Currently Loving is about bettering ourselves in ways that extend from upping our brunch game to battling with pride. It all happens in the community of Currently Loving. Here we find confidence through fashion; happiness through lifestyle and ourselves through travel. It's about accepting who we are today, knowing in ourselves that we'll be better tomorrow
It’s been a little while, has it not? Honestly, I needn’t ask. I know. This absence was both an active and an unintentional one simultaneously. At the beginning of the year, I came to this blog with an intention to write every week. As my schedule sped up (it always does), this became an unnatural and even slightly irrelevant duty.
I love this space. This is where Currently Loving is and will always reside. With that said, in-depth revelations do not occur daily. Sometimes, not even weekly. If this blog follows my personal development, then it ought to be said, that shit takes time.
It takes minor shifts. Minor shifts that become more significant developments.
These days, I’m happy to wait. I wait until revelations require more than a 300-word Instagram caption. I wait until they leave a small corner of my brain, and become a big part of my life.
Long story short, I am no longer pushing for some major development, some reason to write and to divulge on here every week. I’m focusing on daily Instagram content instead. It’s a place where I can learn and grow alongside you everyday. I can share where my thoughts bounce, before I detail exactly where they’ve landed.
All that said, I want the long-term connection, the ideas that last longer than a 10am coffee, to make home right here. And I want them to do so, both naturally and organically.
Am I done justifying myself? Perfect.
Let’s move onto where I’ve been, and uh, where I am now.
I recently took myself and my partner on a little Easter getaway to Sydney. It was the break I needed, and too, a perfect opportunity to reflect. I returned to my favourite custom design hotel, The Collectionist (you may remember I visited in the first week it opened, during Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia last year).
In its quiet, quaint location in Camperdown, I found room to rest as I did to break from routine. I found space to breathe, to drink tea. I even found the capacity to work. I worked creatively, thoughtfully, and without resentment. It was a public holiday, and yet here I was, re-experiencing a fondness and fascination for what I do everyday.
I wasn’t stressed. I wasn’t disappointed to be working.
I found myself in a new space, and with that, in a new and much preferred mindset.
It made me reflect on the power of reinvention. We tend to resist change, particularly when it comes to routine, to the way we are or to the habits we live by. With that said, it’s often when we give into it, that change acts to better all three.
I’ve come back — both to this blog and to the most inspiring hotel destination — to talk about reinventing yourself and your lifestyle. I don’t believe you have to reach a point of hatred for either, in order to crave their upheaval. Rather, we have to want three things: to grow, to be inspired and to progress.
I’ve learnt that my most inspired self often comes from reinvention. Here’s three ways I’ve learnt to provoke my own.
1. Move away. Or if not possible, plan a getaway.
Ditching old routines, behaviours and ways of being usually requires that we detach ourselves from the very structure that supports them. You know how they say, you become the people you spend the most time around? I’d argue the same happens with where you reside.
We fall into routines and behaviours, largely based on our environment. It’s difficult to do something outside of what we know, and even more so, within a space too homely or familiar. We find ourselves acting the same way as everyone else, or if not, acting the same way we always have. It’s just what we know.
I remember being back at school and thinking that success, to me, would come the day I was announced editor of some established and renowned magazine. For a long period, that magazine was Time. It was a publication that to me hosted only the best writers, the most well-travelled and well-seen journalists. If you wished to use your voice as a beacon for change, for more than the promotion of beauty fads and superficiality, this marked the epitome of your success.
In its pages, I could write about shit that mattered — not just to people, but to politics, to justice and to the world. I’d situate myself in New York; the hub of all things big and great and seemingly worthwhile. I’d be the ultimate girl boss, and yet, not even close to a Miranda Priestly meme. My work and my words would be revolutionary. And these two would take me to places like the UN or to the very far-off nations that comprise it. I’d write about a 3-month stay in Kenya, and somehow, in some way, this piece would act with indisputable function for the greater good.
On this journey, there was no question of finding or seeking happiness. My path resolved entirely around purpose. I’d utilise my voice to do as all semi-proficient and ambitious writers endeavour: to “change the world.” The result would be wholehearted and unquestionable satisfaction in who I was and what I was doing. After all, I’d be using both my head and my heart. How could I not be so fulfilled?
Ever since leaving school and moving onwards to university, it’s not so much that I’ve lost sense for this depiction of success and satisfaction. I have, however, witnessed — and in many ways, been opened to — a significant change in the way my own definition looks. This definition hasn’t stopped changing. In fact, in the last 12 months, it’s undergone its greatest rebuild yet. Honestly, I’m not even certain the job is done.
During my university years, I continued to blog right here on Currently Loving, and for the most part by fluke, I entered the sphere of digital media management. It came as an endeavour to break into “the media industry” in a very general sense. Funnily enough, in digital media would be the very place I’d stay.
I realised that traditional journalism was undergoing great change, and at the same time, so was I. Were magazines dying? Are they still? Hell, I don’t really know. Some certainly are. Others are adapting and diversifying the means through which we consume them. Back then, It didn’t really matter. I quickly recognised that even if I was writing some life-changing shit, sitting in an office all day to write it wasn’t my definition of satisfying.
What’s more, I had unveiled an unfortunate truth regarding my role as the travelling, exploring and ever-insightful editor of Time. That this version of self would be realised in the next five years wasn’t just unlikely. The prospective reality of reaching this goal at a young age, was, even in my eyes, arguably wrong or inadequate. How would I do the role justice?
And if I did seek it anyway: would that journey encompass what I wanted out of everyday life.. not just on my gravestone?
And so I kept perusing. Perhaps perusing is the wrong word. I was pretty determined now. Whilst I didn’t know if journalism was quite for me, this I did know: that if there was one thing I’d use in this life.. any one thing that I’d give, or go so far as to call my “purpose”, it remained my voice.
The voice that asks to be heard when I write. The one that assures you I’m not my age when I speak. It was and is my most prized asset. And despite its imperfect and sometimes rugged value, it has offered me direction so far. And so to this day, I plan to follow it. And by all means, I plan to use it.
Growing up is harder than imagined. But not necessarily for the reasons they tell you. It’s not hard because you have to do your own washing. It’s not hard because you’re responsible when the toothpaste runs out − or the toilet paper or your go-to breakfast food. These are not characteristically hard circumstances to solve. In fact, when you live directly across the road from Coles like myself, topping up on everyday items which have surpassed their final squeeze, proves quite underwhelming on the responsibility radar. In fact, it’s an excuse for a pleasant stroll; to some, even, a very welcomed opportunity to explore the depths of IKEA.
What’s hard about growing up has little to do with the mundane tasks we’re forced to add to our schedules. Sure, these are frustrating. Absolutely, life would be better without them. That ironing takes about an hour and a half − and usually, still results in a wrinkly tee − is indeed an excruciating joke. But even the incessant wrinkles − or worse, the temporary state that is a post-vacuumed floor − on long reflection, isn’t so bad. If this is it, coming to peace with the arduous road that is “adulthood” is not so arduous, after all.
And so I’m a bit confused by the weight society puts on a not-so-difficult step [granted this is just my experience and opinion]. I’m not saying household responsibilities don’t define adulthood, at least to some extent. Any more than that, however, and I’m not really sure what does. When I wake up to my first alarm, am I an adult? Or is it when I complain that it went off at all? Is that when I embody what it is to be in this new sphere?
The more I think about it, the more I’m convinced there probably is no bona fide distinction between childhood and adulthood. There’s just being a child, followed by a weird, blurred phase, in which you spend most of your time unsure what’s actually going on. You don’t feel like a kid, but you’re faking being an adult. Or at least, what you think is an adult.
Wait, do they drink? Do they go out? Will I show my age by revealing that I do? Wait, what the fuck does an adult actually do?
This state of confusion, I can only assume, takes you to parenthood, wherein you lack the time to further digest or debate the blur. Just enough to wade yourself and your family through it.
I’m taking a long time to reach my point, I’m aware. But I feel the need to touch on the ambiguity that is adulthood for a minute. I now understand not only why 20 year olds express a disconnection with “being an adult”. But why 25 year olds and 30 year olds do the same. It’s because there’s no such thing. No one definition. No single becoming moment. There are only adjustments. And these adjustments look completely different for us all.
But beyond the adjustments − and here’s when I bring us back to my point − lie the realities of growing up. They’re stark. Some of them are cold. And here’s one of the most difficult ones. It’s the realisation that the same people who once encouraged our growth [even begged it, in the darkest of times] are the people who continue to define us with a single most stagnant definition.
With them, you don’t wear the title of an adult nor a child. The title you wear.. reads YOU. And whilst you may be changing, to the people who’ve known you for the longest, those three letters will always read the same way. Why? Well, because it’s easiest if they do.
In many ways, it’s as if our fourteen year old selves − his/her motives, interests and ways of being − have been archived as a reference for the closest people we know. In conversation, you’ll often find them searching through this file for ways to connect to us.
Ah, yes, she loves books. “How’s reading going?”
“I don’t really read anymore. I listen to podcasts.”
Podcasts. Podcasts. Podcasts. Searching. Searching. No files found.
“How’s reading going?”
“I, really − I don’t read anymore.”
“Oh, um, okay. Still party a lot?”
“No, I’m super into my fitness now.”
Fitness. Fitness. Fitness. Searching. Searching. No files found.
“That doesn’t sound like you?”
And so the conversation goes on [or equally as often, it comes to a haut]. Worst of all, you can’t really blame anyone. Not the people you love. Not yourself. Not your new friends, neighbours or lifestyle either. It truly is just an inevitability of growing up. As much as your own interests and values are changing − and it feels inherently obvious to you − there’s no flashing sign above your head to indicate these changes to anyone else.
To them, you appear the same person. Who smiles the same way. Who speaks with the same voice, and who laughs at the same things. The reality that you may spend your time entirely differently. That maybe you surround yourself with different people. This can be disguised. And even a 90-minute catch-up isn’t always enough to convince an old friend to remove the mask. That is, the one they’re placing on you.
At the beginning of this post, I wasn’t overly certain why it was I wanted to talk about this topic this week. Now, I think I know. The fact that people are looking for similar personality traits and trends in us − and seem to do it even more, the more we grow − makes us want to integrate those traits.
We want to make the people we love happy, right?
And we know that when we show them our old sides. Sides that they know and can relate to and laugh with and share old memories with. This makes them happy! It offers them a sense of satisfaction. That maybe they could still predict our next move and thought and feeling.
But here’s the thing: to pretend for the sake of others that you’re still someone you no longer connect with.. is SO unsatisfying for you, the individual. It’s also detrimental to your relationship with these people in the long-term. The more you don’t show someone your changes, and the more you don’t demand that they take this new and improved version seriously, the more you’ll gravitate away from them when they don’t.
It’s like anything. If you don’t ask, you don’t get. If you don’t show people, you can’t expect them to see it. To see you.
People take time to adjust, and in many ways, I’m not even sure they ever fully do. As I mentioned previously, there is no single definition for adulthood. There is no definition that encompasses the people we are either. With that said, we often try to define the undefinable as means for making things easier. It turns out this does quite the opposite.
If you can resonate with any of the words I’ve put on this sheet of digital paper, you may like to adopt the solution I’m trialling. To BE the old friend we’d like to share our story with. To be open and invite change in other people’s lives. Let’s be PROUD of them for that change. Even if it’s not necessarily “characteristic” [because who are we to decide what is anyway!].
At the end of the day, this change may be incredibly important to who our friends and family are in the long-term. And you mightn’t know it yet, but you could be the single person supporting it now. Make the role you play to a loved one truly count, by being open.
What’s important as well is to have patience with this process. I’ll be the first to admit, I find this the hardest part.
It’s good to remind ourselves that people like to connect with familiar things, because familiar things make us feel good. If someone wants to remain apart of our journey, however, they will start to open themselves to the less familiar. Give them a chance to reach this stage, before in frustration, you cut them off.
Often, we have to let the people know how important it is to us, that they recognise our change. If we downplay it, people will react accordingly. They too will downplay the need to notice and to embrace it.
Be the leader of not just change, but of its embrace in your life and in the lives around you. I can’t guarantee this is an important element of embracing adulthood, but I’m almost certain it’s an important element of embracing you [in the short and the long term].
Whether this “you” should last five minutes or three years, let it be known that I accept him/her. Just in case no one else is saying it right now, take it from me. I think how you’ve changed and how you’re growing is awesome. I think you should keep loving what you’re loving and seeking what you’re seeking.
I’m glad you could hear it here first. The question is: will the second time you hear it.. be the sound of your own voice?
It’s true that by March of each year, I tend to forget that I ever were pacing towards a set of hand-picked resolutions. A once fore-fronting endeavour towards selflessness — one that I was certain would lead me down a path of righteousness all year — somewhere and somehow, is entirely forgotten. Picture: the moment you take a bite of a warmed blueberry muffin after committing to a diet just hours before. It’s as if the conversation was never had.
That the prevalence of my resolutions tends to noticeably die throughout the year [you should know] says nothing for the way I do consistently commit on January 1st. To say I share an affinity for the concept of “New Year, New Me” would be so much as blindly understated. The idea of turning over a new leaf [in as many ways as necessary] is both hopeful and endearing. And so regardless of my history with commitment, come this month every year, I play into the game of curating resolutions.
Let me take you back, to just before I flew home for Christmas in New Zealand. A.J. had raised the subject of resolutions, pondering if I’d made headway with my own. I told him it was too soon — that I’d hardly had a chance to evaluate the things I’d nailed and those I’d colossally fucked up in 2018 — to be able to direct change in the next year. One thing that did come to mind, however, was the need to actively make time for self-care.
In the past year especially, I’ve learnt an important lesson about myself: it’s that sitting in front of the TV or chilling on the couch — more or less, taking part in ‘effortless’ relax routines — isn’t by definition ‘relaxing’ for me. Counterproductive as it may sound, I have to work hard; even, assert great deals of effort in order to feel truly relaxed or replenished.
My problem is, I always find the excuse to multitask [for those who don’t relate, welcome to the woes of being both impatient and addicted to productivity]. Even in the case I do sit idle, watching a series or rather, my brain doesn’t switch off — and thus, neither do I. It’s as if I need to be removed from absolutely everything, before my body and my mind will willingly succumb to a much-needed wind-down.
In many ways, the above is a conclusion I no more than stumbled across in 2018, by virtue of several seemingly insignificant things I did. I got my eyebrows done multiple times; an appointment that lasted approximately two hours, granting no time or ability for perusing on my phone — or, well, doing anything. This is the kind of absolute isolation [from DOING things] that I need. I also treated myself to several a massage and I found this worked wonders. Again, I had no choice but to sit there. To let my mind wander off — even if the destination were, into a light sleep.
Another thing I was lucky enough to do, was to visit Willow Urban Retreat; a well-being, fitness and food haven, located in the inner-Melbourne suburb of Malvern. Now, there were several things that brought me here. Firstly, the location was convenient: truth be told, there are few other retreat-like destinations that aren’t located outside the city and don’t require several available days [though, of course, I hope to trial this sort of getaway at some point too].
In addition, it’s been a recently realised dream of mine to open a retreat myself. I had an epiphany earlier last year about creating a destination, called “Currently Loving Retreats”. Here we’d experience programs that’d teach us how to better ourselves based on our own personalities, goals and ambitions. We’d learn our own optimum process for productivity, for health and well-being; for fitness, for confidence and for, well, life.
On that note, I thought I better try this whole retreat thing out. That is, before I consider building an entire career path in its direction. What if it still didn’t work for me, I thought? Were retreats overrated? Or would they actually shut off the single girl who never can? One Saturday morning, A.J. and I decided to put it to the test.
Our morning would consist of three parts — one could say, a holistic approach to rejuvenation. We’d attend first what’s referred to as a Rebounding class. That’s right, a class where you get to jump on trampolines, work up your heart rate and get a bit giggly all at once. We’d follow this up with an hour-long infrared sauna, and finally, lunch at Willow’s health-focused cafe. That Saturday morning was sure to be a taste for a week-long escape; an out-of-city experience situated in its very heart.
So let’s begin with what I thought about the Rebounding class. I’ll be honest: for the first five minutes, I’m wondering if this is really exercise at all. I’m rethinking everything I read online about the way it activates the core and sculpts your calf muscles. Instead, I feel much the way I did when a friend informed me at twelve that she competed at trampolining: it was like I was being forced to take something seriously that quite literally, didn’t have a single non-funny bone.
Ten minutes in and my thoughts have taken a 180 [mind the pun… or you know, indulge in it]. I’m still laughing, mostly because A.J. has lost his balance multiple times and near flung to the other side of the room. But now, I’m also feeling the burn. This hurts. Especially when she tells us to run really quickly. My legs sink into the floor, and it bloody takes the earth to move them up again. This is hard — and yet, I can’t for the life of me wipe this darn smile off my face.
They offer a range of different classes at Willow — dance, yoga and a martial arts practice, referred to as Qi Gong. It’s everything you picture of an ideal Sunday morning. And yet, with a furthered focus on restoration of energy and the calmness of the mind, it’s that pleasant bit more. Freeing beyond a typical Saturday exercise class. It’s an even starker contrast to the way you sink your coffee on a Tuesday and rush to work.
There are several things that have sparked my desire to write this post. What ensues is more than — and yet, in almost every way — a letter to my younger sister. I write with the motivation that these words may play on her mind, as she finds her way in her first and second and third job. In many ways, this post is for her.
It is as well, a letter to my younger self. A letter to those her age now, and even, to those who are mine. It is for those who have just finished uni; who now find themselves scrambling for an internship or for work experience. For those who plan to place an intentional foot in their industry for the first time, and too, for the folk merely filling gaps.
These are three things that I wish I knew. In some cases, three things that I wish I’d said. Not solely to myself, but to friends and to strangers in the same position. I can only hope that my lessons act in a way that builds your strength, enables you to maintain personal pride and most of all, encourages your own self-surveillance when you head into a new workplace.
I write today because I don’t believe that working hard or that working our way up correlates with — nor is interchangeable for — being bullied, being objectified or being unhappy. If you ask me, there is no adequate age, where suddenly we have the right to stand up for ourselves and our careers. If there is, that age is right now: it’s at their very beginning.
Being at the bottom does not deem you incapable nor sufficient for bullying.
In the very beginning of my working life, I was assured of the fact that my co-workers — even my boss — had some innate “right” to bully or to blame me for things that went wrong. At times, they’d make me feel as small as dust floating the Grand Canyon, all in the name of my lack of experience. Why did I take it, you might be asking? Well, it’s what I’d been told. In fact, it’s what we’re all told: that it’s tough at the bottom and that in order to move our way up, we have to earn respect. There will be no silver platers.
And so I shut up. I did my job and more often than not, I took the blame. While I was clocked on, I let them make me feel small. At the time, it was enough to know that I had built a wall around this belittlement. It had no place beyond the workplace. I look back, and I must say I do credit myself for taking it. For being so young and yet, for being the bigger person anyway. But had I been bigger — in both my head and in my heart — the truth is, I wouldn’t have taken it at all.
You see, gaining respect in your industry is one thing. Being treated with respect as a human being — better yet, as one who cannot control whether they are 13 or 30, inexperienced or decades-deep — is another thing entirely.
If you’re entering a job for the first time, I won’t deny that it pays to remember you’re at the bottom. Even, to claim the empty bank of knowledge with your name on it. With that said, do not find yourself apologising for its hollowness. Do not let yourself be thrown in it’s hole over and over again. Because whilst you may have no knowledge of clothes or sales or food prep, you are human. You are smart. You are valuable. And you are doing just fine.
You will make mistakes. You will be liable to them. But you should be liable all the same to your growth, to your ABILITY to grow and to learn — and finally, to a place that supports you doing so. You should not have to remind yourself of your own self-worth seven times a shift, for the people around you continue to provoke its questioning.
The same logic extends from workplace bullying [a label of which, I admit, you may struggle to apply to your scenario at the time] all the way through to being objectified. The amount of times I let myself be called inappropriate things, be looked at in inappropriate ways and be referred to in derogatory terms.
Regardless of the fact that this was far from the McKenzie everyone knew outside the workplace, my little experience made my quiet within it. It made me shy to stand up. It was as if I thought I was deserving of the words, of the looks, of the actions. That perhaps even, this was a rite of passage for me.
Let it be said: being told by a 50-year-old man that he would “have gone there 30 years ago” with his wife sitting beside him, is not a rite of passage. This is plain disrespectful. It’s also the type of thing that any sane boss shouldn’t stand for, whether you’re well-experienced or a day on the job.
2. Don’t be fooled by the term “internship”. Working almost full-time for 6 months when you’re nearing the end of your degree is not an internship. That is a job.
The amount of people my age, older and younger who seem to be on decade-long internships honestly breaks my heart. Not because you’re wrong to work hard to get to where you want to be. But because so many small and larger businesses are exploiting what it means to be an intern.
Whilst I understand that it differs to qualify for every industry, in more cases than not, you HAVE to set a cut-off point. And you HAVE to do it for your own benefit. When I was 15/16 and I interned, sure, I came into “the office” as much as possible. I returned again each holiday; in fact, I was there any opportunity I had free time. I didn’t care that I wasn’t getting paid. It was enough to receive a taste of the [magazine] industry. There comes a stage, however, when your time [and your skills] can’t be spared so easily. They become far more valuable, not just to you but to those around you as well. The worst you could do for yourself at this point, is to undervalue the two.
My last internship, I capped at a month. Any internship that has since required even three months, I’ve turned down. Not only do I have bills to pay, I also believe that after over a month of training — with a completed degree, a degree in the works or with SOME degree of experience — there is no way that I or you have zero value to a company. If this is the case, it can only mean one of two things: that the employer likely wasn’t in the position to take on an intern in the first place [other than for the sake of free work]. Or, that we haven’t proven yet ourselves.
If the latter, it’d be safe to say we’re doing something incredibly wrong. Before we even consider a 6-month internship, we should probably endeavour to work out what this is. After all, if we can’t prove our value [or even tempt at its potential] after a month, what will 6 months do — but rack up our bills and our eventual disappointment?
You may convince yourself that a 6-month full-time and unpaid internship will be most impressive and worthwhile. It’ll show your grit and your tenacity. But dare I respond that you’re reading into it too much? At the end of the day, that internship will read a maximum of one to three lines on your C.V. No matter the way you choose to word it, those three lines will read as a single experience. A single job. And a single position. My advice: if you’re going to intern for 6 months, at least make sure that it’s going to give you 6 lines. 6 times the experience, 6 times the job history, and 6 times the titles by the end of it.
Note this is probably my impatience coming out — mixed with a dash of my overconfidence. But the truth is, I believe a lot of near-to-fully-qualified students are exploited. Why? Because they underestimate their own value. What’s more, we’re taught this is simply the process of starting at the bottom.
I was sitting window-seat at a restaurant in Hawthorn a few nights ago, munching on vegan pizza with a friend — when we started talking about things we’d be willing to do at social events. The conversation pertained mostly to approaching “elites” or “celebrities”, talking with strangers, etc, etc.
“Would you do that on your own?”
“Eh, probably,” I’d answered to one of Chloe’s questions, shrugging my shoulders.
“I guess so — I mean, I’ve been told that by several people so I must be more so than the average person..”
I paused to reflect.
“My thoughts are: what do you have to lose? If you’re happy with the person you represent when you approach someone, their reaction shouldn’t make you feel differently about yourself — whether they choose to snob or to embrace you. If you ask me, that’s on them.”
According to the people closest to me, my confidence is one of the first things you notice about me. I often feel wary to agree, for the sake of coming across as cocky or overconfident. But when it comes down to it, my self-confidence is far from something I’m ashamed about.
Its entire concept — in particular, what changes when you act with confidence — justifies a lot of the content I share on this blog [and why I choose to share it]. Much like florals for spring, this too is far from ground-breaking. But it’s the truth. Not all of us walk with confidence. In fact, few people’s first [second and third] steps are characterised by such a level of certainty. My own being no exception.
Confidence is a mindset that I’d argue I’ve developed over time. And before you credit me [or call me overconfident], let it be said that choosing not to care has been the easy route. Caring for the opinion of others and then, feeling insecure as a result? Now, that to me is [and was, for at least a short period of time] exhausting.
Some time ago, I decided I’d prefer to put that energy towards — well, anything else.
I remember being in school and dealing with several unpleasant girls. From primary to secondary, I became very familiar with this type — it was one that I simply didn’t mesh with. These were the girls who would judge me for the way that I looked, how loud or freely I laughed — even the fact that I enjoyed to be friends with a plethora of people.
It was true: I found something intriguing in the shy girl who played piano — as much as I did the girl who, more like myself, enjoyed fashion and Hannah Montana [ah, the days]. To this day, I still believe that some of the quietest people have the most interesting thoughts and clever senses of humour. You simply have to work a little harder to reveal their traits.
When I’m confident, I know for a fact that people around me feel more comfortable. And so I speak with certainty when I say that the power of confidence reaches far beyond our individual selves. It benefits those who surround us as well. When we keel under the pressure to feel insecure, or the need to defend ourselves and who we are, we make it apparent to those around us that this is the norm.
If you’ve received a downward-casting look from a bitchy girl at school, a cocky mate at uni or at work, this is for you. This is about changing the norm. It’s about changing how you feel and how others feel around you.
I remember thinking to myself, you know what: it’s far too limiting, too tiresome and too negative to digest the judgement of these girls [okay, so I probably didn’t think about it with such clarity at twelve years old, but you get what I mean]. I decided that laughing becomes far less fun, when you let someone’s eyes quieten your giggle. For the most, I valued laughing over their gaze.
So I made my choice to prioritise to laugh instead. From then on, I would ask myself these three questions, before allowing another person’s judgement the ability to effect how I feel — better [or worse] yet, how I act.
1. Am I representing my best self?
This is an important question, because obviously not all judgement that is placed upon us ought to be ignored. Sometimes, judgement is necessary: to ensure that we remain aware of the way our actions affect others; so that we know when they’re unsavoury too.
Asking yourself this question will help to filter the judgements that do and don’t matter. If I approached someone at an event and served them with a negative comment, I wouldn’t be representing my best self. Their judgement towards me, as a result, would likely be quite warranted. The wake-up call, quite necessary.
With that said, if I entered the same conversation with a willingness to get to know the person, and with kindness in my heart and in my words, I would indeed be representing my best self. Should they then snob me, ignore me or be unkind in response, it is at this point where I would deem their judgement or reaction as separate from my own actions — and from me.
If I were to let this affect me, I probably wouldn’t approach anyone else at the event. The incident would not only make me feel insecure, it would likely affect the people around me too. Instead of meeting my kindness and my openness, others would meet my vulnerability and my feelings of rejection. My posture and my stance would send warning bells that we all ought to protect ourselves by putting up walls and barriers. God forbid that unnecessary judgement and nastiness breaks in again.
Remind yourself of this question before you act — so that the next time someone throws shade at your confidence, you don’t take on such a dismal shadow. Instead, you leave it on the ground where they first presented it. You’ll find that when you don’t pick it up, the shadow tends to return like a boomerang straight back to the one who tried to thrust it upon you.
When you represent your best self, let it be said you are also your strongest self. Unkindness and judgement? These can’t knock you, if you’ve built the stands to your own platform; further, if you are proud — or at the very least, embracing — of its every fragment.
2. Am I happy with what that person looks like?
Consider this question a means for double-checking yourself. At the end of the day, you might be representing your best self — but whether that’s actually okay in public circumstance, depends on what the standards you hold for yourself actually look like. Hint: having low standards for yourself and calling this “your best version” isn’t the solution for being confident. That’s where you get trapped with the label “cocky” — or more plainly, “being a dick”.
Next time you’re hesitant about being confident, I want you to take yourself out of your body [just do it, let’s not dwell on questions]. I want you to look at yourself in a social situation. Ask first, whether the person you’re looking at is your best you. But don’t stop there. Ask yourself whether you like the look of that person full-stop.
I’m not talking about whether you like your ass or the way your hair falls — though these could be reasons for acting confident too. Picture that you’re watching yourself in a TV show or on a cinema screen. Would you be proud to point out yourself and to call you the character you’re playing? Would you link the actions you see on screen back to you?
It’s 7:26 PM, a Saturday dusk in Melbourne city. To begin a post about being thankful, it feels right to show thanks firstly, to daylight saving. In its name, I’m able to wander the Yarra river and in turn, to wander my thoughts this eve. When I ponder what it is I’m thinking; what I’ve learnt and where I’m at, one particular lesson comes to mind as of late.
This will be the third and final post in the series that I’ve titled “The Laundromat Series”. And I’ve chosen to reflect on gratitude, not because I’ve experienced its abundance in recent life and discovered its worth thereafter. But for quite the opposite reason. I’ve witnessed its lacking and the gap that has been left behind without it.
This is not just about me. It’s not about a series of honourable actions that have stemmed from my name. The sunlight they haven’t received in return. It’s far more about the way we bump shoulders in the streets. About the days that go by and the many times we fail to turn to say sorry. It’s about the way we ask for help. About how we forget who offered us the answer, the moment it shows signs of success.
It’s about our culture. Our climate. Our gratitude — or lack thereof — in the name of one-upping the individuals who were once so kind to help us. Gratitude is the difference between them doing it again. It’s what makes for a kinder culture — but only so far as we extend it.
For all the lessons I discuss on Currently Loving, I’m not always the greatest exhibitionist of their progress. Sure, I endeavour to adult at times. And as many, I fall back into childish ways. I claim I won’t make a smoothie bowl for dinner — and on testing, tired nights, I’ll reach for the comfort of a frozen Açaí pack. Change takes time, and often, the lessons that are most embedded in us have been several years in the making.
I remember when I first started this blog back in November 2011. It grew from a very genuine place. From a girl too young to possibly pursue insincerity. She spent hours scrolling her Tumblr feed. She even scheduled posts for the duration of holidays spent at her Grandparents. In one fleeting mood, she deleted her long-curated mood-board. What was it all for, she asked.
She’d return, of course. Tumblr was like that: addictive to young girls with space for escapism and dreams in their heads. With that said, it satisfied for only a while. Until compliments about the way she’d pieced the puzzle, or even chosen the most aesthetic pieces, simply weren’t enough.
It was in her heart to write and to create. Things that she could scribble her own name on. And so she began a platform where she could. This platform would be named Currently Loving.
When I started my blog, I was young. I was far younger than anyone else who seemed to be blogging at the time. Aside from a couple of friends who found an equal passion in writing or photography, there were few others around me to lean on for advice or any sort of leg-up in the industry. With no code-book for how toblog [never-mind how to become successful at doing so], I reached out to those who I was sure could teach me.
I remember two years in — when I’d finally stopped humming and ha-ing about whether to commit to Currently Loving — I interviewed a blogger all the way over from Oakland, California [I dare you to track down the post. I don’t dare you to read it]. I loved her work, and so we chatted back-and-forth. She was, or so I assume, at least 10 years older than me at the time. To me, she was doing something — better yet, providing something — of a value I wished to one day provide. I am in constant search of this value, you see. Of ways to make my words as nourishing to digest.. as they feel to write.
It is funny how to this day, I recall such a connection as pivotal in my blogging journey. I wonder if she even remembers my name? I can whole-heartedly admit, that it wouldn’t matter if she didn’t. She had all the impact on me that she — or I — needed.
I don’t solely have a well-dressed and well-written, Californian blogger to thank. I have every person who ever shared their experience — and thus directed or grew mine. I have every individual who ever complimented my work. Even those who bashed it. You made Currently Loving what it is: you made it stronger.
I have every brand who ever agreed to work with me. Every individual or business who ever believed in me. I have every person who, for whatever reason, chose to give me and my passion the time of day. Indeed, I could pronounce Currently Loving entirely my making. But its ideas are not solely mine [is any lesson ever unique to one person], and its experiences come as a result of far more individuals than myself.
My blog isn’t my blog without me, after all. And I am not me, without so many other people. I’d be naive to presume the things I’ve learned — whether about blogging or about life in general — have stemmed single-handedly from my own experience, or from such an inevitability as enhanced awareness. What would be most ignorant of all, however, would be to assume that each person who, both consciously and subconsciously added to this journey, actually had any level of obligation to do so.
Beyond my family — who I suppose we could argue are compelled to support me in my dreams and passions — what obligation does a woman located on the other side of the world have to a 14-year-old? What makes the same woman agree to be interviewed for said 14-year-old’s platform? What makes her take the time to engage in conversation, to read my work — better yet, to express value for it?
In my eyes, there is just one thing. A single thing with several faces: these faces look like kindness and a willingness to help others. The single thing? I’d argue it’s generosity.
In a world that struggles to find time for unwarranted generosity, any action that is completed without sensical, systematic or selfish reasoning ought to be utterly praised, if you ask me.
When individuals, brands and businesses began to show support for me — with no basis that could have exceeded mere faith — I began to understand the importance of being thankful. When there’s nothing else to return, let it be said there is always thanks.
To this day, if you go out of your way to grab coffee with me in order to share what you do, I am grateful. When you give me [a stranger to most of you], 20 minutes of your time to read my article, I am thankful. When you tell me about your routines or you divulge your learnings. When you don’t — when I ask. When I express wonder, when I propose seven more questions. When I worry about being two minutes late for you. I am thankful.
My time is the most precious thing I have. And so even more precious is something I don’t have: YOURS. Each moment you donate your time to bettering my journey, such that could have been utilised for yours, is appreciated beyond describable belief.
Here’s the thing. Not a single person on this earth — such whom is not assigned to us from birth — has an obligation do something for us. No one — I’m talking not one single person — has an obligation to gift us with their time. With their interest. Or with their experience.
Time, effort and generosity: these three are gifts. And you don’t simply fail to say thank you when you receive a gift. No matter how awkward it feels to say the words or how small you’re worried you may shrink, you say it. For every time you size up to express thanks, you become a better person.
I urge you to think back now. If you’ve received advice, support or an opportunity as of late — in fact, as of ever — that you did not adequately show thanks for, go and do it now. Showing thanks is like gifting a Christmas present: it’s always better late than never.
If you ask me, it is not cool. It is not impressive. It does not say anything positive to me about your character, to be nonchalant nor to play down gratitude. Such an approach to those who help us in life will surely get us nowhere. As the great Gigi Hadid once said [perhaps in other words], there will always be someone more beautiful, more clever or more networked.
Stand out by being more thankful. It’s the single thing we have control over, after all. Why wouldn’t we use it?
If you’ve been following my stories on Instagram, you’ll know that I recently caught a pretty horrible cold. To my distaste, this saw me defeated and slow for several days time. Now, I’m aware that doesn’t sound like long. For someone like me, however, those three days felt like a lengthy three weeks. I. Hate. Being. Sick.
As is, I’m a very stubborn person. I don’t like to slow down [unless it’s utterly necessary or say, in the pool of a Bali retreat]. Not on holiday, I’m a go-go-go type and for this sake, I rely on a store of optimum energy everyday. The second I’m not able to throw a determined and fierce step forward, I’m not myself. I’m an angry and frustrated version.
It ought to be said as well that being freelance doesn’t really allow you to be sick. I’ll admit this is one of its undeniable downsides. Your work doesn’t stop if you do. You can’t throw it in the bag and call in sick — because, well, there’s no one else to cover for you. It’s just you. So through endless sneezing and congestion, for the most part, you simply have to find a way to keep going.
Last week was probably one of the busiest weeks I’ve had in a while. I had events after work for several days. Essentially, I had no time to allocate for “being sick”, never mind for the recovery process. The way I saw it, I was pulling at plain nothingness to get better. At the things I could control — my sleep, my energy expenditure and my diet — I was forced to become far more wary.
A positive of being sick is that it always reignites my motivation to look after myself. I start to reconsider my eating habits, my sleeping habits, whether I’m getting all the right vitamins and nutrients [especially being vegan] and if I’m including enough opportunities to wind-down in my everyday.
Now that I’m almost fully recovered [touch-wood], I’ve come away from the inter-seasonal flu, feeling notably inspired. I’m trying new things at the gym now that I’ve got my energy back. I’m attempting to increase my running again [I used to run 10-15km quite easily and needless to say, I think I’ve lost the knack]. I’m making sure I don’t eat smoothie bowls 24/7 because whilst berries are great antioxidants, newsflash to myself: you actually need other things too. I’m also trying to be even more mindful and aware of what I need each day to maintain my wellness and health throughout Spring.
In case you’re coming out of sickness yourself or trying to avoid it this season, I thought I’d share where I’m at and what I’m doing. I’m only at the beginning of my wellness endeavour, but it’s one that I’m constantly expanding on — and I hope you can do so alongside me.
I’m not the first to say it nor is it a recent epiphany — but I do know I need the constant reminder. Sleep is everything. The truth is, that we are all better people when we’re well-slept. We function better. We feel better. We have more enthusiasm towards the day ahead. Further yet, we’re not counting down the moments until we fall back into bed; rather, we’re maximising them.
Life is better when you sleep. I remember watching one of my favourite motivational leaders, Eric Thomas, speak about the most successful individuals going several days without sleep, in order to maximise opportunity. He even revealed that they forgot to do mundane activities like eat and sleep, for they were so intent on success. I personally don’t know how I’d just “forget” to sleep for three days, no matter how driven I was.
With that said, the words of Eric Thomas are powerful and they certainly took a toll on me. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I was part of glamourising the no-sleep, hard-work hustle. Now, I still believe that there are times when to maximise opportunity, we should work that hard. We should sacrifice comfort. With that said, we can’t be expected to continue like that forever. At some stage, we have to give in and we have to go to sleep. In fact, to maintain a functioning state — even, consistent productivity that surpasses a single bout — we should try to do this at a consistent time every night.
In a recent Casey Neistat video, he spoke about his 4/5am wake-up time. Reading the comments, there was an element of backlash from individuals who announced that if they woke at this time, they’d be tired all day everyday. They also spoke about the importance of sleep. I felt there was value to Casey’s routine as much as there was to its commentary. I don’t see anything wrong with waking up at 4/5am to maximise your most productive hours. That said, I’d argue the need to be making up the hours elsewhere. We’re human. We need 7/8/9 hours each night to ensure that we operate our best the following day. I don’t have to take a poll to discern I’m not the only one.
2. I’m varying my meals and eating [slightly more] smartly.
For someone who loves spontaneity, change and excitement, I am quite the opposite when it comes to what I eat. I don’t like to spend too much time over the conundrum of what to make or what to eat — unless of course, it’s out at brunch. At home, however, I want a meal that’s quick and certain to satisfy me [for I hate the disappointment of a shit meal. What a wasted opportunity for joy, I’d argue].
For the past couple of years, specifically as a student, I became well-acquainted with pattern-eating. Now, I know what you’re thinking: that sounds great, right?! I’m sure you’re indulging in veggies galore and a sufficient amount of protein every night, and that’s you. Eh, not quite.
It’s more like this: I get obsessed with oats to the point where I wind up having oats everyday — if not twice a day. Why? Well, firstly, I can’t think of anything else to make and would prefer not to waste time in thought. Secondly, I’ve now eaten oats so much, I’ve trained my body to crave only oats. Currently, I’m in the smoothie bowl era. It’s lasted months.
Whilst I go through stages where I hit the “go-to” meal harder than others, what I realised when I got sick was “damn, I need more veggies in my life”. Also, that I need to fuel myself with more intention. True, a smoothie bowl isn’t KFC. It’s not going to kill me, if I have one everyday. But alone, it’s not going to give me everything I need to function optimally either.
When I say I’m trying to eat with intention, I mean that to some extent, I’m trying to consider what it is I hope to get out of each meal. Usually, that’s satisfaction, energy and sustenance. I don’t want to feel sluggish post-meal; more tired than I was prior or admittedly, unsatisfied. I’m now actioning meals that will avoid the onset of any said feelings.
Last night, instead of going to make a home-made pizza [which I should note, wouldn’t have been bad at all, specifically if it were topped with veggies], I wondered if there was something more nutritious I could whip up quickly. Note: A.J. and I tend to save our HelloFresh meals for when we’re cooking together. This super handy and healthy delivery service would have certainly answered my query last night too.
I chose to make a nourish bowl, filled with sweet potato [my ABSOLUTE favourite], quinoa, smashed avocado, hummus, Mexican beans and spinach. This FELT good to eat — not solely for my taste buds, but for my body and my mind. I knew that meal could be added to the list of valuable things I’d done for myself that day.
3. I’m walking [wow, big whoop! *Cue the applause.* Hold out, there’s more to this than I’ll admit it appears right now].
If you know me, you’ll know that beyond the gym or running, I’m perhaps the biggest advocate for walking there is. I walk wherever and whenever I can. In fact, I’ll choose it by preference over public transport [less stress AND more enjoyable].
Not only is it a great addition to any training you’re already doing — and an easy method for staying active throughout the day — it’s also just incredibly good for the soul. On a cloudy day, it’s comforting to rug up and head out for a walk. On a beautiful day, it feels the best way to spend it.
I’m lucky that A.J. has similar thoughts: he’s happy to walk 7km to a brunch spot alongside my batty, old self. We’ll even wake earlier than needed to walk somewhere together. While we walk, we talk to each other. We have long conversations we mightn’t ever have, if we didn’t have anything else to do.. but walk. When we walk, the journey becomes every bit as important as the destination.
I was once in Baker’s Delight [yes, fitting on the subject of wellness, right?], when an elder woman began conversation with me. She said she swore by walking everywhere. “You keep walking, and you’ll be healthy forever — just look at me!”, she laughed. I believed her. I’ve been walking ever since.
There’s something equally valuable in walking with someone else, as there is to be found in walking alone. If you’re looking for some quiet time to yourself this Spring, don’t spend it on your phone. Don’t spend it watching a movie. Spend it in a more valuable way: go for a walk. Move your body, and gravitate..
I get it: 7 months seems an odd time to reflect. 6 months would have been the more obvious milestone, but honestly, it was one that crept completely under my radar. I want to say this is surprising, but more colossal plans aside — like, I don’t know, move to Melbourne — I tend to live pretty day-by-day. For that sake, it’s really not surprising at all. Months have flown by and so too have many thoughts with them.
It’d be 7 months in — as of Sunday the 14th of October — before I’d truly internalise the time that has passed. It’d be 3 days post the offical date, where I’d get a chance to sit down where I am now — at our make-do desk — and reflect on what’s it like to be 2600km from home. In a city with no family and predominately, new friends.
When I phrase it like that, it sounds a bit shit. Like maybe, I’ve been sitting in my apartment, tearing up when A.J. walks out the door. Like perhaps, I’ve long-awaited each trip to New Zealand; on arrival, opening my arms to family, comfort and familiarity with a long-held sigh of relief.
I’m glad to announce that this has not been the case nor did I actually predict such an unfortunate series of events. If I did forecast such a grim welcome, I probably wouldn’t have aligned every path in my life towards Melbourne more than 7 months ago. The truth is, the past 7 months have been much of what I thought they’d be — and in many ways, very different too.
To begin a series of which I’m calling “The Laundromat Series”, I’m reflecting on my time spent in Melbourne so far. This is about spending time away from home. Arguably too, about becoming a fully-fledged and independent adult [disclaimer: this is not to say I’m anywhere close, but I’ll admit to being on the journey].
The day we shot these photos in a Richmond laundromat, there was an old man who came in to do his washing. Like most who dropped in and out, I thought he too would chuck his corduroy pants in the wash, and be on his way for an hour. Instead, this old man took a seat and pulled out a sandwich. With the risk of losing those coveted corduroy trousers, there was little to do but sit, I suppose. And so he munched on a cucumber and hummus sammie [I’m improvising here; I didn’t taste the sammie nor ask] — and otherwise, seemed to do little but self-reflect.
On that note, I return now to The Laundromat to do the same thing. As for you, I can only hope it’s not as dull to read about — as it certainly looked, when that old man watched the tumble dryer turn. It turned over. And over. And over. And over again.
I could have told him then and there how the next hour would go. Over? Yep. Again.
Anyway, let’s get to what you came for. Here’s what you need to know about the 7-month milestone in case you’re considering moving overseas.
Something I could have told myself, and will warn you about now, is expecting things to fall into place far more quickly, than in reality they really do. I suppose it’s easy to disregard the fact that you’ve spent your entire lifetime setting up friendship groups, networks, routines, etc. in your home country.
To put it bluntly, you can’t move countries and expect to build those life-long establishments in a month. Not even in 3. And not yet again in 7. I’ll admit that many things are only starting to settle themselves now. And when I say this, I’m referring to my circumstance career and job-wise. With friendships, relationship dynamics — everything, essentially.
I mean, it’s just going into Spring and I’m not even finished telling people that, “I thought Melbourne was just like all the other cities in Australia, but it actually gets really cold!” All of a sudden, I’m talking about the heat and the humidity and how I’m not sure I’ll handle a Melbourne summer.
My point is: adjustment takes time. And to my own dismay, that time that doesn’t fluctuate based on your productivity. Obviously, it helps if you’re focused and determined; more, if you have an idea of the lifestyle you wish to establish. With that said, to develop any sense of routine, even to understand the city in which you’re living, and it’s dynamics, takes far more than a few months.
Not only is this important to realise before you go — so that you can anticipate periods of loneliness, discomfort and even, slight uncertainty — it’s also important to recognise when you’re just a couple of months in. Nothing will come from beating yourself up over what hasn’t happened for you yet. After all, you can’t force yourself to meet the right people. You can only put yourself in as many places that might see these opportunities arise.
Looking back over the last 7 months, I can see how people could have quite alternate experiences of moving and living overseas. I’d argue that this experience stems ultimately from personality traits, and too, from how well you adjust — and keyword: ADAPT — to new situations.
The truth is, there were countless times when I was tired from a day of work, or when I felt like being alone. Forcing myself to show up at occasions I’d planned to meet people despite of my mood, was one of the best things I could have done for myself over the past 7 months. It’s also one of the most important things I’d recommend to anyone else.
Back at home, it wouldn’t matter if you weren’t in the mood. You’d tell your friends another time, right? Here where you’re making first impressions, and where a single catch-up could turn into a long-term friendship, a single occasion becomes far more valuable. Cancel enough — in some instances, cancel once — and they just might not come up again.
As the moral of many stories go, it pays to push yourself. New cities don’t care if you’re shy or if you’re confident. They won’t treat you any differently. The same rules apply for both characters. So no matter the role you typically play, it’s time to get acquainted with making a bigger effort than you did it home. Because I assure you, you’ll be digging for a good few months, before you find solid ground again.
But here’s something else you should know. At around 7 months — give or take a few — you’ll have met some pretty great people. You’ll have thanked yourself for the times where you mustered up the energy to go and grab a..
If you read recent post on Currently Loving titled “3 Ways to Welcome Adventure into your Life”, you’ll know that I’m not a huge advocate for the 9-to-5. In this post, I discussed the perks of freelance or remote work: particularly, how this arrangement grants us the freedom to jump when opportunity calls. As freelancers, we self-direct a great deal of our everyday, our every month and our every year.
Ironically, it is the very practice of self-directing that brings me to the position in which I find myself now: trialling the long-opposed 9-to-5.
I feel the need to disclaim that I did not simply take on a 9-to-5 job in order to trial the lifestyle for this post. Had this been the reality, I totally would have revealed it with pride — I mean, talk about dedication, right? Unfortunately, to the job I’d leave after two weeks, it wouldn’t have done much credit.
I’ll tell you how this all came about. I recently concluded that I was in a position to take on more work. I know — where did that come from, right? I’m pretty sure that of my last 20 Instagram posts, a solid 15 tend to how I’ve busy I’ve been. But in the name of adventure, excitement and new challenges, here I am.
I applied for a part-time freelance job [for which I was hired], and it involves heading into an office just two full days a week over an initial few weeks. The aim is to familiarise myself with the clients’ digital accounts and the team itself — after which I’ll be able to work remotely, the way I do with the remainder of my work.
I should note before I go on that 99% of my freelance jobs are regular and consistent work. Although more or less work may be required, when I refer to freelancing in this post [and in most other content on Currently Loving], I don’t refer to the struggle to get weekly jobs. Whilst I’m sure that this introduces an entirely new challenge [and potential con] to the freelance lifestyle, it’s not one I personally negotiate nor condone, in fact. After all, the stereotype of a freelancer displays work as unpredictable and financially unstable. Tip from me: if you’re going to go freelance, look for consistent or regular contracts. These will provide you with freedom, but also security [which let’s be honest, we all need to a certain extent].
Over the past couple of weeks, and for a couple more, I’m getting a taste for the office environment. Better yet, I’m relinquishing a chance to finally classify my thoughts on the 9-to-5 versus freelance lifestyle.
Until now, I’ve worked all summer in a café. I’ve interned from 9-to-5. Funnily enough, however, all my roles since being a student [both incidentally, and once I realised their value, purposefully] have seen my avoidance of “working life” that involves 8 hours at a desk and an 8.30am report time. I figure that it’s probably about time I experienced the lifestyle that many of us live everyday.
What’s ideal about this little transition period is not solely the opportunity to experiment — but the opportunity to share it! Consider this another attempt of mine to be informative / strategically opinionated, for whoever wishes to indulge in my notoriously-millennial content. Without further ado, the pros and cons of the 9-to-5.
PRO: Office chit-chat.
Okay, so obviously if you work as a freelancer [unless you’ve got freelancer friends, who you somehow manage to be productive alongside] you’re probably going to lack somewhat of a social environment when it comes to work. For me, this has never been an issue. I consider myself a pretty outgoing, forward individual — so I’m content to pursue my social life in other realms that aren’t work [say, through my blogging]. I’m also very likely to break my day up between seeing friends, sharing phone calls and talking to strangers in cafés [after all, I very rarely spend my entire working day at home].
I suppose it depends on the type of person you are: whether you’re naturally social and well-acquainted with directing your social scene, or whether you need to be forced into socialisation. If the latter better describes you, an office environment is probably a good idea. There’s no doubt that the everyday chats provide a bit of unpredictable amusement that can certainly lift a dull [or even exciting] afternoon of work ahead.
To socialise, for most of us, provides a great source of happiness. What’s more, it’s satisfying to be apart of a collaborative environment. To share a good morning with someone — and for them to [pretend or not] care about how you slept or what you watched or what you had for dinner. This is nice. Necessary? Again, it depends on the type of person you are, and where else you might [or mightn’t] source this nature of conversation.
PRO/CON: Increased levels of productivity.
I’d argue in some instances, that the 9-to-5 lifestyle has the potential to promote productivity. After all, we’re required to report at a certain time — whether this be 8.30am or 10am — and we’re not allowed to leave [wow, that escalated quickly] until approximately 5pm. For those of us who are likely to sleep in, to become distracted or to favour any other activity over work, this is ideal. It makes us accountable to someone else.
As a freelancer, you’re obviously accountable to getting certain work done, and usually by a certain deadline too. With that said, the way you negotiate the time prior to that deadline is up to you. So essentially, you’re accountable to yourself up until that due date. If your self-discipline is lacking, it might help to have your boss sitting just a desk away.
Because you’re obligated to be at a desk for majority of the 9-to-5 hours [and not really permitted to scroll your social feeds for a single one of them], you’re only option is to work. You’re going through a slump? Work. You’re feeling hungry after your break? Work. There really isn’t much of an alternative.
If you’re freelance and you’re fading, however, you could choose to do something else. Go for a walk. Do something creative. Make some food. Go workout. If you’re the type of person to take a break too far [whoops, did I just take the whole afternoon off?], you might find that freelancing backfires for you.
CON: Decreased flexibility.
If you’re apt at balancing freedom with work responsibilities, I’d argue the world is your oyster as a freelancer. And I mean that quite literally. You can essentially plan trips and travel whenever you want to — so long as you’re still working or have negotiated certain arrangements with your clients.
It also means that you have more flexibility in your day-to-day life. Week-day brunch with a friend? Totally an option. Mid-day workouts to enhance afternoon productivity? Absolutely. As a remote worker, you have the freedom to decide and negotiate how your days best look and/or operate.
For myself, if blogging opportunities arise — events, collaborations, etc — I’m able to take these on. All I have to do is ensure that I’m balancing both forms of work. Sometimes, this can actually increase my productivity. When I’m growing old with a client’s marketing task, I’ll curate some content for my blog. Instead of mucking around, I’m able to divert my attention to something entirely different in order to maintain my interest and productivity. I can even do something for me. This is perfect if you’re passionate about the growth of your side hustle.
In the case of the 9-to-5, you’re typically committed to devoting every hour to a single genre of task; to one job or one brand. Naturally, this limits a great deal of differentiation on our to-do lists. Some individuals will find this favourable. Others, like myself, who find stimulation in the creative or the analytical across differing moments, mightn’t favour it to the same extent.
What’s more, in order to travel or to take on other opportunities, 9-to-5 workers are required to ask for time off. You’ll likely have a cap on how often you can ask [before the guilt or the ill reputation sets in]. You’ll also have a limit to how long you can actually vacate for [even in the case you’re only leaving to pursue work-related commitments!].
Put it this way: when it comes to the 9-to-5, they call it a grind for a reason. And that’s usually because you have no choice or freedom from the grind. You simply must grind [at least, until 5pm].
PRO: Ease of work and home-life separation.
What I’ve learnt so far of the 9-to-5, is that against all odds, 5pm actually does arrive. And on the strike of the hour, you’re able to both literally and figurative clock off work. As a freelancer, however, you set your own hours — which again, represents both good and bad of the lifestyle.
We often discuss the lack of set location when it comes to freelancing as a positive thing. It can also be characteristically negative. After all, when your work isn’t attached to a certain place, you can literally do it anywhere. Let me say that again with slightly different inflections, so you can discern where I’m going with this. You can literally. Work. Anywhere.
Once again, this requires some serious ability to self-direct. Common questions you’ll ask yourself as a freelancer include: Was I productive enough today? Should I shut off at 5pm or keep working this evening? Should I be at home doing work right now? Should I answer that e-mail now or enjoy my weekend?
When you work from 9-to-5, the hours that don’t exist in that time bracket are yours to spend as you wish. That you can’t pick up work even if you wanted to, makes it less likely that you’ll, A) think about the work. B) Feel guilty about the work. And C), wind up doing the work. In terms of separating work and home life, this obviously makes it a whole lot easier.
To this day, I’m still attempting to work out that balance as a freelancer. I must admit [in the least cocky way, if you will] that I struggle little with motivation, being that I am both determined and hard-working. For this sake, I struggle more with deciding when to shut off. When it’s right to leave an e-mail for later. To accept that it’s me-time now.
That’s definitely one of the downsides of freelancing: that wherever you go, your work comes with you. And it’s a skill that we have to learn on top of our profession: to know when it’s right to leave it behind.
PRO/CON: Feeling all corporate and professional.
Much as you are — still corporate and professional — you don’t really get an utmost sense of this reality as a freelancer. I’ll admit, this is somewhat self-induced. I tend to gravitate towards the comfier of my smart attire on days I’m not meeting with anyone work-related. I suppose that I could opt out of comfort for corporate attire more often, if I really wanted to. The difference being it might feel a little bit senseless.
It is undoubtedly a perk that I can get away with wearing no make-up and comfy jeans, as a freelancer. That said, it also means I feel a little less like Andy in The Devil Wears Prada than perhaps I desire to [you know the part when she’s finally nailing things, and she looks all glamorous and she can now hold the coffees and the clothes and her phone at once? Yeah, you know].
You kind of feel like this when you’re heading into an office. Especially if you’ve decided to pick up a coffee. In that case, you’ve pretty much made it. You may as well turn around and go home. You’ve peaked.
Take it from me and every other lifestyle blogger that snaps their morning coffee: there is no more to corporate achievement than this moment.
CON: End-of-day fatigue.
For lack of a better way to put it, there’s something about the office environment that provokes the experience of extreme end-of-day fatigue. No wonder people return home from their day jobs and sit on the couch for the rest of the evening. It’s honestly all you feel like doing. After staring at a screen all day, with just a single break to properly move my body and divert my gaze, my eyes, and oddly enough, my body felt tired. I hit a wall far earlier in the evening than I usually would.
As a freelancer, I’ll often work into the evening quite happily. I’m usually go-go-go right up until dinner — whether I manage to fit in another workout,..