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

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 🙂

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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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Miscellany

Hello, stranger

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It’s been a long, long time.

You know how sometimes life just revolves your priorities around for a change? For what feels like months, my priorities have become reading, spending time with loved ones, more reading, and writing job applications.

I’ve always been a keen reader, but for the past two years my urge to read has been stuck on “insatiable” and I don’t see it moving any time soon. And I am totally fine with that, I’m enjoying it so much! So reading has been a priority for me, but not only have I been reading, I’ve been completely immersing myself in the bookish world. I’ve been reading blog posts, listening to bookish podcasts, watching videos on BookTube, and drooling over photos on Bookstagram. I’ve also been blogging a bit over at my bookish blog, even if I haven’t been blogging here, and that’s totally ok because I don’t subscribe to blog guilt! So, if you like to hear about what other people are reading you could always head over there and take a look, but I’ll also do a little (ok, big) bookish update here soon too.

I made a few quiet resolutions for myself this year, just some goals and areas I wanted to work on. One of those was to spend more time with friends and family, because I’d noticed that I was feeling sluggish and as a result, wasn’t making the effort. And those times are always worth making the effort for. So far I feel like this is going well, although it would go better if Big R didn’t work two weekends out of every four, but anyway. Part of this is that I wanted to spend more time with Big R, Moose and Little R, and in that respect I’m pretty happy. Big R and I made an agreement recently that we wouldn’t let the kids watch TV during the day anymore, and instead we’d keep that in reserve for the “witching hour” when they really do need some chill-out time, lest they go hyper. I felt like we weren’t making the effort to spend enough one-on-one time with the kids, again, because we were feeling sluggish. Since we made this resolve we’ve both been arting, crafting, reading, and playing a lot more and I feel like a better parent for it.

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I’ve also been trying to make more time for journalling, and yoga, and I’ve generally just been spending a lot of time thinking and reflecting and exploring. Basically, just trying to figure out how I can be the best I can be.

And then there’s the job applications. Oh, the job applications. I think I’ve written at least 8 in the past 4 or so months? They take so long and are really not fun, but unfortunately they’re necessary if you want another job (funnily enough), and I DO want another job! That’s been another of my “unofficial” (but kind of official, especially because I’ve now put it here in words) resolutions – I want to be in another job by the middle of the year. And the months are zooming by, so time is fast running out if I want to make that goal a reality. So until that becomes a reality, answering selection criteria will unfortunately have to remain a priority.

So that’s me. It’s not really that interesting, but it’s life! I hope yours has been full of all of the good stuff.

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Miscellany

Some thoughts on journalling

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My best ideas come to me when I’m in no position to pause and take 15 minutes to jot something down. When I’m driving, when I’m showering, when I’m kid-wrangling, when I’m busy at work. I don’t know why my mind does that to me, perhaps I need to be in an active state to come up with my best insights.

I also have a shocking memory now, ever since my first pregnancy (“baby” brain, sure). That’s one of the reasons I love journalling, because when I come up with something that I think is brilliant or thoughtful at the time, I feel like I need to write it down straight away or I will forget it. And often when I look back on things I’ve written, I do think to myself, “Huh, I’d forgotten about that”.

I consider blogging to be a form of journalling. That’s my own personal reason for doing it anyway, and it can somewhat explain why I’m not really an organised or regular blogger. I don’t blog to a schedule. I blog only when I have something to write about. Sometimes I wish that was more often, but hey, that’s my other explanation for my seat-of-my-pants blogging strategy – lack of time or ability to do anything about it even when I want to. See paragraph 1 for further details.

I tend to feel the urge to write, either online or in my handwritten journal, when I’m feeling strong emotions. And usually the happy, giddy emotions, as opposed to the dark, melancholy ones. I find it hard to cope with the darker emotions if I let them out of my head, I know that the more time I spend on them the more upset I will get, and I seem to have a fear of feeling upset. Probably something I could work through, if only I wasn’t too afraid to journal about it. I am happier to write when I’m feeling grateful, or creative, or blissed out, or inspired.

Someone who does journalling really well is Sophie Isobel Asher. She blogs a lot about her love of journalling and often shares peeks of her gorgeous handwritten journal complete with clippings and embellishments. I love her journal style, it’s totally her own. I’d like to expand on my own journal style, which at the moment consists of my uninteresting handwriting only and is not pretty at all!  I do however jot down quotes and other sentences I’ve found here and there that have touched my heart, and I note down things I’d like to achieve as well. But my journal is definitely in need of more stickers and stamps and washi tape.

Sophie just finished up a series called “Journal Your Heart Out” which ran over September. I’m going to have a read back through those posts and use them as inspiration for opening my journal up more widely and writing more frequently. I find journalling to not only be very therapeutic, but it encourages me to keep creating. I’d love to discover what else it could bring to my life, if only I made it more of a priority.

For a recent birthday, my Big R bought me a gorgeous handmade leather-bound journal, and I still haven’t had the courage to put pen to its paper yet. Mostly because it’s so beautiful, I’m feeling pressure to only write amazing things in it and not just your standard day-to-day musings. It’s silly I know, because I find the everyday musings are often the most telling. I did have an idea for the journal though. I often think about advice I’d like to pass down to the kids, stories I’d like to tell them, and discussions I’d like to have with them, but not right now because they are too young to understand any of it yet. But as I said above, my memory is very bad and if I don’t record my important thoughts straight away they usually disappear for good. I thought I could use my special journal to write down these thoughts for the kids to read when they are older. I just need to find the courage and time to start.

Do you journal? How frequently, and in what ways do you use your journal?

 Linking up with The Weekend Rewind at Life, Love & Hiccups

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Miscellany

On new years and intentions

2014 is almost done, and I feel a little sad to put this year behind me. It’s just been wonderful. There has been stress, and rough patches, but ultimately I think it’s been one of my best years ever. And I think it has a lot to do with the intention I set for myself.

For the past few years, I have not only thought about specific things I want to achieve over the coming 12 months, but I have also set an overarching intention for the year ahead. One word to encompass what I am aiming for, and to guide me in making choices. I first came across this idea at Maxabella’s, and I’ve found it really works for me.

2013’s intention was to quit smoking once and for all, as I had reached the age of 30 and by then had been smoking for almost half my life.  And I’m proud to say I achieved that goal – 659 days and going strong!

For 2014, I wanted simplicity, after what felt like a few years of whirlwind-like activity, breathlessly zapping about from one thing to the next, picking up more and more “debris” as I went, and culminating with moving in to our house and giving birth to Little R within the space of a couple of weeks.

I have most certainly attained simplicity this year. Whenever some new challenge had reared its head, I would consider it, and then remember my promise to myself of simplicity, and turn it away if I didn’t feel it was essential. Being on maternity leave has been a gift, and I chose instead to focus my precious time on my children, my house, and the creative hobbies that interest and nourish me. I have found in the past that I take a long time to cool back down to a relaxed state after a time of busyness and heavy stress, and it has taken me 6 months since finishing work, obligations, and big life changes to feel like I’ve fully recovered.

Now that we’re about to head in to a new year, when Moose will start preschool and I will inevitably go back to work, I don’t want to lose what I’ve gained in 2014. It will be a challenge to figure out how we fit everything in once we are all out of the house and in to the world on most days. I want to remember to keep things simple for all of us, so we give ourselves the best chance of staying connected to each other, relaxed and fulfilled. For 2015 my intention is to maintain this simple state.  I want to keep life uncluttered of obligation and frenzy, in order to preserve our quality time together, doing the things we love to do and spending time with one another.  It will be more important than ever.

Do you set resolutions or intentions for the year ahead?  If so, what’s yours?

Wishing you a fun, memorable New Year, full of promise for a wonderful 2015.

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