If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got

“Dum, dum da dum, chikka chi, chikka chi; dum dum da dum...”
What’s that sound, oh just the awesome polyphonic ring tone emanating from my Nokia to alert me to the fact that it is 5am and time to get up for boot camp. Immediately my mind springs into action before I have even opened my eyes: “Don’t do it Tash, you’ve been sick all week, have a sleep in –you’ll feel better for it, how good is bed right now...” 

It’s really quite miraculous that I am still half unconscious and most likely unable to string a coherent sentence together if my life depended on it, yet my mind is most eloquent in delivering every single excuse as to why I should NOT do this. So before I really start paying attention to it, I urge my body out of bed, throw on my clothes and trainers, and before I (or my mind) knows what’s happening, I am outside (yip it’s still dark) and walking towards the train station.

Upon arriving at the train station, the board kindly lets me know that I have just missed my train, and the next one isn’t for another 15mins – which will make me late for my 5.30am meeting point in the city. The mind quickly reignites, saying “look, at least you tried, it’s a good start, let’s just go back to bed and try again tomorrow...” Time to put the Ipod on, drown out the mind and zone into some tunes to get me pumped while I wait for the train and let the girls know I am going to be a little late.

Before we go any further, let’s go backwards in order to go forwards, because the above paragraphs would have you all fooled into believing that I am a) healthy, b) proactive, c) being awesome at life, when in fact the truth is d) recovering from a slight downward spiral...

The end of 2013 saw me returning to Australia, first to Perth to surprise my family whom I hadn’t seen in almost 4years; followed by a move to Melbourne to work – because Melbourne with all of its spunk and energy, has always held a certain appeal to me. It all started off well, I got a job and apartment relatively quick; got straight into the swing of things in regards to being back in a restaurant, attended Zumba classes, joined a gym... basically I was smashing it. Then... December happened. Enter Tash’s drunken alter ego (friends from Uni might know her as Newbs...) Being the crazy, wild, untamed spirit that I am, I can never do things by halves; when my energy is concentrated and focused – long story short, I kick goals! But... when I fall in the other direction... well let’s just say I fall pretty hard.

One after work drink turned into five, which turned into 10 and a sleazy late night Backpackers bar that is near work, which turned into becoming a regular there, followed by a late night binge of whatever fast food was nearest. No recollection of getting home, feeling like ass, getting up, going to work and doing it all over again. Needless to say, alcohol has always been a vice of mine; it is a very fine balancing act, between social/fun Tash, and the tequila guzzling, round shouting drunk Tash that deserves her own name. Now I don’t just say she deserves her own name just because she is drunk, but because apparently I literally turn into a different person; the old Jeckyl and Hyde trick.

The thing about this cycle, is that don’t get me wrong, while there were a lot of laughs and good times in there, just out with girlfriends – it is still extremely self-destructive, because I have a tendency to be my harshest critic regardless; so when I go through phases like this, you can guess who is giving me the biggest telling off... that’s right, my good old mind. Sitting there all smug, with a list of all the reasons as to why I am a terrible human being. So what really kicked all of this off? Well still feeling lost in my new life here is a big part of it; for a bit there I had no real goals, no idea what I am doing, where I am going; but most of all... I left my heart with someone overseas. It is far too much of a story, and too young to talk about it yet, but I am basically in a long distance relationship right now. And me being me, of course it isn’t your typical long distance relationship where we see each other every other weekend. He is of course 10,000 miles away, and as we speak, sailing in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean... so I kind of lost my shit about everything for a bit.

This time last year 2012, coming into 2013, I made the New Year about releasing some baggage from my past. I wrote letters to a few people that I held some unfinished business with as such, in regards to letting go of things from my past emotionally. The expression ‘weight of your shoulders’ doesn’t even come close to the feeling that came upon sending these letters, and better yet, getting unexpected responses. Have you ever been backpacking, or hiking? Carrying around that 20+kg bag; the moment when you first take it off and take a few steps... it literally feels like you are floating, you had forgotten how light you used to be. Well this was that feeling times 100! Not only did I feel lighter, but I literally felt myself radiating more light and love towards life.

Saying goodbye to 2013 and entering 2014 was a slightly different scene. My New Years was a sober one due to working,  which was actually one of the nicest moments I can remember for the midnight countdown – all of us staff, got a glass of bubbly, and joined the crowds along South Bank to watch the fireworks. It was a very big night restaurant wise, so to sip that bubbly, and watch the fireworks was one of the most rewarding moments I can remember for a long time, and maybe the first time I have seen such an amazing fireworks display – sober, since I was young. (There really is something special about fireworks, it is like it awakens the child within, the world is suddenly bright, magical, and anything is possible). In that moment, I vowed that I was going to be better at life in 2014. Nek minute... there were still a few crazy drunken nights out, the crescendo? Ending up in a strip joint at 3am on a (whatever night it was) until almost daylight... p.s. there is nothing classy about coming out of a strip joint when it is light. The sun is like God’s spot light beaming down on you – “caught ya, it screams, as you recoil from the shock and try to find the nearest cab, or McDonalds...”

So 10 days into the New Year, and this is not the NEW YOU, that you had in mind. Again the mind harps on, “You are no good, you are never going to change, you won’t amount to much – and the clincher – you don’t deserve love...” There it is. What this was really all about. If I am being totally honest, I still find it hard to believe that anyone could love me, but more to the point – that I deserve it. So it’s like I push every boundary, to prove to the world, and my mind – that yip, you were right, I don’t deserve love... tequila??

This is when the rational mind has to speak out for the first time. Has anyone else noticed not only how self-destructive these thoughts are, but also – how irrational. So.. I had a bit of a bender. That doesn’t instantly negate who I am, what I am about, or all of the things I have achieved thus far in my life, now does it? Shit 10 days into 2014 and I still am not a new person, well, may as well give up now... never mind the other 355 days of the year... I am always extremely quick to knock myself down, and give myself very little credit, ever. But maybe I need these falls. There are parts of me I don’t necessarily like. But every single part makes me who I am. And I guess I would not be the person I am today, without all of the falls I have had along the way. Because every time I fall it only makes me get up stronger and more determined. There is something to be said about the view from the bottom, and I guess we choose how we look at it; we can either look around at our surroundings, get comfortable, accept that this is where we belong, and stop tilting our head upwards. OR we can choose to find out what is up there, more determined than ever to gain a better view, than the bottom of the canyon –and by god, the satisfaction we will feel when we climb those slopes and look out over the endless horizon once again.

So this brings us back to the present. Today wasn’t just ONE day for me. Had I slept in, it wasn’t just missing ONE Boot Camp. This was the start of my assent up the cliff walls, this was finding that first foot hold in the wall, driving myself upwards, determined to keep climbing. I was absolutely dying during the Boot Camp, my fitness levels after December are basically at a big fat ZERO, my mind was screaming “you can’t do this” and just when my body showed signs of slowing down the trainer started screaming at us for slacking off; one thing in particular stuck with me, and pushed me on to the point where I almost spewed...


This simple statement struck the biggest chord with me. How can we expect anything different when we don't make any change?? And as always, it starts with the mind. I am now 4 sessions of Boot Camp in, and can already notice a difference in my  thinking. That voice that tells you that you can't do it, or that you should really have a sleep in, never disappears, but now part of the attitude of the trainer that screamed the above sentence is also one of these voices, and it doesn't take a fool to work out which voice is going to get results.

I am most definitely not perfect, and this isn’t a huge life transformation where it is smooth sailing from here on out. Not just in fitness, but LIFE – if I want to see change, I need to make a change. So where 2013 was about releasing, I am going to make 2014 about being proactive in making a change. And of course LOVE. Love myself, and let love in. So raise your glass of water, powerade or protein shake people – here’s to being Awesome at Life 2014!! (I am not foolish enough to think I am never going to drink again, just gotta learn to change how I drink...)

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