Sivako-rise to the challenge

With every single day we face challenges and up hill climbs that make it difficult for us to go on… some of us feel the weight of everything on us every single day and it holds us back from doing what we need to… or what needs to be done.

With every step you take in the direction of your dreams, of the life you want to live… you are challenging every single negative thought, challenging the nay sayers and proving them wrong. Sometimes one step is all you need to remember that you are strong, you are worth it and that you deserve to be an active participant in your own destiny.

I have not been writing as much as I should… I have been distancing myself from doing the things I want to do and burying myself under work. Because of stress, mostly. I have gained the weight I worked so hard to lose, I have been eating everything and anything I shouldn’t and started letting that be another reason to hold me back.

I am thankful for the positive people I have in my life, the guiding lights they provide… the support I receive from them every day is what keeps me going.

Currently I am focusing so much on the negatives of work that I know the rest of me is suffering. But I still give work my all, because that’s who I am. What is sad about that sentence is what could I accomplish if I was giving my all to a job I actually loved and enjoyed?

How much of our lives do we spend trying to impress the bosses and corporations that we are not invested in… but we do it because that’s what’s expected. If you could put all your effort into something you love… I am sure you would succeed beyond your wildest dreams. Fear holds us back, fear of failure, fear of the unknown… so we continue to go to the place that makes us Mediocrely happy…

At what point in our lives is it too late to change?

At what point do we just accept that this is where we were heading?

Sometimes you need to realize that rising to the challenge doesn’t mean quitting your job, it means standing up and focusing on every day things you can do to bring the joy into your life. What can you do to step in the direction you need to go, without letting everything else fall to the wayside.

The challenge in life for most of us, is the balancing act where we try to keep everything running smoothly and finding our happiness. The work life balance in the US is terrible, we spend our work days focusing on getting home to spend our time at home focusing on work. Losing the time with family and friends, draining ourselves.

I challenge you to live in the moment. Live for your happiness and work hard to move towards the life you want to lead. Don’t quit when it gets tough, keep pushing. Because if you don’t rise to the challenge you might never know where your climb will take you. The top of every mountain ends with a breath taking view… find yours.

(Not my image but courtesy of a friend)

Escaping the ordinary-a post about change

When we think of an ordinary life… it goes according to the routine and plans we set in place, never pushing our selves outside of our comfort zone. The ordinary life to some is a perfect routine of days coming and going with mile markers you pass, checking each item off of the list. Keeping track of your accomplishments and then one day you lay down peacefully and pass on to the next life. Well.. that’s the hope anyway.

The thing with an ordinary life… it might not be filled with extraordinary things all the time, it might not be an exciting novel of twists and turns and the adventures that are beyond your wildest dreams. There is nothing wrong with an ordinary life with extraordinary moments in every chapter. Those extraordinary moments remind us that life is worth living for every second… and every mundane ordinary day doesn’t have to repeat itself into the next, turning into a monotonous cycle.

As long as you are aware of the control you have over your life, the paths you take sometimes are not the easiest, but if you tread purposefully on your way down your chosen path, it will lead you to who you are and where you want to go.

Sometimes the path you have ignored in the past, because of how difficult it appears to be, can lead you way out of your comfort zone. Hanging from the edge of a cliff inching your way to the destination… when we have those moments where we are so scared of living and we are looking down, we forget that there is a sunrise coming up in front of us, all we need to do is look up.. hold on tight and keep inching but we need to stop looking down and stop looking back. Your comfort zone is a wonderful place in an ordinary life… but make sure you push yourself out of your comfort zone every now and then. Find those extraordinary moments to look back on and say “wow did I really do that”.

Living an extraordinary life all the time would be exhausting… but finding a balance between those safe ordinary moments and those breath taking extraordinary moments, that’s really the purpose of your life. If you find the adventure in your life the ordinary moments won’t feel mundane but safe and comforting, then you hold onto the ordinary and the extraordinary.

I recently changed work locations, far outside of my comfort zone, it has been 3 days and every day I have learnt more about myself, I have learnt more about what I look for in a work environment and I have realized that change is scary for a lot of people… not just the person finding themselves in a new location but the existing people in the area.

Change is an inevitable part of life, you can either fight it and refuse to accept it or you can learn and compromise, work as a team and develop.

Sometimes we don’t realize the ordinary life and routine we have put ourselves in until we escape it.

“All of us invent ourselves. Some of us just have more imagination than others.”

Last week I got to see one of the most AMAZING people in the world perform on stage-Cher. She was amazing, sassy and everything you could ever expect… at 72 years old… 72! She was dancing, singing, skipping… I don’t care how much money you have or how many surgeries you have had, none of that would help a 72 year old Keep their energy level so high for the entire show!

I stumbled upon the quote for this post… and it reminded me that we really do forget how much of our lives we can control, how often we get down and beat ourselves up.

Hate and fear are two powerful forces of darkness, Hate for situations that you find yourself in, hate for your body, hate for others,fear of persecution, fear of letting others down… fear of standing out and being disliked. Fear for standing up for what you believe in. Hating someone else doesn’t make you a better person, hating someone for what they believe in doesn’t make you right or make them wrong, vocalizing your hate doesn’t make you any stronger or a bigger person.

Hate and fear are not only external factors that play with your emotions but also internal factors that we do to ourselves…i for one know that fear of letting people down makes me worry and stress so much, I hate things about my appearance… and I let these negative feelings control my day. But really… by doing this I am just creating a negative opinion of myself that I am turning into… negative breeding negative, I find myself thinking more negative thoughts on the days that I feel down… but am I just “inventing” myself.

Every day when you get up, remember you are lucky to be alive, you have air in your lungs and blood in your veins. For every cliche saying, they have some truth behind them. You never know what day could be your last, you never know when you could lose someone you love. Love is a wonderful feeling to share, Love makes the world turn… If we all loved a bit more, we would all probably be in a better place.

I love the fact I laugh a lot, I love my family and friends… I love that I noticed my first few wrinkles at thirty years old and they are from smiling and laughing so much. I love that so far 2019 is proving to be filled with adventures and I love that I started this blog.

If we spend more time thinking positive things that we love about ourselves maybe that’s who we will create, maybe we will push the hate in this messed up world to one side… and show that Love really can win. But it takes all of us doing that. Stopping the negative… stopping beating ourselves up and start loving yourself. No matter your age, have the imagination you had when you were a child and be the adult you wanted to grow into.

Cher is 72 years old… at 72 I hope that I can look back at my life and say “wow, that was one hell of a ride, let’s see where the next mountain leads”

Control what you can control.

Somedays really suck…like the days when you freezer water line has been leaking under your hardwood floor.

Two days ago I woke up to a squelching kitchen floor… and immediately my mind went into over drive… and it’s been that way since. I am exhausted, I am drained I am beaten down. Sometimes in life it seems that there is one giant turd after another being piled on top of us and you know what… it’s exhausting.

That is how I have felt recently… no matter how many little good things seem to happen then some poop comes flying. Today I woke up at 8am… and laid in bed covering my head in my pillows pretending the outside world doesn’t exist… all that mattered was in that bed with me. Everything outside of it was irrelevant.

I know this is no way to live, because it’s not living it’s just surviving and surviving isn’t what I want to do, I want to explore and be excited for what the day brings. But today… was not that day. I wasted too many hours just laying there wallowing away in self pity when I really do have great things going on in my life.

Why do we let one bad thing bring us down? Why does one giant (stinky) turd have to mess up how we feel? For some of us it is a struggle to get moving some days…. most days you just want to sit in a blanket fort and never leave. But there are great things out side of the fort… that’s what I am trying to focus on.

A wise soul reminds me daily to control what you can control. I can’t change the past, I can’t change what happened but I can control how I handle what happens next. I can try and choose how I handle my emotions and I can try and force myself out from my fort. You have to take each day one day at a time. But the good things in life should always see you trough. The clique find the light in the dark and walk towards it.

Today that light is minimal… but come hell or high water I am crawling my way towards it.

Home.

That four letter word has so many meanings tied to it. Is it a physical house? A town? A country? Or just that feeling of knowing you are where you are supposed to be… knowing that you are loved and supported for being you.

People often wish to go back home… but what does that really mean? Can you ever really go back? Or are you trying to go back to that feeling of “home”, the memories of “home”.

For me personally home is where I feel loved, safe and valued. My family is spread across the world but home is the word I use to describe where I live but also where my parents live…. I have never actually spent a night in the house with them but because that is where they live that is my home.

I know for some, Home is just a memory… something they can’t touch anymore but those memories still count, that smell of fresh baked bread, your mums perfume or that smell of engine dirt that your dad’s jacket smelt like, no matter how often it was washed. I have had many houses that we lived in that I considered home, but really home shouldn’t be attached to a physical building, it should be something you can carry with you, because what ever your age is, what ever you have been through… you still need that feeling of coming home.

If you can close your eyes and imagine a family dinner, cooking in the kitchen with loved ones or just movie nights with friends on the sofa… that feeling is home.

Home is where you matter, where your voice matters and where you are welcome with a hug. Home doesn’t have to be something tied to blood relatives, home is what you make it. Never forget that.

I love you…No Matter what

Recently I stumbled upon a song “No Matter what” By Calum Scott, I recognized his name from somewhere and after a google search I found that he was a contestant on “Britain’s got Talent” a few years ago, his audition went vial with his rendition of “Dancing on my own”.

To break down the song, its about a young boy who struggles with his sexuality growing up and being accepted by his family and friends. I highly recommend listening to it! On so many levels the song is relatable to me, except that I was lucky enough to have both of my parents accept me and tell me that they love me no matter what.

Now I have started, deleted and edited this post so many times, I kept hitting a mental block. The main verse is really what I focus on in the song and where I found the title of this post.

“I love you no matter what
I just want you to be happy and always be who you are”
She wrapped her arms around me
Said, “Don’t try to be what you’re not
‘Cause I love you no matter what”
She loves me no matter what

There are some people that no matter what happens we love them and most of the time it is beautiful and supportive… but how many of us look in the mirror every day and say “I love you, no matter what”? I know that I never do this… But how much of our time do we spend doubting ourselves and invalidating our feelings/thoughts and emotions? when we really should be kinder to ourselves and supportive of ourselves.

Too many times in life we are the ones holding ourselves back, thinking that we are not good enough, when we spend so much energy telling others that they are worth it, that they need to follow their dream, that they can do anything… but when it comes to applying that same message to yourself… you shut it down. Why do we do that?

I am sure most of it comes down to self esteem and comparing our lives to others therefore highlighting our own insecurities. I recently started a course that talked about how self esteem and self confidence are related to holding yourself back and the need for constant approval is part of having low self esteem. If you look at the people who are just oozing confidence everywhere, they don’t ask for validation, they don’t ask for reassurance and they don’t doubt themselves.

There have been so many projects I have started in my life that I have stopped because “someone else does it better” or because someone told me I wasn’t doing it well enough…or just because I didn’t believe in myself enough to follow through, I was forgetting that practice makes perfect, that perfect is really a continuation of growth and how you never stop learning and growing.

This blog is one of the projects that for awhile… I gave up on. Not because someone else was doing it better, but just that I lost focus in why I started it. I didn’t start this blog to make money or change the world, I started it for me, to tell my stories, to log my life and hopefully get to a point where others can read it and find comfort within the words. To a certain degree I started it with the hopes of holding myself accountable and forcing myself to take a few minutes out of my week where I can just sit and reflect and write down whats going through my mind.

Maybe that is why recently I have felt a bit overwhelmed with everything, its the holidays and finding time for anything seems near impossible. But even now, just sitting in silence listening to my dog snoring on the sofa next to me, this moment is perfect. I feel a weight lifted off my chest, just rambling away here.

I think we all need to remember that the love we give to others needs to be the same love we give ourselves, hold yourself up and if you fail at something, it was just a practice shot, every step in the right direction is an improvement from where you came from. When you feel yourself, or anyone else for that matter, telling you that you can’t do something… ignore them! Think about the great things, remind yourself “What would i tell a friend who was doubting themselves”. Love yourself and support yourself, grow and develop your skills and spread that love to everyone.

I am always reminded of the incredibly cheesy quote “In a world where you can be anything, be kind”… this is true to how you treat yourself, because if you can’t be kind to yourself how will you know how to treat others.

 

 

Where have you been?

This is a question we always ask someone when we haven’t seen them in awhile, or when we haven’t seen any social media activity from them. The answer to the question sometimes is exciting filled with adventure and laughter, other times its filled with illness and sadness. But we still ask.

Recently someone asked me, “Where have you been? i haven’t seen any blog posts in awhile”, honestly i didn’t know how to answer. I responded with the “oh you know i have just been busy with work”… Was that the truth? to a certain degree yes, but internally no.

The last month i haven’t had much energy to write, not because i didn’t want to but i didn’t feel inspired to do so. I didn’t really feel much of anything, i have had some great adventures but i didn’t write about them. Why? because my brain wouldn’t shut off about the things i can’t change, because i was worrying and over working my mind until i felt overwhelmed just waking up in the morning… Did i talk to anyone about this? of course not…  The words depression and anxiety have been swirling inside my head now for a few months, when i don’t have the energy to do anything, i don’t have the motivation to clean up, just feeling worn out and hopeless. I found myself focusing on what i was missing in my life, my family, friends that i don’t seem to have time to see, fulfillment at my jobs. It was like a deep abyss that i found myself diving headfirst into its center.

But today is a new day, a friend posted a quote today from a travel book i am sure we have all read “Eat, Pray, Love”… (if you have not read it, i highly recommend it).

“There’s a wonderful old Italian joke about a poor man who goes to church every day and prays before the statue of a great saint, begging, “Dear saint-please, please, please…give me the grace to win the lottery.” This lament goes on for months. Finally the exasperated staue comes to life, looks down at the begging man and says in weary disgust, “My son-please, please, please…buy a ticket.”

This sparked the fire inside me that over the last few months had been burning down to embers, I got out of bed, looked in the mirror and thought “Buy a ticket….” now of course i am wishing it was an actual ticket to go on some miraculous adventure globe hopping and seeing every single wonder of the world… and then finding the ones that may not be so wonderful. But in todays case… i mean buying a ticket to participate in my life again, writing again. Why do we pray and pray for something to be handed to us, is that really what we believe life is? The easy street handed to some but not to others? i think about it like baking a pie, the dough should be made the day before and left to rest, then rolled out, you can’t just throw everything together and expect the perfect pie. you have to take time and  put effort into it.

The last month my eating habits have been terrible (i blame the pies), i have not been taking care of myself, i haven’t been giving my all at work, i haven’t really given my all in building/maintaining friendships. I really settled for just existing but still dreaming. Maybe thats one of the keys to life, dreaming gets you through the dark, but to create your own path out… you have to participate in its creation.

Now September did hold some amazing memories. We finally made it out to Clearwater Marine Aquarium, we managed to see their celebrity dolphin’s, Hope and Winter from Dolphin-tale and Dolphin-tale 2. They were incredible and watching them up close really made my day.

We also assisted someone in need when they had an accident and no one else was willing to take any quick action to help them. Word to the wise, when a car is in a pond, don’t just take photos and don’t try and open the car door, the water pressure will hold it closed. Open the trunk or the windows if you can. Luckily the driver was just in shock.

My advice to all of you, no matter what you are going through… buy the ticket, you have no idea where it could take you.

 

Have courage and be kind.

Courage and kindness. We hear those words all the time when we are kids. We are raised to be nice, kind, compassionate and treat others how we would like to be treated… at least that’s how I was raised.

Even now at 30 years old kindness is something i strive to keep in my life. As simple as opening the door for someone. Compassion doesn’t cost, relating to someone on the most basic level doesn’t cost you anything. We are only on this earth for a short time, wouldn’t life be better if we had compassion for others, we have the courage to pursue our dreams and we treat everyone with kindness. The downside is in most companies having those personality traits is seen as somewhat of a weakness, we are seen as those people who are not strong enough to stand up and speak because we “are too nice”.

We are all humans, when it comes down to it, we are all going to die (morbid I know). Would you like people to say about you? “He was a kind hearted person, he treated others so well and he cared”… or “he was a great business man, he always seemed stressed but he had the money”.

Words can hurt or heal, so why use them to hurt people… be kind… be sincere and believe in yourself. If you are speaking the truth with kindness you can do anything.

Remember we are all human, remember being a kid and being told to be kind, remember how kindness feels to receive it. That feeling is what you are gifting to someone else.

I’ll get off my soap box now.

When life gives you lemons… you get a new fuse.

Somedays when you wake up, you already know today is going to be a battle. But you still push through, other days you are woken by those fantastic words of “The dryer won’t start”. I think its a natural reaction for us all to just groan, walk to the (insert item thats not working here), we unplug it, plug it back in… check the breaker box, unplug/plug it again, and press the power button….Because you know, we are  all repair wizards and unplugging and replugging it back in fixes every issue… then we settle for the fact that today, our wizard skills have taken the day off so instead we try using a virtual wizard (Google). I advise against googling most kinds of medical issues because it is sure to be something super serious that will cost you millions of dollars to fix. But for most things a bit of light investigating on google and youtube, you can (hopefully) figure out if this is something you are capable of fixing.

Today is laundry day, i am working an awkward shift and have no clean and comfortable clothes for the shift, but luckily i don’t start work for another… 15 hours (I should be sleeping…). But i ran to my local Walmart, on their website they “might” have the correct thermal fuse… but of course they don’t, so i placed my replacement order for the part that i am hoping will fix the dryer, a $5 part ordered via Amazon for same day delivery…. and now we wait… if it shows up at the very end of the delivery window it will give me about 20 minutes to through some clothes in the dryer. But my 8am trip to Walmart, in school traffic did get me thinking.

How do you react when $#!t happens… i find that for the most part we react the same way, our blood pressure spikes, we get hot under the collar, our stomachs start churning and instantly jump to the “end of the world” out look. It seems to just be part of our nature that we are naturally pessimistic when something bad happens, i am not saying everyone is that way… we all know that person who is one thousand percent an optimist where they could lose the winning lottery ticket for 12 million dollars and they would say “Well I’m sure that who ever finds the ticket needs it more than i do”. But maybe the optimist is on to something, maybe its how we react to those moments that can change our lives. Maybe just breaking the problem down into small manageable pieces where we can look at each part and say “Ok, this i CAN do”. I felt it this morning… sitting in my car at Walmart after battling traffic, my brain starting over reacting…. but i told myself to just stop and relax. Surprisingly taking that moment to slow my racing heart… helped me break down the issue into smaller tasks that i could handle.

1.Order correct part ASAP

2.wash a small load of laundry, hang laundry outside to bake

3.when part arrives switch it out and hope for the best

That was easy right? So why cant we break down all other issues to bulletin points that we can manage? why do we have to over react and over think every aspect of life?

Those days when you know today is going to be a battle, strap on your armor and be prepared to take it one step at a time.

Are you failing yourself?

I understand the title of this post is somewhat… intense, but it is something i feel we all need to reflect on.

The other day at work i was talking to a recently retired women who was planning a trip to Norway. I gushed over her trip and explained how extremely jealous i was. Her words of wisdom were “Well if you save your money now, when you retired, you will get to live the life you want and go explore… if your health allows”

Myself and one of my coworkers (both desperate for some world travel) dove into her plans for the trip. After spending about 15 minutes talking to her she talked about how she wishes her kids would go and live life now, as they were so focused on career success, buying houses, working and starting a family. she said they were probably in my age group (30’s). I said to her that i really think thats the mentality of my generation overall, we feel at this point we should be settling down, having kids and a house.

She opened up about when she was 30 they purchased an old victorian house, poured their savings into it, spent every weekend fixing it up… she then said “what for? looking back I wish I had taken these trips when I was younger, purchased a smaller house and experienced life, as it all goes by way too quickly”.

We talked about how I had plans to travel but moving to the US changed the direction I was wanting to take my life and now its just somewhat of a routine. Her advice changed from the start of our conversation “Live your life while you have the ability to do it, the rest  can wait”. That was the end of the interaction, I wished her luck on her trip and told her to come back if she need anything else.

But this started me thinking. Are we failing ourselves by sticking to the routines? to the expectations of life that is set by the check list of what you should have by what age? What if we wait to retire? as terrifying a thought as it is, that should only be 35 years away, but with the economy the way its going, i might not get to retire until i am 70-75 or even at all.

But even then, you can only control so many aspects of your health, a lot of things come down to your genes, some things you have no control over. I have met the most athletic person who only ate healthy food, who ended up in hospital unable to walk because of a neuron disease. I met a guy who worked out 7 days a week, then got in a car accident at 22 years old and now after a year of physical therapy he is able to walk again. All he talked to me about was how happy he was to be alive, but how badly he wanted to get back at the gym as he piled on 150 pound.

Hindsight is 20:20 as cliche as that is, but you also can’t go back, every moment that passes is gone, every hour, every minute, every second only happens once, you only have     one change to live every day.  I love people watching and learning about differences between us… from my conversations with MANY people from all over the world of many different ages… the worst thing you can do is regret not living… when you reach 100 years old do you want to look at your 100 years on this planet and go “Meh that was alright…” or do you want to say “Hey you know what, it wasn’t always perfect… but it was an adventure and i loved it.”

I know which one I would rather say.