It's a new year, and a chance for a new start. I'm determined for this year to be different, to be better. That doesn't mean that 2013 wasn't an alright year, it necessary and full of new experiences and life lessons, but it certainly had a lot of room for improvement.
2013 was a year of new things. I was finally able to study the things I wanted to study and nothing else. I met lots of new people and made quite a few new friends. I found a strength in myself I never knew I had. And most importantly, I stopped being frustrated at all that is wrong and out of my control, and started focusing on the things I can improve and succeed in.
As this new year starts, suddenly there is so much more enthusiasm and motivation for making changes in my life for the better. People normally make new years resolutions, but I think I'll just name one area in my life I want to focus on improving. And with no contest, it would have to be my health. I think it's time to take it more seriously. To make sure I always take my medicine, even if I don't want to. To finally make that appointment that I've been putting off for four months. I need to tell more people about what's happening so I have the option of talking to people when I start wondering what the point of trying is, because nothing is changing. I need to consciously commit to changing my life for the better in all ways, by sleeping regularly, eating the right foods and adding a bit of exercise to every day because every time I've tried doing that before I stop doing it after a week or even a few days. I need to take time to relax every day so that I don't get too stressed by everyday life. Isn't it funny how one word, health, can involve so many different things and more.
It's going to take so much willpower and strength to actually follow this through, and I have no idea if I actually can. But a new year somehow brings new hope and determination, and right now it all seems possible and I sincerely hope that it is.
I don't know what I'd do if I didn't live near the beach. Every time walk on it, or even just see it as I go by on the bus, it seems to fill me with an inner peace that I haven't felt for years. I think it may just be my happy place.
The beach is full of warm memories. Memories of laughter, mucking around with friends, family, my subconscious may even remember the time when I was a toddler and my parents let me run around on the beach, stopping every now and then to explore that part of the world.
The beach speaks to me of happy times, fun times, and all that is good. It just represents happiness and the act of forgetting the world for a while. All that exists is that moment...
Yesterday in church there was a priest from a small town in South Sudan who had came to raise awareness about the conditions in his community and ask for donations towards their school hall project. He talked a bit about the conditions in South Sudan and showed us pictures, and what really struck me was the picture of many children, maybe sixty to a hundred, sitting outside with only one teacher standing in front. I could not help but notice the contrast. If we had classes that size here, parents would complain and students would most likely take advantage of it and give the teacher hell.
In first world countries we take education for granted, while kids in poorer countries consider themselves lucky to be having even a low standard of education. It really puts things in perspective. Here I am, studying for my end of high school exams when many people have never had the chance to even get close to that far. It shines a different light on the stress of the exam period. Living in a country where I actually have the opportunity to complete high school should be a cause for gratefulness, not stress and panic. I find myself more determined than ever to do my absolute best. No matter what disadvantages I have, at least I have a chance to complete this level of education unlike so many people my age in the world.
It's weird, seeing exams as a blessing. Weird but true.
I have this new theory that you have to make your own happiness. It makes no sense to just wait for happiness to happen and for there to be this magical moment where everything is great. In reality it never will be unless you work at it.
I'm starting to realise that happiness doesn't have as much to do with the things around you as with how you react to those things around you. You have to be happy about the good stuff and refuse to let the bad stuff get you down for too long. This is one of those easier-said-than-done things, but I'm pretty sure it's achievable. It's not like I'm anywhere near perfecting any of this. I'm only 18, and there is so much that I do not know about the world. Although I suppose it's a step in the right direction that I recognise that.
Now this has been a really confusing and rambling post. But I suppose the main point is that it all comes down to attitude, and life experience helps put things in perspective.
I'm of the mindset, that when you're sick or aren't feeling well for any other reason, it's helpful to surround yourself with cute things, and things that make you warm and fuzzy inside. So to help with that, I'm going to try to make a wheat pack! And not just any wheat pack, but an animal wheat pack!
I'm thinking of making one like a simplified version of a stuffed toy animal, but with wheat inside instead of stuffing. I can make it colourful and nice and soft with the right materials.
Hopefully with a bit of practise I can make one that looks cute too.
Today I saw this post on the Brave Girls Club website, and felt it was particularly applicable to everyone doing VCE at the moment.
Dear Soulful Girl,
All you can do is all you can do. There's really nothing more that you can do, so fretting over things that you don't have any more time, energy or resources to accomplish is only going to make things miserable when they don't have to be. It's time to slow down, sweet friend. It is ok.
When you have done all that you can, please let it be enough. This means, when you have done all that you can while also getting enough sleep, exercise and time to recharge...this doesn't mean getting all that you can done with 2 hours of sleep, a meal at a drive-through and running as fast as you can everywhere you go....feeling miserable, strung out and cranky.
Life is as crazy and harried as we allow it to be. When we want to make things special for those we love, we need to remember that what they want most is US. They want time with us. They want us to feel good and to be in a good mood and to be present. They want happy memories that include us. Sometimes this means that we must simplify so that we do not fall apart. Some times this means we need to let go of our idea of perfection and just show up AS IS.
So, please sit down with yourself and be realistic. What is necessary and what is not? What is making you crazy and could be let go of? What do you want MOST to give? Prioritize and let some things go...it is ok. YOU matter. YOU are the best gift you can give. YOUR time, your heart, your words, your presence....THAT is the greatest gift.
You are so loved.
A message from your friends at the Brave Girls Club - www.bravegirlsclub.com
I especially think that the bit about putting sleep, exercise and rest in front of doing work is a great reminder. It's going to be so easy to burn out between now and final exams, so it is important to take care both physically and mentally.
Smiling releases endorphins which make the smiler feel happier. Smiles are contagious so smiling spreads happiness :)
That's a kinda random but true start to this post.
I got an idea from HeartOfParadise when she listed 10 happiness bringers which is sort of a cross between that list and something I vaguely remember being mentioned by someone at a wellbeing lecture at school.
So this is it: I will try and write down something that made me happy for every day that I have access to the internet, starting tomorrow. I have no concrete plan, but I figure an idea focusing on happiness can't go wrong.
People in general don't seem to realise how lucky they really are.
Like, they live in a first world country, have good health, a supportive family and still find stuff to complain about.
Where's the gratitude for what they have?
Ok, maybe they have something going on that I don't know about and that's leading them to be more negative than they usually would be. That said, counting your blessing is a good way to start thinking positively. No matter how bad someone's situation is, there is someone worse off, and as morbid as is sounds, if all attempts of being grateful have failed, why not kick start it by being happy you're not that worse off person?
But I find that it's the little things that seem to count most. Time spent with friends filled with laughter and far away from stress and worries, a stranger gesturing 'after you' through a doorway, a compliment given from the heart...
No matter what someone's situation is, there is always something to be grateful for, even if it's just a small moment in time.