Despite the fact that I rarely update it, I love the theme of my Raising Evelina blog so much that I have decided to bite the bullet and use it over here too. I was wavering because of the lack of sidebar (and I do love a sidebar) but I figured the large majority of people who read this (which is basically me and occasionally my mum) don’t probably use my sidebar anyway. This is pretty and clear and simple and uncluttered. And so pretty. Oh, I said that already.
I don’t generally think of myself as an unhappy person. I have a wonderful family, a great (if demanding) job and a lot of superb friends. Yet I was still intrigued by the #100HappyDays challenge that I had heard of – a colleague was doing it in order to focus on the positive things about our job as she was feeling somewhat disillusioned beneath the weight of the administrative duties of her new middle-manager role. The #100HappyDays website answered the question ‘why would I try’ by saying that people who have successfully completed the challenge claim to:
- Start noticing what makes them happy every day;
- Be in a better mood every day;
- Start receiving more compliments from other people;
- Realize how lucky they are to have the life they have;
- Become more optimistic;
- Fall in love during the challenge.
I am far too new at this teaching lark to be disillusioned but I already know the constant feeling of not being quite good enough, not being quite on top of things and the constant fear of letting the kids down. At the beginning of the year, I chose ‘positive’ to be my word for 2014 and right now, deep into the Spring Term with the clock ticking on my underachieving year 11s, I am struggling to keep that word at the forefront of my mind. Whilst my fundamental happiness may be intact, my day-to-day mood is less ‘happy’ or ‘positive’ and more ‘panicked’ and ‘exhausted’.
Enter #100HappyDays. I am doing this challenge to remind myself what a special career I have. I am doing it so I don’t lose sight of my priorities. I am doing it so that I can allow myself to focus, if only for a few moments a day, on myself instead of all the other people (big and small) in my life who I want to care for. My first two entries have involved TV and bacon which I would say is fairly representative of what makes me feel good. I wonder what the next 98 days will involve. I will be posting mainly on Instagram if you want to follow.
Most people spend their time doing productive things or worthwhile things on the internet like Reddit or cats or memes. I like to fawn over pretty china I’m never going to buy. These are some of my favourites.
- Cornishware – we already have this but it’s so expensive and we need more!
- Cath Kidston Mushrooms
- Cath Kidston Provence Rose
- Le Creuset breakfast set
During our wonderful trip to the States last year, we were able to visit the town of Concord. Not only is this town important because it is where the first shots of the American Revolutionary War were fired, it also boast a great deal of literary heritage with Louisa May Alcott, Henry David Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Ralph Waldo Emerson all having lived in the town. It is also where my Auntie and Uncle live so we were able to spend a whole day exploring Old North Bridge and the Minute Man National Historic Park as well as taking a tour of Orchard House, the home of Louisa May Alcott. I love the Little Women series so was intrigued and impressed by the writer. I was deficiently inspired to read more of her work so I chose Moods first.
Moods is about first love and duty and I was utterly captivated by it. Beautifully written, understandably moralistic (although not in the least preachy), we are taken through the female protagonist Sylvia’s maturing from a tom boy, spoilt child to a sensitive and good-hearted young woman. She falls in love but the course of her love does not run smooth. I found it quite moving. Alcott has such a lovely way with words that makes her writing seem both antiquated and fresh at the same time. It is basically really lovely chick lit. Here is an example of her description when Sylvia is appreciating the man with whom she will fall in love:
She found [his face] full of a noble gravity and kindliness; candour and courage spoke in the lines of the mouth, benevolence and intellect in the broad arch of the forehead, ardour and energy in the fire of the eye, and on every lineament the stamp of that genuine manhood, which no art can counterfeit.
I will look forward to reading more Alcott; I have Hospital Sketches on my iPad which is the collection of letters Alcott wrote while volunteering during the Civil War and I would love to revisit the Little Women series.
Since this month’s NaBloPoMo theme is ‘pressure’, I thought I ought to write about it at least once this month and yet every day that I have come to write something I have felt reluctant. Maybe this is because ‘pressure’ is such a negative word and my word for 2014, as you know, is Positivity. Maybe it’s because I am bored by the constant pressure I am under and so feel no great urge to moan about all those things that life throws at me because I am a teacher or a working mother or a human being. I am not really sure I could write about this subject all month.
Then I thought about other applications of the word ‘pressure’ and tried to find positive ones. There is the cool kind of pressure that turns coal into diamonds. That kind of pressure is NICE. There is peer pressure which can be utterly horrendous but now that I am a proper grown-up person is instead supportive and appreciated. Thanks, Louise, for shouting NO! at me when I was about to reach for a chocolate without thinking in the English office the other day. Having someone like my work bestie Louise working with me and dieting with me is exactly the kind of pressure I respond to and apparently, even with my fully-grown status, something I really need to be an effective teacher/mother/human being.
Life is tough but so are you.—
Mama Kate (@mamakatesays) January 12, 2014