Last summer (may have had something to do with turning the big 5-0) I made a conscience decision to:
- Make the most of opportunities, say yes and just go for it (like signing up for the Bloggy Retreat, #cuppaforkindness, a photowalk in Belfast with new friends…..more of those later….)
- Stop hesitating and worrying what others may think (spent too long worrying and over thinking…. realise no-one else is thinking that much about me anyway!)
- Seize the day and all that….what am I waiting for? Another 50 years???!
- Be true to myself – quite a cliché but stop trying to please everyone else, and be who I am meant to be
- Surround myself with positive people….. I am too old for drama and negativity…..
- My Christian faith is too important that I want to share it beyond the 4 walls of a church building, not to always just be with my church family. Faith on the front-line……
So I want to share a few experiences where I have “just gone for it”, definitely out of my comfort zone, but so glad I did. I made a decision that instead of just scrolling through my instagram feed, liking lots of pretty pictures, occasionally commenting …. that I would take time to connect and get to know the people behind / beyond the insta squares.
Here are a few of my experiences that came as a direct result of this :
Bloggy country retreat at Larchfield
I literally stumbled across Emma‘s (LittleWoodLife) post on instagram when she mentioned she was planning a local meetup. I was hardly following any local instagrammers at that time….how things have changed!
I went, incredibly shy, only spoke to a few (very lovely, thank you for your company) on that day, but after began following lots of them, watched their Instastories and began interacting with them. I decided that if I was going to do this “seizing the day” malarkey I needed to be brave and reach out….so glad I did!
As a result, from then on I have met so many lovely local instagrammers / bloggers. There are so many that are inspiring, creative, green-fingered, fashionistas, beauticians, hairdressers, single, married, kids or no kids, or many-many kids, working (full time, part-time, job- sharing, work-at-home, stay-at-home – it’s all work), students, all ages, empowering, caring, full of faith, writers, photographers, just all doing life….. On the face of it we have little in common, but we have connected and friendships are growing – in unexpected ways.
Northern Ireland being the small place it is, of course you discover connections – I met a mum, at a Christian womens event, we were both there through a mutual friend on instagram, who was remembering and celebrating the short life of of her wee boy Elijah- I knew people who has been praying for him 18 months before we met. After we were chatting for a few minutes we made the connection.
That mum’s sister, we discovered that same day, interviewed my daughter for her first job (that Walt Disney World tune “it’s a small small world…..” Now going to be stuck in my head…..yours too maybe…..you’re welcome!)
I have discovered new coffeeshops and new friends, which just add to that (another cliché, sorry!) rich tapestry of life.
I had already met up with twins, hookers (the crocheting kind!) and other local lovelies. When out and about delivering my jewellery I would see who was free for a coffee/chat (it’s always called coffee even though I drink pathetically weak tea or diet coke)
Then the fabulous Michelle (Freckled Moments) was inspired to start #cuppaforkindness – giving us the motivation to reach out more and connect beyond those squares.
So more connections grew, and then we had our first group meetup – for those who were free we went to the very delicious Meil et Moi on the Lisburn Road. There was chat, and delicious desserts and lots of laughter. Because of those previous connections we were able to bring others along and new friendships were forged.
We are looking forward to our next one, outside of Belfast #toinfinityabeyond!
A Belfast photowalk
The lovely Laura (Dibney Cottage Adventures) (I know, they are all lovely, but they really are!) arranged a wee walk around Belfast, and it was great to “be a tourist at home” and be with others as obsessed with photo-taking as I am!
There are so many more coffees / chats / meetups I could mention but this post is getting longer and longer! If I haven’t mentioned some it’s not that they didn’t matter, they did!
OK – final one….my next brave step
Assembly Gathering / Community
Having said I was going to seize every opportunity, I hesitated and didn’t book the last Assembly Gathering (led by the incredible Mel who is all about empowerment and celebrating creativity). Of course I regretted it, so when the Assembly Community was created I was signed up, and cannot wait for the next Gathering in May.
So….. if you have made it this far, well done you, and thanks!
If you are hesitating, embrace the opportunity, go for that coffee – I am so glad I did, even though I never touch the stuff!!!
If you attended any of these events, or have similar experiences of creating community off-line as well as on-line, please do share in the comments.