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

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

Mindful Sunday

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Sunday is my favourite day of the week. The week that was is behind us, and if I’ve played my cards right, the necessary weekend housework and socialising has taken place on Saturday. That leaves Sunday for relaxing, reflecting, and looking to the week ahead. Sunday always feels comfortable to me, a day to just be.

I’m looking forward to this week. I feel like all I’ve been doing for months is going to work, going to job interviews, and writing job applications. I’m now enforcing a break on myself and I’m so relieved to have some pressure lifted from my shoulders. This will be a week of taking it slower, revisiting exercise, reading, and catching up on Netflix.

This is also a big week at school for Moose. She’s due to be presented with an art merit award at school assembly on Friday, and I can’t wait to be there with Big R and Little R to cheer her on. And then on Friday night she’ll be going to her first school disco, and I’ll be going to my first school disco as a parent. I’m volunteering purely to spy on the littlies, it’s going to be so cute.

Today I’m going to finish off some odds and ends that I didn’t get to yesterday, and then I might take the kids out for a walk in the sunshine later. The trees are changing, autumn colour is everywhere, and leaves are sprinkled across footpaths and lawns. We’re in long-sleeves and long pants, but there’s no need for scarves and coats just yet.

And that will be it, the weekend complete. Simple, and perfect.

 

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Miscellany

Chasing the feeling

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In 3 days I’ll return to work after 3 weeks of festive leave. It’s been hectic at times, and lazy at others, and rejuvenating in general. But it’s only now, at the end of the 3 weeks, that I’m beginning to feel replenished from this time away from obligation and stress and worry. Just as the benefits show themselves, they’re bound to be obliterated once again. Isn’t it silly, how we toil and toil and toil all year long, with only a handful of weeks granted to us to let it go and focus on us (for the lucky ones, that is). This Instagram post has stuck with me, and while I agree with what he’s saying, it’s easier said than done isn’t it? I’m not rich and I can’t afford the luxury of packing in my day job simply because I don’t agree with the amount of time it necessarily takes up in my life. But wouldn’t that be nice….

So, what’s the next best thing? How can I hold on to this feeling of wellbeing through everyday life? This question has been driving me since I returned to work from maternity leave in May last year, and I’ve discovered a few things in that time:

 

-it’s about noticing and being mindful- noticing how you are feeling, in mind, body and spirit; picking up on how different activities/hobbies/rituals you enjoy really affect you and what it is that they do for you exactly; and knowing what you need at any given time

-it’s about taking a little at a time, whenever you can get it

-it’s about taking that time DAILY

 

Here are some things that help to fill my wellbeing cup and keep me skipping along every day:

yoga

reading

-walks

-sunshine on my skin (I’m not talking about sunbaking here. 10 or so minutes of soaking up that Vit D is all I need)

-fresh outside air in my lungs

knitting

-blogging

journalling

-reading to my children

-being outside with my children- on a walk, picnicking, at the playground or pool, whatever

-burning essential oils or scented candles

-listening to relaxation music or sounds

-listening to/watching ASMR videos

-painting my nails

-treating my skin to some extra attention- exfoliation/cleansing/toning/moisturising

-listening to podcasts

 

I hope you are managing to find your own moments of daily peace and creativity.

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Miscellany

Emerging from the cocoon

I love this time of year. Living in a place like Canberra, you can literally feel and witness the turning of the seasons. About a month ago, I could feel the onset of spring on my skin. The way the breeze wouldn’t chill me through to my bones, but rather just brush against me with enough coolness to raise goosebumps. I couldn’t feel the harshness of the outside air in my lungs anymore, the way it seems to burn during the worst of winter. The air smelled different, more lush and full.

 

20150909_165247 The camellias at our front door are in full bloom – they’re about 3 times as heavy with flowers now as they were when I took this photo a couple of weeks ago!

 

We’ve had a glorious start to spring in this part of the country, weather-wise. I can’t quite believe it, but we’re expecting summer-like temperatures this weekend. I almost don’t know what to do with that, there are so many possibilities and so many things I want to be doing! After the winter that we’ve had, we need to be doing things – outside and together.

I’ve written before about the spell that spring puts over me, and it’s doing it again. I can feel motivation and energy returning. I feel uplifted and hopeful for what the remainder of the year will bring. We have no plans, but plans will be made. I want to spend time with friends, having fun and laughing. I want to go on weekend road trips to visit family interstate. I want to experiment with new knitting patterns. I want to find myself having spontaneous picnics in the sun with my family. I want to walk in the bushland surrounding the city, listening to the sounds of the earth meeting my footsteps. I want to spend time in my garden, kicking a ball with my children, and lazing around on picnic blankets and reading in the sun.

Mostly, I just want to breathe deeply, and laugh, and feel the sun on my skin again.

 

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