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Bought these for myself on vday, just FYI

Over the last few months, the exact same scenario has swept through my group of friends like some kind of love life epidemic. As the months have passed, it’s picked off each one of us (myself included) that have been (un)fortunate enough to embark on a new relationship.

We’ve all met and fallen for lovely, charming, funny boys, we’ve all been on dates that turned into sleepovers, and we’ve all eventually reached the point – a few months in – where we’ve all been smitten and ready enough to want to commit further to the blossoming relationship. Then it all goes a bit weird, the boys get a bit less keen, the messages get a lot less frequent and we hear the dreaded words “you deserve better”.

And do you know what, I’m SO sick of hearing those words. I’m sick of my gorgeous, smart, successful, witty friends being told they deserve better. I’m sick of spineless, commitment phobic boys in their late twenties freaking out and breaking our hearts, only to merely brush themselves down and do it again to the next woman.

The breakup cliché used to be “it’s not you, it’s me”. I used to hate that, I used to think it was a massive cop out. But on reflection, at least it recognises where the full blame lies. It acknowledges that it is nothing to do with the woman. It actually takes some guts for a man to admit that a relationship ending is entirely their fault.

“You deserve better” is the opposite. It is cowardly. It helps project some of that blame onto the woman, making them think that they asked for too much or that they had unrealistic expectations. It forces them to settle.

And they shouldn’t. All these women want is someone to be on their team. (Both myself and one of my close friends began to use this phrase completely independently of each other.) We don’t want or need a Prince Charming. We don’t want endless free dinners or to be whisked to the other side of the world. We want a partner. We want someone who’s going to be on our team through the amazing times and the shit stuff. We earn our own money and can pay our own way; we want someone to sit across from us at dinner or on the plane next to us and challenge us, inspire us, and to just be with us.

I know it can be done. For every amazing single friend I have, I have three more that are happily the girlfriend of or married to equally as brilliant, loyal, intelligent, supportive men. I know couples whose relationship I am deeply envious of, who have the team thing nailed.

So boys, instead of telling us we deserve better, how about just being better. Instead of making yourself feel okay about being a shitty boyfriend, look to your friends who manage to be great ones. We don’t deserve better, we just deserve what you promise us in the beginning. And if you can’t manage to do that yet, then just leave us all the hell alone until the day that you can.

There are lots of things I know about myself. I am a control freak. I am a planner. I like making decisions and I am not afraid to do so. Once I’ve made my mind up about something, there’s very little going back on it. I’m stubborn like that.

So when something happens outside of my control and threatens to upset the carefully thought through apple cart that is my life, I do not cope well. That is what is happening right now.

I am used to change in a work environment. I work in a very fast paced industry, things change everyday, decisions need to be made and made again. I am good at that. But the one constant is that I am doing the same job everyday. I might be managing and reacting to things out of my control, but my remit and the type of things within that remit remain the same.

But now, even that might be changing. And it’s not on my terms or within my timeline. Gosh, I hate that.

Just over a year ago, I posted this photo on Instagram. Time to remember all the clichés all over again – roll with the punches, ride the wave, everything will work itself out in the end.

Oh, and write lists. Everything is better, clearer and more attainable with lists.

It’s exactly a year to the day that the man I loved well and truly broke my heart.

Most of the time it already feels like much longer, but then every so often the pain bites like it was yesterday.

I don’t think there’s much more I can say that I haven’t already overshared on here over the past twelve months.

But it’s safe to say that when the person you thought you were going to marry cheats on you, in the form of a holiday romance, then moves to the other side of the world to be with that person, your life will never quite be the same again.

And whilst I will never be able to forgive him for what he put me through, at least now I believe him when he said that I would be better off without him. Because I absolutely am.

I continue to move onwards and upwards. Always.

IMG_1058.JPGRecently I started reading The Minimalists blog, and quickly their ideas and values really interested me. At the heart of their principles for life, is that everything you own should either serve a purpose or bring you joy. I think these two simple rules are exactly what you should apply to your possessions – it’s such an easy way to ensure you aren’t surrounded by unnecessary clutter.

I’ve never been a hoarder and enjoy a cathartic clear out fairly often, but almost eight months after moving into my current home, I feel it is time for another. So, from today, myself and a few other of my social media-y friends (Laura, Charlie, Charlie & Harry) are taking part in The Minimalists’ Game, a month long challenge in which you remove unnecessary items from your home – one on the first day, two on the second, three on the third etc… for thirty days. The person who can keep it up the longest wins.

This all sounded fantastic until I realised this means removing 465 items from your home over the month. I had a VERY large clear out of my possessions at the beginning of this year, but I’m sure applying the purpose/joy principles will enable me to discover some more things I just don’t need.

So, if you need a clear out, join us! We’ll be using #ChuckIt (along with the official #MinsGame) – and let me know how you get on.

(Although we will be using the #ChuckIt hashtag, please remove your possessions responsibly – recycle where possible, follow guidance for electrical disposal, give to charity etc…)

I was reading Charlotte Street by Danny Wallace a couple of weeks ago, and close to the end of the book, I came across this passage:
IMG_0420.JPGAnd boy, did it resonate.

Last weekend, it was my birthday. My twenty seventh year has probably been the biggest period of change I’ve experienced since I left home at 18, and certainly the biggest amount of change I have had such little control over.

Right now, I have purple hair, two relatively new piercings, a fair amount of credit debt and three housemates I met via the internet (although they are very lovely). I have friends who are married, friends who are engaged, friends who have children, friends who own their houses. There’s a gap here that’s only widening.

I would never have chosen to be in this position. Twelve months ago I thought I was moving away from impulsively dying my hair, spending recklessly and living with more than one other person. I thought I was becoming more of a grown up.

But then, I would never have guessed the trips I’ve taken, the job I now have, the odd but awesome little corner of East London I now live in.

I would have laughed at the prospect of running a marathon and getting my LiRF. Even the idea of cycling to work would have seemed crazy, something I would be too scared to do.

And I certainly wouldn’t have spent my birthday in the company of so many lovely, generous, brilliant friends (most of whom I’ve met through our shared love of running), without having the year I’d never have chosen.

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