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.

 

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Deep breaths and take 10

It takes a while to stop running. It’s like braking a car on ice, the faster you’ve been travelling the longer it’s going to take you to stop. Me, I’ve been travelling my whole life at 100 miles per hour. I never stop. The last time I took ‘time out’ and went on a holiday was when I was about 10, with the family to a place called Dunk Island off the coast of Australia. I’m nearly 22 and it occurred to me just before I booked my tickets, that I don’t stop.

I’ve always been told to ‘slow down’ by every health professional under the sun, but the older I get the clearer the picture of ‘slowing down’ becomes. I would always take time out for me, perhaps a cup of tea and a good TV show, perhaps a run or a bit of yoga, but life never actually stopped.

By stop I don’t mean take yourself away from it all and do nothing, I mean stop doing what has become the norm.

At 16 I decided I was leaving school to study journalism and I did just that. I spent the first six months of study having fun and letting loose before I met Alex and I calmed down a tad. Second year was more demanding work wise with study and I began to increase my competitiveness with horse riding. Plus travelling each weekend to see Alex meant life was about doing a series of events which I had titled ‘life’.

In my third year I was juggling full time competition on my horse, completing four internships, finishing a degree and a diploma, and seeing Alex on weekends. I finished study and three weeks later was in a job. And I worked but butt off in that job, because I loved it.

But I never stopped.

And it was a terrifying thought at 21 to realise I’d spent my whole life completing a series of events which I would one day call my life.

So here I am, unemployed, sitting on a balcony in Cambodia, and breathing. My speeding car is slowing down on the ice.

It’s not a holiday from life, it’s a change in my life. It’s me finally saying ‘I want to be happy and I don’t want to be running’. Just because I loved my job and I love competitions, it didn’t mean they were good for me. And it didn’t mean they made me happy. And that’s a really hard concept to get my head around sometimes.

When I first arrived here I had this deep feeling of unrest, like I was unable to pause and not plan. I had this unbelievable desire to find security in things like stress. I like to be busy so I do not have to challenge my way of thinking or being.

Now I am starting to just relax and actually enjoy not having a to do list that takes over my life, I can just stop and take life in.

Change is just as good as a break.

Stress…just stress.

Stress. My good old buddy stress. I’d like to say we’d parted ways long ago but I doubt that will ever be the case. It’s my fault in part, I did decide to plan an overseas trip at the last moment…but life just likes to throw in all these odd curve balls – good and bad.

Work has been great, too great. I’ve had all these great stories come up but the problem with a whole bunch of good stories is it means a whole bunch of transcribes and council agendas and interviews and after a while the words stop making sense and the pages start spinning. One transcribe, which was from a 30minute long interview, was over 700 words. And all you college kids are whinging about a 3000 word essay. I can write 3000 words in my sleep…no seriously, I’ve started dreaming articles.

Mardy sold, which was fantastic and takes the heat off saving…because lets be honest…I actually had no idea how I was paying for a good 1/3rd of the trip before that. Ivy has gone to her new lease home which is both heart stoppingly nerve wracking and fantastic. For the first time since I started working, I will not be paying grazing…and I actually have time to GROCERY SHOP!

I haven’t done a proper grocery shop, and by proper I mean one where I’m not dodging people while running from isle to isle grabbing what I actually cannot live without frantically from the shelves and flying through the self checkout isle, for more than three weeks. And by what I cannot live without I mean things like almond milk…I ate chips for dinner. According to my tired brain dinner doesn’t count as a necessary component to life.

But back to Ivy…she’s my baby. I’m her person. I’ve had her for the past six years, no one has looked after her for more than two weeks at a time. No one. She is never further than an hour from me. That, and there have only been two other people ride her since I bought her…and I was there the whole time with both. So yes, I’m sort of freaking out.

I also came home to find Casey screaming in pain on Saturday, first time calling an ambulance…yep super fun. Thankfully she is ok and for her sake (and because I value my life) I’m not going to go into details. But hey, at least I already knew my way around a hospital so knew where to park!

And because I love my job and really want to make sure I do everything I need to do before I go, I’m doing bike rides like they’re going out of fashion. My butt is not forgiving me for them.

Oh and Snuggie my cat is still missing after two weeks.

Alex moves this week.

Oh yeah, and I’m leaving the country in four weeks…including this one.

I haven’t even booked my Austria flight! I just want to book the damn flight! And then there is accommodation…deep breaths. Lots and lots of them.

Then I also agreed to do this speaking thing. I’m kind of excited and also really really regretting the decision due to the fact my adrenaline is already pumping at a rate of knots and I’m sick…again.

Not that I really blame my immune system, I’ve sort of put it through hell as of late. My skin is also jumping on the ‘I’m in protest of your life currently’ and throwing a bit of a hissy fit. I don’t blame it really, given I’ve eaten both gluten and dairy in the past week alone and can’t remember the last time I cooked myself a half decent dinner that didn’t include chips or coconut water as a staple item.

Never the less, I am alive. Tired, stressed, but alive.

Headless chicken mode activated.

Yes, I’m good

Journalists are funny creatures. Or at least the ones I know are. We find strange mechanisms for coping with the work load that just-never-stops and the big bosses in swively chairs making decisions. It’s easier to laugh and take the piss out of the mania that has been created than it is to have a cry and actually try to analyse the strange and perhaps concerning reaction I have to stress.

Laugh. Laughter and incredible sarcasm usually follow a period of wanting to crawl under a rock and hide.

We’re also strange, because we have to be a million different people. We have to understand the workings of government, local government, planning and zoning, court and legal jargon, we have to be empathic during the large amounts of sad stories we cover, yet heartless enough not to get caught up. We have to be experts in a number of areas at the same time and we are not forgiven when we make a mistake.

We also learn very personal details about people within 20 minutes of meeting them.

And I always plan what I will ask someone in a conversation before I start talking to them… even when I’m not working.

We’re strange creatures. I think one almost has to be born a journalist to be able to maintain some level of sanity, and only half a heart so we don’t cry during sad interview, but are still able to care about the people we are writing for and about.

Anyway, enough about that part of my job.

My next adventure to master for my column is paragliding. The problem with paragliding in New Zealand, is there are very few places with a website.

I just don’t trust jumping off a cliff with someone who is not readily available for me to learn every detail about on the internet.

I struggle to be friends with someone who is not googleable…simply because making ‘normal’ conversation is a skill I lack.

So life is hectic, I am still on the verge of insanity, I love my life, I refuse to me a mean person even when I want to hurt something…the world doesn’t need any more mean people.

I am alive, I am breathing on my own, I have all my limbs and I am able to laugh. So I think I’m good. Yes, I’m good.

Talking to my pizza

I’m losing my mind. It began last night when I started talking to my pizza, but not it has progressed to mistaking my headphone for the nuts I was eating. It doesn’t taste nearly as good as an almond.

Lately, my life has been taking a little more than steroids, and I’m actually losing track of the amount of stress causing things happening, I possibly think that is my brains way of maintaining some sort of sanity. I have had some wins lately, few and far between, but they make up for the seriously average times a little bit.

When feeling as though you could actually punch something, Google angry mad woman…it makes you feel considerably better.

I also try to find as many songs which are either sarcastic, or about things a little bit worse than my actually rather blessed life. My world is like a tar-sealed open highway, with a few pot holes and a bit of road kill here and there. Many people’s are like a gravel back road up a hill.

So I can’t really complain. But between the average weather, the amount of things I have to do before Christmas and the fact I have bills that are actually planning my death, I am feeling just a little bit like I am slowly drowning.

Good thing I’m a good swimmer and I’ve always been able to hold my breath for a considerable amount of time.

So is it going to be ok? Yep, with a lot of cups of tea, blankets, TV shows, quotes and bible verses, good friends, and remembering one day it will end and if you turn enough pages you get to the end of the chapter.

I did an interview with a 17-year-old yesterday. She said she doesn’t have an end goal yet, “I don’t really see an end at this point, I’m only 17, why think about the end?”
“I have never had a day I’m not motivated, you’re still getting closer to your goals. I don’t find I am unmotivated. You have to do it, you can’t expect things to just fall into your lap. You have to work hard. I don’t see any reason I shouldn’t be able to, as long as I work hard and I make progress, I don’t see any reason why I can’t do what I want.”

After listening to someone say that with such conviction, you can’t really walk away and not feel a little bit motivated to just keep on getting back up, it doesn’t matter how tired you are.

So now I’m off to find other food items I can chat to, while still trying to convince myself I have some sanity left to tide me through to the end of the year…oh you are beautiful cup of tea!

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.

Hey there Mr rain cloud

I am tackling today with a vanilla chai tea. There is perhaps no other way to do so. I could have coffee, because today is a coffee day, but I think that might just make things worse. I’m not sure why, but the moment I woke up this morning I just felt it. You know that feeling of ‘this is going to be an uphill battle’ sort of a day? I think it is possibly the never ending to do list and the lack of sleep, I mean, I am now actually dreaming about everything going wrong. Now I’m starting to worry. But I thought, after being reduced to tears by a particularly bitchy old lady who called me names because I couldn’t help her and was not really in any mood to be yelled at, that I would just have to look on the bright side of today’s rain cloud.

Each morning I always stop at the end of my drive way. We live on a dead end rural road and up until today I have never actually had to stop when pulling out over the six months I have lived there. Today, in the fog, this car appeared. But I had stopped. And there was no crash. So when I look at it like that, today has been one of the best days. It could be a lot worse after all. 

Over the weekend I also rode a mechanical bull (26 seconds). Was pleased as punch with myself. I also went black water rafting and caving which were freaking amazing! Over came my fear of small spaces and realised I am in fact just a bit crazy as I really have no concern over heights whatsoever. And yesterday I took my horse to his first show jumping event where he was a wonderfully behaved boy and jumped like a little star. 

So it’s not that bad. 

Today just doesn’t feel that great.

I think I would have felt better if that lady hadn’t hung up before I could call her names back. Probably a good thing she did hang up first… 10.24am onwards, you better be upwards.

 

 

It’s one of those days again

Today has been the definition of ‘one of those days’. You know the ones where you are running up hill constantly and never really getting anywhere? Yeah, well I have successfully managed to create a WHOLE lot of work for myself tomorrow, which is just splendid, managed to lose more stories than I have gained, and been questioned by a big CEO dude as to why I didn’t want to talk to him. I nearly asked him if I’d hurt his poor little egotistical feelings, but I thought that might be a tad too condescending…instead I smiled through gritted teeth and slammed the phone down just a little bit harder than usual.

It has been a ‘drop everything I pick up, lose my voice at the wrong times, write the wrong words, stumble upon introduction, nearly arrive late to work, miss eating breakfast, leave a million and one voice messages because no one wants to pick up’ kind of days.

I even made sure I didn’t have a drop of alcohol when out with friends for a nice chat… I EVEN WENT TO BED ON TIME! This is no fair. I keep reminding myself I am alive, I have a job, I have money, I have food (well, not really, I will when I go shopping), I have a roof over my head and so on. But it isn’t making me feel much more productive and any less dumped on. But, it is clouding over and I am praying that we have more rain. 

 

Can I please just go back to bed world? I don’t feel like fighting you on this one!   

Dear real world

Dear real world:

Ok, we need to have a word. Seriously, I am not happy. You slowly drew me in, you made me feel loved, encouraged, in control. Well, did you have another thing coming. Just when I thought it was ok to sleep with my eyes closed! I mean, over due phone bills, really, you’re going to pull that one? It would have been polite to send the bill before it became over due. Just a little tip for the future. It makes people happy when you’re kind to them. The bank? You got them involved in this too! I mean common, that’s just not fair. I don’t even want their money! At least give me enough hours in the day to change banks so I can be happy. Though, with your tack record at the moment life, they would find some way to suck all my horse money from me, taking my soul along with it. Speaking of the horse, did he have to hurt himself TWICE in the past month? Now you are just getting carried away. That’s just not fair. And no, I will not be calling the vet and spending even more of my pretty little and now scarce pennies on a call out fee. Now, I don’t mean to whine or anything, but is there any chance that the people I call on deadline, namely the police, would actually pick up? I know, I know. I should do these stories well before deadline. But you don’t give me much choice, life, and I’d really like it if you just went easy for a week. Or two. Or perhaps continuously? Don’t be boring, I don’t want that. Just, well, kind. Leave me with some amount of cash please? And a hobby that isn’t broken. 

Oh, and this cold. Not cool. I mean I was getting along, I was managing, but this cold. I seriously started crying on the phone to the Telecom lady. I think she thought I had something seriously wrong with me. I just get like that when I’m sick. I also decided crying was a much better option than yelling at her. It’s not her fault you’re being a bitch life. 

Sorry to use such harsh language, but some warning about these past two weeks would have been nice. Kind even. You know that thing that people sometimes are to each other. KIND! 

On that note life, I’d just like you to know you can buck up your ideas. I will make it through this week, alive at the most, but I shall. 

So suck it! 

Sorry, please be my friend. 

I’m a journalist now

Like any job, Friday is always the best day (unless you have to work Saturday, then that just sucks). A break is within your reach and you can nearly taste that sweet, sweet two days of doing whatever the hell you want. 

I’m slowly getting used to the early mornings and have discovered this thing called going to bed early. It’s amazing, you get home, have a shower, get into bed, put your head on the pillow, and you fall into dream land. If you’re me, that dream land is probably a bit wacky and slightly freaky. None-the-less, it is sleep. I’ve never been an early night person, so my partner was quite astounded that I was in bed and ready to go to sleep at 9.30 pm. Admittedly I had been working since 8.20 am and had only stopped at 7.30 pm. Not all in the office, but there is this weird thing that happens to my brain when it has to think for that period of time. It just sort of stops. Abandons me mid thought and my eyes start to close. I think something might be wrong with me. 

Someone asked me last night: “what’s it like to work at a newspaper?” I replied “tiring, stressful, and full on.” On reflection though that wasn’t the complete truth. It’s tiring, stressful, full on, rewarding, exciting, and you have the opportunity to learn about new things every day. You never get the same thing each day, but you still have routine. I get free stuff like event tickets, I have the opportunity to do odd sports, and the list goes on. 

It is early days. And I probably complain more than I do express my gratitude. But I do love my job, or at least I do on Fridays. When we get the final product of all our hard work, when you know the paper is doing well and it’s only going to get better, that makes the whole week worth it. And when I get emails from interview subjects telling me what a great job I did and good luck with my career. That makes me day. 

I’m a journalist, and I love that.