So here I am sitting on a dark brown rustic wooden chair at the famous Bourke Street Bakery, wearing my favourite cobalt blue and powder pink Alice McCall Peridot dress. A No Smoking sign, a newspaper, a half eaten slice of flourless chocolate cake and an empty short glass that was 60 seconds ago filled with Belgian hot chocolate sits on the table in front of me. What can I say I’m a very happy camper right now. I used to intern close to here in Waterloo, but I never made the trip to go out of my way and come here. I’m finally here! Yes! As I take in the smell of melting butter and hot pastry dough, I think to myself there’s something about Surry Hills that I really like. Maybe it’s the fact that they have a bicycle path (though I did get verbally abused just a moment ago by a cyclist because I stopped and took a photo on ‘the path’. Anything, for a great photo, is what a true photographer would say). I like how you can just walk down to the street of the share house you’re living in, and relax at the corner street bakery. You may want to read the daily paper, talk with a friend about everything and anything, or simply enjoy your own solitude in peace. You might want to add a few hair flicks as well because there is a pleasantly nice summer breeze stirring the air and some Van-wearing cute nerdy boy, with a Herschel bag next to him on the stool, is giving you subtle attention across the cafe [that’s actually not happening. It’s just my wild imagination going off into a tangent again].
Ok, so the point of this post, is to write a pre-Contiki spill – a description of where my life is at before this adrenaline-junkie-I-just-want-to-forget-about-the-world-and-live-in-moment trip that I will be embarking on in 3 days with a group of strangers. Strangers who I’ll most likely share my life story with, laugh with, cry with, and get tipsy with. As I watch a couple walk past hand-in-hand, oh God, I’m suddenly reminded of how fast Valentine’s Day is approaching. I have one thing to say about this I-just-can’t-get-enough-of-you-day that couples celebrate: FML. You know what, you can be miserable single and you can be miserable in a relationship. I think the important thing is to…just be happy. You have to love yourself entirely before you give your whole heart to someone else. I think things just feel this way because in 2013, I told myself right from the get-go that this is going to be my no-boyfriend year. “You’re only 21 once”, I recall telling myself. I wanted last year to be a year I’d always remember (with positive energy and spirit fingers). I just wanted to focus on myself. To not need someone to fill the void. A void that I couldn’t quite figure out myself. After my Thailand Island Hopping West Contiki tour last year in February, I came back knowing exactly what I needed to do. I had a plan – to do all the things I had been making excuses for. I came back a new woman (yes, woman), with new dreams, hopes and aspirations. At the time, I was very unhappy with my weight (I just didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin). I wanted to drop out of my degree. I was disinterested, bored, found it difficult and just hating Science and Nursing. It just wasn’t for me, and it was a feeling I had been ignoring for quite some time. I also fell into the trap of societal pressure, peer pressure, all the types of pressure you can think of, basically – to be thin, happy and in a relationship.
A year later, I have a list of 2013 achievements, including dropping 2 dress sizes; competing at Australian Uni Games for taekwondo; accepting that the future will always hold uncertainty; realising that life is already hard without a degree, so why not just get one; acknowledging that “you can’t hurry love” just like that Diana Ross song; and just coming out of my shell as an individual. I can definitely say that I’m in a better head space now. I’ve embraced life a lot more. As cliche as it sounds, there’s this quote that I keep close to my heart: Fall seven times and stand up eight. When you start feeling unhappy over your job, your relationship/s, your degree, or perhaps just your life in general, the key is to, embrace change. Do something about the way you feel – voice it, express it, throw rocks in the ocean if it helps. But make some sort of change. At least you know you tried, and if things don’t work out the first time, well there’s always tomorrow (and your parents to fall back on as my good friend, Roberta puts it).
Right now, despite all my achievements, I tell myself, that was last year. It’s 2014 and I haven’t worked out a 2014 plan. Currently, I’m just going with the flow. Winging each day as it comes because it’s semester break. I may have taken on too much this summer – working 2 jobs, and doing the usual 20-something activities like excessive partying, going out almost every day, catching up with old friends, and shopping because it’s Christmas and ‘everything’ is supposedly on sale. Then when my Christmas Casual job finished, I took up a fashion internship because I wanted to make this summer as productive as possible. I got burnt out. Recently, I’ve been feeling confused like I’ve been living with a cloud above my head. Am I meant to know what I want to do with my life at 22, or is it ok to be a total mess up? It’s frustrating. Is this part of being a 20-something? Where are my new goals and ambitions for 2014? Where do I want to be a year from now?
I’ve decided to jot down a few goals for my New Zealand trip:
1. Understand myself a little better (i.e. get a brief of what’s going on in my insane 20-something mind)
2. Meet someone who is in the same boat as me and talk the whole night without sleeping
3. Get pissed drunk because I’m in a different country and away from my parents
4. Completely relax and let go
5. Be in the moment. Take in the scenery. Breath in the fresh air. Take beautiful photographs. Enjoy the company of others.
I was reading through my old profile on My Contiki from a year ago. It read:
Donna, 21-year-old Female. Fun. Adventurous. I find peace when floating on water and just drowning out the noise. I like discovering new places. I like to laugh. And most of all, I’m doing this Contiki tour for myself. I hope that it is the liberating experience I envision it to be, only better.
I want to find that brave soul again. A rebel without a cause. A wide-eyed girl with big dreams. Someone who wasn’t so hard on herself as she is now. I’ll end this post with with the question, what would you do if you weren’t afraid? To be addressed post-Contiki.
(pre-Contiki me posing with a Benefit Lollitint lollipop and wearing a lemon yellow top that I got from Vinnies today – love op shopping)