Miscellany

The quarter-life crisis

Following on from my previous post – The quarter-life dilemma……

 

As time went on, I kept either not getting interviews at all, or attending them and coming in second, third, second etc., but never first. All the while, the situation at work was getting worse. I had come back to a new team with a number of people on board whose work styles did not gel well with me, tensions were high and morale was low. My job description had also changed dramatically, and I was feeling undervalued and unsure of what my place in the grand scheme of things really was. This all amounted to me feeling more and more worthless, and my self-confidence plummeted to an all-time low. As time went on I became more unhappy and continued to perform poorly at interview. The situation, my emotions and my spiralling mental state, all contributed to my poor interview performance, which in turn meant I couldn’t get myself out of my situation and fed the negative headspace I was in, and so I was stuck in this draining cycle.

I was working so so hard to get out of the hole I was in and change my situation. Writing job application after job application, going on interview after interview, and getting nowhere. I descended into new depths, rarely feeling happy but just passing through life in a numb, senseless state with nothing to look forward to and just feeling…blank. Crying a lot. Feeling hopeless a lot. I couldn’t enjoy anything. Family time became a chore, which made me feel guilty and sad. I hated my job, and I was hating being a parent (note: not hating my kids, hating being a parent – there’s a difference), I felt like I’d backed myself in to a corner. I started having to take time off work here and there, finding myself in tears in doctor’s offices. I wasn’t having proper, healthy sleep. I constantly felt EXHAUSTED in a way that I haven’t since I had glandular fever. In fact, the exhaustion was so deep, I wondered if I was suffering from glandular fever again. I was depressed, and I knew it in my bones. But I was also convinced that the cause of this suffering was simply not being able to find a new job, and my anxiety over that was slowly eating away at all the other parts of my life. If I could just somehow fix that, I could finally start to see the positive in life again.

At the time, our financial troubles also just happened to be at their worst. Mine and my husband’s relationship was straining in a way that it hadn’t before, and I wondered if we would survive the test. We started counselling to sift through what was going on with us, and outside of us, to try and find a way forward.

This all in the 18 months between mid-2015 and the end of 2016. To date, it has been the worst time of my life.

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The story isn’t finished yet. I’ll be back soon with another post to finish it off.

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Miscellany

The quarter-life dilemma

 

 

So I haven’t blogged here in quite a while. I know it happens, and it really doesn’t matter, but it truly does break my heart when I don’t feel up to spending time here, doing something I really love – writing. And I know I don’t need to explain myself, but actually the thing that has been keeping me from prioritising blogging has been quite a transformative and ongoing experience. So I thought I might share it with you. It’s a long story though, so I’ll split it up into a few posts. Here we go….

Firstly, ever since I was due to return to work from maternity leave almost exactly two years ago now, I have felt that it is time to move on to doing something different job-wise, and I became more and more convinced that where I was just wasn’t right for me anymore. It was repetitive both in the actual tasks and in having to jump the same hurdles and face the same challenges over and over again, and I wasn’t learning anything new. I started actively searching for a new role, writing job applications at night after the kids had gone to bed, and getting interviews here and there. It had been so long since I had gone to a job interview – years – and I felt very rusty and unsure in my ability to answer questions and adequately speak about my experience and sell my attributes.

Just before I returned to work, I had started to ponder, “Is this really what I want to do? Is this really what I want my life to be?” (“this” being both the actual work I was paid to do in my job, and the situation of working 9-5 Mon-Fri) and I came to the grounding realisation that if I stayed in the situation I was in, at the end of my life, I would be filled with regret. I realised that in fact, no matter what job I fell in to, if I stayed working for someone else forever and never attempting to follow my passions or make my own dreams come true, in the end I would feel that I had wasted my life. I still remember exactly where I was standing in my house when I finally understood this. I wasn’t doing anything in particular (probably housework), but the thought stopped me in my tracks. Regret is one of my biggest fears. I knew at that point that I owed it to myself to figure out what it is I really wanted to pursue, deep in my heart, and to try. Even if I didn’t succeed at whatever it was, what mattered was that I try. It mattered for me, it mattered for my husband, it mattered for my children….for all of us, I deserved to be happy.

And so began months of soul searching, asking myself what I love, when I am happiest, what I feel good at, what I would enjoy doing day after day. Should I study? Should I stay in the same field but just move somewhere else? Should I do something completely different? Months turned into a year, which turned into two years…..I had plenty of ideas, probably too many ideas. I wanted to do everything I had thought of. I made lists. I defined pros and cons. I worked out plans for actual steps I could take to see some of those ideas to fruition. And still, I wasn’t sure exactly which path I wanted to venture down.

I won’t bore you here with the exact details of the various options I considered, but I did have changes of mind many times over the course of those two years. I would realise that the option I was currently pondering was too close to what I was already doing, or it wasn’t likely to pay the bills, or it would take a lot of training and when I fully considered it, I decided I wasn’t quite committed enough to the idea to follow through.

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So this was the first phase, my quarter-life dilemma. I’ll follow up in my next post with where I went from here.

In the meantime, have you had your own existential/career/life dilemma? How did you deal with it? I’d love to know.

 

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Miscellany

Soul searching

I started this post as a draft two months ago, and then promptly forgot that the draft existed. It is though a succinct glimpse into my mindset at the time, and so I’m not going to elaborate on it any further, but post it now in its original draft state, as a prelude to some further posts which will come shortly.

 

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Isn’t it interesting, what a quiet and humble teacher Time can be?

I’ve been soul searching for so long now, and I sure have learned a lot of things. I’ve asked myself some very deep questions. What is it that I want to achieve in life? What am I passionate about above all else? What do I want to do? What am I good at? Am I good at anything?

But sometimes the more we look, the harder the answers elude us. I am far from having my answers, so far. In fact, it’s quite possible I could go my whole life not knowing my answers. But, I am learning little pieces along the way. The puzzle gradually starts to resemble something, regardless of whether it actually gets finished or not. Time is a slow teacher.

 

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Miscellany, Moments

December 2016 favourites

A short and sweet wrap-up of my favourite parts of December 2016!

 

Thing we/I did

On a warm and overcast day at the end of the month, we spontaneously decided to head to the National Arboretum to explore areas of it that we hadn’t been to before. We visited the Himalayan Cedar Forest and walked amongst the shade of these beautiful trees, then veering off track to the areas of the Arboretum dedicated to silk trees and cork oaks. We found little caterpillars hanging by invisible threads in the forest, and a twig teepee made by a previous explorer. We then drove to the highest point of the Arboretum, to take in the view over north-east Canberra towards the Brindabellas, where a storm was starting to roll in and three wedge-tailed eagles were circling above the dry land. Just amazing.

Photo I took

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Cedar at the above-mentioned Arboretum. Cool huh?

Book I read

The Storied Life of AJ Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin – rated it 4 out of 5 on Goodreads, but in hindsight questioning if it was actually worth of a 5 out of 5. A very quick read, this is a book about families, books, obligations, desires, love, grief, and other stuff in between. It follows bookshop owner AJ Fikry over the course of many years (for such a small book it really packs it in), and although he can be grumpy and rude at times, you can’t help but be endeared to him. This one will put a smile on your face.

Memory or moment

Our New Years Eve celebrations. We had my sister, brother-in-law and niece over to our house for a bbq, and after the kids had gone to bed we settled in outside for drinking and chatting. We played “The Song Game”, which I made up. It was very simple – I give you a criteria for requesting a song for me to find and play from Spotify, and we take it in turns to request a song. Ie. “a song that takes you back to your childhood”, “a song from the favourite band you’ve seen play live”, etc. Super fun.

Pastime

Watching TV. I think it must have been the laziness of the holidays, but I definitely felt more drawn to doing this than anything else.

Thing I bought

I bought this wallet from Status Anxiety, which I had had my eye on for years, I don’t know why it took me so long –

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Movie or TV show I watched

I’ve started The Crown on Netflix. Still only about halfway through, and although I take the accuracy of it all with a grain of salt, I still like to pretend that it is all real and I’m actually watching it unfold before me. I love royal family stuff.

Song or album I listened to

Revisiting some oldies lately – namely Lily Allen, Grinspoon, and Bush.

 

What was your month of December like? What were your favourite things?

Did you know you can follow me on Facebook and Twitter? I’d like to see you there ­čÖé

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Miscellany, Moments

November 2016 favourites

A short and sweet wrap-up of my favourite parts of November 2016!

 

Thing we/I did

We took the kids to see the Bite-sized Circus, an animal-free show with just 6 performers, specialising in acrobatics, juggling, feats of strength and balance, and other amazing tricks. I’d been to see this show previously with Moose but this time all four of us went. It was a freeeeeeezing night and I was already sick, but that didn’t stop me enjoying it!

 

Photo I took

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Here’s Little R just before his first ever swimming lesson. He was so excited and laughed and cheered the whole time we were in the water. We’ve just been for lesson #4 and he’s still laughing and cheering just as much. Little man loves the water! I’m so grateful to have back my one day off from work each week, so that we can spend special time like this together – just the two of us.

 

Book I read

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake – I rated this 5/5 on Goodreads. It’s a YA fantasy about a realm which is governed by a queen with a special gift. The queen will always give birth to triplet girls, each born with their own seperate gifts, which will usually be either the ability to control the weather, the ability to withstand poisons and create them, or the ability to have affinity with animals. The girls are seperated at a young age though, and taken to different areas of the realm to learn to control and master their gifts. Once they come of age, they will make a performance of their gift in front of the citizens of the realm, and be given a year in which to try and murder the other two sisters, leaving the sole survivor to be the next queen. Now who doesn’t want to read THAT?! It was dark and suspenseful and oh so delicously fantastical.

 

Memory or moment

I ran the 5km course in the Canberra Lifeline Fun Run – my first ever fun run! This has been on my goal list for a few years, I’m so happy that I have finally done it. I ran the course with my sister, and even though it was the easiest one on offer and we didn’t completely push ourselves to run as fast as we could, still the feeling of crossing that finish line was so uplifting. I have definitely caught the bug and want to do this again and again – and next time I’ll push myself!

 

Pastime

Big R bought a Nintendo mini classic, which if you don’t know what it is, is basically a pocket-sized version of the original Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) that you might remember from the ’90s. Here’s what it looks like:

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It comes pre-loaded with 30 original arcade classics, including the Super Mario trilogy, Pac Man, Double Dragon, The Legend of Zelda and Donkey Kong. I have been having way too much fun reliving my childhood and trying out lots of old favourites and new favourites that I’d never played before. Definitely worth the investment!

 

Thing I bought

I bought this new beach towel from Cotton On, and I’m so in love with it. I have wanted a cool round beach towel for a long time, and now I finally have one and it’s amazing! After I bought it, I came home and immediately spread it out on the floor so I could lay about on it.

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Movie or TV show I watched

Big R and I had a rare night out to celebrate our 9th wedding anniversary (thank you, thank you very much), and we saw Arrival at the movies. This was not your average aliens-invade-Earth movie. Very different, with a deep message and a lot of feels. It really left us both with lots to ponder afterwards. A worthwhile watch.

 

Song or album I listened to

I’ve been listening to Bloom by Rufus lately, and the whole album is just exquisite. Good to listen to at any time – in the car, at work, at the gym, chilling at home, hanging out with friends. Special stuff.

 

What was your month of November like? What were your favourite things?

Did you know you can follow me on Facebook and Twitter? I’d like to see you there ­čÖé

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Moments

Stillness and awe

The other morning, Little R was keeping me company while I got ready. He was happily babbling away to himself and playing with some toys while I got dressed, and I tuned out for a bit, concentrating on what I was doing. Noticing that the noise had stopped, I tuned back in to see him sitting still by the window, gazing at the gusty day outside. The sight stopped me in my tracks. It mightn’t sound like a big deal, but when you’re used to an energetic dynamo of a 2-year old circling you constantly, these rare moments of stillness are a sight to behold.

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He was so peaceful, so enthralled. I could almost see the cogs turning in his head as he sat and watched.

I couldn’t resist sneaking out of the room to grab my phone and race back to get a few quick photos, which of course ended up disturbing his daydream. In hindsight I should have just stayed still, soaking up the moment, watching him just like he was watching the trees. I can’t remember another time when I’ve witnessed either Little R or his big sister just sit like that and watch the world as it goes by. Such a small thing, but so beautiful to me.

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I got down on the floor with Little R and we lay side by side on our tummies, looking out the window and talking about the wind and the leaves on the trees. Then he got up and jumped on to my back. I managed to wriggle him off me and get up to kneel, only to have him crawl underneath me, giggling. I nuzzled into his neck with my nose, making him laugh. And I thought “This. This is being a parent.”

The little things.

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Miscellany

Fighting the good fight

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I feel like a stranger in my own corner of the internet! I let this little place go for a long time.

Most of this year has felt like a struggle. There have been challenges, so many challenges. And many times, I felt like those challenges were too big to be overcome, like I should just fold and admit defeat. Because I’d been chipping away at them but the hits just kept on coming. It was too big. Life seemed insurmountable.

There were times when I wasn’t sure how we would pay our bills and afford groceries.

There were times when our family felt like it was breaking apart and I didn’t know if it could be saved.

There were times when I cried myself to sleep, or cried quietly alone in the dead of the night.

There were times when I wondered if I would ever get a win.

There was a lot of hard work and a lot of late nights, for seemingly no result.

There were times when I was beat down, my self-confidence taking blow after blow, my soul and sense of value and purpose disintegrating at the hands of others.

There were a lot of dreams, with no path that I could find to bring them to fruition.

There was yelling.

There was rejection.

And for the first time in years, the shady black dog of depression reappeared, much to my surprise and dismay.

I mourned my missing creative spirit. I KNEW what I wanted to do, and what I needed to do, to feed my soul and feel the wonder of the world again. But I just couldn’t. I couldn’t summon the energy or the motivation. And so this place was abandoned along with my knitting, and my yoga, and my other writing projects, and other crafty adventures.

About three months ago, we had some amazing luck. My husband was offered another job out of the blue, and with it came some major positives for our family. More income. More time together. These things combined have lightened the burdens on our shoulders and given us some breathing room and opportunities to do things we couldn’t before. It’s made all the difference.

So lately, I have been starting to fight back against the anxiety and disorder. Each day, I’m trying to take small steps towards what I want to manifest. I understand now that if you want things to happen, you have to seek them out, you can’t trust that they will just land in your lap. And so, my plans are formulating in my head, and I’m doing little pieces here and there to make it all come true. It is taking time, but I’m starting to feel productive and creative again.

So here I am again. I can’t say if I’ll be back again tomorrow, or in a week, or a fortnight. Who knows. And I know I don’t need to make excuses or apologise to anyone, the main person this space is for is me. But sometimes it feels constructive to acknowledge the good fights we fight.

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