Sophie Nicholls lives in York. She writes poems and runs the Word Sauce e-courses in writing and wellbeing.
Sophie’s website: Word Saucery
• One thing that’s always worth getting out of bed for
A new day.
A cup of freshly ground coffee.
Even better, a cup of freshly ground coffee at my desk up under the eaves with the sun in the skylights or the rain hammering on the roof and the prospect of a free morning in which to write.
• One thing about myself that often obstructs me
I’m endlessly interested in everything and I can get interested in just about anything. This has its advantages. I’m never bored and I always have at least five ideas simmering. However, over the years I’ve gradually realised that I can easily dedicate days, months or entire decades to doing the most arbitrary things to the very best of my ability. I can glance up from my life and discover that I’ve wandered away from my original plan, or become completely absorbed in something that was never really that important to me.
I’m learning to pare back, to have fewer expectations of myself, to focus on doing one or two things at a time and to take enormous satisfaction from doing those things as well as I can.
• One thing I’ve learned the hard way
That life is as easy as I allow it to be.
• One thing that gets under my skin
Busy-ness. Because we’re all busy. Life is busy. But we can make busy-ness into a kind of professional activity. I think that telling someone you’re busy or that you’ve been too busy to call or reply is really like saying, ‘You’re not a priority for me’ or ‘My busy-ness is much more important than your busy-ness.’ I think it’s rude. And I hate rudeness. I have an inner Head Girl who wears sensible shoes and makes ‘tsk’ noises at people who don’t say thank you and drivers who won’t slow down when the parked cars are on their side of the road.
• One thing I’d love to change
I think we’re living through times of enormous change and opportunity. The old systems – the economy, political systems, even the weather systems – are being swept away. We need something new. Change will happen with or without us.
Beyond the basics of health care and a safe environment and access to education for everyone (and we have such a long way to go before we achieve these goals), I’d love for every young person, wherever they are in the world, to be able to ask questions about power and privilege, to learn to think critically and to be able to speak with their own voice.
I’d like for noone ever again to be imprisoned or persecuted or tortured for speaking up or for writing a poem or a blog post about something they’d love to change.
I’d like some form of meditation or relaxation or reflective writing to be taught in schools so that everyone could have access to simple ways of letting go of fear and anxiety, cultivating calm, expressing feelings, choosing kindness and self-compassion.
• One thing I hope for
Health and happiness for the people I love. World peace. Forever. (So just the small stuff, really.)
Less fear. More kindness. (See above.)
I’m incredibly grateful for everything I already have.