Long time, no see.

Hey there. Guess what, I am finally back from a few months of silence.

As you all know, in November last year, I moved to little old New Zealand and have been rather busy with settling into my new life. So, after that eerie period, I’m dusting away those cobwebs to write this piece.

It’s funny how you very quickly settle into a space you know so well. I grew up in New Zealand, in my small town aside the ocean, and to be reunited with it after 4 years came easier than expected. Before I left London, I always got the “it’ll hit you after a while, you’ll miss the hustle of London.” – well, I’m here to tell you, I don’t.

And honestly, I don’t miss it at all. I thought I would; miss the traffic, the busyness, the cafe ridden streets, the atmosphere, but I simply don’t. However, the one thing I do long for, is hangouts with my cosmopolitain friends; the work pals; I met some of the best people in the world in London; I just don’t long for the place itself.

This did come as a surprise to me. I expected myself to struggle with small town living at least for a little while, to regret ‘giving up’ (for better the word) London for a simpler way of life, but I’ve come to realise that New Zealand kinda suits me. I thrive on exercise, and fresh air, and devour outdoor spaces. I’ve caught up with old friends, explored new places, rediscovered my love for cooking and creativity, joined a band; the open space of New Zealand, has allowed me to fill it with more fulfilling activities. There’s something special about this country, and I cannot wait for my London-made friends to come and visit me, so I can show them too.

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It definitely takes leaving a place, to find the appreciation.

It’s cheesy, and the same sentence has probably been said in a million different ways, but it’s true. I left thinking I was too big for the small life, that New Zealand was boring and not good enough for the life I thought I desired. In reality I just didn’t know how to live yet.

I went to London and it was there I learnt how to live. I discovered myself through trials, tribulations, tears and smiles. And that person, this person I became, ended up craving a bigger space to breathe and grow. London suffocated me. It’s definitely a big city, but it’s also hugely populated. I listened to my body, and it was telling me I needed to move on – it’s funny how perfectly, gloriously, accurate your gut instincts can be. Researchers are discovering that microbes in our gut can send messages and important brain chemicals to our brain, affecting how we think, feel, and remember. Well, my theory is that so do your lungs. Breathe the air you should breathe, and you exhale happiness.

I don’t quite know how to explain it, but I just know that New Zealand air is my kind of air. I encourage you to find yours.

Three Ways To Get Enthusiastic About Work

It’s something we all struggle with at some point – a lack of enthusiasm to work the ‘nine to five’. Doesn’t matter how much we love the job, sometimes the happy vibes are nowhere to be found.

So that brings us to today’s blog, three ways to get enthusiastic about work.


1. | Why do you work?

This may seem like a silly question, but think about it for a second. Why do you work where you do?  Does it allow you to live a certain way in a particular area? Does it pay well? Is it your passion? (If it is, not sure why you’d be reading this, but whatever) OR do you work because it allows you to live out your passion when you’re not working?

More often than not, when you’re in your early twenties – like me – where you’re working isn’t usually your dream job, but you’re doing it to support something else. I work, to allow myself to live in London which in turn gives me opportunities to further my writing career.

So, figure out the reason why you’re doing what you’re doing, and remind yourself of it every time you have to clock into a shift.

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2. | Make the most of your free time

Other than seeing work as a means to an end, another way we can find enthusiasm to work is by not living and breathing the work place. Ever have a week where it feels like all you’ve done is eat, sleep, and work? Yeah, well me too. And it sucks! We all want to feel like we have life outside of work rotas and uniforms.

So piece of advice numéro deux? MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR FREE TIME. Book those events you want to attend, go for that audition, or simply… leave the damned house! Even if it means you go sit in a café and sip on a soya latte whilst reading a magazine, do it! Or if you work the ‘nine to five’, drop the whole “I’m tired act” and invite your friends over for a bottle of wine; go to the cinema. Make sure you’re spending your money on things other than the commute to work, and the bills. We earn money to live, not to follow the same old routine day in and day out. Spend your free time, fulfilling your passons; do what you love!

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3. | ‘Be the energy you want to attract’

We have to work, that’s the reality of it. I’m not here to tell you how to get out of working, because if you want to lead an exciting life, chances are you’ll need money for it. HOWEVER, HOW you work is a whole other ball game. I read a quote the other week which literally changed my perspective on work attitude like that *insert finger snap*.

“Be the energy you want to attract”.

My third and final way to get enthusiastic about work is to look at energy with a different perspective. Depending on where you work you have no idea who you’re serving, or working with.

Imagine this, you could be an aspiring actor, and one day you’re chatting up a storm to this guy, and you’re all passionate and excitable, then turns out hes a director at the National Theatre and ba-da-bing, you have a foot in the door. Conquer from within, and be the energy you want to attract. See work as another platform to further yourself, because it will be if you say it is.

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Screenshot the quotes, save them as your screen savers or lock screens; remind yourself of them everyday.

Only you stand in your way.

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Liberty

As we grow and age, our sense of freedom also changes. I’ve always been one to be self-righteous about freedom. I know most of us are, but I remember from a  young age always demanding the freedom to go to the shopping mall with my friends, demanding my parents to just let me do what I want, demanding that I go where I want. Rightly so my parents were strict on discipline and for me as a teenager, freedom wasn’t a right, it was a privilege.

When I was 13 or 14, I decided I wanted a job. Not legally old enough to be hired in New Zealand, I volunteered at my local library. For me, not only was this a chance to prove responsibility with shifts and everything else that came with the job, it felt like a step closer to freedom. I wanted to feel like an adult and a job seemed to come hand in hand with that idea in my head – funny how a badge with my name on it felt like liberty. As I neared 15, I got a job delivering papers in my local area. Suddenly I had an income on my very own bank card and a whole lot more freedom. In the grand scheme of things I was earning cents, but as a young teenager earning my own money – that wasn’t originally my parents – was invigorating. It was at that ripe age of 14, and about a month before my 15th birthday, I bought myself a scooter; freedom in the form of a 50cc engine, bright yellow. To be fair I bought it second hand, and my Dad did a fair bit of fixing it up, but it was the next step up the staircase of liberty.

The day after turning 15, and months after learning the NZ road code start to finish, I got my drivers license. I was 15, and suddenly my definition of freedom changed. From being dropped of at the mall by my Mum for a few hours, to being able to drive anywhere on 50km/h roads. There were of course curfews, and countless safety lectures, but I could drive myself to school, and as I got better paying part-time jobs, to those too. I was able to help my Mum when she was in need of a few things from the supermarket. Having a bucket on the back of my scooter, I volunteered and went up. I may have only been able to carry 2L of milk, and a broccoli, but I’ll tell you I was stoked. The most memorable thing about getting my scooter was filling up my scooter for the first time.  I remember driving out of that petrol station, singing to the pedestrians I passed, grinning my face off behind my Dad’s motorbike helmet – I perfectly remember how liberated I felt in that moment.

Fast forward to a year later, and I passed my restricted license test – I could now not only drive a scooter alone, I could drive a car by myself. No parents, a speaker system (!!!) and the ability to conquer my Mum’s entire shopping lists if need be. I know shopping seems like a weird thing for a 16 year old to be excited about, but to be able to do that for Mum seemed like the ultimate privilege of freedom. Plus, if I got to use Mum’s car I could play the music as loud as I wanted. I never had my own car officially, but when my Dad bought a convertible Peugeot… well, well, well… imagine this: a 17 year old, a red convertible, driving along the coast in the middle of summer, sea sparkling in the wing mirror, stereo blasting Twenty One Pilots. Oh how I miss that car. If someone were to ask me about freedom, that memory would come to mind – so would a smile.

Fast forward to now, and my sense of freedom is somehow less perceptible. This is my third year living in London and away from home, and I do have endless freedom. I can do whatever I want, whenever I want, wherever I want, yet somehow it doesn’t feel that way. I used to find liberty in the simple things – walking my dog alone, solo adventures to the beach, staying out after dark, and now I find it harder to get that same thrill. And no, going to Sainsbury’s to get groceries no longer makes me sing. I’ve been decently poorly the last week and I’ve had more than enough time to mull this thought over. I’m 21 now, and everything considered I am officially an adult anywhere in the world. International freedom but when do I feel the most liberated? I feel free when I’m writing. I can play with words limitlessly and I can lose myself in any creative world I choose. I feel free when I travel; away from the bills and responsibilities, I can lose myself in the new sights. I live for experiences and to travel is to self-liberate. Without thinking too much about the words I just used, looking back I’ve used the term “lose myself” in both cases. Is this really true? Am I using this in a negative way? No, I don’t think so. After a bit of thought, I think losing myself is a good thing; I stop stressing, I stop over-thinking and immerse myself in the now.

For me, living in the moment is the true key to liberty.

 

730 days and a message for the future migrant

730 days and 730 nights have passed since I boarded the plane to London. Rather than repeating the summaries, the messages of gratitude, and the goals of the coming years, I wanted this blog to be slightly different. I wanted to write a blog which covers some of the lessons I’ve learnt whilst living abroad.

For those without English blood, a visa typically ends after two years. I, however, am lucky enough to have English ancestry and the right to stay longer – just the thought of being kicked out is scary, I have so much more I want to do. This is the case for a lot of antipodeans who travel abroad, right as they finally settle their lives and meet friends for life, it’s ripped out from underfoot.

For those who are hoping to migrate to the UK, or anywhere else in the world, I don’t want that thought to put you off. Moving to London was the best decision I ever made, and even if I only had the past two years, I would still stand by my choice to move. Remember that in life it is very much the same, you can’t not do something because you know it will end. Live in the moment and live for yourself.

If you’re reading this and considering an international move, here are some things I’ve learnt, and some quotes that have found accuracy within my life.

  1. Don’t feel fear in leaving things behind, because if it’s meant to be in your life, said thing will find a way no matter where you are.
  2. Age is but a number. At high school I had a very small, select group of friends; people I’d grown up with, either from an early age or the earlier years of college. We had birthdays within months of each other, and that was that. Once I moved to London, I began meeting people and making friendships based on conversation, laughter, and personality. In a lot of these cases, it wasn’t until we had hung out several times that the age difference came out. In some cases the age gap nears 10 years but they are absolute true friends – I’ve shared some of the best days of my life with these people.
  3. “Everything works out in the end”, “Everything happens for a reason”. These are two quotes that I’m sure many people will think are cheesy, or absolute nonsense. I’m here to tell you, I wholeheartedly believe in these simple sentences.  Enough said.
  4. “What’s the worse that can happen?”. When you find yourself in what you believe to be the ‘worst of the worse’ situations, ask yourself this question. If you get fired, something you own gets stolen, you made a fool of yourself at the staff party (believe me I’ve been there), what is the worse that can happen? You find a new job, you earn money to replace it, you strut into work the next day owning that glorious hangover glam. It’s never as bad as it seems. Never forget that.
  5. Technology makes the earth smaller. With modern society comes FaceTime, Instagram, Facebook and all of the other wonderful social mediums. A lot of people believe these sites to be detrimental to our social lives – pulling us away from real interactions – but in reality, for the modern day migrant, the internet closes the international gap. FaceTime has made my move a breeze, because of it I’ve been able to talk to my parents in an instant. Don’t get me started on Instagram, I love that shit.
  6. Save, save, save. If you decide to move to a city, such as London like myself, you’ll soon realise it’s not as cheap as one would hope. When I first moved, I had a lot of savings stashed away, and it was too easy to spend when I arrived. “Oh I’ve made it, I can treat myself” is a bad attitude, learn from my mistake. It’s not that I went out buying rounds for the entire pub, but I wasn’t as careful as I should have been. Money isn’t everything of course, nevertheless it sure does make your life more exciting.
  7. Aspire to Inspire. As my favourite quote, it doubles as a mantra for my life. I lose sight of it somedays, like anything, but I believe I should be living my life aspiring to inspire others. Working towards making a difference somewhere in someone. If we live this way, we become mindful, true to ourselves and find ourselves spending our time wisely.
  8. Be yourself. Try and see moving across the world as a fresh start and a way to stop trying. Being a teenager can encourage being fake and lying to not only your friends but yourself. Be true to yourself, and you will attract people who (as cheesy as it sounds) love you for you.
  9. Don’t put pressure on yourself to grow up. I definitely fell into this trap, in fact not until recently did I climb my way out. There’s this misconception that success is wealth and talent, and that to be victorious you have to start young.  In London, I am constantly surrounded by wealth and talent that I began to doubt my own progress in life; that because I’m 20, I need to be getting onto the path leading to a career, earning some money – some real respect. It took me two whole years of adulthood, of paying bills, of working full-time, of living in London to get completely over this idea. I fully realised that I want to write and I want to travel. So I’m working in a pub so I can do this. Life is too short for stress, friends. Don’t forget point 3.
  10. Trust your gut. It’s as simple as that, don’t do anything if it doesn’t feel right.

I’m gonna finish this blog off by saying that these past two years have been the best. I love London, I love living here, I love my life here, and I love travelling. I love living with a sense of adventure. I encourage anyone and everyone to do the same.

Happy two year anniversary London, same time next year, yeah?

 

The Motion of Graphs

I haven’t always been a confident person, and I most definitely have days where my usual confident structure breaks away from itself. Quite often I try and analyse what confidence truly is, and why this complex demeanour fluctuates.

Confidence is technically described as:

“A feeling that is due to self-belief and acknowledgement of one’s own abilities or qualities.”

This word acknowledgement, at the heart of this definition, is what interests me the most about confidence. Throughout a discussion with a good friend (Instagram: simon_walsh14), an extremely interesting point was unearthed. I would like to share and discuss this. Confidence, as much as it is within oneself, is due to, and in majority because of, external stimuli. Therefore this acknowledgement may not necessarily be your own, but someone else’s acknowledging of your talents or exterior that creates confidence within yourself.

All individuals, admittedly or not, appreciate compliments as these are the words that assure us most; assure us that we are strong enough, good enough, beautiful or handsome enough; these structured words allow us to keep moving, and delay us from having time to descend and self-doubt.

After this new aspect of confidence was introduced to my already over-analysing brain, I was bemused at how Simon’s external stimuli opinion resonated within me. I always thought it was about self-belief and that you just have to accept and believe in who you are – this is definitely a part, but how can we do this without assurance from someone else. If we are the only ones convincing ourselves we’re strong enough, soon enough we say it to ourselves even when we are vulnerably weak. This self-belief and confidence then has the opportunity to radically weaken to self-doubt, self-doubt to anxiety.

Explaining how confidence turns to self-doubt and anxiety is hard to explain in precise detail. I have, however, experienced this feeling, so the easiest way to put this to word is to use an example from my life. Try and picture my words in the form of a graph on a page. The last 500 days of my life going horizontal, and the three notches going upward on the y-axis being anxiety, self-doubt and confidence. As my London dream began with saving and planning; I began midway somewhere near the level of self-doubt:

 ‘Will I be able to save in time?’, ‘Will I really go through with this?’ 

As the line progresses horizontally it also slowly begins to peak vertically towards the level of confidence; this came with the physical growth of sterling but also the kind words of commendation and encouragement from family and friends. These external stimuli pushed the line to level out for several months. These months were easy, I was so confident within myself and had sureness in my plan to move alone. Then the news of my departure became old amongst my family and friends, it became accepted that I was leaving, so discussions lessened. Negative and doubtful comments stopped my ability to move away from this doubt. Small, unintentional things people said – people doubting the extent of my planning or the level of accumulated savings – all made that line waver around self-doubt. The lack of encouragement and assuredness then caused my brain to self-doubt: forcing the line to descend. I was too ashamed to discuss these feelings with family and friends because I wanted to still appear like the brave being everyone described me as. This absence of conversation then allowed my brain to plummet towards anxiety. I began to have this gut-wrenching fear of failing. As the timeline sped on, the time until I was to leave New Zealand diminished in front of me. Conversations increased with the hype of 18-year old Paige leaving friends and family for a foreign place. This resulted in a vertically increased line levelled midway between self-doubt and confidence. I had assurance in my abilities but I still lacked complete confidence of success.  From those days, to now, my line of confidence has continued to fluctuate.

My line will continue on in that fluctuating motion. So will yours. Such is life.

Reading this blog you may think I’m trying to say that confidence is solely reliant on external compliments, but it most definitely is not. This external stimuli fact is purely a minuscule part of what makes our brains tick. Confidence comes from a range of things – from validation, self-acceptance for who we are, remaining mindful, grounded and humble, amid others. These are the things that increase or decrease our levels of confidence.

So think before you speak, you’re making a bigger impact than you might think.