Let’s talk about the hard stuff

It’s been a tough week. I’m not entirely sure what went wrong, the wheels just started to wobble early on and it just seemed to be a steady downhill ride and they fell off. Considering I think I coped pretty well. I got back up and carried on putting out fire after fire at work, attempting to justify myself without getting on the defensive. I haven’t had a chance to see my pony, so that’s probably added to my lack of energy. I’m fighting a chest thing. I don’t know what it is, all I know is I can’t run…and it’s driving me nuts not being able to train properly. I received less than ideal news about my thyroid from my recent scan.

There have been some great positives to this week with volunteer work opportunities and a teaching opportunity with a pony club. So I’m excited and clinging dearly onto those little highs.

Last week I wrote a blog, which I then deleted from Facebook. It covered a pretty sensitive topic: suicide. I decided I wasn’t in the right mind frame really to talk about it and I was pretty concerned about how people close to me might read it and take it in a way I didn’t mean.

But I’m back. And since suicide has been in the news almost every single day since I deleted it, I decided to buck up and get back on here and talk. That’s what I started this blog for right?

From the beginning: I’ve struggled with depression since I was young. I was probably about 14 when I first realised I wasn’t coping like most people cope and I described the feeling to a close friend as ‘the dark bubble’. It was only way I could describe it at the time. I’m not even sure if the idea of depression crossed my mind then. But I did know something wasn’t right.

Depression and a bunch of other stuff that tends to go hand in hand with it runs in my family. I’ve never been diagnosed by a doctor. I think I’ve probably only ever actually identified it openly with words as depression twice in my life, once with my friend with whom I called it ‘the dark bubble’ and once in casual conversation with my mother. Otherwise, it can just sit in the back of my mind.

Why I’ve been subject to a fairly shitty thing could be down to a number of reasons: over active thyroid (I have a toxic thyroid nodule) issues almost always go hand in hand with mental health and depression, it’s in my family, or I have a personality which is partial to it.

Pick a reason.

To be honest it actually doesn’t matter for what I want to talk about.

Suicidal thoughts.

That word is one that’s not particularly easy to type and I’ve only ever once said it in conversation about myself…and that was last week to my partner.

I post regularly on a FB pg called YouthNet and every article just about has something to do with people needing to open up and talk about these issues, “People need to talk about mental health issues and suicide; it needs to be something we are not afraid to deal with.” That’s what most of the articles say. And I get right in there and say “YES!”

Yet I never speak about it personally.

Why? Because I’m afraid. What if my family starts to worry about me? I’ve survived 100 per cent of my days so far, I know I will be fine. What if a future employer comes across this and thinks I won’t be able to work properly? What if something thinks I have a ‘mental health disorder’ and they don’t want me to be part of their organisation? What if Sam’s friends and family don’t like me anymore? What if people think there is something wrong with me?

And that right there, is exactly the reason we have a massive issue with suicide and depression in our country.

Isolation and fear mean people do not want to talk about it. Not when it’s to do with them.

When I was 14 I remember very clearly plotting out all the different ways to die, narrowing them down into my top two. And whenever I hear someone has died that way it hits a nerve…every single time. Back then it gave me a sense of control over myself and my life. I felt like if I had the option to escape, then it was always my choice to continue. And that took a massive weight off my shoulders.

I often would stop eating. Never enough to be of a major concern and it had absolutely nothing to do with my weight. I probably didn’t realise what I was doing until this year when shit hit the fan when I came back from overseas and I found myself skipping meal after meal.

I saw it this way: I couldn’t control how I felt, but I could sure as hell control a) whether I had to live through it and b) I could punish my body by with holding food. I punished it because it wouldn’t work like other peoples. It was anxious, it was too skinny, it was struggling with things most people found easy.

One day mum knew someone who committed suicide. She told me about it. I saw the pain on her face, the sadness, the hurt, the ‘why?!’

I think it was probably the reason I understood death was in fact final. It was not just an escape, it was over for good. And while it’s easy to say ‘well, yeah? Duh.’ It’s actually a concept that’s hard to grasp when you’ve never seen the effects of death or the reality of it. That is why we need to talk to our children about it.

By about 15 I started to feel ok and by 16 I can’t remember any suicidal thoughts. I never said anything when I was younger and I’m not entirely sure why. I think because, while I knew most people don’t think that way, I was really fine. I didn’t want to die. At the end of the day it was about control.

Life has had many, many up and downs since then but while I’ve suffered moments of depression, I haven’t had any overwhelming thoughts about death. So I never really worried about it. It became a moment in time that could easily be forgotten. I was young, hormones were changing.

I’ve put a lot of it down to things like my thyroid, my diet etc. And it was the reason for a lot of the issues. But it’s not the reason for all of it. I don’t know the reason.

So it took me by surprise when last week, out of nowhere, in the midst of life feeling pretty darn good, I found myself back in those moments when I was 14. “What’s the best way out?”

And it was then that I had to actually accept this is something bigger than me. People don’t just ‘get over it’ and moments of depression, of wanting out, strike out of nowhere and there is very little one can do about it.

Someone came up to me on Sunday and asked, “Are you ok? You seem a little off.”

I replied with “Yeah, I’m fine.” I mean, I don’t really know how to just sort of lay “Oh yeah, nah, I’m struggling with suicidal thoughts out of nowhere that I can’t explain and I’m really fine, but also feeling like complete shit.”

Laying that on someone makes it real.

No I don’t want out. I love my life. I love being alive. I love the people I am with and my friends, my family are some of the best around.

But that doesn’t stop those thoughts creeping in.

And that is my message. You have absolutely no idea what is going on in someone’s life. There have been moments in mine where it really was all turning to shit and I was feeling like  I was living in some joke that went wrong, yet it looks fine. It looks good.

Doesn’t mean it is.

And just because someone may have an amazing life with what seems to be no reason to be upset. They can be struggling. They can be fighting their biggest internal battle and you do not know that.

Some of my friends have had no idea the extent of my thoughts last week. But they are the reason I’m feeling resilient and pretty good this week, even though it’s been a crappy one. I know they’re there for me, they want to support me, they want to make sure I’m ok without having to make me feel like I’m ‘different’ or ‘weak’. I’m not different and I’m far from weak. This is not a struggle only I struggle with and I think the news this past week has made that pretty clear to New Zealand.

Let’s stop making people feel like they need to ‘toughen up’. Let’s stop ignoring teenagers when they aren’t coping and telling them ‘you’re only young, what do you have to worry about?’

We need to stop treating people like they’re less of a person because they struggle with something they cannot control.

Knowing people care, a smile in a coffee shop, a hug from an acquaintance at church, a wine with the girls. I didn’t want to get out of bed so Sam brought me breakfast in bed. And then gave me no choice to get up. Having my friend and her husband send me some absolutely amazing encouragement…that’s what gets me motivated in those moments. No one needed to take on my burden – that doesn’t help anyone, but just knowing someone had taken a moment of their time to care about me, that’s what I needed.

For me, when I’m struggling often I seem really bubbly, I seem happy. But there a moments I’ll stare off into nowhere. I’m not sure why that is. It’s just me. When I’m not struggling, I can have a bad day and I’ll look sad, I’ll feel sad. But that’s sadness.

Moments of depression feel as if you are in sinking sand, it’s the sick feeling in the pit of your stomach, it’s the dread of the day, it’s the not seeing a way out from the moment of darkness you’re in.

One of the most powerful quotes I have read came from a site called The Broken Borderline (follow her on FB).

If the photo hasn’t loaded on your screen it says this: “The so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person who tries to kill herself doesn’t do so out of quote ‘hopelessness’ or any other abstract conviction that life’s assets and debits do not square. And surely not because death seems suddenly appealing. The person in whom its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from a window of a burning high-rise. Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows. Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view; i.e the fear of falling remains a constant. The variable here is the other terror, the fire’s flames: when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors. It’s not desiring the fall; it’s terror of the flames. And yet nobody down on the sidewalk, looking up and yelling ‘don’t and ‘hang on’ can really understand the jump. Not really. You’d have to be personally been trapped and felt flames to really understand a terror way beyond falling.”

For me personally, those flames have never been close enough for me to do anything other than weigh up the options. And that has been my mission for a long time; make sure those flames never do get close enough.

I have surrounded myself with amazing, caring people who complement me. I have quit things in life that drag me down and make me feel like I’m worthless. I have taken on volunteer projects and have found ways to make sure every single day I know, without a doubt, that I am valued, I am loved, I am wanted, and I belong.

Most importantly, I belong.

And that is why I came back from my travels with an absolute certain drive that I wanted to be in a position to help. To make sure people do not EVER feel like they do not belong in their own lives. That they are WANTED, LOVED, VALUED. And most importantly, that there are people who do GET what it feels like to feel the flames and want desperately to escape the terrible thoughts that surround your mind. The darkness that wraps itself around you and makes its home in your tears, anger and frustration.

It does get better. I can promise that. But I will admit it is still at times a struggle, but every single moment I wake up in the morning and I am glad to be here. That is a victory. And I know that. The struggle is worth it.

I’m studying psychology because I want to fix it. I started, to be honest, because I actually wanted to understand how to fix myself. But now I feel like it’s bigger than me. And because of that I try to find at least one thing in my day that went either well, or that I am thankful for. It can even be the lady at the supermarket who helped me with a smile.

I cling onto just about anything good. Because I do understand what it’s like not to feel anything good. And because of that, I really do appreciate what good feels like.

So to end I just want to say be kind, be loving, be the kind of person you’d want to meet on a bad day. Buy someone a drink or a coffee, make the time to send a text to someone on your mind. Don’t ever stop caring about other humans; create an environment around you where people can be open. People should not be afraid to be open in whatever forum they want to be.

Just writing a post like this is a massive step for me. Talking, even with a very guarded mindset to my partner about it was also massive.

But as everything in my life…it’s one step at a time. One step toward loving it, toward coping with it, toward just being a bloody good person.

Be a community. Love as a community. Because you have no idea who may very well need you.

You are valued, you are amazing, you are one of a kind, and please stay around because the world needs people like you.

If you know someone struggling, what this video from the other night on TVNZ. It really is worth a watch for everyone…

https://www.tvnz.co.nz/ondemand/the-hard-stuff-with-nigel-latta/09-08-2016/series-2-episode-8

Also, have a scroll through these pretty real and wonderful quotes from The Broken Borderline pg.

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Much love x

 

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Pros, cons, failure

Growing up is a weird thing; it just sort of happens without really thinking about it. I mean sure, most of the time I’m thinking to myself ‘I am definitely not adult enough to deal with this’, but then there are moments where I suddenly realise I am an adult, and I’m actually doing it just fine. How can I tell I’m adulting well? Firstly, I am incredibly particular about wine, babies no longer scare me (I’m still highly skeptical I should ever actually be allowed to bring one up), I am capable of looking after multiple small people at once, I know life does not stop and start with marriage, relationships, or even having children…but those things are cool too, I’ve come to appreciate money…by that I mean the fact that I turn up to a place each day and do stuff and they then give me money so I can live, I am learning how to think about and navigate the idea of a mortgage, a house, where I want to live… and I have learnt just how fragile life is, and I appreciate that fact. Oh and I’ve also come to learn and accept shit happens to all of us.

I don’t feel grown up, but to honest I don’t know if anyone ever feels ‘grown up’, I think it’s more a feeling of comfortable experience that leads you to have a little more faith each year that in most situations you will, regardless of how you may feel at the time, be ok. I was going to put ‘survive’, but there’s really no guarantee of that.

My little cat had his vaccinations today. In order to get him into the cat cage I coxed him with food first into a small space. He then quickly realised something was not right and quickly escaped. I came back five minutes later to see he had given into his desire for food (animal like its owner) and I swiftly blocked the cat door with various washing baskets. He then escaped from the other door as I tried to enter with the cat cage and my attempts at a human barricade failed miserably. I then spent 10 minutes chasing him up and down the house until he finally gave in to his desire for pats and I captured him once and for all. His poor defeated meows were heart breaking as I loaded him into the car for mum to take him with her to the clinic (she’s a vet nurse). Admittedly the only time I’ve ever put him in a cage prior was to move him from one place to another…so right now he’s sitting in a cage at the clinic thinking this is his new home and he’s been transported to some kind of jail for a crime in which he does not know. I will sweep in and rescue him and he shall love me forever…and hopefully forget all about this mornings antics.

I have two weeks until my psychology exam. I have finally accepted there is no possible way for me to learn everything I need to learn. So, I’ve decided I will simply learn five chapters REALLY well so ace that part of the exam. I’d love to say this is a strategy well thought through, however it’s really a last ditch effort not to fail this whole thing.

But I can always try again.

Really what I’m telling myself is it is not the end of the world, I have wasted $700 in worse ways, it will be fine, I have wine, and if I have to try again I’ll just try again. Simple, right?

Adulting at its finest right there.

What I’m coming to learn this year is to just chill out. That might seem strange to those in my life who understand I operate at a million miles an hour and every single weekend in June is booked…however, I am learning to stop putting on the pressure, stop trying to overachieve, to move a million miles an hour. Just take one step, as it comes. For me, there are often many steps that come all at once…so if I apply that statement to my life it looks like madness.

But on the days I feel frustrated I’m not going anywhere fast enough, I just remind myself how much I wanted this; to have a warm home close to family, to have my own cat, to have a job that keeps me busy and earns me money but doesn’t give me nightmares, so I have time to study and enjoy that study. This is what I wanted when I sat in that little home in France and pictured life. It just didn’t happen how I expected it to. But this is really lovely.

It’s raining. I love rain. I love studying when it’s raining. Soon I’ll have a gym with a spa and I can provide myself with motivation for the gym with that. It’s winter, it’s snuggly weather, it’s raining, I’m studying something I love, I have a cat, I have plans for a house, I want to live in the country, I have a good job. It’s all about perspective…

Because when I got on here I was going to complain how stressed and didn’t want to study, how my head hurts because I have a headache because it’s always so damn cold, how it’s raining so I don’t want to go outside or to the gym, and I have no money for my dream home or my dream travel.

It’s really easy to get stuck feeling like it’s falling apart or like something else would be better. Of course it would, because it always looks great when you’re not living it. You can’t have all the pros without the cons and you rarely see the cons when it’s not your life.

I’m wearing my favourite sweater today, it’s raining, and I’m going to go home and snuggle my cat and study with a hot cup of tea. I might even take an Instagram shot of it all so people think my life is amazeballs.

Sorry, this blog had potentially a little too much sarcasm in it.

 

“Never settle,” I couldn’t help but agree

“Why didn’t you want to be with me?”

I waited patiently for the answer. I’d wanted the answer long before now but something had always stopped me from asking the question. What is it I always say? Don’t ask a question you don’t want an answer to. The answer I wanted was a straight forward one, a simple ‘you should have done this but you didn’t and I couldn’t deal with that’. I knew I wasn’t going to get that. I knew, deep down, this was nothing I could fix.

So I asked the question, twice.

“Why didn’t it work out?”

“Honestly, I didn’t want to grow up. I didn’t want to settle down.” He went on. “A good friend said to me once, never be too quick to settle.”

I agreed with him.

Never settle.

“That’s not the answer you wanted was it?” He asked me.

“No,” I said.

I took a breath. It was nothing I could have changed. Nothing. It wasn’t on me. But does that make it better? Does having the honest answer actually make it better? To be left because someone simply does not want to wake up everyday and know you’re theirs? Because their sense of freedom is more important than your love and your friendship?

Yes. Yes it does make it better.

Because while I like to analyse and think deeply about how to ‘fix’ everything and everyone…there are times, like this one, where I have to accept that something simply was not meant to be.

“I think,” I began, “There were a lot of areas of our personalities that we clashed in.”

“Yeah, you would always say you were alright when you weren’t.” He said it in such a way that each word could have been missed, but I caught them, and they hit, hard.

I don’t do that with Sam. Sam sees everything. I worry he’s sick of me opening up too much, too often.

“Are you seeing anyone?” I asked the question before I had a chance to wonder if I wanted the answer…or what answer I’d have preferred.

“Yes, kind of.”

I paused for a brief second before launching into questions; who was she, what did she look like, what was her name, what did she do? What about her made him want to be with her.

And then he told me about her. And she sounds perfect for him, really perfect. I stopped, the sun was quite bright and I was sweating a little because I was trying to figure out if I felt nothing because I was in shock or if I simply wasn’t bothered by it.

Then with the weight of the words ‘settle’, with the realization I could never open up, and the sudden moment of happiness I felt when I knew he’d found someone…I smiled.

Because I knew, I’ve known for a while, for sure, that I had moved on. And I never thought I would. I never thought I would put those broken pieces back in a far more glorious way and be better off because of it. In the tears, the moments of panic, of pain, of regret, of hurt and sadness, of bitterness and resentment, of loss and anger I never thought I would be so okay.

The other day I was chatting to friend during a conversation and mentioned that selling Ivy might be something I have to consider at some point if I want to move around a lot. Sam immediately jumped in with a “no”.

Ivy means the world to me. She’s been my constant rock in the midst of some chaotic times and I couldn’t imagine life without her in it. Sam hasn’t seen that. I’ve ridden her less than a handful of times since I met him and I rarely speak about her. It’s not that I don’t care anymore, it’s just had to take a backseat focus. Yet somehow, he just knew selling her would be a bad idea.

I think that’s when you know. When you don’t have to say a word and they know. When you don’t have to convince someone of something, they know. When you can be yourself every second, every moment, and it’s okay. I can be more of myself than I’ve ever been able to be with one person.

Never settle. I agree with that.

Never settle for someone who doesn’t do everything in their power to love you, to nurture you, to help you grow, to see you smile.

I have stopped looking for another someone. But I will definitely not be settling.

I will not be settling for someone and I will not be settling down with someone. But I will most certainly share my life with someone who makes it more of a life because they’re part of it.

Alright, cute overload over. But I thought it was appropriate to have a sort of ‘final’ blog for the end of the relationship saga.

Now you’ll all just have to put up with me whinging about how my cup of tea always gets cold too quickly and the paper scanner at work hates me and how I can’t be bothered going to the gym this week so I’m giving myself a week off just cause.

The just cause is so I can ride Ivy, so I can make dinner for my family and for Sam, so I can spend a bit of time with my sister. I have goals, but at the same time, there is definitely an art to perfecting when you have to give and when you have to go for it. It’s all about balance.

On that note! Cheerio for now!

Let go of the rope, breathe

Winter is finally here. It has wrapped its cool, comforting fingers around my face and I’m settling into a routine. I love winter. There is plenty to love about summer sure; long nights, festivals, parties, friends, less work, people have more energy. But winter is my one true love and always has been. There is just something stunning about waking up to a crisp morning, dressing warmly for the day and slipping out the door. I heap blankets on my bed, snuggle up and watch movies on weekends, hit the mountains snowboarding; winter is a time of family, fun, and peace for me. Oh and cuddles. Can’t beat a nice cuddle on a wintry day.

I was chatting to a friend this morning who’s off running around the world again. He’s off to Barcelona shortly. I’m jealous! I’d love to be off to Barcelona…or anywhere for that matter. But as we were chatting I did realise something, I’m remarkably comfortable with life. It’s been an adjustment, a really big one, over the past year and a half from loosing granddad, leaving journalism, to travelling, to the adjustment of coming back home. But suddenly, as I was chatting to Sam last night, I realised, actually, it’s time to let it all go.

Today is the first day I’ve felt ‘at home’ since I came back. It’s the first day I’ve looked around and realised my new normal is incredible. No it’s not quite as spectacular as travelling to Barcelona, but it’s lovely.

I have an incredible relationship, the sort I wake up each day and can’t believe my luck. I have a cute cat and he’s all mine, I’m loving my study, I’m good at my job and I’m enjoying it, my horse is happy and I can snuggle her every now and then. My stress levels are at an all time low and I’m feeling at peace.

It’s time to let go now of the past, of talking about it, of processing it. I am finally at a stage I’m really happy to not be moving on, but to have moved on.

Everyone adjusts to life at different paces, and I think I was struggling to accept I had indeed created the kind of life I craved, the kind of peace and happiness I’d never really allowed myself, the friendships that I envied in other people. It doesn’t need changing anymore, because what I have is everything I need.

This counselling paper I’m doing at the moment is interesting. As I work further through it and read more I can feel myself start to just relax. I’ve been able to feel on a deeper level, appreciate on a greater level, and love in a way I thought was only reserved for people who were naïve.

Essentially just get over the crap (putting it in a less airy fairy way, cause I think I’ve been dealing with too many marketing and psychology words lately!).

Love doesn’t have to have walls and precautions, work doesn’t have to be stressful, study can be enjoyable.

Life being simple can be a good thing. Let it be simple, let it be peaceful, let it be lovely.

I feel an overwhelming sense of freedom…and I didn’t realise a relationship could feel like that. I want to travel more, and I can travel, I want to explore a range of careers and move around, and I can do that, I want to write a book, I can do that.

No I’m not travelling the world or seeing incredible things or saving lives right now. But I’ll get there again at some point. There is a time and place for everything, and right now my time and place is here, with the people I have and with the things I’m doing.

I rush too much.

I’m learning to deal with that.

My room is a beautiful little haven now, Sam’s flatmates are a good laugh and I like being able to hijack them as my friends for the snowboarding season since mine have all run off to new places, I’m so lucky to be able to spend more time with my mum and dad now I’m living at home and see my little brother grow up a bit more, I’m lucky I’m just around the corner from my grandparents, and I love having Sam so close he can just come around for dinner.

I think I’ve been trying to hide from the happy emotions. I never wanted to move back to Tauranga, but what I wanted and what I needed were two very different things. I’ve been stubborn about admitting that. I feel at home here now. I love being here.

It’s taken me by surprise that I can in fact have the things in a relationship and in life that I’ve been craving and it’s actually not hard.

In a lot of ways, and we all already know this, it’s perspective over situation. My situation hasn’t changed since last week, or even yesterday, but my sudden realisation that I don’t need to be on the defensive toward my life and never allow myself to enjoy it for what it is, has changed my attitude.

Life now is an incredible amount better than what I’d planned. So I’ll admit it once again, because I tend to forget this lesson I’ve learnt: stop planning, start living, start enjoying, and go where it takes you.

And breathe. I don’t do that nearly enough.

 

Don’t dig your heals in and hold the door frame

I’ve been trying to hold back tears at work this morning. My throat is a little bit sore and my tummy isn’t loving me today so it could just be I’m getting sick and being emotional comes from that. But it’s a very strange mix of happy emotions and sad. As I sat looking at my Instagram (bet there hasn’t been an emotion inducing sentence quite like that before), I couldn’t help but be a little in love with my life and incredibly sad that things are moving on.

While I was travelling I noticed something about the way I viewed the world; I began to fall in love with how things smelt, how they felt, with the perfectly imperfectness of it. I fell in love with cloudy, rainy days in the mountains, with the bad smells in the markets in Cambodia, with the loneliness of travelling Vietnam by myself, with the stupid bike with the flat tire and plastic seat that caused chaffing. All the things that were wrong made it something. I loved the perfect things, but I was in love with the imperfect ones. They were what tested my character and what I noticed made the biggest changes in my personality.

I can’t deny the statement of ‘I was a different person when I came home’. It’s so cliché I haven’t wanted to use that so far. But I can’t think of any way around it. I was a much harder person, my heart had a much smaller capacity to love, and my walls refused to allow me the luxury of being in love with anything.

The world is an incredible thing to be in love with.

So where does all the emotion today come from? Well, when I came back from that trip, life was anything but perfect and it was anything but what I expected, but I loved it. I don’t think I’ve ever just relaxed, let my walls down, let my guard down and enjoyed where life was going like I did then. It’s normal I want to keep hold of that.

But things are changing, in great, wonderful, spectacular ways, but they’re different. That photo on my Instagram, a really lovely imperfect black and white shot of my besty and I on our last walk before she heads away, captured all of that. It captured how incredible being in love with the imperfect is – with the things that catch you off guard, that surprise you from nowhere.

I’m fighting back tears she’s leaving. And I’m incredibly happy that I feel that way. It means I’ve learnt to care deeply and not to shut off because it’s hard to say goodbye.

It’s easy to get caught up in life and just keep moving; we rarely stop to appreciate the moment of change, or how far we’ve come.

It’s not easy to move on from things you’ve left behind. Actually, it’s really bloody hard.

I spent several years looking on Facebook at people horse riding and competing. It was torture to see them doing what I expected to be doing. But just because it was hard to move on didn’t mean it was what I was meant to be doing it. It just meant it meant something to me. I loved competing, but there came a time where that wasn’t where I was headed anymore. It’s not my journey, it’s someone else’s. It’s what I thought was mine. But it wasn’t. It’s prepared me for many, many more journeys though.

When I watched my best friend get married and my little sister get engaged I struggled. That was the journey I wanted to be on, what I thought was what I was meant to be doing. But I was wrong at the time. It doesn’t mean it won’t be my journey, it’s just not where I was meant to be at the time. I struggled because it meant something to me, not because what I wanted was right.

Now I sit and see journalists ace stories, I see people doing my job well, I see people winning and making waves and I hear of good stories and I pine after it. I wanted it so badly to be me. But I know, deep down, where I’m headed now is where I am meant to be heading. I miss it, because it meant something, not because it’s where I should be now.

And there are days I still miss the farm. I still see photos of life back then and I miss it. I still get along with Alex. The last time we spoke it was like old friends catching up. But that doesn’t mean it was right. It’s not what either of us needed any longer. And sometimes I struggle with that because it meant something to me.

We all struggle to move on because it meant something. But staying put and chasing the past does not get that back. It doesn’t make it right.

We want to run back to what is familiar and comfortable when times are tough. When we see great change ahead it’s normal to want to run and hide under our blankets and let life stay where it is; where it’s comfortable.

Making things happen, being something, achieving something, satisfaction, love, being in love, travel… all of it is incredible, all of it is within our reach…but don’t ever expect it to feel comfortable.

You’re stepping outside of a comfort zone, that’s how you get somewhere. It’s never going to feel comfortable.

I imagined life to be much more ‘collected’ – a series of events which take place in a controlled chronological order. But it’s not at all. It’s often an unpredictable series of events, at times the events don’t always make sense. But you’ll look back one day and realise what those stepping stones, those branches that smacked you in the face, that mud which held you back, those roots you tripped over… were there for.

When you’re feeling the least comfortable, when you know deep down moving on is right, achieving is right, but you’re still stuck wanting what is familiar, think to yourself, back to a time in your life you struggled to let go and just think, what would life be like if it had never changed from then? Would you really still be happy if it had stayed exactly the same?

Would I be happy if things had stayed the same? No way.

I wouldn’t have a boyfriend who twirls me around the supermarket or turns up to work with flowers. I wouldn’t have had the balls to apply for the police, to start running, to study psychology. Heck, if life had stayed as wonderful as it first was when I started my job as a journalist I never would have left, I never would have gone overseas. Things change because we need them to, not always because we want them to.

Am I 100 per cent happy with where I am right now? No way. But I am in love with my life in every imperfect detail and every day I wake up proud of how far I have come and excited about what I can achieve… even the things I have no comprehension of right now. God’s got it.

But I struggle still to let go completely, to move on entirely, and to trust that there is a season for everything.

Who doesn’t?

So on that note, I’m off to continue eating my popcorn and sipping my tea, waiting for that 2pm to come around and for me to race out of here in search of weekend freedom!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ops, I think I was too honest again

Relationships are scary things. Anyone who’s been reading this for a while know’s I’m more of a ‘fall flat on my face while walking up stairs, spill my drink down my front’ type of person. So it comes as no surprise I’ve sat behind my computer staring at the screen for days now wondering what on earth to write and how to put it all.

I’m a mess, a hot one some days (this is usually only my opinion while drinking tequila. Always blame tequila), but generally I’m a ‘going to the supermarket in my pj’s because I forgot how to dress myself’ kind of mess.

(don’t worry, I’m yet to actually do that…but there will come a time)

So it comes as no surprise I accidentally found myself in a relationship. Because yes, I am that kind of person. I’ve told a few people close to me and they’ve all laughed and said ‘that’s how it’s meant to be’.

Wait, so relationships are meant to just happen? They’re meant to be easy? And this sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach is normal and they’re called butterflies?

(I’ve decided the butterflies need to do some serious working out and ease up on the coffee, cause they are heavy and crazy!)

Last blog I mentioned something romantic along the lines of “everyone needs to learn how to let go of the cliff and just fall”. I apologise for such sentiments because I am, right this very moment (metaphorically speaking), clinging to every single thing I can find on that cliff face screaming “NOPE, NOPE NOPE NOPE. I AM NOT FALLING IN LOVE”.

So here’s the thing…I have found someone truly amazing (skip this part if you don’t like mushy). Every single day he surprises me with something that makes me smile, or laugh. There are so many moments I look at him and just think ‘yep, I love you’. I am so comfortable and so damn happy with him it makes me want to slap myself for being so damn cute.

But I am terrified he won’t stick around. That he will get a little way down the line and realise ‘he’s not ready’ or that ‘it’s just not right’ or he’ll run off with someone else. I want to be confident, I’m a confident person, but when you find something amazing and everything else amazing has turned into anything but what you expected, it’s hard to have confidence that what you see is what it really is.

I want to sit there and have the ‘are you sure you’re ready for something like this because breakups aren’t fun and I can’t do another one’ convo. That’s a scary conversation to have. I can guess all I like about how someone feels about me but I want to know, I want someone to look at me and tell me exactly why this will work or exactly why they want me.

Me.

I want to know what makes me special…out of every person. Because there will be other people, there is always other people. And you always have a choice. At some point down the line when you’re mad at the person you love, when you’re tired, there will be another person who is happy to comfort you. Are you going to walk away or is that person you love it? Are they your ‘person’? Why?

Why out of billions and billions of people are they the person you’re going to chose over and over again, every time?

What is going to make you want to keep trying even when you can’t understand that person? Or when you really don’t like that person despite how much you love them?

I’m pretty sure most people can’t answer that.

Most would argue, well ‘because you love each other’ or because ‘they’re the one’.

I like to jump on little girls fairy-tale dreams and say there is no ‘one’. There are many, and you pick one. There are many, many people you are compatible with, who will love you with every single fiber of their being…and you’re going to pick one…maybe. You also might not. You might disagree. But when you think you’ve found the one and then you have to let that go… you suddenly realise it’s not as black and white as you thought it was.

People could also argue ‘well maybe you didn’t realise what ‘the one’ felt like’. But that would be a very naive thing to assume.

I said to Alex, when we first started dating, “Don’t ever give up on me, too many people have given up on loving me and I can’t take that. I cannot deal with someone who just decides they don’t want to try any longer. It will break me.”

Yet there I was, four years later, driving along in my car, at 2am, five days after I landed back in the country, on my fathers birthday, singing my heart out to Jaymes Bay “Let it go”, tears streaming down my face, with my cat Charlie and half my stuff, on my way back to my parents house.

People give up on other people.

Every time I let that wall down and allow myself to be happy falling in love, there is this overwhelming fear that I’ll sit alone at a funeral again or I’ll get news someone has died and the person I loves asks: “Are you ok?” and I lie and say “Yeah” because I’m in shock and they’ll say “ok then” and leave me to it, again.

I am terrified I will let someone be my person again, that I will let someone in and rely on them and then all of a sudden I’ll wake up one day, during one of the hardest times of my life, and I’ll be facing it alone.

There are few things more lonely that being with someone but feeling completely alone.

I fell apart the other day, and Sam swooped in an made it better and picked up the pieces and it terrified me. I have never felt so secure with someone yet so scare of it. Because it’s these little moments I think to myself “Yes, this is absolutely everything I’ve wanted; everything I’ve needed.” And I know, I am 100 per cent certain it is nothing like it has been in the past. He is not him. I know that. I can say it a million times.

But it doesn’t make the fear go away.

(I never said my my emotions were as logical as my thought process!)

I need to be convinced that no matter what, someone will not give up on me…and that might take a long time.

And that might be a lot to put on a new relationship. I’ll most certainly agree with you on that. But it’s what makes me anxious, it’s what keeps me up at night. Because fears are fears and being given up on, watching someone just ‘stop trying’…will always make me feel sick to my stomach and kill all those pretty, fat, hyped up on coffee butterflies in there.

I’ve been avoiding writing this blog because I’ve suddenly become afraid of being honest. Perhaps because honesty upsets people, or perhaps because it also means you can’t hide from things. I am finding myself frustrated and angry and anxious because I don’t trust myself to make the right decisions when it comes to who I love.

I am fragile, I am broken, and I can’t put the pieces back together alone.

So back to the top, where this blog was heading in a very positive direction…

Just kidding! It was never going anywhere positive! I’m in one of those ‘eat chocolate in my bubble bath while reading a romantic novel so I can avoid the responsibilities of life’ moods this week… but let’s throw some happiness in here.

I have an amazing new relationship and I am incredibly glad about that. I’m actually loving the study, I’m feeling like I am achieving well at work, the young girl riding Ivy is having fun, I’m getting closer and closer to my run time for the police, I can do 20 push ups… there are so many things to be thankful for, and I’m thankful for every single one of them…

But I’m also incredibly worried about my Nan’s cancer, I’m really, really sad my best friend is moving away, I’m struggling with the workload from my diploma, and I am freaking out that I won’t pass the police medical.

In a lot of ways I feel like my life has been thrown into the air and everything is just suspended for a while and uncertainty is driving me nuts.

So here I am, finally back blogging, stuck in my head with thoughts going around like a crazy person, but I’m doing ok. I’m a strong person, if nothing else I have certainly proven that to myself over the past two years, and it’s going to be fine.

Life will work out just fine…actually life will turn out just great.

But I really want someone to push me so I take down those walls, because I am terrified, and I won’t take them down without some serious openness and love.

Fear is fear, and no amount of telling me not to be afraid is going to stop me from being afraid.

I need to know why I shouldn’t be afraid.

 

 

 

#atleastIhavemywine #Ishouldprobablybloglessaboutwine #andstopusinghashtags

Ok so I know I’ve been really slack with my blog posting…but there is a reason. I think. Well, it’s an excuse. Despite what it may seem like (while you’re all sitting there cringing while reading about my life) I’m really crappy at talking about how I feel. I’m quite good at getting other people to talk about how they do, and I’m good at talking enough about mine to cover up the fact I’m not really saying or admitting anything. To be fair, it was something I’d never really noticed before I met Sam. I knew I liked to keep stuff to myself, but I never realised how MUCH stuff I liked to keep to myself.

Pretty much the more I like someone, the less I can tell them. AND IT’S REALLY DRIVING ME NUTS. And preventing me from blogging honestly, which really then means blogging at all is pointless.

(I’ve decided to capitalize random things in this post…and also put random editing notes in brackets through it to stop me from editing the actual content)

After a breakup I tend to reflect on all the things I could have done better. I don’t mean I sit there blaming myself, I just like to improve on things. I don’t think anyone is ever a complete person; we’re always growing. So it makes sense to use every opportunity to improve things when you can.

So I know this is something I REALLY need to work on. Up until this point I’ve been drawn to people who like to open up quickly and easily. I often find people who are in need of someone to talk to; someone to trust. I think, because it makes it easier to hide behind how they feel and what they say… essentially it means I never have to ACTUALLY admit what I feel, we can just keep the focus on them until I slip under the radar and people forget to ask. It’s rather unhealthy. But it’s been my safety net, and I think it’s why I never completely fall in love. I never let my walls down completely. It’s a personality thing.

Now I’m in this part of my life where I am growing up and if I want the kind of relationships that come with that; ones that will last and are built on decent foundations, I’m going to have to get over it and learn how to be a grown up with how I process feelings.

I don’t mind if people keep some things to themselves, I don’t get upset about someone’s feelings not matching mine, I don’t get clingy or jealous easily… but that also comes obviously with negatives too, and that is the inability to completely fall for someone or let my guard down. I filter everything I say. It’s a good and a bad thing. I’ve always needed to filter who I am for people to be ok with me.

And I’m not keen to keep living like that.

So I grew some balls and had a decent chat to Sam last night and I’m really glad I did. Because I’m learning, it’s baby steps, but I’m learning to stop holding on for dear life to the cliff top and just enjoy the fall. I think everyone needs to learn how to do that at some point in their life.

I’d never really even done that with myself or with my life until I went travelling.

While watching the sunrise over Angkor Wat, while standing on the top of a mountain in the Austrian Alps, while walking along the lantern lit river in Hoi An at night, I learnt to fall in love with life and appreciate it for all it’s quirks and charms and ups and downs.

While I was crying in my hotel room in Africa because I was struggling to process how different my life was from people there, while I spent two weeks talking to no one in Austria, while I navigated a hospital alone, as I figured out how to walk the streets of Cambodia and catch a tuktuk on my own, when I trusted strangers, while I sat on the pavement in Vietnam eating local food…I learnt to love who I was with no filter.

(I also learnt I have a problem with how much I love coffee and red wine)

I realised who I was; an incredible person, a resilient person, someone who cared deeply about the world, someone who could do incredible things, someone who was not limited by others. But I also realised, the more I learnt to love myself, just how little I let other people love me…who I really am.

The person I am at 2am when I’m still awake worrying about the next day, when I’m jumping up and down with excitement over the stupidest things, when I’m in my ‘bliss zone’ grocery shopping, while I ignore them as I write another book that I’ll probably never finish, when I’m doing the hobbies I love, the way I look at the sunset or the sunrise, the strange thoughts that float around my mind on a long car ride, the big and wild dreams I decide I’m going to embark on because why the hell not? I’m a why not person. I live my life taking on everything unless you can give me a bloody good reason not to. It means I do some really stupid things sometimes, but it also means I go and will go incredible places and do big things. I want that for my life. Even if they’re little big things. I want life to be bigger and unlimited by what I might be afraid of. And ultimately I want someone beside me who feels the same way, who wants to push me to do that, who does not ‘tolerate’ my personality but rather brings the positives and helps me overcome the negatives. I need someone to constantly challenge me to be a better person, but feel safe enough that they’re going to love me even when I’m a really crappy person.

(And when I listen to the same song on repeat 6 million times before I get sick of it.)

I’m happy alone, I just have to learn now how to not only be happy alone but with someone and realise it’s not a bad thing to love people. It’s not a bad thing to fall in love.

It’s ok to be out of control and just see what happens.

Ok so I think my problem with my inability to write blogs comes from this new thing I’ve started doing called ‘editing’. Did any of you realise how much pointless crap I waffle on about on here? I’m sure one day my children will discover the dark archives of my blog and will forever use it as a valid defense in any argument.

*cries into glass of wine and remembers once again why reproducing might be a bad idea*

Anyway! Pretty much what I’m trying to say… is I’m bloody brilliant and I’m fantastically happy and life is moving in this slightly dream like direction… sometimes I’m not quite sure how to handle that because it’s been a little while since I’ve felt this satisfied. Actually, I don’t think I’ve felt quite like this about my life before.

(I’m a perfectionist and I’m not good at this ‘accepting my flaws and realising life can be perfect without being perfect’ thing)

It’s baby steps, I’m learning lots of stuff. I’m enjoying sunsets and sunrises. I have an amazing person by my side and I’m going to miss my bestie like crazy when she moves soon, and I’ll probably cry, but I’m also so damn glad life is moving on for us all in the best possible way.

And it’s Friday.

And I’m visiting a friend tonight and we’re going to have a night out!

Both of those things make me incredibly happy.

#Illalwayshavewinetocuddleifitturnstoshit

 

Catch my breath

I’ve been sitting in front of my computer, on my bed in Canada (family holiday), for over an hour now trying to put together my thoughts in sentences long enough to construct a blog. I could blame the concussion a few days ago, or I could blame this irritating case of writers block.

I tend to find I suffer from writers block when I have a bunch of thoughts but I don’t actually know what I want to say. So, on days like these (or weeks in this case) I sit down and listen to a whole heap of random songs I can relate to, I zone out of life, and I make myself write random things here.

I’ve reached a new phase of what I’ve come to call ‘post breakup’. I’m well past the break up and it’s now learning how to cope with all the changes in my personality. It’s almost like meeting a new person and getting to know all the strange quirks about them…but it’s me. I’m learning about all the strange quirks I never had before.

I’ve decided I want to get a tattoo. I’m not sure why that’s a defining point of change, but I’ve decided it is. That’s my moment. It’s the acceptance that I’m different; life is different, and it’s time to get used to that.

The other day I was talking to someone who said they had worked through issues in a marriage because they couldn’t imagine being with anyone else, that the person they were with was it and if they weren’t with them they wouldn’t be with anyone else. That’s exactly how I felt. In some ways it’s still how I feel. It’s not that I don’t want someone else, it’s that my mind is still getting used to that idea and it might take some time. But I’m a firm believer that things change, and when they do, you have to change your thinking. I’m damn excited about the people I’m meeting…and I pat myself on the back everyday that I can keep moving forward.

Lately I’ve met someone who has caught me off guard. People don’t do that. I’m rarely surprised by people. Actually, I can’t remember the last time someone new took my breath away. And it’s the first time I haven’t wanted to run, fast. It gives me hope. A kind of hope I’d actually completely forgotten about. It doesn’t mean I won’t run, I’m a fast runner, but it does mean that I’m learning. I am coming to terms with the fact life is going to be ok and there are people out there who will surprise me, excite me, inspire me, challenge me, and just make me smile about something completely ordinary. And it’s ok to care about someone…even if they hurt you. Caring is a really nice feeling.

I refuse to let past hurts control my life or control what I give to and see in people. If someone throws my trust back in my face, if they turn out to be nothing like I thought, who the hell cares? I’ve lived through worse. I never stop getting back up when I’ve been kicked down. And that’s not going to change. I refuse to be afraid of something incredible incase it’s something painful.

I have absolutely no idea what’s going to happen in my future, and that’s bothering me considerably at the moment, but this year is all about my life and what I want in it. For the first time I’m allowing myself space, I’m giving myself permission to make my life about what I want rather than what someone else wants from me. I have two exciting volunteer projects I’m really excited to throw myself into and I’m looking forward to figuring out and mastering my office/marketing job(s). I’m planning to explore my own country a little bit more, attend a bunch of festivals, get a tattoo or two, master surfing…and the list goes on.

It’s easy to lose focus on what’s actually important, now, and worry about the future. It’s something I need to write on a mirror and remind myself every single time I get up… that life is happening now. It will work out. Trust God and stop wasting energy.

That’s easier said than done.

But I will get there. And as afraid as I am about letting someone into a life I’ve finally managed to call my own, I know whoever I do let in is going to be someone pretty special. And if it’s just me this year, that’s cool too. I’m really, really ok with it.

There’s moments I want to burst into happy tears and give myself a high five. I’m learning; I’m recovering. Loving people doesn’t have to hurt and when it does, it’s still worth it.

I’m still worth something. I’m still loveable. I am still the amazing person I was, if anything I’m even better. I’m allowed to love myself.

While I’ve been over here in Canada I’ve missed my friends in a way I’ve never missed people, I’ve craved coffee dates and chats and nights out. Every time I see my sister snuggle with her fiancé it doesn’t make me crave that exact thing, it makes me crave the people I care about. That’s the first time in my entire life I’ve craved genuine company rather than wanting something someone else has.

It makes me smile every time I think about how many things I am blessed with and how certain I am, that no matter what changes and who moves and who I meet, I will always want quality people in my life, and in unlimited amounts.

I’m this strange mix of absolutely terrified, sad, excited, happy, and completely content.

So here’s to the next stage of getting back up, standing tall, moving forward, and living life.

Listen to this cool remix.

Peace out!

P.s Canada is amazing in every single way and I’m coming back here. Actually I think I’m going to live here.

#lifeisbloodybrilliant

 

 

 

Happy-go-lucky

The count down to Canada has begun! It’s less than a week before I fly out of the country and I’m still yet to figure out what on earth I’m packing. Sickness has found me once again in the form of a cold and all sorts of average feelings. But I had it coming really, my body doesn’t love take aways, no sleep, and alcohol for over a week! Running around in the rain probably didn’t help either. Never the less I’m now taking the hint and sleeping as much as is humanly possible while still working and occasionally eating. Ugh, I must be getting old. I’m now adding ‘don’t drink vodka’ to my New Years resolution list. Lately I seem to swing between wanting to cuddle up in bed with a good book and my cat and wanting to go clubbing all night and never sleep. I’m some weird combination of grown up and someone trying to relive their teenage years.

When I began 2015 my only new years resolution was to be ‘unapologetically me’. At the time I wasn’t entirely sure what that looked like, all I knew is I was tired of trying to make people happy or impress them and either putting on or shutting down parts of who I was to achieve that. I’d actually forgotten about it when I made 2016’s resolutions, until the other night. I was sitting with one of my best friends when he turned to me after a moment of silence and said “I’ve never met anyone who is so good at being themselves as you are”. It’s funny because I rarely stop to think about what I come across to people as. I know from feedback on my blog that each person reads what I write differently, and I really enjoy that, but I haven’t often stopped to think about how my friends perceive me or my life for that matter.

Quite often I get so focused and just doing my thing I don’t get the chance to congratulate myself on how far I’ve come or pat myself on the back for things I’ve achieved.

I have indeed managed to become unapologetically me and I now know what that looks like: me being me without trying – the people who like who I am, stay and those who don’t, leave. I really like who I am as a result of it and while it’s meant losing a few major people in my life, I’ve made even better friends and become closer to the some of ones I already had.

Part of my being me plan was to live life large; start saying yes more and getting out of my comfort zone. After travelling like I did I thought comfort zones were a thing of the past and getting out of them was a piece of cake. I was wrong, like I usually am, and I’ve found being single one of the hardest things to get used to in terms of meeting guys and striking up conversation with people. I don’t think many people realise just how comforting it is to have that one ‘person’ there for them and how little you rely on other people when in a relationship. Suddenly now I’m single I rely on people like I never have before. I need my friends around me; I need people to laugh with, have nights out with, talk to about random things in my day, share exciting things with, all the little things I shared in a relationship I’ve found other people to share them with. But that, until now, was a very daunting thing. And it still is at times. My happiness is reliant on a lot of different people, I’m still feeling vulnerable, those people can and will move and change and carry on with their own lives just like I will with mine…and I have no say about that. It’s scary. The unknown is scary.

But it’s also exciting. I’m learning to just enjoy the now and the people I have right now. I never thought I’d care about people or want to help people the way I do now. I’ve found the more I go through and the more I see in life the more determined I am to get alongside other people; face life together.

I had another friend point out the other day that I “do so many cool exciting things all the time”. Again, I’d never stopped to think about it. But I suppose when I add up the travelling, the hobbies, the nights out, I am in fact living life large. I’m enjoying every moment of it and I’m grabbing it by the horns. Instead of thinking about it, I’m just doing it. And I think that’s the best way to approach it.

I’ve become a happy-go-lucky people person and that was never something I expected. I looked at people who loved life and frolicked in genuine happiness with a bunch of amazing friends as foreign objects. I honestly had no idea how people did that. Yet just like that, I’m one of those people. When I say just like that I don’t really mean I closed my eyes one night and woke a up different person. I think it’s more a case of the deeper the sadness and hurt you face and the more you see of the world, the more you make the most of the good times and the faster you recover in the bad. It’s not that you ever really stop being sad about the really sad things, you just carry them around in a different way. I’m doing a terrible job of explaining this, but hopefully you get the jist.

So I’m going to stop there before I ramble on into oblivion. Bring on another 12 hour sleep night, healthy food, staying out of the rain, and having cuddles with my cat.

#Icanbeagrownupsometimes

Au revoir 2015!

Well, we’ve finally made it! The end of 2015 is finally here and what a year it has been. I was trying to avoid doing the whole ‘New Year, new me’ blog, but whatever, I couldn’t resist. I have no self control. In terms of writing anyway! I’m still a little buzzed on too much coffee from a road trip of 6.5hrs from Russell, Bay of Islands back to my home in Tauranga so this blog might come out in all sort of weirdness, but here goes!

2015 was one of the up and down years of my life. I’ve achieved things I never thought I would and I’ve seen both good and difficult changes in my life and myself as a person. I’ve travelled 9 countries, met people who took my breath away, hiked the alps, drank the best wine I’ve ever tasted in France, started learning French, changed careers, reconnected and built new friendships. Life is nothing like I imagined it would be but it never ceases to be incredible even during the struggles. If 2015 is anything to go by 2016 ought to be one hell of a ride!

I’ve picked up the rest of my stuff from Alex’s, I’ve met a few new people, accidentally taken things the wrong way, have concluded I suck at meeting new people and can’t communicate like a normal person…but in general, I have faith it’s all going to be alright!

On that note I think it’s time to write a good ol’ list of goals for this year! Yep, I actually have New Years resolutions this year!

  1. Run 5km at 5mins per km
  2. Achieve 30 pushups without feeling like I’m dying
  3. Work hard enough to earn commission from marketing jobs
  4. Obtain firearms licence
  5. Learn to dive
  6. Become 80 per cent fluent in French
  7. Volunteer twice a week
  8. Get involved in church
  9. Go on adventures

There’s not actually that many but they’re all harder than they might seem to achieve…for me anyway. So instead of adding more to the to do list I thought I’d also write a list of the ways I want to live my life this year…

  1. Take. Things. Slowly – relationships
  2. Don’t be afraid of something wonderful
  3. Don’t drag old hurts into new beginnings (yeah, that one’s not easy)
  4. Know what I want and stick to it
  5. Know what I don’t want and avoid it
  6. Never be afraid to take a step beyond the comfort zone
  7. Don’t hold back because of fear
  8. Friends first, men second
  9. Appreciate something in every day
  10. Don’t live life in order to keep up with or impress others
  11. Never apologise for being happy
  12. Avoid coffee…
  13. Stop planning, start living
  14. Be the best damn version of myself I can be

So there you have it folks!