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100 Happy Days

14 Jun

 

Recently I completed the 100 happy days challenge – taking a photo every day for 100 days of something that made me happy/a happy moment.

I loved the concept behind this challenge because focusing on the positive and the happy moments in life is something that I always strive to do. I believe that too many people are dragged down by focusing on the negative aspects of their day. The bad traffic on their way to work. That their favourite sandwich was sold out at lunch time. That they accidentally overcooked their dinner and the steak was a little tough. These things can build up if we allow them to, if we keep a running tally of the negative happenings in our day to day lives in order to produce a list to prove to others just how bad a day we’ve really had. The bad things are always easy to spot, and the more we look for them, the more we can find. But why do that? Does it make you feel good? Does it deliver any benefits to you?

What if, instead, you put effort into looking for the positive things? The bird singing beautifully in the tree above you as you walk along the footpath? The driver who let you into their lane when you needed to get across? The laugh you had with a co-worker at work that has turned into a little in-joke?

Out of the 100 days over which I took part in this challenge, there were days when happy moments jumped up, grabbed my face between their two warm hands and gave me a great big smacking kiss on the lips! There were other, fewer days when those happy moments were hiding in the next room and I had to go and actively seek them out. There was even one day – one single day – where I honestly could not find any happiness in my day at all, no matter how much I searched for it. I didn’t hide from that fact. I didn’t fake happiness. The truth is, life isn’t always happy, even if you are blessed by being gainfully employed in a first world country and in very good health… But, I do believe that it can be mostly happy, in those circumstances.

The point is, you can, to a degree, choose your reality. Although I’m a positive and happy person by  nature, I also put effort into being positive and happy. I choose to look on the bright side, to identify the little things in my day that make me smile or feel good. I make a conscious effort to see those things and to appreciate them and the more I do it, the more of those things I see and the happier I am.

Why don’t you give it a go? The challenge is a great way of going about it :)

I can fly!

30 Oct

This last weekend I’ve been back in my adopted home town of Perth and have been loving every minute of it – catching up with amazing friends, attending an amazingly fun country wedding down south in Boyup Brook in which the bride and groom wore boots and Akubra’s and for which a rodeo was the reception, and enjoying the ever-amazing weather. Yep, I love Perth.

Brilliant company and weddings and all of those other good things aside, 120 of the most amazing minutes of my trip were spent taking a lesson in the art of the flying trapeze. That’s right, I learned how to fly on a trapeze! It was challenging, it pushed me out of my comfort zone, and it gave me an adrenalin rush that had me shaking every time I was back on the ground. It was amazing, I loved it, and you should definitely go do it!

Hello little hibou

19 Oct

Later this month I am hosting my first ever Halloween party! I’ve always been sad that here in Australia, we’ve never really jumped on the Halloween bandwagon, and I’ve never been to, let alone hosted, a Halloween party.

In preparation, I thought I would craft myself out some cute little owls for decoration; So, on Sunday I cut out a template and pulled together some scraps of paper from my birthday invites earlier this year, and I made my little prototype owl.

The template was courtesy of a link I found in a New Idea I was reading whilst I was waiting for an appointment recently. The gorgeous papers I bought from Spotlight.

To be honest, I found the hibou (French for owl, dontcha know?) a tad fiddlier than I had expected, and after finishing this little one, I decided that I wouldn’t make any more for the party. But… a few days later, I can’t resist the cuteness!

Maybe a few more, in more traditional Halloween colours, wouldn’t be so bad…

Get your glitter on

11 Oct

 

There has been a bit of talk lately about people getting about with glittery nails. Anna, Emily, and Tracy, I’m looking at you!

I’ve fallen head over heels in love with the idea, and so I took the opportunity this weekend to go out and get myself a bag of sparkly silver glitter. I decided I didn’t want a full hand of glitter nails, so I’ve taken a leaf from Emily’s book and have chosen to glitter up only my ring finger on each hand – the remaining nails are glossed up with a few coats of Sally Hansen’s Double Duty. I just love the look!

Have you joined the glitter party?

Use the good china now

3 Oct

One of the saddest things to hear about after a person dying, is hearing their family talking about how they came across this beautiful dinner set/cashmere sweater/bottle of expensive wine that was never ever used, because it was being saved for a ‘special occasion’ that never came around.

None of us are going to be here forever, and some of us will go before we think we will – but this post isn’t about being sad. It’s about seizing the moment, doing today what you have been putting off until some future tomorrow, and taking advantage of everything you have now. Yes, that bottle of wine cost you $75, but that doesn’t mean it’s too good to drink – that’s what it’s there for! Open it on your next birthday, or even this Friday, because life is worth celebrating every day. Burn those beautiful candles you were given three years ago – yes, they may look pretty sitting there collecting dust, but that’s not their purpose. Their warm glow will make you happy, and you can always buy more candles – they are not a finite resource.

A friend of mine died this year – Anne had been battling cancer for a few years and, only in her mid-20′s, she was able to provide infinite wisdom to those around her about not getting caught up on things that don’t really matter. Yes, your credit card is maxed out, but you are still earning an income and you will pay it off in time – it’s only money. Yes, that car in front of you is driving annoyingly slowly, but is it worth getting worked up about? Traveling 10kmph slower than you want to isn’t going to change your arrival time that significantly when you factor in the traffic lights and every other traffic condition that exists between where you are now and your destination. Don’t sweat the small stuff. If it’s not going to still be worrying you in a week’s time, it’s not worth worrying about now.

Ric Elias was on the plane that crashed into the Hudson River in NYC in 2009. He thought he was going to die, and as the plane came down, three things occurred to him. If you have five minutes, have a look at his talk on TED (I would have embedded this, but I was having technical issues!).

I think it’s important that we all learn from people like my friend Anne, and people like Ric, and we take advantage of everything we have today – live life to the fullest at every opportunity and use the good china now, because really, what are you waiting for?

What Fabulous Thing Has Happened To You Today?

7 Sep

Somewhere in my ramblings around the interwebs, I came across someone (I can’t remember who or where – if you know, let me know!) who said that they decided to begin their emails to friends with, “what’s the most fabulous thing that’s happened to you so far today?”. I thought this was a cute idea, but didn’t think too much more about it until yesterday, when I was about to email a friend of mine.

I stopped writing what I was going to write (a mundane ‘hi, how are you, blah blah blah’ type of email) and, thinking of this mystery person and their crazy email antics, instead wrote, “hello! what’s the most fabulous thing that has happened to you so far today??” A few minutes later I got a brilliantly fizzy, happy email back telling me that the most fabulous thing in their day so far was that my friend had woken up next to the man of their dreams!

The response was so positive and joyful that I couldn’t help but email a couple of other friends the exact same question; I got back responses that were just as happy and positive as my first! It was such a brilliant little exercise – such a simple thing to do but, as a result, I’m sure all four of us felt much happier. It’s so easy to focus on the little niggly things that can drag us down in a day – your hair’s not quite right, or you’ve spilt your coffee in your rush to get to work on time. But, if you just stop for a moment, and actually think about the good things that have happened to you, it’s amazing the difference it makes. Why don’t you give it a go? The next time you email a friend today, ask them what the most fabulous thing is that has happened to them so far today… Then tell me in the comments below!

But first, let me ask you – what’s the most fabulous thing that has happened to YOU so far today??

You Ran 42.19km?!

6 Sep
Dan and Adam post-race

You might remember that just over a week ago, my very good friend Adam was about to participate in the  Perth City To Surf Marathon. Well, I am 23 kinds of chuffed to report that he completed his first ever marathon, after only four months of training, in the fabulous time of 5:41:54!

Hindsight is a valuable tool so, in a follow-up to my pre-marathon interview with him, I thought I would throw a couple of post-run questions his way, just to get a feel on how he felt it all went, and whether he would do anything differently.

Now that you’ve completed the marathon, do you feel your training was adequate? Would you make any changes?
My training was great. I would do a few more big runs (25km, 30km, 35km) just to build the expectation of what I would be going through. I only had four months to train though, so I couldn’t do anything epic.

Your running buddy, Dan, was a late ring-in. Did it help to have someone to run with? What were the advantages of having a running buddy?
It helped a lot. Being able to bounce off someone else was great. You’re in a lot of pain and I think it makes it a lot better because you know someone else is in just as much pain as you are; I don’t know why, it just did. Everyone’s true personality comes out when they’re under extreme pressure, so pick your running partner carefully. Dan pushes himself a lot and he’s a great guy, which really showed when the going got tough. He was making sure I was ok, and another girl who tagged along with us; even though he himself was in a lot of pain, he still took care of everyone around him.

Describe the marathon to me – what was the day like? Take me there!
It was very cold in the morning and I was in short shorts! It was also very dark when we arrived – a 6am start. Everyone was crowded around each other and people were dealing with their nervousness in different ways. Some people were excited and were jumping on the spot and shaking their legs. Others were very quiet and just looked around. Dan and I chuckled because I made the comment that I could get at least 100,000 points if I was playing Carmageddon. Some guy was giving a motivation speech somewhere, but I couldn’t really hear him. The organisers blew a horn and we were all off and running! It was weird running with 1000 other people who were about to take on the same challenges I was – I felt a kinship with everyone around me. I didn’t let it show, but it was really quite humbling.

The pack then started to spread out and we got some space. We met one character straight away and his name was Silvio. He was a bit odd to begin with, as he was shouting “olleh!” all the time, but he inspired Dan and I a number of times throughout the run. He would catch up with us and shout, “hey boys keep running, we’ve only just started!”… He shouted that out at the 35km mark! I couldn’t stop laughing – he was a great guy.

The run itself was pain free until the 20km mark when we got to Kings Park, and that was brutal. We came out of Kings Park hobbling; Dan’s knee had taken a turn for the worse and he was thinking of stopping to avoid an injury, and my hips and all down the front and back of my legs were in a serious amount of pain by that time. But, it was what I expected, so Dan and I just kept pushing along. The pain for us both got progressively worse, and I could have quit a number of times during the race from just the pain alone. It really was unbearable at times. But, there’s a positive side as well! I finished the marathon a different person, and I left a lot of stuff behind and in return, gained some confidence. I got to see who I was under extreme pressure, and I feel like I passed the test; the “who am I really?” test that we all ask ourselves sometimes (or at least I do!). A few of Dan’s friends ran past us and shouted some encouragement, and one lady asked if Dan was sick and when he said no, she shouted “keep running then!”. We laughed and started running again. I saw a lot of good human spirit out there – ti’s changed my perspective completely.

From the 36-37km mark we started to walk from one street light, then run the next, as a strategy to help chew down the kilometers, which worked really well. The last 12km was great as we got to see everyone walking along on the other side of the fence and some of them cheered us on. Others just looked at Dan and I in a weird way – I think they were probably thinking what crazy knuckle heads would run a marathon??!!

As soon as we saw the finish line, Dan turned to me and said, “we gotta run this last 100 meters”. I said ok, and then Dan started sprinting!! I thought holy crap – I gotta catch him!!! So I started flat out sprinting to catch up, and just before the finish line I grabbed his hand and shook it. Epic. (**fizz note: this bit has brought tears to my eyes every time I’ve ready it!)

It was the hardest thing I have ever done, and I loved it.

What were the absolute highlights of the run for you?Do you now wish you had taken me up on my offer of hot pink running shorts?
Haha! Nah… I looked really bad anyway, don’t worry!

I covered this a bit earlier, as there were a lot of highlights along the way. One that stands out right now though, is the sense of achievement I felt walking back to the car with the medal around my neck. I felt thrashed, but great!

What was the hardest part of getting to the finish line?
Pushing through the pain. Everything else was a breeze. I can’t describe it – you have to feel it for yourself. I just kept my eye on the goal.

What’s your next challenge?
The Avon Descent. I reckon it will be a lot of fun. The Avon has been on my bucket list for a while, and now I have the courage to attempt it.
Hiking also looks like a lot of fun, so I will do a bit of trail running. I’m also going to do the marathon again next year.

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