Making room for the bigger things

If you’ve ever given much thought to ‘Life’s big decisions’ and our possible thought processes behind them, you will realise that they consume a lot of time and energy and often leave us feeling blurgh.

Whether it’s buying a house, deciding to have a baby, embarking on a new career or breaking free of contact with someone who you no longer feel very close to, the level of extremeness for each of these decisions differs greatly from person to person, and this article from the Conversation AU looks into possible reasons for this, and also looks into reasons behind regret.

Sometimes even the smallest decisions are difficult. Maybe you ordered something online and it wasn’t quite what you had hoped for when you received it? Do you send it back or adjust whatever you had planned to use it for to suit accordingly? If there are free returns, this can be an easy choice, but what if there aren’t or if you only have a limited time to make a choice?

Whether we realise it or not, these small life decisions can have a big impact on us and take up a lot of space in our minds.

I have heard of many situations of people trying to limit the number of decisions they make each day, which is an interesting idea in itself. Take Mark Zuckerberg for example; he wears the same outfit every day so that he doesn’t have to think about what he should wear each morning. Seems a bit strange, but upon further thought it actually makes a lot of sense!

By clearing out the clutter, there is more room remaining for the bigger things, like running a social media empire, right Zuck?

Weighing it up

For all decisions contemplated, there is always another way to go about it. A lot of the time that option is to keep doing things the way they are done, which is what people often choose. This option is comfortable, easy, and unless there is something more to look forward to with the other, why not just keep doing things the way they are?

To me, this is not an option. I like to decide by weighing up the pro’s and con’s by making a list; you should try it – forming a range of points for each side really helps to analyse the situation. When something is taking up a lot of head space, and it is difficult to focus on anything else because the answer is not immediately clear, the ‘List’ comes in very handy.

Big life decisions also come with lessons learned. Now in my early thirties, I have made my fair share of these, but I am aware that there are still plenty more to come.

Supporting a movement

Decisions also come with supporting movements and choosing what to stand behind. What do you want to invest your time believing?

Earlier this month (March 8) was International Women’s Day, a day where the achievements of women are recognised and celebrated. Since entering the corporate workforce in 2013, I have noticed as this day has become more widely celebrated each year, which can only be a good thing. As inequalities continue to exist, we have to appreciate and strive towards more activism in this space, which is precisely what this day acknowledges.

An appropriate level of rush

Last week I made the decision to venture into the city for the first time in a year. It was a big deal for me, which after so long at home I was quite excited by. Not because I was desperate to get back to the office but because I missed the morning commute, the food, the faces and experiencing something different every day. As you know, I have been enjoying my new routine, spending a whole lot more time at home with my husband and my dog. I sat on the early morning train watching passers-by and reflecting on how much things had changed in this past year. I also thought of the city rush I was about to experience, although I was expecting it to be much quieter than when I had last been there. I was keen to experience the city as it ‘wakes up‘, with less urgency and a slower pace.

For old times’ sake, I really wanted to have a true Melbourne style day; I wanted to get a nice coffee in a café down an alleyway, eat a bagel for lunch and window shop, then return to my desk to admire the view of the city, which is exactly what I did. I don’t know when or how often I’ll go back in, but now that I have done it, it doesn’t seem like such a big deal. Don’t get me wrong, I think there needs to be a balance and that organisations have (or should have) learned a great deal from the pandemic. If an employer doesn’t see that their staff can be both happy and productive at home, I don’t know what they have learned, or what decisions they have been making over the past few months.

It’s been a busier time for me than usual, not that I have minded. I still think it’s very important to take it easy and enjoy life at the slower pace many of us have grown used to, but every now and then a level of rush can be invigorating. However, we must recognise that there is a decision there, and we need to figure out what levels of rush we want in our lives. This can be done by reflecting on the long-term impacts which although may not be immediate, are ultimately worth considering.

Redefining liveability in 2020

In 2018 I wrote a blog post about the top 10 most liveable cities in the world according to the Economic Intelligence Unit (EUI) and reasons that I found this list questionable. I referred to the lack of separation between developed and developing cities, and that it seems somewhat biased that one is expected to compete against the other.

The 2019 list fared similar results to the year prior, with the same cities ranked as number 1 and 2 (Austria, Melbourne) according to factors including stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education and infrastructure, which I agree are all very important factors.

But I do wonder how the 2020 list will play out, if it is ever released?

With COVID-19 having affected and still affecting most of the world, should our cities’ responsiveness to deal with a global pandemic also be considered?

The 2020 list

It could be argued that the entire purpose of a city and its liveability should be redefined.

After ranking as number 2 for two consecutive years, how will Melbourne, Australia fare in future lists? No longer the epicentre for work, dining and entertainment with harsh restrictions in place on and off throughout 2020, the city of Melbourne has reportedly been a much quieter place.

Will the 2020 be the year that the prerequisites are adjusted in light of the pandemic?

We are in such a strange time, so many people’s lives have been turned upside down (whether though loss or major disruption) or affected in some other way (weddings cancelled, travel postponed).

Of course, the liveability index won’t take the percentage of people affected by these inconveniences into account, this is well outside of their ranking factors. But it seems that Melbourne is no longer the place that everyone wants to be.

Life in Melbourne

During the past 6 months, it has become clear to most Melburnians that we are most comfortable when we live in close proximity to:

  • Nature, parklands or walking tracks
  • A supermarket
  • Healthcare

This year we have finally been pushed to realise the full potential of having many services available to us online. It has been said that the world has jumped forward 10 years so that we can cope with the pandemic and luckily, we can get the majority of what we need this way relatively quickly and easily.

What next?

Whether the aftermath or 2020 means packing up and leaving the state, moving back in or away from parents or staying put when the end of the pandemic is in sight, we will have to wait and see.

There has been a lot of chatter about getting out of Victoria, escaping to a place with the supposed luxury of ‘being free.’

It might seem like a good idea right now, but isn’t the appeal of a big city what drew many of us here in the first place? But now it seems that ever since we started working from home, many of us have re-evaluated our lives and what is important, realising that we can work like this from anywhere.

I have mentioned before that I hope that businesses learn from this, put employees first and find a way for their staff to continue working from home if that is what they want.

So should the 2020 (or 2021) list include cities that have demonstrated a resilience and a capacity to bounce back?

I think so. And will this list include Melbourne? Probably not.

I will be very interested to see if the list is released at some point this year, a year of all kinds of firsts for many of us.

Looking out for new ideas and bright colours

I enjoy so many different aspects to culture, whether it be the most recent art or exhibition, an up and coming hangout, or the best place to grab a bite to eat. It makes me happy that I live in a city like Melbourne, with so much to offer.

Culture is everything that surrounds you at any given point in time. I enjoy watching people and taking in how they dress, walk, what they are doing and what they are talking about. I like to see how they do ‘them’.

As many of you already know, I enjoy attending the odd exhibition. I posted about MoMA at the NGV on my other blog and am looking forward to my next trip to the gallery already. If anyone has any recommendations, I’d love to hear them!

I also loooove eating out. Whether it’s a lunch break at work, catching up with friends in the city or going out for dinner in the suburbs with my husband. A city like Melbourne is always alive with its plentiful laneways and never-ending choice of places to dine.

Morning peak hour is one of my favourite times, as everyone is rushing around to do whatever it is they need to do that day, and everyone’s days are so unique.

I try to get a fair distance covered before I reach the office, as walking clears my head and helps prepare me for my workday because, as I’m sure you will appreciate – there is just so much to think about!

But having an active mind and being busy has its upsides. Some people find that keeping themselves busy ensures that they prioritise effectively and don’t dwell on things for excessive periods of time. Our overall happiness often comes down to the way in which we operate when we are busy.

On my way to work, I watch the people I pass and think about what may inspire their lives; what gets them out of bed every day. I like to see the different styles, from bright coats to chic hats to faux fur or platform shoes.

I’m not rushing to judge these people, I just find it interesting. I really just look out for things I like, new ideas and bright colours.

Crazy and adventurous or plain and simple, whatever you prefer.

I also really enjoy my coffee and Melbourne is one of the best cities in the world for people who love coffee. It’s so easy to find a cosy café to sip your favourite beverage in, while staring out of the window, or scrolling through your Twitter feed. It is refreshing to be around others who enjoy the beverage as much as I do.

While Melbourne is smaller than other comparable cities such as New York and London, and even Sydney, the cultural significance that this city has to offer is hard to find elsewhere.

The people, the food and the coffee are aspects of culture that stand out here and continue to ensure this city is still entirely liveable for me and many others.