Embracing the future…or back to a lonely normal?

How are you feeling about things going back to ‘normal’?   If life before lockdown wasn’t all that exciting, then you may be feeling a bit anxious about what it will be like, especially if you were already feeling a bit disconnected or had experienced some upheavals in your social circle.

I’ve wanted to write a post for ages in homage to something that literally changed my life a few years ago, and that’s an organisation called Meet Up.  It seems appropriate now as we are heading back into a life of socialising and meeting friends…or not.

For those of you who don’t know or have never heard of Meetup, it’s a range of social groups which organise and advertise events online (by town or activity usually) which you can join, and start attending events in your area.

I joined a couple of different Meetup groups after becoming single a few years back, as I wanted to get out and socialise with likeminded people, but at the time the thought of dating again terrified me!

As happens with a lot of newly-singletons, your social life can have a seismic change as your circle of friends is often upended, and you end up with a lot more time on your hands than you would like.  As most of my friends and work colleagues were either already hooked up or had young families, the opportunities to go out to gigs, theatre trips or meals out, were limited.

I was pretty amazed at the variety of Meetup groups that are around – some are locality based, which is also a great way to meet people if you are new in town, or are just looking for things to do in your local area, and there are also more specific activity groups,  to indulge every hobbyist.

Going to a first Meetup event can be pretty daunting – it’s like being set up on a blind date, except you can be meeting a whole load of new people, not just one.  The nervousness factor is about the same – What will I say?  Will they like me?  Will I like them?   And of course, it can be difficult to walk into a venue, when you don’t know the people you are meeting, apart from seeing their photo online!!  Most groups will have an event organiser who will make a point of looking out for you, if you are attending for the first time and lots of groups arrange events specifically for new members, so that you don’t feel so intimidated by the whole thing – at least that way everyone is in the same boat!

Every group I attended was friendly and welcoming, and you can dip in and out of the events which interest you.  You might decide that a group isn’t for you, and that’s fine too.   Some of the groups I didn’t keep up with, either because there weren’t many people from my age group, or some of the events were a little too far away.  But the great thing about Meet Up is that there are lots of events and groups happening, plus it’s a good way of getting introduced to new friends.   You could even set up your own meetup group, if there’s not many active groups in your area.

I’ve been to a whole range of events through the groups I’ve joined, and have been to see some great local bands that I never would have heard of, and visited some lovely places that I would never have ventured to on my own.    I’ve also now got a new circle of friends that I have kept in touch with outside of the group.

If you’ve been thinking you need to get out more, or are fed up missing out on things you would love to go to because you are on your own, I would definitely recommend giving something like this a go.  Yes, it can be daunting to begin with – the first meetup is a bit like the first day at school – but it could be just what you need to kick-start your social life!


* I just wanted to say I have not in any way received payment for promoting Meetup or any other similar social groups – this is something that has genuinely benefitted me, and hopefully might be of interest to others too.

Photo credit:  Jeyhun Sung @jaysung via Unsplash.com


The most important connection is with ourselves

Often when we think about connection, our first thoughts go to connecting with others.  The relationships that we surround ourselves with are, of course, a hugely important influence on our lives. But the relationship we have with ourselves is the key to everything.

Sometimes we already have a very clear picture of what’s going on. If we are feeling happy and have a sense of hope and excitement about the future, then we assume things are going good.  Likewise, we know when things are difficult, as we feel stressed or angry or unhappy about our present situation.

But sometimes we just feel a bit ‘off’.  Not quite happy, but nothing specifically wrong.  And if life looks good from the outside, we can almost feel guilty for feeling that way.   But our intuition is there to act as an early warning system, and can guide us to look a bit deeper.

Taking some time to check in with ourselves can give us insight into what’s really going on.   And that means time away from the distractions or the ‘to do list’ (or the ‘I should’ list!).  Going out for a walk on your own can be great thinking time for this.

Maybe you will be able to get real about how a situation is really affecting you.  Doing things because we feel we should, or because other people expect us to, can lead to us feeling that our time or opinions don’t matter.

Or perhaps we just feel stuck in a bit of a rut and are unmotivated.  The old saying ‘if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got’ is so true.  We need new and novel things to keep us going.  Even making slight changes in routine or a change of scenery can make a big difference.

When we listen to ourselves regularly, we can address the things that are causing an imbalance before they start to grab hold, and make the necessary changes before they become a bigger issue.

So if you’re feeling a bit out of kilter…get quiet and listen…the answer is in there!


Photo credit: @guilia_bertelli via Unsplash.com

Passion is contagious…in a good way

Of course, I couldn’t let today pass without giving a nod to Valentine’s Day!  And if there’s one thing more attractive than a good heart, it’s an active and engaged brain.

Our brain needs new connections, literally, to keep functioning.  It also needs to keep connecting to the world and learning new stuff to keep growing and thriving.  And having a positive curiosity about the world and people, also helps to keep us young.

Getting curious and being open to new experiences can bring about all sorts of opportunities we might not even have considered.  Have you ever put off doing something, such as trying a new food, because you didn’t think you’d like it, but it turns out that actually, you do (hello olives!!).  Or have you avoided speaking to certain people who you didn’t hit it off with initially, only to later find out we actually have a lot in common.

Our tastes and likes change over time, so if we’re stuck in thinking about what (or who) we liked years ago, we could be blocking out all sorts of magical things.

Be open, stay curious.  Life might just surprise you!



Photo credit:   Kashawn Hernandez via Unsplash.com

We’re All Part Of The ‘Get Along Gang’…Aren’t We?

Connecting with other people is great.  That buzz when you feel part of something is often what keeps us going.  Meeting people to bounce ideas off, and people that believe in you more than you do yourself.

But sometimes the people we’re surrounded with don’t see things the way we do.  And also, some people are just hard work, aren’t they?  When it comes to our closest relationships, quality definitely comes before quantity.  The most outgoing person in the world can have a list as long as your arm of contacts, followers, Facebook friends…but how many of those individuals do they truly connect to?  Longevity doesn’t equate to quality either when it comes to friendships – being surrounded by lots of people doesn’t necessarily lead to real connections, or support.  

Sometimes we need to make peace with knowing that people aren’t who we want them to be, and that they can’t (or won’t) be able to give us the support we need.

The best people to be surrounded by are those that truly get who we are, and what we are trying to achieve in life. And they don’t just let us get on with it without judgement, they want to help us to get there.   And likewise, we are there for them too.  That’s how it works.

And the best coaches don’t just teach skill or technique, they have a passion for whatever they  teach, and that’s contagious.   Even if we feel that we are independent, we still rely on good energy and positivity from others.

Do the people around you beam out good energy, or do they drain you?



Photo credit: Toa Heftiba @heftiba via Unsplash.com


Get connected

Thanks to the long and lonely nights of Lockdown 3.0, I’ve been planning further ahead for the blog, and batch writing like a productive thing! My goal for Start A Little Fire has always been to celebrate the things that light us up, and addressing some of the things that can get in the way. So with that in mind, going forward I’m planning to take a deeper dive into some of the common themes around personal growth and development.

In February, I’ll be kicking off with ‘connection’…whether this is with other people, the world arounds us, or with ourselves…and looking at ways we can build better connections.

As they say, the link for the blog is in the bio, and I’ll be posting some new episodes on the podcast this month too.

Onwards into February!!….



Photo credit:  @nickmorrison via Unsplash.com