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

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

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

Life overtaking life

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Lately, there just seems to be no time. I can’t quite believe it’s August and I’ve been back at work for 3 months already.

I haven’t found the time to blog here as much lately as I have wanted to, although I have certainly had plenty of blogging ideas churning away so it’s not for lack of inspiration, just lack of being in a position to do something about it when the inspiration strikes.

Winter has been harsh this year, and for the most part we have tried to escape it whenever possible by hibernating. But it hasn’t escaped us. Like most families in Canberra at this time every year, we’ve been hit hard with various illnesses in our household. Poor Little R seems to have had a runny nose since about June, and his first few months in childcare have seen him pick up the obligatory smorgasbord of bugs. He’s had colds, a minor bout of conjunctivitis, and most recently a 24-hour tummy bug which he kindly shared with both his parents too (Moose managed to sidestep it somehow, although she did vomit on the bus on a school excursion in the same week, but I put that down to motion sickness). The rest of us have also each picked up a cold at some point this season.

We’ve had to cancel so many plans with friends and family over the past few months thanks to illness, as have others with us. It’s felt like we’ve been cut off from our circles, isolated out of necessity. The kids have been bored, I’ve run out of entertaining ideas, and nothing could be done about it.

Moose also had a run of back-to-back injuries at both preschool and childcare. Firstly, she tripped over her own feet while running on concrete, scratching the side of her face and biting the inside of her cheek. Then the next day, she had a slip on some play equipment and split her chin open, requiring a trip to the emergency room and thankfully no stitches, only glue.  For a while there, I was getting called from either preschool or childcare multiple times every week thanks to both illness and injury!

My return to work has condensed what little time is available for everything else that comes with running a household. We’re finding that by the time we leave work at the end of the day, pick up the kids, come home, make dinner, eat dinner, have baths and read stories, the kids are usually not getting to bed until 8.30pm. We have to get up at 6am in the mornings to allow enough time to get everyone ready and out the door on time, so most nights Big R and I have to choose between only having around an hour of free time to ourselves to relax and enjoy our own interests before it’s time for sleep, or staying up late so we get more time to ourselves and being exhausted the next day. It’s a tough call. That free time at night is also the only time I have available now to tend to things like emails, bills, the shopping list and ordering the groceries, exercising….sometimes I’ll go days without a shred of time to pause and take time for myself.  This might just be business as usual for some people, but not me. I crave solo time, I need it regularly to keep me energised and feeling positive.

Yes, winter has been harsh this year. The house has suffered. The garden has suffered. The dogs have suffered. The kids and Big R have suffered. My mind, body and soul have all suffered.

Like I said, there’s just not enough time. Lately I have felt like I am always racing, racing, and just hanging on by a bare thread. I feel like if I am late or something unexpected happens, this whole bundle I am precariously trying to balance will be knocked over and will flatten me. My whole outlook from the previous year of “slow, simple and mindful” has been left by the wayside.

What I wouldn’t give for some warming sunshine, a lengthy catch-up with friends, and an assured few hours of alone time every week!

 How are you feeling at this time of the year – restful and chilled or completely run ragged?

Linking up with IBOT at Essentially Jess and The Weekend Rewind with Maxabella Loves and friends

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