It’s a bit personal

My Dad died on my birthday 8 years ago. It was heartbreaking and wretched and for a long time I felt like the earth had given way beneath me and nothing was as it was supposed to be any more.

I didn’t mind that he died on my birthday. Some people said maybe he waited for such an occasion and others insisted it was just a coincidence but either way it didn’t really matter to me because I was just glad that the suffering was over for him. The fact that he died on my birthday will forever be special for me because if you are going to rip the centre out of someones life then it doesn’t really matter when you do it does it?

A number of my friends were very helpful to me through the difficult time proceeding his death. I still couldn’t begin to articulate who and how but suffice to say, we definitely rely on our connection with each other to get through this life. Some people gave me words and some gave me lasagna, other people gave me time and all of it helped in its own way.

Afterward I also spent a lot of time writing, first a book and then some poetry and I guess in some ways this blog came out of that time too.

I don’t miss my Dad as much today as I did 8 years ago and that is a good thing because my sadness was too much to carry for too long. But still, I occasionally have a moment where I think of him and it hurts all over again. This week I was listening to a podcast on “The Hidden Life of Trees” by Peter Wohlleben and I desperately felt the need to talk to my Dad about the wonderful idea that trees can talk to each other and they talk to us too.

Oh, how he would have been thrilled by that idea and I think he would have innately known it to be true, just as I did when I first heard of it.

So I guess this means that tomorrow is my birthday. At 39 I am starting to become slightly less excited about the whole birthday caper than I once was. Add to this fact that it has been an unusual week at my house with sick children and interstate trips and lots of pressure. They say it takes a village to raise a child and this week I am very grateful for my village. My niece and nephew, my sisters, my Mum & stepfather and my kids all drawing together to pull of a miracle.

 

This time last year I was in Port Fairy on a blogging trip with thanks to Great Ocean Rd tourism. Well this year my blog has led to the wonderful opportunity to be involved with a great restaurant in Sydney. Macelleria is a great restaurant with locations in Bondi and Newtown. “The Butcher who cooks for you.”

Macelleria combines the beautiful concept of restaurant quality Cape Grim beef cooked fresh for you at your table and accompanied by a healthy and socially conscious selection of side dishes. My kind of food. Take a look at their website and their social media pages because I am sure that you are going to love what they are doing as much as I do.

So yes, life is a many splendored thing with highlights and low lights and everything in between.

Today I played two square with my 5 year old and drank tea with my 12 year old and was just grateful for these moments.

Tomorrow I’ll be a little bit older and looking forward to what might come next.

Dani xx

How to make friends as an adult (a very non-expert guide from a girl with 6 friends).

New girl in a new town-6 I already posted on five things not to do when trying to make friends. Ironically the post was very popular. This time, instead of being a negative Nellie I thought I would look on the bright side and write a (very non expert) guide on how to make friends as an adult. Making new friends as an adult is hard work. Really hard work. I have often met people who are funny, interesting and great to be around but the timing in our lives has just not added up, so no new friendship has developed.

There are different friends for different times, places and purposes. My goal is to never give up on any of them. 

But how to go about actually making new friends when you need them? Here are my top six tips.

1. Never say no to an opportunity.

If you say “yes” people are likely to ask you again and you will have more opportunities to meet more ace people. This is my number one rule and I have written before about how it does not always turn out well.  Some of my more adventuress examples include.

  • attending a poetry recital on my own in someone’s house, with basically their extended family present.
  • Hanging in a bustling room of adults with only my children talking to me. (Thanks kids xx)
  • Going on a 4WD trip and sleeping in a tent, in Winter, in a 4WD that no one would let me drive. While hating 4WD-ing.

Honestly, I have endless examples of how annoying this rule can be. For more read here. But there are also a lot of examples of when this rule did work.  And the friendships that have developed with new, interesting people, are generally very much worth the effort. Plus the poetry recital was kicking!

2. Be open to meeting new people every where you go. Like a puppy dog, basically be like a puppy dog. This way you will look cute, you’ll get treats and people will invite you into their lives without even realising it. Warning. You might, maybe, definitely will sometimes look daft.

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3. Be friendly, say hello. Be that person that you wish would walk up to you. This is one of my favourite ones. It gets me out of my own head and helps me think about other people instead. So at my sons new kinder, I was thinking it odd that the adults never acknowledged each other. So now I smile and chuck a loud “hello” into the wind every time someone walks past. People generally return the favour = happiness lifted. You can even use a little visualisation here, “I am Madonna at the music awards” type thing. Or read about channeling Jason Statham to overcome shyness, here. Or just think of that one person you do know who is great at making friends, and copy them.

4. Take the next step and ask someone to do something with you. I am a massive failure at this one. It is the hardest part of making a new friend for me. I sometimes think about doing it for weeks, months, years. But really, you will never get to have coffee with a new friend if you do not ask them. That simple.

5. Hang out where the people you want to be friends with hang out. Alert! I do not mean this in an overly literal way. DO NOT go around to someone’s houselight-painting-801024_640 uninvited or turn up to Advanced Zumba if you have never done Zumba before. I just mean that you need to actually meet people to make new friends. Look people in the eye, be present, smile. Don’t hang around in the library every day and wonder why the basketball kids are not your friends.

6. Don’t stick to your crowd. We all have a crowd, although for some of us this crowd might be very small. Poetry people, music people, foodie people, goths, Katmandu shoppers, 4WD magazine readers. You will have people, I promise, once you get out into the big wide world and explore. But, don’t just stick to your people.

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Bush campers should pop on their beanies and climb down from that ravine they have been hiking and then and say “hi” to the Bed & Breakfast/ short black drinking crowd every now and then. Urban hipsters should pop down their selfie sticks and go find the crafter in a cardigan sitting quietly while “people watching” at the back of the room. Sia fangirls should stop imagining being “Titanium” for five minutes and get chatting with the Andre Reieu fan over the back fence who remembers to put everyone’s bins out. This can be so rewarding as you learn more about life and the world, and it also gives you a better chance of making a new friend.

Just be prepared that this kind of scenario is bound to happen:

“I had such a wild night last night, I was meant to have dinner in the City with friends but instead we spent so long over cocktails that we just went straight to the club. What did you get up to?” Silence, crickets chirping. Should I admit it? “I ate Maltesers and watched Agatha Christie, again. And I loved it, again.” Right then. More crickets.

So that is it, my non expert advice. Are there any tips that you would add? Any startling failures or dramatic success. A big thank you here to everyone who ever adopted me as their new annoying little puppy dog friend. And a huge high 5 to those of you who puppy dog-ed me (that’s a thing now). You know who you are.

And if you are a new visitor to my blog, welcome and thanks for stopping by. You might also like to read this:

How to make friends as an introvert.

Feel free to sign up or like me on Facebook. I look forward to getting to know you. 🙂

Dani B

Five weird things adults should not do when trying to make friends.

New girl in a new town-4

So obviously one of the major things that I had to adjust to when I moved into our new little house, was the fact that I now had no friends. Literally, no friends. lambs It was exciting for a little bit as I fantasised about long afternoons spent reading books and lying around in the sun. That excitement lasted for about 2 hours in reality and then I realised.

This girls got no friends.

If I wanted to go for a coffee? It had to be alone because literally everyone I knew lived a very irritating 50 minute drive North West of Berwick. If I fancied hanging out at the park with the kids, it had to be a solo effort. With very little “hanging out” and lots of me staring at people on with friends on Facebook. Let me tell you, loneliness is standing alone at a park surrounded by groups of other peoples friends, larking in the sunshine.

Here are some things I did to cope with having no friends.

1. Inappropriately lingering at the supermarket checkout. “Sure, I’ll just finish my hilarious story while you start packing that ladies bags will I?”

2. Having a coffee with an “entrepreneur”. True story. It was worst than it sounds.

3. Chatting to an old man as we crossed the road after noticing he had struck up a conversation. With his dog. Not me. His dog.

4. Becoming besties with Jean from the op-shop. This may have been a little one sided, but hey, she wasn’t just going to walk away from that rusty old cash box was she?  Sorrynotsorry.

5. Asking strangers out for coffee, asking strangers around for dinner. Sometimes they said no (to my shame) and sometimes they said yes (even worse). I could go on. But seriously people, throw a girl some friendship if she is new in town would you?

As for me, I will stick to my motto. Never say no to an opportunity. This seems to work, eventually. Just look where it got me and Jean.

PS If you are reading this Jean, call me. That number you gave me does not seem to work. Hugs. xx