Monday, 27 June 2016

[ the friendzone ]




Making friends when you're a kid is so easy. You basically pick a human you like and go, "yup, this one is cool", and you do stuff with them. You don't question their taste in reading materials, you don't you don't care if they have weird hair or other friends. You basically just enjoy their company as often as possible.

When you are a grown up, things get complicated. Suddenly you have to have loads in common, you need to move in the same circles, you need to have a more substantial connection that just thinking they are brilliant fun, and this is where we have made things hard for ourselves. 

Obviously I don't mean we should all go back to the playground rules of grabbing someone by the hand and leading them around all day, declaring at lunch time that they are your best friend and we will now do ALL THE THINGS TOGETHER. 

Although. Just quietly. Wouldn't that be kind of awesome...?

Anyway. Society has a decidedly painful way of making life difficult in this department, in that we have somehow come to a point where not only is it problematic trying to hang out with people you like, it's a mission even meeting new ones. 

For example, if you work in an Accounts Department, you generally only meet people who work with numbers, in commerce, or at least in corporate environments. If you work as a lawyer you meet lawyers, discuss cases with other lawyers (possibly for legal and confidentiality reasons), and spend time with people who deal with legal matters. 

If you are a barista, you meet a million different people everyday, from all types of industries with all different ideas. However, you generally get about a minute of each others' time and then it's onto the next new person, with no chance to really connect (mostly). 

This is not to generalise the whole conversation, but I think you know where I'm going with this. 

Certainly it's possible - even likely - these types of people have a variety of interesting friends outside of work and certainly they meet new individuals weekly. But with how many do they get to say; hey! that new person is way cool, we should totally hang out!

We say it to ourselves, but we don't do it because we think we can't. Or shouldn't. It would be considered rude, bad etiquette, or 'not the done thing'. 

This, good people, is stupid. And it needs to stop.

***

Personally, I keep meeting new and interesting people for what seems like a split second and then they're gone. I'm not sure if it's me or them (though obviously I suspect it's them), but it's unbelievably irritating. 

Making a new friend has some truly ghastly similarities to dating. When you first meet, it's highly likely one of you will have stronger feelings than the other, one will make the more proactive moves, and one of you will certainly have more specific ideas about how this relationship is meant to proceed. 

How soon after we meet can I call? Do I suggest one of my favourite places to hang out straight away? How long until I can invite them to my house; is that second date - ehem! - meeting, or later? 

It's excruciating. 

In an effort to cut through this never-ending bullshit which seems to repeat itself like a bad high-school drama, I've come up with a strategy. Of sorts. 

When I meet someone new, I plan on asking a series of leading questions that will hopefully reveal whether said person should be in my friendzone; 

How do you feel about coffee?
What about tea? 
How much Masterchef do you watch a week?
Do you find Ricky Gervais funny?
Can you clarify the coffee answer please?
Do you think vegans are real people? 
Team Ragnar or Team Rollo? 
Seriously; I need a definitive answer on that coffee question.

And so on. Basically, I want to know if we amuse each other enough to make it through another meeting, one where we are likely to be one-on-one and actually have to entertain each other directly. You know, without booze, Ricky Gervais, or other stimulants. 

This isn't all about having heaps in common; that assumption is a mistake. And it also isn't about yes or no answers to questions; again, mistake. It's about a connexion.

I once asked someone if they put much stock in star signs (as I rather do); he rolled his eyes dramatically and said, you don't really believe in all that crap, do you? Then proceeded to treat me to a 15 minute mock-tirade, complete with Stan S. Stanman hand gestures and and twee/wispy voice interpretations. 

It was hysterical and I adore him for it. *This man* is now firmly my friend. 

There's this gorgeous girl I know who consistently tells me how amazing I am, how wise and clever I can be, and how much she thinks I've got my life together. Even after I tell her stories of falling headfirst into bushes on the sidewalk, crying in the bathrooms at work over having to talk to IT, and continuously falling love with the wrong people, a-la-Bridget-Jones-with-better-clothes-and-sarcasm. 

*This bella*? Gal pals for life. 

Both of these people are utterly different from me. We have a a reasonable age difference, we work in different industries, we have wildly differing friends. And neither of them drinks near as much - or is even close to as snobby about -  coffee as myself. Though we all agree on good wine (thank gods). 

Both of these people renew my faith in humanity. They have sunshine in their hearts and are genuinely interested in knowing what's going on in your life. They take me seriously, and if I send a text that doesn't get answered within 24 hours, I get a proper response later inclusive of explanation of what's happening with them. 

***

When you make a connection with someone it can be really scary; oh my gods, this person really understands me! They see me for me, they really *get* me! Fuck. Now I have to pretend to be normal and cool and not like I appreciate how awesome they are and how awesome we could be together! 

(I know, exactly like dating right?)

But friendship isn't about being the best you can be all the time - they have the army for that claptrap. Friendship is about having someone to share all the good stuff, bad stuff, and truly weird stuff with. And being able to hear someone elses' stories too - trust me, that part is better than cable. 

So here's the thing; let's all start putting ourselves on the line a little more. We're getting older and too cynical, and the world is getting just a little too serious for us not to have people around who can make us laugh.

Again, I'm not saying you need to make friends with every aeronaut you start chatting to on public transport, and I'm not saying you should make your intentions known with everyone by gleefully declaring your friendship with childish abandon...

...but let's not rule it out, hey? 

~*LTM*~

















































Thursday, 16 June 2016

[ eastern promises, omikuji, and mountain men ]




Every so often when you are looking for something and not finding it, all the options look the same. It's much like the saying; when all you're doing is hammering, everything starts to look like a nail. 

Having been in this situation myself before, I know the early warning signs and try to plan accordingly. Which is, basically, becoming slightly short-tempered, slightly serious, and slightly claustrophobic. 

Usually this displays itself as snapping at colleagues, snapping at loved ones, and finally snapping at some poor retail assistant who has the hide to ask me if I need any help today; sadly, in reference to retail assistance, and not, as hoped, in reference to a mild existential dilemma. 

Calling the aftermath a plan is probably a modest overstatement; it generally revolves around having a cry, a rant, or getting demonstrably drunk. Largely a combination of all three.

What do you do when all you see is beige? How do you cope when you know the train is moving but all you see is the same blur? 

***

On the path to self-discovery I've found, through much trial and error, that fighting the tide is an exercise in futility. Becoming progressively more frustrated while I look for the proverbial needle in a haystack just makes me nuts, and leads to more crying and overeating of dairy products. Never a good combination. 

Recently, I've personally realised that I'm looking for something (or someone or someplace...) in particular, and I'm at a very brief point in time where not finding it is making me lose my cool. 

So, what is it you actually seek and why can't you find it? There's a Chinese proverb I like for this; 

近水知鱼性, 近山识鸟音 jìn shuǐ zhī yú xìng, jìn shān shí niǎo yīn - Near to rivers, we recognize fish, near to mountains, we recognize the songs of birds. It is very important to make on-the-spot investigations.

I've taken this to mean that by spending a lot of time with someone or something, you become familiar with it. Conversely, you are becoming accustomed only to what you know, and are unable to see anything else.  

Which brings us back to the hammer and the nails, and along with the fish and the mountains, has probably become confusing. 

Let me simplify; if you are looking to meet new people and only go to the same cafe every day, all you see are the selfsame people. If you want an adventure and you never go more than a 10km radius outside your comfort zone, all you find are interchangeable experiences. 

Are you with me yet? Stay for a little longer, it gets better...

***

Depending on how many of you are fans of Viggo Mortensen, Asian culture, and The 100, respectively, the title may have not have a lot of meaning for you. Here, for me, they have become strange little beacons in my mind that I'm using to surf the tide of short-lived frustration. 

Mortensen's Russian gangster, Nikolai, is one of the characters that has stayed with me the longest, even more so than Aragon of LOTR fame. He's calm, brutal, sexy as hell, and a trained killer. None of this negates his brilliant resilience or unwavering commitment to doing the right thing. 

Asian culture both baffles and fascinates me. It's like being able to travel to another planet, another world, in the same space as my own. The food alone could keep me entertained for the rest of my life. It pains me to lump all "Asian" races into one, but for the purposes of this piece I'm sure you'll forgive me, and understand where I mean to go.

The 100 is a sci-fi show on Netflix that I started watching after I read an article about how straight-up, quietly feminist and badass it was. The Mountain Men I refer to are a tribe within the show that comprises of human survivors from a nuclear holocaust 97 years prior. They seem to be the most organised, civil and well-meaning of the tribes. Obviously, they're not. They hide some pretty sinister secrets, which I won't spoil for other fans.

What does this all have to do with hammers and nails? Hang on, I'm getting to that...

***

It's hard to break free of the routine of your life. I don't mean the bus route you take to work, the place you get your coffee, or the places you go for dinner. 

The actual, metaphysical bonds of your routine; the way you think, the way you walk, the way you hold yourself. The reactions you have to certain situations. 

The very first of those is the most important; do you ever sit back and wonder about why you date certain people? Not in terms of their possibly similar looks, though that can be it for some people, but in terms of their grassroots, personality traits? 

Do you ever wonder why you gravitate towards certain industries for work? Certain places in the world? Social groups of people? Certain cultures? 

Most of you said yes, right? But after you did the wondering, did you do anything else? If the answer was also yes, how far did you go? Did you change something, anything at all?

If you said yes all the way to the end of the last paragraph, we need to have coffee and I need to soak up some of your wisdom. Even just a smidge. 

Because it's not that easy. Change is fundamentally about making things different from what they were before, having them develop into something new. And I won't assault you all again with my feelings on people who "change" but don't really change (see my favourite Douglas Coupland quote for a teaser if you have somehow consistently missed these particular rants of mine*).

But, as usual, I digress.

Change need not be momentous; you have a whole lifetime to achieve that. How about starting with just one element.

And that's where the Russian mafia, fortune cookies, and sci-fi come into it.

Whatever triggers your desire for transition needs to be treated with reverence. A little respect for how amazing the human mind can be goes a long way, and it costs you next to nothing to vary your life in some small way to see how it goes.

A gangster isn't always a gangster; he's a man, who wants to do the right thing, who knows right from wrong, and will fight to the death (usually someone else's) for it.

A fortune cookie fortune is just a piece of paper with seeming randomness written on it. Nevertheless, the synchronicity of certain words that provoke your reaction at a certain time means something. Even if it's just the spark that ignites your brain.


And Mountain Men are not always just men living on a mountain. Choosing change doesn't mean you have to give up your whole world, it means you discover more about yourself; the real you, the one that's been inside all along. Maybe it's sinister as fuck. Maybe it's awesome.

***

On those grounds, I'm off to invoke some change this weekend. I'm going to conjure up some magic and see what the universe throws at me. I'm going to get out of Sydney, I'm going to talk to people I don't know, I'm going to eat things I've not tried before. 

I'm going to try and do something I've never done. Because I'm in danger of forgetting the wonder that surrounds, the miracle that is just being here, by staying on the same path. 

And I'm risking everything I live for if I don't. 

Maybe you could all try it too. You know, just to be safe and make sure you're not missing out. Tell people some weird faerie-fortune-cookie made you do it...


~*LTM*~



*You mistake motion for growth, and are lured into vexing situations
Shampoo Planet, Douglas Coupland









  
  



























Wednesday, 15 June 2016

[ I hate it here...but only some days ]




A while back, Domain.com posted an article about the 30 things you should do if you live in Sydney. It had a few that were tongue-in-cheek, but on the whole it was a nice attempt at telling Sydney-siders there's stuff they should do if they live in our fair city, especially if they've never done them.

I felt it wasn't a very comprehensive list, and much like other lists and articles that try to follow this vein, it didn't really give you an idea of what it's like to live here.

In the words of Spider Jerusalem, I hate it here. And, much like the magic man himself, I keep coming back and I stay living here. Why? Because I love it too. Closely related to my relationship with peanut butter, Sydney and I spend too much time together until we are thoroughly sick of each other, then storm off in disgust until the feeling wears off. Then we wander back to see that it's not too bad, you can, just occasionally, have too much of a good thing.

So, in the spirit of the hot weather we endured - which I also loathe and adore, in a 70/30 measure - here's a short list of places and things for Sydney-siders. These are only the places I have and do spend the most time (read = drink the most coffee). You all know I could bore at length on the Sydney surrounds as well, so be thankful I kept this one short.

Things I hate about you...but mainly because I love you so much. Enjoy.


*********



1. North Sydney - the 'burb where I used to work - is as good a place to start as any. There is fuck-all to do there, and it took me approximately 8 months to figure that out. Mostly, I got distracted by reasonably decent coffee. Or baristas who could make decent coffee. 

There was no Coles* or Woolworths here, there's no LUSH or T2. Subway is the biggest chain apart from OfficeWorks, and there's only so much Typo and Priceline merchandise I was able to occupy myself with until serious boredom set in. I'm used to the CBD figuratively smashing me in the face with its wares; North Sydney is like a dull slap from a wet fish.

That said; Wendy's Secret Garden. Brett Whiteley's widow, and an artist in her own right, cultivated this garden by her own hands after her husband and daughter died in the '90's and early 2000's. This sprawling oasis of beauty set next to the train tracks and the harbour revives the spirit and enlivens the soul. I spent many, many lunchbreaks here, lying on the grass and watching the clouds, the birds flying high into the sky until they were specks on the horizon, butterflies of all colours flittering about, and bees lazily dipping from flower to flower. Something so glorious in a town so bland saves North Sydney from being a crushing bore.

*A Coles literally just opened in October and North Sydney-siders are flocking to it like the proverbial mecca.


2. Maroubra. 6 of my very formative years were spent there; mostly throughout high school. Good grief, I hated that place. Maroubra can be rough as a rusty nail and just as shallow. Home to one of the most infamous teenage gangs - the Bra Boys - the 'jung-o (short for Maroubra Junction), as it was somewhat fondly referred to, spent much of the 90's being a place for teenagers to get up to mischief in quiet streets, the non-descript little shopping centre, and the ever-present McDonalds.

It probably didn't help that I passionately hated high school and couldn't wait to leave. A highly strung teenager, there was only so much Mum could distract me with while I was waiting to be a grown up.

On the flip side, and very nearby, is and was the hulking mass that is Eastgardens. Sometime in my adolescence it got considered its own suburb, but the Westfield it started off as is not the building of today. Back then, it was where I had my first few jobs and where I spent a lot of afternoons wasting time. It has since gained a storey or two, cultivated airs it doesn't have for such a neighbourhood, and generally aged, if not gracefully, certainly not badly. I love Eastgardens. Most of my best and worst teenage memories are here. It's a comfortable place where I can get all my groceries, see a movie, buy birthday presents, get a coffee and a salad, and spend a little too much money in JB HiFi. May the gods let this rock that kept me (mostly) out of trouble as a teenager never crumble.



3. Current home and ruling favourite; Newtown. I'm not going to gush because I'm pretty sure you all know how much I love it here. The food, the shops, the people, the quiet, the gardens, the weird twisty backstreets; I adore it.

It's not all rose-tinted glasses though. Newtown prides itself on being the hippie-est, most tolerant and worldy. We're not. We're just better at faking it than everyone else.

Because of the exceptional diversity here, we are able to puddle through looking chilled and relaxed without breaking a sweat. That being said, scratch the surface and Newtownians show how hard they work to maintain their hip inner-westie-ness.

Our little borough has just as many loud, obnoxious political voices as Canberra, we're just touting something different. We have lower rates of crime, mainly because we don't stand for much more than petty theft and a tussle at the pub. We attract a mix of students, families and alternative corporate types, who generally mix well on a day-to-day basis. All in all, Newtown is still a groovy place to be. Like everywhere else though, we have to move with the times, and we seem to be evolving well, both structurally and economically (if somewhat slowly).

Just don't get a WestConnex conversation started in the pub on a Sunday afternoon; much like the Hotel California, you can check out of the group, but they'll never let you leave.



4. Centennial Park is the most glorious tribute to preservation of flora and fauna the eastern suburbs can provide, excepting the Botanical Gardens.

I really haven't a bad word to say about the place...apart from the ever-increasing hordes that seem to be taking over. When I was younger, there was certainly little groups of families, couples, and singles dotted about the park, enjoying the warm air, the rolling grasslands, and the many little weird and wonderful stone statues throughout.  Now however, it seems like they file in like zombies, sprawling over the place, trampling the lushness beneath their feet.

Maybe I'm getting old, but I simply cannot recall this many yummy mummies jogging aggressively about, zipping between people out for a stroll like they're race markers. I've never seen so many tourists swarm the rose gardens, jostling to take photos of a single bloom. Not to be a hypocrite - as I'm the first to take instagram shots - but whatever happened to being in the moment?

That being said, you can still enjoy the parklands in a quiet wander, you just need to pick your times and spots. Lucky for us, Centennial is still enormous and more than able to take the crowds, hopefully for years to come.



5. Alexandria, from Botany Road to Green Square to the border of Redfern and Waterloo. This used to be an industrial backwater that you pitied the people who lived here for. In the last ten years however, Alexandria has grown like a wildflower and boasts some of the coolest cafes in the suburbs.

John Smith Cafe tucked off Botany Road, technically considered Waterloo and near the corner of McEvoy with the ever-present McDonalds, is run by a barista called Dan, who used to work at one of my old haunts in the city. He up and got himself some partners and his own place, doing gorgeous drip filter brews and seasonal nosh. Good stuff for the serious coffee snob and foodie.

Hardly anyone hasn't heard of the Alexandria Hotel. Situated on the corner of Henderson Road and Garden Street, and another technicality of "Eveleigh'', the Alex is looking to be pulled down and bulldozed into apartments. The Alex is one of the only places left in that area that has been standing for more than a century, a petition has been taken up to save it.

After changing hands a few years ago, the running has become somewhat haphazard; with new management using it to book out film crews for weeks at a time, and the rules about dogs, kids and dresswear becoming a little tighter. In the real world though, you have to make money to keep going, and you can't blame them for trying. Either way, it would a shame to see the old place go, and I for one hope it stays, if only to see what the next version of it brings along.

Lastly, Alexandria hosts ALL the good outlet shops; Cotton On, Seafolly, Roger David, and so on. It also has one of the largest Christmas outlets in the eastern suburbs, which may seem weird, but have you ever seen a giant blow up snow man that has a circle of fake snow constantly blowing around it? And matching blow up penguins? Trust me, for all you Christmas fanatics out there, it's worth the trip.



6. Last, but certainly not least on my little list; Rosebery. A strange little 'burb to be sure, it nestles between industrial Alexandria, the student-land of Kensington, industrial Botany, and the airport-adjacent Mascot.

Rosebery seems like the gateway suburb that North Sydney is, but without the skyscrapers. There seems very little do, lots of residential-ness without any glamour, and loads of sulky teenagers and mildly sinister types wandering between here and nearby Eastlakes.

To take it at first glance on that impression though would be a mistake. Much like Alexandria, Rosebery has a thriving cafe culture that grows every year.

The 5th Earl on Morley Avenue is run by a Greek family who have created something glorious in a little side street; classy, Louis XIV-style chairs and clean-line tables fill a plantation-style room, where the coffee is exceptional and the food top-notch. Open early enough that I can get my caffeine fix on the way to archery Sunday mornings, the staff (read=family) are always moving with efficiency and ready with a smile.

Rosebery is also a great place to park your car if you need to get to somewhere nearby; with enough street parking for both you and the residents, it means a nice, quiet stroll there, and a walk-the-pastries-off back to your car.

And just as an aside, if you're looking for cheap petrol on a weekend - swing through Rosebery, you won't be disappointed.

*********


That's the short list. If I feel so motivated, I might get onto the longer list another time. It will probably be the location version of Snog/Marry/Avoid, so I'd psych yourselves up now... ;) 

~*LTM*~

























Wednesday, 8 June 2016

[...you can't always get what you want...]




The quote above is from one of my favourite authors and I think about it a lot. For myself mainly, but sometimes for family or friends. Sometimes even people I meet randomly, and wonder what choices they made to get to where they are. 

Occasionally I wonder what I would do if given the opportunity to have anything I want. Then it occurs to me that I do. And I'm not going to go all hippy-bullshit on you, say that we have all we need and all we need is what we want, etc., etc. 

Go with me on this however. 

I wanted a new job; well-paying, challenging but not stressful (much), a slightly bigger company (but not massive) and the opportunity to do something I was interested in and passionate about. 

And I got it. Seriously. 

I wanted to have someone (or someones) pay attention to me, make me feel beautiful again, and love me, just a little bit, after my breakup. 

And I did. Twice now, so far. 

More than that, I wanted to feel alive. Like the world was on fire for me as it has been before, that everything was possible, I just had to focus and choose which path I wanted to wander down. 

And I do. It's still happening now. 

But (you knew that was coming), what makes me remember that quote above is this; how. And when. In the midst of all this happening, it still took me an inordinate amount of time to realise I was getting what I want - and also what I needed. Because that's the real crux of it - you can't really have just what you want, without being given what you need, otherwise your whole life implodes. But more on that in a moment.

***

I finally got a new job. It's amazing, challenging and slightly frustrating; which is what I wanted. I may not have said that all at once, but it's always what I wanted - because it's what I need.

The slightly baffling conversations I have with IT; reassuring and familiar. The ability to do more than I thought because my skill set is outside of the rest of the teams' abilities, and just what they were looking for; satisfying and confidence-building. Management who simultaneously understand me and are amazed by me; what I strive for. 

All the things I crave to help me grow and become inspired. Not the things that I generally vocalise that I want

Like a bolt of lightning from the heavens, suitors started popping up out of the grey to woo me with varying states of success (from truly woeful to moderately pleasing - we haven't yet reached delightful, but I remain hopeful). 

I'm reasonably sure this is in part due to my foray into the intriguing world of internet dating, as well as the return of my mojo in its usual capacity (as opposed to the pitiful state it was a little while back). And I asked for attention. I prayed for a little appreciation. I fairly begged for quick wit and lusty looks. 

I did not mention anything about how to find something long-lasting; I asked for the starter kit, as it were. I did not specify what nature this attention should take; I just wanted some to soothe my ego. 

I certainly didn't ask to find myself in mutual attraction (read = red-hot lust) with someone who is clearly in no position to do anything about it.   

But, especially in relation to the above, this is what I needed. How do I know this? Because I got what I wanted - in forms that I needed. 

From the depth of my soul to the tips of my pointed little ears, I truly believe the universe is looking out for me. And you too. We just need to listen in more often and take note of the signs when they come. The universe is vast and we are minuscule, so the message can sometimes get jumbled in translation. It's fair to say the powers that be must be uber-stressed dealing with seven and a half billion people. Do you know what sort of multi-tasking that requires!? 

But I digress. 

This is a job I wanted - in a form I needed. Sentient beings thrive on adversity; we are driven to survive, to better our situations at every turn. And anyone who tells you that they have never had to do this is mistaken; we endeavour every day to look better, feel better, be valued in our environments by both our peers and our intimates. 

Even faerie-princess-warriors like yours truly desperately seek approval from someone every day. Sometimes it's just from my own ego. 

What I mean is this; there are many jobs I could have taken, many roads I could have walked. But this is the one I took, and in a few short months it has given me more of what I needed than any job I've had in years.

***

The traveller, as we shall call him, is not by any means a long-term prospect. We will never go on dates, never hold hands in public, never make plans to do smug-couples things. 

We met briefly and crashed into each other's lives like meteorites. The connection was instant and undeniable, no matter how much we prevaricated otherwise.  

While things probably should have stayed purely friendly from the word go, they got very passionate, very quickly, and have been mildly awkward since. I wish I could say it's purely because of the non-single status (theirs, not mine), but I figured out that's only part of the issue.

Now, we make small talk about shit neither of us really cares about, peppered with occasional jokes. He laughs when I get serious, I make sarcastic jibes when he gets confused. We're trying to be 'friends'...

This is not what I asked for. Didn't I ask for tall, dark, mysterious, handsome AND free? Well, no, actually, I didn't. 

I asked for attention, someone to play with, someone to talk to. Someone who looks at me like I'm some sort of marvellous, and tells me so. Someone who makes me smile. 

And that. Is exactly. What I got. 

Before you all lose your minds and call bullshit, let me explain some other things first. 

The traveller made the situation clear to me before anything happened. I wasn't blindsided; I didn't believe that this was going to turn into a secret romance, something that would end with us dashing off into the sunset.

I'm a hopeless romantic. Not an idiot. 

What I did learn - very fucking quickly - was this; sometimes P. Charming is busy. Sometimes the poor fool is stuck up a tree, so in order to give you what you want, at the time that you need it, the universe sends someone else. 

This person is not of the Charming lineage. Sadly, they may not even be related. Or have any similar features. 

What they do have is this; their own brand of charm, some magic that reels you in like a tidal force. Be it eyes like an Summer afternoon, or a voice like a low roll of thunder. Whatever it is, it will be your siren song. But it doesn't have to be your downfall. 

You learn just as much about yourself as you do about other people during these encounters. For example, I'd forgotten how intuitive I am. I forgot that I'm much more self-aware than others. And I remembered that cowardice isn't in my nature, but for some, the safety of never knowing is stronger than the desire to find adventure. 

This isn't about ego (or not all about it anyway!), it's about self-esteem and self-worth; how much you give yourself and how much you let others chip away. 

Don't mistake me here; the traveller hasn't taken anything I didn't want to give, but in the initial foray, I certainly let my guard down more than I would have liked. 

When you let someone set all the goal posts, you also give them the power to set all the rules. Which isn't to say you shouldn't let yourself be led a merry dance occasionally - sometimes it's the best way to be surprised. It's also how things snowball out of your control. 

***

If we all got precisely what we wanted, here is what would happen - at least to me anyway; fabulous new job, no effort, minimal movement, either physically or mentally, and an average salary aligned with average skills, neither of which ever changed or evolved. 

Men and woman would fall at my feet on a regular basis. Each would offer exactly what I wanted, at literally the time I wanted it, on a constantly rotating basis. I'd miss my soulmates entirely, as the merry-go-round would never end, and I'd never put in enough effort to find out with anyone ever.

The world would never have lit up for me in the first place; my eyes would always have been at half mast, at no time looking up or down. No chance to trip and fall into something amazing, no happy accidents of catching the microcosm at the right moment. 

To hell with that. Death before dull, my darlings. 

***

In any adventure, the hero/ine takes a leap of faith and gives up something of themselves for something more worthy. Most of the time it's for the greater good, as well as for themselves, and you like to think they are the better for it, even if it seems like they are carving out a piece of their heart. 

There is absolutely no way to know if you will be better off unless you try, and you need the courage of your convictions to see through such endeavours. Most people are terrified of what might happen if they could be better off, if they could gain their heart's desire, precisely because to do so, you need to change.

To further paraphrase the glorious Laurell K. Hamilton's quote from above, people always find it easier to blame someone else. That way, you can convince yourself the possibility of happiness wasn't real, avoid examining those pesky feelings of regret, and nothing has to change. 

An extraordinary percentage of people believe that they've changed enough; I've moved house, I've changed jobs, I've found a new partner. I've changed. 

No. You haven't. You've taken two steps forward and one step back.

You've side-swiped to the left, into a different lane, with a different view, and the same gear in a different package. 

You mistake motion for growth, and get lured into vexing situations*

Without beating the point to death, I'm sure it's clear now; change is evolution, and you've all been on this rollercoaster with me before. And that brings me around to my final point...

The world is again on fire like it has been before. Everything is shiny and fresh like the dawn after rain. I wake with possibilities surging through my mind, and the desire to seek and grow is tangible. 

Because I've been given what I want, just the way I need. 

There's no great boom of enlightenment (well, mostly), and there's no billboard or manual that gets handed out for levelling up. It just happens and you just know.

It's a phenomenal balancing act to align all the right elements to make something like this happen. I'm not giving the fates all the credit, and I'm not ego-tripping all the way. It's synchronicity, it's serendipity, it's good fortune - the kind you make yourself.  

At the end of the day - or the middle of the afternoon, as la mama says - it's about remembering to put the effort in, make the play, at least show up for the epic moment. 

In the immortal words of the Rolling Stones; You can't always get what you want. But if you try sometimes, you get what you need. 

And what you need is what you really wanted all along. 

~*LTM*~



*Shampoo Planet, by Douglas Coupland