Ducklings! Tadah – and today, I shall lay myself bare (figuratively – much prettier than literally) and tell you the story of one woman’s rocky journey to re-prioritising life and finding her ‘Enough’.
But first, a little preamble. Stroll along with me?
Boy oh boy, this post is way overdue. Shame on me! I wish I could tell you I’m late because I’ve been conquering the world and doing mind-bogglingly revolutionary things. Instead, I’ve been pretty much fully occupied caring for Ella – our Hungarian rescue pup, whose ‘internal plumbing’ needed to be re-arranged in one complicated operation. So what do you do when you’re housebound with a recovering dog and the beautiful sunshine is cruelly highlighting cobwebs and dusty windows? You venture into a colossal spring-cleaning frenzy.
See, we’re renting this gloriously quirky house-on-stilts from our equally quirky landlady. It’s absolutely mahoosive, spread over four floors, with a porch, two terraces and a garden that’s really a jungle with mole hills. It’s been quite neglected over the years and the previous tenants pretty much trashed it, then did a ‘Dexys Midnight Runner’ escape. Our landlady was so happy to get someone who loves the house for all its oddities and flaws and is willing to take care of it, she agreed to a rent that would be pretty much unheard of for its size and location otherwise.
Enter me, my dungarees, the pressure washer and any tool available at Bauhaus. Over the last few weeks, I’ve climbed up and down ladders and across garage roofs to cut back wilderness, pressure washed green slime off the terrace, freed a gigantic rhododendron tree from bindweed, hung out of 3rdfloor windows to clean the outside and been to the local tip so many times, they now make me a cup of coffee every time I drop by – covered in dust, vegetation and the odd caterpillar.
I also managed to fall into the loo and twist my ankle in the u-bend, but that’s such an embarrassing story, I can only tell you after you’ve loosened my tongue with at least three full strength G&T’s. So it is true, the most freak accidents do happen in the household. Note to self…
I barely have any fingernails left, my hands are attractively (not) calloused and I’m covered in unidentifiable bruises and scratches – but it makes me ridiculously happy to see the house and garden sparkle and bloom(ish), with TLC.
Fine – I may also be hoping to burn some calories to make up for the indulgent weekendly BBQs we’ve been firing up. Did I mention that we’ve had the best Spring in Denmark since records began? It’s been so consistently sunny, all that outdoorsy work has left me more tanned than after a week of beaching-it in the Middle East. And any woman knows that cellulite looks far less ‘meh’ when one has a little colour, no?
I thought I was seeking inspiration through others’ stories, yet logged out of Instagram hours later, feeling wholly inadequate.
There is another point to me yapping on about my domestic ventures though. If you’ve read my last post, you know a little about the Mac Pack and why we moved to Denmark. You’ll also know that, after a full-on burn out, I had to re-think the way I run the business I love to make sure it doesn’t become as overwhelmingly all-encompassing as it has been.
So this summer, I’ve been ‘banned’ from taking on any more weddings while I figure out the next steps – and, exciting as it is to enter a new life phase, it can at times feel wildly discombobulating.
I’ve been “Mrs bride&glory” for the best part of ten years – who will I be if I’m not ‘her’ anymore? And theeeeen – I went down the rabbit hole of misery… Oh so cleverly, I thought I was seeking inspiration through others’ stories, yet logged out of Instagram hours later, feeling wholly inadequate. For some ridiculous reason, I questioned everything I’d achieved over the last decade just because I couldn’t quite identify with the über-achievers promoting their flawlessly successful lives and businesses. Had I not been ambitious enough because my turnover was pitiful compared to some? Should I have been more of a ‘household name’ by now? Should I have tried harder to get more followers? Should I be that girl who subsists on 5 hours sleep, does an hour of sunrise yoga, followed by meditation and a nutritiously pre-prepared breakfast (“nutritarian” is an actual thing, who knew?) before heading out into a super productive 14-hour working day?
Don’t get me wrong, none of the above is negative in any way if it’s what makes you happy. The snag is, I was measuring my success and happiness on others – something I’ve been telling my mentees for years not to do, yet I couldn’t stop my head from spinning seriously out of control.
The poor husband came home one evening to find me simultaneously weeding and sobbing. Through snot and tears (I’m so not a dainty crier), I wailed that I was supposed to have achieved so much more already this year; I was meant to be fluent in Danish, have gotten fitter again, stopped drinking quite so much Cava, started writing our ‘Be More Danish’ blog and read at least 5 ‘life enhancing self improvement’ books by now. It really wasn’t pretty and concluded with me declaring I was as pointless as a chocolate teapot and really rather sucky at this thing called life.
Yep, also that time of the month (oh do take a hike, evil hormones) and therefore vastly blown out of proportion, but the bottom line of those feelings had more than a little truth to it.
And then, life throws just what you need so squarely into your path, you practically trip over it. The entirely brilliant Ceri posted on Instagram about the concept of ‘Enough’, and delivered my very own ‘DUH’ moment.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with reaching for the stars and wanting to conquer the world as long as I remember that, just because others do, doesn’t mean I have to too.
It’s like we’re being conditioned lately to be these powerhouses of success and that anything less than being an overachiever simply isn’t good enough any more. And social media makes it all too easy to perpetually compare ourselves to others, often people we don’t even know – and may not even like. Then why do I use them as goalpost for my achievements?
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with reaching for the stars and wanting to conquer the world as long as I remember that, just because others do, doesn’t mean I have to too. I know my business was successful – I only have to look at my couples’ heartfelt testimonials to tell me I was seriously good at my job. I’m also 43 this year – and it’s ok if I no longer want to work 14-hour days and instead look after my pack, my friends, myself (so often so easily forgotten), do more of this writing ‘thang’ that I so love and generally potter along for a wee while.
It won’t bring me a six-figure salary but is that so bad if instead, working towards my ‘Enough’ instead of my ‘Best’ makes me happy and content rather than feel eternally lacking?
And isn’t this exactly what I’ve been trying to accomplish with the whole “Be More Danish” concept too? It’s not just a snazzy catchphrase – we did genuinely set out to learn from the gloriously stoic Danes and their much more relaxed approach to life. Danes don’t overcomplicate things and they certainly don’t buy into the whole glorification of busy-ness the way we do in the UK. The sun is out – why wouldn’t you sit by the Marina with a glass of Rosé rather than hang around the office trying to prove you work harder than anyone else? And incidentally, if you do the latter, the Danes won’t congratulate you, instead they’ll pity you for being so inefficient you can’t leave the office on time.
So I shall do just what the Danes have already cracked and Ceri suggests, try to work out my ‘Enough’ and then drown out any of the chatter, be it on social media or elsewhere, that leaves me feeling all anxious, like me and what I’m doing aren’t good enough. Who says my ‘Enough’ might not turn out to be my ‘Best’?
Be kind to yourselves, Possums – The end. And up next month: The most divine Danish pastries!
Tons of love and bone crushing hugs.