Confessions of a Confidante

Life. Analysed.

Broadening Your Horizons

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Life is busy, plain and simple. You might be someone who lives a fabulous existence, in a great city, with wonderful friends and still you don’t always get to enjoy it all. When 50 hours of your week are spent at work and 50 asleep, you’re only left with 68 hours for yourself. And even those are reduced by things like getting ready for work, commuting and going to the gym. Which leaves roughly 5 hours (sorry for all the math!) per day to kick back and unwind. For most people that time will be spent with their nearest and dearest or doing an activity that they know and love. While this is completely reasonable, it sometimes feels like a shame to not spend more time meeting new people, trying new things and really take advantage of what’s at your disposal.

But entering the world of the unfamiliar is not just about setting the time aside to do it. It’s about having the willingness and courage to try new things. Here are a few scenarios to help exemplify my point:

1. THE ASPIRING WRITER:

Current predicament: Loves to write, doesn’t have enough time to do it, no one to share it with and, like any artist, fears anticipated reactions.

Desire: To meet other writers with whom he/she can openly share work and improve.

Must be willing to: Join a free workshop in the city, take a few classes.

Must have courage to: Start a blog or self-publish in some way and brave the idea of opening up and sharing their work on a public platform.

2. THE HOPELESSLY SINGLE PERSON:

Current predicament: Single and not meeting the right people. Social but typically with an insular group of friends.

Desire: To meet new people but reluctant to step too far outside of comfort zone.

Must be willing to: Accept being fixed up by friends, join online dating sites and social groups where there’s the potential to expand their social circle.

Must have courage to: Actually put themselves out there and take a chance on something new- bearing in mind that it’s only one way to meet people and that their other approaches will still be relevant and necessary.

3. THE JOB SEEKER:

Current predicament: Working at a job that’s comfortable but under stimulating.

Desire: To use their brain and energy in a creative and stimulating environment.

Must be willing to: Network, use contacts, put themselves out there- ie. circulate CV, create a bit of an online presence, do something bold and brave (depending on the specific job).

Must have courage to: Go above and beyond, differentiate themselves in some way, apply for their dream jobs.

So you see there is a trend here, which is that it is fine to have the desire, but there needs to be a willingness as well. And with that willingness, the courage to take action. Because it’s the willingness and courage that separates those who achieve what they want in their lives from those who just dream about achieving it.

Meet Me At The Crossroad

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Ever feel like you aren’t quite sure what the heck it is you’re doing? Whether it be in life or love or career? It’s like all of a sudden we’re just expected to know which path we want to take, where it leads, how we’re going to get on it, and who we’re going to get on it with. But in actuality most of us don’t have the answers to any of those things. And while old people like to tell us we’re still young with our whole lives ahead of us, it doesn’t feel that way when some very critical life decisions are supposed to be made by the time you’re thirty.

We’ve been observing people our whole lives. Noticing the qualities we like as well as those we don’t. We’ve started to learn what we have patience for and what we don’t and our expectations of people start to form. But just because we’re starting to get a clearer picture of the things we want, it doesn’t mean that everyone we know and spend time with will fit exactly into that mold. After all, they’re still trying to create their own picture and find the things they want. Some people will do it in a way that everyone notices, throwing fits and experiencing emotional highs and lows that they feel they have no control over. Others will keep to themselves as if they are able to remain calm through any storm. But I assure you they are unleashing in their own, silent ways, because we’re all just taking it one day at a time. Figuring out who we are and trying not to screw anything too major up along the way. Trying not to ruin a good thing or waste too much time thinking and not doing.

The truth is, twenty-somethings are at a crossroad. A time when they feel like adults, but are still desperately trying to hold on to their youth. A time when you always feel like you’re at one end of the spectrum- sorted for the rest of your life- or so far from it you may as well be sixteen.

There is no answer to this one, it’s just a time we all must face. The best advice I can give is to have the confidence in yourself to trust that things will work out. That you’re a good person who deserves good things. That you’re not easily brought down and that if this doesn’t work out, something else will.


Escapism

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What happens to people when the lights are turned down? When they get to hide behind a mask at a costume party? When they have the excuse of alcohol to defend their loss of inhibition?

In the dark, we all become braver. People forget who they are, where they are and the responsibilities they have. They are invisible. Better yet, they are someone else.

This past weekend, I thought I would experience the dark world of S&M. Not because I am interested in it, or because I am interested in people who are interested in it. But because the night was proposed to me and I thought it would be a fascinating experience. My friends and I dressed up in our most dangerous outfits. We were the vixens of the night. When I arrived at the underground cave in the dangerous part of London the event was hosted in, I realised, we were the only ones in costume. Everyone else had come as their truest self. After a drink my nerves began to calm and I looked around me to see people at their freest. People who could live out their fantasises and fetishes without judgement being cast upon them. Bankers who evidently felt most comfortable in a dress and heels, school teachers, in latex and chains.

The hard core sounds of electro music came up through the floors and released every inhibition anyone in that room could have possibly felt. People tripped out on drugs, music, sex, violence and the idea of doing it all in public. It was the epitome of escapism. And while it may not have been my thing, or something that I will ever return to, it was interesting to see the extremes people will go to when told that they are safe. That their secrets are safe, that their identities are protected.

We all have fetishes, things we feel and want, things we can’t live without. The question is, how far do you have to go to get them?

Turning Tables


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It is truly amazing how quickly the tables can turn in a relationship. How much power can shift, and roles become confused. Grown ups say that they don’t want to have to play games, but that is exactly what they always end up doing because, when vulnerable, we all want to come out on top. We want to be the challenge, the more sought after of the two. People aim for equality in relationships, but it appears that’s not the case during the chase.

So how does it happen? How do we go from being the desirable one, the one they’d be lucky to have, to being the one making all of the effort?

One possible answer is that we can’t get enough of the attention. It is most certainly true that distance makes the heart grow fonder and that people want what they think they can’t have. So it’s only normal that when we’re all cool and unavailable they are going to be jumping through hoops trying to get us to notice them. And once we recognize what they’re doing it’s hard not gloat in it all. Problem is, sometimes when we allow ourselves to stand in the spotlight for too long, they get tired of looking. Suddenly our biggest admirer appears indifferent, which in turn makes us the one suddenly jumping through hoops.

Another possibility is that we are looking for love, but have just had our guard up for so long, it seems like we’re unobtainable. Again, the initial intrigue is there for them. Our guard is up, making us seem uninterested and therefore more desirable, but as we start trusting them more, down comes our guard and the playing field levels. In fact, it might even tip slightly, as we, for the first time in a while, are starting to open up and show some love, which- given that we’re awesome- is probably more than most people are capable of giving.

In the end it feels like we’re playing a big game of snakes and ladders, where one second we’re climbing to the top and the next second we’re falling down. I am convinced that there is no way around this. Love is a dance after all. Sometimes we lead, sometimes we follow, sometimes we support and other times we’re supported. So try not to over-think it too much, just close your eyes and dance.

When, if ever, is it okay to cheat?

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Before I find myself on the receiving end of scoffs and eye-rolls, let me preface this entry by saying that I am a believer in monogamy and I choose to surround myself with honourable people. Of course, we have all heard stories or found ourselves in situations where we or the friends we respect are doing less than honourable things. Here I will outline a few scenarios where one might easily find themselves going against their morals. The question is, is it okay?

Scenario One: When you’ve gotten too comfortable:

Last week I wrote about comfort zones and how they can sometimes hold us back. While I would like to believe that a person tired of their current relationship and ready to move on with someone else, could do just that, it tends not to be that simple. Most of the time people want to believe that things in their relationship will change, so they hang on to it. Or they’re committed in other ways- children, house, lease, family, friends- the list goes on. Maybe the relationship is over, or maybe they just need to reignite their flame.

Scenario Two: Self-destructive behaviour:

I generally don’t buy it when I hear this one, but I suppose it is possible that some extreme type personalities like to challenge the limits of every good thing that comes their way, including the relationships that they find themselves in. They feel themselves growing closer to a person, get scared and then do the exact opposite of what one should do in that situation- they come close to ruining it. It’s as if by being with someone else they will know how they feel about their partner. Or that by knowing how their partner would react when they find out they were cheated on, makes it easier to move forward with the relationship.

Scenario Three: When someone unexpected walks into your life:

I would say that many of us have found ourselves in the situation where we are happily involved and then all of a sudden someone new comes into our life and we’re immediately drawn to them. Perhaps they remind us of something or someone we used to know and we can connect with them on a level we can’t with anyone else. Or maybe they ignite something inside of us that we cannot ignore, or maybe they’re just so different, it’s a little bit exciting. It can be tough when our world becomes derailed, but I believe that those who want to stay on track, will.

Scenario Four: The Ex-factor:

For many people, some of their greatest loves were experienced during high school, at a time when you probably thought you might be together forever. And sure enough, you still kinda are, because these people just keep popping up at every stage of your life. Whether you’re single or not, it almost doesn’t seem to matter when it comes to this particular ex, because your relationship isn’t real, it’s a shoulder to cry on. Trouble is, sometimes the strongest shoulders are attached to the arms of our best friend, and if you couple that with amazing sex, you’ve got yourself a tricky little affair.

So what do you think? Is it ever okay to cheat?

Stepping Out Of Your Comfort Zone

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They’re called comfort zones for a reason, because they protect us from harm. But sometimes what we’re hiding from is perceived harm, rather than actual danger. Risks can and should be calculated- after all, there is a difference between being impulsive and being stupid. But in many instances, those people who never leave their comfort zones end up missing out on a lot of great opportunities and experiences.

Taking the step out of your comfort zone and into the real world is what makes you an adult. That’s when real life starts happening, but the question is- are you ready for what real life has to offer? There will be great things I promise, but there will also be let-downs and hardships. But with every victory comes defeat so just hang tight, greatness is on the horizon.

I always find it a bit sad when someone isn’t willing to try something new, something different. All they can think of is every possible thing that might go wrong, every piece of security that they’ll lose if they go for something or someone else. The thing is, they wouldn’t be so dependent on that security if it existed within themselves.

There are steps that must be taken at every stage of one’s life to prepare them for leaving their comfort zones. These steps include a proper education so that you’re always employable, a sense of self worth, so that you never allow yourself to be taken advantage of, and trust, so that you stop looking at the world as place that will chew you up and spit you out and start looking at it as a place that will invite you in, and every now and then, even embrace you.

With that confidence in yourself and the people that surround you, you can be unstoppable. You are armed and ready to do anything that you choose. And I can promise you that what you’ll choose won’t be a job that you hate, a relationship that has no more passion, or a lifestyle that makes you feel rotten. No what you’ll choose, is a job that is challenging and rewarding, a relationship that is full of love and respect, and a lifestyle that is full of adventure and new opportunities.

So take the step, because the grass really is greener outside of your comfort zone.

I Want What She Has

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It seems that we live in a paradigm, where no matter how much we have, no matter how good we have it, we always want more. If all that meant was that when we got the job as Editorial Assistant we immediately wanted to become Editor, or after we ran the 5 mile marathon, we started training for the 10, that would be fine. But unfortunately, that is not all that it means.

It’s a thirst that’s never quenched, a desire that’s never satisfied, an unhappiness that never lets go. After some time, our reality can become very skewed, and our perspective almost permanently off. This can turn into the sort of anger and self-loathing that is really unpleasant to be around. Because people in these states can quickly grow bitter and jealous, two very ugly characteristics. They all too often put people down because they simply want what the other one has.

We are molded to be judgemental and as a result people don’t even realise when this happens to them. They don’t hear their own negativity.

I know that it feels impossible, but try to separate yourself from everyone else. If you believe that achieving something will make you proud, and then you achieve it- feel proud. If you are comfortable with the way you look then go out and be beautiful. Because life is not about how you rank next to him or her, it’s about the person you are and how far you’ve come.

Bob Dylan once said, “all I can do is be me, whoever that is”, and I advise that you do the same. The world will thank you for it.

Learn Something New Every Day

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Apart from the inevitable death, it seems the biggest fear of many people is boredom. Perhaps they fear their own boredom or perhaps they fear making other people feel bored. I personally take comfort in knowing, that every day we learn new things, we face new challenges, and as a result, life is rarely boring, just as the countless dinners you are destined to share with that one special someone for the rest of your life won’t be boring.

This is a nice thought, but of course, we don’t learn new things every day. We might from reading the newspaper or looking deep within ourselves to analyse what one event means to us, what one hiccup at work says about our character or how it can lead us down a path to self-improvement, but most days for most people, feel exactly the same as the day before did.

While some take comfort in the repetition, others feel suffocated by it. This is what often causes people to jump around between jobs, relationships, homes, even cities. I do think it’s important for people to always be challenging themselves, and if they find themselves in a situation where things are beginning to feel stunted, then it might be time to start planting seeds elsewhere, however, lessons are hidden everywhere. And while your job might not be filled with seasoned mentors dying to impart their wisdom, or new and exciting businesses to pitch to every day, you are learning. Maybe you’re learning to get better at one or two things by doing them every day. Maybe you’re learning how to manage upwards by setting deadlines for your boss and scheduling his time to help you improve. Or maybe you’re learning that you need to find stimulation outside of your 9-5, that personal and career development also comes from the way you choose to spend your free time.

A lot of life’s learning experiences come from the work we do for ourselves, which is why it is so important, especially in the earlier stages of your professional life, to dedicate time to expanding your skill set. This might mean time away from friends or social activities but it will ultimately contribute to your overall professional worth.

Those who make it their aim to learn something new every day will find a way to ensure that they do. Will you?

Robbed

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“The fear of burglars is not only the fear of being robbed, but also the fear of a sudden and unexpected clutch out of the darkness.” – Elias Canetti

Over the past few months I have shared advice with you on a variety of subjects I believe to affect us all- love, life, relationships, work… But today the advice I have to offer is slightly different. It’s inspired from a really hard lesson that I learned for the first time the other day.

This past Monday evening my house was robbed. I live with three other people and we all lost our computers, cameras, ipods, jewellery, cash, and pretty much everything else of value we owned. The costs we are to incur because of this are more than any of us can afford. Moreover the idea of having to go out and buy something we had already owned but were robbed of is an extremely frustrating one. But more than the loss of physical things, the act was an invasion of all of our privacy, and has left each of us feeling unsettled in our own home. Home is supposed to be the one place where we feel safe, and the knowledge that strangers- thieves- criminals were in there, rummaging through our belongings, makes it feel like anything but that.

I could use this post to remind you all to lock your doors, close your gates, and put bars on your windows, but that’s not the advice I am passing on today (although all good suggestions). No, the moral of this story is that we aren’t invisible. And that not all people are kind. When you choose to live in a big city, to run in the fast lane, you must be prepared for all that it comes with- the good and the bad. There are job opportunities to be had, life experiences to enjoy, and friendships to be made of course, but there are also new people to watch out for, new streets to learn, and new challenges to face. It is in these instances that we must take our heads out of the clouds and be aware of our surroundings. Because in the real world unfortunately, not everyone is looking out for us, not every area has a neighbourhood watch, and not every road and person on it, is paved with good intentions.

So be aware and be safe.

You Made Your Bed… So Lie In It

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We all knew cheats growing up. They were the smooth talking, cool kids, that took advantage of everyone and did exactly what they wanted. And worst of all, they were able to get away with it because they were attractive or popular or just really manipulative. Well, at least we thought they were getting away with it. But I am here to tell you that nobody ever gets away with anything long term. A wise man once told me, it takes an eternity to create a reputation, but only seconds to break one. Another wise man once told me, that he didn’t have to wish ill upon those who were cruel, because it was coming their way no matter what.

It is true. People who are dishonest, mean, selfish, or difficult are making their bed every day. We see them float through life with ease and it frustrates us because they simply do not deserve it. If that’s the case, we think to ourselves, then why do I waste so much damn time being good? The answer. You’re good, because that’s who you are, and life will thank you for it. It will thank you by giving you real friends, by not firing you from jobs, by granting you good luck. Moreover, you are good because you realise that it takes more energy to be mean and plotting than it does to just be friendly and reliable.

Real people know other real people when they see them. They are not fooled by the fake and the deceptive, even if they appear to be buying their game. But bear in mind that being good is very different from being trusting or naive. This is where good people tend to get taken advantage of. They get manipulated and they convince themselves that it happened because they were good and why should they expect anything less? The answer- because less is all some people are capable of delivering.

You have to walk through life with your eyes open. You have to be careful. You have to see people and situations for who and what they are. And remember, bullies stay bullies because no one ever stands up to them. My guess is that they wouldn’t be so hard to take down, if one day someone actually tried. So- be kind, be brave, and be cautious.