Sunday, 31 January 2016

I did it!

So I finally did it!
I finally made the move to Cardiff.
The first week of January was spent packing up my Chroma office space at my parents home & filling suitcases with clothes. Luckily the majority of my personal things had already been moved in a few months before, so aside from Chroma there wasn't as much to take. On a rainy Saturday morning I said a very tearful goodbye to the labradors, Toby (who would be joining me once I was settled in) & my Dad and drove in convoy with Mum to Wales. As I drove across the Severn Bridge I couldn't quite believe it was actually happening.

The night before I was due to move, I had a bit of a melt down, I wanted to back out & change my mind. For months I was unable to make the move because of my knee, then December came around & Chroma went insane. This was, of course, brilliant but it would have been stupid to pack everything up and move to a different city during my busiest time of the year. By Christmas I don't think people really believed I would actually move.

The months of delays meant I had way too much time to worry about all the things that could go wrong. After everything that has happened in the past few years I hate being outside of my comfort zone, I hate "going with the flow" and "seeing how things go". I guess when your body could let you down at any minute and you're used to plans changing with little to no control over them, you start to cling on to any kind of routine, safety & certainty that you can. This makes leaving the familiar town I grew up in, my home, support system, parents, dogs, friends & children I look after and heading to live in a new house with new people in a new city pretty damn scary. To many this process would be exciting or even easy, (hell I have friends who have moved to the other side of the world!) but to me it was a big deal. I've felt pretty pathetic & embarrassed at how anxious the whole thing has made me. It annoys me that I can't seem to be more care free and not let it bother me so much. It is such a far cry from the old Gabi who moved to Uni with little worry at all.

I knew, however, that my worry of moving out wasn't going to go away. If I backed out of Cardiff I would only be delaying the inevitable. I was never going to live with my parents or in my home town forever, eventually I would have to leave. I knew I would be anxious wherever and whenever I was going, and that my only choice was to face the fear head on. After talking through every possible worry & concern with Mum she assured me it couldn't possibly be worse than I thought, I really had nothing to lose by giving it a go.

I moved down for 12 days before heading home again for days of hospital appointments & Chroma meetings, this did me good & worked like a bit of a trial period. Three weeks on from my first leaving home and over all I would say my Mum was right. Of course it is still early days but most of the things I was worried about have actually been fine and the things that have been stressful or hard I've dealt with and coped fine. My house mates are all great, I love my room & have even managed to parallel park on a daily basis. I walk a lot more than I used to, have visited Dan in Bath & went to a house party where I only knew one person (!!). I've taken up agency work as a TA which although was a nightmare the first week, is now looking a lot better and Chroma is continuing to do well. I have plans to go home every few weeks, (for birthdays, hospital appointments & Chroma stuff) which makes the chunks of time I'm in Cardiff a lot more enjoyable & keeps the homesickness under control. The whole process has been far from an easy one but I did it & I do feel pretty proud.

There are only five months left on our lease on the house & I'm not sure yet if I'll be staying in Cardiff after that point.
I guess I'll have to 'go with the flow' and 'see how things go'... (ergh).


Saturday, 2 January 2016

2016 Plans & Resolutions

My plans & resolutions for 2016!

1. Raise some money for Crohn's & Colitis UK.
This has been something I have thought about for a while, but I could never decide on what to do & frankly got lazy. The past year however, I have been more aware of some of the awful things happening around the world & decided it was time to get up and actually do something worth while. After talking through things with my Mum I decided to start small(ish) & with a cause that is obviously, pretty close to my heart. I am going to take on a bit of a challenge and hopefully raise some money for Crohn's & Colitis UK.
I went through a lot of different options for what this challenge could be & decided that walking/hiking/trekking was the most up my street. I got a bit excited and spent a while looking on challenge websites - my favourite options included walking across the Alps, along the Great Wall of China or through the Sahara Desert; many of these had to be discounted as I am not able to have certain vaccines & others were either booked up or had to be booked for late 2016 or even 2017.
I began to explore the idea of a UK based challenge. Many of those listed on Charity Challenge websites involved going up. Up Ben Nevis, up Snowdon, up the Four Peaks - something which will really aggravate my knee. The pre-arranged options are also pretty regimented, with exact dates, times and an itinerary already organised for you. For some this is great but I am a complete control freak and much prefer the idea of planning & putting together my very own challenge.
I am very aware of making it 'challenging' and something worth people donating their money, it needs to be something I can work towards. A few months ago I was using crutches so frankly not much would test me at this point but I don't want it to be too easy.
My current plan is to walk Hadrian's Wall. It's a good distance, not a continuous climb up but still a challenge. I was born in Newcastle & haven't been back since I was 18 months old, so it is also a great opportunity to go back & visit! This all may change between now and May but it is going to be super exciting to organise it all & hopefully raise some money in the process.

2. Get back to exercising
For over a year I was used to going to the gym regularly, sometimes 4-5 times a week. My knee injury back in July put an abrupt stop to this & I have yet to get back in to it. Like many others, my plan for 2016 is to get my fitness levels up & back to exercising regularly. It is hard to get in to but I know it'll be worth it, it always makes me feel better both about the way I look & in controlling my anxiety.

3. Make it fun
Looking forward to 2016 I am determined to make the year fun. Spending months of 2015 house bound has inspired me to do more, try to worry less & generally have more of a good time. So far I have tickets to see Adele with my Mum, have booked to see Swan Lake at the Royal Albert Hall & have plans to go to Wimbledon. I want to have things to look forward to.

4. Have a whole day off a week
Now I think this one was on my list last year & I definitely didn't stick to it. My aim is to have one full day off Chroma a week. No emails, no checking orders. Working for yourself, it is really hard to not be thinking about it 24/7. I think it'll do me a lot of good to have 24 hours out every week.

5. Stay positive & keep an open mind
I often try and prepare for the worst because if I'm honest, in the past, the worst has happened. I have learnt over the years that things don't always go well or to plan even if you do everything you can - things are outside of your control. In some respects I think this has made me very resilient & I cope with the bad stuff well, in other ways, I think it has made me a bit of a control freak & quick to assume the worst. In 2016 I want to try and stay positive, always look on the bright side & keep an open mind about things which I would usually feel really anxious or worried about.

Hopefully I'll be able to stick to them all! Either way, I think 2016 is going to be a really great year!