be happy

So, i’ve currently got about ten minutes left of being a teenager, as tomorrow i turn 20. 20 whole years i’ll have been on this planet for. that seems a bit crazy to me. And to be honest, they’ve been a pretty great 20 years.

I’m so lucky

 – I’ve travelled a bit and been to some pretty amazing places. So many wonderful places in the USA – New York City, Washington DC, Las Vegas, Orlando, San Francisco, Los Angeles, beautiful Key West, and the Grand Canyon just to name a few. I’ve been to Mexico, Cyprus, Crete, Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Italy and France on some awesome summer holidays, and some crazy school trips around Germany, Holland, Belgium and Denmark. And of course, various trips around the UK and ROI. I’d say that’s quite a decent list of places for my first 20 years. Where will i go next?

 – I’ve had and still have some pretty amazing people in my life, and i’m grateful for the support and guidance from anybody and everybody who has bothered to care about me at any point. I was lucky enough to know all of my Grandparents, and though two of them are no longer here, i’m grateful for the influence they had on my life, and the way that’s helped me become the person I am today, 20 years on. And i continue to be grateful for the love and support of my two crazy grandparents who are most definitely still with me – life would be a lot duller without them!!!  I don’t forget how lucky I am to have two fantastic, generous, caring, bizarre, hilarious, loving parents. I am clearly a bit biased, but i think they’re pretty awesome (even if there are moments i think otherwise – but i am a teenager after all…;) ) I am also blessed to have some wonderful friends. They’re all quite different – dramatically different ages mainly (some of my closest friends range from about 13 to 34!!), but they are all unique and they all mean so much to me. Regardless of what i need, good or bad, support or just a good laugh, someone’s always there. And i’m so grateful for that. I like being an only child to a certain extent, but i’ve always longed for a brother or sister, and some of my closest friends at the minute really are like family. (it’s [almost] my birthday..i’m allowed to be cheesy!!!) I’m also very grateful for the cute, crazy, caring boyfriend i have – we wind each other up a lot, but he’s pretty perfect to me. 

–  There are so many other things over the past 20 years i’m grateful for  – school, uni, talents and abilities, experiences – good and bad, that have shaped me into who i am now. 

So 20 years into my life, and where am i? Well, i wrote a post the other day about where my life’s at, so i wont repeat myself, but basically, everything’s about to change. It’s all been pretty stable and regular for the past 6 months or so, but all of that is about to change. I move out of my parents’ house on Saturday and into my own wee studio flat for the next year, and i change from a regular Monday to Friday job to start uni, for the second time round. I’m so, so excited for the experience of living on my own, although i’m sure it’ll be a culture shock once the excitement wears off a bit! I’m also really excited to start uni, and learn about something i’m interested in – and to hopefully end up doing something that will make me happy. But i can’t lie – i’m terrified as well. I’m scared it wont work out again like the last time, and i don’t want to feel like i’ve failed again…it’s not a feeling i love. 

BUT i’m being positive about it. So excitement is what i’m sticking with, and i’m going with an avoidance tactic on the fear thing. I was chatting to one of my friends about it all today, and she said something that really helped. 

“You just need to take things as they come and see where they take you. And do you know what? If you don’t like it again, so what? There are no limits on the time you take to find out what makes you happy. The rest of your life is a long time, you deserve to find out what makes you happy. I know you like quotes, so Thomas Edison once said when talking about the light bulb – “I have not failed 1,000 times, i have successfully discovered 1000 ways NOT to make a light bulb.” And that’s also very true about life. Don’t regret anything. Everything in life is a learning curve.” 

And she’s right. And she’s not the only person to tell me that lately. Another friend said something similar recently too – about thinking of all the crap we go through or horrible situations we end up in as character building – and through dealing with it we can end up a better version of ourselves. 

So my plan for the next 20 years? I want to be doing something i enjoy, i want to be a good Christian, and a good friend. I want to travel, and see more of this awesome world God’s created. I’d like to think i could be a good influence on other people, and maybe make a difference. Even just to one person.

Basically? I want to be happy. That is all. 

“whatever you decide to do, make sure it makes you happy”

“Be the reason someone smiles today”

“train your mind to see the good in every situation”

Good things are going to happen”

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Blessing

I’ve been sat listening to the singing company rehearse for the past 20 mins or so, and I’m actually blessed by the way they’re singing their wee hearts out, singing some pretty strong words. They’re singing some pretty huge truths, And they are blissfully unaware of how powerful their singing and their ministry actually is.

This song in particular gave me a lump in my throat, as the words, albeit simplified a little, are so true.

You are the Shepherd, I belong to you
When I walk on rough ground, you will guide me through
You know my name, you know my voice
Before I was born I was your choice
Show me how to follow, Lord keep me close to you
You are the Shepherd, I belong to you

Open eyes, to see you are the way
Open ears to hear you are the truth
Open hearts to know you are the Lord of life
For every land you hold a special plan

Show me how to follow, Lord keep me close to you
You are the shepherd, I belong to you
Choir
Show me how to follow, Lord keep me close to you
You are the Shepherd, I belong to you.

They’re certainly something I need to keep in mind!!!

false reality

So my current tv series obsession is Grey’s Anatomy, and I absolutely love it. The stories are great, the characters are great (and in some cases, very pleasing to look at too!!!), and the relationships are great. It’s just great all round.
When I’m watching TV dramas like this though, or even reading novels, I always end up really involved in it. Like, I get too attached, and imagine myself in the characters’ lives. Generally, wishing to be like other people – wishing I looked like the characters or had relationships with people like they do, or even the drama – cos generally that brings them closer to the people around them. And I always find myself jealous of the way they get to spend pretty much every day of their lives with the people they love and care about. Like, if something bad happens, the people they need to fix it and help them through it are always right there.

But frankly, life’s not like that. Or in my (albeit somewhat limited) experience, it’s not. Your best friends and the people that mean most to you generally don’t all live in your street, or all work in the same place, or see each other every day. But sometimes I wish they did.
You know when something happens, good or bad, and you want to tell a certain person. You want to experience whatever the situation is with them, sharing in the laughter and tears (could I sound any cheesier?!!!!) as soon as it happens, but you can’t. You have to resort in a phone call or text or meeting them a week later, because you live too far away, or they’re busy living their own lives, which of course is totally fine.
So as much as I love these shows and to be honest, get quite addicted to them, I hate them as well. I hate the false reality they give you. Even if it’s not all happy endings, it’s still all fairytales and idealistic, and it’s just not real. (yeah, I do know that it’s just TV and it’s not meant to be real, but you know what I mean…) Because frankly, life can be a lot lonelier than these programmes make it seem!

I’m not really sure where I’m going with this post, but I’ll end it on a cute wee positive quote anyway that sort of links to the point I was trying to make in that ramble!!

Good friends are like stars: you don’t have to see them to know they are there.

There is always a reason to be thankful!

So this post is going to be about where my life’s at just now – my last post like this was in February, and a fair bit has changed since then. And i warn now – this will be a long post!!!
I may as well just go with the same wee headings as i did in that one, so first of all – work.

I’m still working in Tesco, and i actually really enjoy it. Yeah, working at a checkout 25 or so hours a week might not sound very exciting, and the job itself can be quite mundane, but there’s rarely ever a dull moment. Coming from someone as shy as me this may sound surprising, but i actually love chatting to customers. I get to meet and interact with so many different people from different backgrounds, cultures, countries and faiths, and it can be quite entertaining, if not interesting. I especially love chatting to elderly customers, and I try even harder to smile and be friendly. In a lot of their cases, it’s the only interaction they get all day – And i’d certainly like to think that the interaction they have with me, even if brief, is a positive part of their day. Service with a smile, right? You never know, i could be brightening someone’s day without even realising it! And that’s a pretty nice thought!

Studying-

So, in my last post, i’d just got my unconditionals for Glasgow uni. Since then, i have accepted the offer to study an MA Hons (Social Science) in Psychology and Sociology. And i start this very exciting new part of my journey in about 2 weeks time! I’m actually incredibly excited to start the course. There’s no denying it – i’m a geek. And since i left uni the last time, i’ve really missed learning new things, so i’m excited to get back into it. I’ve even missed writing essays – how sad is that?! (i feel that may quickly change once i’ve started the course!!!) I am however still pretty apprehensive about it all. Mainly because i don’t want what happened the last time to happen again. I don’t want to be a failure again! (i know i didn’t technically fail anything the last time, but dropping out still made me feel like i was a bit of a let down!) I’m not a big fan of that initial meeting of new people, but i’m hoping that once i’m there i’ll be fine.
Another thing that should help me with the whole self confidence is moving out! I’ve officially got a room in private student accommodation near the uni for the next year, and i get the keys at the weekend! I’m beyond excited for this!!! I’m sure it’ll be a bit of a reality shock once i’m in and i need to clean up after myself and whatever, but i’m really looking forward to the independence it’ll give me, and the new experience! I actually think it could be a really positive thing for me, and could help me build confidence too. (as well as giving me some much needed life skills!!!)

The third thing i talked about in my last update was God. My relationship with God is an interesting one at the minute. It’s growing, there’s no doubt about that. But it goes from being amazing to almost non existent very easily. But i suppose (or i hope!!) that’s relatively normal. I think that doubting or questioning God can actually be healthy, and can end up bringing us closer to him in the long run. I’ve written a lot of posts about God lately, and there’s been a lot of focus of living my whole life for him, not just bits of it. and that is something i’m really trying to do.

“I want to live like that and give it all i have so that everything i say and do points to You. If love is who I am then this is where i stand – recklessly abandoned, never holding back. I want to live like that!”

That’s been stuck in my head since music school and i really do mean those lyrics say. I want God’s love to be evident in me through they way i act, speak, and treat others. Through everything about me in fact. I’m not always sure how to do that though. In fact, i’m not sure how to do most things. Or what to do about most things. But the other line that’s stuck with me over the past few weeks is this –

“Trust the heart of your Father when the answer goes beyond what you can see”

Because really, that’s the best advice you can get, in my opinion anyway. Trust God, and pray. God doesn’t give us more than we can’t handle, but life isn’t easy. God never promised us an easy ride, but he did promise that he would be right with us every step of the way. And that’s more than enough for me.

The next thing i wrote about was friendships. I wrote about how grateful i was for the people i had in my life, and this is still very true. It surprises me sometimes when i look at who my really great friends are – It amazes me that the people that mean most to me and that care about me the most are people i’d never have expected to have in my life at all, never mind be so important to me. At music school this year i both developed new friendships and strengthened ones that were already there, and i’m very blessed by the friendships I have with all of them.
It amazes me how much impact someone can have on your life. There are a few people in my life right now who influence me so much and i really look up to them and am more than grateful for their guidance and friendship, and i really hope they know that. And actually, i’d like to think i could be as good an influence on someone else as they are on me!

“True friends are the ones you can count on for anything. The ones you feel comfortable asking for help from. The ones who can see the truth and pain in you even when you are fooling everyone else. They give you the courage to open up and show what you generally keep hidden from the rest of the world, and they listen to you when you need it most – not just when it suits them. They have your best interests at heart and truly care about you. They know all about about, and yet still love you.”

That quote describes perfectly my friendship with a few people – and if those people are reading this – i hope you know it’s about you!!!

And lastly, i wrote about love. And i’m glad to say that Matthew and I have now been together for over 5 years. 5 years?!!! Which is more than a quarter of my lifespan. How crazy is that?!! We’ve made it through thick and thin, and made some amazing memories so far. Long may it continue!!! “love never fails” !!!

I’ve been struggling lately with the concept of being ME. All too often, it just doesn’t feel good enough. I don’t feel good enough. But if i just do my best to be exactly what God made me to be, then i am.

“I am just striving to be more me than i have ever been.”

“you alone are enough. you have nothing to prove to anybody”

So yeah, life’s pretty exciting right now! I still love quotes, and these ones sum it up just now –

Let your faith be bigger than your fear!

There is always, always something to be thankful for.

And of course my old favourite – Everything happens for a reason!!!

Best Intentions

“What have I done?
I wish I could run,
Away from this ship going under
Just trying to help
Hurt everyone else
Now I feel the weight of the world is on my shoulders

What can you do when your good isn’t good enough
And all that you touch tumbles down?
Cause my best intentions
Keep making a mess of things,
I just wanna fix it somehow
But how many times will it take?
Oh, how many times will it take for me to get it right, to get it right?

Can I start again, with my faith shaken?
Cause I can’t go back and undo this
I just have to stay and face my mistakes,
But if I get stronger and wiser, I’ll get through this

What can you do when your good isn’t good enough?
And all that you touch tumbles down?
Cause my best intentions keep making a mess of things,
I just wanna fix it somehow
But how many times will it take?
Oh, how many times will it take for me to get it right?

So I throw up my fist, throw a punch in the air,
And accept the truth that sometimes life isn’t fair!
Yeah, I’ll send out a wish, yeah, I’ll send up a prayer
And finally someone will see how much I care

What can you do when your good isn’t good enough?
And all that you touch tumbles down?
Cause my best intentions keep making a mess of things,
I just wanna fix it somehow
But how many times will it take?
Oh, how many times will it take, to get it right?
To get it right?”

 I love this song, and to be honest it felt like my theme tune for a long time. No matter what i did, I always seemed to be getting things wrong. I know you can rarely please everyone, but i was struggling to please anyone. Not even myself. But things had been improving, and everything seemed to be going right and in the right direction for the first time in a long time. Until lately. 

Lately, that feeling’s back. I’m right back at the place of “What can you do when your good isn’t good enough?” Because frankly, a lot of the time, it certainly feels like that. I spent most of my school years and a lot of the time since trying to be the person other people want me to be. Not necessarily fun, but being me wasn’t really an option if i wanted to fit in, or wanted an easy life. But i got fed up of that. Who wouldn’t? And i’ve been trying so, so hard to be myself, like really just be me. But to be completely and totally honest (and i may regret this later..)  – it doesn’t feel like enough for people either. I’m still not ‘getting it right’. 

Things have happened, and these lines certainly ring true – “Just trying to help, hurt everyone else” as well as these – “Cause my best intentions keep making a mess of things, i just wanna fix it somehow”. But no matter what i do, i feel like i’m messing up. And i don’t love that so much. I’m a bit of a perfectionist, and i hate getting things wrong or making mistakes. And i know that it’s just a part of life, and that “sometimes life isn’t fair”, but just accepting that isn’t all that easy is it? 

I chatted to someone the other day about how i felt about all of this, and they encouraged me that being ‘me’ was the best option, and was exactly what i should be. And i replied that being ‘me’ felt like a bit of a crap thing to be. Quiet, awkward, and just not quite good enough. why would i want that? She then reminded me that i am “Fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139-style) and sent me a lyric which read – “All i ever have to be is what you made me, any more or less would be a step out of your plan”. Which i have to say, was what i needed to hear at the right time. God made me the way i am for a reason, i need to be grateful for all i have and all that i am.

I’m aware how depressive this post/rant sounds, and how trivial these ‘issues’ are (when really they’re not even issues at all – as far as life goes, i’m ridiculously blessed and have nothing to complain about!!!!!), and i’m honestly not as sad as it makes me sound. I just over-think/over-analyse things a lot. and like to write. 

So to end on a positive note, I’m trying very, very hard right now to remember that 

everything happens for a reason.

and that “the Lord himself goes before you and will be with you.”

 (but it’s not easy!!!)