Hey. You're Doing Great.

Walking along on the Onepu wetlands.

Walking along on the Onepu wetlands.

On a lightpost in Whakatane is a black and white sticker which says:

Hey. You’re Doing Great.

I walk my dog down this street a lot, and have probably walked past it a thousand times before I noticed it that morning. Someone must have taken the time to drag a ladder to the street corner because it’s high enough not to be just a spontaneous burst of optimism. Its message of motivation made me smile...a lot.

People have asked me if I miss having the dance studio (it’s been just under two months now). My reply is that I will miss the students, but the constant rushing, like going from my full time job to a class, not so much. Life’s been cruising lately - I’ve been doing lots of bush walks and I’m pretty sure I’ve finally made some decisions for South America. Sometimes when you see infinite choices before you, it becomes daunting to narrow it down to a simple yes or no. It looks like I may have to break down my travel plans into several trips if I truly want to explore the content. I can have that proverbial cake, but in smaller slices, with sweaty gym sessions in between.

It’s scary, stepping away from the 9-5 grind. We are taught to follow a certain path - then out of the blue, a switch flips inside you to question that. To question those beliefs feels like you’re defying what your parents know and live by, in fact, the very society you live in. When the crowd is moving clockwise, all you want do is go in the opposite direction and defy gravity.

That’s when you have to stop, ground yourself, and ask if what you are choosing aligns with who you are, and if you know it at the time, your life purpose.

When we were younger, my Mum had this story about Jack of All Trades. You know, about Jack being able to do a lot of things, but never really became great at any of them. I’m a bit like Jack I guess, except I think being good at a few things is equal to being exceptional in one. For the past fourteen years my focus outside of work has been the performing arts - first musical theatre, then dance. Even though I could never see myself becoming a professional, I’ve acquired a rich knowledge bank over the years. As I pursue slam poetry and being a member of Toastmasters, I’ve begun to draw on that knowledge and know it will be only get better in time.

That’s just it, we all have a knowledge bank, some richer than we give ourselves credit for.

Today is Waitangi Day, which is New Zealand’s national day. As I walked alongside the lake by the Onepu Wetlands, I asked myself what I was good at. If I could do anything in the world, what would it be? I would love for people to discover how incredible the natural world is and my words and photographs is only the beginning. To feel what I felt, to see what I saw. Maybe they will stand where I stood - to smile in that very spot where the sun created shadows on my face through the trees.

To see the beauty of the imperfect and not feel the burden of having to filter it out.

That is where I’m at in life. My words and photographs, they’re going to take me places, in fact they already are. That is where I want to be. Yes, It feels good to write that.

Ronna Grace Funtelar

A thirtyish storyteller, hobby hiker, photography and sunrise enthusiast with a passion for mindfully helping others live beyond their comfort zone.