Sunday, April 27, 2014

It comes down to two things…Luck & Opportunity.

I would like to start this blog post by asking you to consider what a ‘Good Life’ in fact means to you?

I want you to think about this first and foremost before you read this blog post, and throughout the post (should you make it to the end without losing interest) so that I don’t annoy you too much or come across as a giver of UNWANTED ADVICE….ick!

SOOOOOOOOO if you just made it here and are already thinking twice about reading on… then perhaps don’t. Or be brave and read on. Or don’t. You have a choice, in fact we all do. So always remember to make your decisions wisely.

For me Life is pretty bloody GOOD at the moment! Not just ‘Good enough’, I’m talking ‘GOOD-GOOD’.  In fact I’m finding it near impossible not to smile, feel happy, blessed and grateful.  Our gorgeous baby girl Thea arrived on March 20, my dream Art Studio commenced construction the very next day and was completed two weeks later. I had my Husband Matt at home with us for 32 whole days and the weather has been incredible. So good!

Above: Framework for my studio. Bottom: Me and my little bundle just a few days new.

Progress shots of my dream Art Studio in construction.

The interior just about complete, minus lighting. This day finally came after years of saving my dollars...saving some more, sketching ideas for the space, talking about it...a lot of talking about it. Then falling pregnant and feeling even more urgency to get it started so that we could fit a baby in our house!!

I have a few gripes to make about being a new Mum, but these genuinely all stem from outside of myself…ahem… ‘Negative comments’ from others about kissing sleep, fun and all types of personal indulgence good-bye and…well…. ahem…’UNWANTED ADVICE’ about child rearing in general from all kinds of strangers. That’s the thing about UNWANTED advice!!! Don’t get me started.

Another thing that really pings me off (yes I said ping) and has for a really long time now, are the ‘Oh you are so lucky’ comments in reference to me seemingly having stumbled across all of this ‘good fortune’ and ‘circumstance’ (PLEASE detect sarcasm). 

Now don’t get me wrong here, I’m not for one second suggesting that I’m not lucky, because yes I am very lucky! Lucky to have had this beautiful baby girl and even more ‘lucky’ to have found a partner who I can depend on for endless support and who is actively and ably raising this child with me each and everyday, in equal partnership, without having to work distances away. Mind you, I would like to point out that he (being Matt) wasn’t gifted to me! We chose each other and so far we have both stuck with that decision.  

I am also exceptionally lucky to have been genetically gifted my artistic ability. Yes I’ve worked at improving my skills and I have sought further knowledge and higher Education to keep my creativity alive and thriving, but certainly and undeniably this creative ‘genetic gift’ runs in my family, so yeah that makes me lucky. What I would, however, like to draw attention to is the fact that all of us are essentially lucky, in a number of different ways and often we are far more lucky than one thousand million other people that walk this Earth (if they in fact have able legs to do so).

 No single person chooses the parents that created them, the Country they were born into or the living conditions they find themselves surrounded by. So yeah, if like me you have a roof over your head, have regularly experienced the feeling of love, have access to Education, Employment, Healthcare, clean drinking water and food each and every day…count yourself lucky too!

One can argue ‘Experience’ plays a vital part in the equation of a ‘Good Life’ and it certainly sets a number of us apart from the pack. I would argue however, that experiences are not always sought after and in fact some are very hard to get over. Some of us have great experiences, some of us have disappointing experiences and too many of us have tragically horrible experiences. In many ways the latter comes down to being in the wrong place, at the wrong time often with the WRONG people (again these are factors that are out of our control)…this is what we actually refer to as UNLUCKY and UNFAIR! It is important though to remember that no good comes from judging others for not having had the same experience as us. Good or Bad. So leave envy, resentment and arrogance out of it.

A wise friend of mine shared this thought provoking meme on Facebook just a few days ago and it really left a long lingering thought in my head (long lingering enough I finally decided to write a new blog post…yes long overdue I know).

If we are all told that the recipe to achieving rewards, good results and essentially a ‘Good enough’ life comes down to HARD WORK, then how do you possibly live with the guilt of knowing that potentially more than half the World’s population, are plain and simply being hugely gipped?!?! I for one thought of myself as a hard-worker until I saw this. I thought, “Yep, I’ve worked hard and I deserve my paid holidays, my comfortable and clean home, my nice, semi fashionable clothing”.  But you know what, it’s safe to say (hand over heart) that I’ve never NEVER worked as hard as these women do each and every day to merely survive. NOPE not a single day of my life have I ‘worked’ this hard, not even for some kind of financial incentive. So where is their LUCK? Where is their reward of ‘down time’ and a ‘good enough’ life?

So back to this discussion of LUCK…. are you feeling lucky yet?? Well I sure hope you do. Luck is out of our control, so don’t go chasing it (well you can if you want, who am I to give unwanted advice. Go on then keep buying your weekly lottery ticket. You’ve got to be in it to win it right?!?). 

What I really want to draw attention to; is the importance of being aware of the opportunities we have available to us as the lucky ones.  They are seriously everywhere and you can even create your own!! They are the things you can take a hold of and use to your advantage. Opportunities are the key to making your own luck, feeling happy and being well on on your way to a ‘Great Life’. For many there are limited opportunities available and for many more there are zilch. If anything, make the most of the fact that you have access to a butt load more opportunities than some of the World’s population. Having access to the Internet alone to read this incredibly long-winded, and potentially uninteresting blog post makes you lucky. Those without access are missing out on this particular opportunity ;) 

So what are you going to do with your luck?

I hope there is a point coming across from all of this, I really really hope so, because otherwise I have just wasted the precious hours of time I have between feeding my baby and nursing her back to sleep…NOOOO!!! This is a personal luxury I choose for myself…as a new Mum. Actually writing this blog post. One of many I plan on taking in the days, weeks, months and years ahead because I believe there are still great personal opportunities to be had EVEN after having had a child. Again this is not luck, this is CHOICE…and undeniably this is possible by asking for help when I want to take some ‘Me time’ and preferably before I ever desperately need an out! I will admit I am LUCKY here because combined, Matt and I have four sets of parents, that all live within close proximity to answer our call for help…well close enough and yet far enough away to not drop in unannounced, yes we may have intentionally chosen to live on a Mountain for this very reason! They have also been very forthcoming with offers of help and we are lucky to have them all.   

It is true for most of us that we have the choice to have children, or not to, and yes babies and children come with their added challenges BUT you have the choice to view this time as a ‘crisis phase’ or as a ‘fleeting phase’ in your life (that will come and go so quickly you will soon be considered an ‘Empty Nester’ and wondering what to do now that your children only call you once a fortnight…if you’re lucky). In the five and a half weeks since we officially became parents (that still feels weird to say) we have learnt to carry on, cherish it, stay positive, make our own rules, trust each other, trust ourselves, trust our decisions, trust our child, RELAX and trust our instincts! Baby Thea has certainly made the transition pretty smooth for us so far with her chilled ways, solid sleeping and her undeniably cute self. Is that LUCK? Maybe, PROBABLY! Whatever it is, I for one am grateful. I also realise there are many more days of Parenthood to come for us, with many more hurdles and obstacles to trek through so please do not assume that I'm thinking I know it all or that it's going to always be manageable. I'm NOT I promise you. that's Life's always unpredictable. 

My sleeping beauty.

What I really want to shout from the rooftop is this:

While I do LOVE IKEA, I do not mean through possessions alone.

You can design your own life BECAUSE if you are reading this then you have access to more resources than those African women working their butts off to provide food and water to their children. If they had a spare few dollars and time I highly doubt they would be seeking out an Internet café to check on their Facebook notifications…again count yourself lucky that you can do this often, in fact more than once a day and it will come without irreparable consequence.  

So here it is! The end of my blog post…thank goodness!!!!

My equation to a ‘Good life’ looks like this:

Be thankful for all that I have, all that I can do and all that I am  
+ Share what I know and can do with others  
+ Give back
+ Celebrate aging…it’s a privilege
+ Give my heart and my time to the right people  
+ Remember that this LUCKY life is not a race or a competition
+ Make the most of my down time…turn that TV off!
+ Look after my body
+ Feed my mind
+ Seek knowledge
+ Spend wisely
+ Make plans and see them through
+ Keep my word
+ Basically I promise not to take a single day of my LUCKY life for granted.