Friday, 12 October 2018

A Year of Saying Yes: What Happened

a year of saying yes outcome

Hey Owlets,

Just over a year ago I said yes to something that I really wanted to say no to - I'd never been abroad, I was nervous, and to be honest I was too busy wallowing in my own misery to consider being a functioning human being. If you've been reading my blog for any length of time you'll know that last year I went on a life-changing holiday, but what I never really mentioned is that when I came back I decided that was the start of me saying yes to all the things I wanted to say no to.

I want to make this into a two part series so that this post doesn't take an hour for you to read, so today I want to focus solely on some of the best things that happened when I forced myself to say yes.


a year of saying yes outcome

My first "yes moment" after the cruise landed me backstage at Cardiff Indoor Arena with a band that I've idolised since I was about 14. The yes starts with me receiving an email that Enter Shikari are looking to interview on local radio stations about their tour and their new album; for the record I HATE interviewing people. I never know what to say, I always trip across my words, there's patches of silence, it's awful, but haven't you always wanted to talk to your idols? One afternoon I sat at the desk in studio one, typed in the number and Rory from Enter Shikari answered the phone. We ended up talking for so long that his manager came to get him off the phone as he was meant to be rehearsing, he gave me the tour manager's number and invited me to their Cardiff gig. When we got there the tour manager invited us to go backstage to meet them. I was a complete blithering idiot and couldn't get my words out ( I think I was in shock!) but the guys were so kind and it's incredible to think that all that stemmed from a reluctantly-said three letter word.

a year of saying yes outcome

The next incredible thing to come from saying yes was meeting the Italian Ambassador for dinner. One afternoon I received an email inviting me to dinner in central London, formal dress, venue TBC. I'm a control freak, so I hate vagueness, in fact if the email is vague I'm pretty likely to turn it down. However, I was only a month into my yes-year so I gritted my teeth and said I'd be there. Well, if this isn't an advertisement for saying yes then I don't know what is. The day before the event I received an email with the location - the Italian embassy. I have to admit, I thought maybe a fancy hotel like The Sanderson or Dorchester, but never in a million years would I have guessed the embassy. I had the most incredible evening, met some people who's stories really inspired me and even got to meet the ambassador. I genuinely couldn't make it up. If you'd like to read more I wrote a blog post all about my experience.

a year of saying yes outcome

My next "saying yes" took me to Paris with Fred Olsen. Having been on one cruise with my family, a cheap cruise happened to pop up in my emails and with a bit of encouragement from Dad I booked it. The PR for the cruise line actually got in touch with me and I was lucky enough to be invited up to the bridge to meet with the captain, who was incredibly kind and sort of James Bond-like. Having chatted to me for a while he then stood up and said "apologies I can't stay longer, I need to steer the ship". The ship went to Rouen, but I'd always wanted to go to Paris so with my just about useable amount of French I navigated us over an hour from the port on a French train. I learnt a lot of new words that day, including "a la gauche" after my poor taxi driver shouted it and pointed when I asked him where the entrance to the station was - in fairness I'm not good with my left or right in English either! I'd always wanted to visit Chanel's apartment on Rue Cambon, so getting to see that in person was incredible, and I never would've visited Paris if I hadn't learnt to say yes.

a year of saying yes outcome

After Paris in January it's a while to my next big yes. Until May I'd carried on saying yes but it had been to small things so I was travelling around the country and working with lots of different brands, and while I enjoyed that it's not quite on the same level as my other yes-moments. In April I had an email from Snazaroo asking if I would like to go to a festival in Oxford as their guest. Usually the thought of festivals would terrify me as the idea of being around a bunch of rowdy drunks just isn't my thing. However, having looked up Common People festival I saw that it was a no-camping family festival so I decided to go for it. Considering I was dreading it I actually had the best time. I got to meet some new bloggers that I chat to even now, and my first experience of a proper festival was amazing.

a year of saying yes outcome

My next yes-moment wasn't long after with another press trip - this time exploring Bath with the Visit Bath team. I always thought I knew the area well enough, but I learnt so much in 48 hours that if I'm bored I'd now get a train to Bath for a wander. The biggest thing I learnt on my trip wasn't actually about Bath - I was one of the smallest bloggers there, and getting to speak to people who had 150k+ gave me a mental shift that's helped me with my own blog since. It also made me realise that this really is what I want to do in life - I love travelling and if there's any way that I can spend more time doing that then I want in.

a year of saying yes outcome

My next saying yes was to something a bit different. Ever since the breakup last year, guys had kind of ceased to exist to me. It wasn't that I was put off, it was just something that I didn't have time for and I was so happy that I didn't need anyone else. My friend Amelia is the Birmingham rep for a dating site and she organises a lot of events. She asked me to come along to this dinner where it was sort of meant to be dating, but I ended up hanging out with my friend Naomi (above) all night instead. So maybe I wasn't quite ready to date again, but I had a really good night and saying yes led me to meet new people and experience something that I wouldn't normally do.

a year of saying yes outcome

My next yes was travelling to somewhere new. I've always wanted to explore more but anything north of Birmingham is just a little bit too scary. However, back in August my parents were going to pick up Dad's new car in Manchester so I decided to go with them and we ended up having an amazing day, and it's taught me that getting out of your comfort zone isn't necessarily a bad thing. Having travelled there once I now really want to go back to explore some more, and it's opened me up to seeing other places too.

a year of saying yes outcome

One strange thing that's come from my year of being yes is enjoying my own company. I was never the kind of person that would travel somewhere alone and I definitely wouldn't stay in a hotel by myself, but from saying yes I've been forced into those situations and I've started to really enjoy it. Last year being on my own was because I was unhappy or because people were too busy to spend time with me, but now it's something that I genuinely enjoy. It's peaceful and it means you get to see the world differently than if you were with someone because you're more focused on your surroundings.

a year of saying yes outcome

My last yes of this year is to myself. Through a relationship, then a breakup, being unhappy, then travelling I'd stopped caring about myself and put on a lot of weight and being completely honest I really wasn't happy in my own skin anymore, and little things like getting out of breath at the top of the stairs was really bothering me. In August I decided it was time to change - I wanted to lose weight and get fitter. Now I have more energy, I've dropped two sizes, fit into all of my old wardrobe and most importantly I feel amazing - the amount of body confidence I've gained from such a small change is incredible, and it's definitely something I wish I'd done sooner. Sometimes you just have to be in the right frame of mind, but my year of saying yes has put me in exactly that mindset.

a year of saying yes outcome

So what now? I'm doing year two of saying yes. I never thought that such a small word could have such a huge impact on my life - I want to feel like this all the time and even though saying yes isn't such a big deal after a year of forcing myself, it still changes things. This year I'm going on another cruise, I plan to do more travelling further afield and I'm going to keep saying yes. 

Next time you go to turn something down, stop and think because saying yes could end up changing things for you too.

Love and Feathers,
The Owlet 💜 
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