Tag Archives: Relationships

Friendships In Funny Places

 

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New cities.  Moving at 35 from a city that I kicked and fought to stay in from the age of 19 was never going to be easy.

Although, I really can’t complain.  The move across was incredibly easy, and we have met fantastic people quite easily.  In spite of all the meetups I’ve been to since arriving in which I’ve lasted 10 minutes (my current average time overall is 27 minutes) I’ve managed to find friendships in funny places.

Everyone has a theory on how long it takes to settle in to a new place.  Some say a year, some 6 months, some say the 3-month milestone is the most significant.  For me though, it was from the moment I really committed to being present in this new place.  In the excitement of leaving London for a new adventure, I didn’t grieve at all for the incredible friendships that I was about to put an ocean and a bloody large mass of land between.  A month in to being here in the wonderful city of San Francisco though, and it hit me.  Phone calls to London friends help, and don’t help.  As dear as those friends will always be to me – trying to insert myself back in to the day to day world of London life really doesn’t help the loneliness.  The only solution for loneliness that I have found is to be present.

The average time a person stays in San Francisco is 3 years.  The average rise and fall of a new startup is 3 years.  Sell for big bucks or go under… either way it’s 3 years.  And people here are weathered, wary of the constant footfall of new people to the area.  Only so many times can you invest in new friendships only to see them leave before the merry go round grows tiresome.  And if your heart isn’t here, people are like horses.  They can smell it on you.

After a trip to London in January in which during the 1st week I thought I’d never be able to leave again, in the second week I began to miss our new home, our new situations and opportunities and of course – any sign of the sun whatsoever.  On return to San Francisco I felt more ready to settle, be present, and be available for new friendships.

I’ve discovered when you really commit to a place, it’s a lot easier to find true friendships.  On the roof of our building last weekend drinking wine and eating cheese with a bunch of girls from the building we live in, full of food from the BBQ we’d just had with friends from the local area, I revelled in how much can change in a short period of time.  Call it the stars aligning, or whatever you please, but since truly giving my heart to the city I live in I’m finding real friends in the funniest places.

 

 

Silos of Character

Why is it that we always give those closest to us the hardest times?

They say (whoever they are) that you always hurt the ones closest to you.  Why?  It makes no sense.  Is it because when the walls come down we somehow feel free to act towards those closest to us in a way that we’d never dare treat others?

I’m convinced that different areas of our lives mature at different rates – in silos almost.  The person I’ve become in the professional world and the character I’ve learned doesn’t always translate in to my home life.  I have a theory that it’s possibly because in my job I have built a career with thousands of little integrous decisions that no one ever knows about but me, but that have developed me in to the person that I am now. Most certainly I have a long way to go, but I’ve come a long way.

Having only been married a few months, I’m making good decisions (and bad) but building the foundations of character in that area of my life is quite a bit less developed.  So, I react to situations sometimes in my marriage in ways that I would never react at work.  Funny.  Yet each time I make a good decision, choose to let go of my old stubborn ways, put the other person first, I move closer and closer towards becoming the person of character in my marriage that I would love to be.

So maybe that’s why we attack those closest to us.. because we’ve not built the foundations there in the same way that we have with those in other environments.   I’m working towards getting better though, growing up, one good decision at a time.

 

Great Expectations

I’ve been reading recently about the Pygmalian Theory, or SFP (self fulfilling prophecy).

In short, the gist is that people rise up to what you expect of them.  It works both ways – if you expect someone to be great they actually perform better and likewise if you expect them to under-perform they are far more likely to do so.

It made me think about being a parent.  As this season is still (albeit far-off) on the horizon I’m quite keen to figure out my plan before I actually need to have one – if that makes sense.  Of course it’s all theory now so may end up being absolute rubbish come the time….  but here goes.

What if I were to tell my kids that they were the smartest, the kindest, the most athletically gifted?  Rather than expect them to get good grades, perform well, (though I would hope for this!) I would set their own expectations of themselves – that they believe they can achieve all things.

Bit like the case of Roger Bannister and the 4 minute mile – once people knew the 4 minute mile could be achieved, many others then went on to reach this goal in a short time after.

What if I were to tell new starters that they were selected because they were the cream of the crop – would this set a standard of excellence in the workplace?

What if, what if.  Worth a thought though.  By just finding the best in people and setting a standard of excellence I have an opportunity to actually change my world… even if just a little bit.

Wrong is always worse

 

 

Having seen this situation recently in both a business and a relational situation, I’ve decided to categorise this post as both ‘Love’ and ‘Business’.

So often we can have the wrong person in our lives, who we know is the wrong person, but “will do for now”.  Don’t do it.  Wrong is worse than nothing.  Wrong is delaying right.  Wrong is square none – the square before square one.

That person in that role that you know isn’t the right person but will do for now?  Funny isn’t it how long now can last sometimes.  The wrong person in the wrong role isn’t helping you or them.  It can be scary removing someone when you’ve not got a replacement, but is average really what you want for your business?  Is their substandard delivery ok for your company to be producing until Mr or Ms Right comes along?  The wrong person can prove to be costly – not only in salary but in damage to your business that can last well past their departure.

That person you’re keeping around because they’re fun, because there’s no one better at the moment, because you’re lonely…  The wrong person sends signals to the right ones to stay away.  You’re potentially sowing in to your own loneliness, busying your mind and your emotions with something you know won’t last.  Or even someone if you’re anything like me that you end up really falling for and then go through the pains of a dysfunctional relationship and a messy breakup, only to look back and and think I knew at this beginning of all this they weren’t the one.

Cutting ties can seem risky.   I would suggest it’s worth the risk.

Procrastination and The Big Black Box

 

 

I looked back today at a task I committed to doing for someone outside of work and was astounded to realise that it’s been 3 months and I’ve still not got my ass in to gear.

I’ve realised that the only thing standing between me and my career as a famous guitarist, author, dancer (well maybe that’s a bit rich) is the big black box that speaks so lovingly to me about crimes committed in Miami and New York, a family I’ll never meet in some made-up town and various other enthralling fairy tales.

TV is my nemesis.  I blame my weakness for procrastinating on the development of me outside of my career and role as a loving wife solely on the luring draw of Sky Plus.

I’m not really sure where I’m going with this post.  Maybe this is one of those rambling conversations that happens to stumble upon a revelation

 

Turn the bloody thing off.

 

The Danger in Routine

Routine is a funny word.  Not so much funny ha-ha; just odd.  I guess because we’re creatures of habit we like things that are familiar.  I guess that’s why we often try and create routines in just about everything.  Or is it more that once we have a routine we have a pattern that we can call our own?

Holidays always highlight for me how dependent I can become on routine.  I start sleeping more, eating more, doing less and voila! two weeks later I’m relieved to head back to my ‘other routine’ as the holiday routine always leaves a 10-pound leaving gift with me.   Why is it my routine that keeps me healthy and active, not my decisions?

Having recently married I’ve been thinking a lot about routine recently.  Mainly because having someone else in the shower when I’d like to be in there is wildly inconvenient.  So is being woken up at 6am on my morning to sleep in, the last piece of chocolate disappearing mysteriously from the fridge, and my laundry load magically doubling in size.

But what’s the flip-side?  Living alone forever because it’s more convenient?  For some, yes.  Not having many friends, as they can be hard work?  Some do.  Missing out on so many of the opportunities in life that present themselves – inconveniently – at the last moment?

I don’t want to ever be that person.  I want to be ready for anything – everything – that comes my way as life is full of gorgeous opportunities if you’re willing to be a little inconvenienced.  Heck, people are bloody inconvenient.

Don’t settle for the familiar.  There’s a whole world out there if you’ll just be willing to once and in a while break out of your routine.

Re-Inventing The Wheel In Relationships

Funny how we would always expect to be taught or learn from others in a job, but the same often doesn’t apply in our relationships?

Being recently married I’m discovering faults I never knew I had.  Bit like doing a new exercise and discovering muscles you didn’t know existed.  But messier.

If I was really lost for a solution at work I’d put a question out to one of the teams, ask my boss, put a question on Quora… as you do.  Relationships though are another story.  It seems we either say nothing (pride or embarrassment?) or just moan to our friends.  Neither of these solutions I’ve found to be particularly helpful in the past.

Last Saturday night we had friends round for the evening and I decided to ask the two other couples what wisdom they had on a particular issue my husband and I are working through currently.  Nothing too private, but I figure if they’ve been married a while longer than we have maybe they have some quick-win tips?  They had a couple, but really it was just nice to get our challenge out in the air and ‘normalise’ it.

I’m determined to not re-invent the wheel in my marriage.  Surrounded by dozens of happily married couples who are obviously doing something right, I’m certain we could really gain from just being honest and asking questions.  The honesty has been strengthening our friendships too…. funny.  A little transparency goes a long way.  Even if our friends have nothing to give, sometimes it’s worth hearing that you’re not alone in your quest to figure out the mystery that is relationship.

Is Marriage Back In Style?

We’re at a wedding tomorrow – the 3rd one (including ours) in 3 months.  And that’s just our close friends.

Maybe it’s because I’m married that I now notice all the women my age on the tubes in the morning with wedding rings.  Half my co-workers though – most of whom are younger than me – and most of my friends are married too.  Is it that marriage is coming back in style?

London, the single man’s mecca, is growing up it seems.  Or maybe it’s just that we are.  Either way, I like it.

It seems the taboo on ‘giving up your freedom’ turned out to be a little ridiculous, and girls everywhere are back to dreaming about  weddings and their lives as part of a duo. Turns out ‘freedom’ and ‘loneliness’ can often be interchangeable.  One month in and I can not state enough how much fun it is waking up next to your best friend every morning.

Hey – if even Kate Moss is doing it, it must be cool.

And there you have it.  For once in my life, I’m in the ‘in’ crowd.

 

 

Ode To Those That Were Never Sure

To all those that were never sure

To those that were waiting with bated breath to see if I would fail

To the past that is firmly behind me

To the mistakes I’ve made – and thankfully learned from

To being single

To having lots of space and free time ;)

To all that comes to an end when I marry the man of my dreams:

Season End

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Creative Commons License photo credit: Shot in the Blue

Ends of seasons are always the most tricky for me.

The last time I was in a situation similar to the one I’m in now I handled it with the delicacy of a tornado in a small town.  Knowing it was time to leave London for a season- which meant my job, my flat, the teams I was on, my friendships – I decided to quit everything in one overly-emotional whirlwind.  Not dissimilar to a small child throwing their toys out of the pram.  Not surprisingly, the results were fairly disastrous.  Not to mention the huge amount of respect and reputation lost as a result of leaving badly.

The beginning of a season for me is always the most thrilling.  New everything.  Scary and fun.  The middle of seasons are pretty good too… when you’re confidently comfortable, cruising, still being challenged but you know it’s within your stride, even if you have to run a little.

Then comes the end.  Not thrilling, not new, not scary or fun.  Well maybe sometimes scary.  But how you handle this season is the imprint you will leave in the minds of everyone surrounding you in this season.   A belly-flop ending can negate the most positive of successes.

Ending well is subjective.  To me, it’s taking the time to honour those who have given you the opportunities, the support, the leadership and the friendship in the current season.  Regardless of how exciting the next season looks, staying 100% committed to the ‘now’ until your season ends is always worth it.  This time I’ve done it a whole lot better.  This time I’ll take friends with me from this season and not leave chaos in my wake.

This has been a great season end.