5 Things To Do When Your Life Feels Messy

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Sometimes life can feel a little messy.

We don’t feel like ourselves. We don’t feel like there’s consistency. We don’t feel like there’s certainty.

And there are so many reasons we can feel like this, both good and bad.

A new job. A new place to live. Moving cities. Moving countries. Travel. A breakup. A fall out. Gaining weight. Losing weight. New goals. New friends. The end of an era. The beginning of a new one.

These things make our lives feel messy because they disrupt our routines.

We spend a lot of time and and a lot of money trying to escape the mundane and predictable. And yet it’s the mundane and predictable that keeps us sane – it anchors us when everything around us is changing.

If you’ve ever changed jobs then you’ll probably know the ‘messy’ feeling I’m talking about.

The new job forces you to change certain parts of your routine – maybe you have to wake up at a different time, maybe you can’t go to your gym anymore because of your new hours or new location, you might have to dress differently or act differently and you’re so busy concentrating on not screwing it all up that you decide you’ll just let everything else slide for a few weeks (while you get settled) and then it takes at least a few months to get it all back.

And you’ll definitely know the feeling if you’ve travelled for more than a couple of weeks at once.

Constantly moving, constantly waiting. Packing and unpacking. Different meals, different time zones, different languages. It’s exciting but it also feels messy, and it can only go on for so long before you start craving routine.

That messy feeling isn’t easy to get rid of.

We make perfect plans to get our lives back on track and come up against obstacles – whether they’re self-made excuses or otherwise. But I’ve found that keeping little things the same everyday is a really good way to start getting that sense of routine (and togetherness) back.

Below are 5 things I like to do when life starts feeling messy. I don’t do them all at once mind you – I just pick a couple and try to do them as consistently as I can.

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Smart Twenties Book Club | Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

SMART TWENTIES BOOK CLUB I put a lot of pressure on myself when it comes to choosing a book for the Smart Twenties Book Club.

The book doesn’t just have to be good, it has to be amazing (which can be a little hard since I’m reading the book in real time with you and don’t know whether it’ll be good or not until it’s too late).

The book has to be a little different to the last few I’ve recommended but at the same time it still needs to fit.

The book has to be one I’m actually interested in reading (and not just one I’m reading because I feel like I should/everyone else is – I’m the kind of person that’s easily persuaded by what everyone else’s doing).

And most importantly, the book has to be one that you’ll actually be interested in reading too (because that’s kinda the whole point here, isn’t it?)

So I was a little nervous when choosing Bird by Bird, written by Anne Lamott, as the most recent book for the STBC.

I didn’t have any doubts that it’d be good enough – it’s often referred to as one of the ‘must-read’ books when it comes to doing any sort of writing. But that’s exactly what made me nervous, would you want to read a book that’s about writing?

But you know what? I don’t regret choosing this book at all.

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My Trip To Peru

As I write this I’m sitting in seat 22C.

The pilot has just illuminated the seatbelt sign and the flight attendants are checking that everything is in order for landing, we’re touching down in Lima, Peru in 15 minutes.

I’m on my way home to Brisbane after spending 8 days exploring (and trekking through) Peru with a group of 13 amazing women, none of whom I’d met before we boarded our flight in Sydney last Monday.

I was extremely nervous the night before I left (not knowing exactly who I’d be travelling with and whether I’d packed the right things for a trek) but I’m SO glad that I took a leap of faith and signed up for the trip. We were in Peru for Trek Towards A Cure 2015 and raised over $70,000 as a group for the National Breast Cancer Foundation before we left – which to me is amazing!

I can’t pretend that the fundraising aspect of this trip wasn’t a huge effort but I feel pretty proud to have raised just under $5,000 for a cause that’s extremely close to my heart. And as cliché as it sounds, I also feel so incredibly grateful to be surrounded by amazing friends and family that kept me going when I felt like it was all too hard.

And the trip itself was incredible – there were so many highlights.

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How I Saved Over $20,000 For Travel


In the last few years I’ve been on some amazing holidays.

I lived in Montreal for 4 months (which included a lot weekend adventures and a month of travelling after). I backpacked around Europe twice. I travelled to Vietnam, Singapore and Fiji and I’ve also been on a lot of weekend trips around Australia (in the last year I’ve been on 3 weekend trips to north Queensland and my first ever trip to Melbourne).

And while all this travelling has been incredible, it means I’m also pretty familiar with the saving that has to happen before the travel can.

I saved over $20,000 for my trip to Montreal (which took about 18 months of hard work and was totally worth it). Each trip to Europe cost me just a bit less than $10,000. Weekend trips around Australia aren’t as expensive (thank god) but are still at least a few hundred dollars.

And I was able to save all of that while living out of home, studying full-time and working either part or full-time hours (depending how desperate I was for cash).

In a month I leave for another big adventure – 10 weeks exploring Peru, Europe and New York City! Being on a graduate accountant’s salary with no annual leave to use, I really had to get on top of my saving situation to make this trip happen – and I did.

So, since I’ve been saving pretty much this whole year, I thought now would be the perfect time to share how I’ve done it.

Before I get started…

But before I get to my tricks for saving I just want to say a couple of things.

Firstly, don’t get caught in the trap of thinking that you should wait until you earn more money before you start travelling. It’s so easy to think that earning more will make it easier to save more (I’ve fallen into this trap way too many times).

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How To Prepare For 2016

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It’s actually crazy how fast this year has gone.

It feels like only a few of weeks ago that I was waiting in the tinsel-covered checkout line at kikki.K, new diary in hand, feeling so hopeful and dreamy about 2015 – and now it’s nearly October!

And that brings up the question:

What should we do with this final quarter of the year? The quarter that is the least inspiring, the least productive and the easiest to neglect.

We could:

  1. just write it off (because we feel like we have to wait for that annual ‘clean slate’ before we can start doing something new)
  2. decide to relax and enjoy the silly season (ain’t nothing wrong with that)
  3. keep working on our 2015 goals if we can even remember them (and if this is the case for you then you are amazing!)
  4. start preparing and creating some momentum for what we want to achieve in 2016 (which, as you might have guessed, is what this post is about)
  5. all and none of the above (i.e. not make any decision about what we’re going to do)

I’m writing this blog post because I realised that I’d ‘chosen’ what I described above as option 5 – indecision.

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Smart Twenties Book Club | Wild by Cheryl Strayed

SMART TWENTIESBOOK CLUB (3) I’m one of those people that has to read the book before seeing the movie.

So I have to tell you – the real reason I decided to read Wild by Cheryl Strayed was actually because I really wanted to see Reece Witherspoon’s new movie (if you’re also the kind of person that has to read the book before seeing the movie I’m sure you understand).

But I definitely don’t have any regrets – there are so many reasons I loved this book:

Firstly, Wild is an amazing ‘lost to found’ story and those kinds of stories just give me so much comfort and hope. Secondly, this book made me so keen for my trip to Peru to hike the Inca Trail (which is kind of weird because this book definitely doesn’t glamorise hiking and I really don’t want to lose any of my toenails). And thirdly, I love the way Cheryl writes and that she knows how to keep a story moving.

But I didn’t start the Smart Twenties Book Club so I could write book reviews (and I’m not too sure I should be the judge of whether a book’s good or not – there are a lot of shitty books that I love and a lot of good books that I don’t).

So instead, I’m going to share what I took away from Cheryl’s journey along the Pacific Crest Trail or ‘PCT’.

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Meditation: Why You Should Try It & How To Get Started

Meditation It seems like everyone’s meditating these days. And maybe you feel like you want to get on board too.

But you have your doubts: you just aren’t the kind of person that can stop thinking.

I mean, how are you meant to stop all those thoughts that constantly run through your mind? There’s your to-do list, dreaming about the habit that the perfectly-disciplined version of yourself is going to start on Monday, thinking about what you’re going to eat next, rehashing an offhand comment a friend made to you four days ago – oh and you just remembered that link you need to send your best friend.

And that’s just the start of it.

But let me tell you the good news – meditation isn’t about not thinking. 

You’re not the only one that has this problem of ‘thinking too much’. Almost everyone has it, including many people who’ve been meditating for years.

Meditation is a practice – which means you’re not going to nail it the first time you do it.

And, by the way, I think this whole ‘wanting to be amazing at meditation the first time’ thing is totally fascinating. If we’re trying a new sport, we don’t expect to master it on our first attempt – we know we’re probably going to suck and we’re not totally disheartened when we do. We know there’s a learning curve. But when it comes to meditation, we think we should be able to sit down and just ‘not think’ for 20 minutes. Totally fascinating to me.

But anyway, what I’m trying to say is that it’s a practice. And that means that the first time you sit down to try this whole meditation thing you’re going to have thoughts popping up left, right and centre – and that doesn’t mean that meditation isn’t for you. That’s ok, that’s completely normal. Don’t get disheartened.

If you have any doubts about your ability to meditate because you ‘think too much’, please put that baby to rest.

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