THESE are the Good Old Days

Lets be honest with ourselves for a hot minute. The past was not always a blast and the present ain’t as down buzz as it may seem. So whyyyy do I find myself wasting time glamourising the living daylight out of it? Bloody rambling on about ‘The Good Old Days” like I’m a retiree at the tender age of 24. It’s kind of a drag, to say the least. I’m trying to understand this tantalising tendency to look back at my own personal highlight reel with rose-tinted glasses. For each time I reminisce, I miss the ability to appreciate NOW for all it’s worth.

What doesn’t help, is the massive memory bank right at our fingertips that is social media. Cheers Facebook, I actually would love to see a photo of me 4 years ago tanned and living it up in Greece while sitting as a pale zombie at my desk in the middle of NZ winter. Or how about this reunion photo in your hometown when you’re on the other side of the world feeling more isolated and lonely than ever? Jeez Facebook, you really know how to make a girl feel good about herself. Nahhhht.

How many of us have lounged around and scrolled through dozens of photos on our profile and thought, “man, back then I was so much better looking, more popular, more care-free”, blah de blah… Allowing an all-consuming cloud of nostalgia to whisk you away into what was and never will be again.

Choose any page of my journal and it’s pretty darn clear that the struggle has always been real. Yet what we see on our social media highlight reel tells a “pretty” different story. One that makes you see the past as a perfect fairytale and your present as a potential nightmare. Except for those shocking hairstyles and clothes you were sporting, in that case, it’s a step up. Heck, I’ve read my fair share of spiritual/ self-help wisdom to know better than to let precious time slip away by thinking of another one. It’s clear as day that being fully present has endless benefits, but in a world that is #obsessed with clinging to youthful memories, it is not so easy to reap them. Step 1: Resist the urge to self-stalk!

I guess what I’m getting at/trying to convince myself of… Is that these are the good old days for goodness sake! Why else would I have randomly seen it written on top of a bar while contemplating writing this post? These are the moments that matter most. These are the days to be kind, to be grateful, to love and to connect with those around you. If we waste them fantasising over what was, we will not be able to live what is. To fully appreciate and enjoy where we are in our lives and more importantly who we are with.

The past is dead – learn from it, don’t long for it. Today is a glory day, you just have to see it that way 🙂 – Words of wisdom to myself and whoever else can relate.

 

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Realisations @ Live Poetry

I attended a live poetry night a while back for the first time and had NO IDEA what to expect. I questioned whether it was “my thing” or not, based on silly stereotypes and preconceptions that I wouldn’t fit in with the artsy crowd.

I was surprised, moved, inspired and most importantly…Proven WRONG! Isn’t it great when life gives you those little wake-up calls? I was in awe of their courage to speak such truth. To share their tears and laughter with a room full of strangers. Regardless of trembling hands and sweaty foreheads, vulnerability triumphed fear. Yassss!

Each sentence shot through me leaving a trail of goosebumps. As if part of my sleeping soul was awakening after an unintentional hibernation. Each poet could not be more externally different, yet commonalities ran through each of us like a sacred chord that connects all mankind. The audience clicked their fingers in ‘knowingness’ and support. It was a “whole new world”, to quote Aladin. I was happy Netflix didn’t lure away my attention on this occasion.

I pictured myself up there, baring my soul. Would people like me? Would they click their fingers? Would I be accepted? Understood? These thoughts must go through everyone’s mind, the difference being that some don’t let fear stop them. We all want to feel good enough, but waiting for external validation from others doesn’t really cut the mustard if you don’t believe in YOSELF first.

This enlightening evening sparked memories of my school days. Where praise was given for paraphrasing and I was told off for being too opinionated.  When I finally got the chance to express myself in the ONE creative writing assignment all year, grades weren’t so hot. Spelling and grammar seemed more important than effort and meaning. Darnit… “I guess I’m not creative enough 😦 If Mrs so and so doesn’t think so then it must be so”, thought little Niki. WRONG!

These memories made me kinda mad. Looking back it seemed ridiculous to grade creativity, it’s too subjective. Absolutely ridiculous to give ONE person the power to crush a spirit or deter a dream. I mean, personally, I don’t get Picasso but he turned out all right. Walt Disney was even fired for “lacking creativity and imagination” according to his boss. We each have an audience, you just have to find it. What isn’t your cup of tea might be right up someone else’s alley and that’s the beauty of individuality!

My point is, don’t let grades/individuals/past failures define who you are and what you are capable of. Don’t ever let them inhibit you from doing what you love. Because by doing what we love, we are doing what we are good at and what makes us happy. We each have something unique to contribute to the world that is upgradeably magnificent. Speak, write, paint, dance and create your truth, we all need to hear it ❤

Unsocial Media

Social media – “connecting” you to people on the other side of the world but not in the same room.

When did we start living through a screen? When did we start placing more importance on our social media “presence” than our actual presence? Our filterless, flawless and fabulous selves. Our lying on the couch in our sweatpants eating sour lollies loveable selves. The answer is irrelevant, what matters is where do we go from here? We weren’t taught how to cope with this devotion to self-promotion at school. There was no “how to survive without social media 101” or “how to love and accept yourself as a real person, not a profile 102”.

Do we continue to scroll through mindlessly judging, regretting, wishing and fantasising while staring blankly at a screen? With no external expression of emotion visible beside the occasional LOL from a good meme. We all do it to an extent. Constantly compare ourselves while creating silly stories of why one’s life is somehow superior or inferior to another’s based on a photo of a beach or a freakin’ burrito. It’s a trap, a guilty pleasure that you know is wrong but you just can’t help but overindulge in the occasional serial stalk. But life shouldn’t feel like a competition of “who lives it best” because at the end of the day we are all just doing our best and that is something to celebrate not hate.

We are superficially more connected than ever before but we don’t feel any better, and no amount of new followers or likes will change that. It is up to us to realise self-love doesn’t stem from a selfie and emojis will never qualify as real emotions. If we unlocked our hearts as much as our phones or shared our feelings as much as our photos, I bet life would feel a lot less lonely and home would feel a lot more homey.

P.S. I take full responsibility for this technological tantrum and acknowledge that social media has many great benefits that come with it like funny videos, plus it gives people a chance to create their own community and the opportunity to be heard. But with every advancement, there is a dis-advancement. Balance is FUNDAMENTAL or you’ll go mental.

 

The Return

Sooo whanau,  I have officially been back in the motherland for 1 whole year! But, for some reason, I don’t feel celebratory as such. This year has flown by in an instant compared to the lifetime a year on the road felt like. Time is funny like that I guess. Anyway, I felt the need to open my diary tonight and as always, the page that presented itself could not be more relevant right now so I thought I would share it.

Diary Entry – 22/08/2016

I am buzzing so much about being upgraded to business class with it’s never ending fancy features to focus on the fact that I’m returning home after over 2 years abroad! But now that we have officially left European soil it’s starting to sink in…

Just thinking about being home sends shivers down my spine!  I’m scared, I’m excited but most of all I am unsure. Will it be the same? Probably. But I have changed so incredibly much that’s the difference. I never felt like I fit in before so how will I feel now? Now that I have had a chance to see who and what lies beyond the safe shores of Aotearoa.

Maybe I’ll have a newfound appreciation for home. I have missed it greatly. But maybe that initial excitement and comfort will wear off? For some reason, it feels right to go back and ground myself, to reconnect with family and friends. I can’t run anymore. From what I don’t know. Maybe from conforming, from being trapped in a societal structure of living (if you can call it that) which doesn’t suit me. Why should I live for the weekend, to then live for a holiday to go on living for retirement?

I feel in a way that is what we travellers are afraid of, conforming. We’d rather sit on a bus for 12 hours than work some 9-5 office job that drains the life out of you. But, maybe that is why we feel lost sometimes too…Because we are running from what we don’t want, but not quite knowing what we are running towards either…

It feels like I have been floating for a long while in the hopes that something will pull me in. When you’re working full-time there is a purpose, something to strive towards. A pay rise, promotion and a better-looking bank account for instance. There isn’t as much time to ponder life and your place in it. A luxury/curse us drifters are often faced with. So many questions with so little answers. Until I find those answers (which probz won’t happen) – I shall seek refuge in the fact that most other people don’t know what the fu*k they are up to either.

 

 

GGS (Grass is Greener Syndrome)

WARNING – First World Problem Ahead

I had a mini internal freak out at my desk the other day. Yes I have a desk now, (never thought I’d say that) and it’s equipped with a $1 lolly bag, chips and a Te Reo book.

I felt frozen, numb, a strong desire to run.

Fear found me paralysed, doing what I preached so long against. Working in an office. That different day same shizz type business.

Isn’t that what I so longed for while on the road? Routine and stability? Now it scares the bejesus out of me.

I feel the need to escape.

“The trappings of society feel like they are bearing down on me and I’m slowly beginning to transform into the robotic slave that I fought so hard not to become. Is it just fear? Is it the full moon? I don’t know the answer but I know that running feels like a good idea. Booking a one way ticket and experiencing what real living feels like again. Uncertainty, adventure, risk, reward, failure, connection, loneliness, expansion… The predictability of each day is making me feel anxious. Is it my fault? Theres so much I can do in this city to break the mould but it’s just too easy to fit into it.” – Written in the heat of the moment so excuse the intensity.

I have to laugh at it all, because really, it’s just another case of Grass is Greener Syndrome. You know the one. You always want what you cant have, that’s kind of sick don’t you think?

I wish there was an easy remedy to this age old enemy (which is in fact myself). But like all great lessons, they are hard earned. It will take time, discipline and letting go of the fantasy and accepting the reality as it is. Not as I want it to be.

Maybe some other returned travellers catch my drift? Maybe we should make a support group…