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I needed a challenge off to get some aspects of my life together and figured out, but while always imperfect, I’m such a better person when I’m doing a challenge. So here I am with the Adventurers once again.... Who am I? (Yes, this image is to show off my awesome new hair.) I am Ann of Vries, aged 40, diarist, LARPer, stitch witch, traveler, walker, and an aspirational forest fairy living in the city. I’m an American living in London, UK; married to my true love and brilliant partner (Mr of Vries) and my main job/labour of love is raising our adorable toddler son (Rowan of Vries). Which is mostly fun, but occasionally harrowing. (You wouldn’t know he had a total tantrum meltdown on this same train a few days before....) I immigrated to the UK from Seattle three and a half years ago. I love it here, although I’m still trying to find my tribe (outside of the House of Vries, of course). I long to live in the English countryside, in a stone house with a large garden that grows most of our herbs, vegetables, and fruit. But that time is out in the future—for now, we are city folk and I aim to make the best of that. Not every person gets a chance to move abroad and live in one of the most famous cities in the world! To that end.... I am the Dream Look at my short summary up there. I am, by many people’s standards, ~living the dream~. But a tendency toward Hedonic Adaption, some much wished for (and worked for) dreams that didn’t come true, and a history of depression (which gets much worse in the darker part of the year) means I often forget this. The Challenge There’s no reason to let these dreams turn into a nightmare. So to help keep the darkness at bay and remain living the dream, I will be: Practicing gratitude/journaling Write and post about something I’m grateful about at least 3 times a week. Many will be about my general status of life, but least one of those per week should be something current. Keep up on my personal journals in between. Meditation and spiritual practices I’ve recently started a course to help motivate me out of being an occasional witch and more of a regularly practicing one. Practice grounding/centering/meditation at least 5 days a week. Every day is better, but every day doesn’t always happen. At least two more lessons completed for the pagan degree course I’m in. At least once a week, work on book study or a branch class assignment. Get outside/stay active RoV is now a walker (although not particularly fast or with a destination in mind), and he doesn’t want to be carried all the time. In fact, he doesn’t much like carriers at all anymore and I’ve had to give and buy a stroller if I want to get him around (I’m not sure why he prefers the stroller to the carrier, but he does). This means my days of hours and hours of walking have become more challenging as has my use of public transport (my nearby stations aren’t step-free accessible), despite that RoV needs to go out 2 or 3 times a day to burn off energy. Go outside at least once a day, even if it’s just the back garden Embrace and enjoy going out. 10k steps a day; more is better. Engage in mind-healthy pursuits (and cut back mindless ones) I’m finding myself wasting a lot of time on mindless Facebook scrolling, news rubber-necking and other such activities. Cut back to only checking a couple of times a day and for no more than 5 minutes a go. Spend that time on reading, appreciating the outdoors, journaling, embroidery, knitting, and playing with RoV. I may resurrect my Instagram account. We’ll see. Don’t (always) eat the croissant I’m at a healthy weight and I’m generally a healthy eater, but the last few weeks has seen me engaging in a lot of indulgent, often junky eating (made worse by a two weeks cold I’m still recovering from) and my weight has crept up just enough to concern me about the beginning of an ongoing trend. My household consists of foodies, and I’m not a calorie counter, but sometimes I just need to resist the croissant. (And I definitely need to resist the junk food!) Sometimes, I’m allowed to have the croissant but it needs to be a conscious choice. There’s a lot going on in this challenge, and you guys know I’m not a huge fan of collecting the metrics. My general intent is that by striving for these things with some accountability, I will do them more often, and I’ll try to update a couple of times a week with how it’s going. Except! I’m going on an adventure during this challenge! We’ll be headed to Wales for 2 weeks shortly into the challenge. I haven’t decided if I’m taking my laptop or if I’m just going to go with a notebook and my phone and have a bit of tech break. Depending on how this goes, I may go silent for a couple of weeks. But I’ll be back. Cheers, AoV