# 39 Message In A Bottle


As the waves crash in front of me, all I can think of is how I’m procrastinating packing up the house. He’s taken most of his share of belongings and now I’m sorting through mine. Yesterday I ran out of rubbish bags, so I left. I also started to panic when deciding what to do with the pots and pans. I used to love cooking, now it will have to go into storage until I decide my next move.

He said it was like he sent out a message in a bottle - and I found him in a sea of strangers...


A friend and I sent each other postcards but neither of us have received it. So I asked him what he had written, and told him mine. He said it was like he sent out a message in a bottle - and I found him in a sea of strangers. I told him that I missed him, but I didn't like that I miss him. We get each other like that.

I think I finally realised why I couldn't let go of the house - I needed time to verbalise what I have been resenting. It wasn't the break up, or feeling less of a woman - it was having to admit that this is right for both of us. Moving on from this is shit scary, but it needs to happen. I need to let that part of me go.

Which brings me to the next question - when is the right time to start dating? How long after a breakup does the next relationship not be considered a ‘rebound’? The truth is, that depends on me, and how I feel about it. When I meet men, I put them in boxes - guys that are fun but lead nowhere, the too hard basket, the potential relationship but haven't got a clue. Truth is any of them could lead into a relationship if I allowed them to. But I don't. I don't want to put myself back out there because it makes me vulnerable. That's just it, love, real love isn't about control, it’s given freely by two people. I have to learn to trust myself again. I have to choose to trust again.

That feeling of being unsteady, and second guessing, it sucks being stuck in the mud. I was listening to X Ambassadors’ song ‘Unsteady’, written by children of divorced parents. There in the car as I drove, sadness overwhelmed me and my vision blurred. It struck me, so suddenly, yet it gave me hope. I wasn't numb. A moment of pain for a lifeline and I have never been so hopeful.

I’m going to keep writing my book, and I want to finish it before Christmas. By then April will seem like a lifetime ago, and I will be a bit wiser too. It will be my first Christmas alone, I might even go on a road trip.

All I know is that each day I work on my own happiness, brings me closer to be able to receive the love I deserve. I know you're curious about my message in a bottle, and for now a vast sea exists between us, and we don't talk often. But when we do, it’s like we’ve known each other a lifetime ago, and he’s back to remind me that love exists because I’ve known pain.

Loving is hard, but keeping it to yourself, that would be a tragedy.

# 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.

# 17 Make room for what you love most

# 17 Make room for what you love most

We have three dogs. Our day one dog, JC, had 10 puppies, and we kept two, Hulk and Twitch. JC came to us around 9 weeks old, and from the start we knew we weren't a small breed kind of couple.