How can I help you?

Recently I came across a quote that really resonated with me.

Many people spend too much time trying to be the captain of somebody else’s boat. Learn to be a lighthouse, and the boats will find their way

I’m not sure who wrote it, or what their hope had been in it’s meaning, but to me this speaks a lot about being a leader. My Father will tell you that he picked me as a natural born leader from the age of three as I rounded up all the kids in the church we used to go to, to accompany me to kids church with the promise of juice and a biscuit. He’ll tell you I at the age of five, I commandeered the playground and gave every child in my pre-school class a role to play in my ‘family’ game. And at the age of thirteen, I led almost an entire high-school class down to detention in a ‘oh captain, my captain!‘ moment as a strike against the mis-justice of one of my friends (not that I condone my adolescent behaviour in this circumstance particularly).

But whether I am a good leader or not, in adulthood, things aren’t exactly straight forward and there are now more complex emotions to deal with. The first time I had to deal with this was the day I became a Supervisor at one of the restaurants I was working at when I was 19 years old. There was one lady there who had worked there for a few years before I had joined the team, and at the point of which I was placed in charge, she refused obtusely to take any orders from me.

And I understood it, I really did. Who was I to have just walked in to her world, and suddenly be given the power to make decisions about what she did or how she did it. She was older than me, and I was barely out of school. I got it. It wasn’t fair. But I also hadn’t appointed myself in that role. My boss had, and whether she liked it or not, there wasn’t much either of us could do about it.

Working with this lady taught me a lot about what it means to be a leader, and in particular, how to be humble in the role. And I will always be grateful to her for putting me through the hardship, because it has been invaluable in every leadership role I undertook from that moment onwards. It wasn’t just about me being in charge, or directing people to do things, it was about harnessing the knowledge and skills of my colleagues to bring about success. It taught me a lot about finding the balance between making orders, and incorporating my colleagues in decision processes.

You see, I don’t think leadership necessarily means the same as dictatorship. And when you work in a team especially, you want to bring everyones talents and best attributes to the table. That’s how you attain cohesiveness, and that’s how you attain respect. You let your team know their value, their integral role in whatever it is that you’re trying to achieve. Because you’re not a leader, if there’s no one to follow – and they won’t follow, if they feel stripped of their importance.

As a Clinical Nurse at work, I am given the responsibility to lead a team of nurses throughout each shift I work. And in almost the same ways as it was in hospitality, it didn’t start out as being easy.

I made it to Clinical Nurse quite young in my career as a nurse, which didn’t sit well with many. Having had less time out on the floor seemed to have more bearing over my perceived ability to fill the role that I expected. It didn’t matter that I had studied an additional degree, nor the hard work or overtime I had put in. The bottom line was that they didn’t think I deserved the promotion.

There were days I would be in charge, and my colleagues would deliberately with-hold important information from me so that at handover, I would appear to have a little insight to the actual condition of patients. It was dangerous, and frustrating.

I would hear about unkind words said about me behind my back, and it didn’t seem to matter what I did, it didn’t change their opinion. For the nurses that had worked there far longer than me, it didn’t seem fair – and there was not much I could do to change the hurt they felt that it hadn’t been them instead.

The only thing I could give them was someone who repeatedly displayed a gratitude to them for their own role and expertise in caring for patients, who showed a residence against the unkind words and actions, and who gave them an option to be recognised as an integral member of the team. My favourite thing to do was to ask simply ‘How can I help you?’, because I wanted know how could encourage them to take the lead and achieve greatness in their own shift. I wanted them to see that while I was their leader per say, it didn’t mean I had taken their autonomy in being their own nurse, nor undervalued their gained knowledge in the years preceding me. It took time. But the ones who couldn’t move past the hurt left, and the ones who could eventually found a way to respect it.

And I think that’s what the quote means. It’s not about trying to dictate how my team should work or how they should do something, it’s not about being the captain of their boat. Its about being the example, and the navigator to a shift in turmoil. Finding ways to problem solve, advocate and uplift the team. Being the lighthouse and safe home for the boats.

And I love that as an analogy for being a leader.

I’m not yet the perfect leader, and I won’t proclaim to be, but I do know that when power is placed in your hands, you should feel obligated to utilise it for the better. Be a lighthouse.

d x

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Falling into range.

Body mass index. Name a more feared set of words when it comes to the weight loss world. I’ll wait… (although I would accept that ‘gimme fifty burpees‘ may come close).

Sitting in with my doctor back in January for my once yearly, much detested, checkup – we started talking about weight. Partly because I’d happen to found a bit more of it than I should have over Christmas (or the whole of 2018 for that matter) and partly because there is even more reason to lose it as I age closer to my midlife crisis point.

Being the daughter of my father gave me a lot of great things in life, but in terms of hereditary gifts – the ol’ “Eddie” genes as we call them, didn’t leave me much to brag about.

My father is the third generation on the ‘Eddie’ side to have suffered a heart attack by the age of 50… and inclusive of his own brother, my uncle, one year ago… the only one to have survived. This means, I’m next in the firing line with the only advantage now being that I know it’s coming.

My doctor kindly pointed out that we had an opportunity to change the odds in our favour if I was willing to make a few new choices and give myself the best chance at seeing 50 years (oh, god!) through. Undoubtedly I wasn’t all that excited about more lettuce in my diet, but he had a good point and I’m not one for ignoring good logic.

Now, breaking every womanly instinct and manner, I’ll tell you I weighed 79.8kg as I looked down at the scales between my toes that day – which for me, is the largest I’ve ever been in my young life. The horror must have been written all over my face as I had sat back down, because my doctor smiled gently and said, “Try to look at it this way…It’s the perfect starting point”.

And while I felt a little like bursting into tears the whole drive home, something seemed to click inside me driven by a sense of determination to not be the girl who had a chance to change and didn’t. No one wants to feel large, and I really did that day.

At a height of 166cm, my increase in weight had ensured my falling out of range from the green healthy bar into alarmingly orange ‘overweight’ area. And as a side note, I truely believe the person who created the BMI charts was male, because no female would have ever named the next range up from healthy, “overweight” – it’s far too harsh. But whether I liked it or not, it was a universal truth thanks to every BMI calculator out there, and perhaps the obtusely orange overweight indicator staring me in the face was the kickstart I needed.

My doctor had said the weight loss didn’t have to be drastic, or immediate, but to just aim for 75kg at first and see what happens. According to the BMI chart, ‘Healthy’ for my body sits somewhere between 50 and 68kg apparently – which seems like a lot, because it is. And I think there has to be room in there for common sense, because when it comes to being healthy, I feel like this can never be rightly limited to a numerical boundary. There are different aspects to being healthy, and not all of them revolve around weighing in at a certain amount. While my goal is to lose weight because I do need to (doctors orders, not just mine!), more than anything else, I’m just trying to fall back into healthy – in more ways than the BMI chart dictates.

So now, in my year of ‘happy and healthy’, I’m choosing to do things a little differently than anything I’ve done before. I’m introducing five habits to my life in the aim to establish a health as the motivator, and weight loss as it’s beneficiary. The goal is to find a cohesive regime for my body that doesn’t focus on getting to a specific numeric weight, but rather editing the edges of my daily routine to change unhealthy habits into better ones, and to see that transform into a healthier body – inside, outside and love-handles included.

FIVE HABITS TO CHANGE A LIFE

  1. plan and schedule
    This is a big one for me, and perhaps simultaneously the easiest. Anyone who knows me can vouch for the fact that I am a planner. I love lists and schedules, I live daily by them and love the structure they give to my life. But being a nurse means no two weeks are the same. It can be hard to fall into a rhythm or routine when my work life is both sporadic and unpredictable, interwoven with night shifts. So sitting down every Sunday night for an hour, be it at home after dinner, or on my tea break at work, I plan my week ahead. This helps me allocate time to exercise and plan meals for the next seven days. It gives me a road map to follow, and once I have it, I find an odd comfort in having a game plan. It also works to relieve a lot of the stress I have around all the things I want to do in providing a time for them. Planning and scheduling makes me productive and accountable, and I love it.
  2. do 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day
    I think of this habit as a way of becoming a better dog-mum first and foremost. Being the owner of two golden retrievers means there is always plenty of energy in the house. From the moment I arrive home from work, Igloo and Millie are running loops around me. It’s not always easy to want to go for a walk – especially after a long day. But the reality is that I’m a better dog-mum if I do. The added bonus? It’s the extra exercise I need too. I’m starting out with something easy and achievable. Jumping into trend-led workouts has never really stuck for me, so by starting out with something that’s catered more to the little golden loves in my life makes it an easy starting point. The more intense stuff I can integrate later. And the more I do it, the more I actually find walking to be therapeutic. It’s fresh air, at sunset, with the ones I love most (my Mr. included). It’s fast becoming one of my favourite things to do.
  3. keep a food diary
    Now not to advocate for counting calories as such, but logging my meals into My Fitness Pal, has helped me to decipher what foods are actually not as good as they seem! It also has helped me work out better portion sizes and keeps me in check when it comes to meals and avoiding overeating. It’s human nature to feel better about eating a Krispy Creme when you can’t see the calories that accompany the iced-wonder, but when you have to account for it later, you start to really think about whether it’s worth it. I am loving being held accountable for what I eat, and with the gentle push the app provides, I’m making healthier choices when it comes to food. Its rewarding to be able to look back at your day and realise you gave your body the nourishment it thrives on. And it’s even more rewarding when your body starts to feel it too.
  4. get enough sleep
    I used to be notorious for not getting enough sleep. As I said before, it’s hard enough being a nurse to find routine, but sometimes finding enough hours to sleep between one shift to the other can be even harder. Then there’s errands, housework, and the weekly parental dinners – and before long, sleep becomes almost illusive (especially so when you have a racing mind like mine bursting with ideas and plans). So lately I’ve been making conscious effort to go to sleep earlier, I aim for 8 hours and feel so much better when I achieve it. The extra z’s also help with my digestion and I find myself less bloated in the mornings. The body just works better on a good night’s sleep – and although I already knew this to be a fact, feeling the difference really seals the deal.
  5. make your own meals
    Over the years, I’ve always been a fan of easy meals. Off the shelf, processed, cook for 20 minutes and voila! But often these meals provide little nutrition and altogether, turn out to only add to the waistline. A couple of months ago, I found a website called DietDoctor which is a Keto Diet based collection of recipes. And while I don’t exactly use the website for it’s intended purpose as I don’t plan on sticking to the fad diet, I do love that the recipes on there are low carb. It has been such a game changer when it comes to choosing healthier meal options, and when they taste as good as they do – there’s really no turning back to all things processed. There are ingredients in some of the recipes I’d never even think to use, and with the intended use of healthy fats over saturated ones, you barely feel like you’ve missed out on anything at all – which gets the tick of approval from my Mr. We’ve picked up a few favourites so far like Chicken Pesto Casserole, and Cheese Garlic Stuffed Chicken Breast, but with more than 50 more recipes yet to investigate, we’ve got dinner sorted for quite a while to come.

And thats my five habits! While they aren’t big changes to my everyday life, they are are giving me a good foundation to start building a healthy life upon. I can already see the changes in my thought patterns and energy levels. I’m less emotional, and more driven to make these second-nature. And this week weighing in at 76.5kg, affirms that something is working.

So here’s to healthy habits, happiness and seeing any challenge life throws at you as the perfect starting point.

d x

#39

At this point in my life, my strengths and weakness are becoming pretty clear. And not that I like to focus on my weaknesses by any means, but this blog entry relies on one of my biggest – balance.

Since I was little, my balance has never been my strong point. I can elegantly trip over my own feet standing still, and while that sounds like a unique talent, I assure you it’s never been beneficial.

I’ve tried everything from skateboarding to surfing, but I’ve just never been able to figure it out. Perhaps I’ve never really given it enough of a go, but after watching a documentary on bones at the age of sixteen, the fear of falling with my wrists out first has ever since had me fear unbalancing the wellbeing of my radius’.

But as all things go in my life, this determined bundle of ambition I call myself can’t seem to ever give up on the hope of one day not being capable of losing balance on flat ground (or in a room full of people at Pilates).

The thing is though, if you don’t keep trying, you never will learn something new. And I’ve grown to learn that the moment you believe you can’t do something, is the moment you quite literally can’t.

I met someone the other day who told me she couldn’t snorkel because she hadn’t ever had lessons. Now I’m not sure I’ve met one person who’s ever actually had a snorkelling lesson, so I was confused by the notion at the time. Put the mask on, breathe through the tube, swim. Granted it takes some getting used to at first, but I’ve always thought the process to be pretty straight forward.

The entirety of our trip at Isla De Potipot in northern Philippines, she refused to snorkel the beautiful reefs surrounding the island because she’d already made up her mind that she couldn’t. She was scared she would fail at it, and despite us all offering to teach her how, she declined.

And the more I think about it, the more it really stands out to me as a lesson on never imprisoning yourself in accordance to what you think is not possible. She missed out on a whole under water wonderland that day, and while she had every right to make that decision – I just couldn’t understand it.

So I guess when it comes to balance, why should the fact that I have none of it mean I should corner myself in. The reality is, I’m happy to fall off, over or out, if it means experiencing something new. Sometimes you just have to give something a chance and see where it takes you. To hell with the wellbeing of my radial bones, right?

Ergo, bucket list #39. Learning to stand-up paddle board (SUP, as it will from here on be abbreviated to).

It’s always been something I’ve wanted to try. I live close to the beach, and on the ocean’s softer days, it’s home to many people aboard SUPs. To stand on the roof of the ocean, under blue skies and sunshine, had always struck me as being the dream.

On the fourth day of being at Moreton Island last year, we had woken up to a windless morning. The sea was calm, and clear. So my Mr. and I decided to hire a couple of SUPs and give it ago. The added bonus was that I figured falling off into water, would turn out to be a much softer break fall than concrete.

I must admit that while I knew my balance and lack thereof, would keep things interesting, I didn’t anticipate just how hard it would be to stand up, let alone remain upright.

In the time it had taken my Mr. to help me push my board out, head back to the beach, grab his board, head back out, stand up and paddle over the small breaking waves – I had barely accomplished kneeling on all fours.

He could barely control his laughter in between shouting encouragement my way as I put on a show that could only be likened to Bambi’s first steps. With wobbly legs and a whole degree of arm-waving, I finally stood up after far longer than I care to admit.

From there things got easier. Turns out standing up was the hardest part for me, the rest was relatively straight forward. While the occasionally lump in the ocean unsettled my balance, I never fell off. However I will admit to a fair bit of yelling, “Don’t come near me!” and some use of my oar as a jarring stick whenever my Mr. would teasingly come too close for comfort.

After we had paddled ourselves up the beach and back, we decided to spend the rest of our last hired hour laying on our boards. From the depths of the clear blue waters, we had been spotted by a pod of playful dolphins. Sitting on my sup with a smile as wide as my face plastered on, I watched them swim, dancing through the ocean as if it had been rehearsed especially just for us.

If I could SUP and swim with dolphins everyday, I would – because I’m really not sure how it ever gets any better than that, even if it does take me a small lifetime to stand up.

Balance or no balance, never let your weaknesses define what your capable of. There’s always a way if you will it. You can always do something extraordinary.

#39: Learn to Stand-up Paddleboard – Check!

d x

2019: Healthy and Happy

Hello to 2019. Each of these new year’s seems to come quicker than the last. I could have sworn the last time I checked the calendar it was only March. And yet here we are, January 2019. So I guess all I can deduce from this, is that we must be having fun.

On another note, now that the chapters of 2018 are closed there are three things alarmingly clear that I am not good at sticking to: exercise regimes, diets… and blogging. I regret the first two (and so does my wardrobe), and I am sorry for the third (although, I’m also entirely sure no one was holding their breath!). But you just can’t tie this gal down.

Between the eight holidays we took last year – yes eight, and the new purchases (the first, a small golden fur ball and the second, well, we’ll get to that…). I just have managed to neglect my poor MacBook, which has done well not to die in my adventurous absence. I guess after all my goal of 2018 was to be present in each moment, and really embrace the little things – so you could say that was a success, because I feel the hiatus from my tiny blogging world speaks volumes about how life took over last year in the best possible way. I truely loved 2018.

When payroll had insisted I use up all 392 annual leave hours delicately stored for a rainy day, I must admit I was a little upset at the thought. For a girl who doesn’t really need more time off than the few days grouped together every couple of weeks, what on earth was I going to do with 392 hours?

I was busy trying to save money, not spend it willy-nilly on 392 days of holidays. Sure don’t get me wrong, I’m not completely crazy, holidays are always welcomed – I really wasn’t trying to complain. But my Mr. only gets a few weeks off a year between his job and university (studying to be an engineer, if I’ve never mentioned it before), and I’d just bought a puppy. Holidays just weren’t in the plan, and especially not seven more of them to squeeze in the remaining seven months from May.

But squeeze them in we did. Somehow, with a little compromise, a village of puppy-sitters and a whole lot of strategical budgeting from a small duel account, my Mr. and I found ourselves kicking back in seven beautiful destinations. There was Melbourne, South Fraser Island, North Fraser Island (two separate trips, because there really was just too much to see), Coochin Creek, Mount Mee, Somerset Lake, and Moreton Island (easily the most picturesque holiday of 2018). Paired with my trip to the Philippines, it turned out to be a pretty massive year.

And with the many beautiful sunsets I got to enjoy, and the crystal clear oceans that floated in, I began to think fondly of payroll and their sponsorship in my adventures. Because 2018 produced the most spectacular photographs, and my most favourite memories yet. And I couldn’t be more thankful someone forced me to make them, and sent me on my way in the form of a Holiday Agreement Contract (romantic or what?).

And as for the bucket list? Well I’ve been busy working away at that too. I believe the last time I put words to wordpress, was back in May. So I have a bit to catch you up on. It may take me a couple of blogs to do so, so you’ll have to bear with me as we dive back into 2018 to rescue the important bits.

But in the meantime, as we stand here knocking at the doorstep of 2019 wondering what’s behind lock and key – I’m hopeful that there are plenty more adventures in store. This year, I have goals to live a little more healthily and happily. And maybe, just maybe, 2019, diets and blogging won’t be such a lost cause! Wish me luck!

d x

 

A new set of tiny paws.

Four weeks ago, we added another tiny-pawed member to the family. Her name is Millie, and she’s Igloo’s new best friend…and our littlest golden love.

Living the busy lives we do, my Mr. and I thought it would be nice to have a friend for Igloo. Someone he could love just as much as we love him, and a furry companion between the early morning cuddles, and afternoon walks.

We searched for a long time for little Millie, requesting to be added to a very long waiting list with a breeder about an hour’s drive away from us. She hadn’t filled us with much confidence at the time stating that there were a lot of people wanting golden’s from her, and we would be added to the very bottom of the list. Nevertheless, she promised to notify us of the next litter and let us know they were planning this for November 2017.

November had come and gone, and we hadn’t heard anything. Then December, and soon after January had passed too. We started to lose hope a little, not able to find any other golden retriever puppies close-by, nor with breeding dogs as dark golden to match Igloo’s infamous coat-colour.

That was until one rainy afternoon sitting at my Mr.’s parent’s house. I had been curled up on one end of the living room couch, waiting for my Mr. and his Mum to come home after being out to pick up some furniture. As I scrolled through Instagram, my phone vibrated and a small drop-down notification boasted an email from an unfamiliar address.

Clicking on the email, I opened the message and read the first line, “We have just returned from the vet after Spice having a caesarean where she delivered 3 boys and 3 girls…“. I sat bolt upright to read the rest of the email realising this was it! This was the email we had been waiting for! Puppies!

I hesitated for a moment to ponder whether I should ring my Mr. and ask him whether we should send through a deposit, but then laughed to myself for thinking he would ever say no to that request, and sent through the money and an email without permission.

I couldn’t focus my attention on anything else while I repeatedly refreshed my Inbox, waiting for confirmation of a puppy. It was the longest 15 minutes of my life, before finally an email came through to congratulate me on the newest baby girl to join my world. I was ecstatic.

When I heard my Mr. driving back up the drive-way, I couldn’t help but run out to meet him halfway. With a stupid grin on my face, I put my hands up in the air and shouted, “We’re having a baby!”

It took him a couple of moments to realise I didn’t mean the human kind, and the fearful look on his face melted into a knowing smile. He was just as excited as me as I filled him in on the details.

On the 6th of April, we brought our newest family member home to the little white house. Igloo fell in love instantaneously, just as we had. She had melted our hearts, and it was one of my most favourite afternoons to date, spent sitting out in the backyard with my little family now of four.

Millie and Igloo are mostly inseparable, except for when Millie squeezes through the pool gate fence to adventure down the side of the house and Igloo proves too big now to fit. She has developed a deep fascination with the velcro strap of the BBQ cover, and also seems to be a huge fan of eating concrete pieces. Millie is definitely going to be the boss when she’s older that for sure, but for now she settles for being Igloo’s shadow, copying everything he does.

She’s bold and an explorer at heart, nothing seems to scare her. And unlike Igloo, she sure knows how to bark. After having gotten used to Igloo and his quiet nature, it’s definitely a whole new world to have Millie join the ranks. We’re a louder bunch now, consisting of a small bark and a whole lot of “No Millie!”. In fact, the “No Millie!” might just be our new most used phrase in general.

But I’ve come to realise that Millie was always going to look additionally naughty in comparison to Igloo, and for now that’s okay. She’ll learn, and one day she’ll be just as well-behaved as Igloo. She’s only 11 weeks old and has already mastered ‘Sit’, ‘Stay’, ‘Lie Down’ and ‘Come’. We’ve almost got the hang of ‘Shake’, but we’re in no rush.

It’s been a handful, but I wouldn’t have wished for it to be any other way. The early morning wake-up notifications in the form of a hungry whine, have just meant for more time to spend snuggling with my golden babies (after their breakfast banana’s that is!).

I love watching them grow together, and I can’t imagine my life without them. I look forward to coming home each day to see them, and the slobbery licks to the face that come as part of the packaged deal. They are my home.

Welcome to the family, Millie. I love you from your wet nose, to your tiny paws.

If you wanted the picture evidence, you can follow their golden-tailed adventures at @iglooandmilliethegoldens. I promise it will be your daily dose of happiness! All you need in life is love, and a golden (or two!).

d x

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

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