Never giving up

nevergiveup

When things don’t go as well as we planned, or we don’t succeed at the speed we expect, it’s so easy to just give up. Negative thoughts start creeping in. “I was stupid to think I could do this.” “This is not for me.” “I’m not good enough.” “Other people do it so much better than me.” “Who was I, to think that I could succeed?”

At these times, it’s important to remind yourself that you are only defeated if you give up. Until you give up, you are not defeated. I have been reminding myself of this over the past few days. I’ve been doubting myself as a writer. Who am I, to think I can write and be successful? Shouldn’t I give up before I waste any more time?

I’ve managed to talk myself out of this. I am only defeated if I give up. I have no chance of achieving my goals if I give in now. The only way to win is to keep going.

But keeping going is hard. We tend to imagine the path to success as a straight line. Start at the beginning and proceed along the line to the end goal. But the path to success isn’t like that. It curves, bends, backtracks and slides and at times can make you feel like you are going backwards, sliding further down the slope back to where you started. This is normal. The successful people are those who recognise this and keep going, knowing that these setbacks don’t last forever.

I read on an entrepreneur site that successful people have failed more times than you have tried. Did they give up when they failed? No, they kept on going, even when things got tough. That is the key to success. Sure, talent plays a big part, but tenacity and the refusal to give in plays an arguably greater role.

Refuse to give up. Great things are waiting for you beyond the hurdles, walls and barriers in your way. Think of all the times you did succeed at something. Chances are it was tough, but you pushed through and did it. You did it before. You can do it again.

Love Zita x

You can do it yourself

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Do you buy into the idea that having a man will give you everything you need? Is your goal to find a man to give you the stability you were brought up to believe you needed? Do you dream of finding “Mr Right” and settling down, safe in the knowledge that if anything goes wrong, he will sort things out?

I did. It was conditioned into me from a young age that finding a man was a necessity. Not just any man, mind, but a man of means, who would be a pillar of support, mainly in a material sense.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting safety and stability. In fact, it’s a human necessity. The problem for me arises when we expect a man to create our world for us. There is a difference between creating your world and having a man being a part of that, and having a man create a world in which you participate.

You could say that the ideal is for two people to create their world together, as equal partners. This opportunity exists now, in ways it didn’t in previous generations. When you marry, you and your partner can now build your own world in which you both have autonomy, economic independence, your own circles of friends and your own careers. In my parents’ generation, this opportunity was only available to those of higher economic means. My family, which fell into the low income bracket, was centered around the world my father built through his labour. My mother would never have survived without him.

I started my own business while I was married. It was because I was married that I felt able to take risks. If everything collapsed, it was OK, we would still have a roof over our heads. Sometimes I used to wonder what on earth I would do if we were ever to get divorced. How would my business survive? What if something happened? How would I pay the rent? I couldn’t possibly get divorced.

And then I did.

And I realised just how much my fear had allowed my husband to become central in the relationship. I let things slide, or didn’t challenge him about things that upset me, because I didn’t want to upset the status quo. I didn’t want to be alone – my business might not survive.

But it did survive. And it does. There is an enormous sense of freedom and accomplishment that comes with being your own boss, on your own, as a single woman, with no safety net. You start to do things to build safety and stability for yourself when you only have yourself to depend on.

The first thing I did after getting divorced was enroll in a private pension scheme. Then I started to approach new clients. Since getting divorced, my income has risen. Business is going well. I’m even thinking of getting back into writing, now that I have some breathing space.

Looking back, I can see how I let myself descend into a world created by my husband. I was dependent on him economically, and emotionally. Now, I stand alone. Independent and free, creating my world for myself.

It may seem scary at first, but you can do it. You can create your own world, alone, and shine.

Love Zita x

 

 

 

 

And relax…

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I just spent a few days feeling overwhelmed by everything I have to do. I had no motivation to do anything. I needed a day off to do nothing, yet I felt so guilty. How could I take a day off when my businesses needed me? When my goals are not met? When I have books to write? When I still don’t have that apartment in Paris?

I spoke to a friend who said that one day off is not going to derail my whole life. And he was right. So I spent the day sleeping, reading, and watching videos on YouTube. At night, I had a long bath, and pampered myself with Elemis rose cleanser and a face mask. I did some gentle stretching. I drank vegetable juice. I had an early night. I was kind to myself.

The twenty-something me would have probably gone out drinking and smoking until the early hours to forget about things. Not the forty-something me. She knows that if I am going to achieve my goals, I need to be rested and ready to go the next day.

Here is what I learnt from taking some time away from my life.

1. You will work more efficiently and effectively the next day.

2. You will be able to think more clearly.

3. Your body and mind need rest and nourishment.

4. Your business, or world, will not collapse just because you don’t work for 24 hours.

5. You feel a sense of renewal, both physically and mentally.

6. You don’t need alcohol, cigarettes and a long night out to get rid of overwhelm.

7. Motivation returns. It might take a while, but it will return.

If you are feeling the burn out, or lacking motivation, don’t keep on struggling. Take some time away. It is your body and brain’s way of saying, “Hey! Give me a break every now and then will you!?” I realise this is easy for me to say. I am single with no kids. I only have myself to look out for. Sometimes I look at mothers, especially single mothers, and wonder how they do it. Finding time for themselves must seem like an impossible task sometimes.

The older we get, the more important it is to listen to our bodies and minds. They have the experience to know what they need. It’s up to us to give them that.

Love Zita x

 

 

 

 

Looking ahead

lookingahead

As the year draws to a close, we start to look back over the past twelve months, and look forward to the next. Have you achieved everything you wanted to achieve? I haven’t. There was so much I wanted to do – write more books, travel, make more money… But I didn’t. And I’m OK with that. Life got in the way. There is no use dwelling on the past, what’s gone is gone. It’s now time to look forward to the future.

The end of year is always a busy time for me, so I’m setting my goals now. October is a good time to start thinking ahead. Once we get into November, we start thinking about Christmas shopping, then December creeps up on us and it’s Christmas party season, and we get caught up in the festivities. Before we know it, we are ringing in the new year and frantically setting goals and resolutions.

But October is relatively quiet and good for contemplation. Summer is over, the kids are back in school, and the days are getting shorter. It’s a time to curl up on the sofa with a warm drink and plan ahead. What do I want to achieve in 2020? Where am I going? What do I want my life to look like?

The years seem to pass by so much more quickly as we age. For me, this year has flown by, frighteningly so. A year is such a short time, but that doesn’t mean your goals should be conservative. Set even higher goals, and reach for them, rather than lowering your goals. It’s OK if you don’t reach them. In trying to reach higher goals you will achieve so much more than if you lower your expectations of yourself. You are capable. You can do it. This is what I’m telling myself as I plan the next year. My goals include making more money, becoming location independent, updating this blog more frequently, writing more books (I’m thinking of an erotica series) and spending a month in Paris.

Aim high, and reach for the life you deserve.

Much love,

Zita x

Moving On

movingon

Four months have passed since my divorce, and since my last blog post. It has been four months of soul-searching, reminiscing, and adjusting to my new life alone.

There have been moments of sadness when I think about what I have lost, moments of joy when I revel in my newfound freedom, and moments of fear when I think about facing the future (and paying the rent) alone.

Four years ago, when the marriage started to break down, I couldn’t conceive of a future without my husband. So I stayed, in what I can see now (and knew then, just didn’t want to admit it), was an unsatisfying relationship for both of us. The marriage was dead, we just couldn’t bring ourselves to say so, or to do what we should have done.

Should have… over the past four months, I have caught myself using the phrase “should have” over and over. I should have left earlier, I should have voiced my concerns as soon as they arose, I should have made more of an effort in the marriage….I should have, should have, should have…

But time has made me wiser. I no longer say “I should have…” I now say “I didn’t…..and I didn’t do it for a reason”. Things were supposed to end up this way. We were not meant to break up four years ago. We were meant to break up this year.

I saw my ex-husband the other day. We had a great chat for around an hour. There is no animosity, no hatred, no guilt. He seems so much happier alone. Marriage wasn’t for him. Nor was it for me. I cherish my time alone. I love having the place to myself. I love the idea that I can do anything, go anywhere, whenever and with whoever I want. The past four months have taught me that what I value the most is not security, but freedom.

And that is what I have. Freedom. At times I feel invincible. I am no longer sad. Music which reminds me of our time together no longer brings tears. I can look back at photos of us together and smile. I am happy. My ex-husband is happy. We’ve moved on. And it feels great.

 

Alone

alone

My husband moved out of our house last weekend. And when he did, I felt so…alone. His books, clothes, and toiletries are gone. The only trace of him are the photos of us together, smiling into the camera, taken 11 years ago when we were so in love. I put the photos in a box and closed it tightly.

The first 48 hours were the worst. I cried every time I came home to an empty house, and not just because I am now responsible for all the rent and bills. The emptiness of the house reflected the emptiness inside me. He was gone, both literally and figuratively.

But then, on the third day, I arranged the house the way I wanted it. I burned some lavender in the aroma burner. I opened the windows for half a day to let the fresh air in. The house looks nice. I feel better. I haven’t cried since.

We still have to get divorced, but I feel that the first step, and probably the hardest, is over. Him moving out was symbolic of the end of the relationship. The rest is just paperwork.

I’m beginning to get a sense of the freedom of living alone and being single. I can do anything, whenever I want, and with whoever I want. Whenever my thoughts slide into the past, I bring them back to the present, sometimes easily, sometimes forcefully.

I am alone. But I am also free.

Follow Yourself

followyourself

“Get up early”.

“Have a morning routine.”

“Meditate.”

“Be mindful.”

“Take up yoga.”

“Give up sugar.”

“Drink water, not coffee.”

“Write every day, even when you don’t feel like it.”

“Blog daily.”

It seems that everywhere we look, we are given advice that will dramatically improve our lives, and make us happier, and richer. More grounded, more rounded, more successful. I’ve bought the books, read the articles and blogs. Tried to implement the advice in an effort to enhance my life.

I tried getting up early for three months. I used my extra hour to exercise (part of the morning routine) and then write. This left me depleted of energy by 1:00pm, and in need of a nap, just around the time I had to be dealing with clients. It also meant that I had to go to bed at 9:30pm, because I need at least eight hours sleep to function. I finish working at 8:00pm most nights, so there went my social life. I also put on weight because I was eating so close to bedtime.

I run my own writing business, and never know when work is going to come in. At busy times, I can be working on three jobs at once, and in quiet times, nothing. When work comes in, I have to take it. This means I can’t write (fiction) every day, even if I feel like it. I have to earn money to pay the rent to enable me to keep writing fiction.

Work is so stressful with tight deadlines, that sometimes I need to continue working, even when my creativity and energy is waning. This usually happens around 3:00pm, and the only things that keeps me going and enables me to the meet the deadline are coffee and chocolate. Water just doesn’t do it for me.

I gave up following the advice I found in self-help books and online, and started to follow myself. I know the best time for me to get up and start the day. I have learnt to fit exercise into work breaks during the day. I know what I need to eat and drink to maintain my working levels. I feel I have found a routine that works for me. That I think, is key. What works for you? Just because some lifestyle guru says her way will change your life, doesn’t mean you should follow her advice. It might not work for you.

The best thing you can do is find a routine and lifestyle that feels comfortable for you, and find ways to fit in exercise, writing, family time, or whatever, around your schedule and your physiological and psychological needs. Follow yourself, not some doctrine prescribed by someone whose lifestyle and indeed, whole life, is different from yours.

 

Who can you trust?

whocanyoutrust

So I’m getting divorced. Who has the right to tell people about that? My soon-to-be ex-husband and I. No one else. Which is why I find it so disappointing to hear a friend has been going around and telling everybody.¬† The time to tell my friends is mine for the choosing. Not his. Why would he think it was his right to tell anyone?

What makes it worse is that he is my best friend, and has been for 19 years. I thought I could trust him. Now I feel utterly betrayed. Of course people gossip. It’s human nature. But people are also capable of sensitivity and knowing when to stay quiet, especially when it concerns the people they care about.

My friend and I trust each other with our closest secrets. Now I wonder, how many of those has he told others? Can I trust him again? I don’t know. Will I trust him again? Probably not. If you can’t trust your closest friends, who can you trust?

 

 

Meet him online?

meet him online

My friend, who is also in her early forties and recently found herself single, took the plunge into online dating. Within a week, she had met “the most amazing man” and is now getting ready for their second date. We were chatting yesterday. She’s wondering, where is the catch? You don’t just sign up to a dating app, go out with the first person you find on it, and land yourself a boyfriend. Do you?

We have been out of the dating game for so long, things have moved on. When I left the dating scene, smartphones hadn’t been invented, there was no such thing as an i-Pad, and people around me had met their partners in pubs, through friends, or at work. Sure, there was online dating, but this was early days. It wasn’t mainstream like it is now.

Anyway, my friend is trying to get me into online dating. This will probably make me sound so old, but my first concern was, what about my privacy? I have to upload pictures? And information about myself? Then, cynically, I thought, do I want someone who has spent his time trawling dating sites looking for hookups?

But wouldn’t that¬† be what I was doing? Trawling sites, looking for hookups? I want to stay single, but not celibate. So long-term romance is off the table. I’m done. (At least for the moment.) So maybe online dating is a good place to start. It’s just so different from what I’m used to. I met my soon-to-be ex-husband through mutual friends, and boyfriends before that at work, in bars or through friends. I guess online dating is the equivalent of the old “meet in a bar” scenario. There used to be people, both male and female (myself included) looking for a hookup in bars and clubs. I guess things have just moved online. Only then, you didn’t need to give any information out about yourself, or upload your pictures to the net and publicise the fact that you were looking. You could remain anonymous. “Just some girl in a bar”. That suited my fine. I was also much more carefree then. I didn’t have my own business and a list of clients with whom I want to maintain an aura of professionalism.

I guess I should follow my friend’s advice and take the plunge. If that’s how things work these days, I have to go along with it. I think I’ll wait till I’m actually divorced first though.

Single for Life

singleforlife

I’m beginning to warm to the idea. Since separating from my husband last November, I’ve had time to do a lot of thinking. I felt lost and disoriented at first. We were together for ten years. When we got married, I assumed we’d be together till death. As the years went by, we both found marriage to be convenient and secure, but a struggle. We are both very independent people. I’d say now that neither of us are cut out for marriage. We value freedom too much.

Friends and family often say to me “don’t worry, you’ll find Mr. Right one of these days”, as if I am incomplete without “Mr. Right”. I know they are only trying to make me feel better. The thing is, I have no interest in finding “Mr. Right”. (And this, from a romance author who writes HEA endings!)

The more time goes on, the more I warm to the idea of being single for life. That’s not to say I want to be celibate and chaste. Far from it. I want to date again, fall in love, feel the magic of a new relationship again. But it kind of stops there. I don’t want to commit myself to anyone, to compromise, to tie myself down. This might sound childish and selfish, but over the past few months, I’ve been asking myself, “What do I value most of all in life?” And the answer is always the same. “Freedom.” I value freedom.

Does this mean I’ll be single for life? Probably. I can’t see myself every getting married again. Been there, done that, and realised it’s not for me. I have never wanted kids, and at my age (41) I know they are not in my future plans. So there is no clock ticking, no rush to “settle down”. I’ve been settled, and didn’t enjoy it. Why would I do it again? People could say that my husband was not “the right one”. But in many ways he was. We shared common values, rarely argued (our last argument was around six years ago) and gave each other space to pursue our own interests. We respected each other as individuals, as well as members of a couple. And still it didn’t work.

Marriage isn’t for everyone. I’m beginning to realise that it’s not for me. And you know what? I’m completely fine with that. It’s time to live according to my core values. What could make me happier?