No expectations

If there is something I have learnt this year, it’s this – live life with no expectations. I don’t know about you, but when I am looking forward to something I tend to picture how it will happen, what I will say, everything. I decide how I want things to fall in to place. I don’t know why; perhaps I feel so confident with the scenarios in my head that I disregard the major factor of ‘what if it doesn’t go the way I planned?’ I flip the coin, hoping for heads, but failing to recognise that there will always be the equal chance of tails.
I read an article by Mark Manson a few days ago titled “Heck yes or no” (okay, so the first word wasn’t actually ‘heck’, but for the sake of this post that’s what I’ll refer to it as). Manson introduces the law of “Heck yes or no” which can be applied to friendships, relationships – any decision-making as it suits your current needs. However, if the decision involves two people, they both must be saying ‘Heck yes’ to the decision in order for it to happen. He says, “If I’m not saying ‘Heck yes!’ to something, then I say no.” I found this a really interesting approach to making decisions about various situations in life. If you aren’t one-hundred percent committed to something, then why let it consume you?

My Nan said something to me the other day that really made me think twice about everything. She was telling me a story about one of her friends (keep in mind, this friend would be about seventy-something) and how she only ever sits in her home by herself watching television. She never goes out of her way to meet new people let alone look outside every once in a while. My Nan believes, “that’s not living, that’s existing.” I found this so powerful, particularly because my Nan is also seventy-something and I am only eighteen. If she believes that, then what am I doing with my life? We are only given one shot at it, so why not make the most of it and not just exist, but live?

So after lots of thinking, I’ve decided I am going to try my best to no longer create expectations in my head about things that are going to happen in my life. This doesn’t mean my life goals are going to be thrown away, but rather I am going to make the effort to take each day as it comes and be realistic about it too. I am going to take on the “Heck yes or no” approach to my decision-making in life and I don’t want to just exist, I want to live! I don’t want to let my life be consumed by ‘what if’s, because I have realised that if we live with no expectations of the people we know or meet, no expectations of the places we travel to and no expectations of situations happening in our life, it’s a win-win. We won’t be as disappointed if things don’t go our way, because there won’t be a prior agenda we were trying to achieve. And more often than not, you will find yourself surprised with the outcome, because you hadn’t already decided how it would work. Why try to control things that weren’t meant to be controlled? No expectations. No regrets. 

Keep smiling. x

HSC? Done.

Oh hey life, I’ve missed you. 15 days, 7 exams and 17.5 hours of writing. That’s it. Done. HSCyaLater. 

The stress; the nerves; the last minute cramming; the messy bedroom floor; the endless supply of black pens; the constant struggle of only highlighting the “important parts” but rather making it a challenge to see how little words can be left untouched; the countdown to freedom that feels like it’s taking forever; the past papers and of course, the tears. 

I honestly can’t believe that it is over. It came and it’s gone and it all happened so quickly. I have this theory. You’re either really good at Math or really good at English. And if you are lucky (or not so lucky?) to be blessed with the brains of both, then you have just proven my theory to be wrong. For me, I am definitely not a Math person. Give me words any day, but numbers, no thanks. The only numbers I like to see is your mobile number 😉 *insert cringes and nervous laughter here*. (I know what’ you’re thinking – that was brilliant. You’re welcome). 

It’s funny though, the day before my Math exam I was outside studying in the shade. At one point, I began to feel really overwhelmed with the content I wasn’t confident with. The questions were too hard and I was freaking out. I couldn’t do this. How was I supposed to survive the 3 hour exam tomorrow? I was outside for about two or three hours and during that time the sun had moved (hello captain obvious) and I was now sitting in the sun, getting a mean-as sock tan mind you. 

The simple shift from shade to sunlight made me realise that time doesn’t stop for anyone. Those three hours of absolute hell tomorrow would be over in less than 24 hours. We have to make the most of the time we have right now, because we will never, ever get it back. This motivated me to continue studying and do my best, because in a couple of days all of this would be over. And here I am, out the other end of the dreaded HSC month. 

Everyone has days where we are just sitting in the shade and it is not until the sun moves that we realise time keeps going. Make the most of the time you have with the people you’re with. Enjoy the little things. Simplicity is what reminds us that life is beautiful, despite the HSC exams, the tiring work, the relationship issues…whatever you may be struggling with. Everything happens, but then everything finishes. So when you feel like your world is on a downwards spiral, remember that spirals eventually get smaller and smaller and when they reach the smallest point, they stop. The sun will move soon and the shadow keeping you down will shift. Trust me. 

Keep smiling. x

Little things make a difference.

Do you ever sit at a set of traffic lights and look at the car in the lane beside you or in front of you and just wonder what they might be doing today or where they are going? Do you ever sit at a bus stop or a restaurant and make up different scenarios about the people seated near you? Do you ever wonder if they are okay or what their story is?

Or maybe I’m completely wack and it’s just me.

I remember one day I was on the bus on my way home from school. There was a girl sitting a few seats in front of me; she was staring out the window and by the looks of the high pile of textbooks and folders next to her, she was possibly in Year 12. The girl was sitting by herself and seemed to be trapped inside her own bubble of thoughts as she stared outside with her earphones in. Music turned up. World turned off.

I began thinking, I wonder how she is coping with all that school work. I didn’t know this girl from a bar of soap (pause – I have never understood that saying, but it sounded good so meh), she was a complete stranger to me. I didn’t know her story. I didn’t know whether she was going through a rough patch at the time or whether she was absoultely loving life.

Either way, I decided I should pray for her. A short, simple prayer. The cool thing with prayer is that it doesn’t matter how casual, how short or how silly you may think it is; God still listens and He still cares. All I said was, “Hey God, I pray that you be with the girl on the bus with the pile of books. I don’t know what’s going on in her life at the moment, but I ask that you fill her life with your love.” 

A few minutes later she collected her things and before she got off the bus, she randomly turned around and looked down the aisle of the bus, then smiled at me and hopped off.
I am not trying to convince you that my small prayer ‘made’ the girl turn around and smile at me, but I do challenge you to think about it.

Last night we had Speech Night at school and I was voted School Captain with one of my closest friends in my grade. I was absolutely stoked and am so excited for what 2014 has in store for us. When I got home, I received a message from a girl that is in the year below me at school. The message said, “Hey congrats on getting school captain! You definitely deserved it and will do a great job! Glad I voted for you.” To be perfectly honest, I had never really made an effort to talk to this girl at school other than a quick ‘hello’ walking between classes. I sent her a message back saying thank you and told her how much it meant to me.

However, her next message made me really stop and think how important doing small things for others is. “I remember thinking how nice you were after you pulled my collar up on the textiles excursion 🙂 you seem really nice the times we have talked so I’m glad you got chosen.”

We might not realise it made an impact while we are doing it or saying it, but it can honestly change someone’s mood on a day. I hope these stories have inspired you to take a few minutes out of each and every day to do something small for someone else; whether that be holding the elevator door open just a few extra seconds to let that lady with a shopping trolley through or giving a $5 note to a homeless person on the street. 

This video sums up perfecetly how our small good deeds can create a flow on effect. 

Keep smiling. x

Future Avenue

So I recently got my P plates and have come to the conclusion that despite that awesome feeling of finally having freedom, I actually prefer driving with other people in the car. I love driving and being in control, but I feel more secure when I have someone in the passenger seat. Probably because there is actually someone there listening to me talk. Driving by yourself can be daunting when you don’t know how to get somewhere. No road map or GPS. It’s just you and the road. All of a sudden, your mind starts to become hazy and you are unsure of where you are. You are lost and you don’t know what’s going to happen next.

Don’t get me wrong, the fact that the future is unknown is exciting, but it scares me too. We spend all our childhood years wishing that we were all grown up and out there in the real world. Then we finally get there and can’t help but ask ourselves why we were so silly. We long for the days of being six-years-old again, where tying our shoe laces was the biggest of our problems.

I wish life had a pause button, so I could really soak in and enjoy what life has to offer at the moment. Before I know it, all my friends will be going their separate ways, ready to embark on their own amazing journeys. Some will go overseas, for a short time or maybe forever; others might stay here, score their dream job and raise a family. Truth is, I have no idea where my friends will be in the next five years, let alone this time next year, but I know for sure that God has some incredible plans for them.

I guess it is hard to comprehend how little we actually know. I suppose I find it difficult to get my head around the uncertainty. The possibilities are endless. If someone came up to me right now and asked me where I see myself in the next couple of years, I would probably answer something along the lines of “I would love to inspire people through what I write, because I love making people smile.” I honestly don’t know if I have any other talents or if God can use me through writing. It’s times like that where I need to stop and think; if God has a plan and a purpose for everyone, He definitely knows what He is doing with my life. I just need to let Him jump in the passenger seat beside me and be the GPS. And yes, sometimes there will be dirt roads along the way and I will lose satellite reception or I will run out of fuel and have to get out and push, but those are the times I will need God the most. Those are the times I need to let Him take the wheel and trust that He knows the way.

Keep smiling. x

One day

One day I will be done with school,
Graduation, it comes and goes.
I’d go to university and study,
Where that takes me, only God knows.
One day I’m going to work somewhere,
Where I can inspire others through what I write.
I’d love to make a difference,
I want to make things right.
One day I’ll move out from home,
I’ll say goodbye to my old bedroom.
I’ll pack my bag with all my things,
Clothes, pictures, books, perfume.
One day I will have to pay the bills,
Electricity, water and phone.
I’ll be out there against the world,
Doing it all on my own.
One day I am going to travel the world,
See everyone and everything.
I will go to Italy, Paris, Brazil,
All the places I’ve never been.
One day I will get married,
And we could travel the world together.
We would do all we could,
To stay in each other’s lives forever.
One day I’m going to know what it’s like,
To be in my parent’s shoes.
I’ll have kids of my own creating chaos,
While I’m trying to watch the news.
One day things won’t be so easy,
Because life will always get tough.
I might fall into debt or lose my job,
Then just feel like I’ve had enough.
One day I’ll wish I could rewind the clock,
Back to a younger version of me.
When I considered a hard decision to be,
Whether to have a hot chocolate or tea.
One day I’m going to look back on this,
I’ll sit there and I’ll say,
“Am I happy with who I’ve become,
Have I done everything I said I would one day?”
So that’s a little something from me.
Keep smiling. x

Roller coaster ride anyone?

I’m scared of roller coasters. They legitimately freak me out. I will sit down and either:
a) scream the whole way or b) say nothing and be completely still, because I am afraid that I am going to die. Despite this, somehow I still manage to enjoy the adrenaline rush that comes along with the screaming. This said, I only realise I enjoyed it after I have come to the conclusion that I survived the ride. The first roller coaster I ever went on was one in Movie World aimed for six year olds. I was thirteen at the time…

I don’t know why, but roller coasters are so scary. I have never been able to completely understand the concept of “having fun” while you are being thrown around at the speed of light. You can’t see anything, because everything is either a blur or you have your eyes shut. The only things you can hear are people screaming or being violently ill in the seats behind you. You line up in queues for what seems like days just to get on a ride that lasts a minute. I probably could have walked the entire theme park three times in the period of time it takes to wait your turn. This is why they have never made sense to me. 

Three years later, however, I am proud to say that I have been forcefully dragged, pulled and pushed on to plenty more roller coasters after a holiday to America where we spent a few days in Disney World. 

I have come to realise that life is very much like a roller coaster. One day you can be so happy, then without warning, in the blink of an eye everything changes. It’s as if we are given a compulsory ticket to get on this crazy upside-down, curvy roller coaster we call ‘life’. There is no escaping it. Once you sit down, you are strapped in for good and you have to wait til it is over. 

If there is one thing I have learnt about my roller coaster ride so far, it is that I couldn’t have done it alone. Roller coasters aren’t fun without your friends beside you; there would be no one to potentially make deaf through the constant yelling. You need to be surrounded by other people in life for both support and encouragement. They are the ones screaming next to you; they make you feel better and help you remember that they are always going to be there for you, through the ups and downs.

But you also need to lower the handle bars. They keep you safe and protect you. God protects me. He looks after me and He is my handle bar. I can hold on to Him when I need Him the most. And you know what the best part is? Even if I throw my hands up in the air and scream the loudest, it’s okay, because He will always hold on to me. I have learnt that there is no reason to be scared of life’s roller coasters, because God will never let me go.

Keep smiling. x