Only you can fix your broken window.

IMG_4185

I’ve come to realise in the last few years that most people in life are far too busy worrying about their own problems, to try in any tangible way to help ‘fix’ yours. Yes we all offer words of support, throwing out lines of advice here and there, but in reality we are all too consumed with our own shit to spare any energy in helping others. The fire to change something in your life has got to come from within, otherwise you’ll never get there. Unless you are severely impaired by some form of mental or health related illness, you’ve just got to help yourself. People will be there to give you a kick up the ass and try to motivate you, but ultimately it comes down to lighting your own fire – and that usually takes a trip to rock bottom first.

We’ve all been in a situation where we feel helpless, alone, down and unmotivated. It might be after a break up, or looking for a new job, or home. It might be after a death or traumatic incident, or something little like a fight with a friend. Sometimes in life, you just feel glum – shit happens, and you can’t be bothered getting off the couch. Your family and friends will try and lift your spirits, suggesting outings and exercise. The endorphins will make you feel wonderful! Going outside is the last thing you feel like doing… until, one day, something inside you changes. Nobody is pestering you to cheer up, or asking you out for coffee, and suddenly you think – maybe I can do this. And that’s all it takes – that little spark of confidence, that little burst of positive thinking.

I know first hand what it’s like to go through this. I had loved ones telling me for months to quit my stressful job, and move away from a city I’d grown to despise. It honestly went in one ear and out the other, because I was SCARED. I felt completely trapped, stuck in a dark existence where every day depleted me of energy just trying to make it through. I was filled with ‘what if’ scenarios, bogged down by too many options and not enough courage, but ultimately just scared… 6 months later I look back to that period and wonder how I let it get so bad. Life is far too short to waste trapped in a mediocre job, missing your family and pretending to be okay. All it took was a firm decision, a step of courage and a moment of honesty. I-CANT-DO-THIS-ANYMORE. Let the chips fall where they may, but I was out of there – and haven’t looked back. Finally, I had done SOMETHING for myself. Something, anything was better than NOTHING.

And so I felt like a complete idiot this week when chatting to one of my close friends about how down he has been feeling. Here I was, offering out advice and suggesting things that had helped me – when I should have just listened. Nobody wants to hear what they should be doing – they’re not stupid. They know fully well what they should be doing to get out of their rut, but it takes time to come to that moment of clarity of your own free will – and that’s what makes all the difference 🙂

IMG_4308

Photo credits – aureta & thebest_windowsdoors

I could run. Or, I could stay.

img_2775

We’ve all been there before – a new situation, experience, job or activity that kicks in our fight or flight response. We want to run back to the comfort of familiarity, things we know, smells we like. We try to smile genuinely, to appear engaged… when all we really want to do is run back home, snuggle under the blankets and curse ourselves for trying new things. But pushing ourselves through this first period of discomfort is essential for growth. Stepping into the unknown makes us stronger, more resilient, and ultimately better prepared for the next challenge.

As I embark on my new challenge I’ll try to remember these things in the face of obstacles, where my instinct to run is sometimes overwhelming. Nobody likes learning through mistakes and being the ‘young apprentice’. My brain is overloaded with new procedures, unfamiliar systems and practices. But I need to take a step back, realise that learning takes time, and patience is key. Putting too much pressure on myself to know everything at once is just stupid, and we should all cut ourselves some slack.

So, with tired eyes, I’ll push myself up and try again today. I’ll lean on my family and friends for support and words of encouragement, but ultimately will find the strength within to persevere. That’s all I can really ask for today, and that’s totally fine 🙂

img_2713

Photo credits – circleofpines & airpixels

California dreamin’

image

Oh LA LA Land. You crazy, alluring, soul-destroying bunny you.

I recently had the pleasure of travelling California (and Vegas) by myself for 3 weeks, which was eye-opening to say the least. I didn’t plan to go alone – my friend had to pull out at the last minute due to personal reasons, so I decided to don my solo travelling boots and hit the West Coast. I had ideas of what my travels might entail – the beach, hostels, new friends and cocktails. Little did I know what a BIG place Los Angeles is! I felt like a tiny, naive ant in this sprawling Californian city where dreams come to die (unless you’re rich and famous).

My first 2 nights were spent near Hollywood Boulevard – a hot mess of people from all walks of life mixed in with the smell of tacos, nachos and hot sauce. I did Santa Monica, Universal Studios and Sunset Blvd like a typical tourist, before heading North to the idyllic town of Santa Barbara. What a refreshing change from the chaos of LA! No sirens and police helicopters here, I spent the days wandering beautiful Spanish-inspired streets and embracing the summer sun. I even found a fantastic Thai restaurant! Savouring the familiar flavours of a Panang Curry, I felt a sense of relief and gratitude. I couldn’t eat another burrito if you paid me!

Next on my list was the stunning bay of San Francisco, which I absolutely loved. Up and down hills filled with boutique restaurants, shops and a cultural melting pot, the cold wind did little to deter my spirits. I was challenged by my first hostel experience – having never shared a room with complete strangers it’s accurate to say I didn’t get much sleep. I did however embrace the free walking tour of the city with my fellow hostel-dwellers, and had a blast trying clam chowder on the marina. Of particular enjoyment was my day in Yosemite National Park, seeing the wonder of El Capitan and watching free climbers ascend to the top – simply amazing.

The hot desert beckoned me towards Vegas next, with a bus breakdown on the way to give me a taste of the rising heat. And holy hell was it hot! The only thing hotter was my experience at the Jennifer Lopez concert. Man could she shake it! Seeing Cirque du Soleil was another tick off the bucket list, an incredible performance of stamina, athleticism and beauty. The last destination on my list was the cruisy city of San Diego, where I spent evenings wandering along the ocean and listening to local music.

I had a fantastic time overall, and while I would have liked to have a friend with me on the journey I’m proud of myself for having the courage to go alone. The trip gave me an appreciation of how incredibly lucky we are in Australia, with education, health care and government to our spacious land trumping everything I saw in America. They don’t call us the lucky country for nothing!

image

Photo credits – twbloves & lgusamobile