Reasons to be happy

Reasons to be happy

Besides the fact that we woke up today, we’re breathing and we’re alive – I found myself thinking about so many reasons to be happy this morning. For the first time in a long time, I feel settled. I’ve slowly managed to accomplish a lot for myself here in Atlanta, and having my mom visit has been the icing/cherry/giant brownie on the cake. Sometimes when you’re trying to live by taking each day at a time, after a while you lose sight of how far you’ve come or how great your life actually is when you just live in the moment.

Having my family here with me in the States would make life a bizzilion times better/ easier but that doesn’t change the fact that I do have a pretty awesome life here now. Yes, the number one thing I wish for is being able to see my family and friends but you’ve got to just appreciate what’s possible and enjoy every second I do get with them when I get the chance. It’s been incredible being able to show my mom around Atlanta; where I stay and where I work, the beautiful nature, the city, the people in my life here. It’s an awesome feeling knowing she is more connected to my life here now that she has seen it with her own eyes, as opposed to the countless Facetime sessions.

I’m Twenty Four years old in 9 days. Super exciting yet nerve-racking, as everyone older than me keeps telling me that every year of your life will keep going by faster and faster as you get older. Nevertheless I look forward to what my future brings. I’m proud and blessed to have had my experiences and memories from my past, and I’m excited for my 24th year on Earth. I feel like I’m at an awesome age – I have a great job where I feel significant and valued, I’m independent, I’ve traveled the world and still have so much to see, and I don’t have any serious life-long responsibilities at this stage of my life. I’ve got my degree and I’m going to start applying for my post-graduate studies to see what my options are here for Psychology. I finally have a car here which is monumentally life changing and really made me feel more stable and secure. 

My family (Mom, Abba & Rachel) have the opportunity to move to Manchester, England at the end of the year – which is going to be such an incredible adventure for them. I so look forward to having them a little closer to America! I’m excited for them and I know as challenging as it can be moving to a new country, if I can do it then they definitely can. It’s sad to think about selling our home, but ‘home’ for me over these last few years has had to be in the hearts of those whom I love. My family and friends are my home. They are what hold me together when I feel unraveled. Even though I wouldn’t change this experience of my journey to independence, self-realization and self-love – it makes a massive difference having the support system I have around the world. I’m so lucky to live in a day and age where most of my closest friends and family live around the world and I can still be in contact with them daily through the internet.

Next weekend I’m flying to Canada to spend the weekend with my family and finally to meet my gorgeous baby cousin Kailash. Being able to spend my birthday with my mom and my awesome Canada family is going to be bloody incredible. Plus, Ottawa is magnificent! I cannot wait. Also, one of my Atlanta besties Claire and I almost share a birthday, so we’re having a little fiesta together next week to celebrate before I’m away for the weekend. It’s nothing major, but just being able to have a get-together with the cool people part of my life here is massive to me. The last few birthdays since I left SA have been pretty awful/ average to say the least, so I am really looking forward to having a fantastic birthday with no expectations – just awesome people. 

Overall today I feel grateful, happy and hopeful. Hopeful that life will work out the way it is meant to; for me, my family and everyone I love. There is always something to be grateful for.

“Happiness is letting go of what you think your life is meant to look like, and celebrating it for everything that it is.” 

❤  

 

Thoughts on a rainy day

Thoughts on a rainy day

I feel like I have so many thoughts in my head I want to write about and I don’t even know where to start, as usual. It’s been so up and down in my head these last few weeks I don’t really know what to think, and that’s okay. I’m working it out. I feel like some days I can conquer the world with my confidence and I love inspiring people and making them smile. And then some days I question everything and beat myself up about not being able to actually take my own advice. I love to listen to people and I feel like I have had a lot of life experience that does seem to inspire and motivate others. I feel like I know what I need to do to be happy and acquire self-love or in general the positive and happy ways we should live our lives; but actually implementing them into your own life and making yourself a priority is a struggle at times.

I go from thinking I know exactly what I want to having no idea what I’m going to do with my life. I know life is what you make it and I’m so grateful, but I feel like I just keep getting stuck in a cycle of feeling like I have my shit together and then being completely lost. Which I guess is just a part of life. I’m starting to realize the only thing constant thing in life is change, and that the ups and downs are inevitable. What really matters is how you let tomorrow affect you and how you let your thoughts and actions control your life.

There is no point in ‘what ifs’ because if it was meant to be it would have. Point blank. With jobs, relationships, experiences; if it was meant to work out it would have. No matter how much you allow yourself to over think or wish things went differently, you need to value yourself enough to know your worth, be yourself, accept reality, and keep moving forward. If it didn’t turn out the way you expected or wanted it to, let it be a lesson you can learn from.

Trust that your life will work out the way it’s meant to – but stay focused, have fun, work hard, be ambitious, and most importantly take action. Have a goal and make it happen, because literally no one is going to do it for you. This is something I’ve struggled with as even though I do consider myself a pretty independent person, I still battle to get certain things done for myself by myself. You have to take responsibility over your life and get things done for yourself. I’m the biggest procrastinator and it sucks but eventually it hits me that I’m only making it harder for myself by thinking anything is going to get done if I don’t get my shit together and just make it happen.

For example, I still don’t have a car here. I’ve spent months and months looking at options online and I know I need to just go into a dealership and choose one, make it happen, and I’ll finally have a car in Atlanta. Cars are something I’m not particularly interested in so I can admit I’m ignorant when it comes to knowing what to know when buying a car, and I’m not about to buy any car and get screwed over, so not being able to independently handle the task and get it done just frustrates me more to the point where I have procrastinated and avoided just making it happen. It also doesn’t help that I can only look on weekends and it just never seems to work out then. I know once I actually make it happen my life will be monumentally better as I’ll finally be free and have my independence from Uber and the train.

It’s a stormy day in Atlanta and here I am pondering and rambling on about life. I’m proud of myself and what I’ve achieved over the years and I’m so hopeful for the future, but my new project is really focusing on living in the now. Appreciating what I have without expecting more. I need to get into a better routine of self-love and taking responsibility. I don’t only want to inspire others but I want to be able to inspire myself. I want to wake up and be excited to start a new day with a positive happy outlook, not snooze until there is literally no time left to sleep, get ready and go. I want to be someone who is comfortable by herself and who doesn’t need others to determine their happiness.

You can’t just find happiness, you need to create it with your thoughts and actions. Be ambitious, be kind, be humble, be adventurous. Make your life and your happiness a priority, because at the end of the day no one can love you if you don’t love yourself.

08edc51f5ea09f6dd262c21a7efb5406

 

 

Instagrateful

Instagrateful

Last night I was going through my posts on Instagram throughout the years. I looked through a feed filled with happiness and awesome experiences and I thought about the certain times of my life where I didn’t feel good about myself or I was struggling. I really was my own biggest critic. I thought to myself wow I really looked great, why did I feel so insecure about myself at the time? I went through so many photos of my memories and experiences over the last few years and I was amazed. I didn’t look back and think about the hardships, I looked back and saw all the incredible times in between and how much I’d experienced and learnt about myself.

I was flabbergasted going through old photos at times where I knew how self-conscious I felt, and I just thought to myself “If this wasn’t me I would love the way that she looked”. Why are we always so quick to judge ourselves? No I’m not trying to make this about outward appearances. I just found it crazy reminiscing through the years of memories that I know I didn’t necessarily feel good about myself, know what I was doing with my life, or always felt like I needed to improve and better myself.

Make the most of the little things because overall life really is about the journey, and you only realize the extent of truth in that quote when you take a step back from your daily life and learn to appreciate everything you have and everything you’ve accomplished.

When I looked back I thought about all the memories I hadn’t thought about in months or years and how I felt at certain points of my life. Reflecting on the last few years I thought about all the incredible times I’ve had, the amazing people I’ve met, the places I’ve seen. Yes there have been struggles, but when you look back your journey it should be something you can be proud of. Something that you achieved throughout the years when it wasn’t always easy, but you overcame it with a smile.

I loved looking back, feeling proud and amazed of myself and the sum of unbelievable but also difficult experiences that have made up my life so far. It’s like a photo journal and I get to see how I was feeling by how I captured and captioned my life at the time. Life seems overwhelming at times, but scrolling through your Instagram pics almost forces you to see the good in your life. Yes, it is a filtered version of our lives. But by focusing on the positives and knowing how far you’ve come is way more important than dwelling on the hardships you decided to not highlight in your life.

Appreciate life. Appreciate the little moments that become days, that become weeks, that become months, that become years. Because ultimately: it’s your life and you want to be able to look back, remember the good times and think ‘I really did live life to the fullest’. No matter where you are in life, no matter how tough it seems to be, you will overcome it. I’m not saying life is always rainbows and butterflies, but everything is a lesson even if you don’t know it yet.

It can’t always be great or else we wouldn’t truly value the great times. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Work hard, stay focused, be healthy, keep reaching for your goals, and make time for yourself. The lows make you appreciate the highs and when you look back throughout the years even though it might have seemed really rough at times, you just have to be grateful to be alive and healthy, for your family and friends, for the experiences.

Travel. Meet people and actually talk to them. Learn from people older than you. Learn from people younger than you. Learn from people different to you. We all get wrapped up in living our own lives and finding something better, that sometimes all it takes is a scroll through your Instagram photos to make you feel incredibly grateful and lucky to have the life you have. It made me realize that I’m my own biggest critic and even though Instragram only highlights a tiny portion of (some of) our lives, it’s important to reflect on those little memories that made us happy at the time.

Feeling Insta-grateful ❤

 

Next Week = Me week

Next Week = Me week

Currently making a list of what I want and need to do next week and considering I really haven’t had a ‘me day’ in ages; I’m calling it a ‘me week’. The list includes watching the new episodes of Sherlock, cleaning my room, working out, yoga, writing, trying to edit my Europe footage, etc. Weeks fly by like they are nothing these days and I find myself having these moments sometimes where I really just need to take a step back, focus on myself and the little things I need to do.

Working 9-5 is an awesome schedule as now I have my weekends off. Yet I feel like I’m constantly keeping busy after work and throughout the weekends and not really chilling out without making plans enough. I tend to distract myself from being alone and getting things done (which I’m working on) which leads to the days passing by into weeks, until I have one of these moments again where the little ‘chill out do some yoga and be productive’ light comes on.

Yesterday morning was awful. Everything kept going wrong and my commute to work was such a mission. I felt like it was all out of my control (Ubers and train for transport) and I was frustrated at myself more than anything. I got to work and after getting up to date with my office work, I checked off two things on the list that I’ve needed to do for months: booking my US drivers license test and starting the process of getting my SA Bachelors Degree evaluated. I knew my morning had been so shit that I had to remove the frustration from the situation and turn it into a motivation to have a productive morning, as opposed to letting it make me miserable all day.

I also know that once I’d booked my driving test I would be one step closer to getting a car and having FREEDOM again. I scheduled it for a few weeks in advance to give myself time to actually go for lessons and practice parking on the wrong side of the road. I love driving but there have been tons of other priorities on the list before getting a car would be possible, so now that I’ve vaguely started getting my shit together it seems like a more realistic goal.  Plus, I am very tired of having to explain to Uber drivers twice a day where my “accent” is from, yes I’m really from South Africa, and that I live and work here now.

My soul-friend Sarah has come to visit me in Atlanta this week which has been suuch a treat. Pity that I’ve had to be at work during the day but so lovely making the most of our time together. It’s scary thinking about how we were at Rhodes together from 2012-2014 and it’s been over two years since I graduated and left little Grahamstown. Tons of my best memories from University were shared with Se, and I’m forever grateful we were put in the same res and destined to be soul-friends. ❤

The single downside to her visit has been that my diet and workout routine has gone out the window completely this week!  Started the Kayla Itsines 12 week challenge last Monday and I’ll definitely have to be restarting over after she leaves. Lets just say pasta for dinner on night one, curry on night two, chick-fil-a and dunkin doughnuts night three and who knows what we will ingulf tonight. Nevertheless workouts and healthy eating will commense soon.

So as lovely as it has been having a bestie come stay with me, she unfortunately leaves tomorrow and is heading back to work on a new ship, take amazing photos and travel the world! It has been such a treat to spend time with her again. Yet I am looking forward to coming home and relaxing next week after work, working out, watching Sherlock, drinking tea and being productive. Bring on Me-week!

PS: Special shout out to my Mom who has her birthday tomorrow 😀

 

Goodbye 2016, Hello 2017

Goodbye 2016, Hello 2017

I feel like 2016 was a pretty shitty year for the world in general. But to be honest when I look back at 2016 – it was actually an amazing year for me. Yes there were struggles, but overall I really did have an awesome year. Sometimes when you think life is really hard, you need some perspective (getting to go home and visit) to make you appreciate life the way it should be appreciated.

Was it an easy year? Definitely not. But when I look back the nights I slept on mattresses on the floor/ a couch, I appreciate the hell out of my bedroom. When I look back at the hours stuck at work on the weekends, I remember how worth it it all was when I got to travel across Europe with my bestie and meet my family in Amsterdam. When I think about the nights I cried myself to sleep, I think about how far I have come and how much I have to be proud of. When I think about how I came back to Atlanta after my Eurotrip not really having a clue where I was going to be living or what I’d be doing for work, I smile and think about my awesome job and apartment I have now.

Even though I only had two weeks to spend with my family and friends back home in South Africa, I’m grateful I atleast had the opportunity to be with them. Even though the visit was short it was better than still being stuck and not having much to come back to. Also, I’m grateful I atleast have an incredible family across the world that I love unconditionally. So even if I feel alone, I’m never completely on my own.

I’m so beyond grateful that 2016 allowed me to travel the world, spend time with my amazing family, see how grown up my siblings are, learn how to be more independant, work my ass off, achieve my goals, make new friends, appreciate true friendships, learn from my mistakes, focus on my own happiness, be kind and understand that karma is real, and appreciate the little things in life.

Trust that everything happens for a reason. Even the hardest times end up being a lesson at some point and help us be more humble, grateful human beings.

Bring on the 2017 adventures ❤

 

Struggles with self-awareness

Struggles with self-awareness

Here goes another happiness vent to myself.

First off, never regret anything that once made you happy. You can miss the person, the memories, wish things were different; but there is no point in wishing it never happened or having regrets. Everything is a lesson and part of your journey. Sometimes it’s not just about people and how they feel, but the timing that is significant. You can have two people who adore spending time together but it can’t work if you ultimately want different things, have other priorities, or different perspectives.

It is so important to be aware of your own happiness. Sometimes we quickly start relying on those who bring happiness into our lives, and it feels great. It is an amazing feeling having someone/ people in your life that make you happy and excited for new adventures in life. But what we can’t forget is everyone is fighting their own battles. Everyone is in a different mindset and stage of their lives. Sometimes it’s hard to not take things personally. Sometimes it takes a few days, weeks, months or even years to really accept and make sense of certain circumstances.

We are human. It is okay to not know how we feel, it’s okay to have a bunch of feelings, and it’s okay to be confused or even numb. This morning it really hit me that my happiness hasn’t been as big of a priority of mine as I thought it was. I thought about my awesome job, how I finally have my apartment, how much I’d been looking forward to having my own space, how I actually get to go home in two weeks! I finally had the things that I thought would make me happy but then why am I feeling like this? I realized I’d been making excuses and depending too much on other things for my happiness, instead of living in the moment, appreciating each of my accomplishments and focusing on the positives in my life.

You can have everything and still not be happy, so even though it is good to have things to look forward to, we can’t just depend on those things to make us happy. What it comes down to is that it is vital to ultimately take a step back and look at the bigger picture. We need to break it down and focus on these key aspects:

  • You control your own happiness. Literally no one can make you happy if you don’t value your own happiness. Even if you think they make you happy, if you’re not happy without them bringing you happiness then you need to work on yourself and what you can do that makes you happy.

 

  • Ask yourself if what you’re doing today is going to get you closer to where you want to be tomorrow. Every day you have choices to make. Focus on your goals and if what you’re doing isn’t getting you where you want to be, then change it.

 

  • If you feel like you deserve better, you probably do. Don’t expect anything to change if you don’t. Don’t settle or justify anything because of how it used to be. We can’t always get what we want, but we have to be aware and have the self-worth to know when we do deserve better.

 

  • Never force anyone to make a space for you in their lives. If they want you in their lives and truly know your worth, they will choose to create the space. Sometimes you need to forget what you feel or how it was, to remember what you deserve and what you actually want.

 

  • It is what it is. You can beat yourself up thinking about how it coulda /shoulda/ woulda been but that’s honestly not going to get you anywhere. Once you accept the reality and how everything happens for a reason whether you believe it now or not, you will be more at peace. Your mind will eventually accept the reality but it is your heart that requires time to heal.

 

  • What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. All your struggles will make you more appreciative. All your achievements will make it worth it. All the mistakes will be a lesson. When you look back at your life you won’t remember every single time something made you cry, or how hard some days were. What you will remember is how you overcame your struggles, how the hardships made you grateful for the good times, and how even though it wasn’t always easy you can look back at know it made you a stronger person who focussed on the positives.

 

Life can’t always be rainbows and butterflies, so instead of focusing on the storms we need to look at the bigger picture and understand that even a flower needs rain before it can bloom.