Love, love, love

Cosmopolitan (Australia) February issue.
Cosmopolitan (Australia) kicks off 2018 by celebrating love in all it’s forms in the wake of the same – sex marriage vote.

 

 

Last year was tense. My blogging last year was tense. So I thought I’d start 2018 on a light note. This is inspired by this month’s Cosmopolitan (Australia) issue.

Love.

Notebook with love heart
Image: Canva

Love can take many forms. At best, it’s reciprocated and combined with care, respect and kindness.

I’m glad that the Cosmopolian article went beyond the partnered/ romantic love. For many people, including those on the aromantic/ asexual spectrum, different types of love like familial and friendship take prominence.

Even people who are not romantic or asexual often have craving for different types of affection. In fact, it’s well known that in infants, the amount of affectionate touch  can determine further  (or lack of) neurological development throughout a child’s life.

 

Regardless of whether the love is familial, romantic or platonic, love is about caring about for the other person. It’s about respecting them as a human being and wanting the best for their well – being. It includes trying to understand the other person; their limits, their emotions, their wishes, etc. It’s about at least trying to keep their thoughts, feelings and desires into consideration, of course, without putting yourself or other people in any type of jeopardy.

The Beatles sang “money can’t me love”, which is ultimately true, but I think it’s nice to spend money on a loved one on special occasions, (birthdays, Christmases, Valentine’s Day, etc), or for no reason at all. Of course, if you’re crafty (which I’m not really), making something for someone will almost certainly be appreciated.

Love isn’t always about fun and games. It’s about being there for someone during good times and bad. You should be able to be yourself with the people you love. Love should, and even oblige, people to be honest, even if the truth is something that the other person doesn’t want to hear (not always easy.

I think the most important thing about love is that it’s unconditional. Love itself should not be a reward for preferred behaviour or other aspect of the person. Love should allow people to relax with each other and not have a care in the world. Whether it’s watching TV together, going out to dinner or even communicating on social media, love should allow each person to relax and not stress too much or fear judgement.

Love should build up, not tear down. Overall, I think people should feel better about themselves after talking to or being around someone they care about. When someone has low self – esteem or mental health issues, this isn’t always easy. Sometimes, people won’t believe you when you say that they are worthy, beautiful, etc (guilty). That doesn’t mean that we should automatically treat someone as lesser than because of it. Those people who dismiss it often are the ones that need to hear it the most.

 

Human love is complicated. It can be fraught with uncertainty. Sometimes love can hurt (we are human), but that pain should always be allowed to heal and should be prevented in the future.

That’s my take. What’s love mean to you? 

 

 

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Last minute ramblings for 2017

Happy New Year WordSwag design.

It’s nearly the end of yet another year. Some have 2018 all planned; new year’s resolutions and goals included. Some will be living it up, partying with friends and/ or family. Some will be camping. And many will be living it up at Sydney Harbour (1.6 million people are expected to attend celebrations).

Others simply couldn’t care less. They may not even be awake until midnight.

I usually have high hopes for the new year. I used to be obsessed with New Year’s resolutions and have stayed up until midnight every year except one, since 2000. Now, I’m more relaxed. I’ll most likely stay up to midnight, (until recently, I’ve been a bit of a night owl and often stay up until after midnight, anyway).

 

Not long after 1 January, (or it might on that day), it’ll be twelve months since I’ve started this blog. It’s been a blast!  I’m so glad I did it! I really have high hopes for it. Thank you to all those who have read posts, commented and followed this blog and supported it on social media. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how far it’s come. Thank you, again.

Next year, I would love to take this blog and make it even better; take it to the next level. I would love for this to be a dotcom site. That’ll be my first one ever! I’m excited in what I’ll be able to do with it when I do. The frequency of posts, at least for the first half, may not be as frequent as this year. If, for some reason, I take a prolonged break from blogging, I’ll try and let you know beforehand.

 

That’s all for the moment. Have a safe New Year’s Eve and a great 2018!

When the ‘Roaring 20’s’ isn’t what you think it was meant to be

The twenties.

Full of love, happiness and success.

Except when it’s not.

I’m twenty – eight now. While my twenties haven ‘t been bad, really. It’s been far from predictable, successful and full of constant happiness. My mid twenties – around twenty – five was particularly hard until i went on the Rotary Lions’ Club’s ‘Rotary Youth Leadership Award’. The week there, gave me a new lease on life and a sense of optimism that I hadn’t experienced in a while. Sometimes, your twenties can be quite lonely. It’s often a time when friends that have grown up together go their separate ways. If your lucky, you may have one or two that you keep in contact with (I’m one of the lucky ones, actually).

In terms of career success, in your twenties, you face a brutal truth; that you will most likely be rejected at least once. Your career may not have taken off. For some, being in your twenties means having to move back with your parents. According to the September 2017 issue of Cosmopolitan (Australia), one in ten Australians take anti depressants. (“The Great Millennial Meltdown, Jennifer Savin, pp. 103 – 107. Cosmopolitan Australia, September 2017).

According to the Jennifer Savin article. there is a bit of an industry, at least in Europe. In a hotel in Benehavis, Spain, women in their 20’s and early 30’s flocked to a retreat run by Stephanie Kazolides in a mental health/ yoga/ meditation program called ‘Quarter Life Health Project. The retreat cost A$500 per person.

The twenties seemed to be big contrast for many people than what they think or are told it should be. It’s definitely a contrast from some of the images I found iStock for this post.

Group of happy and young people
Image: iStock
Young man gains good news over phone ecstatic
Image: iStock

For many people, obviously, the twenties may not live up to these expectations for most people – at least not all the time. It’s a time where you’re still trying to make sense of things, fighting for independence and trying to get on your feet career wise. What shocked me in the Savin article was the percentage of people who enter employment after graduating university – just over 41% which I think is despicable actually, but that may be for another post somewhere along the line.

The twenties comes with growth, expectations and transitions in relationships. Unfortunately, for too many when relational transitions take place, people in their twenties often experience loneliness, which can be really hard. Most people have a vision of what the twenties should be like — by being told by others or themselves. Moving out, working, having adventures, getting married, buying a house, etc.

Yet, following that path isn’t so straightforward, especially for Gen Ys who live in the major cities. Work isn’t as easy to come by, including when you have a degree. I know from experience even getting relevant work placement when doing a TAFE course can be hard (that’s one of the things that got me in a rut).

 

While I don’t think Gen Y has had it the worst — every generation faces it’s challenges — looking back I think Gen Y could have had things a bit differently. I think for too long, university was seen as the ticket to employment, even though TAFE was getting less stigmatised, university for most was the ultimate goal. I think people who were taught about careers, applying for courses and jobs, etc, I think it would have helped to have a bit more of a talk about rejection and possible long or medium – term unemployment wouldn’t have gone astray. Not to mention stigma still faced by people with a disability. Then again, I guess no – one predicted the GFC in 2008, which threw a lot of young people off.

 

For people who haven’t entered or have only started their twenties, I have one piece of advice – take it in your stride. It’s not going to be all smooth sailing. Be flexible (probably for a while my big downfall). And, most importantly, reach out and get help if you think you need it.

For health resources or support, you can contact and get information from Beyond Blue.

Click on these articles if you think you need better ways to deal with stress (or just some encouragement).

Her Campus: How to deal with stress in your 20’s

Psychology Today: If you’re lost in your 20’s

GoodTherapy.org Mental health issues to be aware of in your 20’s

Have you got any tips you’d like to share with 20 – something readers? Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments below. 

 

 

Stories that will help you put faith back into humanity

Heart warmer

 

Often, the media — including myself — get caught up in things that make your blood pressure rise. Too often, bad things happen and the media highlights it constantly.

Too often, we get into petty ‘debates’ — a.k.a culture wars — and we fight to the death. We attack our opponents, tear them to shreds and allow the petty things destroy relationships. The media, in particular, seems to do this ad nauseum.

So, when you hear about a story that’s so touching that it makes Andrew Bolt choke up on his show, it’s a welcome relief.

Here are two of these stories.

Newcastle Knights player, Trent Hodkinson took terminally ill girl, 15 – year – old Hannah Rye to the her Year 10 formal after her school, Kurri Kurri High, agreed to move the date so Hodkinson could take her. She looked gorgeous. I think the Newcastle Knights and Kurri Kurri High should be commended for doing something to special to a beautiful young girl who needed something to put a smile on her face.

The second story I want to talk about was published in Mamamia. 94 – year – old Shirley Batchelder from Nashville, Tennessee, completed her ‘bucket list’ by doing something amazing. She told WSMV that she wanted to do an ad for TV. The TV station granted her two – minute slot for free. What she wanted to do took much less time. On the advertisement, she left a simple and profound message:

Love one another. Love one another.

So beautiful. And, unfortunately, simple to forget in the era of tension and just general busyness. Love one another. Just gorgeous.

These two beautiful souls, each at the opposite ends of the age spectrum are people we should never forget. A terminally ill girl who touched a community so much that she was granted her dream formal. And a beautiful old lady who wanted to put out a message that can easily said, and yet so easily forgotten.

It just goes to show that there is still beauty in this world.

What uplifting or touching stories have your read or heard recently? Feel free to tell me in the comments below. Leave links, too, if you like. 

Possible word for 2017

Mamamia publisher, Mia Freedman came up with an idea last year. Instead of New Year’s resolutions, Freedan came up with having a word for a year. The word is a theme that you want to live by to make your life and the lives of those around you better. Sounds great. For the last couple of days, I ummed and ahhed, thinking of a word to come up with. The one that immediately came to mind was ‘writing’ – keeping up with this blog and the Certificate IV in Professional Writing and Editing. I thought of ‘discipline’ in both professional and personal life in all areas. Then, an unexpected word came up to me on the weekend.

Acceptance.

Acceptance of myself and life in general. Acceptance that life isn’t perfect, I’m not perfect, (far from it). I’m a work in progress and always will be. See, over the years, I’ ve always expected things to go a certain way. I always had visions of where I should be. New Year’s Eve was a day when I expected almost everything to change  – and change immediately at the stroke of midnight.

 

I always had expectations in my professional life that were so rigid that when I couldn’t finish the Diploma because I couldn’t find a place to do Work Placement, it left lost. My plan was so rigid and straight forward – finish the Diploma of Community Services at 24, do a Bachelor of Human Services/ Masters in Social Work, having them done at 27, (which meant I would have finished itvlast year have finished it last year), then work, and live a life and be a person I thought I should be. When that didn’t go ahead, to say I felt lost is an understatement. I felt worthless, a failure. My self -esteem was like the Tooth Fairy – it was non – existent. For a year or so afterwards, even when I started Diploma in Early Childhood Education  and Care, I still felt like I’d failed. I was more desperate. I often found myself in tears for no apparent reason. It wasn’t until the third day of the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) in 2015, that things started looking up and I had a sense that I was OK. It was OK that life didn’t fit a rigid schedule. I was OK with who I was. Fast forward almost two years, while I haven’t gone down such a dark path since the end of RYLA, I have worried about where I’d be in my life, especially as I approach 30, (in just over two years, which is pretty close to me).

 

This word – – acceptance- a word that hit me out of the blue – should I accept it? I should probably try relaxing a bit. Just a tad. Sure, I’ll continue to work hard and work on what needs to be worked on, but maybe with a little bit of grace and not to expect perfection, because… well, it ain’t gonna happen in this life is it? I feel weird, even as I admit that. This word thing might be worth a try.

Have you given up on New Year’s resolutions and adopted a word to live by in 2017? If so, what is it?