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Big, Audacious Goals

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Writing Retreat - Take 2 If you've read my previous blogs, you may have already heard of my disastrous first attempt at a writing retreat.    I'll be honest, as much as I'm sure I would meet some amazing and inspirational people, the idea of a group writing retreat just makes me feel exhausted before I even start. Lots of people talking about how to write, what to write - I don't think I'd achieve anything, except maybe gain an even bigger case of Imposter Syndrome than I have already - if that is even possible.    Maybe once I've got one book under my belt I might consider it, but for now, I'm happy with the lifetime access I have to a course on writing, from the incredibly creative Neil Gaiman. I wasn't brought up reading his books, but I watched my son's imagination blown away by the movie of Coraline, and then I bought a set of books by him, and loved the fun, fear and fabulous creativity I found there. So I jumped at the opportunity to purchase

The right time to retire?

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  I told my extrovert husband he is not allowed to retire until he has a plan, and hobbies. I truly love my husband, but the thought of us retiring together with him having no plan in place for what he will do with his time - that's a horror movie script right there for me!  When we get towards the end of a normal week, I am checking my calendar to make sure we haven't forgotten some big event that is going to eat up all my energy stores. But my husband is often hoping for the complete opposite!  In fairness, since we first met, he has softened and is not as extremely extroverted as he was when I met him, when he was in his late 20's. Then, there was a level of relief for me that we lived quite far from each other. I'd spend a long weekend with him, and we would fill every single minute with activities. Then, I'd return home (or he would, depending on whose city we were tearing up that particular weekend!), having thoroughly enjoyed myself, but almost ready to colla

Writing Retreat - Living the Dream!

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I went on my first writing retreat in 2017. I've wanted to write children's books for as long as I can remember. Probably since I was given a copy of Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by my grandparents, when I was about 7 years old, I think. And then just when I thought books couldn't get any better, they then gave me the whole set of The Chronicles of Narnia a couple of years later, and I was lost again. The idea of other worlds, and other beings, got me through some tough times as a child, and even as a teenager. Then, in my late teens, a friend loaned me a Terry Pratchett book, and I learned that kids books also didn't have to take themselves too seriously. I've always loved to make people laugh, but a life on stage was not for me. My creativity had me fooled for a number of years that I could sing for a living, but my nerves vehemently disagreed, so I'm guessing being a stand-up comedian was probably out too. I eventually became an adult (mo

My BFF, the Extrovert

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  Whilst I mostly laugh and joke about the difficulties of spending my life with an Extrovert, there's no-one else I would choose to live with, for the rest of my life.  He is an incredibly caring human being, and there are many things about my Extrovert that make my life much better than it would be if I was on my own, or even with another Introvert.  It's very important to remember these, and write them down, so I can read them at times when I am feeling overwhelmed by his noise and presence!     It wasn't until we had been together for a few years that I really started to appreciate these things.  And you also have to bear in mind that we were together for 14 years before I even knew that we were energy opposites! I unbelievably didn't discover I was an Introvert until I was 41 years old. Not sure how I survived in the world being as introverted as I now accept that I am - although I am fully aware that alcohol played a huge part there, which thankfully I have fully

Grief, and life, in all it’s forms.

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Been having to say to family and friends - I know I look ok, but I just need you to know, I’m not. I've never been a very openly emotional person I suppose.  I’m more likely to crack a joke than a tear.  Sadly that’s partly because I learned that crying was a weakness - my anger will often spill out of my eyes as tears, rather than from my mouth as words. A very common occurrence, particularly for women I believe. Maybe also the empath and the introvert in me, as I can’t bear the thought of blurting something out in anger that I then can’t ever take back. I didn’t learn it at home - it was learned at work. As a senior manager in very male-dominated environments, when I was close to losing my s*%t with anyone, I’d end up walking away from the situation, as the tears would well up, and I would see the smirks of assumed victory, and have to take an even deeper breath, to stop me going back and saying ALL OF THE THINGS๐Ÿ˜ค! And it’s also partly because I don’t like to put my emotions out

Holidays again - how exhausting!

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  We are almost halfway through the holidays that I've been looking forward to for weeks now.  And once again, I find myself looking forward to the end of them, so I can have a break!  When will I learn? I wrote in my blog last year about this , but I seem to have a delete memory button every time the holidays are over about it, and I'm like Dory - 'Ooh look another holiday, yeay, I'll get a break!' I've got a reminder in my calendar every year, four weeks before the kids finish school in December, to remind me to tell all my colleagues (we are a group of small business owners, working in a shared office space, and we all have kids still at school) to get the last appointments booked and then clear their schedules, as the last two weeks of term are going to be a whirlwind of  end of year events,  Christmas card writing,  deciding on teacher gifts, and school celebrations   And then suddenly - the kids are home for 6 weeks (it's our long summer holiday here

The Sound of Silence

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Sometimes sitting in silence is a really lovely thing.  Finally getting my Extrovert husband to enjoy sitting in a room with me, with no TV on, just reading our books, was the day I knew it was a forever relationship. ๐Ÿฅฐ๐Ÿ“š But sometimes silence is not a thing of beauty. When it is an uncomfortable silence, and one or both of you are sitting second-guessing what the other is thinking, things can get out of hand quickly. Being able to really understand the different ways you each think, and the opposite feelings you might have about doing certain activities, is so important, so that you can both find simple moments when maybe a compromise would not feel so hard. Understanding both my personality type, and my husbands as well, has made life so much easier for us all (including our children!). Sometimes I have had an overwhelming week at work or with kids, and I just can't do anything at the weekend except read, sleep-in, and generally recharge. If I've had a week like this, I can

It’s me, and I’m all in.

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I’m trying to keep a promise to myself.  It shouldn’t be difficult, but it is.  It’s just to be myself.  How hard can it be?!! But literally decades of  -‘Fake it ‘til you make it!!’,  - trying to be an extrovert,  - pushing myself to the point of exhaustion,  - keeping up with my extrovert husbands socialising (historically by plying myself substantially with alcohol) has left me overwhelmed and almost devoid of energy most days.  So recently, when I made the nerve-wracking decision to do more writing and to (eek! ๐Ÿ˜ณ) share it more openly and honestly, as myself - I was surprised, after the initial flurry of gut-wrenching nerves about real people - who I might actually know! - reading my blog, that the feeling morphed into something else.  I realised I felt a huge sense of freedom.  Freedom from hiding behind the persona I’d spent over 40 years creating.  Freedom to speak out about things I’m passionate about - I’m not one for confrontation, but I do like having big conversations abou

Older.. and wiser?

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Hmm, not always true is it? I had a good friend tell me many years ago that once she turned 40, she didn't care what people thought of her any more. I found myself surprisingly then looking forward to turning 40. But my 40th came and went, and my consistent fear of what others thought of me and what I did or didn't do, stayed firmly front of mind. If anything, it got worse, for a while. I would worry about what I hadn't achieved in my life. About things in my past that I wished I could go back and change. Was I a 'good enough' wife and mum? What's the point of the work that I do? And of course, about whether I should pursue writing, which I'd wanted to do for a long, long time. I am so uncomfortable with confrontation, that the idea of saying or doing something that might offend someone actually makes me freeze, and do...nothing! Putting things off, procrastination, fear of failure. All of these were a daily part of my overthinking (covered in a previous ep

Networking Wallflowers

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  I love flowers.  I love how they brighten up a room just by existing. And wallflowers are particularly beautiful, being so determined to shine subtly from amongst the blandness of the grey rock or rust-coloured bricks they are so often surrounded by…  Ok so that’s not quite how others see them, but it’s how I see them. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Then you have the idiom ‘wallflower’, as described on Wikipedia.. "A wallflower is someone with an introverted personality type (or in more extreme cases, social anxiety) who will attend parties and social gatherings, but will usually distance themselves from the crowd and actively avoid being in the limelight. The name itself derives from the eponymous plant's unusual growth pattern against a wall as a stake or in cracks and gaps in stone walls. 'Wallflowers' might literally stand against a wall and simply observe others at a social gathering, rather than mingle. This could be due to anxiety, shyness, lack of social skills or self-esteem." Sig

You're So Sensitive! ๐Ÿ™„

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  If I had a $ for every time someone told me to "stop being so sensitive " during my lifetime. Let’s just say, I’d be paying people to ghost-write this blog for me, or to at least edit the mistakes out of it๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ! Jokes aside, it’s been a recurring theme, and - I can’t deny, sometimes I have been seriously over-reacting to situations, and can look back and completely see where the person was coming from.  How-ever..๐Ÿคจ My high sensitivity is actually a bit of a superpower, and I’m very proud of it, so I get quite defensive of it. It’s almost like another personality (I have a few, as those who know me well would agree - many had no clue I was an introvert in my party years!๐Ÿ˜ˆ๐Ÿค˜๐ŸŽธ), and she has helped me avoid making some pretty bad decisions in my life by putting up the red flags and blowing sirens in my ears! So when she tells me to jump, I can tend to ask how high, without question. My trust is that strong. The fight or flight response that my body has to certain situations

Blog writing - who is it for?

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  I often wonder who I write this for.  It is for me? Is it for the other Introverts out there who happen to find themselves confused and married to an Extrovert, and frantically started googling looking for help? Most likely it was for myself, initially, to have a place to put my thoughts. It's become my journal I suppose. I've loved writing for so many years, but not been able to dedicate any real time to it. whether it was writing stories at school (my poor mum, the times she had to go into my primary school and explain to the teacher that the stories I wrote were completely made up and I hadn't actually for example, been viciously attacked by a dog in my pram as a baby..) , writing letters to friends and family as I grew up and left home, and then when social media and the internet took over, I gravitated there and began finding my way around the new shorter forms of communication.  Some were more formal - I had to do lots of writing through work, sales and marketing c

WFH - Working from home - The Introverts Dream!

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Ha ha, laughed the Cheshire Cat, at the irony of the situation Alice found herself in. I've been lucky enough over the last couple of years, to live somewhere that has not been highly affected by multiple, long lock-downs due to Covid 19. Not to say there's been none, but in comparison to many others I know of, we've been pretty lucky where I am.  But I cannot deny that I often had little wistful moments of thinking how blissful it would be to have to work from home, the way many people were all over the world. Ah, the introverts dream -  having nowhere to go,  staying at home,  doing whatever, whenever.... Except that's not the reality, right? The 'dream' doesn't have work, or children, or Extroverted husbands in it - they are a fuzzy, faint background concept that doesn't really factor in the best parts of the dream (sorry, beautiful family - I DO love you!)  I've been a passionate and vocal advocate for flexible working for a number of years now.

If not now, then when?

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Recently, I've been trying to make time to respond and comment online, about issues I really care about.  It's not something that comes naturally to me.  Actually, that's not completely true - it comes naturally to me to have a strong opinion about things, to have something to say. But actually saying it - well, that is not so easy. I got to the point where I was so fed up of  spending ten minutes carving out the perfect response, the right words, not too much or too little, so as not to bore people,  then another oh - anywhere between 30 minutes, to a week or so - reading it, re-reading it, checking six times for mistakes,  thinking about who might read it, and how it might offend them, and whether I was prepared for any backlash or misunderstanding that might come from my intended response,  and whether I had considered my comments from all possible angles.  Sometimes I'd even go off down the rabbit hole doing research, to be open-minded about my opinion, and make sur

Holidays: A Confusing Enigma?

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I find holidays to be such a conflict for me, as an introvert. On the one hand, I am in desperate need of a break from the everyday 'stuff', but on the other hand, having no routine is quite stressful for me! If I had no-one else to think about, I'd likely be ok, but having a family to keep entertained and, well - alive, makes it a constant barrage of decisions to be made ๐Ÿคช๐Ÿคฏ. I wouldn't change my family for anything, but I do need to get better at giving myself the breaks that I need. Maybe I need to take time off during school terms, while Mr Extrovert is at work - take a week off and just zone out staring out at my garden, until I actually get bored and then I can get on with my favourite pastimes - reading and writing. You can see from how infrequent this blog is, how often I manage to sit down and write. Not that the notion doesn't cross my mind, often. I'm also writing two books at the moment - started one of them in 2016, and could probably count on both