Is this the real life?

There are sometimes moments where I think to myself ‘this only ever happens in movies’. Of course there are great moments in life – incredible holidays, brilliant friendships, fun romances – but the big moments? No. They’re few and far between, but they do come around every now and then – and when they do, they always throw me off-guard and leave me questioning whether or not this is the real life (or if it’s just fantasy).

Queen really knew what they were talking about.

In my life, I can think of four big moments where I’ve thought ‘is this really happening’, where it seems like my perspective shifts to above and I’m looking down at myself, blinking as if I’m staring at what’s occurring on a television screen rather than experiencing it myself. One of these moments happened today.

Of each of my four mad experiences, two are about my dog (go figure) – the first of which, if we’re going chronologically, is when I first got Pete, our older dog (who now has a companion in the rescue dog Minnie). My parents had kept Pete as a secret, and when we drove to pick him up I was under the assumption that we were picking up a leather jacket, which was to be my big Christmas present. Then we pulled up outside a kennels, I was led in and a puppy was dumped into my arms. I was in shock for a good few days after that.

The second moment, again with Pete, was when I was recovering from having my gallbladder removed at home. My Mum was upstairs and I downstairs resting on the sofa, when I needed to go to the bathroom. I managed to make my way there, but feeling woozy and disorientated I collapsed to the floor and cried out. Luckily my Dad was downstairs, so he heard me calling out after a few minutes. Yet Pete went upstairs and stood in the doorway to my parent’s room, and after refusing to come to my Mum’s beckoning, she went toward him to investigate. He headed straight downstairs, to which she followed to find me – just as my Dad had got me off the ground. Whilst you could easily argue that Pete had no idea what was going on, it definitely felt like a movie moment with him literally fetching my Mum when I needed her.

The next moment, which was to be expected, was when I graduated. The surreal 8 seconds I spent walking across the stage and shaking the hand of the Dean of the university felt stretched out, and I remember every moment of it very clearly.

Which brings us to today. I had sat down to write a blog post (this one, actually) about my Grandma. She passed away July last year, and in a few days time we are spreading her ashes. I had wanted to write about her, as she had been on my mind a lot recently, about her positivity and spirit and overall personality, how close we had been, when I remembered something I’d written on my old computer – one I hadn’t removed from its case since before she passed away. I went to get it, only to hear something clink, and turning the case upside down the ring she gave me fell out.

You see, she’d left me one of her rings after she died, which I of course cherished and adored. I had never wanted to speak about it online because I didn’t want certain members of my family to discover and be upset or disappointed or angry, but in February of this year it went missing. I had left the flat in the cold weather, but as I went to answer my phone I took off my glove. I had been certain the ring had been on my finger when I left, but after the phone call I realised it was gone. Rushing back, I ran up and down the pavement searching to no avail. My best friend came to look with me and we teared apart my room, still to no luck – this was a ring I had worn every single day since my Grandma had died, and the only time I took it off was to shower.

Yet if I had taken it off I would have left it on my desk – but between then and now, it had somehow made it’s way into the closed drawer of my wardrobe and into the sealed laptop case.

Many people will scoff with disbelief, but for me today it felt like an incredible movie moment – so much so that I called my Mum and cried on the phone whilst laughing. It felt like my Grandma was there, wanting me to have her ring for when we spread her ashes in a few days time. It’s crazy, it’s unbelievable, but that’s what happened.

I’m sure we could try and think of some kind of explanation, but for me it felt like my Grandma had been watching over me, and after a particularly awful week, this was something I needed desperately. So whether it’s something as universal as graduating, as classically cute as a getting a puppy, as touching as a dog looking after you, or as unbelievable as discovering a ring you’d thought you lost on the streets of Lambeth – these moments happen. I treasure each of them and will do for the rest of my life, and I can only hope that there are more to come.

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NaNoWriMo 2017

Let’s do this.

I am officially participating in NaNoWriMo 2017 – which, for those of you who don’t know, is National Novel Writing Month where many attempt to write a novel in the month of November. The main goal is to hit 50k words, and whilst I have never ‘won’, my goal is always to write as much as I can and just have fun.

I have only participated once before, back in 2015, as last year I decided not to stress myself with hitting that word target every day and instead focus on my dissertation and final year of university. All month – heck, all year I have been so grumpy that I couldn’t join in last year, so I’ve been so excited for November 2017 to roll around.

I made a post about my experience in 2015 (click here to see), but I think there are several reasons why I’m so excited to participate again. Firstly, NaNo gets you into the routine of making time for writing every single day. I always say how much I want to be a writer one day, but I never manage to ‘find the time’ to knuckle down and write. NaNo teaches you to make that time, whether that’s only five minutes before you head to work or during your commute or just before you go to bed, you get into the habit of making that time.

Secondly, NaNo isn’t about creating a masterpiece. It’s simply about hitting that word target, hitting those 50k words, so of course it’s a very very rough first draft of a novel. It’s not about editing or musing over sentence structure, it’s about typing away at that keyboard and doing your upmost best to hit that goal. That in itself is so freeing – you don’t worry about whether your work is any good or that it doesn’t flow right. All you have to do is type type type, and worry about editing later.

There are several other things I’ve got going on next month (one of them may or may not be Sims 4 Cats and Dogs stop judging me), but I’m determined to throw myself into NaNo and have fun. So let me know if you’re participating, and definitely add me as a writing buddy – my name is Stammydodger, and no, don’t ask.