When I embarked upon this journey across the Pacific six months ago, there were countless reasons why and goals in my head that comprised the purpose of this pilgrimage. In seeking a new horizon, greater independence, cultural immersion, international exposure, an open canvas and first home-away-from-home? I brought visions and pictures and lists and to-do items that filled pages and pages of my journals and dreams. A few, my loyal readers have heard about: cooking more, prioritising fitness, cultivating greater well-being, writing regularly.
What I decided recently was that several of these withstood the trials throughout my assimilation into Sydney.
Lesson 1: Certain Daily Doses are essential to my happiness.
These components evolved into my 2018 daily intentions (working draft), and include:
Get fresh air
Connect with framily
Exercise (my mind or body)
Learn something new
The simple ingredients above are much less robust than my goals/intentions in prior years. This could be due to the fact that, while conducting my routine reflection at the end of 2017, I had a two-part a-ha strike me. It came along after reading a personal testimony, reflecting on the aforementioned years past, pondering the countless dreams/ideas/social constructs that influence my goals, and digesting it all alongside multiple accountability partners in my well-being.
My colleague Arlyne wrote a piece on what society and femininity have historically described to us as “having it all.” I know the concept from my own aspirations and musings: I want success and also happiness. I love what I do, and I want more. I value family, and I value my personal development! Exploration! She really seems to have it all; could I do that? How will I manage that?
The borrowed lesson I’ll paraphrase and share is this: Not only does "having it all" look different for everyone; “having it all" might mean something different for me at varying stages of my life — and independence. Of course there are archetypes of what having it all could mean to an adult woman, or any human. However, all I can know with certainty is what I value and want to cultivate in my own life today. Oftentimes while strolling home or journaling, I smile outwardly with heart-about-to-burst gratefulness because I have most all I could have asked for when moving to Sydney: a safe and cozy home, a career and company I enjoy immensely, a new world around me, and the means to see my family through technology and visits. In LA five years ago, I had it made because I had a paying job and my family nearby to fill my days with joy, support and good food (+ free laundry!). Someday, my interests/priorities/happiness-sources may be slightly different. In summary, I’ll take my dreams and actualise them day by day — maybe a year at a time.
Various versions of "having it all" over the past five years
This led me to a subsequent and micro-realisation that blew my mind like a macro-level life one. If I’m not tied to an idea of “it all” or my exact “best life”? Then perhaps I didn’t need the blueprint for the perfect day, either. Over the past four years of learning more of the psychology of happiness, I’ve obsessed over the recipe for the ideal day in the life-of-Cory. It’s been an idea, a working draft and an aspiration for so long that the halo around my outline? It blurred my view, and I failed to realise that a perfect day is different depending on where I’m at and what I need.
Yes, there is virtue in my "dream day” (it’s typically my birthday when proposed in a hypothetical imagination activity): wake to the sun, read, enjoy the best brunch-on-planet cough-at BluJam-cough, go to the beach, see all my favourite people, travel to a new city in a high-speed private jet, dance the night away! However, while certain facets of a strong day repeatedly feed my soul (see intentions above), I accept that other days are for resting and nesting. There will be times that I need to re-charge, and times where I’ll gain from the choice to “tend and befriend.”
Lesson 2: Certain Daily Doses may may be prescribed based on symptoms.
The perfect remedy for Caturday blues and all I want as I write this post
As a child, I had a morbid if subconscious fascination with shipwrecks. I fawned over Ariel’s many treasures, and ability to be awe-struck by gadgets and gizmos. The Swiss Family Robinson’s existence enticed me — what an adventure! — and even the film Castaway hung on my mind for years by the question of what I would do, how I would survive in such a solo crisis.
Fittingly, viewers read a quote in The Shape of Water from a 365-day calendar, one that resonated deeply with existing beliefs of mine like "everything happens for a reason." It stated simply:
Life is but the shipwreck of our plans.
While I hold true to the power of dreaming big and visualising, I also know in my heart that oftentimes blueprints must go out the window. The best things that have happened to me and for me have been [mostly] unplanned: my first trip abroad (thanks Mom), my visit to Jill in Sydney (thanks Josh), my leap of faith toward LinkedIn (thanks Taylor), and my new role in Learning Solutions at LinkedIn that led me to Oz. The best ideas and possibilities for my absolute most authentic self? They may not exist, have crossed my mind nor have been invented yet.
At the outset of my voyage and move to Australia, my sisters gave me a invaluable and unforgettable gift before I left port: My Daily Dose box, filled with over eight-hundred index cards adorned with doodles, photos and words of inspiration. Intended to keep me company and remind me of the crew I have rooting for me around the word, the box contains enough of these doses to start my day or round out my night EVERY SINGLE DAY for two years -- the duration of my work visa.
Over the past six months of my time in Sydney, I've pulled countless cards that made me smile, tear up or laugh out loud. They’re pinned behind my headboard and scattered across all of my room’s surfaces. There are more to come, and they’ve come by text, or iMessage, snail mail from Gramz or hidden in the words of mine and Dad’s latest book club indulgence.
Lesson 3: The most essential Daily Doses may come courtesy of others... or be unknown.
For now, here are a choice top ten lessons learned thanks to the wisdom and generosity of my biggest supporters:
Courtesy of Aunt Nancy and the Lowerre clan:
Courtesy of the lifelong and all-knowing bestie Chelsea Hartling:
Courtesy of the lovely and wise Lauryn Wells:
Courtesy of Grandma Sioux:
And finally, courtesy of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian a la Dad:
Here's to the unknown doses, blueprints, detours and shipwrecks ahead!
A broad down under