We interview people 30 and under for their take on life, and we hope their stories will inspire you. Contrasts and paradoxes are part and parcel of life – which therefore seems quite black and white at times. This issue we interview Ania Rucinski.
Born in: Sydney, Australia (Polish background)
Lives in: Sydney
What are you doing with your life now?
I am a venue manager, Pilates instructor and writer, specialising in promoting emerging Sydney talent and local events. I assist with management at the Rockhouse Rockclimbing Centre, as well as Pilates and weights classes at Newtown Gym and the Stadium Fitness Centre. I love art, music and dance – I’ll either live it or share it. I write for Sydney alternative event website led by an insane crew of designers, event managers and artists – it’s a blast to be a part of this little carnival troupe.
Do you have other plans for your future life?
Many! I’d like to complete formal media qualifications, further develop my fitness training and fuse fitness with artistic expression. In my future I would keep writing and presenting, hopefully to a wider audience, push my fitness training to new horizons and build a portfolio of artistic collaborations, whether as the subject or author. While I’m always off on my own planet, my family and health are always going to be most important to me; look after both and the rest will follow.
How are you going to achieve that?
Turning ideas into reality is always challenging. In my case I’m always taking on too much, and self-organisational skills are next to nil; so I rely heavily on external management tools including written plans, checklists, calendars and timetables. Planning tools help me structure my tasks and get on with running between gyms, gigs, sunshine and my laptop. In my case I just have to enrol in my course, simplify my schedule, stick to the plan and hang on tight.
What do you think about goal setting?
Personally I need a framework to function. So to have a task written down and referred to on a regular basis is probably the only way I can complete anything. Aside from a structure and actual interaction with the task at hand, accountability and keeping good habits help me stay on track. Typically setting up a strong foundation and writing a plan really help to translate the written list to real life.
What’s the best thing that has ever happened to you?
My best moments were completing my fitness diploma and ensuring family and health are the highest priority. I was very honoured to be selected as a finalist for Miss Earth Australia in 2010 and, professionally, working with the Archetype gallery was a definite highlight. I assisted at the Archetype Gallery’s exhibition and fashion parade for Indigenous artist and MAFW designer Robyn Caughlan, on the runway and helping out behind the scenes. The team behind the Archetype exemplify the ability to develop and foster a creative community while remaining artists in their own right. That’s what I want to be!
What effect did that have on your life?
It’s great when an encounter reveals new paths. Tertiary qualifications prompted my career in fitness, meeting the Archetype Gallery team gave me my first article on Trashbaggery, reviewing an Archetype Gallery exhibit. Just one opportunity gave me the confidence to keep writing and to do what I like, instead of conforming to the standards of others.
What’s the worst thing that has ever happened to you?
Loss of family members. As anyone who has lost a loved family member or friend can attest, it’s the experiences where there is no control that are most difficult to accept. In 2011 I lost two family members close to each other during what should have been a time of celebration. I also became very sick, despite being physically fit and leading an active lifestyle. It was a strong reminder to take nothing for granted and to acknowledge how little control we actually have over our own lives – yet we still have a part to play.
How did that affect you?
Some people are naturally quite focused and relaxed, then there’s the jumpy ones with an overactive imagination – that’s me. Tough experiences do not naturally make me tougher. They make me volatile and anxious. It takes a conscious decision to control disruptive tendencies and stay calm even in the worst situations, and do so with good grace.
Have you been able to see the gift in that?
It’s a personal choice whether to take negative experiences as a gift or a burden. I’d say gift is the nicer option, thanks. While it’s so much easier to be bitter about how life is unfair, it’s far more productive to use troubled times as a lesson or an opportunity to develop. That’s how I’d like to take my past and make my future.
Do you have a sense of yourself as being more than your body and brain?
Everything comes from something else. Scientists talk about matter, priests declare us to be dust, everything transforms – that’s definitely more than just a body and brain. I don’t directly believe in anthropomorphised deities, spirits, or even karma, because of all the world’s injustice, but I do believe in adhering to a moral code and I believe everything is connected. I believe we are more than just ourselves.
Do you have a feeling that there is an energy greater than you, something that might have all the answers?
I definitely believe in a greater energy than one’s self. I think most people agree with that assertion on one level or another, whether it’s referred to as the universe, science, nature, God, chaos… the politics differ but most acknowledge the unknown. Everyone has the right to determine their own happiness. I try to live my life doing what makes me happy, without treading on the happiness of anyone else. It depends on us to make a beautiful world.
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