What If My Dreams Don’t Come True?

Just two words can leave me in a cold sweat. Two words that have had me tossing and turning throughout the early hours of the morning, putting those dreams on hold or shattering them and most importantly, having me doubt every cell that swims flippantly through each and every vein in my body. So, as I come to the last year of my twenties, I look back at my ‘what if’s’ with an arched eye brow and an eye role here and there.

What if I don’t get the job?

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It happens. Sometimes you lose out to someone with more experience. Sometimes you realise that you had completely fucked up in the interview process through nerves that made you come out in a rash that looked ‘medical attention’ worthy (just me then?). Sometimes it’s not what you know but who you know. Some you win, some you lose but I think you always end up where you are supposed to be. It sounds easy to say ‘just have faith’ and that I’m flippantly putting that statement out there with no thought. But that is not the case. I have certainly lost out on many jobs. I have also been hired for many jobs that I now wish I had lost out on. Still, I completely have faith that I will end up in a job that makes me happy. One that doesn’t leave me crying silently in a cubicle, having sleepless nights and generally losing my mind. Have faith that all will work out as it should. Keep working on projects that utilise your natural talents and above all keep trying. The wheel has to turn the other way eventually.

What if I get fired?

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This did happen to me and unfortunately it wasn’t when I was a teenybopper, shovelling greasy chips into paper cartons at the local fish and chip shop. Nor did it happen when I started a sales career knocking on strangers doors trying to force a brand new gas and electricity supplier down their unsuspecting throats. Nor did it happen when I was dodging responsibilities in my last job. It happened when I felt I had found the ideal role. Right in the heart of Sydney, in an office block that revealed views of a city that took my breath away. My new role was to create documents for the bankers. A role that would have me exploring the depths of the Microsoft office suite to create visually pleasing masterpieces. The high-flying bankers would then use the documents to close various multi-million dollar deals. I got the job through a friend. Someone who helped me through the interview and a 3 hour Microsoft office test to secure the job.

I felt I had hit the jackpot. Finally I could stay in Australia – my dream place and build the life I’d always wanted. It wasn’t to be. Barely a week into the new job I was gently told to hand in my pass and make my way to the exit. Quite rightly too as I had no idea how to navigate through Excel never mind create a fancy technical graph that would leave members of the boardroom drooling. I also wanted it so much that I couldn’t concentrate, preferring to beat myself up over every single mistake that I made or the fact that I was just so damn slow. I left feeling like such a failure that my words here cannot do the crushing, overwhelmingly disappointed feeling justice.

Now I look back and see a small glitch in the road. Something that I barely think about and if I do, it no longer matters anywhere near as much as it did. It wasn’t meant to be and yes, I could sit here and think of what could have been but that really is a fruitless act. Sometimes your hired and sometimes your fired. Sometimes you resign and the boss loses out. Sometimes your fired and you lose out. As long as you tried your best and gave it your all then that’s what really matters. You never know, perhaps a few years down the line you will realise that it was the best thing that ever happened, which is certainly the case for me.

What if he leaves me?

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When I look back at my past relationships, I usually cringe. Reason being is that I was so desperate, it was embarrassing. Falling in love is wonderfully painful. With it brings a certain madness to the mind which can leave you being extremely unreasonable at the best of time. Sometimes, when you are least expecting it, that nasty soul sucking worm will start whispering to you that all is not safe and your loved one will be making their grand exit shortly. With the worm now nibbling slowly at your sanity, you throw caution to the wind and begin to latch onto your loved one with smothering force.

It not clever and it isn’t pretty. There is nothing worse than a desperate lover. He may well leave. It could be because the grass seems greener. It could be because the relationship has run its course or it could be that your insecurities are driving them away. Relationships end and relationships begin. The sooner you let go, the easier it will be…For you. As the saying goes ‘If you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you, its yours forever. If it doesn’t, then it was never meant to be’. Also, you may be surprised that when you are out of ‘that’ relationship and recovered, you may look back and think ‘my god he was a prick. What the hell was I thinking?’ Or something along those lines.

What if I’m single for the rest of my life?!

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Many people are single and more and more people are choosing to stay that way. Take a dear friend of mine who is maybe in his 50s. He has been single for the entire 12 years that I’ve known him and has resigned himself to the fact the he is going to remain single. Comfortable in his routine, it has now become harder to let someone into his life. For me, I believe that it is far more important to be comfortable in your own skin than to search for someone to fill the void. If you can’t be alone, truly by yourself in your own company, then you will have a hard time really flourishing in any relationship. Work on yourself, no matter how painful that may be. Make yourself into the best You possible. If someone does come along and sweeps you off your feet then hopefully they will have worked on themselves too and together you would make one unbeatable team. If someone doesn’t come along then at least you can say that you enjoy your own company and actually LIKE yourself. That you can fulfil all your dreams and ambitions without hoping that someone else will do it for you. Take control of yourself. Make yourself happy. Once you have achieved that then whether someone is in or not in your life will be irrelevant.

What if I can’t make friends?

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Ah, the joys of making friends when you’re an adult. Gone are the days of wandering through the school corridors rubbing shoulders with your greatest fans – your friends. When you’re an adult taking on the pressures of the working world, making friends becomes a little (a lot) less straight forward. Yes, there are going to be people who just don’t like you. Sometimes on sight. Just the mention of your name could have people kicking the office bins over in a frenzy. Sometimes there are valid reasons that you have people vividly plotting your death. Other times it really is their problem. As they say, you can’t please everyone and why the hell should you. Life it tough enough as it is without having to try to please people who will never appreciate your uniqueness. That’s not to say you run around with your head up your arse, practically choking on your own ego. Be sincere, listen to others and show kindness. People love people. It’s human nature to be social creatures. Be the one to break the ice and introduce yourself. New and amazing friendships are waiting where you least expect them to be.

What if I don’t have it ‘all together’ when I reach my thirties?

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I have a list that had been created when I was in my early twenties. It pretty much went as you might guess with emphasis on the house, car, great job, great man, holidays and money. Pretty much a fancy pants lifestyle. Now I sit in my parents house as I wait to see if the job I want (and one I know I will be good at) will come through. I have no house or no mortgage to speak of, no car, no man in sight and little savings. If you had told me that when I was writing my dream list and crossing my fingers for the days to come I would have felt severely deflated. My stroppy younger self would have thrown the tantrum of all tantrums while asking the big question ‘what the fuck is the point then?!’ Well, I can safely say that I wouldn’t have it any other way. I have one year before reaching my thirties and I may or may not tick off all my to do list and that’s ok. As long as I grow a little wiser, a little happier and a little kinder then that’s all that matters to me.

Tick Tock Charmer

Been there, done that messed around
I’m having fun, don’t put me down
I’ll never let you sweep me off my feet

This time, baby, I’ll be bulletproof

La Roux – Bulletproof Lyrics

So literally the day after my previous post of ‘seek and you wont find’ I found someone. We clocked each other at the airport, making the one hour flight from Luang Prapang to Hanoi. I immediately found myself drawn to his overgrown stubble (leaning towards beard, but not quite there), his hunky physique, rounded belly, cute smile and dishevelled dark hair. Also the guitar that he was obviously lugging around the world gave him that extra touch of ‘artsy’ that I sometimes quite like (or maybe its just the image of a cold winter night around a bonfire singing with an acoustic guitar that does it for me). We do the usual side glances and bashful coy smiles before boarding the plane. Maybe it was the whisky both I and my travel companion had drunk (forced upon us by the wonderful owner of the Khammany inn, Luang Prabang) that made my leering all the more obvious. After going through customs he makes a beeline as I try to take money out of the ATM, which provided the opportunity to have a riveting conversation on conversion rates an ‘oh my God, how many millions am I taking out in VND???’. Parting ways we say goodbye, no names exchanged just the inevitable fact of two travellers going their separate ways into the big enticing city of Hanoi.

Although, it didn’t quite end there. Around 9pm he saunters past us sitting outside a restaurant, spotting me, Ed and another fellow traveller we had managed to pick up at the airport (as you do). We chat and do the shy introductions. Leaning away I try to play the ‘cool, calm and collected’ card but instead just dribbled noodle soup everywhere. As Hanoi’s nightly curfew came to an end at 12am we parted ways until the following day with plans for us all to take on the town with as much full force as one can with such an early curfew.

Now if you add it up – all these synchronicities – it can evoke a certain number of feelings. That bubbling, tingling ‘oh I’ve met someone’ feeling that can leave you floating around, practically in a daze of lust, love and infatuation. Suddenly the horrendously chaotic traffic of Hanoi – where you wonder if your toes are going to make it across the road, never mind the rest of your body – becomes irrelevant. To have both been in Bangkok on the same day without knowing, then Luang Prabang and then Hanoi….It can make you wonder. But I am no longer that girl anymore. Call me cynical, call me bitter and pessimistic but my bullshit radar is so finely tuned that not even Casanova himself could have worked his magic….(maybe Ryan Gosling but lets stick to the story here). It was just a few comments, which mostly involved him asking me back to his….for cuddles. Now this was the deal breaker and I indeed told him so.

Indeed, the world of travelling is of course a full blown, life changing, magical journey where there can be lots of sun, sea, sand and sex sex sex. Hats off to those who choose to throw caution to the wind and get down and dirty in the hotels of Hanoi, the beaches of Thailand, the grungy back alleys of Europe, but I just cant. For him I was a ‘passing through’ attraction. He played the game well in all fairness, with invitations for both myself and Ed to stay in his home town, then invitations for me to join him on his travels, then more offers of amazing dates that he just could not wait to take me on. And on and on. Compliments thrown right, left and centre. Couldn’t he see me withdrawing from him with every word then fell out of his mouth? Of course not, he had a time limit. One more night to ‘get lucky’.

We spoke about attraction. ‘What if  you met someone and you just had that immediate attraction where you both wanted to sleep with one another and that was just it. Something you both felt the urge for…That animal instinct of attraction…Haven’t you ever felt that?’ He asked, pleadingly. ‘No’ I replied. Tough crowed you may think but personally, it needs to be built up. Maybe a friendship that just blossoms. Maybe I’m just at the age where a slow burn is what I need. Just to have that continuous warmth, not the hot, searing fire that leaves the scars before you’ve even realised you’ve been burned. Give me the Ferris wheel instead of the rollercoaster as experience has me believe that sometimes the ups and downs are just not worth it.

We parted ways with little else to say. I was not another badge for his travel humpathon backpack. You are passing through this adrenaline packed city. I am not. He tried and failed but of course I will be forgotten as soon as he arrives at his next destination, where there will be another, more willing participant.

Seek and you won’t find

The sky was covered in a blanket of grey cloud and the air was mountain fresh, with a touch if ice to keep the scarves and jumpers wrapped tight around our shivering bodies. Of course this did not dampen our afternoon as we sat on the hippy chic floor cushions in Utopia, Luang Prabang, taking in the breath-taking views of the Mekong River and the lush tropical forest that trickled down the river banks, making you automatically think that this wonderful moment would be forever engraved in the mind. This wasn’t the case unfortunately, as I was too busy wanting to kick the loved up couples who were lounging on the cushions – kissing and canoodling – off the edge of the bamboo balcony.

You see, I decided to actually make one New Year resolution which was to stop seeking ‘The One’. I rarely make any resolutions, believing that the pressure is sometimes just too much and that if you want to stop a bad habit and replace it with a good one, you will do so, when the time is right for you. Not because the clock has struck 12am to welcome a new year. Hopeless romantic that I am, it seems to be continually at the forefront of my mind, this longing of meeting someone. It is embarrassing to admit to such a strong desire of wanting someone to share life experiences with, but I just can’t help myself. On New Year’s eve I actually caught myself with this burning desire and found myself completely deflated with the emptiness that comes with wanting something and just not getting, something Buddhist teachings would certainly call Tanha. I felt awash with the embarrassment of my neediness, believing that I should know better that to believe having a partner is going to make everything ok. Also let’s face it, I am probably reeking of desperation which doesn’t add to the aloof, mysterious persona that I am trying to radiate.

I watched row upon row of couple’s Ville with a certain envy which was then replaced by sadness. Reason being was as I watched the couples – some whispering sweet nothings, some resting on each other’s shoulders – I remembered my own moments of tenderness and intimacy in past relationships and realised that I was completely miserable with those men. Men that I spent years with. Yes, we would sit and cuddle up and do all those annoying thing couples do when they are ‘loved up’ with one another. With one partner we would get yelled at by passing strangers with comments such as ‘get a room’. Yes we were annoying, but my God we were so very unhappy with one another. It was just one big act. One big massive performance that I actually didn’t realise I was a part of for a very long time. You see, it’s easy to pretend. Just look at Facebook. I added countless photos of me in various long term relationships and realise now how extremely unhappy I was in them. Of course we didn’t look it, all cuddled up, spooning ice-cream to each other and laughing for the flash of a camera. Two people, bound together with what was once love (or more likely lust) but had turned into a sour companionship over the months of bickering and neediness. Both too scared to leave each other and brave the unknown world of single Dom, so instead brought out the worst in one another, each day bringing another insidious punch to the confidence and spirit.

Seek and you shall find. Stop looking and it will happen. Both different ends of the spectrum and both utterly confusing. It’s not a case of desperation. Not just anybody will do. Of course there are countless pros to being single. For one thing I am no longer on that ‘roller-coaster’ of one minute being ‘up’ with the excitement and adrenaline of feeling so overwhelmingly, passionately in love, to the ‘down’ with plummeting drops, bringing anguish, heartache and horrendous disappointment. But sometimes, you do want someone to share those magical experiences that life throws at you. To see a gorgeous sunset and share in that moment with someone who is emotionally and mentally ‘there’ with you.

So, yes that’s my resolution. Just that one resolution. To stop seeking and seek ‘inside’ instead. To not be consumed with envy of others fortune of finding that someone that makes them truly happy and instead wishing them well throughout their journey together. After all, life throws some challenging situations at us, so if you are have someone to share the load, then all the better. And to the singles out there? Well, just keep looking inside and you will realise that you are never really alone. You have yourself and sometimes that is all you need. You will surprise yourself at what you can accomplish alone, how you can make yourself laugh and appreciate the small things, and how much you can actually feel ‘love’, not just the relationship kind, but from random strangers that smile your way or show you even the simplest gesture of kindness. Those are the moments that will really melt your heart and make your realise that actually you are never really alone.