Tagged: happiness

I love Pugs… But I Hate Full Stops on Bullet Points

Do you ever have those dilemmas in life when you have to go against something you really believe in, just to keep the universe balanced? I have this problem with full stops on bullet points.

I accept that grammatically, either way is acceptable, but I just don’t think it’s right.

Having said that, I was recently re-reading one of my blog posts which I had published in a hurry and I realised that I had unknowingly finished two bullet points with full stops and one with an exclamation mark. After hyperventilating for a short moment, I pulled myself together long enough to deal with it.

In fairness to myself, I had used the full stop when adding a final word or two to the point. For example:

- Pugs are awesome. Fact.

Totally necessary. But by using two full stops and one exclamation point, I had unintentionally thrown my entire post off balance.

There was only one solution – go back through and add a full stop to every bullet point… all the while accepting that this would result in me not sleeping that night.

I started thinking about what other totally minor things have threatened to tip me over the edge in recent months and fairly quickly realised that I might actually be insane. But hey, who is judging? These are just a few:

USING CAPITALS FOR A HEADING OR IN AN EMAIL

I’m not even joking, people actually do this. In reports, people like to use capitals all over the shop and it has, on occasion, very nearly killed me. If you need a heading, there’s this wonderful thing called bold which is designed for adding emphasis without screaming.

Excessive capitalising in email is particularly unpleasant at work when customers, or people associated with customers think they’ll get a better response from me by CAPITALISING all the AGRESSIVE words in their EMAIL… well, guess what? When I read the third misspelt and capitalised word you included, I lost all interest in helping you in any way. Instead, I have made it my mission to ruin your life!

If you’re reading this and you have a tendency to capitalise unnecessarily, please do not ever make me aware of this. It won’t go well. Capital letters should be reserved for the occasional emphasis of a single word and nothing else. For example -Pugs are AWESOME.

txt spk n emails (Text speak in emails)

Last year, I received the following one-line email from our IT guy at work:

“ok np.. ‘only’ looks a bit stupid in the comparison popup though imo”

After staring blankly at my screen for a good twenty seconds, I called a colleague into my office and said ‘I think IT Guy might be having a seizure!’

Apparently I’m just not down with the lingo. Mucho awkwardo.

I am the first to accept that I overuse the acronyms OMG and WTF and maybe it’s a double standard, but under no circumstances should lol, lmfao, np, imo, fml, ffs, ftw or ttfn be used in an email. It takes me more time to Google what it means that it would take you to just write in English!

And don’t even get me started on ‘totes’!

Using the space bar instead of tab

If you reeeeaaallly want to piss me off, put together a nicely aligned and spaced document which has been formatted without using the tab button. Go on,  do it. I dare you…

I guarantee I will squeal, hyperventilate and not speak to you for at least two hours.

Even better, put the header content on the main page, the page number at the top centre and don’t bother with columns, just split all the text into two and put spaces between everything…. EVERYWHERE*!

Times New Roman

Do I need to elaborate? Why does this font still exist?!?

So now you’re starting to grasp how challenging my life is and you’re no doubt wondering how I cope…

I take a deep breath, open a new window in Google Chrome and search Google Images using two magical words ‘Awesome Pug’…

And just for you, my lovely blog readers, I am letting you into my world for a moment. This is the wall above my work desk, I call it The Wall of Pug Inspiration**!

*Please note totally appropriate use of capital letters

** Yes, that is Jacob on the top left. Yes, he has a speech bubble saying ‘I love you… see you tonight!’ but just hold your judgement, I am 100% Team Edward!

No Matter How Bad Things Seem, Do Not Cry Over Dinner

I was reading a crock of sh*t article a few weeks ago about the dating ‘rules’ and the growing trend amongst women to revert back to strategies of old to snag a husband.

You know, the standard stuff like a woman should always ignore three phone calls before answering one, she should practice kissing on a mirror to avoid disappointment and she should always wear pantyhose, or some other equally ridiculous crap.

This is all well and good and if you’ve had success following this rubbish, good for you! However, there seems to be a lack of quality advice aimed at men.

Honestly, I suspect one or two of my previous flings might have been attempting to follow the female-oriented rules… I’ve had the experience of someone feigning being busy just to inconvenience my schedule, I also suspect I may have dated one or two who learnt to kiss (and god knows what else) with a mirror… then there was the guy with the pantyhose… I joke, I JOKE!

Alas, when I looked back on the various men I have dated over the past few years, I had a shocking realisation… I am actually sitting on a goldmine of dating advice. So, good blog readers, I have decided to share this with you. Based on my own dating experience, I feel that I can assist all of you semi-psychotic bachelors out there, by providing some great advice that I have learnt from the men who have come and gone in my life.

So here are my top ten rules for dating women:

1. If your mobile phone is running out of battery in the  hours leading up to your first date, sending a text to the person you’re meeting is a great idea. Turning up to a busy meeting place and sitting at the bar waiting to be discovered is not. If you asked her out, there’s a good chance she can’t remember what you look like!

2. If you forget your wallet or don’t have enough money to cover your half of dinner, do not wait until the bill arrives to advise your date of this. If you’ve managed to scrape your gold coins together and split the bill, do not invite your date back to your place to ‘hang out’ if your next request is going to be that she cover the cab (or bus) fare for both of you.

3. If you have an aversion to washing your clothes, try to at least remove the obvious marks from them before your date. If your date notices them or questions whether you are, in fact, wearing the exact same pants for the fourth time, try lying. Do not admit that you don’t EVER  actually wash your pants because they’re dry clean only and you only have one pair.

4. Despite how awesome you think you are, try to avoid telling your date (repeatedly) of how certain you are that she really likes you. Similarly, comments such as ‘I knew you liked me the second I walked into that bar’ and ‘I know you’ve already thought about having kids with me’ do not lead to the assumption that you are boyfriend material.

5. Even if it is prefaced with ‘Don’t take this personally, but…’ the comment ‘can you just stop asking me questions?’ is not the way to impress a girl and is always going to kill the conversation.

6. If you end up dating someone to the point where you’re sharing a bed, try to avoid sleep talking as much as possible. Sure, talking about breakfast or your job while deep asleep can seem funny enough, but talking about how you are ‘going to have lots of sex and beat the sh*t out of them all’ is only going to scare the crap out of your date.

7. If you ride a bike, try to avoid bringing it on a date. If you must, do not then proceed to talk on your phone for the first 5 or so minutes after meeting, while your date walks beside you… Sure, you’re giving off the impression that you’re cool and that you want to make a speedy exit, but you’re also confusing the crap out of your date, who will spend the rest of the evening wishing that she took that 5 minute window of opportunity to get the hell out of there.

8. Emotional stories such as how your parents divorced when you were seventeen, resulting in you still hating them for humiliating you, may seem like a big deal to you, but sharing them on your first date, or any date for that matter, should be avoided. It was TEN YEARS AGO, for God’s sake, get over it!

9. As much as you may love them, eating two salad sandwiches a day does not make you a foodie by any measure. The people you work with may find it hard to believe that you eat TWO salad sandwiches every day without fail, but for your date who was talking about her passion for food, you just became really freaking boring.

10. Whatever you do, and no matter how emotional you get while out with a girl – DO NOT CRY. Do not cry when discussing your failed relationship, do not cry when talking about sport and no matter how extreme the circumstances, do not cry over dinner!

In writing this post, I’ve not only revisited and cleansed my soul of some of the more negative dating experiences I’ve had, but I’ve also decided that in the vein of He’s Just Not That Into You and The Rules, I’m going to write a book. It will be titled She Thinks You’re a Raving Lunatic.

What I’m Not Telling You

Just a quick post this week as I figure no one is reading courtesy of the Australia Day public holiday… Also because I don’t have much time… I’m too busy watching the tennis and drinking beer in the 30+ degree sunshine!

So I started writing a blog entry the other week about the last date I went on, which I would classify as one of the worst of my life. In all fairness, the guy was nice, just a really bad match for me and it was a complete disaster. The post I started was about the many signs and opportunities I had to escape the date, yet I stuck it out to the very awkward end, so as to not seem rude.

I hadn’t finished the post, as with most of my half baked ideas, it was sitting in my drafts waiting to be finished, polished and published. But then, I was walking back to my office the other day, my mind swirling with blogging ideas for the week ahead, when I actually bothered to look up at the exact moment that the bad date guy flew past me on a skateboard (yes, I dated someone who travels by skateboard – stop judging me). For some reason, my heart raced, not in any lovey way, but just in a moment of utter shock.

I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and that you are reminded of people from your past as necessary. I would never have stopped him or spoken to him, mainly because I was totally not interested and had a bit of difficulty expressing this at the time, but I am convinced I saw him for a reason - I’m very conscious of my blog not personally attacking anyone or being negative and I think I saw him to bring me back to earth. He was a nice boy, it was a bad date, but no harm was done. So I came back to my desk and deleted the draft.

I figured this was as good a time as any to do a bit of a draft-cleansing and started going through some of the random crap I have been writing over the past few weeks. So, in no particular order I would like to share a few of the little gems that have been lurking in my drafts list – but which I have decided will never see the light of day.

1. What’s the easy let down? As mentioned above, how long should you stick out a bad date? Maybe at the point where you find yourself wondering if your date has the mental capacity of a seven year old? Just an idea.

2. All the things I want to say to your face but never will - Pretty self explanatory. When I realised I was listing an abundance of items directed at one person in my life, I decided this wasn’t helping my mission to become a more positive person.

3. Graduating from Slut High - A reflection on the truly awful high school I attended and how it made me a better person.

4. Crazy dog lady - I realised any exploration into whether I am or am not a crazy dog lady was not going to end well.

5. My iPhone is trying to tell me something - When your iPhone auto-corrects ‘love’ to ‘live’ or ‘lie’… it’s time for a bit of self reflection.

6. My jumper ate my underwear - I’m not even going to try to explain this one, but it was a very difficult time in my life.

7. Horses scare the shizz out of me - Actually one of my first drafts, but I later realised that it could be misinterpreted as a dig at someone… and really, horse people aren’t THAT weird, right? But just fyi – horses do actually scare the shizz out of me.

8. I’m not being cute, I just don’t like you - When your lack of tone starts working against you.

9. The owl addiction - Yep, this one was also briefly titled Crazy Owl Lady.

10. That moment when you find your favourite canned tomatoes on sale - and other moments of pure joy and happiness. Inspired by a recent trip to the supermarket when I found Easy Off BAM for $3! $3! I’m not even joking!

I could keep going… there were a fair few that were too embarrassing to include… and you never know, I might return to finish them off one day!

And on that note, I’m off to enjoy the sunshine. Yay! Happy Australia Day!

Ending the Week on a High!

So I’m not counting this as a REAL post and will post some usual ranting mid-next week, however I did have to share the highlights of my Friday.

I woke up yesterday and undertook my usual weekday morning ritual: Hit snooze – fall asleep – hit snooze – fall asleep – hit snooze – roll over – have a silent whinge to myself about how evil any hour prior to 9am is – fall asleep – hit snooze – check Facebook – check gmail – check work emails – roll out of bed.

On Facebook, I had been sent this little treasure:

Considering the last similarly themed linked I got from this particular FB friend, which was something along the lines of ‘I’ve found you a husband: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2071127/Bankers-1-615-word-email-woman-didnt-back.html’, I wasn’t expecting much. But this had me giggling out loud to myself.

In all honesty, it wouldn’t surprise me if my dogs were running a similar operation of sabotage in my life. In the current absence of a boy in my life, they have free reign of the house, get unlimited attention and half of everything I cook (I suffer serious eyes-bigger-than-stomach issues).  When I am dating someone, they become lounge-room sleepers, are made to sit on their own couch, get fewer walks and have to feign interest in a new person for at least a few hours every time they see them. It’s a hard life and they’re not exactly subtle about their disapproval when someone new comes into it.

Having worked myself into a slightly paranoid state and half expecting them to be watching the video over my shoulder while taking notes and giving each other knowing looks, I turned to see what the little darlings were actually up to. Ginger Dog was curled up at the end of the bed, like the perfect puppy that he is… while Midget Dog was sprawled out next to me on my bed, with her head ON my pillow, fast asleep. Note to self – this sleeping arrangement is not conducive to ever meeting a mentally sound husband.

I went to move her off… looked at her taking her little breaths, remembered the difficult night she’d had on Thursday, which involved an itchy leg and an unplanned haircut after I realized her overgrown fringe was impacting her ability to judge distances (only after she twice underestimated the jump from floor to couch and slammed head-first into the side of it) and decided to leave her where she was… I’ll train her off the pillow on the weekend.

So back to the ritual – next step was my emails and this is where the day really kicked off. I admit that I’ve become somewhat addicted to WordPress lately and after smashing my own visits-per-day record on Thursday, I was thrilled to see I had a new comment on my most recent post. Then it got even better… a lovely blogger called blondgirl008 had nominated my little, semi-psychotic blog for the Versatile Blog Award! Considering I have been blogging for less than a month, this has not only made my day, but my week, month AND 2012 so far! Woo hoo!

It has taken me a bit of researching to work out exactly what this is, but to be honest, I am so thrilled that anyone is even reading my blog that I would take any award you’re willing to give me… including the crazy dog lady of the year award. But alas, the Versatile Blogger Award is a way to show your support for blogs of all varieties. So, here goes my response to my much-appreciated nomination:

First up many thanks for the nomination, Blondgirl008. Everyone should check out your hilarious blog at:

http://frugalistablog.com/

Then, for seven things about me:

  1. I am very new to blogging. Yep, although I set up my account back in September 2010 (from memory), it wasn’t until December 2011 that I actually started blogging. Needless to say, I am addicted and commited to posting every week for the next 12 months.
  2. I have two dogs (mentioned above) who I am fairly obsessed with. Ginger dog is 11 and is a little ball of Pomeranian-Cross love. He enjoys food, cuddles, staring longingly into peoples eyes and once punctured my eyeball in a moment of cuddle grabbing desperation, which saw me end up in the Eye and Ear Hospital and him feel quite guilty for a few hours. Midget Dog is equally lovable and if she was a human, I’m fairly certain she would actually be me. She is only 3 and is strong-willed, bossy and squeals when she doesn’t get what she wants. However, at the end of the day she is a happy little girl who has a pretty sweet life and just wants to eat lots and curl up on the couch.
  3. I live in Melbourne, Australia and I love it! Although I travel a lot, and have lived overseas in the past, I don’t imagine I will live anywhere else for a prolonged period of time. I also hope to stay in the same local area I currently live in and am very grateful to have grown up in such a diverse, beautiful and fun city.
  4. I am a dating disaster. It’s true. I won’t go into too much detail here, I have a separate (anonymous) blog all about the many crazy dating experiences I have had in my life. Having said that, I am a firm believer in learning from your experiences and that the worst dates always make for the funniest stories!
  5. I am totally addicted to soda water and sparkling water and I really need to invest in a Soda Stream this year. This addiction has developed since I quit soft drink last year. I just can’t get enough of the bubbly goodness.
  6. I am attempting to be an owner-renovator. So far, it’s been challenging and my house is currently covered in about 3cms of plaster dust. However, I love my little house and get excited by the smallest things. Note – do not ever get me talking about blinds, light switches or any other house-related item. I guarantee I won’t stop talking, you’ll be confused and you will regret ever starting the conversation.
  7. I have an inability to keep things brief. Most of the posts on my blog (including these seven points) were intended to be short and sweet. Eek! I attribute this to having a lot to say and expect that as the weeks roll on, I might stop crapping on so much! Taking a moment to pause, I realize this post is already at 1137 Words… Sorry!

Finally, fifteen blogs that I would in-turn nominate (most of which I am already following and a few I have sourced for this purpose!):

NeverContrary - Funny, open hearted ponderings on life

36ixty5 - Every time these images pop up on my ‘Read Blogs’ page they make me happy

Fibromy-Awesome - A lovely blog

I’m Not Famous and Neither Are You - This girl reminds me of myself, haha! I think her name is Sarah (I joke, I joke!)

The Dissemination of Thought - Hilarious

The Insanity Aquarium - Also very funny

Viciously Sweet - Originally I wanted to illustrate my blog. I failed and admire anyone with such artistic flair!

Cramp My Style - Recently on Freshly Pressed

Brooke and Mckenzie  - I just discovered this one yesterday

Blank Stares and Blank Pages - So, so funny

Damp Squid - I don’t really know how to explain this one

Hyperactive Inefficiency - I’ve only just started reading this one

The Waiting  - A blog about pregnancy with a really cute ‘About’ page

The Middest Sister - Another funny one with pictures

Consider the Sauce - Omg, a blog dedicated to food in the Western suburbs! What more could a West-side Melbournian need?

Thanks again for the nomination, it was a great chance to discover even more awesome blogs!

In My Mind, My Best Friend is Sitting on the Couch Eating a Sandwich.

It’s so strange how our mind reminds us of a person. Often a smell, a song, a food or even just the weather can bring back the best memories of being around someone. I love those moments and the warmth and happiness they bring and I’ll often be reminded of something and proceed to start laughing (and often nose whistling) loudly at a totally unrelated moment in time.

One thing I have noticed is how clear the image in my mind is of many people in my life. If I’m on the phone or reading an email or message from them, I will have a mental image of them in my head, often of some totally random occasion which has stayed with me.

Sometimes my image of them is from a photo or just the last time I remember seeing them, but for the people I know well it’s a specific time and place which has remained in my subconscious.

The other day I thought about this so much in preparation for this blog, that I actually had some kind of fast forward stocktake of the people who have had an impact on my life, or my life as it currently is. It filled me with happiness and I actually had to stop for a moment to let myself take it all in.

It went something like this:

One of my best friends is sitting on the blue couch in the house we shared, putting a piece of sandwich in her mouth and nodding…

The other is dancing in the car as we drive to work.

Another friend is eating a cheeseburger at Oxford street McDonald’s and savoring every bite.

My ex-boyfriend is screaming obsenities at me as I walk a metre ahead of him in London.

A friend is sitting opposite me eating oysters in Galway, discussing my love life…

One is walking along a street wearing a backpack and bouncing on skinny legs…

Another is holding a glass of white wine as big as her head while eating dry roasted peanuts and laughing…

My best friend from primary school is walking next to me in the playground.

My best friend from high school is eating nutella and waving at me from her front door.

A traveling friend is laughing in bed as we recount the previous night’s chaos in Peru…

Another is wearing my pink and white skirt as we hit the town in Madrid.

My first crush is laughing with his mouth open and a booger hanging out of his nose.

My first boss is dancing in the lunch room.

My best boss is looking confused and nodding.

My older sister is 15 and wearing her school uniform, screaming and slamming the screen door in a moment of teen angst.

My mother is in the kitchen, bouncing around busting for the toilet…

My dad is taking my 10 year old self to the airshow and I’m worrying about my light up runners in the mud.

I could probably go on forever. There’s many more where I can’t pinpoint the time or place of the memory, but I can see the person clearly, most often looking happy or laughing.

I started writing this post as I decided to discuss other people instead of myself for a change and it ended up bringing me a lot of joy.

What do you see when you think of the people who have impacted your life?

And if you know me, how do you see me?

P.s. Apologies for the lack of my usual bad jokes and venting! Rest assured, they will be back in the next post!

New Year, Old Resolutions

The tradition of making New Years Resolutions has been around forever. At the beginning of every year, we announce our goals for the year ahead and commit to making those long-awaited changes to our lives.

As always, as the end of 2011 drew near, I found myself asking the people around me if they were making any resolutions this year. The consensus seemed to be that resolutions are never kept and that it’s a pointless exercise setting them when you’re only setting yourself up for failure.

For the past few years, I have made the exact same resolutions – to be happy and to quit Diet Coke. Being happy is always a safe bet, but every year I would quit Diet Coke on New Years Day and swear I was going to stick with it for a year… or a month AT LEAST, with a couple of exceptions to get me through. These were:

1. I was allowed to drink unlimited quantities of post mix (fountain) Diet Coke without guilt. My justification for this was that post mix contained more water than Diet Coke, so it didn’t count.

2. I was also allowed to have one can per week, which I would carefully plan in case of an anticipated hangover or spicy dinner.

As you’ve probably guessed, I failed. The first year it took about 3 weeks, the second year about 2 and last year… about 2 days. It was like officially quitting it was actually causing me to want it even more, and each year my commitment was getting weaker.

I’ve never had any serious addictions, I’m not a smoker, gambler or alcoholic and besides the occasional short-term food obsession (which generally happens when I’m in the midst of a baking phase), Diet Coke has been my only vice.

By late January, I was well and truly off the resolution wagon. I had a particularly messy night out and the ensuing hangover was easily the worst I have ever had. I accept that I am no longer the spring chicken that I used to be and that every hangover hurts that little bit more than the last, but after five (yep, FIVE!) days of not being able to eat anything without getting sick and drinking my body weight in Diet Coke in an attempt to feel better, I realised something was not quite right.

I was sitting on the Manly ferry in Sydney the following weekend, feeling like crap and sucking back my zillionth Diet Coke for the week when the realisation hit me. My bloated, sore stomach and complete lack of energy was not due to the white wine/beer combination of the previous weekend, but from my beloved fizzy friend…

I got off the ferry, walked to the bin, ditched the can and quit – not just Diet Coke, but soft drink altogether, then and there. Once my stomach calmed down, I felt awesome! Since that day, I have had exactly 2 Diet Cokes, neither of which would be considered falling off the wagon.

A couple of days ago, I started thinking about whether or not I would set resolutions for 2012. Initially, I assumed I would make the same ones, but then I realised that I had unintentionally achieved last year’s!

So, for 2012, I’m making myself no promises and setting no resolutions that can be broken. Instead, I am setting the following goals:

By the end of 2012, I want to still be as happy, fulfilled and excited for a new year to come as I am now, bidding adieu to 2011! Happy New Year!

11 Things I Learnt in 2011

1. Every year goes quicker than the last

If I had a dollar for every time in the past few months that I have said ‘I can’t believe this year is almost over’, I would be a very rich girl (by rich, I mean I could afford a coffee and muffin every morning for a week without scrounging around the floor of my car)! 2011 has literally flown, courtesy of four trips overseas, work chaos, the continued disaster that is my love life and just life running at full speed. I started the year having an unexpectedly big night at a pub in Warrnambool, which seemed to set the pace for the year.

When discussing this with a friend recently, they said to me, ‘it’s not that this year has gone fast, it’s just that every single year goes quicker than the last’… I’m torn as to whether I agree with this statement and as a result, I intend to make 2012 go as slowly as possible… Yes, I may be in denial, but I WILL slow down time, damn it!

2. Take compliments graciously and without hesitation

Me and tact do not have a relationship… it’s just not a skill I ever learnt. As a result, I don’t dish out compliments unless I mean them and the people around me know this. Having said this, I still encounter people who I give a compliment to and they insist on rejecting it.

My lack of social prompts means I’m never sure if they’re fishing for me to elaborate, think I’m mocking them (not an unreasonable assumption) or if they honesty think their uber-expensive shoes are actually not pretty at all. Seriously people, I don’t go dishing them out, take the compliment or you won’t be getting another one.

I actually learnt this lesson several years ago, but it came up many times in 2011. Compliments are easy to take and the more graciously you take them, the more often they’ll come. Now let’s practice:

Me: ‘Oooo, I love your dress!’

You: ‘Oh, thanks!’

Success!!!

3. If you like someone, tell them

Although this primarily goes for matters of the heart, it’s become my approach to everyone in my life. I would consider myself a fairly up-front person, but this year I learnt the value in just putting yourself out there.

If you think someone is awesome, tell them! If someone is kinda cute, tell them! If someone makes you laugh, tell them! And if someone makes your heart jump like it’s trying to leap out of your chest, tell them… chances are they feel the same. If not, you’ve lost nothing, you’ve saved yourself potentially months of wondering if they like you and above all, you will have most likely brightened their day with the compliment!

4. Babies are awesome

Okay, so I did already know this before 2011, however having not been around a new one for years and years, I had been kind of convinced that babies were maybe a little bit boring. It wasn’t until a good friend of mine had her first baby in the second half of the year that I realised that I am OBSESSED!

Despite living in a completely separate State to aforementioned baby, I have managed to buy her more clothes than I have bought myself this year… okay, slight exaggeration there, but definitely more than I have bought myself in the second half of the year! And equally as exciting – next year I will be an aunty for the first time! Yay!

5. Weddings are a big deal to some people – do not judge them

I would like to start off here by saying I LOVE weddings. I especially love when people I care about get engaged, married or even just happy, it warms my heart! However, in recent months I have realised that there is a fine line between a bride who is ‘excited’ and one who is ‘obsessed’ and that I am not to judge when it is crossed. Doing so will only end in awkward conversations… Even more awkward than those which you will be having with them once their all-consuming wedding has wrapped up.

I have also learnt the following: Buying a charity goat for someone who has asked for gifts of cash is apparently socially unacceptable, having a gift registry for your kitchen tea is normal and asking your nearest and dearest to invest a month’s salary in honour of your celebration will not result in you losing friends.

So, in light of this new-found knowledge, when the time comes, I now plan to elope. Or at a maximum have 10 people on a beach with no shoes on, no presents and no stress. I hereby promise this to everyone in my life. Hold me to it.

6. Having good tone is not so vital in life

In addition to lacking any tact in my life, I also struggle with tone. I had never given it much thought until one of my staff got a look of complete fear in his face when I was complimenting him on his work. Apparently my facial expression, tone and words were all contradicting each other and as a result, instilling fear in the poor guy.

So I started asking the people close to me for their opinion on the issue and sure enough, my tone issues were widely acknowledged, unbeknownst to me. So I set out to correct it, emphasising various words and attempting to add an inflection to my sentences.

After several months of experimentation, I came to the conclusion that good tone is over-rated. Bad tone often results in hilarious miscommunication and is a great conversation starter. The simple solution is, if I’m conversing with someone and they start to look confused, I exclaim loudly ‘I have bad tone!’, everyone laughs and a friendship has begun!

7. The ability to be blunt is a virtue

My most recent realisation is that bluntness is not a bad trait, I even believe it to be a virtue. I have always thought that my tendency to cut straight to the point was something that had to be changed, and spent years chit-chatting and prancing around whatever topic needed to be discussed.

In my most recent employment, I speak to a wide range of people across numerous fields. In an industry where everyone is trying to win each other over and impress each other, I start to feel like I am suffocating in fake niceties. Earlier in the year, I accepted that this approach just wasn’t me, I’m blunt in my personal life and decided to try a similar approach in my professional life.

The result – if you’re up-front with people, they’ll be up-front with you, communication is open and issues are overcome. PLUS, once the topic is dealt with, there’s more time for getting to know the person you’re meeting and enjoying your time with them!

8. Never assume people care about the minute details of your private life, because most often, they don’t

Okay, so I know this one sounds a bit harsh, but it is an important lesson. We all spend so much time worrying about what other people think of us and missing out on opportunities for fear of being judged. I personally will go over a conversation a thousand times in my head if I think I have offended someone (unintentionally), or said something out of line or inappropriate (a common occurence).

But when I actually think about the people close to me and their behaviour, I realise it doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you’re fun and happy and are making the most of life. I can barely remember the conversation I’m currently having with someone, let alone one that took place a week ago.

Stop mulling things over! If you have an opinion, share it! If you like someone, go for it! Don’t assume that everyone is focusing all their attention on you, because you’ll miss out on the opportunities that are presenting themselves to you.

9. Getting stuck in a snow storm is not such a bad thing

I am 100% a summer person and I absolutely hate the cold. Despite this, two friends and I went to Queenstown this past winter for a week spent learning to snowboard. It was a very fun and crazy week and we headed to the airport with heavy hearts, all not wanting to head home. Apparently Q’Town also didn’t want us to leave and after an epic snowstorm and many failed attempts to get out, our 7 day trip turned into a 12 day adventure.

Despite cabin fever setting in on about day 8 and each of us consuming our body weight in alcohol, our time there became one of the most memorable periods of 2011. By the time we had accepted our fate and let ourselves just enjoy the extended break, we had been lucky enough to see a once in a lifetime snow storm, eaten awesome food, met some fantastic people and become even closer friends for it.

10. See the humour in every situation

Being able to see the humour in every situation makes life bearable. This year so far I have had a staff member question my morals on Facebook (and get abruptly asked to resign), been delayed on numerous flights, had an immeasurable number of IT issues, had the entire work database and network die, be threatened by angry customers and had the most disastrous dating experiences, including on one occasion when I actually thought I was going to get my kidneys stolen…

At the time, what can you do? You can laugh about it, and remember the finer details so you can recount the story with accuracy next time you’re out drinking with your friends.

11. I will never learn to high-five

Ever. So please stop trying.