Today I took a moment in time to just sit on a log at the beach, with my dog, and breathe. Soaking in the sunshine, listening to the waves, touching the soft sand with my toes and inhaling that fresh, salty air. I could only steal a moment in time to myself amongst what has been a chaotic few weeks, but that moment was a simple re-fresh for the soul. With our litter of puppies turning 5 weeks old today, it’s an understatement to say things have been absolutely exhausting. You think raising one puppy is enough? Try 5 times the amount of poo and wee to clean up, 5 times the mouths to feed, but I won’t deny it – 5 times the love. It has been tiring, smelly and sleepless, but overall – amazing – and I wouldn’t change a thing.
I’ve been wearing myself pretty thin lately and that strain has shown in my relationships with family, friends and colleagues. I would love to spend all day with my Nana and Pop like I used to, reading the paper, making endless cups of tea and chatting about the weather, but I simply don’t have the time. I would love to actually want to catch up with friends and feel that yearning for a get together, but as it happens now I’m always completely exhausted and running on fumes. I’d also love to be a more present girlfriend, but I’m on a constant cycle of cooking, washing clothes and doing the dishes. SIGH. Do I just sound like every normal person trying to fit their personal life around their work life while still getting enough sleep, exercise and healthy food in? I seriously don’t know how people do it… and I don’t even have children yet!
So from this day onward, I’m going to look at ways of reducing the clutter and chaos in my life so I can have more moments in time like today at the beach. I don’t want to be running around only offering an exhausted and less-than-enthusiastic version of myself to the world. I want to feel energised, excited, and present. I know the simple things often make us the happiest – a home cooked meal with fresh herbs, an afternoon walk through the park, or a good book. Yes, I know this, but am I taking the time to appreciate? I think we can all aim to do a little better and practise the mantra ‘less is more’. Who would agree?
I just came back from a brief getaway to Brisbane and Byron Bay with my partner, a trip full of catch-ups and gourmet dining. Along the way we managed to catch up with family (on his side), and some old friends of mine which was really, really lovely. There’s nothing quite like locking eyes with a friend across a room, and that knowing smile comes across your faces. The memories come flooding back, the laughter and good times you shared, and no matter how long it’s been you can pick up right where you left off. You don’t have to explain what you’ve been doing the past few months, why you might have been a little absent here and there because you know, deep down that these type of friendships last forever. These are the people who might piss themselves laughing if you fall over, but also help you bury a body if needed (fingers crossed it never comes to that!).
I’ve met many people in my working career and can honestly say I’ve never found such a tight knit group of friends that have managed to stay in touch. We all worked together about 4-5 years ago in varying positions and time frames, but having that one unifying bond has provided a life time of smiles. I think the real reason we’ve stayed so close is because our work environment was team-focused rather than individual-focused. There was a real sense of camaraderie and trust because in our line of work (front office team for a large hotel), you absolutely needed each other to get the job done. Since then I’ve worked in office environments where it’s every man for himself, and that sense of unity is sorely missed.
What I will say is this – cherish your friendships and maintain them. It doesn’t have to be a daily, weekly or even monthly check-in, but staying somewhat in touch through social media these days certainly makes it easier. Nothing can ever replace that face-to-face interaction though, so making the time and effort now and again to get together is absolutely worth it 🙂
I’m sitting here smiling with contentment tonight, having had a very simple, non-eventful day. No appointments, nowhere to be, and nothing in particular to do. How extremely boring! How exceedingly ordinary! Damn straight, and you know what? I absolutely LOVED it. In fact, sometimes all we need in life to re-group and just breathe for a minute is a day off. 24 hours away from the routine of work, meetings, appointments and people you’d rather not be stranded on a desert island with… you get the picture. So what does a dose of normalcy involve? Well everyone’s idea of a normal day is obviously different, but for a lot of us I imagine it involves simple things like cooking, doing laundry, walking the dog and eating dinner at a reasonable hour. So as I sit here paying respect to my annual viewing of the wonderful Love Actually, I can’t help but smile.
Sometimes I wonder why I didn’t get that craving to go off somewhere exotic like Ibiza and spend my nights partying till dawn, fuelling my body with all sorts of chemicals and making one-night memories with perfect strangers. It’s like I’ve skipped that stage and gone straight to wanting a comfortable lifestyle that involves fresh sheets, cups of tea and long walks on the beach. Does this make me boring? Don’t get me wrong, I lived the quintessential University lifestyle in my early 20’s. I did the share-housing, the packets of cheap pasta and even cheaper wine. I did the binge TV watching, the shitty parties and nights that ended in kebabs in the gutter. But at some point I realised that I was living a complete lie. Everything that my friends and I were doing at the time seemed at complete odds with what I really wanted, and it was time to stop apologising for that. Perhaps it comes from growing up under the roof of my Nana and Pop’s, but needless to say – I’ve come to an age where doing what I want is a breathe of fresh air.
If only the beauty of hindsight could benefit us at the time where we most need it, a lot of us wouldn’t waste so much time trying to please others. I remember the nights where all I wanted to do was light a candle and listen to some music, but my friends would beg me to come out. Having said that though, I most definitely don’t regret a thing about coming to know myself. We have to go through those phases of young adulthood to understand ourselves, figure out our values in life and what actually makes us happy. I think the most important thing to take away from any experience or phase in life, is to simply treat it as a learning curve. It’s about the journey – not the destination, and finding that perfect balance can be the sweetest, most satisfying thing we ever realise.
I’m sitting here rugged up in bed, having just returned home from a trip to Indonesia. It’s been 6 days since I landed back in Australia and I’m still completely exhausted… in fact I could quite easily sleep all day. I can honestly say though that I had the most amazing time in Bali and can’t wait to go back, one day. But for now – the comfort, routine and normality of being home is all I’m craving. Does anyone else feel the same? Yes, travel is awesome. Seeing new things, tasting exotic foods and pushing your boundaries is wonderful for self-growth and certainly broadens your mind, but there’s nothing quite like the feeling of touching back down in your home country.
I realise I might sound like a boring old sod writing this, and maybe I do have some more boundary pushing to do in life. I’ve never been one of those people excited by the thought of back-packing or travelling for months on end, living on the road and not knowing where their next cup of tea is coming from. Call me narrow-minded or whatever you like, but some of us just like the simple things in life – a hot shower, clean underwear and comfortable bed. I tried the hostel thing last year in San Francisco and absolutely hated it. Sharing a bunk bed with complete strangers, everyone bothering the others with their noises and travel schedules, having to constantly lock your items up… not my idea of a good time. So many of my friends though have absolutely loved their hostel experiences, and I suppose I would have enjoyed it more had I not been travelling on my own. Sharing moments and adventures with friends is considerably more enjoyable than having to ask strangers to take your picture, but I did make the most of it.
As I sit here looking back at all my great pictures from Bali, I can’t help but smile. I’m proud of myself for stepping out of my comfort zone and trying new things – snorkelling in the open ocean, getting on a scooter (probably just stupid, but none the less fun), getting my feet sucked by tiny little fish… these are the memories that will stick with me for a lifetime. Yes, my body now feels like it’s been hit by a train. Bali Belly, the flu and jet lag have all hit me in the past fortnight and I’m looking forward to the day I bounce out of bed with energy. For now though, I’ll light a candle, boil the kettle and rest my weary head. Until next time, wanderlust.
Photo credits – pr0ject_uno & bohodestiny
As some of you may know I’m currently holidaying in beautiful Indonesia, exploring Bali and making ticks on my bucket list. And as some of you may also know, I’ve written about my battles with anxiety over the past year or so with raw honesty. So because I’m spending my afternoons sipping cocktails and watching incredible sunsets, then surely I’m not feeling anxious at all, right? Wrong. As anyone who has travelled to a developing country would know, the sudden change in lifestyle habits (exotic cuisines, increased alcohol intake, hygiene concerns etc etc), is enough to make even a normal person feel slightly uncomfortable. So how do you think I’m feeling, as someone who has worked extremely hard to overcome anxiety issues in the past year? More than a little uncomfortable at times is the answer, but I’m not going to let it ruin my holiday that’s for sure!
I think the key lies in knowing when you absolutely need your down time, but also knowing when you might just need a little push from your friends and out of your comfort zone. I’m so happy to say I tried snorkelling in the open ocean yesterday, something I’ve always wanted to do. Yes, I was scared. As someone who practices regular meditation, not being able to breathe through my nose due to the snorkelling mask was really uncomfortable. But I did it! I jumped in that water despite convincing myself that sharks and other terrifying ocean creatures were lurking close by, and I’m so proud of myself. I’ve also taken a ride on a scooter through the hectic and bustling traffic, and had my feet sucked by tiny little fish – a very weird feeling I must say. These are things I was absolutely hesitant about at first, but a little encouragement from my friends was all I needed to find my inner courage.
Then there are days like today, when Bali Belly has set in with full force (I’ll spare you the details). I didn’t want to get out of bed or face the day. I just felt like hiding, crying and somehow clicking my fingers and waking up to find myself back home in the comforts of my regular surroundings. But that’s not living is it! Things happen when you travel and it’s all part of the experience. Fingers crossed I’ll wake up tomorrow feeling fresh as a daisy, and ready to keep exploring this wonderful country 😊
I’ve fallen into the trap of social media envy lately – that ridiculous self-imposed jealousy you feel when endlessly scrolling through happy snaps of people travelling and living (seemingly) fabulous lives. And even though we all know the version of people portrayed on social media isn’t real, there’s some part of us that still feels down when we see images of gloriously tanned people, sipping on cocktails by the beach in exotic destinations. So why do we do it to ourselves? Why do we even bother looking on social media sites when we know, more times than not, they leave us feeling like our own little bubbles somehow aren’t as wonderful or glamorous as others?
For me, I think I’m personally suffering from some mild seasonal depression as well. Winter in Australia is officially upon us which means no bikinis, no little sundresses, and no swimming (unless you’re really adventurous, or just drunk). Life in summer is what makes my soul sing… give me sweat, sand and sunshine every day over snotty noses and socks. So as I sit here in ugg boots with a eucalyptus oil diffuser cleansing the air, I can’t help but feel a little envious of those basking in summer on the other side of the world. I’ve recently been bombarded with images of friends in far off places like Mexico and Cuba, looking like they’re having the time of their lives. Meanwhile I’m stuck here in a small town, with less friends that I can count on one hand, working in a pretty mundane job.
But I’ll stop myself right there and metaphorically slap myself on the face, because in actual fact – I’m setting myself up for a wonderful future. I’ve returned home for a ‘gap year’ of my own choice, and in 4 months I’ve managed to save $7,000.00 in a casual job which is something I should be really proud of. I’ve (slowly) recovered from some debilitating anxiety issues, and while I know there’s still a long road ahead in this regard I’m fully committed and positive it’s something I can now manage. And lastly, I’m going to Bali in a few weeks for a holiday with my beautiful friends, where I’ll be doing the exact same thing – creating social media envy for others. And while this is not my intention of course, it’s become part and parcel in our digitally connected world, and something we must all learn to live with.
So let’s give ourselves a break from feeding the jealous monster within that sometimes wreaks damage on our happiness, and commit to living in the moment – especially the moments in between those ‘happy snaps’ posted on social media. Those are the real moments – the raw, honest and authentic experiences we all go through. Cheers to that 🙂
Photo credits – amin_ramzi & hvmansouls
There’s an age old saying that dogs are a man’s best friend, and I couldn’t agree more. Who needs human interaction and conversation, when there is an abundance of furry-faced creatures on earth ready to love you every single minute of every single day? I for one would be happier in a society where dogs are allowed to come grocery shopping with you (and taste test their food before you spend a fortune), or come to the hairdresser with you so you have something to pat instead of looking through trashy magazines. I know our gorgeous dachshund Audrey would love to come to the movies with me, curl up on a chair and nap in the darkness. At least I wouldn’t get judged for going alone seeing as I have approximately one friend left in my hometown at the moment, a new mum who doesn’t really have much time for nights at the cinema.
Seriously though – on my days off when someone asks me what I’ve got planned, the answer is usually ‘Oh I’ll just be hanging out with the puppy.’ This normally involves a sleep in and snuggles, lots of licking (on her behalf), lots of tickling (on my behalf), and generally just staring at each other wondering what the other is thinking. Then we’ll have a cup of tea under a blanket on the couch, typically followed by a mid-morning nap. Afternoons are usually spent together down at the beach jogging, looking for interesting shells and just enjoying the fresh air. Sunsets with her at the beach will forever hold a special place in my heart, both of us happy and content in the moment. Once a week or so I’ll subject the poor darling to a warm shower and shampoo so she doesn’t get too sandy, and even though she appears to hate it, I’m positive she’s thankful for feeling fresh once she’s dried off.
I honestly don’t care if it’s not normal to hang out with a dog so much or spend so much time thinking about them. It’s hardly an effort to ensure she has a happy life, in comparison to the joy she’s given me. On days where I literally don’t feel like talking to anyone, I’ll just lay in bed with her kissing her warm little belly and that’s about as comforting as life can get. I don’t think much compares to the endless amount of love that dogs can bring to your life, and when you get home and see their tails shaking around with pure joy – that’s precious.
” A smile is happiness you’ll find right under your nose ”
Photo credits – anthropologie & folkgreen