I’ve been reading some really great essayists in one of my classes at school this semester, which has had the effect of simultaneously making me want to write and also just leave it to the professionals. However, I really enjoy sharing bits and pieces of our Aussie adventure so I shall persist.
My best friend Hailey is the most goal-oriented person I know. She decides what she wants, breaks the process of getting there down into smaller steps, and then systematically accomplishes each step. It’s honestly quite impressive. I was lucky enough to spend a few days with her in Sydney last month on the tail end of her trip to New Zealand, and along with all of the fun and adventures we had, I felt a renewed sense of purpose and drive after her visit.
Between eating delicious meals, cozying up to kangaroos and koalas, wine tasting, and almost getting blown off the path between Bronte and Bondi, we chatted the way you can only chat with someone who has been in your life since 5th grade. Since living here, away from everyone I’ve ever known, I’ve learned a new appreciation for the comfort of conversation with someone who truly knows me. We talked about feeling comfortable in our own skin– the importance of being fit and strong, not so we look good on the outside, but so we feel confident and are ready and able to put ourselves out into the world. It’s hard to be vulnerable and take risks when you don’t feel good about yourself. We talked about the traditions and habits we want to start with our own families one day. We talked about finding peace with the difference in our politics and those of people close to us, and how crazy the world can feel these days. All of these conversations really helped me examine the alignment between what I want in the here and now and what I want long-term down the road.
One of the major things that came out of these reflections and conversations was the need for urgency– what am I doing today to work towards what I want tomorrow, in three months, next year, in ten years? Fitness is a big part of both my short-term and long-term goals. I want to be stronger so I can participate fully in life and not miss out on something because I can’t do it. I want to be fit and healthy so I can possibly have children one day (not now!). I want to be able to live a really, really long time with the love of my life because most days with him are hilarious and fun. I want to show up for my friends, both physically and emotionally, and that’s not possible if I’m not showing up for myself first.
I also realized that I need to do a better job of trying to stay in touch with the people who mean the most to me. It’s so easy to get lazy, to only chat when it’s convenient or you need something. Hailey has singlehandedly kept our group of college friends together for seven years post-graduation at this point– planning reunions and trips and parties that keep us connected and in each other’s lives. While physically visiting people is challenging for me right now, I can focus on other types of communication: texts, emails, FaceTime, and actual letters. I’ve made a real commitment to put in more effort in this area, because really I only have myself to blame when I’m feeling isolated or alone.
I have accomplished a lot since moving to Australia. Donnie and I have made vast improvements in our health and fitness, but we have both kicked it up a notch in the last few weeks and we’re feeling great about our new goals. I’ve started graduate school, which is something I wanted to do for years before actually enrolling. I’ve visited new countries and cities, and I have many more trips in the works. It’s easy, regardless of where you are in life, to get complacent and slack. Sometimes we need rest. We need to enjoy our rewards or focus on calming down at times. But right now I’m at a place where I need to extend, to set challenging goals for myself that will have a lasting effect on my life. It feels really good to feel challenged yet capable, pushed to your limits but able to see potential and possibility. Sometimes all it takes is a visit from your best friend to help you see what you really need.