Have you forgotten how to live?

14 Aug

What happened to those old hobbies that got left behind and lost in the hectic struggle of day-to-day living? When was the last time that you joined a club or a team just because you could? Since when did sitting in front of the TV with your laptop on your lap and your iPhone sitting next to you become your favourite pastime? Do you shake your head at something just because it is new and different? Do you wait for plans to fall into your lap rather than to go out and do what you want to do? How long have you envied your friends who always seem to have something new and exciting happening on the weekend?

If you have found yourself pausing uncomfortably over any or most of the questions asked above, then I think it has to be said: you have forgotten how to live!

This post isn’t just for singles. It is for everyone who has lost themselves beneath their responsibilities: their job, their mortgage, their kids, their partner etc. It’s time to get out, to put aside time for you and you only.Think about the people who you admire. Do they have hobbies, interests, passions? Think about how much more attractive a person becomes when you discover they have a life outside of work, outside of obligation and beyond their relationships. It’s time you became that person. And the changes you make don’t have to be big, or expensive.

Rediscover yourself. Sit down with a cup of coffee/tea/water/wine and make a list of all of the things that interest you -and be honest! If you don’t like exercising don’t write it down. You might have plans to put your body into motion and get fit, but that doesn’t have to fall into the ‘fun’ category. On the other hand if you are one of those people who like exercise then by all means, please write it down. Remember to put down the things that you like, that you have tried once maybe and enjoyed, that you would like to try but haven’t had the chance to yet.

Don’t over do it and scare yourself off. Start small. If you have put writing or photography down, don’t go out and spend loads of money on a brand new camera or an interstate writing course. Do some reading of your favourite genre or look through photography websites and decide what type of style best suits you.

Also, it’s important to be realistic with what is readily available to you. If you have put down skiing as a potential hobby then you might want to live somewhere close to the snow, or have loads of cash waiting to be spent on ski trips to powder-snow covered Japan. Either way, don’t set yourself up for failure.

Outdoor rock climbing
Brooyar NP, Queensland

What I did was decide on three interests to focus on. They were food, reading and adventure sport.

1. Food was easy, I decided that rather than spending my money on unecessary binge drinking over the weekend as I had been doing for years, I would start indulging my inner foodie by finding out where the best eateries were in my city. Now I am well versed in all the hot spots and love calling up my ‘foodie friends’ to discuss where we should check out next or which market we should pop into to get ingredients for our next culinary adventures. I might even start cooking lessons if this continues -definitely a passion brewing.

2. To be honest, reading hasn’t been as easy. I love love LOVE books and have always enjoyed reading but have found that since I started full time work, the time for my favourite fictitious masterpieces has dwindled. My aim was to fit in just one hour of reading per week and even still I am struggling. Why is it that I manage to find the time to watch the random TV programs that I am not even following and yet I don’t have a spare moment to finished the second Game of Thrones book? Anyhoo… I will keep persevering with this my reading -I know I just need to make better choices.

3. Rock climbing = success! I have always been a bit of a thrill seeker I always loved fast rides at them parks etc. So I opted to go with rock climbing as my adventure sport hobby. Luckily my sister was as keen as I was to give it a go and we also have a centre just down the road. After a few months we decided to buy the harness and the shoes making it a REAL hobby as opposed to a passing phase. We have been climbing for over a year and a half now and yes! That person in the photo is ME -I swear!

Having passions, interests and hobbies make life worth living. It gives you something to talk about, something to enthuse over -and hell, you might find that people gravitate towards your openness to trying new things. Rediscover yourself, spend some much needed time getting to know who you are and what you like to do. If a hobby or an interest doesn’t work out for you, don’t be disheartened, pick something else and try again.

And whilst it should not be the aim, maybe while you are rediscovering yourself and your new passions someone else might discover YOU.

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The Art of Breaking Up

4 Jun

Have you recently ended a relationship? Do you feel lost, like you don’t know where to begin? Maybe it is your first “world-ending” break up and you feel like you will never recover from this. Or maybe you are well schooled in the art of breaking up, having already experienced the gut wrenching feeling of loss (usually involving boxes of tissues and bottles of vodka) and you have come out relatively okay… albeit slightly jaded.

If you were the one ending the relationship then you might be feeling guilty, overwhelmed, relieved, happy or maybe just sad that it ended. On the other hand, if you were broken up with there might be questions unanswered, a lack of closure, you might be feeling humiliated, rejected and confused. Either way I think we can all agree that on the whole, breakups aren’t something that we wish upon ourselves or anyone else.

People deal with breakups differently and there is no easy or ‘right’ way -otherwise we’d all be doing it! But I think that there are definitely healthier ways of handling it than others. Obsessing, being in denial, getting angry, diving head first into a new relationship and ‘beating yourself up about it’ are all what I consider unhealthy ways of dealing with a breakup.

Let’s face it, we all want to be that person who handles their breakup magnanimously. We want to be the cool calm and collected one who finds peace and solace in solitude. We all want to be the strong one coming out of the breakup but unfortunately we don’t always have a choice. Breakups can cripple you. There are some loves that people never, ever get over. They can ruin future relationships, they can sabotage any chance of happiness and they can leave you stranded, unable to move forward. BUT there are some good things that come out of breaking up. My mum told me once:

“Your heart is like an egg, it’s no good to anyone unless it’s been broken.”

I’m pretty sure I had no idea what she meant by this until I experienced my first heartbreak. ‘Rocked to the core’ might have been an expression used by me in one of my many dramatic diary entries about the ordeal. But mum was onto something. You come out of a traumatic breakup with two things: a stronger, healthier heart and a refined set of criteria surrounding your ‘ideal’ partner.

My sister just broke up with her boyfriend last week. She was really nervous and upset about it and I, naturally, was worried about her. She rang me the morning after she’d ‘had the talk’ and I asked her how she was feeling.

Like someone who feels like they have made the right decision. I am really sad about it, but Bek, it’s called a breakup because it’s broken.”

I hung up the phone, floored by how wise and mature my little sister sounded. I didn’t realise she was actually quoting a book by Greg & Amiira Behrendt. But she was absolutely right. Whether you have been broken up with or are the one doing the breaking up, there is something definitely not working. Otherwise you would have stayed together. Once you have accepted that things weren’t perfect, you are finally in the position to start moving on.

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Socially fatigued?

30 May

iPhone Dead

Okay… which of these do you belong to?

Facebook?

WordPress?

Twitter?

Pinterest?

Google+?

How often (you have to be honest!) do you use your smart phone a day? I have discovered that I use mine a fair bit more than I would like to admit. Not only for phone calls and texts but for emails (both personal and work), checking bills, WordPress, Facebook etc. We have never been more contactable then we are now.

I remember when I had my trusty old Nokia 3310, texting was still a novelty. Facebook wasn’t around. Twitter wasn’t around. And you certainly needed a computer to check/look up anything on the internet. Now we are bombarded by social media on a daily basis, no matter who you are.

My sister informed me the other day that she is considering deleting her Facebook account.

Why?” I asked her, a little taken aback.

Because I have an addiction to it,” she replied.

And she is not the only one! We have become completely obsessed with our online social status. “Checking into places” with friends to show how exciting we are, instagraming photos to appear more vintage/cool/beautiful and not to mention Facebook ‘likes‘ which seem to have become our most valued source of feedback on what is happening in our lives. Since smart phones have come on the scene, the social media ‘popularity contest‘ has been taken to a whole new level.

Where does it stop? People are getting their smart phones out everywhere. On the train, on the bus, at work, out with friends, sitting in front of the television, whilst they are driving(!) and the list goes on. When is the down time? I left my phone at home in my rush to get to work last week and I am sad to say that it ruined my day. I actually felt anxious. And for what reason? What was the big deal? This attachment I have to my phone,  a physical object, scares me and honestly… it’s exhausting!

How many of you sleep with your phone under your pillow, turn off your alarm in the morning and immediately check for notifications or emails? How many of you find that you can’t sit through a dinner without a sneaky look at your smart phone in case someone has, emailed, messaged or written on your wall? Who finds themselves flicking through the photos of acquaintances at the most ridiculous hours of the day/night just because you can?

Are we socially fatigued?

I know I can’t speak for everyone. I am sure there are people out there who have achieved some sort of balance between real life and this online social media reality. All I know is that my dependence on my phone and social media scares me a little and I think I might not be the only one.

And seriously, I couldn’t count how many times I have heard the phrase:

I don’t know what I used to do without my *smart phone*.”

Maybe we relaxed a little more?

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Scared of being single?

29 May

Some people are so afraid of being single that they stay in relationships that are well past their ‘used-by date’. And some will do anything they can to change their status from “single” to “in a relationship” on Facebook, even if it means making it work with someone who isn’t quite right for them.

Why?

Is it because they feel that it is better to be with someone and unhappy than to be alone?

Society encourages us to believe that being single goes hand in hand with loneliness. But being lonely is very very different to being alone. Granted, being single isn’t always a walk in the park. It can definitely be lonely sometimes but I think it is far more sensible to tough it out on your own until the right person comes along. If you jump head first into a relationship with a person who doesn’t fit you… you might find yourself lonelier in your relationship than you were when you were actually alone.

People are way more attracted to someone who feels good about themselves than someone who needs their partner to validate them. It’s the age-old cliché –who’s going to want to date you, if you don’t want to date yourself? This isn’t anything new but we all know deep down that it’s true. It’s our insecurities, fears and doubts that cause the majority of dramas in our relationships. So maybe we need to hear it again. The first step towards finding someone who respects, trusts and loves you is respecting, loving and trusting yourself.

CHECK IT OUT

The article, How to Enjoy Being Alone is extremely inspiring, not just for singles but for everyone.

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How to be alone…

27 May

Why do we as society reject and fear this idea of being ‘alone’?

This is something I have been thinking about for a long time and before I go on, please don’t mistake my use of the word ‘alone’ to mean being single. How to embrace being single is a completely separate issue that I will visit later on. Also, I want to make it clear that I am not talking about making an Into the Wild change of lifestyle or that you should ditch your partner and all your friends. What I am talking about is why our society seems to have this incessant need to appear to be with someone or in contact with someone at all times.

I think that we are afraid to spend time alone with ourselves.

Ask yourself, are you afraid of being of spending time with yourself?

–       Does the thought of entering a room at a party/BBQ alone make you nervous?

–       Are you uncomfortable just imagining going to the movies by yourself?

–       Would you never consider going out for a meal or even a drink by yourself?

–       Do you feel the need to get your smart phone out when you’re alone somewhere?

–       Do you hate being alone in public and try to avoid it wherever possible?

–       Do you constantly feel the urge to  ‘check in’ on social media sites whenever you are out with friends?

What I want to know is, can we be ‘complete’ without others around us? Why is it that when we are waiting for someone alone, even if it is for a few minutes, we have to whip out our smart phones and surf the net or facebook? Is it because we think that if people see us alone they will assume we don’t have a purpose or heaven forbid, that we don’t have friends?

I will admit, I am guilty of this behaviour too. I found myself getting my iPhone out the other day whilst I was on a coffee date with my girlfriend. She had gone to the restaurant bathroom and although I had no reason to, I pulled my phone out of my bag and checked out my newsfeed. This could be a symptom of a facebook addiction (again, that’s another issue I’ll visit later) BUT it could have been any website, now that I think about it, I just wanted something ‘to do’ whist she was gone. Why couldn’t I just sit there, enjoy the atmosphere of the cafe and wait? 

So tell me… why aren’t we content with our own company?

What I am hoping to do through this blog is understand this question a little more. I am going to set myself a challenge each week that will test my own fears of being alone and hopefully begin to celebrate being by myself.

CHECK IT OUT

I was recently inspired by a wonderful artist, Tanya Davis. She has managed to put into words, exactly what I have been thinking.

A Challenge: Going to the Movies… ALONE

27 May

When you think about it, going to the movies is one of the least social things you can do with someone. So why are some people so afraid of going by themselves? And why does society create these rules around what has to be done with someone. When I asked my friends what was so scary about it, I got mixed responses.

I set myself the challenge this week to go to the movies by myself. It was fine at first, buying the ticket by myself didn’t ensue a judgemental look from the lady behind the counter and no one blinked an eye when I bought my popcorn and frozen raspberry alone. I will admit though, once I settled down in the seat, I did feel a little awkward. All around me people were whispering the regular whispers you hear during the trailers,

“Ooooo I want to see that one!’

“He’s so cute!”

But something clicked as I listened to all of the incomprehensible whispering throughout the theatre, I am alone and I am okay. So I embraced it and enjoyed myself. It felt like an accomplishment, walking out of the cinema alone and still alive!! I’ll definitely do it again -it feels nice to spend time with myself.