2018: The little things.

Welcome to 2018. A fresh new 365 days to live boldly bolstered by the memories, triumphs and downfalls of those before it. I for one, feel like this new year caught seamlessly onto the last thread of 2017 and continued to weave it’s story. 2017 was a really good year for the most part, and I didn’t quite feel the need to “leave it behind” or run from it. I was ready to just simply keep on living, no matter its numerical standpoint in a calendrical world.

For the first time since K.B passed away, we celebrated new years. Not how we used to when she was here. There weren’t any midnight dashes down to the ocean to watch the fireworks from the shoreline, or planking competitions. We didn’t have a group of strangers turn up to the apartment to party with us, or spend the next day drowning in exhaustion and hot potato gems. No, it wasn’t like it used to be – though those new years will always be the most cherished.

Instead, I think after all these years, we were finally ready to celebrate it a new way. And I think she would be happy to know that in the midst of the fireworks, although we missed her still incredibly, we found a new way to love her and the bright sparks at the same time.

We welcomed 2018 in camping under the stars on the beach, something I know K.B would have approved of immensely. With a light breeze just strong enough to pierce through the summer balminess, we set a box of fireworks alight and watched them disperse in the black night sky above us. The ocean cooed in response, wildly crashing upon the sand and I took it all in.

With perhaps more clarity than I’ve ever had on a new years eve before, I realised I had been chasing this feeling of contentment all year long. My chest felt light and my thoughts were clear as I sat around the campfire listening to the campsites next door count down to last seconds. It was like taking a breath of air for the first time in a long time, and hitting an internal re-fresh. And in that moment that I knew just how much the little things matter.

Christmas last year showed me how to be present in the little things, and new years eve taught me what to do with them.

You see they tell you that it’s the little things that matter. And it’s true. They do.

But I think what matters more, is what you do with them.

Little things can be good, awe-inspiring, the start of the next big thing. But little things can also be sad, inconvenient, and sorrowing. Being present in those moments teaches you understand their significance, but it’s what you then choose to do with them that’s important.

Notice the things that make you happy, chase them and crave to find them in your mundane everyday routine. Remember them and cherish them. Don’t know where to find them? Start with that coffee your Mr. bought you on his way home from work, or the way your golden retriever spends ten minutes rolling around on his back for entertainment in a bliss all of his own. Then notice how a flower grows to face the sunlight, and how the little old man looked at his sweetheart on the park bench next to him. Find the little things that are good and let them guide you. There’s plenty of good left in the world to be found, you just have to let yourself see it.

And as for the little things that trouble you? Well, it’s easy. It always has been. Let them go.

I recently read a letter from a young woman who passed away last week after a long battle with cancer. She was only 25. In amongst the reflection* upon her life and the things she wished for herself and others, she remarked upon the little things.

She said that people spend too much time focusing on the little things that plague their minds with worry or heartache. And that it’s not until you’ve been given finite amount of time to live that you realise that those things aren’t what’s important.

When you’re told that there’s not much time left, you start to wish your biggest issue wasn’t that your body was giving up on you, but that instead it was just terrible traffic on your way to work this morning, or a bad night’s sleep.

Because the bottom line is that it shouldn’t matter if the hairdresser cut your hair too short, or you have cellulite on your arse – these are not the things that should consume you. These are small things. And they are insignificant in the big scheme of things.

She had it completely right. And I can’t help but want to take her last worldly advice and run with it. Because if there’s anything I think I’m starting to understand in this lifetime, it’s that true happiness stems from gratitude. And I think gratitude comes from knowing how to deal with the little things. So that’s where I’m starting.

This year, it’s about the little things. And I truely think this is the biggest lesson you could  ever learn. Learn it with me if you’d like!

Wishing you the best for 2018, always.

d x

[* Holly Butcher’s Reflection: http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/real-life/dying-womans-inspirational-and-moving-final-letter-goes-viral/news-story/89c6036ccdcde5c0522a23a5c10265eb %5D

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Christmas Day: Scrubbed + Gloved

It’s been a big two weeks for me over Christmas this year, and almost feel as if they have sailed right by me in the blink of an eye. Does this only get worse the older I get? Please comfort my heart and say no! Any faster and we might find ourselves skipping straight to January entirely next year.

Having had the last two years off from work over my favourite holiday season, it was well and truely my turn to pull on the Christmas-owl scrubs and latex gloves, and hit the ground running on the surgical floor this year. I worked eight days straight over Christmas and felt it pinch at my heart a little at first. For a girl who adores everything covered in tinsel and sparkling fairy lights, it was hard to be inside the walls of the hospital and not with family.

But the reward of bursting in the ward’s doors with jingling reindeer ears on Christmas day morning and putting a smile on the patient’s faces there was more than I could ever have deserved for dreading in the first place. In fact, if I’m honest, I rather enjoyed spending Christmas day at work (and that’s not just the one too many rum balls clouding my memory!).

It was as if everyone brought in a bit of Christmas in with them, and shared it with those that thought they wouldn’t feel it this year. It was a day full of so many smiles, and so much warmth. It was as if we all came together to spread a special sort of cheer as far and wide across the ward as we could. I can’t really explain it any more than that, but it was like nothing else and there was this underlying understanding of the immense need for kindness.

I walked out of the hospital on Christmas afternoon with a heart so thankful for being able to bring a little happiness into the hearts of the patients I cared for. It made me realise how much I really love being a nurse. Despite the exploding stomas, the leaking drains, and the confused little old men who magically harness the strength of ten horses as they take a swing at you – I wouldn’t have chosen to do anything else.

And I’ve come to realise that you have to learn to love all these moments in your life. Even the ones spent in the hospital on Christmas day. Because it’s not about what you’re doing on days like this, or any normal day of the year for that matter – it’s about what you turn it into and what you take away from it.

I think this next year is going to be about enjoying the little things. About be present in every moment, and truely aware of the beauty that surrounds me. I already know its there, but in 2018, I want to feel it. I want to turn it into a happiness others can share in.

For me, I think this means finding peace of mind. All too often, I find myself worrying and getting stressed over the smallest of things. I let it shape how I feel, I let dictate how I act and the words that I construct. I don’t want to spend any more moments from here on feeling frustrated by the all the things I can’t change and the circumstances I once thought were less than ideal. I don’t want to feel clouded over in my mind, blind to good things. I want want my happy-heart moments to be present in every day I breathe.

Working this year over Christmas taught me a lot about what really matters. It’s not about things going to plan, or having the picture perfect day. It’s not about being task-orientated to point that the to-do lists takeover, or being organised at every turn. It’s about learning to laugh at the things that didn’t go to plan, and the days where it rained on your picnic. It’s about putting the to-do list on hold to lookup and smile at downpour instead. And I plan to bring this new-turn-old-proverb-epiphany into the New Year.

I hope everybody had such a wonderful Christmas and enjoyed it thoroughly however it was spent. Stay safe and loved as we turn our eyes to 2018, I have a feeling it’s going to be a big year!

d x

Letting go.

If there is one thing I’ve come to really realise this year, it’s that life is constantly changing. I used to think of life as having chapters that would change seamlessly into the next at the catalyst of a big life alteration.

Like when I graduated high school and entered the ‘real’ world, and then again when I walked out of the cafe for the last time as a waitress to start my career as a nurse. And then of course once more when a close friend of mine passed away and almost everything changed.

I used to think that those kind of moments were the distinctive page turns into new chapters of my life, because they were all so large and significant events. But I now have come to realise that sometimes life chapters change subtly, without warning and without a big moment.

This year my life has changed, and I haven’t really taken a moment to accept that until now.

I was spending this morning organising a few things before my Mr. woke from his everlasting slumber to take me out to our usual Tuesday breakfast date, and in a moment of nostalgia, I had decided to look back through some of my blog posts from earlier this year.

As a person, I haven’t changed a great deal. Still determined as ever to make a difference, finding various adventures to get lost upon and new hobbies to take up. Even my surroundings haven’t changed. I still live in the same place and travel for the most part, to the same places. I still drink vanilla lattes and recklessly shop online, a bad combination turn a predicament I often find myself in at 2am in the morning on night shift.

Yes, I am rather the same. But It just seems to have been the people around me that have changed instead. And most surprisingly it’s been some of the people I counted on to always be there, who have undoubtedly left in pursuit of a life that no longer includes me.

And when I look back, there was no big moment that these people walked out of my life. There wasn’t a huge fight, or a dramatic parting. No one moved overseas or passed away. We just drifted, for whatever reason. And now it seems so odd to finish this year without them, or even that my life in it’s new chapter doesn’t include them.

I suppose in hindsight, I subconciously knew it was happening at the time. It was that surging ache in my heart for no longer being the person they turned to for advice or even a pick-me-up mid-week. And when I really sink my teeth into it, I’ve probably been putting off letting go of that chapter for a long time now. Angry in the idea of even having to accept that my life will never quite go back to being like that. Fearful to so conclusively close the prior chapter of my life.

But without doing that, I can’t keep writing my own story. And more importantly, it isn’t healthy to carry around that hurt and fear anymore, and it’s exhausting to hope something will return to it’s humble beginnings. I have to let go.

This new chapter includes new friendships, and new weekly traditions. And I absolutely love it for what it is, but it’s different.

And while I miss my old friendships fiercely, I’ve come to realise that sometimes you don’t need a lot of friends. Just a few close ones. Quality over quantity, you know how it goes.

I  may not have the people in my life that I once used to, but there’s reasons for that, even if I don’t entirely understand them right now. So I’m conclusively closing that chapter and choose to look back at it with a fondness for the memories it holds.

I didn’t see it coming, but it’s here. This is the new chapter. It’s wasn’t a life changing moment that catapulted me into it and I’m not even sure yet what this new chapter will be about, but everything from here is shaped differently now because the people around me are different. And finally, I’m okay with that.

d x

beautiful-book-coffee-dark-Favim.com-2099269

Barricading the ‘Busy-ness’

I was driving down the highway towards my parent’s place the other morning with Igloo riding shot-gun, thinking about the term ‘busy’.

As of late, I’ve grown to really dislike the word. To be busy, is one thing. To let busy take over, is another. There’s a fine line between the two, and I’ve found there to be little to barricade the difference.

It seems to me that these days people have taken an odd sense of pride in the idea of ‘busy-ness’. As it if were a sign of great achievement, or self-importance to be busy all of the time. It’s almost like being busy were to mean that the life you’re living was more advantageous than others, and that no one else could ever understand just how much you had to accomplish. And when the busy it takes-over, and suddenly someone doesn’t reply to your message until five days later with the excuse that the week has just been “so busy”…the barricade appears non-existent.

I’m left to wonder, when did busy become an all-enveloping excuse for making time for the things that really should matter more?

Now, disclaimer: I’ve alway’s been a busy person. Self-confessed, I prefer the chaos. But I’ve never been someone to let it completely envelope me to the point of exclusion of all else – or at least, I like to think I never have. I have always aimed for balance, and found time for the things that matter most, like family and friends -because shouldn’t that be more important?

And so I’m not exactly sure why society has classed “busy” and “successful” as belonging in the same box when I find you can be both with, or without, the other. The internet describes the term busy in various ways, but perhaps my favourite description depicted busy as “spending time being cluttered with small, unharmonious details“.

We fill our time with small errands, and work schedules, only to then find little time for ourselves, let alone others – and I don’t think it’s healthy anymore to live like that. I’m all for to-do lists and productivity, but equally in love with bath salts and a good book. There has to be balance. There has to be time for other people, because your iPhone isn’t going to hug you on a bad day.

I think people need to change their perception of busy in the context of success. Because frankly, how could you ever think yourself successful in life if you let the busy-ness eliminate all else. Who would have left to celebrate the real triumphs with at the end of it all? Aren’t people more important than designing a new website, or replying to emails on end?

The bottom line is that we don’t have to be busy, we choose to. And I’ve always strongly believed that if you really want to do something, you’ll find time for it. So here’s my own self-acquired advice on barricading the busy-ness:

  1. Recognise
    It starts with recognising that life is fleeting, and should be filled with the things you love. There’s time to be busy, and there’s days to run errands. But recognise when work is becoming too much. Recognise when it’s becoming the barrier between you and the rest of the world. Don’t spend your time feeling chained to a busy life, staring out the window at the world passing by. Your body will often tell you that you need to stop, and when it does you need to listen. Recognise that there needs to be balance, and being productive does not come at the cost of a night out with friends or a night in with family. Recognise when life is becoming unharmonious, and focus on instilling harmony in it’s place. Chaos shouldn’t be the dot point on a map we find you living in.
  2. Prioritise
    Allocate time for being productive, and then allocate time to not be. I have found it so important to prioritise time to spend with family, friends or even just yourself. There’s something magical in leaving the laptop in the office and venturing to the oceanside where there’s fresh air and crashing waves – and the heaviness is given permission to lift from your shoulders. Find time for others, even when it feels like there is little of it left in your week. Not just because it’ll enrich your life – but because it will enrich the lives of others in your life who maybe just needed a friend during a hard week you never knew they were having. Prioritise your time, because I guarantee there will be nothing worse than looking back on your life on day and realising what you missed when you were busy being busy.
  3. Embrace
    Embrace the to-do lists and work towards your goals – let that be the definition of “busy”. But also embrace knock-off time when the day is done. Draw a line between work and play, and love it’s divide. Spend time with the people who have supported you since the beginning, and do the things you love. An email can wait until 9am tomorrow morning, just because it came through while you were getting dinner with a friend, it doesn’t demand an immediate response. The sooner you learn that you have a choice in being busy, the sooner you’ll find a better success than busy could ever bring.

 

That’s all there is to it. Busy-ness is a choice. And I hope you choose well.

d x

Helping abroad

Well, it’s official – I’m going to the Philippines next year!

For those that have been following, you might remember me mentioning becoming the newest member of the Helping Children Smile Organisation about two months ago (if not, read about it here). You might also remember me applying for next year’s mission trip in February to perform free surgery for the children over there with cleft palates – and lo and behold, one phone call last week confirmed I was successful!

In all honesty, being so new to the team, I wasn’t really sure whether I was in with much of a chance of being selected in the first place. It’s a huge trip with so many applicants each round, and I had only been there for all of five minutes. But encouraged by a couple of the girls at last month’s meeting, and with the CN application ordeal fresh in my memory – I figured there was no harm in showing my interest. This is my year of conquering fear, after all.

I’d originally put in an expression of interest for the ‘admin’ position – similar to a being a go-for. Someone who would help with the admissions, file paperwork and run errands. While it wasn’t exactly a position that would utilise my nursing skills as such, it would have been the perfect position to get a taste for the trip, in the hope to return the following year in a more surgical position.

So when I received a cryptic phone call asking whether I would have any interest in being a recovery nurse for the trip, I couldn’t help but feel the excitement bubble. Apparently, my experience in surgical nursing and airway management in neonates in my nursing internship made me a little more eligible than a go-for. One week later, I was officially asked to accompany the 2018 Mission Trip as the newest recovery nurse to the team.

I had to use every ounce of self-control to not squeal  down the line, but the smile that breached ear to ear said enough. It was as if it had all been falling in place since the moment I spotted the infamous post of Facebook. If there was ever a moment where I have felt like something was just meant to be – this was it, this was that moment.

I now have a lot to organise, including applying for a temporary permit to work in the Philippines – which is a whole other level of paperwork in itself. But I’m no way complaining. This is certainly going to be one amazing experience. And at the risk of sounding a little too much like my Father, there really is no substitute for doing something like this.

I’m so excited to use my nursing career for something so meaningful, in a place that really needs it. It’s been on the Bucket List for a long time, and finally #52 has found it’s promising ‘check’ – so stay tuned for that one. I’m already looking for forward to blogging this amazing adventure next February!

d x

The essentials of surviving adulthood.

The thing about being an adult is that you come to love the things you never thought you would. It’s the realisation that you now find a sale on vacuum cleaners at Myers exciting, and that the prospect of a Bunnings trip gets you feeling like it’s going to be a great day.

Whatever happened to my care-free Saturday nights out on the town until 5am? I’ll never quite know. But I will tell you one thing, I’m not entirely missing it (Cue freak out! Who am I even?).

I think that in that moment you are aware that you’ve well and truely crossed the threshold into adulthood is an odd concept to comprehend at first. To then realise you care about the condition of your front lawn as much as your father does, is to realise there really is no going back. You have arrived at your destination. You are an adult now. Congratulations.

And yeah it’s daunting at first – what is a variable rate and why does everyone suddenly need all my money? But after a little while, you start to get the hang of it and life makes more sense now, than it perhaps ever has before. You start to realise the value of money, the things that you own and the people around you. And at the risk of sounding like a true adult – this is maybe one of the greatest lessons you’ll ever learn.

When I think about adulthood, I’ve come to realise that if you let go of the fear that holds you back, being a grown-up isn’t all that bad. If you take the age of being responsible and put it to good use, this chapter of your life may just supersede the greatness of being a carefree teen.

But in order to supersede, there are three essentials in the survival of adulthood. And the sooner you figure them out, the better you will be for it…so, I’ll let you in on the secret now.

  1. Make Goals
    As an adult, you’ll need to make goals. Realistic and timely goals. Find a direction for your life and set about fulfilling its purpose. It’s not always easy to find your path, but start with the small things – like purchasing a drill, and then let it snowball into building a house. If you just start, one by one, you find yourself crossing things off the list and creating this life you imagined when you were younger but never thought you would ever bring to fruition. It changes your independence, and before you know it, the training wheels are off. You’re doing it. You’re pedalling through life on your own, and theres no fear.
  2.  Travel Far
    As an adult you’ll add an extensive amount of destinations to your travel list. But take the time and make it one of your goals to see all the places you’re dreaming of at some point. There’s nothing quite like experiencing how different somebody else lives. You’ll learn to breathe a different air and realise the world is so much bigger than you, and the tiny corner of the earth you’ve been living in. It changes how you think, how you view your own life. It’s like putting on a new pair of glasses and seeing things in a whole new way. It makes you grateful, it makes you knowledgable.
  3. Love Always
    Let yourself fall in love, more deeply than you ever have before. Find out what it means to give everything with no expectation of return. You’ll realise the importance of having people in your life that are only going to enrich it. You’ll learn that some people, no matter how hard you hoped against it, will let you down –  and that there is beauty in rising from the hurt. You’ll then truely know the value of the ones that have never left your side, even through the darkest of moments. It changes the way you treat others, it makes you strong and it will define you in a way nothing else ever will.

Being an adult is the point at which you start to build the foundations for your future and if your clever, you’ll learn to love every downfall, every learning curve, and every triumph along the way because it counts for everything. You’ll learn to embrace your flaws and focus on your strengths, using them to make adulthood your own awe-inspiring story.

Be brave and learn to laugh, see it for the adventure that it is. Newly acquired adulthood is mostly about figuring a way through the most unfamiliar situations, like rookie-plumbing a drainage system down the side of the house, and being ecstatically proud when you achieve what you set out to (and theres no leak in sight!).

Welcome to adulthood, now you have the essentials – supersede.

d x

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Fiddle-leaf Friend.

It’s well-known that I like to make friends with my plants (all inanimate objects really – in a much less psychiatric way than that sounds). I’ve totally become one of those people who speak to their greens in the rare case they might hear me and grow a little better. 

It’s also well-known that I’m not the greatest of all gardeners, and like many new beginners, have a regrettable track record at keeping things alive (green, plant things that is! My human patients have never suffered from my lack of a green thumb I promise!). It would seem that plants are yet to learn how to love me as much as I love them.

From an outsiders perspective, it looks like an easy gig. Water, sunlight, fertiliser – and voila! But I am here to confirm that all is not as it seems in the world of plants, and my goodness – I have so much to learn. 

Buy a succulent, they said. It’s impossible to kill those, they said. Well, they were wrong. I’m the kind of ambitious gardener who apparently can kill a succulent. My last venture out into the garden almost burnt my beautiful gardenias alive with a little too much blood and bone fertiliser. Apparently, you’re supposed to use that stuff sparingly and at least ten centimetres away from the plant itself…

But never fear! This August, I’m turning over a new leaf (pun definitely intended). I’m learning how to be the crazy plant lady in all my glory – starting with Fred the Fiddle Leaf Fig. 

Fred arrived last Friday with a tiny height of 50cm and as cute as you get when it comes to plants. Wanting to keep this one on the healthy side of preservation, I did a little research and thought I might as well share it for anyone else who, like me, may not be plant-rearing-gifted. 

I’ll call the following tips collectively… How to best love your fiddle-leaf friend 🌿 And wish it to be the most helpful gardeners how-to list you read today!

Here we go:

1) Sunlight

Fiddles love the sun, or at least, they love the humidity and brightness the sun brings – and not quite the direct sun rays. So keep this in mind when choosing the perfect place to keep your new green friend. I keep Fred in the corner of the main lounge room. There’s always plenty of sun to keep him in the brightness all day, with a little refuge thanks to the charcoal curtains adorning the window. 

2) Water

One important thing to know is that Fiddles don’t love being watered as much as you imagine they would. They are easily susceptible to root rot – and trust me, that looks just as bad as it sounds. Only water your Fiddle when the top inch of soil is dry. If you’re not sure, try sticking your finger in the soil and work it out by feel. Depending on the weather, the potting and the position, you might find your Fiddle only needs to be watered once or twice a month! (Talk about low maintainence!). 

3) Food

Fertilise your Fiddle regularly! They thrive off being fed at least once every month throughout their growing seasons (this means you get a break over the winter months!). Try using a weak liquid fertiliser – if you’re not sure which one, I’m sure your local garden centre staff can point you in the right direction. 

4) Soil

When it comes to soil, Fiddles aren’t picky. Any good soil will do the trick as long as it’s a fast-draining potting mix that will allow water to move freely through. My tip: go for quality soil over the cheaper priced ones – your Fiddle Leaf leaves will adore you all the more for it. 

5) Leaf Care

Your Fiddle will need some TLC from time to time with its beautiful large leaves. Being such a great indoor plant unfortunately doesn’t make it immune to catching dust. So every now and then, take to the leaves with a cloth to gently wipe away any residual on the leaf’s top side. This will help your Fiddle to absorb as much light as possible and increase its ability to avoid fungal infections. It also brings back the gloss we all love!

6) Pruning

If you want to have a little influence over how your Fiddle grows, you might want to give pruning a go. Fiddles should only be pruned in the Spring months (this is its best growing season!). Pruning promotes branching and a thicker growth. If you want your Fiddle to look similar to a tree, make sure you prune from the top to encourage the branching out up there! Fred is a one metre high variety, perfect for my little home – so I’m thinking I’ll just let him do his thing!

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is apparently all there is to it! 

Here’s to hoping my little Fiddle Leaf Fred (and yours too of course) stays glossy, healthy and happy from here on out! 

August is definitely the month for learning how to make my plants love me one ‘How-to-self-help’ list at a time! Next, I think I’ll try jasmine….

Happy gardening!

d x