The Twelve-Week Challenge: Day 1

First of all, I would like to apologise to my Life Coach, Jon Richelieu-Booth, for doing his utmost best to keep me accountable for this challenge blog.  As he pointed out several times to myself and my Twitter followers, Day 1’s blog was actually due on Thursday 9th May, which is now four days ago.

As you will know if you’ve read my blog before, I do have problems with endings and finishing things, so one might be inclined to think that by delaying the final blog of this challenge, that I was not ready to move on.  But I don’t accept that.  Like much of life, you can make whatever plans you want, and dream whatever dreams you like, but sometimes life will get in the way.

I’m sat here, in bed in my new bedroom in London.  The Bish is sleeping on the end of the bed, and I can hear the birds cheeping in the trees outside.  Once again, I am full of cold, although it was probably unreasonable to expect that by moving a few hundred miles South that I would suddenly become immune to the common cold!  A result, no doubt, of an extremely busy few weeks, which my body has admitted has finally worn me out.

I could have scribbled this blog quickly on Thursday in order to make the official deadline of midnight.  In a week of hosting international friends, packing my stuff and saying my goodbyes, I could not find the time.  I know that things done half-heartedly are not always up to the quality they should be, and this final post I didn’t want to rush.  And this is my blog.  Like me, posts may be late.  Sometimes they may be a little drunk when they’re written, and they might be full of utter rubbish and drivel which would be expected of a drunken writer.  Like the new life I’ve been chasing for so many years, it may not happen as early as you expect, and you may get frustrated or exasperated waiting for it to happen.  But it will happen when I am ready.  

I am not going to apologise for who I am any more.  My timekeeping skills are atrocious and everyone who knows me will expect me to be late.  The only event I was ever early for was my wedding, and look how well that turned out.  My blog, like me, will not always be there on time, but as I always say, better late than not at all.

When I started this challenge back in February, I really didn’t know what to expect from the coming months (read the first blog here:  I used the Chinese New Year as the opportunity to set myself a target of reporting back to my followers how I was progressing (or not), with finishing my university degree, and planning for the future.  Part of the reason for doing this challenge is because I wanted to be kept accountable, which is kind of ironic considering I’ve just said that I will do this blog when I when I am ready, and not when someone asks me to.

This has been a lesson learned over the last twelve weeks, in that you have to find the fine line between being held accountable, and running your own life.  Left to my own devices, I can be lazy, procrastinating over the smallest things.  But when I put my mind to doing something, it happens.

As this challenge comes to an end, I can reflect on what I’ve achieved during these twelve weeks.  I have finished all my university work, and now, all that remains is to receive my final result in July, and to attend the Graduation Ceremony at Lincoln Cathedral in September.  I have found new accommodation in London for myself and The Bish, who is settling in slowly, still a bit wary of the other two cats and the golden retriever who live here.  Now I am in London, I will find a temp job to start with, followed by something permanent.  All in all, I’ve achieved pretty much what I wanted to: I’ve finished my degree and I know that London is where my heart lies.

I couldn’t have got to where I am today without the help of some wonderful people, and I would like to thank them with all my heart.  To Jon, my Life Coach, who, as mentioned above, has done his part spectacularly in keeping me accountable, even when I have resisted.  To my Study Coach, Mel, who guided me through the hardest university year, gave me excellent career advice as well as being there to listen when things got tough.  To my Counsellor, Julie, who was there to listen during the hard and the happy times, and gave me the confidence to get through some hard tasks; as well as the tears there were lots of laughs in our sessions.  To my friends, near and far, thank you for being there when I’ve needed you, and just for being there.  I’d especially like to thank Fen, who has not only supported me throughout these last three years, but who has helped me with my move to London and been the voice of reason when I have not wanted to listen.  I will miss you, my Chinese Wifey, but I hope that it won’t be too long before you’ll join me in the big city.  To my family, thank you for your unwavering support over the years, I know it’s been hard to watch at times but I’m finally ready to take the steps towards what I’ve been searching for and I know you’ll be proud of me for finally achieving it.  Finally, I’d like to thank The Bish, whose unconditional love has got me through, and who I’m glad has been able to come to London with me.

While this may be the end of The Twelve-Week Challenge, it will not be the end of 33andlostinlife.  The title of this blog will need to be changed at some point in the future, but I look forward to writing new blog posts, and coming up with witty titles (I’ve missed those).  Now I no longer have essays haunting me, I hope to do some more creative writing as well as blogging, and I promise I’ll keep my followers updated with that.

In the spirit of some recent posts, I’d like to leave you with a song.  This year I met my favourite singer for the second time, Eric Martin, from the band Mr. Big.  Their music, as well as Eric’s solo work, has kept me going for the last twenty-two years.  This is a song from their reunion in 2009, where I was lucky enough to see them play in Barcelona.  It’s a reflection on the past, while at the same time being positive about the future, which is how I feel right now.  




The Twelve-Week Challenge: Day 6

After four years, I finally handed in my last two assignments at the University of Lincoln.  The final pieces of paperwork were submitted to the Faculty Office with a minute to go, which is not quite as dramatic as it used to be, with my department having implemented online submissions earlier this year.  While I am relieved not to have any more work to do, it seems strange to think that I’m completely done with university.  All that’s left now is to receive my grades, and attend September’s graduation ceremony in my beloved Lincoln Cathedral.

This week really has been a week for finishing things.  I met four friends this week, which is the last time I’ll see them before I go. Tonight I attended the last meeting of the Lincoln Phoenix Writers’ Club, of which I am Secretary.  I have learned a lot from them about writing and hope that the next time I can attend a meeting, probably during a visit back to Lincoln to see family, will see me having written something I can actually read out at the meeting.

While I would love to chill out now, I can’t.  Tomorrow one of my American friends is coming over from LA to visit, and on Monday I shall be heading to London to take the first load of my stuff to my new place.  Wednesday will be heading back to Lincoln, before Friday will be the day I formally move, along with some more stuff and the fluffiest thing I own; The Bish.  I do worry about Bish, because driving to London will be the furthest he’s travelled, and I’m sure it’s all going to be new, so I don’t know how he will react.  All I can say is that since I found the flat, he’s been a lot calmer, and I can only guess that’s because I have been a lot calmer.

Anyway, tonight I have been busy packing, and almost forgot to write my blog, hence its lateness.  It’s all becoming so real now, and I can feel the excitement buzzing inside of me like a little kid on Christmas Eve.  Unlike Christmas Eve, however, tonight I know I will sleep, because I’m so tired.  Finally, I can go to sleep knowing that one of the biggest challenges I’ve faced in the last few years is done, and that new path is just days away, waiting for my tread.

The Twelve-Week Challenge: Day 16

I’m very pleased to report that my first essay is now in!  One down, three to go.  I have to admit there were times today when I thought if I’d known before I started my degree, what I know now, I may have followed a different path to get to where I want to be.  While I’ve enjoyed it, and it gave me the opportunity to study in the US and make lots of friends and acquaintances from all over the world, at times it has been very tough.  Right now, I know I’m near the end, and maybe everyone feels like this.  I’m sure I’ll be beaming when I’m stood in Lincoln Cathedral this September at the graduation ceremony, and I’ve no doubt having a degree will help with my future employment prospects, but if I had to do it all again I’m not certain I would choose to.  But then hindsight is a wonderful thing.

My next essay is due on Thursday, so tomorrow is going to be spent doing that.  While I should probably be staying up late to work on it, I’m too tired to do so, and thus I’m opting for an early-ish night.  I feel like I may be coming down with yet another cold, but maybe it’s just tiredness.  I did make a hot water bottle tonight before I got into bed, despite the warm weather today!  Another reason I’ll be glad to see the back of my degree is because while I’ll have less time to myself, because I’ll be working full-time, I won’t always have in the back of my mind that there is work to be done, and so relaxation can be done to 100% perfection, rather than always having that nagging feeling that I’m not doing what I should be doing…

Anyway, I’m falling asleep, so it’s time to say good night, and I’ll see you tomorrow.

The Twelve-Week Challenge: Day 40

Wow, Day 40 already.  I guess this means I should have a serious think about what I want to achieve by the time the clock hits, now backwards, to Day Zero.

When I started writing this challenge, back at the beginning of February, I’m not sure what  I really expected to achieve myself.  I knew I would have finished all my assignments, or rather, I hoped I would.  After suspending my studies a year and a half ago, at a time when I couldn’t foresee myself ever graduating, I have never taken that graduation ceremony for granted.  Even now with my dissertation handed in and only (she says) four essays to go, I won’t assume I will be stood with my gown and mortar board this September, although I’m determined that nothing will stand in my way.

I had also hoped I would have had at least an interview by now.  So far, I’ve only had thanks-but-no-thanks letters, which is better than nothing, but it also means I’m not filled with hope for getting a permanent job offer in the next 40 days.  While I’m perfectly willing to consider temp work, I don’t know what I will end up doing, and there’s always the chance something will get in the way of what I want to do.  I know so many people who have had to give up on their dreams, for one reason or another, and I guess I’m scared that could happen to me.  But anyway, let’s not ruin things before they’ve even started.  I’m thinking positive.

So I guess as long as I’ve finished my degree, maybe found a job, then what else is there at Day Zero?  For me, there will be relief.  That I made it to that point.  Day Zero will be a culmination of the last six or seven years, and most importantly, the fact that I can finally tell myself: I did it.