Dapper

As 2017 draws to a close, many of us are looking back at the year that was, reflecting on the highs and lows whilst getting ready for the night ahead to ring in 2018. Well, most people are. Unless, you’re someone like me who has decided to keep it a quiet one this year (thank you work). Nevertheless, whether you’re catching up with mates, hitting the biggest NYE parties in the city, or just taking it easy and preferring to wake up on the 1st of January sober, refreshed and not hungover, it’s no big deal. You do what you want and what you think is right for you personally- which is a concept I’ve really grasped onto this year. In the past two weeks, I’ve been thinking of what the year 2017 has brought me and just from the feelings I get about that alone, I’ve realised how far I’ve really come as a person. I’ve learnt a plethora of lessons this year and I’ve built the foundations that will make my 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021…etc etc….constantly better and better.

1. I’ve really got the travel bug

I went to Thailand- twice- this year and with 2018 just around the corner, one of my number one goals is to travel more. I probably won’t go back to Thailand, but I’d love to travel elsewhere and explore the world. I love the feeling of going to a new place, being away from my day to day grind, becoming rejuvenated and meeting new people from countries around the world. Most likely once I finish writing this post, I’ll write down a list of where I want to go next year and in the years following it. I’ve always somewhat been aware of the importance of travelling, but this year has opened my eyes to what it’s really, actually, seriously about. Until now, travelling was never a priority. Well, it was- but it was more so ranked about 5th or 6th rather than being in my top 3 (honestly, it’s equal 1st).  I looked up travel quotes on Pinterest to include here but there are far too many that resonate with me. For me, travelling is about discovering. Discovering new things about myself that I didn’t know, discovering new places, discovering new cultures, discovering new perspectives.  I believe some of the best lessons you learn in life are when you travel and explore the world, and it’s something I am aching to make a reality for myself.

2. I finally started loving myself- properly

For a lot of people, I come across as a happy, go with the flow, outgoing, confident person. In reality however, I was quite self-conscious. Not in the body image way, but more so about whether I was good enough. I questioned whether I was worthy enough or talented enough. I often asked myself “lol, as if you’d be able to do that” and all those sort of self-sabotaging comments. Although I’d brush them off and not let them affect me seriously, I still didn’t know how to tackle them properly. 2017 was the year I finally tackled my mental health problems and learnt techniques to cope with anxiety. The changes have been immense and I’ve become so much happier. The last two months of 2017 have been when I’ve seen the most change, and it has been since I’ve become more grounded and focused on truly loving myself. I’ve realised that I am worth it, I am good enough, I am a unique person that has the ability to do whatever I set my mind to. I’ve learnt to put myself first and as a result, the anxiety has dwindled. I always thought I practiced self-love, but I didn’t. Not until these past two months and ever since I have, I just feel so much better for it. 2018 will only see me more grounded, calm, grateful and happy and most certainly not letting the thoughts and actions of others impact my wellbeing.


3. Am I officially a gym junkie?

One thing that came out of nowhere (well, more or less) for me was my passion for fitness. Sure, I’ve always loved sport but fitness? Myself and fitness did not go hand in hand. Within a space of a few months, I decided to sign up to study for a certificate 4 in fitness and also seeing a potential future in the fitness and wellbeing business. 2017 saw me go to the gym far more consistently, and not just for rugby purposes. I’ve realised that the gym is my sanctuary. It’s my go to place for when I need to relieve stress and anxiety. It’s where I am most at ease. Another thing is the progress I’ve seen. I said to myself a few times how I didn’t want to get that bulky or muscly, but upon noticing the way my muscles are building, I love it. I feel healthier, happier and successful. There’s something rewarding about seeing how your muscles are slowly building up when you’re lifting a weight and it motivates you to keep going. I have set numerous fitness goals in 2018- both rugby and personal related- one of the most important being to remain consistent in my training and to aim to be fitter, faster and stronger than ever before.

4. Live in the moment

If there has been one thing I’ve decided to aim to do more of, it’s to live in the moment. Much of my teen years were spent dwelling on the future- partially no fault of my own considering the messages that had been drilled into my brain for so long. I always thought about my eventual career, my eventual love life, my eventual everything- but hardly focused on the present. 2017 taught me to just go with the flow. Sure, have your plans set out, know where you aim to go- but also leave plenty of room for other things that might show up or changes that could take place. Since I’ve taken on this perspective, I’ve found that there was less pressure on me and more so, things started falling into place more.

5. Sport is still my life

At some point, I thought that I might have lost my love of sport by the age of 20 or so. Excuse me, I just need to take a breath because I can’t stop laughing at that thought. If anything, my love of sport has only grown and become more prominent in my life. From changing footy teams to starting rugby to seeing my beloved Melbourne Storm win the premiership, both watching and playing sports have only made me happier (stressed out on occasion too, I have to admit- I think I’m still recovering from the Sydney v Bulldogs round 3 match and the Bulldogs v Essendon game in July of this year). Rugby has given me a whole new purpose and I’ve absolutely fallen in love with the sport. It’s also helped me meet so many new amazing, inspiring people who I’ve lucky to call my teammates and sisters. I think it’s safe to say that 2018 is going to be sportier than ever before- from my own rugby, to Melbourne Storm to the Bulldogs to every other team I support to the FIFA World Cup, I’m pumped to say the very least.

6. The people around you determine your mood

Most likely one of the biggest and most important things I have learnt from 2017 is just how important the people you surround yourself with are. This year, I’ve become far more aware of the importance of good vibes and how this can affect my life. I’m slowly cutting off ties with people who, as cliche and tacky as it may sound, ‘kill’ my vibe whilst try and spend more time with people who make me feel grounded, confident and are all round, just great company. There’s a reason why I came back grounded and confident when I came back from Thailand 2.0- it’s because I was surrounded by people who have nothing but good vibes and who have a positive influence on me. In 2018, the goal is to finally cut off ties with those producing negative vibes, hang out with the good vibe tribe (sorry, that was tacky) and meet more people who help me grow and make me laugh.

7. Life’s too short to worry

2017 saw me truly try and put the whole ‘life’s too short’ quote to good use. I’d often find myself worrying about things that were non-existent or things I could hardly control or things that really weren’t much of a big deal in the long run. I don’t want to be 80 years old, looking back at my life and regretting worrying about the pettiest of the petty. I want to just be able to live in the moment, enjoy where I’m at, look forward to the future and just be happy and have fun. I’ve found applying this mindset has helped my mental health incredibly and in 2018, it will only make me a happier person.


8. The importance of gratitude

I had seen a heap of people and articles discuss gratitude journals. I always brushed this idea off, thinking it wouldn’t help me nor was it something I would ever consider doing. If anything, I immaturely thought it was for the la di da, zen people who would spend their days at the beach and be irritatingly positive. More or less, that’s me now. Funny how life works. A few weeks after getting back from Thailand, something happened that led me to become less grounded and basically go backwards from all the hard work I had put in to feel as good as I had. When I started a gratitude journal (upon suggestion by my stillness meditation advisor), I felt as though my sanity had been restored. Within one night, my mindset had shifted and it led me to getting back on track to feeling grounded and happy. Every single night, I write down three things I am grateful for and then I write a heap of affirmations about myself. In 2018, I will continue this practice and enjoy the process of allowing it to help me become more confident, calm and happy.


There’s a common pattern in what 2017 has taught me and brought me- and that’s knowledge of how to become, remain and be happy, grounded and calm. When I am these three things, I feel unstoppable. I feel as though I can achieve anything I put my mind to and it makes me know that I will.

When reflecting at the end of the year, many people count the material things they have gotten. Whether it may be a new car, a certain item of clothing, a new house. What I think is more important, however, is realising how much you have grown as a person and aiming to continue to do so in the new year. The same can be said about resolutions. Just because you didn’t fulfil a resolution, doesn’t mean you had a bad year. I had a look at some of the resolutions I wrote down this time last year and I can safely say I didn’t fulfil a few, or at the very least, not to the extent I had hoped for and that’s ok. It’s about becoming aware of what you need to work on and having the willpower to work on it. I think it’s important that as much as we say “this is my year” and have expectations, that we just go with the flow and just take things day by day.

Seize the day, take opportunities, have fun, go outside your comfort zone, just live your life to the best of your ability.

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Yeah, you read that right. I went to Thailand, again. For the second time this year- the second time in 6 months. Last time around, it was all about being touristy, going on adventures and opening my eyes up to a new culture. This time around, it was a little different- unintentionally different. It turned out I was on an unintentional path to self-discovery. Having finished exams 4 days earlier, I was in a state of desperately needing to just get away. The end of the trimester had resulted in me questioning a number of things, and I needed somewhere to just get away from all the things that were constantly whirring in my mind.

Yeah sure, lucky me. I get the chance to properly be able to go away and travel overseas. I have the money to be able to do that. I have the luxury. Lucky me. I know a lot of people will probably read this and say well, she must be well off to be able to do that. I’m not being ungrateful for where I am in my life because I know I’m flipping lucky to have the opportunity to travel whilst many people don’t, but to say I have it easy or anything like that, is a tad annoying. Anyway, not the point. People are going to be bitter regardless of what you do so there’s no point dwelling on it.

Certain relatives had a go at me saying how they thought I was wasting my money by going to the same place again and that the money would have been better spent elsewhere, like on a car or maybe even a housing deposit. Firstly, who knows when on earth I’ll actually get around to driving and secondly, this isn’t 1977 where the houses weren’t that expensive and basically everyone’s goal was to buy their own house, have a car and live a stable, happy life with their little family. A number of things in 2017 comes before putting a deposit on a house. Yes, I do aim to buy my own house eventually. Yes, I do work and save money to be able to do that eventually, but until then, I still have a number of things I want to do before I get to that stage.

Truth is, and something that I’ve learnt, is that life is all about choices and priorities. For me, travelling is a priority. Rugby is a priority. My education is a priority. My health and wellness is a priority. If you really want something, you prioritise it. Sure, sometimes the current place you are at may not allow for you to achieve or get what you want, but the majority of time, it will eventually through a process. It’s a process to get fit. It’s a process to improve your mental health. It’s a process to complete a degree. It’s a process to earn the money you need to travel. It’s a process starting up your own business. When you start coming up with excuses and neglecting your needs, then you have to ask whether you want it or not. You have to bluntly ask yourself: “How important is this to me?” and most importantly, you have to be honest with yourself. The more you lie to yourself, the worse off you’ll be. Make your choices. Set your priorities. Don’t let anyone tell you what you can and can’t do. Listen to the people who have been there done that, because a lot of the time they drop the truth bombs you don’t want to hear, but really need to.

Another thing I learnt whilst in Thailand was the importance of surrounding yourself with different people. Don’t stick to the same old crew, day in, day out. Don’t stick to the same demographic. Meet new people. Older people. Younger people. People who you never really would think you would get along with or learn from. People from all walks of life who have experienced a range of different hurdles and events that you are yet to, or even may never experience. Every single person you meet teaches you something different. It may be the smallest little thing, but eventually it’ll turn out to be one of the important lessons of your life and something you carry with you every single day. This time around, I was the youngest by 7 years in comparison to everyone else that was there. Firstly, I had more fun with them than I do with the majority of people who are much closer to my age (no offence guys) and secondly, they helped either change or reiterate a heap of perspectives I had on life.

Both times I’ve been to Thailand have taught me things about my anxiety. This time around, it had be brutally asking myself constantly: “honestly, what do I have to be anxious about?”. I would then grown to myself, shake it off and carry on with another day in paradise. I’d have moments where my health anxiety would be peaking, but months of training myself how to cut off an anxious thought before it would impact my experience would usually be able to shut down these menacing notions and allow me to continue enjoying myself and just be able to relax. Yes, I had moments where it got the better of me, but eventually, I won every other time. Another question I have come to ask myself is: “When I’m 80 years old and look back on my life, do I really want to have spend so many days not living my life to the fullest, anxious about things that were either untrue or not applicable to me? Do I really want to look back and be scared that I have something wrong with me when in fact I’m perfectly healthy?”. The answer, every single time, was a resounding no. When you question yourself enough times in moments of anxiety, your mindset starts to change and your list of coping mechanisms begins to increase.

Another major thing I learnt…well it was more so reiterated, was that my happy place was swimming in the ocean. Being out in the water, amidst the waves and allowing your skin and muscles to feel the benefits of the salt water allowed for me to have a place where I felt literally no anxiety. When I’m in the water, I felt like I was in my happy place, that I had no worry in the world. It’s an unexplainable feeling only known to those who have experienced the same with their own happy places, whether it be in the ocean like me or elsewhere. All we know is that you’re happy and relaxed and if it was up to us, we would live there if we could.

Since coming back from Thailand with my altered outlook on life, I’ve found myself to be more grounded. I can deal with stress and anxiety better. I’ve become more motivated and driven, more so than ever before. I was able to recharge and clear my mind. You don’t always need a trip to Thailand to do that, just getting away from your phone, going somewhere you love, spending time with different people and having an open mind when it comes to learning things is all you really need.

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As I lay in bed unable to fall asleep and getting irritated by a stubborn stomachache after consuming feta cheese that I realised really didn’t taste quite right, it occurred to me how lazy and unproductive I’ve been in the past week. It also occurred to me that I have assignments that are due in the coming weeks that I haven’t even started yet. I think the first is due on the 4th of August and yes, I know some of you are probably thinking that I still have ages to go. However, I’m that student that likes to get stuff done early so I do not have to stress later.

Two weeks ago, I was injured and as soon as I got better, I got hit with a cold. Thanks winter. So for those two weeks, I didn’t get much exercise done and I think it has most definitely been detrimental. I have noticed that this week I’ve hardly gotten any uni stuff done. I’ve been procrastinating and just lazing around (well, my idea of lazing around at the very least). Nevertheless, I have come to this realisation and I am taking steps to get back on track.

So here are a couple of ideas and words of wisdom in case you’re stuck in a bit of a rut and either have no idea how to get out of it or you just need a bit of a kick start.

Don’t be too hard on yourself.
You can be a little bit annoyed at yourself that you’re in the position you’re in and haven’t taken precautions to avoid it, but not to the point where you have become a ball of anxiety and stress. When you start being too hard on yourself, you end up worse off. You end up stressing yourself out more and start thinking irrationally. You are human. You have moments where, for whatever reason, you just haven’t done as much as you want. You’ve gotten out of bed at 10am every morning and you’ve been on slack on studying. It’s normal. It happens to everyone. It’s not the end of the world and most importantly, it does not mean you are lazy, useless and a bludger.

Take time out to recollect your thoughts and get yourself back into a routine.
Sit down for 5 minutes, 10 minutes, half an hour or however long you need to just take a pause and think about your goals and what you need to do to achieve them. Sometimes when you get used to something too much or if you’re away from something for a while, you unintentionally forget the reason you started or you lose motivation. Personally, I find just laying everything out in front of me and having a systematic approach works wonders and gets me back on track to achieve my goals. This can include writing down a list, organising what you need to do and when you need to do them, or just brainstorming different ideas of what you can or have to do.

Just do it.
Once you’ve done all that and you’re in a more motivated mindset, just get going. Don’t think about it. Just do it. Usually, when you start thinking you end up going off course again and eventually, you’ll end up back to square one. Don’t worry about the what ifs or the do I really have to’s? Just go. If it doesn’t work out the way you plan, so what? If you want it bad enough, you will find another way. If not, then something else will be right around the corner for you. You don’t know if you don’t try.

Hopefully, this post has resonated with some of you and is exactly what you needed to get back into the swing of things. Just remember, you’re human. You’re allowed to make mistakes. You’re allowed to be a bit slack from time to time. Just make sure you don’t make it a habit, be mindful of what you are doing, stay motivated and most of all, don’t stress. It’ll all work out the way it is supposed to in the end.

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Whether we like it or not, social media plays a pretty decent role in how people see us or even how we see ourselves. It’s become a battleground for labels- whether you’re a self-confessed such and such or whether it’s someone calling you a name after you voice your beliefs or interests. We often spend what feels like forever trying to come up with the perfect bio that sums us up as the person we want other people to try and see. Whether or not it actually is us, is another story in itself. In this day in age, so much of what we do ends up online- whether it’s on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or somewhere else. Some of us just want to stay in touch with family, see what our old friends are up to or just have the accounts for the sake of having an account. Others of us just want to post photos of what we’re up to,where we are and who we hang out. I mean, I guess when you think about it there is a sense of showing off about it, especially when you’re on a holiday and everyone else is stuck doing their usual daily grind. Or, there are those photos when you’ve got a new hairstyle or you’re looking super fabulous and you wouldn’t mind a few more people commenting like “Gurrrrrl” or “*insert flame emojis here*”.

We’ve all gained solace from likes, which in the short term is satisfying but when you really think about it, it’s quite sad to see what society has become. But then again, technology and the likes of social media are the new age of communication. It’s basically an easier way for people to comment on your photos- instead of face to face when they’re holding a physical photo of you, they’re just doing it online.

Labelling and name-calling has become a bit of a thing on social media. Some people define themselves by how they’re viewed and that can either be a good thing or a bad thing. Well, usually it can be annoying more so than bad. You have the people who have online brands for their blogs that take a more business aspect to it which is fair enough. I mean, that’s what I’m working towards establishing. Then you have the activists who list every possible -ist that fits them that often leaves the average, non-Twitter or Instagram user reaching for the dictionary.

I’ve found with a number of political and human rights issues in particular, the name-calling is rife. I feel like many people are often wary of what they say online, both for the fact that they don’t want potential employers seeing something they wrote and disagreeing with them and also for the fact that they don’t want to be labelled as something deemed negative and frowned up. Or, more so, they just cannot be bothered taking part in an online feud that really gets nobody anywhere. Usually these feuds are filled with names, often dissing the opposing party for their views. Both sides of politics have been at fault for this and it is really, honestly, seriously so immature.

I’ve been deemed a social justice warrior. I’ve fallen into the class of a supposed snowflake. I’ve been considered anti-feminist. I’ve been considered as a radical feminist. If it was up to some people, I’d be named as a warmongering murderer. Even if you’re not directly called any of the above, when you see other  people who have the same or similar views to you being labelled as such, you subconsciously class yourself by those labels too no matter how hard you try. The result is that you become hesitant to voice your opinions, often weighing up whether you can deal with being called a name with negative connotations.

So am I a social justice warrior? Am I a snowflake? Am I anti-feminist? Am I a radical feminist? Am I a warmongering murderer?

Well according to social media, it really depends who you ask.

Honestly, I really don’t care. Well, yeah I do in a sense. But then I also really don’t? I mean, yeah, I care enough to write this post because I’ve realised the dichotomy of name-calling that you can face when you use social media. But I don’t care enough to get riled up when I’m called a snowflake (trust me, I’m not) or if someone complains about my support for the defence force. More often than not, those people who do call me names or call others with similar views names generally just fly off the handle after a couple of words without getting the entire perspective.

Personally, I have a multifaceted view on political issues. There’s a reason I label myself as a centrist. I support elements of both the left and the right. I generally roll my eyes at the extreme left and the extreme right because you know what, that’s my right (well, supposedly). We’re all entitled to opinions. We’re all entitled to disagree with them.

But come on social media, I thought we left the name calling to the bullies in primary school. You have a brain, you have the internet that has a wide range of resources to do your research. Stay open-minded, articulate your point of view in an intelligent and understandable manner.

But please, grow up and get over the labeling and the name-calling.

 

Usually from the middle to the end of January, our newsfeeds are often clogged up with different opinions on when Australia Day should be. You have one side who think the ‘lefties’ are back at it with their social justice warrior ways, saying that the date does not need to be changed and these ‘lefties’ are just overreacting and making a big deal out of nothing. Then you have the other side (the ‘lefties’) who advocate to change the date of Australia day because it is appalling that such a day that has affected so many native Australians is celebrated like it’s one big party. The day stirs up controversy every year without fail and it’s always the same arguments from both sides. I hear it on the news, at home and online and honestly, it’s getting a tad annoying. Year after year, it’s always the same sort of rhetoric spat out and no real changes have been made. Honestly, I just have to roll my eyes and bang my head against my desk.

But now it’s April, and gone is the hysteria associated with having a couple of beers with the fam around the barbeque whilst Triple J’s top 100 countdown plays in the background. Australia Day is not even a passing thought at the this time of year for most Australians. Hence, that’s why I’ve decided to bring it up. Something I’ve found with a lot of issues is that the controversy usually only lasts a couple of news cycles, if that, and then the media tosses it out and it’s onto the next thing. Many of these ‘controversies’ are usually rights issues, which makes it even more frustrating and leaves marginalised groups on their own again.

I’m a true blue Aussie who’s proud of her European heritage. I’m second generation Australian from my mum’s side and first on my dad’s. I’m not the typical skippy whose family has been living in Australia for generations. When my relatives first came here they experienced racism, being called wogs and being discriminated against because they didn’t have the typical Anglo last name. Even then, I’m proud to come from Australia. My dad insists that I call myself an Australian every time I say I’m Croatian. I’ve even considered getting a southern cross tattoo to which a number of my friends have called me a bogan for having such a thought. I mean, I’m planning on representing this country at the Olympic Games.

I would love more than anything to have a day where we can celebrate Australia and realise how lucky we are to be living in such a wicked country. I’d love to don the green and gold (like I do the red and white checkers) and wave around an Aussie flag, watching the fireworks and singing along to I am Australian and Horses like an utter dork.

But I can’t.

I physically and mentally cannot bring myself to get caught up in the festivities of January 26th. I’m proud to be Australian, but I’m not proud that we celebrate being Australian on a day that has so heavily affected the lives of Indigenous Australians.

Mate, I reckon we should change the date. I don’t know when, but to another day that doesn’t have such negative connotations in the Indigenous community.

It’s just a date, some say. It was over 200 years ago, others say. The Indigenous people need to get over it, another group says. If it wasn’t for the British, there’d still be kangaroos hopping down Flinders Street, more say.

A) It’s not just a date.

B) And? You’re not allowed to remember the past? Oh wait, maybe that’s only when it suits you.

C) Tell that to the Jewish community and the Holocaust. Tell that to the countless of other groups who remember and will never forget the things their ancestors had to the go through.

D) It’s true that the British brought progression to Australia. It’s also true that immigration  has enabled Australia to progress to what it has become today. That, however, is not a valid excuse for not changing the date of Australia day. That still doesn’t overshadow the number of Indigenous Australians slaughtered on that day, let alone the oppressive laws that have followed. Sure, Indigenous Australians aren’t perfect- but is anybody? Everyone has issues and it’s unfair to just pinpoint a specific group and use their flaws against them.

When this argument pops up every single year in January, some people miss the point. They think the Change the Date movement is saying we shouldn’t celebrate Australia Day.

Change.

The.

Date.

The word change means to make different or to use another instead of. It doesn’t mean to not celebrate Australia at all. It means to, quite literally, use another date to celebrate Australia Day instead of January 26th. I don’t know how I could put that any simpler.

Then there’s the argument of tradition and how for decades Australia Day has been celebrated on the 26th of January. Well actually, the 26th of January has only been a public holiday since 1994. So much for decades.

One of the most common arguments regarding Change the Date is that it won’t change anything. It’s not going to solve all the issues that Indigenous Australians face. It’s not going to change the past. It’s not a big deal.

No, it won’t solve all the issues. It’s not going to change the past. Nothing can change the past. But changing the date is a step in the right direction. It’ll indicate that this country is as respectful to cultures as it’s supposed to be. It’s an ounce of relief for so many Indigenous Australians.

And besides, if it’s not such a big deal then what’s the big deal in changing it? If it’s no biggie, then why are you so adamant to keep the date? It’s just a “date” afterall. What’s it to you, the average person, if it’s on the 26th of January or May 8th? It won’t affect you at the end of the day, but it’s a small reward for Indigenous Australians.

No, this isn’t white person’s guilt. I personally, nor my ancestors, have anything to do with the First Fleet. I have nothing to do with imperialism and the like. As someone whose family has experienced the horrors of war, I wouldn’t appreciate people getting rowdy on days where so many people’s lives had changed forever.

Look mate, all I’m saying is that we should just change the date of Australia Day. Australia Day is supposed to be about coming together as a nation and unite as one, but that doesn’t happen and it’s understandable why. Yeah sure, there are always going to be unhappy people- but changing the date is a step in the right direction, even if it seems like a minor detail.