Archive for January, 2014

What will you create?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on January 21, 2014 by Waylon

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You know those times where you do everything in your power to make something work, or happen, and it just doesn’t? We have all been there. God knows i have had my fair share, as I’m sure you have. It’s frustrating, it’s demotivating and it can be extremely upsetting. If i have learned one thing through all of my experiences over the last 35 years, it’s that everything will happen when its meant to happen. It’s never late, and it’s never early. It’s ALWAYS right on time.

I have spent a lot of time thinking about whether we are totally in control of what happens, or if we have no control at all, and we are just mindless lemmings on a pre determined path that we can’t change… At the moment (because, like most things, it changes with age and experience) it’s a hybrid of them both. Because honestly, both of these options on their own are a terrifying thought.

To think that we are completely on our own in life and are floating round with no real purpose or map to get where we need to be, is kinda a lot to take in. Its kinda nice to know someone, something, has our back and is ready to take over the reigns when we get lost. And lets face it, who doesn’t like a bit of a challenge every now and then??

I believe that we are in complete control of what we want. But we have no or very little control over how we get it. I think we can choose the type of life we want, and we have total uninhibited, unobstructed choice in that. From there, the “universe”, God, life, whatever you believe or don’t believe in, constructs a path to get us from where we are currently to where we want to be. This decides how much we need to be tested in order to get to where we want to be. A lot of change needed, means intense and constant testing.

Each test that we go through, will change us in a way that we need to be changed, in order to get where we want to be. If we don’t learn the lessons AND make the changes necessary, we have to resit the test. Any time limits on getting where we want are set by us. The universe (or life or God, or god. Now referred to in the blog as universe.), has no concept of time. We pass the tests and we will get there quick. We fail the tests, it slows us down. There is no coincidence. There is no book of cheats. There is no shortcuts.

2014, for me, has gone OK so far. Everything that i want to happen has happened. To others it may not be anything amazing, but to me it’s both amazing in itself, and the start of something even more amazing. I had big plans for life in general at the start of 2013, and it’s kinda obvious, with hindsight, that i was no where near being the sort of person that i had to be in order to get what it was that i wanted at the time.  2013 was testing year, and a year of tests. I’m kinda hoping that either the tests are done for now, OR i have learned to learn the lessons a shit load quicker.

The other day i had a conversation with a friend of mine about a situation that was kinda awkward. I KNEW the conversation was coming, i just didn’t know when. And for the record, i have been ridiculously lucky to have been given this long without it. Now that the conversation has been had, i know that any other time, i wouldn’t have had (or seen, as the case may be) a solution. The conversation came, exactly when i needed it, when there was a solution I would have seen, and then a few days later it became extremely obvious how it all fitted into the bigger picture. Any earlier and i would have missed it, made very different decisions, and completely missed the lessons that it held. Because of the timing, and the amount i have changed through my testing in 2013, i saw it as an absolute positive, instead of a devastating negative.

I always knew that 2014 would be all about rebuilding and restarting. It’s what i wanted AND needed. Lately, i have had to think about two different options in regards to HOW i wanted the rebuild to go. Both options involve finding my own place and a stable job and rebuilding the foundations. But one has me staying in the place i know, with (or close to) the people i love most, in a job that is just a job, and i never have to really change my routine.

The other involves me completely uprooting 250kms away (Good? Bad?), but allows me to do a job that has purpose AND i get to hang with my bestie again, and get a complete restart.

I couldn’t decide which one i wanted. I didn’t know the answer to the test. Both had pros and both had cons. As i have done before, i took a lifeline (there is no limit on these, but you have to give up ALL control each time), and i asked the universe to give me a hint as to which way I’m supposed to go. The universe spoke pretty loudly and clearly about which one was best for me. I have my own version of what i want to happen with the two choices but what will happen, will happen and ill go with it. Either way is a restart. I just need to make the right decisions, to keep on path.

So, although it feels like you are working separately, the universe is working to give you exactly what you want. You ARE the architect of your own life, but you may not have total control over the details of the actual construction of the project. Without an architect, a builder doesn’t know what he is building. Without builders, an architect just has pretty pictures. Together you can create anything.

What are you going to create?

Life smells like leather.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on January 20, 2014 by Waylon

Disclaimer: So i like to think that i am pretty open to life and things that inspire me. I like to think that i am open to inspiration from anything and at any time. But i also think that i am extremely random and weird about how i connect things in this little brain of mine.

This is one of those times. (Just stick with it, i’ll try to make it make sense)

So I’m 12 days into a two week stay at a mates place while he is overseas (Relax, I’m not squatting, he knows I’m here). Every time in the first 10 days that i walked in the doors of the apartment complex, i thought “What is that smell, its horrible.” It was really strong and felt almost caustic. I started to take a deep breath before i walked through the doors to minimise how it felt. Once i got into the lift it was fine and the smell wasn’t there anymore.

A couple of days ago i walked out of the lift into the foyer and was, once again, hit with the smell. This time it was different though. This time, it hit me as i was looking through the doors of the showroom that was underneath the apartments, on street level. The leather lounge showroom. The “caustic” smell that i had been smelling was an overload of the rich expensive leather coming from the showroom. And now far from being unpleasant, i took a deep breath in and inhaled the leathery goodness of it. And it was amazing.

For 10 days, i had held my breath and tried to avoid the smell, while i ran to the lift. But once i realised what it was, i couldn’t get enough of it and breathed it in. And then i realised, this is a perfect metaphor for how we deal with life.

When we are going through some tough times, we tend to hold our breath,avoid it, and we can’t wait till its over. I totally advocate focussing on better times, to get through a tough time, I’m not saying we should do the opposite. What I’m saying is that, even during the bad times, we need to realise that the “caustic” life that we are smelling is actually rich, expensive leather but its so strong its hard to take in.

Imagine how much shorter, and less intense, these caustic times in life would be if we were able to smell and take in the leather hidden in these tough times. It’s all well and good, and absolutely necessary, to look to the end result when it will all be over and life is back to normal, but its always easier to deal with if we can see the good within the bad and the “good times” won’t always feel so out of reach.

Imagine how much discomfort we would save ourselves if only we saw, and learned the lessons at the time, instead of looking back and seeing them at the end and thinking “Wow if i knew that then, it wouldn’t have been so difficult”.

So just keep breathing. When it gets tough, dig in, focus on your breathing and get through it. You will be glad you did in the end.

Just remember, life really like a leather lounge. Sometimes the leather is smooth and soft, and fits you just right. And sometimes leather is hot, sticky, fired out and cracked. But every crack in the leather means something. Every crack is a part of that leathers history.

Breathe it in. And see it for what it is.

Fuck off, we’re full…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 17, 2014 by Waylon

We have all heard it and many of us have said it. I know i have.

As Australians, there is this notion that we aren’t racist, we are patriotic or “proudly Australian”, or some other ridiculous excuse to convince ourselves that we don’t deserve this big, bad nasty “Racist” tag. Racism is so firmly bred into our language, our culture and our lifestyle, over a long term basis, that we don’t even know that we are doing it. And if we don’t know that we are doing it, of course we aren’t going to admit that we are racist.

Don’t for a second think that i think i haven’t fallen into this category. I stand guilty as charged your honour. For years, i vehemently denied my racist tendencies by prefacing “Im not racist” with “Oh its a joke, i don’t really mean it”, “Yeah but i was born here”, “But there’s more of them here than there is us”, “Jesus, its spot the aussie”….

Its all the same shit just wrapped in a different flag.

Something happened my very first night in Canada that changed all this. Something so simple, so honest and so sincere, it hit me like a sledgehammer to the face.

I had met my mate earlier that day and we headed out to dinner to meet some of his mates and see title bit of Toronto. I met one of his friends, who is now a good friend of mine, who had come over to Syd earlier in the year and commented that he noticed that everyone was so blatanty racist. Obviously i denied it. “Nah its just a joke”. Later we went to a club, I’d had a few drinks and was feeling comfortable and starting to get into holiday mode. As we went upstairs i noticed that the club was, literally half white people and half black people. I said to the Canadian who was in Sydney earlier in the year (as a “joke”) “Hey, since when are “they” allowed up here with “us”?”

The response was immediate, swift and honest. He turned around looked me right in the eye with an amount of disgust, disbelief, and sickness that i couldn’t comprehend at the time and said “You can’t say that here. It might be OK in Sydney but not here”.

I probably responded with a “Oh its only a joke” and he may have said something back, but either way it hit me before this. I was racist. Australians are racist. And we don’t even know it. (yes i realise this is a generalisation.) Once i realised this i realised a lot more about both Canada and Australia.

Canada is grey. There is no colour. Everyone is Canadian. Everyone is covered by the Canadian flag. And those who aren’t Canadian are welcomed (including, although begrudgingly, Americans lol). So much so that its like they literally don’t even notice colour. They don’t notice that someone isn’t white, and in the bigger scheme, they don’t notice they are gay, or female or a non white gay female.

It just doesn’t register. And it shouldn’t.

Australia on the other hand, calls itself white but notices every single colour other than white. Yellow, black, non tanned brown, red, everything. They notice gay, they, we, notice female, we notice everything thats not white, straight and male. And we act accordingly. We say “well you need to assimilate and stop grouping in one place” we say “speak our language or don’t come here”.

Lets think about how fucking ridiculous that is:

If you come to a new country where you don’t know anyone, you are going to go where there is something familiar. Like we do. Remember those Aussie pubs in Thailand, Bali and the UK? Isn’t that the same thing? Yeah, we go elsewhere but we tend to congregate where the familiar is. Where the other Aussies are. Remember the terrorist attacks in Bali in 2002 (?)? It was targeted towards aussies. Why did they hit the club they hit? Because thats where we congregated. WE do the same thing we hate here, in other countries but tend to think its OK.

As for the language issue, i have been on the other side of it overseas, and it was a very different story. When i was in Macau for three months in 2004, i spoke very little to no cantonese for most of the time i was there. While i was learning it, i was terrified to speak it to strangers. I thought they are going to get pissed off that i didn’t speak the language, like we do. But when i did, instead of being pissed off, they were extremely appreciative of the fact that i had tried AND once they knew what i was trying to say, they helped me say it correctly.

We, as Australians, could not do it any more differently. We get annoyed (“Speak the language freshy”), we certainly make no attempt to help them learn the language (kind of ridiculous when thats what we say we want), and this is only if we actually bother to speak to them. So again, they go to where they feel safe, where they find familiarity, then we get annoyed at that.

We are breeding and feeding our own problems.

And its not just the “immigrants” that we are confused about. How many times have you heard someone speaking with an accent of another country, not necessarily a “non-white country”, (I’m thinking lebanon, Italy, Greece, pick a country), saying “This is our country bro, go fucking home”, while living in a “lebanese/Greek/Italian” suburb but calling themselves “lebanese/italian/greek/wog/leb” etc? Again why is this OK but for a “non-white” who has as much claim to being an Australian as they do are called immigrants, FOB’s, and a million other derogatory, racially motivated slurs?

If you argue that these “immigrants” are taking our jobs, grow up. They usually take the jobs that you think you are too good to do, the jobs that you think are below you, the jobs that you give up and then stay on welfare, not working, while giving shit to these people who come here and work to build a life for themselves and then have the nerve to say you are above them. Grow up.

This isn’t just a “general populace” issue. Now i don’t mean to be political, and i certainly don’t care to start a political argument, but this whole stop the boats policy crap is so ridiculous and shows that Australia and its law makers really don’t understand the whole thing . That racism is so deeply embedded in our culture and our thinking, that its now being put into law. It shows that they don’t understand the reality of the world and how it works. It shows that we haven’t make a distinction between “illegal immigrants” and Asylum seekers”, and we are really bordering on ing viewed as a country that has no compassion for anyone other than ourselves. For a country that is already looked upon as a racist one, is this really something we want to do?

When is Australia going to get with the times and realise that we have been for a long time, currently are, and will be even more so in the future, a multicultural country?

If you think that immigrants are taking your job, If you think that immigrants are ruining the country, if you think that all Aussies are white, if you think that the boats should be stopped, if you think that being white gives you some sort of superiority over everyone that isn’t…. then i have one thing to say to you.

Fuck off, we’re full.

We are full with people that love the diversity of the place. We are full of people that love this country enough to uproot their whole life and that see our country as a good place to start again. We are full of people that are compassionate enough to realise that, in some countries, they aren’t as lucky as us. We are of full of people who are yellow, and black, and red, and brown, and white.

And they can ALL be Australian.

Now that i have written this, I’m going to go get some dinner, I’m tossing up between Thai and Chinese…. I hope they don’t tell me to “go home, we are full”, because i hear Ireland is a bit of a shit hole place to live at the moment.

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Hey friend, I’m sorry its been so long

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 17, 2014 by Waylon

So last weekend i went to Canberra. Not too exciting for most, but i was ridiculously excited and was counting the hours till i was there. Although i love the whole feel of Canberra, thats not why i was excited. Although i was looking forward to doing the galleries, and all the arts and culture stuff (yeah i know, kinda weird for me huh), thats not why i was excited.

I was excited because Matt was there.

Matt and i had lived together for around 5 years, a year before we came to Sydney and the rest of the time in Sydney. We met properly the day that we signed the lease to our place on the Central Coast . (I think we met before that but very briefly,  and i think we were both drunk). In the whole time that we have known each other, we have never had an argument. In five years, he made me laugh nearly every single day regardless of my mood, and regardless of what i was going through. Without fail, any time i was going through something tough, Matt was there, either with a joke, with food, with some brutal honesty, or with whatever else i needed. Somehow he knew exactly what that was.

Then he moved out. It was the last thing i wanted, but i knew that it was the right thing for him to do, so i had to let him go. It was only into the city so it wasn’t that far away, so it was all good. The night that I packed up (Matt had already had his stuff moved out, Matt played “For Good” from the Wicked Soundtrack. It kinda summed up exactly how i felt about him and the friendship. He absolutely changed me for the better.

Then in June last year, he moved to Canberra with his bf. The same one from Sydney. This may not have made me too happy, but again i knew it made Matt happy. And its only a couple of hours down the road, right? Obviously the bf was told he ain’t going any further than Canberra without me!

Anyway, Matt and I ended up doing the whole life thing and we would text or whatever less often than we did when we lived together (which was pretty much all day every day), he would ask when I’m coming down to Canberra, I’d say soon, with some excuse attached as to why I couldn’t come right now, and then a couple of months later I’d say soon again with another excuse, usually that I couldn’t afford it. Christmas, New year period came around and I decided that i WAS going to go to Canberra. I told Matt and then return flights to Canberra appeared in my email. I was going. And apparently I was flying.

So the text frequency grew in the lead up to Canberra. Countdowns, jokes, plans made. Then I landed in Canberra and caught up with Matt for two full days and nights. It was like he had never moved out. We continued with the same jokes, we found the same random shit funny that no one else did and i loved every minute i was there. And i didn’t want to go home. Ever. I got back home to Sydney, and i started thinking.

How many relationship have i let fall by the wayside, because “life got in the way?” How many good friendships suffered because i was too busy, too broke, too something?

All too often we find ourselves looking back and thinking “Wow i haven’t spoken to them for ages. I used to speak to them everyday. I guess life got in the way”. How many friends have just faded away in time, because of life? When was the last time you spoke to your family? Your mum? Dad? Siblings?

And i do mean speak. As in conversations using speech. Not a text conversation, not a Facebook comment, or like here and there, but an actual verbal real time conversation. When was the last time you sat down and actually caught up with that person who used to be the first call?

What I realised when I got home from Canberra, is that I missed the little bastard. I love the text messages, but I miss the connection that can only be had by being in person. By sitting on the same couch talking crap or watching Ja’mie (If you haven’t done it, do it. Its Ja’mazing. And she is totes quiche.), by retiring before our time and taking a walk around the lake catching up, by heading out and having dinner, catching a movie or having a couple of drinks. Text messages are fine, if they are in between these things, but not as a substitute. Not as an instead-of.

I understand that sometimes you can’t be in person, they are overseas, they are across the other side of the country, they are in solitary confinement in a maximum security prison. It doesn’t matter, there are ways. (OK so maybe not while they are in solitary confinement in a maximum security prison, but you get the idea.) Skype, Facetime, phone calls, yelling really loud, hoping the wind carries your voice etc are free, or very affordable ways to stay in touch (OK, again, maybe not the yelling. That was a stupid idea, but again you get my drift)

The whole point here is that life only gets in the way if you let it. Don’t use “Im too busy”, “I’m too broke”, “It’s been too long”, as excuses. Like Kate Miller Heidke said in her song “Don’t let Go“,

“Being busy’s no excuse, to pull away and lose touch with my friends…Its the busy-ness that brings us to our knees. Who invented all these things we have to do?”

So don’t let go, don’t let go, don’t let go, don’t let go, don’t let goooooo because your busy, broke or any other reason. Don’t let life be your fall bitch, don’t let life be your scape goat. Make the call. Say “Im sorry, i miss you, lets catch up”.

You never want it to be too late.

When was the last time…..

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on January 14, 2014 by Waylon

You did something that mattered? Something that made a difference?

When was the last time you gave yourself goosebumps?

Right at this very moment in my life, i am at a point where the possibilities are almost infinite. I am no longer confined by area, industry or love. To say i am at a cross roads is severely limiting the amount of possibilities that i have in front of me. I would say i am sitting at a T-junction in a bulldozer. I can follow the road that has been paved previously or i can create a new road. My road. The only question i need to ask myself is “Where will my road lead.”

To answer the question, many other questions need to be answered but everything comes back to one all important question:

What matters? What REALLY matters.

We can turn left or right on the T- intersection and newer with the old, money, job satisfaction, power, possessions, etc and all the other stuff but does any of it really matter. Yes, we need money, yes job satisfaction is important, yeah power can be nice and we can have all of that. But, while getting all of that, is your life making a difference? When we are in our last days, will any of that bring any real comfort to us or anyone else? Are money, power, and possessions the prize, or are they added extras on the real prize…. MAKING A DIFFERENCE?

During this process i asked myself “When was the last time i, personally, did anything that REALLY mattered? Anything that actually made a difference?”

The last thing that i can honestly say that i did that made a difference, was the original Cycle For A Cure. We raised a shit load of money for Cancer research but more importantly, we gave people an opening of a dialogue, a chance to feel that THEY were helping, a chance to share their stories and hear stories from other people who have been there. We created a community and connected people who may never have been connected. We made a difference.

That was nearly 3 years ago.

I think to myself, if i fell ill, seriously ill, and i had a couple of days to live, could i look back on my life and think “I made an actual difference”…. And i don’t think i could. Yes, i made a difference to my friends and family, and yeah i made a difference to some clients. But thats only, and lets be generous, 30 people out of 7,000,000,000 people on this earth. Thats 0.00000043% of the worlds population. Not exactly an amazing percentage.

So this definitely isn’t a “OMG i have done nothing with my life” type blog post, I think i have achieved quite a bit and done some awesome stuff that I’m very much proud of. For me. Its ALL been for me. Jobs taken for money, for prestige, for how it sounds when i pick up guys (I’m a personal trainer, I’m in the Army, I was a bodyguard etc). But what has any of this done for anyone else? How has all that time made any difference at all to the world? How can i make MORE of a difference?

So now, my question is “HOW do i want to make a difference”. The answer is not easy. Not because i don’t know how, but because i don’t know WHICH “how” to follow, or if i even need to choose. What i do know is that 2014 is about actually making a difference, and everything that i do, from my job to my day to day attitude, and my interactions with people, is geared towards making a difference. I have some ideas about what i want to do, and how i want to do them. Some are the tiniest thing, some are on a larger scale.There’s no goal of how many people i want to make a difference to, i just want to know that i have made a difference.

An ACTUAL difference.

So here is the point of this blog: I want you to ask yourself the following questions –

What have YOU done to make a difference?

What do you continue to do, to make a difference?

If you were on your deathbed tomorrow, what have you done that DID make a difference?

How are you going to continue to make an ACTUAL difference?

Post your ideas here, or don’t. Its not important. What is important is that you do it.

Beyonce – I was here

My 2014 list of experiences

Posted in Uncategorized on January 6, 2014 by Waylon

So as you may know if you have read my 2013 post, the year was pretty crap. Obviously the last thing i want is a year like that in 2014. I sat down and thought about what i want to achieve this year and it resulted in two lists. 

List 1 – was guidelines of how i want to live my life in 2014. Its probably as boring to you as it sounds so I’m won’t post it

List 2 – might be just as boring to you, is the result of one of those guidelines being “Spend money on experiences over possessions”. In other words stop be a boring bastard and actually get to the end of the year and think, what the fuck have i done other than sit at home and pretend I’m a 17 year old boy again (if you catch my drift). The list was originally, and will eventually be, 100 things.

Why post it on here? For the simple fact that i will probably lose it if i don’t. AND you never know who can help some of these become a reality. So here goes

 

  1. Top secret……
  2. Skydive
  3. See a theatre show
  4. Buy a strangers coffee
  5. Buy an original piece of art
  6. Drive a luxury car
  7. Visit Powerhouse Museum
  8. Visit MCA
  9. Visit Australian Museum
  10. Visit Museum of Sydney
  11. Visit Fort Denison
  12. Participate in a tradition of a foreign culture
  13. Visit the great barrier reef
  14. Visit Uluru
  15. Scuba Dive
  16. Try food from 20 different cultures
  17. Watch the sunrise from 10 different spots
  18. Watch the sunset from ten different spots
  19. Learn to surf
  20. Drink wine worth more than a weeks wage
  21. Visit QLD
  22. Visit NSW
  23. Visit VIC
  24. Visit TAS
  25. Visit NT
  26. Visit WA
  27. Visit SA
  28. Do a road trip to nowhere
  29. See a Gold Class Movie
  30. Buy a Meal for a Homeless Person
  31. Leave a 100% tip for a waiter/waitress at a café/restaurant
  32. Go on holidays with Mum
  33. Visit somewhere new in NSW
  34. Spend a day out with Jett
  35. Spend a day out with Tobias
  36. Spend a day out with Shamayah
  37. Watch a sunset in silence with someone else
  38. Camp out under the stars
  39. Visit the Police and Justice Museum
  40. Visit Sydney Jewish Museum
  41. Spend a weekend in the Blue Mountains
  42. Stay in a 5 star Hotel
  43. Visit Centrepoint Tower
  44. Eat in a five Star restaurant
  45. Do Sydney Skywalk
  46. Visit Jenolan Caves
  47. Do Yoga in the Sky
  48. Move into my own place
  49. Visit Cockatoo Island
  50. Visit Wollongong
  51. Hand out toiletries packs to the homeless
  52. Bushwalk to an amazing view
  53. Visit MONA 
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2013 – The year that shouldn’t have been

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 5, 2014 by Waylon

I guess the whole story of 2013 actually begins in November 2012, when I met someone who I would realize was one of the most amazing people that is walking the face of this earth. We hit it off pretty much straight away and I was done. If he asked me to marry him I probably would have straight away.

At the same time, my brand new business was starting and it was off to a great start. Before I start I had 3 people in my outdoor, a couple of PT clients signed on, and so many ideas I didn’t know where to start.

I was still working full time at Superdry. Hated every minute of it due to a completely incompetent and egotisical manager making life hell for everyone but he was more and more absent from the store, giving me a chance to prove I was up for the job when he was inevitably terminated.

And this was the year I was going to Canada. My first holiday in years and years and it was ridiculously exciting. And I couldn’t wait.

2013 was off to pretty good start!

By February the rollercoaster ride to the pits of hell that was 2013 had begun.

It started well. My Birthday on the 2nd started with the guy that made me happier than I had been for a while taking me to lunch, then lawn bowls with some of my favorite people, then dinner with some of the most important people in my life. After dinner, the ride started.

By February 14, it was all over, and he was gone. Yup Valentines day. I was inconsolably devastated and heartbroken. Why he?  To this day, I don’t say his name. He’s the furtherest thing from an asshole to walk this earth, and that’s what makes it so painful.

Some may say 3 months isn’t long enough to know someone for them to change your life. I disagree completely. This guy not only changed my life, he changed me as a person. Fundamentally. From day 1.

Without realising it for a long time, the day I walked out of his apartment was the day I gave up. On everything. The business, relationships, success, life.

Canada was the only carrot. And, fuck me I would need it.

The business wasn’t growing. I still had some great ideas (I even surprised myself with some of them), the clients I had were great, but I didn’t care enough to work on it. I was going through the motions. I was numb. And it didn’t feel right.

I was broke, more broke than normal, in mountains of debt that seemed to keep growing, I was lonely, I was failing at business. I was failing at life. And I didn’t care. I was numb.

I fucking HATED everyday at my job. Retail is the most soul sucking industry you could work in. And when your view of the human race as a whole is already pretty negative, when you fail to be able to, or want to, empathise with anyone because of your own numbness and bitterness, retail just strengthens the idea that people are shit.

Canada. Just make it to Canada.

The manager at Superdry was eventually terminated and the replacement manager was not installed for another month, a month that I ran the place. A month that garnered better results than the store had seen since I had been there. Results, I wrongly assumed, that would cement the promise of the job that was made to me months before.

The new manager started, another from the clique attached to the Retail general manager. Egostisitcal, lazy and total company bitch. And totally protected. Needless to say we didn’t get on. A lack of respect for anyone other than those who could get her what she wanted. Anyone else was dirt underneath her cheap shoes.

Close your eyes and think of Canada.

By this time, Canada was in jeopardy. How was I going to pay for it? How was I going to survive while i was there. It was all I had to hang on to. It was getting me through the year, it was getting me through day to day. It was literally keeping me alive. What would happen if it was no longer there?

Through an amazing helping hand from a mate (I only use amazing because I can’t think of a word that adequately describes him) I got my tickets. Canada was a reality. I just had to get on that plane. I just had to survive till July. Ill figure out everything else after that. At least I could get to Canada. God knows how I’d pay for the actual time in Canada.

Day by Day. Step by Step. Breath by Breath.

A few months into the year, the business felt like it was going backwards. No PT clients, 2 people in Outdoor. It was becoming a burden. And I was becoming poorer. By this time I was living, if you can call it that, on a basic retail wage, had god knows how many parking fines, behind on ALL my bills, and getting poorer by the week.

JUST GET TO THE PLANE

Then a letter came from Credit Corp collection Agency chasing a $5000 debt on an old credit card I spent weeks chasing down (and hitting brick walls) a year ago. And I had to pay it now. The collection agency didn’t understand the meaning of broke. “What do you mean you don’t have, or can’t borrow $2000 as a down payment?”. Another very honest email about the reality of the lives of the people they are dealing with, was sent with a new contact person I had signed authorization over too. I’d had enough and was on the edge with one foot dangling, and the other leg broken. No reply, no further conversation with me.

JUST. GET. TO. THE.PLANE.

A month out from Canada. I got a new client. An amazing client with amazing potential. And an up front payment that paid some of the bills I was behind. It was like a drop in the ocean. Numb.

Canada wasn’t helping as much as it used to. The string that carrot was on, was fraying. The broken leg was getting tired.

I remember driving home one night and as I came around a corner a little too fast I felt the car slide. My first thought was to let go of the steering wheel and step on the accelerator. Hopefully I would hit the tree just off the side of the road. Goodbye work stress, Goodbye financial stress, goodbye loneliness, goodbye fatigue.Hello permanent rest and happiness. It wasn’t the first time this year.

I didn’t. It didn’t.

Instead I kept driving home, parked the car. And cried. And then cried some more. I had nothing.

GET.TO.THE…..oh fuck off.

I was on complete auto pilot. I was numb but at the same time i was angry. I was distant at the same time I needed to be close. I was completely lost, and as Patrick Bateman says, “The mask of sanity was slipping”. I was absolutely depressed.

It was about 10 days out from Canada. Breakfast to sort out finances with the friend that organised my tickets. My numbness and lack of caring about my situation packed a little dose of honesty with the friend that organized my tickets. I was so low, and so deep into a bad financial situation, more financial stress couldn’t make me feel any worse. I told him I hadn’t lodged a tax return for 3 years and I hadn’t put away any money for it. Food always wins over tax.

Apparently this was agood thing. The day I left for Canada, the equivalent of 4 months wages, my tax return, was deposited into my account. The same day as my last shift at Superdry. Ever.

Of course Superdry didn’t know this. They assumed i’d be back to swallow a little bit more disrespect and incompetent management. The only thing id be coming back to do was resign. And it would be in a way that hurt them the most. I was bitter, I was angry. I was tired. I was depressed.

But I had made it to Canada. I’d made it. I went back to the coast for the night so mum could drive me to the airport the next morning. And breathed. And cried. Somehow, I’d made it. The next morning, in the car was a reflective couple of hours. Small talk with mum was interspersed with silence where I was thinking about what I had been through in the last few months.

A couple of hours later, I was on the plane, in my seat and the pressure was off. I’d made it to the plane. With the actual sigh of relief, came tears and a smile. I can’t even begin to explain how amazing it felt that for 24 hours I couldn’t be touched. No emails for money, no phone calls from collections, no more stress, nothing but what I designed.

It felt fucking amazing.

Landing in Dallas, I connected to Wifi and had received an email from my ticket friend (who was dealing with the credit card debt collectors while I was in the air). He had settled it for a fraction of the $5000. I told you amazing didn’t cover it.

I felt free. Holidays had started.

Canada was exactly the holiday I needed. 5 weeks completely stress free to breath, refind myself and take some much needed time out. And I did. I met some amazing amazing people, had some amazing experiences and when I left I felt alive and recharged. This is in no small part due to the people i had met. Canadians, Canada, NYC, New Yorkers, Montreal, Montrealians (?), you saved my life. Literally.This is why there were tears when i left Canadian soil. It felt like home should feel.

When I got home, I felt like me. I felt like I was back to who I was. I’d shed years of stress and the fog had lifted and I was seeing clearly again. How wrong I had gone, and how amazing it felt to be back on track. I knew what I wanted, I knew who I was, I knew who I loved and I knew where I wanted to be.

I’d quit my job a week before I was meant to be back with a short, but honest email to Superdry while sitting at a Red Sox vs. Blue Jays baseball game (we won) with one of my favorite Canadians. It was amazing, and I haven’t regretted it since. I was no longer angry, the job meant nothing. The company meant nothing. All but 4 people in the company (If you’re on my facebook, that’s you) meant nothing.Their money meant nothing. I was better off without it in my life.

My focus now was on building the business. I had enough money to cover my bills for a month without any money coming in, and I still had outdoor, 2 clients now and a fresh focus to make it a success.

6 weeks later, I was broke. Nothing I did on the business bought in any new business. The new WRun program was building slowly, which helped me get rid of the weight i’d put on over the last year and in Canada, but nothing else was building. Every opportunity turned into dust and the ups and downs were killing my focus.

The spare time did have one amazing, so far permanent effect. My car was cleaned from top to bottom, I spent a whole week declutering and clearing out my whole collection of crap I had acquired. Boxes and boxes and boxes of stuff I was just holding on to just to hold on to. I deep cleaned (except dusting, Thanks Robynne lol) every inch of my space, I had cleared out my computer hard drive, cleared out my facebook page and my phone. All of these changes have remained and feel normal.

Financially it was just as sparse. I was eating once a day and that once a day was McDonalds. I had about $5 a day to spend on food. No idea where petrol was coming from, and I was very quickly falling stupidly behind on rent (which I HATE. Rent has always been number 1). I was living on nothing and it was financially worse week to week then before I left, but mentally I was in a much better place to deal with it, but it was starting to take its toll.

‘Just give me abreak, just a little one. Give me a sign that I’m on the right track or the wrong track”

Then my appendix exploded in my stomach. The pain was fuckin stupid. I wouldn’t wish it on Superdry. Thanks to some amazing motherly thinking, my housemate, came home to make sure I was OK after I was up all night throwing up. I wasn’t.

I’d been given a sign.I was on the wrong track.

I was in hospital for 12 nights. Some days barely being able to move, Some days not wanting to talk to anyone through fatigue or pain. But every day being fed three meals a day, not having to worry about growing the business or where I’m going to get petrol. My life outside the hospital had been, once again put on hold.

And think I did. And it was confronting. I realized in most cases, what i thought I wanted, I didn’t want at all. In other cases I was spot on and I needed to put everything on the line to get it. In the two weeks I was in hospital and the week I spent at home with family a plan was put into place to rebuild a cracked and almost non existing foundation in every corner of my life.

Since I got out of hospital, The clarity has been amazing. Changes have been made and plans have been set in motion. The clearing out that I started after Canada has continued further than I could ever imagine when I decided that I had to clean the bird shit off my car that one day.

The criteria is pretty simple. If it doesn’t make me happy, or have a positive purpose, it goes. No ifs, buts or maybe’s. And it applies everywhere. From possessions to people and everything in between. If its gotta go, its gotta go. Simple.

So what have I learned from 2013?

1. Hitting rock bottom helps you find your top priorities

When you have nothing, it helps you see what you value more than anything. Because even when you have nothing, you have something. And that something is what you absolutely value above anything else. For me, its family, friends, respect, honesty and loyalty. Everything else comes second. A paycheck, success, ego, pride…it ALL comes second.

Once you know what you value, your whole life revolves around these, without any regret or sense of loss. It all just makes sense. I don’t regret leaving Superdry, or leaving Fitness First in 2012 (in any role), or Energize this year because it went against what I truly value. Simple. It doesn’t need a second thought.

If you are honest to your values, its easier to have that difficult conversation, its easier to make that difficult decision, its easier to do all the hard stuff, because its just doing the right thing.

2. Asking for help shows strength, not weakness

This year showed me that it really, really is OK to ask for help. Yes it can be scary to let go of the façade of strength that we put up, but when you do, you find out a few things.

–      You find out that everyone is dealing with something. Maybe not what you are, but something, and they may believe your façade and not talk because they don’t think you’d get it or they don’t want to disturb your perceived utopian life.

–      You will find that people CAN and are willing to help you out. And the issue may not actually be as big as you think it is and the fix is really simple

–      It frees YOU from your façade. Building it, maintaining it, and hiding behind it, takes energy. A FUCK LOAD of energy. Energy that could be used to solve it.

3. I have some amazing people in my life.

No.

I have some FUCKING amazing people in my life. And there is no way I would even be here without them. They pulled me back from the edge, put my feet back on the ground and healed the broken leg. Then made me some dangling carrot soup and held me close and told me it was going to be OK.

They are all responsible for one less gravestone in the ground this year.

(There are some events that happened this year, both good and bad, that I haven’t included here as its just more of the same OR its not really up to me to publicise details as im only a part of someone else’s story.)

Here’s hoping 2014 is a better year for me and you. I have big plans that are ALL about what I really want. And I plan on completing them.

I hope you do too.

Waylon