So, a while ago, I made a list. It was quite an important list, and I was scared about writing it. But once I’d done it, I felt a thousand times better and more ordered in my brain-space  I called it The List and it was so good that I framed it. I wrote it on a blank postcard, using a Cumberland pencil (see my post about my trip to the Keswick Pencil Museum for more details on THAT) and it only had 7 things on it. They were the things I wanted out of life and I called it The List. It contained things like ‘have a career in which I feel fulfilled and supported’ and ‘find someone amazing to love and be loved by’. It was a Big Deal and it made the future seem altogether more straightforward, and the things on the list achievable.

A few weeks later, I decided to make a slightly smaller scale but much longer list to back up The List. The title of it you can find at the head of this post. It’s made up of tiny tidbits of advice I’ve picked up along the last 29 years of my life from magazines, from friends and from the long, hard graft of personal experience. It’s an ongoing list and it’s nowhere near complete. I’m going to share the first 7 components of this list with you and maybe you can use them as a starting point to make your own list. It’s not designed to fill a hole or fix parts of life that have gone wrong, it’s just a supplement. To improve upon the good stuff that’s already there.

Drink More Water

How many of us actually drink enough water every day? Do we make time to sit and gulp down 8 glasses of the wet, tasteless stuff, and if not, why not? Is it because we’re so rushed off our feet that we just forget, or because coffee, juice, gin or beer are much yummier, buzzier options? We should make more time in the day to stand still for a minute and drink a glass of water. It’s good for our skin, it’s good for our brains and it’s good for our bodies. In short, it’s just good. And we shouldn’t neglect the little things.

Drink More Water - make a tiny cup of tea from a tiny kettle.
Drink More Water – make a tiny cup of tea from a tiny kettle.

Clean Out Your Wardrobe

THE NEW RULE: If you haven’t worn it for 6 months, give it away, throw it away or sell it. You don’t need it and hanging onto things thinking ‘but maybe one day…’ gets you nowhere. Be brutal. After all: tidy wardrobe, tidy mind. Or something.

Learn How to Say ‘No’

Saying ‘yes’ all the time ends up with things being really exhausting. Either you’re running around everywhere trying to do everything, attempting to seize every opportunity, striving to not let anyone down and not making enough time to relax and enjoy yourself, or you’re saying ‘no’ to some things from the outset, and making life a little calmer. Yes, you’re shutting yourself off to possible opportunities if you do the latter, but that’s…life. You can’t do everything, all of the time.

Accept Advice From Others & Incorporate It Into This List (Lightheartedly)

My best friend just gave me a self-help book for my 29th birthday. It’s called ‘101 Things To Do Before You’re Old, Married or Have Kids’. It’s pretty fun reading and it has some awesome ideas in it. I just need to be mindful of number 3 on this list and keep my sense of reality too. ‘Invest in a Burberry trenchcoat’ seems like excellent advice, but do I really have £2,000 just hanging around, maybe down the back of the sofa? No, no I do not.


Be Comfortable

I just went to my friend’s 30th birthday party, at his house in a different city, with a bunch of people I had never met before. It was a stay-up-all-night affair, the sort we used to handle as teenagers with just the clothes on our backs and a bottle of vodka in our handbags. But I’m not a teenager anymore. I took a John Lewis knitted blanket, my slipper boots and I didn’t drink. I was warm, comfortable, sans-hangover and I still managed to stay up all night and party with the best of them. Sometimes you just gotta say ‘screw it! This is what makes me comfortable and happy’. Also, everyone was jealous of the blanket and slippers (it was snowing out).

Sing the Loud, Long or High Notes in a Song…Loudly

Put your full force into it. It doesn’t matter if you can’t sing (I can’t sing). In fact, sometimes it works best if you just scream out as loud as you can. Just take a deep breath and let it all out. Bellow it. Scrunch up your face while you do it. I like the shouty ‘Rarggghhh’ bit in Sabotage by The Beastie Boys and the bit in Recovery by Frank Turner (his most recent single – listen to it RIGHT NOW if you have not yet done so) that goes ‘SURVIVVVVVVVVVVVE!’ It’s great. Do it. You’ll feel loads better. Pick a song with a great shouty bit or high note and let rip.

Do Not Play Mind Games With People

Just don’t do it. We are not the game-players and we do not play games. For example – reply to a text message right away, when you remember or not at all. Regardless of how the other person chooses to behave. None of this ‘I must make them wait 2 hours and get them to sweat a bit’. The best friendships and relationships are based on honesty and trust and an eagerness to communicate with the other person. Some games are awesome, but not mind games. Opt out, make life a bit simpler for yourself. Hopefully all other parties involved will follow your example (and if they don’t, they probably aren’t worth your time and attention).

As I said, the rest of the list will come with time. Make your own, and stay tuned for more of mine…

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