I’ve been through a few big changes recently.
I returned to New Zealand after two years living in the U.K.
I worked in the same sector in a different country, teaching three different classes in one calendar year. I even started playing team sports again. (And then tore the ligament in my ankle, which put an end to that… whoops, I really should have known.) I travelled Europe on my own.
But it was my time living and working in Scotland that I met the most inspiring, kind-hearted and generous people I had ever come across. I forged incredible friendships. They were friends not by default, but by choice. We had things in common, a similar sense of humour, similar interests. I was incredibly content, happy and to be honest, I felt very lucky.
You see I’ve always known it, but it was only when I left the U.K I really realised it to be true.
And that is, to be the best version of yourself, you need to surround yourself with the right people. People who inspire you, people lift you up. People who care for you and others, people who are kind. People who are genuine and don’t always think of themselves. Just genuine, good people. And so you see, because I was lucky enough to experience this, I changed. I was growing as a person, becoming a responsible citizen and reliable friend. A better version of myself. And I was enjoying it. I worked hard at it.
Now I’m back in Aotearoa and I’ve found re-assimilation hard. I knew I would. But I didn’t quite expect it to be as difficult as I have found it; I mean, I lived here beforehand! It’s been three months and I’ve lost myself a little. Which isn’t usually a great thing. I feel like I have no direction. I have ‘nothing’ to do, even though I’m always doing something. And I’ll be honest, I haven’t really gone out to try and find new friends. I’ve been busy with work, animals and catching up with old friends. I mean… I already think the ladies at the supermarket checkout think there must be something wrong with me. When I go in on a Sunday afternoon, I dance and sing up the aisles and then seem overly chipper when they ask me how my day is going. Sorry ladies, it’s just that I haven’t had any human contact in over 32 hours and I’m starting to go ever so slightly insane. So half the town probably thinks I’m nuts. So, anyway, I’m at a crossroad. I can continue to think that I’m not happy, or I can actually stop being a wet rag and actually get back to being happy. I need to get back to feeling like my positive self again.
So I posed myself the question:
What are my good qualities?
It’s a tough question. We, as woman, are often hard on ourselves. Sometimes a little too hard. Men – maybe you are as well? I wouldn’t know, I’m not one of you. But as woman, we know every single fault we have. ‘We’re not good at’ this, and ‘we need to work on’ that…
But do we know what we are good at? What do we perceive as our strengths? What are we good at? Because it’s the sum of the parts that make a whole. And if I know anything about myself, it’s that I am a positive person. So feeling lost and directionless is kind-of new to me. So to that end, here is my list. Here’s what I think I am/good at;
- I am positive (scarily so)
- I am caring
- I am loving
- I am resilient
- I am patient (most of the time)
- I am calm (most of the time)
- I am good-humored (that’s not to say it’s a good humour… just that I have one)
- I am supportive
- I am a good friend (because of many of these other attributes)
- I am super cuddly
- I am honest
- I am committed
- I am fiercely loyal
- I am (somewhat) creative
- I don’t take things too seriously
- I’ve got a pretty good bum
and the one we all like to think we are;
- I am fun (or at least, I like to have a good time)
This is not an exhaustive list. I’m sure there are other things that I am good at. But many of these attributes are umbrella-like in their nature. They can cover many aspects of life; they are not restrictive in any way. Except when it comes to the Carterton round-about. Oddly enough, that’s where my patience runs thin.
So with these qualities in mind, I also wondered…
How would my friends and family describe me?
Would they think the same as me? Do they see me the way I see myself?
So I asked them. In one sentence, how would you describe me? Well. Ask, and you shall receive…
- “Radge wee Kiwi” (Clearly not a Kiwi who wrote that one)
- “Quirky, fun, loving and caring friend”
- “Positive and quirky and a personality that’s wasted in a small town” (You’re telling me!)
- “Sexual that predators” (it’s a short, uninteresting story that relates back to a stream of consciousness I had during a Year 10 Social Studies lesson… Basically, I’m silly)
- “A loveable and loopy, constant giggle companion who can always see and inspire the positive. Caring and creative and a truly wonderful friend.” (That’s two sentences, however, I’ll allow it.)
- “An adventurous ball of energy, lovely and hilarious…”
- “Wonderfully talented and enthusiastic teaching friend who always lives close and yet too far away.” (Dammit, so correct!)
- “A fun loving, confident cousin who is the life of the party.”
- “A ridiculous, bubble fanatic, cat lady with a great arse who makes me feel loved as though I were a a fresh bag of mini doughnuts.”
- “You are sheer joy and when something makes you happy you treasure it like a kid on Christmas morning.” (Incredibly true, you should have seen me when someone bought me a shark cookie cutter…)
I’m not sure what I learned more from this list… That my friends think I’m a little bit loopy, or if they’re almost as loopy as me.
I think, as it turns out, my friends know me well. Many of the things they wrote I already knew about myself… but they see it in me too, which is great. It’s a confirmation. That makes those attributes my strengths.
What I love, is that these people value me and my friendship enough to answer my question. Most of you may think I’m a bit bonkers, but you (clearly) appreciate that in me. I mean… who else is going to stop a political debate between friends by taking their clothes off? I need to have some purpose!
So to those of you who wrote in, thank you. You are brilliant, and I love you. Because those are two of my attributes; loving and honest.
So with that in mind, I am going to move forward. It’s time to get back to being positive, time to get back to making and thinking the best of of every situation. And it starts now.
Except the vacuuming. I’m not sure I’ll ever feel good about having to do the vacuuming.