The Sweet Life 2015
This time 15 years ago, I was getting ready to kick off my last two years of high school - the ones where you're suddenly expected to be mature enough to make gutsy life decisions. You know the ones I'm talking about - university degree, career choice, and basically deciding who it is you want to be (all while incessantly listening to NSYNC songs that end up becoming the soundtrack to discovering who your real friends are.) If only someone had sat me down and said - "kid, this time in 15 years you'll be 30. If you think you'll have it all figured out by then, trust me when I tell you that the world will be just as wonderful, confusing, and scary as it is to you now. Relax your balls."
Last year was one of the best and scariest years of my life. New friendships were made and existing ones were strengthened. 2014 taught me that hard work doesn't always pay off in the way you want it to, but it will always strengthen your character. My work life saw me make some big decisions and take huge leaps of faith. In some ways I feel like I'm still airborne - that should scare me, but it feels good knowing that wherever I land is exactly where I'm supposed to be.
I was wondering what would make the best first post of the new year. I thought about sharing a recipe, travel story, or a trusty cafe review. But something told me to take a side step and write a little about what it is that is shaping the direction for Project Sweet Stuff for the year ahead. This year, I'll still be posting delicious recipes, reviews, and of course travel will continue to be a big part of what we're doing with the project. But in 2014, I had some recurring conversations with family and friends - and I'm sure it has something to do with the fact that a lot of people in my life are at a crossroad. Just like high school kids trying to make big life decisions, turning 30 has a way of making you re-evaluate where you are and where you want to be. Surprisingly, I didn't always find myself agreeing with what most people find important and valuable.
So to bring in the New Year, I’ve decided to write about last year's recurring themes and how it's influenced the direction of Project Sweet Stuff in 2015.
Marriage It’s a choice, not an achievement
An excerpt from approximately 15 conversations that took place in 2014:
Associate: "Wow, you've had so many career changes... you've accomplished so much, and you're even married!" Me: *blank stare*
I realised that this isn't just a Lebanese obsession. I guess people from all walks of life make mental bookmarks of the ages they'd like to achieve certain goals by, like graduate university or get that dream job - and that is a perfectly healthy thing to do. But why in God's name have we turned marriage into an achievement? I got married just before turning 25. Young, I know - but it was one of the best choices I have ever made in my life. 2014 certainly had me wondering why people grouped my choice to get married with my career decisions. It's simply not the same thing. I believe in my marriage, and more than anything, I believe in living a life that reminds me of why I chose to get married in the first place. Luckily for me, Kevin does too.
This year, I'm so excited to share that I've been invited to be a Guest Lifestyle Editor for Wedded Wonderland. From stunning destinations to decoding domestic bliss, each week I'll be writing all about what wedded wonderland means to me.
Even though this seems fairly obvious, it’s one of those things that’s tearing my generation a new butthole. No matter how you try and justify it to yourself, spending thousands of bank owned dollars on an Instagram-inspired holiday that you have not properly saved for is never a good idea. Now I'm not talking about blowing the shopping budget and charging an extra grand to the visa; I'm talking about putting an entire trip on credit; airline tickets, accommodation, activities, shopping and daily spending. The post holiday blues are so much worse when you come home to thousands of dollars in debt.
This year, I'm committing to writing about destinations of all shapes and sizes. From staycations to cruises, islands and villages - you don't need to have access to Brangelina's funds to experience a taste of the sweet life. If you take some time to look, you're probably closer than you know to some soul shifting destinations. Travel shouldn't cost the earth, and it sure as hell shouldn't be something you do for the sake of social media. I'm going to make it my mission to experience more of my own backyard, and share the love along the way.
My legs. If I could change anything about my body, it would be my dimply legs. I’d lengthen and strengthen them and maybe then my butt wouldn't look so big anymore. (I'd also change my butt.)
While the rest of Australia went to the beach, I spent the first 9 days of 2015 in the waiting room at Westmead Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit along with the rest of my family. We held our breath and prayed for my father who was unwell with a bleed on his brain. The first day of waiting for test results was one of the most challenging days of my entre life. Looking back on that day, I'm trying to remember how many times I thought about how much I hated my legs?
Not even once.
Moral of the story - the health and wellbeing of my family and friends are the most important things in my entire existence.
In 2015, I'm committing to treating my body as my ally and not my enemy. It's time to officially take the shift off looking good, to feeling good. I'll workout, eat well, live well - and I'll distance myself from the things that make me question my worth based on the size of my jeans. I've always intended for Project Sweet Stuff to take the focus off the superficial and encourage living a fuller, healthier, adventurous and truly wonderful life. This year, I'll be working with my personal trainer Jessica to bring Project Sweet Stuff readers some positive posts focussing on staying healthy and inject a little more into our Wellbeing section.
Sometimes routine is overrated. Most of the reason why I started Project Sweet Stuff was to help me break the mundane pattern of day-to-day life. It helped me recognise that almost everything in my life reflects a choice that I get to make - from where I pick up my morning coffee, to what I'm cooking for Sunday brunch. There was something so empowering and freeing about that realisation. Since Project Sweet Stuff became my full time gig, I have found myself trying to stick to a tight schedule of posting, writing, eating, sleeping, training, socialising - but sometimes life happens, and it all falls out of place.
With a strong focus on living a healthy balanced life, this year I'm going to do whatever it takes to just enjoy the journey. I'm learning to accept the fact that sometimes my best writing happens at stupid o'clock in the morning, and that's probably not going to change in a hurry. I'm ready to loosen the collar, take the opportunities when they arise, and avoid forcing the ones that don't.
Conversation Have real ones
I hate to admit this, but last year I found myself catching up with friends over the phone more than face to face. I also caught myself putting on my headphones, setting up the lap top, and not speaking a single word to the lady sitting beside me on a 14 hour flight. Not that there was anything majorly wrong with doing that, but looking back at the situation, I question if my hopeful 17 year-old self would have done that... probably not.
2014 taught me that without conversation, my life feels like a pointless place. I am now certain that I was put on this earth to encourage the people I meet to share their stories.
Later this month, I'll be sharing a new concept that I'm taking to Los Angeles that's based on just that - having conversations. Last year was all about sharing a little about my journey. This year I want to know, what's your sweet life?
Let's make it happen.