Posted in Happiness, Life

Do what makes your heart sing

Today I took my children to see a light show telling the story of Matariki and the beginning of the Maori New Year.

Today we had coffee with friends.

Today we got caught in the rain.

Today we took refuge at home on the couch.

Today I am writing; today my heart sings.

Do whatever it takes to make your heart sing and surround yourself with those who allow you to do so.

 

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Posted in Life

A Better Me

Gidday 2017. How the heck are ya?

I was wondering what you might have in store for me this year and then I heard you chuckle and tell me I had to figure that one out for myself. Fair enough, I guess.

So, as always at this time of the year I did a stock-take of my life and tried to imagine what it would look like one year from now (cue Baywatch model in red bikini swimming in an ocean of hundred-dollar bills).

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Then I stopped daydreaming and realised I already have the basic blueprint nailed … awesome family, great friends, enjoyable work etc. In other words, the external stuff is pretty great and I’m grateful for it … it’s the internal workings that could do with some improvement.

Don’t get me wrong I’m a pretty happy go-lucky type and it takes a lot to get me down, but I’m far from perfect. I have days I just can’t be bothered. I have days where I feel like that hamster on the wheel and I wonder what the point of it all is and days where I feel like I’m wasting my time on this earth and could be doing so much more.

I know this is normal and we can’t be happy all the time … but this year I’m striving to get those percentages up. I’m striving to be more compassionate, more patient, kinder (especially to myself) and grateful.

I’m going to be kinder to my body and try to get it moving more often and fill it with more nourishing food.

I’m going to be kinder to my soul and fill it with inspiring thoughts, nature’s beauty and children’s laughter.

And I’m going to be more understanding of those around me and remind myself that they probably weren’t put in my path just to piss me off, but they probably have a lesson to teach me.

So take a good look everyone because this is the me to be. The same ol’ girl, just a bit more ‘Zenified’ (if that’s not a word, it should be 🙂 )

balance

Happy 2017 everyone and thanks for reading.

 

 

Posted in Happiness, Life

Is Productivity Killing Passion?

We’re so bloody productive these days aren’t we? And if we’re not … we feel guilty and like we should be doing SO MUCH MORE.

I sometimes fear that we are becoming a bit machine-like. We are so BUSY doing, doing, doing … we forget to stop for a minute and take stock.

A typical day for most women my age goes something like this: Wake up, get kids sorted for school, squeeze in breakfast for ourselves (maybe, maybe not), get kids to school, go to work or get home and start work, clean house, buy groceries, fit in some exercise (maybe, maybe not) collect children, ferry them off to after school activities, do homework, organise dinner, dishes, bath, stories, kids in bed … find wine, slump on couch and crawl to bed … oh and talk to partner (maybe, maybe not).

Ok, I’m exhausted just writing that … so how does it feel living like this every day?

Sure, we may feel pleased we achieved so much in day. We may feel relieved that we managed to tick most of the boxes off our to-do-lists … But do we feel inspired? Do we feel excited? Do we feel passionate? Do we feel appreciated?

If we’re lucky we have a job that truly inspires us and fills us with joy and we have abundant energy allowing us to work, raise children, do the domestic duties, cherish our partner and find time to relax … how many of you are saying “I wish” right now?

Is this even possible? Can we HAVE IT ALL, AT THE SAME TIME and still be HAPPY?

Or are we just setting the bar far too high and expecting that we can maintain this superwoman status without flinching?

I think it’s great that women can achieve so much and the opportunities we have available to us these days … but are we being too hard on ourselves? Are we expecting too much and what are we compromising by doing so?

Sometimes I feel like we are so hell-bent on being productive and ‘successful’ that we are running the risk of becoming machine-like and losing our human connections and de-valuing that which makes us human in the first place.

You’ll notice in the above description of a typical day you don’t find the following: a long walk along the beach, sitting for two hours with a cuppa and chatting to a friend, ringing someone overseas and re-connecting with them, reading a book or going out to dinner with a loved one.

Why is this? Is it because these things are now seen as taking too much time? A guilty pleasure? Or something that just needs to wait until you have some spare time?

Is time so scarce now that we can’t use it to connect with people, pursue our passions or just slow down and relax?

Oh sorry I did forget one thing from the list … scroll through Facebook feed, like a couple of posts and maybe comment (if there’s time!)

And if we are living like this, what impact is it having on our children? Are we consistently portraying the message that we just don’t have time? Will they value friendships, nature, passions etc, if they never see us pursuing them and investing our valuable time into them?

Even the school system seems to emphasise more machine-like, productive assets than human values. For example, whilst I think my children’s school offers many opportunities and has got some good systems in place – I wonder if the school values could be a bit more human?

As they stand, the school values are Respect, Responsibility, Resilience and Resourcefulness. These are all great attributes but they seem quite ‘Sergeant Majorish’ to me and I’m sure you could programme a robot to possess these same responses.

What about human values like empathy, compassion, kindness and individuality? Are these not important enough anymore?

I know that being resilient is important in order to survive life with its harsh edges, but what about the values that add meaning to life?

Are we passing these by in order to be productive?

And are we teaching our children that emotion is a weakness and that ‘being tough’ is the only way to navigate through life’s obstacles?

I personally would love to see some awards handed out to our children who are kind to others and act in a compassionate, empathic way.

I realise this post has a lot more questions than answers and some of us are so far down the ‘life is too busy’ rabbit hole that it is hard to navigate a way back.

However, I think it’s important to take the time to think about these things once in a while and to take stock of your own life.

Sometimes we need to ask ourselves whether we feel we are truly living an authentic life. One which makes us feel inspired and alive inside.

And if the answer is no … perhaps we can just allow ourselves a snippet of that golden resource called time to have a think about what changes can be made in our own lives to bring back the passion.

Good luck and keep smiling,

Kat

 

 

Posted in Life

A poem for my husband

Ten years ago
To this very day
My life was changed forever
In the very best way

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We’d had a blast in London
And then we settled down
Had two beautiful babies
And lived in a small town

Jack and mez babies

But then a change was needed
And we moved across the ditch
It wasn’t all smooth sailing
But love got us through without a hitch

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So now we’re in the Bay of Plenty
And we’ve found some solid ground
Our love has never been stronger
Of that we should be proud.

Us at Xmas

 

Posted in Life

Multi-tasking Gone Mad

As I was sitting on the loo this morning, scrolling through my news feed on Facebook and trying to determine which task I would tackle first (out of the many which needed to be completed in order for the kids and myself to get out the door on time) it occurred to me that I spend the majority of my life doing exactly this – Multi-tasking!

Very seldom am I doing just one thing at a time and hardly ever am I doing nothing. Yes, nothing. It seems like a foreign concept these days but back when I was little often when we were waiting for something we had to sit and do NOTHING!

That brings me to waiting. Do you remember waiting? Do you remember how you just had to sit there and think about something, look at your shoes or god forbid strike up a conversation with the stranger who was waiting next to you?

This is what waiting looks like now …

And don’t get me wrong … I am just the same as the folks in this picture. The other day for example: I was waiting for my daughter to finish her dance class and noticed there was a father waiting also. I said a quick hello as I sat down, to which he briefly glanced up from his smart phone and replied and then I sat down, grabbed my phone and this is how we continued for the next 10 minutes.

It would have been the perfect opportunity for me to introduce myself and get to know this ‘Dance Dad’ and vice versa or it could have been a nice chance to just sit back, relax and catch my breath for a few minutes. But it is like it is just an automatic reaction: Waiting = Looking at phone.

So it seems as if I have lost the knack or desire to wait. However, I also fear I may have lost the ability to single-task, and by doing so am missing the opportunity to fully engage and enjoy the task I am trying to complete.

Take my mornings for example: I never sit down at the table and enjoy my breakfast or allow myself time to ponder the day ahead. Instead I scoff something down my gob while preparing kid’s lunches, putting away dishes and giving my children the hurry up.

This makes for a hectic, stressed-out start to the day and one that I feel I need to change.

Sound familiar? I’m pretty sure I’m not alone here.

The scary thing is that my children have evidently picked up on my problem … When my 6 year-old son’s teacher was telling him off for talking instead of doing his work, he politely informed her that he was “multi-tasking!”

Oh god – I have a multi-tasking mini-me!

So, what is a girl to do in this predicament? Well, I am going to try to do some things better and / more often and these are the things that spring to mind:

1) When spending time with my children make sure I give them my full attention
(Trying to read them a story in the ad breaks of my favourite TV show is not working out well for anyone involved!)

2) Try to go to bed a bit earlier – meaning I can get up a bit earlier – meaning I can actually sit at the table and enjoy my breakfast.
(I’m sure that sounds way easier than it’s actually going to be!)

3) Now, here’s the kicker! When I am waiting for something i.e. a dance class to finish, a train to arrive, the doctor to call my name – I will try to either do nothing or talk to someone.
(I’ll keep you posted on how that one goes!)

But in all seriousness: I think multi-tasking definitely has its place and can be a great skill to possess. However, I also think maybe from time to time we could all benefit from just slowing down a bit, fully engaging in the task at hand and avoid having a ‘multi-tasking melt-down!’

Feel free to join me on my ‘single-tasking and waiting’ challenge and be sure to let me know how you get on.

Keep smiling,
Kat

Posted in Health, Life

Life Lessons Learnt From The Sofa

Recently my husband worked away from home for about a month. Initially I freaked out at the thought of being alone with the children for so long and wondered how this ‘Damsel in Distress’ was going to cope. However, my friends rallied around to ensure I was not lonely and that I retained some sense of sanity and, with their help, I got through it ok. I must admit, it was a very busy few weeks, especially considering the children were on school holidays at the time and I distinctly remember several moments where I wished I could “just put my feet up for a while.”

So, as often happens in my life, the universe delivered: Shortly after my husband returned I managed to misjudge a step outside of the house, roll my ankle and consequently end up unable to walk and destined for a few weeks with my feet up. I obviously need to be a little more concise when I put my wishes out there: I was actually imagining a scene where I was stretched out on a sun-lounger, dressed in my bikini with cocktail in hand – not on the sofa at home with an ice-pack on my ankle and a couple of Nurofen to swallow!

photo credit: ΠάνοςΤ via photopin cc

However, as much as I was not at all happy about my predicament, being forced to rest reinforced for me a few of life’s important lessons:

Life goes on

While I was staring out the window, at the television or mindlessly scrolling through my phone, I came to the realisation that the world was still spinning and life was soldiering on regardless. This was despite the fact that I was not racing around trying to fit 30 hours into a 24 hour day!

Letting go


My lovely husband had no choice but to take a week off work to organise the children, get meals and generally attend to my every need. Lucky man! He tried his best but of course he didn’t do things exactly like I do: Wet towels were left on the lounge floor; Dirty dishes were often left in that state overnight; Toys became more visible than the carpet beneath them and the outfits my daughter ended up in – don’t get me started! However, he was trying his best and due to his efforts we all got fed, the children got bathed, dressed, taken to school and put to bed and life went on. Therefore, I had to learn how to bite my tongue and let go of the reins. It definitely wasn’t easy but was a valuable lesson for me to learn that things can still get done even when they are not done my way!

Asking for help

After a week off work, my husband really wanted needed to get back to his regular job. Therefore, as I have no family here, I had to take a deep breath and do something I often struggle with: ask for help! So, with the help of my wonderful friends, I was driven to appointments, my children were looked after and taken to school and everyone pitched in to get me through. My children were also a great help to me and were more than happy to help out with the chores, get themselves dressed and find their own food. This made me realise how independent they can be and how they are much more capable than I gave them credit for. I also learnt that you should not be too proud to ask for help because more often than not, people are very happy to lend a hand.

It’s ok that we’re all different

My husband is not big on talking about emotions, his or anybody else’s. So when I injured myself he was brilliant with his actions – racing to get me ice-packs and painkillers, taking care of the children and cooking us meals. However, he didn’t come and give me a big hug. He didn’t ask how I was feeling or ask how I was coping and he didn’t know how to react when I was upset.
At first, I was a bit peeved about this. His actions were practical and necessary but some of the time all I wanted was to have a cry and be given a hug. However, I realised this would be how I would be acting and he is not me. In fact, he is probably my polar opposite in many respects. So, instead of being cross with him I had to learn to be grateful for his actions and realise that this was his way of telling me he loves me and feeling sorry for me – and they say women are complicated?!

Be grateful

I consider myself to be a positive person who counts her blessings. However having to rely on others as much as I have had to the last few weeks has reinforced just how grateful I am for the people in my life:

– I am extremely grateful for my wonderful friends who have rallied around to keep up my morale and help me out. I am blessed to have found such a great support network in my adopted country.

– I am thankful to have a loving husband who is also a great father to my children and a great support to me (in his own way!)

– I am blessed to have such helpful, caring children.

– I am grateful that the angels were looking out for us the day I fell, as I was carrying my 4-year-old daughter and she survived without a scratch and my injuries could have been worse also.

photo credit: symphony of love via photopin cc

Although fracturing my ankle was not a life-changing event, it has still put things in perspective for me. It has made me realise that if I allow myself to slow down a bit I will have more time to enjoy life’s precious moments more fully, be more relaxed, happier and not miss out on what is right in front of me.

Now, that’s one awesome silver lining!

Posted in Life

Does Busy Trump Bored?

One of my favourite sayings goes “It’s better to be busy than bored.”

I have always whole-heartily agreed with this statement and at times when I have been crazy busy, I have consoled myself with the fact that ‘at least I’m not bored!’

But as our modern lives seem to be getting increasingly fast-paced and hectic, I am starting to re-think this theory. Is it really better to be busy? And how busy are we talking here?

If we are talking about having so much going on that you forget to drop your baby off at daycare, leave it in the car seat all day and then return to said daycare to pick the baby up, only to find that you not only forgot to drop it off in the first place, but that the little one has died (read more of this tragic story here:) – then I will take ‘bored’ any day of the week!

If we are talking about being so busy that you don’t have time to chat with a friend, visit a family member or play with your children – then it’s bored I’m choosing!

Why is it that busy now equals good? Somebody might be ultra busy running around like a roadrunner on speed, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are actually achieving anything, or doing anything to the best of their ability.

roadrunner
photo credit: chris jd via photopin cc

So, that leads us to ‘bored’. Although I have just given ‘busy’ the once over, I don’t think ‘bored’ is really the ideal state of being either. I remember a time when I was bored… I had just graduated from university and had moved home with my parents to save money, while searching for suitable employment.
My day essentially consisted of six things: A morning walk along the beach, eating, preparing lunch for my grandmother, applying for jobs, checking the mail and watching television. That was my day … and this same day continued for around 3 months. Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for having that time with my grandma and enjoyed the evening meals with the folks, but at the tender age of 18 – I was BORED!

So, where does that leave us? Obviously there are many downsides, some even fatal, to being too busy and being bored can be just as stressful. So I guess that leaves us with that thing we are always striving to achieve in our lives: BALANCE.

balance
photo credit: Viewminder via photopin cc

Oh yes, that delicate balance between work and life, fun and chores and busy and bored.

However, I wonder if this so-called balance is actually achievable? Maybe it is more realistic that we will have times in our lives when we are busier than we would like and times when we are bored and that life is actually just about managing those times as best we can and putting strategies in place to cope?

I know that when I find myself overwhelmed with everything going on I implement a few strategies such as: making lists, asking for help and trying to prioritise tasks into “must be done today jobs,” and “can wait until tomorrow jobs.”

I haven’t been bored for a long time, but next time I am I will try to appreciate the extra time to do those things I never get around to and funnily enough will try to keep ‘busy’ – go figure!

Where is your life on the spectrum of busy and bored? What strategies do you employ to manage?

Also, if there is anyone out there that has achieved perfect balance in life, please let me in on your secret!