Just Breathe

Here I am, one week out chanting my ‘Change is good’ mantra, and you ask – how’s that working for you?

Suddenly there’s a sound like a record needle scratching out my flow…

Okay.  So this is what change is really like.

I decided to start my weekend off with my first ever three day detox diet, in the hope of a good energy kick for the impending job hunt.


The inspiration came from fellow Aussie blogger, Melly Williams, herself a shining example of good health and fitness.  The recipes in themselves were great – especially the chia seed dessert – so simple, filling and yum.

But after a day of no carbs (except the few I added for necessity), as my stomach lining started turning on itself and I started feeling all lightheaded – I realised something.

If you already look like a borderline famine victim – maybe detox is not the thing you need?

Maybe – here’s a thought – maybe what you really need is to Eat. More. Food!

So, one failed detox later, I’m sitting at my computer clicking job ads.


I’m not sure if the slightly sick feeling is from the detox or the job hunt.  But as I click on one job after another, I feel my determined ‘can do’ face slide into a familiar queasy mope.

There are certain key words that keep repeating themselves…

“Vibrant, outgoing personality.”

“Ability to multitask.”

No.  I’ve been down that road before.  It never ends well.

I quit searching the Administration section and decide maybe Customer Service is the way to go after all.

I manage to find two jobs that require “listening skills” and “attention to detail”, wade through the lengthy online application form, multiple choice questionnaire and the resume upload.  Oh, that’s right. Cover Letter.

How many ways can you say you’re eager, keen, delighted…goddamn desperate for a job?

The letter ends with something about being an asset to the team.  I finally upload and submit.  Phew.  A good day’s work in there already.

Several days later, and I’m at it again – I notice the two jobs I applied for have already readvertised.  Hmmm.  Guess I need to work on my pitch.


This is usually the part where I curse the day I ever enrolled in that Bachelor of Arts.  Why didn’t I choose law?  Or counselling?  Or teaching, even – I could have been a good teacher.

At least I thought so, until I read fellow job hunter Anna Fonté’s post about the realities of teaching.  No.  I definitely could not have done that.

But why did I always choose meaningful over skilled?

There’s no answer to that question.  Except that was what I needed to do.  And now, here I am.  I’m exactly where I need to be.  Right now.

If you’ve ever doubted that, or need some reassurance about the direction that you’re heading in, read Nina Badzin’s post, on her journey towards the right path.

There’s something so very practical, and encouraging about her story of becoming a blogger and freelance writer.  She reminds me when I need to hear it most – that nothing is ever wasted.

Change is not going to be easy.  It never is.  And so I tell myself.

Just believe.  Just breathe.

Is there any change you’re finding challenging this year?  What gets you through?


  1. says

    I hear you about the degree. Why the hell did I choose literature? What was I thinking?

    (Oh, wait– I was thinking it made me happy, so utterly happy, more than money ever could. And aside from a few sad times it has made me happy. Give it time. You will find a good job, Alarna! I’m rooting for you!)

    • says

      I’m rooting for you too, Anna! Yep, that was pretty much my thought process with the degree. Really, I don’t regret it for the richness it gave me…

      Thanks for the encouragement – it’s nice to know I’m not alone 🙂

  2. says

    I so get it… For me why did I choose marketing lol. I should have gone to law school…

    I am sure you will find something great and that pleases you soon. Keep the faith dear

    • says

      Marketing, huh? It’s funny how different our choices look in hindsight. Maybe some of those skills are coming in handy here, with the blogging…?

      Thanks for the keeping faith with me 🙂

  3. says

    I’m with you on all this, Alarna. An Arts degree os not selling me. Only wanting to help pay the bills, I recently failed to get a p/t job as cashier in supermarket – after carefully completing vast online form. Luckily, Ive been doing a Mindfulness course so I could accept that and just breathe. :-/ Onwards, both of us! Good luck. 🙂 x

  4. says

    You will find something. Have you tried going through a recruiter? Many organisations only hire through their approved recruitment services. Something else to try at least?

    And nice work on listening to your body with the detox. You are fortunate that you need to eat more good food and not less!

    • says

      They tell me I am fortunate to be thin. Sometimes I’m not sure 😉

      I will be looking into the recruitment services, that usually is the way to go. Just easing into it, shall we shay 🙂

      Thanks for the boost!

  5. Andrea Hingert says

    You inspire me in your journey. Even though I am far away, in Los Angeles, I follow your every step as if I could touch you… thank you for your spirit that lights my way… xxxx

  6. says

    Just breathe Alarna! You can do it! Ah, the detox. I do that all the time. And if you’re really toxic, it can be rough. But don’t give up. That just shows how much you need to do it. And don’t be surprised if you go through an emotional detox at the same time. It’s normal, although not many people know that. Just though I’d give you a pep talk girl. Take it easy on yourself. You can do this! 🙂

    • says

      Always happy for a pep talk, Karen! Thank you. I’ve heard the detox can be emotional… I think I’ll work on my reserves, and revisit it at a time when I can handle it :/ Really appreciate the pep, and the visit! Have a great week 🙂

  7. says

    Change. Curious. I recently got my numerology done in hope of ‘my’ special numbers whispering my unforeseen truths.. or something like that… Nope, not even my numbers could give me insight for future directions. however it did highlight something that has astounded me. I always thought I was good with change… but my numbers tell me that in fact I am NOT. As I listened with an open mind, I heard the message ultimately telling me that big changes stressed me out. It was like lifting the rug up and finding all my lost jewels… All these years of selling change to myself and embracing shifts has been a bit of a mask for the shit-scared mini me. Gulp! Now, with all that said, we live in a world that feels more like a non-stop marathon with it’s fast paced everything. So we either jump on the ride or we hide for a while, finding a pace of change that is enough. Hence, my move to the middle of nowhere… We all need jolts in life to shift our awareness… yoga is perfect for me for that. Sister, you’re a beautiful spirit and you live consciously… there is a job out there that spins at a speed that will match your rhythm perfectly. I’m confident about that. One thing about being a mum that has been brilliant for this hermit is that I got appointed the Captain of Constant Change… Wait, where’s that rug?
    Seriously, I know you’ll get a job and when you do, then we’ll be reading about how much you want to be out in the wild… right! Darn, that balance shit… sending big love

    • says

      Wow. It’s amazing the stuff that lies hidden… maybe until we are ready to handle or deal with it. I love that about life… the way it keeps feeding us knew insights.

      I wonder where your little oasis is away from the hubbub? Sounds perfect for what you need right now.

      One thing I truly admire is your yoga practice. It is something I find very beneficial, but I’m less than dedicated when it comes to exercise and meditation routines. It’s one of the things I’m working on… I’m hoping in proximity to you I might pick up some good habits 😉

      As for kids and change. I don’t doubt that at all. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s a big reason I’m not going there!

      Thanks so much for the love and the encouragement. I’m giving the shit-scared mini you a massive hug 🙂

  8. says

    Oh Alarna I could have written this post. I’ve been looking for work for so long. I find it so difficult to fill up all these job applications and key selection criteria… But don’t give up. I’m sure you will find the right work for you very soon. And continue to follow your heart. You can take my words for this one: it’s not about what you study at Uni that count. It’s about what you do with it. I studied law and practiced for four years and then, ended up in Australia where I can’t do much with my degree… As you say, change is never easy but change is good and I’m sure you will find your way.
    Oh and I read Nina Badzin post and I loved it. Thanks for the link.

    • says

      I’ve been wondering how the job hunt was going! I’m so sorry it’s proving such a drama… these are tough times we’re in, and yes, the application process is a killer.

      Hear you on the degree issue. Did you enjoy law? I can’t imagine having put so many years of study into that, to come here and have to almost start from scratch.

      Looks like we are keeping our fingers crossed together. This is the year, Rita. We will find that job!!

  9. says

    Alarna , somewhere at the right time in the right place, there is your job waiting for you… the gears haven;’t ground into place yet, but while you’re practising job applications and patience and courage, you’re preparing for that opportunity that;s waiting for you, Never doubt, however long it takes.
    And take every any opportunity no matter how small it seems – it will always lead to other things.
    Sorry to seem to be preaching – just want you to know that I”m rooting for you, love Valerie

    • says

      Valerie, I appreciate your kind and very wise words. I believe you to be right, and hell, I’ve barely made a start, so I have no place to be discouraged yet! I’m determined to find the right fit, and for this to be a step forward. So thanks for the reminder to take time and be open… I need to hear that 🙂

      Hope you have a wonderful weekend, much love to you. xx

  10. liz says

    I’m keeping my fingers crossed for you! I am certain that all will fall into place as it should, but most times the process of that happening is so damn difficult. Still, breathing is most definitely one of the best ways to get through it. Following our dreams doesn’t really ever mean taking the easy road, but following our hearts & not settling makes our souls sing. All the best to you in your continues search! xo

  11. says

    “Ability to multitask.” Code for, “This place is in chaos and it will take you seven months to figure out who your boss is.”

    I don’t have too many changes in my immediate future. Just small steps on a long road to god-knows-where.

    • says

      You’ve cracked the code on that one, Averil! I knew there was a reason I shudder at the thought…

      Small steps is what it takes… Looking forward to seeing where they lead for you 🙂

  12. says

    It’s not easy when you want meaningful and then there’s all those practical things demanding attention. A few years back I took an admin job b/c it was practical. Also I did it because it was expected and because I was afraid to do anything else. It ended up being a learning experience partially because I can’t help but look for meaning 🙂 and b/c I got more insight into what energizes me and what kind of saps the soul right out of me. I like what Averil said above about taking small steps–and I’ll add being in tune with how your spirit feels along the way. 🙂 All the best Alarna!

    • says

      Coleen, reading this, I know you feel my pain! It would be wonderful to sit down and hear the full story someday…

      I love how you call it a learning experience, because every step is valuable for that – even if sometimes the lessons we learn are unexpected. Thank you – you’ve made me feel like I can do this 🙂

  13. says

    I am working on last year’s resolutions! Hahaha! So far I am working hard on my rewrite. First I had to tame all the loose ends, give them a trim and now I am finally smoothing them out and rebraiding them. This cracks me up because everytime I talk about this project to my husband, I come up with a different metaphor. It is getting easier as I go, thank God! Good luck with the hunt!

    • says

      This is the very reason I try not to make resolutions – sometimes it takes longer than we think! But I’m inspired by your positivity, Susie, and admire you for persevering. Can’t wait to see the result of your rebraiding 😉

      • says

        Aww! Thank you Alarna! I am a perfectionist and don’t want to waste anyone’s time. I will keep at it until I feel that it’s good enough to put my name on it. Then the fun will really begin!

  14. lynnkelleyauthor says

    Oh, I’m so glad you didn’t keep writing about the detox and healthy foods because I just ate a hamburger and chocolate shake for dinner and was feeling really guilty! Haha! I agree with your assessment. If you’re already thin, eat whatever you want and plenty of it. Gosh, I had a hard time gaining weight most of my life, so I hear ya! Looking for a job is darn stressful, especially when you’ve been off for a while, so I hope you land the perfect job, one that you’ll enjoy and will bring in enough moola to pay your expenses. What gets me through the day is hugging my grandbaby. Don’t get me wrong. It’s a ton of work babysitting nine hours a day, but I love seeing life through a toddler’s eyes again. Everything is new to him. I share in his excitement as a plane flies overhead or he masters a new skill. My kids are grown. Now that I’m a grandma, I know how fast they grow, how time truly does fly, so I’m making it a point to enjoy every precious day.

    • says

      Hey Lynn! It’s my firm belief that food is there to be enjoyed… it’s rare that I try a detox. And now that I’ve found an excuse not to, who know when I’ll make my next attempt? Hehe.

      Glad to hear I’m not the only one with the weight retention issue – people always think I’m strange for complaining about that!

      You’re such an awesome grandma, Lynn! Your little grandbaby is so fortunate to have you as such a big part of his life. I admire your commitment – it must be very challenging sometimes, but I know from what time I have with my nephews and niece what a gift it is to see the world through their eyes. Enjoy every second of the ride 🙂

  15. says

    Hi Alarna, I appreciate the openness of this post. I had a similar experience with trying to become a vegetarian — people kept remarking on how skinny I was becoming, and I felt this weird heat in my chest from time to time, and eventually I decided it just wasn’t working for my body. My own challenge so far this year has been deciding on the next direction I’m going to take musically, which, when I think about it, is a pretty “high quality problem.”

    • says

      Wow, yes, I understand its tough for musicians out there, so I see why you would say that. With health as with art, I guess we have to go with what feels right for us… for our own unique rhythm (bet it body or soul). I was brought up vegetarian and it seems to fit my body type… I just need to eat more! But it’s not for everyone 🙂

      Goodluck with finding the new direction, Chris – I’m sure it will become clear at the right time!

  16. says

    I hate job searching. It’s the pits. I liken it to shopping my novel, where you are trying to sell yourself and you feel so fake and stupid. I wish you luck with your hunt. As far as nutrition, I always feel that the best ‘diet’ is one that’s balanced and has a little bit of everything in it. Even chocolate and wine (if you like ’em) because treating ourselves encourages us to treat ourselves well. 🙂

    • says

      Yep. Pitching. It’s the same whatever the thing is we have to sell!

      Love your balanced approach to nutrition! I feel much the same myself… that whole ‘everything in moderation’ thing. In some ways I think that makes your system more robust! At least, that’s the excuse I use to justify my little bit of indulgence 🙂

  17. says

    If you wish you can mail me your resume with the kind of job position that you are seeking… My bro is in HR recruitment department and he may suggest if you it needs some improvements… am not sure if it’ll work, but no harm in trying to get it read by someone experienced I guess…

  18. says

    hello, Alarna… i love these lines, so right on –

    “If you already look like a borderline famine victim – maybe detox is not the thing you need?”

    “How many ways can you say you’re eager, keen, delighted…goddamn desperate for a job?”

    “Change is not going to be easy. It never is. And so I tell myself.”

    I hope the sun shines on you, too. Kind regards… 🙂

  19. says

    A detox diet and a job hunt are to stressful! Skip the detox for some good fresh veg and a green juice and give your self a brake! Set your self up for success in a healthy way! Your a cool girl you’re doing good!

  20. says

    I’m keeping my fingers crossed for you! I did Latin American Studies and History because I’m absolutely in love with both, and somehow I ended up an English teacher, and I have to say I like it (not that it’s not painfully hard some days). I guess life takes you on misterious paths. I’m sure there’s a right job waiting for you! xoxo

    • says

      Thank goodness for the teachers who love what they do. I had some wonderful teachers that influenced me to see and think differently about the world. It’s a gift. But you’re right about the mysterious paths… thanks for the encouragement 🙂

  21. Deliberately Delicious says

    Hi Alarna, I’ve twice started to comment on this post and been interrupted, but I’m here again.

    As I read about your struggle to find the right work, I want to tell you about one of my best friends, someone I’ve known for many years and who I am privileged to work with at the moment. She is quiet, introspective, thoughtful, and reflective. Outgoing is just not a word you would use to describe her. And yet, her value in our organization is incredible. She is a details person, and is often the first person to realize the problems with some new initiative. She is also solution oriented, and regularly comes up with ways to solve the problems that only she has foreseen. She is incredibly creative and finds new ways to approach our work that soon everyone is following. Though she dislikes the spotlight and has no need to draw any attention to herself, she is a quiet leader and a highly respected colleague.

    This is all to say that you have incredible gifts to share with the right organization. Be yourself, embrace who you are, and be patient: you are the perfect person for a job that’s out there.

    • says

      Sally, you are so very kind and thoughtful to write such a beautiful comment!

      Your friends sounds like a wonderful human being, and what you say reminds me of the book I read last year – Quiet, by Susan Cain. It delves into the culture of ‘personality’ and the different ways that we all contribute, including maybe some that are easily overlooked about us quiet types.

      It was very liberating to read, and I feel the same when I read your comment here. Sometimes, when I look at the job ads, I despair, because so much of it seems to be about how chirpy you are…

      Thank you so much for the reminder and the validation. I take that to heart 🙂


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