Warning: Life is not ‘Set in Stone’.

In June 2018 I will have lived in the capital city of Australia called Canberra for two years. I had grown up in Canberra since a five month old baby. Had completed school in Canberra, gotten married and had four of my five children. Back in 1997 we moved to Sydney followed with more relocations  which eventually had me living in Brisbane for 8 years. Canberra was a city I visited to spend time with my family.

Due to my visits to Canberra being fairly brief I never got a chance to see all the various suburbs to take much notice of all the changes that had happened in over 20 years.

20 Years is a long time!

The changes that I have noticed living back here in Canberra continue to amaze me.

The area I grew up in Canberra is called Belconnen. In Belconnen there is a shopping mall which I frequently walked through as I was heading to work as a young person brave enough to wear high heels every day!

I caught the bus from the suburb I grew up heading to the Belconnen Bus Interchange. The interchange looked like a big tunnel that was built high above the roads. I would walk that tunnel back and forth each day particularly when I worked in data entry as the office was at the other end of where the shopping mall was situated.

The tunnel was looking very old and worn over the years until it was eventually removed and the bus interchange had a major make over. It doesn’t look anything like it used too.

Then there are the suburbs that have grown dramatically filled with houses left, right and centre. Developers building and expanding the suburbs over the years  catering for the population growth.

Growth equals change.

Updates happen every day. Old buildings are pulled down and erected new. Roads are widened, highways are built. Even the playgrounds my kids enjoyed have been modernised. Speaking about modernised it was fairly recently that I was having an afternoon at Lake Burley Griffin. What surprised me was the public toilet!!! I felt as though I was walking into a space ship. It was so modern that you waved your hand over buttons to get things to turn on. As you walked in music started playing! I don’t know if there are other toilets like this around Canberra however a great example of how far things have come.

These changes we see around us are only a reflection of how much our lives change over time, nothing is ever ‘set in stone’.

Our children grow up and begin exploring the world creating their own families. We are constantly facing change and having to adapt to them.

The minute you settle thinking life couldn’t possibly change the smooth sailing lasts only a moment until something turns up to rock the boat!

Amidst these changes we must adapt to our new situations. Much the same way as the areas we live in are updated to adapt to the population growth or to being modernised, we will find ourselves having to change the way we have previously done things.

The person I was twenty years ago is not the same person I am today. A lot has changed. My circumstances have changed COMPLETELY.

When I was younger I didn’t give much thought to my decision making. I went with the flow, whatever felt right at the time. 20 years on I take my time and give a lot more thought to my decisions as experience has taught me that I’m best not to make decisions based solely on feelings. A good feeling doesn’t guarantee a good decision!

As a young person I ignored the facts and lived by my feelings. I have learnt to put my feelings aside and take a good hard look at the facts before I jump into anything too seriously. Feelings change however ‘facts’ don’t change.

My decision making process has evolved due to life lessons which have been my teacher. This is just one example of a personal change or rather a growth area of mine.

As life changes from moment to moment we need to change the way we do things. After all the various changes I have had over the years if I were to continue making decisions based on feelings as I did when I was younger I would find myself repeating the same mistakes.

As you get older you no longer have the energy to make the same mistakes. Mistakes are costly and we all make them. It is apart of the learning process of growing up.

We become smarter and wiser!

Much like old structures which over time start falling apart requiring a make over we too need a make over. If we think we can keep doing things the same way and never change or grow we will find ourselves stuck. You cant move forward when you are stuck.

There comes a time when you have to accept the facts!

If I were to continue living in the past remembering what it was like being a mum to five children wishing I was still there I would never move forward. The facts are that my children are no longer young. Four of them are adults. They don’t need me the same way they used to my level of care has changed. I’m here as a support whenever they need me!

BE encouraged, life will always be changing and you will find yourself needing to adapt and grow. Growth is good! Its healthy! Don’t stay stuck in the past as there is always something new and wonderful to look forward in the future.

 

 

 

 

 

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When life puts you [on hold]…

Most people agree that life is satisfying when it flows in sync with everything considered to be   important such as; family, relationships, career, health, spirituality and finances. When all these important areas of a person’s life are syncing together it produces momentum. It provides a sense of satisfaction as you experience life moving forward in the direction of your dreams, purpose and values in life.

Every person on planet earth has been granted a set of gifts to use. These gifts are unique and suited perfectly to each individual. Often we can go years not recognising what our purpose in life looks like let alone how it will unfold over time.  We may even get stuck on finding one thing we are good at.  At times we may see a tiny peak into our future yet we can never truly grasp the complete picture.

It usually takes courage to step out into an area we believe is our calling or natural gift. It’s also valuable to remember that gifts need to time to grow. They don’t grow unless we start using them. We may sit waiting and hoping that the gift inside of us will miraculously start sprouting by itself. Everything living needs to be nurtured and looked after. Plants would never grow to their full potential if left unattended. Weeds on the other hand don’t need any attention; weeds have their own ability to grab our attention once they have taken over a garden bed.

Do we want to be a plant or a weed? Plants have more purpose and length of life compared to weeds. Weeds might spread like crazy however they can choke the life out of healthy plants.

Once you finally take the first step into your purpose courage arrives begging you to take more steps. Every step heads you into your purpose allowing for you to grow and learn what it is that makes you who you are.

Along the journey of walking out your purpose there are times in which ‘life puts you on hold’….

Despite our best efforts in living out our purpose occasionally life happens and we are put on hold. It’s as though someone has come along and shot us with an ice gun so we stand frozen while everyone else is moving around you or past you. In this frozen state you are aware of intense restriction. Your mind and heart are filled with purpose and a desire to move on with life however life has happened and has put you on hold.

Life just happens….

Life just happens moments can be anything from financial failure, marriage failure, job loss, sickness, grief, emotional struggles and family problems.

These life just happens moments vary in effect, they can be fairly manageable at times meaning that we don’t experience too much disruption in our daily lives. Then on other occasions they are more severe causing all sorts of disturbance. The trouble with the more severe type of ‘life just happens moments’ we are usually taken by surprise. They are quite unexpected and can hit hard. When you get hit hard getting back up can take some time. For each of us the time it takes varies.

No one likes to be put on hold……… I don’t like being put on hold.

Given the past four months of my journey I have felt frozen and unable to achieve much in terms of my purpose. When I consider that I am almost half way through my psychology studies frustration sets in as I have had to make the choice to put it on hold. It would be too much for me given the current circumstance to continue studying. This does not mean it will be on hold permanently only temporarily.

When life puts you on hold you have several choices as to how you will manage yourself at that time. You need to activate patience. You need to remind yourself that no matter what has happened life will get back into sync. This is not the end of you. In fact it can be a new beginning.

When life puts you on hold you may be itching to get back into what you were previously doing however depending on what has put you on hold determines when you are ready to continue on. While I may feel as though I have gone backwards there are areas in my life that are moving forwards. I am no longer attached to an unhealthy marriage causing me to question every minute of the day. I can live in peace. I am able to walk into my little two bedroom unit feeling safe and comfortable. I may not have everything that I need however I have my family and friends who lift me up when I am down. I have the time to work on my own hurts and heartache ensuring a better future.

Ultimately our careers or dreams so to speak are not as valuable as what happens on the inside of us. Our quality of life, our families and friends rank right up there in importance.

So really what I am saying is that when life puts you on hold it is not necessarily a bad thing!!! It may feel frustrating for a time. It is only temporary. It won’t last forever. When you are released back into the world you will be a stronger and focused person once again.  You will know what it is to experience hardship and you will be of much value in your community. You never know who needs to hear your story!

Life can hurt so I’m keeping it real….

Does a Perfect Day exist?

This past week there has been two words that have hijacked my thoughts, “perfect conditions”. I found myself thinking about how life seems to have so many imperfect situations. This isn’t the only time that I have considered this thought however each time  the conclusion  I end up with tells me that  ‘there will always be something difficult going on in our lives in some area’. I don’t know about you but I am someone who tends to lean more towards being a perfectionist, so when conditions are far from perfect I find that it requires extra effort to stay motivated and believe that things are going to work out regardless.  My greatest battles for moving forward have been in the midst of less than perfect conditions.

In life there are situations that necessitate ‘perfect conditions’ in order for something to be successful. What are some of those situations? A brief google search on when to climb Mt Everest and when not to, describes weather patterns and conditions to watch out for when making a decision about when to climb. While the conditions are never perfect for climbing there is a particular time of the year which ensures a more successful climb. There is what they call ‘the window’, which is a 4-5 day period of stable weather. This window turns up every year around the 23rd May; it is described as a period of ‘perfect weather’.

OK so climbing Mt Everest has never been a dream of mine so how about some of the everyday situations that are more likely to take place requiring ‘perfect conditions’.

Baking a Cake? Alright, to bake a cake you measure up the ingredients and follow the instructions on the recipe. You make note of the oven temperature and make sure it is set at the right heat and wait the required amount of time it takes to cook the cake for success. If it is not in there long enough it won’t be cooked and in too long the family will not be impressed with a burnt crusty cake!

Successful Mt Everest climbs require stable weather and cooking cakes need the right amount of ingredients and oven temperature/time for success. You may think of other situations that require ‘perfect conditions’ to work, unfortunately since I don’t have the perfect conditions in this household such as a maid (I wish)  to do all my work I don’t have time to keep thinking of more examples.

Does the perfect day exist?

A little bit like the Mt Everest climbs we may prepare for our day to run smoothly by planning ahead taking into consideration everything needed to get things done on a given day. You may be on track with your schedule and then something unplanned happens, redirecting the course of your day. Unlike Mt Everest climbs that can turn deadly when weather conditions suddenly change, the sudden unexpected disruptions or changes in our schedule are usually of no physical harm to us. Yes we can get stressed and frustrated yet we make it to the end of the crazy day still intact.

For a perfect day to exist it would mean that everything in life at that time would need to be perfect. For me that would require that my husband, kids and I would be perfect. IMPOSSIBLE!!! If we can’t get everything working perfectly in our day and if we can’t get people being perfect in our day then the perfect day can’t exist. Read more about feelings @  Fickle Feelings.

After getting married and having children you could say that the ‘perfectionist’ in me had to make room for error. On any given morning no one knows which member of the family is going to be in a bad mood or who is going to have a bad day. In a household we all get to hang out together and experience each other’s shifting moods. You may wake up feeling great and then someone else in the household isn’t so great, perhaps their moodiness finally catches onto you and then there goes your great day. Fortunately for our family’s sake we aren’t going to walk out the door on a bad day and not come back. As experience over the years shows us that while today is a bad day tomorrow can be better. We keep doing life and family regardless of the less than perfect conditions.

These less than perfect conditions are often opportunities for growth and change. Every person has the possibility of being selfish or to react with bad attitude. Family scenarios can show us what we are made of and highlight areas we may need to deal with. They are opportunities in which we learn to forgive and communicate.

Sometimes in life we can put things off because we are waiting for the ‘perfect conditions’. I used to believe that I was unable to help anyone if my own life had problems! Or that somehow I was less than other people as they seemed to have all their problems sorted. It is all too easy to look from the outside believing that other families have it all together. We have little conversations in our head saying; if they (the Jones’s) knew what our family was really like………  

There will always be something to work on, some obstacle to overcome, some challenge to persevere through. While it may seem as though you are alone in the struggle, you are not alone. Others do go through stuff too! It may not be talked about or broadcast to the neighbourhood; however no one is immune to difficulties in this life time.

Thankfully the ‘perfect conditions’ or the lack thereof don’t need to dictate where our lives and families are headed. We can allow for issues to be worked out when we are reacting and we can choose how to respond to our imperfect day or imperfect life. There is always room for growth and it tends to happen in our imperfect situations.

Don’t believe for a minute that your life needs to be all in order and perfect to be the person you are destined to be. We are always changing and growing through different seasons in life which will guarantee imperfect situations.

So waiting for that ‘perfect day’ could keep you stuck, how about giving yourself permission to LIVE and ENJOY life right now!

 

Reference: http://www.mounteverest.net/expguide/toclimb.htm

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Our Heart Treasures

The photo featured with this blog is of special significance and value to our family. A few years ago both of our family pets died within 3 months of each other. The youngest dog called Mickey died first and the eldest dog called Missy had to be put down due to her old age. Missy was the mother of Mickey. We were never really sure of Missy’s age as she had a previous owner who was no longer able to keep her as they were moving interstate.  My husband decided to help them out and as most men do he forgot to ask about the details such as Missy’s age?  Missy came to be a part of our lives at a time in which I had just three of our young children. Missy had been with us for approximately 20 years and the vet which put her down said that she must have been about 24yrs old after he had examined her teeth. Missy had travelled with us as we moved from Canberra to Sydney and to our surprise several years later became pregnant! Not all of the puppies survived however we kept one of them which we named Mickey. Both dogs then travelled with us as we moved from Sydney to the Central Coast NSW and then eventually to Queensland.

MickeyMissy2

After both dogs had died I decided to buy the plant as a way of remembering them.  So we dug around the area where both dogs had been buried and made a home for the special plant.  It was comforting to know that I could go to the backyard and visit the plant almost sensing the dog’s presence despite their physical absence. After we found out that we had to move house I decided to buy a pot to put the plant in so that it could go with us wherever we went. When I look at the plant I think of Mickey and Missy and still miss them. I call it the Mickey and Missy tree. Sometimes I find myself talking to the plant!

While the plant is something tangible that we can look at in memory  of our dogs we also have all of the wonderful memories and feelings stored up in our hearts along with photos and videos.

It is truly amazing that as humans we experience life and have special stores of memories that are there for the rest of our lives.  

As kids we have so many memories and special moments that will always be with us till the end of time. Occasionally we are reminded of them such as for example when I smell freshly mowed lawn.  That particular smell reminds of childhood and the freedom I had to just be a kid without all of the responsibilities it takes to be an adult.

Then I have a few special memories of being with my grandad who was on my dad’s side of the family. He passed away when I was quite young yet I can remember a few specific moments which I will always cherish. On my mums side of the family I have memories that were created when I was about 25 yrs old. I had to visit Finland to see my grandmother on my mum’s side and she was the most beautiful lady. She smiled and cried when she spoke about her life. She was adorable! I hadn’t seen my grandmother since I had been 3 yrs old so it was a very significant time for me. On the same visit I also got to stay with my grandfather on my mum’s side for a week. He was a quiet man but I enjoyed sitting and talking with him so much. I will never forget the moment when he drove me to the city to go shopping. I was pregnant with my fourth child and so it took me a little longer to get out of the car. I sat in the back and was slowly making my way out of the car when he forgetting that I was there started driving away. His wife yelled out and the brakes came on! All was fine however that memory will always remain with me and give me a laugh.

Memories touch our emotions! Even as I am writing this blog and remembering it is setting me off in tears. People are so valuable. We occasionally take them for granted. However when they are gone it is too late to decide to spend time with them. The true treasures of a person’s heart are our families and friends and even our pets.

All of these treasures are valuable and worth holding onto.

What are some of the treasures we may store in our hearts that are not so good?

We may fall into the trap of seeking out earthly treasures such as money and material possessions.  While there is nothing wrong with having wealth and possessions if it takes first place in our heart then it has the potential to rob us of our time and desire to spend with family. It can turn into a chase for wealth or even social status. Equally we may even treasure the desire to be someone who is noticed so much so that we spend too much time chasing that ‘something’ which could put us on top of the social status list. We may even jeopardise the success of others just so that we don’t lose out.

Have you heard of this saying: That when someone is on their death bed they are not thinking about all of their possessions nor their achievements, they are thinking about the people that are in their lives. They may regret those that they failed to spend time with or had trouble forgiving and in that moment would wish to go back in time and live differently.

There is another saying that comes to mind which talks about two areas that will most certainly happen for everyone which is taxes and death. We will all eventually one day pass from this life into eternity. No earthly treasures will be able to come with us however our memory of those we love and who love us will continue and live on.

Let’s not be swallowed up into the often shallow and empty promises that the world offers.

Learn to recognise what is truly valuable and worth treasuring in your life. We can never go back in time so let’s not waste it and let’s make memories with family and friends that will live on forever.

♥♥♥♥♥