Be Thankful…

Today’s post is not the read and run kind. I defy anybody to say that they can’t comment, even if it is mentally, and this post has been designed to make you think…

Be Thankful print £2.52

This December has passed by in a blur for me. Even after talking about #shareadvent I managed a measly 3 prompts before life took over. It’s an American idea to ‘give thanks’ for what we are grateful for in life but for a time of year that for me is about friends and family, kindness and sharing and love, I certainly haven’t done enough stepping back and thinking about how lucky I am.

I thought I’d make a list of things I am thankful for this Christmas and I’d love you to take a moment today or this weekend to stop and reflect and share your thoughts in the comments.

I am grateful for tradition. Today I’m going for lunch, last minute shopping and a nails appointment with my Mum and sister. It’s the third Christmas day out we have had now and I cherish the time for just the three of us, doing girly things. We never get a lot done, but now I don’t live at home it’s a nice chance to catch up in the run up to Christmas before it’s actually the big day and it’s almost all over.

I’m grateful for opportunity. Having Francesca move to Manchester has been great but having the chance to live with her again, although it has brought with it some challenges, has been amazing. I’ve got to know her again in a way you only do when you live with someone and been able to support her more than I would have otherwise. Although some people might think it’s odd, I love being able to say that ‘I live with my sister’.

I’m grateful for partnership. This month Pete has done what he always does, made everything around me work, when I don’t have time to. He’s looked after me, organised me and been there for me, even though this half of the team hasn’t been pulling its weight. It’s the practicalities of unconditional love and I am eternally thankful we found each other.

I’m grateful to be healthy. At this time of year more than ever, I enjoy my home visits through work. It’s always a privilege being asked into people’s homes where they are most vulnerable, the old ladies leaving the door open and the old men who ask you to turn out the lights when you leave to save the electricity. This year I’m reminded as I visit the lonely or depressed or dying that I am lucky to be healthy and happy and that right now, those around me are too.

Lastly, I’m grateful for change. I always consider myself quite a dynamic person but in reality, I don’t like change. Moving has been a big change and since then, I have stalled on getting the house renovation moving, preferring to plan than get my hands dirty and dusty. When it feels like hard work I must remember it will be worth it, that the mess will be finite and the result is creating our family home.

Now it’s your turn readers. You don’t have to write an essay, but what are you thankful for this Christmas?


The Last Taboo

Last month there was a flurry of baby announcements in my circles, (4 ladies bearing good news, including one set of twins!) after a bumper baby year in 2012. Although often when one hears of a friend expecting it’s wonderful news but not a surprise, amongst the growing number of professional women I know (and readers here,) and pressure to live life to the full these days, it seems more the fashion to be ‘not ready yet’ (as I have heard from so many of you here,) making baby announcements are all the more surprising and unexpected. As we all grow older it’s inevitable that many of us will start to change our feelings towards starting a family and it’s got me thinking, are the least heard words (around the dinner party table, in the blogosphere, between friends even,) ‘we’re trying‘?

Image Credit

Deciding to try for a baby is an intensely personal thing, there may be doubts, wobbles, high hopes, disappointments and surprises along the way, but it’s a stage we all go through, and one that more than likely we go through at the same time as our friends, so why do we keep it secret?

Is it the very real fear that there may not be an end in sight – after all, nobody really knows what will happen until they try… do we want to spare ourselves the gut-aching reminder of another month’s failure when a friend asks if there’s any news, or is it the fear of over sharing and that too-much-information factor of knowing the inevitable result of your friends contraceptive choices hitting the bin?! Perhaps we want to dodge enquiring glances from aunts, cousins, even the nice lady next door?

I can see the appeal of a secret, after all, what could be more special (apart from perhaps that elusive positive test,) than taking a giant leap into the unknown, hand tightly holding the one person who will experience it so acutely with you. And should the worst happen, by keeping the problem between the two of you, no-one has to fear idle gossip about who is the ‘responsible’ party.

I wonder though, is it not easier to have it out in the open? To have a reason to decline that second glass of wine, or not know what your plans are in 6 months time? To have someone to talk to if things are not happening as you expected, someone outside your marriage where tensions and expectations may be high? Perhaps it is my medical background coming to the fore. I see women at all stages of motherhood from contraception to pre-conception, through sub-fertility to conception and talk about it openly. Whatever the news, whether it be a got-it-in-one result or months of nothing happening, I’m never surprised and that naturally extends to my personal life. All of that said, if the time were to come, I doubt I could be so honest here as to share something that remains very much the unknown. Maybe people do share these things with their closest friends and I just haven’t yet been privvy to such an exciting development in my friends lives?

So today I thought I would turn it over to you guys. Would you, (or did you) tell a trusted friend that you were trying to get pregnant, or did you keep it secret? Would you do it differently in hindsight or do you have plans for what you will do when it’s your turn? Perhaps you have friends who handled it in an unexpected way?


PS! As with all personal posts, please feel free to comment anonymously by using Anon or a made up name when filling in the comments box and a fake email address. If you have a Gravatar, remember, your Gravatar is attached to your email address not your name, so if you forget to use a fake email, your picture will still show, even if you use a fake name.

Making Friends when you’re a grown-up

One of the best bits of my experience blogging, prior to starting Florence Finds, was the networking, the meeting people, the making new friends. By nature, I’m a sociable person, I really look forward to meeting new people when there are events and parties booked into my diary, whether it’s with people I’ve conversed with on twitter, in real life fleetingly at events or people who are totally new to me.

Image Credit: Erin Ever After

Many a time however, it has occurred to me that if it wasn’t for me having this new avenue to explore or experience in life, how else would I have continued making new friends?

I hadn’t ever given it any thought until a couple of years ago when my friendship circle started to dwindle as we all entered a new chapter in our lives post-university. Couples moved away for new jobs at first, then in recent years, they started having babies. Girls nights out have become less frequent and trickier to arrange! It all seems unimaginably grown up. And in the latest chapter my friend Laura is heading off to Canada for a year or two for a married adventure with her husband. Sometimes it feels like everyone is leaving one by one.

*Image Credit: Sartorialist

Along with that, I’ve also reached that point in my career where I am no longer moving around and could soon settle into a permanent job, where I could stay with the same colleagues and staff for the rest of my working life, with little change in those around me to encourage new friendships.

I know that a natural time to make new friends is when having children – pre-natal groups, baby groups, at the school gate, but that’s still some way off for me I think, so I often wonder, How do adults make new friends?

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We’re not all so dynamic as to be able to take up a new hobby regularly or lucky enough to have the time. I’m also aware that whilst my friends have moved on, I’ve been the lucky one, staying in the same place without any of the stress or uncertainty of starting afresh elsewhere. Perhaps you’re one of those people, who had to start again somewhere new, or maybe you were uprooted because of your partner having to move which must be even harder. I can imagine that if you’re not outgoing it might be really hard to reach out to new people and result in feeling lonely and isolated – life is really hard when your best friend isn’t around for some reason.

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I’m hoping that Florence Finds will become a place where you can have a little mobile piece of home, like a virtual comfort blanket of supportive ladies who can start helping each other today. I’d like you all to share your stories if you have any experience of moving jobs and areas, away from those you love, your friends or family. Maybe you’ve got that situation looming or are going through it now, or maybe you’re the one staying put but losing a friend… I’d love to hear how you dealt with it and made a new life and friends somewhere new and hopefully leave those with the situation yet to face feeling a little less daunted or apprehensive.

Lots of here’s-to-making-new-friends-in-new-places love,

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