A Quick Observation 

I am learning a lot about myself at the moment. I am enjoying rediscovering who I am. I have always thought I knew myself quite well but I am now refining that knowledge. It is weird, meeting oneself as if for the first time. 

Key things that I have rediscovered/refined/learned: 

1. I love being immersed in nature. 

2. I love being organized. 

3. I love exploring – new places as well as old. 

4. I love teaching – everyone and everything – because I love watching other people learn. 

5. I love writing. 

6. I love, and need, alone time. 

7. I can be very lazy with recycling (which I am going to focus on fixing). 

8. I am easy to spend time with.

9. I am quietly very critical (it is what it is; I am what I am). 

10. I don’t enjoy tv as much as I think I do, and really only watch it to shut my mind down. 

😉 times they are a’changing 

The beach

I can’t see very well. The sun is warm and bright, the breeze is gently kissing my skin, the hot sand warming my swimmers. Iris is standing at the far side of the beach, looking at the Rick pools. Sabine is sunning next to me, watching the swimmers. We have just reapplied sunscreen and had some fruit. 

Life is good. 

The lifeguard has just ushered some rogue swimmers back to the flagged swimming area and I am contemplating just how far behind my writing is. 

When I was younger, I thought I had to live, really live, to be a writer. I still think Alice fully lived is important, but not vital. 

I don’t come to the beach much anymore. I miss it. Diving through waves, feeling the water push past your body as you glide; a cool rush, connected to all around you and very much in the moment, shutting out all intrusions. It is amazing. Divine. And, unrivalled. 

The dumplings however, that’s a whole other, less romantic story. Sand in e wry crevice and e dry pocket … ice lol. That feeling of no co trip astounds tumble at the whim of the water choking you. Hehehe. Love that too. 

It is impressing me today, as I sit at Austinmer Beach, when everyone I know is at work (almost everyone), that on a Friday all body types are welcome here, and larger women are wearing bikinis. No judgement from anyone. Well, no public condemnation, people may be judging but I’m not privy to it. And I am good with that. 

I always forget, in my travels abroad, just how much beauty and adventure there is to discover here. I think we’ve one so focused on work and what we have to get done, that it is almost easier to say we are too busy. This month I really am advocating for a Just say NO policy: shorter work weeks and no to anything that takes our balance away. 

I am enjoying tutoring and mentoring; I am enjoying the balance it brings. I probably won’t enjoy the balance as much if I don’t get casual work to supplement the income lol. Right now though, it’s good. 

Transforming Ideas About Work

My cousin and her friend arrived on Monday. Today is Thursday. I feel like I am the one on holidays. 

I’m not wearing makeup. I’m relaxed. I’m doing different things. It’s like summer holidays except that I occasionally go off to work. Last weekend feels like it was months ago. 

Today, driving from Huskisson to Kiama, I thought to myself, This is a choice. I could do this all of the time; take random trips that make me feel alive. And, I think we all can. 

I think it is easy to make work the excuse. I have for years. But really, it’s as easy as saying no and I’m worth more than this. We can all do it. 

My stress about money is gone; I don’t care. I’ll have enough when I need it, or I won’t. I’ll deal with it if it becomes an issue. Today it isn’t. 

Enough. Tired. Bed time. Heading back to the beach tomorrow before tutoring. It’s a hard life. 

Finally, peace. 

The middle of February, one and a half months into my gap year, and my anxiety about no work is quickly dissipating. Thank god.

My cousin and her friend from Germany are staying with me. We are doing things every day. Almost like being a tourist in my own country. I go to Perth next week. I’m enjoying tutoring/mentoring and am proud of the courses my business hosts. 

Life is good. 

The Value of Money 

If you ever needed evidence of the inequality in Australia between the rich and the poor, the emergence of the sink hole in Point Piper yesterday, and the ensuing action and news coverage, is it. 

Our Prime Minister lives a few streets away, and the average house in that area sells for $11 million dollars. I know that sink holes compromise the structure of surrounding land and need to be resolved; however, in the floods last year, here in the Wollondilly Shire, a road was washed away severely restricting access to local residents and has for almost a whole year, not seen any recovery or move to recovery (Broughton Pass).

The media outlets are reporting the inconvenience of the sink hole to local residents even though there is a dual access road. The residents lost their power intermittently yesterday, and part of the side of the road has been closed for work to commence. The resident of the home lying adjacent to the sink hole is overseas. 

Regrettably, the news interviewed the cliche of wealth (blonde hair, pink lipstick, money inflection) who said, “My personal trainer has come, my electricity is off,  and .. now I don’t know what to do.” And an older man who validated his statements by introducing himself as an architect before saying, “… it’s a major hassle …” 

No. A major hassle is when the road you use every day to access home and work has slid away, and you need to take detours that can add an hour to your travel time. A major hassle 

I think the reporter was taking the piss a bit (thankfully) when she reported that some residents were evacuated and fortunately there were hotels at “Double Pay” before quickly correcting herself, “Double Bay” (an affluent part of Sydney). And, the team in the Sunrise studio, continued to take the piss as they read the advertisement for the house on realestate.com, and blamed the Chinese for the sink hole as a way of getting an entry point house in Point Piper cheaper. 

At any rate, the coverage of the sink hole has been intense, and in my mind, seriously exaggerated. 

Do I have too much time on my hands at the moment? I think yes would be the safe bet. Lol. Hang on, my personal trainer is here and I’m blogging, and I don’t know what to do! 

Homelessness

I am watching The Project (Australian current affairs program with humour). The Lord Mayor  of Melbourne was explaining his council’s decision to ban camping in the CBD of Melbourne. He did an atrocious job because he became angry which came across as extreme arrogance. 

Their proposal is that in the first instance, the ‘campers’ aka ‘the homeless’ will be approached by police and welfare officers, and asked to move on with ‘support’. On the second occasion, their belongings will be confiscated, and ultimately, down the track “there will be consequences” such as a fine. 

Homelessness is such a complicated issue. Most major cities are peppered with homeless people living on the streets; Sydney definitely is, and it is heartbreaking. 

And with so many empty houses bought by investors, homelessness really makes no sense. But to approach it the way that Melbourne Council has, is deplorable. It revictimises and stigmatizes the homeless more than they already are by criminalizing their homelessness. 

The Project offered the alternatives provided by Utah and Vancouver for viewers to consider. In Vancouver, a 1% tax was added to empty house property taxes to help with housing, whilst in Utah, over a decade homelessness was reduced by 91% by offering more public housing and then services to support rejuvenation/education. Utah’s practice seems like a brilliant solution. 

Whenever I hear people say that the homeless can’t sleep on the street, I become agitated. 

Where are they meant to go? 

If they could find/afford/access housing, I’m sure that most would. Especially in the extreme temperatures here in Summer. To move them on, criminalizing and stigmatizing their behavior seems utterly ridiculous. 

What is our world coming to. This type of issue really brings the left wing out in me. Grrrrrr … 

How do you live in your home?

A great blog post that will make you really think about how you live in your home and what your priorities are.

Simply Organised. Simply Beautiful.

I came across this article through Domain last week and shared it through my Facebook page. It has been playing through my mind since, so I thought I would delve deeper and share my thoughts.

In short, a study was conducted by UCLA’s Centre on Everyday Lives of Families (CELF). It studied the way 32 families live and how they use their homes.

  • Only 25% of families can park their cars in their garage.
  • Women feel stressed by messy/cluttered spaces.
  • The desire to bulk buy items creates more clutter in the home with the need to purchase more items to store these extra items like a second fridge/chest freezer or shelving.
  • Each child brings 30% more clutter into the home.
  • Despite spending up big on pools/spa’s/cubby houses/trampolines/outdoor furniture etc, only 25% of adults and 50% of kids use the outdoor space.
  • People also complained about not having enough downtime, yet…

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Timing

It is so easy to forget to trust that things happen the way that they are meant to, especially when we are anxious and worried. But so important to trust it and to remember to trust it in times of anxiety and doubt. 

I had a massage and some foot reflexology on Monday. Tuesday brought out the beginnings of a head cold and I slept most of the day. Wednesday saw more sleep and today, whilst more motivated, I’ve still slept. I’m blowing my nose still but not as lethargic. 

I have things to do. I was feeling anxious. At some point today, I stopped feeling anxious about it all. At some point today, my centre breathed deeply and grounded itself. At some point today I started feeling calm. 

Relief. 

When I am supposed to have energy I will. Today, I also realized that I needed to enjoy this time without work. It won’t last and then I will recommence long hours. 

Casual teaching, because I am really missing being in the classroom. And so relieved that I am missing it. 

Book writing, about my reckless gap year/mid life crisis. 

Building my business, preferably with online courses. 

Studying. 

Living. Traveling. Reading. Exploring. 

Yes, important to trust that all is as it is supposed to be. 

The Vulnerability Battle 

One of the hardest things in small business for me is the unknown. Another thing that I find difficult, but am working through conscientiously, is my sense of value. 

I am okay. Just today’s observations as January closes. 

As an English teacher in the public school system you would think I would now be used to being undervalued lol. However, it would appear that I am not. When I set my rates for tutoring, a few friends strongly reminded me not to undersell the skills I possess. I did some research and felt comfortable with my rates. 

I have been told, repeatedly, that I am expensive. Hmmm … 

1. You get what you pay for: 24 years experience teaching high school English to kids that often didn’t want to learn. 

2. I am massively experienced, highly competent and basically, a gifted teacher. The expense will never be long term; I teach the skills required for success. 

Yes, I can state this easily. But stating it is accompanied by an anxious belly. And that goes to something far beyond how much I charge for tutoring. 

This year, this reckless gap year or mid life crisis, is forcing me to confront my shadow fears and my shadow self.

I believe that I am an amazing creature. Yet, I live in fear that I may be mistaken lol. It’s a small but real fear. What if my definitions are out. And yes, I realize how crazy this sounds. 

I think though, that changing it up forces us to confront ourselves on a different level. I can go back to my job but I don’t want to just yet. I feel that this uncertainty will teach me something. I feel that I have more to offer myself and this world than I currently do. I feel that there is unexplored terrain that is calling me to explore it.

I don’t want to stagnate, to settle, to be compliant, to exist. I’m craving something more. 

Self-absorbed? Probably. 

Self-serving? Probably. 

But, the benefit from this growth in my self serves everyone. When I am functioning at my best, I am a beacon of light and a promise of hope. 

Arrogant?

Nup. Just keeping it real. 

I believe that when we live our best life we become our best selves which serves everyone and the world at large.

Oprah. Audrey. Martin Luther King Jr. Nelson Mandela. Meryl Streep. Susan Sarandon. The list goes on (where are my Australian role models???). 

What a rollercoaster of emotion lol. 

People have said I am brave. 

It doesn’t feel that way on the inside, but maybe bravery is just doing even when you’re feeling like it’s dumb and safety would be easier. Meh. 

It is what it is. I can’t go back yet. I’m not ready. 

The Adventure Begins 😳

My last day at my school of eighteen years for fifty weeks. It doesn’t feel like the end of the school year let alone my time there. I might be a little numb; it’s a bit surreal. 

My family Christmas tomorrow, here, and I should be cleaning. I need to take a moment to process. 

I will be back. But life will have changed by the time I do return. My life will have changed. My gap year will have been an experience, and I will be clearer about what I want in the next few years as well as what is possible to achieve. 

At this time I hope my business will be moving forward, I will have completed a book, I will have better balance. And, I will be happier because I will have been living my best life. 

Fingers crossed.