Things I Wish I’d Known About: Dating in Your Twenties

I thought I’d share some things that everyone (especially girls) should know about dating. To help yourself out in the world of ghosting and fuckbois that is right now.

I’m dating a lovely man at the moment, and he’s a true keeper. But I didn’t always have such luck in love—I’ve had to kiss a few frogs, and learn some lessons the hard way before I met my prince.

Not everyone wants commitment in their twenties but I definitely did, and I know others who want it just as bad. This isn’t a “How to get a guy/girl” article, although I’m sure you can find those somewhere. It’s about helping yourself out in the dreaded dating pool. Even if you’re just seeing what’s out there. I was totally clueless about ‘boys’ and what was important to keep my head above water. I see so many girls making the same old mistakes that I did. Here’s some things that I wish I knew about dating now:


1. Love yourself

This is number one because it is the most important one. You’ve probably heard it before, but how can you expect someone to love you for you if you’re not taking time out to love all of yourself. Rather than focusing solely on getting dates and finding out how to make people like you, start by liking yourself. Take care of you first. You have to try and build up the thought inside you that you’re amazing goddess, and then when someone tells you that you are, you already know that it’s true.

2. Keep Busy

When you’re dating, on tinder, or just plain obsessed with some person, it’s hard not to spend all your time focused on that. But if you’re following your dreams, or doing things you love in lieu of stalking that hot guy, you’re going to feel much calmer about your circumstances, happier about being single and free to do whatever you want. Also, that guy you’re crushing on will probably be more impressed that you have a full and busy life, over the fact that you have all the time in the world for his attentions.

3. People Can Be Stupid

Not everyone has to like you. It’s their loss if they don’t. People can be stupid sometimes, either in only wanting you when they can’t have you, or in using cowardly techniques to avoid you if they’re not ready or really just not into you. Not everyone is a potential partner, so just because that boy winked at you in the supermarket queue, doesn’t mean he’s going to balls up and asks you out. And if he does and he’s a douche then he’s not your guy. Someday he’ll probably realize he fucked up.

4.You don’t NEED a relationship

Relationships are great, yes. Love is great, yes. But you don’t absolutely need a relationship right now. Honestly, its easier being single sometimes because you can do whatever you want. Without anyone else’s opinion. You can change anything you want and experiment with yourself. Even though it might not feel that way, you have all the time in the world. People fall in love in a week. Being single is such a growing time so make the most of it for now.

5. You wont have to try so hard when its right

I say make the most of this time because when it happens it can happen like that. When its the right timing and the right person you wont have to agonise about anything. You wont have to try hard to get their attention, or wonder what they think of you. You’ll know. It’ll just happen, and work. So all you can do is work on yourself, and when the timings right you’ll have found yourself and your prince/ princess (if you want it) . Don’t despair if it takes awhile, it took me a year of solid searching. But when it happens you’ll know that you’re ready.


It can be tough being a romantic in this ages of fuckboys and girls. But don’t despair if you are. You’ve got you. Someone will come along someday.

~A ❤

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Be Careful What You Wish For

“You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes…you just might find you get what you need…”

Can you really get what you wish for? I think you might sometimes. It may not always seem that way. Or it might not have been what you actually wanted when you eventually got it. Maybe it was a compromise between two extremes that were arguing in your head. But you got what you wished for, what you expected, or even, what you needed.

I applied for a job a few weeks ago. I know, I know. I just said a few posts ago I was taking a break to do projects. But a friend told me about it, and I thought why not. The process was speedy. I’d heard about it on Sunday, the applications closed Wednesday, by Friday I had an interview confirmation, and my interview was on Monday. I didn’t have much time, but I did my research. I hadn’t done an interview in a year and a half. I didn’t know what they would want. I barely slept the night before. I was worried.

I was also worried because, remember that dream I have? I was concerned that if I took the job that I’d be compromising it. That I’d just be giving in to societal pressures like everyone else. That I’d have to give in to the fact that I’d barely made any progress. That I’d wasted time. That I wouldn’t have any time left. I was playing table tennis back and forth in my head. Should I do it? Should I not? The pay would be good and I could fall into a nice routine, writing around my workdays. I decided to take a chance. ‘YOLO’ as they say.

The interview went well. I stammered through a few questions but the interviewers were nice. I exited into the fresh air relieved and happy to at least have had some interview experience. A week and a half later I was in Rotorua, playing phone tag with the interviewer. She called me three times. I called her twice. When I finally got her fourth call, I was in the parking lot of a geothermal park, bubbling away inside. I aimed a well thought out joke. A bit of banter. And it was back to business. She and the other interviewer thought I’d be ‘perfect’ for another, better role coming up in a month or two. ‘I just thought you might get bored at the role you applied for,’ she’d said. They saw potential in me. I’d just had to wait.

I felt flattered, happy. On edge, a tiny bit frustrated, but happy. I walked around the l park, but I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I was glad that they saw something in me. But, I could’ve used the money. Realization struck as I traipsed through the smoke of the ‘Champagne Pool’. This was what I’d been wanting all along. Inadvertently. Accidentally. I didn’t know it was an option I could choose at the time. I didn’t know it was what I wanted. But I was given the chance to have more time to get onto my goals, and to have money and routine eventually. This was good. Maybe I got what I wanted. Or needed.

I had worried about doing the interview, when I’d made such a big splash about going for my big dream. I’d worried if I should take the job if I got it. If I’d have enough time. Or if I’d just be following the same old school of fish. I realized that getting experience, a better routine and a pay check to tide me over until my course next year, wasn’t a bad thing. Even if it wasn’t in the direction I eventually want. I just needed a bit of time to follow my feet first.

I didn’t get the job I applied for. But life gave me both of the opportunities I wanted in a way. I got what I wished for in the end. Maybe in being confused about what you want, or wanting two things at once, life can actually bring to you a compromise in between. I remembered other times where I’d thought about how i wanted things to turn out. Maybe I didn’t get there in quite the way i wished, but they ended up as I thought. Be careful what you wish for. Life could be listening. It could want to give you what you want.

~A ❤

Homebody

I am lying in a moldy-smelling hotel room in Thailand, elevating my feet. They’re swollen and fuzzy.  I’ve had to skip the infamous full moon party for this. Doctors orders.

A few months ago, I went on a trip to Thailand. It was a lovely place with lovely people. But things kept cropping up to make me homesick. My feet swelled up after travelling too much—15 hours flying there, and 10 hours in a bus the next night. We got to the hotel, and I looked down in the shower and my feet were twice their normal size.  I went to the hospital just in case and I missed the party I came for, and my home I had left. The swelling was gone the next day but my feet felt tight throughout the trip. The need to elevate my feet, and my homesickness, continued.

Other things went wrong too. I got a sore stomach every day of the second week , and runny you-know-what. The street food was spicy, and meant for better gastrointestinal systems than mine (I even had to stop a cab at a gas station at one point – probably TMI). I also had to sit through hours of my friend speaking Thai to her friends and got frustrated with the restrictions of Thai life. It was hot, humid, dirty and sticky everywhere I went. It was different.

Thailand is fantastic don’t get me wrong. I am so grateful my beautiful friend hosted me and showed me around. Her family and friends are amazing. I saw beautiful beaches,  great people,  amazing markets, crazy temples and interesting culture. I even met an elephant, and was jumped by monkeys. I would definitely recommend it to anyone that’s thinking about going there. I loved the experience overall. I just think I’ve become a homebody.

You read right. I don’t know when it happened. I’d always been a world traveller. Running maybe.  Since I was 17 and ready to traverse the world to live in Quebec, knowing no-one and nothing about the culture.  It expanded my world so much, that I went on another exchange at university and solo-tripped around Europe for a month. Travel raised me. It made me—a shy teen—know myself, be confident, and who I was meant to be. I even met the girl I was visiting in Thailand on exchange. I will forever be grateful for those friends and experiences. But now I want to build my future. I wasn’t doing that in Thailand.

I always slightly judged people who didn’t want to travel; I would have judged myself. I still think everybody should in their lifetime, it’s life changing. But now—and me 4 years ago would have cringed hearing this—I’m a Wellington girl. I love being in bed. With the ‘bae.  At home. In New Zealand.  I’ve set up a life for myself here. I have a life plan, a partner in crime, good friends, a nice room, and family.  Before, I was ready to change that all up. But now I couldn’t fathom the thought of packing my bags for another exchange. Or having fluid, ‘drop everything to start a new life’ dreams. Travel used to be my thing;  the thing I did to prove myself. To myself. To everyone else.  Not many others were doing that when I first started. I felt weirdly famous for a second coming back from a year in Canada at just 18. “Abby, oh my god how was your trip to…?,” was all I heard for weeks. I did things in a different order than most.  Now I want to prove myself, to myself, in a more conventional manner. I want to plan everything out and have more goals in one country, the way normal people started off by doing. I want to set up my future. I’m excited. I’m not running.

Thailand was a different experience for me. I squeezed in everything I could in two weeks. It was lovely, but it wasn’t the solve-all-my-problems trip that I was hoping for, as my past trips had been. It just made me realize how good I had it at home. That I didn’t need to go away to get all I needed. Who knows? Maybe I was just homesick because Asia is made up of very different cultures to my own. Or I’m just getting old. I will travel again someday, but not right now. All I know is that I want to be at home, working towards my goals.

~A

The First Rung

Follow your dreams, they know they way.

I have no job at the moment. I left. I quit my 20-dollars-an-hour radiology practice administration gig. To follow my dreams. Or something like that.

I told my supervisor I would quit in February, but the job screamed comfort. It was challenging, yet familiar, with cool people and in a real life office. Money was good and the hours flexible. Even writing about it right now makes me question my decision. But, five months past February, here I am, jobless.

I know how it looks. So many of the office ladies asked me ‘where I was going’, or ‘do you have another job lined up?’ that I had to come up with a script. ‘Nah, I’m going back to study next year and have to make up a portfolio’ and ‘ I’m temping in the meantime’, I would say. All of which are technically true. But which hide my true passions and the drive which forced me to leave.

I really want to become a writer. Yes. I want to write in the media—which explains the blog—but, what my heart most desires is to write a book. A full on fiction book. Which maybe isn’t that socially acceptable to tell everyone. I care what people think, as much as I try not to, and society and older ‘adults’ expect you to go about things in a traditional route most of the time. Go to uni. Get into a graduate program. Get a job. Have a family. Easy. Done. But it’s not always easy, done. A lot of people I know like me go to uni, and get their degree, because that’s the first step right? I loved uni. But, like me, a lot of people go onto another course or take another route because it didn’t get them the place they wanted to go. Or they figured out too late where they wanted to go only after being in the middle of a degree.

In my case, I’ve only had the courage to go after what I want now. And, because it’s not necessarily easy, or traditional, I don’t tell people I don’t trust to understand. Who knows. Maybe they would support me. Or maybe they would only hate on my dreams because social expectations crushed their own. I can’t live in fear and bitterness like that. It’s no longer a traditional old world. There’s online jobs, there’s creatives kicking ass, and people all over the world have lived out their dreams rather than sitting in woe at a job they have for the sake of it.

I thought I would be judged for a less solid dream, a less dependable one. I don’t have a job, and I haven’t written my book yet. Yes, i have procrastinated. I’m not as perfectly on task as I imagined I would be. It’s scary, and I’m human. I am working on the organization part. I am trying to be better. Writers right? I’ve done my research. Made lists. I’m applying for a journalism course next year, to provide myself with a more solid/ socially acceptable career path.  But I will write a book. And for now, I have time to get started.  This is just the first rung.

My job was nothing like what I want to be doing in the future. And yes, I probably could’ve balanced both somehow, getting up at 6 AM everyday to write. Daydreaming about it in the office. Maybe checking back between calls and patients. But radiology doesn’t really require any writing, rather precision. Entering details, scanning documents. The rigidity of this practice didn’t really lend itself to inspiration, two extremes cancelling the other, non- paid one out. I do not want to live a half life.

So, here you go, this is why I quit. Judge away. I hope that you all follow your wildest  dreams. It’d make a more fulfilled world.  We all deserve an amazing life.

~A

 

 

22.

It's miserable and magical oh yeah

Your life falls apart when your twenty-two. Or so they say.

My sister overheard this snippet of wisdom on a street not too far from here. “Yeah well your life falls apart when you’re 22 anyway ay;”a line drifted from a conversation passing by. One casual sentence harboured such revelation for my sister. Hours later, this was repeated to the 19-year-old me. It was soon forgotten, swept away by adolescent thought—only to be found again two years later.

Broken hearts, lost souls, chaos, disappointment and Donald Trump. Last year was killer. I started the year taking on the world— Europe, alone. I hit double twos when my heart was breaking the same way. Thus proceeded a whirlwind of what-is-wrong-with-me, with the wrong men and the wrong priorities. I moved to a good flat with cool people. But alas, the suicide of a flatmate, eviction, potential failure. Expectation. Disappointment. Moving on, again.

I always thought that your early twenties were the good part. The ebodiment of youth. I never believed in astrology or horoscopes but this year of life, twenty-two years after birth, seemed to karmically mean something the more I asked around. At 22, my sister was unhappy and struggling in New York City, alone in a tiny bed-bug ridden apartment. She had to work on a student visa to survive. I didn’t know the extent of her pain until later, but it rung true for her. Others I knew discovered mental illness and went through breakups. And Little Old Me? My year of the fateful age has now come to a close, and as I live through 23 I know it was true, 22 fell to pieces.

Your life falls apart at twenty-two, but you can bring it back together. Nobody wants bad things to happen. But maybe we learn something. We’re at the age of establishing our lives and we get a shake up to show us who we are and what truly matters. It doesn’t have to be as dramatic as death or heartbreak. Sometimes you just get a little lost. Sometimes its hard to believe that good things are around the corner, but I ( and you) have to believe they are. As 22 came to a close I didn’t have a clear view, but it’s clearer. I know who I am, who I want to be, where I want to go. Twenty-three has so far been a much better number. Your life can fall apart, but you get up and build it all again.

-A

Language

This world is a funny thing. Humans beings walk upon its surface, using a technology of symbols and speech to communicate amongst themselves, the mode of which changes, dependant on location or ancestry.

English is the first weapon of choice for most New Zealanders, as it is in many other countries- god bless the queen. But whilst it isnt the most spoken language of the world, it is the most learned.

It is normal to speak at least two languages in most European countries, English being one of them.

As a native speaker living amongst all this, isn’t it unnerving? Humbling. We never really feel the necessity to learn a language here. A life where you must is alien. Abstract.

Maybe this is where the stereotypes come in. The lazy, stupid American. The uneducated English speaker. The population whose language is spoken throughout the world, who have no need to try when they travel. The prejudices are there, but we can only hear them in other tongues.

Our world becomes wider when we speak the English language.  That’s why so many foreigners try to learn. But our inner world grows if we take the time to learn other languages. Different languages affect how we treat the world. French people have different verb conjugation depending on if you know the person your speaking to or not. Germans have to listen very carefully until the end of people’s sentences because that’s where the verbs are! The world changes as we express ourselves in a completely different way. We become part of a more exclusive club.

The way we communicate affects how we interact with the world. Maybe if we all tried, the world would be a different, perhaps more understanding place.

Things I Noticed About Hong Kong.

I spent a few days in Hong Kong on my way to Switzerland in late August and, needless to say it was quite different to my native New Zealand. Here are some random things I noticed about the ‘Special Administrative Region’ –that I found out is not just a city–of China.


1) It’s so hot and humid. The weather wasn’t great when I was there, spitting with small patches of sunshine, but my camera kept fogging up and I was sweating like a pig! Each step I walked my T-shirt became more and more drenched (sorry for that image) and I had to stop and take refuge in any given air-conditioned lobby, catching weird looks as I stood catching my breath.

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2) So many umbrellas. Coming from a city where no one carries umbrellas due to Wellington’s serious Human-Wind Conflict, it was strange for me to see people taking out umbrellas as soon as the tiniest drop fell. Someone I met later intelligently told me it could’ve been acid rain, so I’m crossing my fingers I don’t start balding :p .

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3) People wearing masks. I don’t mean masquerade ball masks, I mean doctors’ masks. Not the beaked ones from the plague era, but white ones. I saw so many people wearing these masks, and no one else blinked an eye. This phenomenon finally made sense when I found a sign saying ‘if you have a cold wear a mask’. Because it’s such a vast population, they have to wear masks in public so the whole area doesn’t get sick.

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4) Less gimmicks. I was staying in North Beach, a less touristy area and i noticed the shops don’t pretend they’re not shops like in the western world. I went in to many places where stock was kept on boxes on the floor and there was no back room. Boxes were left and piled on the sides of the street! Maybe they took after the many back street markets with little stalls of heaped fruits, strung meats and piled miscellaneous items.

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5) I felt very white. The whole time I was there I saw a grand total of 3 ‘non- Asian’ people on the streets of North Beach, Hong Kong. People spoke very loudly in Hong Kong. As soon as shopkeepers saw me they switched to a more delicate English if they could, or at least said ‘hello’. The street signs were in English as well Chinese, as it is an official language, and some street names were funny and very literal like ‘Healthy Street’- which had a lot of doctors on it.       

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6) The food. One of my favourite things to do in a foreign country is go to a supermarket. Its such a mundane, everyday place that showcases a lot of differences in culture. Funnily enough, in Hong Kong there was one aisle dedicated to soy sauce, another to colourful boxes of candy (i saw Winnie the Pooh cookies and Pocky) and one more to noodles. I didnt get to consume much hot food past the dumplings at the breakfast buffet, but I did try the region’s egg waffle, a puffy bubble wrap-like snack.

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7) The buildings. I didn’t get to see any surrounding nature in Hong Kong while I was there, but the city and its buildings are attractions by themselves. On the bus into the into the city at night, I saw most waterfront buildings were almost identical, square white skyscrapers (so tall). They were lit with different coloured lights in their windows, like they were filled with the softened beach glass you find on the sand between your toes.

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I would definitely recommend Hong Kong. It was different to anywhere I’d ever been and the culture hits you as soon as you step outside into the heavy air. Staying in a less touristic area allowed me to the lives of the everyday people, but I was still the obvious tourist, taking pictures of anything and everything.

Life is Strange.

Cow and church bells chime outside my window…

Life is weird.
How I see it, you live through so many different realities in one life. One moment you could be getting up early everyday for your supermarket job, trying to smile through the fatigue and snuggling your sweetie at night. The next, you’re on a plane, in Hong Kong, then living halfway across the world, practicing German by day and partying with other foreigners by night.

We work towards these ‘reality changes’, as i did saving for my trip, but never can expect what it will be like on the other side. Its like dying. I suppose that’s a lesson you have to live with; you can never control what each new experience brings.

Traveling to Switzerland on exchange, another exchange. I was told I was a ‘crazy girl’. But the hunger for travel, for the unknown, never goes away. As my friends are settling down with jobs and flats and partners, I’m off exploring again. I’ve left people that I love and the places that I’m comfortable in. That doesn’t mean I’m not scared as shit that things wont work out, that I’ll just be broke and lonely on the other side of the world. But it’s worth it to try. I need to. The weird makes me happy.