meganatkinsonslife

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If you’d have told thirteen year old me that I’d be turning down the opportunity to go to university in London in favour of working in retail in Middlesbrough I wouldn’t have believed you. For years I had my heart set on escaping my hometown and moving to the big city, I swore I’d never work a 9-5 and settle for a normal life, but thats exactly what I did- and I don’t regret it. This time last year, I was applying to study an undergraduate film degree, and now, I’m applying to stack shelves for minimum wage. So why did I give up my dream?

“This time last year, I was applying to study an undergraduate film degree, and now, I’m applying to stack shelves for minimum wage.”

A Need For A Slower Life

When I was in education, the pressure of exams and coursework meant I took work home with me. It wasn’t just a case of going there, doing a job and coming home, there was revision material to make, essays to write and mock exams to do. On top of this, I didn’t have any enthusiasm for my subjects so for the last six months of my A levels my life felt exhausting and eventually I just gave up going to lessons. My mind was so clouded, all I was thinking about was getting through the academic year and I didn’t have time to think properly about my future plans- I only applied to university because I was going with the motions.

I took a gap year to get away from the cycle and planned to travel, but soon realised that I didn’t want to go to a different country alone for months and so instead got a job in retail over Christmas. I found that when I started work, my life slowed down. I had regular, relatively short shifts that got me out of the house but didn’t exhaust me, I enjoyed my job, I didn’t have to take anything home AND I was getting paid. I was going at a steady pace and had time to enjoy myself properly in my time off, whilst giving myself time to think about future plans thoroughly and save up for them at the same time.

A Need For A Faster Life

As I mentioned earlier, I eventually gave up going to my A level lessons and ended up watching daytime TV most mornings, with ‘Homes Under The Hammer’ being my show of choice. I became, and still am, obsessed with the it and have set my heart on becoming a property developer for a living.

I’ve realised that although I have the opportunity to the fast life in London now using a student loan, a degree and the debt that comes with it would leave me starting from the bottom at age 22. I’d more than likely be working long hours for someone else, struggling to pay my bills, and saving up for one holiday a year. My ultimate goal is to be a successful business owner with an apartment in Manhattan and the time and freedom to go wherever I want whenever I want, which requires me to think FullSizeRender.jpg-3-1long term, be a self starter and put the long hours in now, even if it means staying in my dreary hometown for the time being. Renovating houses isn’t something you can be taught at university and unless you have enough in the bank to buy a house upfront, entering the world of property development will require months of saving, which is precisely why I’m now putting more time and effort into retail interview prep than I ever did for an A level essay. I haven’t given up on my dream of being successful by working in retail, I’ve just realised that long term results require short term sacrifices. Every hour I spend stacking shelves means more savings in the bank, which means I’ll be able to buy my first investment property, which means I’ll be able to buy more properties after that, which means I’ll be able to set up my own business, which means I’ll be able to buy an apartment in Manhattan and travel whenever I want and live the fast, big city, jet setting lifestyle I’ve always wanted.

But until then, I’m perfectly content with my steadily paced retail life, balanced with plenty of free time thats not taken up by revision, filled with blogging, theatre and cinema trips and plenty of holidays. Retail life has actually proved to be better for my mental health and work/life balance than education ever did, so I’m going to enjoy it for the next year or so, despite how much my thirteen year old self would hate me for it.

I’d love to know your thoughts on retail life; do you hate it or are you enjoying the steady pace of it like I am? Leave a comment and let me know! Megan x

I’ve been a huge fan of YouTube since 2012, and it took me three years to build up the confidence to do it myself. In 2015 when I finally hit upload on my first ever video, I felt nervous, excited and very cool. I was never one of the ‘it girls’ in school (nor did I ever want to be because, quite frankly, I didn’t like any of them), but sitting down in my ‘Tumblr’ bedroom talking about concerts and make up made me feel cool in my own right- I was doing something different and modern that I’d only ever seen one person at my school do before. The first time around I felt very exposed and ended up taking my videos down, but I tried again about a year later and ended up uploading pretty frequently for about four months, until I realised filming videos was making me feel physically mentally exhausted.

“I felt very exposed and ended up taking my videos down”

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As an introvert, I can only spend a limited amount of time talking to people before I become drained; I leave parties early (when I go to them in the first place) and I stopped going to sleepovers when I was fifteen because I found it overwhelming having so many people around me the whole night. Now, you might be thinking, how is sitting alone talking to camera anything like that? Granted, theres no physical being sat having a conversation with me, but I think that might just be whats so draining about it. Talking to someone else for ten minutes is one thing, but talking to a camera constantly for ten minutes without pause to let someone else speak, combined with the over peppiness needed to keep an audience engaged often left me feeling physically and mentally exhausted for the rest of the day, and sometimes even sent me to sleep. I found that I had to force myself to sit down and film and rushed to get it over with in the shortest time possible, meaning I was never really happy with the outcome because I resented spending time filming and editing.

“talking to a camera…left me feeling physically

and mentally exhausted”

Don’t get me wrong, there were times when I was passionate about YouTube. I even surprised myself when I vlogged unphased in a packed departure lounge in Heathrow Airport and got a confidence boost from it. When I got to my destination, however, the same forced feeling came back and I didn’t vlog for the rest of my trip.

When I first started YouTube, I always thought blogging was something people did on the side because it wasn’t as enjoyable as filming videos. I always thought I’d put more time and effort into my channel than my blog, but here I am writing my sixth post in two days, with my energy and mental wellbeing still intact. I’ve found that having my very own, personal website is so much more satisfying than having a channel. I have my very own page on the internet that I’ve designed completely, that I can put a blend of writing and images on, giving me the opportunity to express my opinions and thoughts as well as my visually creative work. Perhaps one day I’ll wake up and find myself with the urge to film again, but for now I’m enjoying this little corner of the internet.

“I’ve found that having my very own, personal website

is so much more satisfying than having a channel”

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I’d love to know your thoughts on filming videos; does it leave you feeling drained like me or do you enjoy it more than blogging? Leave a comment and let me know! Megan x

I’m constantly at the cinema and somehow the novelty never wears off- I’m always checking whats coming up- I even have a cinema schedule- and since my last ‘Movies I’m Excited For’ post went down pretty well, I thought I’d share with you ten films I’m excited for this year too.

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  1. Technically, ‘Call Me By Your Name’ came out last year, but since it wasn’t shown at my local cinema I didn’t get the chance to see it, so I’m eagerly anticipating the DVD release on March 5th. Since LGBTQ+ films don’t come up nearly as often as they should, I’m really hoping this one has done the genre justice and lives up to my expectations.

2. I’ve been excited for Downsizing since I saw the very first trailer months ago. Even though it throws me back to 1997 when Pod, Homily, Arietty and Peagreen where trying to evade the notorious Ocious P Potter, ‘Downsizing’ feels like a completely fresh, original concept, which is why I’m looking forward to it so much.

3. Similarly to Downsizing, I’m looking forward to Peter Rabbit giving me a throwback to my childhood, but with a fresh twist, this time in the form of James Corden. From A League Of Their Own to Into The Woods, I’m a big fan of the actor come presenter’s work, so I’m excited to see how he fairs in this family classic.

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4. I’m not really a Disney kinda gal, but I did enjoy the live action adaptation of ‘Beauty And The Beast’ last year, which is why ‘A Wrinkle In Time’ has made it onto this list. I’m hoping it too will have its own unique blend of original story and stunning visuals and by the looks of the trailer, its not going to disappoint.

5. Speaking of Disney, ‘The Nutcracker And The Four Realms’ is due to release later this year and from what I can tell, it looks like a blend of ‘Narnia’/’Alice In Wonderland’/’Beauty And The Beast’, which, topped off with it being set on Christmas Eve, already makes for a pretty magical film.

6. As I said earlier, LGBTQ+ films are few and far between, so I was very excited to find out ‘Love, Simon’ is being released this March. Any film thats made by the same people behind ‘The Fault In Our Stars’ AND gives us scenes of people coming out as straight is already a winner in my eyes.

7. Another film I’m excited to watch is ‘Ladybird’. I can’t wait to see a female lead on the big screen, and from what I can see, it looks like a ballsy, outspoken one too. I’m expecting an indie twist on the classic coming of age genre and I hope it delivers.

8. Fifty four years after the original ‘Mary Poppins’ comes ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ and I, for one, am VERY excited. The classic is one of the only pre-ninties films I can bare to watch and I’m very excited to see what a modern take on it brings, which, when you look at the all star cast including Meryl Streep and Lin Manuel Miranda, can be nothing but good.

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9. After seeing the original ‘Mamma Mia’ on stage and screen, I’m VERY excited for ‘Mamma Mia Here We Go Again’. You just can’t help but fall in love with the characters, so to find out more of their backstory will be very interesting.

10. After learning more about the law of attraction last year, and seeing people ‘speak their goals into the universe’ over new year, I’m intrigued to see how the concept is brought to life on screen in ‘Status Update’. Although the whole film seems to revolve around the classic American high school hierarchy of popular kids vs those wanting to be part of the ‘it’ group, which I’m a little too old to enjoy now, I’m still going to give it a go and hopefully it will prove me wrong with its original ‘post vibes’ concept.

I’m always adding to my to-watch list and I’d love to know which films your most excited to see this year, leave a comment and let me know! Megan x

Organisation is always something I’ve struggled with, but I definitely got better at it during last year, and I think I’ve finally found out the secret to keeping on top of everything…write it all down. This might sound obvious, but as soon as I started using a proper calendar and put pen to paper in a notebook, my life became SO much easier. It sounds counter productive and definitely doesn’t fit with my minimalistic ways, but I’ve found that my brain copes a lot better with different things in different places. I like having dedicated places to record things such as events, daily tasks and general notes which is why I have five different ways of organising myself, but don’t be put off, you don’t have to use all of them, I promise by just using just one your life will become a LOT easier.

“I’ve finally found out the secret to keeping on top

of everything…write it all down.” 

My number one tool for staying organised is my Google Calendar. I write down and colour code all my events, including work, holidays and upcoming blog posts using the monthly view option so I can see exactly what I have coming up/ where I’ll be during the month. If you only do one thing to improve your organisation, set up one of these- I can’t stress how much it transformed the way I organise my life and how valuable of a resource it is, I literally use it every single day.

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The next way I stay organised is by using a day to planner (1 of 1)day diary. I purchased this one from Hobby Craft for £10 and although it doesn’t get nearly as much use as my Google Calendar, its perfect for writing down your three main tasks for the day when you’re feeling overwhelmed and also comes with some very aesthetically pleasing stickers!

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I’ve always been skeptical of bullet journals– I could never see the point in spending hours drawing out a diary when you could just buy a pre-made one, but after browsing Pinterest for alternative set ups, I decided to give one a go in 2018. My bullet journal isn’t a daily thing, or even a weekly thing, its houses long term organisation pages such as a yearly events circle and monthly goal reviews. I wanted a place to put odd pages BJ1 (1 of 1)standard diaries don’t have and a bullet journal gave me the freedom and flexibility to fill in the gaps my day to day diary left me with. As I mentioned earlier, I started with a yearly events circle to give me a broad overview of birthdays and other special occasions. I then did a very basic resolutions and goals page and a double spread ‘Roadmap To Success’ to accompany it.

One of my favourite pages is my ‘Year In Pixels’ as its really going to help me to track my mental health and ratio of good:bad days. One of my biggest goals of 2018 is to save as much as possible, so to visually track my progress I created a savings jar page that will hopefully be filled by the end of the year!BJ5 (1 of 1)

My last yearly spread is a monthly tasks page, which will be used to track things I hate doing but can’t put off like backing up my phone and printing photos, to make sure I keep up with them regularly.BJ6 (1 of 1)

Moving on to my monthly spreads (which are the same every month as I didn’t want to over complicate things and give myself more work) I have a very basic monthly review page, habit tracker, spending tracker and gratitude tracker.BJ7-1-of-1.jpg

 

My next method of organisation is my blog planner. This does exactly what it says on the tin- helps me plan my blog posts. I’ve found having a place exclusively for blog planning has allowed me to plan posts in greater detail and track their progress, something I couldn’t do in the lined notepad I used for multiple things last year.

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Lastly, I have a plain lined notepad for ‘brain dumps’, affirmations, lists, doodles and anything else I need to get down on paper to release my stress. This book has no structure and no rules, it has anything and everything in it and has become an essential part of my self care routine.

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This set up and blend of different organisation methods took me a long time to balance and perfect, so I hope you can take some valuable information from it. I’d love to know your secret to organisation, leave a comment and let me know! Megan x