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.
From now, until forever more, we will have the phrases –
“A new normal.”
“Flattening the curve.”
It’s unprecedented. We’ve never been through anything like this before, or at least no one has for a century. As we try to adjust to a new way of living, breathing and being, I thought it might be a good idea to re-jig a list I wrote last year, and make it all ‘corona friendly.’
A lot of my earlier points I’ve re-posted here again because they still apply… but mostly I just wanted to put together a little how-to of ways to help you get by in this uncertain time, if not just for all of you… but for myself as well.
I might do gratitude in myother blog, but trust me, I need reminders too.
Because appreciation of life amidst difficulty is a continuous work in progress.
Please feel free to add things that make you smile, or help you simply get by, in the comments below. Some of us will be taking things harder, some a bit easier, but it’s important to remember we are all going through this in one way or another, and also to remember, the bigger picture.
If all you are doing is surviving, you’re doing great.Well done.
But if you need a little something else to keep your mind busy and have you looking forward, then read on…
Drink a caffeinated beverage.
Coffee, black tea, green tea… or just jump to the ‘other’ stuff.
It’s 4pm somewhere in the world, right?
(Alcohol abuse is not condoned here… because if you can’t party with it you’re doing something wrong!)
Put on some loud music.
Queen’s 1985 Live Aid performance is strongly recommended (going by my own personal pick-me-up experiences with that song) but really, anything that will get the blood pumping, your fingers tapping, and your feet dancing along.
Music is sweet, and so necessary for the soul.
Look in the mirror and laugh at yourself.
Even if you force a laugh, you will end up doubling over with real laughter over how stupid you look when you’re fake laughing.
Or else, smile really hard. Try not to burst out laughing. No really, TRY.
Was that pimple always there?
I never noticed those lines.
I really need a brow pluck.
All valid thoughts that may arise, but trust me it’s a very awareness-producing exercise. Hell at the very least, you will suddenly know yourself more intimately than you did before.
Go through old photos.
This is bound to make you feel better instantly. What a mind-trip this can be, going back to years and years ago. Go to your memory bank of choice… physical photo album or digital device.
And if you find you don’t have a collection of properly stored photos, well that may just be a nice little project you can do… being productive, clearing and sorting memories from your life, while filling up the current space with pictures of yourself and loved ones.
Take 3 slow breaths.
Do it now. Can you feel that? Your heartbeat slowing?
And if you think having littlies makes it impossible to do yoga, think again. There’s a tribe called Cosmic Kids Yoga, and they have hundreds of themed yoga videos for kids, ranging from popular movies like Frozen and Spiderman, all the way to movement based off the book The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
More info at thislink here, or find them on YouTube.
Write it out.
Having spent my whole life writing it out, I can tell you the therapeutic benefits of getting things out on paper are enormous. You don’t have to be Shakespeare… sure many are sprucing their motivations of starting the next great novel, but all you need to do is BLAH it out.
Just set yourself a timer, and write for 5 minutes straight. No breaks. No stopping. Whatever comes into your head, get it out in front of you.
You will be amazed at some of the crap random shitty unusual scary enlightening thoughts that suddenly purge themselves from you.
If you want, burn it at the end. Or keep it as a little time capsule of your own experience of surviving this corona experience.
Yes you heard me. SURVIVING.
Go for a walk.
Or a bike ride. This is about the only one we can do now. This one is so free, and so easy. We may be limited in our social movements, but the fact that we can connect with nature so freely, so easily, just by putting on some sneakers and throwing on a jacket… just do it.
This will save us all.
Look out the window.
Dream. Just imagine… stuff. Ideas. Wishes. Hopes.
Make a post-corona list.
While you’re dreaming, make yourself one of these. Me and baby girl have started one of these lists verbally, and often we refer to it when we’re struggling in the day to day.
Write, or just plan all the things you want to do when this isolation is over.
Watch how excited you get!
Some on my list for example…
Have coffee in a café.
Walk on the beach.
Give my parents and sister a big hug.
Have a massive shopping day.
Invite everyone to our post-corona party. !!!!!!!!!!
I know we’re not there yet, but thinking about it gives me so much hope.
Sit in your yard.
Sit under a tree. Or on your balcony. Lounge about on the porch.
If you’re limited for space, just open the window when you’re dreaming on the point above.
Take a nap.
If time allows you (and let’s face it, certain family members too) there is no time like the present to get some extra shut eye.
Because when the world starts up again, you ain’t gonna wanna sleep much.
I shouldn’t really need to say this, but sadly so many of us forget the bare basics to keep our bodies functioning at optimal level, and this happens more often than not when we are stressed, or going through sudden change.
Get a funky water bottle (order online through your favourite shopping site) and at least you’ll be motivated to bring bottle to lips throughout the day with something looking so cool.
Read a book.
Oh yes. Hell yes. Do it. Read them ALL. No explanation needed here.
We don’t need any excuses to escape to a magical place away from our current realities.
Take a bath.
Hell to the yeah! Baths are sooo not just for kids. Once you hit adult-age, they become a necessity, to help replenish, restore and reenergise.
All you need to do is turn on the faucet, maybe light a candle, and if you’re feeling for it, pour yourself a glass of wine too…
And lock the damn door. You need YOU time.
Ideas to keep us sane.
Do some online shopping.
There is no time like the present to buy things online, in turn supporting some local and small businesses while you’re doing so. And the rush you get from clicking “add to cart…” ooh. Gets me all heady. 😉
This is so easy. Whether it’s an old tv show, a long-time favourite movie, or some comedian on youtube. There’s nothing like a feel-good watch to lift the mood.
I love watching comedians online… one of my faves, the hilariously ethnic and blatantly honest, Sooshi Mango.
HA HA HA!
Talk to someone.
With technology so prevalent in our society, this one is so easy for us all. Call, zoom, even drive by someone’s house and yell across the yard to them (on your way to ‘essential’ shopping of course)… and just hearing someone else’s voice, will be an instant mood lifter.
(Keeping 1.5 metres distance of course 😉 )
Pat a pet.
That’s my furry Mister F. 😉
This is easy if you have one, but if you don’t?
You can virtually add an animal into your house. Just type one into Google, (eg. lion) and when the animal shows up click on the ‘View in 3D’ button.
Then click ‘View in your space.’
Find the ‘ground/floor’ in your phone and arrange accordingly…
And voila! Animal appears in your room! (As close as you might get to patting a real lion too!)
Sure you won’t be patting anything, but you sure as hell will be entertained seeing a zoo of animals pop up through your phone, in your kitchen!
Engage your mind with puzzles and games.
I bet no one thought jigsaw puzzles were going to rock in our technologically advanced 2020, and yet hear we are, chasing down 1000 pieces online and spending big bucks on the last Disney ones we can source…
Whether it’s a puzzle, a sudoku riddle, a crossword, or anything else that gets your mind ticking, it’s going to keep you engaged and thinking, and that is something we should never stop doing, isolation or not.
Or colour in. If you have those mindfulness pictures, great, if you don’t, print any old diagram off the net.
Doing something you haven’t done for so long, is great for the mind and soul.
And if all that doesn’t tickle your fancy… how’s about going back to your childhood?
Boardgames. Jenga, jenga, jenga…!
You don’t even need to go to Bunnings for supplies.
Start in your yard. Observe. Pick. Weed. Look around and respond accordingly.
Listen to nature, she’ll point you in the right direction.
Get the creative juices pumping. Start a new project. The options are ENDLESS.
Write a novel.
There are online courses just waiting for you, and I should know. A great starting point is the Australian Writers Centre.
As I mentioned earlier you can organise your photos during this time of iso, and there is no more creative way to do that than by scrapbooking. You can order items online from Kaisercraft or Riot, both places I have used in my own scrapbooking, and where I have accounts with both. (P.S. it’s free!)
This is a great one. I’ve recently started following Jamie Oliver and Marion Grasby on facebook… Chinese egg drop soup anyone? 3 minute tomato pasta sauce? All these and more I will be making soon!
Leah Itsines is another local gal I follow, and her meals are easy, delicious and so easy to source ingredients for (as well as being great for meal prepping – winning!)
Type in their names on facebook, insta or YouTube to start getting food inspiration ASAP.
Start an exercise routine.
You don’t have to tell me you can’t hit the gym. ‘Cause you know what I’m gonna say.
Go online peeps.
Sam Wood and Rachael Finch are just two of the people I follow on insta, and there you can find video links as well as where to sign up to become members and receive further workout benefits.
It’s never been an easier time to be in isolation. We can do this, while still doing almost everything else that we want to from the comfort of our homes.
Uneven door? Need to fix a handle?
Having a house that you tended to yourself, will be the most satisfying thing once all of this is over.
And then you’ll be able to call your friends over for post–corona drinks, and to observe your fancy house handy work too. 😉
Purge purge purge.
If you think clearing things from your life is not a creative pursuit, think again.
The intense therapeutic benefits that come from removing old, useless, redundant items from your life, and bringing in room for new, or just giving you air to breathe, well –
It can bring a new lease on life.
Start small, always start small. A drawer, a stash of papers. Don’t think of the big picture here. When it comes to cleaning, clearing or tidying, it’s best to always zoom in on a small task that you can achieve, because looking at the entire wardrobe that needs clearing and sorting, well you’re gonna be putting that task off for months, if not years to come.
But start with the right corner of that top shelf? That is do-able. That you might be able to knock off in 15-30 minutes.
And then when you get that down, watch how motivated you are to clear the left hand side of the top shelf.
And so on and so forth.
Then, just reap the mental benefits of all that SPACE.
Learn a new/old instrument.
Alright, buying an instrument at this time might be a little tough, but if there’s one laying around your house (most people have one they’ve deserted at some point) a really inexpensive way to tinker with the thing is to look up YouTube videos. Yes, YouTube! (I may need to rename this post The YouTube guide to getting through iso…)
A world of possibilities!
Make a jumper or a scarf, a beanie even, for that first day in Winter (that’s most likely for us in Australia isn’t it?) where we’ll be allowed out of our homes to go do WHATEVER, WHEREVER we choose.
Pick a bright colour. Look up some knitting templates online. Here I found some for you.
Finally, remember to keep things in perspective.At our core we are made up of atoms. Energy, air, and yet in human form all we see is hard matter. Think of all those who have come before us. Think of the future generations who will follow. Imagine the Universe. Imagine God. Just imagine Mother Nature if that is what you please.
And then see yourself as this tiny little invisible dot on the world map that is living an existence in amongst all of the shared past, present and future histories of anyone who has ever passed a breath.
Sure, you matter.We all do. But how much do your problems hold weight? All the little trivialities of our life, what has become of our day-to-day… it is hard. But how much will it matter tomorrow, next week, next year, or in 20 years?
If it still holds you down, speak to a professional. (This you can do online too).
But if your problems suddenly seem pointless and irrelevant…
It’s an exciting time when you fall in love. More so, when your man pops the question – there is joy, elation, satisfaction, deep fulfillment and often, a yearn to keep and want everything to be as easy and pleasant as that stage, forever until the end of time.
Keeping things smooth sailing however, sometimes results in us forgetting about ourselves.
Forgetting where we came from.
We try so hard to please, make the family happy, make the relatives happy, live and act the picture of a perfect couple, play the part and smile and laugh… that we often forget, about ourselves.
It is not a conscious thing. Our self-ignorance is unintentional, as we throw ourselves whole-heartedly into the man, the life, the family that we wish to spend the rest of our lives in. We are so consumed with love and passion, that all else falls behind. All thoughts and desires, goals and dreams and big-thinking falls to the wayside as we embark on an exciting new chapter.
We focus so much on this new part of our lives, on our union with this amazing partner… that we forget about the individual who got there. The individual who has been left behind.
To my younger self, and to my daughter who will someday read this… and to any other girl out there, beginning to embark on such a romance.
Don’t forget yourself.
Girl, don’t forget – A POEM.
Girl, as you fall in love, don’t forget
The things that made you laugh, and what lifted you when you were sad.
Girl, as he holds you hand, don’t forget
Your parents who held it before, and who lifted you when you would fall.
Girl, as he kisses you sweetly, don’t forget
The lips that touched your head, to mend bruises, to maintain your even breath.
Girl, as he bends on one knee, don’t forget
You are more than a man, a union, a wedding that will consume all of your days.
Girl, as you plan your big day, don’t forget
Your parents are happy for you, but struggling to let go.
Girl, as you practice writing your new surname, don’t forget
Where you came from, and how far your maiden name travelled to get to you.
Girl, as you get married, don’t forget
Those who cheered you on are still with you, even though you are blind in your happiness.
Girl, when the day is done, don’t forget
To look back on the photos, and observe the smiling faces in the background.
Girl, as you go about your life, don’t forget
There is more to your day than pleasing those around you.
Girl, as you argue with you husband, don’t forget
That your parents yelled at each other too.
Girl, as you say yes to yet another request, don’t forget
What set your stubborn 16 year-old self on fire.
Girl, as you remember what you used to love, don’t forget
That no one told you to stop loving after all.
And girl, when you get to that day, when you realise you DID forget…
It is not too late to start again.
And girl, when you tell your husband what you love, please don’t forget…
That you are your own person, and will do it anyway.
From the moment we discovered this little corner café, an awfully convenient, 5-10 minute WALK from our house, and saw its back-street, hidden, beach/park side location potential… we were excited.
You see, we had always longed to move to a place that was within walking distance to a café. At one point during our real estate search, we even tried searching in relation to how close some houses were to nearby cafes. Our wish for good food, great coffee, and friendly/casual convo with café staff over stupid Melbourne weather, within walking distance from our ideal home, was a high priority.
Somehow that all got lost and a bit forgotten when we saw the beach views of our now home. I did have a quick google search at one stage for nearby cafes, but I mustn’t have searched too well…
Later though, once we had moved, a common name kept popping up on my Google maps.
So on our first walk, we ‘flocked’ there.
And said “My, Mofo, we’ve done it. We’ve got the freaking café within walking distance.”
And we hadn’t even known it.
And we hadn’t even eaten or had coffee there yet. (Now I’m beginning to sound like Bana’s Chopper Read…)
On our first opportunity, we went over to fulfil our café destiny.
We had to drive though, not walk. It was a cold, windy day, rain threatening to spill at any moment. So we rugged up, and walked into the small, intimate café, weaving around tables and chairs and finding our seats at one end of the medium-sized communal table in the middle of Flock café.
There were people sitting all about, but of course it was full what with the tiny space the café occupies. They were so clearly locals, that for us recent newbies on the block, I felt like putting the disclaimer ‘don’t shoot us, we’re not from out of town!’ on my forehead. Instead I stuck my head in a menu on the table and then went up to order and pay once we knew what we wanted.
Hubbie started the ball rolling with a necessary flat white
… while I looked on in envy. I waited for his verdict. He nodded. The coffee was good.
Soon we all received our meals. Baby girl with her 7 Grain Organic Sourdough with vegemite and butter
Hubbie with his Breakfast Roll w’ smashed eggs, bacon, swiss cheese, roquette & tomato jam
And my Shakshouka Baked Eggs w’ organic ciabatta
Baby girl got really excited when she saw the vegemite, thinking it was Nutella from when we last had breakfast out atThe Winey Cow… so excited that she dipped her finger in it, got a huge lob of black stuff and put it straight in her mouth.
A second later, and her face didn’t paint an impressed picture. Classic yankee mistake.
So, after I cleaned her up, and applied her spreads on her bread, she went on to eat. It wasn’t the sweet stuff, but she ate it. Again, the hard crust. I trust the sourdough bread is unreal and super-healthy, but sometimes for kids, or generally for people who don’t wish to cut their gums on hard-toasted crust, a softer bread variety will do. Anyhow.
Hubbie said his breakfast burger did the job, it was ok, but it wasn’t anything that left him wanting or dreaming of future breakfast burgers there.
I had been thinking of baked eggs for several weeks, so I was really happy to order a meal like this. It was good, perhaps not my best baked eggs/shakshouka meal I’ve EVER had, but it was good. It was extremely saucy, with many peppers/capsicum within the little ceramic hot pot of baked egg goodness.
By this stage, the corner café was rocking. There were people coming in at an ongoing rate, both newbies trying to cram in for a seat since the weather outside was not beckoning people to sit on the outdoor chairs, and also from locals in trakky-pants dropping in for their usual coffee and toastie order.
After ordering some drinks, we waited a while more before we got our babycino and cappuccino.
Baby girl scoffed her marshmallows, while I carefully pondered my first sip of coffee. This was the dealbreaker. Would the coffee be good enough to make it a local? The food was good, but only, if only, the coffee were great. Hell, we were so desperate for a local café to call a home away from home, and this one with a convenient park/beach locale, had us even happy with a half-decent coffee. That’s all it needed to be, half-decent.
Dum, da dum dum.
And it was…
It was truly, very, very,very good coffee. It was ultra-smooth, with a swift caffeine kick. I realised in awe, and verbalised to Hubbie, how rare it is to find a very smooth, yet very strong coffee. This was both. I was rapt.
I was so rapt, I talked about it all the way to the shops. The caffeine had surely kicked in, and the realisation it was our now-local had me high as a kite.
Food: 7/10. It was good for a corner café. They have some other interesting menu options that I’m wanting to try in the near future. We also took-away some Nutella and jam doughnuts, courtesy of the locals Chocolat that bake off of the Main street… OMG. Is it possible that there is a doughnut as good as the famousdonutella, that rules the roost back in our old neck of the woods?! WOW. Head on over to both Flock and Chocolat to try these babies out.
Coffee: Can you believe… no I can’t. 10/10. Yep. Currently up there on my leader board of best coffees, alongside caffeine greats such as that inFarm Vigano, Dark Rye in Westfield Doncaster, Story at Docklands, and also recently Mercetta on the Main street in Mornington. I really need to start another page on my SmikG site, stay tuned…
The above was my true and honest verdict as of the first two times we had coffee there… and unfortunately, on every other visit there, the coffee has been bitter/burnt/tasteless. It has been really upsetting and confusing, and even stopped us from going there for a long while – because if the coffee ain’t good, it just ain’t worth it.
However, because I am so damn eager to make this work, I still go there occasionally, and the nearby park for baby girl makes it difficult to ignore too. And happily, on the last visit, it wasn’t that bad… the coffee was actually good! I have no idea if this has anything to do with the fact that the café itself was up for sale quite recently, and if indeed there may be different owners/managers/baristas there… but I will keep trying, damn it.
For that reason, I can’t score this one. You make up your own mind.
Ambience: Cosy, corner café. Relaxing, charming, and all-encompassing of the beautiful surroundings when the weather is fine and their windows are WIDE OPEN.
Staff: Friendly, and they took the time out to greet us and thank us for coming at the end, despite how busy they were. This is a well-oiled, professional and friendly machine folks.
People: Locals, as I’ve already mentioned, that consisted of some older folk, bike dudes, a gaggle of 20 something girls catching up for brekkie, and random’s dropping in wearing their PJs and wiping the sleep from their eyes. I love it.
Price: It was about $60, but keep in mind we also got some takeaway doughnuts, which means the price would have been much less… price-wise for what you get, you get a lot, so in that respect it is well-priced… however I also think what you get, accurately portrays what you pay… capiche?
Advice: If you’re not a local, do not go there. Please just stay away. It is MY local. Mine and the neighbouring residents of Dava Drive. That is all. Just live vicariously through me, and go have brekkie and coffee on the Main street. Go on… what are you waiting for?
In a nutshell: Well, we’ve found our local haven’t we… or have we? The food is great, the coffee is mmm-hmmm undecided, however I can just see an endless amount of sunshiny days where I am sitting in the café, or taking coffee away to go to the park with baby girl, or walking it over to the beach, or simply dropping in to grab some doughnuts because they are way closer to us than Chocolat… I hope. I sooo hope. (Clutching at straws much?)
(Disclaimer! Most of the below photos are not owned by me!)
Besides the fact that I’m a glass half-full gal, on this final day of 2015 I feel universally compelled to write a post of inspiration.
Quotes are all around me at the moment, proliferating in particular online. I didn’t really know what position to take on it, but I found light-hearted humour in the following example:
Then I saw a funny and eye-opening one calling into regard all those people who are all New Years Resolution talk and no action:
My daily calendar told me something else today, that was sweet and promising:
(this is the only photo I own, but feel free to use as you please 🙂 )
Then I saw a ‘woah’ one that made me go “Yes!” Lleyton Hewitt fist-thrusting in the air style. “I will do it!”
And then that quote reminded me of one of my all time fave New-Year quotes, something that I think most writers would appreciate the symmetry of and hold close to their chests:
All of these quotes are well and good. They are inspiring and promising to the right person seeking it. I used to write myself New Years Resolutions, every year. Sometimes 5, sometimes 10, sometimes 7 (because it’s one of my lucky numbers). I started to realise that it was hard to hold onto promises I made myself when I wrote them down and didn’t look at them for the rest of the year. Even when I did save it in a spot I could bring up time and time again, I felt an enormous amount of pressure to commit myself to something that was a year-long project. Sure, there are things we should commit to for life – eating right, exercising, drinking plenty of water. These are all good, positive steps to getting the most out of your life. Yet still, I never managed to keep all of them, faltering at some point (sometimes after a month if I was lucky) and it just left me with an air of disappointment.
I think every day is a reason to start anew, start afresh, and make resolutions for your life. Keeping a list to keep track of is good, but you need to allow for life’s little adjustments and remain flexible to changes that may come. How ridiculous is it to commit yourself to one way of being for an entire year, when as a species we are forever changing? Change is necessary for reaching milestones and goals that we set ourselves – no one wants to remain ‘stagnant’ for the rest of their lives. It’s a part of life, and just as we change, so will our goals and dreams for the future.
Which brings me to the quote I think best sums up my interpretation of the new year. Happy 2016 All. Hope it’s everything you want it to be.
(I’m seriously baffled, mind-boggled, and stupefied that it’s taken me 11 previous attempts in this series before acknowledging this life-saving, world-changing, cure of all evils, magically attributed powers brown liquid)
I’m walking over with some colleagues to get the usual morning coffee. Conversation turns to “what would you buy with the $60 million on offer in next week’s Tatts draw?”
We’re talking the usuals:
money to family and friends
houses and investment
shopping (my addition)
But then we throw in some exciting extras:
Getting a ‘good accountant’ so that we don’t have to pay tax on our fortune (my addition again)
Setting up a shelter in the CBD to help the homeless and get them back on their feet
Buying a football club
Walking into random bars at night and shouting “drinks are on me!”
And this is all happening BEFORE we’ve had a taste of our caffeinated beverages. That’s just how damn good coffee is. It gives you a burst of energy, in its anticipatory excitement of having it, before you’ve even had it.
Thank you person who discovered coffee beans. 🙂
Now I will proceed to list the many things I would do with my $60 million winnings:
Give a considerable amount to my immediate family and friends, so that they could live debt free and enjoy some luxury. Excluding the people considered in my recent posts Round and Round and Things that shit me… well there are consequences for being a dickhead isn’t there? Oh what the hell, I’ll throw a couple thou their way so they can buy some expensive shoes.
Buy some lion cubs, and set them up in a huge jungle-like enclosure so that they wouldn’t feel confined like the lions in zoo-type scenarios usually feel roaming along the fencing line, and I’d visit them on a regular basis so that they would know me and protect me against the arseholes of this world.
Set up my family overseas who are doing it really tough. Make it so that they don’t have the hardships and struggles that many living in difficult economic times over there are having.
Go shopping. I have this intense feeling of wonder, of how it would feel to go into your favourite clothes shop, and buy every single item that’s desirable to you, even if it’s just a “hmmm, maybe” item, and not ask about any of the prices. Just pay at the end. And comment to the salesperson on payment “that’s cheaper than what I thought it would be.”
Set up a shelter for unwanted animals. They can receive treatment for any ills, and just laze about for the rest of their days, living in happiness and comfort, with an abundance of food and love and attention and walks, yet the shelter would also serve as a rescue house where the public can come in and save an animal for free. Unlike other shelters, these animals would not be put down due to excessive overpopulation. These animals will live as long as they are possibly able to, because they would be in a huge mofo of a shelter.
Buy a holiday house on the beach, in Mornington Peninsula, Victoria; Opatija, Croatia; Positano, Italy.
Set up a shelter in Melbourne CBD for homeless people. The shelter would provide food and shelter, while also providing training for basic tasks like cooking, to more advanced career skills to help them get back into the employment field and get them back on their feet, and any other necessary life rehabilitation. It would provide this assistance until they were employed and able to support themselves, living from their own means and off the streets. Follow-up visits would ensure these people are checked up on and kept on track with their life goals.
Give money to cancer research. Employ the best scientists and tell them to kick cancers butt out of this galaxy and beyond.
Buy a really, really, really nice house.
Employ a full-time cleaner for life.
Get my Nissan 370z (I don’t need no porche).
Buy A LOT of cats.
Organise investments with my full-time for life ‘good accountant.’
Okay buy a porche.
Set up the underprivileged villages in African countries with clean drinking water, organise education and training, and help these children and their families make something of their life, far from the poverty they currently experience.
Walk down the streets, randomly handing out $100 notes with the catch phrase “Hi! I’ve been looking for you! Here’s my overdue payment” and then walk off.
Get a professional coffee machine (barista style) installed in my really nice house.
Go into bars and yell “drinks are on me!” and make friends for life. (Note: do this in my three holiday house locations).
Hire a bodyguard for life.
And with all my free time not working, I would drink coffee, do yoga, indulge in red wine, holiday, and just write write write!
Ahh. What a life.
(And all that from the anticipation of coffee!)
*Try it, it’s a fun game, and leave your comments below!*
This is the thing. I’m not aware of any writer out there, any woman out there, who has managed to achieve literary publishing success, while her children are young.
Young. Little. I’m talking 1 + children under the age of, let’s say 4-5.
Because really, when would they have time to do it?
Baby girl is not a baby anymore: she’s a toddler, 18 months to be precise. Life was already busy without her, and now that she’s here, it’s even busier. I’m fortunate in that if left to her own devices, she will nap for about 2 hours a day. This is great. This is unreal. The only thing is, I have so much to do, I don’t know what to do first.
There’s always some kind of cleaning, some kind of food prep or cooking. Today for example, I had phone calls to make. I’ll pay bills online. I always try to squeeze in some writing time though. Like today. I haven’t posted something non-food related for a while, and this post and all the contradictory thoughts that come with it has been stewing in my mind for months. I sit down during her nap, with a coffee, and let the caffeine take me on a journey.
I have so many thoughts about this. There is some way, that I could achieve publishing success, with baby girl, as is. Like, now. But if I were to have another baby, I don’t know where I would find the time. I have this small sliver of opportunity that currently exists during the day. I can, and I do often write at night when she has been put down for the night. But unfortunately on some occasions, I’m just too tired. I’m tired from the day, I’m tired from the constant running around and not stopping. I’m tired of everything.
So instead, I’ll surf the web, or watch something I’ve recorded on Foxtel.
(Tsk tsk tsk).
Two people spring to mind when I think of me as Author (because we all are Authors aren’t we, only no one knows of our impending success yet)… me as Author watching TV.
Stephen King and Jackie Collins.
In Stephen King’s On Writing, he talks about TV being possibly the worst thing to thwart an Author’s efforts to write. He tells us to unplug the thing, and to find places where you can read during the day…standing in queue at the post office for example, or while waiting at the doctor’s office.
Jackie Collins says quite the opposite. In a recent interview, she spoke of how much she enjoyed watching television, and the volume of television she watches. She finds it inspiring and helps her to formulate her stories and give her the inspiration she needs.
I think they’re both right. Stephen King is right, but so is Jackie. You should avoid the TV, just for the sake of not getting sucked into the tedious monotomy of fluff being broadcast to a passive audience, hypnotising the viewers into forgetting about the next 3 possibly useful and effective hours of the night.
But if you’re watching something brilliant, something compelling… well. I find inspiration not just from books, but from movies and television shows. When I watch entertainment on TV, I don’t just stare numbly: I break it down, I analyse. In my mind, when something surprising occurs, I think ‘Oh. See how they did that? It went from A to B and then C was missed and suddenly you were at M and you were like what?! How did they think to create that story?’
So I can’t deny my visual form of entertainment either. I just have to pick carefully because of my limited time.
My foxtel planner is inundated with movies and shows that are yet to be watched. I have DVDS and movies that I’ve bought, and likewise have not had the time to sit down and dedicate myself to it. I feel so bad to sit there, not writing, for approximately 40 mins to 2 hours, when I could be productive and working on my book. I really feel guilty about it, yet I feel like my desire to consume this screen action won’t go away soon either.
I was thinking of the whole theory that Mums don’t have time to make themselves a success while their children were young, when P.D. James died. The night after hearing the shocking news, I googled her and some interesting articles came up on her back story. She had had a very difficult upbringing with her Mother institutionalised due to mental illness while James was still at an impressionable age, and then her string of misfortune continued when her husband developed a severe case of Schizophrenia after returning from the war, resulting in frequent hospitalisation. She found him dead one morning in their home, due to suicide.
She’d had two children with him, and moved in with her in-laws after he died. She worked full time to make ends meet. And you know what she also did?
She would wake up 2 hours before work every day, and write.
I remember the strong emotional feeling I got when I read that. I got very teary in the realisation that she had done, so many years ago, what I’d always known I could do. But I hadn’t.
Basically, in the end, there are no excuses. If you want to write, you will find a way. Like one blogger wrote, you’ll lock yourself in the bathroom away from the toddlers just so you can have 5 minutes of peace and tranquillity and a moment to put your fingers to the keypad. You’ll get up early, you’ll stay up late, or you just won’t sleep much at all.
Didn’t Bon Jovi sing “I’ll sleep when I’m dead?” That sounds about right.
Like another blogger I follow recently posted about, Andrew Toy at Adopting James, he also gets up 2 hours before his work start, in order to get in some writing time.
There are really no excuses.
There will always be things to do. I’m such a planner. I think I organise and plan and think and create more than I can possibly achieve. I love being on the move, being busy, and hate the idea of boredom. So I do it to myself, really. But in the end, do I want to tick off all my jobs on my to-do list, or do I want to say:
“I’m a published writer.”
There is no question there.
And don’t get me wrong, don’t accuse me of procrastinating now. I have been writing my book, the second book in my series in fact. I finished the 1st chapter just the other day, and while I stir up some more creative juices as to what to do in chapter 2, I sit here, and add to my blog, and catch up on stuff, and just generally imagine the possibilities for my characters, for myself, and for life.
Sometimes I think this blog has taken me away from my book writing. Maybe I’m right. Maybe I’m totally right. But at the end of the day I have to write, and I have to write somewhere… and this kind of outlet, I wouldn’t give up for anything.
So in reference to the above heading… how to make it, while doing it all?
2. Decide on your goals, and what is important to you
I just had a weird thing happen. I just saw the title of my yet-unpublished-bound-to-happen book as part of a title of a television series.
It was, without saying too much, only kind of, yet exactly the same as my title, though there is another section to my book title that wasn’t there, as simultaneously there was something in the TV series title that is not in mine.
Still. I just kind of stared, letting the image of the name burn into me, recognising that the name is there, out there, in television land, in this other medium, in a media form as such… it exists.