I have a strong inclination to post something reflective as we say goodbye to 2022 and look towards 2023.
And this time, it’s different. Not novel, but different.
For me anyway. Because for the last few years, it’s been a variety of sentiments from me when it comes to looking towards the new year.
“Happy New Whatever-You-Want-It-To-Be!”
“It’s ok to not be excited.”
“Tomorrow is just another day.”
The last few years my feelings towards New Years and all the promise and opportunity it embodies have kinda fallen flat for me. I’ve been very easy come, easy go. Make the new year/month/week/day, what you will.
I’ve fallen on many hard times in recent years, so much so that my hope and faith have been completely tested… and restored, once again.
Because you see, this year was different. I got what I wanted, in a BIG way.
Life can have so many ups and downs. It is a guessing game and you never can know what is around the corner. It keeps you humble: amazing and uplifted one time, frustrating and despondent the next.
That’s why sometimes it can be very hard to look forward to a ‘new year, new you’ promise, when nothing has really been promising for you at all recently… the last few months… the last few years.
Trust me, I know. I have been there. I have a daily gratitude blog, and I think perhaps one of my major lessons was learning to find something ever so small to be grateful for when I was secretly hurting so much inside, for so long.
I don’t have the answers to life.
Sometimes, you get what you want.
Sometimes, you get what you want, after a really, really, long time.
Sometimes you don’t get what you want at all.
Sometimes you get presented an entirely new path, and realise this was the one meant for you all along.
Something that helped me surprisingly, was music. 🎶🎵
I found solace and comfort in words that touched and moved me to tears with their profound insight, love and strength and sense of hope that matched my own.
Words that spoke of difficulty and heartache, but that presented a sense of… “let’s see.”
One such song was Guns n’ Roses Patience.
This was a key theme of mine as we were in quite possibly the hardest and most uncertain struggle of our lives… trying for another baby.
I can’t pretend everything was alright. It wasn’t. I was upset and cried a lot. I shut myself off from people. I grew very uncertain about everything, questioned life, my existence, my past actions, the future, my body… EVERYTHING.
I put on a smiling face and went into social situations tentatively, praying that no one would ask or make a joke with some insensitive second baby comment… sometimes I was lucky.
Many times I wasn’t.
The only thing I knew how to do, was get by, moment by moment.
Day by day.
Month by month.
And that’s how many several years passed before our miracle happened. 🙏
So from someone who’s been there, and done that, I have some thoughts as we enter the new year…
It’s not so much about “smash out your top 5 goals!” or “keep consistent, chip away every day.”
It’s to think about what you really want. If in your heart of hearts there is something you want, a goal you wish to achieve, question, do you really want it, that bad?
If so, keep going. Keep your mind and heart open to new experiences, people, things, as any one of them, or a combination, may just be the key to getting what you want. Try not to listen to others, this will confuse you. Learn the lesson yourself.
You don’t know where the answer, the breakthrough will lie. It may lie on the first day of the new year. It may lie somewhere far down the track. It may lie, in Winter.
You just don’t know. Try not to guess or assume too much.
If you discover you really don’t know if you want what you want… letting go can be the most liberating experience. It takes great strength to say, ‘hold on, I’ve had enough. This is not for me.’
Remember you are in charge. You can decide to let go, and then decide you want to hold on to hope! Or you can hold on some more, and then say, I’m done, I’m finished.
Patience, overall, is key. It is the worst answer I know, and I know because I didn’t feel patient, I didn’t want to be patient anymore, but I had no choice in the matter.
I did it step by step. Moment by moment. Day by day. And I got there. I’m here. 🙏
I have one more thought for the New Year… so many people focus on the body and exercising more… saving up and travelling more… learning a new skill to move to a better life path… and while these are all good and honourable pursuits, here’s a different one for you.
Training your mind, so you can be a better YOU.
In amongst all these big, momentous things happening for me this year, something else clicked in my life.
It was something truly unexpected, and yet if I hadn’t been open to it, it never would have entered my life.
Learning from the past and deciding to try and be a better person is a valid and very honest goal that all should aspire to, at many points in their life.
I do question though… did I learn, and allow forgiveness into my life because other things were falling into place? Was it because I was in a happier state, that allowed me the strength to not only see the good in my life, but in others?
Quite possibly. My reflections remain…
Try to better your mind.
That is it. No time frame. No “let’s be consistent every day with this” bullshit. Know that some days you will fall down, others you will climb the mountain.
It’s all part of the journey.
As you head into 2023, know only this… anything can happen, at any time.
And sometimes, nothing will happen, no matter how hard you try.
Just do what you can, if you want to, if it feels right.
I didn’t know where I would be led that day as I travelled to the other side of town after having dropped off baby girl at kinder for the day. But what I did know was that I was meeting my old work colleague who was on maternity leave… meeting her, and NOW her new bub.
As it happened, I met her at her place and we then walked a couple blocks to High Street to get a bite to eat…
And suddenly, history was repeating itself.
Because she and I were going to a café to eat with her newborn… and SO many years earlier, she had met me in a café to catch up with me on MY maternity leave, while my newborn accompanied – baby girl. 😍
Now we were in Northcote. Then we were in Northcote.
She led me to a place called Sookie la la – so appropriate with her baby in tow. Alas, her bub was a gorgeous boy and did no such thing, although he probably was a tad jelly with all of our caffeine consumption at times.
It’s a scaled-back café right on High Street, think understated industrial fittings, painted brick walls and signs of the building’s age with decorative cornices and the back door hanging askew 🤣
But it’s very much your simple local café, and that is where the simple-ness STOPS.
Because these guys are very much trying to give you a heart-attack.
They had this American-styled classic diner with throwback to brekkie and lunch meals that you would swear would make you question what red/white and blue flag you were travelling within.
Southern-style options, lots of chilli, and options like sloppy joes fit the bill and paint the picture. The biggest image for me though? Their Elvis French Toast – with banana, bacon, maple and peanut butter.
MWA HA HA. So wickedly wrong and GOOD at the same time.
But that wasn’t the one I went for that day. Instead I went for the just as indulgent –
Brekky Brioche – Scrambled eggs, bacon, bell pepper and chipotle relish… with the optional potato gems too.
Why the hell not when in an American classic café, eat as they do too.
Accompanied by my ol’ faithful… cappuccino.
It was such a moist, soft and juicy burger! So delicious, but also, SO MUCH BEIGE ON A PLATE. Oh man. I couldn’t even get through all my potato gems, and realised the error of my excited eyes at the end, looking at my half-eaten plate like –
Why did I do that?
Besides the stuffing myself beyond breaking point part, this café serves up comfort food at its finest. The relish was a great contrast against the bacon and egg, and that bun…. So soft! Incredible.
And the bacon was clean! Like no gross fatty bits, just nice, clean bacon… just the way I like it 😉
But it was so good… I went on a fast food detox after that meal. It inspired it. So like, be warned.
Food: 8/10. For what they do in comfort food, incredible. For what they do to your waistline, also unbelievable 😂 It’s a great, satisfying ‘treat yo-self’ place.
Coffee: 8/10. Coffee in the burbs of ‘almost’ inner city Melbourne… you never disappoint. 💖
Ambience: Chilled and cas on that weekday, quiet with soft background music filtering through the café.
People: There were locals popping in (like my colleague and ‘almost’ former local, me!) with other friends meeting for brunch and lunch too.
Staff: You know the creative type, who only works to pay their bills so they can play in bands, busk, paint sidewalks on the weekend? They are too cool to serve you your eggs on bread but they MUST? Yeah, kinda like that, but with occasional smiles.
Price: I have no idea as my colleague shouted me! But individually my burger was $12, VERY decent in price (actually too cheap if I dare to say it!) and my coffee about $4. Awesome and reasonable prices here.
Advice: It’s the place to go after a break up, to catch up on goss with friends, in cold weather… or simply for a taste of yester-year.
But DON’T come here if you’re on a diet.
In a nutshell: A really interesting diner-style cafe that fits right into the creative and eclectic side of town that is Northcote. Although currently on a health kick, I wouldn’t go right now, but every phase of life passes and different things come up again, and the need for an Elvis themed French toast may arise AT ANY MOMENT… just saying… you never know.
Afterword: I always hate finding out that a place I went to closed before I had a chance to post my review… alas Sookie La La has stuck to its name and seems to have shed its tears with signs of permanent closure mentioned online. But I still post these reviews because I hope somewhere, in the infinite space of online web, that there is someone who will see it and realise it is not a lost cause, and it may just reopen somewhere, sometime…
Because comfort is something we all need at one point or another. If this place does pop up again, do be sure to check it out.
There is someone close to me. This person, I love very dearly.
And yet this person, frustrates me with their immaturity. Because when life doesn’t go to plan, they sulk.
It’s a tad annoying. I mean, Life… ups and downs, right?
This person, as wonderful as they are, gets really down and out about themselves and everything when things aren’t happening to them. Other people may be moving house, buying a car, going on a holiday, or even just going out to brunch every weekend, and this person, just can’t take the joy of it, because something positive isn’t also consequently happening to them.
This person, who I shall name X (to reduce the incidence of constantly repeating ‘this person,’ and also avoid accidentally giving away the gender) was in a fairly stagnant and stationary period for a while. They had gone through a wonderful time before that, where ALL the attention was on them. But then came upon that ‘desert phase,’ you know the one – where the wind blows the tumbleweeds around them, and they watch idly while others are on horses playing cowboys and Indians and going to bars to drink or shoot people, or meet Clint Eastwood or even John Wayne. Yep, even John Wayne.
And they are standing there idly. It’s a stage that happens to us ALL.
It was a bit difficult to watch. I really wanted to put my two cents in and offer some words of comfort. We had been in that very same phase before moving house. We were standing there at parties, all the while people were all excited and super-interesting in their life plans and goals, and meanwhile –
we had bought a new car which had just been hit
we wanted to Sea change and had no idea if we could do it (or afford it)
toddler stages were FUN! (super-sarcastic here)
and I was still, for the 4th year in a row, top-secret on my writing projects. So when people asked me/us “what’s new?”
We were all tight-lipped with that face-planted smile of “nothing much.”
Life goes up, Life goes down. Sometimes, things don’t go to plan. Sometimes, you are embarrassed with events that have occurred. Other times, it is boring as batshit.
A lot of the time, in any of the above circumstances, you don’t want to say a thing, because you are frustrated.
But we are adults here. We don’t sulk.
So on one night, when I offered up this piece of enlightening advice to X “I know, I’ve been there, everything is happening to everyone except you,” I got the most sullen of stares.
I felt like gently saying “Grow up.”
We don’t always have things happening to us.
We don’t always have the attention on us.
We aren’t always the star of the show.
Up and down, up and down.
And now to Me. The last few months I’ve been stressed for a manner of things. I’ve come to grow accepting of many of these annoying issues, or find ways around my stress, but it has been trying. When many facets of your life bring you down at once, it is hard to practice at positivity…
I was trying really hard to get into a regular exercise routine. I was seeing all these perfect bodies on facebook, these Mums who have gone from pregnancy flab to post baby FABULOUS, and looking all trim and taut with their sculpted tummies, while I just felt like a pile of shit. Lack of time to exercise properly, with a girl that constantly demands attention of me, made me feel worse about the situation. I can only manage what I can, and even that isn’t too much.
I was falling very behind in my writings. I started to question how beneficial my blogs were, when the main reason for starting these, creating an online Writing presence… well it didn’t mean squat when I had completely stalled on my creative endeavour to get published with my young adult book which I hadn’t added to in months and months! I was taking on and writing more than I could keep up with, and I started to wonder whether any of these writing tasks, I just had to give up on.
You know it’s a bleak day when you consider giving up a passion of yours. When you ask yourself “what is the point?”
And then there were the comparisons. Here I was, all this time, quietly plugging away at my passion, and then boom! This person has their work published! boom! And this person gets recognised with a new blog (and I didn’t even know they were inclined to write)… boom! more literary success from yet another person!
And then there I was, grinning… in stupefied shock.
What about me?
Don’t get me wrong, I am all about abundance. I am ABUNDANCE-CITY. I know there is enough love, and success, and happiness and all that wonderful jazz, for everyone in this entire world. I trulybelieve that. And yet, when I heard all these people, both who I had known wrote, and others who I had no idea were even interested in the task, were experiencing success both on small and large scales, a little part of me went
“When will it be my turn?”
It was really hard to swallow.
And now, the clincher… where I expose more than I ever planned to. Because I’m super secretive about some things, where with others I blab for the world to see.
Because I’m a contradiction that way. But I feel like I need to write this down, for some unknown, possibly therapeutic reason, and then I may never repeat it again…
Because I just found out that Wills and Kate are expecting their third child… and I was downright devastated.
And I don’t think I need to clarify why.
And in all of these cases, I have found it really hard. Really hard to just move on. Really hard to just be accepting of the hardships that life throws at us. Really hard to stay positive.
Really hard to NOT SULK.Because I have. On a zillion occasions. Including right now in fact.
I may not do it outwardly, but boy oh boy have I sulked. And pouted my lips. Asked “why?” a million times. And now I just might cry again, and I think, that’s ok.
Because I realised that I am my own worst enemy. Here I was, judging X for being all sulky and cranky-pants over life not going to plan, and once I started to get the same, I reverted to the same old behaviours.
X and I might as well be the same person. Maybe we are all the same people.
I have no answers, I have no solutions. Sure I should stay positive, or keep on moving on, as I always say. I should toughen up, yet also I think unless you are in something, you don’t really know how crap or annoying it feels to be in it.
And as for X? Xs ‘down time’ has since passed, and they are currently in the midst of a great, great high…
I guess X is proof of things going up and down. I should hold out, and Hope my luck turns soon too.