“Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be” – Abraham Lincoln
It is the season of resolutions, but perhaps it should simply be the season for being happy. Don’t get me wrong, I’m an A-type personality who can’t get through a day without having it plotted out with goals, to-do lists and calendar alerts. I’m also well aware of the positive results attained by aiming high.
But the fact is, over the past century, despite immense progress in health and wealth, human happiness has not advanced. Happiness is when your life fulfils your needs, when you feel satisfied and fulfilled. It’s a feeling of contentment.
It’s easy to think of happiness as a result… a result of working hard and accomplishing, of getting that to-do list ticked off and of succeeding at life. But perhaps we have this back to front. Shouldn’t happiness come first? After all, happiness, they say, actually makes us more productive.
We’re all familiar with the concept of glass half empty, glass half full, right? When it comes to your cup, it doesn’t matter so much whether it is half full or half empty, but rather whether you fill your own cup first.
According to Simon Sinek, putting yourself first is not selfish at all, “Quite the opposite. You must put your happiness and health first before you can be of help to anyone else.”
So in 2019 I vow to keep my standards high but my level of self-acceptance higher; to make plans and yet be okay if they occasionally fall through and to set goals, but be open to change. Most importantly, to make time for myself.
“One would give generous alms if one had the eyes to see the beauty of a cupped receiving hand” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
It seems despite the years disappearing before our very eyes, what has endured the passing of time is the sense of anticipation for the annual pilgrimage to St Nick. In fact, my own eager excitement ahead of the forthcoming silly season has further strengthened over time.
For me personally, this has been more evident since having children. There’s something pretty special about seeing their faces light up with delight, and not just when it comes to opening up presents! Children derive so much joy from the act of giving.
Gift giving is a custom that can be found in all cultures and evidence of its existence dates back to prehistoric cultures; the symbolic giving and receiving of gifts being the social glue that makes possible the friendships, loyalties, alliances and coalitions upon which all human social organisations, ultimately rest.
Let us not forget however, the true beauty of Christmas – the reunification of scattered family and friends, the additional time to do so with annual work breaks, the opportunity to provide a physical imitation of one’s love and also a reminder of the importance of all of the above. After all, according to Peg Bracken, “Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas”.
On behalf of the entire team at Metropol, we wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year. Metropol will be back with you on 17 January, ready to embrace all of the wonders that await in 2019.
“Don’t try to be perfect; just be an excellent example of being human” – Tony Robbins
It seems everywhere we look, there’s someone telling us how to ‘be’. Aware of this modern day challenge, Robyn Okrant devoted 2008 to adhering to all of Oprah’s suggestions on how to ‘live your best life’.
She watched every episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show, read every ‘O’ magazine cover to cover and referred regularly to www.oprah.com for an entire year to see if her life would improve if she did everything the talk show queen told her to do.
Spoiler alert: it didn’t.
However, the experiment wasn’t completely in vain, with a pretty inspiring revelation resulting at the end of it: “It is futile and exhausting for me to shape my life to meet anyone else’s standards. And I know there is a hazardous divide between being inspired by others and being dependent on their guidance and approval…. I think we can all give up hunting for the elusive path that will lead to ‘Best Lives’. I think the very idea of attaining our ‘Best Lives’ is a fairy tale that keeps us from being satisfied with our ‘Real Lives’.”
So while we’re all familiar with the concept of FOMO or fear of missing out, there’s a new term that has caught our attention – JOMO or joy of missing out. The antithesis of FOMO, it captures the idea of slowing down, switching off and living in the moment. That sounds pretty good to us.
After all, as Tony Robbins once said, “perfection is the lowest standard in the world because if you’re trying to be perfect, you know you can’t be. So what you really have is a standard you can never achieve.
“You want to be outstanding, not perfect.”
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others”
My 13-year-old daughter’s hair has varied considerably in length over the years, generally ranging from midway down her back to as far down as her hips. Now it’s a ‘number one’.
For those of you unfamiliar with the hairdressing (or perhaps more accurately, ‘shearing’) term, this corresponds to a 1/8 inch length.
Rather than the increasing temperatures causing her to recreate the look Sinead O’Connor made popular in the late-80s, it was all in aid of raising much-needed funds for Leukaemia & Blood Cancer (LBC) New Zealand.
Six Kiwis a day are diagnosed with a blood cancer or related condition and LBC is the leading organisation dedicated to supporting patients and their families. While I am pleased about the bathroom time this has freed up for myself, I am most proud of the fact that this was a completely self-motivated move and one which has netted more than $900 for the charity.
While this has given rise to the very sobering reality that I am far too wedded to my own hair, it has also demonstrated the fact that one small person can make a very big difference. As Thomas Fuller once said, ‘Charity begins at home but should not end there.”
“I think the best role models for women are people who are fruitfully and confidently themselves, who bring light into the world,” —Meryl Streep
It’s been said that no act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. Beautiful in its simplicity, it points to the ripple effect that kindness can make in the world. The ancient Greeks viewed kindness as not only beneficial for the salvation of the soul in the afterlife, but also in this life too! Physiologically, kindness increases the dopamine levels in our brains, creating a natural high. Meanwhile, emotional warmth produces oxytocin, which reduces blood pressure and the free radicals associated with aging.
Our beautiful cover model this issue, Jacinda Adhern, has been taking messages of kindness to a global stage. “I really rebel against this idea that politics has to be a place full of ego and where you’re constantly focused on scoring hits against one another,” she said in a recent interview. “Yes we need a robust democracy, but you can be strong and you can be kind.”
Early in my media career I had the wonderful opportunity to interview Whitebait TV’s Janine Morrell-Gunn. Living, breathing proof that being a successful businesswoman and being a nice person are not mutually exclusive, she said, “You don’t have to be an ass to get what you want”.
“There are a lot of tough people in television, but we have this saying ‘first do no harm’. It is possible and we have always tried to treat people well.”
Thankfully we have plenty of inspirational women leaders, both locally and internationally, who too believe in the virtue of kindness
“The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams,” Oprah Winfrey
I still remember the day I got given a freelance writing role for Metropol magazine in 2013. It was, and is, a prestigious publication and I remember how proud I felt to be given the opportunity to play a role in its future. I had no idea at the time of just how much of a role this magazine would play in my own future.
Soon after the opportunity came up to become the editor of Canterbury Rebuild Magazine and since December 2013, I have been covering the local rebuild and working across both publications. So when these two highly-read publications merged into one a little over a year ago, I jumped at the incredible opportunity to become the editor of both.
Metropol has been a big part of my life for these past five years. I have put my heart and soul into creating the strongest publication I can. I have worked through two pregnancies and in many ways, this publication has been like another baby to me.
Now I am sad to announce I am hanging up my editor’s cap and calling time on my dream role. It’s been an incredible ride and I’ve met some beautiful and inspiring people along the way. I have been part of a wonderful team of people that are equally as passionate about what we create every fortnight.
But it’s time for me to be just a mum and by ‘just’ I mean ‘only’ because, as we all know, there’s no ‘just’ about being a mum.
“Keep your heels, head and standards high,” Coco Chanel
For almost as far back as human memory can recall, horse racing has had a strong connection with fashion. A sport of nobility, it is believed to date back to the 1500s, when British aristocracy wanted an excuse to mix and mingle in high society. A strict dress code ensured the royal tone of the event was maintained and today, the fashion stakes remain just as high.
While refining a race day look brings with it the opportunity to honour a much more traditional aesthetic when it comes to your attire there’s still plenty of room to have some sartorial fun. Like the colourful jockeys’ silks, it’s about being the centre of attention, but for all the right reasons.
Because, although we’re working to a dress code here, the key to feeling flawless on the day is to ensure you’re comfortable in what you’re wearing – both physically and aesthetically. Style is, after all, a way to say who you are without having to speak.
Whether it’s the thrill of watching the equine élites compete for glory – even if they were chosen for the cool cred of their name, rather than their talent on the track – or you’re pinning your chances of success on the fashionable field, Addington is the place to be this year. And we’ve got all the stylish secrets ahead to get you there.
“If you can dream it, you can do it. Always remember this whole thing was started by a mouse,” Walt Disney.
Just 50 years ago, it was widely believed that it was physiologically impossible for women to run a 26 mile course. Despite stewards trying to physically prevent the 20-year-old from competing, Kathrine Switzer became the first woman to officially run the 26-mile Boston Marathon in 1967. It’s not just women that are breaking down barriers. Every year humankind achieves more than we ever thought possible. I find it incredibly fascinating when I think about the level of phenomenal changes we have been witness to just in such a short period of human existence.
What is perhaps even more impressive is the impact just one single person can have on the world. Edward Jenner developed the smallpox vaccine, successfully eradicating an illness that had claimed approximately 500 million lives in the 20th century alone. You don’t need to be a world-leading scientist to make your mark on the world.
I remember the mantra that was drummed into me as a small human – ‘treat others as you wish to be treated’ and, if I was going to choose one key life philosophy to base my life around, this would be it. So let that driver into the queue, pick the kids up from school early and go for ice cream, or share a smile with a stranger for no reason. Remember, you don’t know what battles others are fighting.
As the Dalai Lama once said, “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”
“You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think” – A. A. Milne
“I am the person who notices we are running out of toilet paper,” Ellen Seidman began a poem for her blog, Love That Max, about the hats she wears in her household – worrier, organiser, rememberer and attention-payer. The poem was about the work she does involving thinking, a kind of mental labour that, she says, “enables our family to basically exist”.
She’s not the first person to notice. Back in 1996, sociologist Susan Walzer wrote of the household gender gap whereby women, even those who work full time, do the majority of what has come to be called the ‘second shift’ – the work that greets us when we come home from work.
In 2014, Dr Libby Weaver introduced us to the term ‘Rushing Woman’s Syndrome’, based on the concept of being all the things for all the people all the time. We’re focused on empowering women to lead fulfilling work lives and, while that’s a wonderful thing, we’re still being expected to do all the ‘other’ things too.
It might just be time to practise ‘kindfulness’. Forgiving and nurturing yourself can set the stage for a number of benefits, including lower levels of anxiety and depression. That aside, it gives you time to curl up and read Metropol with a cup of tea and we’re all for that!
After all, women may be capable of doing everything, but does that mean we have to do everything?
“Human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights, once and for all” — Hillary Clinton
Somewhat of a theme has emerged in this issue of Metropol. I wish I could lay literary claim to this feat of editorial ingenuity, but alas it has been pure chance.
See, it seems that on the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage in New Zealand, this narrative of impressive, pioneering feats by New Zealand women is making an increasing appearance throughout the pages of Metropol.
This issue, we speak to the beautiful Lilia Tarawa, who escaped from a religious cult, about how she’s using her experience to inspire and empower young women with messages of self-love.
We talk to Dr Libby Weaver about the importance of nutrition to how we look and feel, and we talk to April McLennan about the social enterprise she has established that is all about getting youth into energising and fulfilling work which has a lasting impact.
We profile a special event being held next month to mark the beginning of the celebrations of the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage and we celebrate the women who are breaking down construction barriers in the fourth annual Hays National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) Excellence Awards.
We’ve even looked at the New Zealand workplaces which are seeking to empower employees, particularly women, by providing increasingly flexible working conditions.
I’m proud to be in a position to be able to share voices of women who are making a difference because, as Malala Yousafzai once said, “I raise up my voice—not so I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard…we cannot succeed when half of us are held back”.