January 2015 Review

Well, like leaves in the wind, my January goals were flying, dipping and soaring all over the place, but the last week or so has seen the new year dust settle a little, as I’ve started to develop a routine. I have to admit, however, that my initial plan pretty much bit it (the dust, that is) and a new plan is spawning in its wake.

As I’m really tired and need to mentally prepare to play responsible parent tomorrow as my only child starts his first day at school, I will provide a quick January update for those playing at home.

Study: Had initially pledged to revise 20min per day. That didn’t happen, however, I have a weekly meet up with a friend where we manage a lazy hour or two of quick revision. Will up the ante on this one for Feb.

Exercise: Thanks to my bestie who bought me the Tapout XT 90 day workout program, I’ve been killing it in these stakes, and enjoying it in the process! I’m a bit new to home workouts, always preferring the gym or the like, but when I got my head past the idea that to my family I must sound like a hippo locked in a crate during mating season (what?), I am counting this one a success. The program involves MMA stylised light resistance/cardio training with a LOT of plyometrics, and I basically haven’t been able to walk properly for a week. I’ve also lost about 3kg (of fat, hopefully) since the start of the year, as well as having done 40% of my workouts early in the morning, so that’s a win. As an added incentive, I went out and bought a pack of 2 DEXA body scans for myself and my bestie each, to monitor our progress. Serious stuff happening in this space. Have also pulled out my old racquets and am in the process of looking for a tennis coach whose schedule fits with mine.


Other health: The meditation I’d planned on starting died after 4 days. I will re-instigate this later on down the track once the rest of my day is sorted. I know people say it’s so important, and I do agree, but I am just so damn impatient. Water intake has been fair to good – I always have a bottle with me and will at the very least take in about 1.5L in a day.

Reading: I originally planned to – as a minimum – read a chapter a day, just to get through the bajillion books I have sitting here (bajillion and four, as of Friday. 4 classics for $15 at QBD? Don’t mind if I do). However, I forgot how addictive it is when you have a good one in your hands, and as a result have finished Jane Eyre and Flowers for Algernon this month (both fantastic reads. Do it). Currently reading Rafael Nadal’s autobiography, which I picked up on a whim when I caught his dark eyes flirting with me from the library bookshelf. Ahh, Rafa ❤ Te quiero!

So that’s it. We’re one twelfth of the way through the year already. How have all of your plans faced up to 2015 so far?

Photo of Rafa sourced from http://images.latinpost.com/data/images/full/31137/spanish-tennis-star-rafael-nadal.jpg?w=600


Passion? Is that like…some kind of drink?

I have always felt a bit funny about this word…passion. People talk about how we should find our ‘passion’ and if we’re ‘passionate’ about what we do, that we will never work a day in our lives. Well I have evolved to be a very numbers driven person, so I am looking for some stats here. How many people actually succeed in finding something/s they would say they are passionate about? To take it a step further – how many people make a career/living out of their passion/s? I’m pretty sure some people do – I certainly know a small number of people who have known what they wanted to do from a young age and who not only overcame a number of obstacles to get there, but continue to enjoy their work in all its reality. Freaks. Haha no, course I’m just joking! Well I’m not…but I am…a bit.


I used to be a fairly idealistic sort, who thought things would just work out the way we want them to, provided we followed our ‘hearts’. I would readily drop anything I was working on for a flight of fancy, only to be brought back to earth – face first – when the novelty wore off. However, since becoming a single mother I began to view life much differently – more realistically – and I learned some truths. Things don’t always just ‘work out’ – we grow to deal with our lot, because that’s what we have to do to survive. We aren’t all so lucky to find a passion, either in career or partner, but we are ridiculously lucky to be able to sit here worrying about things like relationships and job satisfaction, rather than where our child’s next meal will come from. We might have to work our bums off to ensure a comfortable retirement, but how lucky are we, if we happen to have a steady job, even if it is shitty!

This might sound all very bleak and dreary, but on the contrary, dear humans! Isn’t it grounding? Doesn’t it make you feel like, all of a sudden, that you have choices? Control? Because we do. Nothing is written! So look around you, at the space you’re occupying right now, because you have control over all of that and every time you venture out to your job, your school, exercise the reign you have over your domain (I’m a poet!)….be the MASTER OF YOUR DOMAIN!

Couple of thoughts before I go looking for that episode of Seinfeld now:

Things aren’t fun until you’re good at them.

If you can’t find anything to be passionate about, be compassionate.


Image found at: http://img0.joyreactor.com/pics/post/comics-WUMO-WulffMorgenthaler-pickling-379372.jpeg

“You have to laugh at yourself….wait! Not too much!”

Self deprecating humour is something that can be used to help or to hinder, depending on how and with whom you use it. I consider myself a connoisseur (thank you, spell check). In fact, I would even venture further and say that two conversational tools have carried me through the awkward social interactions which plagued my adult life – self deprecation and flattery (always sincere of course).

If you were to ask what I considered most important to me, I would blush and hang my head before mumbling a response, because my answer, as a 30 year old, I would say is fickle and fills me with hot shame. What is this terrible thing? I don’t even want to write it…I want everyone to like me. Oh! The shame! I realise many people would say they desire the same, though are able to get over it for the most part, but myself? I struggle to get over knowing that I’ve offended or displeased someone and retreat into myself like an armadillo, face to face with a…well, whatever is tough enough to chew through an armadillo….the general populous in my case.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m working through it, but it is a much reviled trait of mine, carried over from my formidable years (and I’m pretty sure many of you, especially the women unfortunately, might know what I’m talking about). The thing is, while working on my whole ‘Who gives a f**k?’ attitude (yeah you’re intimidated, go on, admit it), I never gave any thought to the self deprecating style of humour I had adopted and still indulge on a very regular basis. Not until I noticed something recently. During a conversation, I made some joke about myself (probably about being stupid or fat or ugly, who knows, roll a dice) and in my hilarity actually took a moment to take in my conversational partner’s face….and I don’t think I was being as funny as I thought I was. And it hit me. This is not witty. This is a problem.


Many see self deprecation as a rod to fish for compliments but cross my heart, this is not an intention of mine (well, certainly not in the last 4 years or so). I honestly believe the things I say and think that others must be thinking it too, so I try to make them more comfortable by acknowledging the things they must be noticing. It sounds ridiculous out loud, but have to ask… Have you been guilty of this too? If so, then stop! The way we see ourselves often sets the tone for how others see and value us. We cannot hope to garner any kind of respect if we cannot respect ourselves. Ooops! I forgot to insert a cliché alert at the beginning of the sentence there, but hey, don’t those clichés just love to creep up on us? It’s not like we don’t understand these ‘rules’…it’s just in the application that we struggle….speaking for myself anyway.

So this is the new self improvement side project – tone down on the self deprecation and use it solely as a tool to make people more comfortable during times of need. Do not use it at work (unless I become big kahuna and need to put the underlings on side), at uni, or in general conversation (unless they’re really close friends). This will tie in nicely with the ongoing ‘learn to accept a compliment graciously’ project which I’ve been practising. If we can all learn to do this, we’ll be self confident super heroes in no time. Though now I think I’m going to have to pull out the joke book – I have a rep to maintain…

Ross pic courtesy of http://static.fjcdn.com/pictures/That+s+not+funny+me+when+someone+makes+a+joke+about_8da1a3_4104722.jpg

30th Birthday reflection

I surprised myself today. Much of last year was spent in fear, or at least a silent denial, of the fact that I was in the last year of my 20s. I didn’t want to acknowledge it and I just wanted to leave on an overseas trip so no one could remind me. What a sook! Gosh, even writing that just now makes me wonder what got my knickers all in a knot because today was one of the better days I’ve ever had. I must have scored some kind of awesome present, you say. No! Not at all. I didn’t get anything. In fact, mum forgot to wish me a happy birthday and I had to work all day.

But you know what? There was something liberating about hitting this new decade. I have felt all day like I was granted a membership to a secret, elite club of people who get to not give a shit about the superficial and who can say “f**k you” to those who want to hold onto their 20s by feeding into the same negative attitudes and insecurities that cloud that decade. There is a silently acknowledged camaraderie between people in their 30s, the same way I presume there to be between people in the following decades. An understanding of another’s present situations and values that require much less verbal communication.

So basically, I feel f*kn fantastic, thanks for asking (when I’ve had a red wine, a bit of inner bogan comes out. Not going to apologise)!

Lesson of the day: Don’t be scared of those milestone bdays. Use them as springboards and fire yourself into the new era with aplomb. In short: get over it, “she’ll be right!”.

Featured image sourced from: http://postmarkonline.co.uk/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/700x/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/p/r/prod_22103.jpg

If you ask an engineer…

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “The Glass.”

Is the glass half full or half empty? Well, I can’t claim complete originality in my post, but I recall coming across the perfect response on the interwebs at some point, and it is that from an engineer’s perspective.

An optimist will say it’s half full, a pessimist, half empty – but to the engineer, the glass is obviously too big. Alternatively, if you ask the chemical engineer, the glass is always full, no matter the size, as it also contains air 🙂

So if your glass is looking a bit empty there are 2 options for you: One is to get a new glass. With a level control to ensure constant liquid level. It’s much more efficient.

Two, change your perspective and you’ll never have to worry about this silly question again!


What motivates Motivation?

Well, kind, faceless readers, it’s been one week and so far I think you know what I’m going to say. Yes, after the initial 3 days, my motivation and drive fizzled away like my mind was a vacuum, yet again. That’s right, by New Year’s Day, I had already failed on (about 90% of) my 2015 resolutions. It’s disgraceful I know, but I don’t believe I am in unique in this pattern of setting goals and then losing motivation (though perhaps I am an extreme case? Please, reassure me I’m not!), be it over 1, 10 or 100 days! Hell, if I were, these quick-fix weight loss companies and self help gurus would be selling funeral insurance to pensioners. So this week leads me to the question of “what motivates motivation?” (or something equally as faux-lisophical).

In an attempt to address the weaknesses in my self, I looked up the prime motivators as published by Business Insider, who I find to be most forthcoming on issues of self improvement (though whose articles read more like works of fiction when I attempt to relate to these wonderful, self driven people). They have chosen to give us 7 ways to self motivate (which is always a good number). Let’s see how we fare up against this list, shall we?


Number 1 says to convince myself I want to do it. I’ve always had issues with this. Of course I want all that good stuff that we all want. “But do you REALLY want it?” I hear them say…well, yeah, but I want other stuff too, like to sit and online shop for origami paper and bookends while eating blue cheese on biscuits (crackers, for the non-ozzie folk out there), rather than revising my university texts or doing lunges. But okay, I concede that I need to work on that whole priorities thing. Let’s write that one down.

2 is about taking control. I don’t like controlling myself. I’m much better at trying to control others. That’s why I’m single. Anyway, this is pretty much our whole issue. Next point.

3 is about surrounding yourself with other hard workers. Okay this is something I am all over. I am in the process of obtaining a career mentor through my university, my uni friends are a hardcore, studious bunch and my closest friends are keen to overhaul their health. But what happens when you all fizzle out around the same time…there aren’t many I know who are ‘on’ all the time. I think that there must be only one answer here…..WE – YES US – MUST BE THE MOTIVATORS….though I sense an infinite loop here.

4 is about breaking tasks into smaller pieces and is probably the most helpful advice of the lot and definitely non negotiable when it comes to achieving a target. Things need to become non-negotiable – like showering (well, that’s rather enjoyable), brushing your teeth and washing your clothes (both boring yet we don’t question that they need to be done. Mostly). Even though this week was 90% failure it was still 10% success and I strongly believe that to be due mostly to having written down the daily steps required for achieving my goals (which I’ll eventually post up on here as well).

5 says stay focused. Ergh…

6 is all about remember why we have set the goals in the first place. I really struggle with this one because once my motivation is gone I couldn’t really give a toss about future me. It’s all about instant gratification. That’s why I hate past me. Inconsiderate, lazy bitch.

The final point is initially makes me want to retch, but when I think about it, is probably the most applicable to many of us who, lets face it, get secretly down about our perceived shortcomings. Cliché alert: It is to remember to stay positive. To take each failure, acknowledge it, then send it – and all the associated guilt – packing. Because those goals we keep setting for ourselves? They’re not just superficial wants, are they? If you’re like me, you’re pretty sure that if you were to reach one of these marks, you’d be a different – a better – person. So now these things are no longer ‘wants’….you’ve acknowledged that they’re ‘needs’, because you need them to reach your fullest potential, for yourself and those around you. Don’t you see it there when you imagine yourself in the distant future? Just like we need to change our socks, so we need to change our attitudes, before becoming one of those bitter (and sometimes smelly) old folk who think that the world owes them a favour because their lives never met their own expectations.

So if you ask me what I think drives motivation? Necessity. We have no option but to succeed. Failures are not the end of the world, they are simply stepping stones to a sometimes really, REALLY tall building filled with eternal satisfaction and bragging rights. So fellow failure vets, let’s just get on with it.



Image sourced from: http://img2.etsystatic.com/il_570xN.226792278.jpg

Becoming one of THOSE people…

You know the ones I’m talking about. The perpetually cheerful. The driven. The respected. The morning people. The ones who have all their stuff done by brunch (and to them, brunch is the actual time you have for a meal between breakfast and lunch, not just the time it happens to be when you get up and eat breakfast, provided you actually remembered to buy your breakfast foodstuffs of choice). The ones who seem to have mastered the delicate balancing act of career, health & fitness, family and social life, while still finding the time to bake personalised cupcakes (probably in heels) for everyone’s birthdays, scrapbook their photos and volunteer at the local shelter for abandoned 3 legged puppies.

The only rational explanation is they must not sleep, right? Well, their smiles and fresh complexions suggest otherwise. So what IS this witchcraft? Is this magic available to anyone (I know I’ve seen and read about people transforming their lives, but to be completely honest, I only know of maybe 2 people who have actually succeeded in doing so)? Can I be one of these people? How long does it actually take? Will it get easier or will I keel over and have a heart attack from the stress?

Sourced from http://www.allthingsclipart.com/wonder.woman.02.jpg
Me, in the not too distant future

Well move over….er, Bridget Jones…….2015 is the year I will attempt to answer these questions, and any others that may arise. 2015 also happens to be the year I turn 30, so what better time to make some changes in my life than the beginning of my 4th decade (yikes) on this planet.

So apparently by the time you turn 30 you’re supposed to have all this stuff sorted out. You were supposed to have decided on your career in your early 20s and amassed enough money to convince a bank to loan you more, so that you can purchase your very own house. In this house you will live with the guy (or girl) you’ve been dating for the last 5 (or more) years (happily), and start planning to raise a brood of you-clones (since it seems to have a child in your 20s these days is ‘too young’), who will grow up next to your friends’ children in happy suburbia. Alternatively, you’ve chosen not to have kids and you’re living the dream, travelling the world, living inner city, making promotion after promotion, spending your disposable income on designer paraphernalia.

And you’ve completed one of the above scenarios with minimal cellulite and perky breasts!

Well okay, so most people only play at keeping up appearances and no one is perfect, we all know that (well except for maybe Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Salma Hayek), but my life up until now has been so far removed from the fantasy, that the impending 30s has prompted me to start this war against myself. That sounds a bit harsh, you say? Well, without getting too David Copperfield-y, I grew up a bit of a social outcast. My teachers expressed concern that I did not have many friends and I was very withdrawn. But oh! I was great academically!… Add to that I was always on the chubby side and you get a young girl with no self confidence who didn’t know the value of hard work.

Fast forward to adulthood, past the depression, the failed 2 year marriage and numerous other mistakes (for another day), and we get to the present age of 29. 10 days short of my 30th birthday, where I am currently an overweight, single (separated) mother to a 5 year old boy, living with my parents, in my 3rd year (of which I’m kinda proud) of my 3rd attempt at tertiary education (only counting bachelor’s degrees here, not including the certificates I started and lost interest in). So, somewhat motivated by the fear that I’ll always be unsatisfied with my life (and to be this strong, inspiring woman that I’ve always felt I could be), I have started to make a list of goals, both short term and long term, as well as daily steps towards accomplishing them. I have also decided to start this blog to document my journey because it’s so outside of my comfort zone, that it’s got to be a good thing, right? I also want to know – and to show you, dear reader – if it can be done. Can a night owl whose recent bedtimes has not been a minute before 4am, become a morning person? So, introducing to you, test subject #1, yours truly.

Image credit: http://www.allthingsclipart.com/wonder.woman.02.jpg