30 x 30

T-minus 6 months (and 2 days) until I turn 30. And as such, I’ve decided to make a list of 30 things I wish to do / 30 goals I’d like to achieve, by age 30:

  1. Visit 30 new cities
  2. Do 30 minutes of meditation or mindfulness each day
  3. Learn to be kind to myself
  4. Walk 30 km each week
  5. Eat fruits & veggies 30 times each week
  6. Take time out to recharge and refocus
  7. Lose 30 lbs
  8. Work avg 30 hours each week
  9. Don’t be afraid to say ‘no’
  10. Spend only $30 each week on non-essentials (movies, clothes, eating out)
  11. Put $30 in savings account each week
  12. Learn self-forgiveness
  13. Watch / Listen / Read 30 new arts / entertainment things
  14. Give Jacob 30 memorable experiences
  15. Be a more attentive friend
  16. Write and send 30 letters / postcards to loved ones
  17. Set aside 30 minutes each week to get organized
  18. Be more open and honest about my feelings
  19. Rid myself of 30 toxic habits / relationships / things
  20. Volunteer 30 hours each month
  21. Ask for help when I need it
  22. Take 30 photographs each month
  23. Try 30 new foods
  24. Take the time to reflect and appreciate
  25. Write 30 new posts / articles / essays
  26. Try 30 things that scare me
  27. Learn to be more flexible / “go with the flow”
  28. Apply to 30 new jobs
  29. Try my very best to do the 30 things on this list
  30. But don’t beat myself up should I not accomplish them all

Special thanks to Jenny for helping me brainstorm in the middle of the night ;)

30under30

World Introvert Day

Happy World Introvert Day! For those not familiar:

World Introvert Day is held on 2 January each year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to better understand and appreciate introverts. The first World Introvert Day was held in 2011. –World Introvert Day Online

I’m an introvert through and through, something that I receive wildly differing reactions to when I discuss it. The reason for this is simply a misunderstanding of what introversion and extroversion are, so I thought I’d do up a post to provide those who might be confused with some clarification.

Introversion and Extroversion are personality classifications, with most people falling into one or the other. (However it should be noted that when measured on a scale some will fall into a third middle ground classification. For the sake of simplicity I won’t get into the third.)

For me the easiest way to understand introversion and extroversion is in the way that each gains and losses energy. As an introvert I find social situations to be physically, mentally, and emotionally draining. I leave them exhausted and the only way to recharge is with solitary time. Alternately many of my extrovert friends are physically, mentally, and emotionally charged by social interactions. They thrive in those situations, and many find solitary time to be draining.

Extroversion and Introversion as terms used by C. G. Jung explain different attitudes people use to direct their energy. These words have a meaning in psychology that is different from the way they are used in everyday language. The Myers & Briggs Foundation

Typically in social situations introverts prefer to sit on the sidelines and observe the action, while extroverts prefer to be immersed, surrounded, and at the centre of it. There are of course other factors that affect someones willingness to engage, such as shyness, anxiety, or sensory sensitivity. There is a common misconception that shyness and introversion go hand in hand, but this is simply not the case. A person can be deeply drawn to social interaction, but too shy to engage, making them feel unfulfilled. Reversely, many introverts do not suffer from shyness and can easily engage socially. It is simply that the experience uses up their energy rather than restoring it.

More simply, introversion and extroversion can be summed up as inward versus outward force.

[Introverted] people are more introspective, attentive to internal thoughts, while wilder beings are driven by sights and sounds—they crave sensory stimulation. Psychology Today

I consider myself to be an introvert who is not shy. I do not have trouble speaking with new people or making small talk. But I live more inside my head than out, and identify on the Myers-Briggs scale as INFJ. I have high sensory processing sensitivity (HSP), and anxiety. As such my limit for social interaction is lower than most non-HSP introverts, sapping my energy more quickly. And my anxiety leads to above average avoidance behaviour when it comes to social interaction. There are also correlations between my sensory sensitivity and my anxiety, but I won’t get into that!

For those interested in a good read that looks more closely at introversion, I highly recommend the book The Introvert’s Way: Living a Quiet Life in a Noisy World by Sophia Dembling. It is a humourous and truthful account of what it’s like to live an introverted life.

I also recommend reading more about the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) Personality Test. It tells you a lot about what the varying personality types mean, and is quite interesting to try and determine where you fall.

Here’s a few links for those interested in taking some tests:

Are You An Introvert or Extrovert?

Are You A Highly Sensitive Person (HSP)?

MBTI Personality Test (not exact, but no free versions are!)

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25 Questions About 2015

It’s the end of the year, and as always I’d like to reflect on the previous years happenings. Rather than post a best/worst list though I thought I’d mix it up with a self survey I found online.

1. What am I most proud of this year?

I’m proud of becoming a self-advocate for the improvement of my mental health. I spent years frustrated and feeling failed by a flawed system. But this year I fought back and was finally able to find the treatment I needed. It’s still a daily challenge, but I’m proud of myself for getting where I needed to be.

2. I have become a better _____________?

Friend. At least I hope so. After spending years floating in and out of crippling anxiety and depression I was finally able to focus energy outside of myself, and give back to the people in my life who mean the most to me. Though I haven’t had the energy to mend relationships with all the people I’d like to, I’ve managed a few and am beyond grateful to have them back in my life. And I can say that those relationships are stronger and better than they’ve ever been.

3. Where am I feeling stuck?

Career. I spent a long time questioning if I was ready to take one on, eventually convincing myself that I wasn’t; That I was too weak and too broken. At one point this year I became convinced that I couldn’t hold down any job, certain I would fail at whatever I did. But as my health improved I found a job that met my needs. And now I’ve taken on another, and it’s helping build my confidence about my ability to at least be out in the world without losing my mind.

4. Where do I need to allow myself grace?

Again, career. I have to stay positive that one day I’ll be ready to take it on, and when I am I’ll find where I’m meant to be.

5. Am I passionate about my career?

Ha! Well, this is fitting. I’m passionate about my desired career. And I enjoy the jobs I currently hold. I’m working in positive environments where I feel accepted and appreciated. For now that’s all I can ask for.

6. What lessons have I learned?

To be more compassionate with myself. That to trust in and share with others can lead to great things. That I am loved.

7. What did my finances look like?

Umm… Not good. No, 2015 was not a good year financially.

8. How did I spend my free time?

I spent more time with friends. I started The Panic People Project, which is currently on a break, but I plan to get back to in the new year. I read a lot and watched Netlflix.

9. How well did I take care of my body, mind, and soul?

Body: I spent the first 6 months of the year going to the gym 3 days a week. When I started working it fell by the wayside, but while it lasted it improved so many aspects of my life.

Mind: I entered an outpatient program for people with severe anxiety. It has helped improve my quality of life immensely.

Soul: I reconnected with friends and for allowed myself to be open to trust, support, and love.

10. How have I been open-minded?

Yes. But there’s always more to learn, and I hope to do so.

11. When did I feel most creatively inspired?

When I began work on The Panic People Project. I felt so ambitious and inspired in those first couple of months. I hope I can regain that feeling.

12. What projects have I completed?

I’m not sure I’ve completed any projects, but I’ve come a long way on many.

13. How have I procrastinated?

Netflix. Definitely, Netflix.

14. In what ways can I re-structure my time?

I need to learn to balance my time again. I’ve spent so long with an empty schedule, and now that I have so many things on the go, I’m struggling to keep up. I also get too ambitious in my time management planning, but struggle with the execution (ie, thinking ‘I’ll be fine to work a 16 hour day following a midnight shift’ is not incorrect), so I need to forgive myself on my requirement of sleep and down time. I also need to allow myself time to do things I enjoy.

15. How have I allowed fear of failure hold me back?

This is a complicated question for me. My irrational mind screams ‘YES’. That I’m a failure in so many aspects of my life. But my rational mind pops in to tell me that it’s been a rough year, and that there is nothing wrong with taking time out to take care of myself and my health before diving into something new.

And in all honesty, agreeing to the intensive outpatient anxiety program was 100x scarier than hopping on a plane to Europe with no money and a 2 year visa.

16. Where has self-doubt taken over?

I live every moment of my life in self-doubt. ‘What if I fail?’, ‘What if I panic?’, ‘What if I embarrass myself?’, ‘What if they fire me?’, ‘What if this is the wrong decision?’. Everything is a ‘what if’, and I’m learning to simply tell myself ‘What if I don’t fail?’

17. When have I felt the most alive?

As always, when I’m travelling. This year didn’t see many trips, but the ones that did happen were great fun.

18. How have I taught others to respect me?

I’m not sure I have… But if I have, I hope by being an honest, kind, and compassionate person.

19. How can I improve my relationships?

As I said earlier, this is something I’ve been working on and will continue to do. I’ve always been very closed-off and have been trying to let some of those walls down these last few months. I can improve my relationships by accepting the idea that it’s okay to put your trust others once in awhile.

20. Have I been unfair to anyone?

Oh, absolutely. A few people. I’m still figuring out how to turn my attitude around on those fronts.

21. Who do I need to forgive?

I think that over the past year I’ve been able to let go of a lot of resentment I held towards certain people, and those relationships are on the mend. Other than that, I don’t believe I ‘need’ to forgive anyone else. There are things not deserving of that energy.

22. Where is it time to let go?

I think it’s time to let go of a lot of my trust and boundary issues. I don’t know how yet, but I’m hoping 2016 will bring some clarity.

23. What old habits would I like to release?

I’d like to release some of my obsessive tenancies! But The X Files returns in January, so that’s not likely ;)

24. What new habits would I like to cultivate?

Mindfulness. Meditation. Healthy eating. Healthy and positive attitudes. Exercise.

25. How can I be kind to myself?

By working on changing my thought process. By ignoring my irrational mind. By continuing to learn and love and be loved. By learning to love myself.

2015

Haggling For Peace

I was out for a walk yesterday when I crossed paths with a Buddhist monk.

While we passed one another he held out a card, smiled, and softly said “peace to you.”

I took it, thanked him and continued walking when I heard him call back.

I turned to see him opening a book and waving a pen towards me. The top of the book explained that he was Buddhist and relied on the generosity of others.

I awkwardly shrugged. “Peace” he clarified, pointing at the card, “$40.”

Taken aback, I said “I’m sorry, I don’t–”

“$20?” He negotiated.

“I’m sorry, but I don’t have any money.”

“Okay, okay. $10.”

I pulled my wallet from my pocket, opened it, showing all of the pockets were empty.

“No money?” He asked.

“No money.” I answered. “Or, well…” I smiled uncomfortably and fished a tonnie out of my pocket, offering it.

He took the coin without a word and walked away.

Peace is out of my price range, it seems.

16 Small Steps To Happiness

I just came across this and love it. 16 small steps to happiness:

1. push yourself to get up before the rest of the world – start with 7am, then 6am, then 5:30am. go to the nearest hill with a big coat and a scarf and watch the sun rise.

2. push yourself to fall asleep earlier – start with 11pm, then 10pm, then 9pm. wake up in the morning feeling re-energized and comfortable.

3. erase processed food from your diet. start with no lollies, chips, biscuits, then erase pasta, rice, cereal, then bread. use the rule that if a child couldn’t identify what was in it, you don’t eat it.

4. get into the habit of cooking yourself a beautiful breakfast. fry tomatoes and mushrooms in real butter and garlic, fry an egg, slice up a fresh avocado and squirt way too much lemon on it. sit and eat it and do nothing else.

5. stretch. start by reaching for the sky as hard as you can, then trying to touch your toes. roll your head. stretch your fingers. stretch everything. 

6. buy a 1L water bottle. start with pushing yourself to drink the whole thing in a day, then try drinking it twice.

7. buy a beautiful diary and a beautiful black pen. write down everything you do, including dinner dates, appointments, assignments, coffees, what you need to do that day. no detail is too small.

8. strip your bed of your sheets and empty your underwear draw into the washing machine. put a massive scoop of scented fabric softener in there and wash. make your bed in full.

9. organise your room. fold all your clothes (and bag what you don’t want), clean your mirror, your laptop, vacuum the floor. light a beautiful candle.

10. have a luxurious shower with your favourite music playing. wash your hair, scrub your body, brush your teeth. lather your whole body in moisturiser, get familiar with the part between your toes, your inner thighs, the back of your neck.

11. push yourself to go for a walk. take your headphones, go to the beach and walk. smile at strangers walking the other way and be surprised how many smile back. bring your dog and observe the dog’s behaviour. realise you can learn from your dog.

12. message old friends with personal jokes. reminisce. suggest a catch up soon, even if you don’t follow through. push yourself to follow through.

14. think long and hard about what interests you. crime? sex? boarding school? long-forgotten romance etiquette? find a book about it and read it. there is a book about literally everything. 

15. become the person you would ideally fall in love with. let cars merge into your lane when driving. pay double for parking tickets and leave a second one in the machine. stick your tongue out at babies. compliment people on their cute clothes. challenge yourself to not ridicule anyone for a whole day. then two. then a week. walk with a straight posture. look people in the eye. ask people about their story. talk to acquaintances so they become friends.

16. lie in the sunshine. daydream about the life you would lead if failure wasn’t a thing. open your eyes. take small steps to make it happen for you. 

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