I have been craving to sit down and write a proper blog post for months. Literally months. That's the sad thing about hobbies we love - they always take a back seat to 'real life'.
Things have been very hectic lately - I opened a play in Manchester that I was both performing in and producing (never do that), beginning a job hunt, juggling a few other lovely projects... It's been hectic to say the least.
And always, when I am busy, this blog is the first thing to suffer. It's my private, selfish, happy place, so if you haven't heard from me in a while, it's evidence that I'm stretched too thin and not having enough 'Hannah Time'. Which is dangerous. We should always be making time for ourselves. But also, it's not the only thing to suffer - everything does - sleep, exercise, relationships, making time for my family... Our foundations are foundations for a reason, we need them to be our best selves and take whatever life throws our way. When you don't have those basics in place, it can be a lot harder to cope when the going gets tough.
Life has been a funny old thing lately. In many ways I've been living a dream, performing, producing, building my theatre company, spending time with friends. I'm incredibly lucky. But there is something about our society that makes me feel like I can't ever just be settled and content. I sometimes feel that everything around me is designed to keep me dissatisfied. Designed to make things more difficult than they need to be. Of course, this may just be me, my natural anxiety, my investment in wanting things to go perfectly getting in the way of me being able to just stop and enjoy life.
But whether it's me or society, it's there. This niggling dissatisfaction with things. It's like until I'm a full-time actress who doesn't have to worry about money or time, I will be dissatisfied, which is of course complete nonsense because there have been many times in my life - as a barista, a waitress, a producer, a social media guru and everything in between - that I've been happy. I'm not only happy when I'm acting, not at all, so it's time to focus on the little things. Time to remember that whatever is happening in life, wherever we are on the long path, life is amazing. It's brilliant and it's here to be LIVED.
Here's how I'm going to spend the next few weeks, soaking up the small things, getting back on track and remembering how lucky I am.
1. Money is not important
Well guess what? i'm a hell of a lot luckier than most. And that's a fact. It's time to stop panicking about money all the time. It's not healthy and it's also not necessary. Money is out there and it can be made by getting a shitty bar job, working in an office or doing any number of things. The one thing it's not is impossible. Get a job, make the most of it, and stay focused on the more important things in life. Get a job that will enable you to do the things you really love and don't get bogged down in thinking it defines you. It doesn't. This is me talking to myself here, in case you hadn't noticed....
2. Life is not about success
I care a lot what people think. GASP. Anyone who knows me will smirk reading that, because it's so painfully evident to those in my life. But for anyone who just reads this blog, you may think I'm a carefree person who lives their life with a smile and not a care in the world.... not true. I get very bogged down when I feel I'm not meeting expectations or not the person others think I am. Crazy, I know. But I'm working on it.
Something that I know will help keep me on track is remembering that NO ONE CARES. We are all too wrapped up in our own lives and insecurities to really invest that much time in what's happening to others around us. Especially to monitor and consider their successes and failures. It's just not a thing. Do I spend a moment of my time considering other actresses around me and their auditions? No.
I'm going to keep telling myself that the same applies to others around me. And cross my fingers.
3. Remember the vitality of basics
It comes into my mind when I'm tired and frazzled and I know that my "basics" are not in place. I'm not sleeping enough, I'm not drinking enough water and I'm certainly not getting enough fresh fruits and vegetables. Over the last few months, the busier that I've become, the more I've let myself slip into the mindset of 'it's okay, I'll just have another coffee"... "it's okay, I'll just grab something quick"... and it really isn't good. Sure, it doesn't matter once or twice, but it really does build up and start to become habit. I think about Hannah a few years ago, who was eating so well and so prioritised what she put in her body and I almost can't believe how I've shifted. It's amazing how our foundations can slip when our priorities do. But it's important to remember WHY they are foundations. They matter. And I need to remember that.
Sleep, sugar, water...
4. People are golden and vital
5. If you're a creative person - you don't need permission to be creative
If you're a creative person in any way. Do it. Get in a room with some friends and make a piece of theatre, write a poem, draw something. On the way home from Liverpool with my partner a couple of weeks ago, I sketched the man asleep opposite us and I am NO ARTIST. The drawings were crap, but I loved doing them. It was fun. And it was way better than just listening to a podcast to pass the time. Which leads nicely into my next point....
6. Time In Our Own Brains
I used to be very good at making sure I had time without any noise blasting in my head for at least some small part of the day. Even if just while walking to the bus stop, or before bed, whatever it may be. Our minds are full of thoughts, inspirations, ideas, worries... the list goes on. And if we have no time to let that all mull over and stew and process, that's usually why we can't get to sleep at night! Because our minds are turning over all of the things that it has not been able to throughout the day.
Let your mind think, let it settle. Don't give it non-stop entertainment. It doesn't need it.
7. Be Grateful For Everything
Love and sweet potatoes,