10 Shocking Discoveries Of Moving Out

Whenever you decide to do it, moving out of home is a shock to the system.

Discovering that the complaints your parents have made your entire life about household chores are in fact completely viable is a pretty horrifying experience.

I seem to be finding more ways every day as to why being a grown-up might be a liiittle more tricky than anticipated; but here are ten of the main shockers when it comes to moving out of home into a world of your own:

10 Shocking Discoveries Of Moving Out

  1. Life becomes an endless repeat of wiping down the kitchen sides. Like, ALL THE TIME. Even when you make a cup of tea and the teabag does a little drip from cup to bin and you think you might just leave it cos’ it’s only a little one? Nope. Now you have to wipe it because if you don’t, it’ll just stay there. Probs until the end of time.
  2. You spend a heartbreaking amount of money on food only to discover three days later that it’s all magically disappeared. (Please don’t make me go food shopping againnnn.)
  3. The bathroom gets filthy real quick. And if you don’t clean it, it just gets worse. No magic bathroom cleaning fairies in this house.
  4. You run out of clean pants very fast. And they don’t just turn up clean on your bed anymore. In fact, when you need them, they’re still in the last place you saw them – in the laundry basket being all not clean.
  5. The dishwasher is so needy. It always needs something putting in or taking out. (That’s what she said.)
  6. Note to self: the pots do not jump from dishwasher to cupboards by themselves. Who knew?
  7. You have to remember to change your bed sheets all on your own. No reminders, no prompts, no ‘I cleaned your sheets for you’ surprises. It’s just you and your own brain. Forever.
  8. You develop a serious obsession with turning off every light that hasn’t been used for the last 3.3 seconds.
  9. If you get hungry, you and you alone are going to have to do something about that. And you haven’t wanted to face a food shop this week and you’re pretty sure you’ve cooked every meal ever invented in the entire world and When. Will. This. End?
  10. Some hoovers operate with hoover bags. And you have to spend actual money on said hoover bags. (You mean to tell me that some part of my life has been spent on earning money to purchase bags which are merely used to hold dust before being thrown into the bin? Kill me. Kill me now.)

I can almost hear my Mum squealing with delight as she reads about my realisations.

Yes Mother, it appears you were right all along: I did treat that place like a hotel. Now how do I make a reservation?

*

What have been the most shocking discoveries of moving out for you? How do you fit all this stuff in? What’s the typical recovery period from the shock? (You do recover right? Please tell me you recover?!)

OMG

Changing your thinking can change your life.

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Change your thinking

 

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about thinking. (Dangerous territory, I know.) But I’m becoming conscious everyday of the fact that I am in control of my own thinking, and when I decide to change my thinking, I can alter the outcome or result of my actions or my mood.

We all create our own thoughts and it’s genuinely becoming clearer to me that what we’ve been told all along is true – negative thoughts bring on negative situations, while positive thoughts bring about good ones.

It might sound a little airy-fairy (oh christ she’s on one again) but seriously, bare with me.

I recently read the below example in a book titled ‘Say Yes to Life’ (yes, I wish I’d written it!) which totally had me relating to it and realising just what a significant difference our thoughts can make to how we behave, and ultimately to how we live our lives:

You go into the staff canteen at lunch time and sit down at a table where other staff members are talking animatedly about the previous night’s soccer game.

You sit there for a few minutes; nobody talks to you.

You begin to think, They’re ignoring me. They must find me very boring. They probably didn’t want me to sit down here in the first place.

These thoughts lead to a rush of feelings, including sadness, disappointment and anger, embarrassment and humiliation.

You react by keeping your head down, hoping no-one will notice. You gulp your lunch down quickly and leave the table as soon as possible. As you leave the canteen, you vow never to go there again and always eat your lunch at your desk thereafter.

So we feel what we feel because of the way we think, and this influences how we behave!

Now here’s the same scenario but with different thoughts.

You go into the staff canteen at lunchtime and sit down at a table where other staff members are talking animatedly about the previous night’s soccer game.

You sit there for a few minutes; nobody talks to you.

This time, your thoughts are, Gosh, these guys are so passionate about that game that they didn’t even notice I sat down. It must have been quite a match, I wish I’d have seen it.

You feel interested and curious. You remain at the table eating your lunch and enjoy listening to the passionate exchanges. After a while, you begin to join in by asking a question about the score. You chat away with the group until it is time to return to work.

Same scenario, two totally different outcomes because of the different thoughts. 

I recognised this situation on a number of occasions and I’m sure many of us have experienced something similar before.

I decided to put this new thinking into practise. So at a recent event, amongst 200 people of whom I knew two (and they were running around far too much for me to follow them without them noticing) I had to speak to new people.

Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE talking to new people. But sometimes, I might have a crazy little thought that maybe they won’t enjoy talking to me. (I know, right, of course they would! Thanks guys.) But there’s the first problem, I’ve created this habitual thought that they might not.

So a couple of times – rather than going through that horrendous feeling when you’re standing on your own in a room full of people and the only thing to look at is your phone (but you are in a different country so no-one back home is awake and free to speak to so you’re really just staring at a blank screen in the hope that no-one thinks you’re a total loser and figures you must have friends because you’re texting them on your phone) – yeah, rather than going through that, I was desperate to just hide in the toilets until it was time to go into the theatre where there was no pressure to talk to anyone.

BUT instead of hiding in the toilets (for any longer than five minutes anyway) I stood on my own, and instead of looking at my phone, I looked around, and I saw lots of other people standing on their own and looking at their phones as well and I wondered if they were dying slightly inside too. So I thought I’d just find out and I went over for a chat with the first sorry victim I could find.

I think it was a look of relief on the lady’s face when I went over and I wondered whether she too had in fact been dying a little inside at standing alone. But whether she had been or not, now she was trapped muahaha there we were, standing and chatting and no longer alone.

Because there’s always someone just like you to team up with.

And when I’d done it once, well the rest of the day was a breeze. I think they call it networking, darrrling. In fact, I came away from the event with lots of new contacts, new information, interesting things I’d learned AND no-one dashed off to the loo mid-sentence or fell asleep while I was chatting. So that’s good.

And I guess the next time I’m thrown amongst 200 strangers I’ll be eager to talk their ears off too. Y’kno, cos’ I can.

Although the ladies toilets is one of the top places for discovering things about people that they’d probably never share in any other environment, if I had have hidden in there for the day, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have learned quite as much.

 

Have you experienced something similar? Have you recognised that just changing your thinking can change your life? Let me know!

 

x

 

If you’re anything like me, thinking about thinking can sometimes get all too much! But talking about it helps. Get in touch at  littleredfrench@gmail.com and let’s talk thinking!

Or leave a comment below:

A lady never tells but a man should NEVER ask.

oh no you didn'tTHE WORST HAS HAPPENED.

OK, so it’s not the ACTUAL worst in terms of serious life stuff. But it wouldn’t sound quite so catchy if I’d started with ‘the two hundredth worst thing has happened!’

But in girl terms, it truly is the worst, with second place going to when you’re feeling smug in the pub as you catch a table of men staring at you only to have one of them tell you that you have your skirt tucked into your knickers, third place going to falling flat on your face in a busy shopping centre while on your own and fourth place being snapped up by when you sneeze and a little trump pops out and someone notices. (Not that that ever happens, obviously.)

And the winner is…

A man asked me if I was pregnant.

And I am not.

Yep, he broke the number one most important rule of interaction between men and women – never ask a woman if she’s pregnant just in case she’s not.

Which I am not.

I glared at him in horror then checked down at my stomach. I was aware that I’d put on a little travelling weight over the months, but I didn’t realise it was enough for someone to assume I had a small human growing inside of me.

“No I’m not!” I replied hastily, not knowing whether to laugh or to cry. (Naturally I opted for the latter.)

“I’m so sorry,” his eyes grew wide as he realised he’d offended me.

And weirder still, he continued:

“I didn’t mean to offend you, it’s just, I’ve been watching you (SORRY, WHAT NOW?!) and I noticed that you always have your hand on your stomach.”

So now I was a fatty with a stalker.

Once the man had finished apologising profusely, and I’d given him a heads up never to ask a woman that ever again, I decided to put it down to being a big offensive misunderstanding. I mean, it was that or crying myself into an oblivion of starvation, and I was really looking forward to whole load of ice cream.

But it did get me asking a lotta questions. And a lotta questions about the questions it got me asking.

Like, what business was it of his to ask? What difference would it have made to him even if my answer had been yes? Why had a stranger recognised the way I hold myself? What if I’m one of those people that thinks they’re really thin when in reality they’re absolutely not?

He’d asked me one single question to which had left me questioning my weight, my posture, my image, his social skills, why his mother hadn’t advised him of things never to say, of how my reaction reflected my personal body insecurities, of any time it’s ever OK to tell someone you’ve been watching them, on whether he was weird, or perhaps I was weird, or maybe we were just from two completely different worlds.

Just three little words caused all of these thoughts and feelings to shoot through me. These words were so innocently uttered but so powerful and affecting and irretrievable.

This man was never to know what thoughts his innocent question would provoke in my mind, and if he did he’d probably be shocked and apologise, again.

In a life where “I love you” can mean so much, that “I’m sorry” can bring such relief, that “I’ll miss you” can be so warming and that “I hate you” can hurt like hell, our words should always be spoken carefully, and made certain that they are fully meant before they leave our dangerous lips.

But, if there’s one thing that should never pass, whether you’ve thought about it carefully or not, and that’s to ask a woman if she’s pregnant, just in case she isn’t.

Which, to confirm, I am not.

On living together: the good, the bad and the ugly.

I have to live with a boy!

“We really need to get out of this habit of just throwing things on the floor,” he said, picking up a pair of my carelessly strewn pyjama bottoms.

Oh dear. And so it begins.

Now, I may have flown across the world to experience my first time living with a boy, and living with another couple too makes it all feel a lot less grown up. But nevertheless, the same rules apply to the latest new experience of my twenties.

Weekly eagerly anticipated date nights are now, like, just every evening at the dinner table.

When we can afford date night out (apparently paying rent can put a little dent in the weekly dinner, cinema, drinks, clubbing fund) it’s usually a good chance to have a conversation about serious stuff, like money, or bills, or business plans or the future.

And when you just wanna let it all hang out? Well, you’ve just gotta do what a girls gotta do and hope for the best that you’ll still be loved through every single surprise revelation that you might not be quite as glamorous all the time as you might have been three times a week for evening dates and weekend sleepovers.

On living together: the good, the bad and the ugly.

The good:

  • Before the day has even really started, you get to see a face you love, and that’s EVERY DAY!
  • You have someone to tell about your night full of crazy dreams without a) judgement, and b) the risk of being labelled as the office ‘most boring storyteller ever’.
  • You get to have a sleepover with your best friend every night!
  • There’s always someone there to listen to stories about your day.
  • There’s always someone there to complain to.
  • If you need a cuddle, you’ve got it. And if you really really don’t, that’s generally always fine too.
  • You share everything – secrets, in-jokes, tea-making, mutual hatred for the loud clattering of the postman, mutual love for watching hours of your current TV addiction.
  • There’s always someone to tell you that you look nice. With the correct prompting, obviously. (I.e. ‘Do I look nice? Insert wisest answer here [____]’)
  • If you forget to buy deodorant, there’s always back up.

The bad:

  • With mornings can come grumpy grunts and frowns, and that’s before the day has even started.
  • Someone might begin to realise how much you enjoy keeping your stuff where you can see it (i.e. all over the floor, desk, chair, bedside table etc..)
  • Someone might often complain about the above point by shouting ‘shit on the floor again!’ to which, any guests unaware of the context, are likely to presume that, (unless you have a dog, which we do not) you might have actually done a shit on the floor, again. And that’s never good.
  • Someone else’s hair joins yours around the sink.
  • You have to clean the bathroom that another human being has used.
  • Boys are smelly – will they ALWAYS think farts are hilarious?
  • You end up HAVING to share stuff (that incredibly expensive colour restore shampoo has been wasted wash after wash on a man that has never coloured his hair, nor has any desire in restoring it.)

The ugly:

Fights. Silly little bickery ‘can we just stop and listen to ourselves?!’ fights about mess and washing and cleaning and doing dishes and mattress toppers and early morning alarms that NEVER STOP and lights being left on and eating all the food shop on delivery day and who used the last of the milk and where did all the biscuits go and all the other things you’ve been fighting with your parents about for years, only to now realise, this shit never ends!

Like, ever.

But when it comes down to it, even through all the brand new grown up stuff that I never once dreamt I’d ever have to deal with, well it’s really very nice, this living together thing.

Snatched kisses in the kitchen, the LAUGHS that bubble out post-fight when we realise we’re arguing over whether to buy a fitted or a flat sheet, always thinking about someone else and knowing that they’re always thinking about you (sure, apart from when the football’s on, or being discussed, or being played, or being mentioned, or just existing), the sharing of the smallest most boring things like taking in the shopping or preparing a meal or doing the dishes feeling like you’re part of a mini team as you tackle this new grown up world together.

Those giggles, and that getting each other, and the comfort, and the listening and the believing in each other’s goals and plans and dreams. It all wins. The good stuff wins!

But the farts really do have to stop.

stop the fartsYou’re battling the twenties too, huh? The best way to win is to face it together! Get in touch: littleredfrench@gmail.com

Or leave me a comment below

 

Feeling the fear and doing it anyway (with a little helping hand).

falls 8

The sensible side of my brain suggested I just ‘sit this one out’ as we pulled up for a swim at Josephine Falls in Cairns, Australia.

Because ‘I had just washed my hair’ and ‘I’ll be damp for the rest of the car journey’ and ‘I have just gotten over a cold,’ as well as other things your mother might say.

But, as I’m all over this ‘living in the moment’ thing, off I went to give it a try.

I cautiously stumbled my way along the wet, slippery rocks and, after tripping over twice (gravity has a way of messing with me like that) I dipped my toes into the ice cold water before deciding that ‘nope, I don’t want to do this.’

Here I am, being helped across a rock. They were REALLY slippy, really!

Here I am, being helped across a rock. They were REALLY slippy, really!

I did not want to swim in the ice cold, not so clear, waters. I did not want to drag my so pale and cold it was nearly blue body any further than I’d already made it. And I sure as hell didn’t want to join those crazy kids whizzing down that collection of rocks and water that they were calling a slide.

The 'Slide'.

The ‘Slide’.

My boyfriend, my friends and every other tourist in the world hopped into the water, totally not phased, while I stood and wondered why an earth I was so worried?

Well, I was so worried because fear and anxiety have a way of catching you out like that. When you least expect it, they’ll just creep up on you and say ‘by the way, you’re not up for this!’ and there’s not much you can do, apart from maybe cry.

So yep, I was standing half-naked, clinging to a rock, in front of a bunch of happy splashy swimmers and my eyes began to fill with tears. (I did have to take another look around to confirm that, no, it was not 1995 and, no, I was not on a primary school swimming trip.)

A man’s persistent shout finally drew the ever-growing attention away from me. (OK, so the happy splashers were more interested in enjoying their holiday than in little miss weepy, but it felt like they were staring.)

“Violet!” he shouted, over and over again.

He was trying to coax his daughter down the ‘slide’.

She was five years old and she was scared too.

I could almost hear her thoughts as she sat at the top of the rocks looking around and assessing the situation.

What if those rocks fall on my head? What if I scrape my bum on the way down? What if I can’t swim once I reach the bottom? And how cold is it EXACTLY?

Violet looked over to her Mum to gain some sort of approval that this was OK to be doing (she’d obviously already worked out that Dad’s ideas were not always to be trusted) and Mum responded with a big thumbs up. (Note that Mum was intent however on not taking part in the sliding. I imagine it was something to do with the fact that she’d just washed her hair, or didn’t want to be damp in the car, or was just getting over a cold.)

But just as little still unconvinced five year old Violet was about to give up, to forget all about this silly idea and to spend the rest of her day warm and with freshly washed hair, her big sister stood close and held out her hand.

Violet took a long look at it, and then, just like that, she smiled, grasped it tightly and let her sister guide her to the starting point. And finally, off they went, hands entwined, giggling and squealing and spluttering with excitement all the way down.

“At last Violet!” I thought. And then I stopped, and took a long hard look at my 25 year old self.

And, as I continued to assess the entire situation, my lovely, patient (SO. VERY. PATIENT.) friends held their hands out to me too.

I grabbed them. They led the way to the top of the rocks and I grasped on tightly, screamed A LOT, and we all giggled and squealed and spluttered our way down with even more glee than the actual kids.

There I am at the back, screaming and clinging on for my life.

There I am at the back, screaming and clinging on for my life.

And it got me to thinking about the difference a helping hand or three can make when you’re feeling a bit wobbly.

Just knowing that someone gets your worry is big enough. But having a person, or even people(!), that are willing to grab you by the hand, to tell you it’ll all be OK, that you might even have some FUN, and even to drag you through the scary, slippy, rocky bits if they have to. Well, that’s bound to have you squealing and giggling with excitement once you make it out the other side!

So next time something, anything, (going down a slide for Christ sakes) makes you feel all swirly in the bottom of your tummy, and your brain tells you all the reasons why you shouldn’t: Grab hold of those precious helping hands and jump right in!

Start feeling the fear and doing it anyway.

Take the plunge. Into the deep end. And make a splash.

You’ll be glad you did.

Splashing and I think...smiling!

Splashing and I think…smiling!

 

 

A revelation. (WARNING: it kinda hurts at first, but eventually it makes total sense.)

Good in Every Day

I’m having a rethink.

Because it just so happens that sometimes we take our little life and all its loveliness for granted.

I don’t think I’m alone when, if things don’t go quite the way I planned, it can feel as if the universe is spiting me on purpose, that the world is out to get me, that someone out there is watching and laughing at my daily mishaps – maybe they’re even making them happen?!

But, luckily, I learnt something about us all recently. It kinda hurts at first but eventually it makes total sense.

Are you ready?

It’s this: We’re not that special. (Ouch).

I mean, OF COURSE, to the people around us that we love and love us, yes, we are very very really very special. Obvs.

But I’m talking in the grand scheme of things, in the mega context of this gigantic Planet Earth that we all call home. Nope, it doesn’t think we’re special, in fact, it doesn’t give a damn. (Told you it hurts!)

See, I was having a crazy, pre-menstrual, overheated, emotional afternoon, and I really did feel like the world was against me. I was all ready to throw up my arms in defeat shouting ‘OK world, I surrender, you win!’ when all of a sudden it occurred to me, through the confused look of my pitying, slightly scared, boyfriend: good god I really MUST have a word with myself.

So I turned it around a little, and here’s me having a word with myself and getting a grip. (Just promise not to judge me and my pre-menstrual ways, it was one of those days OK!)

The world is against me:

Tossing and turning and sweating in a tiny top bunkbed covered in grains of sand in the middle of Australian summer – why did I leave my comfy, cosy, clean, fresh double bed at home for this?

Went and got a grip:

I’m in Australia! I’m on a permanent holiday! Go me! Thank you little hot sandy bunk bed for having me, as well as for making it difficult for potential spider shaped visitors to climb and join me.

The world is against me:

The brand new mug I’d been so looking forward to drinking a cup of tea from (as opposed to the tiny campervan teacups holding barely a gulp of tea I’d become accustom to) just cracked as soon as I put boiling water into it. Seriously!! No big mug of piping hot tea for me!

Went and got a grip:

But a lady did give me a FREE cup of coffee today. Not just any free coffee, but a filtered, frothy, caffeiney, sugary delicious free coffee. And did I mention it was FREE?! Thank you coffee lady, for that.

The world is against me:

Traipsing around for miles in the rain handing out application forms for jobs and apartments. (I’m soggy, I’m nackered, and I’d just really love a piping hot cuppa tea in my brand new mug. Oh, wait…)

Went and got a grip:

I haven’t exercised in weeks, so a speedy plod up and down the hilly streets of, again – AUSTRALIA – can only leave my thighs truly grateful. As for the rain, my sun scorched freckly shoulders could really do with a a day off. So thank you world, it’s as if you knew!

 

It’s funny when you think about it, how when anything bad or annoying or irritating happens throughout the day, boy do we remember it! But something nice? Well, it’s as if we’ve kind of come to expect it. And I’m not sure we should.

So let’s try and turn it around. Let’s remember the good stuff! All those little reasons to smile!

Think about it. What nice thing happened to you today? What made you smile this week?

Pull out a positive from that rotten Monday morning meeting (it did buy you more time for that report you haven’t finished, after all). Whip up a praise for your shouty boss (like, when she’s on your side and shouty, at least you know she’s got your back!) When it took you three hours to get your hair all bouncy on Saturday night and three minutes for the rain to stick it flat to your head? Ah, yeah, there’s no good way to look at that…

Write down all the good stuff and share it and treasure it. Let’s find all the reasons to say THANK YOU today.

Because the world doesn’t owe us a thing, you know. We owe it all to ourselves.

On getting lost: even when you know exactly where you are.

let's get lostSo I was standing in the middle of an Australian street, sweating in the 35 degree heat, with a map in my hand and a puzzled look on my face, when a lady – a total stranger – bothered to turn her car around in busy traffic, pull over beside me and ask where I was looking for.

Being a newbie to the country, I had no phone, no internet, and absolutely no sense of direction (though the last bit isn’t technically the fault of the whole new country thing.)

So, the lady – Cindy, FYI – googled the address on her phone for me. She even called the location to check the address details. And THEN she offered to drive me there.

No sooner had I hopped in, we’d arrived at my destination and she was wishing me ‘a great day!’ before smiling, pulling away, and continuing with the rest of her life.

My first thought: I hope she doesn’t notice that I sweated all over her seat.

My second thought: That would never happen in England!

But then, what if it would?

See, while I was praising the kindness of Australians (obviously this one kind act was a reflection of the entire population) and cursing my hometown for its apparent rudeness and ignorance, it got me to thinking that actually:

I’ve never let myself get lost enough to find out.

Back home, in my little town, in my little bubble, everything is in the same place it’s been for all of the other 25 years I’ve been there. My car would get me from A to B and sometimes C and then back to A again. And I’d never get to speak to strangers (mainly because that was the NUMBER ONE rule of life according to everything we were ever taught from ages 1-18), but also because everyone was so familiar, and I didn’t need to.

(OK, so there was this one time where I picked up a hitch hiker called Len because I was having a ‘why not’ moment. And, although Len was a very nice chap, with funny ‘on the road’ stories that he seemed delighted to share, it was such a spontaneous trip in such close proximity to a stranger that it turned out feeling more weird than exciting. And my friends and family have since informed me that it’s just not the done thing.)

BUT, how about, without necessarily having to let any strangers into any cars, we just start popping our little bubbles from time to time.

Why don’t we get a little bit lost, so we can discover the kind people or pretty places or quirky things we mightn’t have known otherwise…all the way back.

And who knows, you might even get to meet Len!