Sunday, 22 February 2015

900 and 35

Apparently, this is my 900th post!  Who knew I had that kind of perseverance in me???

900 posts over 5 and a bit years - I might have a slowed down a bit with my posting schedule since those early days, and sometimes the topics wander all over the place, but for now this little corner of the internet is still ticking along.  Yay me!

Over the last 24 hours, I've been exchanging emails with my dad, and feel oddly cheered as a result.  I have also decided that, whatever happens and wherever I end up when I get home, this summer is the Summer Of Fun (TM, of course).  I then read this lovely article on J for Jen, and decided that maybe a list of 35 things to before I turn 35 this November might be fun.  Moi?  An original thought?  I think not.

35 fun things to do in 6 months is perfectly doable.  Hell, I might even do some of them before I come home from the ski season.  As with Jen's list, this isn't about earnest pursuits; more fun stuff to make sure I have an awesome year and finish it happier.

So what sort of things would I like to do for my extended Summer Of Fun?

  1. Parapent - I keep seeing them floating over the valley, and I meant to do it last year and ran out of time.  This year is the year.  Done - and it was sodding amazing!!
  2. Visit 3 new countries - this is a pretty big goal, so it will count for 3 points, I think - one trip is already sort of being planned for November, when I'd like to go to Vietnam for 3 weeks to explore.  Two more shouldn't be such a big ask, as there's bits of Europe I've yet to explore.
  3. See point 2.  Spent the week surfing in Morocco and it was gorgeous.
  4. See point 2 again!
  5. Go to a festival - possibly Somersault.  I missed out on this last year, due to weekend commitments with my work, so this year I'm off to have festively fun.
  6. A trip to the theatre - because I haven't been for ages.
  7. Watch the outdoor cinema at Somerset House.  Because.
  8. Surf at least 3 times.  I love surfing, even though I suck major balls at it, so I should make sure I use my board, wherever I end up living. First trip - the week in Morocco ... some improvement witnessed!
  9. Visit all my friends with children.  I have friends with kids now - some I just won't have seen for 6 months whilst I've been away over the winter, some will have been born whilst I'm away, and some, to my eternal shame, I've not met yet despite them being born whilst I was away LAST winter.  The shame.  And the guilt.  I have a lot of catching up to do with friends and their mini-me's.  Seen two, which I think means there's 4 to go - and possible 2 more if people get them pushed out anytime soon!
  10. Go to a gig - I like them, I don't go to enough of them.
  11. BBQ.  Because it's summer and they're fun.  Nuff said. Been to at least 1 now.
  12. Picnic.  See the reasons for 11!  Picnic'd at Wimbledon and Kew Gardens amongst others.
  13. See live comedy - laughing is GOOD for you. 
  14. Have an old fashioned day at the beach - sand castles, swimming, sand in your food, the fun-fair (if there is one) - in short, the works.
  15. City break - I love a bit of culture and I haven't done this for aaaaaaaages.  Doesn't matter whether it's UK or Europe - it'd just be nice to see somewhere new.
  16. Get my ears pierced again - I have 4 delicate little piercings already, but would like something more, although I haven't quite decided what yet.
  17. Eat at a Michelin star restaurant.  Never done it, feel it's lacking in my life.
  18. Visit a museum - maybe the V & A, as I've never been and have always wanted to.
  19. Throw a dinner party, so I can be an adult and all sophist-amacated and all.
  20. Get a massage or three.
  21. Finally get the tattoo I've been umming and ahhing about for 4 years.  I've wanted one for ages
  22. Spend the day at a castle or country house - more culture!
  23. Go horse riding again, just because I love it and haven't been for aaaaages.
  24. Read the first volume of Game of Thrones.  I love the tv show and feel like I should see how I get on with the books.
  25. Take a photography lesson for my SLR (it's been 2 years since I got it ... whoops!)
  26. Do a proper tasting menu at a restaurant. I'm very guilty often of thinking that I know exactly what I like food-wise, and I feel it would be nice to be challenged a bit on that.
  27. Learn to ice a cake properly - my cakes are tasty but ... rustic looking
  28. Clear out my wardrobe again - it might not literally be the most fun thing to do but it's soooo flipping cathartic! Brutally chucked 2 bin bags out, 3 to the charity shop and still shedding bits.
  29. Finally get my finances in order.  Can't.  Bloody.  Wait.  Mostly there - I'm debt-free and now thinking about how to save for a mortgage and get all grown up!
  30. Buy myself a nice, new proper grown-up, statement handbag.  I love accessories, and used to be a bag fiend.  Over time, I divested myself of a lot of knackered, unused or just under-appreciated bags, so that my current collection are all good leather and work-horses.  However, they're all started to look a bit tired in their own right, and I feel like a sassy, sorted, adult woman should have a good, stylish, workhorse bag.
  31. Go to Disneyland.  I've never been and would love to go.  I could probably only manage a weekend in Disneyland Paris for now, but that would be a start!
  32. Get dim sum in China Town. 
  33. Find a dog I can spend some time with - canine company is the best
  34. Rooftop cocktails on a summer's evening
  35. Try and find a healthy balance to work, rest, good food and some exercise I enjoy. I'm finishing on a serious note, but I know I feel so much better when I'm balanced - healthy food and a bit of decadence, fun, rest and some activity to offset work and the serious bits of life.

I haven't really felt much one way or the other about my birthdays for the last couple of years.  Once I got past 30, I just had a busy couple of years and wasn't too worried about the numbers rather than the self-improvement I achieved.  35 for some reason feels a bit bigger though - I'm suddenly half way to 40, so this feels like a good time to re-affirm that there's more to life than being far too sensibly adult all the time.

At the moment, I feel like I'm leaning towards the idea of London for the summer, although I haven't yet spoken to my friend about that, and there's still quite a while before I'm due to head back to England, so let's not get ahead of ourselves and say I've made a concrete decision, as we all know how quixotic and changeable I am about decisions.

In the meantime, perhaps I'll order my guidebook for Vietnam and give myself something to get excited about!

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Crazy Brain

So life continues on, out here in the French Alps, and whilst I now have a kind of rhythm to my day to day life, I find myself curiously distracted by thoughts of what happens in a few months when it's time to go back to the UK again.  I'm finding it quite hard to let myself just live in the moment, right now.

The snow finally came in larger quantities, and the days are mostly blue skies and sunshine, but I'm struck with a sort of ennui, and it doesn't all quite have the shine it did last season.  How quickly we become jaded of new experiences, eh?  Or it could be the mid-season blues.

On the positive side, for the last two weeks I had friends out here from home, and seeing them has been wonderful.  A slice of home bought to the mountains, leaving me feeling quite grounded and refreshed.  And suddenly aware of how much my skiing has improved when I'm perplexingly quicker now than these girls who used to run rings around me on skis!

The conversations have turned this way and that, with these oldest and closest of friends, dwelling often on how much our friends' lives have moved forwards in the traditional direction of settling down and families, whilst ours have not / have gone in different directions.  It's refreshing to be able to talk to people my own age who have similar experiences, when you're surrounded by youngsters all day out here!

Then there's been the conversations about what will I do when I get home?  The answer being I have no idea, and the whole issue is already making me feel quite stressed, even though it's several months before I finish here.  There's currently about 3 options sat on the table, and I genuinely don't know which one to pursue.  It's hard to believe I'm worrying about this, when I live in the midst of the mountains, and should really just be making the most of my play time each day, but it seems like my brain has no off switch right now.  Although skiing in the woods on deep fluffy powder does help switch my brain off for a while ...

The main two questions seem to be these:  a) what do I want to do for work after the season and b) where do I want to live?

Regarding question a)  do I switch to contracting with a view to earning some money quick and being able to go travelling next year (6 months in South America being the current goal), and the potential for a change of scene regularly and no company politics, or do I apply for a job I've seen which I've had my eye on for ages, and could be an amazing opportunity, but probably means travelling's off the cards and I could / would think about settling a bit.

Question b) where do I live when I get back?  The permanent job's based near Portsmouth, which I can't say is a place I've ever particularly wanted to move to, hence my hesitation to do anything about it so far.  However, some research reveals that it's obviously on the coast, and there are lots of pretty villages and outdoor things to do near by, but the only major city nearby is Portsmouth which I wouldn't want to live in.  I could go back to Bristol, where in theory I might be able to contract for my old employer, and I would sort of just slide back into life as it's been for the last 4 years (which have been good years, I should point out!) but something's still making me hesitate about that.  Or option 3,  I could throw a complete curveball and move to London.  This option's come up as my friend, Jo, who visited Val Thorens two weeks ago and would be my potential South America partner-in-crime, asked if I'd considered moving down there for the money and renting her spare room off her.

I did London before, a decade ago now (Jesus KER-IST, where did the time go????) and it didn't make me that happy in the long-term back then, but I'm a very, very different person now.

Arrrrgh, I just don't know!  I'm also fighting an annoying obsession with buying a house right now, which also doesn't fit in with my plans (or my financial viability), as well as looking longingly at pictures of dogs and wishing there were space in my life for one (there isn't - it wouldn't be fair on the dog at all).

My brain is just.  All.  Over.  The.  Place.

So instead, I'm going to make the effort to get back into the moment and enjoy the here and now, rather than wishing it away and that Spring was here already / worrying about the future.

So on that note, I'm off to sit on a sunny deck for the afternoon with my housemate (in the pink jacket below with my friend Hannah last week) and try not to worry about anything more than getting a sunburnt nose.

Au revoir, mes amies!