My old school chum was kind enough to invite me to stay at her house over 200 miles away for a long weekend last year, so it was only a matter of time before I was in a position to be able to reciprocate. She arrived at Casa de Steampunk on Friday and we almost immediately decided to go back to visit our old school! Within the hour we’d turned up unannounced, but despite this the staff went out of their way to help and we were given a fabulous guided tour of the corridors and classrooms we last inhabited almost forty years ago. Back home much Pinot Grigio was polished off as we chatted into the wee small hours about PE lessons, lockers and, of course, boys.
The following morning the rain stopped long enough for us to take a leisurely stroll, ending up at a posh hotel when my mate was able to do some impromptu business. We then drove to a nearby village to sample the delights of all things boaty before filling up on pub grub, followed by a game of dodge-the-thunderstorm en route back to her Merc. Girly shopping was next on the list so it was off to an out-of-town complex where we spent several hours browsing amongst discounted curtains and duvet covers, frilly undies and home-wares. An encore of wine and gossip finished off our busy day perfectly.
I have no idea where the time went, as in the blink of an eye it was suddenly midday on Sunday and she was off back home again. It’s wonderful to be able to mull over happy memories but it’s even better when you can do so while creating brand new ones. This was my first attempt at hosting a guest at Chez Moi since becoming single, and judging by the success of this weekend it certainly won’t be the last, although I just need to give my liver a while to recover…
What better way to blow away those Christmas cobwebs than to take a long, sunny walk, and it’s even better if you can take a mate along with you. The week between Christmas and New Year can be a strange period; especially for those off work and who have therefore lost their usual daily routine. Personally, I like to get out and about, weather permitting, so when the sun decided to show it’s face this morning that’s exactly what I did.
Although it’s always lovely to walk my favourite route, it was especially nice to be acting as tour guide for a chum. As we walked through countryside, beside a river, we saw plenty of wildlife including robins, finches, herons, ducks, swans and seagulls. The locals clearly take Christmas very seriously as they’d decorated a random tree beside a footpath with an array of sparkly baubles – as you do! Being close to a railway track meant that the inevitable train thundered past, and when we reached our destination I could finally enjoy all things boaty.
The pub lunch was extremely welcome and the delicious sarnies and chips, washed down with coffees, sustained us during the return trek. Having fun doesn’t necessarily have to cost a lot of money, you just need to do the things that make you happy. It’s even better if you can share your enjoyment with a friend.
When you’re insanely busy, it’s nice when you can finally manage to schedule an afternoon natter with an old friend. When I met up with my gal pal in town it was rather chilly outside, so we popped into a nearby cafe to de-frost and catch up with each other’s gossip. Even though it’d only been a year since we last got together, and we’ve regularly texted each other in the meantime, it was good to be able to put the world to rights over a large Americano and a latte.
In fact, we’d both clearly done a lot more than we first thought in the previous 12 months because an hour whizzed by, as did 2 and then 3! It was only when it started getting dark outside that we suddenly realised how long we’d been nattering for! So, after warm hugs, and promises not to leave it so long the next time, I headed back home – via the chemist to buy some throat sweets. I have a feeling I may need them later…
When the weather’s warm and dry, what better way to spend a Sunday afternoon than to take a friend for a stroll around your local outdoor spaces. A seemingly mundane route, that you’ve taken a thousand times before, suddenly becomes a guided tour of all the flora and fauna you’d long since taken for granted. By showing others all of the wonderful and interesting aspects of the area it can really open your own eyes, letting you see your previously familiar world in a whole new light.
This can be an appropriate metaphor for life, and a valuable lesson to take on board. Try to look at the things around you as if you’re seeing them for the very first time, and truly appreciate their wonder. Life is short, and precious, and today I think that the penny finally dropped for me. As the late, great Nina Simone once sang; “It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for me, and I’m feelin’ good. …”
When making a new life for yourself it can be quite useful to make some new friends, whether this means joining a new group or club, taking up a new hobby or just frequenting a new bar. By no means does this imply that you should immediately abandon all of your old mates; quite the opposite in fact; these people always have been and always will be a very important part of your life (although I could’ve done without the unexpected ‘chummy’ texts from my ex 9 months after he left), it simply means that you will now have a brand new group of pals who have only ever known you as ‘you’ and not as part of a couple. A few months ago, I’d have gladly stuck rusty nails in my eyes rather than join a gym class, but join I did and in all honesty it’s completely changed my attitude.
Meeting fabulous new people can lead to a variety of different and exciting experiences, including visiting places you’d never actually been before, trying out new pastimes and exploring ideas and concepts you never thought possible. It also inevitably leads onto making even more new friends, which can only be a good thing. Highly recommended for anyone trying to start afresh.
Key dates can be an unwelcome reminder of a recently ended relationship, and anniversaries even more so. It’s tempting to think of what your life was before you’d met your ex; how slim you were, how carefree you’d been and so on. However, this is seldom helpful for your rehabilitation into single-hood and will only lead to more resentment of years ‘wasted’ and regrets over what might have been if only you’d chosen a different path all those years ago.
Instead, ignore the fact that your ex has recently sent you an unpleasant text message just because you refuse to allow him to keep his credit cards registered at your address any longer, (almost 8 months after he moved out), and try to focus on all your post-break-up achievements, no matter how small. It may be a nice new friend you’ve met, a few pounds of flab lost, managing to fix something yourself or even a new job you’ve just started. Leave what’s gone behind you and embrace what happiness and excitement the future can hold.
After several years of using ‘coping strategies’ to deal with a declining relationship, it can take time to adjust to being natural once that relationship has ended.
This can mean being comfortable once again with using words or phrases that used to trigger a negative or unwanted reaction, being able to finally send private emails knowing they’re no longer all being read by a 3rd party, or allowing yourself to relax when out with friends knowing you won’t get the inevitable texts or face the Spanish Inquisition when you get back home.
Unlearning old habits may well take weeks, months or even years in extreme cases, but if you can try to let go and relax, and just be yourself, you’ll soon find that your true personality will eventually shine through. You just have to let it.