Who You Are Is What You Do: Making Choices About Life After School

Book Review

It’s been a while since I’ve had a guest on Vegemitevix but today we’re in for a treat. My very own Whovian Traveller daughter Hilary has reviewed Who you Are. Her review is below. I think she’s done a good job (Proud Mum alert), and I can attest that she was so excited by the book she even leant it to her friends at school. There’s no better recommendation for it than that.


So my mum walks into my room on the first day of the holidays with a book to read and review for this very blog. “Sure, Mum.” I say. Then I put the book down and forgot about it for two weeks. Hilly2

During that time I spent my days playing video games, watching Youtube videos and spending hour after hour on Facebook.

So naturally, with all my other homework, I would say to myself “Now, Self, you’ve actually have got to do stuff today.” To which I would respond by not moving until the need presented itself. I’m well meaning, I know and many people have told me so. I just suffer from chronic laziness and procrastination, which I must sort before going to UNIVERSITY where all the scary assignments live.

So here comes the last Friday of the school holidays. I slept in until 20 to 1(“well done Self.”) By which time my mum and my sister had come to investigate whether I was still alive (I’d like to add that that sleeping till past midday is not a thing I usually do. 11am is usually the cut off.) After having pizza for brunch, I set about the seemingly unpleasant task of doing my homework. After completing the not-that-bad-after-all homework and watching TV until midnight, I figured out I might have to actually go to bed at some point. It was this point when I found the book mum had given me 2 weeks ago. Who You Are Is What You Do: Making Choices About Life After School it was called. I shrugged and opened it. “I’ll read the intro” I told myself, “while the laptop is shutting down at the slowest rate known to man, I shall get a feel for this book, and I will finish it in the morning.”

I was jolted back to the real world by my brother shuffling down the corridor at an unearthly time (1am). It appeared that I had sat for an hour reading this book, and I was enjoying it, I really was. I continued reading it on the Saturday, completely absorbed by this wonderful, wonderful book.

"Everyone should read this book!!"

“Everyone should read this book!!”

Interwoven in these pages are real life real life stories about peoples careers, what they did and how they did it; questions about yourself that you really want to answer, leading up to the amalgamation of all the questions in a table which can and will help you find what you want to do; messages about your passions, your values, your priorities and your decisions and how they shape who you are and what you want to do; and most importantly (I’m not sure how they did it) motivation, pure motivation.

Not just motivation to do school work and get the grades you need, but the motivation to strengthen the skills you are bad at and make them stronger. After reading this book, I felt a strong urge to get better at organisation, to get better at managing time and to sort out my responsibilities.

Never have I felt more motivated to clean the garden, do the washing and keep and eye on it and never, never in my life have I felt motivated to do my homework (except by the need to hand it in and doing it at the 11th hour).

Now I want to do my homework, study, do the best I can in my assignments and exams. Not only that but continue doing housework to strengthen life skills I need for my bright future.

I recommend every struggling student; every school leaver with no knowledge on what to do; every down on their luck, lost soul should pick up this book and read it. If you are not yet near leaving age just yet, but still have a bearing on life, read it. If you are sitting at a dead end job, read it. If you want a change of career, read it. It is most perfect for those in their last year of secondary school or school leavers to read it and own it. But it’s messages and exercises make it perfect for anyone wanting to find their way, career wise. Enjoy the book and best of luck

Read More: Who You Are is What You Do, Heather McAllister Beatnik Publishing http://www.beatnikpublishing.com/item_who-you-are-is-what-you-do_11338

The lesson of the cockroach and the sunset

I’d be lying in a ditch now, if the cockroach had his way. sunsetlight

I was driving back from seeing a client, when he stopped to say hello. On my arm. The one that was guiding the steering wheel. Cue screaming, and a certain amount of arm flapping. And then when relative calm restored, a dilemma. Is the sudden unwelcome appearance of a cockroach the size of Bangladesh, on your driving arm an ‘emergency’? Enough of an emergency for hazard lights? And screaming.?

Oh the screaming!  have a blue bruise on my shoulder now, testament to the force I used to pinch the visitor from my arm and squish him into a rolled up piece of paper which I started to lop off into the berm, until conscience stopped me. If not an emergency, is it enough of a problem to excuse wanton littering? Is there ever an excuse for NOT keeping NZ clean?

As I panicked with the ten tonne cockroach chewing his escape tunnel through the rolled up circular left over from Miss Fliss’ paper run trying to decide whether to be a litterbug or not, it occurred to me that the cockroach pretty much exemplified the challenges in my life lately. And my inability to deal appropriately. Another car stopped to assess my situation and as I gestured a calamity that would rival the arrival of Godzilla in Godzone,  I stifled a giggle. I have a problem with unexpected display of humour at the wrong moment. See. Inappropriate.

Sometimes I think my life is one constant celestial joke. Take the new house for example. So, we were finding it difficult to find a house to move into three weeks ago and then as if by blessing or magic this house appeared. It had to be right. It felt right. It seemed the only real option (we did try for others to test the theory) and it came to us in a weird way that seemed predestined. IT had to be right. So why then, has it all turned to custard? I’m struggling to pay bills for the old house and the new one and to work enough to get jobs done in time to get paid, in time to pay the people I owe. I work hard, but despite the trite saying, I just don’t seem to get luckier. I just get more tired. Until it’s hard to find the humour. Yes, even when a cartoon comic villain like the Mother-of-all-cockroaches appears and you almost drive off a bridge.

At the end of the day as I scrambled to get work done and dinner made I felt the cockroach (and all the other little pests in my life) were winning, so I did the only thing I could do. I let go. I didn’t drive off the bridge – metaphorically or literally – but I muttered ‘Stuff it’ to my computer and headed out up the hill overlooking Bucklands Beach. It is beautiful. There is no doubt. I may be stressed, tired, feeling like I’m losing and the work-battles are grinding me down, but that does not take away one bit of the majesty of the sunset in Auckland this evening.

My reaction to what happens is irrelevant. It’s noise. Some might even say it’s interference. Maybe the answer is that I care too much, and all that caring is really a waste of energy and emotion. The sunset didn’t care. It just was. And for a brief moment I forgot to care about work, or clients, or family or friends I’ve let down. I just was. For better or worse. A good thing or a bad thing. After all, the glorious sunset was someone’s last, even in all its soul-lifting glory. It wasn’t good or bad. It just was. And I just was. Standing there on the hill looking out over the sea to the sun pirouetting its finale. I just was in the moment. Like the sunset.

Or for that matter, the cockroach.

The Earth Moved

The past three weeks have been a blur and it feels as if the earth has been moving under my feet.IMG_0920 (1) In that short window of time we’ve sent our oldest daughter off to her school ball, found a new house to move to and moved in.  We’ve celebrated five years of marriage and my Englishman’s completion of his first year in New Zealand. I’ve barely had time to breathe, let alone blog.

And now finally on Queen’s Birthday Weekend I’m able to draw breath and sitting at my desk over looking the beach I feel blessed. Amaranthcottage It’s horrible moving, and we’ve moved a great deal. We’ve moved three times in the past eighteen months and with Auckland rental prices at an all time high it’s been a huge step each time. We’ve had to tighten our belts and grin and bear the enormous cost of bond and moving and cleaning. In related news I think I’ve dropped two kilos or so.

It’s not only hard physically but it’s also hard emotionally, packing up and moving on – yes, even when the next place is lovely and the move is  a ‘good one’ all things considered. In fact I think moving just around the corner brings as much stress as packing up boxes and moving across the world. It’s always a wrench.

Change is hard. Though necessary. Sometimes the earth has to move for us to change our perspective. Especially when we are reticent to move on. That’s when we need to move most, that’s where the biggest rewards are.

Funny how motifs keep coming back in our lives. Good Buddhists would call it lessons, or karma I guess. The house we’ve moved into is called Amaranth Cottage, and it was the gorgeous little place we fell in love with last year when we last had to move.  We couldn’t get out of our lease in time then to take up the lease on this place, but in the interim the house sold and popped up on the rental market three weeks ago.

Somehow I just knew that this pretty little house with its cottage garden, roses and lavender would be our safe place. And here we are.

Of course moving in was a special kind of hell, and being us, not without drama.  A broken flat-screen TV, smashed pictures and a pranged car …but we’re in. With a grin. On with the show…

NB/ I looked up the meaning of Amaranth and this is what it said. I think it’s very appropriate.

“The word amaranth comes from the Greek word amarantos, meaning “unwithering”. The word was applied to amaranth because it did not soon fade and so symbolized immortality” Read more: http://www.whatdoesthatmean.com/dictionary/A/amaranth.html#ixzz33LOi71bH