Lifestyle

Get Excited!

Looking forward to things is something I’ve always been good at. Something happening next week? I’m excited. Something happening next month? I’m excited. Something happening next year? I’m still incredibly excited.  I think this is one of the reasons why I love planning trips. I get to decide on a place to go, where to stay and what to do before I even leave my house. I love the anticipation and the build up to new and fun experiences. If I don’t have something to look forward to, I can start to feel a bit sad like I’m never going to do anything fun and interesting ever again – which is never actually going to be true.

As one of my goals for 2018 is to have new experiences and to fully live my life, I’ve started to plan different things I’m going to do this year. I’ve clicked ‘Interested’ on quite a few events on Facebook which makes similar events show up on my news feed that Facebook thinks I’ll also be interested in. Saying I’m interested in something doesn’t mean I’ll always attend whatever it is, but it helps me to find other things I want to to go.

For this week’s blog post I wanted to write down a list of things I’m excited for this year. Big and small, close and far away, there are a lot of things I’m excited for in 2018.

P&O Cruise to Fiji

lisbon-cruise-summer-travel-352593.jpeg

In August I’ll be setting sail on my first ever cruise with Tom and some of his extended family. We’ll spend eight nights on the ship, starting and ending in Auckland and stopping off at three different places around Fiji. I’m excited to relax and take a week and a half off work. I’ve never been on such a giant ship (I think ours has about 12 levels!) and I’ve never been on a boat where I couldn’t see land. We’ll be right out in the middle of the ocean some days and won’t have any view of land. I hope we’ll get to see some sea creatures, maybe sharks, whales or dolphins! In Fiji we might even be able to see turtles! Whenever I go somewhere new I love seeing animals in the wild that I can’t see in Auckland.

I’m excited to explore the ship on sea days and the different entertainment it provides. From the on deck pools to shows and quizzes I’m sure I won’t be bored. The food looks pretty awesome too. Instead of a big buffet where the food might sit out for a while, it’s more like a big food court where you can order what you feel like from one of the counters and it’s made to order. There’s also a restaurant which is included in our base fare too so we’ll probably check that out a few times. I’m not sure yet whether we’ll buy a drinks package or just pay as we go. We’re not big drinkers but I do want to enjoy some fancy cocktails on board!

Le Renault French Festival

pexels-photo-461060.jpeg

I was already looking forward to this festival before I started writing this blog post but when I just looked it up, I found out that the Auckland festival dates are on my BIRTHDAY WEEKEND! Last year it was in August so I assumed it would be the same this year. What a wonderful surprise, though I’m not sure how I missed the dates when I said I was interested on Facebook! I love France and all things French, so a festival all about that is definitely a good way to spend my birthday. I would absolutely love to go to the One Night in France dinner on the 8th of June but I’ll have to get tickets soon because they sell out fast! Even if I can’t save up enough for tickets to the dinner before they sell out I’m still so excited for the festival over the weekend. It’s only $5 entry each day and it’s full of French food, culture and I’m sure a fantastic atmosphere that will transport me to France for the day.

Tongariro Alpine Crossing

shoes-rock-climbing-hiking-walking-40383.jpeg

In November my sister and I are planning to walk the Tongariro Alpine crossing with our partners, her daughter, and possibly our mum. It’s going to take me a lot of training to get me ready to do the day-long 19km hike which is why I’m planning on walking being my main form of exercise this year. If I can complete the crossing I’ll be so proud of myself because it’s definitely not something I could do now. This is a challenge I’ve wanted to do for quite a while but have never committed to actually doing it.

Alliance Française French Film Festival

pexels-photo-133070.jpeg

Surprise surprise, another French event I’m looking forward to! In Takapuna, where I usually go, the Alliance Française French Film Festival runs between the 2nd and 21st of March. Check out their page to see when the festival is running near you as it moves around the country. There’s only been a few early announcements on the films for this year but the full programme will be announced next month. I’ll be seeing one film with my mum as is tradition, but I’ll try and catch a few more if I can!

In Taka there’s also a French Festival and Movie Night mid-February to give a taster of what to expect from the full French Film Festival. In the afternoon there will be a French market with French food stalls, live music and mini-French lessons. This is followed by an outdoor screening of one of the festival films La Famille Bélier which is about a young woman with deaf parents finding out she has an amazing singing voice. It will be shown in French with English subtitles so if you’re down for a bit of reading you don’t need to know any French to enjoy!

Writing More Blogs

pexels-photo-256514.jpeg

Even though I haven’t exactly stuck to schedule so far this year I’ve really enjoyed creating and writing the blogs I’ve published so far. I’m excited to stick with it and see what might happen because of it at some point down the road. Thinking of different blog ideas is starting to get a bit easier and with each one I write I can feel myself getting a bit better at it. I even figured out how to put images in my blog post this time! I’m excited for the possibility of one day making a career for myself in freelance writing and voice over work. The only way to get there is to start practicing and improving my skills as well as putting my hand up for opportunities whenever possible and getting my name out there.

Those are some of the major things I’m excited about this year. Looking forward to things isn’t for everyone though, I know my boyfriend doesn’t get excited for things easily. For me it’s an important part of life and I will never get sick of asking him,”Guess what? We’re going on a cruise!” every chance I get.

What are you looking forward to in 2018? Big or small I want to know. Leave me a comment and let me know so I can get excited with you!

Work

A Lot Can Change in a Year

About a week and a half ago it was one one year workiversary (yes, definitely a real word) at my current job and I’m now in the middle of two weeks without my manager who is on a well deserved holiday. These two things have made me realise just how much has changed in the past year, after I left the company I once thought I’d be with for life.

Before I even started at my old company, it was a place that I’d wanted to work for years. I finally worked up the courage to apply and took a leap of faith on a Christmas Casual position after my second year at AUT. I was terrified I wouldn’t get a permanent role after Christmas and would be left unemployed and trying to pay rent in the new year.

Everything worked out great and I had a wonderful time working there. I was given a permanent role after Christmas was over and I continued to love it until I finished uni. I decided to stay on after uni and applied for the trainee manager role when it came up at my store. After six months in the role, and about two years at the store I decided I wanted to try my hand at the online store. I was over working shifts, my current manger was also leaving for a different position in the company and I didn’t want to be face to face with customers all day, so I went to be the trainee manager there.

I moved to the online store and my enjoyment at work went downhill pretty fucking quickly. I had to fight my manger to get leave approved, they would lie about things we had already talked about and tried to cut me off from any help. I wasn’t allowed to talk to their manager (who was based in Australia) without their permission, I couldn’t make a decision without checking it with them first even if they weren’t at work and they would talk about me behind my back to our staff. I tried to talk to them and they denied any of this was happening and even told me my appraisal wasn’t the appropriate time to bring up issues I was facing at work. I tried talking to their manager about the situation and get some help and was met with the good ole “Have you tried talking to them about this?” response. Which was totally code for “I’m too busy to help and I don’t really care.” I tried to apply for other jobs in the company that I thought I’d be good at and was told I lacked career direction because I has applied for four roles over six months – two of them being in the same team!

After about a year I had finally had enough. I knew I was in a bad place mentally because of the situation at work and needed to get out. I was crying most days because of work, I thought I was going crazy because my manager would continually deny they had said things and I couldn’t progress within the company.

I was so sad to admit defeat and leave the company I had once loved so much, but looking back now it was one of the best things I ever did.

When I started my current job I felt like I knew nothing and I was terrified to make a mistake because of how I was treated at my previous job. I was scared I would be yelled at and fired because I was now in the big scary corporate world. I worked hard to learn my role and do what I could to help my manager too. I was told so many times to stop saying sorry when I asked a question because I felt like I was interrupting them. My team are supportive and helpful to each other and will all pitch in if we have something big coming up or if one of us hasn’t done something before.

Flash forward to a year later and I’m effectively running the show as much as I can while my manager is away. I may not be getting back to all my emails as quickly as I would like, but I feel like I’m doing a pretty fucking good job getting on top of things I wouldn’t usually look after. I have worked hard to get to this point where I feel respected, trusted and valued in my role. Sure I’ve made a few mistakes while working here, but when your manager is a reasonable person it’s not a big deal. I learn from them and try to make sure they don’t happen again. I now feel confident and like I’m getting my personality back after being so squashed in my previous role. I still struggle with being ‘tough’ when it’s needed but I’m getting better at this each week. I now know I could do any job I set my mind to, whether it be in this field or something completely different.

A year feels so long when you’re trying to plan it, but so short when you look back over it. I’m sharing my experience to try and help others realise, if you’re in a bad place at work it can get better. Trust yourself and your skills to get you a better job, there is one out there. It’s often not the actual work that makes you hate the job, it’s the people you’re surrounded by. Work is such a huge part of our lives that it is so important to feel good about yourself while you are there.

Goals

2018 Goals

New Year resolutions are something I used to make every year. It was always the same, to lose weight, just to varying degrees depending on how heavy I was and how ambitious I was feeling at the time. Then by the end (or middle) of January I would give in to some cravings or I would feel I hadn’t lost ‘enough’ weight and I would just give up. Cue year after year of finishing the year heavier than I started and making the same resolution again and again.

This year I realised that I don’t want to make that resolution again, or in fact any resolutions. I want to make goals. Many goals. Things I can work on and develop, get better at. Not things that I either succeed or fail at, but things that as long as I work on them I will reach them eventually-even if that isn’t this year. Goals that have more than one way to succeed at them, if one way doesn’t end up working for me there is always a different angle to approach it from.

I brainstormed different goals and ideas and decided to categorise them into six different areas of my life as well as one main goal. The six areas I’ve made goals in are; financial, health and food, online presence, exercise, career and other. For each of these categories I’ve thought about how I would like this area of my life to look at the end of 2018 as well as set goals to help me achieve this. For some goals I’ve put dates that I’m aiming to achieve the goal by, as they will impact my ability to achieve some of my remaining goals and for others I’m just trying to achieve as much as I can towards them by the end of the year. Some of my goals are SMART like they teach you in school, some of them are fluffy intention goals that I can make a call on later in the year if I feel like I’ve made progress with them or not.

Without further ado, here are my goals to work towards in 2018.

Financial

By the end of 2018 I would like my only debt to be my student loan and to have had an amazing experience on my cruise in August. I would like to have purchased what I need and not deprived myself of things like buying new clothes while still setting up a healthy base of savings.

  • Pay off the remaining $1,100 of my overdraft by the 20th of June. My Graduate bank account expires around then and after that I’ll be charged interest so I want to get this paid off ASAP.
  • Pay off my credit card in full each time I get paid.
  • Save the remaining $700 to pay off my cruise by the 23rd of April.
  • Save $1,000 spending money by 15th of August for my cruise.
  • Save $2,000 to buy a new bed.
  • Save $5,000 for an emergency fund by the end of the year.
  • Save $1,500 for a new rental deposit and moving costs by the end of January 2019.
  • Save $1,100 to attend the NZ Voice Academy Training course.
  • Talk to my friends and family more about money. Don’t let it be a taboo subject, it’s something we all need to live and actually work for almost every day. It affects our lives in so many different ways, from how we earn it to how we spend or save it, that we should be able to talk to people about our experiences with money.
  • While trying to save for these things and pay off my current credit card and overdraft debt, I need to remember to make room in my budget to treat myself to the things I want and need so I don’t feel deprived and end up spending all of my savings in retaliation to my self-imposed restrictions.

Health and Food

By the end of 2018 I would like to be more confident in cooking healthy and tasty food for myself and be on my way to leading a healthy lifestyle by building healthy habits into my everyday routine.

  • Find a doctor who can help and support me in my health and well-being goals and ask them to do blood work to see if there’s anything I need to look out for (e.g low iron levels) while building my new healthy habits. If any readers have suggestions for great doctors around the North Shore of Auckland, please let me know. I’d prefer a female doctor but open to suggestions.
  • Invest money in kitchen tools and appliances that will make cooking at home faster, easier, tastier or just more appealing after a long day at work.
  • Lose between 0.5-1 kg per week.
  • Track my weight and measurements on the first of every month as well as taking progress pictures. I’m hoping by only weighing myself every month it will break the ‘I did really good, treat myself!’ or ‘I did really bad, might as well give up’ mentality that I can often fall into when weighing weekly. Measurements and progress pictures are for the months that I don’t lose much or feel like I haven’t made enough of a change. Having these other ways of monitoring my body will help me to get a wider understanding of it other than the effect of gravity on my mass at any one point in time.
  • Focus on the positive changes I can feel in my body.
  • Finish the year weighing less than 100kg.
  • Track my calorie intake 95% of the time and try to keep to the amount of calories My Fitness Pal is telling me to have. I know I won’t want to track every single day this year and think that’s unrealistic for me, so this goal will let me have days like my birthday, anniversary and Christmas away from tracking without feeling guilty.
  • Drink 2L or 8 glasses of water per day.
  • Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
  • Follow the 80/20 rule of cooking at home each week. Try to make 80% of my meals home cooked and the remaining 20% can be bought. This ends up being around 4 bought meals per week which is a lot less than I used to have.

Online Presence

For this area of my life I just want to feel like I’ve pushed myself outside of my comfort zone during the year. I want to share my life and my experiences with other people on the internet and hopefully inspire someone to live their life for themselves and not someone else. By making content I hope to learn what I’m good at already and develop new skills for things I’m not that good at yet.

  • Publish one item of content per week. This could be anything from a blog post, YouTube video or an audio file and it can be on any topic that I feel like that week. The most important thing is that I make something.
  • Post to my personal Facebook and Instagram accounts without worrying about what people will think.
  • Post to my blog-related Instagram (@abby_sees92 if you want to follow!) whenever I feel like it. I’ve already posted nine photos in the first week of 2018 which is the amount I posted on my personal Instagram account for the entirety of 2017!
  • Maybe one day I will tell my personal Facebook friends or Instagram followers about my blog and goal related content and invite them to take a look.

Exercise

I would love to finish 2018 feeling stronger, moving my body more regularly and enjoying how I do that. Starting from pretty much zero movement currently, I want to slowly increase my exercise and find different ways to keep it interesting.

  • Move my body for at least 30 minutes three days a week.
  • Try new ways to move my body that I’ve previously been too scared or nervous to do.
    • Giz’ Westlake Zumba classes
    • Belly dancing
    • Pole fitness
  • Complete Couch 2 5K training programme.
  • Run a 5km race.
  • Walk up Rangitoto island.
  • Walk the Tongariro Alpine crossing in November.

Career

While I enjoy working in my current team and I’m good at my job, I know its not something I want to do for the rest of my life. People are always changing and evolving and we shouldn’t settle for something we don’t find joy in. By the end of the year I would like to be in a job that I enjoy and that serves me as much as I serve it.

  • Talk to People Support at my current company by the end of February to see if there are jobs that I think would bring me joy and purpose within the company.
  • Find a side-job to bring in extra money and help me save for all of my financial goals.
  • Have a salary of $55,000 per year by 31st December.
  • Find a job that makes me feel fulfilled and that I’m passionate about.
  • Try out for voice acting jobs. If anyone knows how to do this in New Zealand please let me know, I’d love to get into it but I have no idea where to start!
  • Attend an NZ Voice Academy two day course before the end of the year.
  • Keep taking opportunities to learn new skills as they arise, even if I’m not sure that’s what I want to do.
  • Speak my mind more often and make myself heard.

Other Goals

These are goals that will help me to live a more fulfilled life and enjoy my life more. There are a few things that I know I should do and some things I want to do. These are goals that will help a lot with achieving my main goal for the year.

  • Spend one hour a week cleaning my room. I’m not a naturally tidy person and my room can easily turn into a crazy mess if I’m not careful. Having a clean room makes me feel more organised and makes me feel like I have space to do stuff.
  • De-clutter and get rid of things I no longer use or no longer bring me joy. This is an ongoing project throughout the year as I buy more things, I will need to get rid of some too or else I won’t have space for everything. I started the year with a big room clean and purge of the shit that was in there, three big bags worth got chucked! Now I just have to keep on top of it and make sure I don’t hoard things I no longer need.
  • Set up a dedicated space for myself in my room, to work on my content and inspire me every day.
  • Read one book per month. I know a lot of people want to read a book per week, but I haven’t read books in years and want to ease myself back into them. My favourite books growing up were ones like Harry Potter, Stephanie Plum bounty hunter novels and the Mortal Engines series. If you have any suggestions for awesome books I might like, please let me know and I’ll put it on my list to read.
  • Use my Life Planner from Erin Condren to keep myself on track with all these goals. Break up these goals into monthly and weekly goals that will build on each other to end up achieving the big goals. Use the weekly pages to schedule in time to work on everything I need to each week around my other commitments.
  • Brush up on my High School French. I’ve started with Duolingo and I will look at different options to continue once I find myself at the end of that journey.
  • Have more experiences. Go to shows. Explore the world. Go bush. Watch movies. Do shit I want to do.
  • Ask for what I want. Be that help, support or just someone to hang out with. I’m often left feeling sad with unfulfilled expectations because I don’t ask the people in my life for what I want or need from them.
  • Stop doing things just because I want people to like me or think I’m nice. Do things because I want to and believe in what I’m doing.

While this is a LONG list of goals and does feel quite daunting, I feel optimistic that I can achieve a lot of these this year. If there’s some I don’t quite get to, that’s ok too. I’m trying to focus on continual improvement, not a complete lifestyle and personality change overnight.

I think all of my other goals will help me to achieve my main goal for the year. If I find during the year some of them aren’t helping, then they will change. Goals are never final and you can always change your mind on them. Sometimes things seem important at one stage of your life but you find when you get closer to them you see they’re not what you want in your life.

My main goal and hope for everyone this year is:

Be Happy.

Life is too short to not enjoy it.

Uncategorized

Use Your Super Power for Good.

While I was looking for pictures to use for my blog yesterday, I realised it has been a whole year since I went to Taupo with my boyfriend. We visited Hobbiton, Huka Falls and Lava Glass (a glass sculpture garden and workshop). While we were down there and I took so many photos (including the one above) and planned to use this trip to set up my blog. I wanted to write about all the awesome things we did and new things we experienced.

Then my self-doubt and worry set in. What if I was shit at writing? What if no one reads my blog? What if no one cares about what I have to say? What if someone I know reads my blog and makes fun of me? I was too scared to start a blog because I was worried about all the bad things that might happen if I took that step and put myself out there.

Recently I’ve been listening to guided meditations to help me silence my mind and fall asleep. One that I particularly enjoy and have listened to multiple times, is about worrying. It talks about how humans are one of the only species in the world that can imagine different possible outcomes for our actions. It’s like our very own super power in nature. But so many people only use this ability to imagine the worst possible outcomes, like the ones that stopped me from starting a blog.

There’s really no use in imagining the worst, because it makes you experience this awful outcome for no reason. If it ends up happening, that sucks! But at least you only experienced it once. Imagining and experiencing the outcome multiple times isn’t going to make you better prepared for if it really happens.

Since this startling revelation, I’ve started trying to steer my thoughts away from the negative and towards positive possible outcomes. Like what if I end up making internet friends and surrounding myself with wonderful people I meet through blogging? What if one day, my experience blogging and the writing practice it will give me lands me a dream job? Or a post of mine goes viral and I end up being able to make blogging my full time job? How would I feel, if one day something I have written makes someone think differently about themselves and helps them to understand their life a little better? Some of those possibilities are just as unlikely as all of the negative ones I let myself think about, but much nicer to experience repeatedly.

Life is all about learning and developing, no matter how old you are. This blog is a place where I can learn about myself and develop my writing at the same time. Life is going to be much nicer when I’m not always imagining and experiencing my own failures time and again. Sure, some of my posts may be absolute garbage but some of them will also be pretty good. Even if I do say so myself.

As Jake the Dog says, “Sucking at something is the first step of becoming sorta good at something.”

Uncategorized

Hello, it’s me.

Throughout school I was always into writing and expressing myself through my words. Since leaving uni over two years ago, I’ve found the real world often doesn’t give you the chance to write and I’ve really missed it.

I’ve wanted to start a blog for ages, but could never figure out what I wanted my blog to be about. I needed something niche. Did I want to write about travel? Food? Health? What if no one reads it? What if people say mean things? My mind would always give me a reason not to start one.

I’ve since decided that it doesn’t matter if no one reads my blog, because this a platform for me to express myself. To write about things in my life that inspire, delight and intrigue me. One week I might post about France and my desire to go back (my obsession is real), next I might post about a new restaurant I’ve tried. And if anyone has anything mean to say, I’m sure I can just block them.

Join me if you like, and read about how I experience the world. The ups and downs of life and new experiences I’m going to have.