It’s what you make it

Do you remember that tickle in your tummy you got when you were a kid and something cool was just about to happen? Perhaps it was Christmas, Easter, the Tooth Fairy or maybe it was the sound of Mr Whippy approaching your street.

And do you remember that feeling of exhilaration when somebody said YES, when the clock ticked the last minute of school for the year, when Christmas morning finally arrived or even when you successfully flipped your ice cup over in the plastic cup to suck the sweet cordial from the bottom (especially good if it didn’t hit the deck)? The land of magic.

My youth was most certainly lived in a world of magic and as I grow older I realise the full extent of how lucky I was for that grounding.

While I can’t say life has been gruelling in recent times I’ve certainly had a long, long hiatus from the way I experienced life as a young person and as I grow older, perhaps wiser and certainly less tolerant of other people’s bad behaviour (and for that matter bad behaviour in myself as well) I find that I’m craving that childhood joy. That simple, uncomplicated joyful experience of life.

Lately the world has been making me feel grumpy.

Or was it me making me grumpy?

A few weeks ago I decided that grumpy cloud wasn’t working well for me and I made a conscious decision to turn it around. And no matter how spooky – airy fairy or woo-woo you may consider this opinion – I truly believe that when you put something out there it comes your way (while I think about it, if you know someone who can shear my alpacas send them my way too – just putting it out there !). I digress.

The change in my mindset happened like this:

I was walking along the main street of my little town thinking grumpy thoughts and suddenly I caught my reflection in a shop window. I noticed how I was carrying my body, my facial expressions, my being in reflection of this grump. It wasn’t my best look.

And what happened next may have made me look a little crazy (especially in a little town) but who cares – it worked.

I forced myself to smile. (OK, perhaps it was more of a stupid, forced grin) – but the intention was there and things did actually start to shift.

And my thoughts “you’re fat, you’re horrid, he did, she said” shifted to “its’ a beautiful day full of opportunity” – or something along those lines.

Point being – life IMMEDIATELY CHANGED.

And I jumped onto the change bandwagon. – I’ve been working hard to tell the darker thoughts ‘seeya’, I’ve been telling people that I’m tired and that I need space, I’ve set up a Facebook group which has the sole purpose of accountability for bringing SLOW into my (and the members) days, I’ve been having some very honest conversations with numerous people and – perhaps most importantly I’ve been very honest with myself.

Fast forward to this evening I’m away from home and while my away time is usually filled with busy I decided to take some time for slow (as is my current mantra). Slow meant a lovely few hours over lunch with a girlfriend and dinner with two new friends – it meant rich conversations, not trying to cram everything and everyone into noisy, half conversations  and rushing all over the city in an attempt to get everything done. It’s been fabulous.

As is life, sometimes it’s difficult to draw all of the pieces of a puzzle together to form a realisation. It wasn’t until I travelled back to my hotel, still smiling from my commitment to slowing down and the rich conversations that had resulted that the penny truly dropped.

My Uber driver and I spoke about Coffs Harbour (the landmark that I use to describe my place of origin) – she’d been there 24 years ago “you have a big banana” she said. I agreed and told her that the bananas have been largely replaced by blueberries and raspberries.

“Ah” she said as she pulled out a mixed punnet of blueberries and raspberries from underneath her seat. She offered me one. (read force fed). As the sharp taste of the raspberry melted in my mouth she offered a story.

She had been robbed by a passenger and lost $200 in the process.  But this, she told me was her lucky day.

I was confused.

She told me that even though she was frightened at the time, when he left she realised how lucky her life had been. She didn’t have a drug addiction, she could work, she had a good life. She didn’t need to steal $200 to survive.

Then it got weird / awesome. Her voice amplified and her hands and arms started waving all over the place as she explained her belief in god, (my inner cynic wanted to groan but on the back of a good night I stuck with it). She told me about several experiences over the following days – a late night drop off, returning a lost phone; which had essentially returned the $200 to her. Just like that.

She wasn’t ‘selling’ god to me. – oh look, maybe she was but quite honestly her message, no matter how it was presented rang so true to me right now. And her message went like this:

Focus on the good things. When the bad things happen, and they will – don’t worry – the best is coming. Be at peace and let the little things slide because really, then don’t actually matter. With a smile on your face, food in your belly and the love of family and friends, life is good

Most importantly – life really is what you make it.


Post note: this post is about choices I’ve made about experiencing the world. Many of the issues that impact upon us are beyond our control and in some cases this may exacerbate pre-existing conditions, or bring forward new conditions. If your life feels beyond your control I urge you to go to your GP and ask for a ‘mental health plan’ – I’ve done this in the past and have met a fantastic psychologist who is always there in the background should I need her services. If you feel your situation presents an emergency to your, or someone else’s health contact 000 or Lifeline on 13 11 14. You don’t need to suffer in silence.


Photo by MI PHAM on Unsplash

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