Laura, London

Laura is a vintage fashionista and global explorer.

What makes you happy?

Travel, new experiences, food, exercise, fashion, vintage, interiors, meeting new people, engaged and fulfilled at work.

Is there something that you spent a long time believing you couldn’t do…. only to try it and realise that you can actually could do it? What made you try it?

Yes, many times have I done this to myself because I was either scared, or thought I would fail – and when I eventually tried it, kicked myself for not doing it sooner! This includes:

1. Travelling by myself and seeing the world, I didn’t want to do it on my own and was a tad scared, and delayed the decision because all of my friends wanted to go on holiday with their other halves/ weren’t free at the time/ didn’t have the money and it was getting me down and focusing on the things I didn’t have in my life – so went for it, booked my trip and I’ve never looked back, looking forward to my 3rd solo trip coming up.

I’ve made some great new friends, in particular meeting my good friend Jenny on top of a mountain in Borneo with whom I’m going on another holiday with a good friend of hers – slowly but surely making the six degrees of separation theory true

2. Work – I changed jobs just over 8 months ago, but being honest, should of made the move a year beforehand. I was stuck in a rut, and not sure how to climb out – basically for fear of failure/ rejection/ that I wasn’t good enough. I was sick of myself talking about it all the time, to different people, and I hate being that person who complains and does nothing about it. So, I decided to change my mind-set – which is easier said than done. I attended a few classroom sessions at the School of Life, ‘how to stop procrastinating, ‘how to realise your potential’ and ‘how to survive your 20’s’ which got the ball rolling, really analysing my thought processes and choices, thinking about what I wanted to get out of my job and what I enjoy.

On top of this, I attempted my version of meditation (probably doing it completely wrong!) and bought those books which people sadly think of as ‘self-help’ and think you’re a manic depressive if you buy them – I downloaded them on kindle to ease this, but reading, listening and keeping a sense of calm really helped me get back to myself, in comparison to the person I was complaining all the time. As life usually does, the right opportunity came along at the right time and I made the move.

Although it’s been a steep learning curve, I’ve never looked back and I feel more myself than ever before.

 If you were taking yourself on a date, what would you arrange for yourself?

Picking a new area of London I haven’t been to before, and exploring for the day – having a mooch around the local deli’s and having something delicious, have a good rummage around the charity shops/ markets around the area and then walking around the local park/ canal and enjoy being outside, people watching.

What’s one thing you do regularly in order to look after yourself?

I’m a big believer in power dressing – if you look good, you feel good. I like to make sure I start my day the right way and put an outfit together, make-up done and nice hair – I’m sorted for the day. If I’m going to a really important meeting, I put ‘The suit’ on – the one my dad bought me for my first big interview after uni, and I feel really powerful and ready to face anything.

Share one thing that used to make you really anxious, that you no longer worry about.

I used to be really bad at comparing myself to others – not with my friends per se, but more with the ‘social expectations’ of where I should be at which point in my life including ‘what job should I have?/ which salary should I be on?/ Should I be in this job? – I was really sensitive to this, which lead to a quarter life crisis, thanks to an expectation my sixteen year-old self built up, that I would be really settled in my job, with the man I’m going to marry and close to buying a house –PAH! None of it came true, and it got me really quite down, and thinking I was a bad person for not achieving any of those. As I’ve mentioned above, I started to change my mind-set – and realised that I should focus on my internal dial as to what’s right for me, f*ck social expectations set back in the 50’s, and that there’s no deadline.

A colleague gave me some great advice, and I tend to stick to it – ‘When people say life is short, they make rash decisions and often regret them. As my father told me, life is long – really long, so keep trying something new, keep failing and getting back up, because then you’ll find the thing you love and can live with’.

Time is precious. What do you dedicate yours to?

I love getting up to go to markets, exploring and gym time – but, I make sure I get some time in for myself, apart from the household chores, just to ‘be’ and have my time, sets me up.

Give your 18 year old self a piece of advice.

Do what you enjoy and ‘be’ in the moment – don’t care about what ‘track’ you should be on, or attach too much important to the implications of your decision at that age. I was way too serious at a young age – I feel I’m going in the other direction now, I’ll be 90 years old and be silly at this rate!  

As you tend to do when you’re young, your life is centred around term time/ job applications and sometimes you miss amazing moments because you’re too focused on what’s going to happen in the future, rather than enjoy the present. As my mum regularly tells me ‘Yesterday’s history, tomorrow’s a mystery, enjoy the present – as it is a gift’.

How will you grow old? Gracefully or disgracefully?

Disgracefully – filled with many happy memories and regretting nothing.

What do you hope people say about you when you eventually leave this mortal coil?

‘I miss her being a part of my life – I just loved being around her’

How did answering these questions make you feel?

That I’ve come a long way – constantly evolving, taking the rough with the smooth.

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