Category Archives: Motivation

2016 :: A Year in Review

2016 Year in Review - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

It is not, it appears, the fashionable thing to admit that 2016 has been a rather good year for “one”. But disastrous referendums and potential WWIII aside, it was a year of much joy for me personally, and one that I will no doubt look back on fondly.

2016 was the year in which I ceased to be a newlywed, and became just a ‘wed’, and I feel I truly embraced the role of a wife. Y’all, I wifed my damn butt off this year, and in return, Mr H husbanded me even better. Admittedly, that makes me seem like some kind of farmyard animal, but it remains nevertheless true. After the initial honeymoon phase of marriage began to dissolve, I was left with the most wonderful life partner who actively cares for me each day.  What a boon.

Allotment 2016 - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

It has also been the year where I have developed a taste, if not skill for gardening, and seen my beloved allotment go from strength to strength. It was our tentative first year, with many mistakes made, but I can’t help but feel incredibly proud that I stuck to something for so long. I have no plans to give up the sacred plot in the foreseeable future, rather the opposite, I heartily plan for years of dragging reluctant future children over to do a spot of weeding.

Portugal with T - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

In the summer I went on holiday to Portugal, with my wonderful sister T. It made me remember what a privilege it is to have your family close, and that there are very few people in this world who know and tolerate me as well as she does. It also made me realise I am not, and never was a party animal, and that one should not book an AirBnB in Biarro Alto if one values their sleep.

My Career 2016 - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

Professionally this year proved my most challenging to date, and although there were many days where I woke up thinking that I couldn’t possibly continue to do this for another day, let alone for the rest of my life, there were also many days where my heart sang for the joy of watching young people learn something, or at the least run around the playground pretending to be a horse. Teaching is a bloody hard job, for want of a more eloquent way of describing it, but I am a long time from throwing in the proverbial towel, just yet.

Teaching also gave me the opportunity to realise a long dream of mine, to direct my own play. It’s not something I think I’ve mentioned on the blog actually, but my school was a part of the 2016 Shakespeare for Schools Festival, and I was the Teacher-Director of a 20 minute production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It was a huge undertaking, with 22 primary school students taking part, most of whom had never performed before such a large audience before. It reaffirmed for me the realisation that seeing others perform under my guidance gives just as much of a thrill as performing myself once did.

 

But what of 2017?

What indeed. I have the somewhat expected goals of getting fit, losing the extra heft I’ve carried for the last three years, but what else?

To tell you the absolute truth, I’m not exactly sure. I have some abstract goals that I don’t feel ready to share just yet, but also I’d quite like to continue in much the same manner as 2016.

I would, however, like to focus more on 2017 being the year of friendships. My dear friends have taken a rather paltry 3rd place after Mr H and my job this year, and so during the next I’d like to perhaps place maintaining and developing friendships slightly higher on the list of priorities. One tends to miss one’s friends, even more so when one is almost entirely to blame for not seeing them.

And so, to you my dear (possibly imaginary) readers. How has your year been? What goals or dreams do you have for the next? I raise a glass of mediocre but cost-effective champagne to you all.

January Joy :: Done and Dusted

January 2016 Instagram - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

This January has, far more than any since I moved to the UK in 2010, been about hunkering down and getting through. I’ve really suffered this year from the January blues, which I think is a combination of being halfway through my academic year, not exercising at all enough because of the pants weather, and oh yeah, the consistently pants weather.

Admittedly, however, it hasn’t been all bad. Here’s a minute collage of some of the nice bits of the first month of the year. Clockwise from top left:

  • An extreme buffet of cheese, crackers, veggie sticks, hummus and scotch eggs. A couple of episodes of Graham Norton with my husband and my Dad. Say no more, agreed?
  • Heading back to the allotment after a few weeks’ break. It’s grassy now, instead of muddy, but a lot better than we expected after such a mild winter. We feared our hard work in October might have been in vain. Once I’m on half term we’ll start terracing!
  • Achieving a goal: 30 days without a drink. As I said in my Dry January post, I don’t usually drink during the week, but when I found myself in social situations this month, it did take a bit more oomph to opt for a 0% lager instead of my usual glass o’ red.
  • ENGLAND vs AUSTRALIA. The Aussies won, by 15 goals (CCCCC’MOOOON!) and an English player was sent off! Never seen that before in a pro game. It was a messy game for both sides, but I really enjoyed introducing Mr Hello to my favourite sport.

I’ve got plenty of things to look forward to in February as well – a week’s holiday (which is 2 days in teacher-speak as I’ll spend most of it in my classroom!), a couple of friends going public with some GREAT NEWS, my first V-day as a married woman, which co-incides with 6 months of marital bliss!

So here’s to a great February. If you’ve had a kind of crap January as well, fear not, we’ll stand together in solidarity and flick the bird to it.  Then we can have a drink to celebrate! Yee-haw.

January Joy: Try Something New

Courage Works 2016 - Hello Sam Goodbye Samanth
Image via courageworks.com

I didn’t make any 2016 Resolutions as such, but instead I focussed on 3 feelings I wanted to foster in my life this year. These were:

  • Calm
  • Organised
  • Prosperous

Coinciding with the inspiration to focus on these elements in my life, I got a wonderful Christmas present from my Mum – the Living Brave Semester, the first e-course from Brené Brown‘s COURAGEworks programme.

Focussing on two of her books, Daring Greatly and Rising Strong, the  12 week programme ‘provides participants with the opportunity to explore what it really means to fully show up in [their] lives – to be brave, lean into vulnerability, and to rumble with the challenges that come with living a daring life’.

Now, does that sound like my cup of tea or does that sounds like my freaking cup of tea? (It does).

I’m not going to lie, it’s a big commitment of time in a period of my career where I have less time to myself than ever before, but knowing what I know about Brené Brown, and knowing what I know about giving time to the things that are important to you, it feels like it’s manageable. I’m damn well looking forward to it.

The first lesson starts tomorrow morning my time, and so I’ll spend this evening catching up on my pre-lesson reading (seems I am still working on the feeling of ‘organised’ in 2016….it’s only January!).

I’ll try and report back on how it’s going over the 12 weeks, and if you’re interested, I really do recommend you give it a look!

Dryathlon 2016 – 1 Woman, 30 Days, 0 Drinks

Yes, it’s true pals, I’m doing it. During what was a rather spectacular festive blow-out, I seemed to see adverts for the 2016 Dryathlon everywhere. It was the universe making itself known to me – it was time to get my social drinking in hand, hopefully shed some kgs and do a good deed in the meantime.

Sam's Doing Dryathlon 2016 - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

A few days after signing up, a friend of ours revealed some terrible news – her partner has cancer and the prognosis isn’t looking good. It’s brought a whole new level of meaning to the Dry January challenge, and if the meagre funds I manage to raise have any hand in preventing one more family from going through the hell of a Cancer diagnosis, then 30 days is the least I can do.

So far? So good. Three days in and I haven’t yet been tempted, although I don’t return to work until tomorrow, and one never knows what’s around the corner! As a rule I don’t drink during the week, unless I’ve got an event, but I have to admit that I am probably a binge drinker on the weekends, polishing off a bottle or two on Friday and Saturday evenings.

Wine? Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha Says Yes

Drinkaware states that binge drinking is drinking more than 8 units of alcohol for men (about 3 pints of strong beer), and 6 for women (only 2 large glasses of wine!!!), in one sitting. Needless to say I could probably drink all of that in one night if I’m in the right mood.

It’s not been good for my waistline, as the wine makes me hungry and even a slight hangover even more so! It hasn’t been great for my productivity either – in my job I regularly have to do a couple of hours work each weekend, and it seems like such a drudgery when I’m tired, and snuggling down on the sofa seems like a necessity.

I’m happy to report that I’ve been merrily beavering away at my planning this weekend, and secretly I’ve actually quite enjoyed myself. Going back to work tomorrow doesn’t seem nearly as depressing when I’m organised, and I really do feel like being alcohol-free this weekend has played a part in that.

Having said all this, if you could be compelled to part with any of your hard-earned dosh this month, I would be forever grateful if you’d consider sponsoring me.

Although it’s been smooth sailing so far, I fully expect the first weekend back at work to be a major challenge! I’ll be sure to check in here and let you all see me in my misery!

In Which I Am Extremely Tired

Time to take care - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

Rather foolishly, I spent 3 out of the 4 weekends in November away from home. First a lovely jaunt up to Suffolk for Bonfire Night with Mr Hello’s family, then to our dear friends’ home in Ely, and last weekend for a girl’s trip to all the London Christmas shops.

It has been totally great, but needless to say, this last week I’ve been flipping exhausted. On Sunday evening this week, I had quite a bad episode of anxiety, which freaked me out enough to realise that it’s high time I started to take better care of myself.

I’ve got some extra weight to lose, terrible back pain to see to and sleep to catch up on. In my new job I essentially work 6 days a week, and it’s a pace I literally will be unable to keep up for long if I don’t make some serious changes soon.

Christmas is on its way, and over the two weeks break I get, I’m going to do my best to make a start on a healthy Sam in 2016.

I guess if I don’t do it, no one else will!

 

On Not Being the Most Productive Person in the World.

HSGS at Thetford Forest

Now that the dust has well and truly settled on the wedding, I’ve settled into a semi-pleasing routine of work, rest and just the tiniest amount of play.

Shortly after returning from honeymoon, I started a new job in a primary school. Some of you will remember that I actually trained as a secondary drama teacher, so taking on one class for 100% of lessons took a little getting used to. I am incredibly lucky however, having lots of support among my colleagues and a class that are so cute I could squeeze all the air out of them.

The thing about teaching though, is that it is relentless. My first term passed in a blur and now that Term 2 has arrived I’ve realised that the key to keeping sane during term time is definitely routine, routine, routine. I like to think that I thrive in spontaneity, but pals, it just ain’t the truth. Mr Hello actually has to tell me the whole plot of movies with any form of suspense, and I think I’ve got a similar approach to life – tell me what to expect, and we’ll be juuuust fiiiiiine.

Here’s the rub: on my walk home one day this week, it struck me that since leaving for Australia over a year ago, I’ve done approximately 0.25 things creatively. I officially cut myself some slack during wedding season, but now that it’s all over with (apart from the whole, you know, marriage part), I haven’t quite seemed to regain my doing-creative-and-entrepreneurial-things mojo. I’m not sure I like being someone who has a job and then just…goes…home? Even if home is shared with the delicious beardy one.

I thought perhaps that settling into my routine would be the key, but so far, nothing seems to have changed. I’m still just pottering about at home each evening, somehow genuinely forgetting the list of things I need to do.

Perhaps it’s teacher brain. Perhaps it’s some kind of latent post-wedding blues? I don’t think so, but can you actually be blue without really feeling it? I don’t feel sad, rather the opposite. But there is a lack of motivation at the moment, and I just can’t seem to work out why. Perhaps it will get better. But right here, right now, I not producing anything and especially not the answers to this little conundrum.

(Don’t) Get a Life

(Don't) Get a Life - Hello Sam Goodbye SamanthaToday I found myself hanging out some washing, and doing a tiny happy dance that a stain had come out of my Orla Kiely linen. I mean, it is Orla Kiely and it cost me a pretty penny, but come on girl. It violates my street cred to get excited about stain removal.

What followed was an engaging debate between two voices inside my head about the relative merits and disadvantages of taking pleasure in such a small, mundane thing. I won’t bore you with the intricate details of the discussion, but I am unashamed to admit that the ‘enjoy the little things’ voice won, and resoundingly so.

This morning I read A Rosie Outlook’s new post about happiness sometimes being difficult, and it set me off on a spot of reflection. I think happiness is spontaneous and often easy, but contentment is harder to come by.

Taking stock of the mundane pleasures in life is a step on the road to contentment in my book, whether that’s a load of laundry done well, an omelette perfectly cooked, a new coin design in your change or the sun on your face as you walk to work. It’s these little things that when appreciated, make the humdrum of life less….well, humdrum. Don’t you think?

I’ve changed my ways. Don’t ‘get a life’. Enjoy these little things.