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Life at 25

At 15 I thought I was pretty wise for my age and truthfully felt I had learned most life lessons that were to be learned in life.

Oh how wrong I was!

Then all of a sudden, out of nowhere, BOOM, you’re a quarter of a century old and you realize that yes you have grown tremendously, but at times you have absolutely no clue what the hell you’re doing and what this thing called “Life” is all about.

You remember thinking back about your 10 year old self who was convinced that you would live a very grown up life by now, living with your (soon to be) husband, planning a life together, dreaming of the children you would have in the next couple years to come, having a successful career etc. Well surprise, surprise, you’re more like Goldilocks, wandering off the path and getting lost in that damn forest.

Maybe I’m having a quarter life crisis?

At 25 half of my friends are married with kids and settled, while the other half still passes out in random guys’ beds, waking up the next morning thinking “WTF am I doing with my life?!”.

At 25 I’ve become a Pro at convincing future employers that it honestly is my dream job to show that arrogant son of a b*tch to his Suite where he will completely ignore me while I show him around the room and instead complain that the wine glasses aren’t big enough and that he will need a bucket filled with ice, asap! So you bring it to him, with the biggest and fakest smile you can muster and receive a phone call 10 minutes later telling you he’s dropped a glass and if you could clean it up for him while he’s having his 7 course dinner. “Sure no problem whatsoever, Sir! Do you mind if I leave a massive shit in your toilet while I’m there?”

At 25 I’ve looked at the cat and felt jealous of his life. So in order to feel better, you watch all seasons of Game of Thrones and feel grateful that at least you don’t have to deal with fighting off creepy ghost like, skeleton creatures in freezing cold temperatures or catching your mum making sweet, sweet love to her brother. Eww?!

At 25 I’m constantly faced with the question “So where are you from, and what do you do for a living” and answer it by saying “Well…I’ve lived in 4 different countries, 13 different cities, about 20 different houses oh and sometimes I crash on my friends couches, so uhmm I’m not sure where I’m from. Oh and what I do for a living? Well…f*ck all at the moment, I’m trying to figure it out.”

At 25 I’ve come to a point where doing a ninja roll, because a 6 year old begged you to, doesn’t look or feel as graceful as it did 20 years ago and now you have to deal with a pulled muscle for the next couple of days.

At 25, I’ve got a student loan that’s through the roof and although I got a Bachelor’s Degree out of it, I’ve kind of realized it’s not really what I want to do as a career for the rest of my life, so now what?

At 25 I’ve dealt with some very challenging people and been fooled into thinking I knew someone. A boss that hired me for my looks and continued to act extremely inappropriate or one who thought it was acceptable to yell and scream and literally throw her toys at me. I learnt how to tell people to shove it, while remaining professional and calm, but also how to tell people to go F themselves, while not remaining so calm, because you’ve had enough of being Miss Nice and Understanding.

At 25, I’ve tried to live my life according to The Secret and Oprah’s “How to live your best life”, but there’s days when I really don’t give a shit and feel like telling Oprah to stick it, because I’d be happy too if I had a 3 billion dollar net worth!

At 25 I moved back in with my parents, again…

At 25 I’ve let my life be controlled by others, whether it’s unrealistic ideas of how I should look, act and be according to society or simply lying in bed at 2AM, thinking of reason why he hasn’t texted to say good night. I mean who does he think he is?!

At 25 I’ve traveled far and wide, experiencing things I never thought I would. I’ve been inside million dollar mansions and seen people die on the side of the road all in one day. I have cried with homesickness and laughed until my stomach couldn’t take no more.

At 25, I’ve gone from feeling like I could take on the world one day to stuffing my face with a bag of chips, a bottle of Fanta and chocolate, watching sad movies, feeling sorry for myself the next.

At 25, I have felt that every single love song has been written especially for me and an emotional breakdown isn’t out of the ordinary, not even while out in a club at 3 in the morning, extremely drunk or whilst sitting on a bus, staring dramatically out of the window while a tear rolls down your cheek. They should make a movie about this!

At 25, Google has become a close friend of mine. She often has the most profound answers to questions such as “Why do I fall in love so easily” and “Am I having a quarter life crisis?” Combine this with listening to John Mayer and you have a scene straight out of Bridget Jones’s Diary.

At 25 I have been deeply, madly in love with someone I thought I would be with for the rest of my life. Someone who I thought was The One, but didn’t turn out to be. There’s times I still get upset and wish I didn’t have to experience the hurt that goes hand in hand with a break up, but at the same time I feel grateful, because it’s taught me a lot about myself and has made me so much stronger.

At 25 I learned that alcohol is NOT the best solution when trying to forget. That the only way is to go through the pain, not around it, to not close your eyes and ears and demolish a bottle of vodka in one night and be THAT girl.

At 25 I know what gut-wrenching loneliness feels like, but also what it’s like to have a support system of people who will do whatever it takes for you.

At 25 I have made some big mistakes, but wouldn’t change a thing. I know what it’s like to royally screw things up and do things of which you later think “WHAT WAS I THINKING?!”, but if it wasn’t for the failures I wouldn’t be the person I am today and have the wisdom that helps me overcome the next challenge.

Looking back I realize how much I’ve learned and have been through, the soul searching I’ve done and trying to find my place in the world again. And yes, life can be a b*tch sometimes and this “crisis” we go through, it’s kind of like when you start dating someone new and you really have to fart, but just because you don’t want to admit it, that gas is undeniably there.

I figure that sometimes we maybe just need to take life a little less serious, to acknowledge and accept that it’s pretty rough sometimes, that it’s ok to feel like you haven’t got a clue what you “should” be doing. Maybe the only solution is to stop obsessing over how we can live the “perfect” life, to not worry so much about the expectations, the ones we’ve constantly have had thrown in our face. The adults asking us at 5 years old “what do you want to be when you grow up?” The teachers telling us at 15 years old that we better pass this algebra test or we’ll fail at life (well, ok maybe not exactly like that, but you know what I mean), the girl with the “perfect” body and guy with the ripped chest, the couple with the most amazingly romantic relationship in that movie or the person who seems to have his entire life together, because chances are even all those people have moments where they haven’t got the faintest idea what they’re doing and are all searching for this so called “perfect life”.

Maybe we just have let go of the fact that we may not have the perfect husband or wife, career, house etc. by the age of 30, maybe even 40, to just stop thinking for a second, to get up, go for a run, read a book, meet up with a friend or just do something that you know can’t hurt and as long as you can accept that things may not be exactly as you had planned, but know that you’re moving in some kind of direction, eventually it will all be ok.

Look at yourself as an explorer. All the great ones that have come before us were willing to get lost. They may not have known exactly where they were heading, but they kind of had an idea. And with guidance and experience they were ok to get lost with purpose on purpose and eventually that is how you will find your destination.

As Parker Palmer – Let Your Life Speak, says: “We are merely embarking on a journey toward joining the human race.” I think instead of looking at it as a crisis, think of it as being some kind of changeover, a transformation, moving from one experience to the next, guiding you to where you want to be.

And one day you will find yourself hearing your name being called through the loudspeaker, saying where you can be found.

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Debra T Hlabane - April 10, 2015 - 17:34

Ur words realy inspired me!I realy enjoyed reading ur life story u knw ur a good wrighter! U made me realize wat life is thnx Fleur ur truely the best

levin club local - April 9, 2015 - 01:05

oh fleur your amazing come back

A Valentines Wedding Day

Saturday, 14 February, 2015.

It’s 7AM when I wake up. Eva is still fast asleep next to me, knackered from getting up so many times throughout the night to feed Maddie, when Jani comes walking into the room with two cups of tea and a smile on her face. She opens the curtains and orders us to get up, because today is the day! My “little” sister Eva is getting married!

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Eva and Dan’s Engagement Shoot

A few weeks back I photographed my sister and her fiance for their wedding invitations. We had so much fun using random peoples driveways, paddocks and getting mooed at by cows. I have to say, I’m pretty darn happy with how the photos turned out, but then again, look at the two of them…:)

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Ellen - January 22, 2015 - 19:57

They’re absolutely gorgeous, Fleur! They turned out really great! I love the way you always succeed in capturing people the way they truly are! :)

Turning mistakes into success

Just one drink she tells herself, just one. But one turns into three and three turn into ten and before she knows it she wakes up with only fragments from the night before. Anxiety rolls over her and it becomes a habit to ask those she was with if she misbehaved or embarrassed herself. Disappointment is a reoccurring feeling that lingers up until Wednesday; long enough to get her down but short enough to forget about it by Friday when she starts all over again and pours that glass with extra vodka and drinks to get drunk and ultimately forget.

It’s hard to know that you’ve got a problem when everyone is doing it, but deep down something feels wrong.

She tells herself that everything happens for a reason and that the difficult times in her life will only make her stronger and are ultimately a blessing in disguise, but it hurts and she wants to forget, so she drinks. She drinks the pain away.

It’s like she lives with tunnel vision, focused on Mondays turning into Tuesdays into Wednesdays and eventually Fridays. It’s all she thinks about. And the idea of missing out ends in sheer panic attacks. She’s become dependent on it. When she drinks she doesn’t have a single worry in the world, but by ignoring the situation and pretending nothing is wrong she is only delaying the healing process, prolonging the pain.

The blackouts become worse, the memories turn into mere glimpses and regret is a feeling she is all too well accustomed to, it’s become her biggest enemy. Why did she make that remark about her friend? Why did she act that way? It’s not like her to do such things. Apologies are made, the blame is put on the alcohol and in the morning they laugh about their silly behavior.

“Can I call you? I need to talk to you.” She picks up her phone and the message pierces through her. Immediately millions of thoughts run through her head and one little sentence turns into a whirlwind of over exaggeration. What have I done wrong? What did I say? What did I do? Oh god, I’m the worst person on earth! I can’t do this anymore. I hate this! I am a horrible human being and deserve all the pain in the world. Just die already!

As she picks up the phone the voice on the other end says “I’m worried about you.” Tears start rolling down her cheeks. He’s right. She’s screwing up her life and it’s time to acknowledge she has a problem. It’s time to stop making excuses and seek help.

To say it out loud is scary, because she’s giving up her safety net, which is ironic as she loses all control when she drinks. What she is scared about, is having to step out of her “comfort zone”, her routine; the thing that keeps her going and stops her from thinking. Now that it’s out in the open, she can’t go back and the thought of not drinking on the weekend makes her feel uneasy.

Of course she knows how ridiculous she sounds. Who wouldn’t want to give up something that destroys you? Are a couple hours of ‘fun’ really worth several days of misery? Something has to happen.

She decides she needs to take some time off and be where there are no temptations to really get to the core of the problem and although it brings her shame, guilt and embarrassment, a part of her feels proud for acknowledging and being able to talk about it openly. She is scared about the moment she will be confronted with alcohol again, seeing her friends having a good time and especially the idea of failure. What if she gives in? She would feel so disappointed in herself.

Two weeks later she gets invited to a party. Although a little voice tells her it’s too soon, her fear of missing out is stronger and she’s willing to take the risk and hope that she succeeds. Something tells her she can do this. This will be the moment of truth. There’s still the urge to go out, but she wants to prove to herself that she doesn’t need the alcohol to have a good time.

The next morning, for the first time in months, she wakes up without a hangover. She can’t stop smiling and feels so incredibly proud. Last night was almost as if a switch got flipped in her head and she became a different person. She had the best night she had had in a very long time and not once did she have the urge to get drunk to forget. Acknowledging what she had been doing had made her accept the situation and she now realized she had moved on. Sometimes in life we need to make our way through the dark in order to reach the light at the end of the tunnel and this had been one of those eye opening moments where she knew things would be ok.

She continued to do well and felt like a completely different person. Eventually there was one incident where she slipped and lost control and although she felt guilty about disappointing herself and embarrassed for her behavior, there was also a very small part that knew it was necessary to remind her how far she had come and that she was so much happier without the alcohol.

We all have our weaknesses and ways of coping with hurt and stress. Some turn to food, others to alcohol or drugs, while another plays video games until the sun starts to rise and it’s time to put on that mask again and pretend nothing is wrong. No matter what your coping mechanism, it will only make you forget for a short period of time. In the end it’s all about acknowledging your struggles and going through it, not around it.

Temptations to forget the pain will arise all the time, but until you allow yourself to feel, really feel, these temptations are only shortcuts and ultimately detours back to where you were.

When you’re going through a tough time it’s natural to want to forget and take these shortcuts. Habits take time to break, but if there comes a time when you do give in, don’t beat yourself up about it. Accept that mistakes will happen, place them under your feet and use them as steppingstones, life didn’t come with an instruction manual. No matter how painful, remember that in the end, a collection of mistakes will turn into experience, leading you to success. Just because they happen doesn’t mean they define who you are as a person. Life’s best lessons are usually learned at the worst times and from the worst mistakes. So yes, you will fail sometimes, and that’s ok. The faster you accept this, the faster you can get on with being awesome.

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matt goode - December 21, 2014 - 04:27

will you marry me? i saw you in the club last night and i think it was love at first sight