Monday 31 October 2016

Happy Halloween

Snapchat filters make for easy Halloween costumes...

My young boy came running in this morning just after 5am (damn Queensland and it's resistance to Daylight Savings). "Happy Halloween!" he cried. With hugs and kisses all round. You would have thought it was someone's birthday!

For the next three hours until I could drop him at kindy, there were approximately 150 more "Happy Halloween!" My sweet-toothed boy who loves to dress up could not be anymore excited on this Halloween day. He ran up to everyone on the street and in the playground making sure they were filled with the happiness of Halloween. His joyful cheers put smiles on every face he met, even the biggest Halloween cynics.

I know there are a lot of people who dislike Halloween out there in Australia, but I think there's nothing wrong with dressing up, eating some lollies and meeting some of your neighbours. At the very least putting a smile on someone's face on a dreary Monday can't be a bad thing.

So happy Halloween!

Friday 21 October 2016

Then, here and later

"It's just I'm surprised that five years on I'm still surprised how relentless it is. The lack of time that I thought would be abundant to do things for me. Dreams of pursuing a dream or exercise or reading or anything else are still just dreams. Even to sit and dream is just a dream."

The above is a quote from a blog post I wrote five years ago about being a parent. How that before I became a parent, I believed I'd be this mother earth type who'd suddenly have all this time to dedicate to myself and my child. I was obviously deluded and the reality was actually years of relentless hard work. While I might get depressed about this and tell myself that my life is slipping away or monotonously mundane (which it no doubt is), it is just one part of many parts of my life.   

I was recently watching Dazed and Confused again, I hadn't watched it in years and it brought back lots of memories. There's a line near the end of the movie though that goes something like this: "If in 20 years time, I say that school was the best time of my life, please kill me".

I don't think there's a parent out there who hasn't been told: "Oh soak up this wonderful time, it goes too fast." And as you stand there unshowered, unslept and with spew and poo down your front, think you'd really rather forget it all, thanks anyway.

When you're in the middle of the grind. The tedium. Whatever stage of life. You often fail to take note of the good stuff that's happening around you. You may lament that it's  not as you thought it would be, let's face it, it rarely is. We spend all of our lives, waiting for life to really start happening. Then that waiting for something becomes life. As time moves on, you forget the tedium and all those good times, however minuscule, are the ones that remain. Spending all day, every day with your friends. No bills. Little responsibility. Laughing as your baby giggles uncontrollably. Watching them take their first steps. A glass of wine and a singalong after a long day.

It's like when you go on that holiday or camping trip. At the time you're obsessed with that lost piece of luggage. Getting ripped off by that guy in the market. The rain that poured down and flooded your tent. Missing that train. All these things are going to destroy what should be the time of your life, dammit. Down the track, all you remember is that cocktail on the beach. How good that gelato in the square tasted. Long hours of conversation round the campfire. When you do remember the lost luggage or getting ripped off, it simply makes for a rollicking dinner party story.

The rise of social media, ensures that we can curate the 'good' bits and edit the bad in the here and now without the necessary passage of time to help soften the memory. We are reassured the good moments are indeed good by how many "likes" we get. And if we don't get enough likes, we can try again with another "good" moment. That scares me, I have to admit. The pressure on those "good" bits has escalated to a point where we don't even enjoy them anymore (unless we get validation from someone else that yes, that's good and we're liked). Then we have to up the ante and find another good moment. Ironically we stop enjoying those small gems of good time. Those simple joys are suddenly promoted to the time-of-your-life moments. Such a lot of pressure. 

Hindsight is always 20-20. I could go back and tell myself to not worry so much about school. I could tell  my 18-year-old self, to not cover up on the beach embarrassed because, love, that's as good as it's going to get. I could tell my 25-year-old self to stop wasting so much money and put something away. I could tell my 30-year-old self to stop worrying and enjoy that tiny baby. The thing is I wouldn't listen, even to my older and wiser myself. What I can do, is to tell myself now, that this is just one moment in time. That sleepless night worrying about XYZ won't matter in 12 months or 10 years time. The small gems of joy that may escape my vision right now will appear later on, like a developing photograph. 

Wednesday 19 October 2016

Working it out

Life is a funny thing. Blogging is an even funnier thing. I was just having a quick look online when suddenly I was drawn to start reading an old blog post of mine Things Will Always Work Out.

Funny because, at the time five years ago, we were trying to sell our house and find a 'family home' that would fit us all and our impending arrival (Darbs). It felt like the biggest thing in the world. We didn't sell our house. We still own it, in fact. And yes, things did indeed work out. We did live somewhere. Dubai. Then Brisbane. The adventure of life and not really knowing what's around the corner. Life can take you some great places if you let it.

I do still believe that Things Will Always Work Out, and that's not because I'm an eternal optimist because at the moment I feel like I am quite a pessimist with a good dash of cynicism thrown in. I now believe that Things Will Work Always Out simply because they have to. We just don't have a choice. It's sink or swim. So when I now say "Things will work out", I think I really mean "We'll work things out, whatever is thrown at us". Unfortunately (or fortunately) you can't plan for life as it often has very different ideas.

This week marks my 10-year anniversary of being a parent (otherwise known as my eldest's 10th birthday). What a ride that has been. Being a parent has taught me more than anything else in my life. Those first few days, weeks, years were so overwhelming on so many levels. I lost myself there for quite a while. I'd even go as far to say I'm only now starting to raise my head and look around and take a breath. Ten years of parenting young children will no doubt do that to you. I'm older and wiser, pretty bashed around edges. I do have three amazing kids to show for it. And they really are incredible. I don't feel worthy of them sometimes.

As I've said here recently, I'm taking some time to work on myself at the moment. Focus on me, pour goodness on me and hope that it trickles down to my family. My husband. My kids. I guess I want to like myself more and I want my husband, my kids and my parents to be proud of me. I don't really care what anyone else thinks of me, but as long as those people are happy to call me their wife, mum and daughter, well, I think I've done alright. I know that if I can be a better person, it will make my family better. So I'm eating better, exercising more, taking care of myself.

None of us are going to make it out of here alive. Bad stuff is definitely going to happen. We can't stop it no matter how #grateful #blessed we tell everyone on Facebook we are. People will get sick. People will die. Nasty things will happen. The only thing I can control is how I am in this moment. How I treat those around me. How honest I am with them and myself.

Gratitude is the big thing at the moment. If we show we're grateful for what we have, that will make us happy. It's the secret to life. Or so they tell us. But let's face it, we're human and we'll always secretly be wanting something more, something better, something else. So, I don't really believe in gratitude.

I think appreciation is the secret to happiness. Let that person know what you admire about them. That you miss them. That you love them. Listen to them. Be there for them. Support them. I think we often forget to do this and take those around us for granted. When they are the building blocks of our lives. We think "Oh they already know we love them. Are there for them", but do they? I know I'm guilty of this. When things do go wrong (and there will be times they do), we will need those around us to keep us up and to work things out.

Recently, a friend just sent me a text saying "I miss you". It's funny how three small words can make you feel appreciated, important and loved.

I stuff up and I continue to stuff up on an almost daily basis. I'm sure this will continue for the rest of my life. Things will work out, I'm sure.
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