The Book That Saved My Sanity And Possibly My Dreams.

Do you ever feel like you just can’t ‘do’ any more?

Like you just feel like giving up on everything, all of sudden things have gotten too much.

You’ve taken on too much, you’re overwhelmed and question whether or not to carry on.

The thing is, these things are often things we are doing to achieve our dreams.

Which can be a whole host of things for different people.

We question our ability, we’re surrounded by people who are always doing more, who make us believe that you will ONLY reach your dreams if you are always doing more than you’re doing now.

Then we have the people who, with all the best intentions, tell you stop doing the things and just be happy with life as it is. They just don’t get us.

They don’t get the ambition, the drive, the need to have projects to keep us alive, always striving, always learning and wanting to achieve. This isn’t greed, this is how we function. This is how we stay happy. Even in all the chaos.

And when we have days where we feel the weight of everything pushing us down, we’re told ‘I told you so’

We’re told to ‘stop’ ‘maybe it’s just not for you’

If I am honest, I thrive off having a busy life and I wouldn’t want it any other way. I love having goals and the self satisfaction when I achieve them and yes I absolutely underestimate the amount of work involved most of the time.

And then it’s all down on paper and in some kind of unorganized scribble of notes in various notebooks that you have tried to keep in separate categories and it might as well be the biggest riddle in life.

Which is why some days you just have a complete meltdown and ask yourself ‘why the fuck did I decide to do this’

And the simple answer to this, is because you know you can. There is not one part of you that can’t achieve this.

But sometimes you need to be reminded of the person you are and what you have done and achieved before this moment in life.

Going back to August 2020 I spent 30 hours on the road driving from my home in Brighton, all the way through France, Spain and finally ending up in Portugal. For the whole car journey I had my 5 year old and our Akita Mia.

See we had decided to move to Portugal, we bought a small farm with a building that needed to be restored. When people found out we were moving they pictured a beautiful villa with landscaped gardens.

But this was so far from the reality of what we had embarked on.

Instead we had 2 acres of land that hadn’t been touched for many years, a dilapidated old farm building with an asbestos roof that was falling down, no water or electricity supply, no sewage system, in fact, you couldn’t even see the building as it had grown a forest of mimosa around it.

I arrived at our new home on 21st August at 7.30 am. It was wet, I was tired but I was there. I don’t think I will ever forget the moment I opened the gate and drove in…by gate, what I mean is some fencing that was attached to a wooden post that I had to unloop.

The thing you should also know, is that this is where we were going to live while we built the house. We were going to live in a tent on the farm until the house was done.

And the first night was going to be that night.

So after 30 hours of driving I had to level off the ground and pitch up the bell tent. As it was just me and my son at the time we had nothing but a blow up mattress and duvet and a few small things to tide us over until Mike arrived in the van with our stuff.

The first night I was not prepared for and it was so windy I thought it was going to blow away with us in it!

We worked really hard to clear the building out and take out all the rubble, we had to knock some unstable walls down, and also build foundations to support new walls to be put up. Then it was realisation that we needed to actually build the house.

I was naiive and also wanted the challenge of building it myself, I had a bit of knowledge but never ever imagined I’d take on a job of this size.

It was very wet during November and the tent living was really getting to us. This like washing clothes, trying to keep the tent clean and stop walking mud in, there was no where to get dry, no where to have a hot shower, the weight of the rain crushed out kitchen tent and we had to make shift with stick and poles to hold it up with tarps.

There was so much to do in the way of paperwork too, opening bank accounts, sorting out taxes, registering our son for school, registering with the drs and getting our social security numbers etc. Not to mention having no concept of the language yet.

And we had to build a house during all of this too. That is when I realised that we just couldn’t do this ourselves so decided to get some builders in to at least do the main construction of the build.

So now I had to draw plans for the builders and organise with them what needed doing.

Now through all of this life still had to be normal, I had to look after our son make sure he was at school, make sure he was happy and healthy and making sure that he just saw all of this as a huge adventure.

I think most parents are good at protecting their children from feeling the stress of situations.

I was BUT I felt so overwhelmed and stressed that I was snappy, I couldn’t handle the stress that everyone else was feeling as well and I felt really guilty for not being able to hold my shit together a lot of the time. Tension was always so high between us.

One day I was at the farm with my son and he decided to get the archery kit out. He shot every single arrow and lost them all and I just. Lost. My. Shit.

I shouted at my amazing little boy and I realized there and then that I needed to get my shit together big time. I sat and cried and I cuddle him while I apologised over and over. The guilt I felt was intense at the moment in time. I couldn’t stop crying and he just hugged me tighter and tighter.

During all of this we had to say goodbye to our beautiful doggo who was diagnosed with cancer after 4 months of living here.

Mike came back and saw me in a state and asked what was wrong, and I just cried and said I’m so fed up everyone being nasty to each other, we’re always bickering, we’re always stressed and I can’t do this anymore.

Mike took our son out for the day so I could have some space and I took myself out for lunch.

I checked under the drawers of the bed for something, maybe a pair of socks, and there was a book staring at me. I don’t know why there was a book in there because all of our stuff was in storage including all of our books.

But this one rogue paper-back book was there. So I decided it was coming to lunch with me.

I had no idea I needed this book so much in that moment. I had no idea it would do so much for me. I don’t even remember where I bought the book. But it changed my life in just 2 hours.

This book is by Sarah Knight and is called Get Your Shit Together.

I read almost half of this book over a 4 course meal with a bottle of wine, I sat by myself and read every page. Each one resonated with me in every way.

The way I was feeling about everything, the doubt in my ability to handle it all, the questions I was asking myself. It all rang true.

Some home truths as well. A lot of them. But not in a way that made you feel bad. More in the way that just had me sat there thinking I can fucking do this. She’s totally right I really do just need to get my shit together.

To get the most out of your limited time, energy and money- you have to discard the obligations (or things, events, people, etc.) that annoy you. Thus making more room for the ones on which you are delighted to spend all your time, energy, and money. That’s called “making a fuck budget,”

Basically giving me the realisation that I needed to get out of my own head, I needed to clear my head space in order to be able to process things and give more of my brain time to things I really want to do. And I just needed to organise my brain.

I was taking on so much that I felt I needed to take on but actually life wasn’t going to end if I didn’t. I could just not do it.

Instead I just needed to focus on the things that were important, organise my shit and not stress about everything else.

I walked in to that restaurant feeling like I was losing my mind and walked out of there feeling a little bit extra and ready to tackle everything in my life head on, I felt so ready.

It’s been about a year since I read this book and I am at the point now where I really think I need to pick it up again and get myself back to getting my shit together.

I read 49 books in 2021 and I want to try and beat that this year to read 52.

This book is definitely the priority and in the history of all the books I’ve ever read has had the biggest impact on my life.

And right now I need a little boost to remind myself that I can do fucking anything as long as I get myself in the right in headspace.

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