My best friend (ever in the whole wide world!) came to stay!!
We haven't seen each other since last summer.
Her name is Faith. We met 20 years ago when we were in the Royal Navy.
We didn't hit it off on first sight, but then Faith moved into my Mess in the bed opposite mine. "I suppose we had better be friends then", I said. And from that moment on we were!
We shared our secrets, had adventures, and laughed and laughed and laughed.
And we are still laughing now.
I don't think there is anything we don't know about one another. Or that we couldn't tell each other.
Since then, we went through the novelty of getting our first mobile phones (I'm not sure who was first), and getting hooked up to the internet (she beat me to that), there's been hardly a day when we are not in touch by text or email. We are constantly updating each other with snippets from our lives, big or small.
Living my life as much as I do online I thought I would document our weekend via my tweets. I chose the hash tag of #ksbf (Karen Strunks Best Friend) and signed up to Storify imagining I would be tweeting all weekend long. However, I hardly tweet at all - that's a first!
I ended up taking quite a break from the internet and my iPhone, and simply enjoyed the company of my best friend.
We had 4 days together and it felt like the first time I had stopped properly this year. I've had a couple of breaks (or at least one that springs to mind) but they have been quite active. I'm so used to being on the go all the time (which I love), but I adjusted surprisingly quickly to a change of pace, and also to having constant company.
I live on my own, I work on my own (for the majority of the time), I enjoy my own company, I never get bored or feel lonely, but I don't think I would ever tire of Faith's company.
I moved to Moseley 7 years ago, but at at that time I very nearly came close to moving to Lincoln instead which was where Faith was living. I even viewed houses there, but I decided Lincoln wasn't quite big enough for me (as much as I love my best friend!). Faith is very much a country mouse (and has since moved to Cumbria) whereas I'm very much a big city mouse (ultimately aiming for NYC!).
I wonder if one day we will find a middle ground near to each other. But in the meantime, with all the communication, we hardly feel the miles.
So, what did we do last weekend?!
Faith arrived on Friday afternoon, and we met my Mum and step Dad for dinner. When we got back mine I gave Faith her belated birthday pressie. What better than one of my favourite toys - a HULA HOOP!
We played outside for an hour like a couple of kids. Faith soon picked up how to hula and we were choreographing hula routines in between laughing.
I've got lots of video footage, but even I'm too shy to put it on here, though I'm crying with laughter watching it!
Saturday was photo shoot day and we got dressed up far too inappropriately for a Saturday afternoon and headed out and about.
As you can tell, we are very shy in front of the camera! We took a ton of photos, we danced around, jumped up and down, pulled faces, and laughed (though I'm looking quite serious in these photos!).
Saturday evening saw us at a Spiritualist Church. Rock n Roll. We didn't get any messages from the medium!
Sunday was uber lazy, but productive in other ways. We talked BUSINESS.
Faith has started her own business in complimentary therapies this year. I run my photography business, the 4am Project, work with Talk About Local, run Birmingham social media cafe, and I'm always developing my skills in areas I am interested in.
Even though I have a bit of head start in running businesses and creative endeavors we still found we had a lot of common ground to cover.
We spent a good 4/5 hours discussing topics such as...
Where time is better spent
'Hidden' time - ie not just doing the work, but the prep, paperwork etc that is also involved
We talked about what work to say NO to.
We even did some role playing in saying NO politely but firmly!
"Hello, can you work for me for free?" NO
"Hello, can you do XYZ for me and I'll put your name on my website"? NO
"Hello, can you do me a favour where there is no benefit to you, but lots for me?" NO
And what work to possibly say YES to.
Top of that list is paid work obviously. Then there are other things that may bring benefits in other ways. For example, I don't get paid for running the 4am Project (I'm working on it) but it brings me a lot of other benefits, experience and exposure.
We both agreed that running businesses requires a lot of constant decision making. Weighing up of pros and cons, and quite importantly, listening to our instincts.
And it's not just deciding on the type of work you do, but WHO you want to work with too! For example, just a few months ago I 'sacked' my first client (there will be a blog post on that at some point). Opportunities may arise, but are they the right ones with the right people?
As we are both running things single handedly, free time is not on our side and we don't have it to waste. Time, like money, has to be invested wisely and hopefully that investment will bring rewards of some kind.
We then got out our pens and paper and made plans! That's the exciting bit! What do we want to achieve this year, next year, even in 5 years. Where do we want to be? How are we going to get there? How many steps will it take? What do we need to do?
That was a good 4/5 hours well spent and we both benefited from it. It's not often I get to sit down and talk things through with someone and get another perspective and really chew things over. And Faith's gone away more inspired than ever and is already cracking on with her plans this week.
After exercising our minds, Faith managed to persuade me to go out for a walk (I was sooo comfy!). I let her lead the way, knowing we would get lost as she doesn't know the area, and I ended up seeing parts of my neighbourhood I hadn't been to before.
Faith left on Monday and I was SO sad to see her go! I'm so used to spending time on my own but I really missed her and felt a bit down on Sunday evening. I watched silly Sex & The City 2 to cheer myself up a bit!
It took me a while to get back into the work frame of mind on Tuesday. The pro's of Faiths visit are that I had a super, fab, inspiring time with my best friend plus I completely chilled out. But I'm back in the swing of things again and up to full speed.
This has been (and will be!) a pretty amazing week and I'm feeling very happy and grateful. I got to see my best friend, I got a new wedding photography booking, I have taken over the running of the Bham Social Media Cafe, I'm going out with for cocktails with friends tonight, I'm helping a community in Liverpool with hyperlocal blogging with Talk About Local and my friend and colleague Nicky tomorrow, and on Saturday I'm seeing my brilliant Mum!
And now I must get ready for cocktail night and put my best bling on! :)
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