Questioning the Future

If you’d have asked my 15 year old self “where do you think you’ll be living in 10 years time?”  I’d have never in my wildest dreams have said, “In a quaint, 1 bedroom, unit in the heart of a town in Tasmania”.

If you’d have asked my University student, 20 year old, self “what do you think you’ll be doing 5 years from now?”  I’d probably have mumbled something along the lines of, “working as a Physiotherapist in a hospital.”

If you’d have asked 8 year old Kris (as most adults often do) “what do you want to be when you grow up?” I’d have looked you up and down and felt pressured to say something like “a journalist” or “a doctor” or “an actress”, to which I likely received a demeaning reply of “Oh, that’s so cute” or “You have to be smart to be a doctor,” which would have been followed with the backhanded “…but you can be anything you put your mind to!”

Evidently, I clearly cannot foresee the future.  I do not possess the wizardry prowess of a psychic (nor can I pull off a head scarf and big hoop earrings… Something I’m still coming to terms with).  I could not predict the future back then and nor can I now.  How exciting and fabulous is that!  The fact that the future, strictly speaking, could hold anything is liberating and grand!  The fact that I don’t know where I will be 5 years from now, is fantastic!  And it has taken me this long to realise that it is, in fact, A-OKAY to NOT have any idea what the future holds.  When I was growing up (still even now!) and being bombarded with the life questions like; “hat do you want to do after school?”, or “where do you see yourself getting a job after University?” or “what do you want to study?”, or “do you think you’ll ever move back home?”  These questions always fuelled my anxiety and made me feel uneasy.  Especially as I had some friends who had clear visions of their futures (which is also okay!), these questions left me feeling lost and hopeless.  However, I now declare these days – O-V-A-H!!  Hazar!  I will not let anyone make me feel this way ever again – after all I don’t have the ability (nor do I own a future-telling crystal ball, or a bubbling cauldron) to time travel or see the future (honestly, even if I could I don’t think I would)! 

The truth is, life happens, you learn, you change, you evolve, you experiment, and this is normal!  This is wonderful!  I do not, and will not, regret anything.  It has bought me to where I am now.  It has shaped me into the sassy tiny woman that stands before this big wide world *insert stick figure woman with her hands on her hips, wearing a cape, chin up turned, standing on a globe*!  I take great comfort in knowing that… who I am and where I am currently, is exactly where I need to be. 

So next time someone questions you on your future, and you just want to curl up into a tiny ball and hide in your linen cupboard (don’t act like you’ve never done this…), just remember this…

Where you are, right now, is precisely where you need to be. 

What you’re doing, right now, is exactly what you need to be doing.

What you’re feeling, right now, is perfectly okay.

In the words of a dear friend of mine… “You are smashing it!

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Change is the only constant

Many aspects of life fill me with uncertainty, except change as it is inevitable.  Things change, people change, life changes.  It’s natural, normal, exciting, sad, reassuring and scary all at once!  If life wasn’t changing I’d be bored and miserable.  Change is liberating and makes life peachy!

Change is natural, and inevitable, in every possible aspect.  We physically change over a lifetime (except my height, I don’t think that’s changed since 9 years of age), the world is changing, culture is always changing (thank goodness!).  The only constant is change – what an oxymoron!  A blooming flower, a baby learning and growing, getting a promotion, meeting a new special someone… these are all beautiful things and all encompass change

Change is exciting, it keeps us on our toes, it builds anticipation, it allows us to have hopes and dreams.  If everything was certain and constant, we’d be bored and miserable. Life would be as we know it, stagnant, repetitive and uninspiring, which some find comforting… but over time comfort breeds complacency, which morphs into boredom, which turns into resentment, and anger, and frustration. 

Change can be sad, like when a friendship changes.  You used to catch up multiple times a week, then slowly you each got busy and it moved to once a week, then priorities changed and now merely a once month encounter, and now it’s simply a hello as you pass each other on foot.  Change can be an emotional roller coaster that makes you question the value of relationships, if it’s worth fighting for – then get some armour and fight with full force!  If it no longer sparks joy and makes you question yourself, surrender the friendship and don’t feel guilty about doing so. 

Change is reassuring, it lets you know that life can always get better.  That there’s always something different ahead.  Change gives you locus of control and if that’s not reassuring I don’t know what is!  Change is always my back-up plan, if I make a decision and I don’t like it, I can always change, or move, or find something different.  After all, if we were meant to stay in one place we’d be a tree with deep embedded roots – but look down, we have two beautiful strong legs, USE THEM!

Change is scary, as you never know what change involves until you live the change.  You can try and anticipate all the implications of change, but until you walk-the-walk you’ll die wondering (don’t be a dead wondering person!).  You never know if you’ll like that new job, or where your new relationship may lead, or if you’ll like living in a big city.  The only way to conquer scary-change is to flow with change, let it ignite a new passion, after all it’s about the journey not the destination

The notion of change fills me with true happiness, it forms a smile from ear-to-ear like a child on a trampoline!  Change fuels my curiosity.  It allows me to dream and reach heights that I never knew imaginable.  Change is always my solution.  It’s my emergency button.  If something isn’t quite right, change is always available and within reach.  Change is constant and reliable.  

It’s safe to say I have a love affair with change, to the point where stability terrifies me.  Change is appealing and thrilling, it allows me to be constantly learning about myself and my place in this world.  I hope one day my love affair with the tangible, handsome, mysterious change dulls down enough for me to furnish a home and plant ‘roots’ in that regard, but until then I’m going to buckle up (tight!) and soar with change!  Yeeha! 

Some people find comfort in stability, but I find comfort in change.

Striving for Neutral

I’m sick of feeling guilty.
Guilty for partaking in a necessity of life.
Guilty for enjoying.
Guilty for ‘indulging’.
Guilty for nourishing my body.

I’m sick of telling myself I will enjoy today
and ‘get back on track tomorrow’,
then feeling guilty for consuming.
Guilty for living.  Guilty about food.
Fuel, fuelling the guilt.  Guilt. 

I’m sick of the dissatisfaction, the internal battle,
the failure, the negative thoughts.
I’m sick of the guilt. 

My poor, poor body.  After all it allows me to do
and I treat it like a crime –
unfairly, poorly, frowned upon, guilty.
Would one treat their best friend in this way?
Yet we constantly treat our own flesh and done
like, crap.

 I’m sick of feeling
as though I need to completely love my body – love every part of it.
There is not one element of life (or anyone’s life) that is loved fully.
There’s always room for improvement,
always room to learn more,
be better, play better, act better,
always something or someone better. 

I’m sick of trying to strive for the best, in me.
Treating my body as a project.
Treating my body as an unattainable 1st place.
Internal competitiveness.
Battle for perfection, in every aspect.
Except there is no definition, no criteria, for an A+.
So how does one perfect something with no definition?

My body allows me to walk,
and run,
and laugh,
and feel,
and touch,
and cook,
and write,
and create,
and love. 

For now, I’m not striving for perfection.
For now, I’m not going to feel guilty.
For now, I’m going to treat my body as neutral.
My toes, are toes.
My arms, are arms.
A stomach, is a stomach.
My thighs, are thighs.
It is what it is.  Things are always changing, moving, evolving.

For now, I am me;
My body, is just that – a body.
I neither love nor loath.

Lost

I am lost.  I am a single being in this universe.  A single creature on this earth.  I am a single human, ultimately just a bunch of atoms, some hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen and oxygen.  That’s it.  Made of the elements.  Just like the rest of the world, I am particles.  I am no better than the ocean, the land, the other animals in this world.  I am the same as the furniture that occupies homes.  I am no more, or less, than the ‘stuff’ that clutters people lives. 

It’s no wonder one can feel completely lost, beneath all the ‘stuff’ within life.  Physical stuff, metaphorical stuff, mental stuff.  In this universe filled with stuff, I don’t know where I want to be, what I want to be doing, who I want to be, who I want to be surrounded by.  I am lost.  Confused

I am a single being, made of multiple particles.  I am a lonely bunch of particles swimming in a big, deep, vast sea of countless particles.  I am lost.  No one is looking for me.  And I don’t know where to start searching.  I don’t know what to begin to search for.  I am longing for something.  Longing for something special, longing for desire, longing for purpose, longing for peace.  In a world full of ‘stuff’ I am lost.

I need to pick a path, and follow it, until it feels right.  Or wrong.  Either way, one will only know once you begin a journey.  Lost.  Lonely.  Sometimes lonely in a good way.  Sometimes lonely in a lonely way.  To begin a search is the only answer to fill the void, to fill the lost.  To rid the lost.  To be found.  To find. 

When physically lost in the street, you stop, breath, think, remember, ask, and if all else fails, just pick a direction and run with it – through the journey all eventually becomes clear, the destination soon becomes irrelevant.

“It’s all about the journey, not the destination.”

The following is an article I wrote to feature in my ex-High Schools Careers Newsletter.  Enjoy!

It feels like last week that I was eating lunch in the Piazza, evidently, time really does fly as seven years have passed since!  Through my high schooling career I was the ‘well-rounded’ type student who was good at most things, but not ‘the best’ at one particular thing.  This made selecting a career path difficult.  I enjoyed organic chemistry, loved a go at indoor soccer, thrived on creative writing and dabbled in the performing arts.  No matter how many times I frantically flicked through the University careers book, funnily enough, I couldn’t find a potential profession that encompassed chemistry, sports, theatre and creative thinking.  Upon reflecting on personality traits and personal values there were, however, a few things I did know:

  1. I enjoy learning and being challenged with new concepts
  2. I am active and want to be on my feet most of the day (the thought of a desk job makes my skin crawl)
  3. I find the human body and its functions fascinating
  4. I relish communicating with multiple people daily

These four points led me to selecting a Bachelor of Physiotherapy at the University of South Australia as my first preference.  After graduating from Samaritan College in 2011, and being accepted into a Bachelor of Physiotherapy at Uni SA, City East Campus, I moved to Adelaide in 2012 to begin a new journey. 

My first year away from home, and studying in University, had its challenges.  I had bouts of home sickness, countless phone calls home to mum with questions like “how do I wash a woolen jumper?” and multiple late night study sessions memorising the horrendous amount of muscles in the forearm. 

My first three years of tertiary study I resided at a residential college, St Mark’s College, which was without a doubt one of the keys to my success and love of university life.  If it wasn’t for this supportive environment I would not have flourished within University and adult life.   

My fourth, and final, year of University was tough.  I moved out of St Mark’s College into a share home, I had 3x jobs (to afford daily living and rent), was elected the President of the Physiotherapy Student Society, and had multiple University placements throughout the year.  Mentally and emotionally, this year was hard.  It was even more challenging as I refused to accept, and address, that my mental health was poor.  Through my final year of university I struggled with a high degree of anxiety and anxiety attacks.  In an effort to improve my mental health I found a creative outlet (outside of University and work), I started a blog.  To publish some of my creative writing took courage, but I truly believe this was a vital step to addressing my anxiety issues.  To this day, I still publish blogs and spend a lot of time writing.  This part of my journey was the first lifelong tool I developed to keep my anxious behaviour at bay and prevent burn out.

After graduating University at the end of 2015 I was hungry for change!  I am a firm believer of ‘life starts outside your comfort zone’, so I did just that, I leaped outside my comfort – right into Tasmanian soil to start my career as a Physiotherapist.  February of 2016 I started my Physiotherapy career at the Launceston General Hospital as a permanent, rotational, physiotherapist.  Through my rotations within the hospital I quickly found a passion for the acute sector and respiratory physiotherapy.  This has recently led me to the appointment of the Senior Physiotherapist in the Emergency Medical Unit – where I am often the first points of contact for patients.  I (quite literally) jump out of bed each morning, I thrive on the fast paced nature of the emergency department, I love communicating and making medical decisions as part of a multi-disciplinary team (doctors, occupational therapist, social workers etc.) and I adore the new challenges that come with being a senior member of a team. 

At the ripe age of 24 I have many aspirations I want to attempt and/or conquer, to name a few – I want to run a marathon, open a florist or café, visit art galleries in Barcelona, work with aboriginal communities in the APY lands, become a university educator.  Someone once told me that the average person will change careers up to seven times during their working life – how exciting!  Whether I am working as a Physiotherapist at the age of 50, or running a florist in Spain, nothing will have been a waste of time or energy – every opportunity, encounter, relationship holds something special and valuable.  “It’s all about the journey, not the destination.”

The Mid Twenties

About to enter the ‘mid’ territory.  Soon to be no longer 23.  No longer within the security blanket of the ‘early 20s’.  Officially within the ‘mid’ territory.   

24.  My mother was married.  My parents owned a house.  Thomas Edison had already changed the universe by inventing the light bulb.  Mozart, already premiered an opera and was an international success.  Leonardo DiCaprio, was well and truly breaking into the film industry.  Lleyton Hewitt had already made 24 careers titles…

And here I am about to officially enter my mid-twenties, fumbling (slightly less) through each day of my eclectic range of commitments, which I guess we call life.  

Sure I know many nuances about the human body, can translate spoken Greek to English, I can perform a head-stand for an abnormally long time, I can even knit you a (holey) scarf, and don’t forget make a mean batch of refried beans!  But I know little about the things that really matter.  I am terrible at expressing my emotions and asking for what I want.  I know o-so-little about meaningful, non-toxic, relationships.  I know zero about what my true vocation may be.  Sure I have passion, by the truck-load, but what am I truly passionate about?  I find it hard to exercise my right to say ‘no’ – which often leads to situations that I find mediocre.   I still have not mastered how to make myself vulnerable… Perhaps this is why I know so little about the things that matter most.

Whilst the mere age of 24, at this very moment in my life, seems a means to an end *insert dramatic woe here* – instead I can (and should) view it as the beginning of a long, fruitful, windey road.  Growth is challenging and takes initiative and guts and plenty of oomph… and at the lush age of (almost) 24 I can safely say I’ve got all those things in vast quantities! 

One day I’ll invent my very own light-bulb and shine bright, just not yet at (soon to be) 24. 

Birthday Wishes to A Best Friend

If I could chose any super power it’d be to stop time momentarily.  You see I have this crazy dream where you and I are together and I press “PAUSE” on the remote of life.  Time reaches a halt, a momentary stand-still. 

In my dream you and I we are not anywhere special – it is simply just you and I.  We’re in our grungiest clothes, our hair unwashed and artfully sculpted into a bun, the heater is on, we’re definitely in the kitchen, our home socks gracefully skimming the kitchen tiles while we (you) prepare a delectable soup, and we’d (me) be pouring each other mediocre red wine into mismatching coffee mugs.  In this exact moment, I have not a worry in the world.  Light as a feather.  Floating on a cloud.  You instil such a foreign feeling within me – complete calmness.  Soothing contentment.  Something my anxious ridden body struggles with.

In this dream, we’re sitting and talking until the early hours of the morning, we only know this because the suns pink rays are beginning to cheekily peak through the lounge blinds.  Conversation flows effortlessly, like a prima ballerina couru’s across a stage.  The oversized jumpers we’re wearing, our messy hair, the holes in our socks, the cheap red wine… These all don’t matter because our friendship is special and untouchable.  It’s honest. it’s pure, it’s real.

Happiest of Birthday’s to you Sotiria.  You’re a true friend and I love you unconditionally.

You Take My Breath Away in the Least Romantic Way

You take my breath away in the least romantic way.

I love you, but despise you.  I often wonder what life would be like without you though I’m too scared to initiate the split.  

Mess.  You make me feel a mess.  You constantly make me feel powerless.  Out of control of my own life.  You make me feel helpless.  Lost.  Buried.  Even when everything is fine, you persistence makes me worry and fidget and stress.  Heart pounding, stomach churning, burning muscles, brain ticking, nail biting, fatigue… All physical manifestations of your relentless – torture

My face matches my brain – lined like a London Railway map; busy, non-stop, an organised chaos.  My mind constantly ticking away like a LOUD, old, Grandfather clock.  Old.  The way my haggard face looks.  Foggy mind and an old exterior.  Calm isn’t a word in my vocabulary.  What – is – calm?

You make breathing a conscious effort.  It’s difficult to get air into my lungs when you occupy my entire body as if I were yours for rent.  But you OWN me.  You push me around.  Your ROAR through my body like an electric current.  Though I’m slowly dimming.  I can’t recharge.  You won’t let me.

Breathing shallow, laboured, heavy.

Sometimes you make me shake, and SCREAM and HIT WALLS which only hurts me.  The vessel of your position.  The lonely prisoner in the jail you’ve created for me, within my own body.  A lifetime sentence.  I can never see the end.

Anxiety – you truly take my breath away in the least romantic way.

Real Life Issues

Growing up there were certain things that surpassed my attention, such as power in the house (except when it’s not, thanks SA Power), water flowing from the taps, my clothes being ironed and crease free, the fruit bowl always being full, all these mundane things I took for granted.  I didn’t pay attention to why or how they were always that way – they just were.  Until one day where I was forcibly dropped into this frazzled predicament people refer to as ‘real life’, I can only imagine how a baby feels when it first comes into contact with the world; blind, irritable and, well, overwhelmed (to say the least).  Inevitably all these things don’t just happen (shocker, right?), my fruit bowl is constantly scarce and I’m forever using my hair-iron to quickly de-crease my work pants (Mum, I’m sorry) on a Monday morning after foraging through a load of clean, wrinkled, clothes I remembered to wash Sunday arvo (sorry Yiayia, doing washing and jobs on the day of rest, I figure I’m going to hell anyways). 

If getting my life together were genetic, then I would be cruising!  My Mum always had the fridge stocked, the lunches packed, the cookie tin chockers with fresh, homemade, creations.  If this ‘real-life-thing’ is genetic, I skipped out on that gene.  Perhaps it’s generational, I mean, my Yiayia does her hand washing there and then when it needs to be done – not like me who waits 6 months to rack up enough delicate pieces to make it ‘worth while’ getting my hands dirty.

Paying late phone bills aside, I’m somewhat pleasantly fumbling through each day of my life, learning (slowly) to buy apples in bulk and fold my washing immediately to avoid the wrinkles all together.  It’s comforting knowing that we’re all just artfully scrambling through life, failing slightly less, day by day.  Who knows, maybe one day I’ll do my hand washing the day it needs doing (only time will tell). 

Alone

Un-ironically, as I write this entry I sit here in a cafe, sipping on a soy cappuccino.  Alone.  Before I arrived here, I enjoyed a long leisurely bike ride.  Alone.

I graduated University almost a year ago now (wowzars time flies) and secured a job over 1,600km from home in uncharted territory, I jumped at the opportunity and uprooted my life.  Alone.

As I sit here trying to discreetly lick the crusty chocolate froth from the edge of my mug (don’t act like you don’t do it too), alone, I can’t help but reflect and realise I’ve been a ‘lone-ranger’ for most of my life.  I’m no stranger (no pun intended) to my own company.  After-all, my favourite Sunday activity involves leaping into my car and driving somewhere new and treating myself to lunch (yes you guessed) – Alone.

There’s something very freeing about enjoying things alone that society portrays as being made for 2.  By spending time solitarily I’m able to focus all my energy on getting to know myself.  And you know what?  I’m good enough all by myself, I’m a valuable person in my own respect – so why wouldn’t I choose to spend a day out with me!

One of my favourite weekend rituals is observing ordinary things in extraordinary ways.  Saturday mornings at the markets, watching all the children play chasey whist simultaneously eating chocolate croissants and not getting it all over their adult-like getup – complete with sparkley boots and the latest Gorman inspired raincoat.  Observing families walk their dogs by the river.  Crushing on old couples converse over a scone and pot of tea.  Watching study groups in the corner of a new hip cafe.  It’s interesting to observe people function when they think no-one’s paying attention…

After reading this you’re probably thinking ‘who is this freak hermit who hates interacting and conversing?’  But please don’t misunderstand me.  One of my favourite activities is to meet new people and entertain friends over a dinner (and wine, dah) party!  However, I feel I am better able to cherish each person I encounter through being good at being alone.

There is no such things as a ‘boring situation/person,’ if you’re bored it’s a problem with you as an individualNOT the situation or people/person you’re with.  Boredom isn’t situational nor should it be used to describe an individual.  If you’re bored it’s because you’re not taking an interest or paying attention to the person, your surroundings and overall situation.  I have found that by spending time alone I can better interpret interactions, situations, and ultimately people (what an oxymoron).

Lately, when in sticky situations, I have found myself confiding in my inner, mini(er), Kris asking “Girl, what would YOU do?”  To finally trust your own intuition and ability to solve problems makes you more confident and ready to conquer the unthinkable!  To form trust with someone, you must first get to know them and spend a lot of time with them.  The same goes with forming trust with yourself – you have to spend a lot of time with YOU!

As clique as it sounds, YOU really must DO YOU!