At the start of my 20s I thought I had most of my crap together.
At 27 I realise how wrong I was. I write about the confusions of life, and how I’m stumbling my way through it. I also feature baby piglets, because I love them.
Cards from moments gone. From birthdays, Christmases, but most significantly, her wedding. A wedding to symbolise the beginning of happily-ever-after. A happily-ever-after that didn’t last.
It was a sad moment to be a part of. The kind where your heart breaks a little for someone else.
I asked her if she felt like we start off in life so full of hope and as time goes on reality kind of breaks us down. She said, “Yes”.
I understand that’s a cynical question to ask. But I think it’s hard not be disappointed sometimes when things don’t go as we hoped they would.
I do look back on how I was in my early 20s. So full of optimism, hopes and dreams. I viewed the world in two shades, black and white. If you do this, you get that. If you act that way, this will happen. I wish that things were actually that simple. Sometimes they are, but often they aren’t.
At times it’s hard to see the world in a positive light. There is so much pain in the world. I hear the reports of all the people who have died in Nepal as a result of the earthquake and I honestly can’t think about it. I can’t think of all the people who are in pain because of it. Am I ignoring it? In a way, yes.
If we took on all the pain in the world we’d break. Sometimes we can just manage a small amount, just our own.
As Pat says in Sliver Linings Playbook, “The world will break your heart ten ways to Sunday. That’s guaranteed…”
“You have to do everything you can, you have to work your hardest, and if you do, if you stay positive, you have a shot at a silver lining.”
Life can be painful. It can hurt. It can disappoint. Cause your heart to break.
But there is always lots of beauty, we just have to open our eyes to it. And as long as you are breathing there is always hope that great things can happen. That the dreams you had for yourself at the beginning can still happen for you. No matter how old or cynical you may be.
So don’t give up. Do everything you can do, no matter how broken you feel. Work your hardest, try to stay positive in the midst of the pain and then, as Pat says, you will have a shot at a silver lining.
Because, “With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.” – Desiderata.
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Thanks to Mama O (Oprah Winfrey) I learnt about vision boards a few years ago. I have created various boards over the years and last week I was inspired to put together one for 2015, so out came the magazines, scissors and glue and I got down to business.
What is a vision board?
It is a board that displays images and notes about the dreams that you have for yourself or things that you want to do or be in your life. It’s a clear, visual reminder of everything that you would like to achieve.
Why create a vision board?
Because it’s fun! How often do you get to cut up pictures and glue them to a board? Perhaps the last time you did anything along these lines was in Primary School. It’s hard being an adult!
Obviously fun isn’t the only reason, in fact it is the probably the least important reason to create a vision board.
The truth is that there’s power in visualising the things that you want to become a reality. One of my favourite stories is of how Jim Carey put into action the power of visualisation.
Before Jim Carrey was rich or famous he would visualise the things he wanted becoming a reality. He even wrote himself a cheque for 10 million dollars (before he had anywhere near that amount of money) for acting services rendered and gave himself three years, dating it November 1995.
Just before November 1995 Jim Carrey found out he was going to make 10 million dollars for Dumb and Dumber. Obviously he did more than just write himself a cheque. In the interview where he shares this story with Oprah she says, “Visualisation works if you work hard.” Not only did Jim Carrey visualise using the cheque he created, but he also put in the work needed to bring his dream to reality.
By creating a vision board you will be using the same technique Jim Carey used with his cheque. Creating something visual that represents your dreams.
Why does visualisation work?
Science has shown that your brain can’t tell the difference between a visualised image and reality. Isn’t that awesome! A Harvard study created two groups of people and taught both an easy five-fingered piano piece. One group physically practised the melody for two hours a day for five days. The other group just visualised playing the melody. At the end of the study it was found that the new neurological wiring that was created as a result of the learning was almost identical in both groups. Isn’t that amazing!
Simply by visualising what you want you can trick your mind into believing that you already have it, helping to make it a reality.
How do you make the board?
First of all think about the things you want to achieve or the dreams you have for your life. You may want to write a list. For me some of the things that I want to see happen include:
Publish numerous books on Amazon and hit the Top 100 list in humour and entertainment
Run a marathon
Earn $5,000 each month from passive income
Meet an awesome guy and fall in love
Be completely free of health problems
Write on a daily basis
See more of the world, including New York
You can see these dreams on my vision board. As you can see I’ve left space at the bottom of the cardboard for when I have new dreams that pop up.
These are the things you will need to create your vision board:
A piece of large cardboard
Pictures of the things you want to achieve & quotes that motivate you (these could be from magazines or printed off the Internet)
Arrange the pictures and words on the cardboard and glue them in place. That’s it!
Where should you keep your board?
Anywhere you like, but make sure it’s placed somewhere where you will be able to see it on a daily basis. Mine is hanging on the wall behind on my bed. When I sit at my desk to write it is in clear view. This is important. The more you focus on the pictures on the board the bigger the impact.
How will pictures on a board change your life?
The truth is they won’t. If you create a vision board but don’t actively visualise using it it won’t do a damn thing for your life. I am super guilty of doing this. But every day is a chance to get it right.
The power of the vision board lies in you taking the time to visualise, looking at the pictures and dreams represented on your board, feeling and seeing what your life would be like if you already had the things you want. It is in the practice of feeling like you already have the things you want that the magic happens. You are tricking your subconscious mind into believing that what you want is already a reality.
All this may sound a bit too woo woo for you, but the truth is that it has worked for other people so there’s no reason why it won’t work for you. Take the time to create a vision board, hang it somewhere where you will see it all the time and practice visualising every day. I’m sure Jim Carrey would say it’s one the best things you couls ever do to see your dreams become a reality.
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“I hate people in night clubs, snorting coke and explaining where you’re going wrong.” – Passenger
Do you ever think about the fact that your parents had no idea what they were doing when they raised you?
Perhaps you have a boat load of issues and so it’s extremely clear that your parents didn’t know what they were doing. If this is the case, I’m sorry. If it’s any consolation prize – we all have our issues.
I was having coffee with a friend on a Thursday and it turned into a laughing session about how little our parents must have known when raising us.
How old were your parents when they had you? If my maths serves me correctly (which it usually doesn’t) my mum was 28. That’s one year older than I am now. Holy crap! If I were to pop a child into the world right now someone would need to be constantly praying for that poor little soul.
What does all this have to do with coke? You say. Ok, ok, settle down. I’m getting to the point, slowly.
“Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.” – Paulo Coelho
As Passenger sings in his awesome song I Hate, too many of us are snorting coke while telling other people where they’re going wrong, metaphorically of course. Or not, I can’t know how you spend your evenings, or mornings, depending on if you are a morning person. You may have coke for breakfast. I hope not.
We’re all figuring this thing out as we go along. We only live once (as far as I’m aware) so we are literally making it up as we go, kind of like running around in the dark, hoping that we won’t bang into any sharp furniture corners. Sometimes we do. Doesn’t it hurt?
It’s easy to look at others’ lives and think we know exactly what they should be doing or how they should be living, all the while we’re sitting in dark corners doing coke. I don’t know why I said dark corners. I’m sure people do coke in well-lit corners also.
Just like our parents had no idea what they were doing, we too have no idea what we’re doing. Keep that in mind next time you judge the outside of someone’s life. Just take care of your own, I’m sure it needs all the attention it can get.
P.S I apologise if you were disappointed that this post wasn’t actually an account about me doing illegal drugs. I may just save that for another day. Can’t give out all my good stuff at once! Also, for the record, I am generally against illegal drugs. This is my disclaimer.
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This is a regular feature where I share awesome things I’ve come across on the web. Why is this a bargain? Because you don’t have to sort your way through the crap on the internet to find quality. I’ve spent the most productive hours of my life doing that, so you don’t have to.
Society tells us that some of the most respected people are those who become lawyers or doctors. As soon as someone tells us they own either of these job titles we are taught to think, “Oh, they must be smart and rich.”
Here’s an awesome video about a guy who was a doctor and after realising that it was making him miserable decided to quit and spend his time rollerblading along a boardwalk. Check out his cool story!
Do you know what your personality type is? I recently did this test, which is based on the Carl Jung’s and Isabel Briggs Myers’ personality tests. Once you have done the test you can find a detailed description of your type here.
I discovered that I’m an ENFP. My profile was crazy accurate and it’s helped me to realise a lot about myself. I recommend it!
Saw this posted on FB. Cracked me up!
You never know whose life is depending on your bravery
I came across this post on Mind Body Green which moved me. Not only did I love it because it talks about Kris Carr, an inspiring wellness role model, but because it reminded me of the fact that we can never completely know the impact we are having on others. An awesome, inspiring read!
When I was 19 years old and studying at university I lived in dorms, a few rooms down the hall from Jules*.
Jules was super skinny, but would constantly be eating. One evening I went into her room and she was in the middle of consuming a two litre tub of ice-cream. Bulimic, she must be. That was the conclusion we all came to.
I cleaned the toliets on our dorm floor. I was tired of cleaning up what I believed to be throw-up stains. So I came up with a genius plan; I’d create “Do you have bulimia?” posters and stick them on the bathroom doors. Posters which would provide a support number, but also hopefully stop people from throwing up in the toliets that I had to clean.
Jules knew the posters were targeted towards her. She knew it was my idea and that I’d created them. It ended in a horrible confrontation, where she told me of extremely sad situations she was dealing with.
I wish I hadn’t created those posters. I wish I could take that back.
At the time I thought it was a brilliant idea, which would make my cleaning job a lot easier. Looking back I realise just how cruel it was, a selfish decision based on judgement, not love, without any facts. An intrusion into another person’s story, which I had no idea about.
This is just one regret I have.
I have many.
I hate it when people say they have no regrets. Perhaps they don’t like to own the “regret” label because it’s become popular to say you don’t have any.
The truth is having regrets just means you’re human. I don’t know how anybody alive could honestly say that there are no moments, or choices, if given the chance they wouldn’t choose to take back, or change.
I try not to dwell on regrets, but there are days when they definitely dominate my thoughts.
I wish I didn’t say that.
I wish I didn’t hurt them.
I wish I said how I really felt.
I wish I had acted sooner.
I wish I had treated myself better.
I wish I had tried harder.
I wish, I wish, I wish.
Life isn’t about living without any regrets, it’s about living in spite of them. It’s about finding ways to not let them define you.
Maya Angelou once said, “This is what I’m learning,” because the learning is never finished, never done.
This is what I’m learning when it come to living with regrets.
1) A lot of emotional pain is caused by our inability to accept that we can’t change the past
Hal Elrod was 20 years old when his car was hit head on by another. He was declared dead for six minutes, before coming back to life. After waking up in hospital Hal was told he had suffered brain damage and that he may never walk again.
A few days later hospital staff pulled his father aside, saying they were concerned about his son because he appeared to be too happy, clearly he hadn’t accepted the reality of his situation.
As it turned out the reason for Hal’s happiness was that he had accepted his reality. He realised that he couldn’t change what had happened. What was done was done. Hal did end up walking again and has gone on to do great things, but “Can’t change it” is still his mantra.
The past is just that, the past. It’s been and gone. There’s no point continually beating yourself up over what can’t be changed. It’s done. You no longer get a say over it. Release it. You may find that by releasing and accepting it, a lot of your pain will be gone.
2) Your past doesn’t need to dictate your future
Just because something bad happened in your past doesn’t mean it needs to define your future. You get to choose as to whether or not you will let your mistakes, or the mistakes of others, consume you.
The best way to look at your regrets is to learn from them. Remember them so you won’t repeat your mistakes and get caught in a vicious cycle of regret. It’s important to grow from each regret so you can make room for the many more mistakes you will make as life goes on. Don’t you love being human!
3) Someday the pain you feel now will be a distant memory
Nothing lasts forever. When you are in a crisis it’s almost impossible to see out of it. But the pain won’t always be as intense. It may always be there, like a broken heart that never completely heals. If you smash a plate can it ever be perfectly put back together? No, cracks will remain. But that’s how the light gets in.
4) There is always redemption, it just might not look how you think it will
Redemption will come. It just may not be the answer you initially hoped or prayed for. We may wish with everything we have that we could go back and make different choices. Unfortunately we can’t.
That kind of redemption is not available to us. However, what we can trust in is that some kind of answer will always come. We will find a way to move on from our pain, we will find a way to forgive. In time things won’t seem as hard. We will learn what to do, how to carry on, despite what has happened to us.
“When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what the storm is about.” – Haruki Murakam
5) Be kind
If we allowed it, we could beat ourselves up for the rest of our lives for our mistakes. Don’t. No progress is made in this space.
This is a new segment where I’ll be profiling people from all walks of life and asking them questions about getting older, struggles, the highs and what they want to be remembered for. To kick things off I thought I would answer the questions I will be throwing at other people.
What’s your number (age)?
How do you feel about getting older?
Mixed feelings. At times I feel scared that the older I get the less relevant I will be in society because we live in a culture obsessed with youth. But I also like getting older because I feel like I am learning more, becoming more accepting of myself and less afraid of things I used to be scared of, such as living up to others’ expectations.
What would you say has been the best year of your life so far?
I can’t really say that one year has been the best because I feel like in each year there has been both challenges and amazing highs. I think this is a reflection of life, that there will always be highs and lows no matter what the year. I liked being 18, but I think that actually at the time I didn’t appreciate it and I wouldn’t want to go back to the person I was then. 2013 will always stick out as a high because it was the year I moved to London, something I had dreamed of doing. I’ll never forget the feeling of arriving and the excitement I felt about what that adventure would hold.
What has been the greatest struggle of your life to date? If you have got past this struggle, how did you get through it?
I would say accepting myself has been the greatest struggle of my life. I was at war with my own body for much of my 20s. I have come a long way now and it makes me sad to think of how cruel I was to myself. It’s definitely been a journey to self-acceptance and I feel like I’m just beginning to come into my own. It’s an amazing feeling to not be at war anymore and to be closer to accepting myself, with my flaws.
To deal with this struggle I did a lot of soul-searching, questioned the beliefs that I had about myself and changed the things I said to myself on a daily basis. I read a lot of positive books and also went to a therapist. I didn’t wake up one day and was just past it, it took a lot of time and each day I have to choose to treat myself better.
What has been the most important lesson you’ve learnt?
That being kind to yourself is the most important thing. You are the one person you will be with your whole life and it is vital that you learn to treat yourself with the respect and love you deserve.
The standards in society can make you feel like you will never be enough but there is a whole system in place designed to make you feel that way. It isn’t the truth. The truth is that because you were born and because you exist you are deserving of all the love and respect in the world, just the same as anybody else.
What’s the nicest thing anyone has ever said to you?
I can’t decide! It’s out of these three:
That I inspired them to follow their dreams
That they believed that I could do anything I wanted
That I brought much joy to their life
What would you want to be remembered for?
That I did my best, that people were better for knowing me, that I was positive and fun, wasn’t afraid to follow my dreams and that I cared about others.
This is a new segment in which I’ll be sharing cool things I’ve found on the net during some of the most productive hours of my life.
Have you heard of Food Matters TV? You can watch heaps of amazing documentaries & videos on health, the environment, personal development, all things positive, really! It’s awesome.
Just yesterday I watched a documentary called The Lottery of Birth and it was epic! It discusses freedom and asks the questions: “Do you shape the world or does the world shape you? Is freedom something we are born with or something we must work to attain?”
It’s the best documentary I’ve seen in a while and definitely makes you think about your place in the world. You do have to pay a subscription to watch videos on the platform but for me it’s been well worth it. Continue reading →
When looking for wisdom, it’s hard to go past Maya Angelou’s words. She was one wise lady. Unfortunately, she died last year, before we got the chance to grab a coffee together. It’s ok, I’m sure we shall get a cuppa sometime when I’m also six feet under.
Who was Maya Angelou?
An american author, poet, dancer, actress and singer, Maya published seven autobiographies and is well-known for her book I know Why the Caged Bird Sings. I actually came across Maya through one of my other fav people, Oprah. Watch any interview with Maya and you will see that not only did she have a way with words, she was an extremely beautiful, honest, loving person. Continue reading →
Being a little person, I like little things. Little shoes and little socks for little feet, little gloves for little hands, little cars, little hats, little bags. So when I came across tiny houses I lost the plot, understandably.
What is a tiny house?
Although it may be hard to tell from the name, it is a small house. While the average New Zealand house is around 1600 square feet, the typical tiny house is around 100 to 400 square feet.
Why do people buy big houses?
Buying a big house has become the norm in society
The bigger your house the more you are viewed as “successful”
People think they need space to house all their possessions, most of which they don’t need
Buying a big house is seen as an investment.
I get the investment thing. Although, according to James Altucher, a house is not always the best investment. As someone who has never owned a house I don’t have any advice on this matter. However, I do think it’s important to look at different view points before signing your life away by getting a mortgage. Continue reading →
I was on a beach on the East Coast of New Zealand and I decided that the best way to say goodbye to 2014 and hello to 2015 was to get naked. Going for a skinny dip is a great way to start a new year, I thought.
Unfortunately, 2015 arrived and I was fully clothed. I failed. Some would say it’s an achievement; starting a new year without exposing yourself to strangers and the elements. I felt disappointed. This year I thought I’d get it right and free myself from the constraints of society, one of the constraints being clothes. Continue reading →