Tag Archives: moving forward moving on

Thoughts on 2015

Looking Forward - HSGS

I do realise that we haven’t yet reached that all important 25th day in December, but nevertheless it hasn’t stopped me from starting to reflect on the year that was 2015.

To prevent you from having to hang around here all night, here are some of the things that have happened this year, in the Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha family:

  1. I returned from Australia, and resumed life as an expat
  2. Mr H passed his driving test and our lives were transformed by having so much more time
  3. We developed our back garden
  4. A new job for me
  5. I started driving lessons
  6. A spell of freelance writing work for me
  7. We got the hallway re-plastered
  8. My first UK teaching job finished
  9. Oh yeah, a wedding
  10. My family came to visit and many of them stayed with us!
  11. My second job started
  12. My life went crazy when I started primary teaching
  13. I booked my driving test (9 days peeps!)

So, yeah. It’s been pretty crazy. Professionally this year has kicked my butt, but as my new hero Brené Brown says, I’ve been down in that arena, daring greatly. I’ve managed, however, to end on a really high note at school, but am seriously looking forward to having a proper break.

Personally, there are a few goals I’m thinking of setting for the new year, and once I’ve settled on them, I’ll definitely share them here on the blog – perhaps it will keep me honest.

2016 is the first year, in what seems like forever, where there will be no big changes. I’m not moving anywhere, I’m not changing jobs, I’m not getting married again that’s for sure, so I’m looking forward to it being the year where I can really smash out some personal and professional achievements.

It’s been a big old year, that much is for certain. I am looking forward to 2016, but before that, let’s all see out what’s left of 2015 in style.

Change of Direction, Change of Heart

A NEW DIRECTION - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

I’ve been feeling guilty.

Sadly this is not a new phenomenon, I feel guilty about something all the time, as a rule. 

If you had asked me a year or two ago what I felt most guilty about, my answer would have included things like: not Skyping my family enough; not responding emails fast enough; that I was spending too much time in my regular day job and not being creative enough. If only I could get my act together, everything would just be…perfect…

The guilts are strong in this one.

Because I can’t work in England until I pick up some paperwork, I’ve been a temporary housewife for a couple of months. It’s been problematic for several reasons, not least because I feel guilty for not contributing financially to my household for a few months more. What it’s been great for is getting me focused on the renovation work we need to do here. I say need, the truth is we already have a wonderful home and I am so unbelievably lucky to live here, but there are some cosmetic elements we want to change to make it more ‘us’. Cue several weeks of tradespeople traipsing through the corridors measuring and delivering upsetting quotes that have commas after the £ sign.

I’ve spent an unmentionable amount of time on eBay, searching various combinations of ‘Victorian front door’ or ‘reclaimed Georgian door’ or even ‘Victorian/Edwardian front door with glass’. For a task that seems so boring straightforward, deciding to replace one’s front door means deciding to offer up weeks of your life to the Gods of Time Wasting, who’s powers seem to miraculously focus on fast-forwarding the clock to 16:30. Another day gone. Another attempt at vanquishing guilty feelings before I can sleep.

On the one hand, I find myself excited by the work and recognise it as part of a recent spell of nesting, which I think is symptomatic of my impending wife-dom. I want our home to be finished, because then it becomes our home, not just the one Mr Hello bought (he’s kinda great like that). I feel like it is valid to be excited about this.

On the other, more insidious hand I feel guilty about spending my life in this way. I’m focussed on my home at the moment, and by default that means I’m not focussed on becoming an amazing teacher or creative businessperson, or writer of great repute. I feel frustrated because I don’t feel like I am achieving at a pace I expect of myself, and then I feel more frustrated because I can’t cut myself some slack. My attendance at local events has dwindled, and I’m not sure who I am if I am not that person who is at every arts event. That’s the core of it. If I’m not a creative ‘face’ around Kent, then who am I? Am I just like the colleagues I used to turn my nose up at, who came to work and then went back to their own lives without engaging in myriad extra curricular exploits? Or does nothing change at all? Am I still Sam, just the Sam who’s priorities have changed?

Our lives change directions so suddenly it seems, so why is it so hard for our expectations to keep up?

Moving Forward, Moving On

Disappearing

This image is what moving forward and moving on has looked like in recent years.

When I was 12 and a half we moved from the home of my childhood to a bigger town further north, much closer to my new high school. I was so excited for the move, and had many grand plans about how I was going to be the most popular girl in my class, and how high school would be exciting, wonderful and fun. Full of naive enthusiasm, and totally, totally oblivious.

Looking back I think this had something to do with the fact that the farm I lived on wasn’t sold until many years later, so I had that lovely sense of moving forward without too much changing behind me.

As the movers filled their trucks I wandered around the property, saying goodbye to the familiar hills, the dams we swam in many times, the rickety old fences and reticulation piping I could be consistently relied upon to trip over. I thought of the geese we’d had before, and the rock I stood on to feed them, pretending I was a sailor at the bow of a ship. I used to leave a couple of handfuls of grain in the bucket for our one goose with a deformed beak, which meant he had to strategically scoop the seed into his mouth rather than peck. He was imaginatively named Beaky.

I wandered around, saying goodbye to trees and bushes because I was a child, and moreover a child who spent a considerable amount of time in a fantasy land of her own. A big property is fruitful land for many things, not least a child’s imagination.

If I was ever asked the day that my childhood ended I would say without doubt or rancour, that this was the day.

This post was written in response to the prompt ‘disappearing’ 

On Loneliness…

One of the most private things I’m willing to admit is how much my personality leans to the lonely side.  Travel has done much to both exacerbate and relieve this.

With only yourself for company, in the right light it seems easy to entertain, to comfort and to enjoy yourself, and solo travel is just perfect for that. You can see the exhibitions you want, go to the shows you know you’d enjoy, look at the architecture you love, all without having to consult another person. Self-contained entertainment. Responsible for only yourself.

And yet…

Life is better when it’s shared. Laughter shared is laughter squared (I just made that up, but I think it’ll catch on – bear with me). My best memories are the ones I can share with the people who were in them, and we can reminisce, shaking our heads at our brilliance, or often our folly.

I’ve made a conscious decision (in part as a result of moving to the other side of the world and the reality of “starting over”) to live as much as I can, to enjoy life as much as I can, and to surround myself with people who make me feel joyous. My decision to leave Australia has meant that I forfeited a tribe. Not the only tribe I will ever have, but the tribe I joined by osmosis. I didn’t have to try so hard to make friends when I was at home. I went to university, I was thrust into friend-generating situations without much effort on my side of things, and there they suddenly were: people with whom I had a shared history, shared memories, and a shared future.

In England I’ve had to cultivate that. It’s taken three years of a concerted effort to reach. To reach for others and say “Here I am, come get to know me. Let’s have some fun”. Which I can honestly say is really bloody hard. It does get easier, and it does make you more resilient. But the loneliness is there, in the spaces between. Not always, admittedly, and to be perfectly honest I have engineered a life where the spaces are few and far between. I keep myself busy.

But in the spaces between, like this bank holiday Monday, where I’ve got odd jobs to do, but no one really to do it with, my friends and lovely partner living their own lives, I really feel that creeping loneliness. If I ignore it, it just makes it bigger and stronger. That’s a lesson to learn. Today I’m feeling lonely, but I’m going to accept the hell out of it. That’s how I conquer, by knowing it’s a part of me, but it passes.

 

Making Plans…

The BF and have decided to move to a small town in Wales. It’s so unbelievably picturesque around here, and in that regard the decision was easy. But there have been other things that have made this decision a difficult one.

We’ve both lived in cities for a long time. I’ve gotten used to just hopping on a bus and going wherever I want. Getting whatever I want easily. It’s not like that here. There aren’t cool vintage shops, or swing dancing classes or even cinemas close. That troubled me.

Until…

(jokes)

We went for a walk just before sunset last night, and we came to a conclusion that was basically “fuck it”. We’ve got two, glorious, responsibility free years here, and we’re going to live wherever we want. If nothing happens here, we’ll make it happen. It was a very liberating thought. So, drumroll, if you will…..we’ve decided to cross this:

with this:

and creating a Spring Outdoor Film Festival! We want to keep it pretty small to begin with, and we’re thinking about having it over a weekend, showing three films. I want to have it in a field, really casual, so people can bring a picnic and a blanket and just enjoy being outside.

I really want to feel part of a community, and I think that if we make things happen – we’ll get there.

We’re both going to use our arts know-how and harass the general population into action. They’ll come and they’ll damn well enjoy it!

Flickr images from wexnercenter and akademy’s photostream respectively.

Travelicious…

Ah. Travel. I do love it, but I secretly despise it too. I have come to the realisation that I do actually love my home. It doesn’t really matter where that home is, as long as The BF and I are there. And I have sharp knives.

Why does no-one in England have sharp knives? It’s the bane of my existence. I massacre tomatoes to a bloody pulp. It’s shameful. I’m embarrassed. Poor tomatoes.

This trip has been good for my soul. It’s being good as we speak, and it’s being so very challenging as well. It’s making me step up to the plate, so to speak. I’ve got to organise things, I’ve got to keep myself off the streets, and worst of all, I’ve got to meet new people. URghlegurgle.

In theory I love meeting new people. I’m just not very good at it. The worst bit is, everyone thinks I am. Once I’ve had a couple of glasses of wine, it’s true, i can talk for hours non stop, even in the face of blatant opposition. But before then, I find it possibly the most stressful process ever. I’m obsessed with making it seem as though I find it easy. I much prefer the I-already-know-you-quite-well phase.

Ah. Yes. Travel does bring out the best and most interesting in people. For example, The BF has upped the ante sleep-talking wise. He spent about ten minutes rabbiting away last night about Oh Comely magazine. I’ve never heard about it, but he’s convinced it exists. He then ended his tirade with a glorious “You’ve missed out baby, BIG TIME!” and then snored his head off.

Loves it.

 

On Family…

My mum has recently moved away. So has my sister. In six weeks I am moving to the other side of the freakin world. It’s dawned on me how far apart we will all be.

London. Perth. Sydney. Melbourne.

How did this happen?

Do the invisible links between family members stretch that far?

Once upon a time I had a pretty zany, but nonetheless normal, nuclear family. Mum, Dad, two girls and a dog. Now we’re all flying pretty much solo.

Sometimes the memory of living all together and being a kid seems so much more real than waking up next to my best friend does. It often feels like I’m watching my grown up life on DVD, and soon enough my Mum will be waking me up for school at 7am by switching my light on and off a hundred times. Now I get up all on my own BEFORE 7am.

It’s hard to believe we will never sing all together in a car ever again. That shit made road trips bearable. You can’t harmonise on your own!