Archive for friends

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.

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