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26 February 2017

What Happens Next?

I think I may overuse the phrase 'existential crisis'. It's not that I have a literal breakdown when I think about my life too deeply, but I just go to that place where all you can think about is the what ifs. 

For the last 21 years, I've lead a very traditional life, basically sticking to the path set out for me by society, 13 years of school, a finding-yourself-gap-yarhhh, three years of university, soaking up every aspect of uni life you possibly can, to prepare you for post-university life. 

And right now, I'm freaking out. I'm thinking about how life is too short, I want to travel the world, go to places hard to get to and do things I look back and think 'wow', I really did that. And then there's the practicalities. Getting a job to fund this, finding a job in a sea of other-you's, rent, bills, COUNCIL TAX. I've been winging most things in life for the last few years. School, eyeliner, university. But it gets to the point where you start to wonder- should I be doing this? Have I made the right decision for myself? 

The saying 'the grass is always greener' has never been more applicable than right now. Half of me wants to be a London lady, working in one of the most vibrant, exciting cities in world, brunching on the weekends, and the other half of me feels like I need to do more, see more. I have friends married, with children, in their dream careers and (according to Facebook), just cruising through life.

But I've realised this fear, this comparison to those around me, is in the pressure of having a life-plan. Of having a 'forever job' the second you step foot out into the big wide world. 'What do you want to do' becomes a reflection of staring at your 45 year old self, still in your graduate job, maybe with a family. But the reality is, it's not going to be like that, and most importantly, it doesn't have to be.

I realised this week, the main source of my daily existential crisis, is the magnitude of the choices I'll be making over the next few months. But the truth is, they're only as big as I make them. Just because I'll (hopefully) be going into a salary job, it doesn't mean I can't travel the world. If I go into public relations, it doesn't mean in a few years time I can't go into publishing. Your passions and interests will change and adapt, you're always going to be susceptible to new things, and I've realised how important it is to embrace this, be open to the possibility of changing your life plan. And if you don't have one, that's fine too. There's no greater time to be lost and confused than in your twenties.

What these weeks, months, lifetime of worrying has eventually taught me, is that life is too short to panic about the future. Especially right now. The future is exciting, it shouldn't be giving you sleepless nights, and if it is, it's time you had a little self-reflection (better done with a glass of Cab Sav). Every decision you make, every choice you say yes to or turn down, teaches you something about yourself. The opportunities you grab, and the one's you decide not to follow, they are refined and reflected in you. I may not know what I want to do, but I know I don't want to become an accountant. I may not have a boyfriend, but I know that honestly, I also don't want to have one right now.

Each realisation is a small success.  I'm on a path, you're on a path, and it's forked and muddy and can sometimes be littered with cow shit, but it's there. Getting lost is part of the excitement, just remember, it's completely up to you if you go back to the same path or carry on with a new one.

Love, Alice x


19 February 2017

5 Lessons of Blogging, in 4 Years

It's been almost 4 years since I started blogging. Four years of writing out my thoughts and feelings, of developing where I want to be in the blogging world, bringing new traditions and forgetting old ones (RIP 'ciao for now'). I've been so so lucky, and whilst this piece of the internet is still relatively small, it's blown up and received more attention than I could possibly have imagined as an 18 year old sat in her bedroom, from working with The Huffington Post to being lucky enough to have products sent my way, blogging has opened so many doors, and probably the biggest door of all, was the realisation of how much I love to write.

Despite all of this nostalgia, there have been weeks I've wanted to delete Alice's Antics and give up on everything ever, it's not been an easy ride and I'm still winging it (as with everything in life, let's face it), but I wanted to share my 'experience.' Don't worry, I'm not closing it down, but for anyone wondering what it's like to be a blogger, or is debating starting a blog, I thought I'd give you a piece of my blogging brain. 

Don't Expect Everybody to 'Get' It

Blogging is a fairly new concept, which has absolutely blown up in the last five years or so. But just because you and I have heard of blogging, it doesn't mean everyone has. When I first started my blog, I was terrified. I kept it hidden for a while, and had a solid 3 readers. When people did inevitably find it, of my friends from school really understood the concept, and I remember meeting up with them over Christmas and people making offhand jokes about my blog posts. Obviously no one meant any harm, but it's sometimes hard hearing people comment on a piece of writing you've spent hours on. I can't stress enough how important it is not to let this get to you, if I had stopped after receiving criticism, my blogging life would have been extremely short. 

There's a Whole Blogging Community

This is something I was not expecting. But it turns out, there are blogs for literally anything and everything. Facebook groups, Twitter chats, there's a whole network out there for bloggers to gain help, advice and just to make friends. Despite dabbling in the 'tumblr' community when I was younger, this big-girls-blogging club came as a huge shock to me, I've been so lucky to make friends through Alice's Antics, it's just an added bonus to blogging and I've learnt so much from talking to others experiences of blogging first hand.

Blogging's Not Easy- But People Will Think it is

In the last four years, I've probably been asked to help set up the blogs of between 15 to 20 people. Friends and family and individuals who have been following blogs for a while and just want a crack at it, and that is actually great. Blogging has become extremely saturated, to the extent where I don't in any way feel threatened or worried if someone I know sets up a similar blog to Alice's Antics, I certainly wasn't the first blog by any means. But of the people who have asked me, I could count on one hand, the amount who have stuck at it. People don't tend to understand each blog post takes time, and it's not just a case of throwing words together. Because of the large scale of photo-based blogs, I think people forget the majority of bloggers are writers, and each post takes time, but I've found this is overlooked a lot by people who don't blog.

If You Want to Get Something Out of it, You Need to Invest in it

This relates back hugely to my last point, in terms of how much investment goes into blogging. You must love what you write. You must love writing, full stop. Because people can tell. I can look back on posts, and know when I've written something in a rush, or half heartedly. And you will never stick at something, if you don't believe in it. 'Investment' is also very literal, because believe it or not, blogging costs money. Advertisements, sponsored posts, blog layouts, if you want to gather a wider audience, or make blogging your job, you'll be left out of pocket. Which is why it's even more important for you to love what you're doing.

It's Ok to Take a Breather

Towards the end of last year, blogging was stressing me out more than it was filling my heart with warmth. So this year, you may have noticed a certain lack of schedule, and I am so so sorry for that, but as the blogger, I decided to take a step back. Instead of posting 3x a week or forcing myself to write every Monday, I'm writing whenever I feel like it. And that means it is a bit sporadic, but that's totally okay, rather than pushing out blog posts about random crap, I'm writing about what I want to write about, and that is probably the most important lesson I've learnt.

Whether you blog full time, have a little side blog, or are just here to read Alice's Antics, I hope I gave you a bit of an insight into writing a blog!

Love, Alice x


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