What I’ve Learned About Blogging

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I’ve been spending some time revisiting, editing and deleting old blog posts and I discovered a number of articles that have been lost in the hundreds (about 750 at this present moment) that I have generated over the last three-and-a-half years.

I created this one about blogging regrets based on what I have learned and suggested ‘Do’s’ and ‘Don’ts’ to consider after the first year and much of what I wrote then still remains the same. I’ve decided that it is worth sharing again, so I’ve updated it and added further information and links to useful posts.

What I would do differently

1. I would decide on a name that I was happy with at the very beginning. In my excitement about the prospect of starting the blog, I hastily chose the name ‘Suzie81’ – my name and the year that I was born. After a while I became really dissatisfied with my choice – it had no real reference to any of the content in the blog – but by this point my readers knew me by this name. When I later purchased my domain name, there were very few options that I could use and I ended up changing it to ‘Suzie Speaks’ to avoid as little confusion as possible. Continue reading

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Things I’m Glad I Didn’t Do

ImageI’ve never been a huge risk taker – I’ve always tried to follow the rules and do what is expected of me. I don’t have any wild tales of drunken debauchery, I’ve never woken up in a strange place with a strange person… I’ve been quite a good girl in my time.

An ex-boyfriend requested my friendship on Facebook not long ago. I declined it – after fifteen years I have no reason to communicate with him and if I am being honest I haven’t really thought of him much in that time – but not before I snooped through his profile as much as his privacy settings would allow. He looked much older, he’d obviously been working out and he was the proud father to three kids. He seems happy, and I’m glad, but there was one thought that kept popping into my head during my little stalking session:

Thank god that wasn’t me.

He wasn’t a bad boyfriend and I’m sure he’s a brilliant father, but after seeing his pictures I couldn’t help but feel like I had dodged a bullet.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

During recent months I have spent some time reflecting on life, often culminating in thoughts of regret or nostalgia. However, here are the things that I am glad I didn’t do.

Getting the dolphin tattoo I so desperately wanted. I don’t like needles, the colour would have faded by now and I have gained so much weight it would now resemble a whale.

Borrowing money from an ex. He offered to lend me enough to get me on the property ladder. I’m glad I refused – I discovered that he was cheating on me not long afterwards.

ImageTaking drugs. Plenty of my friends have dabbled on nights out, but I’ve never regretted not taking the risk. I have an addictive personality and bad luck – not a good combination.

Taking things further with someone I was seeing in my gap year. I found out that he gave his girlfriend after me syphillis.

Becoming a professional violinist. The competition is far too high – I wouldn’t have coped.

Getting my hair permed again. Blonde afro’s look great on some. I, however, looked like a reject from ‘Annie.’

What about you guys? Do you have thing in life that you’re glad you didn’t do?

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog, and don’t forget to ‘like’ my new Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/Suzie81Speaks

Regrets in Old Age

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One of my former students passed away at the end of last week. It was a sudden, tragic accident and unfortunately his heart gave out very soon after. He was just 18 years old. While I didn’t know him for very long, he was a good kid who had turned his life around and wanted to make something of himself, and once again I am reminded of how short life can be. It isn’t the first time that I have experienced this, but it doesn’t get any easier, and I can’t possibly imagine what his family and friends are going through.

I was feeling in quite a philosophical mood today, and this consequently led to the idea of opportunities and regrets that we may have in life. I’ve been lucky enough to achieve some of my goals and have had wonderful experiences, but there is still so much more that I want to do.

Here are the things that I don’t want to regret further in my (hopefully) old age

Working Too Much. I’ve mentioned before about the work/life imbalance that I have, and I’d like to be able to work to live, rather than the other way around.

Not travelling to places that I want to see. I’ve yet to see the Sydney Opera House, the Acropolis, the Hollywood Sign or Alcatraz. And that’s just to start…

Worrying about everything. I’m often told that worries become less as life goes on, but I’ve found the opposite. I need to start asking myself if my current problems will be worth worrying about in a week’s time.

Holding onto grudges. My sister and I don’t have the relationship that I would like. I’m still angry at a family member for what he did to the rest of us. It’s time to move on and let it go.

Not taking risks and being afraid. I can remember at least two incidents where I was afraid to do something and wished I had done it differently.

Taking life too seriously to enjoy it. As with worrying, I often forget to see the funny side of things. I need to laugh more.

Not taking care of my health. I have abused my body atrociously over the years, and have gone from being a fit, athletic sporty – type to someone who is a couch potato sack of potatoes. I think that it is time to sort it out.

Not taking time just to make the life of somebody else better. I keep saying that I am going to volunteer and yet never seem to get around to it.

Finally, not taking time just for me. Just to be happy.

What about you guys? Do you have any regrets?

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog. To ‘like’ my brand new Facebook page, simply click on this link below:

http://www.facebook.com/Suzie81Speaks

Things I Wish I Had Known At 16 Years Old, 16 Years Later

The challenge of focusing on different perspectives is a difficult one – I don’t possess a creative fictional brain and spent a lot of time attempting to imagine various situations from the perspective of contrasting people, to no avail.

However, the sad news that I have received this week has prompted me to reflect on life a little, and I found myself thinking about the me of 16 years ago. This me was a very different person to the me that I know now, and there are lots of things I want to say to that 16 year old, with her frizzy blonde hair, her insecurities and her weaknesses. I thought I knew everything. I had a plan – where I was going to go, what I was going to do and how I was going to do it – and if my 32 year old self could travel back in time I would give the 16 year old me a good slap and a lesson in naivety. However, hindsight is a wonderful thing…

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Straighteners didn’t exist back then. Neither did sunglasses apparently…

These are the things I wish I had known at the age of 16, 16 years later.

How to say no. There have been many decisions made for me during my lifetime and it took me until my late 20’s to learn how to say ‘no’ and tell others what I actually wanted for my own life. Learning this at 16 could have potentially saved me hours of boredom and dissatisfaction.

How to simply let it go. I spent most of my 20’s harbouring futile resentment and hatred towards people and situations that were out of my control. Meanwhile, while I was crying and feeling sorry for myself, they were out living their own lives without thought for anyone but themselves.

How to appreciate a moment. I have lost count of the amount of times I haven’t taken the time to step back and enjoy something beautiful.

Not to take the lives around me for granted. My grandfather, one of the nicest, most kind-hearted men I’ve ever known, passed away when I was 16 and to this very day I miss him dearly. One of my biggest regrets is not taking more time to find out about him, his life and his experiences. It was nearly 13 years after he passed that I researched my family history and found things that he could have explained further.

How to value my own opinion more than the opinions of others. At the age of 16 the slightest unkind word would send me into a spiral of self-doubt and worry. While these doubts still plague me from time to time, I can now trust my own judgement that what I am doing is right for me, and despite my many flaws and faults I can look at myself in the mirror and be proud of who I am.

How to hold my tongue during a heated argument. At times I have been ruthless when angry and have said things that I will never be able to take back, regardless of how many apologies I have made.

The value of money. I’ve wasted thousands over the years on nonsensical things and have nothing to show for it. Indeed, if I had saved the money that I have spent on cigarettes since starting my smoking habit at the age of 16 I would be able to put a large deposit down on a house, or be able to travel the world at least once.

How to appreciate that the love of a friend is just as important (and in some situations more so) as the love of a partner. While I am not the sort of person who abandons her friends for a relationship now, I have neglected friendships for the sake of a man on several occasions in the past and have had to work hard to regain them.

To understand that, regardless of the subject, my mother was, and still is, right about everything. 

What about you? What one piece of advice would you give to your 16 year old self? 

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @Suzie81blog

Written in response to the Weekly Writing Challenge

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/01/27/writing-challenge-shoes/

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