Sunday, 26 April 2015

Mending broken things (and thoughts about Pumpernickel)

The last few weeks have been a bit of a challenge for me. Not just with the acceptance that life as we know it is going to change, and rapidly, but with some kind of acknowledgement that trust isn't all it's cracked up to be.

I don't care if it's been glued back all pretty, it's just not the same.
There's been a few events that have happened that has made me think 'okay, what just happened here?' I won't go into them, but basically, it's reminded me of the simple fact that you can only really rely on a few people. And that is it.

I think I've written before about accepting being lied to. Lying is something I can usually excuse, but making choices based on honouring other friendships above another are not okay. Understating facts is not okay. Faking perfection is not okay.

With some soul searching and some pretty good d&ms, I've arrived at my own conclusions. Most importantly, asking someone to change is usually unreasonable, and you can't ever control someone else's behaviour. Just because you see something as morally wrong, it is all relative. Swaying someone to your opinion happens, although rarely, and not usually by talking them into or out of anything. And, most of all - why am I putting trust into people who have broken it? Or not shown common respect and decency?

This is kind of vague, and for that I apologise.

I have made peace with myself about the situations which have really shaken me. But part of protecting your heart is saying no. It's really okay to be untrusting of someone, of their words and even, sometimes, their actions.

Care Bears Countdown... (I am getting old.)
A lot of people have reminded me that once Pumpernickel arrives, friendships and relationships will change a lot. In some ways, I am kind of relieved about this. It's not so much about finding out who your 'true friends' are, just identifying people who want to be part of your life. I received something really encouraging from one of my nearest and dearest today and I have throughout the past week or so. Sometimes when I have had problems getting along with other people who have children themselves, someone will remind me that once we have our own family, things will be different, and we will have more in common. I am scared, and also excited.

Tomorrow we find out if we are having a bubby boy or a baby girl! We decided we wouldn't tell anybody, and how we are supposed to keep it to ourselves for 20ish weeks is beyond me (I can't stand suspense).

For most of May I'm co-ordinating the OSHC service I've been working in since Term 1. At this stage, I'm working up until the end of the July holidays, and then taking a bit of time off because my contract runs term to term. I spent yesterday making tablecloths and curtains, and today I bought a big toadstool seat for the nursery. At this stage we have a rockabilly baby on the way.

I have wrote a bit about how I haven't been keen to be out and about as much as usual. The last dinner I went out for (at NNQ) was uncomfortable - it was busy and I kept having to have my chair super pushed in. I love it all the same, because good company and excellent birthday cake, but still, going out once a week is enough for me. I don't really want to be at things I can't partake in either - like trips to Bounce, bar hopping or canoeing, because. I'm not trying to be difficult, I'm just cautious and I hate being fawned over.

I am so tired that instead of being unable to sleep because tomorrow is ultrasound day, I'll probably go to bed soon. Am I turning into an old lady?! All that aside, I am missing my skates a lot. In fact, I kind of want to pull them apart and clean them, etc, but... it might make me a little sad.

This is in Port Douglas, but it was a happy photo so I included it.
Although this entry has been kind of sad, I'm not sad at all. A lot of what has been happening in my world, well, the trust element of it, has thankfully been removed enough from my every day life that I can move on and worry about more pressing issues. I am blessed in that sense!

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Swap Girl Scout for Girl Guide and we're sorted.

My Gran asked me recently if Girl Scouts and Girl Guides are the same thing. We sure are! 'Girl Scouts' is a term we often hear in Australia because girls in the United States are called Girl Scouts, along with a number of other countries. Two things to remember: Aussies are Girl Guides, and we sell Guide Biscuits (not cookies). On a side note, Aussie girls who are Scouts are just Scouts (well, along with all the section names), and all Aussie Girl Guides are all Guides, we no longer have official section titles like Brownies or Rangers.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Total Eclipse of the Heart.

Honesty becomes me. (Or, this month, when I stopped lying about teaching.)

Although I have certainly been honest on my blog and with some of my friends, being truthful about my career in teaching (or, more to the point, lack of desire to teach in a classroom) as not been easy. In my new job I have met so many students studying teaching. The first day one of them said 'What, didn't you like teaching?' as if I was a crazy person. I made up some excuse and left it at that.

The thing is, I actually love teaching. I love being a teacher.

I don't love a lot of things about it. I don't love the injustice of it all. I don't love behaviour management, leadership struggles, politics, actual politics interfering with teaching, so called experts rambling about what teachers should be doing.... and so on.

What teachers do on weekends - mostly planning.

And I also worry about a lot of things about teaching. I worry about where my children will go to school, and more importantly, who will be teaching them, and will their needs be met. I worry about my friend suffering burn out and stress, I worry about contracts and permanency, and a whole bunch of other things.

And yesterday I lost it. I said Stephen had been doing relief work this week and she said 'Oh, well teachers make a lot of money.'

'Trust me, he earns every dollar.' And I left. Because, truth. You're talking about a profession. You have to be rgiestered and you have to be qualified through a university, with a minimum of four years study. Yes, that includes people who do post graduate study to teach.

It's not just that though.
'Sometimes I expect a tumbleweed to come rolling past.' - a quote of one my my students!
Sensitive me who doesn't like particular scents and textures, hates almost everything about the school environment. Schools are rarely clean places. They are too cold in winter and two hot in summer. Yard duties are horrendous. You can't even go to use the facilities whenever you please (because, legally, your duty of care is to the children and not your own bladder). My first long term contract was in a school, in a transportable classroom that was filthy, had minimum windows and a heavy wooden door with no window. I didn't feel safe in that environment.

And I love kids. All these things aside, I do. I love the quirky kids, and the kids who don't get it, and the really cheeky ones, and the ones who cry every day for whatever reason. It's not that I don't love them, but love just isn't enough to keep you in a job.

When I made my decision not to go back, Mum said that I have about forty more years of my working life to go, and there's no point being miserable in it. And I was miserable a lot of the time. It showed in every way possible.

For a long time I've been seeking out different ideas and trying new things. Right now I'm enjoying doing OSHC work, but I'm also grateful I'm having a bubba and not having to work there forever. My long term dreams have also included being an author and being a 'cookies and milk mum', and both of those are, well, kind of realistic.

The Year 5 Funky Chickens.
It has been hard being honest, and a lot of the time they ask me why. My main reason, is, I don't enjoy it. It wasn't for me. I have loved some schools and really disliked other contracts. I love kids. I love teaching, but I don't like all the stuff that goes with it.

I think I have given it a good bash. Four years in a career you don't really enjoy is long enough, at least I think so. and I don't want to put other people off. Plenty of people finish teaching degrees and don't pursue that career path which is totally fine.

At the end of the day, it isn't so much about happiness, or self fulfillment or job satisfaction. It's about the ability to stay healthy. I wasn't healthy as a teacher, and my work probably reflected it. All that aside, I am so grateful for some of the most wonderful and caring colleagues I have every had the privilege of working with. I am grateful for the opportunity to live in the Mid North and on Yorkes, and for friendship and for wonderful opportunities. I am glad teaching helped bring Stephen and I together and that it's something I can support him in. And so, here endth the lesson. It's been bittersweet, kids. Very bittersweet. But I'll take the good with the bad. 

Friday, 10 April 2015

Some things I learnt about rereading journals, and getting over your own embarrassing life story.

Yesterday and today I spent a few hours flipping through old journals. I loved reading notes from my friends and the weird and wonderful things I had stuck in there.

My journals, for the most part, have really only been about me working out issues. I mostly only write in them when I have something on my mind and don't want to sort it out with anyone's help (or, tried and failed). Sometimes though I felt compelled to record stuff that happened in my own life that I probably didn't need to. It felt clunky and awkward at the time, especially when writing about my Pa or things going on at uni that I wasn't dealing with very well. Sometimes I want to tear those pages out, it's not like I won't remember those times.

An aspect of my biggest journal (I'd say at least 250 thin pages, and it spans from 2003-2009) I don't like is that I've recalled events and times spent with people who I have nothing to do with now, and didn't really at the time. I know why I did that though, the same reason I'd qualify doubts at the end of long passages about lurve, and it's because I thought I should. I lied to myself quite a bit, and that really wasn't very fair.

Journals though are only one side of the story. I know that whatever comes my way probably won't be recorded in quite the same flurry as the journals I kept in high school and university - especially seeing as I would sit up in bed before going to sleep to write them. Stephen and I had a quick chat today about how we feel about Pumpernickel's life being captured on social media, and we know that we don't want a lot posted but we also don't know how to monitor it with other people posting stuff. I don't care too much about offending people (though let's be honest, it won't be my own family I am offending), but I do care about not being grumpy cat about it.

Some things I discovered about life, or rediscovered, are as follows.

1. Love is incredibly hard to describe or justify.
Why do you love someone? Who the hell knows! Seriously.
I have lists of all the reasons I told myself why I loved someone, and probably what I loved most was not even the idea of love, but the idea of not losing them. This is dumb.
Sometimes, as especially as a teenager, I'd feel like it wasn't okay not to like someone (romantically or otherwise) because they previous actions had said 'Hello. I am a Good Person.' Even if that person was a crazy person who burned down your house and ran over your cat, it took me a long time to say 'I don't love them. Hey, I don't even like them very much'.

2. Heart break exists, but probably not as we traditionally know it.
I have always said I have had my heart broken twice, though it's actually three times. For me, heart ache was supposed to be like Josie Alibrandi and Jacob breaking up at the end of the book, spending an entire week listening to sad songs. In reality, heart break exists, but it means totally different things for different people. The longest funk I had been in was for four nights, and it was the worst pain I have experienced. Even Heidi was worried. That's a concern when your cat is worried.

My journals pointed to the fact that logically I should hate whoever had broken my heart that week, and I'd often make lists of good reasons not to like someone. Most of the time they weren't even reasons at all.I'd also make lists comparing apples to oranges, which you just can't, or overstate one person's worthiness as a crush over another's.

Like I said is number 1, I wish I had worked this out sooner rather than later. It, whatever the bad situation may be, is always harder than the break up itself.

3. Everyone had flaws, except those who don't love you back.
In high school I had a massive crush on my best friend Simon. He is really is the best person you'll ever meet. In fact, if I hadn't just written about justifying romantic interests, I'd say in terms of good crushes to have, he was probably the most worthy. The thing about Sim and I is that he always knew I had this massive crush on him, but we stayed friends anyway without getting too weird about it. Looking back his reasons for not going out with me, which included 'you're Christian' and 'I go for looks (or half looks, half personality)' were pretty honest. Also, and fortunately, we had no chemistry whatsoever, which a lot of people have assured me (including my own husband) is really important.

4. Saying stuff like 'wow, I deserve my relationship because this and this happened' is so dumb.
Reading these journals now are really interesting, because I have about seven that I have reread and only two of them have anything written about Stephen. It would be so easy to compare Stephen to other things or qualify bad stuff happening so that we could be together, but we are really talking about two worlds colliding right at the end of young adulthood. The simple fact is that we didn't know each other, and I had wrote about him pretty often after we met. I don't really believe in fate and destiny now days, and I don't believe that going through tough times entitles you to anything other than people cutting you some slack. And to be honest, I have had a reasonably easy life. You can't make up for the bad times by having someone new enter the picture. Maybe I'll change my point of view eventually, but for now, apples and oranges are not up for comparison.

5. You don't have to romanticise death for it to still impact your life.
I hope it's okay to write this, and I'm kind of sorry if it's not, but.
One of the most interesting things about rereading my 2001 journal was reading some stuff about my first boyfriend who passed away in 2003. It's sometimes strange to read about Paul and who he was at that time, and also read about how I liked him, then got obsessed with him after we broke up, then started being embarrassed to even see him. It's interesting reading that because it tells me he was alive, and was, for the most part, just an ordinary teenage boy who wore an orange hat and liked computer games. After he died I felt bad that I had been mad for so long, even though we were on friendly terms by them. Every now and then I would write down quotes from songs with 'RIP Paul' scrawled underneath. That makes me cringe a little. It's not something I'll forget, and I don't know why I felt I had to write it. The other thing is that although he was my first boyfriend, and we went out for a whole month, we were never close and not really friends to begin with. I feel uncomfortable about it. The whole thing. I really do. The thing is, Paul and a few years later a girl I was at Tabor with passed away, and I felt like I should be closer to them, and to feel pain about it. Those deaths were always a little one step removed for me, which is okay, but the guilt of not feeling sad enough sometimes got to me.

This is crazy. I can't believe I said that.

Although. Truth.

6. No one will want to read your journals, and those who do, shouldn't.
I'm pretty big on having a lot of personal space and a lot of time to be introverted. I like people, a lot, and I like crowds and music and all that kind of stuff. The few times I have willingly shared parts of my journal with people, it's been too much for them, it's been used against me (though, in fairness, writing a long list of things you don't like about someone is pretty mean and probably shouldn't be shown to anyone) or it's a little bit hilarious. Let's be honest, some of the dumb stuff that you say, thing or do really is funny.

As a child, and by child I mean I was four at the time, I said 'I'm saving all my Barbies so my little girl can play with them!' This is a sentiment I have kept, so unfortunately Mum and Dad have had to keep two suitcases of Barbie stuff, along with Matt's dinosaurs and Trent's trains and Pokemon thingies. As a teenager I thought it would be great if the same future little girl read my journals. No no no. Someone needs to burn them after I die. Please. How embarrassing.

7. Writing a good journal entry is about description and reflection.
My favourite entries are recollections, followed by how I felt about those situations. For me, it was really fun reading about dates Stephen and I had when we first got together and seeing quotes and silly things he had said (actually, this he still says).
This week, I asked Stephen some advice, and it's kind of timely - it's basically about making meaning out of an observation. Why did I like doing this or that? How did I feel at the time? You don't need to write it that way, in fact flowerly language is almost always much better to write in. What made this moment matter?

8. Songs and events are sometimes really good to capture.
My journals have plenty of song lyrics and sometimes refer to current events. It says something like 'this world is much bigger than you'. That's not a bad thing. Not at all.

9. Don't take everything you read to heart.
I have made this mistake so many times.
"Remember when you said this?"
"I never said that!"

I remember things people have said, and sometimes I try and make it mean something else. Or, I see something as way more important than it actually is. I remember once being really upset that Steve got really into horror movies. This is all based on the fact that anything the least bit supernaturally makes my head go funny. I was appalled, annoyed and so frustrated. But, really, the truth has come out and plenty of my mild manner friends are into some of the weirdest stuff out there that I'd never even dream of watching. The verdict - people say and do things, and it's their justification that matters, not yours.

Also, the last few months I have forgotten doing or saying things. One such example is that Stephen remembers me saying 'It's really important to know your past' while sharing a testimony at youth. I also told them all I liked belly dancing. Neither of these things are a lie, and they are true about me, but belly dancing isn't very important to me anymore and I really don't remember saying the first bit.

10. Forgiveness is a good thing.
Sometimes I will read about something that happened year ago (especially things from high school) and I will still be mad about it! The thing is that once someone leaves your life, or mostly leaves it, there is no room to fight with them about it anymore. One piece of advice we were given on our wedding day was 'don't go to bed angry, stay up all night and fight!' We haven't ever had to stay up all night (or even half of it), but I have never gone to bed angry. So why be angry with memories of people who are still, like, 16 years old (in my head) and 28 (in reality). Lissy, you so crazy.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Updates, updates. and also, thinking about being a mum.

Today I broke a few of my own rules and took myself on a date for brekky and buying some clothes for winter. I now have a few dress, a long sleeve red t-shirt and an oversized cardigan thingy. I also started reading a new BSC book which I have been trying to track down for ages. Yay, go me.

I have to say the last few weeks I have been a slight hermit. I haven't been out a lot, other than work and Guides, and I haven't wanted to go out. I've bailed on a few social opportunities which I would usually be like 'yes please' to. I feel almost frustrated at the idea that staying home is boring and anti-social, but when you're trying to save money and you have a perfectly well stocked kitchen, why go out for meals if you don't have to? Last year I was very much the opposite, so it's kind of nice for me to just have some time to make things and do a whole heap of resting (and some nesting!).

Being 'the pregnant' (as Stephen calls it) as turned me into a huffy puffy person and disappointingly other than having abnormally size bazookas, I look just like I always do with a bit more of a round tummy. Other than someone weirdly giving my belly a pat a few months ago when I didn't even look pregnant, I have only had one person ask if I was pregnant and it was a girl who is at OSHC every day. A lot of my friends aren't parents but have given me a lot of advice about what happens with their nephews/nieces which is confusing to say the least.

On Friday I was having terrible stomach pain so I went to visit my good friends at Flinders who decided I might have something wrong with my gall bladder. Oh, yay. I am also highly relieved there is nothing wrong with the bubba (or Pumpernickel) and I got to see him/her on the ultrasound screen for a very short time. This was super exciting! Our anomaly screening is at the end of April and we plan to find out if we are having a boy or girl, but also don't plan on telling anyone, because, more fun. I enjoyed walking around shopping today but finally had a good reason to use the 'boyfriend seat' outside shops, because I may have over exerted myself just a little. Shopping does that to people.

Work is good and I've got a few days working as the coordinator which will be fun, but also challenging. Most days our service has between 40-60 kids which seems crazy until you consider that's 2 or 3 classes put together, then it doesn't seem so bad. I don't know when I will finish up and I find most tasks reasonably easy. I love cooking and catering for them every day, but I am really struggling with picking up stuff from the floor and not having enough time just to sit down. The kids are mostly great, and the ones that aren't can be excused because they rarely come to OSHC and don't know the rules (or the rules changed since last year).

Guiding is a little hectic for me. I had am amazing time at camp qualification weekend, but I am helping with two Units, and that can be hard. I like the girls at both and the activities we do are great but I am also struggling with work then Guides until late enough at night. Some weeks I also have Olave stuff so that's three nights out in a row for me. That's not so bad now that Stephen has futsal and football again, but I get tired, hungry and sometimes a bit sick. The main Unit I am working with has two other pregnant leaders there (they are due a few months before me), and I think we will probably just have our own Mothers Club there on Thursday nights.

Being a future mum is a bit scary for me. Lots of reasons.
I have said this before, I am not at all a clucky person. I am mostly scared of other people's babies. This isn't even me over-exaggerating. I don't know what do do with crying babies (and they always seem to cry when I am handed them to cuddle or whatever I'm supposed to do). But I like children in general. When Trent was a bubba he was ultra cute and the only annoying things we had to help with were putting on his socks which he would continuously kick off or entertain him on road trips. The thing was, Trent didn't stay little for long. Soon enough he was in messing up my stuff and being a painful toddler child. But he was so gosh darn cute that you couldn't be mad at him. (PS- I'm sorry if you ever read this Trent.)

I am worried, and I know, I will get plenty of things wrong. I have got enough wrong in this pregnancy, like only eating things I like, though fortunately I like broccoli and I have also grown out of my packet pasta phase. Other than eating dumb things, I have seem super careful top the point that my poor head desperately needs to be recoloured and the only solution we can come up with is to have it cut short. Despite assurances that I can have red wine, I still haven't had any (never really liked it in the first place) and I don't want to leave the country.... just in case.

I kind of get things a bit better now. I wouldn't say I have lots of dreams for Pumpernickel, other that he or she is happy and has am amazing life. I hope that I have a Guide or Scout and that they don't have my poor dodgy eyes so they can do things like catch balls and estimate distance. And I hope that they make their own choices, so they if they want to be a Scour or not, or play piano or not, or be on the stage or not... that they are always free to choose 'not'. I also kind of get why my family was so stressed about my trip away last year by myself. Would I want future Pumpernickel to do all the things I have done and made the same mistakes, or at least have choices made for them that they have to react to? Of course not. But, also, Pumpernickel hasn't even been born yet so who wouldn't be ultra protective of such a child? 

All this time, and by that I mean 18 weeks (well, 13 if you include the time I didn't know about Pumpernickel) I have thought about awesome things my Mum did for us when we were little, things like taking us to the playground with breakfast from the bakery, making teepees and cubby houses for us, Friday video nights (mmm, better not call it that anymore), making things for us including plenty of costumes and doing canteen duties. Mum also did family day care and she was always taking the kids (and Matt and I) on excursions places like to Tower Hill or looking at rock pools or... well, wherever really!

Sometimes Stephen and I talk about our childhoods, and his was very different to mine, which makes perfect sense seeing as I was a country kid and all. Matt and I had a lot of freedom, we would walk to the Milk Bar, or go and see our neighbours and often my friends and I would go to the little park near us for a play or walk up to the shops. Dad also made us this incredible billy cart which we would take to the top of our hilly street and race down to the bottom of the hill.  Stephen took music lessons and played non contact sport, but I did Speech and Drama lessons and tried a whole heap of primary school sport (none of which I was good at, even though I did like hockey) but I also roller skated every weekend for about four years. I miss skating. I have a feeling our child's life will be very different to the ones that we led and that's not such a bad thing.

I've rambled enough and I need to go to work. Thanks anyway Blogger. You are a real friend. Now I have said all of this stuff, hopefully it can unclog my poor brain a little bit more.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

His wounds have paid my ransom (or Some Basic Easter Theology by Lisa)

Every year my social feed feed is clogged up with some Easter messages, some amazing and some, well, a little it theologically el-wrongo (at least in my opinion). This is the long message I posted in response to such messages last year:

You may have heard that Jesus died to take away our sins. This explains only part of his death. Jewish people had to atone for their sin (anything breaking the Laws set by God) according to their wealth, which meant a poor person would have to sacrifice food, while a wealthy person may have to sacrifice their best cattle. Jesus' death was a prophesy throughout the Old Testament. Essentially His death was inevitable, and was made as an atonement for our sins. It is because of this sacrifice that we can have a relationship with God, free of condemnation and full of grace. To repent of your sin is important, and to live by grace is a two-way street, and shouldn't be a gift taken lightly. We are blessed.

The Story of Easter, and by story I don't mean fiction, is well known but not always well understood. What is often spread about the Easter story is that Jesus came to earth to save us from our sins. Let's break that down a little bit.

The Apostle's Creed states:
I believe...
And in Jesus Christ, his only Son our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, dead, and buried.
He descended into hell.
The third day he rose again from the dead.
He ascended into heaven,
and sits at the right hand of God, the Father almighty,
from thence he will come to judge the living and the dead.

Jesus had a short time of what we would term as ministry on Earth of about three years. That's incredibly short. Jesus' life and death is prophesied in the Old Testament of our Bible, pointing to a coming Messiah would would save the Jewish people and help restore the relationship with God they once had.

When we talk about Jesus saving us from sin, or 'taking our place on the cross', sometimes I think this can become a little bit understated. Before the crucifixion of Christ, the Jewish people had to atone for their sins, sacrificing what was most precious to them, which is both completely sad and fascinating all at once. It is thought that the death of Jesus, and his subsequent resurrection brings closer to the need to atone for sin anymore, which means that Jesus brings justification to people and God so that they can be in relationship with one another.

Easter brings a time of sorrow, the death of Jesus, followed by a time of great joy, which includes His resurrection, further ministry and ascension to Heaven.

Choices, choices.

I intend on following this up with a theological blog on the Easter narrative, for no particular reason other than that's my next train of thought. Choo-choo.

The last week or three I have been thinking a lot about choices, and a little bit about fighting, or choosing not to. Which is, again, a choice. Last year I wrote about how few regrets I have, though lately I have been reconsidering that. It started a few Fridays ago when I went to the SACE Art Show, and I realised how much time and talent I wasted pursuing things that didn't captivate me the same way that creating pretty much anything does. Unfortunately I love cutting up bits of paper and fabric and anything else you can think of. I say unfortunately because no one else in my family is a fan of the mess I make. I digress.

I will be honest. I have made some really weird, and let's face it, stupid, choices that haven't always been well thought through, or have been and the easiest option has been taken, forgetting all about the road less travelled. In some cases, like travelling to India by myself, those choices have been challenging and rewarding. In other cases, like taking on jobs I knew I hated instead of waiting for better options, those choices have not been well thought through.

What I have discovered though are two things about my choices. Firstly, I almost always think about other people first, which is sometimes good, but mostly a terrible decision. No one else gets to live your life other than you, so why choose someone else, or their ideas or ideologies over your own? Even though it's rhetorical, I do have an answer. It's because I'm a people pleaser, and at the end of the day I have some twisted priorities, or at least I have. I am easily guilt tripped, I tend to have a saviour complex and I hate disappointing people. As I've got a little older, I have became a little wiser, but not by much.

Secondly, I think my choices, almost all of them, would have still led me to this life which I'm now living. When you think about changing time, a la Back to the Future, we don't often take into account that what is right for us isn't always right for the people around us. My first big decision, which was which high school I would go to, was actually a really hard choice. In the end I chose my school because they had a good drama program and I already had some of the uniform. This was not a good
reason to choose going there, not really, and I still went anyway. I probably would have been a lot happier with the few friends I had going to the other choice of school.

Other than choosing friends, and some unfortunate boyfriend experiences, my life was pretty sweet until I had to make some choices about moving out of home, and helping fund my way through a uni degree that I somewhat now regret. I will say one thing though. Other people's choices probably changed my destiny and here is why.

I had applied for two jobs at some boarding schools and I was led to believe that I had one. Wrong. On Christmas Eve they phoned and said they gave the job to someone else. So, that meant I had to find a few flat and find a new job. On Christmas Eve. (I tend to have quite dramatic Christmas festival holidays.) So, on a whim I typed 'youth work' into the CareeOne search page, when it was still actually good, and found a job which I was eventually awarded, at Port Adelaide UC. Which is, as everyone knows, where I met Stephen.
This is what I signed up for?! (Actually, probably one of the best days of my life)
Would I have met him anywhere else though? He went to Magill, and I only had two subjects there the year before, and we didn't have the same majors. Stephen and Narelle were running the youth group until I was appointed, and I remember everything about the first day we met, including what he was wearing, and the fact that although he was pretty good looking, he was way too young for me, which he isn't actually (two years is nothing really).  There is a lot more to the story than that, including another two years, some teaching contracts, missed opportunities and other people just generally being in the way, but you get the idea, a whole bunch of choices led to something good.

Back to what I was saying though.

If I have regrets, and I do have some, I would say the majority of them are about how I have treated people, or let people treat me. I have been a horrible friend at times. I was never really a great girlfriend (okay, maybe there is an exception there for my personal Harry Potter), I gave too much weight and thought to other people's beliefs, ideas and opinions. The thing is, that... well, making amends is often a fruitless and thankless exercise. Sometimes karma has played a part in making up for me being nasty to someone, that is if you believe in karma, which I don't. Sometimes you make amends only to find out all the things about a friendship that were bad enough to ruin it then, were bad enough to ruin it now. Sometimes you have Subway cookies with someone after being really nice to them and they say things like 'So-and-so would be so angry I am talking to you,' so consider yourself unlucky types of conversations. Sometimes you realise that no matter what you do, whatever you did in the first place was unforgivable enough for that person to never want you back in their life in any way, shape or form.

On the other hand.
It's okay to not fight anymore. Because, walking away is sometimes, really, the best option. At our wedding, my two friends spoke about how I was a fighter and a tough cookie. Sometimes being a tough cookie is less about being on the defensive, and more about letting whatever it is wash away. I have walked away from people, places and situations. I have few regrets about that. After going on stress leave almost two years ago, I have been reminded time and time again that I could have fought my reasonably forced resignation and gone onto the Work Cover scheme. It was not worth the fight, even if I am letting a whole bunch of people down who depend on other people's stress claims to help build a case against an employer. I don't have regrets now about that because I was unwell enough as it was, let alone having to fight against a self insured employer. Often in my volunteering life I hear of people not getting along and one party choosing to work away from the other. This is sometimes a good option, and we don't give people like that enough credit.

All of my choices have led me to where I am, right now. I am not entirely happy with my career choice, but I like my job, and I like my life, and my husband, and my cat and being a Guide. I like enough about my life to accept the bad choices with the good, because, well, they were worth it. Yes, really.