LEAVING ON A JET PLANE

“Leaving On A Jet Plane” – I bet you are singing that song now aren’t you? You’re welcome! Lots to catch up on and lots happening so read through and find out what our next adventure is!!!

Tolkien has a few pretty great quotes that resonate with me but one that currently stands out with me is “not all who wander are lost“. I have been somewhat lost over the past few months (about 5 to be pedantic, since I last wrote), and I have felt every second of it, my soul longing to write but unable to drag the words needed to the surface and out onto the keyboard. You may remember that I had resigned from aged care nursing and jumped ever so boldly back into acute nursing in the hospital system, and it was from that point that my writing took a bit of a vacation. Despite me feeling a little lost at the time, I know now that it was merely a case of me wandering from writing, and writing wandering from me – nothing is ever truly lost.

My wandering from everything I knew previously has taken me on such an adventure that seems almost too amazing to be real. Lets be honest though, it’s not all been sweet dreams, some of it has been really tough. As a family we have faced some difficult decisions. My husband and I went through a really rocky time and had some time apart so to speak (although in the same house we slept in separate rooms to get some space and clarity). Mostly it was related to unresolved issues with family members that has been simmering and bubbling for quite some time, but the time each doing our own thing allowed us the space to grow individually and allowed my husband to find the man he is without trying to be everything for everyone else. I do believe everyone deserves the right to be heard and not shot down for having feelings. He had finally found his voice, and although it was great for him to finally stand his own ground, I certain there were a few shocked people at the receiving end. Now our relationship is far stronger than ever and I love my husband even more for having his own voice. He has even decided to do a reiki course!

My new job has been fantastic and I’ve really grown there both personally and professionally, the transition has been far less scary than I had thought and I have now begun my Renal Nursing Training and loving it. I never thought that renal nursing could teach me so much about every other area of nursing! I’ve also faced and over come some bullying – one of my biggest emotional issues over the past little while too which has empowered me to continue breaking through and facing those yucky emotional hurdles that rear their ugly little heads in our lives. I’ve really been looking after my own emotional and spiritual wellbeing so my physical wellbeing has taken a backseat due to sheer overwhelm, but I do believe that if you don’t deal with the internal stuff, the external stuff suffers. I’m taking one step at a time.

The two girls are doing pretty well despite the few challenges we’ve had with them. Miss Teen Rebel is a champion at managing her cardiac stuff , and Little Miss Macca has started the program to help with her CAPD. We are enjoying living near the beach after moving into a house just one street away. We do have a bit of exciting news though.

In a mere 26 days, the Pluck family are off on a European Vay-Cay!!! Hubby has retired (still works one day a week as allowed), and we are taking the opportunity to travel and make memories whilst we have the time and hubby’s health is still okay. We only have today, no one is guaranteed a tomorrow so live now.

So stay tuned for our European travel blogs…lots of interesting stuff. Videos. Photos. Wellness. And my attempt at homeschooling two very different kids whilst we are away!

Tell me…where are you in the world and if you could go anywhere where would it be and why?

QUE SERA

Wouldn’t life be easy if we could just say ‘fuck it’, and do shit anyway? After all, doesn’t the greatest happenings in life occur when we throw caution to the wind, give fear the bird, and step courageously into the infinite possibilities that are before us? What can you see when you look at the could haves, the could bes, and the could dos in life, if only you had grappled and taken hold of the mere 30 seconds of guts it takes to say ‘fuck it’?

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I guess I’m asking these questions mostly of myself recently for so many reasons. Like so many of us women heading over to the latter side of their 30’s, we are for the first time really able to define exactly who we are and what we want out of life (although in saying that I can remember back in my 20’s thinking I had all it all figured out too so I might be eating my own words in my next decade here!). One thing I do know is that since becoming a mother, my life is not just about me anymore but about the two beautiful daughters I have been honoured with and as such this means that I must be that guiding light for them to follow. Woah! Big job, big shoes – size 11 in fact!
Asking these questions of myself has prompted me to get jiggy with the realities of life, and has made me challenge every belief, every value, and every action I have taken and will take in the future. I’m cool with that though because “if it doesn’t challenge you it doesn’t change you” – and deep down we all really want life to change and be exciting (could you imagine watching the same episode of a show over and over again? Think that song at the start of the movie Groundhog Day…annoying right?).

So I am learning a lot about Que Sera, and learning a lot about saying what will be, will be. I am learning the value of being guided by creating life rather than being fearful of it, including learning from situations that previously have all but paralysed me emotionally resulting in some significant collateral damage that could have been avoided with using a different tact. Understand that I don’t regret even one of my decisions along the way because they were right for me at those times in those situations.

Que Sera is not about frivolity for me though, I won’t be doing a vegas trip, joining a commune, or jumping out of a plane with no parachute. Que Sera for me has come with a healthy dose of self reflection. Talk about mirror mirror – but that’s for another time. How about some self disclosure of exactly how I have been practising the art of Que Sera lately.

!!!TURNING MY ENTIRE LIFE UPSIDE-FREAKING-DOWN!!!

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NO HOUSE! –YET…

For the past four years since moving to the Sunshine Coast we have lived in a 2.5 bedroom unit. Sounds alright except it wasn’t until after we had moved in that we found out that in fact it was designed mostly for over 50’s – wonder if the other younger families also didn’t realise that until it was too late! We accepted however that the situation was right for us for a short time and made the most of it, next you know four years has flown by and our kids are outgrowing such a small place. So we put in our notice and put all our belongings into storage whilst we house sat for 4 weeks for a friend and colleague of mine (again that whole adventure is for another time), on over 9 acres of beautiful land.

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That part of the adventure is up now and we are winging it in a holiday unit 20 seconds walk from Sunshine Coasts Moololaba Beach – tough life huh – but we are now without a permanent home until the right one is presented to us.

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Admittedly it has taught us how to live without excessive amounts of ‘stuff’, and the girls and us have coped quite well.

I QUIT MY JOB! – AND GOT ANOTHER…

After 4 years in aged care nursing I knew that my time was up when I felt like crying every shift, which was insane because I loved what I did, worked for an amazing company, achieved great things, and had beautiful colleagues and clients. However the masses of government budget cuts and policy changes meant we were doing more work in an already stretched day and it took its toll on myself and my family…and when my then 7 year old daughter said mummy we miss you because you are always working (even at home), I knew that it was time to leave and go back into acute nursing. Im loving it really and was blessed to get a position in an amazing hospital – I am supported, appreciated, cherished, and encouraged to pursue my dreams. Im happy and loving the challenges.

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I’M WRITING A BOOK! – NO REALLY I AM…

I haven’t always wanted to be a nurse. When I was young I wanted to be an author, and I was so good at writing that I got to go to specialist camps and won awards at school…then life happened. I am back on track with it though and am now in the process of writing a book…a nursing book along the lines of 50 shades of poop (kidding). I have had this vision for this book for nurses for quite some time and was given a voucher from my beautiful husband and children, for a 1 on 1 session with an author coach Alex Mitchell. I have had it (it was more enlightening and wonderful than I had expected), and am so excited for what comes next – stay tuned!

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So now I am getting what I look for (read E2 and you will understand), and I am determined to see my life fulfilling, real and raw, connected, and worthy of a legacy I want to leave my children. I can guarantee it wont be all bunny rabbits and chocolate fondue but I do know this to be true –

‘LIFE IS SIMPLY A SERIES OF EXPERIENCES DESIGNED TO BE LESSONS FOR OUR GREATER GOOD’ – Tammy Pluck

UGLY

Recently there has been a movement by a beautiful woman Allison Grant from Alli&Co and her tribe and its called #banishthebully – a movement to call people out on their shit when they are being a tossed to another person. I do love the concept of this movement and support this movement fully, we should all be able to have our opinions and make our own choices in life without the lynch mob suiting up and drawing their swords – I know this because when I made the informed choice to no longer vaccinate my children after almost losing my firstborn to the side effects, and when I decided that right at this moment I was not a subscriber to chemotherapy for my own health journey, I was launched upon with seething hate from people that I thought loved and cared about our little family….but I digress…back to the ugly side of life. The thing is though its important when banning the bully, to not become the bully yourself – you can stand up against the behaviour without making attacking comments about the bully. So I’m standing here saying I too will #banishthebully – keep that in mind when you read the rest of my exposé of the ugly side of life…

Sure. People show you their lives in highlight reels with the occasion gasp factor and a few bad moments scattered in there to make it seem like they are just the folks next door. People are much slower to show the ugly side to their lives however, in fear that they will be judged, ripped apart, made a mockery of on social media. Can’t blame them really – I mean have you seen the shit fights that occur when someone says they don’t vaccinate their child or don’t agree with chemotherapy in their own health journey? Not only does it not end well but it can often leave even the most emotionally robust people questioning their worth on earth.

So in the essence of over sharing, vulnerability, and a shitload of ‘me too’ – here is the gag reel of ugly moments in life that I’m sure lots of people are leaving out of their Insta-Twit-Face status updates. Brace yourselves! Get a bucket! Don’t pee laughing! Grab a tissue!

I DON’T HAVE ALL MY SHIT TOGETHER – Despite popular belief, everyday I have feelings of inadequacies. Am I a good enough mother. Am I a good enough wife. Am I a good enough daughter. Am I a good enough friend. Am I a good enough nurse. Plain and simple, despite my mostly positive outlook, I constantly have to drag my sorry butt away from the ‘I’m not enough’ party. The constant arguments in my own head about this is enough to light up a Jerry Springer show stage. To be frank (although my names Tammy) we all have these insecurities – you’re not alone.
I’M AN IMPERFECT MOTHER – I try to behave like a responsible parent most of the time but sometimes that baby gets thrown out with the bath water (pfft…not literally silly!). Although I try to parent ethically, lovingly, conscientiously, I haven’t always made decisions that have resulted well – in fact once I let my child speak her mind to her older sister on facebook which was probably not the best decision….I probably old have guided her to have a strong voice to stand up for herself in a different manner but I don’t regret anything because I was doing the best I knew at the time. On another occasion I showed exemplary parental, maternal instinct (insert sarcastic undertones here) when I was sitting on the floor reading my baby girl when I looked at the book thinking “wow that is a lifelike spider” – cue screaming (from me), jumping higher than an Olympic pole vaulter, and me on one side with baby sitting next to (non poisonous) spider, as it dawned on me it was a real spider. Yes. I admit it. I am a dreadful mother.

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I AM NOT A HEALTH NUT 24/7 – Once upon a time I was over 30kgs heavier, smoked, had cervical cancer, rrv/bfv induced arthritis, thyroid disorder, cyst on my brain, pre diabetes, exemplary nurse!!!!! Then I hit a wall when I got to the point where I was struggling to walk from the lounge to the bathroom from the escalating vertigo I’d been experiencing for years and I made a massive change. Shed a stack of weight, got cancer free, stopped smoking, mostly sorted the thyroid crap, etc etc. All of a sudden people thought I was just perfect…especially after we decided to become vegetarian. Let me tell you folks…although I like to make the best nutrition decisions for myself and my family – I’m not perfect (in fact the last couple of months have been shocking!!!). I have been known to eat hot chips, I allowed some ‘naughty’ food back into my house….hell I even scoffed a bunch of chocolate – and not the guilt free stuff I normally make at home. We have had a shitty few months and we sometimes make emotional decisions about our food. We just won’t stay in this state of processed sugar bliss.

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SHIT HAPPENS TO US TOO – Currently as we speak we have had car engines explode, cancer, accidents, times we have had to ask my parents for financial help, worried if we will have enough money to pay the bills, had my teenage daughter have her heart and breathing stop for 2 mins after a collapse in the shower, mysterious medical crap going on with hubby and no clue why, people disrespect us, people judge and hate on our decisions for our family, family dramas….need I say more? We all have this in our lives…life happens even when you’re sending good into the world.

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PLAIN OLD SHAKE YOUR HEAD YOU TOO MOMENTS – You know life brings us so many things that challenge us but not everyone talks about it because either it is still considered taboo, or it’s just plain embarrassing….it’s okay though I’m a nurse – over sharing is just what we do at the dinner table! Anyone can see I haven’t gained my pre baby body back and to be honest I know that part of the reason is because no amount of exercise and nutrition can fix some things, so unless I decide to do that there will be some aspects of my body I have to simply love as they are. For example:
I love the torn fibres in the muscle on my belly that looks and feels much like a run in a stocking ladder – because that belly carried a few beautiful babies…two of which were able to come into the world – the others back into Gods arms.
I love my bladder, my bowel, and my pelvis – they may be a little friendly with gravity these days but my bladder sure does let me know when I’ve had too much time on the trampoline, to many laughs, or when it’s time to do the front door key shuffle….bless that bladder and that 1 hr labour and birth – who said a fast baby wouldn’t be fun!
I love my non-existent libido…because apparently sleep gives me even more joy lol…all I need to say is that birthing a 9’10” baby head to toe in under 3 mins with no drugs is no walk in the park. On the upside my husband agrees with the joy of sleep too…we’re both completely buggered!
I love my cervix….pap smears are never the same after your cervix has been chopped to bits by constant biopsies for 2 years…but she served her purpose and recovered from cancer.

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So as you can see – its not all highlights in life – we are all real, and raw, and as flawed as the next person in our own perfect way. Lets celebrate the ugly life brings as well as the great. After all, you would never know su shine without a little rain x

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THE BOOK LADY – Lets not go there

I am in love with the written word, in fact I have been for as long as I or my mother can remember. Both my parents were creative however their talent lay in drawing and sketching. I began school later in the year (not really sure why but beginning school was less regulated back then in our tiny little home town), and in a few short days I had caught up with a couple of months of school work. I remember as a kid that I was either writing something creative, or reading – so enthralled in what I was experiencing in these books that my poor mother would be screaming right beside me to get my attention to have me look up completely oblivious and say “oh hi mum”. In grade six I was also chosen to attend a writers camp at Tallebudgerra Camp School, it was a dream…an entire week of writing workshops and authors like Gary Crew!

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To be totally honest not much has changed in these areas, despite being distracted with being a mum and nurse, my passion for the written word is still so strong but I needed a little reminder of it to draw me back in. I started this blog a few years ago to meet the need I had to both write, and to share my story with whoever would listen (or read so to speak). This past week I have written more than I have in months which feels like bliss for me. In this time of rest and recovery I am having from the incredible exhaustion I was feeling, I have learnt how cathartic it can be to take back some time for be to simply be still with my thoughts. I spent a period of time the other day lane, quiet, and undistracted, to find my most clarified ideas come to the forefront of my mind. Within a small space of time I had developed and documented 5 children’s books about the health journey, and came up with the title of the nursing book I am writing. I do however think my minimalistic approach to my books need some tweaking.

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I really love hard copy books. There I said it! I’m not sorry for neglecting to join the kobo and ebook craze, I’ve tried from right here on my iPad but the most I can manage is emails and blogs. There is just something magic about holding a real book in your hands with the promise of feeling, experiencing or learning held tightly within the pages. There is a scent in books that evoke an emotional response that only avid book lovers relate to. It’s this love that has seen me hold onto far too many books. I confronted this fact whilst reading ‘Everything That Remains’.

“Didn’t you used to have a ton of books too?”
“Yes. A hoard of books. Like two thousand. Maybe more.”

I could see that over time my books had been getting their groove on and had been reproducing like bunny rabbits at spring time. I had fast forward thoughts of me becoming ‘the book lady’ as opposed to ‘the cat lady’, and really I don’t need all the books I have currently. Some are doubles, some are good but not life changing, and some well I just don’t know. So I’m getting ruthless. I’m committing to keeping only those books that put value into my life on a reasonably regular basis, and unless the book is super important I’m going to begin making regular use of the public libraries.

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THE BLUR – Finding yourself. Again.

I think we all at one time in our lives, sometimes more than one, go through the process of trying to ‘find ourselves’. Heck there are even so many movies dedicated to the topic they should have their own genre! Who can forget such titles as ‘How Stella Fot Her Groove Back’ and ‘Eat, Pray, Love’, not to mention the upcoming movie ‘Finding Dory’. I’m currently in this process. Again.

I began a few weeks of emergency holiday leave on Thursday after reaching a point in my life where I felt used, abused, and and unimportant. In my professional life as a nurse I give 110 percent to what I do and after a while you begin to notice that you are being stretched to a point that leaves you unable to inject your known level of passion into your role. Sure you can do the tasks, but since when is it fulfilling to just exsist doing the actions with less of the soul. So after a very emotional and hard working few weeks I was spent, it was some time coming with no repose, and I have taken these few weeks for my own personal wellbeing. My daily job now is to find myself, and to take back my passion for nursing…I want to lead a life of passion and purpose – I think deep down we all do.

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I want to highlight at this point tht over the next few weeks I will refer to a quote from the book ‘Everything That Remains’ by The Minimalists. Firstly, it’s a great book that is helping me to sort through the real and perceived clutter in my life, but secondly – well just because its my blog and I can.

‘…attempting to find something meaningful in the blur’

‘The Blur’. A very apt description of us trying to find meaning or find ourselves for that matter, amongst the blur of our cluttered and busy lifestyles. A blur. Like what you see out the window of a fast moving train as you whoosh though what you can only imagine is breathtaking scenery, only you are unable to really fully focus on any one point through the blur. It’s also not unlike seeing endless things in your periphery as a blur, but as in life you are so focused on the end game and miss the entire journey along the way.

The take away however is that meaning can be found in everything, you might just want to slow down long enough for the blur to regain focus and clarity.

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CONTAGION – Thoughts are infectious

A very interesting observation made by The Minimalists in their book ‘Everything That Remains’, and one that we tend to overlook.

“Someone yawns behind me, which triggers several more yawns among the crowd. Boredom is contagious.”

CONTAGION.

The global fear at this current blip in an ever expansive history is Ebola, and how nasty it is. Yes, keep on picturing those yellow or white hazmat ensemble complete with full head mask. Yet Ebola is not as contagious as many people are fearful of it being – your not going to catch it having a one off five minute conversation with someone in an airport for instance, as a nurse who has worked in infectious diseases I know that my safety rests on me taking the necessary precautions – but that’s for another time.

Meanwhile however in this western society, the infectious thing you should be most concerned with cannot be spread through droplets or drool, neither can it be spread from spew or poo. Instead it is spread through society like wild fire, from repeated exposure to people whose apathy about life – their life – has become somewhat a hobby for them. Except like an annoyingly executed marketing strategy, they keep repeating ‘but wait there’s more!’, until you too are lured into feeling the same way about your own life.

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There is a simplistic truth to that saying ‘you are who you associate with’ and ‘you are the 5 people you spend the most time with’. It’s a little like walking up a mountain. You begin by carrying your own rock (your emotional ‘stuff’), but along the way people notice that you have a backpack and they put their ‘stuff’ in your back pack. Before you know it, they are on their merry way to the top whilst you are huffing and puffing, struggling under the weight of everyone else’s ‘stuff’. Not only that but you now don’t know which is your ‘stuff’ and which is not. Personally for me I have experienced this in my own life, when I spend too much time with people that struggle to get out of their own way, or I constantly see them posting ‘poor me’ statuses of the same content over and over again with no action to remedy. After a while I notice my own thought patterns begin to spiral downwards.

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That’s not to say that I’m not responsible for how I feel and how I think. In fact over the past 12-18 months I have become more acutely aware of my emotions and thoughts and what impacts on them – hence giving me a greater control of the direction I steer them in. I think it has probably been the greatest influencer on the relationships I spend time in and ones I allow to drift away…some I will remain connected to in a proximal kind of way, but they no longer add value to either persons life. My take away message really has been that be aware of the contagions you expose yourself to and how many rocks you allow in your backpack – sometimes you might want to shrink wrap it!

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COSTUMES – Mindset or matter

“Our identities are shaped by the costumes we wear”

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BOOM! First sentence of the chapter in The Minimalists book ‘Everything That Remains’ and they have already captured the trappings of the modern western culture of BE. DO. HAVE.

Life edited and The Nonconforming Professional both explain the downfalls of this mindset very well.

I don’t know about your experiences in life, but I personally have spent an obscene amount of my emotional currency worrying about my ‘costume’. I worried about my fashion, although as a woman with a super long torso, ample hips and flipper sized feet I don’t really think I ever managed to master that one. I worried about what car I drove, although I’m still not an owner of that Ford Capri I used to drool over – be warned if anyone tells my husband I used to want a Ford I will deny, deny, deny! I worried about my status and title in career, although despite that I got a degree and rock at what I do, I still struggle with feeling ‘enough’. Essentially, my final concern has historically been with what others perceptions of what should only have mattered to me.

Each time we set the standard of what we will be, what we will do, and what we will have to be truly content and happy, the bar is raised by our own subconscious Oliver that just wants more please sir. We end up spending our entire lives reaching and striving for that ‘my life is complete’ point that keeps shifting higher and higher, until before we know it we are balancing precariously on a dozen or so stacked chairs trying to grab for that bar.

I think that the treasure I took from reflecting on the quote, is that we need to apply the ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ and ‘its whats on the inside that counts’, to all aspects of our lives. Identify what costumes we are wearing in life that might not really be true to what is on our inside. I’m going to continue working on my inner self (deep and meaningful huh), and I am going to try to let go of the statuses that shackles me to the ever escalating bar.

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WELL PLANNED HOARDING – The illusion of the organised

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It’s been a while. What do I say. I’ve been busy? I have a life? Being a mum is a full time job? My schedule is cluttered? Cluttered. Yes cluttered.

It seems to be that everything in our lives today is cluttered. Our minds, our health, our homes, our diets, our schedules, our work spaces, our computers, our email, our cars, our to do list, including the list of everything needing to be decluttered in our lives. The funny thing is that when we “organise” our lives and our stuff we magically think we are somehow reducing that clutter. Sorry to burst your rainbow filled illusions folks but I’ve discovered a truth about this recently, and it can be best summed up by The Minimalists quote from their ‘Everything That Remains Book’

“Truthfully though, most organizing is nothing more than well planned hoarding”

Lets face it. As human havings we are consumed by our consumables. We work our whole lives to have stuff, then we pass that stuff down to our children so they too can hold false hope that this stuff can help define themselves as human havings too. We can see this each Christmas and Birthday and any other time where stuff is given. How many of us have received such stuff that although you are grateful you simultaneously wonder where on earth you are going to put it, or how you will use it when really the thought would have counted more.

It’s a timely thought particularly in Australia with Spring well and truly sprung, and Christmas just around the corner. For us we organise our clutter, get rid of a handful of stuff, and replace it with a truckload of new stuff. It makes me wonder why as human havings we are so connected to our stuff in a way that seems slightly cuckoo. If the thought counts and people over possessions rule the day, then why oh why are our collections of material items getting bigger, and our quality time with what really matters getting smaller.

Recently I participated in The Minimalists Game whereby each day for 30 days you get rid of items you no longer need. On day one you get rid of one item, day two you get rid of two items, and so forth. Add on a few more items along the way and by the end of 30 days you had reduced your clutter by a whopping 500 items! You must be thinking we are sleeping on the floor and eating out of cans – dont fret – it really is much simpler than you think. Try it and I promise you will surprise yourself. After this challenge I had the enormous pleasure of meeting these lads (Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus – lucky I’m married because not only were they quite striking, they are minimalists!!!).

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I asked the lads one question in my short moment with them that really was important (seeing as I’m a nurse nut).

Me: “What’s the biggest impact minimalism has had on your health?”

Josh: “It allowed me to simplify my habits.”
Ryan: “It allowed me to simplify my diet.”

…less stuff gave them more time to exercise

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Lately I have felt so overwhelmed with “stuff” in both my personal and professional life that I have taken leave, taken time, taken pause. My overwhelm was at a crossroads where I either needed to take this time, or embrace insanity on a new level. Stumbling over The Minimalists couldn’t have been more a synchronicity if you had planned it all along. My home, my life, my career – all currently upside down on a roller coaster ride. It’s okay though. I have realised when chaos abounds, it’s part of the process of remoulding, regenerating, and reforming of our lives.

I’m ready for everything that remains – yes it’s the title of their book, but when you clear the unimportant matter from your life isn’t what remains the most important?

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SHOESLACES & SUCCESS

When you are a kid, say around five or six years old, success is pretty simple and uncomplicated at the heart of it. Success at five years old is as simple as FINALLY being able to tie your shoe laces. You remember that don’t you? That first time squealing because you got your fingers stuck in double knot you magically tied around them, now wondering why your fingers are turning purple and they feel cold and foreign at their tips. At times during the learning process getting confused as to wear the bunny goes and why you should be tying knots in a poor bunnys ears in the first place. For a long while you would throw yourself to the floor or stomp your feet yelling that you’ll ‘NEVER BE ABLE TO DO IT!!!’ Then that magical day comes and finally the bunny goes where it’s suppose to with no injury to anyone, leaving you jumping and giggling and squealing with unhindered glee. The definition of success really begins to change after that though and continues to change throughout each stage of your life.

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When you are a teenager success really is quite variable dependant on what drives you or what your conditioning is. For some (me when I was a teenager), success is clearly dependant on achievements at school. The depth of success hinged on whether you aced your exams, got excellent marks, and whether you favourite teacher and parents recognised your potential for great things as an outcome of being an exceptional academic performer. This was also applicable to the success desired in those that were athletic and their sporting achievements. For other teenagers success was highly dependant on friendships and relationships in school, sometimes particularly on their popularity ranking. Their desire for public and societal acceptance was first and foremost the most important aspect for feeling successful. It was easy at this time of life to judge the other for their personal success definition but in reality it is a confusing and ahem….interesting time in each of our lives – no right, no wrong, just is. Just when we figure out what we are sure success is we grow up and for some become parents, and although some still have strong definitions on the meaning of success, parenthood often flips everything on its head.

For many, becoming a parent is a great success in itself however for just as many we begin to think both our success and sanity in those first months! When the chaos and change settle into our new norm however our definition of success begins to shift toward this new chapter. Now the mere hint of a baby who feeds well, sleeps, and is healthy is our new success. The first crawl, walk and word fills our conversations. When they grow it is their ability to be resilient, independent and their ability to stick it to the man and create their life their own way – hindered not by unfair societal confines or limitations. (Okay that last bit applies to my experiences as a mother of a strong child but that’s for another time). It is however important to celebrate also our successes in our careers too.

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Last night I attended a beautiful awards night for the company I work for – my ‘day job’ and one that I’m overwhelmingly passionate about. It’s an exclusive night only open to award winners in 6 divisions, 20 year employees, general managers, and executives. We get a beautifully catered dinner, a band, accommodation in a five star hotel, and a buffet breakfast that is more like a restaurant (first time I’ve ever had a Japanese Chef cook me my own gourmet omelette in front of me). I got the priveledge of going as an award recipient of an Innovation Award for Safe Work. The reason I received this was for the Quit Program I implemented across the company throughout Queensland with Q-Healths Quit Program. Many people have now either quit smoking or are on their way with a new determination and it costs them nothing. The way I see it, healthy health care workers equal a healthy health care system. The award now gives me $1,500 – to implement a new program which I have already thought out and will get moving on soon. I digress. So this award really is one of the highlights in my 13 year long health career journey and it gives me a feeling of success at this time in my life. However when I returned to my sunny Sunshine Coast it dawned on me that success is transient in nature.

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As I walked along the waters edge with my family breathing in the salt water, sun dancing on the water like diamonds, I realised the fact that I am just as successful because of this moment, the love that surrounds me, the days that stretch before me.

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How do you define success?