This blog was born in 2013 sitting under the sun in the kitchen before a flight where I’d have a 7 hour layover. Here’s a ramble of thoughts, so that I can avoid actually writing an about page. There was a giant black labrador carrying an even bigger branch in his mouth walking happily along as everyone stared at him amusingly. I feel like I’m surely not the only person that checks out other people’s dogs when walking by. Walking home during sunset there was the sound of live music and sure enough on a rooftop was a band playing. The sound of singing, guitars and drums made me stand there in the middle of the street swaying, while my yoghurt was patiently waiting for me to refrigerate it. The neighbours were out as we listened to them and applauded. The amount of couples hugging ever so tightly as I was out and about was so heartwarming especially on such a chilly, autumn day. The amount of people happily eating ice cream was also even more lovely to see. I don’t know why, but whenever I see someone with a sad face on the street, I imagine giving them a big warm hug.
It really is the little things in life. It’s our perspective that shape the world we live in. The lens we look through. There are times where there’s tension in your body, and somehow having a crazy laugh with someone releases everything. As you’re strolling down the street and see a group of sparrows rolling in the dusty dirt might well be one of the cutest things ever. A box of free fejoas from a kind neighbour. The satisfying crunch of stepping on a giant crispy leaf. Lying on the deck with your family watching the stars. It’s seeing a loved one after a long time and giving them a warm hug. There is so much beauty in each day. The sound of the wind howling outside, the rain against the window as you fall asleep, and the sound of family on the phone from afar. When we have gratitude for those things, we realise how precious our lives are. When I’d read a book I really enjoy, I’d sometimes like to leave a little note inside for the next reader, because even though they might not notice, it’d make me smile at the thought that it might make their day.
No one truly has all their sh*t together in the world regardless of their age. No matter where we are in our lives, when we have gratitude we focus on all that we have. I remember leaving home at sixteen to go to university, and feeling very clear about what I wanted to accomplish and the dreams I wanted to reach. The beauty of life is how unpredictable it can be. It’s important to make plans and set goals, but we also have to accept that sometime’s life doesn’t go in the direction we expect. Life is not one straight line in a tunnel, but more like a roller coaster that makes it all the more exciting. I ended up dropping out and moving alone to Sydney at eighteen, then, moving back to Auckland to attend university at twenty. After finishing university, I packed up my suitcase and moved to the beautiful city of Wellington.
One thing that’s important to remember is that the grass is not always greener on the other side. Being present, and embracing where you are, right here, right now, is quite possibly the best thing you can do to truly enjoy your life. I spent the last two years of my degree seriously planning to move to Shanghai or Taipei to work, and one year ago, I decided to follow my gut and move to this wonderful city. The lessons learned is that often we can plan far ahead, but things can change in the last minute. This happened every time I moved. When we spend time to be in solitude, it makes one reflect on where we place our values. It also makes one realise that normal doesn’t really exist. If you ever experience any period of struggle, that period of time could be the ultimate blessing in disguise.
It makes one reflect on who and what truly matters to you in your life. It makes you see how it’s those little things in life that can give us simple joys. Those moments are precious and sometimes we don’t realise it until we don’t have it. I don’t think there is any rule book for your twenties. Every person’s life is different. Taking it day by day, and focusing on what you can accomplish today can benefit in the long term. Take each day to learn something new, build new skills and take time for your hobbies. Wisdom, maturity and good advice are not based on age. Those from all walks of life can teach us something new, or give us different perspectives of the world. It can help us open our mind to new ideas. Living a minimalist lifestyle means living with the things that add value in your life. The materials that will come in use and time spent on the relationships that are truly meaningful. Consumer culture encourages us to spend money on things we don’t necessarily need, but may give a temporary sense of satisfaction.
Our self worth doesn’t come from the things we own. Living with less can allow you to be aware that you have more than enough. It seems counter-intuitive as it seems lack is often equated with having less, but when we have so many things in our lives, it can actually encourage the cycle of consumerism. I recommend checking out A Small Wardrobe for more content on minimalism. The concept of time has also been something on my mind. It’s made me really value even more so the time I spend with who I’m talking to, and the tasks I fill my time with. How can this time add value in my life. The time spent on reading a book, writing on paper, going for a run, talking to a loved one, learning a new skill or spending time to meditate and breathe. The thoughts we fill in our time can also affect our well being, and the activities we do can shape the day we want to live.
An aspect that I’ve wanted to improve on is to not be so hard on myself and letting go of expectations. We really have to be our closest friend. Be kind to ourselves. Remember to love ourselves. Nurture the precious connections in our lives, spend time with those that you love, and learn to be content in our own presence. When we spend time alone, we understand who we are as a person and what we like and dislike and what our interests tend to lean towards. Remember to practice gratitude everyday, because when you focus on all the things you have, you realise how much you have. Some of the best things to fill our time with are continuously striving to grow and learn everyday, working on your goals, helping others and having a curiosity and interest in life.
Art by Monica Barengo