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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My new beginnings End

It’s been a very long time since I added to my blog. I think the truth of it is that I only really started writing because I was miserable. My life was messy and becoming mixed up in the wrong things. I begin to write again now because my life has become interesting.

This time last year I was a ‘successful’ and ‘professional’ desk monkey. Time passed, yet I had ceased to grow. To many, my life may have seemed on track, as if I was achieving goals and advancing my career. Perhaps if I was someone else I would have agreed. But I am my own man, and have my own goals and desires that are not in line with the ‘norm’.

It’s been 9 months now since I threw in the Engineering profession. In this time everything has changed, I have successfully removed the shackles that people chain themselves with (all except my car) and I now lead a very simple and happy life. I have had more experiences and met more people in this short time than in the previous 4 years combined.

I lived and worked on the Snow in Victoria for 3.5 months. I traveled inland, to Mildura, and discovered first hand just how abhorrent my country treats travelers looking for their second year visas, and how widespread the exploitation is. I left my friends in Mildura and traveled solo to Adelaide with no plan, searching for something better. I lived in Port Adelaide for a few weeks, by the water with the dolphins and jellyfish, and then in the CBD, with the urban country folk, for a few more. I met many people and experienced Adelaide for what it is, however found nothing to make me stay. Only a girl with whom to go.

We drove west. With no real plan, we drove and stopped as we pleased and saw so much of Australia which I was before completely ignorant. The sand dunes, salt lakes, deserts, rock formations, the Bunda Cliffs, the wide variety of sea life and so much more, until we landed in Fremantle. As far west as anyone can get in this country. Here in Fremantle is where our journey takes its leave. But not the adventure. We traveled north to the Pinnacles and for snorkeling, we traveled south to Margaret River and a series of caves further south again. I found a job I enjoy, with a boss I respect and peers I enjoy the company of. I clean pools now, and live in my favorite place in Australia. For a while at least.

Who knows what comes next. For now I am happy and settled. In two weeks I travel to Bali and in 2 months, with the sad departure of my travel buddy, I take a trip to Thailand. What a journey it has been so far. One I will write about. In the hope that a few of you readers might follow my own steps, in your own way, and throw in your careers for an uncertain adventure. I wont be the one wishing I took that risk or did that thing when I lay on my death bed, and I hope you wont either.

A Motivational Hit

It is easy to stay still and get comfortable.

It is much harder to get up and run after something more. It takes drive, motivation, passion and a will to win. It takes the guts to face uncertainty and to drive the outcome that you want to achieve. No one can claim to be perfect, no one is, has been, or ever will be. No one has ever known what their future held. Anyone that has had a dream has had to work in order to achieve it. But sometimes we need a little bit of motivation along the way.

Motivation can be hard. Uncertainty has often clouded my thoughts and slowed my progress, though I keep chugging forward. I have taken my big steps backwards. The biggest backwards steps have been in decisions made without education and in desperation, with the hope of immediate gratification. Fact is that immediate gratification does exist, but it is rare and takes an educated and experienced mind to identify its possibility. My mind was neither educated or experienced in the matters at hand at the time. Now it is, and my losses have been recovered. I am now the closest to my dreams I have ever been, though they are still so far away. I still don’t know how I am going to get there and I have no idea how long it is going to take.

I ask myself frequently “what is your dream?”. Every day I seem to have a different answer, though they all revolve around two concepts. Freedom and Happiness. My dream (though it may change slightly tomorrow) is “to get myself into a position where I am happy and free. Free to decide what I want to do tomorrow, and where I want to go, without worrying about how I am going to afford it or how it will turn out, and to eliminate the fear of the future“. Pretty simple dream really. I have not a moments doubt that I will achieve this dream, I just don’t know how or when. The last year has been a roller coaster, the two biggest mistakes have occurred and I have now dug myself back out of their holes. But I need a little motivation.

Lately I have been turning to youtube for motivation. There are a lot of good videos, full of inspirational quotes and imagery (like this one) that just remind me that I am good enough and I do have the power to achieve anything I want to achieve. So I figured that I could share a couple of quotes here that have resonated with me recently and kept me moving forward. They may be cliche, but they have been effective.

“The Man who says he can, and the man who says he can not.. Are both correct” – Confucius

I have heard people say that they can’t do that thing countless times. I used to think that I couldn’t draw, until I started drawing. I used to think that I couldn’t maintain a blog, until I just did it. I used to think that I couldn’t quit smoking, until I told myself I could. Now I am telling myself that I can be happy, I can live an amazing life and not regret a day. And so it will be.

“Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place and it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t how hard you hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward. How much you can take, and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done. Now, if you know what you’re worth, then go out and get what you’re worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hit, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you are because of him, or her, or anybody. Cowards do that and that ain’t you. You’re better than that!” – Rocky Balboa

I wrote this in the back of one of my recent workbooks. I would read it every time I opened the book and right before every time I closed it. It reminded me that even though I was in a huge amount of debt and struggling with other serious personal issues, if I did not continue to educate myself and continue to think up new ideas, I would never get ahead. Now i’m back at the starting line, it’s time to get ahead.

I’m going to win.

What do I really want?

It seems there are so many good answers to the question ‘what do you really want?’

Some may say they want a nice house with no mortgage. Others, a fancy car. Many want a beautiful and loving wife with a family to suit. But what is the one thing, that most significant overarching achievement, that would truly bring satisfaction into your life? Is it a million dollars?

For me, it freedom of choice. Something we all already have to a lesser degree than my ultimate goal. I want to have the freedom to decide, after I wake up in the morning, what I do with my day, on any day, all year round, for the rest of my life without any stresses. I want to decide whether I go to work…. or not. I want to have the freedom to pack up, at any time, and go wherever I want. Tomorrow, if I want to go to New York City and walk the perimeter of Central Park, I would book a plane ticket and just go do it. Why not? YOLO right?

To many, this dream might seem so far out of reach that it’s simply not realistic. To me, this seems readily achievable, so much so that I’m already preparing for it to happen.

The first thing that needed to happen, was that I needed to focus. How am I going to make this happen? Really think about this. Consult google (seriously) and ask yourself, of all your ideas, which ones are reasonable? Which ones might just work? My current list of answers is getting so long I’m struggling to pick which I’m going to try first.

The second thing is to get to work. Get going, start learning, be the best, work and work hard. Don’t stop and don’t let a hurdle bring you down.

The third thing. Be prepared for success. Don’t be afraid and be prepared to win. Know what you will do when you do win. Because anyone that believes they can, that strives for it and that doesn’t give up, will win. Soon it will be my turn.

My focus has been clear for quite some time now. My ideas are vast and realistic, however I have found not achievable in my current lifestyle. I find it kind of ironic that I have made the decision to quit my well paid engineering career in order to pursue my goals. Counterintuitive right? Well, not really. My greatest asset is me. In my skills, my education and my time. The most important thing for me now, is to get out of the stressful professional job, start living a life with more laughter, more people and more time to make my dreams a reality. So screw the wage, I’m about to make my wildest dreams come true.

A Small Step in the Right Direction

Last night I was offered an interview with a company called Merlin Entertainment. Initially my application was placed with the dream of working a season on the snow at Falls Creek in Australia. Though now that I look a little deeper, I find that Merlin operates almost 100 (99 atm) attractions in 4 continents. Ideal much?

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I don’t like getting too confident, because who knows, maybe they simply won’t like me. But it’s hard not to be excited, because I really would be perfect in a role like this and it ultimately aligns perfectly with my long term life goals. Plus, the only interview I ever attended which did not lead to employment was with subway. Apparently I’m not meant to be a sandwich artist (they probably made the right decision).

The voice in my head has been telling me for the better part of a decade now that I am meant to be an engineer. Thinking that was what I wanted, I chased it, and got it. Now I have been one. Whilst my biggest passion is for mathematics and the sciences (Puzzles!), it has dawned on me that I do not need to hold down an academic career in order to pursue these passions. It may even be true that holding down my current job is preventing me from truly pursuing these passions. Never again will I accept a job or stay in a job that I do not enjoy. There is always another option.

Another of my passions is people. I have underestimated and under appreciated the importance of people before and will not do so again. It is people that really fill the emptiness in us that we so desperately try and stuff with materialistic goods and perishables. Money didn’t solve anything for me and the stuff it bought now lays around useless. But the friends I forgot I had have always been there waiting. A conversation and a smile does more than any amount of money ever will.

Feeling fortunate