It’s Not a Midlife Crisis – It’s a Midlife Makeover! #PersonalDevelopment

zc8jcI find that I’m reading articles and books on a variety of midlife topics at the moment. I’ve devoured Jonice Webb’s book, Running on Empty, nodded my way through Miranda Sawyer’s Out of Time, and wept bucket loads over Diane Esguerra’s journey to scatter the ashes of her son at Machu Picchu in her memoir, Junkie Buddha.

What do all these things have in common? The passage of time, getting older, travel, getting out and about more, discovering who we are, learning to love ourselves at later stages in our lives.

Midlife, according to the experts, tends to hit men at the age of 43, and women around the age of 44. I can, therefore, confirm that I am well and truly in the middle of my life cycle. The family genes are fairly strong so I should last out until I’m around 90 all being well. That means I have another forty-five years left to tick off all the items on my bucket list, and that’s only if my body doesn’t seize up, my bladder continues to work, my eyesight remains semi-decent, and nobody takes my driving license off me!

I recently convinced myself that I was having a midlife crisis. No, I didn’t get botox or shave my head, and I already have tattoos. I didn’t start dating a younger man (although I’m not going to rule this out altogether!) and I haven’t started frequenting strip clubs. What I have done is start a saving plan to buy a VW T2 Campervan, which is something that’s sat on the top of my bucket list for as long as I can remember.

It’s perfectly agiphycceptable for a man who is going through a midlife crisis to buy a motorbike, or sports car, so why can’t I have a camper?

It was as I sat behind the giant wheel of a type 2 that I realised my midlife crisis wasn’t in fact a crisis at all. It’s a shift in dynamics, a change in fortune and circumstance. My three children are all older and reasonably capable of looking after themselves. I’ve been a single mum for thirteen years so I’m pretty savvy at looking after myself, my family, and my affairs. The road is calling, freedom beckons, and I’ve decided to embrace this time of my life as a midlife makeover rather than a crisis.

I hope that next year is the start of a journey of discovery. I’m still searching for the perfect camper that will become a part of our family, but I’ve already got the road trips mapped out for when it does arrive in our lives. Watch this space…

What do you dream of doing but think you’re too old set in your ways to achieve? Are you in the middle of a midlife makeover? Share your tips and stories in the comments and feel free to join me in a VW convey if you spot me on the road 🙂

Thanks for visiting my blog, I hope you enjoyed this post. Want more? Connect with me here:  Twitter @ShelleyWilson72, Instagram or check out my Facebook pages http://www.facebook.com/FantasyAuthorSLWilson and http://www.facebook.com/MotivateMeBlog.

Smile with the Stars – in Memory of Lee Johnson #Epilepsy #LeesSmile

On the 12th December 2010 my cousin, Lee Johnson, went to sleep and never woke up.

IMG_4297Lee died from SUDEP (Sudden Unexplained Death in Epilepsy) at the age of 24.  He was an incredible person who lived his short life to the full. As a child, he played for Leeds United youth team alongside James Milner, a position he had to give up because of his condition. He continued to play for his local team and was also an outstanding cricketer.

His passion for sports was well known. Lee had successfully undergone a soccer training assessment course which was to be the start of the next stage of his life – as a soccer coach on the West coast of America.

His death touched so many people. Neither Lee, his parents Simon and Vicky or his sister Becky knew that Epilepsy could take a life. Following Lee’s premature passing, a campaign to raise awareness of Epilepsy and reduce the stigma surrounding the condition was launched. The campaign soon developed into the creation of Lee’s Smile – a lasting tribute to Lee’s achievements in his short lifetime, and a charity that aims to use research and awareness to get the answers that will save lives.

We hold numerous charity events across the country and take part in many fundraising activities, but the highlight has to be the ‘Smile with the Stars Gala Ball’ held in 2012, which raised £83,000. The funds are used for research into epilepsy and financially supporting the fantastic work done with the LGI Hospital (Leeds General Infirmary).

If I can take any lesson from Lee’s passing, it would be to make the most of life. He crammed more into his 24 years than most of us could dream of. He travelled, loved and lived without letting his condition hold him back. He is my inspiration.

My family have made the courageous decision to hold a third ‘Smile with the Stars Ball’ which will be held on Saturday 30th June 2018 at Elland Road, Leeds.  The amount of work that goes into putting such an incredible evening together is overwhelming and yet they pull it off with grace, determination and of course – with a smile!

If you would like to read more about the amazing fundraising events or would be interested in attending the Ball or donating to this cause, then click on the link below and please take a look at Lee’s Smile website HERE.

 

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this post.  Losing someone you love is something most of us will have to go through at some point in our lives. Each experience is different and personal to us. There are many charities who specialise in providing support and grief counselling.  Our loss can be more painful at this time of year.   If you are struggling with a bereavement or would welcome someone to talk to then contact Cruse.

Thanks for visiting my blog, I hope you enjoyed this post. Want more? Connect with me here:  Twitter @ShelleyWilson72, Instagram or check out my Facebook pages http://www.facebook.com/FantasyAuthorSLWilson and http://www.facebook.com/MotivateMeBlog.

List Writing for Pleasure – Is it Possible? #SelfHelp #ChristmasTips

Notebook 2 (2)My children told me what they would like for Christmas this year by sticking lists to the fridge. It appears my obsessive list writing disorder has rubbed off on them!

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without an array of lists. There’s one for the food shopping, one for gift buying, and another list of names and addresses for sending out your Christmas cards. A list is a helpful tool to keep you on track with jobs, tasks, and anything else that fills your brain on a day to day basis.

As a single mum, list writing is the one personal development tool that keeps me organised and calm. If it’s not on the list then it doesn’t get done! I know many of my friend and readers who hate writing lists and roll their eyes to the heavens when I start chattering on about it. Whether you love or loathe list writing, I hope the following ideas spark a little bit of creativity, a fond memory, or even a goal for the New Year.

First of all I want you to put aside your Christmas shopping list. Forget about frozen turkeys, parsnips, and picking up the cranberry sauce.

Now grab a pad and pen and give yourself the gift of five minutes to jot down a few things for each of the lists I’ve added below:

  1. List all the jobs you would love to try (yes, even astronaut).
  2. List all the cities you’ve visited and underline your favourite.
  3. List your five favourite books (ooh, that’s a tough one!).
  4. List the first three things you’d do/buy if you won a million pounds.
  5. List five things you’d save if you house was on fire (don’t count family as that’s too easy).
  6. List four people you would love to meet (dead or alive).
  7. List three wishes you would like to come true.
  8. List five nice things you’ve done for other people.
  9. List your favourite things about your family.
  10. List five things you would like to change in your life.

When I got my kids to do this exercise I was amused to find a two day school week, and five day weekend on my daughter’s list. My son added more takeaways to his. Their favourite cities were Barcelona and London, and I was very pleased to see my book, Oath Breaker, on their favourite book list – not at all biased!

Read back over your lists. Could you choose one of your favourite cities to visit next summer? If you would only save five things from the fire then do you need the ‘stuff’ in your house? Is it time for a de-clutter? What action steps can you take in 2018 to make your wishes come true? Remember all the favourite things you wrote about your family when you are all together this Christmas. Can you turn list number 10 into a New Year Resolution? Changes in your life only happen when you want them to. If they were important enough to write on a list, why aren’t they important enough to do in real life? Make it happen.

Writing a list is a hugely important part of my day, but why can’t we have a bit of fun along the way. It is the silly season after all!

How did you get on with your list writing? Pick one from each of your lists and write them in the comments.

Thanks for visiting my blog, I hope you enjoyed this post. Want more? Connect with me here:  Twitter @ShelleyWilson72, Instagram or check out my Facebook pages http://www.facebook.com/FantasyAuthorSLWilson and http://www.facebook.com/MotivateMeBlog.

Using Colour to Boost Your Wellbeing #SelfHelp

black clothesIf you took a look at my wardrobe, you’d see a plethora of black fabric. Skirts, trousers, dresses and tops; all of them are black. I don’t use my black clothing as a ‘think thin’ statement, and, fortunately, it isn’t because I attend a multitude of funerals, I just like wearing black. Of course, it may have something to do with my passion for the Gothic and horror genres. However, I do have the occasional flutter of blue, red and green, but I have to be in the right mood.

When I signed up for a Colour Me Beautiful session with my mum, I was worried that black would be on my no-no list.  Fortunately, I am one of the lucky ones who can get away with it (phew!), but I was surprised at how much colour can change your total appearance. The session was a birthday present for my mum, and we were looked after by Lisa, from Transforming U, who made us feel incredibly welcome. Lisa explained the history behind Colour Me Beautiful, telling us that it has been the world’s leading expert in image consulting for millions of women and men, around the world, for over 30 years.

It’s not just about the colours; the session gives you advice and confidence to utilise your clothing for your wellbeing.  Being well dressed doesn’t necessarily have to mean ‘expensive’. Lisa showed us how to match our clothes with our personality. She also walked us through the process of staying current and appropriate for our age.

Wearing clothes that flatter your proportions can change your entire look. Finally, we got to look at which colours complement our colouring.

There is a science behind the colour me beautiful approach, and it was fascinating to learn more about this side of the colour analysis. The influence of today’s Colour Me Beautiful system is the Munsell system. In 1903, Albert Munsell created a system of colour that he based on human eye response. It contains three characteristics; hue, value and chroma (clarity).

TColourhe hue represents cool or warm colours, whereas the value refers to its depth on a scale of 0 to 10 (black is 0/white is 10). The grading between light and dark colours measures the depth.  Finally, the chroma refers to the clarity of a colour, from vibrant to clear, also graded on a scale of 0 to 14 (muted is 0/clearest is 14)

Once we understood the science, Lisa was able to find out which colours were best for us.  The first step was to find our dominant colouring; this is done with your hair and eye colour.

I am a brunette with brown eyes. However, I dye my hair a reddish colour, and this has an impact on my overall colouring. My mum is blonde with brown eyes.

Once we knew our dominant colour (I was ‘deep’), we could move onto the colour test. This is where Lisa draped a variety of colour swatches across us to determine if we were warm or cool, clear or soft. The outcome will govern the different shades of a particular colour that we can wear.

My result was; deep – warm – soft, and so my colour palette includes rust, navy, moss, salmon, chocolate brown, red, purple, and a host of other incredibly rich colours.

Colour me Beaut2For the first time in ages, I was excited about wearing colour. Interestingly, my mum’s result showed that lighter shades of blue were not a good colour for her. My mum has always worn blue clothes and makeup, so it was quite strange for her to rethink not only her clothes but her makeup routine. As it happens, she switched to wearing more earthy tones, and it has transformed her face.

Colour me BeautIt was this aspect that fascinated me. By placing a swatch of colour close to our faces, Lisa could tell what worked and what didn’t. I didn’t grasp it until she put two shades of brown under my chin. One of the shades made my cheeks looked pink and healthy, and the other made me look like a bubonic plague survivor! It was an eye-opening experience.

Since returning home, we have both decluttered our wardrobes and recycled our clothing.  I’ve taken out all the wrong shades that made me look drawn and ill, and pulled the better colours to the front – I may have also indulged in a small shopping spree!

I bought a rust jacket in the sale, something I would never have thought about wearing before, and I team it with my jeans and a chocolate brown blouse. Every time I wear this outfit I am told by friends, family and even strangers on the street, that I look great.

According to Lisa, this is the ultimate test. If someone asks if you’ve not slept, or wonders if you are under the weather, the chances are you’re wearing the wrong colour. When you are complimented on your outfit or told you are glowing, then you’ve got it spot on!

The session was great fun, and both of us thoroughly enjoyed the day. We’ve both learned so much, and it has definitely influenced our shopping. Lisa gave us each a wallet that contains small swatches of our unique colours. I take mine with me everywhere I go so I can match up a top or jacket colour to the swatch and check it’s a good choice.

The Colour Me Beautiful session has given me the confidence to wear colours and certainly helped with my wellbeing. Instead of thinking I look ill, I now feel an inner glow that boosts my self-esteem. I still wear a lot of black, but I team it up with a variety of coloured accessories, jackets and scarves.

Why not try it for yourself? Pop over to Colour Me Beautiful and have a look.

I’d be interested to hear if anyone else has used colour to enhance their wellbeing. Please feel free to leave me a comment below.

Thanks for visiting my blog, I hope you enjoyed this post. Want more? Connect with me here:  Twitter @ShelleyWilson72, Instagram or check out my Facebook pages http://www.facebook.com/FantasyAuthorSLWilson and http://www.facebook.com/MotivateMeBlog. You can also find me on

FINAL: How to Create a More Fulfilling Future: Summary #PersonalDevelopment

How To Create a More Fulfilling FutureOver the past nine weeks I’ve been running a blog series called ‘How to Create a More Fulfilling Future.’ If you’ve missed any of the posts over the course of this series then don’t panic – you can catch up by clicking the links at the bottom of this post.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has taken part and shared their stories. In the beginning, I suggested gathering your answers together in a personal workbook. There was a good reason for this as writing down our goals, observations, and achievements help us to stay grounded and accountable to our dreams.

If you have been following the entire series, then you’ll hopefully have a fully rounded picture of your life, goals, and aspirations so far. You should have found yourself thinking quite seriously about certain aspects of your life – this is good!

Week One:

We looked at what we would do if we were brave enough, and what we have achieved even though we never thought we would or could.

Fear is a huge factor when pushing ourselves to do something outside our comfort zone. My favourite acronym is FEAR = False Evidence Appearing Real and helps me remember that sometimes I’m the only one who is halting my efforts.

Quitting a job, writing and publishing a book, travelling solo, emigrating, and completing a physical challenge were just some of the incredible achievements my readers shared in the first week. Recalling your personal bravery, achievements, and spontaneous actions brings a sense of clarity to the forefront of your mind and therefore paves the way for you to set yourself other challenges and goals. So, here’s that final question again – what challenges are you ready to face now?

Week Two:

On week two we put aside our various hats (mum/dad/wife/husband/colleague/friend) and looked at what we would love to do if we had the freedom to do it. What would you do with a spare hour, afternoon, day, or weekend? The point of this exercise was to detach from our everyday ‘roles’ and think back to what it was like when we were only responsible for ourselves.

Why do our dreams have to change because we get married, or have children? Why can’t we drop everything and visit a friend at the other side of the country? Who said we couldn’t possibly indulge in an afternoon at the cinema, or curl up and read a book instead of ironing? And why do we insist on staying late at work instead of heading home to be with the family?

Often, we act how we think other people would want us to act. It’s something we learned as small children that has been carried through into our adult lives. Recognising that we are in control of our lives is important.

Week Three:

What are you good at? What would you like to improve? Thinking about our skills in a positive light helps us to feel connected to our passion, so it’s essential that we review this on a regular basis. While celebrating our strengths, it’s also imperative to think about the areas of our life we would like to improve upon. It’s these topics that become our future goals.

Improving ourselves is how we evolve and grow. Learning a new language, returning to college to retrain, building our self-confidence through workshops, and wishing to improve writing skills were just some of the ideas raised during week three. If time and money were no issue, what would you love to learn or improve upon?

Week Four:

Stress is a word that every single one of us has heard about, and probably experienced at one time or another. Do you let it control you, or do you have a system in place to combat/deal with the symptoms of stress? This was the topic up for discussion in week four.

Work, health, family, and finances came out as the top culprits for causing stress in our lives. It was interesting to note how my readers all reacted physically to this. Stomach pains, headaches, and chest pains manifested as a reaction to their situations.

Another interesting point to note is that in most situations the stress was self-inflicted. For example: Stressing about the state of the house when the kids are playing, adopting a ’what if’ attitude to situations and worrying about the hypothetical outcome, mentally berating yourself for having a chocolate bar instead of going to the gym, and putting too much pressure on yourself – or that need to be in constant control!

The final questions of week four touched upon how to cope with stress and what you could do to help yourself. Taking a time out to read, walk, a nap was a favourite with my readers. As was meditation, positive thinking, writing or journaling, and talking things over with family and friends. Do you have a favourite way to cope with stress?

Week Five:

Week five was an interesting one as we looked at how long we spend on social media, how valuable that time was, and what we could do instead if we cut back. Thinking about and/or recording the amount of time you spend online can be quite shocking, but by doing this, you highlight areas where you can claim back valuable time for family, leisure, or writing activities.

There’s a fine line between over-indulgence on social media sites and being active for the good of your profile (blog/book/business). The questions this week were designed to make you think about the quality of posting you do and if you really need to scroll down endless kitten memes! It was a challenging week of questions for many of my readers.

Week Six:

Who do you admire? Who keeps you grounded? Who motivates you? This week was all about appreciating our support networks in whatever capacity that falls under. Many of my readers acknowledged the importance of family in their answers, as well as the online support from fellow bloggers, writers, and colleagues. Knowing who we can call upon for encouragement and assistance is an important part of our personal development. Yes, we can do everything, but we don’t have to. Call upon your cheerleading squad to help you.

Week Seven:

I wanted to talk about self-care on week seven and look at how we treat ourselves compared to how we treat others. It was interesting to see that 99% of my readers think about others before themselves.

Why do we do this? I’ll use the classic flight attendant speech to highlight the need for self-care – put on your own oxygen mask before helping others! Many years ago I realised that if I were broken, I wouldn’t be strong enough to help my family, so I concentrated on healing myself, looking after my personal development and self-care, and when I’d grown strong I was able to help others easily but from a place of power.

Looking after your own needs is not selfish, it’s necessary. Julia Cameron dedicated an entire book to the importance of ‘filling the well’ in her fabulous book, The Artist’s Way. What can you do today that’s just for you?

Week Eight:

Enjoying a little light relief during our personal development is just as important as the self-work we do as we evolve and grow. This week was dedicated to remembering our funniest moments and also our most embarrassing moments.

What I found most interesting was how my readers had been able to turn these experiences on their head and see the funny side. Learning to accept our faults and failures is a huge step in the right direction, but to be able to turn them into lessons is even better. Every embarrassing moment is a small part of that patchwork of emotions. It might take some time, but we rethink the memory and turn it into a positive.

Week Nine:

The final post of the series looked at what we would like to be, do, or have if money, failure, and time was no issue. I wanted my readers to dream big this week!

We can prevent ourselves from achieving our dreams because of self-doubt, limiting beliefs, and acting how we think other people would want us to behave. Why? These final questions were designed to make you think about your deepest desires, greatest ideas, long-held dreams, and to realise that nobody, but you, is holding you back from achieving what you want.

Conclusion:

I hope you’ve enjoyed this series and found it to be helpful and insightful. Personal development is just that – personal. We are all on a unique journey with different goals, but finding support in each other’s stories is what helps us to learn and grow.

Thank you for being a part of this voyage and may I wish you all a happy and prosperous future.

Here’s a look at the previous posts in this series:

Thanks for visiting my blog, I hope you enjoyed this post. Want more? Connect with me here:  Twitter @ShelleyWilson72, Instagram or check out my Facebook pages http://www.facebook.com/FantasyAuthorSLWilson and http://www.facebook.com/MotivateMeBlog. You can also find me on Pinterest

How to Create a More Fulfilling Future: Week 9 #PersonalGrowth

How To Create a More Fulfilling FutureIf you’ve missed any of the posts over the course of this series then don’t panic – you can catch up by clicking the links at the bottom of this post. Next week we will be summarising all our questions and answers, but for today, I want you to concentrate on dreaming BIG.

As always, you might want to gather your answers together in a personal workbook. Don’t think too hard about each question, just go with the first thing that pops into your head.

If you have been following the entire series, then you’ll hopefully have a fully rounded picture of your life, goals, and aspirations so far. You should have found yourself thinking quite seriously about certain aspects of your life – this is good!

Grab your notebook, your journal, or open a new word document and record your answers so you can refer to them when needed. Today, I want you to think about what you would like to have, be, or do in your life:

Questions for week #9:

  1. Which countries would you like to visit?
  1. What is your ideal job?
  2. What activities/hobbies would you like to try?
  3. If money was no issue, what would you like to do most with your life?

Join me next Monday for an overview of this series and what you can do next with all the answers you’ve collected.

Your responses can be as private or as public as you choose. Feel free to leave your answers in the comments below. If you’d rather not, then simply share how you find the selection of questions, if you can answer them easily or if you struggled, and what you have chosen to do with the answers that came up for you if anything.

Take a look at the previous posts in this series:

·         Week 1

·         Week 2

·         Week 3

·         Week 4

·         Week 5

·         Week 6

·         Week 7

·         Week 8

Thanks for visiting my blog, I hope you enjoyed this post. Want more? Connect with me here:  Twitter @ShelleyWilson72, Instagram or check out my Facebook pages http://www.facebook.com/FantasyAuthorSLWilson and http://www.facebook.com/MotivateMeBlog. You can also find me on Pinterest

How to Create a More Fulfilling Future: Week 8 #PersonalGrowth

How To Create a More Fulfilling FutureI’ve been delighted with the response to this blog series so far and would like to thank everyone who has taken part. Readers have engaged with the questions and really given them some serious thought. It’s this reaction that I had hoped for. When we want to work on our personal development it’s so important to review various areas of our lives first. These questions give you the thinking space you need and I’ve loved reading the responses.

If you’ve missed any of the posts in this new series then don’t panic – you can catch up by clicking the links at the bottom of this post.

I will post additional questions for you to answer every Monday. As always, you might want to gather them all together like a personal workbook, or just pop in and out to answer the questions that appeal to you.

Don’t think too hard about each question, just go with the first thing that pops into your head.

If you have been following the entire series, then you’ll hopefully have a fully rounded picture of your life, goals, and aspirations so far. You should have found yourself thinking quite seriously about certain aspects of your life – this is good!

Grab a notebook, your journal, or open a new word document and record your answers so you can refer to them when needed. This week I want you to think about specific moments in your life:

Questions for week #8:

  1. What is your proudest moment?
  1. What is your funniest moment/memory?
  2. What is your most embarrassing moment/memory?

Join me next Monday for more questions.

As always, your responses can be as private or as public as you choose. Feel free to leave your answers in the comments below. If you’d rather not, then simply share how you find the selection of questions, if you can answer them easily or if you struggled, and what you have chosen to do with the answers that came up for you if anything.

Take a look at the previous posts in this series:

·         Week 1

·         Week 2

·         Week 3

·         Week 4

·         Week 5

·         Week 6

·         Week 7

Thanks for visiting my blog, I hope you enjoyed this post. Want more? Connect with me here:  Twitter @ShelleyWilson72, Instagram or check out my Facebook pages http://www.facebook.com/FantasyAuthorSLWilson and http://www.facebook.com/MotivateMeBlog. You can also find me on Pinterest