Of. Freaking. Course. The 209 is late again. Why am I even shocked? But 20 minutes late? I swear if this bus is two more minutes late I’m calling the Sydney Transport Office and giving them a piece of my mind. *two minutes pass* Are you freaking kidding me? What are these bus drivers doing all day? Purposely trying to drive me insane, that’s what. This happens every single day. Why can’t they get it right for ONCE? The one and only bus that can take me to work – why does this happen to me? I hate the 209 – it’s ruined my morning, hell my whole day.
And so the melodrama continues.
This would be my daily inner monologue as I missed the bus that showed up either 10 minutes early, 20 minutes late, or the bus that may not have even showed up at all. That’s right, you guessed it – the 2.0.9. The bane of all bus existence.
But it wasn’t just the bus that would set me off. It was the heat. It was the forecast for next Tuesday. It was the internet connection. It was things I couldn’t control. I’ve been easily flustered my whole life, something that’s been joked about for years amongst my family, but I always knew had to change. And you think, “Well you’re a traveler, aren’t you easy going?” Yes, when I’m traveling, I’m the best version of myself – happy, fun-loving, openminded. When reality sets in, I tend to get more anxious and frustrated. Sounds like most people, but I didn’t want it to control my life.
I didn’t want to lash out at Sam for something he didn’t do or can’t control. I’d been thinking about these things for the past few months. What is setting off this, to be honest with myself, very ugly part of my personality? I knew I wasn’t this person at my core. Sam knew I could be better than my worst moments, which seemed to have come out more and more. It’s so easy and preferred for bloggers to want to recap the best moments and memories, and it’s difficult to put on display the harder times. But I started this blog to unveil the beauties and the truths that come with travel, living abroad and life itself. It’s allowed me to come to terms with many of my own weaknesses.
And so came the new year…
With the glitter of promises and resolutions a new year brings, it’s hard not to reflect on the year behind you. You should reflect back – it’s what forces us to recognise what’s happened over the last 365 days. It’s forces us to recognise our achievements and our shortcomings. It also forces us to recognise what we want to keep in the past. So often, people throw out radical resolutions with the hope that no one will remember what they promised at 12:03 am in a bravado that can only come from too many toasts. So often, these resolutions are concrete actions that are easy to reject or forget. “I’m going to lose 10 pounds” – Eats leftover New Years desserts all day. “I’m going to be more financially responsible.” – first post-Christmas sale email pops into your inbox. “I’m going to write a blog every day.” – Jan. 1 and you’re too hungover to even look at the keyboard.
The problem with these resolutions is it’s too easy to give up. You lose one daily battle and you can give up on a year long journey. While writing down a specific goal is proven to yield results in long term achievement, I needed a resolution that I can make to myself and Sam that wouldn’t be easy to break. A resolution where I couldn’t just sneak an ice cream sandwich, purchase a random pair of shoes in the train station retail stores or write a few words down on the blog with the promise of tomorrow. I needed a mental resolution – one where each and every second of my day would be affected by it, one where I had to make a conscious effort with every situation presented to me.
I made a resolution to myself on New Year’s Day: Anytime I feel the frustration bubbling over something I can’t control, I would look away or up in the beautiful sky and remind myself why I was lucky to be in a situation like that, why I was lucky to be right there in that very moment. I needed to take that moment of frustration, and find the beauty in it. Sounds easy, right?
And instead of messaging or calling Sam to share my anger, I would message or call him to share my happiness. I think it’s easy for partners to share the bad parts in their day. To me it’s a sign of wanting to hear their voice or be near them during a distressing time. But it can’t be the only part in the day you reach out to them for.
So on my first day back to work after a gloriously relaxing and mentally recharging 3 week break (*thank the Aussie Gods for 4 weeks annual leave*), I knew it was my first real day to put my new resolution to the test. As I made my way down the long winding street to the bus stop, I took a look around at all of the activity. The neighbors bringing their kids to school. The beautiful birds that always seem to wake me at 5:45 am with their incessant squaking. Seriously, they sound like a cross between a monkey and a crying infant. Could not be more obnoxious… Okay, no, back to being positive. I make it to the bus stop. Seems I just missed the bus, but that’s alright. I left early, and there will be another one soon… I’m sure it will be on it’s way soon. It’s been 15 minutes, where the hell is the bus? I start to boil, and as soon as I feel a need to whip out my phone and text Sam, I stop myself. I look up at the sky (yes, literally looking up at the sky), and think of all the reasons I’m lucky to be waiting for this exact bus.
1.) I live in a city that has viable (and usually reliable) and safe public transport.
2.) Scratch that, I live in SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA, the best city in the world. (I may be biased)
3.) I’m waiting for the bus because I have a job. A consistent, full time job.
4.) I have a job in the field I want to be in that challenges me every day while making great money.
5.) Scratch all of that, I have a job with an amazingly supportive boss, with co-workers turned friends and with a sense of pride.
6.) And you know what I get to do when I come home from this job? Hang out with my best friend, who happens to be my handsome, encouraging, loving boyfriend.
If that doesn’t turn my frown upside down, than I could just give up on my resolution. But it did, and I didn’t. I gave it a go, and it worked. I was so happy even though I was 20 minutes late for work. I texted Sam, told him I loved him and was so happy to be with him. This carried throughout the day. Even when I had a massive headache like I usually get around 2 pm after hours of staring at a screen. Even when I realised I have no idea where I’m going to live in three months (more on that to come.) Even when I saw my bank statement from Christmas… I found ways to turn these little annoyances that I would get so easily upset about into beautiful little pieces of gratitude.
Maybe I’m late in the game to come to this realisation, and maybe it’s too early in the year to propose a success, but I wanted to share how instant this happiness can come from within. It’s going to test me, but this resolution can’t fail, unless I make a decision all day long to reject it. This resolution can’t fail even if I do fail – because all it takes is a deep breathe and a new positive thought. You can’t uneat those 12 chocolate chip cookies, but you can rethink your perspective.
I’ll get back to you in a month and see how this whole “positivity” thing is going. So far, I feel just as happy, free, openminded and grateful as I do when I’m traveling. That’s the feeling I strive for when I’m stuck in one place. Who knew this sense of freedom is created all on my own, not derived from a specific location! As for Sam, I would say he’s pretty happy with the effort I’m making and can tell I’m genuinely happy as well. It’s amazing what a little bit of positivity and gratefulness can do. 🙂
Happy New Year!