16 Lessons Learnt throughout 2016!

Following the cathartic experience of constructing and publishing Sticks and Stones: 15 Lessons 2015 Offered, I figured what better way to welcome the new year than to share the trial and tribulations of 2016, for the benefit of 2017 (hopefully).

1. Enjoy the small luxuries in life

Whether it be a triple scented candle, decadent body wash, visiting the salon, meditating or using luxurious self-care products – spoil yo’ self.

When you are content with the bare essentials of life, small indulgences can lift your spirits and be a source of gratification.

Luxury is in the eye of the beholder, to some what may seem menial can be lavish to another – indulge in what makes you feel nourished, maintained and worthy.

2. Love your friends irrespective of their life choices

Irrespective of how abhorrent their decision-making skills are, how poorly they have managed a delicate situation, or how much you want to slap some sense into them – a true friend offers nothing less than unconditional love and a willingness to understand.

Never forget, that everyone deals with heartache differently. It is difficult to sit at the bed of a friend falling apart, accept their vices and not cast judgement on their actions; how they’re dealing with a situation, in comparison to how you would deal with the situation.

Sticks and Stones: 15 Lessons 2015 Offered

3. Take every opportunity and up-skill with time

Say yes to every opportunity and learn on the job.

No one is born all knowledgable and powerful – even the most successful people relied on mentors and the assistance of others to perfect their craft.

If an opportunity is offered to you, appreciate that said individual or company is communicating belief in your current abilities and your future potential. Mirror the trust on offer to you and take a leap of faith.

4. Body transformations should be fuelled by love

Physical transformations should be undertaken with nothing but self-love as the primary drive.

If you fail to love yourself through the various steps of the process, you are less likely to appreciate the final result – neglecting all that you worked for. If you are genuinely putting in the hard yards, take a step back and appreciate the ride.

5. Travel often

You return to that adult life, a little poorer, a little more tanned and with a lot less phone memory – but you return with something money can not buy. You return with experiences, memories that you can hold dear and reminisce about and your return with practical experience. You travelled to a different continent and survived. You return with beautiful images of unspoken places imprinted in your head and memories or the drunken conversations you had with people whose names you can not recall and memories of the scent in the air. Somehow you have changed but the world continues around you. Whilst I wouldn’t say no to a designer bag or a car upgrade, experience trumps every imaginable material object said money could have paid for.

I return home empowered that I am an independent adult, proud that I was frugal to enough save the funds and impatiently awaiting the next stamp of my passport.

I assure you – if you are in a position to and there is something you should do –

travel!

Honestly, Is Travelling In Your 20’s Really Worth It?

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6. It’s okay to take two steps forward, one step back!

There is no shame in accepting that you bit off more than you could chew, or that your chosen path has proven unfulfilling to you.

7. Purchase with the ‘cost per wear‘ formula

Cost per wear is the magic formula of shopping. Whilst many dismiss the notion as a ploy sales people use to up-sell, I genuinely believe in the cost per wear merits.

Cost per wear is effectively conceputalising your potential material good as something that can be rented. If the GG Blooms Dionysus Bag retails at $2805AUD and I was to theoretically wear it on 250 occasions within the year, the cost per wear ($2805 ÷ 250 = $11.22) – meaning you are paying $11.22 everytime you wear your bag. The more you wear your item, the lower the cost per wear is, meaning you made a successful purchase.

I correlate this formula with a ‘renting’ scenario , as I compare cost per wear to the renting dress and luxury goods market. Yes, you can pay a handbag connoisseur $300 for the weekend to borrow their Chanel – but at the end of the day you are paying off their purchase.

Whilst I love this business model and would be the last person to criticise it – why pay off another persons item, when you can pay off your own?! Likewise, I would rather pay slightly more and own my own home, rather than someone else’s investment (again, I’ll probably live at home until I’m forty-five, so no worries there).

Buying into Luxury?

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8. Dont let people plant doubt in you

Yes, the blogging industry is over-saturated.

Yes, the legal profession has a high rate of graduate unemployment.

Yes, houses are ridiculously expensive.

So what do you propose I do about it all?

Delete every remnant of my online presence?

Drop out of law-school?

Live with my parents until I am old and grey? (likely to be the case)

Give up on everything I want in life because statistically certain things are hard to achieve? 

Be realistic and appreciate that these are statements of fact, however, an unwavering work ethic, determination and a genuine passion to be successful in your chosen field is a formula without fault. Keep working in silence and have faith in yourself and your hustle.

9. Know how and when to pick your battles

Be antagonistic only when you can afford to be antagonistic.

If you are travelling through a rocky part of your friendship of relationship, be self-reflective enough to know when to back off.

10. Empower, do not compete

Confident women do not hate or compete with one another. These women help one another with guidance, mentoring, love, support and above all – respect.

Confident women better themselves for their own sake, whether they achieve more than other women in that process is secondary to self-growth.

I cannot speak for confident men (for the obvious reason that I identify as a woman).

11. What others think of you is none of your business

You’re darned if you do, darned if you don’t.

Do not preoccupy yourself with the views of others.

12. Write about your goals

Make a habit out of writing what you are grateful for, your goals and how you plan to achieve said goal on a day to day basis. For me, it is a battered diary, full of scrawls, lists and ideas that have either blossomed into something bigger and better, or have rightfully never seen the light of day.

The ability to reflect and foresee how you are progressing is an effective way of holding yourself accountable for your action and/or inaction.

13. The ‘Social Media Self’ is merely a guise 

Instagram has been used as a simulacrum of ones’ life, where over stylized, overly glamorized and deceiving images are used to create an online story that isn’t necessarily representative of the person’s life. For some, these identities have become invaluable with their content winning over vast audiences and attention from companies who are willing to monetise this following, by paying for plugs. Those who work tirelessly on their media presence, often leave their jobs and live off audience engagement and the monetary benefits associated with doing so. It is no wonder why the 21st century lay person is so preoccupied on over-glamorising their lives and sharing it with the world.

I do not hastily point my finger at others, without first looking at myself and how I have engaged in this practice. I am a self-confessed lover of Instagram and I do undoubtedly engage in this process. I could think of nothing better than to put my law degree on hold to post pictures of myself on the internet in lavish places, with beautiful people, wearing the newest and most sought after clothing.

Quasi-celebrity status is what we are all after, whether you are honest enough to admit it or not, is another story.

Looking at Myself: Social Media and the Quantified Self

14. Take pride in ‘breaking the mould’

Be multifaceted; offer different views, opinions and talents to those around you.

Do not try to fit yourself neatly into a box or a stereotype, it is a disservice to the complicated and individual being that you are.

My primary fear in pursuing my blog was how I would describe what I write about in twenty-five words or less. Isawisniewska.com is a springboard for the many thoughts, inspirations and passions that I have. I am multifaceted, as are the topics that I write about. Own the fact that you are full of light, shade and various gradients of grey.

15. Know when to swallow your pride (and be transparent about it)

For the sake of a long-standing friendship, for the sake of your partner, for the sake of your family, or for your own sake – own up to your shortfalls (we all have them after all).

16. Old-school romantics are still out there

Perhaps romance isn’t dead – perhaps, through various disappointments and experiences, we protect and condition ourselves into thinking romance is dead.

Like scorched bushland, our minds become blinded by the desolation of ash and smoke and ignore the potential for renewal.

Similarly, when you find yourself cynically wondering when romance died (and why you didn’t get the memo) – breathe. Allow your childhood innocence to take a front seat and guide you, after all, you never know what is to come next.

Is Romance Really Dead?

Is Romance Really Dead?

Between my best friend and I, I was always the realist between us.

I distinctly recall us as bright-eyed pre-teens, laying on her bedroom floor speculating about our futures. We spoke excitedly about what our husbands would look like, what shape we dreamt our engagement rings to be and how miraculous and joyous welcoming our first-born would be. We meticulously planned our futures, accounting for when we would graduate University, meet our ‘Soul Mates’, travel the world, get engaged, married and welcome 1/2 bundles of joy.

Much alike any child, we were idealistic and thought our futures were like play dough – with some gentle kneading and rolling, we could create the lives we so dreamt of. With age, came the wisdom that you can not foresee when you will meet a brilliant person, or when you decide to commit you life to another. It just, well, happens.

Heartbreak after consecutive heartbreak, I learnt that my timeline was bullshit. My twelve-year-old self had imposed unrealistic expectations on my adult self, that just wasn’t going to eventuate the way that I had hoped. Rubbing salt into that wound, it became apparent that they no longer make men like they used to. Long behold, the average Joe won’t buy you flowers every payday, he isn’t really into dancing with you (unless it’s at a club), it is highly unlikely that he will post you love letters or use you as a muse for poetry. Shame really.

My bitter realization led me to an adamantly that romance is dead.

Dead. Cremated. Gone.

Luckily for me, a wonderful and ever so gallant young man walked into my life at the peak of my ‘I don’t need no man’ phase of my life. This wondrous creature held my hand and led me back from the ‘I don’t need no man’, to the ‘men are okay sometimes’, to the ‘men can do decent things every once in a while’, ultimately to ‘I’m okay with men…sometimes’.

My partner has taught me that traditional romantics are still out there, hiding amongst
the rest of us. The type of romantic that follows you half way across the world to surprise you (in a non-creepy way), the type of partner that will pay incredible attention to detail and go out of their way to make you feel cherished and the type of partner that thinks highly of you, even after you binge eat a block of chocolate in your sweats.


Whilst I recognise that the average man isn’t as sentimental as my Yian, the moral is you will never really know what another has to offer unless you give yourselves a chance. Our friends and colleagues who have known my partner for many years, are shocked that this romantic side hid within. Similarily, you never really know how another will show their affections and sentiments; romance might just be hidden behind deep within.

To my girlfriends, with whom I sat on the floor talking about the future with – do not lose 14095725_10206608732284927_8936328763877716736_n
hope. Whether you find that one person, who proves to you that romance is alive and raring now, or in a decades time – have faith and be patient. You do not always have to look for special people, sometimes they lay undiscovered.

I can not wait to see some lucky man fall head over heals in love with you (even if it is at the point in our lives where we hoped to already have kids).

Perhaps romance isn’t dead – perhaps, through various disappointments and experiences, we protect and condition ourselves into thinking romance is dead. Like scorched bushland, our minds become blinded by the desolation of ash and smoke and ignore the potential for renewal. Similarly, when you find yourself cynically wondering when romance died (and why you didn’t get the memo) – breathe. Allow your childhood innocence to take a front seat and guide you, after all, you never know what is to come next.

 

 

Navigating the Early 20’s Minefield

There is something strangely uncertain about entering adulthood.

If you are anything like me, you have experienced a sheltered existence up until this point, where money is always plentiful, opportunities do not run scarce and support from friends and family is unrelenting.

Entering the world in your early 20’s is an inherently personal experience. To put it bluntly, it’s a game changer.

As a young woman in my very, very early 20’s, I offer my knowledge and experience to any young man or woman on the cusp of adulthood. I hope my cathartic writing can be of some assistance.

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Extravagant purchases are okay. You do not have to justify spending money to anyone.

For me, it was a pair of Tiffany & Co earrings. Something that I wanted for so long, but could never justify the price tag. After purchasing the iconic pair of 925 love-hearts during 69d64e1bda9a2845c105633a7b667906a particularly difficult stage in my life, they represented so much more. The earings that I ‘um and ahhhhed’ about for so long, became a symbol of strength, resilience and reinforced an attitude of…

You are an adult. You work for your money. Purchase whatever you want and can afford whilst you’re young. At this point in time, you don’t have a mortgage, kids or larger financial responsibilities. Go for it.

What someone chooses to spend their hard-worked money for is no ones business. What may seem vain to one, could signify something completely different to another.

It is not what you know, it is who you know.

I grew up with my mother preaching this. I on the other hand would roll my eyes in defence of my idealistic world and its values. She was right (please don’t tell her that). Networking is fundamental part of the formula to success in the professional realm. Selling yourself, your values and pursuading someone to invest in your potential will usually get you further than your raw talent and skills.

Travel the world whilst you still can.

Self explanatory.

There is no better time in life. You can claim student fairs and generally speaking, there
isn’t much holding you back. Travelling can have this profound effect on who you are and how you see yourself, especially in your 20’s.

One of the best experiences I have had is unplanned travelling interstate with my best friend to celebrate my impending 20th birthday. This trip has been a catalyst for us booking a #yoloeurotrip2k16.

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You are responsible for your wellbeing.

No longer can you classify those extra kilograms as baby fat. Nope. That is real, adult fat.  Health and general wellbeing means so much more than your weight. Striving to be a better person internally and externally is something one should take pride in.

No one, really, truly has their shit together. No-one.

It is all an illusion. The way people quantify themselves on the internet is but a curation of images to represent an ideal world. We all want to be our own brand, be successful and known. In truth, we are all battling our own demons. We are all scarred and have our own individual stories that rarely make it into the public realm.

Rearing a child is not glamorous.

b97cbf15968ec16e97f2348a9b9966db.jpgWhat you realise as an adult is that raising a child puts you in a fiduciary relationship. The needs of the child always come first. Children will cry, poop, vomit and everything else in between. Child rearing is so much more than just cute mini-people outfits, snapping up images for social media, gloating about how genetically blessed your creation is and trying to make yourself seem like a glamorous soccer mum.

Disclaimer: I do not have a child; I purely learn through observation.

Insecurity breeds hate.

Confident women do not hate. I can’t really speak for confident men, never been one.

The mark of a true adult is never seeing another as an inferior.

Maturity is being able to look at another human irrespective of their social status or assets  and acknowledging them fundamentally as fellow human beings. You come to learn that money comes and goes and what you are left with is a value system that has accumulated  through life experience. If you are still unable to see a homeless person, a refugee or struggling human being  as a mother, father, brother, lover or child  – keep growing my friend.

People can be excruciatingly vain.

You start to realise this when your appearance has changed significantly. When makeup and a few extra kilograms is the difference between you having to stand on the bus or repetitively offering you a seat, there is a  problem. After experiencing a few similar events, you become hyper aware of the difference external beauty can have on your day to day life.

Unconscious bias is a thing.

If conscious bias is prevalent and on the national and international agenda, then unconscious bias is an immeasurable and inherent problem in our world. It is shameful that we live in an age where the gender pay gap puts women at a significant disadvantage during their working life and retirement. The fact that within Australian politics there is still robust debate about this state of affairs is concerning. Not because we have not reformed the current situation, but because there are still people who believe that this reform should not occur. We unconsciously discriminate against fellow men or women on the basis of gender, race, religious belief, political persuasion, sexuality and/or identity in the professional and social sphere. This is an unfortunate reality that the adulthood teaches.

Clinging onto what could have been is a waste of time, effort and potential.

Relationships, professional life, lost experiences.

Period.

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Sticks and Stones: 15 Lessons 2015 Offered

This blog was months in the making.

To manage your expectations; I have not been sitting at my desk neurotically examining the punctuation, expression and composition of this post. Quite the contrary, I have questioned whether sharing the lessons that the past year have taught me are worth documenting. Yet, if there is one thing that blogging has taught me, it is that someone,  in some crevice of this earth that you haven’t even heard of; will engage and find value in  your experience. Therefore, I apprehensively present to thee; the lessons of 2015 learnt the hard way, for the benefit of 2016.

  1.  Traumatic events can be the most effective catalyst for change. Sometimes it is easier to shape yourself into who you want to be from the ground up.
  2. Living a healthy and active lifestyle is something you should make a priority and take pride in.
  3. Weight is not indicative of health.
  4. Come to your own judgements and listen to the opinions of others with a grain of salt.
  5. The length of a friendship is not representative of much, if anything; a friend of a short period could have purer intentions for you, than a lifelong friend.
  6. Everyone deals with heartache differently. It is difficult to sit at the bed of a friend falling apart, accept their vices and not cast judgement on their actions; how they’re dealing with a situation, in comparison to how you would deal with the situation.
  7. Some people have twisted and demented opinions regarding women, racial minorities and religions. Irrespective of how much you argue, come to terms with the fact that you can not change the opinion of everyone.
  8. That timeline you construct as a child as a guideline for your life, you know the one that I’m talking about… dating at 16, engaged to said “perfect partner” by 21, married by 23, child on the way by 25; yeah sorry kid, that ain’t happening.
  9. We should have listened to our parents when they told us to value our childhood and refrain from growing up too soon. The idea of mortgaging a sub par dwelling in Sydney for a lifetime of debt isn’t as glamorous as first presumed.
  10. Perhaps the fact that you chased the love of somebody who tore you apart says more about you than the person you wanted.
  11. There is no shame in watching and quoting Harry Potter at any given occasion as a 20-year-old.
  12. My generation is terrified of commitment.
  13. Unplanned travels make for the best memories and stories.
  14. Remember how far you’ve come and appreciate yourself throughout the process of change. Progress from love makes for a better process of change, rather than progress motivated by self-hatred.
  15. Until you let the wounds of your past heal, you will continue to weep and bleed. Whether you mask it with substances, by immersing yourself in the attention of others, food or other addictions, you have to let yourself heal from whatever wounds the year inflicted, irrespective of how long it takes.

 

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