Monday, 26 January 2015

Why you don't need to go to University to succeed.

Maybe it's because I recently turned 25 and am having a bout of quarter life crisis, but lately I have been questioning things a lot.. my life.. my ambitions.. and wondering if my problem could be that my dreams are simply too big, or that they weren't my dreams to begin with?

I cannot speak for everyone my age, however, for the vast majority of children brought up in the 80's and 90's (and even more so in the 2000's onward) we were told that we could achieve anything - be anyone we wanted to be. Astronaut? You got it! Brain surgeon? Keep those grades up like you have been and you'll be a brain surgeon in no time! It's as though the generations before us seemed to believe that because they didn't finish high school, or couldn't/didn't go to University, that finishing year twelve and going on to a higher education program would be the difference between us getting whatever it was that they didn't.

What they failed to understand though was that not everyone gets to do exactly what they want. It doesn't matter what schools you go to, how hard you study, who you know, or how good a people person you are.. more often than not, you're not going to get what you want. Furthermore, even if you do reach the point where you are able to live your dreams, what happens if you find out that the dream/life/career choice you wished for isn't really what you wanted after all? Nobody tells you what to do then do they?

Don't get me wrong, having dreams and life goals is great. They can give you motivation to get out of bed every morning, to learn, to challenge yourself, and to continue moving forward. I believe we need to be realistic though and realise that regardless of how hard we work at our goals we still may not end up getting what we want. Ever. I know it sounds harsh, but it's a reality that many of us are faced with.

It may be worthwhile to devise a contingency plan (or multiple contingency plans) - something to fall back on that will still give you pleasure even if it isn't what you always dreamed of doing. You may even want to reassess your dreams altogether - getting back to basics to work out the key things you really want in life, and then coming up with small, realistic and reachable goals to assist you in attaining those things.

For me, if I am to truly get back to basics, I can honestly say that I don't have any goals other than to own two miniature dachshunds (and eventually more!), get married, raise a family, and travel some of the world together. I'd also like a new car with air conditioning, a house of our own, laser eye surgery, and to have a 6 figure salary.. but I could happily live without those things.  My dreams weren't always this simple though - they were shaky, career driven, and based on me wanting to be someone that I thought other people wanted me to be.

My story:

I always did well in school because I had a somewhat decent memory for rote learning and so because of this everyone assumed that I would go off to University and become a teacher, or a doctor. Nobody forced me to, no one even said it out loud, but I knew it was what everyone wanted for me. I knew it so much that I allowed myself to believe that that was my dream as well. I wanted everyone to be proud of me.

It took me a while to get to Uni because of some health issues that came up while I was in grade ten, which meant that I could only finish year twelve with the bare minimum subject load and no OP score, making it impossible to go Uni straight away. I took 6 months off at the end of year 12 to work part-time and figure out what I wanted to do. I still couldn't get in to Uni at this point so I decided I needed to do a Tafe course (like community college I guess) that would get me into Uni. I eventually decided on photography because I wanted to "do what I loved" but I could already sense those around me rolling their eyes at the idea. When the photography course I wanted to attend was cancelled at the last minute, as a spare of the moment decision I decided to do a Justice Administration course which could lead me into the police force or a legal secretary position.

Because some of our night classes were taught by real police officers I started getting caught up in the excitement of their stories and began to think that maybe I wanted to be a police officer too. Unfortunately nearly everyone I told this to told me that it was a stupid idea and that I could never be a cop because I'm too much of a girly girl. Rather than prove them all wrong, I continued along my path of wanting people to be proud of me and finished up the course so that I could enrol in University and study to become a teacher.

Two years into my teaching course I knew in my heart of hearts that teaching wasn't for me. I wanted to do something creative, such as interior design or graphic design, but when I voiced my concerns about teaching to those around me (people who genuinely believed they only wanted the best for me) I was told that I'd regret it if I left my teaching course and was even promised by some of my lecturers that this feeling would pass and I would make a great teacher. As usual I decided to take their advice and continued with my teaching course. I was so determined to finish the course that I even took an extra 6 months to complete it because I knew my grades wouldn't be good enough if I kept up a full time workload.

By the time I finally finished my course at 24 years old, I was entirely certain that I was not ready to walk into a classroom and be a teacher. Whenever someone brought the subject up I felt sick to my stomach. I felt so lost. All of a sudden there was a huge pressure on me to use my new degree and "follow my dreams". But they weren't my dreams anymore. They weren't really my dreams in the first place. I was racked with guilt. Torn between doing what I felt the world expected of me, and finding out what I really wanted to do for myself. I felt so selfish for even questioning my chosen career path, but at the same time I knew it would be selfish for me to become a teacher (especially a primary school teacher) when my heart just wasn't 100% in it. (Disclaimer: Whilst I don't see teaching as my life ambition, I would not turn down the opportunity to teach if given so as I am well aware of what a privilege it is).

In the end, the decision was made for me. I paid for and sent off all my teacher application paperwork and was told I would only be offered an interview for full time work if I was prepared to move out somewhere rural. Had I actually wanted to be a teacher at this point I would have been raging mad at the fact that I wasn't even being offered an interview, and that applicants who may have been less qualified to be a teacher than I was were being offered jobs based purely on their ability to move out to a rural location. Fortunately I was more relieved than I was angry to find out this news, and I no longer needed to feel guilty that I wasn't getting a job as a teacher. Of course I could have applied for relief teaching work, but even the thought of doing that one day a week sent my anxiety sky high. More than anything I just wanted to take a break from studying, do something I truly enjoyed doing, and maybe even "follow my dream" - my real dream.. whatever that might be.

It didn't take me long to figure out what my new dream would be. I'd been dreaming about it, both consciously and unconsciously, for as long as I could remember. My dream was two fold; I wanted to work for myself, and I wanted to make online spaces prettier. To be honest, wanting to work for myself wasn't all that important (as I have now discovered), I just didn't want to answer to anyone at that point in time as I had been studying/working non stop for almost the past 20 years. Making online spaces prettier, however, was something I had been doing since I very first discovered the internet. I was obsessed with photoshop, blogging and learning code, and I had spent the last 2 and a half years of my University studies creating custom blog designs for myself and fellow bloggers just for the pure fun of doing so. I knew there wasn't much money in it (at least not at first) but I thought if I threw myself into it and worked hard enough that I could make a real career for myself and finally "follow my dreams".


So did my "dreams" really end up coming true? Am I finally content and living the life I always wanted? Yes and no. Yes, I followed my dream of working for myself and making online spaces prettier. No, I'm not entirely content and living the life I always wanted. The truth is, I'm 25 years old and still wake up every morning wondering what the point of it all is.

I always thought the saying "do what you love and love what you do" meant that once I was finally working at doing something I loved each day, I wouldn't really feel like I was working at all. This is such a misguided, head-in-the-clouds, idealism though and as I have found out over the last year and a half, it doesn't always work that way. Eventually, if you do something that you love day in and day out (as you have to do when you own a small business), it's highly likely that it's going to become monotonous, routine, stressful and boring. The sad fact is that when you turn your passion into a job, you risk losing that passion altogether.

I am happy to say that I haven't entirely lost my passion behind my small business. I'm not going to lie, for a while there it was a bit of a daily struggle to find the motivation to keep going. I wasn't getting any closer to my financial goals of travelling the world, having a fancy wedding, starting a family, etc., and this stressed me out a lot. I felt that I had worked too hard and spent too much of my life studying to be earning so little at the age I am now. I realised that even if I continued to raise my prices and continued to grow my business at a steady pace, it would still only ever be a supplemental income to my partners income - not something that I could happily live off on my own.

So what do you do when following your dreams isn't really working out for you? Do you fall back on the dreams that others had for you? Do you keep working at something that you're not sure is going to pan out? Or do you take responsibility for improving your life, doing whatever you need to in order to reach your goals?  I think you know the answer. (Hint: I found a second job and asked for hours that would allow me to continue working on my design business in the background!).

Start now. Don't wait for opportunities to come knocking on your door. Put yourself out there. Apply for jobs you are over-qualified for. Apply for jobs you under-qualified for. Apply for jobs you have no experience in but have always wondered about. Don't be afraid to ask for more - more responsibility, more money, more benefits. Take active steps towards changing up your life to suit the person that you are now. Not you five years ago, and not you in ten years time. And certainly not to suit anyone else!

If you're bored, lost or unsatisfied with your life, just remember one thing:  you are capable and worthy of more.

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Wednesday, 21 January 2015

I am perfectly imperfect.

There, I said it.

I know my life may seem like it is going a little too perfectly lately judging by this blog and my social media (and believe me, some days I feel like things couldn't get much better), but in reality my life is still just as imperfect as it's always been.

Sure, I may have just landed the perfect part time job (the hours are ridiculously spot on for me), B may have just started working at the hospital as a doctor, I may have just quit Centrelink (Government support here in Australia) once and for all, B may have just purchased a new car, we may currently be living in our dream house, and we may be about to welcome a gorgeous new miniature dachshund puppy into our little family - but there is so much more to my life then all of the above..

Welcome to my imperfect life. You've been warned.

Me, with my acne ridden chin and dark under eye circles, binge watching Gossip Girl. Also, Ellie having a nap on top of our numerous piles of washing.

- One morning last week we woke up to a house full of maggots. Thankfully they hadn't started climbing up the walls or onto the carpeted areas yet, but they were literally all over the entire living space. There were thousands of them, and it took us all morning to clean them up.

- The other night (before my partner purchased a new, safe car for us to drive around in) I was designated driver in my '93 model Barina when B and I went out for drinks with his new colleagues from the hospital. Afterwards he and three of his doctor friends piled into the back of my shitbox and asked me to take them out for ice cream. It was raining at the time, and my tires had evidently worn down somewhat since I last checked them, as I almost crashed the car when driving down a slippery hill. Just imagine the potential headline if I hadn't managed to regain control of the car. Eeeek!

- Speaking of cars, my shitbox still has no air conditioning. The front drivers side window also doesn't wind down.

On my days off from work at my new part time job, rather than hopping into the shower and actually getting dressed ready for a day of blog designing (my other part time job), I instead stay in my exercise gear from my morning walk with B and spend the majority of the morning (or occasionally the whole day) lying on the couch watching YouTube videos.

- I recently found out that an old friend of the family had passed away and I haven't shed a tear. This person was a part of my life as a small child right up until my early adulthood, yet for some reason I feel emotionally detached from the situation. I have become emotionally detached from a lot of things in recent years and I don't know why.

- Ellie has an obsession with stealing socks, t-shirts, tea towels, etc. and making us chase her all over the house to retrieve them from her. She has us well trained and she knows it.

- I add a task to my daily to-do list only to not do that task, so I add it to the next days to-do list, then do the same thing again the next day. This can often go on for several weeks before I eventually do said task.

- Speaking of to-do list tasks, I still haven't unpacked my wardrobe since we moved in two and a half weeks ago, and I still haven't changed my address with all of my institutions, etc. I've also got a bunch of emails that I still need to reply to.

There is a hell of a lot more things that I could mention but I'm sure you guys get the general idea. Just remember that the next time I post a cute photo of Nala on instagram, or brag about something new that I have just purchased, that I'm probably sitting around in my sweat pants and putting off my to-do list whilst I'm doing so.

Tell me more about what's been going on in your life lately - good and bad. There will be no passing judgements around here I can assure you. :)

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Sunday, 18 January 2015

Snap Happy Sunday // Meet Nala!

Happy Sunday guys! Today I'd like to introduce you all to our new little puppy, 'Nala', who was born on the 23rd of December. She's a miniature dachshund just like Ellie, only she's a shaded tan (or red) dapple. I think she's technically considered a red, but she looks tan to me. We were originally hoping for a boy, but once we saw a photo of her we just knew we had to have her.

If she was a boy we were going to call her Henry, and although I was still happy to call her that (Henri - short for Henrietta) B was dead set against it, and so the drama we had when choosing a name for Ellie last year started all over again. I was keen on human names that would work well with 'Ellie', or even colour/food related names, but B wasn't having any of them. Then one morning I was having a shower and was calling out names to B.. I suggested Lola (to which B immediately said No!), then Nola, which B mistakenly heard as 'Nala', and his face lit up like a Christmas tree. I wasn't too keen on it initially as it seems to be a pretty popular name these days, but I quickly put that aside when I thought about how happy the name made B. It really is the perfect name for her though. She even has a little white patch on her chest making her colouring similar to Nala's in The Lion King.

The above photos were taken the day after we moved up to Townsville when Nala was exactly 2 weeks old. As you can see her eyes were only just starting to open, and she was also just starting to walk.

The photos below however were taken on Thursday afternoon when Nala was 3 weeks and 2 days old. She was a lot more responsive the second time around, and twice as adorable if that's even possible.

Playing with her black and tan sister 'Evie'.

We're allowed to bring Nala home on Valentines Day at 7 and a half weeks old, but I've asked the breeder if she could please hold on to her for an extra week so that she can spend some more time with her Mum before we take her. We brought Ellie home at the 7 and a half week mark and I just felt like if she'd had an extra week with the Mother that she could have been a little bit better adjusted. In saying that, chances are we'll be so desperate to bring her home that we'll pick her up on the 14th anyway.

If you'd like to see some more photos of Nala before we bring her home, make sure you're following me on instagram here, or you can even follow Nala and Ellie on instagram here. We're going to be visiting her every second week, plus her breeder likes to send us photos fairly regularly. :)

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Wednesday, 14 January 2015

An update on the move, work, life in Townsville, etc.

The photos throughout this post were taken on our very first day in Townsville last week. We arrived Monday morning, at approximately 8.30am, and headed straight for The Strand where we managed to capture some photos of this incredible view. After our 13 hour drive the day before, and our 4 and a half hour drive earlier that morning, a nice long walk along The Strand was exactly what we needed.

To be perfectly honest, the drive was nowhere near as bad as we had allowed people to build it up to be in our minds. Yes, we were driving in my '93 model barina with no air conditioning in the middle of Summer, but leaving at 3am and keeping the windows wound down meant that it really only got hot around Midday - and at that point we only had 4 hours left to go until we arrived at the place we were staying overnight, so it wasn't that big of a deal.

As you can see, Ellie loved 'The Strand'.
Anyway, after we'd taken a few photos we drove across town (a whole 15 minutes!) to pick up the keys to our new house. As we first drove into our new suburb we were immediately blown away at how well kept the area was, the large streets, etc. We knew we were moving into a new build suburb, but we were still quite surprised to see such bright green grass everywhere in such a hot climate (we've since discovered that all of the properties have an inbuilt irrigation system!).

As for our house, well it was even more beautiful and spacious than it appeared in the pictures on the real estate website. It has such a luxurious feel to it with the high ceilings, colour scheme, modern architecture, etc., to a point where it almost feels like we are living in a hotel. To say that we are in love with our new place is an understatement. I literally wake up every morning and feel truly blessed.

Ellie enjoying her new front yard. :)

Our furniture didn't arrive until Wednesday morning so we spent the next two nights sleeping on a blow up mattress. We didn't really mind though, and we kept ourselves busy by going out to lunch, visiting our new puppy (eeep!), neighbours, etc.

Since our furniture arrived we've unpacked pretty much everything (except for my clothes haha!), visited all of the major shopping centres to drop off my resume, gone on morning walks with Ellie every single day, and gotten back into the habit of preparing healthy and wholesome meals.

This morning I found out that there is more than likely going to be a position available for me at one of the nearby supermarkets. I'm going in tomorrow morning to meet some of the staff and hopefully find out more about the position and when I can start. Moving 17+ hours away to a new town without a job lined up was very scary for me (I felt "the fear" as Joey and Chandler would say), so I've basically got all of my fingers and toes crossed that this new job will work out for me. It's only a part time position, but that just means I'd still have plenty of time to work in my design business (which is open again in case you guys were wondering), and hopefully pick up a few days of relief teaching work here and there.

I feel like I have so much more to tell you guys but I think I should probably leave it there for now. If you have any questions about the move or even Townsville itself, please leave them in the comments section below and I will answer them as best I can. :)

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Sunday, 11 January 2015

Snap Happy Sunday // Welcome to our new house!

Hello lovelies! It's been about a week since my last blog post, so I thought I would schedule a little house tour post for you today using the photos I saved from the real estate website. I don't know about you guys, but I love looking at photos of empty houses even more than furnished ones - I think I just appreciate the architecture, or perhaps it's the simplicity of the photos. Either way, I hope you guys enjoy looking at these photos as much as I did when we were applying for the house. :)

This is technically the front of our house, although our garage is actually on the opposite side as we are living in place that has dual street access. We even have a letter box on both sides of the house. Very weird!
Our kitchen! I am very happy with the colour scheme and all the modern fixtures. It's a lot more spacious in person too.
Just to the right of the kitchen in this photo you can see a little cut out nook in the wall. This is where I'm going to set up a little tea and coffee bar. :)
As our home is all open plan living, the kitchen is directly attached to this lounge/dining area. That white door you can see on the left of this photo leads to our garage, and the sliding doors lead to our covered back patio.
And here is the back patio! Once we install a doggy door this is where Ellie will have access to the toilet rain or shine. Yay for no more doggy toilet in the house! 
We have a laundry! I can't tell you how good it feels to not have the laundry in our garage or bathroom like we did in our past units. I really love the natural light in here as well, and I especially love that this sliding door takes you directly to the washing line.
Here is the main bathroom. I am excited that we have a bath. I am also excited that the main/communal toilet is separate from the main bathroom.
Here is mine and B's bedroom (there are also two spare bedrooms that aren't pictured). Not only do we have an ensuite (YES!) but we also have a spacious walk in wardrobe. There's nothing like an ensuite and walk in robe to make you feel like an adult!
And here's a shot of our ensuite. Quite small, but lots of natural light. This makes me happy. :)

So what do you think? Are you excited to see another house tour once it's properly furnished?

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Sunday, 4 January 2015

Our road trip to Townsville starts today!

By the time you're reading this, B, Ellie and I will already be on the road on our way to our new home for the next 2+ years. We left my Mums place early this morning at approximately 3am in the hopes of avoiding traffic and the heat of the Summer sun. Our friends Anita and Jaana who live roughly 4.5 hours south of Townsville have kindly offered to let us stay at their place for the night, which is hopefully where we are right now.

In the morning we will get up bright and early and continue our drive to Townsville where we will meet our real estate, pick up the keys, and see our new house for the very first time. There is no guarantee that our furniture will arrive tomorrow, so chances are we may end up sleeping on the floor with just our pillows and doona, and eating lots of take away for the next few days. I honestly don't mind at all though - it's all just a part of the adventure! :)

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Friday, 2 January 2015

Goals for 2015.

As you will probably know by now if you are a long term follower of my blog, my first post at the beginning of each new year is generally always a previous years goals recap and a declaration of my goals for the year ahead. This year is no different, and I have thought long and hard about the main things that I would like to achieve this year.

Before we begin though, here is a quick recap on last years goals:

1. Be earning at least $250 from my design business every week by the end of March, and at least $300 every week by the end of September.

- While there are some weeks where I am earning $300 or more from my business, there are still weeks where I am earning next to nothing, and as a result I have had to get a second job in order to keep myself afloat. Truth be told, I just can't see myself earning as much as I would ideally like to be from my design business, or at least not in the immediate future.

2. Adopt a rescue dog from Dachshund Rescue Australia.  I'd ideally like to welcome he/she into our family sometime before the end of March, but only if I am able to achieve goal #1 above first.

- Okay, so Ellie wasn't exactly a rescue dog, however we were put in touch with her breeder through DRA and encouraged to purchase her to stop her being snapped up by a puppy farm. I do realise she could have been snapped up by anyone (and not just a puppy farm) at the price she was being sold for, but at the end of the day we made the right decision for us and we couldn't be more happy to have welcomed Ellie into our family.

When coming up with this years goals I decided to take the success of last years goals into account and came up with the following:

1. Bring home a baby fur-brother for Ellie before the end of April so that she has someone to keep her company while B and I are at work. This puppy doesn't need to be a rescue dog, he simply needs to be the right fit for our family.

2. Find myself a decent paying job, whether that be casual or full time, separate from my design business. Making sure to keep my design business going in the background.

3. Make the time to explore Townsville and appreciate this wonderful tourist spot for everything it has to offer. Whether that be trying out new restaurants, going for hikes during the Winter months, or scuba diving during Summer - I want our time spent here to be a time we will remember with fondness in years to come.

What are some of your goals for 2015? I'd love for you to link up your own goals posts in the comments. :)

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