There She Goes - Getting Ready For The Jump Off

There She Goes - Getting Ready For The Jump Off

The rain has stopped, and the house is really quiet. Except for my music - it feels like the world’s asleep and it’s not even 10pm. I’ve spent most of today on the couch, so maybe I’m trying to feel productive in what’s left of today. Hiking 18km in the Pakihi beats my usual leg day session. Today I chose to rest, plus I was sore.

What’s on my mind tonight? Nothing heavy, just reflecting I guess.

You can say that for every ending there is a beginning. Awhile back when I got the letter in the mail, I marked the date on my phone: Monday July 16, 2018. If you’ve been following my journey, you can probably figure out what was in that letter. I thought I would be sad, but really I felt more relief than anything, this was it, the sign from the Universe that really, it’s time for me to move on.

Hey. You're Doing Great.

Hey. You're Doing Great.

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.

Lessons From The Tron

The tunnel of vines in the Italian Garden at the Hamilton Gardens. 

The tunnel of vines in the Italian Garden at the Hamilton Gardens. 

Oh lover, come find me in the tunnel in the vines. I will wait for you with my eager heart and a trigger happy smile. My eyes won’t see anyone but you. But first you must come to life. Lover, come find me in the tunnel of vines!
— RonnaTheAsian

It’s not quite 3am Sunday morning here in Hamilton. I’m sitting in the darkness typing this on my phone while my friend Lana is beside me, doing a better job of trying to ignore the stream of drunk people that keep finding their way to our door. Don't worry Mum, we’re safe, that door is pretty legit. Plus he eventually found the right door and finally left ours alone - but now I can't sleep.

We’re sharing a queen size bed because I forgot to request two singles before the day we came. The room was part of the prize I won for the Whakatane Poetry Slam heats. Even though the woman at the reception desk was friendly, I think she was trying to figure out if we were a couple or not. Personally I don’t find it an issue to share a bed.

Saturday night was the finals of the NZ Poetry Slam, that’s why I’m here. I didn't make the second round (there were three altogether), which on one part was disappointing, but I have to remember that like any art form, it is subjective. My poem just didn't connect with the judges on the night and that's OK. I’m going back to the drawing board, learn my lessons and come back a better writer and performer.

Afterwards we walked to the CBD in search of fried chicken (those who know me most understand this obsession). Instead I found kumara chips. The guy from Beef Eaters looked at me strange when I asked him if the kumara chips were crispy or soggy. He hesitantly replied that it was soggy. After a decent attempt at the mound of chips, I decided I was coordinated enough to walk and eat at the same time. From the looks of the people walking towards us, I say I looked like I was enjoying it a little too much. The walking advertisement for late night cravings.

Last night was also the Tonga vs Samoa game of the Rugby World Cup. I had to laugh because it was like a sea of red and blue - mostly red because Tonga won I guess. Last time it was a sea of red and blue in Whakatane we made national news for the wrong reasons.

As we walked back to the car, we had to turn down various offers of a ‘good time’ from boys hanging out of car windows. My squats at the gym must be really paying off. Maybe it was my new gold pants that brought all the boys to the yard. Either that or they could smell the kumara chips. Probably the kumara chips aye.

It’s coming up to the last two months of the year, and tonight it finally dawned on me just how much of my life is about to change. Next month I’m going to say goodbye to what has been five years of my life - the dance studio. Though I know I have the choice to re-open it again, it won't be the same.

Those years I spent sharing, motivating, building trust, mentoring and pushing kids out of their comfort zones - now it’s time for me to do the same. To seek my teachers, to try new things, to have meltdowns and frustrating moments because it will prepare me for the next chapter in my life. To be free.

When one door closes, another opens. And if that door doesn’t exist, I trust myself to have the skills to build another.

Crazy Is When Crazy Does

Crazy Is When Crazy Does

Finding yourself is really a journey about asking those questions - to do the work and peel back the layers to your core values and beliefs. Not everyone has to pack up their lives and move to South America (because you will probably save a hell of a lot of money in the process) but for me, it is. The changes in me doesn’t begin when I hop on that plane, it’s happening now. I’m already becoming the woman that I need to be in that next phase of my journey. Taking action creates the change, that forward motion, is saying fear can still walk beside me, but I won’t allow it to be a backseat driver either.

Road Trip Adventures In
The Coromandel

Google maps said the trip should have taken about 4.5 hours to get to Hahei, but due to the torrential downpour and stops we made exploring random roadside attractions, it felt more like I spent a whole day driving. My friend Jemma did well to stay awake considering she drove from Fielding the night before - she climbed on the top bunk bed just before 2am. I made sure my usual 5am alarm on my phone, not that I needed it these days.

Road Trips With My Mother And The Dog

Road Trips With My Mother And The Dog

Every fortnight, my Mum, the dog and I drive an hour and half to a little town called Te Kaha. JC, my dog sits in the boot of the Rav where she is just a bit too short - quite amusing since she lives with a household of Asians. She looks like a kid trying to reach the cookie jar on the bench if she rests her head on the backseat. Her gigantic, wagging tongue a great indicator that she likes road trips too because it’s a nice break from the mundane of our suburban backyard.

Why I Said Yes To Travel

Why I Said Yes To Travel

I have left and moved back home a total of four times in my adult life. The first time I was 18 and moved to Wellington to study, and this latest stint I’m now in my mid-thirties. My parents’ home has always been a place where I reset, and each time I leave I’ve been in a good headspace.

The Middle

The Middle

I don't think courage is something you have to go anywhere to find or do a specific act. It's already there, just waiting for your acknowledgement. There, in and around you, courage is the focus of forward motion. It’s actually just energy, for everything that exists is energy. It’s neither good or bad until it’s given context. Fear is not the opposite of courage, because they are one and the same - both are defined by action.

Space Clearing

Space Clearing

Next year I’m going on another journey - I’m moving to South America. At the start of all this, I promised myself that I wouldn’t run away, and I’ll only leave this town when I’ve found peace and ready to move on. What I’ve learned is that when you experience emotional trauma, peace comes from conscious acts of forgiveness. Isn’t the real gift from all of this is that before I leave, I will no longer take for granted this beautiful place I’ve called home all these years? When I speak of my hometown, it will be not where I was broken, but where I became something greater than what I could have ever imagined.

# 61 Playdough

# 61 Playdough

The date on phone tells me it’s 18 April - today’s my birthday! Facebook had reminded people it was my birthday and they have been steadily posting on my page all day. I'm on a plane somewhere over the Tasman Sea. You can say that I’ve spent my 34th birthday getting somewhere, as much as my 33rd was spent trying to run away from something. I don’t know what the next chapter of my story will be, for now, I just want a break from having to think so much.

# 58 Three Ladies And A Baby

They say friendships change when you have a baby. Shelley, Susan and I have been friends since high school. For most of our adult lives we’ve lived in different towns. Then two years ago Shelley had her daughter, Katelyn.

We would see each other on occasion, that in itself was no easy feat as it seemed like our schedules always clashed. When you add kids into the mix, you have to make a conscious effort to evolve your friendship.

One day, after realising that we had not seen each other in over a year, we made a plan to do a road trip together - with a toddler in town.

As we sit here in our PJs and eating chocolate biscuits - Susan and Shelley sipping on a glass of wine, me with a glass of milk, it’s a long way from our party days. Not that we mind. The reason for this trip is to reconnect, not to revert back to our youth.

We booked a cabin at a campground in Waihi Beach, not wanting to risk pitching a tent in case it rained. As three women, sure, but not such a good idea with a two year old.

By 9.30pm, we had crashed out. I fell asleep to the sound of Shelley reading Katelyn a story and making farm animal noises.

Campground culture is interesting. With daylight savings almost over, it’s 6am and still in complete darkness. I have been sitting outside in semi-darkness for over 30 minutes because I couldn’t remember which light switch turned on the outside light (not wanting to risk the wrath of grumpy room-mates.)

The communal bathroom light turned off on me - obviously signalling that I had been sitting there for too long. The rest of the campground was lit well enough to explore without a flashlight.

From outside our cabin, the majority of guests filled the cabins, camper vans and freedom camper conversions. A scattering of tents could possibly be a nod to the cooler nights of Autumn. I wish brought my slippers.

Is that a sign of adulting, or am I just getting old? Just old.

The moon overhead reminds me of a half eaten M&M you might find stuck between the sofa cushions. The initial find is euphoric, then you realise it’s been there for months accumulating fart particles. If it was a full moon I wouldn’t need the harsh glow of a man-made contraption.

Everyone is still asleep - except for the cicadas who seem to be on a 24-hour rotation. I heard Katelyn cry briefly, probably from a nightmare. She settled once Shelley comforted her, she’s good like that.

Our friendship is changing - and what remains is the mutual intention to grow in life, even if we’re not always in other’s orbit.
— fivefootronna

I have been awake for over an hour now. The stars have faded, giving way to the sunrise. I wish I walked to the beach, but it was dark earlier and I didn’t want to go alone.

Maybe I don’t like sleep at the moment because I love getting lost in my thoughts and I can express myself in my writing (I feel lighter for it). Though I do find my dreams allow me access to my subconscious, where a more honest and less filtered version of me lives.

I’ll just nap in the car.

If Susan gets her way we’ll get pancakes for brunch. If Shelley gets her way, Katelyn will want to sleep until 9am. Most of what makes us happy are the simpler things in life - so why most of us choose to be so complicated?

Like us, friendships are made to evolve - we choose our happiness based on our priorities, life choices and who bats for us in our team.

The three of us all lead very different lives now, and in that car, this weekend, it feels like we’re learning more about each other. We’re not as youthful as we used to be. Our friendship is changing - and what remains is the mutual intention to grow in life, even if we’re not always in other’s orbit.

# 56 The Redwoods Treewalk

I’ve had a fear of heights ever since I can remember. That queasy feeling of vertigo would grip me even when I was barely off the ground. It didn’t stop me from climbing the Eiffel Tower, or enjoying the incredible views in the temples surrounding Angkor Wat. For those that know me will know that doing the Redwoods Treewalk is no mean feat!

My friend and I have only recently reconnected - first meeting through musical theatre over ten years ago. He moved back into the area last year, and we’ve been slowly catching up since. Sam is one of the few people in my life that knew me before I got married. With him I can be unfiltered and my true self.

We began our adventure with food, stopping for dinner at Nandos. It was relatively quiet for a Saturday evening and we didn’t have to wait long for our food. We were missing another fellow foodie though, John. Due to his jetlag was still awake at 2am, so naturally we bombarded him with food photos. Sam and John had spent a month exploring the South Island together, and John only flew back to America earlier this week. They’re one of the few couples I don’t mind third wheeling with.

Sam didn’t know about my fear of heights until we were midway through crossing the first platform. He was behind me and I could feel that familiar jelly sensation in my legs. Not wanting to alarm him, I continued to move forward but had slowed down enough for him to notice. The rocking motion of his footsteps and narrowness of the platform quickened my breath. Once we reached the safety of the first viewing platform, I asked him to take the lead. As the light continued to fade, it became easier to walk each bridge and I began to relax.

You may be wondering why we didn’t do the walk in daylight. The view would certainly be far reaching and breathtaking, however we would have missed out on the outdoor lanterns and forest lighting by award winning designer David Trubridge. The bespoke lanterns were up to 2.5 metres tall. My favourite was the one wrapped around one of the giant trunks.

Only having our phones, we couldn’t capture the beauty of the lanterns in the low lighting. I remember being in the middle of a platform, and we came to a clearing in the forest - I found myself looking up at the Milky Way. All the noise in my head quietened and the night air was still. In the darkness, I smiled. Even if I was high above the forest floor, I never felt more grounded.

Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans.
— John Lennon

I have decided that every month I want to do something that takes me out of my comfort zone. Maybe, like the Treewalk, it challenges long held beliefs of my limitations and fears, or it can be as simple as meeting new people outside my usual social circle. As I write the last chapters of the book, I asked myself how I want my life to change. Change happens through action, and if it’s a small step forward every month, then I’m sure it can lead to a bigger leap in the future.

For my birthday I want to go back to Singapore and maybe even write my last chapter there. My friend Anita is heading there for hers, and it’s only three days before mine. All I know is that I want to celebrate my birthday in a pretty dress, dance and laugh the night away. Or maybe camp out and wake up to a beautiful sunrise. I’ll just wing it.

I’ve spent a lot of the past year in retrospective reflection, which has helped me to survive. Maybe even thrive. It allowed me the permission to embrace a level of vulnerability that I could handle - which has been a focus for my writing. I learned to ask for help. To listen to motherly advice. I’m also learning that it’s not selfish to fill your own cup. In fact, it’s a necessity.

Resilience comes not from an easy journey, but from the stumbling blocks. In the words of John Lennon, “Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans.”

# 49 A Christmas Tale

On Christmas Day I spent most of the day helping in the kitchen and serving food at the Mosaic Church Christmas Community Lunch. Who knew peeling potatoes, kumara, and getting ‘emotional’ chopping onions could be such a humbling experience. Many were volunteers from the Mosaic Church, and others like myself, just members of the community giving up our time to give others a better Christmas otherwise. For those few hours, all things were right in the world.

This was my first year volunteering, and you can tell the veterans who brought their own knives, and some even came with aprons. I was rusty with my peeling skills, and saw how quick others were at the job.

The hall had been decorated overhead with crepe paper, tinsel and paper stars. There must have been at least 200 people seated - men, women and children, locals and tourists, all sharing a meal.

I got home about 3.30pm and had a nap. That nap turned to a deep sleep and I woke up around 6.30pm, my hair noted from sweat, mouth dry and the room felt like a sauna. The day passed much like any other.

In the Philippines, Christmas Day is a big deal. It’s actually several days of eating starting Christmas Eve and rolls on until December 27, where birthdays were also celebrated. We then have a few days rest until New Years Eve. We would go to midnight mass, and then have Noche Buena, which is a small midnight snack and would open one present each. Then the next day we get to open the rest of the presents and the feasting begins all over again.

Somewhere inside of me are words that need to come out - why am I so afraid of my truth?

Christmas Eve last year I was married, spending the night with people that I knew on a shallow level. I could have slept through the night and they wouldn’t have noticed. This year I spent it alone, going to bed at 9.30pm. I fell asleep to something on Lightbox and woke up in the middle of the night hungry, realising I forgot to eat dinner.

I left for Te Araroa on Boxing Day, camping for a couple of nights and hoping to break my writer’s block. The laptop stayed at home, and I went back to the old paper and pen. Somewhere inside of me are words that need to come out - why am I so afraid of my truth? JC and I arrived at the campsite early afternoon, and pitching up my small tent took what felt like an eternity. Tired from the morning drive, I fell asleep around 9.30pm to the sound of laughter, birds and sheep. JC slept outside, like a good guard dog.

The next day I found myself waking up early, and JC was restless. I walked her around the campsite and that seemed to calm her down. Around 7am I found myself standing in the laundry room, as I promised to keep checking in with my family at least once a day. Social media is good like that.

On a trip to Cambodia, our tour guide said that temples had a steep climb because the path to heaven isn’t easy. The climb to the East Cape Lighthouse wasn’t easy either, yet the view was worth it. I have done this climb many times as kid, but I don’t remember the drive taking so long. I passed a feather on the steps and smiled, it’s like my angels were saying, “Left this here so you know we’re thinking of you.”

New Year’s Eve is in two days, yet again no plans. Maybe I will spend it alone, stargazing somewhere. Maybe I will have a midnight kiss. All I know is that next year will be better, I will be happier, and when love comes calling, I won’t be afraid anymore.

# 48 Cheese, Teddy & Tamarillo Chutney

# 48 Cheese, Teddy & Tamarillo Chutney

“Let them past, they’re pretty much naked.” No dear, we leave the nudity to the nudists camp up the road.

# 31 All The Single Ladies

Exploring the old mining ruins at Karangahake Gorge Historic Walkway.

Exploring the old mining ruins at Karangahake Gorge Historic Walkway.

When you find yourself single after a long-term relationship, it's easy to fall into the trap of wanting to jump back straight into one. I resisted that urge because, let's face it, I'm just not ready. When you're dating, there are so many unanswered questions that it can drive even the most level headed woman crazy, aka this one. I thought I understood men, but now I second guess myself.

I went to Elemental Potential’s ‘Yes To Love’ workshop on The Body Language of Love and Attraction on Thursday night. It catered for singles, as well as those in existing relationships. Run by my friend, Steph Holloway, it was held at a bar on Fort Street, Auckland called Rich Heart, and was an intimate group of eight women, and one man. Dan, who worked at the bar, floated in and out, but his girlfriend was with us. It was an interesting mix of women, who had their share of stories and woes.

Most of what was covered I already knew, but a refresher was still handy. The most interesting part were the tell-tale signs of deception, and how to spot a player. I also picked up a couple of new dating terms like ghosting and benching. Ghosting is where the other person just cuts off contact completely. Benching is where they have a few people on the go, and will only contact you at their convenience, aka the player.

A common misconception about body language is that it's the physical reaction to your thoughts, when actually it's the emotional response. You can learned to mask it, but if you know what to look for, people tell a whole different story to what comes out of their mouth. It's certainly fascinating to me.

When you're feeling down, let it be

I’ve been feeling sorry for myself today, not sure why, maybe I’m just tired and can’t be bothered with the world. Then it hit me. Her profile popped up on my recommended list. Yes H-E-R. Her old profile had me blocked, so I guess she made a new one, and you can’t block people you aren’t already friends with. I saw it, them together. I could be sad, but I’m not. Relieved, yes. That they’re finally putting it out there. Still, sucks to be single.

Maybe sometime in the future I’ll be ready to date, just not yet. I thought about organising those “Singles With A Cause’ type of events, where singles mingle while volunteering for a charity. Sounds like a cool way to meet genuine, caring people. There’s bound to be less awkward moments, or the need for pointless small talk, and you get to see the good in people. I think I will look into that!

Most days are good, some days I crash. At the end of the day, as long as I’m moving forward, no matter how slow, that’s better than yesterday.

P.S. I'm sure single men, or men in general find woman just as confusing. That fear of rejection is REAL, just try not to be creepy. If you don't know your level of creepy or don't know when a woman is just not into you, find an honest wing man. Nothing feels more like a kick in the ovaries than a guy being creepy who is hitting on you. Word.

Ronna Funtelar Thacker is a writer, foodie and dance studio owner.
A self-confessed eternal optimist and lover of crispy M&Ms, she shares her adventures and life learnings to connect, inspire and nurture self-love.

# 30 Urban Exploration

auckland, new zealand

As I type this on my last morning in Auckland, I realised I still didn’t have the answer I needed. Maybe I already did; I just didn’t like the answer, and hoped I would change my mind.

If I was in my early twenties, my youthful, spontaneous, cheeky twenties, there was a chance I could have booked a flight overseas in six months time and not come back. I could handle just being a nomad for a few months, years even, live and work in a foreign land and start over. But I’m not in my twenties, and I have responsibilities, so at this time, that’s not an option. Still, the idea thrills me, probably wouldn’t resolve much, but it would be a fun, extended working holiday.

The conversations I have had with people have centred on this decision, and the more certain I am that the answer is already there. Begging for me to just say YES! What is it that holds us back from doing things that truly makes us happy? Is it really just fear? Maybe it’s social conditioning - to think of others before ourselves. Or that, it is somehow selfish to put me first. A friend summed it up nicely, “How are you able to feed the masses, when your own cup is empty?”

What is it that feeds my soul? No, that’s not the question.

In relationships there are deal-breakers, and in life there are anchors. Deal-breakers are a set of beliefs that we don’t compromise on. Anchors are what ties us to a situation, what we hold closest to our heart. I don’t know if ‘anchors’ is an actual term - I just used it because it was the word I felt best described how I felt. The more I let go of people, emotions and possessions, I realised there were only TWO anchors left in my life. My family is a given, so I haven’t counted them.

Do I set those two anchors loose, and would I really find happiness when I set them free? That is my question.
— fivefootronna


There’s No Rewind Button in Life

I started working as a full-time graphic designer at the age of 19, and resigned after five years to explore South-East Asia in 2007 for five months. I was engaged two weeks before I left, and was married by the time I was 28. Yes, I came home early, no regrets, but I do see now how different my decisions may have been if I didn’t. It’s a waste of time and hurtful to say I wished the last 11 years didn’t happen, or that I didn’t get married, because in that place in my life, it made me happy.

As a child of the eighties, I grew up listening to tapes. Some days I feel like my life is a favourite radio mix-tape that jammed, all hell broke loose, and now I’m frantically using a pencil to wind it back in. Should I wind it back in or just make up a new mix-tape? But this one had the perfect cuts, my favourite songs, and I knew the playlist inside out. I even made sure I patched it with tape so no one would record over it. This was just mine. My life. My memories.

I loved the sound it made when tapes were on rewind. That high pitched sound, where it became instinct to know how long to hold the button down for before it reached the song you wanted. No digital display, just pure instinct, and trial and error. After awhile though, the film became loose and you have to start over. If you were lucky, you had a double tape-deck so you can transfer your favourites onto the new one. Timing was crucial, because films in tapes only lasted so many playbacks and rewinds until they wore out. Timing is everything.

Rain in the City

Rain in the city, is different to rain in a small town. When it rains in Whakatane, we smile because it brings growth. Rain in the city makes people looked like soaked cats. Not everyone, just the grumpy ones. The rest are just going about their day, hoping it would stop before they have to cross the road.

I love getting lost in the city when I’m exploring on foot.

There’s less than an hour before check-out, and I’m undecided what to do about breakfast. I think I will head out of the city, go exploring again. Maybe I will sit at a cafe and put my body language knowledge to the test and see what their stories are.

Let’s go with stories, but first to find a good cup of coffee.

Ronna Funtelar Thacker is a writer, foodie and dance studio owner.
A self-confessed eternal optimist and lover of crispy M&Ms, she shares her adventures and life learnings to connect, inspire and nurture self-love.

# 29 Rainy Days and Wednesdays

"Raindrops kissed me, first tenderly, then smothered me. I could have hated it, but I stopped myself. It was only saying hello, when all I wanted was to say goodbye." - fivefootronna

"Raindrops kissed me, first tenderly, then smothered me. I could have hated it, but I stopped myself. It was only saying hello, when all I wanted was to say goodbye." - fivefootronna

Rain is beautiful. Except when it soaks your favourite suede shoes.

Today I want to write about happiness, more so about understanding the state of being happy and opening your mind to experiencing it without limitations. I’ve been thinking about what I don’t want, now I’m ready to ask and receive what I do want. That’s a really choice place to be!

Two days ago I wrote this in my diary…

“Today, I feel incredibly lonely.”
— Excerpt from "Sh#t, It Hurts" Journal by fivefootronna

That was the only entry. Looking back on it, it made me sad, but it also gave me hope. Being sad, is ok, there are days I do feel lonely and that no one understands. Or I don’t have the energy to explain and I want to be left alone. Then I get over it. I look forward to those days the most. Days when I give myself permission for some down time, eat Doritos and write.

How To Be Happy

I would love to tell you that there’s a magic formula to being happy - the idealist in me would want to bottle it and pour it into the public drinking waterways. Would that still count as medicating the masses? I don’t know, but it would certainly make morning commute in cities less stressful.

So, how do you enjoy a state of happiness most of the time? What I’ve learned is to do things that DO MAKE YOU HAPPY, then take away the expectation and pressure that it should make you happy or to fill the void loneliness creates. When we take away that expectation, it opens up our mind to experience different ways to receive love.

Ask yourself this… “What makes me happy?”

I used to have a LONG list of things I have and do. In a span of two weeks my life became condensed into one room, and EVERYTHING I needed was there. Well, except for my dog, I’m working on that though. You see, it’s human nature to always want more, to have more. Now I see that it was clutter that distracted me from being me. What makes me happy? LIFE. And its endless potential. I wake up and know I am exactly where I’m supposed to be. I wake up feeling unconditional love. I am happy because I am living. That is my state of happiness.

Yeah, But…

I was talking to a guy about how he felt ‘lost’ in life. After two years, he felt stuck and unable to let go of his old life, even though he knew he had to. He missed his ‘soul mate’ and desperately wished there as a magic eraser to take him back before it all changed. There was still plenty of guilt, isolation and loneliness. There was no moving on, no hope.

As he shared a condensed version of what lead up to this ‘defining’ moment in his life, in two years there was no closure, no forgiveness, no letting go. That burden of heavy baggage clung onto him like a life raft. It was his crutch. And it made me sad.

Every time I suggested ways he could try to improve his situation, his answer always started with “Yeah, but…” which told me immediately that he wasn’t ready. There was no forgiveness, and without that there is no healing. Letting go is hard, but it will eat you up if you don’t.

All My Bags Are Packed

I’m off on a mini-getaway to Auckland for three nights. I am notorious for getting lost, all my dance students know it. But you just never know where being lost takes you, that could be the start of a great adventure! I can’t wait to see friends, dance and eat incredibly tasty food.

Best of all, I am finally moving on.

Ronna Funtelar Thacker is a writer, foodie and dance studio owner.
A self-confessed eternal optimist and lover of crispy M&Ms, she shares her adventures and life learnings to connect, inspire and nurture self-love.

# 28 The Burdens of an Eternal Optimist

JC, my day one dog, beach lover and explorer.

JC, my day one dog, beach lover and explorer.

I met another eternal optimist like me, he too was dealing with a recent break up, and it was fascinating to listen to a male version of my thoughts. One day we must have both been feeling low, and I talked to him about the burdens of being an optimist.

"What do you mean?" He asked.

You see, as an optimist I can't help but see that the glass is half full, or the big picture that something or someone great is just around the corner. But I'm human, and I still get impatient. That kind of thinking gets things done, but only in the short-term. When I get down, there's one side of me that feels and shows that frustration, and another that won't. He put it simply, “Some days I just want to say F@*k it, I'm tired, I can see the good in this later.”

Days when you want to buy silver top milk and Oreos and just be left alone.

That's the burden of an eternal optimist.

He asked me if I had faith, and I said yes, more than anyone can know. Hold on to that, he said, it's what gets you through days when you feel like you're stuck, or in the rapids without a paddle. Faith grounds you and gives you hope.

I also feel the pressure of where society expects me to be at my age - settled down, popped out a couple of kids, walking along the beach with our dog. Ok, I have the dog, check. And I work with kids. Days like these I stop, breathe, and realise how incredibly blessed my life is, even when I haven’t quite figured it out. Walking alone on the beach with my dog, I am reminded, this moment, these emotions are temporary, and the bigger picture is actually quite awesome.

Last night we farewelled one of our dancers, Rieke, who is going back home to Germany after a year in New Zealand. We spent one incredible year with her, and I truly feel blessed to have known and taught her. Hearing her laugh is like going for a swim on a really hot day, or finding out your favourite chocolate bar is on special at the supermarket. Simplistic joy. She will be someone who will impact many lives, we are just a few.

Each dancer shared the love, like really shared the love. And there I listened, in awe of these kids, their honesty and giving a part of themselves without hesitation. Rieke is their friend, forever part of our family. Giving time is truly the greatest gift.

So, what is the burden of an eternal optimist? It’s being patient with yourself, as much as you are with others. Taking your own advice even though it isn’t what you want to hear right now. If you want to be sad, be sad, just don’t stay there too long. The sun is shining, and the dog wants to go to the beach.

An awesome life isn’t about everything going right, it’s living in the right now.

Ronna Grace Funtelar is a writer, foodie and dance studio owner.
A self-confessed eternal optimist and lover of crispy M&Ms, she shares her adventures and life learnings to connect, inspire and nurture self-love.

# 26 An Open Letter To The Woman I Will Become

Today I am writing this at Otawairere Bay, wanting to take my writing to somewhere more exciting than my room. As I admire the view, it is bittersweet to be here again. The last time I saw this view, I was with someone who is no longer in my life. But I'm ok with that. Most days are good, even great. Some days more than others, but I am human, and every now and then I still catch myself missing my old life.

I'm a really good listener, and naturally people come to me, and I listen. But it's rare I can talk to anyone, and you know, just talk. Maybe I just feel my problems are insignificant to the issues society are yet to face. Day by day, I wished for help, and I waited, not so patiently, frustrated and feeling alone. Then, as I walked over the hill to this bay, I realised I was never alone. People just never knew I needed help. I was always surrounded by love, unconditional love, I was just afraid to receive it.

They say to have something you have never had, you have to do something you have never done. Face the fear and all that. For those just starting this journey of self-discovery, even acknowledging fear is beyond them. And that's the first step, admit to yourself that you're afraid, that you have limitations, that in this moment you don't have all the answers. Fear is many things, but I now understand that the root of all my frustrations, unrealised dreams and lack of self-love is fear.

...and I don’t know what made me trust him enough to about my life these past few weeks. He listened. And I talked.


I had brunch with a friend on the weekend, and he shared his life story. Well the short version of it, and I said someday, I would like to learn the rest of it. We don't know each other that well, and I don't know what made me trust him enough to talk about my life these last few weeks. He listened. And I talked. The more I talked I realised that I had changed and grew so much that I will never go back to my old life. I'm learning to ask for what I want in my life, and right now, that's self-love.


To the Woman I Will Become

Hello, it’s me. Or you.

We had a great walk today, you finally bought a pair of decent walking shoes, so that you stop slipping at the bottom steps leading to Otarawairere Bay. Ok, you're credit card paid for it, so promise me that you will pay for it at next pay day. Sort out that credit card woman, please. Then you can go discover the world again. But first that credit card.

That wardrobe is looking better, glad to see you're taking pride in yourself again. I lost you for a bit there. Keep it up girlfriend, and get rid of the clothes that you don’t love. Sell it or gift them, just don't hold on to clothes that don't make you feel beautiful. Promise me. You’re body will be changing too, so dress it well.

The view here is incredible, and you’ll look back at this place, not with sadness, but a place of peace and writing inspiration.

Do you still recognise yourself in those old photos? Most of them were incredible memories, so don't be sad. They were you too. Just smile, and let go.

It's getting chilly now, a few more people have walked over the hill. I think it's time for lunch. Will put my shoes on again and start heading back.

I'm almost ready to let go of the old me, but not yet. So maybe we can meet up soon, just be patient. I'm worth it, I promise.

Love you.

Ronna Funtelar Thacker is a writer, foodie and dance studio owner.
A self-confessed eternal optimist and lover of crispy M&Ms, she shares her adventures and life learnings to connect, inspire and nurture self-love.

# 23 Kayaking at Ohiwa Harbour

# 23 Kayaking at Ohiwa Harbour

Do you feel guilty taking time out for yourself when the house is a mess, or you haven't done the washing? I do. It's been a busy few months, and even when I'm home, there's always something else on the task list that I thought was more important than me. Then I started to feel tired all the time, and I knew if I didn't take some time out, I would be burnt out by the middle of the year.