In Pursuit of Happiness

The first Grace Collective café event for 2014 kicks off on just over a week – on Saturday 26th April. We’re back at our fav café Crave and have got a whole load of goodies lined up for you.

happy fb event coverThe Grace Collective is all about young adults, exploring the unique experience of growing in independence and maturing into fulltime adults. And when we throw faith into the mix there is certainly plenty to work out. We want to make space to listen to one another and also celebrate the great things about being young adults.

What I love about these Grace Collective events is the vibe of chilled out music, food and coffee, people who take what I say seriously and afterwards, heading into the vibrant Kingsland for a drink, or on to a birthday party, feeling like I’ve laid a great foundation for an epic Saturday night.

_MG_4925So what’s in store for this particular Saturday night?

Catching up with friends, meeting new people and hitting up the realities of young adult life.

The reality for most of us is that being a young adult is a bit messy, a bit awesome and a bit daunting. Maybe life’s not turning out quite the way we expected – our Disney dreams are gradually fading under the pressure of assignment deadlines and rent demands.

How do we find happiness when life’s not all that we hoped it would be? Is pursuing happiness even the point?

We’ll be throwing around these ideas and more at “In Pursuit of ‘HAPPY’, with our speakers:
• Joe McGarry – Finding Happiness in Home Depot [The American version of Bunnings]
• Karen Spoelstra – Why Gen Ys are Unhappy
• Charlie Baker – Redefining Happiness

Everything kicks off from 6.30pm, make sure you get there early to hear Caleb Peeters performing live! Hope to see you there.

Kate Berkley

PS If you’ve never come along before then check out this little video from our event in November for a taste of what to expect.

Risky Behaviour


A typical conversation over the past three weeks:

Hey, you’ve had a pretty drastic haircut! Didn’t you used to have long hair? Are you…sick?

Nope, I’m not sick so don’t panic. Yes I have cut off all my hair, although it’s growing back faster than I had imagined.

Phew, I thought you had become a Buddhist or had got cancer. So what brought that about?

The inspiration was wanting to get involved in ‘Shave for a Cure’, the Leukaemia and Blood Cancer Foundation’s annual appeal. But I also had an underlying motivation – I’ve been trying to take more risks lately.

How’s that working for you, bungy jumping or eating weird food?

Not that sort of risk, although cutting off your hair when it’s so much a part of how you image yourself is in the pretty risky category. I’m just aware that I have very well-defined comfort zones and my ability to avoid taking risks is remarkable. But I have limited my opportunities and missed out on awesome growing experiences by my preference to stay safe and composed.

So, this year during the Lent season, I challenged myself to take more risks. I haven’t actively gone out of my way to engage in risky behaviour, no running on the motorway or climbing tall trees. Just as situations have arisen I have tried to think about my normal reaction and then intentionally pushed myself to do something a little different.

Cool, well make sure you keep your head warm, it suits you by the way.

katy1So far taking more risks has looked like this sort of thing:

I have cried in front of people I didn’t know instead of pushing away my emotions or hiding in the toilet. I worry that I might be judged for not keeping myself under control or for seeming weak so this was a big risk for me.

I have confronted some people near my work about a parking situation and got it resolved instead of stewing and resenting but never dealing with it. I’m a worst-case scenario sort of person, and an introvert, so this felt like a particularly scary experience.

I have accepted peoples’ offers of hospitality and assistance – especially when I had no control over the outcome, whether that be a cup of tea or a place to sleep (long story) or baking me dozens of cupcakes for fundraising. Normally I wouldn’t want to ‘impose’ on my friends but I realised that they are often just as blessed as I am by the whole experience.

And I have cut off all my hair. I have received weird and concerned looks from strangers and mountains of support from friends. I had a great conversation with the lady at my local bakery about Cambodian grief customs (they shave their heads when a family member dies) – much more interesting than talking about the weather or how busy work is. My biggest fears were that people would think I’m sick or even worse, a boy. Instead I have received so many compliments and encouragements for being so brave!

These risks may not sound grand or life changing but I have found them challenging. All round, taking risks, especially cutting off my hair, has been an extremely liberating experience. I will keep trying to live it out after Easter – the only downside is I am sure the number of grey hairs growing back is increasing more rapidly on my poor head!

Kate Berkley

My Happiness Pursuit

It is a crazy coincidence that this upcoming Grace Collective event is titled/themed ‘In pursuit of ‘Happy’”, because that is exactly what my last 50 days have been about.

See, I’m doing a challenge that you have probably heard of called the 100 Days Of Happy challenge (#100happydays) that went viral on the internet a while back. People sign up to complete the challenge on their chosen social media platform and post a photo of something that makes them happy every day for 100 days. Sounds simple right?

Screen Shot 2014-03-28 at 10.58.20 pmI’m just over halfway through the challenge on my instagram profile (@_eleanor_calder if you’re interested #shameslessplug) and I have been reflecting on what I’ve learned about myself and this thing we call “happiness” while completing this challenge. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to share my findings with someone so here goes.

I’ve always tried to see the joy in the small things in life, to appreciate every day and consciously keep my naturally pessimistic mind positive. And I thought I was pretty good at it, until I started this challenge. The first sign of trouble was when I was signing up to the challenge and they mentioned that over 60% of people who sign up fail to complete it. I scoffed at this – how hard could it be to take a photo a day and post it online? Piece of cake.eleanor

I hit the first hurdle when I realised how boring my life actually is. I started at the beginning of February (during my University holidays) and spent a lot of my days doing absolutely nothing. I couldn’t exactly post a picture of me in my onesie three days in a row so I had to get creative pretty quickly. I started posting older photos of memories with friends and family (with the obligatory #throwbackthursday) on days where I didn’t do much and the happiness followed. Nothing like looking back at old photos to make you grateful for what you have, and from that gratefulness came happiness. Pretty awesome if you ask me.

eleanor1The second hurdle I encountered was when I would have a terrible day and legitimately struggle to find anything to post. This happened more than I’d like to admit. That was when I realised the real purpose of this challenge and why that 60% of people hadn’t finished; it is hard to find happiness when life sucks. Really hard. It takes a lot of effort and a lot of searching – but it’s there. I promise. It’s there when you’re running to catch the bus you’re about to miss and the driver waits for you. It’s there when your friend buys you lunch because you’ve had back-to-back lectures and haven’t had the time. It’s there when you’re having a terrible hair day and someone gives you a compliment.

It’s there – you just have to keep looking.


I apologise for all the hashtags in this blog post #sorrynotsorry

The Grace Collective presents: In Pursuit of ‘HAPPY’

GC Happy PowerpointWe’re back with our first big GC cafe for the year!

It’s been said that Happiness = Reality – Expectations. Seems pretty simple really, but for many of us life hasn’t turned out quite how we expected… and so we find ourselves unhappy. Or a bit frustrated. Or even feeling inadequate.

How do we deal with this sense of disappointment as we pursue being ‘happy’? And how does faith in God affect the expectations and hopes that we have?

Join us as we throw around all these ideas, along with enjoying good coffee, food, conversation and live music. As always, all young adults are welcome, so bring your crew.

Saturday 26 April, 6.30pm at Crave Cafe, 25 McDonald St, Kingsland