Photographer of Families, Small People and Delightful Places. Travel and Lifestyle Writer and Blogger. Lives in Newcastle, Loves the North, Often Accompanied By A Beagle Named Holly Bobbins

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

This blog post contains no drama...

This blog post contains no drama, I just thought I would sit and write an update on a sunny June morning whilst the world is quiet and calm.  It's been the sunniest of weeks and life has had a gentle but upbeat pace for a little while and I for one, well I'm there for it, it's about time.  My businesses are far from perfect thanks to the "Pandemilovato" which just keeps on giving but last night there was at least an update that weddings have had the 30 guest restriction lifted so I hope this gives the couples the confidence they need to go ahead with booking their weddings and hopefully, me as their photographer.

Yesterday, after last week sorting out my wardrobe, taking 6 black bags to the charity shop and throwing away 3 black bags of rubbish, I commenced my quest to shrink myself enough to be able to wear all of the beautiful clothes I have left in the said wardrobe.

Mandy Charlton wears a gorgeous acai berry necklace, eco friendly from Philomena's Gift Boutique, a gift boutique full of gorgeous things for you and your home
Gorgeous necklace available from Philomena's Boutique

I have so many gorgeous dresses which just require a 2-inch shrinkage, I'm not going to get all obsessed about it but for a year I've not exercised enough and I've comfort eaten the contents of my home 132 times over.  I did spend a significant part of that scared to go outside and I think we're all a little heavier post lockdowns but I'm fully vaccinated now and I once again have things in my calendar I can wear dresses too so Pinch of Nom, Two Chubby Cubs recipe books and making sure I walk at least 10k steps every day and I reckon it's going to happen pretty quickly, (she said, hoping).

In February 2020 after being single pretty much since September 2014 I openly declared that I was healed, that I'd worked on myself enough and that I was ready to try dating again, I still maintain to this day that this statement did not make the pandemic occur nor did it make lockdown happen.  What actually happened was that I had another year to work on myself and honestly, I am in such great shape with my mental health, I've never been more stable.  In January I even got to reduce my meds to a half dose, and yeah, I will always have to take them but I'm about as well balanced as I could be and if this last year has taught me anything it's that I am at my best with lovely people in my life and that I don't want to be single for the rest of my life.  

Humans thrive in the right relationships, they bring out the best in each other, it doesn't mean they have to overwhelm each other's lives or be together 24/7 but I think (and I'm really channelling Simone De Beauvoir here) the right couple will enhance each other's lives, they will both have separate lives and go off and do amazing things and then they will come together and share those experiences, teaching each other things that the other might not know and when they are together because they're always growing and learning, they will be unstoppable.  No relationship will ever be perfect but if I've learnt anything from the past it's that if you can't communicate then you will always fail and that's the same for friendships and family relationships.  

I'm probably the least scared I've ever been about the future which is a huge statement for someone with anxiety but honestly, my anxiety levels have been much better lately and even using the metro seems to be a little easier.  I'm not saying I wouldn't feel scared in a crowd of thousands but I at least feel like when I go back to shooting full sized weddings soon with lots of guests that it will be okay.  My plan now is to hopefully take on more weddings, keep running the boutique but to do it all at a pace where I can squeeze in a great work life balance.  I gave up a lot in the past and really, photography will always be weekends but by taking less on and only really working 1 day at weekends I feel like I can achieve the peaceful, gentle and fulfilling life I really want to live.  It's not all about money, it never has been, it's about finding inner happiness, not worrying and about feeling genuinely fulfilled in my heart and soul.

Happiness, that's the real meaning of life and that starts with self acceptance, a little self love and learning to enjoy and appreciate the people and things you already have in your life for if you keep chasing happiness like it's always one more step and then you'll be happy, you never will be truly happy, it's taken me a long time to realise that but the future starts now.

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