Friday, 23 March 2012

Longest way round is often the shortest way home

I think the most thrilling thing to come out of this blog the last week and a bit has been gaining a new perspective on life around me.  I spend a lot of my day now mentally jotting down anecdotes or observations and sticky posting them to the inside of my skull hoping that I can collect interesting things to write about on here. It has made me excited and I buzz with what I will write about next. The last few days, however, have been quite the opposite. Don’t worry I’m not losing interest in writing! I may be a procrastinator at times but it would take a tad more than that to get rid of me. No, I simply had to focus all my attention the last few days on the last of my course work which is due in tomorrow. For those who don’t know, I’m studying holistic massage at the moment and my exams are T – 7 days and counting… 

For the first time in the history of my education (not one all that exciting) I have actually managed to complete an assignment over a day in advance of it needing to be handed up. I generally work right up to the last second even though I could have planned it for weeks in advance. I think it’s something to do with performance under pressure or something… anyways, with this course I have been extremely motivated to complete everything on time which I take as a sign that I’m learning something I love. 

I know now that I have found something I want to do for the rest of my life but that wasn’t always the case. When I was younger I wanted to be a vet. Oh and a nurse. And a writer. And a teacher. And I’m pretty sure princess but I’ve yet to find a FAS course for it so I had to let that dream go. The thing is by the time I hit my leaving cert year, I really hadn’t a clue what I wanted to do at all. The panic came when the rest of my class started to fill out their CAO forms, all with great intentions and plans that I had none of. I figured I had to put something on it at least so I looked around me and decided to go with what I knew. I had grown up in a family filled with those working in the care profession; last count there are 13 across both sides of the family not including friends of my parents. So I ended up applying for Social work. Needless to say I didn’t get any of my choices which deep down suited me just fine but that meant September was going to arrive and I would have nothing to do. At last minute, my dad suggested I apply for a social care course which by pure fluke I managed to get into. I loved that course… I really learnt a lot from it and I met some fantastic people but the main thing that I gained from that course was I knew I did not want to work in that area. 

I entered a kind of limbo after that where I researched different things and tried to imagine myself in different jobs. I considered a TEFL course, beauty therapy, costume design, set design, being a secretary; I even tried to write a bit at home. At one point I started an art portfolio course but I think I lasted about 2 months in that before I threw in the towel. My main issue was I didn’t think I was good enough at any of it to actually make a career. It’s one thing to be good at something or have an interest in it, it’s an entirely different thing to try sell your skills in that area! 

In one of my more positive moments in life I got an inspiration to shoot for the stars and try for a course that I didn’t think I had a hope in getting. I came across it online, loved every single one of the topics set out in the syllabus so took it upon myself to go into the college and get an application form. The day I walked in, the receptionist suggested that I fill out the form while I was there and hand it straight in so that I wouldn’t miss a place. I quickly filled it in and as I handed it over, he then said to me that there had been a cancellation in an interview for the course and would I like to take the spot. The only drawback was it was going to take place in 5 minutes! In a moment of madness I agreed and a few minutes later I was sitting in the office with the director of the college chatting about why I would be a good candidate. After the interview, he walked me out to the receptionist and said that I would hear from them within a few days and could I make sure they had my correct address at the desk. As he walked away, the receptionist said “look I will save the price of a stamp, you got the place”. I was going to study Interior Design. 

As it turned out I really enjoyed the interior design and it felt as close a perfect fit as to what I wanted to do than any other career I had thought of. The only problem was the fear. I completely and utterly did not have confidence in my ability and was scared that people would realise this and out me as a fraud. Why would someone trust me enough to use my service? Was I really creative enough to provide something that someone would hand over their hard earned cash for? If I didn’t have confidence in myself I found it very hard to let others have confidence in me. 

It didn’t help that as all of this was happening, the recession hit and the arse fell out of the interior design business as it was so closely linked to construction. So I was back in limbo and limbo became a rut. As time passed I started looking into things that I enjoyed doing just so that I could get out of the house and enjoy life more. One of the things I decided to do was a massage course. From a young age I had received various holistic treatments because of sleeping problems and I was generally interested in the whole ethos surrounding it so figured I’d give it a go (much to my mother and sister’s delight). I wasn’t prepared for how much I would truly love massage therapy. It was something I just seemed to “get” without having to put in a lot of extra effort, I understood it and could feel when I was doing it correctly. I realised this was it, this was what I was meant to do and what really made that clear was I had no more fear. I know I am good at this massage and I am confident about my skills. The most important thing about it is I am excited about it. I want to get up and go to class, even if I have had only a few hours’ sleep. I want to learn more about this area and I can see a path a head of me now. I know where I’m going. 

The reason I tell you all of this (to cut a very very long story short) is that it took me 9 years to get to this point. I left secondary at 17 and its only now at 26 that I honestly know what I want to do when I grow up. 

 The joy that we experience in doing certain activities is the real key to discovering our life purpose. Joy is our inner guidance system. An activity that is aligned with our purpose gives us immense joy. A person who is doing what is true to his purpose if often willing to do it even if he does not get paid for the work, as the satisfaction from the work is itself enough compensation for the work done.” 

I don’t know who wrote this so unfortunately I can’t give them any named credit but I think it sums up what I’m trying to get across.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

All ya need is love da dada da daaa!

It’s 23.51 on a Friday night and I’m currently sitting on my bed blaring Abbey Road (that’s The Beatles for some of you younger kids too hip to the groove to know) wondering how the hell I’m meant to start this blog. For the last few days I have been drawing a blank as to what I will even write about. The first one was pretty straight forward, I only had to explain what I was going to blog about, but now the pressure is kicking in cos I actually have to go and do it! Anyways, I figure the best thing is to just start writing and if I ramble on or bore ya, just send me a mail telling me to shut up, deal? 

In July/Aug ’06, myself, my mam and my sis went on a summer holiday to Canada to visit my aunt Loli and cousin Cian. We have been over a good few times but this one for me stands out because for some years leading up to this I had been in a very negative part of my life and though I was working through it all, this holiday really was the turning point where I was starting to see the light at the end of a tunnel so to speak. It was such a fun few weeks, we pretty much laughed the entire time we were there but the highlight for me was the night on the hammock. It was towards the end of our holiday on a really warm night when after we had finished a bbq out the back on the decking, myself, mam, Emma and Loli decided it would be a lovely ending to sit on the hammock listening to the Beatles (see where this memory was triggered from? Ha). Loli lit the fire pit, we took out some candles and of course more wine! The girls took turns swinging on the hammock and putting the world to rights.

There was at one point I clearly remember sitting on the steps writing and looking around me taking it all in; the warm breeze, the full moon, the flickering candles,  and then my mam bursting out into song “one, two, three, four, five, six, seven… hmmm dmmm nmmm hmmm HEAVEN”. What a hero! 

It was on this night I told Emma that I felt really happy for the first time in a long time and could see life getting better. It was also on this night that myself and Em wrote out our list; the list of everything we wanted to do or achieve before we died (this was way before the bucket list – we were so ahead of the crowd haha).  I thought it would be fitting to share it with you seen as we are all friends right? best of friends now I expect. Over time the list has been added too or things marked off but the guts of it is still the same:

The List
(Those in bold are complete)

·          Go to Finland 
·         Learn to Drive
·         Fall in Love               
·         Drive on Highway 66
·         See the Louvre                       
·         Go skiing with real snow
·         Write a book                          
·         Go skinny dipping in the sea at night
·         Travel around Europe
·         Visit a movie set
·         Own my own company or be my own boss
·         Go on Safari in Africa
·         Have a child
·         Build my own house
·         Give mam and dad a gift they have always wanted but would never buy for themselves
·         Spend a night in a penthouse suite
·         Drive in an open top car with the sun blazing down and the wind in my hair
·         Bungee Jump
·         Spend a night under the stars
·         Stand in the middle of time square and have someone take a picture of me with my arms open
·         Make a time capsule
·         Go to a rock festival in Finland or Germany
·         Get an "Im with stupid t-shirt" and then just walk up to total strangers at random and stand next to them
·         Go dancing in the rain like Gene Kelly      
·         Go to the house they used as the Pemberly estate in Pride and Prejudice
·         Have singing lessons
·         Go to Broadway/West End to see a musical (preferably phantom of the opera)
·         Get a tattoo   
·         Nose piercing            
·         Go in a proper horse and carriage
·         Grow my hair so it reaches my ass
·         Own a full bustier/corset and skirt
·         Write a screenplay or script
·         Research my family history
·         See Statue of Liberty
·         Learn Irish
·         Run (or jog..!) a marathon
·         Sky Dive
·         See the countdown ball in New York at midnight
·         Go to a Marti Gras
·         See 'The Globe' and hopefully one of Shakespeare’s plays there
·         Get a 'I heart NY' t-shirt in New York
·         Learn Japaneese (even a small bit)
·         Go a WHOLE day without electricity
·         Go to Madame Tousauds Wax Museum
·         Dance with someone on an empty street in the middle of the night
·         Perform in the National Concert Hall        
·         See a Kangaroo in the Wild
·         Buy a grand piano
·         Go on a full day spa with all my closest friends
·         Go to college             
·         Get up in the middle of the night and go to somewhere random
·         Have a professional photo taken
·         Swim with dolphins
·         Go to Abbey Road
·         Snorkel
·         Pass my driving test
·         Take a poo in every continent... hahaha...

My favourite is the last one :) It’s cheesy, it’s probably very generic and I know I can think of way more stuff that should be on it but when it was written it was a start of the positive road ahead and that was a huge thing for me at the time. I aim is to knock a few off and add a few new ones each year too. Do you guys have one? I’d really love some suggestions as to what goes on the list. 

Ok I really have rambled on enough… I will leave you with this quote that I found:
“May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself” Neil Gaiman, 2001