those people who is always searching for 'the best'.
    I completely agree with the last point too, I recently found out that I have a cyst the size of an orange on one of my ovaries (don't worry, I'm having an operation next week to fix it!) and I read that following a low GI diet can help. I would definitely recommend this diet to anyone, even if you didn't have the same issues as me because it's made me feel spectacular. It's not even a difficult diet. You don't have to cut out carbs, just learn to eat the right carbs, like wholemeal bread and I can still have chocolate, so long as it's dark. Honestly, it's been fantastic. I sleep better, I feel more awake and I never have that horrible sluggish feeling anymore.
    I wish you the absolute best of luck with your new life goals and I'm sure they'll bring you lots of happiness.
    x

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  16. I love this post and all the comments you've got so far!

    I'm a fairly laid back person these days, but have been greatly influenced by my lovely boyfriend as he is so just SO CALM about everything in life - we've been together for almost six years (omg), and I love how much more chilled I am!

    It's easy to get wound up and stressed about things in life, but I always find getting into the country helps me a lot. I've just started running and have discovered loads of wee farm tracks near my house. It's so peaceful and quiet and helps me get my thoughts in place! I feel quite inspired to get a veg box too.. have been tempted for ages actually!

    The one quote that got me through uni (and tough points in life) is "nothing will work unless you do". I also truly believe that positive things happen to positive people!

    xx

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  17. Really great post. Thank you for this. I think it's really important to take the time to take stock and think about how things are going, the challenge is finding the time!

    One 'rule' I've found helpful is 'Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good'. In the past I've found it very easy to give up on things, or not try things to begin with, as I knew they wouldn't be perfect - craft projects, exercise etc. As Gretchen Rubin of the Happiness Project says, "it’s better to get something done imperfectly than to do nothing perfectly." So now I just have a go and enjoy the process!

    Another thing I try to remember is just to 'Get Outside' - things always seem better after a walk on the beach or in the woods!

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  18. Great post Rosie, I definitely agree with the give me a break mentality, it's so easy to get stressed and worked up about things that in the long run or looking back on really weren't worth getting so stressed over. I'm also terrible for spending a fortune in shops like Primark thinking I'm getting lots of bargains and then hardly wearing them. I'm going to try to start saving & buy more quality over quantity! Going to try following this sort of thinking too and hopefully be a lot more chilled out!

    Caroline x
    Caroline's Catwalk

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  19. Whenever I get stressed about not fulfilling all the things I want to do (sitting with a busted knee right now feeling sorry for myself) the words my Mum always says come back to me:

    You can only try and be the best version of yourself 'Lucy' (or Cath, or Brian) that you can be.

    To me it means not to measure myself against others (their clothes, their relationships, their completed to-do lists) but against what I have done for myself.

    It's all about making the educated decisions about things you value and treating others with the same respect you would like to receive.

    The baby steps we all do make the world a better place!

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  20. this post was so interesting to read rosie, and so true!! it was so nice to read things that i think myself quite a lot, and know that i'm not the only one. i think especially within blogging it can be easy to get caught up in buying more- if i ever post an outfit i'm always so conscious about the fact that my clothes aren't new, but i try to buy second hand or more quality pieces anyway so i know it shouldn't bother me! i know exactly what you mean about those special items too- and i loved moist!! i used to go on day trips to southampton and spent ages in there :)
    i always try to live by those questions you mentioned first- will this matter tomorrow? or next week? etc. and i find that they're so good at keeping things in perspective. i also think that being ill (i've had m.e. for 3 years) has made me look at life differently and appreciate all of those little things that can get overlooked!
    sorry for such a ramble, but thanks for such a great post :) xx

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  21. this post was really interesting and thought provoking to read... i have SOOO much stuff i can't even begin to explain! it really is all immaterial and it can stress me out... take painting my nails for example... i have too much choice so i freak out, pick a colour then wish i had picked a diff one!!

    how silly?!?!

    xxx

    http://www.unnakednails.com/

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  22. Hello

    I'm just about to move and this has been a great opportunity to have a real good clear out of a million items that I don't need! I've hoarded so many clothes for sentimental value and have no intentions of wearing them again, it's silly to just keep things in a box.

    I completely agree with you about giving people a break more, it's so easy to get wound up with family, friends and colleagues.

    At christmas times our motto for gift buying is ( it's what we try to stick to )

    Something you want
    Something you need
    Something to wear
    Something to read.

    Stella-thislife.blogspot.co.uk/

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  23. Rules can't get much better than those, but apart from 'eat what you need not what you want' then it's 'Carpe Diem!' cause life is just too short.

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  24. What a brilliant post.

    The rule I'm trying to live by is this: 'Life is too short to be anything but happy.'

    Just do what makes you smile and remember that the best things in life are usually free!

    www.thelifewardrobe.blogspot.co.uk

    xx

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  25. How true! Very inspiring post! Think all three of your aims for the next few months are great and very achievable which is good. I think your first aim is so important, too many people waste precious time with silly arguments and at the end of the day life is too short. We only have a limited time with those we love so why waste it? I have been trying recently not to get stressed over the little things as like you said I won't care about it a few hours later.
    I am also trying not to spend money on clothes at the minute as there are so many lovely clothes in there which I don't wear. Need to rediscover hidden gems in my own wardrobe before I go out and buy anything new or become a queen of customisation to make old things new!
    I definitely also need to start watching more what I am eating. As a complete tea junkie I have around 8 cups a day - so much caffeine!! I have switched to decaf tea bags and feel so much more alert and awake! Funny really as thought that's what caffeine did!
    Sorry if this is quite long!
    Lianne :-)

    rubyrubyslippers.blogspot.com

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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.