In many ways, meeting H for the first time was like going on a first date.
An hour before we were due to meet, I was sitting flush-faced and frustrated in my bedroom, having tried on every one of the (very) limited number of outfits I own and feeling wholly dissatisfied with the way I looked and felt in each of them.
I was nervous when I drove into town through the mushy almost-snow and I was nervous when I walked through the doors of the coffee shop that was staying open late for the evening of live music she’d suggested we go to.
I wondered whether she’d like me. And I wondered whether I’d like her. I wondered, too, what I’d do if I wanted to get away sooner than planned.
I arrived first. And by first, I mean before H and before everyone else, bar the two musicians, their tour manager (?), and the people waiting tables.
And then in she came, beamed widely, flung her arms tight around me and sat herself down on the other side of the little wooden table.
And that was it, really. I knew right away she'd be a friend.
Back in London, life was different. I never made time. I never felt I had time. I was forever making excuses as to why I couldn't do this or that. I was all business and no life. Or rather, my business was my life and everything else - from friends, to cooking, to time outdoors - always took a back seat.
H isn't the only thing that's happened to me these past couple of months since moving into my new place (which I can't even tell you how much I'm in love with). I've also hiked; cooked endless pots of steaming soup; baked bread the slow way, delighting in the soft, stretchy dough; watched my twin nieces grow a little bigger (and a lot cheekier) and started reading fiction again.
And far from feeling that I've let my business go, it actually feels stronger and more grounded than ever. And for the first time in a really long time I feel as though I'm building a complete life. A life in which there's time for all the things that matter to me. The life, actually, I always dreamed of.
What I most wanted to share with you today is this:
You don't have to do this the way anyone else does. In fact, you can't.
It's up to you to take time out to (re)define what matters most to you. It's up to you to (re)define the life and lifestyle you want to live. And it's up to you to wake up every day and intentionally create your life and business in a way that makes you feel good.
So turn away from everything out there today and take the time to ask and answer the questions honestly for yourself:
- What matters to me most?
- What's the lifestyle I want to create?
- How do I want to feel every day?
- And what do I need to change to intentionally move in that direction?
Because there's no one else out there who can define it all for you. This is your life and it's up to you to define how you want to live it.
Love and courage,