The movie montage (and why you can’t skip it)

You know that part of a film, usually in the middle or about two thirds of the way through, where a lot of hard stuff happens really fast with music playing the whole time?

There is laughing and crying and falling and getting up again and working out and cutting hair and falling over and getting up again and giving up but not really and running and lifting weights and falling and getting up again

and everything is at warp speed

and then the music swirls together with a little triumph and it lands on two people talking or one person suddenly fit and healthy or the new business started or the day of the party or whatever

and that’s the hard part done and now we can get on with the story and finish it in triumph.

They skip all that because if we watched every moment, it would be boring to watch. It would just be exactly like our own life. It would be like watching our own life as a tv show with no forward and no skip and no montage.

So they stitch it all together, add music, and hurry us to the ending. 

Someone shared a post this week (can’t now figure out where the post was or who shared it, you know how that goes) which was about those really stupid “success stories” which go like this

“There was a hard thing
And another hard thing or two
But then we triumphed over those
And now we have a best selling book, six million dollars, a new Porsche in the driveway of our custom built home. We work full time crushing it and hustling constantly whilst being completely at rest and always able to have time for the perfect adorable children and frolicking dog in our custom grown vineyard while the sun sets perfectly in the background.”

Of course, you too can have all this if you buy said best selling book and follow the best practices within it – or actually just download the resources and fill in a few checklists, that’s probably enough to help you win at life, the end, everyone lives in perfection forever.

You’d think from the way these #humblebrag posts (or books or articles or websites) are written, that it’s actually possible to skip past ALLLLLLL the crap and get the movie montage. Hard stuff hard stuff inspiring music DONE!

Success stories actually go more like this: 

There was a hard thing
And then more hard things which built on those
And then things seemed to get a little better
And we got some stuff
Then realised stuff isn’t what matters
Started digging into how we’re wired and emotions and mental health and stuff
Got really confused
Tried a few things and it got better for a while again
Then some real crap hit the fan
Went to therapy
Talked to a lot of people
Worked through some shit
Dug deeper
Worked hard, got sick, gave up, tried again
(repeat this cycle 100x)
Things started to get a little better
Even though they’re still really hard
Started figuring out who we are
Still feel like i have no clue most days
Have some nice things but it’s not about the things or the numbers or the car or the house or the business even the family
It goes deeper than that

That’s a real success story.

That’s the montage.

That’s the part we’re in just now – as a world, as a culture, and as individuals within it.

And some days we want to skip it.

I mean, the films skip it. They hurry it along, stitch it together, add some inspiring music.

But the “montage” parts are actually the best parts. That’s where life happens. Where learning happens. The growing, the actual change.

You can’t see it day by day, when you haul yourself off to the gym or do another pushup you don’t feel like doing, or take an apple instead of a packet of crisps.

It feels like not very much. It feels kind of boring.

But those are actually the good parts. Worth living, worth telling. Worth not skipping over.

Stick with it. The triumphal end is coming, but you can’t rush it.

Follow me


Well. So. Small update.

Was out hiking on mull and slipped on a rock crossing a burn, and broke my ankle. (I remember hearing an audible “crack” as I went down.)

No signal on phone. Managed to climb down a ravine to get to a more open place and hopefully signal. At that point still convinced it “wasn’t that bad”. Tried to walk along the path and realised yes, it was that bad.

Phoned coast guard, who were utter legends. Sent a boat AND a helicopter. Sun was setting and they didn’t want me sitting in the dark. Oh my word it was cold. Helicoptered out to fort William hospital (nicest people ever), then down to airdrie where I got a cast.

Ankle broken in one place. Doctors pleased (as much as you can be!) it’s a clean break & lining up well. I’ll be down for 4-6 weeks.

I’ve repeated myself a lot over the last few days so here’s the short version to all the questions, with appreciation for the care.

Yes, I’m okay. I’m also utterly exhausted & have hit the “damn, this is going to be a long road” phase. Taking it one day, one hour at a time. 

I’m being looked after. Very kind friends and things being delivered. My amazing sister @secondsunrise2 flying in tomorrow from america to be with me for a few weeks. SO grateful.

What do I need? I’m good on the basics. There have been unexpected costs and more coming so if you want to PayPal monies for deliveries or getting my car & belongings back or all the taxis or whatever, feel free. I’m hardly destitute so only do that if you want to send something useful and aren’t sure what. PayPal username karenlreyburn. Amazon wishlist in bio. Random care packages also happily received!

My car & belongings are up on mull. I have people to help and we are working on timing. But if you’re on mull and want to return a car near Glasgow, let me know :)

Shout out to the Coast Guard for being so swift, & that beautiful combination of sympathy and practicality.

Download the @what3words app. Literal lifesaver.

That’s all for now. All the love. Oh - and no, I don’t hold this against mull at all. It’s still my happy place. Things happen & the mull community has been beautiful. Shout out to @treshnish who couldn’t have been kinder. ❤️
Morning walk. I stood and watched the ferry come in and the sun lighten this little edge of the world.
Been going through old photos and letters - the last of the boxes i had stored at my sister’s house in america. 

When I first moved to Scotland, I only planned to live here for a few years and then go back. Then after a few years I wasn’t ready yet…then I got my residency…still not quite ready….then started a business…then Scottish citizenship…bought a house …finally accepted this is my home and I wasn’t moving back. 

And with every visit back to the states I would go through more boxes, more photos and letters and memories. I’d keep some and throw others away; take photos out of frames and give away the frames; and as time went on I was able to distinguish between the ones I definitely wanted and needed to keep, and those which were lovely at the time but didn’t need to be saved anymore.

Over twenty years on and this past trip I went through the very last of the boxes. I joked to my sister that I’ve now officially settled into Scotland 😆 

This photo of me and my Gramps is a fave and definitely a keeper. Most of the photos and letters I’ve kept are those of family - parents, grandparents, sisters, nieces and nephews. And as much as I love taking landscape photos, I noticed that 20 years later it’s the people photos I am more likely to keep. Thankful for the traditions and patterns of seeing family every year or so since moving to Scotland. They’re small things - baking Christmas cookies and going for walks and going for road trips - but it’s the time together and the continuing family jokes and the memories which remain. And a few photos.

My grandfather (and all my grandparents) have now passed on, but I remember with fondness sitting around at their kitchen table, eating fresh vegetables from the garden, playing scrabble, laughing and talking and drinking coffee.

It’s the small things, and the rhythms of family, which last. ❤️ 
#family #memories #grandparents #oldphotos
Made fresh mince pies for the first time ever. Over twenty years in Scotland and I’d never tried to make them from scratch, so I figured…now is the time! I’m doing lots of thanksgiving baking (yes, we stretch it out here so I’m still prepping!) and decided to buy the ingredients. 

Dried fruit…mixed peel…lots of spices…and Venezuelan rum :) I made up the mincemeat last night, and then today put it in the little pastries and even cut out the wee stars to go on top!

I think I can safely say they’re the best mince pies I’ve ever had. Fresh out of the oven sprinkled with icing sugar and with a glass of said rum alongside :) 

Now we are curled up with a Harry Potter marathon, with plenty of mince pies AND a thanksgiving feast still to come. Happiness! 

#mincepies #homebaking #maryberry #maryberryrecipe #happythanksgiving #happychristmas #harrypotter #hpmarathon