What A Difference 9 Months Makes – How Blogging Saved Me

I read a lot today. I read my own writing, from my first blog post up until now. In hindsight, I believe this blog saved me from a much darker fate. The act of putting something in writing for the world to see, be it an idea or a thought, an emotion or a desire has strengthened my will to achieve my dreams, and I am proud to say that since the time I started writing publicly, my life has completely changed for the better.

It was sad to read many of my posts. The first 3 months I spent blogging was a very bad time in my life, wrought with depression and other vices that were leading me down a rabbit hole I could not see a way out of. The truth of the matter is that I am usually not a very open person. I find it very difficult to confide in people, or even talk about my state in the simplest of terms. Yet in writing, I find myself telling the world, openly, all the things I cannot seem to tell even those people that are closest to me.

I read posts about freedom and failure, materialism and minimalism. I read about my plans to remove all of the clutter from my life and about the way I want to live. As of this moment I am happy with my life. I travel, I see, I do and I feel free. Since leaving Melbourne I have learned, and learned very quickly, just what is important in my life. I own less than I ever thought possible, yet find myself wanting nothing more than a new book occasionally, or a block of chocolate. I live well, I enjoy my work, I eat well and have good accommodation, and all for less than I could have ever imagined.

Perhaps the hardest hitting revelation I had in this process is recalling just how depressed I was in my ‘successful’ life. Were it not for me putting in writing many of my thoughts I would no longer remember just how much I hated my life. The depression I felt now seems so distant, and my blog serves as a reminder to me that my well being is in my own hands. My current situation is a direct effect of acknowledging that I was not happy and making the hard decisions necessary to change. It wasn’t easy. Much of the journey has not been easy. I have had several serious setbacks and many unexpected turns, but never lost sight of my goal. However, no matter how stressful, or how broke and hungry I may have found myself in the process, the depression that once gripped me has loosened its hold and no longer exists.

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And So It Snows

Last night offered me only 3 hours sleep. The Snow Season is late but is now ON! In less than 24 hours now I am on my way up to Falls Creek (the snow resort) and I don’t come back.

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It’s enlightening to look back at my journey so far. There are so many societal expectations that I have been trying (successfully) to fulfill for such a long time and there are others that I have more quietly completely flunked on. But up until now, I have never really been happy. Of course there have been good days and there are memories that I hold fondly, but if I were to step back and look at my life as a whole, it was never going in a direction that I wanted it to. It has been going in a direction that I felt was expected of me.

I have absolutely no idea what is going to happen with the rest of my life, but I have learned many very important lessons recently. Mainly that there is no point doing something if we don’t enjoy doing it. Secondly, stuff what people think we are meant to do, the only person that can decide on what is best for you is you. There is nothing that we are meant to do. All I choose to do now is keep myself happy and surround myself with good people. I don’t have space left in my life for negativity.

Being happy does not mean life comes without it’s stresses. For the most part I have found a profound peace recently, but anxiety still lingers, every now and then it pops up and I find a sleepless night. Will I run out of money? Will my choice of lifestyle be sustainable? Will I be able to continue to save? However in order to find our place in this world, the place where we find our purpose and are happy, we must face these fears head on. I have already faced my biggest fear, I have left my profession.

So tomorrow, my adventure really begins. The snow is coming. For the next few months I will be the best damn lift attendant on the mountain and on my days off I will forget the past, and forget the future, and live in the moment, with anyone that is willing to share their time with me. Life’s too short. People are too important. I’m looking for some more good people to share my life with.

A few brief words of wisdom from a bearded man to see me off. My next post will be from the Mountain. I’m very excited.

I Want to be a Fire Truck

When I was a toddler I wanted to be a Fire Truck. Then when I was a little older, I wanted to be a Lawyer. Then when I was a bit older again I wanted to be a Cabinet Maker, then a rock star. Now i’m an Engineer.

Image Credit: bit.ly/1gKy8pG

Image Credit: bit.ly/1gKy8pG 

My point is that it always seems we should have some idea of the direction in which we want to/are meant to head. But really, we probably don’t. Ultimately the majority of us just fall into place, somewhere that our education has dictated we belong, or somewhere that our connections have placed us. We then just keep turning up. We stop asking questions. Wait for the next pay packet. Then figure out how to spend it.

I can’t accept this.

I overheard a conversation on the train this morning, on my way to my desk. A lady was telling her friend about how her child seems to have figured out what he wants to do with his life. He wants to be a physio because he is good at maths and sport. It seems to me that as adults we expect that our children should be making decisions so young as to what they want to do with the entirety of their lives, and that it is expected of them to do that thing they decide on so young, their entire life. We scare them into thinking that if they make the wrong decisions they will be stuffed.

Perhaps life is more about the journey than the destination. Perhaps we should concentrate on enjoying the right now than exposing ourselves to stressful and unenjoyable situations in search of some ultimate goal or job that we don’t know yet if we will even enjoy. The workforce is so far removed from the education system that we are simply not giving our youth realistic expectations.

I am no wise old Wizard. I’m just a young man, confused and lost, starting off on my pursuit of happiness. I feel though that my wisdom is growing. Money no longer controls my thoughts. Though money is necessary in this life, and I do aim to make my own, passion, people and love are taking over my mind.

If I could, and I hope I soon do, speak to the (ultra) young people (i’m still very young) currently going through school and being asked to make decisions for their future. I would tell them to do whatever it is that makes them happy, and do it better than anyone else. Choose subjects based on what you enjoy and not on what prerequisites a particular course at university might have. If you are doing classes that you don’t enjoy in order to get into a University course. You’re probably not going to enjoy the University course. Success is personal. If you’re measuring your success based on someone elses opinion of you, you’re doing it wrong.

So, really, the moral of my story is enjoy now. Now will never come again, and if you spend now worrying about then, when then comes, no doubt you will be worrying about the next then. Don’t get lazy, keep pushing forward, keep doing what you love, keep drawing, building, creating, writing, reading, traveling etc. If you’re not doing what you love, then you have simply not thought hard enough about how to get yourself there. In Australia, there is no excuse, everything you could possibly need is at your fingertips. Go out and get it. Quit complaining.

Btw, as of right now, I have:

  • 7.17 days;
  • 172.10 hours;
  • 10,326 minutes; or
  • 619,560 seconds left until I am no longer an engineer.

In one and a half weeks from now my life will be entirely different.

Searching For My Next Mistake

Life is changing. Life must change. People want to protect me, to keep me from making mistakes. People try to guide and mentor, though it’s more and more obvious that everyone is just winging it. No one really knows what it is we are meant to do or where we are meant to be, though many people seem to think they do. When I get to where I want to be, then I will know. But not before.

I’m diving off the deep end. I have been comfortable for years. Though comfort and happiness are not the same. Everything about the rest of my life is completely unknown. The full time professional world quickly blurs our true passions and it is an arduous task to regain clear focus. Without passion life become mundane. We find routine and perpetuate our actions for the sake of comfort and/or a limited certainty. We do all we can to avoid risk and uncertainty.

For years I have been sitting behind desks. My education suggests that by now I should be feeling some sense of achievement. Though whilst I don’t regret my path so far, I certainly feel very little sense of achievement. I am a robot taking commands and following orders in a system that is built solely around profitability and mitigating risk. Growth and advancement in myself during my time at work is stagnant. I am nothing more than another resource. I AM better than this. I have more than this. My personal bar is way higher then this. This industry and these procedures are an insult to my intelligence. The only thing that remaining a professional in my current position guarantees is that I will never even glimpse the lower bounds of my potential.

I’m freaking out. What’s going to happen? Everything at work (for my remaining one and a half weeks) is URGENT. But it always is. I just don’t think I can take this shit any more. This title of engineer holds no value in my eyes. There is no engineering being done here. Computer says no.

That’s enough of a rant.

 

I need another good mistake. Only through mistakes do I seem to learn anything valuable.

Habitually Conversing

Supposedly, the easiest time to eliminate old habits and form new ones is whilst undergoing a major change in living circumstances. For example moving house. So I figured that given I am going to be moving to Falls Creek for the Snow Season I should start thinking about what habits I currently have that I should cut out and what things might be worth trying to adopt regularly in my life.

In the last 2 months I have already had huge success in changing my lifestyle for the better. Primarily with regards to smoking and excessive spending. Though there is always a way to continue to improve. So what is next? Ironically (though I guess it couldn’t have happened any other way) whilst obsessively scanning facebook yesterday I began stumbling across a whole bunch of content (such as the videos below) regarding how obsessed with technology we have become and how dissociative it can cause us to be.


I definitely spend too much of my time on social media. I have begun to loose the art of conversation and am numb. My phone is always on me and I easily check it 100 times a day. There is only so much I get out of digital conversation. They lack emotion and tone. They are checked and optimized and lack genuine error. I do not truly know the people that I converse with online and they do not know me. What defines us is so much more than anything anyone can write on a screen.


So when I get to Falls Creek, in about a months time, I am going to leave my phone at home during the days. I’m only going to check it in the morning and at night. During the day I am going to commit my complete and full attention to everyone and anyone that wishes to share some of their time engaging with me. I am also going to make an active effort to engage others, simply to share a short moment in friendly conversation. I wish to learn to converse once more and make some new genuine friends. Some friends that get to know who I really am and not how I appear online.

Well. I was going to try and come up with a few new habits to try and adopt, but my work break is nearly over. Running. I’m going to try and run at least 3 times a week. But lets not commit to too much hey. The phone is already a big one :/ 

Life in a Backpack

Followers of this blog will know that I have been rapidly downsizing my life. Getting rid of all the clutter, throwing out all the crap that I have accumulated and trying to figure out what it is that I really need, and what is really important.

Where my things once were

Where my things once were

There’s less than 4 weeks now until I take off for Falls Creek for the snow season and I have successfully removed almost all of the material crap from my life. Those things that I have chosen to keep (a few guitars and a telescope) have been rammed into ‘out of the way’ corners at my parents house for storage. The rest of my life, the things I wish to take with me, are getting very close to fitting into a backpack.

After the snow season I don’t yet know what I will be doing, though I was thinking about making a move up to Queensland and spending the whole summer working and surfing. I hope that by cramming everything I need into a backpack that making a move like this may be as simple as just going. Just doing it. Of course if this is the direction that I choose for my next chapter then I will do what I can to pre-organize work and accommodation. But if these things don’t happen, why not just go? Why not just try and wing it? What is the worst thing that can happen?

It hard to be care free. But that is, in part, the aim. What is life if we are not doing the things that we want to do? Or at the very least doing everything in our power to get there? Any one of us could die tomorrow.

A Thought on Time

As of this moment, I have been alive for 833,561,826 seconds. Or, for the more reasonable among us, about 26 and a half years.

Image credit to litstack.com

Image credit to litstack.com

Now, after the decision to leave my profession, the sense of ‘running out of time‘ can at times seem overwhelming. Currently, the average life expectancy for males in my approximate age group within Australia is just less than 80 years. This means that, on average, I have the amount of time I have already been alive more than 2 times over again before I die. But I don’t ever get to relive my childhood, I don’t have to learn to walk or talk again. I don’t ever get to go back to high school, I already know how to read and write.

If in the first 26 years of my life, from a foundation of nothing I can come this far, how much can I achieve in the next 26 years. Though it is correct to say that I am starting financially again at $0, I am not starting from scratch. I now have experience, education, knowledge and will. We have a lot more time than we know, it only matters to recognize its potential and how we use it.

I am now 833,562,612 seconds old. Did I use these 786 seconds effectively?

Unnecessary Anxiety

My mind is in a strange place at the moment. At work (only 4 weeks left) i’m as depressed as I have ever been, though outside of work i’m getting close to being the happiest I have ever been. Every day I undergo a complete mental reversal at about 5:30. There is excitement brewing in me about what might be to come. There is also an anxiety eating at me about just how bad work might get during the next 4 weeks. The anxiety is very hard to overcome, whilst also being unnecessary. I recognise that my anxiety stems from a fear of what is in my short term future, whilst that in 4 and a half weeks I will be on Falls Creek without a care in the world. So why do I still feel anxious? why do I still have the urge to destroy all the things?

It seems reasonable that whilst in the midst of a hard time or a stressful situation one might become stressed or overwhelmed. Though to be stressed in anticipation of an upcoming event that may or may not be hard to deal with seems entirely unreasonable, and to only make the present, otherwise potentially pleasant moment, worse. So why feel anxious? Why whilst understanding that right now, whilst i’m not being persecuted or accused of some bullshit bureaucratic error, do I still feel so anxious about events which may not even occur. Further more, the events which may or may not occur depend entirely on my ability to output a sufficient amount of work. Though my anxiety about what may happen if I don’t get my work done is preventing me from completing my work. It’s all a vicious cycle of horrendous productivity. Perhaps a clear sign that I am not where I want to be.

I think subconsciously my anxiety is also a result of feeling that I am letting down my employer. I have a responsibility as an employee, that of late, I have not upheld. My first years as an engineer I produced, though at the time I was unsure how well I was doing, it is clear now that I was well over performing. It is a lie to say that I have enjoyed my time as an engineer though. I have resented (with perhaps the exception of the first 6 months) almost every moment I have spent behind a desk. It took some big mistakes and personal errors to realise that I was choosing to stay behind a desk, and that the feeling of entrapment was a result of being financially comfortable. Though now I am anxious, biting finger nails, feeling shit and wanting out. In 1 month, it will not matter what happens over the next 4 weeks. I will be out.

Stop, Stare, Sway and Imagine

Slow down. Look around. Moments ago I was sitting on a train on my way to work. The train arrived at Flinders Street and like most mornings I began rushing off to platform 6 for my next train. Until I saw a little girl, standing, swaying, and looking at a big ‘dumb ways to die’ piece of advertising art work.

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Dumb ways to die

Forgetting where I was going I stopped and observed the girl. She was smiling. People rushed and dodged all around her, their headphones blaring and fingers frantically conveying some critical messages on their phones. Yet she saw straight through them. She only saw the art work. She giggled as an unknown adventure unfolded in her mind. If only she would write it down and give it to me.

Suddenly a ‘big’ grabbed the little girl by the arm and pulled her off in to the crowd. The girls eyes fixed on the image.

I’m now lost. I know where I need to be going, but I find myself among the masses. My headphones in, but making no sound. My feet carrying me, but without direction or urgency. My mind is at peace.

So many people are rushing. Each looking as if the world will implode if they do not arrive at their destination at the earliest possible time. Many move with direction but not with urgency, but only few stop to look around. Like a movie in fast forward the still images, the people without urgency, stand out. These are the people I want to meet.

The crowd settles and comes to life on loop with the arrival and departure of trains. I now stand and stare at the same piece of artwork as the little girl. What was in her mind?

My Possessions. Me, Me, Me!

25 years ago. If I could have comprehended the question, I may have reported that my most prized possession was my blanket. 

20 years ago, perhaps it was my Humphrey Bear teddy.

15 years ago I may have said it was my karate outfit.

10 years ago my skateboard.

5 years ago my xbox and excessive collection of games.

I no longer own any of the above items. I have given away/lost/sold every last one. Yet at the time it would have been obscene to suggest that life would continue as normal without.

I, like many, have found great comfort in objects. Though not just in any object. Objects that are mine. I have found release from a reality that at times I did not desire by relying emotionally on the presence of something external to myself that I knew specifically belonged to me. Me me me. To posses a block of chocolate in times of emotional turmoil may be a subtle and familiar example to many.

Today, my most prized possession is my baby fluff face stuble. I play with it daily until its itch infuriates me. When I feel inadequate or unwise I stroke the sides of my chin hair and gain immediate sophistication. The point being that despite what my brain tells me, I do not need anything but myself to deal with the situations life throws at me. In most cases turning to possessions for comfort or distraction only serves to inhibit the growth of self.

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Well. I could use a never ending pack of tim tams……