Quakes teach that life is for living
Christchurch woman Paula Dockrill changed her life after the Canterbury earthquakes taught her to "live in the moment".
After the September 2010 quake, Dockrill "didn't cope very well".
"I got really worried about everything and was constantly on edge waiting for the next big one to hit. I let it consume my life."
When she was on the eighth floor of a central-city building when the February 2011 quake hit, she decided it was time to make a change.
Dockrill quit her administration job and went back to university to pursue her passion, psychology.
"I never went to university after high school.
"I had a gap year that turned into a gap 12 years," she said.
"After the earthquakes, I suddenly thought, 'I've got to do it now'. I just knew I couldn't afford to wait another 12 years. It was now or never."
She also tried to spend more time with family and friends.
"I spent more time with everybody and made real time for my wonderful husband," she said.
"They were what made me happy and life is about being happy.
"I wondered why I hadn't done it before.
"Stuff is just stuff. We lost pretty much everything in our house because it smashed in the shaking.
"I learnt what's really important, and it's relationships."
Dockrill reignited her passion for hula-hooping and pole fitness.
"I'm doing things that I love, like performing, because life is too short to be sad and passionless," she said.
"I have lost so much from the earthquakes, but I now know that I will gain so much more."
She said the quakes also taught her not to "worry so much".
"I have to live day by day."