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Make a Plan [The Wasted Time Project]

A little while ago, I wrote a post called The Wasted Time Project [click

here to read]. Basically I realised that I’m very good at dropping things because I thought I’d never actually finish the task or I’d be too scared to actually enjoy it or even do it.. So I’ve decided to do something with my blog that I never bothered doing because I thought I wouldn’t finish it- a blog challenge.

Blog challenges are a bit like New Years Resolutions. You start with good intentions, then you get bored or lose motivation and it ends up in the big waste paper basket in your head along with all your other ideas. I didn’t fancy those random writing prompts that get you to talk about ’10 things about you’ or ‘what’s your favourite thing about springtime’. I have the attention span of a child who’s high on blue smarties, so those kind of prompts are a bit naff to me.

So here’s the challenge- 30 blog posts with the aim to help, or at least mildly amuse. This challenge is going to be about self-care. I’m not talking green smoothies and meditating on a mountain in Tibet surrounded by humming monks (if that helps you then great!), I’m talking about little things that seem little but actually have a big impact. A small achievement. A fun adventure. Enjoying wasting time doing daft, enjoyable things that will make memories. Let’s get into the first post.

Post One- Make a Plan

So the first post is about planning- sounds like such a fun topic, right? I’m not really the spontaneous type. I like plans. I like to know where I’m going, when I have to be there and how I’m getting there. I recently made a solo trip to the depths of Somerset. Three trains, two of which I’d never been on and never navigated my way around the places or stations. Can’t be that bad, right? For someone with anxiety, it’s like asking someone with a broken leg to climb a flight of stairs. Easy for most people, but quite difficult if you have an obstacle hindering you.

The plan of getting to a place I don’t know, using a mode of transport I have a complete irrational fear about, was something that was INCREDIBLY daunting. It’s one of those things that, not too long ago, I would have said no to. But I’m so glad that I refused to say no this time. This time I was going to do it. I googled the stations I wasn’t familiar with, so I at least had an idea of what they looked like and the facilities they had. I had screen shots of platforms and times, that if I felt panicky I knew I had the information in my phone. I made sure I had plenty of time between each stop for any disasters that might happen. Forty minutes between each journey may seem excessive but when you’re panicking about getting lost, your e-ticket not working, not finding the platform, your train getting delayed, a surprise alien invasion, forty minutes is enough time to give you peace of mind that if something happens, you’ve got enough time to deal with it- that alone, made the trip a lot easier. I managed to get lost in Bristol train station- don’t ask me how, I don’t know either, but I didn’t panic. Ok I was a little worried, but I was calm and rather than my head going ‘this is horrible, panic, WE’RE GOING TO DIE’, my head was more like ‘ Ok, you’ve got lost. I don’t know how you’ve got lost, probably because you’re a boob with no sense of direction, but you’re not going to die and you have thirty-five minutes to find your platform. You’ve got this…oh look Platform Three, we’ve found it- we’re good, it’s all good’.

This plan- seeing someone I desperately wanted to spend time with, was probably one of the best plans I’d ever agreed to. Over three days I took six trains on my own. Such a simple thing, but it’s something I’ve avoided through fear and it’s caused me to miss out on adventures and experiences. I navigated through unfamiliar places and discovered places I’d really like to go back to (Bristol looked like a good day out!). I talked to new people, in a new place. I drank £70 Champagne, ate a pie (a very good pie) in a cute country pub, made friends with a cat, played snakes and ladders (which after six cans of Thatcher’s Gold was an achievement in itself!) had a Long Island Ice Tea cocktail that could have knocked out a sailor and wrote two chapters of my novel (we’re up two six chapters now!) and had a brilliant time laughing and cuddling a person I’ve seriously missed,  and none of this would have happened if I didn’t make that plan.

Yes the trip was planned within an inch of its life, and the next time I do it I probably won’t have to be quite as well-organised and will probably be able to be a bit more chilled about the whole thing. But I did it. I probably wasted a lot of time worrying and planning and screenshotting and googling before going, but I see now that this time wasn’t wasted. It allowed me to conquer something that has seriously frightened me for years and will stop me from avoiding another opportunity for adventure because I can get on that train. I can go to that place and if something bad happens, I’m strong enough to deal with it- even my ability to get lost in a place that’s probably very hard to get lost in!

I made a plan, I had a brilliant weekend and time spent drinking beer and having fun with one of your favourite people is definitely not wasted time!

I love it when a plan comes together!

Read more posts like this in my Personal Blog section- click here


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