This is the most alive I’ve ever felt

2016 is five weeks away. Yep, I’ll just give you a moment to let that sink in.

Life is under control, or well, as under control as it can be. I’ve come to accept nothing in life (other than death, but let’s not get all depressing) is guaranteed. None of it. I can walk around and make all the plans in the world but there is nothing to say that’s how it’s going to go. I used to get all uptight and worried about that, but I’ve just accepted that’s not how it goes now. Perhaps it’s because the past two years didn’t go at all to plan or perhaps I’m just growing up.

See I’ve spent many years wanting things to look a certain way, being worried about a career, about being in a relationship, having this little perfect life with a bow on top. Now rather, my life is like the presents after they’ve been torn apart at Christmas by the excited three year old. But I think that’s how life should look. There are bad things that happen and they hurt, there are avoidable things that happen and they cause regret, there are great things that happen and they make us happy. And it comes in the package called life.

One thing I’ve taken out of the many from this past year is that being happy actually isn’t what life is about…it’s being content and fulfilled. Those things often lead to happiness, but they’re not happiness. You can be sad about something yet still be content or you can be angry about someone and still be content.

I’ve also realised that being able to be there for people is so much more important than having life going perfectly. I want to have time for friends, for memories, to help people when things are falling apart, to celebrate with people when they’re going well. I want time to enjoy the things in my life and not just rocket past them all at a million miles an hour on this quest to conquer life.

I’m taking a major step back in my journalism career by taking a part time job in an admin role, I’m not likely to be able to compete my horse properly again for a while because of my sore tailbone, I still have days I struggle with the fact I’m no longer with someone I loved dearly. It’s not perfect. It never will be. I’m still tired and a bit stressed, but I’m alive. I have moments where I whinge to my friends that I hate it all and I’m angry. We all do.

But it doesn’t mean life isn’t great.

I’m excited about the fact I have a job for the next year, I’m loving the fact that it’s part time and I can focus on other things like volunteer work and other part time jobs. It might not seem like the direction I should be heading in, but for me it’s exactly where I want to be; around family and friends and saving money for my next adventure. The fractured tailbone sucks, but it means I have more time for other exercise and actually spending time enjoying my horse as a pet. And I’m getting used to flying solo.

I’m not always positive, I’m not always happy, I know that the next bombshell could come from anywhere at anytime, but I’m content and I make the most of the good times.

Life is to be lived and for the first time in mine, I feel like I am living right now.

I feel the most alive I’ve ever felt. And that in itself is worth more than words can describe.

 

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Big open spaces

It was 11.37pm on November 1 when I finally changed my relationship status on Facebook. It might not seem like much but it was the last little moment of control. My room currently has boxes pilled in corners, blankets strewn everywhere, the horse float still has a few boxes and giant teddy bear, and I’m yet to attempt to unpack the biggest clothes box because my wardrobe is already full. In the past year I’ve cleaned out four large cardboard boxes of clothes and goodness knows how much other crap. But putting all my farm clothes, the ones I have absolutely no use for anywhere else in my life, in a bag ready for the second hand store, was it. That was the moment of certainty; this is my new life. I get to have a manicure, I can wear heals on the weekends, I can go out with my friends whenever I want, no more driving an hour every week. And it all seemed like small sacrifices but now without them, it suddenly feels like a huge weight has gone and I almost feel guilty about that. But I’m not one to wallow, ok well kind of, I wallow in epic amounts of sarcasm and dry, bitter humour, but in general I don’t like to dwell on things I can’t change. So I make the most of them.

It seems strange to reduce my life down to one room. Not two houses, just one room. My room. This is it. All of my things crammed into one space. I’d usually say all my life crammed into one space but it’s not what defines my life, far from it. I might be back in the same place in the same situation I was five years ago, but that’s not what my life amounts to. Part of me doesn’t want to unpack because I know I could well be moving again in a few months once I make up my mind of what I’m doing, but I can’t do that. I need to make somewhere home for now and this is it. I’m going through it all slowly and throwing out anything I don’t want. Nothing stays if it’s not wanted or needed and that in itself is therapeutic.

So far my plan of action has been to throw out any underwear that doesn’t make me feel comfortable and sexy. I put my pillow in the middle of the bed because I can have whatever side I want. I’ve cut my hair how I want it. I’ve worn heals out to lunch because I could. And I’ve taught the cat he can sleep on my bed. That in itself is a big deal, he refused to sleep on the bed until I moved him here…it’s our new start and we can be weird together. He still wont come out of the room for more than a few moments, and I get it, if I could I probably would hide in here too and sleep all day with him. Tomorrow I get Ivy back and she’s moving just up the road so even though there won’t be any riding for a while (thanks tailbone), I plan on taking her around the property and for big wanders on the lead because I have the time and there’s nothing quite like horse cuddles to make the world a better place.

I have some pretty cool friends and family who celebrated my birthday with me today. Only two more days until my actual birthday day! I’m feeling good. The beach looks amazing, I have my wardrobe back after four months living out of a suitcase, I have my bed all to myself, I have incredible people around me, I’m getting fit and heathy again after rather interesting food choices. It’s good, and I’m not just saying that to make myself believe it, I really am. I’m still angry sometimes, I’m still hurt a lot of the time, but I’m happy and I’m at peace. What more could you ask for really?

So week two of my return home begins. These next six weeks will be all about weddings for friends and brain storming where to next. And just like Charlie is terrified when he has big open spaces in front of him, I’m daunted and unsure what to do with all mine.

Until I know I’m just going to run around it like a crazy person on the loose.

Rather emotional post about life

In all challenges there is always a lesson. In every decision there is some sort of realisation. I’ve always known exactly what I want and there was never any doubt I’d be it. I wanted to be a 1.60m show jumper. I wanted to be a big time reporter chasing every story lead I saw. I wanted to see life change in front of me in the most pleasant way possible. I wanted to be at the top of my game in every situation. I wanted to own my own house. I wanted this perfectly orchestrated life where every single step fell into place. I was prepared to work hard to get it. I was prepared to pour blood sweat and tears into it.

But then I changed my mind.

It’s been one of the hardest decisions to ‘change my mind’. I’m a know what I want sort of person. I’m an organised, keep it together when it’s falling apart sort of person. But I’m also the kind of person who puts so much pressure on myself I buckle until I break. And I spent years breaking and putting myself back together, because I didn’t realise there was any other way of living.

Then Ivy stopped jumping. I found out I had a health issue I’d have to live with. I finished tech but only by the skin of my teeth. I started a fantastic job and realised I love adventure stories and talking to people about their lives. And I pushed and pushed myself. I lost granddad.

And I realised life doesn’t unfold in a beautiful delicate way. That you fall from great heights at any time. That it all changes in the time it takes you to close your eyes.

And I stopped pushing myself.

I stopped demanding I do better. I stopped expecting only parts of the world. And I stopped keeping it together.

Because I’ve realised my life is not a series of perfectly executed moves on chess board. It is this crazy and unexpected series of events which come together to form the years you’re on this earth, and what you do with them is what counts. How you feel during them is what matters. And who you have an impact on along the way is what you leave behind.

So I decided that’s how I want to live. Not by thinking about every single step or planning the next few years before I’ve even made it out of this one. I don’t want to spend life holding back the tears when all I want to do is crawl into bed and hide. I don’t want to hold back shouts of joy when I’m on top of the world. I want to feel each moment, even the worse ones, I want to see things that open my eyes.

I want to be more than I expect. But I don’t want to be shouting at myself every second of the day to make it over the finish line. I want to walk there, run, skip if I damn well want to.

I’ve decided I want to stand and scream ‘come at me’ to the world. I want to do what I really want to do and I want to go for it, not wait until the next perfectly executed step comes along.

I want to have everything to gain.

Maybe I’ll be a 1.60m show jumper, maybe I wont. Maybe I’ll buy a house one day. But you just never know, and that’s the fun part.

And I think I missed that when I was figuring out life. I’ve got ideas, but no plan. I have absolutely no idea what I’m going to do with my life, but I know it’s going to make me happy. I’m going to take the steps that come along and the ones I create.

And I’m jumping head first into it…because, well, I can.

The to do list is almost over

Tomorrow I shall clean my desk and my computer files. I may avoid using spray and wipe on the computer files, they never seem to like that much. Then again, it might solve all my problems…it deserves a good spray and wiping after its determination to destroy my sanity this year with its technological malfunctions.

The end is near.

I have organised the rubbish, I have packed two weeks worth of my gluten free snacks and go to foods for holiday, I have my suitcase out and already starting to fill, I’ve bought most of my Christmas presents, I even did the dishes.

Now it’s just the final parts of saying goodbye to this year (and cleaning the rest of the house, but that never seems to really stop needing to be done). I have to clean out the tack room and organise it all in my shed at home, start cleaning the float ready for sale, and have my car serviced…also ready for sale.

And Pip has to get to his new home all safe and sound and ready for a new life.

Next year, is going to be different. Perhaps I have lulled myself into a false sense of security…but I feel like I might actually hit the ground running for once.

Last year I was still suffering the effects of study, having had very few actual breaks and going straight into full time work, then losing granddad, buying a new horse, having my other horse have a baby horse, moving house… and so on.

I am in a house where I feel secure and stable, I have narrowed down my hobbies, and made way for friends.

Speaking of friends, I have two both getting married next year…I’m maid of honour (I think the proper title is chief bridesmaid as I am yet to be married) for both. I am very pleased and excited about this don’t get me wrong…

But I think I will a) be very prepared for when I do get married and b) might actually consider just going to a trip to the court house.

Just kidding…kinda.

I thought with two friends getting married I’d be all jealous like but I’m really not, I am excited though. But I think it’s actually installing a healthy wariness of weddings…but hey…I’ll make a great maid of honour…I’m great at organising and great at creating lists and great at budgeting!

Anyway…

Christmas is just around the corner. I still need to find a present for my brother and my boy friend. I need to finish cleaning the house. Move my horse stuff. And I’m done. I can officially switch off from life. That’s a pretty cool feeling…

I have finally made it (almost) through 2014 alive, step after painfully slow, heavy step, I’m here.

2015 feels like it’s going to be full of excitement, a bit of stress, and a whole change of tune in how I view life.

It’s going to be about fun. It’s going to be about doing well at my career, about drinking wine with friends, riding Ivy for the hell of riding, getting Mardy used to life because I can, going on trips around the Waikato to find great walks, heading into the bush as much as possible, and hopefully taking up water skiing.

This year was far too serious, it had to be at times, but I just think it’s time for a change…

If you don’t like something. Change it.

Adios!

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.

This is life now

Life has not been easy this past year, it’s been good, but far from easy. You know that feeling when you’re nearly at the finish line, but you just have to push a little bit longer to get there? Your legs feel like deadweights and you’re gasping for breath with every step you take?

Yep, that’s right where I am in my race to the end of the year. It’s also how I felt walking up a large hill this weekend.

Today, I had a fight with the onions. No, not because they make me cry, because I’m one of these weird people who doesn’t cry when cutting onions…I’m not sure what that means about me as a person… but I certainly took my anger out on that onion. The skin didn’t want to peal off it and I made my point. The dinner I made with it was delicious however.

I think I’ve just got a bit carried away in all the coping and the dealing with whatever life throws, and the loving things, that I forgot to really figure out what life is now.

I went to church the other day with my grandparents, I don’t seem to go to church often now…I didn’t really think much about why I don’t anymore, until I was there. There is something about being in church that makes you face who you really are and what you’ve been hiding from.

Because my default is to hide, and deal, and cope, alone, I struggle with facing things.

Anyway, the sermon was on weathering storms. Yep, I’d say this year has been one hell of a cyclone, and I’m pretty tired of hanging in there, waiting for the rain to stop.

I planted a veggie garden yesterday. This is home now, this is my life, this is how things are going to be for at least the next year.

To tell you the honest truth, I think the hard part of this year has been coming to terms with my past, it has been facing what I want and who I am. It is the reality of now and life. I think it’s easy to get so caught up in what you want to be and what you want from life, you don’t stop to think about what it is when you actually get there.

What is it like to move on? What is it like to remember all the pain? What is it like to heal? What is it like to have a home after six moves in four years? To have the life I’ve always fought for?

What is it like to finally stop running from things?

And then the hardest question of all, where to now? I don’t want to move from this spot, but I know there will come a time when I have to. But not now, not yet, because I’m just coming to terms with my life how it is, and it would be nice to stay a while.

I’m also coming to the end of a very good TV programme, and that makes me emotional.

So does this song, but it’s a very good song.

It’s the next chapter

FOR THE BLOG

So last night, after I wrestled the bacon bone soup out of the freezer and the chicken drumsticks escaped and attacked my foot, I struggled to sleep.

The bacon bone soup was good, exactly what you need when you’re fighting the flu and unable to sleep.

I was thinking to myself ‘seriously dude, just close your eyes and sleep!’

It’s not my brain’s fault. Life has been what I would call a white water adventure as of late.

My grandfather is dying, I’m selling my horse – evidently that means no more horse riding for a while, my other horse is having a foal and I am seriously out of my depth, I’m moving house, I’ve been revisiting old wounds with an ex, and work is full on – but good.

So really, my brain doesn’t really have much of a shot at being ok lately.

To tell you the truth, I think it’s doing pretty damn well.

Stories for work this week have been some of the best since I started working, I have loved the research and the interviews. But one in particular about family violence has stirred up a few past hurts (NOT with my own family!). The problem with me, is I don’t really move on from things until I talk about it. I need to talk to figure it out. The other person doesn’t even have to say much, they just need to understand.

The problem with this particular time in my life, is there is only one person who actually can understand it. So it’s back to the past I go.

There is this whole folder in my brain reserved for ‘2010, when things fell apart in a rather impressive way’.

I got it together thank goodness.

But it doesn’t make it all go away. It just makes you pretend it’s not there.

That’s not healthy.

So I’m being brave and actually drawing lines and treading carefully on very broken glass. But with the mix of everything that’s going on at the moment, I choose to slip into a world of good drama TV shows.

This is definitely the start of another chapter for me.

But I have absolutely no idea where I am going. I have an idea of what I want and what will be there, but it’s making the sentences that scares the living daylights out of me. Because it is the first time in my life I’m not ignoring anything. I’m not trying to ‘escape’. I am facing my fears and I am doing what I know is best for not just me, but the people around me.

So, here is to the next step.

Sore foot from chicken fights, green juice because I hate chewing my greens, cups of tea to sooth the hurts, and good TV shows to take my mind off it all when I just need a break.

It might not seem like a lot from the outside, but it’s a huge amount to me. And I’m ok with saying that. Everyone fights their own battles in their own time, and this is my time and my battle.

But I’m going to win.

Because it’s my life, and I want better than what I’ve been giving myself.

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.

The ‘it’ girl

Schmoozing is hard. Really hard. The kind of difficult that makes me squirm, anxiously wrap my fingers in my hair and hold on for dear life. Short, quick, broken breaths – the kind the swiss ball woman on the DVD in my  laptop would disapprove of. I like to write. Love to write. I enjoy meeting people. But I suck at conversation. In interviews it is completely different, I have control, it is my platform. My time to shine. Schmoozing, I am out of control, nervous, worried that I will not be what that person wants in a person. That I will not be a satisfactory human being. It terrifies me. If I meet someone, just randomly, I like that, I can control the conversation or at least sway it. I don’t need them to like me. Future employers, the people who’s jobs I want. Well, those people I need to like me.

Unfortunately not being the popular girl or even being in the ‘popular’ group at school did not stand me in good steed for faking it till I make it. I really am what you see is what you get. Most of the time. I struggle to fake it. There was a short period of time in my first year studying I thought I had mastered it. Apparently I hadn’t. I am just an awkward person. Not insecure, but desperate. I need a future I can see and it is driving me nutty that I have no idea what’s next. No clue. Nothing. Nada. 

I did meet famous people today, New Zealand famous. I am extremely excited by this and though it may not seem like it today was wonderful. I truly enjoyed learning, listing and the… well… interesting company. I felt like I was slowly getting there on my train to being me, successfully being me.

This is an accomplishment of it’s own. Meeting people I imagine with light shinning from behind them as they descend down a golden stairwell, that was just a bonus.