Browsing Tag

finding alexander

Father Time

I guess time will catch up with us at any stage, I knew it would come eventually. Just a matter of, when?

I always knew that since being diagnosed with chronic illness things would eventually catch up and I’d slow down.

Cricket has always been a game that I’ve loved, and also hated. It taught me a lot, patience and pain, it’s like a cruel mistress. It’ll teach you about all the things you shouldn’t have done, every mistake and slip.

After finishing a season of cricket in 2018, I figured I was done but might try one more year. Summer 2018 rolled around and I started training, only to hurt my back and missed the majority of the first half of the season, I filled in one game to field and help the guys out. I had the taste for it again, while the days were long, hot and very tiring. Most of the time you’d be let down in some form, but other times you can end up with victory.

It wasn’t until I played a game shortly in the second half of the season, where I filled in as captain when I realised I’d be calling time on playing cricket ever again. While we won the game, the first for the guys in the season, hard fought and earned, and it was my first and only win ever as a captain. Standing in the outfield on a hot day, my body was calling it time, and we were both to an agreement that any games would no longer happen. Either from an illness, repeated injuries or lack of desire to play the game.

I still enjoy watching it, especially the long format.

From Benches to Beaches

I’ve been to a lot of benches by the ocean and walked on a lot of beaches in the past year. Majority of them with my camera but I’ve been going without my camera or my headphones, due to a good outside influence.

Going to the beach has always been about winding down from stresses in work and life. During a fairly stressful time this year, I hadn’t been down at all for nearly 6 weeks, and when it was pointed out to me that maybe if I went I’d feel less stressed, and they were right. I needed to “ground myself”, and they couldn’t have been any more right at that time.

Getting to the beach and digging my toes into the sand came with a tingling feeling, it could have been just because the sand was freezing cold given we were in the middle of winter. But it felt like all my stresses were running out of my toes while I reconnected myself.
It reminded me of every now and then when I went to the beach on a walk, I’d come across an elderly Japanese man, still in his business suit from the workday. He would still be decked out but not wearing shoes, and it was only until recently that it occurred to me that he was grounding himself.

I remember as a kid I’d spend my summers down the beach, I’d come home with sand all over me and hair feeling like a wire brush from all the saltwater. I’d sleep in it, and feel sand in the bed and on the floor. As an adult, I get in my car and I brush the sand off my feet so I don’t get it in my shoes, or in the car, or in my bed. When I have that spontanous urge to go to the beach after work, I would pull up my jeans so they didnt get wet or sand on them. It’s just a pair of jeans, I have more pairs, it’ll wash out. It’s not the end of the world if I get sand and water on them is it?

Is this something that changed over time as we become an adult and we start to prevent everything that irritates us that didn’t as a kid? Why did we start caring so much about things like this? Is it the opinion of others because we live that lifestyle a little more carefree than most?

It only took a few words from someone with a big heart to remind me that sometimes I need to get in touch with everything outside of me to remind me the small things in life need to be appreciated on a regular basis.
This might just very well direct me on the path I want and need to be heading.

Ketogenic Unknown

Another long weekend has rolled around and I’m using my Monday day off to continue with the binge watch of Anthony Bourdain’s, Parts Unknown.

While I’ve been watching it to reignite me going into the kitchen and cook, instead of hating the space. It’s also made me think a little more about the food we eat, and that’s besides that I’m trying ketogenic again.

There are a lot of other cultures that make everything from scratch, mostly with natural fresh ingredients. Cuba is essentially an organic country because they don’t have the economy to support pesticides and what not to keep bugs away. So they grow and use everything that’s seasonal. And not much is preserved either.

Some countries and cultures have a lot more time to cook and prepare food, and by having a simpler, slower way of life. They live longer and healthier. Their diets aren’t carbohydrate based like most of the western world.

First came 30 minute meals by Jamie Oliver, then 15 minute meals. Designed so people who wanted to cook still could around their busy schedule. But does any of these people slow down and spend hours cooking something from scratch? Do they grab a can or a jar for the convenience? And has it just become a reflex to do so? And I don’t think anyone ever really stops to think about what’s in that jar of sauce. It’s not hard to boil, peel and turn tomatoes into pasta sauce, add in some salt and pepper, basil and other stuff and you’ll have something that’s not filled with a whole bunch of names you can’t pronounce.

The same goes for that jar of honey soy sauce, have you thought of adding soy sauce and honey to your stir fry? It’s not hard and it’s probably quicker to do when you spend 5 minutes trying to open that jar.

I’m making more of an effort to give myself more free time and dedicate it to cooking better. Lets see how long that lasts though.

Peace be the journey

The last month has been a roller-coaster to say the least, incredible highs, incredible lows. Lots of happiness and lots of sadness.

Three years ago when I took the plunge into getting some counselling/life coaching I didn’t really know what awaited. I know I’d experienced heart break and being stripped down to nothing. But a journey had started, I’ve learnt many things along the way and I continue to do so. I was told I had to get used to “bragging” and talking about the things I do, I was told to “get comfortable with being uncomfortable”. As I’ve travelled this journey I’ve had something each time that happened that felt like a piece of the puzzle to this journey.

In my most recent session last week, I explained how my week had been and where my headspace was at. It wasn’t in a particularly great space, and my heart was being pulled in two directions. One, from meeting someone new and having a full unexpected connection to them, to revisiting an old one and seeking answers and closure, of which I had a strong connection with as well.

I’d dipped my toe in the dating world a little over the past few months, coffee, dinner, movies. Whatever at the time to meet someone new. But the date never progressed past a first, and I felt no connection with any of them. It was only until I’d met someone unexpectedly I had the first strong connection since I can remember. It felt like every piece of that puzzle on my journey now fell into place. From the things I had learnt, to the music I had listened to, ideas for the future and things I wanted in life, they were all part of the puzzle as they were mutual between both of us.

I had to “brag” about the things I had done to continue conversation, and get uncomfortable when I do that. I still struggle to do that. But the layers around me came off and I dropped my guard because I met someone who was unexpectedly and whole heartedly themselves and I was okay with that. A wonderful woman with more thought and intent from her heart that I’ve come across. My cup overflowed and every corner of me felt something for the first time in a long time.  We talked about a lot, life, love, music, things that we are passionate about. We watched sunsets, walked on the beach and continued talking about anything until we stared at the stars, which I can’t remember the last time I even did that.

The unfortunate thing was, the timing seemed to be wrong. As much as she said she was broken even though I didn’t think it. A string of relationships had led her to the point where she was overwhelmed at someone treating her differently, and led her not wanting any contact. As much as she said other things as to why we shouldn’t have contact, I think they were just there to distance us from each other so she can protect herself.

But during that process, I felt like I needed to deal with some past issues. So I got in contact with someone who had left an impression on me from a long time ago, so that I could deal with the thoughts that still remained in my head. It’s been weird reconnecting with someone who gave a lot of heart break, but strangely we slotted right back in where we left off, it was a familiar place and comfort.

While talking to my counsellor, she started a diagram of my journey when it’s come to my love life and the lessons it has taught me along the way. I started at severe heartbreak, the next moved onto exercising patience. The next was a new experience and dynamics of a relationship, but also continued to be an asset in my life and continued support since.

The next was a lesson in reminding me what I wanted in a relationship. While we had similar morals, interests and it came from a place of love. There was jealousy and in the same form I’ve seen before and I wasn’t willing to go down that path again.

The most recent is yet to teach me a lesson, I let my guard down when I had someone who showed they cared and listened intently.

By my counsellor showing my this path and contacting my initial place of heartbreak, I had gone full circle in my journey, and I’m waiting on the remaining piece of my puzzle to fall into place. But also that the last person who grabbed hold of me so hard is still there to come back into my life, she’s not done with me yet, and for me to understand that I have all the previous lessons I have learned over the past few years from lovers to reflect on to guide me the right way.

The first layer of my journey has been peeled off, and soon I’ll be starting the next.

Change of the guard

Earlier in the year I stepped down from my duties at a cricket club I’d played at for some time, I lost the love for a game that I’d played for a long time. I found no fun, no enjoyment. People’s attitudes were creeping in and it became toxic. Being a member of the committee meant more time doing stuff for the club rather than playing a game and enjoying myself. Eventually, I stopped enjoying myself, and when insults came from people during a game I simply had enough and walked away.

I sat with the idea of giving it up altogether, or moving to another club. A different environment. I had to be selfish for my own sake for once. So after many months of thinking it over I eventually shifted clubs.

New faces, new places, a whole lot of new everything. A new environment has been a breath of fresh air, I’ve enjoyed my cricket so far this year. I’m getting a lot more of a role which I wasn’t expecting, but also high expectations came when I joined that I would be doing a lot, so personally I don’t think I’ve fired yet. I’m hoping I can contribute more than I have to the team, I’m with a great bunch of guys, and there is a huge cultural difference to the previous one. Going from mostly white Australian players to having half the team from the sub-continent (India, Pakistan, Sri-Lanka). They all have a different lease on the game. They have fun, they play hard and they are happy to lift other players, give them encouragement and advice.

I’ve even had some coaching (see: advice from a mate) on my batting. In the years of playing cricket at my last club with a paid coach I never got any. I got a few minutes with someone who isn’t a coach but I took their advice and I’m playing better than I have in years.

I’m looking forward to how much more I can do this year, even it’s a little bit.

Your friends limit is exceeded

I came to the revelation the other day, that life itself has a limit for your friends list. I’m not talking about Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. But you’re actual real life, and occasionally if you stick your head up from your phone, you’ll see great graphics and dynamic game plays, difficulty setting on high and you can’t change it.

2017 has been one of those years where I’ve sat back more and observed, mainly the people in my life. Those who come, those who stay, and those who only drop in like it’s a pit-stop. I got tired of those who come and go as they please, the ones I’d text, call, or message on some format and see how they were doing. I got rid of Facebook nearly two years ago, barely anyone noticed and my parents still seem to think I’m on there despite multiple times telling them I’m not.

I’ve had people come and talk to me about their life problems, how crap it is for them, and ask for advice. Then leave, only to ignore anything I said in the first place and for me to watch idly on the sidelines while it happens over and over again. I stopped engaging with these people and now I don’t hear from them. There’s also the toxic ones who are no longer there as well.

But it feels like at some stage life got an error message “Your friends limit is exceeded”, and nothing was going to change from there. But by seeing what happens when I don’t be myself, who usually checks in on people and see’s how they are doing. I found no one goes out of their way to contact me, it’s been somewhat of a purge. But in that process I’ve removed people off that friends list, and been able to allow good, and great people come flooding in, and now I’m more selective about who I let in and who gets my time.

I guess this is my version of being selfish, I changed cricket clubs to a new environment where I’m enjoying a game that’s given me a lot of joy. When I’ve had no joy in it for such a long time. I’ve changed my environment to allow good people in, and those who pay no attention to the world around them, and make no effort have drifted out and unaware of what’s going on. They don’t understand there’s bigger stuff than themselves going on.  But sometimes we need to be selfish to those people.

I guess the other thing is, I’m only putting as much time into people as I feel they deserve. There’s only so much I can ask people about catching up until eventually, I give up and stop asking. Despite being told I shouldn’t be the person who gives up.

Scotland

When someone travels overseas they are more than likely hoping they’ll find some “meaning of life”, “find themselves” or to feel like they’ll find some kind of purpose. More often than not, it won’t reap any of those thoughts that were sewn.

The past year has been tough, to say the least. Leading up to heading overseas was added stress on top of the stress I was already under. I kept pushing through, every day seemingly that little bit harder than the last, and that little bit longer.

I’m sitting down, looking at some grey skies and now 3 weeks into a month in Scotland, in the town that all the family has come from. And I can say I am to the bone, and Aussie. Coming here is great, I’ve met relatives, learnt history and seen some fantastic sights.

But I miss the warm weather, the cold beer, the beach, and the few people I call my friends. I’ve found no purpose in life, but I have found more appreciation for what I have, who I spend my time with, and where I live.
Granted, the plane ride home will be long and tiring, but what awaits at the end will be worth it.

I haven’t driven for nearly a month, I haven’t had to answer a phone call for work. Just deal with some routine maintenance and a few emails. But I guess we all need to pay the bills, right? So some work had to be done.

I’ve seen massive, amazing Castles. But the best is yet to come, Edinburgh. I’ve had interesting food, haggis, black pudding, smokies. I’ve had more sugar that I can poke a stick at, I’ve walked more kilometres than I can think. But I’m hanging out for the gym, good coffee and even better food when I get back.

I’ve seen the greenest country sides, had the freshest sea breezes, but I’m looking forward to some dead grass, dust, and warm blistering summers down the beach, and beer at the pub on hot days watching the cricket. I couldn’t live here, but I could visit again. I’ve seen the oldest golf course in the world, St Andrews. But miss that hallowed ground that is Adelaide Oval.

My relatives have all been awesome, and accommodating. My grand uncle Bob who’s been kind enough to let us stay with him, has been more than hospitable. Plenty of food and Scottish ones at that. And my first cousin Lexi; who, while is only 10. She has been a barrel of fun and kept me sane, and helped me remember my inner child with colouring in, hide and seek, and piggy back rides.

This is the most time I’ve spent with Dad, and I do love him. But he can drive me up the fucking wall. I’m looking forward to my own space, my own time, decompressing from people, being able to drive and having some independence back rather than being driven everywhere. I could have had a hire car, but it’s not really cost effective and we haven’t needed it so much. It hasn’t been all smooth sailing, between Dad driving me nuts, some people didn’t seem to know boundaries. I’m on holiday, I shouldn’t need to hear about people’s problems and have them expect me to offer some kind of advice. I’m not a therapist, life coach or a guru who can help, I’m simply me. And if you have issues you need to talk to someone about, that’s what therapists and the like are for. Let me enjoy my holidays and don’t push the boundaries of a friendship. As they were already strained before I left, and not giving me the time to decompress and headspace to get away from all that shit has only made things worse. Surprisingly, while things have been terrible with Riss, she’s used the opportunity to take hold of her life and make changes and I couldn’t be more proud of her.

I’ve a week left, I’m looking forward to Edinburgh Castle, and the Natural History Museum. I’m looking forward to meeting Katherine after 10 years of just abusing each other online, but I appreciate her honesty and bluntness when I’ve needed advice from a neutral party not in Australia. I’m looking forward to cuddles with Seth and Eli, hugging the crap out of Riss. Beer with Dave and Erin, and obnoxious talk with Luke at the gym. I’m looking forward to all the things I do daily that I now appreciate a lot more for that down time.

There’s going to be a lot of changes when I get back, good ones. The only thing that won’t change is $4.50 pints of Coopers lager, because that stuff is awesome and the beer here is shit. Maybe I should have a Fosters Lager before I go just for proof. Everyone here thinks it’s Australia’s great beer, but it’s an Aussie label that’s brewed in Manchester and we never have it anywhere I look in Aus, although I’ve been told they brand it as Crown Lager and rip us off with it.

I’ll get some photos into my 500px Gallery at some stage, but I still need to rifle through them and weed out all the shit ones. But most of the good stuff is on Instagram anyway.

P.S. I didn’t find myself, but I did find some donuts.

What if All I Want is A Mediocre Life?

I came across this post sometime early in 2017, and it made a lot of sense. I thought it’s worth reposting, not only for others but also to reference for myself at some stage. Just in case the post disappears I guess.


What if All I Want is A Mediocre Life?

What if I all I want is a small, slow, simple life? What if I am most happy in the space of in between. Where calm lives. What if I am mediocre and choose to be at peace with that?

The world is such a noisy place. Loud, haranguing voices lecturing me to hustle, to improve, build, strive, yearn, acquire, compete, and grasp for more. For bigger and better. Sacrifice sleep for productivity. Strive for excellence. Go big or go home. Have a huge impact in the world. Make your life count.

But what if I just don’t have it in me. What if all the striving for excellence leaves me sad, worn out, depleted. Drained of joy. Am I simply not enough?

What if I never really amount to anything when I grow up – beyond mom and sister and wife. But these people in my primary circle of impact know they are loved and that I would choose them again, given the choice. Can this be enough?

What if I never build an orphanage in Africa but send bags of groceries to people here and there and support a couple of kids through sponsorship. What if I just offer the small gifts I have to the world and let that be enough.

What if I don’t want to write a cookbook or build a six-figure business or speak before thousands. But I write because I have something to say and I invest in a small community of women I care about and encourage them to love and care for themselves well. Because bigger isn’t always better and the individual matters. She is enough.

What if I just accept this mediocre body of mine that is neither big nor small. Just in between. And I embrace that I have no desire to work for rock hard abs or 18% body fat. And I make peace with it and decide that when I lie on my deathbed I will never regret having just been me. Take me or leave me.

What if I am a mediocre home manager who rarely dusts and mostly maintains order and makes real food but sometimes buys pizza and who is horrified at moments by the utter mess in some areas of her home. Who loves to menu plan and budget but then breaks her own rules and pushes back against rigidity. Who doesn’t care about decorating and fancy things. Whose home is humble but safe.

What if I am not cut out for the frantic pace of this society and cannot even begin to keep up. And see so many others with what appears to be boundless energy and stamina but know that I need tons of solitude and calm, an abundance of rest, and swaths of unscheduled time in order to be healthy. Body, Spirit, Soul healthy. Am I enough?

What if I am too religious for some and not spiritual enough for others. Non-evangelistic. Not bold enough. Yet willing to share in quiet ways, in genuine relationship, my deeply rooted faith. And my doubts and insecurities. This will have to be enough.

And if I have been married 21 years and love my husband more today than yesterday but have never had a fairy tale romance and break the “experts” marriage rules about doing a ton of activities together and having a bunch in common. And we don’t. And we like time apart and time together. Is our marriage good enough?

What if I am a mom who delights in her kids but needs time for herself and sometimes just wants to be first and doesn’t like to play but who hugs and affirms and supports her kids in their passions. A mediocre mom who can never live up to her own expectations of good enough, let alone yours.

What if I embrace my limitations and stop railing against them. Make peace with who I am and what I need and honor your right to do the same. Accept that all I really want is a small, slow, simple life. A mediocre life. A beautiful, quiet, gentle life. I think it is enough.


Source: https://www.alifeinprogress.ca/want-mediocre-life/

Even music can soothe the savage beast

I’ve been surrounded by music for as long as I can remember, I guess that’s what happens when the house you grow up in has a recording studio attached to it. I got a guiatar for my 16th birthday, although that didnt last long and I broke 3 fingers. Now I play it badly. I can pick up the drums, and play that badly too. But I’m still surrounded up until now, there isn’t a moment where I don’t have something going. The realisation is that I listen to a lot of music since a teenager through to now is to block out the noise, either the outside world or the torment that goes on in my head on a daily basis. It’s a good block for mental clutter.

It’s funny how certain albums or artists come along at times of need though. I remember having to deal with a lot of heavy stuff through 2013 and 2014, and I spent most of that listening to Deftones ‘Koi No Yokan’. It got me through a tough time in my life.

I hit another tough time in my life recently, and I thought maybe it would help again. But this time it didn’t, being a long-time Deftones fan usually any of their music can settle me down and put me back in good headspace. But this time it didn’t.

It’s been harder this time around, but I’ve found some comfort in Northlanes new album ‘Mesmer’.

I still struggle with a lot, but I guess listening to music helps me push through. But sometimes a string of lyrics and words can remind you of people, lost loves, lost friends and hard times you’ve come upon through life.

I can only imagine what will come the next time I need music like this again.

With a little help from my friends

I’ve found over the past few years I have a lot of people who come to me for advice, more specifically relationships, mental health and dealing with situations they’ve run out of ideas with. I’ve been told a few times I think a bit more than other people. Higher capacity? I’m not sure, I can’t really think of the words right now.
I’ve always been the one who holds up to be strong and still able to think when there’s disaster. Even with my own life, but that’s not always the case. While these people are friends, it got to the stage where I felt like an emotional drop in house. People would have no contact with me for a while, and then I’d get a text, a call or something out of nowhere because something in life has caused them a problem. After a while I had to say no, it was costing me friendships and relationships.

It’s probably cost more recently, because I’m that person everyone comes to for advice they seem to have this expectation that I can always help and always give advice. But there’s no forethought that I too, can be dealing with my own issues.

It’s like I guess that because of who I am, I’m not allowed to have a break down, ever.

For the first time in a long time, I struggled to handle something in my own life. But all those who were dependant on me when they needed help, have shut me out. I already had very little friends at that stage, and I guess that shows who the people are in your life. Whether they are there to support you when it gets tough, or they are ready to run.