I am fulfilled

Naomi Edwards  5

Another fulfilling experience, a Young Social Pioneer Alumni 2015 for the Foundation of Young Australians (photo: FYA, 2015).

We all have those moments in life when someone says something or something happens that changes you almost immediately. I remember back in my science degree days when a past boyfriend said to me, “you are a gunna, you always say you are going to do something, why not actually do it”. Now at the time I got furious. How could I be a gunna? I was studying full time, I was working part time, I had started to achieve life goals like learning to ride a motorbike and I had begun the journey of planting 1000s of trees at The Spit and volunteering in my community. In my opinion I was a doer, but really, there were so many other things I was going to do… like exercise more, go to bed earlier, eat less sugar and save more money (what I am still working on!).

Fast forward almost 10 years and I probably still say ‘gunna’ but I have integrity about it! I attach a deadline to the action and imagine a project canvas for the very action I want to do in my head. I think about how am I going to do what I said I was going to do while I am already doing everything that I said I was going to do. Then it’s the I’m so busy, busy, busy at the moment, that can wait- which above all are just lame excuses. I got over this only a year ago! I was living a busy life, but really being busy is an excuse for not managing your time or prioritising. In my opinion it’s weak.

I now live a fulfilling life. At the end of each day I know I am fulfilled. I have done the best that I can do.

What does this mean? Fulfilling actually means:
adjective
  • making someone satisfied or happy through allowing their character or abilities to develop fully.

Wow, isn’t that powerful? To live a life where you make someone and yourself satisfied or happy through allowing their character or abilities to develop fully?

What does that look like to you? Take a moment and think about it.

Now back to reality look over your shoulder, around you and in front of you. Does your vista make you feel fulfilled? Where are you in life? What are you doing? Where are you going? How do you feel about this all?

I could create a pop quiz and tell you the answers but the truth is you can only discover the answers for yourself. When my past boyfriend told me I was a gunna that shook me and from that moment I become a doer – well a busy doer, now I am a fulfilled doer.

In fact probably too much of being a fulfilled doer which has been taxing on every other boyfriend since then. Because if they weren’t a doer I’d transform from an inspiring inaction girlfriend into a nagging bitch. Seriously! And in my head I’d be thinking… why aren’t they on time, why can’t they walk the dog twice a day, why can’t they vacuum, cook dinner and wash the clothes all at once … Same goes for some of my colleagues where it’d drive me crazy if they weren’t ‘as busy’ as me, instead stir their coffee and tea way too slow or complain about complaining, wasting precious inaction time …

Where is this tangent going?

The point is to be a doer you need to start with having integrity with what you say you are going to do and then the next step is prioritising. It’s not going to be a perfect pathway but why not give it a crack and start living a fulfilling life?

Cause the moment to crack the whip on yourself will be the moment you actually start living a fulfilled life. For me it’s been amazing!

I am rewarded everyday! From the best coffee every morning, to getting the best car parks (there is no parking issue at Griffith University…) And last week I was nominated as a top 3 finalist for the Griffith University Sciences Young Alumni award. Like seriously! Me? Out of all the other amazing under 30 year olds creating change and saving the world and people! Then yesterday I was reminded that life is amazing with receiving a First Class Honours in Humanities. I know. It just keeps flowing …

Above all I couldn’t have achieved everything X 10 without living a life with integrity. Once I gave up the busy card all of a sudden I was able to achieve more and in the past year it has been mind blowing. Most people say Honours is an intense year, why not add full time work, starting two kick starters, volunteering and completing 3 other programs/ courses?

Imagine what the next year will open up? Most likely the long awaiting PhD, find new love, have cleaner beaches and waterways and more empowered people creating positive change for the planet and it all starts today (now) – I am meeting the Gold Coast Mayor tomorrow to discuss what’s next … to achieve cleaner beaches and waterways within the next year [and I have the best, happiest solution].

It’s time to scale the possible!

Two words of advice for you

Consistence and committment

While the house is clean, washing is on, the worms are fed and have cup cakes in the oven, I need to take advantage for this quiet time, me time, to collect my whirlpool of thoughts and share them across the world. Time for indulge in a quick tangent.

Before I move on I must acknowledge everyone in my life and those who are close to me, support me, and pick me up and dust me off when life becomes overwhelming. You know who you are and thank you.

Life seems to be in fast forward at the moment. I feel like it was only yesterday when I packed up my desk at the Griffith Centre for Coastal Management after an amazing half a decade of sharing my passion for Gold Coast’s beaches, and making them even better. It’s been 6 months since that day and to be honest I haven’t had a chance to look back as my journey in front of me is widening into a 6-lane highway of possibilities – someone last night was telling me about the 12-lane highways in Korea! Now that is crazy – too many cars, I think so.

This makes me wonder, which exit may approach first and where may that runway take me. Because never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d be co-driving Australia’s Happy Beaches competition. Seriously, and get on prime-time live television to share my idea, my big dream, the Beach Happiness Index. How cool is that? 

So, how did this happen? How did a talkative, smiling, skinny gal from Keebra Park SHS on the Gold Coast rise up in the classroom, study hard and inspire change?

To be honest I have been spoilt with opportunities. I have amazing, supportive parents. I have been blessed with foundation inspiration from my science teachers and the bilby man at school. This led me to life-changing education and experiences at Griffith University, Deakin University and the United Nations University and in between gain meaningful work, indulge in lots of volunteering and be creative, debate issues and connect with the right people.

I am now in the Board room and on the beach inspiring change for a happy, sustainable future. I don’t take ‘no’ for an answer and I am as persistent as ever before to share my ideas on how to create a better world with happy and happier beaches. Since I have incredible knowledge about the environment and environmental sector and know that I still have a lifetime to learn. I understand the challenges we have to overcome and that there are challenges yet to be discovered. But at the same time I don’t dwell on what is not happening and focus on what is. Cause being positive is the only way to be in a world where war still out-competes love, peace and happiness.

Above all I have been consistent and committed to my causes. If I need to get something done, I just do it, wholeheartedly and complete. Yes, I could be out frolicking in the waves more often, but I know what needs to happen and get it done, and it’s the best feeling when something is completed.

I am sharing this formula with you as it has enabled me to complete my studies (and go back the third time – I am submitting my Honours thesis in Humanities and Coastal Knowledge in about 6 weeks!), get an idea into action and make it all the above happen and strive towards being the person I dream to be.

That is… an expert in making beaches happier, a National Ambassador for Landcare Australia, a Board member for environmental networks, a networker, collaborator and be a person in full-action everyday. Actually, I am that person. I am living my dream. I am the person I aspire to be.

So, my two words of advice for you to be the person you aspire to be – consistence and commitment. 

How does your beach feel?

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The world has come together to celebrate happiness. A day to celebrate all things that make us feel happy … that includes beaches among peace, love and friendship.

As beaches are a place where people are most happy.

People have likened beach experiences to being baptised, a sanity pill, rebirthing and connecting with mother nature. In fact, it is proven science that beaches are a place where people find solitude, happiness and creativity. Scientists from the University of Sussex surveyed over 20,000 people in the UK and proved people’s happiness is greater when surrounded by the natural environment, in particular, when visiting the beach.

So, it is know wonder that beaches are a place that we gravitate towards to be feel happy.

Curiosity has gotten the better of me being a happy beach goer and a happy beach scientist to question, if beaches can make people feel happy, how do beaches feel from people?

Although I know beaches do not have feelings (a debate I am willing to take), I do know that they respond to human impacts in other ways. The loss of beach amenity is a key coastal indicator (feeling) as a result of illegal sand mining, marine debris, sea level rise or the lack of a long term vision – among much more. The loss of beach amenity – can sadden a beach – as it doesn’t seem as beautiful, as happy as it once used to be. This sadden nature of the beach then extends to the community and those very beach goers that (did) love the beach.

Dan Ware, a PhD student and coastal management expert from Griffith University recently shared his thoughts about the lack of creative thinking when it comes to discovering new ways of managing beaches. Ware strongly believes that fear of the coast, truth of the coast and love for the coast should be key drivers of coastal decisions to move beyond the myths and silos that plague the limitations and challenges of coastal management – which in turn reduce the effectiveness of beach management.

That brings me to proudly share Australia’s Happy Beaches competition, which I have been part of to discover the happiness the beaches. The journey couldn’t have started more appropriately than capturing the sad stories of beaches written by those who love their beach…

Have you ever wonder how your beach feels?

You have a month to submit your sad beach story into Australia’s Happy Beaches competition. The winning beach will be thrown a life line with happy beach experts visiting the saddest beach to transform it from sad to happy.

Why should you submit your sad beach story? Because a beach happy is better than sad beach!

Visit happybeaches.org to submit your sad beach story today.