Posts Tagged ‘lifestyle’
There’s a saying “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” that in my opinion is another myth. In some cases, I think it gives people something to hide behind. They quote that phrase as if it’s scientifically proven in order to justify that they don’t want to try something new.
Every time I hear it I can’t help but wonder if the person is afraid of failure, resisting an unwanted change or just plain lazy. That may seem harsh but if you’re honest, you can probably think of a time when something new has come up and you’ve felt one of those motives propel you toward saying you wouldn’t be able to do such and such a new task or deal with a new or different situation.
I get it. I should say, I understand that most people don’t like change however in truth, I don’t get it. Whilst change may sometimes cause uncertainty I think people get too bogged down in that and forget to make their own path. When it feels like you have no control over the situation or other people are dictating the outcomes, why not make a move of your own and seize the opportunity that changes usually represent.
Recently, I met someone who was being made redundant at a time when jobs are not easily found. Although it came as a shock, this person told me it was going to be a good thing as he’d wanted to do something else for a long time but now realised he’d been playing it safe and become resigned that he’d probably never take the risk. Due to circumstance out of his control, he’d now be able to take that step and see it as moving in the right direction rather than risking what he already had.
Of course not everyone is equipped emotionally or financially to take that view but we could all start with the small things. If you really want to do something, how about taking some classes to help get you there. If you’re unhappy in your job, take action and start looking around rather than complaining whilst still turning up every day. If there’s a new task or situation thrown at you that you don’t understand so you fear failing, why not embrace it and take on all possible training and assistance to ensure your success – avoiding it will surely help you fail.
So many times I’ve wanted to do something and in the end I’ve realised that I need to make it happen as waiting brings no result. I’ve learned knew skills, taken jobs that were unfamiliar, even moved to new locations where I knew no-one. I’ve found every time that although it may take a while, I’ve succeeded in the end. Sometimes I’ve even surprised myself when things have turned out better than I’d hoped.
As for old dogs – it’s never too late. My father waited to retire until he was 69 and I’m sure it was partly because he had no idea what he’d do if he wasn’t working. He’s taken on a totally new lifestyle with open arms realising, if he waited around for something to do it would never come.
After years of saying he’d like to take up painting, he finally decided early this year to attend classes. Less than a year has passed and he’s just had his first exhibition and sold his first painting – something he wasn’t expecting but a wonderful bonus to being brave enough to ‘give it a go.’
So, as we head rapidly toward another year, maybe it’s time to ask yourself what you’ve done this year. Have you achieved a goal, tried something new, made a friend you weren’t expecting or have you done the same old things and now wonder where another year has gone?
Old dogs (and young ones) can learn new tricks – I have a million ideas to get through, what’s yours going to be?
Lately I’ve started thinking I must have too much time on my hands. Although I know that’s just not true I kind of hope it is. Why else would I be thinking about so many things that are just too difficult to answer? I mean really – what is the meaning of life and more importantly; where oh where is the fountain of youth?!
Perhaps the problem isn’t too much time, I sometimes feel I’m running out of time. As each year passes it seems I have less time to do the things I really want to do, achieve the lifestyle I want and fit all the people that are important to me into that equation.
Not so long ago I made what most people saw as drastic changes. I went from having a well-paid job, high community profile and being located close enough to family and friends to spend time with them whenever I wanted; to becoming a ‘homeless’ backpacker on the move without a care in the world. My biggest decisions were where to go next and how long to stay.
I miss that life and can’t explain the freedom to you if you haven’t experienced it. Most people tell me they believe it must be a scary existence with so much uncertainty, those who’ve done it know it’s exactly the opposite. I met so many interesting people and experienced something new every day.
That was the life I’d dreamed of but now I find myself doing what I promised myself I wouldn’t do. While I was out there seeing glaciers in Alaska, doing yoga at an ashram in India and learning Thai cooking on an island in Thailand, I told myself that I wouldn’t get caught up again in the lifestyle that comes with earning a living.
I was sure I could work, earn some cash to fund the next trip and keep going that way until I found the place I wanted to settle in. Somehow the reality is far from that as I find that if I’m working I need a place to live then I need to keep working to fund that. It seems I’m being dragged kicking and screaming back into the world of 9-5 (at least) and limited travel time.
In truth I haven’t sold my dreams out just modified them so they’ll continue to be funded! I’m now living in a place that enables shorter more frequent trips so I’m really working to fund those but as each day goes by and I get (a little) older, I find myself thinking I must get a move on and do MORE of the things I want to do before time steals those opportunities away. Yes, I’ll be signing up for Tango lessons soon…
Today I found myself looking at everyone around me on the train home and wondering how many of them were doing things they really wanted to do and how many of them were just ‘existing.’ A sad thought but enough to inspire me again to keep taking my worklife less seriously than many people around me think I should, continue doing whatever seems interesting and fun and most of all, keep walking to the beat of my own drum whether it’s playing rock n roll, blues, jazz or pop – I like a bit of variety!
There was a time when the year 2000 seemed unreal and far in the future. A new century and I wondered what it would be like. I’d heard my grandparents talking about horse and carts and crystal radios and I knew they were from the olden days. Who’d have thought I’d have olden days of my own?
Shock, horror – not only did I get to live in two centuries but now they’re showing flashbacks on TV and in magazines to remind us of the highlights, low-points and milestones of the first decade of this 21st century. The year 2000 now seems so far behind.
What can I tell you of my olden days?
My first record album (round, black, vinyl) was of course; Elvis Presley. I was allowed to ride my bike everywhere and with my friends roamed largely unsupervised a lot of the time. If I lost a race or wasn’t invited to someone’s birthday party my parents didn’t try to compensate me but helped me deal with the disappointment.
I watched the change-over to colour TV on our black and white set with my family and was thrilled when my cousins handed down their fashionable clothes. Maybe I should post a quiz at this point and ask if you can guess how old I am? I should say, how young I am?
So! It’s 2010 and what have you done? What will you do?
I no longer have vinyl records; well, yes I do, they’re in storage and I can’t bear to part with them BUT; my IPod goes everywhere with me and has enough music to play for 17 days if the battery could last that long. I also have a laptop that has a 17 hour battery so if I’m bored, lost or lonely I can still keep writing, looking at my photos or watching a favourite movie!
My life has changed in other ways. My grandparents travelled across the world to start a new life and so it seems, shall I. Starting a new life is not all that new to me, I’ve done it before but this new start is different. It’s about freedom and choices rather than necessity. I’m choosing a lifestyle not a place.
My Aussie homeland is tempting me to stay as the summer settles in and I can go swimming at night – I was born a summer baby and I’m enjoying it while I can as I finalise my plans to head into a cold, Northern hemisphere winter.
It’s 2010 and what have I done?
- Well, I just spent New Year with my parents and their friends and can confirm that even people from the olden days know how to have fun!
It’s 2010 and what will I do?
- Live for a while in a place where I can travel to another country in a day, try a new lifestyle, learn a new language, dance until dawn, talk to strangers, treasure my old friends while making some new ones…all the usual things – what about you?
I can hardly believe I’ve been back in Australia six months. When did that happen? I still remember how I felt during my last week in Bangkok – the last stop of my 12month IWOM adventure.
It was horrible. I knew everyone expected me to feel excited to be returning “home” and about to see all my family and friends again but I didn’t want to go. Why? Because it felt like life as I’d come to know and love it, was ending.
I know they say that with endings come new beginnings but that wasn’t how I felt at the time. The other day I read something I’d written the night before my flight to Australia that sums things up quite well;
At the thought of heading back to Australia my mind goes blank. I was feeling, I guess, a kind of denial two weeks ago, denial that all this time has passed and now I’m expected to go back and act like nothing’s happened.
Now I feel nothing and think nothing – seems I’ve finally found a way to clear my mind. Perhaps I’ll even be able to meditate now, if I think of going back – wards.
Kind of depressing I know but hey, I’d just spent almost 18 months in total, going wherever I wanted, whenever I wanted and living exactly as I like to – on my own time. I always say I have no rules and that was a time when it was absolutely true.
Heading back to Australia felt like going backwards. I knew that no matter what I’d seen and done, everyone there would be the same, doing the same things and expecting me to fit back into those lives. I also knew I planned to work for a while. Well, I had to so I made it my plan; and I knew that would place me back into the day-to-day I so wanted to avoid, faster than anything else could.
Don’t get me wrong. I love Australia and the outdoor lifestyle, I love my family and my friends, I just didn’t ever love the day-to-day grind we fall into or the fact that people worry about the little things and forget to make time to have a bit of fun, to live in the moment – dare I say, noone knows when it may be the last.
By the way, I felt guilty too. Guilty toward all the people I knew were in Australia looking forward to my return. I did want to spend time with them, I just wanted them to come to me in a different location so I could share some of my excitement and experiences with them. Selfish? Maybe, but it was with good intent.
Well, as I said about endings…new beginnings. I put myself on the plane and arrived in Australia with my mind set on what I was doing next. I don’t tend to think in terms of “I might do…,” I tend to think and say out loud, “I’m doing …” That often prompts people to suggest I may be disappointed if things don’t turn out but I laugh at the thought because the way I see it, if I’ve said it, I’ll do it.
I guess my thoughts on being positive are another story for me to tell but let’s just say I think Pollyanna had the right idea in finding a positive side to everything.
So, my new beginning? It’s underway and almost on schedule – my schedule so actually yes, it’s on schedule. I stepped off the plane and said I was staying to work a few months, catch up with everyone then return to the UK by Christmas.
It took a few weeks longer to find temp work and the rates aren’t as good as they once were (apparently due to the global financial crisis) so I won’t be in the UK for Christmas. The Pollyanna side to that is, I’ll now spend Christmas and New Year with family and friends plus maybe miss the worst of the UK winter by returning in February. You see, it is easy to find a bright side.
FYI: definition of Pollyanna
Noun – an excessively or blindly optimistic person.
Adjective – Also, Pollyannaish, unreasonably or illogically optimistic: some Pollyanna notions about world peace.
Origin: from the name of the child heroine created by Eleanor Porter (1868-1920), American writer
Growing up in suburban Perth (Western Australia) was great but I always knew I was a gypsy at heart. In my teens I was thrilled when one of my Aunts, probably inspired by my long dark hair and hoop earrings; decided I looked like a gypsy and that there must be some in our family tree.
Needless to say, that’s never been proved and my idea of gypsies was a romanticised movie version – gorgeous dark haired people who danced & sang their way across the world. The idea of such freedom, going wherever you want, whenever you want, without a care, seemed an ideal existence.
Ideal however, is not often aligned with reality so it was probably no surprise to anyone that I didn’t grow up, leave home and roam the world without a care. My reality became an almost predictable cycle of getting a job, getting married, having a child, getting divorced, starting over and trying to work out what I’d like to do “when I grow up.”
I knew I wanted to roam the world and dreamed of seeing all the places I’d ever heard of, seen in a movie or read about. That’s a lot of places – I read a lot and love the movies.
Although it was hard to imagine how I’d able to live that life, I kept telling myself someday I would. In the meantime, I needed to make a living, raise my son and create the lifestyle I wanted for us.
My career choices reflected the battle between my creative and practical self with roles as different as being a makeup artist to co-ordinating business improvement projects whereas my personal life always included dancing, singing and performing in amateur theatre. No, my son does none of those – he’s into basketball and skateboarding.
For many years our lives consisted of mad dashes between work, school, rehearsals, sporting matches and anything else we decided to fit in until suddenly, my son was grown up, working and about to leave home. When I said I needed time to get used to the idea of not seeing him every day, he laughed and said I should be thinking of doing the things I said I’d do when he grew up.
Did I mention that my son is not just good at sport but also smart?
Once again I found myself starting over. This time, knowing my child was independent, I could choose to live my dream. It’s true the hardest part of any decision is the making of it. Once I’d decided, everything fell into place as if it was always meant to be.
That’s how I became an International Woman of Mystery and set off to see the world.
Over 18 months I saw as much as I could of each place I visited including New Zealand, North America, Mexico, Sweden, India, UK and Europe. My ideal gypsy life was now my reality and I could choose every day, to do whatever I felt like.
Such freedom is amazing and makes it almost impossible to fit back into what everyone at home sees as a normal life. Before I left, most people I know talked about my trip or holiday as if it had a finite time but I knew in my heart it was just the beginning and it would be a long time before I’d want to settle anywhere.
From my perspective, it wasn’t a holiday, it was a lifestyle change. I no longer feel I need to fit anyone’s ideal except my own and that’s freedom in itself. I do believe the only limitations I have are the ones I set myself as I’m the one who makes the choice to do the things I want to do or just think about them.
My choice for now? I’m going to base myself in the UK so I can travel more frequently before deciding where I might like to settle……for a while.