Sunday, 6 March 2011

Sugar and spice, and all things nice

 A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous.
Coco Chanel 

According to the nursery rhyme, it's sugar and spice and all things nice that little girls are made of. And while we do get a better deal of it than the boys do with regard to ingredients, I think there's just a small chance that the creator of that rhyme might be underselling us. I far prefer Coco Chanel's definition.

But when you think about it a bit more, perhaps they're not saying such different things after all. One of the key parts, in my opinion, about being classy is being generous and gracious to other people (being nice) and a prerequisite to being fabulous is being willing to go a little bit more to the edge of your comfort zone and challenge yourself to be more than you otherwise thought you could be (the spice perhaps?).

I blogged yesterday about musing with a good friend on who we are and what we want. This is the same good friend who pointed me towards the importance of making the most of your life and your talents, and of going beyond what is comfortable. Part of our conversation on Friday covered both of these points - my friend was remarking on my seemingly never-ending desire to seek out new challenges (strange new worlds!) - and she wondered what that was about for me. Was this what I needed to do as part of the someone that I am, or was it part of me trying to work who that someone is?

I don't know the answer to the question, but I do know that she's right. I am always looking for new things to do, in particular things that stretch and challenge me. For example, I didn't just learn how to do beadwork for myself, I made it and sold it at craft fairs for a while. I decided to cure my fear of heights by learning to climb. And I haven't just taken up running as a way of keeping fit and active, I've already completed a 10k and have now challenged myself to a marathon this year. My birthday book (pictured above) from the awesome Frances really is so appropriate!!

I describe myself in my CV as someone who is always up for and energised by new challenges - and that's certainly true at work. I just didn't realise it was quite so true in my personal life too. As another friend recently told me, that might make it a bit hard to be with me - always pushing on to the next thing, not always enough time for anyone else.

That's certainly something my (second) ex-husband felt when it came to my work and the hours and focus I put into it. In the end it wasn't something he was prepared to come second to, and if I'm honest, I don't really blame him. It can't have been much fun.

But it is who I am and it's not something I can easily change. Or want to change. On reflection, I don't think I'm pushing the boundaries to find out who I am. This IS who I am. I love learning and discovering new things and always have done. I have an inquisitive mind and spirit. I push myself to try new things and to stretch myself because ultimately I want to be as big as I can be, to live up to the potential that I have inside me, to never stop wanting to know and to be more. We are only in this life for a very short time, I think we have a responsibility to make as much of it as we can. Complacency and self imposed limitations are not options we should accept.

"There is no passion to be found playing small - in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living."
Nelson Mandela, 1994 

Posted to The 52 Week Project on Flickr 

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