Acceptance, the sofa, & tea

I love the changing of the seasons. I came back from my summer holiday at the weekend and the very next morning I could sense the change in the air. Autumn’s on its way. It was cooler in the morning, a lovely breeze coming in through the window. No need for the fan. It’s darker in the mornings, cooler in the evenings. Easier to sleep.

Already, whilst I was away, I’d noticed leaves starting to fall, creating an autumnal vibe even though we were still in August. The city I was in, San Sebastian, though a seaside place, seems suited to the autumn months. A lot of the buildings in the city centre have a slightly dull, darkish sandy colour, running along wide boulevards. I could imagine myself walking briskly along, bundled up with a scarf, through the rain. 

It’s funny how you want what you can’t have. The summer months in Valencia are hard work. You become hermit like, not wanting to leave the flat during the heat of the day, only venturing out come 7pm when the sun has lowered. If you want to go for a long walk you have to save it for early mornings or evenings. I’ve spent much of the summer dreaming of autumn and winter in the UK – sitting cosily on a sofa, wrapped up in a blanket, drinking tea and watching tv. 

And then, on my trip to the north of Spain, I found that the evenings were chilly. Luckily I had a light jacket with me, but suddenly I missed the balmy nights of Valencia, where you’re still hot even when naked. No need to carry round an extra layer ‘just in case’.

One day we had torrential rain. While exciting to watch, and the bold grey clouds were beautiful to see over the sea, suddenly your options dwindle. What can you actually do when it’s properly raining and you’re on holiday? We ended up watching young surfers brave the swirling waves, congregating in the water alarmingly close to the rocky edge of the beach. Huddled together under an umbrella, with wet feet and legs.

I suppose the solution to all this is to appreciate what you’ve got as you live it. Adapt. Accept. When it’s rainy, give in to it, do rainy day things, which is sometimes not very much at all. Maybe just watching the sky and the rain. And on overwhelmingly hot, sunny days, give in to that too, don’t do much at all. And then when the temperature lowers and the sun starts fading, enjoy the moment. Go for a late night walk, enjoy the warmth on your skin, the sounds of the city. 

And on those in between days that make up the majority of life in the UK, when the sky feels low and grey and there’s the threat of drizzle at any given moment, well, accept that too. Get out there and do the stuff you can easily do. Or curl up on the sofa and drink tea.

If you’d like to try career change coaching with me, contact me on LinkedIn or at joaopoku@gmail.com.

Written during Writers’ Hour. Join me on the next one.

Photo by Bas van Velzen on Unsplash

What to write?

I’ve really struggled with posting about my coaching work on social media these past few weeks. It’s something I need to do – it’s how new clients find me. They read my posts, something resonates, they find out a bit about me and how I’ve helped my clients, and then get in touch. Seems quite straightforward. 

But – it’s not. I’m not a natural social media sharer. Sharing interesting stuff with friends and family, privately, – easy. I do that a lot, when I’m enthused about something I want to share it with people who I think will also love it. 

But writing about myself and my work, publicly? That’s different. It’s putting the focus on me.

Career change – what, now?

I work with people who want to change career. Typically they’ve wanted to change for a while but feel stuck and scared. They know they’re not happy with what they are doing, but they’re not sure what they really want to be doing. Or – they’re too scared to go for it. 

Right now this somehow seems a tricky thing to write about and put out there. So many people are losing jobs, or scared of losing their job, or are being furloughed, or struggling to find work. It’s a really difficult time for all of us really. 

It seems insensitive or inappropriate to talk about having the choice to leave a job and find a new one. What luxury, what freedom to even be able to consider it. 

The thing is, I know people are still changing jobs, changing career, getting promoted. One of my clients did just that last week, she had an interview and got the job. It is going on, of course it is, things haven’t completely ground to a halt. 

There’s been a shift

But, I have to acknowledge that things aren’t the same as before, and be sensitive to that.

So although I’m struggling with what to say, I suppose the main thing is to share positive stories. That’s what I’m looking out for myself. Remind people that good stuff happens. People go through a difficult time, and they get through it.  Things change, often for the better. Right now what people most need to hear, in my opinion, is stories of hope and happiness. 

So that’s what I’ll focus on. 

If you’d like to have a life coaching session with me, sign up here on LinkedIn. Or email me at joaopoku@gmail.com.

Written during Writers’ Hour. Join me on the next one.

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

Letter from my 80 year old self (she told me not to worry).

I recently took part in an online writing workshop. One of the prompts given was: write yourself a letter from your 80 year-old self. What would they want to say to you? Would there be a general message? What would they plead with you to stop doing?

This is how my letter started:

“Stop worrying. Stop. Worrying.

You can’t control everything. Everything passes. Some things will turn out as you want them to, some won’t. 

What’s going on now, will pass. It will last a day, weeks, months, a year or so perhaps. But not forever. You’ll look back and it will be this blip that you overcame.

Think about the things that worried you when you were 6, 16, 29, 35. Last year, last month. Do they still bother you now? Can you even remember what they are? Did they seem gigantic at the time, but feel insignificant now?”

I guess it shows what’s top of my mind right now – worry! Worrying about so many different things.

Quite rightly all of us are concerned about the coronavirus right now, it’s a scary thing. But perhaps for me it’s highlighting all the other ‘little’ things I don’t really need to spend time worrying about. It’s giving me perspective.

I know there’s not much point worrying. I know that the things I worry about either don’t happen, and I’ll chastise myself for wasting time worrying. Or, they do happen, and then they pass. And I recover.

It’s hard, when going through something difficult, to see the bigger picture. That it will pass. But, this exercise was a good reminder. In the future I’ll look back at it as ‘that time when…’ It won’t last forever.

If you’d like to have a life coaching session with me, sign up here on LinkedIn. Or email me at joaopoku@gmail.com.

Written during Writers’ Hour. Join me on the next one

Photo by Bundo Kim on Unsplash

Freedom

Isn’t it funny the smallest things we are all missing right now – quarantined in our homes due to the coronavirus. Now that most of our freedom has been whisked away from us.

I’m sure a lot of people are thinking of what amazing trip they are going to take when things are back to normal (or as close to normal is it’s going to get). 

But so many people are simply dreaming of having a great coffee in a cosy cafe. A beer in the sun. A trip to the hairdresser. Meandering in the supermarket buying whatever they want, browsing in a bookshop, a walk with loved ones. 

It’s helping us to focus on the small delights we all usually have in our day to day lives, that sometimes we appreciate, and sometimes we don’t, and take for granted. 

I’ve never before realised just how much freedom I have in my normal life.

Small delights

There’s nothing like having to stay inside my flat for going on 3 weeks (with only trips to the supermarket allowed), to marvel at the fact that in normal life I live 5 minutes from the most incredible park, and that I can go there WHENEVER I WANT TO. To walk, to run, to picnic, to people-watch, to play, to think, to slow down.

I’m free to get up and go anywhere I want – to the park, to a cafe, to the shops, to another city, to another country. 

My body is healthy and able – I can literally do any movement I want. Any sport, any dance, any walk, whenever, wherever.

I have so many friends nearby who would be delighted to meet me for a coffee, a chat, a walk, to do nothing, to try something new. Friends who know and love me, and who I love spending time with.

I have so many friends back in the UK and around the world, who care for me, who think of me, who cheer me up, who I know so so well. Before, I had the freedom to go and visit them whenever I wanted. 

My family may live in another country, but in normal life I can go and visit them ANY TIME. Just book a flight and go. I’ll always be welcomed, there will also be a bed for me and one of my Dad’s meals. Hugs and laughter and love.

Normal life

In my normal life I’m free to go to the beach. To get in a car and whizz off to visit a new town or do a hike. Free to see a beautiful exhibition. To go to the cinema. Free to eat out anywhere in town. Browse in a bookshop and treat myself to something new. Free to invite friends over for dinner.

As the ability to do such humdrum things as going to the supermarket or going for a long walk have become limited or prohibited, now in retrospect they seem so carefree, such a treat.

My life is made up of so many small and big delights. Reading back over this, I have an immense appreciation for my normal life. I have such freedom. 

Written during Writers’ Hour. Join me on the next one

Photo by Diego PH on Unsplash

The perfect excuse to slow down

So this is what happens when external events give you the perfect excuse to slow down.

At the moment we are dealing with the Coronavirus outbreak, with many public events cancelled and there’s even a question mark as to whether socialising with friends is a good idea.

I’m veering on the side of caution.

This means I’ve been working from home all week, and my weekend plans of a coffee date, dinner with friends and meeting to play squash, have been quashed. I’ve now got some extra time.

Silver Lining

And you know what?  

What’s going on is quite scary, and there’s lots of uncertainty. It’s not exactly a fun time. But, I feel that you can look at it as a silver lining. 

All I ever want is more time to read, watch films or TV series and cook delicious recipes. Here we’ve all got an excuse to, as a good friend said, ‘slow down, go back to basics and enjoy the simple pleasures’. 

We’re all so busy, even those of us like me who actively try to not commit to too much. Who hasn’t felt the rush of relief when there’s been a cancellation just when we’re feeling a bit overstretched and overwhelmed.

The Perfect Excuse

So this is the perfect excuse to use the extra time to catch up on sleep, take things slow, and enjoy not rushing. I’ve got a million books to read; enticing looking films, documentaries and series lined up, and recipes selected. I’m looking forward to getting on some podcasts and cooking. A few strolls in the park or time on the bike, and I’ll be happy.

And if you’re looking to change career and in a funk about that – it’s a good opportunity. Take time to read some inspiring books or listen to interviews, or do some writing activities to really find out what you want from your next career (lots of free resources can be found online). 

Or – do nothing.

Here’s to having a good rest.

If you’d like to sign up for life coaching sessions with me, sign up here on LinkedIn. Or email me at joaopoku@gmail.com.

Photo by Taylor Simpson on Unsplash