Thirty One Things I’ve Learned

As my 32nd birthday approaches, I felt inspired to list 31 things I’ve learned or been reminded of this year. I must admit to being a little surprised by some of what I wrote, but not at all surprised that I could’ve written another 31, too!

As always, remember, this is life as I see it and I encourage you to write your own — no matter how old you are next birthday! ­čÖé


31 Things I’ve Learned┬á

1) Life is mysterious. There may well be reasons for everything but some are more obvious than others. Do not go searching for one you may never find. It’ll find you if it needs to.
2) Do not assume you want someone else’s life. You don’t know what it’s like or how they feel. However great it looks.
3) Time is a great healer. Most of the time.
4) Chocolate is easy to avoid, as long as it’s not in the house!
5) There is no rainy season in England. It just rains when it wants.
6) Never underestimate the value of a kind word. It can change someone’s day or life.
7) Some people do not like to see you happy. Some people do not like to see you anything other than happy. Take note.
8) Some people are equally available to you in celebration and devastation. Take note.
9) The Notebook remains the best (romantic) movie ever.
10) What was once terrifying can become extremely liberating.
11) Do not make travel plans without double checking, just to save money on flights. You’ll end up paying more to change them anyway!
12) A few minutes spent laughing with a best friend can make almost anything seem better.
13) Being spiritual is about being REAL. Nothing more. Nothing less.
14) Pay attention to ‘red flags’. They pop up for a reason.
15) No day is complete without music.
16) Loving someone does not mean you have to put up with cr*p. Love yourself enough to know when it’s time to step back.
17) Goodbyes are hard but sometimes very necessary if you want to say hello to peace.
18) No matter who you are or what you do, you are not responsible for the choices others make.
19) Love and change are the only two certainties in life. So learn to live with uncertainty.
20) Being sensible is overrated. So is multi-tasking.
21) Being passionate is far too underrated. So is sunshine.
22) Don’t try to prove anything to anyone. Just live your life and teach by example.
23) When listening to the voice in your head, ask yourself ‘Would I say that to a friend?’ It does wonders for self-kindness.
24) Both praise and criticism are opinions. Do not base your worth upon either.
25) You cannot choose who you love but you can choose what you do about it.
26) Acceptance does not mean giving up on wanting more. It just means letting go of the struggle for it.
27) The world is fascinated by wizards and sex. Harry Potter and Fifty Shades of Grey prove that!
28) Denial only serves in giving more power to that which you are denying. The truth will set you free!
29) Disability and ability are each in the eyes of the beholder. Just as beauty is.
30) Your heart dreams because your soul wants to bring those dreams alive. Believe it!
31) Life is precious. Sometimes it takes pain to remind us of that. Sometimes it becomes obvious in the best, magical kind of ways.
Much love,
Anna xxx

This Way Or That Way?

It’s been on my mind the last few days. Choice, I mean. We have so many choices available to us, which for a Libra like me, known to be indecisive at the best of times, can be both wonderful and overwhelming!

Three years ago today I was in California recording my debut album. I was in my heaven, honestly. They were the best three weeks of my life. I was so grateful for all the amazing people around the world who had helped me raise the money to get there, so excited to be hearing my own songs come alive, so happy to be spending my days immersed in what I loved to do. It was such an incredible time and I will never forget it.

What has that got to do choices? Well, it was my choice to follow my dream in the first place; it was a choice to commit to something I had always wanted to do. It was a huge choice for me to ask for help with the funding, to travel on my own and stay to with people I had only met once before and to record a professional album when I’d only ever stepped into a tiny home studio before then. It was terrifying and exhilarating and so utterly worth any fear. At the time I remember thinking that those weeks had balanced out all the pain I’d ever been through, that all my suffering had been worth it to be there.┬áIt’s an incredibly life-altering moment, when you realize that being alive as you makes sense. It was like I’d arrived.

However, despite all this, in the more difficult times that followed, I questioned it all. Life got in the way and the reality was that I had no idea what to do next or how I would ever begin to make the rest of my dreams come true. The hurt and disappointment I met along the way made me forget how blessed I was to be sharing my songs, and instead had me believing I’d made a big mistake… the sense became sense-less. And there’s nothing like heartache to throw everything up in the air, right?

But I have absolutely no regrets now, simply because every choice and every step I’ve taken has made me who I am today and it seems to me that if we are happy in the present, we can never, ever ┬áregret anything in the past. We humans grow in the most bizarre ways sometimes and while it doesn’t mean that we should be any less responsible for the lives we lead, we never truly know what life has in store for us because our blessings can be very mysteriously disguised! So even the most crazy, unexpected outcomes do not make us wrong. They are all experiences and the key is to make sure we learn from them and move into a new space with our eyes and our hearts wider open!

There’s little point in holding on to regret or guilt or blame. It doesn’t help anything. Similarly there’s no point in tying ourselves up in knots over the decisions we are yet to make because that keeps everything stuck, too! I once heard someone say that ‘making no decision is still a decision’ and there are certainly times when waiting (for more details, clarity etc) is the best option, but being indecisive for fear of making the wrong choice is another story. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m not sure I believe in a ‘wrong’ decision anymore. It’s all just part of a journey.┬áThere are no guarantees. There are no 100% fool proof choices; anything and everything can change, especially when we all have free will and other people’s choices can affect our own. Perhaps our lives are like a map: we can take one direction or another; sometimes we might come across places that don’t feel right to us, sometimes we might take detours, or a complicated route, but ultimately we get where we are going in the end – wherever that may be for each of us.

Let’s be grateful for what has been and gone and for the choices we made with what we knew then. And hey, even when the red flags were ignored and we made a choice that we knew wasn’t so great, it taught us to trust our gut more the next time, didn’t it?┬áPersonally, I believe we never miss what is truly meant for our highest good anyway, and so we might as well just decide to keep living our lives the best we can.

My choice right now is to be happy, no matter what. And to commit to my dream of making a second album. How about you? What do you choose today?

Much love,