Standing down

I guess at one stage or another it happens to most of us. Maybe it’s age, or perhaps it’s the change in commitments the follow day that’s got me looking at my watch at 9pm in a busy bar, wishing I was at home.

The problem is, there’s another side to me that disagrees very strongly to that thought. Unfortunately she tends not to show up when I’m actually out.

No, she appears at the planning stage, popping her head up with a nostalgic glow anytime someone mentions a night out. She fills my heart with anticipation when I hear others talking about big nights and whispers softly in my ear “if you want to be fun, you know what you have to do, staying in is for boring people.”

But, as I find myself waiting at the bar, trying so hard to enjoy something that 5 years ago would have been pure pleasure to me, she disappears and leaves me alone.

It’s time to admit it, this just isn’t fun any more.

It was, but not anymore.

Now don’t get me wrong, I still have a good time, it just show up in a slightly different form these days. Like an afternoon BBQ or, dinner with friends. Unlike the old days where we’d dance off into the night chanting  “eating’s cheating and sleep is the enemy.”

It’s time to admit those days are gone.

But once again she raises her head and cry’s, “but you’ll be no fun”.

It’s true, those days are gone, and it’s not even a matter of seeing what’s replaced them as fun. I already know that.

What’s hard to admit, is what used to be the best thing in the world, no longer is. No matter how hard I try to recreate it, it’s gone. It’s time to stand down.

As I look around the packed dance floor I’m happy to see, it’s someone else’s turn now.

I’m no longer hard wired to believe a good time is only had if it ends with a spew. I’m thankful for the fun I had and grateful for what’s replaced it.

I love my mornings, my family time and not to mention feeling healthy. I love a few beers in the afternoon sun and laughing until it hurts at dinner with the greatest friends.

In this moment I cherish them just that little bit more, as I realise time will pass and soon enough it will be someone else’s turn.

The rules of saying I love you

He told me he loved me on our 3rd date. Not in any romantic way, he just chucked it out there, like it was nothing. I wondered for a minute if it was a mistake – like when you call your teacher mum. But it wasn’t.

All that was left to think, was it must be some sort of weird joke.

When he said it again on the 4th date, I thought perhaps he did mean it, but  I couldn’t help but wonder, “how can you possibly love me, what do you know about love? You don’t even know me.”

Turns out he knew a lot more about love than I gave him credit for.

I used to think there were these rules about falling in love. Rules that if you played to, you were guaranteed love, happiness and everything else that’s meant to follow. I’d been playing by these rules my whole life.

Rule 1. Wait 3 months before you say I love you.
Rule 2. Look deeply into each others eyes.
Rule 3. Be totally blown away when you hear the words.

As I discussed his obvious disregard for the rules with my friend she said, “maybe he does love you? Love isn’t about looking into each others eyes, it’s about looking into the future together.”

I thought back to past relationships, where the moment had been right and the sacred three words had been said, but there was nothing more to it, nothing to back that perfect moment. No future, just all present.

Suddenly my rules dissolved, they crumble away. Falling in love and saying it, isn’t a one time transaction that has to be perfect or even life changing. It’s simply a feeling that you want to be around that person for a lot longer. You’re saying you want to be in their future.

And with that, on our 5th date, I casually told him I wanted to be a part of his future too.

I love you.

Why you don’t like change

I used to pride myself on liking change. In fact, I found it hard when things stayed the same for too long.

But then why, when it comes to making a few changes in my life, changes I know will transform things,  am I so resistant?

I’d dig in my heels, look away and hold my breath.

In life, it seems that we thrive off change and new challenges, even when we hate them at the time. Change forces us to adapt and learn, it’s what makes us grow.

However, I’m all too aware of the repetition we seek out in everyday life. We find comfort in doing things the same way. I catch myself drawn to the same seat on the bus every single time I get on.

And, with a wardrobe full of clothes, why then do we wear the same things over and over again?

I may like it when things in my life change, but how proactive am I at instigating that change and finding new challenges?

I recently read Mel Robins, 5 Second Rule, she explains that we’re hardwired to avoid anything that makes us feel uncomfortable, especially change.

That’s why you’ll never really feel ready to take that leap of faith, or put yourself out there – you just have to make yourself do it anyway.

From getting fit to finding your dream job, Mel says that if it means simply putting one foot outside your comfort zone, your brain will go into overdrive to protect you. It will do everything it can to talk you out of taking action.

Change is scary, staying the same is not.
Change requires action, staying the same does not.
Change is unknown, staying the same is not.

The way I see it, is we have a choice when it comes to change. Each of those 3 sentences can be split in half. One half is negative and the other is positive, it’s up to us which half is which.

Mantra this, and change your life

To say I didn’t enjoy school, would be an understatement.

I remember being 15 years old, and trying to make the walk to school last as long as humanly possible.

I started to notice a pattern on the days I dreaded going in. I would find myself repeating in my head over and over again, “It’s going to be a horrible day”. I think I honestly believed that if I prepared myself, it wouldn’t matter if it was a bad day, because I’d already called it.

And of course, it always was.

Then one day I decided to try something different. I started to repeat in my head, over and over again, “today is a great day”.

I remember it feeling so forced, and I’m sure I rolled my eyes with every repetition.

But, I kept doing it, the whole walk to school.

Today is a great day.
Today is a great day.
Today is a great day.

I’m not sure what was more annoying, the fact it worked, or the fact I actually did have a good day. But, none the less things got a little bit brighter.

Ever since then, I’ve used matras to keep me and my mind on the right track.

I repeat a short phrase to myself, over and over again, most often while I’m walking somewhere.

I’ll say anything from “I love myself”, to “I am successful”. And, from time to time I still find myself repeating the words, “today is a great day”.

The trick is to talk in the first person and as if it’s already true. Try not to use any negative words, like not. Because, your brain can’t identify them and only hears the instruction.

So if you say “I am not late” over and over, all your brain hears is “I’m late, I’m late”. And with the power of matras being what it is, you’ll most definitely end up being late.

And that’s it. Just pick something you want and start saying it over and over again.

It doesn’t even matter whether you believe it or not at first. All that matters is that you say it, over and over again.

From brightening your mood to increasing productivity, mantras will change the way you view the world.

What are you waiting for? Give it a go right now.

Why your friendships don’t have to last

A great friend once said to me;

“People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.”

At the time, I thought nothing of it, other than it was simply a nice saying. But every once in a while, this saying popped into my head and over time it started to make more sense.

As I kiss goodbye to one more friend, whose presence made my life so much better, if only for a short while, I know in that moment – I’m better off for knowing them and saying goodbye, than never knowing them at all.

I also know the reality of living not only in different countries to the people I love, but also the impact living in different time zones can have on your relationships.

So let’s be honest here, this goodbye is goodbye. Sure, we still have Facebook and it doesn’t change how I feel about you. But the closeness we once had, is gone.

Thanks for teaching me how to be sassy and fierce. You’re the reason I stand a little taller today.

I can’t help but wonder, how important is the length of our friendships?

What about the friendships that don’t end because of distance, but end because we simply grow apart?

It doesn’t mean the friendship was a failure. Nor does it discredit the fun you had when you were together. It simply means that this chapter of your life is over. Thank’s for the season, I had a ball.

And, for the friendships that last a lifetime, I will always be grateful.

Some lifetime friendships are like waves, building in strength and then subsiding, only to reappear at a different moment.

And some friendships are constant. Forever, regardless of distance, or stage of life.

This doesn’t mean the season or reason friendships are less important. It simply means they’re shorter.

And so, for all the people I’ve been lucky enough to call my friends, regardless of the length, I am forever thankful.

 

A lesson in not giving a f*#k

The less f*#ks you give, the happier you’ll be.

As I zipped up my old hoody, I looked down to admire how close in colour it actually was to the washed out, horribly fitting tracky bottoms I had also chosen to wear that evening.

It was clear that a long time ago both these garments were very different colours, but not anymore.

As I headed out into the street, knowing this outfit choice was not my finest, my instincts told me – this is the moment you’ll bump into every ex and their beautiful, well dressed, pristine girlfriends!

I shrugged off that feeling and replaced it with this thought, – the less you give a f*#k, the happier you’ll be.

That sat much better with me in my current state.

Happily, I trotted down the dark street, and collected the beers. I held my head high as I announced my arrival at the pizza shop and then promptly scurried back to the safety of home.

I may look slightly homeless I thought, but I’m definitely happy.

But, what exactly had I stopped giving a f*#k about?

Had I stopped caring about how I felt? Or what other people thought of me? And, could caring about either of these things, really be holding me back in the happiness stakes?

I decided to test it out. The next morning I picked out the smartest outfit I could find – it wasn’t exactly a ball gown, but it was the best I had. I did my hair and slapped some make up on.

It felt good.

Caring about how I looked made me feel happy too, it also seemed to make my boyfriend happy. Clearly officewear was more up his street than hobo chic.

I know it’s pretty obvious that caring what other people think doesn’t get us anywhere. But it’s easy to forget, what we think and feel about ourselves drives almost every emotion we have.

So next time I decide to not give a f#*k, it will be about what other people think, and not how I feel about myself.

 

 

Is being inconsistent with productivity a bad thing?

Move at your own speed.

I can’t seem to keep a consistent pace when it comes to productivity – either I’m on or I’m off. All in, or all out.

When I’m on, shit gets done! Jobs get ticked off, I’m flying.

But, when I’m off, it’s just not happening. And, it’s not like I don’t have things to do. All the drive that got me to this point is gone, and the worst part is I don’t seem to care, not one bit.

Things pile up, deadlines come and go and still I can’t quite get my butt in gear.

What is it I’m waiting for? How can I shake this feeling?

Was my last stint too much? Was the final push a push too far?

Being able to put everything you’ve got into making stuff happen is a great asset, but when it comes at the cost of the next few weeks, I can’t help but ask myself,

Is it worth it? Am I happy? 

Just because you’re feeling a little flat right now, doesn’t mean you’re not happy. All you have to do is look over your shoulder at all the things you’ve just achieved.

Flat out and then rest, doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

The trick is not giving yourself a hard time when you rest. Recognising it as down time and saying to yourself ‘look at what you just achieved, enjoy this time now, it’s yours.’

And when you’re ready, have faith in the knowledge you’ll be back in the game in no time, wondering how you ever sat still for so long.