On a weekday evening after work recently, Damian and I got in the car and headed in to the Lake District for a hike and some wild camping, (and yes we did adhere to the rules of wild camping) with the plan that we would be up early and back to our desks in time for the normal workday.
Why would we do all this for just one night and very little sleep?
Well for so many reasons and this made me think we can too often be caught up in a false online world, rather than living for today and so I thought I would note a few of my observations.
FOMO – Fear of missing out
We see, often online, so many people having adventures and enjoying their holidays via their photographs and we especially see people enjoying their holidays and activities running a hospitality place. Often this can make you feel like you are missing out on things, but do these people have any less of a hectic life than the rest or us, or more money, or do they just choose to work around it? The easiest way to stop the FOMO is to just go and do things yourself within your budgets and constraints, because you’ll still enjoy the extra things you fit in that makes your soul sing.
Stop waiting for the right time
The big thing I notice about Cumbria is that people get out there and do stuff. Running in their lunch breaks, walking on their days off, rock climbing after work, open water swimming in the morning. They just get on with it and appreciate the dry, sunny days and long daylight hours in the summer. Rather than use my usual excuses of, I don’t think we have enough time to do that today, or let’s wait until we have a free weekend, or let’s wait until we finished that job, I decided to be a Cumbrian and go and do something rather than waiting for the right time.
Everybody has low times
Even living in the paradise we do, even I have those stressed and low moments when I can often only see the negative side of things in life. The phrase is ‘Love your job and you’ll never work a day in your life’. Yes I totally understand this, but there are moments when even the passion for what you do takes a dip and you have to do the more gritty parts of the job, or push some comfort zones, or do long hours to get that dream up and running, or these days in an ever changing environment, keep it going. The key is finding what is it that helps to bring you back up from those moments. Only you know what works for you and personally I find comfort knowing that I’m not being ungrateful about life because it is something everybody goes through, even if their Facebook page does not show it.
Switch off from work
Even on days off, or doing activities with friends, my head is pretty much always switched on to work mode. Being aware that I must iron the duplicate bedding when we get back, analysing locations for appropriate photos to take for a blog, or searching for the ‘Instagramable’ moment. There have been points recently when I knew I was not fully in the moment, because a work prompt had entered my head. This was hard for me, because I have never been a business owner that couldn’t switch off. I have always been in a lucky position in that I can more than happily go without my mobile phone and access to the internet. I can usually stop work and make my time a priority. Not a common trait for a business owner, as many of you will know, but I was lucky to have that attitude and recently it had disappeared. I suppose the point though, is to be able to recognise when work has taken over and make yourself take that proper break. Even if it is just for an hour to sit and have a coffee with a friend, or do a bit of yoga and recharge your energy.
The grass is never greener
Everybody goes through tough times in work and life and nobody has the perfect Facebook life, or Instagram filtered lifestyle. I know this because a whole lot of friends have been and are going through some crappy times. Damian and I have lost our mojo at certain points and I was envious of people’s holiday photos, their toned figures and all the usual things that we all feel envious of at times, even though you are really happy for your friends and family. Don’t panic though, I do love my jobs and our new lifestyle, but there is no denying it has been a big adjustment in our lives and is very much an ongoing huge project to get the business to be as successful as we know it can be in the future. Everybody always thinks other people’s lives are amazing no matter what they do for a living. We all think the grass is greener on the other side. People without children love seeing family times, where as people with children would kill for an hour’s peace to have a beer in the garden. Employed people want to work for themselves and self employed people work more hours than they’ve ever done in their life. The lists go on and finding a level of gratitude where you can be happy is often the ultimate goal really isn’t it. My tip is to stop worrying about others and simply find your own shade of green grass.
I am lucky in that I can reach a point in life where I can say, “Okay Jo, you’re not yourself, so quit with the moaning and do something about it.” This is exactly what prompted our mini adventure. Rather than sit and scroll through other people’s activities on Facebook, Damian and I planned a spare of the moment, ‘let’s just do it’ thing. I stopped waiting for the right time to do something. Has it made me lose weight? No. Has it landscaped the garden? No. Did the ironing magically get done? Absolutely not. Did it make me smile again? Undoubtably yes.
I’m not writing this to say, ‘Oh woe is me, my life is so hard.’ It absolutely is not! I’m not writing it from a business model point of view, because I know some will think I’m crazy to write this so publicly. I am also absolutely not writing this to be smug and say, ‘ooooh look at our amazing hike to a tarn.’ I’m writing this to say to all of you out there with your own struggles, I understand. I don’t have a perfect life and don’t expect any of my friends to have either. I’m writing this to say, whatever it takes to get you away from those struggles, I hope you find it. Be it the strength to talk to someone and be honest. Be it that you are brave enough to ask for help. Be it that you stop with the excuses and leave the housework and go on that little adventure. I recently posted an image of two boys walking in a wood that said “Kids don’t remember their best days of tv”. We all know that to be true, so why as adults do we put ourselves last on the list to do something fun! Why as self employed business owners do we neglect the self-care.
Lonely Planet have a series on their blog at the moment about creating Microadventures which might inspire you. If any business owners want a catch up, then let’s organise a get together. If nothing else, I hope you take comfort in the genuine honesty of this blog and at least are inspired by the stunning scenery of the Lake District and have a laugh at my totally not ‘Instagramable’, but true to real life images of me failing at yoga, the glamour of me swimming in my knickers and vest top and Damian and I drinking gin out of plastic cups. Life would be boring if it was all perfect and life’s definitely too short to be grumpy.
Go and grab your moment to treasure x