This post is part of
my ‘This is my real life’ week.
To read how that began, you can click here for the opening post.
To read other posts in this series, simply scroll down past this one.
Whilst applying my face cream on Saturday night (a beloved
pre-bed ritual), I began to reflect on the whole ‘This
is my real life’ project despite only being a few days into the weeklong
By that stage, the effort to post more on social media had
already ebbed away; too intrusive for me and others in my life, too
time-consuming and too much of a strain on my natural reticence – a trait that
always surprises me about myself.
I may not be shy, and may choose to reveal some things in
the virtual or actual world that would horrify others, but I have my own
particular boundaries. Even with my
friends, there is much that I keep to myself, motivated at times by a sheer
sense of privacy more than embarrassment, shame or a desire to project a
particular self-image. In this sense,
there is no real divide between my online and offline self, a realisation that
somewhat assuaged the need to post more anyway.
As a result, although I didn’t continue with ‘This is my
real life’ in the ‘bare all’ way that I’d initially imagined, I was not unduly
concerned by the change of course. I realised
that my usual level of sharing on social media is about as much as I am
comfortable with (though I could, and will, make more use of the simple ways to
post across multiple platforms more than I did, rather than sticking largely to
Instagram, where I feel most at home). What
I share is my real life, at the level I feel happy to disclose to a potentially
unlimited and unknown audience – or even to the digital communities I do
Furthermore, time and the actual act of living make it
impossible to truly share every single aspect of our worlds. Necessity if not desire means we post
selectively. We all have to make choices
about what to broadcast or not; I cannot continue to write this blog entry if I
now also want to photograph it and pop that picture on IG #writing #creativity
#irony #lol (had to add that last one as I did just get the giggles at my own
hashtag mockery, despite being guilty of #blessed-esqueness myself).
That said, the experiment did teach me to be less afraid of
sharing the non-shiny and the non-glamorous.
I did post about the imperfect, the undone, the unfinished, and the
response was so positive. Even when the
consciously ‘This is my real life’ social media diminished, an unexpected death
knocked the wind out of my sails, and I allowed a vulnerable edge to my sharing
which I probably would have hidden away before.
This lesson is not just relevant to me, but to others who
use these image and micro-blogging sites too: there is a receptivity to more
honest depictions of our lives. We don’t
have to style and edit and filter in order to connect and engage; showing up as
who we and our lives really are encourages genuine connection and
engagement. Too much composure can be
And what about the daily blog post side of ‘This is my real
My response to this has been far more straightforward. It was demanding on my time and mental
energies, impossible without weekends, the schedule button, flexibility in my
working arrangements (not having a daily commute made it much easier to get to
my desk early in order to produce the extra content I suddenly found I needed
when seized with the idea for the project).
And I’ve loved it.
I’ve loved the challenge of generating new ideas in quick succession (I
did draft a plan last Thursday but that was soon abandoned in favour of
I’ve loved the challenge of seeing if I could write more
words and more quickly – and finding that I managed both.
I even loved the challenge of putting myself out there and
finally sharing explicitly what the
A Life Of One’s Own vision is; I
was scared, but in a good way – the way that feels like growth, like your
comfort zone is being stretched just that little bit further.
Overall ‘This is my real life’ has shown me that whilst my
life is in no way perfect, it is so good so much of the time; even when
unexpected difficulties and upsets come along, there are joys, treasures and
This goodness is as much rooted in the everyday and ordinary
as it is the more obviously exciting and glamorous occasions.
This goodness is thanks to a combination of both good
fortune and ongoing efforts on my part to explore, experiment and craft a life
of my own – efforts which are inextricably linked with A Life Of One’s Own. I would
love to work with you to support and encourage you to likewise create such joy
and contentment – to create a life of your own too.
In honour of this,
I’ve decided to keep registration for my 2016 coaching packages open for a week longer than previously stated
– you can now sign up for one of the six options until Monday 8th
February. All the details are over here.
Thank you for reading along and sharing back with me over
the last week.