Why I Keep Quitting the Gym

So I have done a lot of back and forth between being a gym goer, and not.

Most of the time, I quit the gym because it costs a lot of money. If you can’t find the time (and motivation) to go at least four times a week, then you probably aren’t getting as much value from all that money you’ve invested as you should be. Don’t get me wrong, the gym can be great. The gym that I was a member of had great, new equipment, a large variety of classes and a pool; so really, value for money was there to be had, if only one had the time and motivation to take it. I also liked going with my friends, but of course, it was hard to find the time, the classes are great, but when you work retail hours, late nights and weekends, it’s hard to find time to fit in a scheduled class, or to drag oneself out  of bed to be at class for a 6am start. run-inspiration-4But the main reason I find the gym somewhat offensive, is that it is demotivating. I find myself constantly comparing myself; comparing my lack of effort, body image, even the way I use the equipment compared to someone who is obviously super fit. This is toxic – we should NOT be comparing ourselves, or making ourselves feel worse. We need to LOVE our body, because if we don’t, we won’t get anywhere. So for me, this time – this is why I quit the gym. To stop the comparisons.

We all have busy schedules, we all manage to find excuses, but we all know (however deep down it may be), that we really should be active in some way or another. Personally, I find it easier, and less stressful to work out on my own, or with a friend, at home or at my local park, or even just around my local streets. I have only just recently decided to once again quit the gym, and go back to working out at home, mainly because I have stopped making progress and lost my motivation, I need to start working for myself again, and not for other people, and not in comparison. workoutequipmentSo I went out to my local rebel sport store and picked myself up some more gear to get myself motivated and FIT. I picked up a 5kg medicine ball, and a 6kg kettle bell. This adds to a skipping rope (jump-rope), yoga mat, 2 x 2kg dumbbells and 2 x 4kg dumbbells. It doesn’t seem like much, but it’s enough to keep myself active, and help build up strength and get fitter.

fitnessboardThere are so many ways you can work out, at home, without paying crap loads of money. the great thing about buying your own fitness equipment, is that even though it costs a bit upfront, these purchases will pay themselves back quite quickly provided they get used. There are quite a few home workouts, fitness and health tips, recipes and more on my pinterest fitness board. In fact, they are all over the internet, you can find them everywhere. This thing I love the most about doing it yourself is that there is no schedule; you can workout whenever it suits you, and do whatever workout you feel like, the key is just making sure you do something as often as you can.

I tend to workout six times a week, for half an hour or more, and have one rest day. Of course there are always times that I don’t get as many workouts in as I want, when I’m not well, or I’m having a bad week. Of course, I will still, every now and again, make excuses, want to stay in bed, or just not feel like working out. I think on these days, it is most important to try and make yourself workout, it feels so much more rewarding. However, it shouldn’t feel like a chore, if you’re not enjoying your workouts, then it will be harder and harder to lose weight or get fit.

yogabunnyPicking activities that you enjoy is an absolute must. In my humble opinion, yoga is a must in any workout regime, not only is it really great for strength and flexibility, it is also brilliant for mindfulness. Yoga is also great for relaxation and getting on top of anxiety, which you can read more about here. Tara Stiles has some amazing videos and tips for Strala yoga, of which she is the founder. She has a website and youtube channel and her videos are not only very easy to follow, but they also encourage you to work at your own pace, which is why I think a lot of people tend to shy away from yoga.

I also really enjoy walking (with the occasional jog thrown in), it’s great cardio and just super easy. Get up, get dressed, grab some awesome tunes and just go. I usually walk around my local streets, and am done within an hour. It saves me time and I genuinely enjoy it. My other major activity is interval training, I use my equipment that I mentioned earlier, and I set myself a timer, 40 second intervals with 10 second recovery. I choose four to five exercises and do around three to four rounds. This is a really good way to fit a workout into a busy day. But the best part is being able to do this all in my own time, my own space and I can push myself as hard, or not, as I want. And there is absolutely ZERO judgement. Over the past couple of years, my weight has gone up and down, continually, and I usually find the best results happen when I am working at my own pace. Motivation, self belief and enjoyment are the way forward when it comes to fitness.

And that is why I keep quitting the gym. Now to work on my eating habits…

Magical Forests…

So this evening I stumbled across a post over on Bored Panda, and it contained some of the most stunning images of forests from around the world; honestly some of the most stunning photography I have seen in a while.

These photographs evoke a sense of adventure in me, a desire to be lost, to be alone in a surreal world to find myself. They are truly magical.

The post features gorgeous scenery from places such as Hallerbos, Belguim:
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Peak District, UK:
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And the Misty Forest:
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“Forests have an ancient and mysterious charm that keeps us all coming back, whether we’re photographers looking for the perfect shot or just travelers and weekenders. An expansive, natural and healthy forest is like a cathedral erected to the glory of nature, which is probably why we find these photos to be so stunning.”
Lina D

The photographs were too stunning not to share. This is a list that can be contributed to, so if you have any amazing photographs of forests in your home country, feel free to contribute!
You can see the full article at Bored Panda. .

The Ups and Downs and ‘Are you Okays?’ Of Bipolar

Mental illness is not an excuse. It’s not a scapegoat and it’s not a free ride. It’s hard and crushing and difficult, and it can break lives apart. Or you can do your best to live with it and make the most of the hand you’ve been dealt.

I was first diagnosed with manic depression, also known as bipolar disorder, when I went through a particularly hard break-up during my university years, I was 24 years old. It was scary and difficult and my friends at the time didn’t really understand it. To be honest, people around me now still don’t really understand it. There are only so many times you can answer ‘Are you Okay?’ with ‘There’s nothing wrong’ when people are poking and prodding and not have them believe you because they simply don’t understand.

The thing about bipolar is that there usually is no reason for the down periods. You are not just sad, you are not just having a bad day. You are depressed, and that is not something that you can’t just shake off and get over. It’s not that easy. I can manage my depression, I’m not suicidal, I haven’t taken medication in a few years and that’s something I’m usually quite proud of. But every now and again I have a bad day or a bad week and I’m just down. I’m not bubbly, or happy, or fun; I’m just down, with a side of irritability and anxiousness. Not many people can do anything to make me feel better (there are a small handful who can), and most people just seem to think that asking what is wrong and enticing me to talk is going to help. And to be honest, it doesn’t. It’s just more frustrating.

Most of the time I’m fine. It’s not something that I introduce myself to the world with – ‘Hi I’m Sam and I have Bipolar’. No, that is not a label that I tend to advertise to the world as easily as I do being a geek or a writer.

5bebe4e4a9faf853d301d917772b3f44Bipolar is a chemical imbalance in the brain that causes extreme mood swings. I can be exceedingly happy and grateful and positive, and then other times you couldn’t get any lower, you just want to close the curtains and curl into a ball and cry, and cry, and cry. If you are genuinely interested in what bipolar is you can find out more at the hundreds of websites that have been set up in support of people with bipolar disorder, but here’s a handy infograph to make it easy.

I’m very lucky that I have a very supportive family, friends and boyfriend. But there are always the odd few who will never understand and make it their business to get all up in your business. Being anxious and over self-aware and judgemental, kinda miserable and very irritable leads to a not very positive response to the constant ‘Are you Okay?’s ‘What’s really wrong’s and persistent ‘Why are you so sad? Just be happy’s. I know most people think they mean well, but these comments are toxic. They drive you to believe that there must be something wrong with you, that you can’t just be you, that there’s a reason, there has to be a reason, and they desperately need to know what that reason is. I can’t tell you how sick I am of making excuses, of coming up with some reason or another as to why I’m not my ‘bubbly self’ this week. The truth is, that that ‘bubbly’ side isn’t really me either, that’s the up that shows such a harsh contrast to my more frequent down.

a93a931f6a60a535d76b44eee2d941e3Having said that, my bipolar is not an excuse either. When I am asked the question ‘What’s wrong’ and the answer is ‘nothing’, that is the truth. When I say it’s my bipolar, that is not an excuse, that is what is actually happening, it’s fact. And it’s not easy, I would LOVE for the answer to be something else, like having a fight with my boyfriend or getting a shitty fine. While shitty things influence my mood in general, I’m not saying they don’t, when it is bipolar, it’s not caused by anything, there is no catalyst. I don’t know what mood I’ll be in when I wake up in the morning, I can’t predict how I’ll feel. I don’t know what’s coming and unpredictability is really scary. People have left me in the past for less than a depressed week, they can’t handle the mood swings, the ups and downs, the snappiness, the unpredictability. This is partially why I had such a deep distrust of men, thinking they were constantly doing wrong by me, not knowing the whole time that I was, and not narcissistically, the problem.

I’ve found a place where, aside from the constant lack of understanding, I am able for the most part to manage my illness, and am actually leading a very normal, and boring, little life. I just wish that other people could leave me alone to do it in peace without needed to know what the catalyst is for every bad day – because sometimes, it’s you.

At the end of the day, it’s frustrating that there is such a lack of understanding and a huge amount of taboo still placed on mental illnesses. So many people don’t understand them, and that lack of understanding affects people with mental illnesses every day. So yeah, it’s nice to care, and it’s nice to have people who care, and asking someone who is sad if they are okay, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But an understanding of what that person is actually dealing with, what they are actually going through, would help them a whole lot more.

You can also read my essay: Stress and its effects as a result of Bipolar Disorder Including Interventions to Treating Stress for more information.

My Stance on Feminism

It was really only a matter of time before I wrote this piece. Feminism is a very current, and very important trending topic in society and the world today. And it is just as important now as ever.

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But seriously, Feminism is something I believe very firmly in, and am very passionate about. It’s not something I lecture people on or get into debates about, although I love a good intellectual conversation every now and again. For me, keeping it simple is key. Feminism is NOT about man hating, it is not about women being better than anyone, or being crazy, angry, hippie bitches. Feminism is simply about equality, and giving a voice to those who don’t necessarily have one.

While a lot of what we see in our media (that being Western media) is about equal pay for women and a call to stop street harassment, what we need to remember first and foremost, is that this is not a ‘first world problem’, it is not solely, nor is it primarily a developed world issue. There are so many women around the world who still face oppression every single day. Sure, women are starting to get paid more, and most jobs, in Australia anyway, pay genders pretty much equally, based on talent, qualifications and duties. (I am aware that this may still not be the case in America, but I am writing from my point of view, and in my country that is not an issue at the forefront of feminism. I am not discounting it as an issue, but I am simply looking at the bigger picture here.) We need to remember that this is about much more than just money. This is about equal political, economic, cultural, and social rights for women (wiki). This is about women’s basic human rights as people. Rights over their minds, over their bodies and over their lives.

Malala Yousafzai discusses feminist issues on a global scale, particularly women’s education, something we very much take for granted in our western societies. Gunned down by the Taliban, Malala survived, and is now a strong female voice and advocate for the education of women in her home country of Pakistan, where women have actually been banned from receiving any kind if education. You can see her story over at the NY Times.

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Emma Watson has been doing some great work with the UN in global feminism awareness, but her speech and some of her views, have been labelled as ‘First-world Feminism’. That’s not to say that the issues she has discussed are not important, but that the fight needs to be for all women, not just women in America, or the UK or Australia. On a global scale, there are people who have everything and people who have nothing, and a bunch of people in between; while we are never going to get everyone on financially equal footing, when it comes to rights, there is a huge gap. ‘First-world Feminism’ is one thing, but sometimes the bigger picture really needs to be looked at and addressed. Maisie Williams has stood up against ‘first-world feminism’ and stated that there are women out there that have a lot less than any of us, as we sit here reading this on our computer, or phone or tablet. While the western front of feminism should not be ignored, the global fight should also be highlighted. You can read more about Maisie’s views at hello gigles.

Bringing it back to basics for a moment, for me, one of the most basic, yet key issues within feminism is that we should be working together and supporting each other as women instead of hating each other. This is something that I personally struggle with due to low self esteem and simply preferring male company. Most of my friends are male, and my boyfriend is my best friend. I would love to blame the fact that I went to an all girls high school and say that the cattiness and bitchiness put me off women forever, but that’s simply not true. Bitchiness and cattiness are two of the things I hate most about women, it’s true, but I don’t think that has anything to do with my small amount of female friends, I think that is simply just a personality thing. I love women, and men alike, thats pretty much the definition of a bisexual, which is how I identify sexually. But I have learnt that as a woman, I really need to be less judgemental. It’s something I’m really working to be better at, and I still have a long way to go.

“Women – Love each other, support each other, defend each other. It comes at a greater cost to you to attack the women around you than it does to empower them.”
– Caitlin Stasey

 I’ve been reading a lot about feminism lately, reacquainting myself with it’s foundations and it’s horde of supporters. Last year, ELLE magazine dedicated their entire December issue to feminism, and I devoured all the articles written by strong feminist and female voices, about great and inspirational women (I don’t care much for the fashion side of these magazines.) With a gorgeous Emma Watson on the cover, sporting her new position of UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, I couldn’t go past it (let’s face it’ I’m still the biggest Harry Potter fan I know).

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You can read more about Emma Watson and her interview with ELLE UK HERE

Emma has helped society take several huge steps toward equality, launching the HeForShe campaign in September 2014, which has been taken up in support by a large number of other celebrities, who you can see talking about feminism and HeForShe here, and hundreds of thousands of everyday men, as a promise to fight for equal rights. We really need men onboard with Feminism too. Without men onboard we are fighting a losing battle, we will never have true equality unless everyone agrees to it. Unless men see women as their equals, we never will be. Which is why I love that the majority of my favourite male actors are in fact feminists. Daniel Radcliffe, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt for a start. See a list of a handful of famous male feminists over at huffpost.

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Joseph Gordon-Levitt talks about his support of feminism brilliantly in this youtube clip.

I can’t help but be unashamedly proud of our generation, and the change that it is instigating. Emma Watson is a hugely intelligent young woman with huge inspirational pull, who is using her fame and her voice to spread goodness and change in the world, I just wish there were more out there like her. Having said that, there are actually a huge number of female celerities out there fighting the good fight alongside Emma, such as Lena Dunham, Ellen Page, Taylor Swift – a huge range of voices and inspirations, find out more over at popsugar.

One if my idols, and my favourite musician, Taylor Swift, is a known and very outspoken feminist, and I agree with much of what she has to say, as biased as I may be. But again, with a voice as powerful and as listened to, literally, as hers, it is so brilliant to see young girls and women alike have such strong, feminist role models to aspire to. Taylor has made some great points about feminism, one of my favourites being:

“So many girls out there say ‘I’m not a feminist’ because they think it means something angry or disgruntled or complaining. They picture like rioting and picketing, it is not that at all, it just simply means that you believe that women and men should have equal rights and opportunities.”
– Taylor Swift

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You can read more about Taylor swift as a feminist at MTV and mic.com.

Surprisingly, there are even female celebrities on the feminist wagon that I didn’t even particularly like, but who have some really interesting things to say, and who have gained a new respect from me, such as Kristen Stewart, who has been bashed by internet trolls and people in general after her role of Bella in the Twilight series. Having been harassed online and in person, she has a pretty strong skin to let it all run off, and some very strong points on why women should be feminists. You can read what she had to say at huffpost.

And of course, there are gender roles. I’m not going to delve into all the ways gender roles are pushing back feminism and ruining society (don’t get me wrong, I love baking, I just can’t handle cooking), but I am going to touch on two points that I believe the views on need to change: Abortion and Motherhood.

I am very pro-choice. I believe that a woman’s body is hers, first and foremost, and she decides what happens to it and when and how. You can never truly know another persons innermost thoughts, nor can you presume to understand their reasons for their choice. But it is THEIR choice, end of story.
When it comes to motherhood, I hate that it is still expected and I am laughed at, questioned and ridiculed when I say that I don’t think motherhood is for me. I have multiple reasons for not wanting kids, now or in the future. Health reasons and mental reasons and financial reasons and completely selfish reasons. But I believe the better choice for me is not to have kids, and while the idea has been discussed and thrown around between my partner and I, right now we sit on the same page, I am not depriving him of something he wants either. My reasons are mine, and they should be respected, but the fact that people still scoff at the fact that I don’t have children at thirty or tell meI’ll change my mind when I’m a bit older really bothers me. Another of my favourite ladies has some interesting points on this issue as well, you can read what Jennifer Aniston thinks about motherhood expectations at Hello Giggles.

IMG_0047Coming back to women’s bodies and and how they are our own property and no one else’s, Caitlin Stasey, an Australian actress has started my new favourite website, herself.com, an amazing space for women, run by women, to simply express themselves in any way they like and be candid and truthful about themselves and their sexuality. This is a place that brings women together, in a place away from male judgement and expectation. It is about empowerment and free-speech. This is a project that I fully support and relish in, something I may one day have the guts to participate in. You can read more about Caitlin and the #herselfdotcom initiative over at Oyster Mag.

I think one of the points Caitlin makes that really resonated with me, is that this is as much about women’s rights as it is about gender equality and sexual acceptance. And not just the acceptance of others sexuality, but also of our own. We should be the only person with control over our body and our sexuality, and while we are entitled to share our body and our sexuality with whomever we like, it is still ours to control and ours to determine and categorise. Many people identify with sexuality differently, and these differences are part of what makes us unique, every sexuality and choice should be accepted, that is part of the belief system of equality – you can’t neglect any one gender, race, religion or sexual preference because you don’t agree with it.

Having said that, I think rape culture needs to be addressed momentarily here: equality means that no one, male or female, should be afraid to walk down the street at night, or to wear a cute skirt because some sleaze will take it as an invitation. Rape is about the objectification of women and it is dehumanising. Rape culture is not just about rape itself, the whole culture is against everything feminism stands for. Rape culture includes:

Victim blaming (“She asked for it!”)
Trivializing sexual assault (“Boys will be boys!”)
Sexually explicit jokes
Tolerance of sexual harassment
Inflating false rape report statistics
Publicly scrutinizing a victim’s dress, mental state, motives, and history
Gratuitous gendered violence in movies and television
Defining “manhood” as dominant and sexually aggressive
Defining “womanhood” as submissive and sexually passive
Regarding gender diverse roles as aberration
Pressure on men to “score”
Pressure on women to not appear “cold”
Assuming only promiscuous women get raped
Assuming that men don’t get raped or that only “weak” men get raped
Refusing to take rape accusations seriously
Teaching women to avoid getting raped instead of teaching men not to rape
Slut shaming

A complex set of beliefs that encourage male sexual aggression and supports violence against women. It is a society where violence is seen as sexy and sexuality as violent. In a rape culture, women perceive a continuum of threatened violence that ranges from sexual remarks to sexual touching to rape itself. A rape culture condones physical and emotional terrorism against women as the norm . . . In a rape culture both men and women assume that sexual violence is a fact of life, inevitable . . . However . . . much of what we accept as inevitable is in fact the expression of values and attitudes that can change.
– wavaw.ca

Rape and rape culture need to stop. As does all forms of bullying, harassment and violence against anyone of any gender or sexual preference. If you agree with that, you are a feminist.

As a feminist, I am very much a huge supporter of the LGBTQIA community. I have many friends who are gay, lesbian or bisexual, and I hate knowing that some of the best couples I know don’t have the same rights or recognition as some straight couples I know who are crap. Equality knows no boundaries, that is it’s point. We are all human, we are all equal, period.

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At the end of the day, I think why a lot of people are against feminism, or don’t identify as a feminist is because they are confused about what feminism actually is. Which is the fight for equality. It’s that simple. This article at Hello Giggles sheds some more light on why feminism is sometimes misunderstood, but at the end of the day, we all need feminism, because we should all be treated equally within society.

And lastly – just once more for the record – these are my views and ideas, plain and simple. This is not an academic essay, it simply an expression of my thoughts and views on feminism.
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Begin Again

So, sometimes you make a big decision, and it just doesn’t work out. What can you do but pick yourself back up, compile a new plan and start again? Because life doesn’t stop, and you’ll still turn thirty.

Well that’s exactly what I did at the beginning of last year, at twenty-eight and after two failed months in London, with no job and no relationship – having given everything up to chase a dream, and giving what I chased up to come back home. Starting fresh was hard, but it has been so so rewarding.

I could have taken the easy road and gone back to my old job for security, but I didn’t want that, I didn’t want to go back to that old life, I needed something new, I needed to find something that fit the ‘new me’. Not that I had changed, but I had gotten older and I had purposely left that part of my life behind, it was my past and that’s where I needed it to stay. So when I accidentally stumbled into my new job, and it started building itself into a career, things just felt right. And everything else just started to fall into place too. And I was happy.

I now have an amazing, supportive, fun group of friends, some old, some new, who I love like my own family. I have a strong sense of who I am and where I’m going. I have control over my life, I’m getting fit and healthy and staying positive – I’m so much happier and no where near as angry as I have been known to be in the past. And I have the most wonderful and supportive boyfriend I could ever ask for, who loves me for me, flaws, anger annoyingness and all. Things really have just fallen into place, and I guess, even with a few things still a bit up in the air, and a couple things I still need to achieve (like getting my book published, travelling more and meeting at least one of my idols) I find myself in a pretty fantastic place for a woman about to turn thirty.

I think the three most important things that I have learnt this year that have helped me reach a place of such solid contentedness, would be the following:

1. The past really is the past, leaving it there and moving forward is the key to staying sane and being really happy. Deal with it if you need to, face it, write about it, talk about it, get it out, whatever you need to do – then stop talking about it, writing about it and thinking about it and move on. Done.

2.Be yourself and don’t give a stuff what anyone that doesn’t matter thinks. You are you and you’ve worked long and hard to get here. Do the things that make you happy and be proud of them, don’t let anyone dictate what you should or shouldn’t like or listen to or play or watch. I am still the biggest nerd, I still play Pokemon, xbox, playstation; I still listen to Taylor Swift and love her very dearly. I’ve grown a lot in the past year and learnt new things and have new views, but they are also a part of who I am and nothing anyone says will change that. If it doesn’t make you happy, leave it behind.

3. Exercise, healthy eating and good sleep make you feel more energised and happier.
No seriously, for a year and a half I have proved this to myself time and time again when I relapse into bad eating and, in turn, crappy sleeping.
Be healthy. Seriously. It feels better.

I love the person I am today. And I love how happy I am. So all-in-all, I’m really not worried about turning thirty, because I feel like my life is exactly where it should be.

Approaching the Big Three-o

I can remember a time when turning thirty seemed like a lifetime ago. When money came from a seemingly unlimited supply (your parents), and life, though it may have seemed turbulent at the time, was merely challenging, yet completely exciting.

Things change quite drastically when it becomes blindingly apparent that if you’re not careful, the last few weeks of being twenty-something will flash before your eyes like a bad 80s movie montage. All of a sudden, all of those things that you’ve been meaning to do become more urgent, all of the projects you have half done or those few extra kilos you’ve been meaning to work off (which is harder now you’re older). It all starts to seem more desperate.

At the moment, I am not in the best shape, in fact my shape is more round than anything, which is frustrating knowing that only four months ago I was the fittest I’d been in at least six years. But winter, and being comfortably in a relationship, got the better of me and led me astray, back down a road of chips, chocolate and inactivity. I’m not blaming winter, or my boyfriend, they are not excuses, this falls solely on my head, it is up to me to keep myself motivated and healthy.

And so I begin crawling my way back into a healthy lifestyle. I have started by giving my metabolism a bit of a boost and am replacing two meals a day with shakes from the optislim range.

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I have decided that since I am only a little overweight and am not obese, I didn’t need to go crazy with the shakes and have no other food, so I am replacing breakfast and lunch with the shakes and having a small, balanced meal with protein and veggies for dinner. My partner is doing the same.

In order to keep myself on track, I am not, in any way, or at any time, referring to this shake business as a diet. It is a detox. It is to kick start my metabolism and shake the cravings for bad food, to lean my way back toward healthy eating and a positive outlook. I am also snacking in between shakes, however at the moment I am only snacking on optislim products, such as the muffin bars, which are quite tasty. For dinners we try and make them a little exciting, so that we can look forward to them each day, such as suing lamb instead of beef, or making chicken skewers instead of just boring chicken and vege.

Of course, hand in hand with healthy eating comes exercise. We have both signed up (myself as a returning customer) to our local gym, and make an effort to go at least four times a week. As well as the gym, I try and either walk or run on the days I am not going, or will get a few laps in the pool if it’s warm out. Of course it takes dedication, and we are motivating each other to try and push ourselves as far as we can to achieve our desired results.

At my lowest this year, I weighed in at 60.5kg, at the moment, as of 1st November, I weigh 68kg. I am hoping to get back down under 65 for my 30th in December. My ultimate goal is to reach a healthy 57-58kg for my height. Only time and effort will tell, and I will update the blog with my progress, so check back to see how I find the detox, kick-start and for tips and hints on healthy eating and quick, fun workouts!

Life, the universe, but not everything.

Some people think they are so much better than others – here’s some news for you:

There is not such thing as better. Just different.

People are not stupid for having different views than you do, or different views about you. And while some people are actually stupid, that still doesn’t make you better than them. People make mistakes, and the biggest people are the ones who can admit that. I have made a lot of mistakes this year, a lot of poor decisions and a lot of hard ones. Some that even broke my heart, but I can admit that while what I did was hard, or mean, or cold, or bitchy, or cowardly, or strong-willed; none of it was wrong.

I have to be thankful for this year. I’m not American and don’t celebrate thanksgiving, even though it was a few days ago, but I am thankful for all the lessons I’ve learnt this year. Lessons that have made me stronger, wiser and a better version of myself, but not better than anyone else.

And none of what I have done this year makes me any less of a person than any other either, or any worse of a person than someone who is seeing things through dark rose-tinted glasses. Coloured tints are cheap and tacky anyway, go for a polarised lens, it reduces more glaringly obvious bullshit.

Life is good. I am happy, regardless of the things I lack. I am lucky, and blessed and cherish what I do have and am no longer dwelling on any of the rest.

Floating

Sometimes in life there are these transcendental moments when you have no control and all you can do is shut your eyes and hope beyond hope that the universe knows what it’s doing with you.

So, when you make a big decision and it blows up in your face, you have a dozen options before you. You can go running back where you came from, you can run somewhere else, you can try again, you can start over. The easiest thing I guess is to run back to where you came from. Sometimes it feels impossible to let go of things, to move forward without them. And obviously by things I mean people.

I’m not going to use this blog as a type of self-psycho analysis. Just a small bit of venting here and there. I think that sometimes we really just need to find something to focus on and stick to it.

Now, to find my focus…

New Year, New Life…

But not really.

While many things are going to stay the same, many will change. In 39 days, I leave most of what has been my life up until this point behind. I’m leaving a large chunk of me behind – and that’s kind of part of the plan.

I decided not to make news years resolutions this year (because I’ve never really made any before, let alone kept the ones I have made), and resolutions seem pointless when you’re uprooting your life and going on a massive adventure. I suppose one resolution, if I were to have one – would be to stay positive this year, to not let this year get the better of me and keep my head above the water and be grateful for all the opportunities that are now before me.

In order to help me attempt to achieve this, I have invested in a happiness journal. While I don’t feel that this is a replacement in any way for actual happiness, I know that I need to work on finding and keeping my happiness present – and this journal is a year long project that I hope will help me figure out just what it is that makes me happy, how to hold onto those happy feelings when I get stressed or angry, and also teach me some things about myself I may not have known up to this point.

inspirational_books_happiness_detail3

The journal consists of 12 sections, one for each month (or however you choose to work through them). With this as my ammunition, I am determined that 2013 is going to be one hellova great year.

P.s. Watch my reviews page for my upcoming review of The Hobbit.

Red

Sometimes a colour can perfectly sum up how you feel.

For example – you may feel blue when you’re a bit down, or completely green with envy. Grey like a raincloud when you’re a bit washed out or the flourishing yellow of friendship in good company.

But there is one colour, that upon feeling it can entail so many emotions.

RED.

While there are two main emotions that this colour portrays – Anger and Passion – there is a cacophony  of emotions that compliment one or other of these. And I think red best suits how I feel at this moment in time. Red symbolizes energy, war, danger, vigor, willpower, rage, anger, leadership, courage, longing, malice, wrath, strength and determination, as well as joy, sexuality, passion, sensitivity, desire, and love. Many of which are intertwined and present in my life at the moment. Both in regard to uprooting myself and moving overseas, as well as work-life, and romantic prospects.

So on that note, I think that red is the appropriate feeling for me today.