The one where the long weekend becomes like this thing where I start from scratch & stuff

Image by By Lou Levit from Unsplash website

Image by By Lou Levit from Unsplash

It happens every year. A long weekend rolls around and I have to look at it as the first – and last! – time I reset, re-evaluate and basically get my shit together.  This year was no different.  In fact, this year was worse, coz I feel like at the age of *mumblemumblemumble* I should have my shit together.  So I made the following promises to myself on Thursday morning:

  1. To clean the kitchen table, A.K.A the dumping ground for all unread mail, brochures, receipts that I wanted to keep and random magazines I have been meaning to read (I don’t know why, but I have been holding on to TWO issues of Peninsula Living.  I’m not even from the Northern Beaches originally).
  2. To do aaaaall my laundry and get rid of all the clothes I no longer wear and head on down with all my good-but-unloved clothing to the local Lifeline.
  3. To catch up and clear my to-do list for my Maysays stuff.  All unwritten articles so I’m ahead.  All unread emails so I’m aware.  Lists, plans and ideas to action.
  4. To get really stuck into building up on my new site My Local World so it doesn’t feel like I’m living in a fantasy land and this will only be of benefit for me.

Did I do any of these things over the long weekend? Yes and no.  I did a lot of no. 3, which was good and really helped get me into actual working week mode for the short week ahead.  I partially did no. 2 because I needed clean undies and I was also wondering where a certain white shirt had gone and I found it somewhere in the depths of my laundry pile so I cleaned all those things out of necessity more than anything.  I’m about to do no. 4. I did a bit of no. 1 as the hubs and I were catching up on Empire (I was channelling Cookie whilst doing that task).

But I don’t feel like I changed the course of my life in four days, the way I think I will every year after the Easter break.  This break means more to me in this way than the start of a new year.  Maybe because there’s so much more at stake at the start of the year, and by the time Easter rolls around you’ve already got 3 months under your belt to assess how this year will go if you continue to travel the way you do.

I feel OK. I feel like at least it was like years ago when I really didn’t know what to do with myself.  At least now I have goals. Even if they are just based predominantly on domestic chores.

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A soothing novel in twelve short paragraphs …

“It was summer, and it was hot. Rachel was there. A lonely old grey couch. And the kingdom was theirs forever, the end!”.

Another Sunday night in, another night of remembering lines from F.R.I.E.N.D.S.  Lines I’ve known since forever, lines I probably know a little too well.  Most of my internal dialogue derives from pop culture. It’s the greatest thing, to know that film and television shape your thoughts to the point where you don’t know what’s original and what’s something you’ve heard before.

Jack Johnson is on the stereo. Another thing I’ve been listening to since forever. My appreciation of him is really just as much about his music as it is about the fact that I just think he’d be a really cool person to be friends with.  And he seems so chilled out.  And despite being around for ages, he hasn’t really done anything celebrity-ish like star in a reality show, release a line of cologne, date a supermodel or start a twitter rant about another artists.  Cudos, Jacko, for not being a f**kwit.

When I’m done here, I’m going to watch an episode of Doctor Who with husband. He’s the only person I know who loves it with all his heart and soul. And he’s not even British. And now watching it puts me in a good mood, because it means if I’m watching it, then I am relaxing and sharing in his nerdiness. Not even sharing in it, but actively allowing it.  Like I’m not a nerd myself.  I read somewhere once that “nerds will rule the world”.  I am a massive nerd and I don’t rule a thing.

Fifth paragraph

Sixth paragraph

Seventh paragraph

Eighth paragraph

Ninth paragraph

Tenth paragraph

Eleventh paragraph

Twelfth paragraph

This post was a writer’s block exercise called “Write a soothing novel in twelve short paragraphs” taken from Language is a Virus, and I swear I can’t make it to 12 paragraphs right now.

Living all the days of your life

Maybe it’s because I’m a hundred thousand years old, maybe it’s because I’m sick of wasting time, maybe it’s because I keep looking for more and searching for more, but I’ve started actively looking for ways to improve my overall life. I’m more conscious of the time I spend procrastinating (which is a LOT, thanks Buzzfeed), because I don’t want to be wasting my time doing useless things. At the same time though, I don’t want to busy myself with simply being busy for the sake of it, and I’m more aware of quality downtime too.  I’ve also taken a good hard look at the exercise I do (or don’t do) and the food that I eat (I use the term “food” loosely), and I’m acutely aware of the fact that while I don’t feel the effects of my complete lack of pride in my fitness and health, I will soon, if I keep this up.

So when I wrote about SzeWing Yip’s services as a life coach at Intuitive CoachingI was interested in more than just promoting her business properly. I was looking for some kind of divine intervention.

AN OBJECTIVE PROFESSIONAL

I’d always been open to seeking the advice of an objective professional regarding how I should get my ass into gear and do stuff, but I always thought somewhere in the back of my mind that their services were only really reserved for people who had gone through a major life change or were seriously lost and floundering. Was I floundering? Are my wheels spinning? I suppose so, but what I got out of my time with SzeWing was … totally worth the time.

SzeWing operates her business from the Life & Balance Centre in Glebe, a cute little hub of like-minded practitioners who use the space to offer health and wellbeing services. SweWing herself is very bubbly and outgoing, has a lot to say, and has a lot of ideas about things she wants to do and what she wants to develop.  It’s very clear she’s passionate about her work as a life coach.  I’ve read somewhere (in a lot of articles of late, actually) that when a person is passionate about something it will show in their work, and this is SzeWing to a tee. She’s a dancer and a teacher and it’s obvious she’s a people person.

COACHING INTUITIVELY

I didn’t know what to expect when I went to meet SzeWing for the first time. She was dressed smartly (not like a banker) but casually (not like a uni student). Perhaps because I already pre-associated this to her, I was already assuming her to be the picture of someone who has her shit together. She looks it. She looks healthy (also in no small part to her dancing). I guess this is what you want in a person who’s made their career into helping others. Coz if they don’t look like they can help themselves …

A majority of Intuitive Coaching’s client base are in their 30s-50s, mainly women. Most of them are well-educated, upwardly mobile, professional.  Most of them are looking for “something more”. Ironically, SzeWing says a lot of her close female friends are in this age bracket to. Instantly, I’m impressed by this – to me, it shows that SzeWing is “of the people”: she can relate to anyone of any age.

During our session, we discussed my career (actually, she asked me about my career.  Actually, she asked me, “Tell me about you”, and then I launched into my career).  Without giving all the ins and outs of what I told her, I was basically just dumping all my niggling thoughts and doubts that had been swirling around in my brain into the session.  I really thought that SzeWing would turn around and say, “yes, you should follow your passion”, but she didn’t.  She told me that what I do now will help in the bigger picture of how my career will unfold. She used a mix of straight out pragmatic coaching techniques and even some Angel cards to communicate this to me.  I found this comforting, somehow.

PERCEPTION

One of the most poignant pieces of advice SzeWing gave was about perception. Because most of the session was about my career, she said my perception of my role needed to change, so I could be objective and look at the skills  I was gaining in the role, rather than thinking of my role as an all-encompassing career. I liked that. It made me see that there was a time for everything, and it helped me organise, albeit in my head, what I needed to focus on right now and when to know that I’d had my fill.

She also said during my angel reading that I need to give myself time to step away and think, perhaps take a holiday, or meditate, or do something. I am thinking she is talking about re-grouping or taking some time each day.  Not sure I can take the break I would really love to have right now (seriously wondering if I can convince my fiancee to sell all our stuff, pack it all in and chill on a beach in Bahia, Brazil for 6 months!), but since this session I’ve been acutely aware of how much time I take daily to clear my mind, get some exercise in and shake it off. As a result, I’ve taken steps to try to be more active. I’ve looked at jogging as a form of exercise and I’ve become better at even just stepping away from my desk at work. SzeWing was spot on though – meditation and clearing your mind is fast becoming an important part of my daily routine.

YOUR LIFE’S DIRECTION

The most striking piece of advice SzeWing gave, and which has pretty much remained embedded in my mind since my session, was about the difference between direction and goals, and how thinking of your life as a whole in terms of the direction you want to go in, rather than thinking of the goals you have to hit, you’ll be much better placed mentally and spiritually to be happy about the path your life is on. Going by goals may stop you from going further, and can limit you from other opportunities and experiences around you. Goals should be thought of as milestones, each milestone in line with your life’s direction. Your direction is a wider path than goals, so you can think of taking steps to keep you on your direction, rather than focussing on the steps as if they weren’t part of a bigger plan.  If someone had told me that after uni …

I felt really uplifted after my mini-session with SzeWing, particularly when she said everything I was doing career-wise was all joined together and it would all fall into place.  I felt more hopeful about my situation.

JUST KEEP GOING

Maybe because I’m more attuned to it right now but I’ve been picking up a lot of these helpful notes of late. I read something online regarding the phrase, “Just keep going”, when you’re feeling helpless or fading. Perhaps that person also got that from “Finding Nemo” (just keep swimming). But I think it ties in with SzeWing’s point above about direction. Just keep going in the direction of your life’s path. Just keep going …

Maybe it’s also because I’m in the middle of reading The Happiness Project that I am totally open to everything SzeWing has told me.  I find this complements my own exploration of personal wellbeing and happiness.

I’m still on that path, still striving daily to live a full life, but I’m glad that I can finally recognise that this is a much better way to live than only focussing on one area of life.  There are a lot of things I need to do and want to do, but now just remind myself about my life’s direction, and whether the choices that I’m making are in line with my direction. Which may or may not lead to the fridge door.

 

The longest Thursday ever in the history of long Thursdays …

Coz everyone needs a little Tina and Jimmy to brighten up their week. I miss 30 Rock (even though I can watch the whole series at home at any given time) and I don’t get to watch full eps of Jimmy Fallon (due to you know, geography and such).

A day without laughter is a day wasted.

Clap along if you know what happiness is to you!

happy

The start of the new year and although I’ve got a lot of goals to hit this year, I am happy – yes, there’s that word again – that I am beginning the year not a slovenly, drunken mess who got out of bed at 3pm after an all-night bender.  I feel fresh and in the zone.

So happy to be happy. So happy to be content.

Also, I took the Facebook app off my phone. Met up briefly with a buddy earlier and she said she did the same thing, prompting me to do it too. She said she already feels like she’s not wasting time on the phone checking her newsfeed. Brilliant, it’s amazing how just the simplest action can achieve so much. On the other hand, it’s scary how monumental this action is for me. Ha – Crackbook addict that I am.

Had the best day with friends at the beach a few weeks ago. My fiancee reminded me that our friends are our family, and that we’re blessed to have wonderful people in our lives. It was just a nice day out, a nice way to reaffirm the theory I believe will lead me towards a more meaningful life.  That I have to be happy to allow happiness into my life.  That gratitude is the key to being happy regardless of your circumstances. That you have to revel in the positive in your life to let more happiness in. That happiness doesn’t have to be elusive to you just because you’re not “successful” (in whatever defines success to you).

So I’m starting to feel a little better these days, knowing that I can allow myself to be happy even if there are still goals I want to hit.  I’m also finding (LOL “finding”, as if I’ve had all this time to digest this information and put it into practice, but in actual fact it’s just been the last two weeks. Although, what a great fortnight it’s been since I planted this into my brain) that allowing your default temperament to be set at “happy” doesn’t mean you’re deliriously ecstatic all the time.

But then I thought about why I wasn’t allowing myself to be “happy” lately and it was mostly because of career stuff.  I was associating my worth and my happiness so heavily against my career trajectory that I forgot that I can be happy AND still have career ambition.

I recently revisited an article on the Tiny Buddha site called 4 Myths about Doing What You Love for Work.  I think I read this at the time when I was questioning my career. I feel like I’ve already solved that mystery now, but now I’m grappling withhow to grow in my career without making work all-consuming.

The first point in the article talks about that old adage, “Do what you love and the money will follow”. I interpreted that as saying that because we associate so much of our career success on how much money it will generate for us, perhaps we need to redefine our idea of success, and make it more about  doing what we love, career-wise.  Instead, if you want a career in something you love doing, but it’s not financially lucrative, then success can be about how fulfilling the role is. I mean you might have to make up the finances in other areas or cut down on some things that don’t fit the budget (which we can all do), but you’ll be safe in the knowledge that you are doing something worthwhile with your life.

So this is how I’m going to view my career. How personally fulfilling it is for me and how much of my talents I am using to make myself useful.

I tried for so many years to stick to New Years resolutions but I don’t think I’m going to make a list this year. This time, it’s not so much a New Years resolution – it’s a life-changer. I’m going to do things that are good for me, things that benefit me. If it won’t benefit me in the long run or won’t be useful to me or anyone around me, then I’m not going to bother with it.

Living life happy! 🙂

have less

My beef with TED and other things I’m sure most people have no problem with …

I’ve been listening to TED talks a lot lately, desperately trying to find life advice so that I can live a more meaningful existence, and I love it. Totally.  I love it.

I can’t remember who said these quotes, but they’re on the site (search under happiness) and I had to make a note of them:

It’s particularly important that you never put the quality of your life in a commercial corporation.

And:

Happiness is not about having what you want. Happiness is about wanting what you have i.e. gratitude.

I totally paraphrased that last one. Sorry.

But they’re GOOD pieces of advice, right? Never put the quality of your life in a commercial corporation. I think I miss-quoted that one, it sounds a little wrong, but what I got out of that talk was that finding happiness in a corporate workplace is NOT going to happen, not true happiness you will be proud of on your deathbed, anyway. Corporations are developed to make money and deliver a product or service, and that is it. It will not hold you when you are sick, it will be kiss you goodnight, it will not pay for your tombstone.  So it’s up to US to make our lives outside of work more meaningful, or else let go of thinking money and happiness can mix. Coz true happiness doesn’t come from the money you make. But at the same time, you have to make money to pay for bills, care for your family, and pretty much survive. So while you can’t shirk off the responsibilities of a day job, you can still live your life with happiness.

The last quote was about gratitude. Gratitude gratitude gratitude. I am thankful now more than ever. I can see clearly now – the greed has gone.

But the thing that gets me about TED and the talks I am drawn to (mainly about happiness and finding a work-life balance) is that they’re all given by dudes (yeh mostly dudes, the ones I’ve listened to) who are CEOs of companies and who decided to downshift their lives after going hell for leather in their careers. So they, for the most part, had the means to take it easy for a while because they had amassed all these wealth from their CEO salaries.

But what about regular people? I want the TED site to feature the same topic but given but someone who isn’t a CEO and who can give me real life examples and tips on how to live like that.

How AWESOME would that be??

Still holding what I’ve heard from the site close to my noggin though, because even I am nowhere in the same stratosphere, salary-wise, as the speakers, I still find the talks insightful and inspiring.

🙂

 

Room in my brain to breathe …

Just arrived home in Sydney after a whirlwind trip to NYC and Chicago, two of the busiest, brassiest, badass-est cities I have ever had the privilege of visiting, and it was spectacular. I got to enjoy both with all the time and energy I could muster, and I now that I’m back home, I feel, despite all the sight-seeing and walking and constant late nights out, really, really really refreshed.

Why? Coz all I did while I was away was focus on BEING AWAY. I left work at work. I left all my responsibilities of home at home. All I had to worry about while I was gone was how to be gone and how to enjoy being gone.

I didn’t write. I didn’t take many photos (OK, some). I didn’t update my social media accounts often (semi-often, mostly just inane shots of weird stuff).

I just enjoyed being away.

It’s the first time since maybe July of last year that I have felt relaxed. Even though there was the Christmas break, countless public holidays and even days where I worked from home, I was running on all cylinders and I was burning out. I was still plodding along, but “plodding along” isn’t conducive to anything exciting, and I didn’t want to just go through the motions of work.

I NEEDED this break like I needed air to breathe.

Windy City Awesomeness
In Chicago, I was lucky enough to enjoy it with two great friends and my equally great boyfriend, who calls Chicago home (although he is now currently based in Sydney). Had I been half-assed about spending time with my trio of trouble, I would’ve missed out on how funny my friends are – every little stupid joke and every new “American” encounter cracked us up. I would’ve overlooked the pleasure on my boy’s face in seeing him traipse us around his hometown with pride – he loves his city and he was proud to show it off. I would have gone to bed the night we went to an improv show at the famed Second City comedy club (alumni include Tina Fey, Steve Carell, Bill Murray and the janitor from The Breakfast Club). I would have baulked at the crazed Chicago Blackhawks fans at the United Center (saw two pretty nail-biting games – and I don’t even follow ice hockey!). I would have clamped up at Take Me Out to the Ball Game during the 7th Inning Stretch at a game between the Cubs and the White Soxs at Wrigley Field. I would’ve turned down every Chicago down, every tamale, every piece of Deep Dish Pizza.

Blackhawks Game at the United Centre

Blackhawks Game at the United Centre

Breathtaking Big Apple 
Had I carried this “can’t be bothered” attitude In New York, I would have flat-out refused to walk the Brooklyn Bridge (“It’s too hot!” or “It’s too long!”). I would have insisted on cab rides everywhere instead of being adventurous (and money-wise) and catching the subway. I would not have waited in line to go up to the 85th floor or higher of the Empire State Building. I would not have discovered that Williamsburg was like Surry Hills, only a little more Brooklyn-ier (and everything Surry Hills wishes it was). I would not have tried for tickets to the David Letterman Show taping (imagine having a “we’ll never get tickets to that” – coz we got ’em!). I would not have walked around the East Village with no goal for the day. I would not have taken in the awesome-ness of the Big Apple. I would not have partied at the top floor of The Standard on a stormy night watching the city below light up. I would not have let the World Trade Center memorial affect me as much as it did. I would not have let anything affect me as much as it did.

Even my flight delay was a breathe of fresh air. I got to rest for free in LA and sleep in a bed in a hotel, a welcome addition to my travel plans considering my impending 14 hour flight from LAX to Kingsford Smith. I finished 2 books and started a third (reading, not writing).  I people-watched. I ate two meals consisting of pasta with a glass of wine each because I wanted to use up my travel money. I bought trashy mags and caught up on my celebrity gossip (is it just me or has Kim Kardashian been pregnant for like, FOREVER? Also, what happened to that moon-faced kid from Nickelodeon’s The Amanda Show?). I slept and napped. I got up to stretch. I read a little more. Then I napped again.

And now I’m home, and it’s not only the places I visited that I will remember fondly. It’s the fact that this time around, I did NOTHING but be away from home.

I know there will be a shit-storm of work awaiting me tomorrow, a flat to clean, luggage to unpack, groceries to buy, laundry to attend to and quite possibly apples I forgot to eat that are probably dying in my fruit bowl (gross), but I’ve come back with the lesson that I can be as busy as I want to be, but I need to take some time to breathe.

It’s good to be home ❤

Dee Why Beach, NSW

Dee Why Beach, NSW