Break, here I come.

There are very few things better than climbing into a quality bed with fresh sheets and the fan going on a warm summers night. Especially when following a rather roller coaster week. This week is probably a very good metaphor for this entire year; the wins are constantly battling the losses and the pendulum of life keeps on going regardless of what happens between each tock.

That was deep.

Getting back to light hearted. This past week, I managed to get myself run off the road in the work car (not my fault) punctured the tyre, then the wheel bearing went. I also ‘disappointed’ a comms person. I seem to be very good at doing that. I also washed both my cars, kind of worked on my tan, managed a whole day with very little make up and lounging in bed (much needed!). I even watered the garden.

Oh and I sold my horse (Pip).

There are less than 10 working days between me and a holiday, and I am imagining myself in a slow motion movie scene, just a few more steps away from the finish line.

I have 10 days to get through and I can say I have survived one of the most challenging years of my life. It certainly wasn’t the worst, it probably wasn’t the hardest, but I have faced hurdles at times I felt like I was about to run straight at them, and then meet the ground with my face.

I can’t say I didn’t do that a few times. Sometimes I just stayed down there for a while, other times I managed to catch myself just before the fall, and most of the time I made it over.

I bought a horse, I sold a horse (the same one), and man am I glad I had that horse. Every difficult time in my life I have had a horse by my side, I’m not too sure how I would have made it through most days without one. I still have Ivy, but it will be the first time in 12 years that I have not had a horse to ride. I have three months to wait before I can jump back on her…but I need a break. I think at every point in your life you come to a stage where you just have to stop what has become the norm, what has become a crutch, and take a step toward the next ‘thing’.

There is this sad and scared feeling selling Pip, but at the same time it is excitement that I finally had the courage to take a step back and focus on me…who I am…and what my next step is in life. I can no longer identify myself as a ‘horse rider’ and to some degree that is freeing, it gives me a chance to explore what else I can be.

I lost a loved one. Watching granddad go slowly has been one of the hardest things I have had to face. And I still feel that loss, but I am healing. It is something everyone must learn to accept at some stage, and no matter how hard it is, it teaches you things about yourself you never thought you’d learn.

I understand the concept of ‘stopping’, I understand how important it is to reach out to someone in pain, I get what it’s like to be alone and how alone alone feels, I understand how people have mental breakdowns, I understand what it’s like to feel everything at once.

I started my first job. Wow, talk about jumping in the deep end. But I love it. I love every moment of the ‘pull my hair out imagine myself on a beach far away and not wanting to strangle that person’ madness that it can be. I understand why I chose this career; it is part of me. It is everything, it is how I define myself now. I might have been in tears, in fits of insanity laughter, glaring at my computer screen, drinking wine to ignore the burning need to tell someone what I think of them, the not drinking alcohol in fear I will, falling into bed convinced I may never get up again, but I wouldn’t change it.

I moved house. In amongst the madness I moved house, not just any move, but a move to live with my sister, and every moment since I have been thankful I made that decision. It has shown me I am finally getting the hang of listening to myself. It is hard to move for me, home is what keeps me stable, it is my centre where I can come back to when it’s all spinning out of control. So moving is big. But this has been a good one, and I am looking forward to the future.

I faced my past. It might not seem like a big thing to most people, but I have a delayed shock reaction to most emotionally threatening situations. If my mind doesn’t think I can cope with the sheer volume of emotion coming my way, it shuts it out and waits until I am in a place I can comprehend it. For me, Conrad was a part of my life I didn’t think I could ever deal with. But when suddenly he was here, in my city, in the place that had become my safe haven, I had to face some pretty big issues I never knew I had.

It’s moments like these you realise just how incredible the human brain is, how it can just blank things out it doesn’t think you need to remember. At the end of the day, it helped to realise how a health issue began, and how to fix it.

I resolved a long term and controlling health issue.
It’s not every day you get to defy the doctors and fix yourself with natural medicine. Nope, it’s not going to vanish, but it’s not going to even with the doctors medication. But it is pretty much consistently under control and it is no longer the centre of my life.

I ended up with a baby horse...this is the start of a new future with my darling Ivy. She’s been my best friend for the past six years, but our ‘team’ has changed its course and I’ve come to accept I won’t be competing for a while, Mardy is the final point of acceptance in that.

So this year has been a good one, and it’s not over! But it’s so, so close. I have a pretty incredible life, I’ve been on some amazing adventures and had some unforgettable experiences. And it doesn’t stop here.

It’s just another year in a roller coaster life, and I’m getting better at holding on and enjoying the ride.

But a whole summer with the freedom to get out on the weekends, to sunbath, to just take a deep breath and remind myself I am alive, and it’s ok to stop…it sounds like bliss.

Sometimes, I think you just get to a point where you need a break, need to just stop. Long enough to remember why you keep going and why the world is a good place.

A break…deep breath, it’s nearly here.

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It’s time

Ah Tuesday. Monday has left a chaotic trail and Tuesday is the aftermath of its destruction. Spring is on its way and I have been working full time for nearly 10 months now. Yes, I am counting.

Everyone I see who I don’t actually talk to regularly but I know tells me how amazing my job is and how I’m always having fun. I giggle a little. It is a lot of fun, that’s true. I have a heap of opportunities which are incredible, but it has made me realise how easy it is to paint a picture in everyone’s minds of half truths.

Work is also really quite hard. It’s full on, as the ‘full time’ would suggest. My eyes hurt from looking at a computer screen, I never seem to have enough time to do half the things I used to do, an hour between me and Alex seems suddenly like a huge distance, I’m selling the horse because it can’t just sit in a paddock when I have to work late.

I don’t resent all that, as the pros far out weigh the cons. But it’s hard. Some days I struggle to get out of bed. Other days I genuinely wonder if I can. It is very easy to lose yourself when life gets so busy you never have enough time to reflect on what’s actually important.

So, what is important? This is a hard question to answer because it makes me think of two things: what is important to me, and what is important to the people I care about?

For me, it’s being happy. It is having time to just walk along the street with nowhere to be. Waking up late in the morning just one day a week so the sun streams through the curtains and just touches my eye lids. It’s being able to lie in the paddock while Ivy munches on grass around me and breathes her sweet horsey breath over my toes. It is spending money – a small amount – on something completely frivolous simply because I want it. It is being able to be spontaneous, being able to decide on a whim to see Alex. It is seeing friends, taking trips to the beach, walking up mountains, and meandering down the street.

I don’t want a lot, but I do want to be happy, and I want to be fulfilled.

I think it is easy to get caught up in wanting it all. I want to horse ride, I want to compete, I want it all. But sometimes you can’t have it all. Sometimes I get caught up in what I think I should be doing and forget it is always my choice. It is always my choice when to start and when to stop.

Right now, it’s time to stop the one thing, horse riding, that has given me a sense of self – it is how I define myself, I have always been a horse rider.

I am often told ‘you bring it on yourself’ when I talk about stress. Yes, to a degree. But while adding stress horse riding has been the one thing that has always made me smile. It has been my escape from everything and everyone. It has been the one constant in my life which never changes.

But I think it is time to focus on my job, and on my life. I have tried many times before, but this time is different. There is this part of me that I have suddenly realised I am in the place in my life where there are so many other important things that have been neglected most my life. It is time to wander, to dream, to wake up slowly, to explore, to see people I love, to just relax. I no longer need the constant of horse riding to know who I am.

Work is full on enough. So, now it time to know when to stop.

Stopping is not giving up. It is simply knowing when you’ve reached the end of the line. This is where that line stops for me.

For now.

500kg’s of life lesson

There are numerous things that put people off when you begin a conversation. One of them I have discovered over the years is horses. But this, I just have to share. Horse humor is certainly one of my favorite things. As someone who quite often finds herself flying through the air at a great rate and landing on the ground with either a thud or a groan, it is a good way to ease the bruised ego.

The thing though I have learnt is horse riding applies to almost everything. After riding for 11 years you sort of learn how to apply it to everything.

You have reins, anyone who has ridden a horse before knows (or should) what these are. You hold them in your hands – they are your handle bars. When you pull the horse should stop, when you turn them, the horse should turn and when you let them go (slightly) the horse should relax… and most of the time moves forward. It gets more complex but thats the general idea.

When jumping a horse you learn many things. How to fly. How to land from a great height, how to treat sand burn, what surfaces are the best to fall from a great height onto, poles are hard, the horses head is really hard and nothing will go as you expect.

The more you pull on the reins and ‘hold’ the horse and try to control it, the more it pulls away. When I say pull I mean pull like someone ripping your arms out. Things start to go backwards and sometimes, quite literally. Pretty much the more you try to hold on and wait, wait, wait for the right moment, the more likely you are to by jumping that jump on your own… or not at all. 

You can’t always be going faster then slower and gripping. You have to let go, relax and hold steady. Find your rhythm and just let it happen. No over thinking. No worrying. You have to simply rely on what you have learnt and trust if you don’t know, you’re about to learn quickly. You have to trust that that 500kg animal below you will in fact take off and clear the jump with you securely in the saddle and land again on it’s feet.

That is something you have to do. It takes courage to point a horse at a jump, no matter how big. It takes courage just to get on the damn thing!

Life is exactly like that. The tighter you grip and the more you slow things down so you can get it just right, the more likely you are to miss it all together – to stuff it up and physic yourself out. Alternatively, if you go flying a million miles ahead all the time you’re going to crash and it will be spectacular and you wont be the one laughing.

You have to trust that the big monster life is, is going to take you somewhere. Somewhere grand and that it will make it over the obstacles and around the bends. That sometimes you will have to pick up the pace and sometimes you will have to steadily keep on going. You’re also going to need to learn when to stop.

At the end of the day life takes courage. You have to get on to start with and when you fall, you’ve got to just pick yourself back up and keep going. There is no gripping of reins and fighting for control. That can’t be an option if it’s going to be a successful event. 

It’s just got to happen. And it all comes down to trusting that it will. 

Saddle up, get on and keep your heals down.