Adios, 2018

Here we are. December 31st. The final day of the 365 that made up 2018. I, like many others I’m sure, am feeling a little reflective.

It occurs to me that at the end of every year, I focus on the bad. Even though the last few years haven’t been all bad, the culmination of each of these years has been negative. Though I’ve been fighting many battles, and even winning a few, it seems I’m constantly losing the great big war. So recently I’ve been doing a bit of…well, soul searching if you will. Trying to understand why I am where I am, and what I’m supposed to do. And if there’s one thing that I have discovered about myself in these last couple of weeks, it’s that I’ve been lost for a long time.

It’s difficult to put into words how I’m feeling. I feel like I’ve lost sight of the world around me, and the infinite possibilities that come with being human, with being alive. Imagine being in a room filled with hundreds of doors, and meticulously, systematically locking each of them in turn. That’s kind of where I am. I’ve allowed myself, however unintentionally, to become locked into a tiny space, and in turn locked out the world. Maybe I thought it was safer, maybe I thought I didn’t deserve more, maybe I’m just scared. Whatever the cause, I’ve realised that it’s time to start unlocking those doors again. Look, maybe it’s a hokey metaphor but I can’t think of any other way to put it.

I think setting goals can be an intensely personal thing. I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions because, as I’ve said before, the obligation to make them negates the possibility of improvement. What I do believe in, is setting achievable goals at any time of the year, so long as those goals are for you and not resulting from outside pressure to conform. In the spirit of full disclosure, I’m setting a few personal goals myself. But I’m not going to share them here.

What I will say, is that I feel like I’ve been walking through a foggy mire, stumbling blindly through heaviness and all manner of things determined to hold me back, and drag me down. And I’ve been lost in that fog for the longest time, but now I’m ready to be found.

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Expectations

Sometimes I find myself so caught up in who I’m “supposed” to be, that I forget who I am. I find myself constantly either battling expectations, or trying to meet them, and end up emotionally exhausted from the effort. I mean, come on; existing is hard enough, without having to try and conform to the version of you that other people think you are.

I’ve been feeling a lot of pressure lately, to be the person other people expect. And I don’t mean that I’m actively going out of my way to change who I am for someone else, but rather that I feel the weight of everyone else’s expectations of who I am meant to be.

See, a couple of days ago, I cut off most of my hair. Before the big snip, my hair was somewhere around waist length, and was dyed a dark red. When I said I had booked in to cut it, almost everyone that I told expressed disappointment. “But your hair is so beautiful”, “but you’ve been growing it for so long” and “you’ll regret it” were the things I heard the most. I felt as if I had to constantly explain that I needed a change, that I wanted something lighter for summer, that it’s my goddamn hair and I can do what I want with it.

When I felt the weight of my locks disappear, I felt literally and metaphorically lighter. By the time the hairdresser was finished, and my long red hair had become a jet black bob, I knew that this was the change I had been craving. And the first in a series of changes I plan to make, in an effort to improve and progress.

It’s not just about my hair though. At work, I fight the endless battle against customer expectations that I can’t do my job because of my gender. When I tell people I don’t want kids, I get smug sneers and condescending comments about how I’ll change my mind, because women my age are expected to want families. I’ve been too afraid to admit that I might be a little bit lonely, because I feel like I need to be this strong, confidently single woman who don’t need no…other woman. Because for so long, that’s who I have been, and my brain keeps telling me that to admit that secret aloud is akin to selling out. It’s a heavily ingrained mindset and a hard habit to break.

The truth is, lately I’ve just been overwhelmed. Between an ongoing (and long drawn out) rental dispute and the accompanying anxiety, a weighty frustration at how this year has turned out, a heavy dose of newfound and unfamiliar self loathing, and the absolute wretchedness that is Christmas, I just want everything to stop. I want to run away to a quiet little cabin somewhere and get my bearings. And to shrug off all the expectation, to start fresh. But since I can’t do that, maybe the next best thing is to stand naked and barefoot on the grass under tonight’s bright full moon, and ground myself. Because, let’s be real, everything is better when you’re naked.

I made a change, don’t carry on; I left my locks at the hair salon.

Weeds and Woes

Ugh.

I’m awake. Which would be fine at a reasonable hour, but it’s 2:45am, and I’ve already been awake a while at this point. Why am I awake, you ask? Well, for two reasons; gardening, and finances.

Moving house is a time consuming and expensive process. It is even more expensive when you’re breaking a lease. As some of you may know, I moved six months ago to a new town for a job. Things were looking up; I had money saved, I made new friends, I was finally out on my own again. Then it all pretty much went south. I no longer have that job, but for a while I was managing fine. Until five months passed, and still no one would employ me full time. Which brings me to November.

Finally, I had to concede. I emailed the real estate to inform them that I regrettably have to break my lease. I said it was due to a ‘change in circumstances’, which is a polite way of saying I am broke. I’ve hired a storage shed for my stuff (cost) and started to move it over. The constant back and forth travel between the two towns requires having to refuel my car weekly (cost). I had to pay an advertising fee (cost), and will have to pay an additional cost of one week’s rent, plus what the real estate called a pro rata fee (whatever that is) that can only be calculated once the new tenant moves in. Then there’s going to be the truck hire to move, and fuelling it up on return (cost, cost). So with all of this piling up, plus my usual expenses (car repayment, bills, food etc), you can understand why I’m awake at an ungodly hour.

And then comes the second part of the equation; gardening. I’m not an outdoorsy person. I don’t have a passion for gardening, and in the three houses I’ve rented away from home, I’ve pretty much never set foot in any of the respective backyards. But this time that’s coming back to bite me. As normal when you leave a rental property, you are required to leave it in much the same state as when you moved in. This includes the gardens. When I moved into this house, I mowed lawns for the first time in my life. That part, not so much the problem. But the garden beds (or weed beds, is perhaps more accurate) are a whole different beast altogether.

Annoyingly, my temporary town has the right combo of sunshine and rain. The result, of course, is a wild, knee high jungle of various grasses, and weeds, and little stabby plants that leave barbs stuck in my fingers, despite wearing gloves. Every week since giving my notice, I’ve been pulling up weeds and trying to make the place more presentable, but that shit is hard. Especially when I’m going up against Mother Nature herself! I’ve made progress over the last week, and whilst it certainly looks better than it did, the yards still look untidy. My mum is coming to stay next weekend so she can help, but I’m still stressed about it, partly because people are starting to inspect the property next week and the pressure is on.

Above image is the property of Leigh Rubin

I’m sure this all sounds very boring to you and frankly, it does to me too. But since I’m awake and all, I figured I’d vent it out anyway. *sigh*. Financial woes, and weeds. This is what my life has come to. And I gotta say, if this is what being an adult is all about, I quit!

Shift

I feel strange. I’m not sure if it’s the change in the weather, or my pending move, or something that will simply reveal itself in time. But I woke this morning with a curious feeling that I cannot quite put a name to. I feel as if something is coming; a shift of some kind. As yet, I’m not sure whether this is a good thing, or bad. I’ll just have to wait and see how everything progresses.

Frankly, there is something about this time of year that makes me reflective. And I don’t just mean because the year is waning, and drawing ever closer to it’s end. Time seems to be slipping away from me faster than ever before, and the list of things I want to do grows ever bigger and seemingly more unattainable. I can’t help but feel like I’ve wasted the opportunities this year has given me, and yet on the other hand it feels as though the Universe is conspiring to drive me constantly back to the same places, both literally and figuratively. If there’s a reason for this, I’ve yet to discover what it is, but I no longer have the energy to fight it. Perhaps this has been my problem all along. Fighting against the tide only works for so long, before you must resign yourself to the fact that perhaps it is better to just let the current take you wherever it intends you to go.

I have to believe that whatever this change is that I can sense coming, is going to be for a good reason, even if that reason is not immediately apparent to me. I have to remember that there are some things I have no control over, and try to just go with the flow, whatever comes.

I can only hope that this shift brings with it something positive. I’ve had quite enough negative for this year, thank you very much.

Forgotten Friends

I’ve been doing a bit of thinking lately, about the people in my life, and the people who aren’t in it anymore. As a self confessed hater of people, it’s not unusual for me to quietly remove myself from the lives of people I once knew. People with whom I have not had a conversation in a year. People that I no longer share common interests with, or who I can safely say I don’t even know anymore. People with whom I have simply mutually agreed not to talk to anymore. There are a lot of reasons why people come into our lives, and a lot of reasons why they leave.

I was thinking first of my school friends. I don’t recall the last time I really saw or spoke to any of them. Where once we were as close as family, I see the occasional social media post from these girls and realise, I have no idea how they got to where they are, or what they are currently doing with their respective lives. Sure, there have been halfhearted attempts to stay in contact in the years following high school, but those attempts have long since stopped entirely. And there’s certainly no malice in it. It’s not that I’ve had any kind of falling out with them. It’s more that a distance has grown between us, as happens to school friends as you get older. I bear none of these girls any ill will, and would hope that they feel the same way about me.

Then I think about people I used to work with. Friends who, at the time, felt as close to me as any person I had known. But, as happens, jobs change and people change and all of a sudden you realise it’s been months, or years since you last saw those people. And in a way, I’m saddened by that. I have made friends through work that I thought I would have forever. I’ve shared great times with them, and now I think of the people I worked with and I feel separate from them, in a way I didn’t realise would effect me quite so much as it does.

People live their lives in different ways, ways that take them in different directions from friends and family. Sometimes it’s worth holding onto friendships, and sometimes it’s better to just let them fade away into acquaintances. Then, of course, there are those people who it’s better to just walk away from altogether. More than once, I’ve ended a relationship (in this case, both romantic and non romantic relationships) bluntly and with no possible hope for reconciliation. When something is done, it’s done. And I’m all about letting go of the things that hold you back or drag you down.

I think a lot of us buy into the idea that ‘friends for life’ are the only kind of friends worth having. And certainly, when we meet and become close with someone, it’s difficult to imagine that there may be a time when that closeness is gone. No one likes to consider the possibility that a relationship might end, especially one that both parties get a lot out of. I know myself that I have people in my life that I can’t imaging being without. But you can’t predict the future (or at least, I can’t), and nothing is set in stone. And anyone can be a friend, regardless of whether you know them your entire life, or just for a week. We need to let go of the idea that we have to maintain failing relationships. Of course I’m not saying you shouldn’t try, but there comes a point when trying is futile. Letting go of useless or toxic people, might hurt initially but it’s going to be better in the long run.

As I got older, I came to realise that it’s not about the number of friends you have, or even necessarily about the amount of time you spend with them. I have two best friends, both of whom I mostly see at work. I have a very close friend that I talk to at least weekly, and a handful of friends I see semi regularly, or whenever we’re able. I have very few close friends, but those I have I am extraordinarily fond of. And even if something happens and my friendships with these people disintegrates over time, at least I can say that the people I have in my life at any given time, are the people who are meant to be there.

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

I got a hair cut yesterday. I’ve been hankering to chop off my locks for months, despite pretty much everyone I know telling me I shouldn’t. The salon finally called me back this week and I booked my appointment, much to my relief. I sat in the chair yesterday, and watched my hair fall to the floor. I felt better and better with every snip of the hairdressing scissors.

The change was not drastic. I lost maybe three inches of length, tidied all the layers and finally found a hairdresser who actually knows what a side fringe is. But it was enough to make me feel considerably better. And I didn’t even necessarily feel bad, just tired of the same old look. My hair, falling to somewhere around waist length, is the one feature I get complimented on most often. Which, I suppose, is why everyone was so hesitant to see it get hacked off (not that I care overly about other people’s opinions on what I should do with my own hair, mind you). But I’ve been growing it for five years, so for me the change was overdue.

It’s kind of funny how something as small as a haircut can make all the difference to one’s mental state. Now, if I could just lose ten kgs and actually fit into some of my old clothes again, I’d feel heaps better! But either way, a haircut is just the beginning. An overhaul is coming. I need to break free of the cycle of negative I’ve been trapped in for months, and with this new look, I feel I can focus on a new outlook.

Random Life Update

I signed a rental lease yesterday, and today began the preparations for the pending move, which is in about three weeks. I sent off my first rent payment, and the bond. I am arranging to have my storage shed lease cancelled, I organised to have the electricity set up at the new house effective from my move in date, and now the only other things I need to do are make sure the gas gets connected, and cancel my gym membership…which has gone unused for at least the last two months. So, all in all, today I have been a real adult.

My new job is still going really well. I feel a little overwhelmed, and there have been more than a few times in the last two weeks where I feel like I’m not absorbing the information as fast or as well as I should be. It’s quite a complicated job, but I am hoping that I can keep barrelling on and do my best to stay ahead of the curve. Or at the very least, on par. However all those things aside, I’m really glad that I took the chance on the application and that I have come this far in the process. What makes the job even better are the people in my training group.

I’ve said before that I am not particularly good at making new friends. For a myriad of reasons, new friends and I don’t usually seem to stick. My work family are just a really rad bunch of people. There is a lot of laughter in that little training room, a lot of support, and daily shares of puppy photos. We have all fallen into a comfortable friendship in the last couple of weeks, and I feel really lucky to be in that group.

I’m in a very positive mindset at the moment, and I’m excited for the new changes and possibilities coming my way. It makes a nice change, that’s for damn sure! I’m going to leave you with a photo of the view I get to see every night on my drive home. It amazes me every time, just how far the distance stretches, and it makes me realise just how very small we really are.

Mt. Franklin view 4/4/18