My Real Trip to Australia

I was really inspired by your last post. There are so many in-between moments in life that I love, like the gurgling noise my coffee maker makes in the morning or the golden glow of my desk lamp. I really want to make my own list of in-between moments, but first I want to talk about my trip to Australia.

And no, I’m not a group of spiders cleverly disguised as Emily, as awesome as that would be.

Anyway, I could write a novel about my trip to Australia. There were so many little things that I loved about that trip, like how the air always smelled like fresh rain or how sweet the coffee was. It was an amazing trip. It, in all honesty, changed my life for the better and that’s what I want to write about this week.

10300232_10207499472623028_5190581736642152200_nI feel like using the term “life-changing” is a bit of a cliché nowadays. It’s almost like the word “awesome” in my opinion. We use the word as just a catch-all term for when something is really good, despite the fact we came back from the trip and continued to lead the same life. My trip to Australia was a wonderful experience and it actually did change my life for the better.

Since I’ve returned from Australia I feel stronger, braver, more passionate, and more in control of my life and my destiny. I’m having difficulty finding the words describe how different I feel since my trip. Have you ever been somewhere that you used to know, but things have changed so much you don’t recognize it anymore? Remember when we drove through Tomah on our last trip to Wisconsin? Everything in the town seemed fuzzy and surreal, like we should remember the place, but we couldn’t. Now remember how it felt to turn the corner onto our childhood street? It’s like everything suddenly came into focus and I remember feeling at home.

That’s how it felt coming back from Australia. Like everything in my life suddenly came into focus and I had never realized it was fuzzy.

Going to Australia had been a lifelong dream of mine. When I was little, think elementary school age, I used to watch the Crocodile Hunter almost exclusively. I know, that’s such a silly reason to want to go to another country, but it’s the truth. I’d honestly been planning this trip since I was eleven and I finally got to go fourteen years later. I think that’s one of the reasons I feel braver and more in control. For the first time in my life I had achieved one of my dreams, a dream that no one else had for me. And I achieved it all on my own.

Don’t get me wrong, getting my college degree and finding a place of my own in this world have always been dreams, but those are everyone’s dreams. Do you know what I mean? When I was born, mom and dad never looked at me and said “I hope she gets to go to Australia one day.” No, but they probably said that about getting a college degree and creating my own life.

This trip was also incredibly relaxing. You probably already know this about me, but I tend to be a workaholic. Even when I take vacations from work, I tend to take my work with me in one form or another. I’ll answer emails or worry about upcoming projects, things like that. This trip was the first time I’ve ever let myself completely let go. I didn’t check my email, I didn’t worry about going back to work, I never thought about what I had to do next. I only thought about what I wanted to do next.

For the first time I actually had the opportunity to be honest with myself. I would wake up in the morning and think “What do I want to do now?” Instead of thinking about what I had to do at work or my other responsibilities, I could actually think about my real passions. I could get up, drink coffee, and read my book or I could go for a run. That feeling was amazing and now, despite being back in the states and at work, I’ve actually learned how to be honest with myself. I’m better at prioritizing my day and knowing when I need to take care of my own needs. I also feel more passionate about my hobbies and spend more time crocheting, reading, and writing.

1918243_10207515415581592_98216960889223726_nAs I mentioned, this trip was also wonderful because for the first time I was actually thinking about what I wanted instead of what everyone else wanted. I never had to wait for someone else to suggest something. I would just bring it up myself. The best example from my trip I can give was when I went snorkeling in the shark tank at Underwater World. No one else wanted to do it with me.

Before this trip I would have just not done it because the group didn’t want to do it. I would have worried that people had to wait on me or that, without some one with me, I wouldn’t know what to do. Does that make sense? I feel like I’m rambling. Anyway, on this trip I actually did things for me and trusted that my friends would tell me if they had a problem. I never worried about what other people wanted. I just thought about myself, which yes sounds selfish, but it was something I had never done before. Now I know I can do that and I feel stronger. I feel like I can do anything and that my friends will support me because they love me, not because I bend over backward to accommodate them.

So yes, I would honestly say that this trip to Australia was life changing. I feel like I can do anything now and that all of my dreams are attainable. I feel more worldly and loved. I love myself more to be honest. This entire post probably feels a little sappy and self-help-esque, but it’s the truth.

Sorry to chew your ear off, Daniel. Next post will probably be a list of in-between moments.

-EMS

Selfishness can be a little bit Selfless

This is a pretty confusing world we live in.

We’re constantly bombarded with the idea that we should follow our dreams and passions, and yet the fear of failing our families, friends, and communities keeps so many of us from doing just that. People can get so wrapped up in what others think or need they never stop to ask themselves: what do I need?

I found your mathematical solution for how to be a good person hilarious and very insightful. The idea that we’re all fighting for the same thing, our collective happiness and prosperity, is wonderful. Not only does it make complete sense, it supports a personal philosophy of mine

Taking care of yourself is just as important of taking care of other people.

I think we live in a society that in some ways glorifies the idea of selflessness. Don’t get me wrong, being selfish is rarely a good thing and having empathy for others is always better than being a sociopath, but sometimes I wonder if we take it too far. If our desire to be selfless takes away from our own happiness and, in turn, from the collective happiness of our race.

I’m going to borrow your idea, but instead of time I’m going to pretend we can quantify happiness. How do you measure happiness? In smiles? In laughter? In cups of coffee? Wait, that’s a song from Rent.

I digress. Let’s just pretend happiness is measured in smiles.

Now, let’s say after work you usually go home and read for a while. It helps you wind down and it makes you smile. Well, one day you’re on your way home and you’re excited to pick your book up again, but you get a call from a friend. Your friend is really upset. They just had a fight with their significant other and need some support.

Okay, you say. You love your friend and you can always read tomorrow.

You’ve given your smile away to your friend and that’s okay. Sometimes, someone needs that smile more than you.

No loss or gain for the human race.

Well what happens if that friend calls the next day? And the next day? And the next day? You haven’t had a chance to read in days and now you’re feeling frustrated and run down. Now, you just don’t have any smiles to give away and neither of you have smiles.

That’s a loss for the human race.

See what I mean?

I think our culture sometimes puts a lot of value on being generous and empathetic and selfless, but we never talk about the fact that it’s okay to say no. It’s okay to be a little selfish time to time, even if that means someone in your life might be upset or disappointed.

You can’t give other people smiles if you have no smiles to give.

This is a philosophy I’ve developed over the last few years and it’s something I have to remind myself of every day. It’s difficult and I have to be realistic with my limits, but it’s made me happier and in turn has allowed me to be more selfless.

Selfish is such a dirty word. According to the dictionary selfish means devoted to or caring only for oneself. Selfish isn’t inherently a bad thing, it’s just how our society views the word. According to that definition, my craft projects are selfish because I do them for myself as a form of self care.

But wait, most of my projects, despite being done for selfish reasons, result in beautiful gifts for my friends and family.

See? Selfishness isn’t always selfish.

-EMS