It never was going to be easy…

I think one of the biggest traps you can fall into when you make a big change in your life, is expecting it to be ‘good’ all the time. People ask me, as I ask them, how life is going, how’s the new job, how’s the relationship, how’s this and that and the other. It’s good that people care. But it’s also easy to fall into the trap of thinking all they want to hear is ‘good’.

I love my new job, it’s going well I think, but I’ve started answering that question with ‘it’s really hard’. The new job is really hard. Most new jobs are. Aside from the ‘what the hell did you do to end up working in THAT job’ looks…it’s just a tiring job.

Just because you decided to make a big change, and even if you love it, doesn’t make it easy.

I think that’s something that’s really easy to forget.

Support though, is the second biggest. It’s easy for people to say ‘don’t over do it’ or ‘you’re too tired take a break’. It’s well meaning, it always is. But with everything comes work, hard work. And like with the many lessons I’ve learnt so far in life, I know how far I can push myself before I need a break.

Coffee, coffee is good right now.

It’s coming to the end of 2016 and just like each year for the past few years there have been massive highs and massive lows. Life just throws those at you sometimes, but I also think when you put yourself out there, when you make adjustments, when you push yourself, you’re going to come up against some friction. And like anyone who has ridden a bike with sweaty thighs knows, friction is not your friend.

Next year is going to be just as, if not more so challenging than this year. I threw a little tantrum about that the other day because, well, I really just want a break. But while running down the beach, my lungs screaming at my that running is a silly thing to do, the salt air stinging my eyes, I took a moment to say to myself: ‘well of course it’s going to be damn hard’.

I get told on the regular to ‘stop being negative’. I respond ‘honestly, I’m just realistic’. I stopped kidding myself it would be rainbows and lollipops a little while back. Why? Because it’s not. And if you’re prepared for rainbows and lollipops and instead get kale juice and salad, you’re not going to last very long. If you expect the kale juice and salad, and accept you just need those to grown and be a healthy human, well it’s not going to be a disappointment, it’s going to be a growing experience.

I want to achieve a lot. And doing that means hard work, which means times of pain, sacrifice and tears. It means I won’t always get the fairytale, but I will get the action film.

When I made the decision to live life with 100 per cent of what I can give, and with 100 per cent faith I’m doing the right thing, I knew it would be hard.

It will be hard.

It will be uncomfortable.

I will throw tantrums.

And sometimes I will want to give up.

But I am looking at next year as many mountains to climb, with many views from the top.

And yes my butt will hate me for climbing them all, but I will do it. Because I can do it. Because I’ve never said no to a challenge yet.

It is easy to look at other people and wish for simplicity or for things to go ‘right’. But they don’t, not for anyone. Everyone struggles. You see simply a slice of the pie…not the whole thing.

So with that I shall continue to work myself into the ground to save a lot of money to get the things I want and to get better at the career I’ve decided I’ll give my best shot at.

They boys at work told me today I was too nice. They’re yet to see the crazy…just wait…I have the determination and stubbornness of my horse when it doesn’t want to walk through a puddle. Not all methods of gaining respect come in the form of swearing, anger and muscles.

And they’ll see that…

In saying that I intend to keep going to the gym to kick their butts in the weights room…again…so maybe it has a little bit to do with muscles.

But that’s beside the point.

And for the ironic moment of the day… if you’re having a bad day, just remember I crashed my car on the way to my police exam and it cost me $400 to fix it. Because, why wouldn’t you crash your car on the way to a police exam?!

 

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).

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