I seem to experience life as a series of distinct phases - identifiable blocks of time which enclose a certain set of emotions, places or events.
Some of these phases are easy to pick out, marked by a distinct boundary such as the time spent living in another country, or perhaps bordered by the limits of a relationship. Others are murkier - with lines blurred between multiple events or a slightly messy emotional landscape. I am currently in a period resembling the latter - opaque around the edges and unsure of its direction or locality.
I have been remarkably absent from this blog since May. Not for a lack of trying, but every time I sit down to write, I encounter the creeping sense that I have nothing important/interesting to say about anything, even myself - which is after all the subject I know best! It's also hard to describe what's going on with your life or how you perceive the world when you yourself are unsure.
So yeah, welcome to Bethan in her the late twenties crisis. Two years on from finally getting her shit together from the early/mid twenties wtf period, she's back asking the big questions: Who am I? What am I doing? Why am I here? What the hell does this all mean?
Outside of sitting down and staring at an empty screen as if I were in an existentialist melodrama, my life has actually been reasonably full of interesting things.
Two weeks in the oven that is Paris
Back in June I spent two weeks in Paris, working for the first seven days, then generally being a tourist for the remainder. Paris, like the UK, was absurdly hot for the most part, peaking at 35 degrees for a good few days. (I genuinely forgot what not being sweaty 24/7 felt like).
I'm quite lucky in that my work only really requires access to a computer and a reasonably good internet connection, however I am admittedly a people person and do very much enjoy being in the office. It was a bit of a shock to be flying solo for a week, relying on chat and video calls, even if that week was spent in Parisian cafes and co-working spaces.
Alongside work, I tried to fit in as much sightseeing as possible - including Versailles, The Louvre, the Musée d'Orsay, Café de Flore, the Centre Pompidou, Notre Dame and many, many boulangeries/patisseries. Unfortunately I didn't make it to Disneyland Paris in the end, so that's my excuse sorted to head back in the very near future.
Not that you really need an excuse to visit Paris - a city that remains so gorgeously in a state of decay and yet also defiantly youthful.
Trying to buy a house
The second feature of my last few months has been the decision to get on the property ladder here in York. Let's just say Rightmove and I have become pretty good friends every evening...
Because I'm fussy and *very* protective over my ability to walk home after a night out, I'm ideally looking for something in a pretty limited geographical area. York is also quite expensive... but I'm hoping I'll end up in a nice two up, two down terrace near enough the city centre.
It's going to be a bit of shock flying solo for a while after 27 years of living at home or in various house sharing situations. I'm am super excited to decorate though and do a massive IKEA/Reclamation yard haul (I've already picked out about 90% of my furniture.)
Upping my speaking game
After getting a diversity scholarship to speak at UpFront 2017, I made a promise to myself to try and pursue further speaking opportunities.
I really do think one of the best things you can do to build resilience is to try and do things that scare the shit out of you, ideally as often as possible. Whilst I'm not a wholly unconfident person, I do suffer from pretty bad stage fright (sweaty palms, palpitations etc.)
A couple of months ago I responded to the call for speakers for Dot York, York's digital conference. I actually submitted to speak as part of the "Survival" category - with the aim of sharing something meaningful about how we can ensure the survival of the planet through ensuring we have a positive impact - basically taking everything I've learnt from Bright Ethics and packaging that into a compelling argument for action.
I'm happy to say that my submission was chosen and I will be speaking at the conference in October, which should give me plenty of time to work on my talk and delivery style.
As we have our first gig in over a year on the 24th July (a fundraiser at York Fringe for the Lord Mayor's charities - tickets available here *cough* *cough*), I've been working on some more material for Peach!
Check out the demo below for our latest track: