It’s just me

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I’ve been living on my own for the last month, after living with housemates for the past 6 or so years. And it has been really lovely, I’ve been able to just be for a while but it has also given me a lot of time to think about my life and about me.

Being single is all I have ever known (except for that 6 hour relationship I had in year 7 where I didn’t talk to or see my “boyfriend”) and you know what? I like being single! I don’t know why there are so many people so obsessed with being in a relationship. I mean, yes, I want to be a ‘we’ but why can’t I enjoy being single until that day comes? Why is it that people struggle to be on their own?

I mean, come on – I can not shave my legs for a week and no-one complains! (except the kids at work who discover I have spikes!). I think I have learnt so much being on my own, I have been able to know myself better and become really sure of what I want when I do become an ‘us’. I have also been able to learn more about who I am in God. I think – actually I know, that if I had been a ‘we’ before now I would not have been able to grow as much as I have. If I had had a boyfriend going through my HSC or through uni I think I would have probably flunked as I know how distracted I get when I just have a crush. I would have missed out on some really important opportunities for growth in my life.

A girl I know from my hometown wrote a book called One Single Purpose and it has really helped me on this journey of being a single gal. It has a lot of reminders about why you should enjoy the stage you are at. It has a lot of stories that make me feel like it is ok that I am 26 and single because there are amazing things in store for me no matter my age and no matter my Facebook relationship status. Whether they be on my own or with someone else, I’m not sure yet.

Don’t get me wrong I want to be a Mrs, but I have had to accept that God has other plans for me right now and I would have missed them if I was too busy drooling over Mr tall, dark and handsome. It is a struggle that I have to work through all the time, when I get distracted by cuties I have to mentally say to myself “I am not here to find a husband. I am here for this particular experience”. It sounds really silly when I write it but it really is something I have to make myself do because God didn’t put me on this earth just to be part of an ‘us’ – that may be something he has in store for me down the track (and gosh I hope he does!) – but it’s not the only thing he has planned.

Sometimes I question why I am still single because it’s something I have always wanted, to be a ‘we’. It really hurts sometimes – like, is there something about me that is the reason why? (watching The Bachelorette while I write this probably doesn’t help!) I have to stop myself and say “It will happen when it is meant to happen” and gee I hope it’s amazing when it does!

For right now, at this point in life’s journey I am trying really hard to embrace who I am. To not become too focused on becoming an ‘us’ but to really enjoy being 26 and enjoy being single.

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Take care.

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Looking after yourself is so important! Over these last few months I have learnt just how crucial it is to your wellbeing that you stop and take a moment for yourself, especially when life it tough. And truthfully, when isn’t it?!

After chatting with a beautiful friend the other day about how she was feeling burnt out and losing her love of something she enjoys and is really good at, I started thinking back on decisions I’ve made in the past to push my own needs to the bottom of the pile and deal with everything else first. I learnt the hard way that if you don’t take care of yourself – all aspect of yourself – then stuff gets so much harder, you feel overwhelmed and life is not what it could be. You’re just going through the motions, gliding through in autopilot.

After going through a really crappy season of my own life I’ve been provided with some overdue R&R time, I’ve been able to do some things I really enjoy as well as think about what I want out of life. Doing these things has gone a long way towards improving my mental, emotional and physical health. I have been able to put me first which is not my natural go-to move!

So here are my top tips for taking care of yourself…

  1. Laugh! I have put this first because I love to laugh and it truly makes things better. Having a good laugh makes the crappy stuff feel a little easier to handle. Whether it’s laughing with a friend or watching a crazy cat video or remembering something funny that happened the other day – it all helps! Scientifically there are also a bunch of health benefits, laughing is actually good for your health!!
  2. Make the time to do something you enjoy. This can be hard when life is busy. You feel selfish for taking that time but in the long run I think it is really beneficial, for you and those around you. Being able to relax and reset gives you the oomph you need to give your all in whatever it is you’re doing. So whatever it is – painting, reading, gardening, having a bubble bath, doing a puzzle, working on your car, baking a cake, going for a walk or listening to music – do it! Do it for as long as you can (even if that is not much) but try and set aside a chunk of regular time, maybe once a week, that you can really get into whatever it is you enjoy.
  3. Move your butt! This is one that I really struggle with but whenever I get my heart rate up I feel so much better. And I am sure my body thanks me for it!
  4. Get amongst nature. Spending time in the sun (be sun safe kids!) or in nature is always something I enjoy. Not only do you get to see some amazing creations – flowers, birds, animals, insects; but your body actually benefits from it (science backs me up on that one too!)! I’ve seen it in kids, when they are outside they are learning so much and resetting their minds and their bodies. The smells and sounds and things they can touch are so different from the stuff that is inside and they benefit from it! It is the same for adults, our inner being needs nature to be happier overall.
  5. Do something for someone else. This one gives me all the positive feels when I purposefully do something for someone else and I think that the world would be a much better place if we all thought of others more. Is there someone in your world having a tough time? Can you write them a card, make them dinner, mow their lawn or shout them a coffee? Is there a charity you really like that could use some help making phone calls or doing some shredding? Take a minute to think of what you can do for others and I think you’ll find that you feel better afterwards.
  6. Spend time with people you enjoy being with. Whether it is friends or family, spend as much time as you can with people who really add to your life. Not in a creepy, stalker way but in a ‘I like to spend time with you’ way 🙂 If there are people who are not bringing anything positive to your life then spend a moment to evaluate if they belong and deserve your time. This can be hard but I think it is worth it. Now I know that there are people who you might not have a choice about (like a colleague, family member or friends’ partner) and I am definitely not saying you tell them to stick it and never see them again! But make the choice to spend your precious time with those who you truly enjoy being with.

Now I know there are tonnes more ways to take care of yourself, as everyone enjoys different stuff, and I am certainly not an expert on any of it! But I think it is really important that we make a conscious effort to do at least one of these and put ourselves first once in a while. Is there any others that you find help you to relax?

Take a deep breath, find something just for you and enjoy your life.

 

Making a list and checking it twice.

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If you were asked to describe me in a word or two, I think most people who know me would include something along the lines of ‘organised’, ‘perfectionsit’ or ‘a little OCD’.
I am definitely someone who likes to make lists (and of course they have to be on nice paper with a fancy pen – because…stationary!), be organised and have everything in its’ place. I like to have a plan – to know what’s coming and what I can do to make it happen. I am a details girl through and through! Tell me to do something specific and you can bet I will do it to the best of my abilities, but tell me that you need something done but give me no information about how, then I’m really going to struggle! Anyone else relate?
There are so many ‘To Do lists’ happening in my life at the moment – stuff to save for, people to catch up with, forms to get for Centrelink, things to do around the house (weeding my garden is on there but I really hate weeding so it might stay there for a while!). I mostly make them so I don’t forget but also because it kind of calms me, knowing I have it written somewhere. And it’s quite satisfying to tick it off when it’s done!
But at this point in time my actual life’s purpose is a bit of an unknown and that is hard for me! Especially when I have always known, or thought I knew, what that purpose was – to be an Early Childhood teacher. I was always working towards that goal. First it was get a high enough UAI (which I did by .2!) so I could get into uni, then it was finish uni, then it was get the dream job. When I had that dream job I was always working to better myself, going to courses and conferences, researching online, buying and making resources for my classroom.
To be honest, I think that might be why I am in this situation now, because my whole life revolved around that job. I put nearly every waking minute and pretty much every thought into it, because I loved it. I know that’s not a way to live but I really, really loved being a teacher and I am pretty good at it to! But now I have learnt that there is more to me, or there needs to be more to me than that.  First and foremost I am a child of God! Everything else comes after, and I had to be taught the hard way 🙂
Throughout this last month and a half but especially this last week, I have really had to step back and enjoy the nothingness, enjoy that I don’t have anywhere in particular to be, enjoy that God has allowed me to have some time to myself.
So even though I like to have a plan and I like that I am an organised person, I am also starting to appreciate the spontaneity of life. No, I am not going to rush out and go sky diving or sell my car to buy a boat or book a holiday on a whim, but I am going to take this time to heal from a lot of hurt and just be. Just appreciate how lucky I am and draw in closer to God.

Where to from here?

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So, it’s been a while since I put pen to paper…or I guess fingers to keypad. But I need somewhere that I can come back to in the future to reread about this particular season of my life, I needed to get it out to truly process it.

I think I need to start with explaining how I feel right now after possibly – actually no – definitely, the hardest time of my whole life. But you know what? I survived it and I feel more at peace than I think I have ever felt. More content with who I am and more importantly whose I am, because without knowing that I am a daughter of God, I truthfully don’t think I would be typing this from such a place right now.

The verse John 14:27 has been my mantra and truly that is all I have, God’s peace in my life. Even through such heartbreak and confusion I still felt as though I was in the eye of the storm. Don’t get me wrong I was IN the storm with cows whizzing by me and my body being lashed by wind and rain, but I felt at peace. Knowing that God was looking after me no matter what!

2016 was supposed to be the year I had more fun, after my Dad told me I was ‘thinking’ too much (which means stressing too much). But FUN is definitely not a word I would use to describe this year at all! I’ve faced many, many life challenges, both professionally and personally. All of which have seemed to be worse than the last. But each time God taught me something new and drew me into Him, which is a really special place to be.

I did not ever think that 2 and a half weeks after my 26th birthday I would be writing about the fact that I am unemployed and have no idea what my next step in life will be. Especially after I thought I pretty much had it all figured out. I’d finished Uni, gotten what I thought was my dream job and finally living in house that I really love! I’ve always had a next step or at least a general idea of what I wanted next. But here I am. Not sure what to do. And not as scared as I thought I would be.

I am so sure that I went through all of these really, super crappy things so that He could teach me some important life lessons.

To teach me to trust Him.

To teach me there is more to me and more to my life than being a teacher (which is a tough one because I think that has always been my identity to some degree).

To teach me that there is so many people in my life that love me and support me. Lucky me!

To teach me that He can take anything away from me (friends, jobs, opinions, thoughts) until I only have Him, which I have learnt is all I need.

How is it that sometimes we need to be whacked on the head with a 4×2 before we actually realise something?! I think God has been trying all year to get me to this place but I was too stubborn and stuck in my ways (I am a creature of habit!) to fully let go and say “Alright God, this life is Yours”. And it is still a day-by-day decision that I have to make.

So as I look out to my future, not having any idea of what it holds for me, I know that whatever it is I can handle it because I’ve got God on my side (and some pretty amazing friends and family too!). What does your future hold?

Take a breath

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Today I attended a conference. I LOVE conferences because they remind me of how passionate I am about children, play and how important play is in a child’s growth and development. If I were to get started on this particular topic I could talk for ages about it. But I won’t. I’ll save that for another day.

Today, an American guest speaker was there and he was super inspiring but he said something, kind of related to Early Childhood but most definitely related to life. Not just mine but everyones.

He said “Take a breath”. It seems a simple, silly, obvious thing but I feel like we really need to be reminded of this as we go through the ups and downs of our lives. What he was saying is true. Early Childhood is an emotionally draining career, we are required to drain ourselves to fill up the children in our care and that can take it’s toll.

For those of you who don’t work with children, you may not understand how much of ourselves we give each day. And this can cause us to become burnt out quickly. I am just so passionate about children and I cannot think of doing anything else! I would hate to became burnt out and not want to do it anymore!

Now I know that Early Childhood is definitely not the only job where people can become stressed and want out! But today I was reminded that we each need to take time for ourselves and TAKE A BREATH! That way we don’t become as stressed and can deal with it better when it does come our way. Coz unfortunately it will!

This is so super dooper important for us as humans! We need to take care of ourselves so we can take care of others, and isn’t that what it’s all about? Looking out for others?

So find something that relaxes you, rejuvenates you and refreshes you. It might be reading a book, going outside, going for a run (I cannot relate to this one but I’m sure it works for some!), drinking coffee or being creative – and do it!

Make some time, 5-10 minutes, every day if you can to take a breath. Let’s make it our mission to become the best person we can and spread that light that shines out each and every one of us around!!

All you need is love

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Guys, I’m watching Dr Phil again (not sure why that always gets me thinking about life and in turn about writing a blog post)! I’m rusty as it has been a while but here goes 🙂

I’m at home over Christmas and my Mum has recorded a whole bunch of episodes and we are watching a repeat from about a month ago. This episode is devastating and has lead me to several conclusions which I will get to but I can hear you all asking what the episode is about so I’ll explain that first.

It is a story about a mother who tried to kill herself and her daughter, and at first it sounds absolutely horrible, which it is!! But as the episode goes on a completely heartbreaking tale unfolds. This child is highly Autistic and extremely violent. This child beats up her mother and younger sister every 6 minutes. This child has knocked her mother unconscious twice, broken her bones and given her bruises. This child is a child. This child has no control. This child is scared.

Dr Phil interviews the mother in jail and she explains that she was trying to take them both to a better place so her youngest daughter would be safe, so her child with autism would be freed and because she was scared her daughter would eventually kill her. What a horrible, scary situation!

I cannot relate to this situation but I could see the pain, regret and love on this mother’s face. I could see she truly had run out of options and had lost hope, she said many times she loved her daughter so much and she just wanted to free her. You could see on her face how much she loved her daughter.

Now, I am not a parent and I am not an expert (not even close!) but I have seen a couple of children with Autism as an Early Childhood Educator over the last year or so. I have seen that they just cannot control their emotions and reactions the way that we generally can, when something changes or sneaks up on them they get scared and react in a way we wouldn’t.

My ‘Dr Phil conclusions’ came when I saw (through my tears) a video of this child physically beating her mother, this then faded into a montage of photographs of a mother and daughter who were friends, best friends. I could see that this mother just wanted to love her child and for her child to know that – and this is what I want for you to get out of my lazy Friday night – love your children, love you family, love yourself.

Your child needs to know that, no matter what, they are loved. I am not trying to lecture you (here I am, I’m a teacher, I know everything – not even! I know nothing!) I know you try your hardest and even when you are sleep deprived and haven’t eaten because you’ve been cleaning up snot and poo and vomit, you may get cranky or be short tempered. But you still love them! Just take a minute, breathe and love on them.

I am already passionate about children and ensuring they have the best life possible! I have learnt this year that it is so important for them to know they are special – even those who are a bit tougher to love! Children with Autism fall on a spectrum, some of them you wouldn’t know they have anything different about them and others struggle to cope with with many aspects of life. If you are a parent of an Autistic child, thank you! You are an amazing human being!

Going into this weekend and the coming year – show love – to your family, your children, your friends, your neighbours and those you encounter throughout your travels. You don’t know their story, their struggles, their life. We should never judge someone as we have no idea what their journey is! All we can do is pray!

Jess xx

The joys of Early Childhood – Part 2

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Guys! It’s Dr Phil time again so that means I’m back for part 2!

Yesterday I was planning on telling you all about the joys (only some of them are sarcastic I promise!) I have encountered since becoming an Early Childhood teacher. However, I got a little side-tracked with my little reminiscing session 🙂

My job is so rewarding in so many ways that I had never expected. I am Room Leader in a 3-4 year old room and I’m also Educational Leader for my centre which is very hard work but good fun. So here goes, the real deal…why being an Early Childhood educator is so fabulous!

The children are constantly sharing with you – especially their germs – hence the 2 blog posts in 2 days – and week days at that! They say that the first couple of years you catch all the germs and then you have an immunity of steel…which I am really looking forward to!

It is also really nice how much the children really want you to be part of their life. The amount of stories they share with you is so lovely and eye-opening. The amount of times I have heard about their bathroom trips, what sort of underwear they are wearing or what they are having for lunch is numerous. They also get really excited about things that are going on in their life and can’t wait to tell you when they see you – “Miss Jess I’m going on holidays!”, “Miss Jess I got a new toy”, “Miss Jess look what I made!”.

I’m always covered in paint! I love to provide my kiddies with art experiences which does involve paint and I somehow always get it on me!

This career is very much a people job and being that I am so integral to these children and their families I have been able to build relationships with some really lovely people as well as their super cute kiddies! It is a huge responsibility but it is exactly what I have always dreamt of! Our families are just the loveliest and I am caring for their most prized possession so it is important that I am always on. I’m not much of a people person so this is hard for me sometimes but they make it quite easy for me!

I have always been a bit of a nature girl, being from the country and all, but I have really been getting into so many more natural resources and aspects of life since the beginning of the year. I find it really important to provide the children with natural resources and teaching them about sustainability and looking after our environment. We have a little veggie garden because of this and are just about to get chickens! Yay! I really like giving the kids naturally made toys, I have some really cool blocks made from cut up branches that my Mum made for me that the kids LOVE (I think I may like them more though!). I have also started my own little veggie garden at home too which is so cool!

Being Educational Leader has meant that I have had to be doing extra research and reading which is annoying but it has also been really good. I have found so much information that has helped me and some other staff stay relevant and up to date. I have been able to stumble on so many excellent resources and websites including the Community Childcare Co-operative (link below), it provides so many helpful articles that have helped me and challenged me.
http://ccccnsw.org.au

I think the most exciting part of my job is the activities I have been able to plan and create. Looking back on the past 8 months or so and I have had some doozies and some really cool experiences with my kiddies. One of my favourite experiences (link bellow) was a combined art and music experience. I won’t explain how it works, you can check out the link, it was a very cool though.
http://www.andnextcomesl.com/2013/10/painting-to-music-bumblebee-craft.html

I could literally go on for a whole blog about this stuff (maybe I might!). I just get so excited when I see a child interested in something and then I go to the internet and find a plethora of activities and get to go nuts. It’s even more fun when you see the children really interested in the activity that you’ve set up.

Well Dr Phil is done and so am I 🙂
I feel like Part 2 was a bit of a let down. Sorry guys! I promise the next one will probably be better!

Jess xx