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Are you living in a societally formed box?


How many of us veterans are spending our lives doing what is classed as the ‘norm’ or the expected when leaving the military?


You know starting with some form of education in resettlement followed by obtaining a good respectable job, if you haven’t already then followed by marriage, maybe kids & a nice house?

If you are genuinely happy and content with this life path #winner


But… how many of us are truly happy with this? How many of us feel like we are going to work purely for the paycheck, feel stuck in the rat race, living in a box (living in a cardboard box… soz couldn’t resist, for you youngens these are lyrics to a song from the ’80s by a band called living in a box). How many of us are simply living for the weekends and holidays?


How many of us feel like they were pushed towards a career based on their trade during resettlement and didn’t give any consideration to the tremendous number of other possibilities that a civilian life can offer?


How many of us find ourselves in this situation but aren’t quite sure how we even got here? (I’m in this camp!)


Are you stuck in what is often referred to as the Rat Race?


Doing the same thing over and over, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year gets monotonous…


For me, it can often feel like groundhog day…


Example:


Go to work, come home, sort tea, parent the shit out life (swim clubs, kickboxing, playtime, etc), bath time/bed routine, watch shit tv, scroll your phone, go to sleep, wake up & do it ALL again for 5 solid days!


Then there is the weekend… parenting the shit out of life, chores, walk dog (what feels like a zillion times a day on some days!) and then boom back to the bath time/bed routine…


You may even have a life that others envy – a solid relationship, good job, happy kid, nice house, fancy possessions – but you’re still left wanting.


Left with feeling fed up with life, suffering from soul-crushing boredom…


I find myself at times falling into the pit of reminiscing about “the good ol days” ...


Where I would go out whenever I wanted (oof spontaneity now there’s a gift I squandered and took for granted in the past!).


Thinking about when I lived on camp with all my pals, therefore they were accessible, and it didn’t take a military-style operation to organise a fucking phone call let alone an actual face-to-face meet-up!


When I travelled all over the world on the Queen's dime, instead of working my tits off to climb up that corporate ladder that I don't even wanna be on & watching my husband break his back in overtime for us to save up for a shitty weekend by the coast! (Like most people I don’t even wanna a job! But u know… money and that).


This feeling of being stuck in the rat race and stuck in the past is not only wank but it’s dangerous…

It starts with boredom and can end up with full-blown depression… (sorry to be a Debbie Downer here but it’s fact!) (Oh, also soz to any Debbie’s out there it’s just a turn of phrase!)


Leaving the military is a massive adjustment, just like becoming a parent is, or any other life transition we may face. However, the constant looking back over good (or bad times) can have serious implications on our mental health.


Memories are beautiful things to hold but not to try and live in!



Another aspect to this is, all the while you’re reminiscing and going through the daily motions... there is a little voice in the back of our mind nagging us, telling us there has got to be more, surely, we can do better!


Yet we continue to maintain the status quo and ignore said inner voice…


Why?


Is it fear of failure?


The fear of the opinions of others, being judged as it were? Is it what we tell ourselves is financial constraints? Is it limiting beliefs in ourselves and our own abilities? Or, that dreaded burden known as ‘adult responsibilities?


Whatever the reason… please indulge me and let me tell you this…


If we continue to ignore our inner voice, this too can actually have very negative consequences on our overall health and well-being, thus affecting our connections with others and even our work performance!


Not living up to our potential can lead to negative mental health.


It also denies the world of what it is you truly have to offer. #sadfact


So go ahead, take a minute, listen to that inner voice. Find out what it actually wants. Don't be afraid to go out there and be bold, be creative, be kind and explore the world and yourself! Step outside that comfort zone, go against the grain, and ignore societal norms. Just like we did when we joined the military!


That inner voice of yours is your potential calling…


It doesn’t have to be complete reckless abandonment, it can and should be measured, and it can be steady, as it’s your life! Go at your own pace as it’s not actually a bloody race… small consistent actions surmount to big changes.


Remember, you don’t have to be great to start, but you must start to be great!


Sounds simple when you read it, but actioning the ideals stated are a different kettle fish I know…


Therefore, to start you off I will share with you the best tool you can have in your well-being toolbox.. shared with me on my own mental health journey... (so to be clear it's not an Ria Original!)


Here goes...


We must remind ourselves DAILY to be present.


Present in the moment, not looking forward or backward! Truly and utterly present.

Being present will allow you to identify the joy in the ordinary moments and cut through what can often feel like the monotony of life.


It will give you the space to actually listen to yourself and hear what that nagging inner voice of yours is truly trying to say.


It’s not always easy… FACTS.


I’m not even gonna pretend like I have all this shiz sewn up, cos I don’t!


In fact, the reason why I’m even writing this post today is cos I’ve been feeling stuck in that Rat Race lately and needed to give myself a little shake n reminder!


I need to step out of my own self-made box of limiting beliefs as it were…


We all know by now, for those that have followed me, this blog is my cathartic outlet! Writing it all down and seeing it on the page helps me sort my life out and if perchance sharing my shortcomings, challenges, triumphs, and inner thoughts help just 1 other person then that’s just double dead reyt!


Anyway, off I go again on a tangent, what was I going on about… ok present!


Let’s be present…


Being present daily will allow you to break free

of the shackles of monotony by giving you the ability to see the beauty in what you have now and offering mental clarity…


The mental clarity to identify if you truly are in a rat race or just going down a rabbit hole…


The Mental Clarity To Be Able To Identify Your True Wants And Needs…


The Mental Clarity To Be Able To Recreate Yourself And Take Positive Actions For Your Future Goals.




So how on earth do you be present? (I'll get to the point eventually!)


There is actually a plethora of ways you can practice the art of being present, but I’ll start with 3 things I use (that I’ve been neglecting of late clearly! #knob).


If you follow me, bet you can guess what the first one is gonna be…

  1. BE GRATEFUL!

Practice that gratitude attitude… A HUGE part of living in the present, in the moment, is stopping to take the time to be grateful for what you have now.


If you are constantly focused on things you don't have, you aren't taking the time to appreciate what you do have right now at this moment.


Start simple… say 3 things that you are grateful for today, out loud, or write them down on a post-it note or in a diary, like the one I designed below (#futureproduct #shamelessplug).


Try to do this every morning when you wake up and at night before you go to sleep… start and finish the day right.

  1. Accept things as they are NOW.

If you want to start living in the present moment, you need to let go of how you or others may think things should be and accept them for what they are.


You simply cannot control everything that happens around you or everyone; sometimes life is going to be different than how you want it to be (in fact probably most of the time cos life is a motherfooker!).


But Practising acceptance will help you let go of the shit in your life that is out of your control!


Some people have a hard time accepting situations (I’m one of them! #handsup) because they feel as though acceptance is the same thing as agreeing with what is happening or saying that it is OK.


It took me a long time to work out that this is NOT the case…


I’m absolutely not saying roll over and die (Goonies never say die!), I’m also not saying give up!


What I’m saying is to accept the fact that you are here right now, however, you won’t be forever as you are still working towards your goals.


My point is to not waste your time being fucked off that you’re not there yet but enjoy the ride!



Remember life is like a penis… sometimes it’s up… sometimes it’s down… but it's not gonna be hard forever…

  1. Put down your phone or laptop or whatever is your go-to tech of choice!

(Obvs not yet I mean finishing reading this proper good blog post first!)


Seriously though, in a world where most of our communication is electronic, it can become very easy to get lost in it… I am a bar steward for it!


You may feel via social media that you are connecting but what you're truly doing is a form of avoidance, checking out from the outside world, from reality, from the present moment…


Schedule time to put down your tech of choice (mines my phone and laptop), leave it in another room…turn it off, or at least put it on silent.


Really engage in what’s happening around you, with the people around you… go outside and truly take in nature… feel everything purely through your own senses and not on a screen or through a lens… life is but a series of moments, don’t miss them by staring at a screen and drowning out that inner voice of yours!



Your life may not be the same anymore since leaving the military, becoming a parent, or just simply getting older… but that doesn’t make it bad!


You still have options and lots of them, the skills that you have gained whilst in the military will continue to serve you well in civilian street and by adopting the right mindset you can succeed in whatever the bloody hell you want to succeed in.


Unfortunately, we can’t possibly escape all examples of everyday monotony. #fact


Truth is, not one of us likes to waste our time sitting in traffic or attempt to act interested in pointless meetings (you know those meetings for meetings sake situations!?) or to consistently deal with the constraints and repetition of working life and parenthood.


However, most of these things are a necessary part of living, no matter if you are in active service, a veteran, or a civilian.


The hard ugly truth is no one is ever going to be happy all the time. That is an unreasonable expectation that will lead you to more misery and dissatisfaction!


Plus, like I’ve said on umpteen occasions now; How on earth would you even know what being happy was if you never actually experienced the opposite?! You wouldn’t… you would just exist…


Now THAT would be f@£king boring!


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