Achieving Resolutions

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As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live. – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

It has been a few months since I have published a post, however I have some good news! As most of you know, I have had a rough time with my health over the past year and a half. Recently, as of the last 2-3 months, I have gradually been feeling better and have been able achieve my biggest New Year’s Resolution – to train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu! After being practically bed-bound this time last year, it is overwhelmingly exciting for me to be able to train a martial art again! I’m loving it!

Being chronically ill is scary, I’m not going to deny that – especially when you remain a medical mystery over countless medical specialist appointments. Making plans for the future feels impossible, let alone making plans for the following week. Having CFS/ME means that each day is unpredictable – you can be doing well for X amount of days, and then randomly relapse with zero warning. This took a huge emotional toll on me, as I have always been a “planner”, a “do-er”. At the beginning of the year, I was determined to make realistic, yet significant goals that would lead to methods of improving my health, life-direction, and well-being. I was not sure if I would be able to exercise again, let alone train within martial arts – something I have been passionate about since I trained karate as a child. For me, martial arts fosters self-confidence, strength, dedication, determination and direction. It helps my emotional and physical well-being.

Stay passionate!

Moreover, I have found a career direction – another big New Years Resolution of mine. Volunteering with the disabled has made a big impact on me. I am really enjoying it and have decided to make a career out of it! I was completely lost when I left Veterinary school. I was devastated, but I knew it was not right for me due to health and financial reasons. While I had made peace with this, I had no idea what to do next. I kept applying for Marketing jobs and was not successful in landing a position. I had lost my enthusiasm. I was applying for a field that I did not want to work in. Nevertheless, life had other plans for me. When I signed up to volunteer at an organisation that helps the disabled, I had no idea that it would end up my next career direction!

It has been an uphill battle, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to achieve any of my resolutions – yet I’m on my way to achieving them all! It goes to show that it is imperative to just keep trying.

Just show up, as you are. You don’t have to look or feel great. You don’t have to be prepared for each challenge or know all the hows of every situation. You don’t have to be fearless, or have all the answers, or be 100% ready. Nobody is any of these things. Nobody ever was. It’s not about being perfect, at all. You just have to show up, as you are, despite all the objections and insecurities of your mind, despite each and every fear that threatens to hold you back, despite the limitations and criticisms others will place on you. To hell with it all. This is your life, your journey, your adventure, and all it’s asking of you is to show up for it, as you are. That’s enough. That’s more than enough. That’s everything.” – Scott Stabile




When the Only Certainty is Uncertainty Itself

One of the hardest things to come to terms with in life, is that the only certainty is uncertainty itself. Change is inevitable, and that is not a bad thing. Sometimes it can seem bad, particularly when you face the need to alter life goals due to unforeseen circumstances – and sometimes this can happen more than once, like it did for me. This does not make it “bad”, all it means is that an adjustment period is required. In hindsight, it often appears that everything happens for a reason. There are pro’s and con’s for every situation.

In an ever-changing world, the only constant that remains to an individual are core values. These can help. Honestly, I have found that rebuilding confidence is quite difficult. I tend to struggle to believe in myself, and in my capabilities, on a regular basis. I tend to forget about what I have achieved, or the positive things I have done, and focus instead on what I cannot do. Thus, mindset makes a big difference. It is easy to fall down the rabbit hole of negativity, but once in there you need to find ways to climb back up instead of the much easier route of spiraling down. Discovering the root cause is a challenge within itself. For me, it was the realisation that I now seem to lack direction, which in turn made me feel hopeless and worthless. My whole life I was driven by what I wanted to work towards for my future, mainly career, lifestyle and such. I always dreamed of success and happiness in the working world. Hence, my life was practically turned upside down when I fell chronically ill. Instead of dwelling on this turning of events (as I had already done this enough, and probably a little too much), I decided to evaluate what exactly I missed about how my life used to be, in order to determine whether I could get back to a similar point, or at the very least to a similar mindset. Continue reading

TV Series Review: “Girlboss”

courtesy of netflix
Image Source: Netflix

Adulthood is where dreams go to die“, Sophia Marlowe declares in the series premiere of Netflix original “Girlboss”. Edgy, abrasive, brazen, the series is about a lost 23-year-old who had no idea what her talents were, before stumbling across an East West calfskin jacket for $9 in a local vintage shop. “Know what you s— is worth. You just got played” Sophia tells the vintage shop owner, before flipping the jacket on eBay for $600.

“Girlboss” is inspired by the best-selling memoir of the same name, by real-life rags-to-riches mogul, Sophia Amoruso. The series is a “real loose” telling of how the Nasty Gal entrepreneur built a clothing empire, worth $300 million in sales, from nothing. The 13-episode dramedy was created by screenwriter, Kay Cannon (Pitch Perfect), along with Amoruso herself, and Charlize Theron as executive producers.

Sophia is a strong, sassy, savvy hustler, who doesn’t care if she is likable or not. We are introduced to Sophia as a dumpster diving, shoplifting, entitled, and narcissistic millennial. Despite this, you can’t but help root for Sophia’s success throughout the series. As “Girlboss” progresses, Sophia recognises the error of her “garbage person” ways, both leading her on the path to grow as a person, and to further her success.

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Book Review: “Small Great Things” by Jodi Picoult

The Lowdown:

Small Great Things” is told with frank honesty, thus is quite a heavy, challenging read. In true Jodi Picoult style, the novel deals with a compelling moral dilemma and intractable social justice issues. Set in contemporary America, the novel tackles racism, inequality and prejudice. Ruth, an innocent African-American labour and delivery nurse, finds herself faced with the consequences of a medical incident involving the death of an infant child belonging to white supremacists. Offering very different angles of events, and insights into differing life circumstances that have each led the characters to be who they are, the story is told from three different points of view – the African-American nurse, Ruth; her Caucasian lawyer, Kennedy; and the late infant’s white supremacist father, Turk. Throughout Ruth’s trial, she and Kennedy work on gaining each other’s trust –  great introspection is achieved through each of their perspectives in the novel; both Ruth and Kennedy have to question their beliefs and what they have been taught about others and themselves. Through Turk’s perspective, Picoult explores the radical ideas behind white supremacy, and beliefs behind their immoral social behaviours. Overall, the novel is quite thought-provoking, brutal at times, and an important narrative. Continue reading

Adventure Awaits, Hidden in the Warburton Valley

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East Warburton Redwood Forest, Victoria

One of Victoria’s hidden gems is the Redwood Forest, east of the Warburton Valley. Without any official signage, besides on Google Maps, the forest has an aura of a secret, mystical place. The moment you step foot into the forest, you are instantly faced with a sense of calmness and wonder. The trees were planted in perfect rows that soften the noise of the outside world. Walking through the forest, all you can hear is the sounds of the birds that you cannot see, chirping away in the towering canopy above. The magnificent Redwood trees make you feel so small. In this way nature really has a way of putting things in perspective. It’s a beautiful place to explore, to sit and think, to have a picnic. A sense of clarity comes with being in the wilderness. There is no phone or data reception in the Redwood forest, but you will find a better connection.

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The towering canopy of Redwoods

Now Heritage listed in Victoria, the Californian Redwoods – Sequoia sempervirens, were planted in the 1930s by the Board of Works for experimental purposes, to study the canopy interception results in comparison with native forest trees. There are over 1,476 trees all planted in an aesthetically pleasing grid, some trees reaching up to 55 metres! Continue reading

Book Review: “My (Not So) Perfect Life” by Sophie Kinsella

The Lowdown:

Named on the Goodreads 2017 “Reading Challenge: Top New Releases” , I thought I should give another Sophie Kinsella novel a read – and I am glad I did!

Katie Brenner, a country farm girl from Somerset, has had one goal her whole life – to succeed in London. The protagonist struggles to find her identity in a world that is obsessed with the images that people portray online and in real life. Working as a research associate at a large branding agency in London, Katie changes her image and even her accent to reinvent herself as “Cat”. Persisting to remain optimistic – through her long city commute, tedious work tasks, her tight budget, a tiny room whereby an overhanging hammock is her closet, and oddball roommates – Katie’s expectations of the “perfect London life” fall short. Despite this, Katie is adamant on remaining upbeat and portraying an image of perfection on her Instagram page.  Continue reading

Day Tripping – Sorrento and Surrounds

Day trips are a perfect way to adventure and to take some time out to refresh and revitalise. Being surrounded by nature makes me appreciate how beautiful the world can be. Taking in deep breaths, and paying attention to my surroundings automatically improves my posture and inner being. It brings an invigorating sense of harmony, and a Zen-like peaceful state. The Mornington Peninsula in Victoria is stunning, there are many places I could highlight. However, in this post I place a spotlight on some of my personal favourite spots – Sorrento Back Beach, Portsea Pier, and the London Bridge. Being limited in terms of how much walking or activities I can do, this is the perfect place to still see a lot and enjoy experiences within a close vicinity.

Sorrento Back Beach

I love the atmosphere at Sorrento Back Beach.The fresh breeze of the ocean air. The vast coastline surrounded by the hills of the Mornington Peninsula National Park. Lined with sandstone cliffs and rock formations, there are many rock pools to explore – some deep enough to jump into off small rock platforms. Continue reading

Raising Awareness

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), or more commonly labelled as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), is an immunological and neurological dysfunction disorder. It is characterised by a severe worsening of symptoms after minimal physical or cognitive exertion. ME is a chronic illness that lasts for years and is often lifelong. It is a controversial diagnosis in need of more awareness and understanding. Due to a lack of medical education and government research around ME, many affected by the disease remain misdiagnosed or even dismissed, being wrongly told their severe disabilities are a result of their imagination.

There have been various articles discussing ME in prominent newspapers all around the world, such as the New York Times, The Huffington Post, The Australian. Despite this, the stigma seems to continue surrounding the disease, mostly due to a lack of understanding by both the medical community and the general community. It is an invisible illness, so people will not often “look sick” on the outside, yet their lives are often so compromised that the majority of suffers cannot work, some remaining permanently housebound. Researchers have estimated, among those who have received a diagnosis, that approximately 150,000 Australians, 1-2.5 million Americans, 250,000 British people, and 400,000 Canadians have ME.

“I don’t know is a beautiful thing. I don’t know is where a discovery starts.”

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Book Review: “The Undomestic Goddess” by Sophie Kinsella

The Lowdown:

A high-powered, respected lawyer Samantha Sweeting, runs away to a small country town unexpectedly, to pursue a vocation as a housekeeper because of a horrible mistake at work. Groomed into workaholism from a young age by her mother, Samantha successfully rose above the ranks to the point where she was about to make partner at the top-tier law firm in London. Dazed and in the middle of a meltdown due to the huge mistake that could cost her successful career, Samantha jumps on a train to a small country town in the middle of nowhere. Keen for a glass of water and directions, Samantha walks up to the first house she sees. There she is mistaken for an interviewee for the position of a housekeeper, where she hired. Here’s the catch – Samantha cannot cook or clean, to the point where she has no idea how to make toast or use a washing machine! Continue reading

A Perspective on the Pressures of Ambition

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Where does this overwhelming desire to “do more”, to “be more” seem to come from? Even when we are in the process of achieving our ambitions, there is this element of “what else” or “what more” can we achieve? Is it a generational thing, a personality thing, or merely the pressure we have put on ourselves? It seems that millennials in particular have been brought up with a necessity to “follow our dreams”, in a way that we not only should “live to work” but love it too. This is not necessarily a bad thing, however it can become a negative thing, if it compromises other aspects of our personal lives. The origin of the pressures, being the idea that it is not acceptable unless we are overachieving. It can seem that gaining economic security, on its own, is not enough. The overachieving mentality can become damaging because it has the power to contribute to anxiety, dissatisfaction, a lack of self-esteem, or confusion about the important things in life.

A career becomes a part of our image, our reputation. The way we see ourselves; what we feel we need to portray to those around us as a result. It contributes to driving our need to put extra pressure on ourselves. Whether we are good enough, whether we are worthy. Continue reading