The accidental new beginning

It’s been a while since I’ve had the inspiration to write. Not for any particular reason, sometimes life just takes a little while to sink in before you realise there’s more to the story. I’m a youth/care worker now, my little sister is married, I passed my initial police tests and I’m starting some cool volunteer stuff! I did some travel, I came back from that travel…still in a relationship (yay!).

So where are we at? I started my new job today. I work at a youth justice residence…which in short is a place where teens are sent when they’ve committed a crime but they’re not quite bad enough to be sent to prison…or they’re on their way there it’s just that the way the legal system works they come to us for a period of their time.

Why?

It’s a good question. How did I go from being a journalist to marketing to youth work? Honestly…I don’t know.

I could tell you it’s because I ran out of challenges in my life. Or I could tell you it’s the only job I could get. Or perhaps it’s because I want to get the best experience possible for my youth work career. But to be entirely honest, while those are all absolutely 100 per cent true, it’s not THE reason.

I could have found myself a well paying office job processing invoices or answering a phone. I could have worked at a supermarket or at a cafe. I could have gone overseas to work. I could have moved cities.

But I made myself a promise while I was travelling the first time. I’ve been home just over a year now and I haven’t forgotten it.

“If you’re not part of the solution, you have little right to complain about the problem. Don’t ever sit and wait for someone else to do what you can do and don’t ever doubt your ability to go one step further than you thought you could. Oh, and don’t run away because you’re scared you can’t do it.”

So I decided, while I was crying and yelling at my laptop in my hotel room in Zimbabwe, that life wasn’t about me. All I could think while I was travelling is how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful country…and how much I wanted to work to keep it that way. We honestly have no true comprehension of how lucky we are. And I’m sure people have heard that all before, but that for me was the first time I believed it.

And so yes, while my career moves and life changes have been somewhat socking, unexpected, and certainly taken me by surprise, I know I’m where I’m meant to be.

I want to improve people’s lives, I want to work with people everyone else has given up on, I want to be part of the solution. And while my life has certainly been a stark contrast to some of these kids, I do get that when you hit rock bottom you learn a hell of a lot about yourself…and it’s actually where you make some of the most important decisions of your life. It’s not where you are, it’s what you do in those moments that define your life.

In this past 18 months my life has been an exceptional roller coaster. I’ve gone from a promising journalism career to a rather odd looking youth work one. I’ve walked away from an unhealthy relationship into what has been the most unexpected blessing of a person. I have had sky high ‘my life is the best’ moments to rock bottom ‘what the hell am I meant to do?’ moments.

I was told I could never have a writing career because I couldn’t spell…so I went and had one. And got the degree to prove it. I never thought I could learn another language, but I passed journalism shorthand in 8 months. I have never been able to run…but I just passed a 2.4km run in 11mins and 43seconds.

At 23 I’ve not only achieved everything I wanted to by the end of my life, I’m onto the next thing(s). And the exciting part about that, is I have no clue where this will take me! I’ve already achieved that…so it’s all about making the most out of it. I was going to say enjoyment, but not everything that is good is enjoyable.

I can tell you right now, I never in a million years thought I could actually work with youth. But here I am, in one of the most challenging positions I could have imagined, and I’m ready for it.

I’m a firm believer in ‘if you’re not being challenged, you’re not growing’. Challenges come in all forms. For the past three months it’s been my greatest challenge to accept redundancy, and just wait for a job. I applied for about 30. I had three interviews, the first I didn’t get the job, the second I never heard back, and the third is the job I’m in now. Each week I’d get two-three “we’re sorry to inform you…” emails from failed job applications. I’m just as broke as I was when I came back from travel a year ago. I felt in many ways I’d made zero progress. What I realise now, is how much that humbled me. Sometimes you have to be at rock bottom to accept what your picture of life is, is only a tiny little piece of the picture, or actually someone else’s entirely.

This job is bloody hard. And there will never be a day of work where I forget that. I also spend 95 per cent of my shift wondering what the hell I am doing.

But I’m here. This is the door that opened and I won’t cheat myself out of life by wondering what that nice well paid office job might feel like. Because some people love that and are meant for that. I’m not…and I’m coming to terms with what that means for my life.

You owe it to yourself to give life everything you’ve got. Leave nothing on the table at the end of it because you have one. People tell me to slow down. I think the problem is too many people go so fast they do not stop to take it all in, to realise the journey they’re on. It’s a whole other ball game to simply do many things. You can do many things and still take it all in; still appreciate each moment for what it is. Don’t deny yourself the chance and freedom to just do it…to live it. And give it your whole heart. It might be hard. Life doesn’t always feel good, or easy, nor kind to you. But that doesn’t or shouldn’t change your perspective on it.

People often seem surprised by my life choices…but I can tell your right now no one is more surprised than I am.

Tonight I sat listening to one of the other staff members tell me fascinating stories about his life. For a brief moment I took in everything around me and thought ‘yep, that’s right, you really are working in a youth justice residence’. I laughed, because while I’m an anxious person who likes to plan, I also kind of love the ‘surprise!’ this is my life.

The unknown can be fun when you realise everything is uncertain…and that’s ok.

Oh yeah…and I bought a beehive! I’m a bee keeper too…just for fun (with Sam. We bought two…).

Till next time (hopefully I’ll write again before I make another random career move).

Bring on the wine time

My brain is frazzled. I can’t even write a blog properly. I keep Ctrl A, deleting everything. I mean some of it’s good, it’s just, well, sentences, words…things. Agh! I’ve spent the last few weeks juggling many hats. I’m a person of hats…you know all those different roles you do in life? I refer to them as hats, I think most people do?

So between the psychology, the job, life…more life…I wear a gazillion different hats. My most common is admin hat, PR hat, psychology hat,  workout hat, healthy eating hat, girl friend hat, grandchild hat, daughter hat (actually just general ‘family member’ hat), horse rider hat… I feel like I’m juggling everything and I just sort of throw it all up in the air at times because I just need to breathe, and wait for it to all come back down before I run around catching it all before it turns into a mess.

I don’t dislike any of my hats. There’s just a few of them…and I’m struggling a little to wear them all.

Last night I grabbed my interior design hat and hung up my girl friend hat for the evening and decided to tackle my room. It had become something of a nightmare. I had all sorts just stacked up in piles because when I moved all my things from Alex’s I shoved it all in and promptly decided to forget about it until a later date.

Five and a bit months later and I finally took down the disco ball and cleaned out the china teddy bear ornaments (disclaimer: these were there when I moved in!), moved the pile of towels and sheets into the blanket box and linen cupboard, actually filed the mountain of paper work on my desk, bought a hanging lamp to replace the disco ball and removed the old bedside lamp to make space for nothing, and moved my bed over to the wall.

My room is now spacious, clean, uncluttered, and makes me feel happy.

I needed a happy place – a place in which does not change and is in my control.

This used to be where I grazed my horse, then it was Alex’s, it’s sort of switched between the two depending on what’s happening in life at the time. Then when Casey and I moved in together it was my perfect little home.

Either way, I’ve had a place that I can relax, where I can decorate, tidy, and just breathe in…a place that feels like home and like it’s mine.

I sort of ditched my happy place for a while when I moved…I was too busy having fun. But now Ivy is being ridden by someone else, the gym is changing in terms of who’s there, Sam’s place is well, Sam’s place (and two other boys live there so you can imagine the bathroom… ), the house is my parents not mine. I have no happy place. So I decided it was time I created one.

And I feel at peace now, like everything is in order, even if its not in order. Even if it, at times, feels like it’s spiraling madly out of control.

My general day consists of doing: some sort of filing, some sort of binding of documents, some sort of searching for something in our internal system that’s mysteriously booked a permanent vacation and hightailed out of there, editing people’s bios for the company, writing press releases, making peoples long winded sentences shorter and easy to read, occasionally dealing with a grumpy interviewee, reading property news, answering phones, getting people to do things they don’t want to do for other people, writing articles. A few days a week I’m opening the show home, answering questions, cleaning, most days I’m studying psychology and counselling theories, conducting experiments, writing reports, trawling through the website for the course to figure out what I’m meant to be doing. I tend to finish with making sure my horse is alive, feeding it, running on the treadmill or cross trainer, lifting weights, having a shower, seeing Sam, remembering to see my family members, texting friends to make sure they’re still doing ok in life, catching up with friends at least once every few weeks…

I’m exhausted.

I am learning constantly, whether it’s working through emotional stuff I’m still dealing with in terms of relationships; learning how to be with someone new. Whether it’s figuring out the systems at work, how marketing is different to journalism, how to work in a big company, how to study again, what is psychology…and how to live with family close again. Oh yeah, and how to actually achieve my fitness goals!

It comes as no surprise really that I’ve had a few melt-downs lately. My most recent and perhaps most comical was in Kmart. I stood there, having had a rough day, rather annoyed at Sam because he wouldn’t buy a damn topper for his mattress or a bedside lamp! Right in that moment, absolutely nothing else on earth mattered except getting those two things. Why? Well the mattress topper is purely because the bed is uncomfortable, the lamp, yeah, I have no idea. I just really needed to have one.

I described myself to my mother last night as “Normal 95 per cent of the time, but that 5 per cent I really go all out on the crazy”. A good crazy I like to think… a crazy which results in OCD like behaviors which sees bedside lamps bought, mattress toppers put on beds, and my entire room cleaned and tidied.

So tonight my plans are to see my nan (she’s having chemo and radiation at the moment), study, gym, then study some more in my incredibly beautiful room, see Sam, and then sleep.

Tomorrow? I’ll do it all again.

And as for this weekend? It currently has nothing at all planned in it and I think I might just buy myself a magazine, some chocolate, and sit in the sun with a good glass of red wine. Because right now, all I can think about is doing nothing with wine.

 

 

 

1,2,3…25

It’s been five month since I arrived home. When I put it like that it doesn’t seem long at all, but I feel like I’ve lived a life time in that period! I’d have laughed if you’d told me, as I boarded that plane home from Paris, I’d be in marketing, PR and working as a office ‘doer of lots of things’ with a new relationship. I might have believed you if you’d told me I’d be applying for the police force and studying psychology. But I would have been surprised, because honestly, I never thought I had the guts to just get up and change everything.

There are many defining moments in a person’s life. As a child some of those might be learning to talk, to walk, to eat, to make friends… or not to. In your younger teen years you decide if you’re going to drink, have sex, date, drive, what hobbies you’ll pursue, what subjects at school you’ll chose. As a young adult you’ll decide where to study, what to study, how much effort you’ll put into that study…you’ll begin serious relationships or you might not. You’ll have to decide if you’re going to be the sober driver or risk a DIC. You’ll make tough choices about the right and wrong decision. You’ll decide to travel or not to, who you marry, when you’ll have kids. You might find out you can’t have kids and you choice you make then will definite a lot.Or you might not want them. That’s cool too.

We never stop making defining decisions.

So far I have made many, many defining life decisions. But I don’t look back and think ‘man I’m glad I kept trying to walk every time I fell over as a child’. I just got up and did it without ever stopping to think about the significance of it.

I think as we get older it’s easy to over think every decision. Anyone who knows me will have a chuckle at that. I’m the classic over thinker, I know I am, and I’m working on that ok?…in between the random freak-outs and tears…

I have a ‘what if’ for almost every occasion.

But the other side to my personality is my ability to just do it because my gut tells me it’s exactly where I’m meant to be. For every ‘what if’ I have a ‘why not?’

It’s very conflicting at times.

And it also makes for a very exciting, well thought through life.

I’m the sort of person who doesn’t sit still for long. I might fall down for a moment, and as my mother can attest to, lie in the middle of the living room floor because I just can’t face life at that moment, but I will always, always get up and find plan B. Sometimes plan B should have always been my plan A.

There I was, just before my medical assessment for the police, and I don’t think I’ve ever been so nervous for anything…ever. I have never wanted something more than I want this. Not because it’s my plan B, but because while I was travelling I realised this was always meant to be my plan A, I just needed to do a few things before I could arrive here.

So it matters. It matter so damn much I can’t think of it not working out.

This is a life defining decision but I’m going to face many, many obstacles on that journey, just like I did when I learnt to walk.

I want more than anything to help people, to analyse people, to bring change, to discover things, to work with people to make things better. I want improvement, I want betterment, I want a life full of incredible surprises and breath taking moments of joy.

But that takes moments of tearful frustration, sore muscles, a tired mind, and late nights.

I have run five times a week for the past eight weeks. I’ve cut my run time for 2.4km from 17 minutes down to 13 minutes. I need to get another minute off, I want to get another two off.

That’s a massive goal for someone like me whose body thinks running is an odd concept only used during moments of high adrenaline.

The sixth day home from overseas I got on that treadmill. I knew damn well what I wanted but I also knew how far away from it I was. I managed to run 1km that day in 10 minutes. It took me a month and a half to be able to run 2km.

My legs ache, my ankles ache, my lungs burn. I hate that treadmill so much, so, so, so damn much.

I’ve gone from doing 6 push ups to 25 in the space of three months.

My arms ache every day, my back aches. My legs are currently covered in Kinesio tape from the knee down. I don’t think there is a muscle in my body that hasn’t hurt at some point in the past three months. I spend an hour a day in the gym five-six days a week.

I spend most of my afternoons working on assignments going over word counts, analysing data, and reading books for my psychology diploma. I owe my parents a nice little amount of money for that too…that’s worth a good trip overseas.

As for the travel I want to do at the end of the year… I work two jobs on top of study and fitness. Because I want to pay off my debt and I want to see the world.

The other day I flopped down at home, like I usually do after I get home from the gym, I was almost in tears. I’d upped the speed on the treadmill and struggled to make it to 2km before I had to stop. I put huge pressure on myself to achieve things quickly. Sometimes though, it’s really important to stop and congratulate yourself for making it this far without giving up.

I’m currently battling shin splints.

I really hate the debt I have.

I desperately want to make that run time.

I have absolutely no idea if I’m going to pass my assignments.

But it’s all for something. And I’m incredibly amazed with how I really did leave my job, go overseas, walk away from a relationship going no where, start again, find a new career goal, and take charge of my life. I just up and turned it all around because it wasn’t where I wanted to be going.

I don’t think enough people take charge of their lives and trust what they know is right.

It’s easy to sit down and sulk and go ‘I can’t do it, it’s too hard’. But I know what would be much harder than this right now, is sitting in the same place in a few years time wondering why I didn’t just go for it.

When I stop and I look back on just how far I’ve come in a very short space of time I remind myself that anything is possible if you’re crazy enough to believe it.

Big goals, take big sacrifices.

And on a rainy night last night all I wanted to do was curl up in bed with a good book and a cup of tea, but instead I finished an assignment and spent 40 minutes at the gym. I’m out of energy, out of motivation, but it’s one foot after another.

#neverstopstarting

(Yeah, I stole that from the Spark ad campaign… so what, it’s a good quote!)

Till next time!

Mission accomplished.

Escape class. Time to destination: 1 hour 24 mins. Time I have allowed to get petrol, get lost and arrive at destination: 1 hour 34mins. Petrol station is quiet, $60 in. Purchase BLT sandwich- bravely eat BLT sandwich while driving, wearing a silk shirt. Do not have change of clothes. Resume journey. Manage to eat BLT sandwich with no disasters. Traffic through city- tap steering wheel impatiently. Pass slow cars on open road. Follow lovely old nana at 80 km in 100 km zone- on coming cars. Cannot pass. Nana turns off, resume travel at 100 km. Arrive at road works. Does not occur to the road works man to let the large build up of cars through before the small build up of cars. Stuck in traffic jam. Finally make it through after 6 mins.

Take corner too fast. Slow down. Drive carefully so not to crash on way to interviewing family about a crash. Take note of the irony. Look at clock, running 5 mins behind. Increase speed after passing slow car. Will not mention speed. Knowledge of area proves helpful, now running on time. Impeccable sense of direction, do not get lost. Make it to destination 6 mins ahead of time. Begin to sweat. Regret wearing silk top. Breathe.

Interview goes to plan. Challenge accomplished. Proceed to drive home. Need to sleep tries to win reasoning argument. Coffee wearing off. See boyfriend. Roll eyes at boyfriends friends. Eat popcorn. Pat dog. Resume journey. Make it home within an hour. 10pm. Eat dinner wonderful flatmate cooked. Drink more coffee. Decipher folder full of paper. Glad I am not an avid greenie. Make some sort of deranged sense of pile of paper. Sleep sets in and insanity knocks on the door.

Drag sorry tired droopy self to bed. Write blog to express exhaustion and excitement. Sleep.

Mission accomplished.