At 13 years old the introduction of the female reproductive system, safe sex and the power of the clit cultivated a bewitched curiosity to my exterior value, that throughout my adolescence, grew heavily attached to my self-worth. It wasn’t until my first heartbreak that by being the very definition of “hot”, “smart” and “rich” was the best revenge ever.
I have no shame to admit that this now shallow realisation was nothing but a power trip, however in saying that - it was this ferocious need to prove him wrong that has disciplined and shaped my lifestyle. Now I’m not saying to go and get your heart broken in order to start living, it was just how it naturally happened for me. Or perhaps there really is nothing more motivating than to rub in an ex lover or friend’s face who the true loser is. (How telling this is of my personality.)
Nonetheless it has taught me a beautiful lesson: you can’t buy love with looks, smarts or money but you can live longer, happier and healthier regardless. So here’s a guide to living better (and proving that son of a bitch who’s boss).
What is the merit of beauty?
Often beauty doesn’t exist within the parameters of health and wellbeing, instead beauty is paired with the idea of perfection, that is artificial and only exclusive to those who can afford luxury. This perception belittles and does not consider one’s attitude towards life, humour nor charisma, endangering the wealth of one’s worth and the motive of living. True beauty is inclusive, understanding and kind, it is having the confidence to be timid and far from perfect, acquired through knowledge and experience, not the deepness of one’s pockets or status. Rather cultivated by what is consumed through our mouths, eyes, ears and from the company we keep.
“If you won’t make time for your wellness, you will be forced to make time for your illness.” - Jay Shetty
A year ago, before I transitioned to a vegan lifestyle, I undertook a screen test; my iron and calcium levels were lacking and because of this I suffered from bouts of vertigo, nausea and grew easily exhausted after an average working day. After a solid 8 months of a vegan diet, I took the same screen test and my levels were perfect, my blood pressure exceptional, brain fog depleted and I felt like I had the stamina of an athlete.
Goodbye inflammation- eczema, psoriasis and acne. Something I used to be deeply self conscious about and endured until a year ago. My recovery time in the gym has doubled, I have stamina to last me a full bag workout and a cardio session. My rest days are effective and I have built considerable muscle in the last few months (and even gained weight). I used to have a shocking temper and while some of you might think otherwise, vegans are naturally happier and more compassionate people.
A study conducted on the nutritional supplementation of women during pregnancy, had shown that a single meal of animal protein can nearly double the level of stress hormones within a half hour of consumption. Mother’s who ate a pound of meat each day had children who later became overweight and Mother’s who ate meat more frequently were prone to react negatively to certain situations, leaving their offspring to have levels of high cortisol throughout their whole life.
“I don’t mind dying, I just don’t want it to be my fault” - Dr. Kim Williams
Humans by default are notorious for self destruction and sadly, in the western world it is not famine nor war that kills us but what we put in our mouths. Type 2 diabetes is expected to become Australia’s leading cause of burden in 2023 along with obesity, heart disease and cardiovascular disease-all linked to animal based diets. If you are reading this with severe skepticism, take this advice with a grain of salt; you are what you eat. If you are constantly suffering from exhaustion, physical and mental depletion and overall unhappiness-you are simply settling for food that is convenient and easy. You have no patience to make home-cooked meals, to educate yourself in nutrition or as to why you feel exhausted, depleted and unhappy. As a result you give into crash diets (that do not last and do not work); hoping that detox tea that Instagram influencer promoted works for you and gets you into shape before summer, only to give up and binge. You grow resentful of VS supermodels without understanding the harrowing regiments they undergo to meet industry standards; some lose their periods because of lack of nutrition. Your lack of confidence forces you to harshly judge body types because you are never at home with yours.
You can be happier and healthier, your body is your vehicle and it can take you to beautiful places if you allow it to.
Sources to get you started:
Dr. Mona Vand
What The Health Netflix Documentary
The architecture of your life is truly in the power of your hands and understanding this is key to living on your own terms. Often we get lost in the chaos of life that we feel we’re not in control of anything and because of this we yearn for freedom and what most fail to understand is freedom can only be enabled through limitations. I used to be the kind of person who wanted to do and be everything all at once - I wanted to eat better, go to the gym more and build a leaner body but yet I’d go out every weekend and be zombified Monday morning that it would throw off my whole gym regime. I wanted to have more money for creative projects and buy better equipment but yet I’d spend all my money on music festivals and upcoming gigs. I wanted to be a better writer and up skill regularly but yet I’d get distracted with Netflix and binge a season or two.
It was the illusion of having all the time in the world to get my shit together that I allowed myself to self-sabotage. A quote by Marissa Mayer concluded this phase of my life perfectly, “you can't have everything you want, but you can have the things that really matter to you.” And what really mattered to me was my wellbeing over climbing up the social ladder, my creative pursuits over following the trend of attending every Drake concert ever and my craft as a writer over catching up with what happened in How I Met Your Mother. If I could also buy back all the wasted time from high school fucking around with heartbreak boys and basic bitches I would but I’m glad that at the ripe age of 21 I finally understand the purpose of life; don’t wait, get what you want.
“The Build A Better Life” course by Mark Manson helped me incredibly to steer my life in the direction that I needed it to go. This course gives you an overview of what you could potentially have in the next 5 years if you were to follow a functional system of consistent daily habits. For example, waking up at the first alarm of the morning, instead of hitting the snooze button, is one example of a consistent daily habit that can have a tremendous effect on the output of your day, week and month. Habits are what governs behaviour, it is the micro (but important) decisions that we make in our day that equates to the bigger picture and what will eventually put you in a very different place from where you are now. This type of mentality puts an end to unnecessary self sabotage because the rewarding feeling of accomplishing each task throughout your day is like a pat on the back from your favourite parent - fulfilling and encouraging. Good habits enforces diligence, training yourself to be unmoved by distractions and complete tasks as they arise is a valuable skill that can only be acquired through the simple act of executing. Your goals practically take care of themselves and you’ll find yourself not needing incessant motivational quotes to get you through an intensive task, it’s just a part of your lifestyle - your duty to take care of.
Here are three habits to consider implementing into your new lifestyle:
Replace your phone alarm with a traditional alarm clock.
“Win the morning and you’ll win the day.” - Tim Ferris
Aforementioned, waking up at the first alarm instead of hitting the snooze button, can have a tremendous effect on the output of your day. However, this progress can be derailed if you wake up to an alarm clock on your phone-just by unlocking your phone can lead to wasted time scrolling endlessly through social media and emails-and if you do this often, it becomes muscle memory. To break the chain of these habits, you must ban these devices from the bedroom and instead use a traditional alarm clock to wake up. This will optimise your environment and enable you to streamline through your morning; alleviating any associations with stress, allowing your room to be a place of rest and sleep.
Read, read, read and read some more.
“Read books, don’t focus on your looks” - Caroline De Maigret
Style comes from knowledge. Confidence comes from knowledge. Sophistication comes from knowledge. Everything you need to know about everything is in between two binders, sitting at your local bookshop, library or on your mother’s night stand. For those of you who don’t enjoy reading-there is no excuse- find other forms of educating yourself, whether that be documentaries, movies or podcasts. This world is made to be explored, analysed and experimented with - what you know is how you will define your life and if you know too little, you’ll only live in limitation.
If you are perpetually angry, depressed, confused, and unloving, or your attention is elsewhere, it won’t matter how successful you become or who is in your life—you won’t enjoy any of it.” - Sam Harris
Meditation cultivates a rich quality of mind by increasing attentiveness and mental agility and practised regularly, can can modulate pain, mitigate anxiety and improve cognitive function. It is a practise of awakening from a trance of discursive thinking, fleeting anxiety and discomfort to an open awareness of flow and experience. It is no longer a modern technique of escapism but a necessary regime to implement into a hustle and bustle lifestyle. Especially for those of us in high-functioning jobs, the onslaught of what needs to be done can go by in a jumbled hour but rested and focused, whats coming next can slow down, allowing us to manage it with calm and confidence. Guided meditations are best to begin with, Waking Up with Sam Harris is a personal favourite of mine; included are lessons to deepen the understanding of consciousness and morality.
“Fuck a 9-5, I’m 8 to fate” - Jessie Reyez
If you calculate the amount of hours slept to hours worked in an average working week, the ratio is 50/50. You sleep as much as you work, regarding that you sleep for the required 8 hours amount. If the ratio is unbalanced, whether you regularly sleep too much or too little, stress levels begin to rise and uneasiness settles in. Sometimes the work ratio to sleep is 70/30, other times it’s 40/60 and among commutes, getting up and having breakfast-your job takes up a lot of your life, making it absolutely necessary that you fucking like it.
Procrastination is a dreamer’s assassin, do not let the illusion of comfortability cradle you till you die. If you are uncertain or fearful of your future, stop watching Netflix and figure it out. Your inability to be inspired is a result of the same damned repetitive routine that is causing the same damned environment in which you are suffocating in. There are those of you who are miserable either restricted by lack of education, experience or immense debt. There are even those of you who are empty but stay at your 9-5 for the pay cheque at the end of the week, forgetting how miserable Monday to Friday is. For these people (and I hope it’s not the majority), 50% of their life is spent being unhappy and unfulfilled. And why? That extra spare room no-one uses, that car they threw their life’s savings on, that handbag they can’t afford? An array of excuses that fail to justify that they are not living the life they want but a life they settled for.
During a period of unstable income and entrepreneurial struggle, I had cultivated an aggressive and unshakeable fortitude towards the trajectory of my life. After having had a eureka moment, fuelled with hard liquor and silly pills on a 6am recovery train, the typical 20-something lifestyle as I had known it became detrimental to my ambitions and dreams. I had no choice but to eliminate unnecessary pursuits (fuckboys and bitches) from my daily schedule and through a series of loneliness and alienation, grew thicker skin despite the overwhelming feeling of FOMO. I had traded nights out for knowledge seeking, parties for intimate gatherings and chasing money for chasing purpose. Amidst pivoting from project to project, meetings and deadlines, exhaustion creeping into the crevice of my temples, a curious friend after observing the chaotic flurry that had begun to define my new life, asked me “are you happy?” and within a heart beat, I had nodded and with a small smile knew that at that moment, I was rich.
Hard work is the equation to a good life, you cannot have one without the other and if there is anything I’ve learned this year is that you have to love it. Not for the pay cheque, not for the end result of a project, not for that promotion but the gunk and the grime of the process. So many people take years to reach milestones in their careers while others take months because it is the passion and the tenacity in the individual that skyrockets their drive to move mountains. Never the pay cheque, never the end result and never the promotion; they are only byproduct’s of the attitude’s we bring to our work. If these are your only goals, you’ll only limit yourself to mediocrity-never quite understanding the wealth of your potential.
Who would have thought that my first heartbreak would spur such an essay? In my 21 years of living on this earth, this is all the wisdom and advice I can give. I hope this guide has been provocative, enlightening and humorous.