To All My Friends Approaching 30

It’s a funny thing: age. The fear of getting old permeates society like a virus and it’s truly atrocious. It’s horrid for men and women alike. You spend all of childhood itching to turn 18 or 21 or whatever other age is considered “adult” in your part of the world and then within a few years you’re desperately clinging onto that youth for fear of wrinkles, shriveled ovaries and dying alone. I’m kidding, guys…

I turned 28 yesterday and I’ve had a merry old time reflecting on my twenties thus far. The cringeworthy clothing choices, the poor decisions, the loves and losses and the hilarious adventures around the world have all shaped me into a woman I’m pretty damn proud to put out into this mental society as I perch here typing this. I still walk the earth without the foggiest idea of where I might end up, but I’m a little better equipped to deal with the setbacks these days.

The first time that I can recall having any sense of dread about turning one year older was my twenty-fifth birthday. For some reason that one seemed like I was suddenly getting old. (I speak about this like it was many years in the past; I’m aware that this was just 3 years prior, guys. I know…)

Twenty-five seemed like the year that I was supposed to have my shit together: be the epitomy of success and happiness intertwined into one big, sickening, chunder bucket. By twenty-five we’re supposed to have found the one, be climbing our career ladders, be earning at least a little money and be thinking about buying a house. My reality is that I spent more time moping around my apartment suffering from depression as a result of hormonal birth control than living it up. The year came and went in a blur of blubbering.

Fast-forward three years and I’ve come to realise that all of those aforementioned expectations were utter insanity. However, we live life, we hear things, and our subconscious becomes adulterated with thoughts that are not our own, even though we adopt them as such nonetheless. Society expects things of us and we of it. Only, you’ve got to ask: who actually are these elusive men and women ticking all the boxes? Because I have friends around the world and I sure as hell haven’t encountered any of them!

I’m closer to thirty than twenty and I no longer get asked for ID when I buy booze. I have bills and responsibilities and an actual grown up job. I can no longer stay up all night partying and head straight to work without injecting caffeine or hiding in the cupboard to take a nap. I spend more on my skincare now because the dewiness needs a little helping hand. I don’t care if I look like I’m wearing a potato sack on a night out: I prioritise comfort.

But I also have more confidence than I did back in the days when my skin looked radiant without any sleep and I had the world in the palm of my hand. I’m more savvy and give less of a crap about going to buy groceries in my pyjamas. I would rather be alone than date someone who wastes my time and energy. I still dream (and I dream BIG), but a pearl of wisdom tells me that I probably should try and build up some savings soon and I definitely should prioritise sleep if I want to be a capable, functioning human in my waking life.

It’s a pity that we get so caught up on aging. The fear still lingers somewhere within my bones, but I’m very aware of it now and working actively to dissipate it. It’s hard when we’ve got a market saturated with angi-aging products and images that tell us that young is most beautiful, but beauty is such a complex thing and truly in the eye of the beholder. I look at twenty-one year olds and some of them are physically glowing, but have they learned what I have? Probably not. And can they hold a conversation as well as my friends in their thirties? Almost certainly not.

To all my friends in their late twenties and early thirties: I want to tell you that it’s all right if you’re climbing a career ladder that you aren’t sure is for you. It’s fine that you’re frustrated that all your friends are getting married and popping kids out and you’re nowhere near finding anyone you want to spend more than a drunken night with. That sensation you feel pushing at the walls of your chest to get out and see the world before it is burned alive is normal. And yes, it’s fine to spend the money you’re saving for a house deposit on that adventure of a lifetime instead.

None of us really know what we’re doing. All we must do is try our best and make the best decision we can in a given moment, based on the information we have at that time. Some will lead down paths of opportunity and abundance. Others wont. But that’s the only way to learn and then do better, isn’t it?

I’m twenty eight and I now know what I like. Also, importantly, I know what I don’t like. I no longer waste my time on people who can’t give me what I want. I am happy to have those uncomfortable conversations around taboo topics, if others are willing to engage in a constructive discussion, but I no longer give an ounce of attention to those that leave me feeling sour. I’m single, on the cusp of changing career paths and sometimes told by older generations that I’m far too opinionated to ever have a chance at being a nice, young lady. Tis a shame that some feel this way; can’t they see that I’m only trying to get shit done and save the world?

To all my friends approaching thirty: we are smarter and wiser than we were at the start of this decade. We’ve learned heaps about ourselves and others and the world that – trust me – we will put to good use in the years to come. We have the tools to make the world a better place and are still allowed to have a sense of adventure and wonder. It’s time to grab life by the balls and tell anyone who wants to stamp on our dreams that they can go do one because we deserve nothing but magic.

4 Ways to Be More Productive + Make Your Dreams Happen

Productive

Whether it’s your full-time job, your side-hustle or a hobby you’re looking to expand into something more, only good things can come from getting yourself organised and becoming more efficient. The biggest frustration is feeling as though there aren’t enough hours in the day. We can feel like we’re paddling upstream; forever struggling and never ending up where we want to be. But in my experience, there are two concepts that will absolutely make you more productive. The first is conditioning yourself and the second is prioritising your actions so they are in alignment with your values.

Conditioning or training yourself means that you put your tendency to be lazy or procrastinate to one side and simply do more. This is the result of learned habits which of course take time but are completely worth it. It’s actually kind of incredible what humans are capable of. We can endure extraordinary things. And this isn’t to sound like you’re to work yourself into the ground (believe me, I am not the type of person to encourage that), but I bring this up as inspiration. You can achieve all those things that you want to do. You can be more productive. You just need to learnt to be a little more efficient.

Prioritising is an easier solution to get your head around than conditioning. So perhaps start with this one. Write down a list of all the things you do each day and approximately how much time is spend doing each of them. Then write a list of what your values are. Or, if you find that too vague, a list of what your dream life would look like if you broke it down into daily actions or acitivities. Compare. You might feel crummy after this exercise. It might become apparent that your two lists are totally in conflict. But that’s OK. You did the important thing by becoming aware of that. Now, you can begin to make changes.

So, if your lists are in conflict and you want to be doing more of what you love, or you’re sick of bumming around and what to train yourself to be more efficient, here are some things you can do.

  1. Wake up early and get straight out of bed. Did you know that early-risers have been found to be overall more productive and proactive than night owls? They tend to anticipate problems and tackle them sooner, thus reducing stress levels. A large survey revealed that ‘morning people’ also admitted to feeling happier overall. Now, a 5am alarm may not be for everyone. You might not be able to get to bed until 11pm and need at least 7 hours sleep. But, look at your schedule and set a realistic wake-up time that you can stick to each day. This extra time in the morning can be used to make a routine that includes wellness activites like exercise or meditation. Or, it can be used to work on a side business you’d like to grow. And when the alarm goes off, don’t allow yourself a second to think about it. Get straight up and don’t look back.
  2. Make time for what’s important each day. Thinking back to prioritising things that matter, make time for them every day. You’ve heard it before, but I’ll say it again: you only live once. Life is far too short and precious to waste our time on things that don’t inspire us or make us happy. Even if you have to work a job that does nothing else for your satisfaction than pay the bills, spend the rest of the time that you’re not in that workplace wisely. You might want to use your early morning to do these activities, or perhaps you’ve got small children and the evening is the only possible free time. Whenever it is, plan accordingly.
  3. Reduce Sugar & Caffeine intake. I recently wrote this article about what a revelation it was doing life without caffeine. I tried it out of curiosity but found it immensely beneficial; so much so that I don’t think I’ll ever go back. Living without minimal caffeine has completely rid my days of low energy slumps. I didn’t find the caffeine buzz to make me any more efficient than usual, because I’m generally a very focussed person. But, what I did suffer from were the lows as the effects would wear off. Nowadays, no caffeine = consistent energy levels. I’m also mindful about sugar because it’s terrible for us. I have found that when I’m consuming too much sugar, my mood slips and I don’t feel as enthusiastic or productive. Keeping it in check will work wonders in helping you feel more balanced.
  4. Schedule in the fun stuff. This might sound like a bore, but if you schedule in dedicated time for those things simply done for enjoyment, you’ll actually get so much more out of them. There’s nothing worse than trying to have a good time, but feeling like you should probably be working or doing x, y or z to be more productive instead. I said at the start than it’s remarkable how much we can endure, but I’m not an advocate for being a tyrant. You need to allow yourself time to laugh and play. Scheduling this in will allow your body to fully relax and your mind to remain present in the moment.

These are just a small handful and I’d love to hear what’s made a difference for you! Have you changed something in your routine to make you work smarter?

Photo via Unsplash

 

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5 Things I’m Doing to Honour Myself this Year

I’ve decided to honour myself this year. Why? Because life is simply too short not to. And in order for me to do great things in this world, it has got to start with me. It’s really as simple as that. You can’t keep the fire burning without remembering to add logs, can you? Nourishment, relaxation, love, kindness and a commitment to wellness are what it’s all about.

Here’s How:

  1. I’ve decided to commit to completing 12 wellness challenges this year. One a month, to be exact. These will all be documented over on Wise + Well, so be sure to catch up with me on there. I’m also producing some extra material on there mainly focussing on minimalism and ethical living. This month, my challenge is daily meditation. Boy is it hard. More to come on that one.
  2. Respect my gut. I guess I mean this quite literally in terms of what I put into my body, but also I’m referring to respecting my gut instinct. When I feel the answer ‘no’, I will try my best to vocalise that word. And the same goes for ‘yes’. Our internal guidance system is there for a reason, we just never listen to it.
  3. Priotise. I find it so easy to get carried away in my thoughts and mindfulness is a major theme for me this year. Along with this is the need to prioritse what’s truly important: time with my loved ones, creativity and fun. I sometimes get things really out of order on my priorities list. That’s usually when negative side effects occur; funny that…
  4. Tell myself the nice words that I tell my friends. Would I look at my friends when I’m with them and tell them what I don’t like about them? No, of course not! I would compliment what I adore most. So why should it be any different with myself? If a friend is down in the dumps, I want to encourage them to get back up again. You don’t knock em’ while they’re down! So why on earth don’t I do the same for myself?
  5. Pay more attention. Again, we’re heading back to mindfulness here. Already this year I’ve been making more effort to pay attention to how I am affected by my surroundings, by the foods I eat, the people I interact with, astrology and the weather. This life is an ecosystem and it’s important I try to maximise optimal living conditions and settle into a niche that allows me to flourish.

Do you have any self love tips? Let me know below! I would love to hear what you’re doing to honour yourself in 2017.

 

Photo via Unsplash

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Journey Round the Sun

little girl

I’m looking at her and she’s just a kid;

Wide-eyed, braid at side

Looking bright to her future.

Tell me baby girl, about your tales and mysteries.

I’ll be sure to write it all down in your book of history

About your unicorns, your friends in the wood

The monsters you hush because they’re just misunderstood

Figments of an ordinary mind

Cut on the bias and sped up with time.

 

We jet round the sun and my next glance says she’s twelve

Stealing her mama’s lipstick,

Twirling pearls and running from the other girls.

Friday night she’s caught between the play and the hang out

Writing tales of ordinary mysteries

Bred to be solved and foretold and dressed down with marigolds.

 

Blossoms of springtime burst and she’s sixteen

Caught in that land of in between

More ordinary than ever before

Though she looks intently through the screen

At fireflies playing and swears they call her name

Begging to take her elsewhere, where she too can play the game.

But instead Saturday’s clock strikes nine and she’s being honked at

Outside her window by the boy and Mary-Jane.

 

Cycle again, she’s twenty-four

Arguing with the landlord through the door

About how she’ll pay rent, she knows it’s due

But it’s so hard playing the game when you’ve got a dream to make come true.

An ordinary life, this she can’t stand

I know it will get better for you,

Here, hold my hand.

It’s mitigated, unjust, unruly, unfair

Drift off, sweet flower, I’ll comb your hair.

 

Time flies again, she’s thirty-seven

Ten leagues, twelve tracks, three days from heaven.

She’s begging and crying that it’s got to stop

“I’ll do anything” she pleas.

How did you bask in ordinary?

How did you remain unchanged?

When all I did was point you in the direction

Of tall tales and mysteries

And fireflies and their games.

 

She’s forty-three and it had to stop

So she packed up shop and left the rock

And set sail west to find the wind;

The unicorns, the hum of the engine

The beach-bound barnacles

And mortar for her bricks to build the castle she once had dreamed

Where at its shores lapped mirrored crests

Of waves carrying with them whispers

Of unordinary things.

 

Photo: Sandra Schmid via Flickr

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