I mentioned last week in my post that I am doing what I can to try and relax and stay positive. By nature I am a very negative person. At the risk of sounding like an amateur psychologist I think this is because I try to prepare myself for the worst so the fallout isn’t quite so painful. To an extent this works, as I have found that the TTC months where I have let myself hope that we’ve been successful, I have been inconsolable when it has ultimately been unsuccessful. Overall, this is probably not a healthy way to live. Similarly, I have always been a massive stress-head. Even as a little girl I would constantly be worried about everything, even the things little girls should not be worried about, so I think this is just my nature and there is not an awful lot I can do about it! To be honest, I don’t really understand people who don’t stress about everything! Those who don’t agonise over every little thought or detail or action or what others think of them. Those who can’t tell you exactly what they’re doing on any given date 6 months down the line. HOW DO THESE PEOPLE FUNCTION?
So I’ve realised over the past few years that my levels of stress are not particularly healthy. I have been aware of it for some time, but naively thought that if I worked my arse off, built my reputation in my chosen career and saved every penny I could, then I would “set myself up’ for having a baby and up to a year’s maternity leave (or less, if BT stayed at home for several months and used the remainder of my maternity leave – a great system that’s only recently been introduced into UK law). I had thought that I would have a baby by now, and that when the baby came I would have a clearer idea about whether I still wanted to be a ‘career girl’ and fight my way to the top, or whether my priorities would change and I’d be happy to settle for a slower paced/less demanding career. Sadly things have not worked out the way that I planned them. Firstly, I do not have the baby I so desperately want and have sacrificed so much for already. Secondly, I do not have the career I want (or more accurately, the career I thought I was getting into is nothing like the reality of the career) and I am miserable every single day at work. I am stuck in a job I hate because I don’t want to start a new job if we’re potentially having to start IVF next year and go through all kinds of highs and lows with that. Similarly, if I do manage to have a baby or we do end up adopting, the place I work has an enhanced maternity package which is significantly better than the statutory package. That said, the job is affecting my mental and physical health to such an extent I am starting to wonder whether any of it is worth it (but this is a post for another day!).
Anyway, I digress. As mentioned in my post last week, I am trying to find ways to be positive about what I have (which is an awful lot) and to relax and de-stress. I have started reading a few ‘self-help’ type books (which I have never done before and always rolled my eyes at), listening to podcasts about ‘positive thinking’ and have started trying to do more exercise again. I do find it hard though, as they all say the same things about “finding time for yourself and to do your hobbies” “making time to exercise” and “eating healthily”, but all of this is near impossible when 5 days a week I am working between 10 – 18 hours (plus either having a commute of 4 hours or having to stay in some awful budget hotel where it’s so noisy and I can’t get any sleep) and every other weekend there is some wedding, christening or 30th birthday anywhere across the country. BUT, I need to try. I can’t just give in now and ultimately suffer a mental and/or physical breakdown, I need to try and find ways to calm my broken body and broken mind.
So last weekend I had a long weekend and took Fri, Mon and Tuesday off. The intention was to totally switch off from work and ignore social media and just spend some quality time alone or with BT. Sadly, I was not allowed to switch off from work (again, this is a post for another day. Quite possibly tomorrow, given how annoyed I am!). I still managed to take positive steps (sorry for the psych-bable speak!) and did a lot to try and de-stress. I either went for a run or went to the gym every day (apart from the Friday) and have arranged to have a personal training session today (arghhhhhhh…so scared!) and possibly further personal training sessions to try and get my gym-bunny mojo back!
As BT also took Tuesday off (or more accurately, I forced him to!) we booked a last minute trip to a lovely spa not far from where we live. Now the part of the world I live in gets terrible press. It is the cheapest part of England, there are very few opportunities (hence why I have a 4 hour commute) and 99.9%* of the local people are really struggling financially. There is no investment in the area which means there are little to no opportunities for local people who may want, or have, to stay in the area. The region was once booming as it is where all the coal mining and steel works traditionally took place, but these have either died or are in the process of dying. They are even talking about closing the airport. Consequently morale where I live is terrible, and further afield people write the area off and many people have commented to me that they don’t understand what possessed me to move here. So these are (loosely) my main reasons:
- BT got a job in this area which is 250 miles away from where we were living (London) (yet another post for another day!). It is a very specialised job and in order to actually get this job he had to agree to move to this area. His contract was for 8 years, so we either commuted 500 miles every other weekend to see each other (which is not great for a marriage, let alone baby-making) or we just made the move. I am from nearby and had always wanted to move back here, but had planned to spend about 10 years in London building my career and saving money (in London, I would be earning over double the amount I am earning now, working for exactly the same employer and doing exactly the same job). Ultimately it was a no-brainer that I HAD to move if we wanted a happy marriage and family.
- My family live relatively nearby. Not on my doorstep, but close enough that if the shit hit the fan, we could each get to each other within an hour and a half
and they would be close enough to spend the odd evening or weekend babysitting.
- Although wages are much lower, the cost of living is also much lower. In our early 30s we are in the process of buying a 4-bed house with a garage and garden. My friends in London are paying more for a 1 bed apartment on the outskirts of London. I will always be grateful that we are fortunate enough to be able to afford to buy our own house.
- We are right in the middle of some amazing countryside. There is nothing like being up in the hills in the middle of autumn and looking at the miles of greenery (I’ll have to take some photos!) and we have beautiful beaches within an hour’s drive (although admittedly, it is rare that the North of England has sunny days when you would want to go to the beach!). It is definitely good for the soul to have so many amazing views right on my doorstep.
So anyway, on Tuesday we went to a local spa in an attempt to relax. The spa in question is outdoors (except for an indoor steam room and sauna), so I was a little nervous about whether it would rain and the afternoon would be ruined. Thankfully, although it was fairly cool weather, the sun was out and there wasn’t a hint of rain. We had afternoon tea (a British thing which has become trendy over the past few years, where you’re given little sandwiches and cakes and either coffee/tea or prosecco/champagne), full-body massages (I’ve now had 3 in my life and they always comment on how tense I am and how many knots I have, although maybe that’s just a sales pitch to encourage me to come back for more massages?!) and then we spent the remainder of the afternoon in the outdoor spa either chatting in the hot tub or sitting on the sun loungers reading. The spa looks out onto a massive lake, surrounded by fields and woodland. The views were amazing and I felt so calm and peaceful and grateful to live where I live. It was just perfect and a great way to end my long weekend off work.
So here are some pictures and I hope they help back up my reason number 4 for living in this area. They’re not great quality as they were just taken on my camera phone, and they don’t really capture how beautiful the lake looked as the sun set, but you can still get the basic idea!
Now time to get ready for my personal training session…
*not a real statistic. I totally made this up.