Every now and again I turn to my camera roll and flick through moments captured in time, and every time I find something new. It’s often raw and unpolished and of nothing terribly, seemingly significant, except maybe to me. And in that one little reflective moment, it all comes back. The hum of the city. The footsteps beside me. The heat. The orange sunset ricocheting off the 9th Avenue buildings. If those streets could talk. The stories they would tell. If we only understood that all we have is moments, strung together, that we bundle up and call a life. Maybe we’d make the most of our moments. Maybe we’d live more, in every moment. Maybe we’d never take a single one for granted, ever again.
“There’s a well-known Roman saying: mangia bene, ridi spesso, ama molto. I’m not sure there’s another expression that surmises the Italian way of life so succinctly, so accurately, as it.
Eat well, laugh often, love much.
Good advice for living. And if there’s one thing Italians excel at, it’s living.”
Read my full article for Italy Segreta here.
There’s going to be a lot of people happy to see the back of 2020. I won’t necessarily be. I don’t buy into the idea of ‘good’ or ‘bad’ years. Time is a gift — even, and especially, the hard times — and what drives me, every day, is the desire to live like I mean it.
Seneca once wrote, “It’s not that we have a short time to live. Just that we waste a lot of it.” Seems he was onto something over 2,000 years ago. What I know is things don’t accidentally happen in life. You don’t magically wind up where you want to be.
It’s a controversial statement for 2020, but I’ve had a pretty marvellous year. I credit a lot of it to my daily MiGoals practice — every morning I review my goals, brain dump tasks and to-dos, hopes and wishes, I list what I’m grateful for and what habits I want to form. At night, I reflect on how I could have made my day better and celebrate my wins.
What I know is small steps in every day moments result in big changes. Don’t ask me where I want to be in five or ten years — I’m not that type of goal digger. Ask me what I want to achieve today. Who I want to be tomorrow. What I want to contribute to the world this year. What I want to savour right now.
I spent almost eight months in lockdown this year. A lot was missed and lost, but a lot was also gained. I got fitter. I rebranded @campawakenings, then launched an online store. I wrote. I redesigned this blog. I got stronger. I relaunched @MelbWritersClub. @OnyaMag had its biggest year in business. Ever.
I’ve got some big, soul-filling goals for 2021. Maybe you do, too. My suggestion would be to start now. Don’t spend another moment, let alone year, doing the same shit. Every tiny little habit you tick off each day is a vote for who you want to become. Not enough people dare to dream big, let alone have the courage to map out their dreams and then chase them.
Do the work. Show up for yourself. Sit with yourself. Be honest to yourself. Be brave in your choices. Then get at it. No one is coming to save you, to help you, to fix you. What you want isn’t going to land in your lap or fall from the sky. Dream, plan, work. Hold yourself accountable. And repeat.
My first piece for Italy Segreta is live and it’s a personal one on displacement, belonging and family.
“I was born and raised in Melbourne, Australia, but people always ask me where I come from. My parents were born in Italia; my Mum in Abruzzo and my Dad in Friuli. They migrated to Australia separately, with their respective families, and met in Melbourne when they were in their twenties.
Growing up, I wasn’t sure where I was placed. I was Australian, but not completely. I was Italian, but not fully. At home, in Australia, they call me The Italian. In Italy, when I visit, they refer to me as L’Australiana.”
Read the full article here.
The glorious Luana Spadafora recently interviewed and featured me in her ‘Who Run The World’ series.
Check out the full interview, where we chat about everything from career to COVID, here.
The thing I miss about travelling isn’t so much the places — it’s the people.
I miss the guy I met in Midtown after the Dees pumped the Hawks, the one I got on the Bloody Mary’s at 7am with, and ran around Manhattan alongside, chasing shots and pasta and pastrami sandwiches.
I miss that girl I met in line at the W. The one with the tips for an Aussie in Brooklyn.
I miss that mate I made from Moscow.
Those scriptwriters in The High Line Hotel lobby.
The Cambridge professor I met on the boat four hours off mainland Australia. The way our kids played together.
I miss the stoop hangs with strangers on sweltering nights in the Village. T
hat soldier on the train in Venice.
The bargirl at the Irish.
That muso at the Inn.
Those boys with the tugboats.
That woman in Italy with the big smile and bigger hugs.
I miss Mama Vi at the Harlem Choir.
Those chefs at the Adelaide Central Market.
That winemaker. And that winemaker. And that winemaker.
The guy with the jet, and the sprawling penthouse. The way the crease in his smile sparkled, like he knew he owned everything, including my stare.
I miss the jazz bar owner in New Orleans with the beret and cheeky wink.
Those girls at brunch in Switzerland.
I miss running through the underground tunnels during a layover at LAX to get forty-five more minutes with that gem I bar hopped Stone Street with.
That art dealer.
Her author friend.
Those college grads in San Francisco that I taught how to really dance.
The Wall Street bankers that I only just outdanced.
I like new places, old places, foreign places, familiar places — but what I really love is the people that make the places.
The chance encounters, the serendipitous meetings, the random run-ins, the way one thing connects you and then a million tiny moments fuse you together.
I miss the chase, being chased, the buzz, being the buzz, the turns around wrong corners, the stumbles into right arms, the bumping of shoulders in vestibules, the knocking of knees at barstools.
I miss the way he’d throw his head back when he laughed.
The way she sang.
The way he sauntered down West 10th.
Moment after moment.
Forever etched into my heart, my memory, my skin.
A couple of months ago, when you could go places, I was thrilled to sit down with beauty journalist, @brittanybeautybts, on the award-nominated beauty podcast that celebrates life and lipstick, @beautyislandpodcast. It’s one of my favourite pods, and I was chuffed to be a guest on it.
Brittany and I had such a wonderful chat about my career, writing, being brave, and, of course, my favourite beauty products that hold a special memory or meaning for me.
Give it a listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.
Almost two months.
Of juggling and wading and balancing and shifting.
Almost two months of going through the gamut of human emotion.
Almost two months of elation and sadness and confusion and productivity and exhaustion and positivity and cocooning and laughter and frustration.
I made a decision almost two months ago, one I didn’t even consciously realise at the time; this whole experience wasn’t going to happen to me — I was going to happen to it.
That if I couldn’t go anywhere, I’d instead go inside myself. And ask some questions.
Like why do I think the way I think? Am I using my full potential? What does success mean to me? What do I want to change? What habits do I want to foster? What stories do I tell myself? What really matters to me?
I have pages of questions and more pages of answers.
I have fostered new habits.
I have dug deep and I’m not nearly at the bottom.
I’ve realised there’s some things I miss about ‘normal’ life, but some I absolutely don’t.
There’s some things I can’t wait to get back to, and some things I never will.
I knew this period would offer growth, and clarity, but I didn’t realise quite how much.
I love getting uncomfortable — I’ve made a life out of it — but I haven’t often enough allowed the space for things to get really quiet. And really still.
Because that’s genuinely uncomfortable.
Sitting — still, silent — with yourself.
Now I do it on the daily.
And, almost two months on, I can say with absolute assurance that you will bloom if you take the time to water yourself.
Also — I’m still living in playsuits.
“I was waiting for something extraordinary to happen, but as the years wasted on nothing ever did unless I caused it.” — Charles Bukowski
I think about that quote, one of my favourites, a lot. In many ways, it’s one of the defining manners by which I live my life. Not the waiting bit, I’m no good at that. But the bit about causing things to happen. I get that.
I sometimes wonder, like I was just now, walking around in the glorious autumn sunshine, ‘how did I get so lucky?’ ‘Why am I so blessed?’ ‘Why me?’ and then I realised it’s not by chance, not by coincidence, not by fate, and certainly not by luck. It’s because I caused it.
Because I’ve been ferociously protective of where I invest my energy. Because I’ve gotten uncomfortable. Because I’ve done the work. Because I’ve shown up. Because I keep showing up — even, and especially — when it’s hard and inconvenient and tricky and messy.
It’s because I’ve gone deep. Because I’ve taken responsibility. Because I’ve owned my choices. Because I’ve lived in accordance with my values. Because I’ve believed in myself — backed myself. Because I’ve operated from a space of no judgement — no judgement on others, on myself. Because I’ve chosen, and continue to choose, my attitude. Every single day.
It’s because of these things that I find myself here — mid global pandemic, in the throes of social isolation, with an empty schedule and a strange new normal — filled with gratitude. Occupied with excitement. Loaded with love. Exploding with ideas. Executing plans.
You don’t accidentally wind up living a life that makes you burst out of bed each morning, one that fulfils you, one that enriches others, one that makes you proud.
It takes guts, and courage, and gumption, and nerve, and an abundance of never-ending work. And all of that is reliant on you taking action. On making things happen. On causing it.
I’m reminded of the old Latin proverb; ‘fortune favours the brave.’
Turns out, it’s true.
Our world’s in a tailspin,
our reality has shattered,
if you’re anything like me,
you’re having a solid think about what matters.
You might be anxious, and scared,
maybe you’re angry, and in despair,
anyone else have trouble sleeping,
wondering what kind of world we’ve been keeping?
The handshake is gone, the high five too,
I don’t know where you sit, but this elbow tap business won’t do.
Our lives have been cancelled,
or at best postponed,
every festival has been called off,
and everyone’s working from home.
Whole industries are wiped,
so many jobs in hiatus,
while we sit inside,
wondering if anyone’s coming to save us.
The doctors, they’re pleading,
the mums, they’re screaming,
the curve isn’t flattening,
we aren’t doing what we’re needin’.
And the shelves are stripped bare,
no pasta, eggs, dunny paper or rice,
some people are even turning on each other
in the supermarket with knives.
This is not the country I grew up in,
not the one based on mateship,
or having a fair go,
and to be honest, I think it’s time for everyone to get a grip.
We know it’ll be over,
hopefully sooner rather than later,
and then we can get back to the things we love;
footy and gigs and seeing our mates over a pint at the pub.
Now isn’t the time for division,
for selfish behaviour,
it’s time to rally together,
and forget about the idea of a saviour.
Like time and time before,
it’ll be us that saves us,
the writers, the musos, the actors, the painters,
the comedians, the baristas, the teachers, the tradies,
the scientists, the nurses, the thinkers, the ladies,
the lovers, the dreamers, the poets, the babies.
We’ve got a fight ahead,
no matter how you see it,
for we are young and free,
except when we’re not, and now there’s a distance between you and me.
Now we’re social distancing,
and in self isolation,
two phrases I’ve never used before,
they’re the opposite of what it means to be an Australian.
Suddenly we find ourselves,
a little lost and a lot more alone,
thankfully it’s 2020,
and we’ve got these god forsaken phones.
And when it all passes,
I hope we make it through the other side a little kinder,
spreading much more love than hate,
I just wish we didn’t have to go through this as a reminder.
There’s some things we’ll all be doing,
you can count on it for sure,
like living like we mean it,
and not treating our time as an afterthought.
Right now, I miss a lot,
but I’m grateful for all I’ve got,
I just can’t wait to get back out there,
and be done with this nightmare.
Sure, it’s not the worst,
and staying in is the right thing to do,
but tell me it doesn’t kill you,
or that you haven’t felt a little blue?
Hold it close,
then remember what’s good,
all the things we’ve taken for granted,
all the places we wish we could.
It’s time to come together,
by keeping ourselves apart,
and while that’s hard to do,
if you haven’t already, please start.
Stay at home,
I beg you,
stay at home,
it’s not just the flu,
stop thinking of only yourself,
you’re not doing this for you.
Our most vulnerable need us,
and our old mates, too,
and if you don’t think they’re worth saving,
I want nothing to do with you.
When this is all over,
and we’re out on the streets,
and back at the bars and swamping the beach,
I want you to remember,
how tragic it felt,
to have life as we know it,
ripped from us at full pelt.
Do not forget,
those who have failed to lead us,
do not forgive,
those that refused to adjust.
I can’t wait for the day,
for this to be done,
so I can walk into the home I grew up in,
and hug my mum.
Stay at home,
I beg you,
stay at home,
it’s not just the flu,
stop thinking of only yourself,
you’re not doing this for you.