Blog 095 Flatting

In any living environment, the thing that we value the most is our own space. Space to do whatever we want. To cook, to clean or to listen to loud depressing music eating a sandwich in bum pants. For sure, flat life has it’s up’s and downs but I guess it’s how you mould those situations into opportunities to help define the person you become.

In today’s discussion, we’ll get down and dirty into some of the more honest concerns and situations which have popped up with flatting. As we go we’ll dwell on how these can act as massive learning opportunities.

A little backstory…


So last year I moved to Wellington from Christchurch to study at Victoria University. A few friends of mine headed in the same direction northbound and mostly ended up living in the same halls of residence. Long story short after a long period of knowing each other we ended up coming up with the most random decision ever to flat together, and voila! In the words of Inspector Jacques Clouseau, “you are now up to speed.” 

This year, shifting into a flatting situation together was one of the biggest decisions some of us had made. I didn’t really know what to expect or how any of it would play out. It was one of those, just try it and see how it goes situations. When I first moved in, there was this sort of awkwardness between my flatmates. Having argued with some of my close friends towards the end of the previous year and also being the last person to shift in, everyone sort of already knew what was up and knew how to go about their business.

Heading into the first night I was pretty angsty, thinking about rent, thinking about school and just general nerves in recognising that I was pretty much out there. Now that’s not to say that at any stage things were overwhelming but instead, I would say that flatting with other people would be a challenge for me. A challenge because it meant that I would have to set aside some of my normal traits and grow up quite a lot. It meant that I couldn’t just confront one of my mates because I would be sleeping in the room next to them.

I’m really good with confrontation, but the problem with confrontation is that it affects other people in bigger ways than you’d expect. Someone like me who has little to lose isn’t afraid to argue that the concern is others people don’t necessarily have the same solidarity. To put it nicely, shifting in as a flat has been a happy process but no process has ever occurred without some drama and confrontation.

This was not my first time living away from family. In my last year of highschool, my parents weren’t around so much. Mum worked and lived in another town and Dad commuted in between. Working and studying meant I hardly ever saw Dad when he was around, and so I had gained a lot of independence in spite of that.

I’d be lying if I said that the other people in my flat and in my friend groups had the same level of independence when I first moved in with them two years later. The tricky part about independence that I’ve realised is that when things go wrong and you need the support of your parents, it’s really hard to garner that same support when you’re trying to be self-sufficient.

One of the things that I’ve noticed about my friends is that some of them struggle to give up their stubbornness and ask for help. Especially being in such a busy time in our lives when there’s so much happening with Uni, with growing up etc. The more help you can get the better…

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Social Dynamics:

So to start us off I’ll rant about how the social dynamics of living in a flatting situation is nothing short of balancing four pizzas on two hands whilst running across a rooftop on a rainy day.

We all knew each other to a deeper level than just “friends.” We knew each other’s vibes, we knew where we were coming from and understood each other’s personalities. So coming into this new flat was a lot like going to a school camp. It was like going into a holiday program in the beginning and then ended up turning into a bloody team building exercise. Learning to mesh in situations when you can’t be bothered, learning to accept personality indifferences. Learning to handle other people’s shit and also learning to deal with your own shit is probably the biggest challenge.

With a selection of different personalities all needing their own sets of rules and ways of engagement. There is a huge contrast between person to person. Being aware of the difference made it easier to deal with conflict or otherwise celebrating uniqueness. Creating relationships is an age old thing but when you’re living with someone you really do get to know them. Not much is left to be analysed.

Getting used to the antics, getting along with the banter and enjoying the company of others was the easiest part about moving in with a group of people. It never seemed to be too much of an ask to simply put on the back burner some of the remarks people would leave, because I would dish out some of my own. I’d say the first element of structured living in a flatting situation is to consider the importance of other people’s time schedules and bare in mind that everyone is going through their own stuff.


But it’s when those tough days come about. Those single digit winter-like evenings and there’s no food in your cupboard that test you. When there’s a disturbance after a confrontation between flatmates that interrupts you. When jobs haven’t been done and you’re feeling powerless after your day that it gets to you. The small life stuff that is mostly what growing up is about.

When the stress kicks in and you can’t accommodate for somebody else’s antics which create a fuss. When you don’t have time to put up with someone’s shit that causes ripples in the flat. Nobody likes to confront somebody. When it happens everybody feels victimised. When there’s reason to be upset with someone then there’s usually an illogical explanation to why it happened.

Take milk for example. The most stolen fluid in the world apparently. It doesn’t matter if it’s blue top milk, trim milk, soy milk, almond milk, Up N’ Go milk, it could come straight from the udder itself and it’d still be stolen. Having your milk poured into somebody else’s cup or bowl is bad but it’s also annoying being called out for the theft when it wasn’t you. If your flatmate swears from their room and refuses to ask for something politely after you come home happy at 9 pm on a weekend night. If you’re on cooking duty but there are dishes everywhere. If you want a shower but the floor is disgusting and there’s hair in the plug hole. Trying to keep your cool when somebody says’s something untrue when they’re drinking and you overhear them.

Yeah, there’s a lot of stupid mundane shit that can be annoying when you’re in a flatting situation. It’s open warfare bro. But still, there’s a lot of cool things that can be taken out of it. The weird banter you share with the lads in the middle of the night and receive noise complaints from your neighbours below. When you create weird video montages on a random Friday evening because you were bored and share it on social media. Learning about all the embarrassing shit your flatmates have done at home from their life long friends. The mutual dislike you share about a teacher or a person from your hometown or high school. The appreciation for your neighbours late night singing or music choices. The nicknames you build over stupid acts of idiocy like Shampoo, Cheese and Laundry Powder. When there’s a story about your WiFi address. When every photo on your walls has an important story. The string you use to attach your keys onto to hoist down to people at the door downstairs to let themselves in and the stories behind that. When every bedroom in the flat emanates the characteristics of the person who lives in it. When you name the people in the building across the parking lot that you’ve never spoken to before because their windows align with your bedroom but it’s super creepy that they can see where you sleep. It’s always more important to remember the positive takeaways in these flat situations because at the end of the day it’s all about those relationships and establishing stronger connections, establishing better friendships. Though it can be hard and frustrating, at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter because we are all heading in our own directions any who.

A big part of my blogs has been recognising that sometimes you need to show grace when other people and going through hard times. For sure, I understand what tough times can feel like and a lot of the time like last year, you find yourself in predicaments when you really rely on the support that those around you can provide. So in that sense, I do owe it to some of my flatmates. As understanding as they were, I was never far from their support. So coming into the flatting situation this year has been a big wake-up call for me personally.

It can be really sad watching those relationships fall apart, especially when it wasn’t your fault that things went the way they did. One of the biggest learning curves for me was knowing that some people don’t know how to offer themselves any help. But watching your friends sort of plunge into a state of isolation and treat themselves horribly is a shocking thing to have to go through. The old saying, “you can walk a horse to water but you can’t make it drink” never felt more relevant. It’s really sad to watch your friends realise that growing up is really shit. That you can’t control other people and when things aren’t going your way you can’t leverage their support just because you need them too.

Social dynamics are the biggest factor to consider when moving in with other people. Coming to grips with the fact that there’s no way of avoiding the deeper conflictions between your beliefs and their beliefs as well as putting aside your own concerns in order to resolve any confrontation. From my experience, the dynamics of flatting is the biggest thing to consider. It’s something that can be taken way too lightly and can quite easily stress friendships.

Blog 094 QUIT DRINKING 

Today’s discussion is about giving up drinking alcohol. Not your regular alcoholic confession story but better worded as a design direction statement more than anything. The reason I say design direction is because I see myself as a product of a whole lot of successes and mistakes. Not all necessarily all my own fault but I see things as if you can start a habit you can stop a habit. It’s better looking at things from a conceptual standpoint because you can get to know yourself at a structural timeframe level and get to understand where it all went wrong.

So let’s go back a few years and figure all this shit out. Get to know me better and understand where I’m coming from. This conversation is not set up to convince you that I’m a good person. It’s setup so that we can both be better. That you can hopefully feel proud to say “no” everytime somebody else says “yes.” Let’s get to the bottom of this in a big way so that we can both get on with our day.

I was pretty late to the party getting started with the whole drinking thing. Reached the age of sixteen never having had any real interest in the world of alcoholism or ever really finding any value in brown water. My parents reached out to me one day. My dad handed me a double brown and a spoon then said, “if you can open this beer, you can have it.” Being the stupid prideful snob the opportunity seemed too easy to say no to so I smashed it back.

Cracking my first beer was like earning some kind of noteworthy badge or something. Being a teenage kiwi boy from a rural neighborhood, it all seemed like I’d just ran my first marathon or built my first shed, a huge achievement. There was something about it that seemed unnecessarily normal. As if my parents were comfortable with it. Because they were!

I’m not blaming anyone but myself for drinking. My parents have always been conservative and intelligible people. But the concern was that it was socially acceptable and that was a part of the problem. Like when an architect designs a home for a family. A home is supposed to represent the values of that family and it’s crazy to assume that the accumulation of wealth in which the family has created would ever be influenced by external sources but they often are. A home, a place of sanctuary can so easily be affected by social norms that influence what the building ends up looking like. Say for the box-like design that we often see in residential houses these days. Or the internal makeup with the bathrooms usually separated from the lounge.

That’s not to assume that influence is always bad. But normality allows people to do things which make no sense or have any real value, like drinking. It doesn’t give us anything good. All of my happiest moments were spent sober so why the fuck should drinking be a part of that?

About a year after my first sip saw that it was time to have my first major piss up. I made a promise to myself to get wasted with good company at least once so that I could say that I’d done it. Any opportunity to make good on that promise and I’d take it. One day my friends held a party and it got a lot crazier than it needed to. A dozen Mavericks, a splash of cider. A few shots from my friend’s dads Whiskey bottle, the whole bottle. It snowballed into this late night rigmarole of hellish partying.

By no means is that a complaint though. It was one of the best nights of my life. A messy night of alcohol infused melodrama mixed with relationship issues, which we’ll talk about in just a second, and self-destructive friends. It ended with one of my friends leaking off the balcony and getting smacked over by the person he leaked on standing below the balcony, and rightly so. I guess for the main part drinking back then was all about learning who the right people are to be drinking with and getting to know what my limits were.

So what’s the problem?

I had a lot of relationship anxieties. Call it weird, call it whatever you would like. My relationship issues didn’t spark from a lack of love or a lack of laughter with my ex’s but instead because I was lonely and afraid of being rejected. With this new found substance it gave me opportunities to express how I was feeling better than if I was filtering them out sober. Drinking was my outlet to treat other people like shit, a very unnecessary and tiresome fact. There wasn’t much of an opportunity to realize it at the time but it was the start of a two-year period which would cause me a couple of major problems.


A little backstory:

Relationship issues were something compounded into my early childhood. With my biological parents never having raised me, returning to my life when I reached the age of five and then finally disappearing again was the first mistake made during my earliest childhood foundation building stages. It was when they came back and stuffed everything up again like ripping off a bandage and stabbing around the first cut holes.

Reaching those early pubescent years thinking about acceptance from my peers was a big deal for me having lost some of that at an earlier stage. Coming to grips with experimenting and learning how to love others was another major design flaw for me. I knew how to love others because I’d been treated properly growing up but my problem was a lack of feeling accepted.

Fast forward into my late teenage years where I discovered alcohol, sex, and money. The problem with rejection was still very entrenched in things. Call it a growing period, call it melodrama. Nobody needs that stuff. If the problem is with me then I guess the solution lies with me also. Time to learn how the wood meets the nail and where it all fits together. Perforated eves on my rooftops. Water tight to shelter from the rain. My later teenage years were and have been a time of significant stuff ups. This is where some backstory is really necessary.

Seventeen was the magic number when it all went tits up. Still coming to terms with sexual orientation and also struggling with relationship issues. I guess turning seventeen was the moment of chaos and madness. During my friends eighteenth, after a morning, afternoon and evening of binge drinking. I’d only recently learned that I was cheated on and so I ended up using alcohol as my scapegoat. Running away from my friends through a river in my brand new blazer, swearing at the police in the back of the police car and spending a while in jail. My friends who were upset were forced to call the police on me and it was the first really big wake up call to sort things out at a structural level. It was like having an earthquake testing the integrity of a building and it all coming tumbling down.

It wasn’t the drinking, it wasn’t the cheating, it wasn’t my age or a lack of support from my friends. They only helped push things over. The problem was a design error. My rejection issues and how they affected my ability to withstand social pressures were to blame. This stuff might be pretty dramatic for you but having lived through it and knowing what it was all about (and this blog being about what I see) I guess what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. It was hard for me then and let’s use it as a big learning opportunity for us both.

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I just wish I’d learned earlier…

Unfortunately, it didn’t end there. The year after my first major breakdown was the second series of incidents which didn’t need to happen either. A real judgment moment I guess. In my first year at university, I’d overwhelmed myself. With a long distance relationship on the go, studying architecture full time and pretty much working three jobs at once there was way too much for any one person to be juggling. Mix that with some significant rejection indifferences and one evening of hard drinking after thinking that you’d been cheated on the second time and voila!

The second time I broke down, everyone around me let me know that it was time to do something significant about it. Some of my best friends no longer felt comfortable around me. Some felt anxious when I was in the room. One Monday about a month after I’d learned my girlfriend had got with someone else at a party, sick from not sleeping, taking antibiotics, drunk on life,  eventuated with punching walls, head out the window and a two-minute wrestle with a couple of bulky police officers saw me again in a police cell with hell to pay the day after.

I’d lose friendships. I’d lose trust. My parents would have felt anxious not knowing what state I was in. My halls of residence would quickly kick me out and there’d be no more room for my bull shit. But most importantly, I’d get the opportunity to grow from my mistakes. I’d get the chance to change which way I was going. This was the last time I’d drunk to the point of non-remembrance. The last time I would see red and decide that other people were to blame for my issues and actually do something about it.

The months after were a whole lot of petty nights out until I came to the stage where I could see how drinking only catalyzed issues with other people my age it was never the cause for the shit. I learned that the real problem was always deeper if there ever was any. So it was like this big moment of realizing after ages that it doesn’t even matter. That drinking is completely pointless. That it’s never going to help me in any significant way, therefore, it should never be treated as a highlight of my day.

When people ask why I gave up drinking it’s not because I had problems with drinking it’s that I have problems full stop. That alcohol is just making my life much more difficult and that I should definitely treat it as if I were a 49-year-old alcoholic. As if I did have mental health issues. Not living in fear of drinking but instead coming to terms with the fact that I don’t need to drink and there’s never any premise that makes drinking necessary.

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Since then: 

Every occasion where my friends, family members or girlfriend would drink I’d always feel privileged to be the sober one. There is a lot of reward in deciding not to drink. For one, being a poor student it saves me a whole pile of money deciding not to drink. If there’s one thing I notice with my friends and flatmates it’s that the ones who drink spend a considerable amount on purchasing drinks for nights out and it’s something I can always appreciate to a high degree.

My next big gripe is that I’ve probably lost weight thus far this year. I used to be into all of the sugary stuff like espresso martinis and gelo shots, but In general my drinking used to be pretty unhealthy. So it was another huge advantage for me was improving my health, I might have made up for that one in eating cheese but at the same time, it’s always something else you can feel really proud of.

The night I gave up drinking was the night I got back with my beautiful girlfriend. It wasn’t the decision to love her that made me want to give up drinking. It was to improve on myself and stay in control of my actions and remain totally accountable for things that inspired me and encouraged me to make some significant design refinements.

My love for her has only become stronger over these last few months and every time I’m with her enriches our relationship. Which brings me to my lucky last proud moment is that giving up drinking has improved my relationships with people. I am able to communicate with my family and friends that I feel proud to be a part of their lives humbled sober.

There are always rejection issues. Unfortunately, it’s a product of poor design. I think it’s worth noting that there are significant steps which have been taken to reduce the risk of feeling anxious in social situations but there are always a few moments of random madness during a confrontation that drive a bit of upset.

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What does this mean for you? 

The reason why I started this blog was to advocate for those who don’t know how to voice their concerns for particular issues. There is always a reason to improve somewhere because nobody knows everything and wisdom is the opposite of knowledge. Wisdom is knowing that I know nothing. That the glass is never full. In that space, you can always take on board something new. You can always lend somebody a hand.

To some kids or young adults out there, and even some who are older might find that my journey resonates with them at some stage. The point is to use that for good. The change didn’t happen the first time I realized that drinking was a problem. The change happened when I made the same mistake a whole bunch of times.

But this isn’t all about me, any more than it is about you. If we can get to the crux of things we can notice that if we give up drinking we can improve on a lot of things.  We can improve Friday night because we’ll get tired more early, sleep earlier and feel better in the days after the party. We can look after friends and loved ones when they need our help most. We can improve our well-being and ultimately improve our general health. Save money and save lives when deciding not to drive drunk, legend.

Mate, there’s literally tons of opportunity for development and improvement when you decide that drinking is a big waste of time. Because when you build a house upwards from the foundation up and you do a solid job, without getting a cowboy builder in to do a shitty job, minus the drinking and all the bull shit, you end up getting a solid person.

End.

Stay tuned for my last week of blogs.

Thanks for checking in!

Blog 093 Sexism/Feminism & What I Think

Let’s do this!

First off for those who don’t know, I am a nineteen-year-old male student studying in Wellington city. I hope you enjoy this discussion as much as I did and if you have any comments please feel free to leave them at the end of the blog!

Why does it matter what I think?

Because it’s an opinion piece. Choose to listen or take off your apron and f*** off upstairs. Now that we’ve covered my inner Gordon Ramsay, I’d like to talk about feminism and what it means to me and why it’s significant. Well first off I’m your typical kiwi bloke. I enjoy the banter of cracking mum jokes, l enjoy sparring with the lads in the dining room. Going out to town with zero thoughts about sexism but instead, jam out to some sick tunes at a drum n bass concert.

I don’t like doing the dishes, cleaning the windows, unblocking the drains. I don’t like having to finish assignments, sit in exams, worry about hand ins. There is nothing nice about having to stay up till late o’clock to finish an assignment in the morning. I don’t like it when my friends are disrespected by other people. When they’re groped In inappropriate places, when they are wolf whistled at from the other side of the street.

There’s nothing nice about watching your friend upset in a rut because she was told that there was a guy staring at her breasts. There is nothing nice about being accused of being that guy either. Walking through the bras and underwear section of Farmers with your girlfriend or female family member and being accused of perversion. Both sides have to make more of an effort that’s for sure.

We are on the same page. In an urban society, we are on the same page. Not to say that all places are urbanised or support females in their rights and needs. No person in their right mind likes to see another person being treated like shit, guy or girl. It’s a human thing, so easy to relate when you’ve been through it all before. Feeling upset when somebody else lets you know that they’ve been traumatised from sexual harassment or abusive behaviour that people seem to think is okay.

There’s not much international support to stop historic cultural sexism. But the feminist regime is slowly becoming an urbanised trend. For me at least I feel that there isn’t as much sexism in New Zealand as there was back even when I was a kid ten years ago. Technology has evolved to allow the media to expose those who withhold strong opinions against females. Kids are taught in school that females and males should have equal footing in any environment.

Back then they might not have been telling us the whole truth because I don’t believe personally that there ever has been a true representation of equality between both sexes. My point though is that we are starting to realise in my generation, the millennials, that girls have exactly the same right to express themselves as men do and that’s reflected through more frequent independent advocacies speaking out at major global conferences such as in the UN and in major countries like India and Germany.

I can’t speak for the youth ambassadors of yesterday but what I can say now is that the urban population, due to higher education and greater exposure to the likes of other social conflicts such as homosexuality, gender stereotyping, racism, fascism and general independence. Because there is so much more awareness in western culture it seems more valid that the population is becoming less sexist and more feminist.

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But what does feminism actually mean to me? What stock does it have? I don’t think that feminism has historically been about providing equality. I feel that a lot of the time there have been cases where individuals have abused their power to justify their own personal hardships dealing with sexism. Where some people have used their right to speak just to abuse those who oppressed them. When ladies try to claim feministic causes but they’re actually just trying to tip the scale and make men pay for everything wrong in the world.

I’ve come to learn that feminism originated and grew from the idea of equality between males and females. That it started with a group of people who collectively believed in the greater good the same people just of different sexes. That the idea came from promoting even footing both at home and in the workplace but more importantly in society and around the community. So my point is why can we not keep it that way? Why does it have to be tarnished by reputable indifferences which determine that we should fit certain stereotypes?

To figure that out let’s talk at a deeper level for a second or two. So historically guy’s were the ones who would lead because in many ways it was about survival, it was about having a person with enough muscle to see the tribe fed and the only way to garner that support was through hunting, gathering and labouring. So in effect without getting too specific it was more important a thousand years ago for the stronger person to lead so that we would survive.

Guys, for the most part, were given full reign over leadership opportunities. They could say, do, and be whatever sinful person they desired. They could also be a genuine person and treat others how they would like to be treated. Queue the Industrial revolution. A time when people no longer had to farm or labour as much because there was now machinery to do so for them. People were lazier and had more time in their day to create new opportunities.

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Fast forward through the world wars and the great depression, beyond technological innovation, racial inequality and you get supermodernism and the creativity generation. An evolvement from survivalist instinctivity into becoming a diverse and colourful people who have time to iron out a few mistakes in the ways things are run. We no longer live as a people who rely on the strongest for leadership and survival but instead rely on the most creative and entrepreneurial for innovation and progression.

And you definitely don’t need a dick for that…

What I’m saying is that I’m not about sexism at all and I think that at a human level we can agree that sexist stereotypes are archaic and outdated. Feminism should be treated as an opportunity to prove that we can stick to one thing and that is equality for everyone. Not used as an opportunity to spite the other side. Because when you step on a demographics toes you are affecting everybody innocent.

It’s also a question of ego. Because guys were always the ones who had to prove themselves as being the strongest in order to hold leadership opportunities. To have any real mana in conversations or decision makings it was vital that they never showed any sort of vulnerability. It was expected that the male would never cry, would never show weakness because they were expected to pull the weight and the only way to do that was to show that they had no weaknesses.

But what makes social roles in urban spaces so different to the ruralist lifestyle? 

With urbanism comes an increase in population, there are more people. Becuase there are more people there is usually more money, particularly in western culture. My theory is that it makes more sense for businesses to exist in those urban spaces. Like food stores, supermarkets, clothing stores etc. Because everything is more convenient you skip out the necessity of just surviving and you create an atmosphere where people have time to stop and think. Stop and think of societal needs like racial equality, gender stereotyping, feminism etc. Space where the only variable is creativity. From that sparks a whole lot of other things such as innovation and progress.

What I’m saying is that it’s all good. We’ve now got time to chill out and not think too hard about surviving in urban spaces. I’m not claiming that all places are urbanised, and we’ll talk about New Zealand in just a second. But the marginal discussion is that we no longer need sexism or ever really did because girls have just as much purpose in modern society and just as much responsibility to upkeep their civil duties. Pay taxes, drive on the left, don’t be a dick and respect other people. So yeah, of course, I think there should be equal pay in the workforce. Of course, I support female independence. I am totally on board with females having the right to express themselves and how they wish too.

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Especially in New Zealand. Such a small population means less convenience. Less urbanism back in the 80’s and 90’s because there was so much manual labour. Things weren’t done for you if you wanted to keep your family warm you’d have to go out and chop up some wood after work during winter. The great depression meant that New Zealand was in a rut in terms of making ends meet.

There has always been more sheep than humans in New Zealand. it’s a country built on farming, and I don’t know about you but it’s a far cry from sitting in an office block doing the coffee rounds. It was harder economically and so it was tougher for people to survive. At least that is my interpretation of what New Zealand was likely like well before I was born. There was more of a necessity to silence women even though New Zealand was the first country to allow women to vote.

If we want to put a label on New Zealand’s sexist culture and gender stereotyping, from a guys position it would seem more likely that sexism existed because we live in a working class country full of farmers, full of labourers and tradespeople. Work was more manual due to the population being so sparse. If we compare ourselves to countries like The United States or The United Kingdom, not only are we sparse but we’re also so isolated out in the middle of nowhere.

So when you get all of these guys who are acting really tough because they’re expected to chop the wood, mow the laws, bring home the bacon. You get a whole lot of guys with really sensitive egos. You get lots of guys bottling up all their shit. I know for me growing up and coming through an all boys high school things like expressing your feelings was such a rare thing. It still is because I came from a small agriculture/horticulture community it’s so rare to see any rainbows or any metrosexism because it’s so ruralised and very unurbanised. So you get this population of people who still believe in archaic values because they don’t know any better.

It’s like this pressure cooker environment where guys think that they have to be this silent protector and hero for the ladies because we’re taught that females can’t look after themselves. That they need a man in their life to protect them and keep them safe. Last I checked most girls seem to be pretty independent by themselves. No, I’m not saying they can walk home by themselves in the middle of the night because there are some crazy people out there who do some nasty things to people. But not for a second do I believe that females can’t look after themselves. This is New Zealand. We live in one of the most isolated and rugged ruralist countries in the world, we all ought to know how to look after ourselves.

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Feminism, as I see it, is permission to be self-sufficient without socialist expectations and rules on what you can and can’t do by yourself. Whenever somebody says sexism is still a problem in the world I say that it’s true, of course, it’s true. Because people hate change. People have always hated change, they’ve always hated accepting something new because they’re afraid of the unknown. it’s a completely irrational fear to have, like tickling. There is no precedence to be scared but the problem is we don’t know when it might end.

I’m not saying feminism is like tickling but instead the irrational fear is similar. Guys struggle with egoism because they’ve been dealt a bad hand too. Sure, it’s not nearly as rough as what girls received but that doesn’t mean it can’t be respected because those needs must be met if we are to work together and make any tangible change. Most guys don’t actually mind it’s more just about wanting to feel just as valued, which is interesting because isn’t that the point of feminism also?

Now I’m not saying that girls should compromise their success or their happiness or their independence to accommodate for male acceptance because that’s not the go. It’s more of a consideration factor. To consider that actually everybody deserves to be treated with respect, their successes should be accommodated for, they never deserve to be doubted on as an individual, and that nobody regardless of sex should ever be expected to lead in the first place.

Because some people just don’t care, like me. Not everyone wants to be a survivor and not everyone wants the responsibility of innovating. Some people are just content with being themselves and some people just want full autonomy to do that. Full autonomy to love who they want, full autonomy to be loved by who they want and be treated with respect as individuals.

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It also comes down to what values your parents teach you as a kid. What your parents teach you. What their parents teach you. As you get older you tend to give less of a shit about what other people think so the older the better sometimes. My point here is that I’ve found my family cares about my interests a lot so I can trust them with the really hard conversations. When I call dad out for being a dick or if mum is stressing everyone out. What you learn at home defines how you treat people outside of the home a lot of the time.

It is a parent’s responsibility to exactly articulate how you are supposed to treat other people. I guess it’s a call to arms to invite people to think on their feet with regards to how they respect females and males equally. That they show decency when out on the town, that nobody is accused of being something they’re not just because they fit a gender stereotype. That feminism is at the end of the day treated as an opportunity for change collectively. It’s everybody’s responsibility to upkeep equality and freedom of expression. Whether they’re a New Zealander, Islander, Irelander, Avatar character, whatever goes man everyone is responsible for the upkeep of relative equality.

Sorry for keeping you in this space for soo long, if you’ve managed to stick it through all the way to here then you’re a bloody legend. So if I could round up all of my opinions on sexism versus feminism and collated them into a list it would come across a little something like this:

  • Sexism is shit.
  • The original idea of feminism was great.
  • It’s been taken out of context too often.
  • Gender roles have evolved.
  • Urbanism has created a niche society.
  • New Zealand has adopted new values in the reflection of an urbanistic takeover.
  • I highly value independence, full stop.
  • Family values are where you start. It’s your parent’s job to teach you right.
  • It’s our job as an international community to do something about it.

 

So… What are you going to do to voice your opinion? At the end of the day what matters the most is that change is occurring. It’s real and it isn’t going to go back to the days of slavery again. You already know my position on all things sexism and feminism. But just keep asking yourself how you’re going to change the face of the planet, what can you do to help. It honestly doesn’t take much, it’s simply just as easy as being polite and respectful towards others in every capacity. Putting your own personal ego to the side and celebrate other people’s successes male or female. It’s free to be nice bro…

Today’s talk has been a work in progress for a while now, but I’m glad it has been said. If you would like more of this sort of content or if you have any comments or messages please feel free to comment on my work. hopefully we can reach an agreement somewhere.

Thanks for checking in!

 

 

Blog 092 Givealittle – Why Is It Such a Big Deal?!

So all over the world, there are online kick-starter, charity fund organisations set up by local philanthropies and large organisations to effectively become a part of making a change. These networks of good humans basically go around and let people post on their site all of these great causes and it mostly started about fifteen years ago and the first sort of known online charitable trusts was the likes of ACET, UNICEF, World Vision and Tear Fund. These really massive organisations work globally to restore massive amounts of aid to those in need.

The evolvement of the charitable donator pages’ sort of fled to the likes of cancer research until eventually, they started asking out for support on individual levels. People started looking for ways in which they could ask the community for support to get help to raise funds for things like hospital expenses, recovery aid led by community groups and it didn’t really stop. It sort of just got bigger overtime until now we have thousands of causes all for similar reasons. The likes of the 40-hour famine raising funds for individuals who are participating, there are pages setup to raise funds for kids going into Outward bound who need to raise money, all sorts.

The reason why it’s important is because it allows people to do things that they wouldn’t necessarily have any individual prospect in doing. So it does become a question for the readers whether or not they actually see a tangible benefit in donating in the first place. If you think about how hard it is out there for people to earn the sorts of money that is required of them in such low decile communities and how hard it is for families around New Zealand to even put bread on the table you do get a picture that things are tough out there. It makes me feel gross when I ask people for money, even if the cause is great because it means that people who are on the bones of the bums and having to fork out for something they don’t necessarily have any invested interest in.

The next step to this is that asking people for money is never an easy task. People have questions about where the money is going, they become suspicious when they learn that the money is going to an individuals account rather than an organisational account and it becomes this back and forth blow for blow situation where you get people who want to donate for a good cause out of their own pockets but cannot trust the person running the cause.

The problem is that it’s easy to sit and say that the money is going into a charities back pockets and that the resourcing won’t go towards any tangible or meaningful change. This is the problem because you get a lot of people who are actively seeking out resourcing for these important projects but instead receive little support from those who say they will support them, and they feel down about doing it in the first place.

My angle here is not to say that this bike ride will not be funded by the money raised from my page but instead to assure that the funds will be used to help put children who are in care into educational facilities and provide them with opportunities that supercede that in which they currently receive because they are worth the time and they are worth the effort. I have for years benefitted from having parents who love me and I think that every child should receive that same care and I believe in what VOYCE is doing and I believe in their approach because I am apart of it and I will continue to be apart of it until I feel that the balance has been met. That may take four years that could take a lifetime but my point is that the facilitation should always be met for those who have been failed by a system and parents who show little accountability. These kids deserve far better than what they have received in a country which claims to be developed.

It reminds me of earlier in the year when I was going around with my cousin doing the food bank run which is a community based project taken part around the country to find food for those who were homeless or otherwise impoverished by a lack of food and a lack of shelter. What we found that evening was that there were so many people donating the food which they didn’t need. Even if it was just a can of spaghetti people were contributing so much to such a good cause. What baffled me the most was that there were some people who would scoff from their dining room tables and carry on reading their newspaper while we ran by, and their were other families with five-six children who obviously looked like they were in hardship themselves to afford shoes for their children who were giving what they had in order to help feed others who were in need.

That really stirkes a chord with me, I think that it takes a certain type of courage to give that in which you cannot afford to give. When others are in need and you put your own wellbeing at risk of a similar situation. When you give ten dollars even though you only have ten dollars. The giving is not the part when you put a dollar into the thanks box at the end of a church service but the true courtesy is giving when you have nothing to give. Those people who sat in their chairs and continued reading the letters to the editor section in The Herald, though they may not have had any food to give, their orange tree sure did!

The point is not to be a stick in the mud and say that you were involved when you weren’t. It’s not to participate in the supporting but it is to show committed support that means something and sees the whole thing through. Humans have this natural urge to want to see something come to the end, to want to see the thing through and watch it finish. They want to know in themselves that they helped accomplish something. That their input had a valid response in the end and that it wasn’t all for nothing.  There is a certain amount of respite in knowing that one day I will reach Cape Reinga at the top of New Zealand, shivering in my boots knowing that I’ve completed the ride. But it will haunt me knowing that the only thing standing between myself and my goal of raising $5000 to ring fence funds for children in care. Knowing that the only thing keeping me from achieving that goal was down to those who scoffed and said they didn’t want to be apart of the process because they were wary of the funds uses and questioned whether their participation would have any real value at the end of the day. If my only resolve is to raise suspicion in regards to the matter, that people couldn’t put to the side their tall poppiest expectations.

My natural reaction will likely be to turn around, start a new page, in a literal sense, and ride the bloody South Island of New Zealand. Until it gets through to people that this really isn’t just a stunt to raise funds to get me a new pair of pants, or to get me some sort of coverage but instead is a real and tangible bike ride that will be one of my most exciting challenges yet. That it will be more than just another charity.

So in essence, if you’re interested in helping the ride then that’s awesome. Please feel free to get in touch with me either on the phone or on the bike. My number is 0223681411 extension for New Zealand is +64. If you just want to chat then that’s fine. I still have classes most days between 9am-6pm so anywhere outside of that time would be appreciated.

Just come at me bro. I’m over the moon that you are being a part of this journey with me. Stay tuned for updates along the way, there will be many. Please, if you haven’t already, go and visit my Givealittle page, see what areas you might be able to help in. See where the course is going. Understand what my riding style is like and just get up lose and personal because the more support I receive the more effort I will be able to put in at the end of the day!

My Givealittle page: Here
My Strava account: Here
My Facebook Page: Here
Daily Instagram: Here

This is officially the last week of blogging consecutively for me too! This is the last week of the daily blogging series; I’ll update next Wednesday on D100 what the future of the blog holds. But for now this is me signing off for another day, and as always…

Thanks for checking in!

Blog 091 Cycle For Children Update Four

This July i’m doing a charity bike ride from Wellington to the top of the North Island of new Zealand which is roughly 1100 km in length. These updates are a measure of training progression as well as updates on general stuff like planning and preparing. The ride itself will take 7 days to achieve and it will also require a lot of money in order to do so. New tubes, new tires and plenty of chamois cream. For those of you who don;t know what chamois cream is it’s when you apply an ointment to your backside because cycling is a pain on the ass. So whats new?

Since our last catch up, I have begun my training in preparation for the gradual increase in general fitness and a super increase in long distance bike riding. Since our last catch up, I’ve made a few purchases in equipment. Such as including new lights to see better during late night rides, and also a new bike computer which will better help my training and allow me to track my progress via Strava.

The main key differences I have to report include: 

  • My first week of training, which I will outline down below.
  • New gears.

So how’s the training coming along? 

So my first week I managed to ride just above 200 km or around 110 miles. After riding four times during the mid-week. If you would like a more specific analysis you can visit my Strava account Here.

It’s always so interesting to see how hilly Wellington is. The majority of people who visit, including me, usually assume Wellington to be quite flat when in reality it is a really hilly city. Over my first week of training, I found that there were a lot of hard hills lying nearby the main city. Which hurt like hell! The majority of the time my riding style is actually closer adjusted to climbing because I can find more of a rhythm as opposed to flat sections where you are very heavily affected by what the wind is doing. My biggest concern to do with riding hills is my gearing ratio because it is adjusted more to suit racing conditions on a flat circuit as opposed to climbing steep hills. So although I enjoy riding hills it’s actually really tough on my knees because I’m constantly grinding a gear not designed to be climbed on. My aim is to purchase a new set of gears to justify the climbs and make it easier for myself to ride up steep hills.

But that probably doesn’t interest you too much so let’s talk about something else. I’ve been exploring all over the place around Wellington and through the Hutt City. I actually crashed last night after a car sideswiped my front wheel and then splitting off into the gutter. Thankfully there were no major injuries but the whole event could have easily been avoided if the driver was paying a bit more attention. Which is another thing I’ve forgotten to mention, Wellington drivers suck! I’ve had buses try and cut me off, I’ve had motorists coming inches from pushing me into a rock wall, there was an incident last night when some crazy lady stuck her head out her window and curse at me for existing. It has been an interesting experience that’s for sure.

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Last week I went and visited my Aunt who lives about 40 km’s outside of the city in Titahi Bay. Always good to be surprised by a big hug and a nice serving of chicken chow Mein, not so good to ride home on. I found a really infamous road cycling hill climb nearby called The Makara Hill which in itself felt like my bike was giving birth, was a real struggle that’s for damn sure. Along the rides, I’ve made friendly with my local bike shop who has fitted my bike out to suit my needs and have given me plenty of tips on where to go and what to do. So I’ll be interested in starting riding with them soon.

As for gears, I’ve brought a new bike computer which measures every single feature that is needed for my training. With it, I also bought a new Heart Rate Monitor because for the life of me I have no idea where my one went. Training with heart rate gives me another gauge into understanding how my performance is going. Using Strava takes that one step further by comparing all of my data as well as giving me an estimated power output during my rides. SO it’s really interesting to see how that all falls into place. I am still looking at either buying or borrowing a power meter to use along the ride because power is a tremendous measurement of effort and by training with power measurements I’ll be better equipped to understand how much energy I can distribute throughout my tour of the north island. There will be days of long arduous climbing while other days they will be spent travelling really long distances. So striking it at the core and saying that it’s more important to knuckle down and get there on time versus resting up because I have a seventeen hour day ahead of me are efforts that are measurable using a power meter over just using your regular heart rate monitor and a cadence/speed sensor.

On top of buying a new computer, I also fitted my bike with a pair of new road lights which are USB rechargeable. The front light is pretty powerful and shines at 350 Lm which is appropriate in open road conditions with nothing to see. The rear light is measurable at around 50 Lm and is more suited so drivers can see me on the road.





In general, training has started off really well. I’m surprised how much I’ve actually learnt in one week in regards to taking the right amount of water and a little bit of food. Making sure that I rest on time every week and that it’s not a case of kilometre loading, yet. Also a matter of taking the right clothes which are warm enough, and playing the winds so that it makes for a safer and more enjoyable ride. It will be interesting how I convert these miles into tangible gradual changes to get to the stage where I could safely say that I could ride 1100km but in the meantime, I will just have to settle for the time that I have outside of my study to do these rides.

I am also struggling financially to resource all of these rides, especially when I crash because so much can go wrong and it can all cost a heck of a lot, especially in road cycling. So every amount means the world to me. I know I will make it to the Cape, but it’s all about getting there safely and having fun while doing it! Stay tuned for more updates as we go along, and…

Thanks for checking in!

Blog 090 What If We Had A Fully Cloud-Based University?

Cloud based computing – Allows people to connect via a server system that lets them connect and record information online.

Today’s discussion is more of a one-man rant than a civilised conversation between two people. The whole concept of thinking you are dumber than you actually are. It seems crazy that so many of us complain that school is hard that classes are dumb but is it more of a factor that our teacher is poor at teaching or is it that we are actually pretty thick to begin with.

Well I don’t think it’s the second answer. I refuse to believe that it is a result of being a bad student because time and time again it’s a real thing where a teacher loses my focus after a four hours of constant teachings. It doesn’t seem logical to assume that we are all bad students because it’s irrelevant to the personalities we all have.

I don’t want to make this chat a discussion on how university is flawed because we all know that university no longer or likely ever has correlated to getting jobs. University is designed to give people the opportunity to understand how to work. By giving deadlines, by setting tasks and exercises all in the aspiration to develop you into becoming a person who can be utilised into the workforce.
But if you’re like me and you just want to do your own thing and build a relevant lifestyle around that then how do you learn and how do you become a contributing member of society specifically if you’re challenged by a teacher who sucks at their job. Well it comes down to a few things, finding out how you learn best, and then secondly having the teacher show you how to do something by teaching you in a way you understand.

Staff are still confined to the shift work and hours in their day, they can’t make miracles happen and teach a couple hundred people. That’s why we have tutorials because they allow us to go into a space where there are fewer people and we can get the little pieces of information that the lecturer doesn’t necessarily give us.

But what if we didn’t even need tutorials? What if we could get all of the work we need to meet the requirements of university by doing them all at home? If we could work on the cloud based system, have access to all of our course resources, libraries, documents, passed examinations etc.

What if we could go into our desktop for two or three hours a day and manage our university life without even leaving home? Why are we confined to leaving our families, leaving our friends and support groups just to satisfy the needs of an old corporate entity named university who doesn’t even guarantee us any tangible real world benefits. It’s stupid.

Imagine if University was actually universal? If we could log in anywhere around the world and have all of our classes available with a short video with audio overs to help us learn as well as exercises within those materials to allow us to take part in an exam which was also online. If we could get to the stage where internet security was powerful enough to create trust between us and our university provider.

If we could get the ability to rely on our technology systems and came up with solutions I’m sure we would be able to find a way to make online based university courses a thing. Because guess what, they already are Harvard and Oxford universities both have access to cloud based university classes. I’m pretty sure I signed up to their architecture course this year but due to obvious reasons it was more out of curiosity and less out of legitimate interest.

Given the opportunity to sit down in your own time and digest the information presented in lectures rather than waiting for your lecturer to arrive and teach you in a way you don’t understand would be a tremendous tool to allow people with an educational service that they understand. It would make it easier to learn and it would make it easier to digest if all lessons were available online and all lessons were put in a way that a multitude of people would be able to understand rather than relying on the notes set out by a teacher in a smaller room to solve the bigger problem.

I think at the end of the day what’s more important than education is recognising within yourself that you are pretty amazing. It’s really easy to get into this unhealthy space of thinking you aren’t good enough because in reality you’re paying for education, you’re there to listen and to learn. So if you’re not learning then it is the universities responsibility to help you navigate to a state of learning. It’s not good enough that people should doubt their ability to achieve when they have been brought up as a human and deserve the right to learn and understand I their own time.

There’s nothing worse than thinking you’re bad at something because you had a teacher who wasn’t able to teach you in a way that you could understand. That you could doubt the dignity you had left beyond the social drama beyond all of the crap. Just another thing to deal with thinking you’re no good at doing something.

When I took physics in my last year of high school I thought that I was no good at doing physics but what I didn’t take into account was that physics in itself is an extremely obnoxious and ridiculously difficult class to take in the first place. Let alone having a guy who really knew his physics but really had no clue how to teach.

Now I’m not saying it was my teachers fault for my apparent poor learning but instead I would use it as an example of the effects of not having a teacher who knew your capacities. While you could sit and say “well why didn’t you ask him after class” but that’s not the point. The point is to find a way which makes it a more functioning system as a whole. To make it a more efficient operating system that we can all relate to.

A University Without Classes. A totally encompassing Cloud-Based operating system that allows students to geographically study without the restrictions of leaving their families and provide them with a modern way of learning. Having a system where an online lecture only takes place at a certain time to ensure that students still remain dedicated to everyday tasks such as waking up, preparing themselves for their day and then making it to class on time.

 

You could also have group based exercises that skip passed the judgement and let people focus on what’s more important, learning your stuff. You could have a library online that lets you connect to the referenced book rather than having to pay hundreds to do so. There is honestly so much potential in using a web-based cloud system and the only reason it’s not currently existing in New Zealand is down to Privacy laws and general confidence in the network.

Let’s not dance around the cloud. The reason why university doesn’t already exist in this way, regardless of the internet being such a massive part of our day to day lives is because people are making big bucks off the transport industry, off the real estate, off the leasing contracts and all of the nitty gritty things that always seem to be the culprit. Effectively, it comes down to the money. So if you’re asking yourself “Why the heck am I here when I don’t understand a single word coming out of this guys mouth” it’s because of money. The only thing you can do, is tell yourself you’re awesome and speak up about it.

That’s been another blog from me, hope you’re keeping warm as autumn comes to a close.

Thanks for checking in!

Blog 089 Weird Is Good

I guess there is a moment when you realise you’ve not been so honest about what decisions you’ve been making with yourself. When you come to terms with the fact that not every characteristic about you is necessarily healthy. With that in mind, it delights me to talk to you tonight about my little long journey with becoming Christian and ultimately becoming a follower of god and why it matters to me.

Lets be clear, this is not some Sunday night sermon series to sell you a 90-day subscription with WHATMANASEES in God We Trust Series, but instead just give you guys a little bit of insight into my walk into becoming a follower of faith and also recognise how it has had an impact on my life and how it is still working very much on who I am becoming right now!

It all started about five years ago when I moved cities, made new friends and got into my local youth group. It all hit off after meeting some really interesting characters, sharing lots of good banter is figuring out what a quarter of the global population valued soo much, belief systems. The youth group wasn’t all for me though. It was a weird place with a whole lot of new vibes going on. A few weird conversations about some guy who I didn’t know or believed in and how he influenced and created the entire universe and knitted me in my mother womb, yeah there were plenty of weird conversation’s that’s for sure.

But my biggest benefit was that I wasn’t just another one of those stereotypical cookie cutter Christians because neither of my parents were practicing Christians of any belief system, my schools didn’t value the lesson of enforcing belief systems throughout education and my whole upbringing was based more on the “who cares just get on with it” a lot more agnostic system. Why that is significant I will explain in just a second. This was the first time in my life where a belief system, not religion, was ever really in my life. It was this massive breath of fresh air because it was so unbelievably intricate and has a history that predates the civilisation of New Zealand.

I learnt later not to define Christianity as a religion but instead consider it as a belief system as it became apparent to me that religion was more of human-based ruling systems as opposed to a celebration of a life and all the many things that it has to offer. That Christianity became a different realisation that in order for me to follow god it became more apparent that it was going to be a hard track to walk on. It was going to be a manual subscription that only myself and the other side would know how to coordinate.

What I mean by that is that I found that following God meant that it was only a relationship between myself and God and not the church or my friends. That while it is always important to love those people, it is equally important to remember that the relationship is only between me and God and not between some dick head on the television and my credit card details. That in knowing who I am and what my needs were would play a huge start in stoking that fire which would become a part of who I was now and who I am becoming.

Being brought up in non-conventional Christian ways has let me see this sort of stuff. has let me see through the bull shit, has let me feel more of a singularity. It let me feel that sense of weirdness when my youth pastor Liam started having those Jesus conversations during youth group. It started making me feel a bit more contrasted from the pack and that was really important. Being the weird one in a weird environment let me connect with God and let me follow a lot easier because I could dispute those areas where logic was originally more reasonable.

The next step was to participate more in church rather than youth group. The call came through when I was working one day as a produce assistant on my regular Saturday night shift stacking lettuces. A girl came up to me really randomly and just asked if she could pray for me. Okay so admittedly at the time I was more tired than human and so I spun around and said: “yeah sure why not.” So after she prayed for my existence and asked God to bring me into the church, I started bitching with my supervisor and carried on about how strange it was that this lady had just come up to me and professed some guy named Jesus to start working from within side of me and make me come to church.

Turns out she went to the same church as I already went to and it was really funny at the time but come to think about it the years of coming to church on a Friday night for youth and then coming again for the Sunday evening service was not such a coincidence after all. So anyway, that’s all fine and dandy but then after a while of going to church and a whole lot of circumstantial things going on it occurred to me that there was a whole community of friends and family which have inspired me, who have challenged me, who have made me into a person who could receive the gift of Jesus’ love today.

While you might be asking yourself what the heck this has to do with anything and that this story might not actually have any huge impact on your life it actually could. Because tonight I was sitting in church thinking to myself how incredible this really short but immeasurably important journey has been so far. To put my Jesus branded boots on and to walk that path to finding a bit more solace and lot more balance into an every unbalancing life. To accept that I alone am not strong enough to ever be enough for God has been the most humbling experience I have ever had thus far.

It’s weird thinking that everyone is messed up beyond repair and that there is a mechanic who has an unlimited supply of replacement parts for us. But anyway, that’s my random spiel on god for this Sunday, I hope you found something out of tonight’s conversation. If not keep looking, it’s all those random weird moments which bring a life of incredible opportunities which will shape and mould you. Stay safe and keep blessed.

Thank you for checking in!

Blog 088 Life is Beautiful 

Today’s challenge is to focus on the good stuff going on. Not to focus on how horrible hard work is, not to think about persistence and commitment. But to only focus on how fantastic things are. To only remember what is good in life. Today’s challenge is to be focused on the thing that makes you tick. The thing that makes you want to commit to finishing a job. What makes you want to get to the next post. 

  • Focus on one thing that motivates you to do good.

Tonight I spent time with some of my flatmates going through all the small markets in Wellington city. Typical Friday night festivities with random people scattered down and along Cuba Street. The inconsistent gatherings of people washed along Lambton Quay. The many picturesque meandering parking lot viewpoints along The Terrace. It was like a festival in everyday routine the Friday evening continuity and a few thousand people heading to nowhere quickly or anywhere important.

Amongst the ruckus was met with tantrums and upset. A university student drama scene met with alcoholism and plenty of unintelligible mistakes. Where relationship conflicts occur beyond sporadic decision making. It’s like open warfare with words and kissing. Sat in  behind the scenes for the most part it became a little more noticeable that the idea of lusting relationships at a young age has massive and real effects on people my age. Having seen the whole show go down for me is really one of the things which sparked the need to have this discussion.

To focus on how amazing life is beyond the sadness, beyond the mistakes, beyond the relationships. To remember and reflect on the shear luck that we’ve receive to be alive as well as free to do what we want without any rules or constrictions. So institutionalised by the matter of fact that we must study, we must find love, we must earn money. It’s not an existential crisis so much as it is the concept of learning that at no stage are you ever forced to be something you don’t want to be. At no stage should you ever feel worthless or ever fall to your knees over something dumb like love or acceptance.

I guess it’s a discussion on accepting who we are as people and what we represent. Knowing that at any stage we can simply walk away from all the bull shit. That we can up and leave whatever conflict we have been put into. It’s finding a safe balance between entrenching ourselves in routine obligation and deciding when to make space for ourselves and tell people to get out. Learning to focus on positive reinforcements when pessimism messes with our happiness.

It sucks that we forget how lucky we are. I’m blessed with the family who raised me. Who took me on when I was eight months old and adopted my ass put me through my paces with looking after myself for a time and then doing the big move away to University. To think of the support they still provide me is something i’ll never be able to afford to forsake. That it’s those people who are the foundation of everything that I am and have become.

Love is the key to unlocking everything not shit in our lives. It recharges others, it inspires life. As soppy and typical it sounds there is a reason why it’s true and that’s because it’s the outlying impact that we have no power over. It’s the one thing the government can’t manipulate it’s the one thing we cannot change is our love for one another is our love for family and friends.

Some people say it’s a concept we created as humans but that doesn’t explain why ducks become protective over their ducklings and why magpies attack road cyclists’ helmets during breeding season because they look like other birds. Is it instinctive or is it love at a natural non-scientific matter of fact? When I say life is beautiful I mean that it’s so improbable that we would even exist. That we have the love that surrounds us, infects our lives. That we can say the sun will rise in the morning, that we are intricately unique in a million different ways. It saddens me when people cry over people because they lust the idea of being accepted. When you see them pried from their individuality over something as inconsistent as a relationship or a one-night stand. It’s not pathetic but instead it’s illogical.

my interpretation of why there is so much drama at a young age is that we invest in a thing called lust in the hopes of finding acceptance. But lust is the cheaper knock off of love. It manipulates us into investing cheaply into something that is insignificant and false. When we try to navigate through our daily life with a fake key it breaks relationships we think we deserve to feel acceptance from. When we run around thinking lust is the same as love we end up treating people badly and have a lower sense of identity.

It’s like feeding a car with Fanta, or like drinking fizzy over water. We’re not doing anyone any favours and it’s sad that we end up lost and upset when the shit hits the fan. It’s easy to achieve short term happiness when you put your mind to looking for lust but long term we have nothing to show for it and it leaves us poorer in the emotions bank. So to put things simply, it doesn’t work unless you’re looking for a cheap fix. Don’t come crying when the engine doesn’t start, you were told, now you know.

Love is a long term thing. It’s costly, it’s almost like trading in bitcoin. It’s worth much more than the everyday dollar and people individually have very little to give. Thankfully they go a long way and can be traded in for high quantity purchases such as acceptance and love in return. Love is the key and we are taught it from our parents, well at least I received that support. Whenever things get bad for me it’s not hard to turn to my parents and recognise the million sacrifices they’ve had to make in order to achieve love and remind me that life is beautiful.

In that essence, life truly is beautiful.

Thanks for checking in!


Blog 087 Hard Work & Lots Of Noise

The next challenge I want you to set for yourself is to do whatever chore you decided you couldn’t do from last time. Take that chore and do everything in your power to talk yourself into doing it. I want you to time yourself. Look at the clock at the top right hand corner of your screen and remember those digits. Remember the date because that was the day you decided to do something practical about it.

From there remind yourself of your impossible goal and convince yourself that you can do it. That it is possible and that you will be able to reach a point where you can. With all of your strength and wisdom, focus on that goal. Remembering the time, tell yourself to keep pushing and keep getting through all of the nerves and beyond all reasonable doubts. 

  • Convince Yourself to do the impossible chore. 
  • Remember the time and date.

The next discussion is in regards to working really hard to achieve daily life stuff, like getting to University on time. Like making it through your work day shift. Like hiking across a lofty mountain, whatever it may be. We’ll look into hard work through a discussion surrounding consistency and decide what makes us tick.

Let’s face it, nobody actually wants to do hard work. But we know that if we want to get anywhere it takes a dash of talent and heaps of hard work. Everything tells us that it takes work to get anywhere. In physics, the definition of work is to impose a force on a system causing it to move. So in layman’s terms, we’ve grown up to the tune that it takes a lot of energy to get anywhere. But what is the conversion factor and why do we regard hard as being the all to end all?

When something seems really impossible it’s generally because we think that a tonne of hard work needs to be done to accomplish it. Like solving poverty, child abuse, racism, religious indifferences and you would be right, it takes a lot of guts and a gumption for hard work from more than one person to overcome these things. But where do we compromise to still make a sizeable difference or at least try to do something about them?

We have to do something about it. These chores, like the dishes, training for some big thing we’re doing, it’s important to us that we do actually accomplish them and we know that. It isn’t a case of thinking to ourselves that we can get by with not doing anything because that’s procrastinating. If you think of any piece of work you have ever done in your life that you were proud of. A drawing, building a retaining wall, becoming more flexible, you would know that it takes some focus and a lot of hard work.

It’s also a question of commitment and how much you’re willing to commit to it. Soo many people say that it’s hard to find a job out there and that there are so many people looking to find work and that’s true. There are a lot of people trying to find work. But it’s never the finding the job that actually stops people from getting a job. It’s a whole lot of other things such as looking for a job that earns lots of money, looking for a job that is actually meaningful to us. We spend a lot of time gauging how much we might be willing to commit to the job.

It’s no different than doing chores or doing a huge bike ride. Asking yourself how willing you might be to commit yourself to accomplishing these projects actually shows the level of hard work you are willing to give. The attitude that needs to change is realising the task is too big and being realistic about it. Choosing a job that might be a little easy because it still pays and it still gets the rent paid. Washing rather than drying the dishes because you don’t have enough time to do both. Pushing back the time of your huge sporting event to allow yourself more room to train and prepare.

There’s’ a multitude of lines that can be drawn when you realise the task is something you might not be able to do by yourself and you need more help. When the project is going to take too long so you push the date back. The priority is not in recognising that you want to work but it is in realising you want to work hard and commit yourself to whatever project you have going on. And it takes a lot of effort and plenty of noise in order to do that.

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Just yesterday morning I was eavesdropping on the construction workers outside my room ploughing away into the cement work in the parking lot behind our complex. The whole time I could hear complaint after complaint from the workers talking about how they hated working so early, how their manager was being a jerk and I couldn’t stop thinking about the noise. This inconsiderate 6 am prodding to my eardrums was like a drum and bass concert at wrong o’clock.

The considerate side of me was saying how those workers were the better half of all people. The one’s who get the ass out of bed at the crack of dawn without breakfast to stand metres away from this gigantic drill with a shitty boss and whiny neighbours yaking that it’s 6 am. So in essence what you could say is that these guys were the doers. The one’s not afraid to work hard in order to get paid. The one’s who weren’t looking for acknowledgement and weren’t asking for a reason of meaningfulness. They were committing to the task.

These workers couldn’t give a shit about their job. It was evident in the complaining. They were only interested in sleeping, eating and bitching about their boss. So what commitment do they have to the job? What meaningful cause were they looking for in drilling a hole in a parking lot at 6 am? None mate, they were doing it to pay their way. To earn money, pay for rent, pay for food and work tomorrow.

The argument is that not everything is easy. Not everything has to have the meaningfulness that you want to achieve but instead, it serves a purpose. If you want to go out there and accomplish anything significant it takes a significant compromise. That if you want a good job then you better bloody be good at working hard. If you want to run a marathon you need to be good at running marathons. If you commit yourself to hard work and are willing to make a lot of noise in the process then nothing will stop you from getting there.

End.

Thanks heaps again for catching up! I appreciate the support. Tomorrow’s blog will be a little bit more specific than today’s we’ll talk current affairs.

Thanks for checking in!

Blog 086 Bravery & Persistence

Today’s Challenge:

I want you to think about what one thing that challenges you physically from doing that you have always wanted to do whether that’s running a marathon, swimming an ocean mile etc. The next thing I want is for you to actually ask yourself if you can do it or not. 

  • What is one thing that you’ve always wanted to do?
  • Can you actually do it? 

The aim is to find out whether you’re actually brave enough and persistent enough to create a plan to do something that pushes your boundaries. That other people might tell you is a bad idea. These apart of a new series for the last two weeks of blogging. There is no goal, only that you participate and that it helps us both learn something.

 

 
I think there’s a stage when you realise that you couldn’t care less how well or how badly something is going to go. When you’re working on an assignment late into the night and you notice that you’ve passed the point of no return and decide to carry on. Tonight’s discussion concerns persisting through the rubbish we have to put up with every day to remain and achieve things before thought not possible. We’ll also go into some depth regarding bravery and what that sort of means to me and how it’s usually operating in tandem with persistence.

Today’s weather was absolutely shocking. With a north westerly wind howling through like a flicked towel made it hard to walk straight or in my case close the door of the Uber. No shade. There was a stage in the afternoon when I was heading to my only lecture for the day and then a fire caused the whole building to be evacuated. A couple thousand antsy students between the ages of 18 and 30 all crammed on the side of a hill.

The biggest concern was that the class was only 50 minutes long and because the fire alarm happened moments before class was supposed to start more than half of the lesson was overruled by somebodies overcooked lunch. Like it’s not as if all of these students and staff hustled their way up the lofty mountain, Kelburn Campus, in shit weather or anything.

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Above:  WHATMANASEES Instagram

But when I missed my class out of no fault of my own, I thought it might be a good idea to get out on the old bike and get some kilometres in. But at the time it never occurred to me that there was a storm coming in. After the point of realising “oh man how will I get out there safely!” Your brain sort of shuts down at a certain point when it notices that you might be putting your body at risk by going out into bad weather.

It takes a lot to convince the brain of something it doesn’t want to do. It’s always most difficult when you haven’t pushed the boundaries in a while. Kind of like stretching old muscles for the first time in a while. Because when you do something that your brain doesn’t want to it pretty much goes against every order your brain has ever had. To keep you safe and to make sure that every crisis is averted to ensure your health stays balanced.

Just like riding your bike in 80km winds, hail, and 10mm of rain in one hour just as it’s getting dark during peak hour traffic. I think for me this was a bit of an excitement factor to get out there and just ride regardless of the weather. Had enough of not doing what makes me happiest. Persisting and being persistent to get out there in the deluge, head down and just go. Admittedly it was extremely cold but i’d never say that i’ve felt as much liberated when you reach that moment of no return. When you’re balls deep and it’s all going tit’s up you learn to keep going.

I guess that process is applicable to everyone. You can actually accomplish those ridiculous goals you come up with it just takes a lot of hard work and a tonne of persistence to keep getting out there no matter the weather. If you want to walk the length of Earth then you can there are clubs for that. If you want to climb Mount Everest on a bike but you can’t get yourself to Nepal, you can there is a Strava challenge called Everesting which is a challenge where you have to climb one climb as many times until you’ve climbed up to the altitude of the peak of Mount Everest at 8848m.

While i’m obviously trying to be motivational and all of that soppy stuff, at the end of the day if you’re just practical and realistic with yourself about what you can and cannot do then it makes everything easier. Rather the elephant is in about 75 bit chunks and it’s your goal to pass one or two chunks each week until it’s finished.

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Bravery is like colour. Everyone has their own perception of what that might look like. When we apply it to our daily lifestyle is changes the tone and mood of our day. When we cave after our boss asks us to do an extra shift on the same day and we say yes when we don’t want to it makes us feel shit. When we don’t get our questions asked in a lecture or tutorial because we were too anxious to ask a question we feel bad about it.

But when we tell our boss that we can’t be bothered and that life exists for us outside of our 7-4pm shift work, that’s confidence. When we raise our hand to ask a question in front of three hundred people in a lecture, that’s confidence. It allows us to be there for our mates improve on the banter. It allows us to be there for those we love, and rip them out when they say something dumb.

When you make time for yourself and you make time for others then essentially what you’ve created is colour. Bravery in the form of confidence. To achieve what you didn’t think was possible takes bravery because if you always do what you’ve always done then you’ll never get what you’ve never had. Learning to confide in yourself that you’re not going to be around to make art with all your colour is not immaturity, it’s growing up,

For me, learning to become more persistent with my working efforts and doing what is right rather than what i’m told is right has been my biggest struggle. Pushing past the boundaries that my brain has created because the biggest critic in your life is yourself. You can say you have your own back because that’s easy. The reality is that most people and sayer’s and not doers.

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Getting out on that bike for some might be getting to work on time. For others it might be getting married to the person they love. It could be handing in an assignment the day before it’s due and having set that goal three weeks ago. It could even be something mundane like doing the damn dishes.

It doesn’t mean you have the right to be a dick about it. Other people can be brave to and you should respect that and give them space they need to grow. it’s called tall-poppy syndrome buddy, look it up.

End.





I’ve decided that i’m going to start up a daily challenge for us both to push ourselves on. It could be absolutely anything. There is no goal asides from asking yourself a basic 2-second question. The aim is to improve on reasoning skills and self confidence levels. But aside from that thank you for reading along today I truly appreciate that. And as always…

 

Thanks for checking in!

Blog 085 Growing Up

I guess I’ve reached that stage in the year when I’ve decided that it’s time to rest up and reflect on the year so far. In light of recent events heading back to Wellington to continue studying, personal matters and the creation of my blog I think it’s time we slowed down a notch and discussed things from a growth based perspective.

Since my time back at Victoria University this year, I’ve taken on another degree majoring in public policy. For me, this change happened after my work as a youth advocate swayed me into realising that while I’m terrible at helping people on the ground but I’m amazing at telling adults they’re shit at doing their jobs.

This coming after working for the Ministry of Social Development as an advocate, advising ministers on their shortcomings in creating a new children’s ministry. I guess the revelation was recognising how bad things were at a systematic level and noticing how people in power very rarely utilised their ability to make well-informed decisions and instead settle for second best all of the time.

Choosing to take public policy means that I’m aiming at governmental analysis. It means that when I leave university it’s likely that I will work for the government in some capacity. My ability to communicate both audibly and through words has basically pushed the boundaries of what I thought was possible. Having a strength is visual communication from taking a degree in architectural studies also gives me the edge to clearly articulate what it is I’m trying to portray through media and I’m hoping that this array will accumulate to acquiring a role for the ministry beyond my studies.

Coming into this winter these discussions become more important, with examinations with assignment hand ins. All are linked to a stress factor at the top of the scale saying that it’s almost imperative that I maintain a high level of concentration and also a huge resilience to whatever work is put down in front of me. Day’s of procrastination are spent best as reflection days and days of resting so that when push comes to shove I’m ready and prepared for whatever comes next.

Although resting is important, most of us can relate to the whole Sunday-itis thing when we can’t be bothered because we need to be somewhere in twenty minutes and it’s super cold outside. Just one day might be fine every now and again, once or twice a week I have found is unacceptable because it shows an unwillingness to complete the tasks at hand. A building won’t be structurally sound if not all of the supporting weight bearing columns haven’t been put in place.

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Being a typical kiwi kid, laziness is what I’m good at. But also being a kiwi teenager it’s easy to doubt yourself a lot. I’ve found over the first half of my first semester this year that I’ve been doubting myself heaps and being very critical of my work. When I miss a lecture it’s almost like things will never be the same and that grades can’t be recovered from what they could have been previously. Like someone died and they can’t be replaced almost. It’s an interesting discussion to be had.

There must be an existing parameter that suggests people in New Zealand are generally quite head strong. There must be a statistic somewhere that evaluates on how stubborn and tough kiwis are because when I look at the general culture it does have something to that effect. When the majority of the population are in the working class demographic it does seem logical to assume that New Zealanders like Australians have a very staunch approach on “Hardening Up” and “Doing It Yourself.”

It almost seems as though the culture of New Zealand is so intrinsic with defining how we as individuals tend to be a lot more individualistic in comparison to other countries because we are isolated and rely on ourselves to bring the bacon home so much. Everything seems a lot more imperative such as work shift hours, hand in’s, exam times etc. When we miss those schedules, for me it seems as though I’ve failed in life. Like it’s my fault that this has happened therefore shade should be applied to all of my achievements.

Another thing I’ve noticed is that it’s so easy to get stuck in that reoccurring pessimism. Going from missing a deadline, or a lecture, or a shift at work without an excuse into feeling anxious about doing it again and then becoming upset about it, doubting that you are amazing in every right and then losing a piece of identity in the process. Only to miss the next deadline. It’s a really vicious cycle and it’s really hard to overcome when you’re so entrenched in it.

University life for me has been a whole barrel or rise and repeat moments which have characterised how well I do in classes. It always comes down to that anxiety being the hinderance from success. Growing up realising that you’re a lot more amazing than you think to go into these environments surrounding yourself with people who can and beginning to doubt how incredulous you actually are.

Leaving university to go home during the easter holidays taught me how important family is. It taught me how massive the contrast is between spending time with family versus being caught up in the little rinse and repeat bubble of doubting my ability to achieve. Going on bike rides and spending tie with my family completely removes you from any importance of university and it makes you believe again that it’s possible to do anything you’d like so long as you put in the hard yards to do so.

The best way to achieve those hard yards I’ve found is to remove the anxiety by getting used to them. I’ve found that telling myself how amazing my achievements are so far is just not enough to bring sunlight through the anxiety but instead accept the fact that something has happened, hurt for a moment and then carry on. Remembering that family will be there at the other side of the tunnel and that the sun will come out again this Spring.

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This is all a big part of growing up. Learning about the culture, making tough decisions to move on to something else when it doesn’t work out. Riding through the bullshit to grow and become stronger. Reflecting often and removing yourself to restore some identity whenever possible.

Looking back on the time where I went home to spend some time with my family has been a really stark contrast. Noticing that my general behaviour was a lot more hostile, understanding that it was because of other people’s drama that made me feel the way I was and made my efforts seem a lot more shit than they were. Coming back to Wellington this half-semester has taught me how imperative it is to get away from it all. Physically remove yourself from that space so that you can be content with what you’re doing and that other people’s bullshit attitudes such as “Hardening Up” and “Doing It Yourself” is completely useless because you simply cannot do everything by yourself and you can’t just harden up. You weren’t made to be by yourself in life.

For those non-Christian readers skip this paragraph if you’d like but God asked us to love ourselves and love others. Which means to be humble and care about those around us. I don’t see that being interpreted as, “be yourself and be mean to others”. It doesn’t seem natural because it’s not. Condemning yourself to a life of independence is false faith because you’re relying on yourself rather than relying on a God who has blogged his whole life recording every situation that happens. Why wouldn’t you build your life around that?

Coming back into Wellington after being away fro a couple of weeks made me value life outside of university too. It made me notice how robotic we all become because we value deadlines above health, we tell ourselves that it’s more important to get it all done because we are paying a heck of a lot of money to do so. In many way’s that’s true. It’s really hard out there. I’ve recently written a blog regarding Blog 080 Working In Retail. In it talks about the dependency on work to hold up families, to feed children, to bloody survive. University is an expensive place that some simply cannot afford so will go all out to make sure that they stay on top of the workload put out in front of them.

I’m totally all for that. But it’s a messed up system. A system that operates in these gigantic facilities when it’s 2017 and mostly every student has a computer (Macbook Pro) and it’s still valued to move away from home from the comforts and reminders of having a family etc. The system is what makes little sense to me. In that University is a massive business that exists to care about your education no more than a psychologist cares about your mental wellbeing.

The system itself is a flawed one that makes ono sense whatsoever. So don’t take it to heart when they all flock to your door telling you that what you’re doing is non-sensical because at the end of the day you just slept in, you’re still alive and your family still gives a toss about you so it can’t all be bad.

End.

This was a wee update on all things growth related! If you want to check out my daily blogs I usually post daily between 10am-1pm so around that lunch time period – WMS.

Thanks for checking in!

Blog 084 Cycle for Children 2017 – Update Three!

This July i’m doing a charity bike ride from Wellington to the top of the North Island of new Zealand which is roughly 1100km in length. These updates are a measure of training progression as well as updates on general stuff like planning and preparing. The ride itself will take 7 days to achieve and it will also require a lot of money in order to do so. New tubes, new tyres and plenty of chamois cream. For those of you who don;t know what chamois cream is it’s when you apply an ointment to your backside because cycling is a pain on the ass. So whats new?

Since our last catch up I have moved back to Wellington and have started my training. I’m deciding between riding a certain number of kilometres per week and getting in plenty of rest days. The problem with training for really long distance tours is that there is no clear cut way of doing so.

  • A Fresh Bike.
  • A New Training Regime.
  • Adapting To The Environment.

A nice tidy and well kept bike I have found makes miles of difference because at the end of the day how you’re feeling defines how well you ride. It’s important to have a well maintained bike so I took it into the shop last week to have a few things checked over. Turns out my chain was nowhere near safe! Nor was my three spokes not enough rear wheel which was pulling to one side! Who would’ve known?

The bearings in the old wheel were replaced too and theres a high chance that i’ll put smaller gears on the rear cassette to make it easier to climb hills at a slow pace seeing as i’m not training to ride the Tour De France this winter. I’ve also been using my cellphone to record my rides. I’m using an app called Strava which i’ve had for years but is an extremely wicked tool which measures pretty much everything about a bike ride.

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So let’s talk about Strava for a second.

Strava lets me record my bike rides in a really organised and well presented way that I can pull off, study and analyse to make sure that my ride’s are all well balanced so that when I get out onto State highway one on the 10th of July I don’t run out of gas before i leave Wellington. By using Strava I can track my riding progression and decide how much work needs to be done to improve and prepare better for the long haul.

Strava tracks and captures a few different measurements such as speed, cadence, heart rate and power output. it also tracks the weather on the day as well as the elevation of the ride which is really useful when looking over the rides at the end of day. it also has a feature which has segments that allow me to rate against other riders. But at the end of the day this is all about having fun and not necessarily training to win the Giro D’Italia.

Strava also includes how much riding i have been doing week on week which is really good for donors of my Givealittle page to view and track how much work is being done. That feature will also serve as a reciprocal device for future rides. these blogs will also be extremely useful if i decide in future ventures that may pop up over the year, which i’m hoping they do.

You can visit my Strava page: Here


What training am I putting in before the big ride?

I’m no road cycling coach nor am I a professional rider in any way. But I know what my body needs and I understand what tired means. So my training is purely based around my health and the needs that pop up over time. Those many 6 am starts to the day waking up my girlfriend on the way out of bed.

Theres a few important factors that i’m considering as i’m learning over time. The first is environment, it’s going to be really damn cold. Training in the cold and getting plenty of good cycling jerseys is pretty much going to be the biggest deciding factor for me to consider when riding over the North Island.

The second big concern is the elevations. What sort of terrain are we talking about here. Most of the west coast of the North Island is relatively flat so i’m not hugely concerned for most of the time. However, on my first and third days heading along the coast i’ll be faced with a lot of really tall climbs that i’m going to have to train for in length. Baby steps though…

My next big worry is my general fitness level. I’ve never trained for something as big and as scary as this before. So getting a million base kilometres in now and not the day before the ride is going to be pretty much life saving. I don’t want to be sat at the top of Mount Messenger 100km away from any significant settlement and run out of steam.

The next big thing is hydration and lots of it. Even riding in the cold weather here in Wellington i’ve found that most of the time i’m still gasping at the top of each climb needing a lot of fluid to replace all of the sweat flying out in all directions. There haven’t been any spectacular rides for me yet but food is going to be the next concern. Using the information from my rides a couple years back I kind of remember having to eat a tonne in order to stay upright on the bike most of the time.

But that was only a few hours. This rides going to take around 60 at a moderate pace. This means that it’s probably going to be a case of expect the unexpected because shits going to go down and it can’t be me from my bike.

A VLOG HAS BEEN LAUNCHED!

Check it out below!
My Youtube Channel – WHATMANASEES Video Logs

With the video logs taking precedence it makes reporting on the overall ride even easier! ,Most of the videos are going to be taken during the middle of the ride because it’s just easy and life is all about easy.





That’s another quick update for the week. Keep involved! I appreciate all of your support.

Thanks for checking in!

Blog 083 Back To School

Today’s discussion comes from a different light. With the traffic returning to the city as students swarm in the thousands to their flats/apartments and halls of residences. The stress factor is reintroduced as assignments and hand-in’s are usually due the two weeks beyond the holidays.

Coming with these are seeing friends again, catching up with the washing and the latest episodes of The bachelor. For others it might be a reuniting with their partners, doing the romantic thing with the flowers and the chocolate gift givings. While those things are great, I didn’t want to bring you here in this cold wintery evening just on pure positivity.

Lets be realistic. It sucks being back at university. With exams on the not too distant horizon and a pile of hand in’s this week, it’s easy to suggest that it might be a bit more than stress central around here. With the dishes piling up, bills to pay. Missing family seems to be number four in our priorities checklist.

Today I want to talk about student mental health and refer to, in particular, student suicide. This is not to mess with loose feathers for other students but it does need to be talked about more often. In reflection of the hit new teen TV series, Thirteen Reasons Why, maybe it’s useful that we look into the concern again coming into what looks like a cold month of May in preparation for the examinations in June/July.

Though it has never plagued my life as a student, it can be said for me that these months are usually a little bit more emotional in comparison to the likes of Summertime and Spring. Easter is the last major holiday for a lot of people carrying across the seasons so it does need to be talked about and applied to many people that suicide should never be the option.

We need to talk about suicide and the only way to do that is by taking a journey down suicide lane. The TV series aforementioned has been reported to romanticise the idea of suicide by encapsulating the death of a teenage girl and making up thirteen reasons why she ended her life. In some respects it is true that the idea was brutalist but in no way do I see that as being an accurate representation of what the director/producer was trying to portray.

First and foremost was that they wanted to raise awareness for something controversial. With all things controversial, like gender equality, sexual orientation, race, religion and abortion. There are always differences of opinion. The only way to raise awareness for something as horrible as suicide is by doing it in a way that would capture peoples attention and the way in which they did that was extremely successful.

You can visit my full in-depth review of 13 Reasons Why Here

But that’s not the point. In relation to the upcoming weather patterns, being winter. I just wanted to raise the point that things can get pretty miserable through winter and that it’s important to focus on what does matter like family, friends and making sure that you don’t forget to buy your girlfriend plenty of gifts over that period.

While getting back into school is really significant it needs to be said that from a males perspective. You never feel more isolated than when you’re cold, have exams to study for and your friends are busy with their assignments. I’d forgotten how amazing it is to learn stuff at school and remember that forward progress is always happening when studying.

For some people studying in itself can seem overwhelming, as i’ve grown i’ve learnt to understand that as a second year student, university doesn’t always correlate to getting work because it doesn’t. In the words of one of my architecture professors, “I don’t know how students are finding jobs out there, it’s such a cutthroat industry.” When taken into context University only teaches you what the job is and where it came from. Not necessarily how to actually do the job.

So there is this cognitive shift for me knowing that university won’t necessarily provide me with tangible work experience but that what I am doing is teaching me new skills which I can accumulate and use in many different situations. Basically, if you’re studying you’re doing it for yourself and not for a client.

Always important to remember that when things get tougher during these upcoming winter months that you’re doing this for you and nobody else. That you can pace yourself and take your time. If you’re worried that it’s not where your heart is and that you’ve wasted your money then make sure you get everything you need from it, accept that it has happened and move on from it next semester.

If you’re otherwise finding that the work load is really hard and you might not make it to your deadline, then apply for an extension and be honest that you need more time and say that it is affecting your mental health. Universities are to comply with The mental Health Act by law to ensure that your health in every aspect is kept more important than your school work. Because at the end of the day the positive you will always overwhelm that bastard inside that says not to. How will you work if you’ve contracted ebola?

I want to conclude on the note that while it’s cold outside and a bit rainy that when you go out of winter and into spring it is always going to be sunny. Your family loves you now and they will continue to do so even if you rack up a shit load of debt. Money is a man made currency that loses it’s value over time, love is forever bro.





While today’s conversation was a little less focused but it’s more of a general roundup of all things happening. Tonight will also be another blog updating on my upcoming charity bike ride so stay involved for that one!

Thanks for checking in!