• I want to be the kind of person who…

    Inspired by Saving to Pay Down my Home!

    Basically, I want to be one of those people that has their shit together. I definitely don’t think it’s possible to be supremely successful simultaneously in all aspects of life, but some areas of my life are severely neglected right now.

    I want to eat better. This means meal planning and taking more care grocery shopping, and it’s going to mean increasing the grocery budget. This kind of clashes with…

    I want to travel. Around NZ, and overseas later on. It’s going to mean a lot of saving – starting up a travel fund once I start working – and getting a handle on the budget. Still, money is limited, and I’ll have to prioritise between travel, groceries, eating out, general saving, clothing. Unless T randomly strikes out job-wise, things aren’t going to change drastically once I graduate. We’ll be a little bit better off, with a bit of breathing room, but there definitely won’t be room for luxuries.

    <div xmlns:cc="http://creativecommons.org/ns#" about="http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikebaird/3539161615/"><a rel="cc:attributionURL" href=I want to be greener. I’d like to start up a compost heap again, but it’s way too easy just to dump scraps down the in-sinkerator! Still, it’s better down there than in the rubbish bin.

    I need to get fit. I’m not a gym kind of person, but I think I should aim to go running once a week. I’ll start off slow.

    I want to be better organised. I think I’m going to go back to a physical diary and try that out for a while. Right now everything goes into my phone calendar, but I think my system could be better. And seeing as I’ll be spending all my working hours in front of a computer, I might start using my Gmail calendar too.

    I want to catch up with friends more often. At least once every other week! Will schedule this and try to make arrangements ahead of time, rather than seeing if anyone is free on the spur of the moment.

    What areas do you want to improve on?

    (Photo / Mike Baird)

  • Jaded

    This isn’t a post I particularly want to write, but it’s one I need to write.

    I’m not really even sure how to phrase it, but here goes.

    I’m having doubts. I’m just feeling really disillusioned.

    I love writing. I like writing so much, I don’t even need to see my name in print – I don’t care if I get a byline.

    But it’s so not a good way to make a living. Like Penelope Trunk’s said, if you can find another way to get by than by writing, you should take it.

    So many of us went into journalism full of hopes and idealism. But once you learn more about the machine, it’s pretty near impossible to retain that.

    News is so mundane. Things get blown out of proportion. There are PR/comm types who stonewall you and irate, often irrational readers who abuse you. There are actually people who talk media-speak – who speak in soundbites and try to make every sentence quotable.

    I know there’s bureaucracy in any job. I know there are commercial concerns and I know there will always be people who you can never fully satisfy. People whose perceptions are so out there, people who are determined to infer things that aren’t there. I don’t just mean nitpicking, I mean straight up crazies. I know accountability is part of having any job, and as much as I fear screwing up and getting the facts wrong or misquoting, I would rather do that than be crunching numbers and potentially making errors which could spell catastrophe for a company’s bottom line. (Did I mention I went through a bunch of my old crap and found my old Stats workbook and exercises? I looked through them and actually recoiled. Then I threw it out. Not that stats has anything to do with, say, accounting, but maths is maths to me…)

    People may look down on those who work in community news. But you know what, I enjoyed doing human interest stories. I enjoyed working with real people, with genuine, honest, humble and down to earth Kiwis.

    I don’t really know where this is going… I just needed to get some stuff off my chest. And just lastly, if anyone out there is struggling with shorthand….freaking A, you’re not alone! It’s bloody impossible to keep up. I’m so not at the stage where I can do it without thinking – it requires concentration, which slows me down and makes it faster to use abbreviated longhand. Bring on second semester!

  • Imperfectly perfect relationships

    I recently discovered SleepyJane and her refreshingly honest take on relationships. It’s not often people blog so candidly, and it got me thinking more closely about my relationship with T (I may start referring to him by initial; I’m kind of sick of typing BF out so often!)

    Lesbian_Couple_togetherness_in_bed_02We’re both the same age (I’m four months older to be exact) and have been together since Dec 05. Three and a half years. It’s a long time. We’ve lived together for basically two and a half of those. But of course, it’s not all smooth sailing. The last six months have by far been the hardest for us – if not in my entire life –  and they’ve really tested us.

    And of course, there’s the day-to-day stuff that all couples deal with…but maybe don’t like to talk about. Some are mundane, some not so much. Nobody I know is at the stage in life that we are at (living together, combined money, totally independent and away from home) so I don’t really get to discuss this kind of stuff with anyone! Luckily, I have my trusty blog 😛

    The small stuff

    T is a freak. He needs hardly any sleep at all, and is usually awake at 6 or 7 without fail. He always berates me for sleeping too much – he’s a fan of the “more you sleep, the more you NEED to sleep” theory. Poor boy, he usually has to wait a couple of hours on the weekend mornings for me to wake up. He knows if he tries to disturb me it won’t be pretty…

    He doesn’t brush his teeth often – yet NEVER gets bad breath – I’m trying to get him to brush more regularly so he doesn’t lose all his teeth before middle age.

    He hates doing the dishes and doesn’t hang up his wet towels. If I ask him to do ONE thing for me, odds are 50/50 whether he will or not. If I ask him to do two, three or more things, I’ll be lucky if he does more than one. I swear, he NEVER gets things done, and it’s incredibly frustrating. This mainly relates to housework, so it’s not exactly fun stuff, but I do expect him to pull his weight.

    We can both get incredibly annoyed, incredibly fast, over often incredibly stupid things. Although he generally handles me quite well, I find it hard to deal with him in those irrational kinds of moods (and you know, I feel like by this stage I should be able to).

    He’s a big guy. He’s rarely ever cold. I swear he runs at 20 degrees higher than me; we need some supersmart duvet which cools him while heating my poor thin body. Often it’s hard to be in bed together, because while I’m shivering, he’s literally sweating. And nothing is more irritating than him settling in under the covers, while the fan’s on – because according to him, it’s too cold out of the blanket but too hot under it…

    And the bigger stuff..

    I don’t have a particularly high libido, which is pretty much the opposite of him. Hence: friction, from time to time (especially in the mornings).

    Although he is smart, and talented, I would not describe him as particularly driven. Some people know what they want to do, where they want to be, and have it all figured out. I, at least, sort of always knew the path I’d follow…vaguely. He got started in engineering, and was great at it. He had ambitions: to get qualified, maybe even do a degree through night school, work hard, earn lots, travel with me, etc. Then that fell apart. Now he’s a bit lost. It’s almost like, if someone told him that he HAD to be in a particular industry, and do a particular thing, he would. He’d make the most of it and he’d succeed in that. I truly believe he can succeed in anything he wants to do. He’s just unfocused as to what that is. And it scares me a little; now I’m close to graduating, I’m truly in my “twenties” and I’m starting to feel that time’s marching on. Education and career wise, he’s now almost three years behind me.

    Ah, the PF angle. Our relationship has not been good for my individual finances. I don’t imagine for a second anyone would ever have recommended we merge finances. But if we hadn’t, I hate to think how dire his situation might be had he had full rein of his account, say, until we got married, or something like that. I look after our money and I do it because we’re committed to each other. In the long term, this will be better for us and I want us to get a solid footing, and to be on the same page.

    I know I have PLENTY of my own faults. Although I’d prefer to refer to them as quirks… eg, I got really upset at him for not eating the pack of salami we bought specially for him this week, which by now will be well past its use-by. What a waste! Seriously, I would have wolfed it down if he didn’t want it (I looooooove salami of all kinds). But you know, it was only $3. I should have let it go.

    People don’t change, fundamentally, and there’s no point expecting them to. I guess it’s a matter of deciding what you can and can’t put up with, and what your dealbreakers are.

  • These little moments

    Sometimes you just have to stand back for a moment in time and marvel at how much has gone by and how much has changed.

    Four years ago I was heartbroken from my first real relationship coming to an end.

    I had just moved out on my own and at times I felt like nobody else had ever felt so alone.

    I had another year left of high school and I wished I had been able to go to uni a year early (thankfully, I made the most of seventh form and don’t regret a moment. It was a fantastic year).

    I had about $10 wiggle room in my budget and I lived on about $30-40 a week for food. I made toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, skincare and toilet paper last as long as it possibly could.

    So much has changed since then.

    Today I look back and think, it’s amazing how much can happen in just a few years. I have a job related to my field of study, I’m about to graduate, I finally learned to drive, I know how to clean an oven and how to slice an onion. I met BF, someone who had gone to school pretty much alongside me but who I barely ever spoke to. He’s been in the army, worked a few jobs and is about to go back for more schooling. His nieces are 7 and 8, and they now have a baby sister and another on the way. They have a cousin, a baby boy. BF’s brothers have left school and started working, and are nearly old enough to start high school, respectively.

    And yet I still think his nieces are about 4 and 5, and his youngest brother about 8. I still think of my brother as about 12, for goodness sake, and he’s almost 15. I guess it’ll always take me a few years to catch up – I’ll always be lagging behind. Isn’t that the beauty of being older? You’re expected to not know these things; to ask “what year are you in now?” and to squeal “but you were only THIS tall last time I saw you!”

    This is life, and today I’m going to take a snapshot of it for posterity.

  • Time is strange

    I wanted to be 18 so I could go to clubs and bars and pubs. I got over that pretty fast!

    I’d like to be 21, I guess, because 21 sounds older. You’re really IN your twenties, and the older and more responsible you sound, well the better for finding places to live. (Yes, this is important to me. In four years I have lived more places than I did in my first 16 and I can’t tell you how much I hate moving and the process of looking for a new place!)

    It’s nearly June and that will mean 2009 is halfway over! That’s really scary! What have I accomplished?

    I’ve done nothing but work, fight my way through uni, and stress. But it’s my final year, and I really need to make grades my job. Doing well in these papers is way more important than ever before.

    I’ve been waiting for some time or another for so long, financially speaking. End of summer – student loan. February – bed payment. May – BF’s fines. Always looking ahead, to something that can’t come soon enough.

    Yet in real life, everything is whizzing past at the speed of light. What’s really telling is how quickly rubbish day comes along. Every Thursday I start in surprise that a week has passed and we need to wheel out the bins. My final portfolio is due next month. My mum’s birthday is next month, and I haven’t even begun to think about a present. BF will start his course in July. I graduate in December. AHHHHH!

    I need to try to find a place in the here and now, and actually sit down to be in it. Even if I only savour the odd moment, like sitting in the Horse and Trap on Tuesday with my friends, fighting our way to the bottom of the pub quiz ranks.

  • A nice surprise

    I find that the older I get, the more aware I am of race, culture, and ethnicity – not just me, but others around me.

    Recently I’ve realised that a lot of bloggers I follow and look up to are of varying ethnic backgrounds. This has come through in different viewpoints on wedding gifts, attitudes towards money, and attitudes towards supporting family. It’s been really interesting to read all the followup debate, and learn more about customs which mean so much to people of certain cultures.

    I think it’s interesting, though, that my default perception of people is to assume that they’re white. What does that say about me? And society around me? Have I been conditioned to think that white is the “norm”? I really shouldn’t have been surprised; we live in a diverse world, and I went to a school with something like over 30 different nationalities.

    But I’m glad to have realised this. It’s hard to not see people who look like you represented in the media. To not have role models to inspire you. To be considered an “ethnic minority” for the rest of your life. It’s nice to feel a little more at home in the blogosphere.

  • What’s in a name?

    I believe in doing things the ‘traditional’ way – getting hitched, THEN getting the house, kids, dog and picket fence. Nothing against people who don’t, it’s just how I’d like to do things for myself. I want a couple of years being married and child-free, and I want a place of our own to bring them up in.

    But I have NO intentions of changing my name. The few people around my age I know who are married changed their names (surprising? I don’t know. One of them is religious, so maybe that was a factor). But I’ve never wanted to take on a husband’s name…I see no point! Like I told BF, people can refer to us as Mr and Mrs. I’m just not going to officially change my surname because I got married.

    I may legally change my first name, because nobody calls me by my given name – the only reason I haven’t already is the cost/hassle/feeling bad for rejecting the name my parents chose. Names are definitely a part of your identity. I don’t particularly like my first or last name, but it’s mine. I’m used to it. And I’m going to keep living with it. Why should I have to give it up for anyone?

    BF isn’t stoked about that – he sees it as a key part of being married (otherwise what’s the point?) and a sign of love/commitment/partnership. I told him people could call me by his name, I just wouldn’t be bothering to change it with the IRD/banks/work/government, etc. The cost, hassle and paperwork are just prohibitive. And frankly, my name is not the most melodious of names. It doesn’t go with many different last names. It tends to sound better with a single syllable surname (most people who share it do have monosyllablic surnames). BF’s name certainly does not ring with mine.

    Anyway, I guess we’ll have to hash it out further. There’s got to be a compromise…no point discussing marriage if we can’t even get past this!

  • On becoming a better person

    I was thinking the other day about how odd it is that there are some people I
    just can never be jealous of. Whether it’s getting generous gifts from
    parents/family/significant others, getting paid ridiculous amounts, getting
    straight As, whatever. I might sound like a witch saying this, but when I hear
    about great things happening to some (a few – not very many) I can’t help but
    begrudge them a little. Don’t I work hard enough? Don’t I deserve good luck? AM
    I not a good person? But for most of my friends I really am happy for their good
    fortune; I might wish for a second that I was as lucky or blessed, but in no way
    do I want to detract from their achievements.

    What is it that makes the difference? How close we are? How often we see each
    other? How genuinely nice they are as a person? Whether they’ve worked really
    hard to get to where they are?

    The biggest surprise for me was the last time I saw my family. My brother,
    though he doesn’t have everything he wants (I don’t think) gets a hell of a lot
    from my parents. iPod, camera, special edition Strat which cost over a grand (or
    was it two grand? Does it make a difference when the numbers are that high?) My
    guitar and amp cost less than that combined, and I paid for it all myself
    working two jobs in fifth form. I never got given anything like what he gets

    And yet I really do not care. I’m glad for him, I’m glad my parents are
    loosening up a little and maybe learning to appreciate what they have. I don’t
    even feel a little pang that I missed out on all that stuff. Everything I have
    now I earned myself.

    Maybe I’m not as selfish as I thought I was.

    Being the oldest and the guinea pig for growing up in a new country, and female,
    and the “smart” one who was pushed to excel was kinda hard. It was never good
    enough – didn’t matter how many people I was beating, I was still supposed to
    look up to the freaky top 1%ers and strive to be just like them. Unfortunately
    what my parents wanted was vastly different from what I wanted. And neither of
    us dealt with that in the best possible way, hence the whole leaving home in
    sixth form thing.

    Since then I think I’ve received more from the folks than in my whole life. We
    never really did Christmas. I never believed in Santa. I probably didn’t even
    hear of him till I was about seven. We went shopping for our presents on
    Boxing Day, occasionally. We didn’t get birthday presents (though granted we
    didn’t really give them either). Sometimes I feel like I missed out on a lot
    but I have to remind myself they’re just material things. Now I get birthday
    and Christmas gifts, which although is nice I find it ironic, and a little sad.

    I see in my brother a lot of what I was like at that age. He lives a little bit
    in his own world, like I did, but in a different way. I lost myself in books,
    where he spends his time on the computer/watching Tv and now playing guitar, I
    guess. He’s gawky, awkward and a little socially inept, a bit defensive, a bit
    aggro, and sometimes the way he talks phases me a bit because that’s exactly
    something I would’ve said when I was 13. I’ve come a long way from there, and I
    can only hope that in time he’ll grow into himself too.