Blog 101 – EMOTIONS

Somebody told me today that at least 600 young people in New Zealand last year took their own lives. That we have one of the highest rates of teen suicide per capita in the entire world yet we are a country known for its social diversity and positive lifestyles.

I’m here to break it to you that we aren’t doing a very good job at upholding that clean green image. Unfortunately, our country suffers from a culture where it’s still disenfranchising to talk about how you are feeling or what you’re going through.

Where the male culture is subjected to this starving dog mentality that because we are brutes we ought to be shooed outside to independently find a solution to fix our own issues but that’s bullshit.

Coming from a guy with a second degree black belt in Taekwon-Do, a double majoring student and a whole range of other tough sounding character filtering mechanisms I’m proud to admit that I have feelings.

There’s no point in trying to prove to you that I have a credible background in being as tough as nails because I’m not. There have been tougher people before me and there will be tougher guys after me. But what I’m trying to say is that wanting to be humble is something that should be encouraged not discriminated against.

All people should be able to reflect on how they are feeling, especially with guys. Look, lads… I know it’s easy to roast one another about stupid shit like not being able to admit that you genuinely care about one another or how one guy is more emotional than the rest but it’s irrelevant. Being able to connect with people from a guys perspective takes balls,

I miss my ex. It’s never easy alienating yourself from them when you’ve established such strong connections. Even for a dude, like there are clear reasons why guys need girls in their lives and it’s not about sex or about fitting into the social sphere but it’s about having someone you can bounce ideas off and cry about things with.

At the beginning, it was made clear that this chat would be a bit soppy but it’s something that we guys should be happy to talk about. It’s not natural to create a deep and intimate relationship with someone and then separate from that person. Pain and all of that other crap happen after a relationship break-up and I’m here to tell you I’m feeling those vibes every single day now even though it’s been a while.

Don’t hate on another dude because he’s struggling, let him rant about that stuff, it hurts. Humbling oneself takes courage so respect that don’t discriminate against it. There is a problem in little old New Zealand and as much as our government would love to blame the economics it’s more than that, it comes down to the way we normalise social processes, it’s how we deal with depression, anxiety and stress.

If we have no outlet then what do we do? Turn to the bottle? The bong? The cell phone? We should be able to knock on our neighbour’s door and let them know that we aren’t doing okay. There should be a premise for that but more often than not guys don’t get that opportunity.

I’m not saying girls don’t have equal footing in this discriminatory culture we live in because they do. But the statistics show that in particular, it is Maori Male men living in NZ with the highest rate of teen suicide than any other demographic, so there’s clearly an issue here.

Young people need to be able to speak out if the culture is going to change here in New Zealand and it’s clear that this isn’t the case. We should be able to feel proud about being alive and being who we are because we are people with value and were put here for a reason, male or female. Loved or ex-partnered.

Blog 100 – REST

Something that sparked up a bit of conversation between me and my friend Sam this week was the importance of rest and the power of sleep. After walking nearly 50km over three sessions of walking we kind of resorted to talking about well-being and discussed how rest was something athletes do beyond the sport.

Something I learned when I was watching this youtube blogger named Cycling Maven was about this annual bicycle ride they did across Australia called the Indi-Pac. (Indian Pacific wheel race). This race was over 5000km and went from western Australia near Perth across to eastern Australia in Sydney. The ride taking as long as it took the riders to complete it and in some instances actually race it.

Long story short the racers would have to find adequate means of resting each day after riding crazy distances of in some instances up to 550-600km in one day. (Which is ridiculous) Some riders reporting that they would only sleep up to four hours per day and In some cases less and then exercise up to fifteen hours with few breaks in-between. Pure insanity.

The riders spoke about how they would come across significant health issues. One athlete went on to explain one night, during his tour across America, when he slept on the side of the road in a disabled toilet and was woken up by a busting truck driver banging on the door wanting to use the loo. He said that he actually forgot where he was and went into a panic attack.

The real talk is that nobody is immune to rest. But defining rest is what I feel comes down to an art. I’ve spoken about rest in numerous discussions in my blog before. I don’t think that when talking about the necessity of rest we should visualise becoming a grizzly bear retreating into a cave over Wellington’s super cold winter months and do no exercise. But I feel that maybe instead it’s a call from God to actually rest in the faith sense. To be calm and gracious in both exercise and recovery by listening to the body and creating a relationship with ourselves (and God) and having faith that we will wake up fresh and be able to climb any mountain tomorrow.

I apologise if this turned biblical for you quickly. Maybe it’s not your belief personally but I feel that if you trust and have faith in your body and listen to it more you might benefit from having better rest.

In the Christian sense I guess my faith is knowing that there is nothing I can do to deserve the love of God but that the price has been paid already and the only reason I’ve been able to accomplish so much already is because there is some kind of cause that I am working towards. But in rest it means that I am able to be grateful in my recovery and am ready to grow later with God.

Anyway that’s my two cents worth. I hope you can think on that like I have. What rest means for you. It’s ironic that I write about rest now even though I am awake at 11:30pm and am coming up with excuses not to sleep. But here is my opinion on restfulness and what it means to me. Share with me, in the comments, what it means to you because I’d love to know. And as always,

Thanks for checking in!

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 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 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 073 Letting People Down

On A Lighter Note…

You know, it’s not so great to think sometimes that all of your problems might be central to your belief systems. How you treat other people, how you draw pictures, what you perceive to be morally right, what clothes you decide to wear when there’s a formal occasion. This conversation covers this idea of letting other people down. The concern that you have to work to solve other people’s interests. I think this conversation exists to help out some millennials who think there is no hope in bothering to seek out help with issues like depression. I think this discussion was made to unhinge all of the underlying assumptions that we might believe when something happens in our lives in which we cannot control but become upset when we think that we’ve let somebody down.

I hate that, letting somebody down. It could be anything! Being late for my new boss, getting an average grade on something and letting my family down, forgetting to do the dishes and letting my flatmates down. It’s all connected. This slate of trust between you and another person makes you comfortable, it makes you scared to lose that trust. A feeling that you care about another person’s opinions about you because that’s where you garner a lot of what you perceive to be your personality. Like your reflection in the mirror or off the water. You believe that image to be you but how do you really know what you actually look like? Is that not just a shell that vessels the being inside you? Isn’t that what we are usually afraid of? That people might mistake us for being something we’re not by something that we’ve said or done or not done and then we think people evaluate their trust in our resolve every time we mess up, based on the shell that we perceive to be our personality?

I don’t claim to be right by any means, but for me, it seems like every time somebody is let down by one of my decisions it’s the immediate relationship which I’m most concerned about. My most degrading moment is when I’m doing something heavy like chopping up a rump stake balancing a phone on my shoulder and trying to make conversation with two people at once that the let down occurs whilst there’s nothing I can do to prevent that from happening. That my anxiety and stress are a part of my personality so much so that I couldn’t stop, think and prioritise one thing at a time. It’s maddening! That it wasn’t enough how anxious I was about being misunderstood but that I was letting somebody down and couldn’t do anything about it because I was too busy chopping a steak trying to be careful not to chop my fingers off, such a debacle I tell ya…

But I guess letting people down can be useful sometimes. In the words of my amazing sister, sometimes it’s worth not looking at the glass being half empty all the time and consider that sometimes there’s nothing we can do to change the way something is and change our perspective. I think for me tonight this lesson is really apparent. It’s concerning to me that something so bluntly obvious can cause drama in the most sacred of places, my home. That I could not control how I was feeling and so I felt the need to take that out on others.

I guess this lesson really highlights the fact that there are a million different pathways to which a person could feel threatened not to ask for help but instead turn to blaming others for their hostility. I guess tonight’s lesson shed light on a certain topic that can be interrelated to other known problems like rejection and the fear of failing. Well, I guess the fear of being misunderstood also slips into this equation. it’s never nice feeling that you’ve let somebody down because you couldn’t get passed your feelings of anxiety. Like sitting in a cafeteria not being able to hold the door open for an elderly person because you’re too afraid you might hit them in the head with it, even though they’re struggling to get it open. All of these small but significant anxieties are all connected to similar tensions that occur pretty much all over the place. The above situation happened with one of my friends, and after I yelled at her for not helping the man in the wheelchair gain access to the cafe, it was only then apparent that she was suffering from anxiety after she burst into tears.

So while my last post was very doom and gloom, I just want to emphasise how important it is that people recognise how much support is out there for them. Above all, they notice there is always a direct and logical reasoning behind we feel certain things about certain subjects. Though there might be a million different reasons why we a certain way about a subject. There is always a reason…

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Above:  WHATMANASEES Instagram – Day 102

One of the ways to remove this reason is to alleviate the tension leading to those assumptions. Learning to notice that nobody should ever have more power over our lives than ourselves, learning to feel that our opinions are valued by ourselves, and learning to take away the powers that other people hold aginst us. Three extremely solid solutions to a very diminishable problem. Another thing I’ve noticed is that it’s really easy to wallow in self-pity and look for reasons to feel upset about ourselves. We predict that we might be misunderstood and may let somebody down just through simply being anxious about it! Yep, humans are weird, can confirm.

It’s something that you and I both need to work on heaps. Learning to value ourselves more, take the pressure away and learn to remove the temptation by not feeling anxious in the process. Making sure that in our heads we know there is always a logical reason for why we are feeling like shit prior to letting somebody down and in response, learning to understand people without seeing them for their hair style, their shoes or just in general what they look like. Removing the judgment factor releases the tension and allows you understand where they’re actually coming from. I wonder If i could have solved racism with that last statement?

Anyway, you do you. But at the end of the day what is most important is that you remain informed through careful reconsideration that you were right in your head and that the pressure you’ve felt is nothing more than the remnants of power that somebody else had over you. That you are valued deeply, and that others around you, particularly at home, really do love you.

Here’s to another one!

Thanks for checking in!

Blog 065 Biking To New Plymouth 

So begins the next challenge. A challenge to myself to try and see if it’s possible that my little legs can manage to squeeze through a mammoth distance on a bike with pedals. The challenge is to bike from Wellington all the way up to New Plymouth using nothing but my legs, about ten coffees, a few litres of water, about 10,000 calories of food, three days and a lot of Coldplay. Today’s conversation is in regarding this bike ride and the discussions of setting goals as a means of finding myself. Doing things not many my age would dream of doing, let alone by themselves.

The trip itself is around 365kilometres. Without fault, the entire trip will take approximately 20 hours and five minutes on the bike non-stop at an assumed estimated moving speed of 16km/h (10mph). Which can I say is probably a really nice estimation because, with a head of my size, climbing hills can be a slow and arduous journey.

So what gear would be needed? Well beyond the obvious unprecedented motivational concentration, the endless supply of coffee shop visits, taking an invested interest in making sure that there were stores and stores of food supplies kept in bike mounted saddle and frame bags, the overall journey would be a thing of surviving with plenty of food – and I love food! My next biggest concern would be making sure that I had sufficient water to hydrate the exhaustion. The large amounts of sweat loss through the heavy anaerobic exercising would require plenty of water to make sure that I never became dehydrated.

Bike rides require a hydrating period of around 200ml per 30 minutes of consistent efforts. But I know that from my own experience doing races and tours that I can survive off around a 500ml bottle every 90 minutes. So I’d really need to make sure that if my day was around the distance of 200km per day then I’d need to be carrying around 10 hours’ worth of water, per day. So then that would be around 5 litres of water per day. Definitely something essential. I would much rather have a lot more water than not enough. So finding passages in which these water bottles could be held, such as extra water bottle holders would be ideal.

The next concern is the weight on the bike. I’d need to make sure that there wasn’t too much on the bike because it makes it harder to ride up hills. Thankfully there are plenty of places to stop along the way during state highway one which will give me plenty of opportunities to stop in and reloaded. It’s only once turning west bound heading for Wanganui which will have any extended period of nowhere to refuel, and it will be a case of making sure that I have plenty of water and food with me. With extra water bottles, and extra food stores will make the bike heavier, as expected. But it will be about rationing out everything to make sure that I don’t run dry.

So I’d start from Wellington City and ride across Hutt Valley City, to then hook back around the hills of Upper Hutt via Haywards Hill Road. After stopping for a morning break in Paraparaumu I’d continue travelling north along State Highway One and travel northwards passed Levin and Sanson where I’d make the turnoff to Whanganui in Bulls. It’s around 100 further kilometers before the west bound region where I’d stay the night.

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On the second day I would continue travelling north-west to Mount Taranaki where I’d then rest in the surrounding township. Apparently, there is significant climbing involved near the mountain so this day will likely take longer than the first. Noting that it is more hilly through this region I’d likely take a lot more water on the second day because there are less places to stop and more terrain to take on. Once I’ve met the Taranaki mountain reserve I’d then turn right to then continue riding down into New Plymouth where I’d catch up with Aaron and the lads, hopefully!

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With the overall journey well within my capabilities at approximately 20-25km/h speeds maintained across the two days should see me through in a reasonable time. My only concern is bike mechanicals. water depletion and extreme changes in weather. My other main concerns are the likes of health and warmth. As this ride will occur during the winter time, it will be cold at 360m above sea level heading across the Taranaki region. So a nice warm set of gears will be essential.

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A Long Time!

But what is all this for? Why is it important for me to even bother trying to push through two days of hell and for what reason? Well for a starter I really genuinely enjoy riding my bike. The feeling of independence, and the weird things that you see along your way that make me laugh really hard. But I’m mostly setting this goal so that I can be challenged. To challenge my brain in a way that I cannot pull out of. I cannot back down to. Stuck in the middle of nowhere on a bike is very isolating. I love cycling because it forces you to rely on yourself. It forces you to focus on things that actually matter like family and friends. It’s hard to lie to yourself when your pushing a headwind.

For me, the aim is to create a space where I can get out of the shit that urban life creates. A space where I can be reliant on nobody but myself, where nobody but I can define how the journey goes. It will be a really great journey as well because I come from the South Island of New Zealand, so I’m basically becoming a tourist for three days. Sight seeing, suffering, looking at the different features of the country, suffering, seeing what the people are life and suffering. I’m incredibly excited by this but mostly because it means I will get the opportunity to meditate, to think about nothing but my own thoughts.

It’s something we don’t really do enough as a people is reflect on what we have. What we’ve got to actually be grateful for. The fact that I have the opportunity to do something like this is incredible. That so many people don’t have the luxury to take a few days off to ride their bike. So I will setup a fundraiser over the following month to assign an invested interest in others and garner support to accomplish this. Because ultimately it’s those who are around you who define how far you go.

Looking at practical times there are two main holidays this year where I will have the opportunity to accomplish this ride:

  • Mid Year University Break (Post Exam Period Dependent)
    – 11 Days, Monday 06/07 until 17/07.
  • Trimester Two Break (Post Exam Period Dependent)
    – 14 Days, Monday 28/08 until Monday 11/09.
  • There is also the Summer Holidays but that’s too easy!

Ultimately it’s a goal that I am extremely enthused to complete. Stay tuned for more information regarding this in the near future. Never stop moving, always keep growing. Even if it’s completely ridiculous and entirely crazy like going for a bike ride, doing it easy mate…

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Blog 058 Seasonal Depression

Shit weather is like a mood-dampening blanketless sleep session. It brings out moods you tried to forget even existed during summer. Easy to become less motivated to get things done. That you’re better off to stay indoors with every heater in the place going at full blast. It’s never a brisk day with rain fade and overcast skies. For years I pondered why we accept weather as such a massive factor to our happiness. That it plays such a vital role in shaping our personalities and is often largely dependent on where you’re from. Today’s chat talks about seasonal depression and how it is a real thing that affects millions of people globally. In the hopes that this hugely under looked component of social connectivity is and does contribute to so much unnecessary trouble every day.

Who doesn’t like the radiance of a pleasant blue-skied mornings sunrise? We associate these sorts of weather patterns with our attitude that sunlight makes me happy therefore wet days make me sad. Even in pre-school, it’s taught to children that rainy days are associated with sadness and upset. Conversely, the smile of a sun would be expressed through happiness. Now before I go on a spiel about how our government’s education system actively promotes the teachings of false visual emotional dialogue to our children. I’ll save this talk for another day so that we can focus on an invisible threat.

When we talk about seasonal depression I am also sympathetic with evaluating natural disasters, such as the Christchurch Earthquake. Now before you start packing your bags at the first hint of a blog that mentions the words “Christchurch Rebuild,” hear me out for a second. Many New Zealander’s took for granted that the earthquakes caused a lot of grief in the social atmosphere within Christchurch, thousands of people were unable to live in their homes due to the EQC (The New Zealand Earthquake Commission) who would enquire with spokespeople from within the region. Extra steps were carried out to enforce the rebuilding of large motorways, re-surfacing roads, adding new shopping centers in a creative way that would encourage people to spend more money etc. A lot of people thought the problem was largely the earthquakes when in reality this social dissonance pre-existed any natural phenomena. Having lived in Christchurch for a few years I learned about the cool southerly breeze which would brush across the city each day at 4:00 pm. Regardless of what time of year, the temperature would drop from a balmy 23 celsius to a brisk 11. That in the space of an hour the temperature would be halved.

For years I would believe that my behavior was down to sleeping patterns and which foods were going into my body. None of it made sense because whenever I would travel back to Blenheim, would catch a boat to Wellington or would fly to Auckland, it served as a reminder of how much a change of scenery and a change in weather can make on how happy I was. That it was completely taken for granted that seasonal depression is a real thing that needs to be exposed in a really massive way. If people were more understanding of these concerns then perhaps when there is a week without sun there might be fewer arguments at home. Work might seem a lot less stressful and life overall would be a little better. If we stopped believing that sunlight equalled happy face, then maybe when times are tough people might feel the urge to reach an agreement rather than escalate because they’re feeling upset because it has been raining for the past three days, or that to some depth it might be possible that exams in the middle of the week don’t need to be dealt with hostility when coming home to a flat full of people who have lives that matter too.

Growing from a place where weather depicts how well our day is going to be, it surprises me in a great way whenever my standards fall by the wayside that from time to time a person might ask me how I’m feeling. After trudging home with water filled socks an unrealistic timeframe to complete an assignment, a girlfriend who thinks un-replied texts equals an uninterested boyfriend. Struggle street can be real sometimes and I’m only being honest but it’s real shit that we have to be taken by surprise by any person who genuinely understands that we all have good days and not so good days. But understanding these little glitches helps us out socially to be more realistic with our approach to finding a happier lifestyle.

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Blog 044 Somewhere Only We Know

By Mana Williams Eade   10 Minutes

Today’s blog looks at a place of retreat. A place you and I can go whenever we feel weighed down by our day. Weighed down by something that’s happened. Weight down by other people’s baggage. Whether that’s learning about somebodies story, whether that’s learning about somebody passing away. Whenever we feel like shit we all need a place of default that we can go when we feel down and out.

Today’s chat is a bit more somber than usual. Today’s chat focuses on the positive balance that we employ every time something isn’t okay. This is not a chat about isolation, its a chat about finding peace. Finding peace enough to not doubt yourself when you’re affected by a breakdown in a relationship. A break down in a class or lecture. Or the year old expression, “meh.” Today’s chat is about searching for that place.

We all need a place to go. A place that accommodates certain emotions. A place that we don’t have other people pulling at our sleeves in an untimely fashion. A place that only we know about and can create memories. It doesn’t have to be one place either. It could be a library, or a church, or a tree, or even virtual. For me, it’s somewhere that I can go to get clarity on an issue I’m having. A place where I can worry about nothing, clear the schedule and think about one thing in particular that is weighing me down.

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A nice wee spot on Kelburn Hill.

So where do you go?


Well, I go to church. And before you try and place me into a box labelled ‘religious rhubarb’ just let me explain it to you. It’s so important to stay grounded. Grounded during assignment periods and through seasons of degrading weather. Grounded when your parents call you out for doing something stupid. Grounding is a mindset. It’s a trick that lets you stick to the bottom of the fish tank and look up without rushing around in your head juggling life.

Going to church offers that grounding. There’s a willingness to confess to one’s own stupid mistakes there, and it’s because of this willingness that an environment is created where it’s easier for me to realise how stuffed up people really are. Learning about people in their everyday lives, finding out stuff that I struggle with and being able to learn from that is a really grounding experience. In knowing that there is a place I can escape to, that can offer me peace in learning about how important it is to meditate, it allows me to have a stronger opinion and a higher self-worth.

 

13450207_1147012765351688_5618627264865940156_nCredit: The Street Evangelical, Christian Church.

This is not really a shameless plug to make you go to church.

It is a plea to ask that you spend 30 minutes each day in that space or mindset of groundedness just to notice the massive change and the awesome clarification created. For me, I know that it has decreased my anxiety towards things, it has given me more clarification on why people might accuse me of things when they are feeling hurt. It takes the authority away from assignments and it makes things way easier to deal with.
By taking out some time each day to visit the place the only you know, you articulate the fish tank. You articulate how things are.By taking out some time each day to visit the place the only you know, you articulate the fish tank. You articulate how things are and that can be amazingly useful.


One of my spots. Credit: Wiremu Tuhimata

In the end.

Obviously, this is from my perspective. But if people took accountability more often then there would be a point of interest that might actually be beneficial for most people. Ministers wouldn’t stuff up making policies that protect our children in care, lecturers wouldn’t forget that teaching is a conversation of understanding and not a way of expressing their dominance in knowledge, and I’d probably go a whole day without feeling awkward in a situation that didn’t need to be. Wherever your place is, make sure that it’s somewhere you can feel grounded regardless of the situation.




This is today’s chat, another wee one to have a break from posting heavy things and those days when you realise that blogging is taking priority over university study.  Other than that…

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