Is there such a thing as ‘being ready’ for anything?

How often have you heard or said, “I’m just not ready for x, y, z right now”?

I know I’ve said and heard this phrase more times than I can count, in relation to an innumerous amount of circumstances and choices. Recently, I was having a conversation with someone about an unplanned pregnancy they found themselves in and I asked if they felt ready to be a parent and have a baby. They responded, “is anyone really ever ready for this?” and it got me thinking.

When we decided to start our family, my husband and I had a conversation about whether we were ready. Had we acheived all we had want to up to that point, did we have the support we needed, were we doing this for the right reasons, were we ok as a couple and individuals? At the time, we felt ready and so we started. Even if, retrospcectively, I can look back and acknowledge how much growth I have gone through, how different I am now, it was absolutely the right time for us to start our family and we knew that.

There was a time, that it absolutely wasn’t that time and we made a choice that supported those feelings. You can read about that over on mummy neutral right here.

Those contrasting experiences of inherently knowing when I was and wasn’t ready for something, I think, has given me a lot of nuance in these situations to provide an often over-looked perspective that yes, you can feel ready and don’t always have to ‘go along’ with what is happening.

I find there to be a lot of rhetoric around ‘life happens to you’ which can absolutely be true, but I think far more of our lives is due to our choices rather than coincidence or how prepared, or unprepared we are. If we thought about our ability to get certain jobs, I would say the vast majority of us aren’t going in blind when we apply, or even think about applying for positions that we are grossly over or under qualified for. We recognise that there is a certain skill level, minimum requirement or even qualification needed to perform a particular job.

Yet when met with life decisions, those kinds of rationtional thoughts dissapate and instead we have been conditioned to believe that acceptance of circumstances without critical thought is absolutely fine, even expected as being a divine circumstance of fate.

Let me clarify here: sometimes random things happen to us, without thought or intention, and that is what it is. My second 2 children were definitely suprises and arrived with us well and truly before we had planned. However, in those moments we still allowed for conversations of readiness and what we were willing to change. Far too often, I think, people let things just happen because they’ve happened. Perhaps, as I write this, it feels like people’s willingness to take responsibility for their situations is severely lacking.

I feel like this narrative often wades into the “I can’t” mentality. Whether it be saving money, going on holiday (pre-covid, duh), changing jobs, changing their friends, an overwhelming thing I hear is “Oh, but I can’t do that”. This definitely is compounded by a victim-mindset but is a subset of this acceptance many people are willing to attach to anything that happens to happen in their lives.

I don’t know that I want to live in a world where I live in a perpetual cycle of incontrollable paradoxes happening around me. I don’t know that I want to think that I am not in some control of how my life unfolds, or that there isn’t more than one option or path for me.

It is uncomfortable to think we have an active role in everything that happens to and around us, because that means we also have to take ownership when things go less than ideally. I don’t say this from a position on a pedestal: there have been times in my recent past where I have had to reflect on a situation that transpired and apologise and own the part that was my fault. Which is important to remember: nothing happens in isolation and there are always a lot of factors, from different people, at play.

Something my husband and I do when our kids are questioning something, aren’t getting what they want or just down right having a bad day, is highlight what they’re choosing. We aren’t perfect parents; we have bad days, we get tired, sometimes we fail, but we usually try to present options to our kids. For example, if one of them wants to get some weekend video game time, instead of an immediate no, or only after blah, blah and blah, we usuall try and present it as part of an informed choice: “Seb, you can choose to finish your chores and then play games, or you can choose not to, and pick a different activity” and 9 times out of 10, the kids make the choice that is going to benefit them most.

I don’t see why big life decisions should be any different: think about things logically and make the decision that is going to benefit you most.

But, my emotions, I hear you say.

Without diving too deep into the debate that emotions and logic are separate, they really aren’t. Our emotions and logic are like 2 sides of a scale with input from both forming the crux of our decisons. When they are out of sync, balance, harmony, that’s when we are often resentful of the outcomes before us. The balance between emotion and intellect needs to be preserved, epsecially when it comes to asking the question, “am I ready for this?” Using our logical, intellectual side is a way we can form our emotions into an action, which of course is useful when it comes to answering the question of being ready.

There is no right or wrong answer: only you have the power to do this and know what is right for you. It’s ok to take time and think about the incidence versus the consequence and decide what is right for you, and to know that when you are ready for that next big adventure, you’ve got the tools to make the best call.

What even is a boundary anyway?

I feel like this is a topic that has been popping up in almost all aspects of my life recently and when discussing it with my people, it has in theirs, too.

Over the last 12 months, with the craziness that has enveloped the world, there has been a big focus on mental health and wellness that for me, has resulted in a lot of conversations around vulnerability and boundaries. Yet, many people struggle with the concept of what a boundary even is, what it means, how to support it and how to handle any rebuttle.

So let’s discuss.

I spent a good majority of my life being a ‘yes’ woman. Can I work an extra shift even if it means figuring out another day of daycare for my kids? You bet. Can I go out of my way to help someone who doesn’t drive pick up some gumtree furniture? Sure thing. Can I create a manual on how to run a telco department for a multi-million dollar company, without any recognition or additional renumeration? Of course I can.
Let me be clear: this was not to people please. I was very much a ‘no fuck’s given’ type of person. This was always about ambition and representation. Of course as a woman I could do the same job, and better, than my male counterpart. Of course, as a mother, I could work like I didn’t have children. Of course, I wanted to be the friend and colleague who could be relied on, at the detriment of my own needs. Of course, no question, I could do it all, and do it well, and whatever stress happened was normal.

I see a lot of women doing this, trying to be every thing to everyone. I saw through various careers, prior to becoming a chiropractor, was a lack of representation of successful women, who also wore the hats of mother, wife, friend and confidant, who didn’t succumb to the stress and fatigue that came with it. Not me, that wasn’t what my life was going to surmount to.

Enter, Covid19.

All of a sudden, the title of busy woman, that I wore like a badge of honour, not only wasn’t possible, it was completely taken away by an unprecedented worldwide lockdown. I was faced with the prospect of a uni closure for an indefinite amount of time, with a work-from-home husband and my kids not attending school.

(Privileged problems, yes, but we aren’t here to compare suffering, people).

For some context, it had already been quite a tumultuous few months to start the year (future blog incoming or check out my #theweeklycheckin video here), so the prospect of more uncertainty, more of the unknown, more bridges we hadn’t yet crossed made me feel like I was suddenly surrounded with a pressure I hadn’t felt before.

That’s, I guess, where my journey with boundaries began. Like many people, the comparison of who had it harder came hard and fast. I didn’t know, or perhaps even couldn’t relate to people who were feeling joyous about time off uni, off clinic, and revelling in more study time. I couldn’t align with the parents who were thrilled their kids would be home with them for at least another month. It wasn’t my reality, but all of a sudden my ability to see others’ situations objectively was gone. So the first thing I did was de-activate my facebook account and leave all my group chats on messenger.

I know, I know, it sounds so tacky and petty and maybe even unnecessary. However, I wasn’t handling this discourse that had no nuance, and certainly no room for multiple feelings, thoughts and opinions, very well. It wasn’t healthy for my mental health, and was filtering into how I was showing up in the physical world.

I set a boundary.

The world already felt like it was ending, and in this moment it became apparent to me that for far too long, I had been putting the needs of everyone else, the need to climb the proverbial ladder, the need to be successful, above every single aspect of my health; physical, emotional and spiritual.

It became abundantly clear, relatively quickly, that something had needed to change for a while and that this, somewhat small boundary, was the best place to start.

So, how was this exactly a boundary, and not just me being like, “nope, not today, satan”?

At its core, a boundary is when we can comfortably say no to something, without any associated guilt or feelings of inadequcy. For me, this is one of the first times I set a boundary that wasn’t as a defensive reflex (hello, unfollow button), but rather a recognition that there was a particular thing (facebook) that provided a platform for me to continuously feel less-than. I understood that the intention of the people on the otherside of the conversations wasn’t to make me feel how I was, and nor was it their responsibility to. It was the universe’s way of saying, “girl, you know this has been coming for a while”, because it really had been.

Having that boundary in place allowed me a freedom that I don’t think I had experienced as an adult. I started to not feel guilty about not making plans. I started to take my days slower, to have more flexibility and spontaneity. In general, just feel happier and have the space to explore my feelings and triggers about the ever evolving situation around me. What, perhaps, I didn’t anticipate was how my new-found lightness impacted poeple who weren’t used to me saying no.

Because, let’s be honest, it’s one thing to put up a boundary, it’s quite another to be able to explain it to others, and have them take it how you intended, or even not be prepared for them to put a boundary upof their own.

This is where boundary setting, I believe, really requires time and patience on both sides. We cannot simply put up a boundary with people or circumstances that were previously completely, 100% fine and then without seemingly rhyme or reason, say no. Do you need to justify yourself, absolutely not, but there is certainly room for an explanation as to why this new-found boundary is important and specific to you. I also feel that when we set a boundary, we need to allow the space for the recipitents to acknowledge their own boundaries (set, or otherwise) in how their new interactions will be with you.

As an example, if you had previously found yourself at relatives’ functions, and left thinking “wow, I’m drained and that was a supreme waste of my time”, and then deciding in future that you’re going to lovingly decline invitations, you need to be prepared for someone to say, “well if that is how you feel, the easiest thing for me (or them) to do is not invite you anymore”. This might seem obvious, but in setting a boundary of not attending specific events, the idea of not even being invited anymore may not have crossed your mind. Similarly, the other person or people are allowed to be upset and express themselves, and therefore come to a solution that makes both of you feel ok about the situation.

Does that make sense? In setting a boundary, we need to be accepting of, and OK with, a boundary being set in return.

That’s the thing about a boundary, it is always going to have 2 sides. It can be confronting when that happens, but what we all need to realise and accept is that it is still working for us, not against us, and allowing space for the person on the other side to honour their own needs is important, as well.

Finally, do boundaries have to be in place forever? Of course not. In my experience, I have found it helpful to be open and honest with who I need to about why specific expectation may change, and why. Once it becomes the norm to have very open and authentic conversations, having hard boundaries often becomes un-needed, as we now have the capacity to speak our minds without judgement.

That’s what it’s all about, after all.

With love always,

A x

Hi, I’m new here.

Well hello!

Welcome to thestylishchiro, a place where the modern woman can find whatever she is looking for.

So, why ‘The Stylish Chiro’?
I believe your style is your personal canvas to show the world everything you’re made of. I’m not just talking about how you look. The clothes you wear reflect the decisions you make on what you buy and why and what trends you follow, but your style is is the expression of who you are.
What causes do you support?
What political alignment do you have?
What language do you choose when speaking to yourself and to others?
What do you want to leave behind in this world.

Style is so much more than fashion. So I wanted to create a space where yes, you will absolutely find info on fashion, as well as tips on awesome content to engage with such as podcast + book recommendations, series you have to binge right now, sustainable products + recipe advice as well as mindful influencers + pages to follow on various socail media formats.

So where does chiropractic come into it?
I am currently in my final year of studying to be a chiropractor and seeing people at the Murdoch University Chiropractic clinic. I am passionate about empowering women to be the best version of themselves from the inside out. Chiropractic is a natural form of healthcare that works with the bodies own ability to heal and adapt to the stresses of everyday life.
The modern woman has a lot going on and is often balancing career, home, friends, family and a social life in there somewhere which can undoubtedly lead to stress-fatigue.
Chiropractic care is a low-force health modality that may help with a lot of stress-presentations in your body and for me is the first place to start with self-care, which is primarily what thestylishchiro is all about.

I really hope you enjoy what I have to share. I am so excited to be starting this journey with you all and can’t wait to start engaging in robust and nourishing discussion, hilarious memes and a whole lot of #girlstothefront posts.

where ever you go, go fiercly.

Ash

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