Avoiding a Total Mental Breakdown in My Final Semester

So it’s week 5 and I’m drowning. Anyone else out there in your final semester? Final year, even? My kindred spirits; you’ll know my pain.

I’ve kind of cruised through uni up until this point. First year was a total breeze; I barely did any readings, assignments were 1,500 words maximum, and my professors treated us as though we had no clue what we were doing (they were right, we didn’t) (I still don’t). Second year was a little bit tougher. I actually had to do my readings to understand the content, lectures got a little more dense, assignments became a little longer, and our professors no longer spoon fed us and rocked our cradles. Even last semester—my first semester of my final year—was relatively cruise-y. I managed to get away with not listening to most of my lectures and skipping a good portion of the readings, totally winging it come assignment time, and coming out the end of the semester having done okay. But nobody prepared me for my final semester.

In high school, I relied pretty heavily on my older brother to impart on me his nuggets of wisdom and sage advice. He’d already gone through the motions and could tell me what to expect. But then we decided to do totally different things once uni rolled around. He set the bar higher than I thought possible by choosing to do a double degree in Commerce and Law. True to my nature, I decided to be a disappointment to my parents and everyone else around me by pursuing the humble Bachelor of Arts. A second gut punch for my parents came when I told them I was planning to major in Sociology (neither of them knew what that was) (I didn’t really know what that was either, but it sounded relatively easy) (to their immense relief, I added on Media & Communications as a second major in my second semester). Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that I was completely on my own when I got to uni. I didn’t have my crutch of an older sibling to lean on for advice, so I had to figure it out on my own; since his degrees take about 100 years to complete, I’ve reached my final semester well before he will.

The first shock of this semester came when I saw how many assignments I have to do. Most of my subjects have had two or three essays throughout the semester, 10% of my grade being dedicated to that pesky class-attendance-and-participation trick. But this semester, I’m barely keeping my head above water with my workload. As well as having weekly readings that span hundreds of pages for each respective subject, I also have weekly quizzes, presentations, group assignments, and essays. I was not prepared. Add that on top of a 2-day-a-week internship and you’ve got yourself a Martha Stewart-worthy recipe for a breakdown, folks. I can only imagine what my mental state would be if I had a job (PS someone please hire me, I have no money).

The second shock came when I realised that I have to start thinking about my future. Now. NOW now. The future is no longer the future; it’s the present. I have to start submitting applications pronto. Do I want to pursue a Master’s degree? Will I even get into a Master’s program? Do I want to apply for work? Will anyone hire me if all I have is a BA? What do I even want to do for a living? Why are companies only hiring copywriters and social media managers? What even is copywriting, really? Am I meant to move out of home as soon as I get a full-time job? Can I bring my dog with me when I move out, or should I leave her at home to wonder why I left and never came back? What is superannuation? Is it normal to cry as often as I do?

So. If you’re wondering, or if you want to prepare yourself for what’s to come, here’s how I’m managing to avoid having a complete and total mental breakdown:

Write stuff down. Simple, but effective. I write down a to-do list each day and categorise it by what needs to be done right now, what needs to be done by the end of the day, and what can wait until tomorrow. It makes everything feel so much more doable (plus it’s just so satisfying crossing stuff off the list).

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Don’t procrastinate. Don’t. Don’t do it. I know The Bachelor is on and you’re promising yourself that you’ll get started on [insert thing that immediately sprung to mind when you read this] after this episode. Get started now. At least have your laptop or book open in front of you while the TV is on. Try to guilt yourself into doing at least some of it. Future you will be so, so grateful.

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Dip your toe in every pool. Or however that saying goes. Don’t know what you want to do after uni? Apply for everything and see where it takes you. If you haven’t been offered a job or accepted into a grad program (or whatever else it is you want to do) by the time you graduate, you’ll simply be in the same position you’re in now, but with one more degree and infinitely less essays to write.

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Coffee. If you’re not a coffee drinker, now’s the time to become one. And if you’re a one-cup-a-day kinda person, it’s time to up the ante.

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Making Your Morning Routine More Eco-Friendly

The more I educate myself on environmental issues, the more I realise that there are so many small parts of my daily routine that are harmful to the environment. It’s really easy to become set in your ways and overlook the tiny things you do that are having a massive impact on the environment.

Here’s a list of tweaks you can make to your morning routine that will make your day a little more eco-friendly.

Shaving

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Plastic razors are super bad for the environment, especially the disposable ones that come in packs of a trillion and only last through shaving one armpit. Try switching over to safety razors or razors made out of recycled plastic; or, you know, you could just let it grow.

Brushing your pearly whites

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Plastic toothbrushes fall into the same category as plastic razors: no bueno for planet Earth. Try using a recyclable, bamboo toothbrush instead! Bamkiki is a particularly awesome brand of bamboo toothbrushes because they donate 5% of their profits to an environment-focused charity. While we’re on the subject, be conscious of your water usage when you’re brushing your teeth! Don’t leave the tap running while you brush and try to be aware of how much water you’re using vs how much water you actually need to use.

Removing your makeup

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I only recently found out through my lovely friend Meg that makeup wipes are completely awful for the environment. Most brands of wipes contain a lot of plastic, which makes it really hard for them to decompose and impossible to recycle. A more eco-friendly option is Face Halo: makeup remover pads that only require water to take off your face. When they get dirty, just rinse them or chuck them in the washing machine—they last for up to 200 machine washes!

Packing your lunch

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Using single-use plastic bags is such a waste when there are so many eco-friendly, reusable options out there. Use tupperware, a lunchbox, cotton sandwich bags, or beeswax wrap. If you have easy access to a recycling bin, use paper bags instead of plastic. If you’re in need of cutlery, invest in some reusable cutlery sets; this one even comes with a stainless steel straw and straw cleaner. And don’t forget to pack a travel mug for your coffee or tea and a water bottle!

Unplug

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Leaving things like your chargers, your hair straightener, your coffee maker, etc. plugged in uses energy whether or not they’re turned on or plugged into a device. Unplugging them from the wall when you’re done using them will take 2 seconds and pretty much no effort, but will save tons of energy (and $$$).

Cooling down

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If it’s warm out, instead of switching on a fan or the AC, try just opening your windows! An added bonus of this is that sunlight kills tons of germs and bacteria and fresh air is great for your health, both physically and mentally.

Don’t be a ding dong

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There are hundreds more ways to be more eco-friendly throughout your day—this is just the tip of the iceberg. In general, just try not to be a dodo about your daily routine and how it affects the world around you. Try to stay away from excessive plastic packaging, don’t litter, recycle when you can, and use as little water as possible. It’s not hard; it just requires a little extra thought.

Easy Ways to Create a Positive Headspace for Yourself

If you read my blog regularly, you’ll know that my resolution this year was—is—to be more positive. In the post that I wrote about this resolution, I detailed the ways in which  it has changed my life mentally, physically, and emotionally. I wrote about how all the positive changes I was creating were putting me in a much better headspace, but I didn’t mention that one of the best byproducts of this is how much easier it’s become to pull myself out of a bad headspace. Not only do I no longer get as down as I used to, but I also find it much easier to bring myself out of that negative space now.

Being that I’ve always thought that it’s pointless to have good thoughts and not share them, here’s a list of all the ways I create a more positive headspace for myself.

Turn negatives into positives

It’s so easy to find the negatives in each day: I hate waking up early; my train is late; it’s so cold outside; I’m hungry. But it’s actually just as easy to find positive things about your day: I’m so glad I woke up this morning; I have a cheap, convenient, eco-friendly way to get to work and uni, even if it is a couple of minutes late; I love winter fashion and I have tons of great coats and scarves to choose from; I have the ability to walk out my door and find any kind of food I want, at any time I want, and I have the money to pay for it—not everyone is so lucky. See how much longer the list of positives is?

Be grateful

I’ve made a habit of listing a few things each morning that I’m grateful for. It makes the day so much more bearable and puts me in a good mood. It’s such a positive way to start the day! I find that once I start listing things I’m grateful for, it’s hard to stop.

Thank you, not sorry

It’s so important to replace negativity with positivity when you’re talking to people. Know the difference between when you need to apologise, and when you need to be thankful. Just don’t go overboard and cut out “sorry” completely—taking responsibility for your poor actions is just as important as being grateful for what others have done for you.

Be nice to people, but also be nice about people

It’s one thing to be nice to someone’s face. But the true judge of character is how you speak about someone behind their back. Thinking negative thoughts about others and spreading hate about them will only serve to make you unhappy in the long run. It’s nice to be nice!

Be nice to yourself

It’s so, so hard not to be your own biggest critic. But wherever you can, practise a bit of self-love. Compliment yourself. Be kind to yourself. Treat yourself like you’d treat your best friend. You’ll be amazed how much happier and more confident you’ll feel.

Take it slow sometimes

I’m a big believer in me-time. But I’m also a big believer in staying productive, and often these two things clash. I get in over my head with projects and assignments and work, and I begin to burn out; but feel too guilty about taking a break to stop. At times like that, you need to remind yourself that the world doesn’t revolve around what you accomplish. You can’t be your best you or do your best work if you’re worn out. Pause for a moment; read a book, watch some Netflix, catch up with a friend, take a nap, do some exercise. Do what makes you feel rejuvenated and at ease.

Surviving A Week With My Partner’s Family; A Cautionary Tale

Throughout uni, my writing professors have always advised against clickbait titles; but I couldn’t help myself this time. I’m writing this post from Brisbane Airport as I head home to Melbourne after a week in Queensland, where I met my partner’s family for the first time. And despite the title, the reality is that I couldn’t have asked to meet a better bunch.

A few months ago when my boyfriend asked me to come to Queensland with him in July to meet his family, I agreed immediately and almost offhandedly, not stopping to consider any potential hitches or dilemmas that could arise. But of course, the doubts and the nerves began to hit me in the couple of weeks leading up to my departure date. What if his parents don’t like me? Is it going to be awkward sharing a house with them for a week? Oh, goodness—what if his dog doesn’t like me? And telling people the reason behind my Queensland trip only proved to worsen my worries, as everyone I told proceeded to voice the exact insecurities I was already harbouring.

My boyfriend (yes, he does have a name: Joe), a realist if I’ve ever met one, simply said, “If they don’t like you, they don’t like you. I think they will, but there’s only one way to find out”, which—of course—didn’t serve to satiate my nerves at all.

So after about a thousand nervous questions about Joe’s family and much thinking and re-thinking about the contents of my suitcase, I was off.

The week was starting off on the Sunshine Coast in an airbnb with Joe’s parents, siblings, and nieces. Anxious is an understatement. Meeting his whole extended family in one fell swoop? Not exactly what you’d call a gradual introduction. Fortunately for me, his family turned out to be amazing (and I’m now lucky enough to have a new, adorable, four-year-old best friend!).

The rest of the week was spent in Bundaberg, exploring the incredible beaches (being that my standard is St. Kilda Beach, any beach beyond that is incredible to me) and cafés and restaurants in the town. Kudos to you, Joe—you’ve spent a year making me think Bundaberg was the end of the earth, only for me to find out that that couldn’t be further from the truth. Joe’s parents were our personal chauffeurs and chefs for the week; we got completely spoiled the entire week. So spoiled, in fact, that when Friday rolled around and I woke up early to head home, all it took to convince me to stay the weekend was Joe saying, “You should change your flight and stay the weekend”.

In short, the week was absolutely perfect, and any fears or worries that I had before heading up North were diminished the moment I stepped off the train. I’ve always thought that the biggest judge of someone’s character is how they act around their parents; turns out, I’ve got myself a pretty damn good guy, and it’s not hard to see where he got it from.

Not Every Man, But Any Man

This piece was originally published in the October 2017 edition of The Eloquent Orifice.

Tired, sticky bodies, pushed together into a suffocating tram carriage.
Tall men surround me. Standing at five feet and eight inches, I still cannot meet their
eyes without tilting my head back. I do not even try, knowing that they will see the
fear in mine.

Suddenly a hand—someone’s hand, anyone’s hand, everyone’s hand—reaches
behind me and squeezes my backside.
There’s nowhere to run to, nowhere to go. I stand completely still, willing myself to
be anywhere else, until I can finally get off the tram.

It could have been worse.
I got off easy.
Some women aren’t so lucky.

I check behind me; is anyone, that man, following me into the train station? My body
slackens with relief when I do not see him anywhere.

As the doors of the train slide open, I take a step into the carriage. My eyes dart
back and forth, left and right, as I work out my game plan.

Empty seat to my right: good. Middle-aged man with his hands in his pockets sitting
in the next seat over: bad. I pass by the empty seat.

Standing room at the opposite end of the carriage: good. Only men standing in the
vicinity: bad. I decide sitting is the best option.

I choose a seat near a woman and a young family; this will be where I am safest.

Forty-five minutes left on the train. The young family and the woman disembark at
their respective stations.

Thirty minutes left. An older man who looks to be in his 60s at youngest boards the
train and immediately makes a beeline for the vacant seat next to me. Please, no.
Choose one of the many other empty seats. I breathe slowly. Don’t assume the worst. I
look out the window.

Fifteen minutes left. The man reaches into his pocket and pulls out his digital
camera.

Twelve minutes left. I glance down at the man’s camera to discover it pointed
directly at me, clutched near his waist, red light on, recording my every move. My
stomach clenches. I clutch my backpack and move to the seat opposite mine.

Ten minutes left. The man shifts his body. I again look at the camera. Red light is
still on. Still angled at me. My stomach, still clenched.

Arriving at the station. I stand up and wait nervously in front of the cold, silver
doors, waiting to be released from this metal prison.

The train slows to a stop. I feel a breath on my shoulder. I glance behind me. The
Man With The Camera presses his body against mine.

I run to the opposite end of the carriage as the doors slowly open, exiting through
the second set of doors. Tears sting my eyes, partly due to the sudden wind rushing
into the train, and partly because of the adrenaline and fear coursing through my
veins. I fumble to find my Myki pass, and I slam it down on the Myki reader to touch
off. I race down the flight of never-ending stairs and sprint all the way home.

Home. Safe. Lucky.

Until tomorrow.

 

7 Easy Ways To Help Save The Planet

“Nature doesn’t need people; people need nature.”

Disclaimer: I am not an expert on environmental issues. In fact, I’m far from it (my high school APES teacher can vouch). Nor am I perfect when it comes to caring for our planet—I shower for way longer than the recommended 5 minutes, I sometimes throw recyclables in the general rubbish bin, and I don’t even know what a compost is. I’m not even sure if “a” was the right article to use. That’s how little I know about it.

Nevertheless, I fully believe that every person on this planet has an obligation and a responsibility to treat Earth with a little TLC. There are tons of teeny tiny, super simple changes you can make in your day-to-day that will do wonders for the world you live in. It’s so, so important to stay informed about the state of y(our) environment and the ways in which you can do your part to help save the planet (you can catch me Googling what composting is right after I finish writing this).

1. Use a travel mug or a keep cup

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If you’re someone who regularly—or even semi-regularly—drinks hot drinks in takeaway cups, you may fall into the trap of thinking that the cups you’re drinking out of are recyclable. I thought that, too, but it turns out that those cups are generally made up of tons of non-recyclable plastic in and around the cardboard part. A better alternative to to-go cups is a travel mug or a keep cup. Steel mugs are the best option, but plastic ones work great too! I personally use a KeepCup—it’s only $20, dishwasher safe, and BPA-free. They come in heaps of different sizes and colours and you can even customise your own. Plus, tons of coffee shops give discounts to customers who bring their own cup!

2. Ditch the straw

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Straws are one of the nastiest examples of a single-use plastic (a plastic product that will be used once and then thrown out). They don’t biodegrade and more often than not they end up in oceans and on beaches. This is obviously problematic and causes major issues for underwater life. Try ordering your drink without a straw the next time you eat out. If you’re in dire need of an iced coffee or iced tea and don’t have a travel cup with you, most Starbucks stores now offer strawless lids for their iced drinks. You could even invest in reusable straws or a tumbler cup for iced drinks—both options are dirt cheap and save you from putting more plastic out into the environment.

3. Catch public transport

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Cars are huge contributors to global warming and pollution. Luckily, there are tons of other ways to get to work/uni/school: ride a bike, walk, catch public transport, get a ride with someone else, give a ride to someone else, or use a carpool service. You’ll save money on petrol and save the environment. Plus, public transport saves you from sitting in peak-hour traffic and you’re free to sleep, read, text, etc.

4. Use a clothesline

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Using a clothesline or a clotheshorse is a great alternative to a dryer. It’ll save tons of energy (not to mention money!) which really helps the environment by reducing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Fossil fuels aren’t a clean or sustainable source of energy, which means we should try to rely on them as little as we can.

5. Meatless Mondays

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Don’t worry, I’m not about to preach the benefits of veganism or how cruel it is to murder animals for your own culinary pleasure. But going vegetarian at least one day a week is a great way to help save the planet. Most people don’t realise the huge environmental impacts that the meat industry has. It takes 2,500 gallons (nearly 9,500 litres) of water to make ONE POUND of beef. One pound! And on top of that, raising animals for meat takes tons of land, food, and water, which often means mega deforestation. Plus, fishing methods used by commercial fishers often harm ocean life such as coral reefs and other animals, which, in turn, leads to the destroying of ecosystems. So come on—just take a break from eating meat for one day. I’m sure you can find your protein somewhere else.

6. BYO water bottle

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This is pretty commonplace nowadays, but bringing your own water bottle wherever you go is an infinitely better alternative to buying multiple plastic bottles a day, especially when you’re not recycling those bottles. You can buy water bottles pretty much anywhere and they come in just about every colour, size, shape, and price point imaginable. My favourites are the stainless steel bottles from S’well and Contigo. Think of all the money you’ll save!

7. Stay informed

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It’s so easy to find information online that there’s really no excuse to be ignorant about the world around you. It’s 2018 and saving the planet is cool. Watch some documentaries, read the news, listen to podcasts. Answers to every question you have, and those you don’t even know you have, are right at your fingertips. Don’t let them go to waste. Set goals, write lists, take action, and hold yourself and others accountable.

P.S. for any other ignorant ding dong like me, composting is the use of decomposing organic material for growing plants. In other words, it’s using your potato peels and banana skins to grow your plants instead of using harmful, chemical-filled products.

The Kelly Standard

Okay kids, before I get into the nitty gritty of this post, I’m about to bring y’all some history (haha, just a little R. Kelly humour before I tell you a whole lot of awful things about this guy). Basically, R. Kelly been accused of tons of horrific stuff in the past—mostly a strong cocktail of sexual misconduct and underaged females with a hint of a sex cult—the most infamous being his 2002 child pornography accusations. He was accused of filming his sexual relations with a 14-year-old, thus ~allegedly~ creating child porn. He was eventually found not guilty in 2008 and acquitted, but the evidence against him was pretty damning regardless (no, I know nothing about law or the U.S. legal system and have no business having an opinion like that. Yes, I still stand by it).

Oh, btw, if you’re a 2000s baby, or you’re just white, and have no idea who the hell R. Kelly is and you’re still reading this post only because you love and support me and my blogging endeavours: you know that song that sometimes gets stuck in your head out of absolutely nowhere and it goes I believe I can flyyyyyy, and you don’t remember learning or even ever hearing the actual song but somehow you still know it? Yeah, that’s his song.

A few days ago, Spotify released a statement declaring that the service would no longer be including R. Kelly’s music in “playlists and generated content”. His music will remain on Spotify, but it means you’ll have to manually search for him in order to listen to it. This is part of a new policy Spotify is rolling out, named the “Hate Content and Hateful Conduct” policy. Spotify’s explanation of their new policy is super vague and slightly contradictory. In the release statement, Spotify says, “We don’t censor content because of an artist’s or creator’s behaviour, but we want our editorial decisions — what we choose to program — to reflect our values. When an artist or creator does something that is especially harmful or hateful (for example, violence against children and sexual violence), it may affect the ways we work with or support that artist or creator.” But what they’ve done to R. Kelly’s music is arguably a form of censorship, so…

Look, I won’t lie—I’m the first person who’ll stop supporting an artist because of things they’ve done in their personal lives. I can prove it! I don’t have a single Chris Brown song in my Apple Music library and refuse to listen when his songs come on the radio. I simply choose not to support the work of a domestic abuser. But the difference is, I’m a consumer. One person. A single listener with agency and the right to make decisions for myself. I’m not a corporation or a provider of a service; I’m not making the decision for other people about what’s morally wrong and right.

I mean, think of all the music Spotify should be getting rid of based on this new policy. Chris Brown should be totally wiped off the board, along with everything Russell Simmons has produced (this includes Aerosmith, Kid Rock, Pitbull, Timbaland, Kanye West, and about a billion more), and most 1960s/70s classic rock bands. Hell, even the Christmas classic Baby It’s Cold Outside will probably need to be thrown out—the lyric “say, what’s in this drink?” sounds a little dicey, if you ask me.

To me, this policy feels like a very slippery slope into moral policing, witch hunting, media censorship, and social justice black holes. It doesn’t sit well with me that a provider of music whose motto is literally “give people access to all the music they want all the time” is restricting people’s access to certain music based on their own moral standpoints. Let users decide who and what they do and don’t want to support. It shouldn’t be up to a music streaming service to tap on listeners’ moral compasses.

Breaking: It’s May And I Still Haven’t Given Up On My New Year’s Resolution

Full disclosure, I’m not the best at follow-through. I forget to text people back, I’m awful at replying to emails, and I’m constantly giving up on tasks that aren’t immediately easy. Not surprisingly, my New Year’s resolutions usually go the way of my unanswered texts and emails and failed tasks.

Most years, my resolutions end up being fairly cliché ones: drink more water, eat healthier, actually utilise my gym membership, go to all my lectures—you get the idea. Perhaps I’ve failed at most of them because subconsciously I don’t really want to achieve them; I have no impetus or particular motivation to stick to them. Or maybe it’s because they’ve all been focused on extrinsic things. That’s why this year I decided to indulge in a little bit of introspection to find something that I genuinely, truly wanted to change about myself.

Of course, I’m far from perfect, so I had a lot of less-than-ideal attributes to choose from. I need to be more patient, more conscientious of my surroundings, more environmentally-aware, less selfish; the slightly embarrassing and very confronting list is as long as Santa’s naughty list (which, after this introspection, I’ve decided I’m more than likely a part of). But the one thing that I’d been noticing increasingly over the previous few months was how pessimistic I’d become.

I’ll admit that I’ve never been a totally glass-half-full kind of girl. I’m not the first to find a silver lining or to look on the bright side of a situation. My motto has always been “expect the worst and you’ll never be disappointed”; I’m my father’s daughter in that way (and in most other ways, too). While that was a pretty fail-safe outlook—I was rarely surprised when things didn’t work out for me—it also cast a very dark cloud over my life. I was always anticipating things going wrong; so much so that when something went right, I couldn’t even enjoy it because I was so busy wondering when the other shoe would drop.

So there it was. I decided I would be more positive. No more expecting the worst. No more anticipating failure. The funniest part was that once I had settled on my resolution, my first thought was, “I wonder how long this will last before I give up”. It took effort to push that out of my head and tell myself I could do this.

I’m proud to announce that I’m still sticking to my resolution. It’s not quite halfway through 2018 yet, but this is probably the longest I’ve ever kept a New Year’s resolution. And let me tell you, it has worked wonders in my life.

I started by encouraging myself when I felt like I couldn’t do something. I forced myself to go places and do things I didn’t particularly want to go to or do. I made sure I was speaking more positively about others as well as about myself; it’s made me feel good about those around me and my relationships with them, and also about myself. I put a real effort into consistently building up myself and everyone around me. It has made me infinitely more confident and optimistic.

I’ve come to realise that my pessimism was preventing me from achieving so much. There were tons of things that I wouldn’t even attempt because I thought I would fail or because “what’s the point anyway? I’m just one person, how can I make a difference?”. In the past few months I’ve become more conscious of my environment and of those less fortunate than I am. I understand now that although I’m just one person amongst billions, my actions have impact and can create change in the world, even if that change is small.

My newfound positivity has made me more patient and empathetic toward others and myself. I’ve learned the difference between “thank you” and “sorry”. I used to apologise for everything—I assumed I was being a burden on those around me. Now I realise that although I sometimes need to apologise for something I’ve done—”sorry for making you do this for me”—other times I need not apologise for my actions, but instead thank someone for theirs—”thank you for helping me do this”.

I’ve even noticed physical changes! I sleep better, my skin is clearer, I get fewer headaches (they used to be as frequent as twice daily), and I have more energy. I find it easier to interact with people I’ve never met and I’m more receptive to others reaching out to me.

In sum, a seemingly small adjustment of my outlook has created positive changes in pretty much every aspect of my life. I’m blown away by the massive turnaround I’ve experienced. The good news? You don’t have to wait until 2019 to do a little self-renovation.

2018/19 Travel Wishlist

I’ve had an incredible 21 years of travelling under my belt. I’ve been to so many amazing countries and had some pretty unforgettable experiences (South African safaris, Italian fashion shows, surfing at Waikiki Beach—you get the picture). But, of course, there still remain hundreds of countries left to visit and an infinite amount of memories to make.

This year I was blown away by how thoughtful all my birthday presents were. I felt so loved opening my gifts and seeing how much thought had gone into each one. One of the best gifts I received this year was from my ever-generous parents, who gifted me an overseas trip that I can take whenever, to wherever, with McKenzie, their pseudo-daughter (yes, I do know that I’m the luckiest girl in the world).

Obviously I immediately went into Planning Overdrive™, making lists of all the places I want to visit, the best time of the year to visit each place, the biggest tourist attractions of each place as well as the lesser known attractions, and even what I’d wear while travelling. After a little while, my list got way too long, my hand cramped from writing, and McKenzie was probably annoyed at the endless texts I was sending her asking for her opinion on everything.

So as usual, I’ve taken to my blog to make sense of the blur of ideas I have. Here’s a list of the top places I want to travel to in 2018/19.

If you have any suggestions, please leave a comment below! I’m always open to advice or recommendations.

Amsterdam

 

You can’t tell me Amsterdam isn’t the most romantic-looking city ever. It’s straight out of a fairytale. I mean, come on—it even makes me kind of like the look of snow.

Iceland

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Blue Lagoon. Enough said.

Vienna

 

I visited Salzburg a few years ago and fell in love; I’ve been dreaming of Vienna ever since. I mean, it looks like a Christmas village year-round—what more could I ask for?

Ireland

 

Ever since my parents and younger brother went to Ireland (yes, without me) when I was 15, I’ve been absolutely desperate to go. I practically go to bed dreaming of sipping hot coffee while standing on the edge of the Cliffs of Moher and dancing in an actual Irish pub and getting lost in bookstores in Dublin.

Phillipines

 

Living in Australia, it’s so cheap and easy to get to Asia that it’s astonishing I haven’t seen more of it than I have. I reckon those photos say it all.