Hello again And So It Begins. Long time, no talk. I actually sort of replaced this blog with a private one I’ve written on all of 10 times in the last two years, but today I felt was a day to come back. After the morning I’ve had, I read a post over on A Blog About Love that made me want to write in public today.
Lately, I don’t know what I’m doing.
And everything is fine really.
- I’m financially sound for the first time since college.
- I actually like my job. It’s somewhat challenging and I like my coworkers.
- I have a wonderful apartment that not only looks good, but is safe and convenient and close to things I need or do.
- Seriously, I live 5 minutes from work. I’m never moving so long as I work where I am because Charlotte traffic gives me major anxiety.
- I finally got my hair under control. I finally cut it all off a few months back and am looking forward to having “medium length” hair for the foreseeable future.
- I’ve finally got my skin care routine under control and am doing my best to wear sunscreen more so I don’t get wrinkly as I get older.
- I finally went to the dentist the other week, after four years of not going :/ And everything was somehow fine with no cavities or gum disease and now I just need to get a cleaning. Plus the women there were super nice so it wasn’t even a horrible experience overall.
- Thankfully my car still works, despite looking awful as hell with peeling paint all over the hood and in desperate need of a vacuum.
It’s not a long list, really, but still – there’s really nothing to be unhappy over. And yet, I’m uneasy.
This morning the main designer I work with told us he has not only been looking for another job for the past year, and within the last two weeks has interviewed with another company and was almost immediately offered a job. And as of this morning he has turned in his two weeks notice. This immediately sent me into panic mode complete with hyperventilating in my head while going straight to the worst possible future scenario this could cause. I’m already fearing the future work load crushing me while the other designer I work with also finds another job and me stuck here unable to leave, dying under the load of design requests for things I can’t manage to think up awesome or even good designs for.
And so after this, I’m once again left thinking as I have been for the last few months – what do I want to do? When I graduated, and even after I got my first real job, I had all these “plans.” These things I told people I would like to do and was going to do. And then, I never really did them. Either my interests changed, or I never really wanted to do them that much in the first place, or whatever. And the more I lived in my old apartment and worked at my old job, the less I did outside of work and the less I talked about all those things I was going to do.
So going along with the A Blog About Love post I read, I just wondered/hoped that there are others out there like me. I mean, obviously and logically there have to be. (Ah…dur.) But I wonder what they’re thinking and how they’re feeling if they’re going through the same thing as me. And what are they doing about it?
The problem with thinking and reading too much is, I already know the answer to “what can I do about this?” I could probably even duplicate a “# of Things You Can Do To…” list. But all that motivational advice is just not what I’m looking for right now. I don’t need a standard “You’re just in a certain place right now, things won’t stay this way forever.” Because I know they won’t. But it would just be nice, I think, to be going through this with someone or several someones. As much of an introvert as I’ve become, over the last year I’ve started to want a little more human interaction than I’ve had the last three years – as I’ve slowly and surely gone into what my mother calls hibernation.
Things are definitely good right now, but I just keep having this feeling that they could be better. And I have no clue as to what would work for me to get started on it – that would actually work for me. Because trust me, I’ve already got a list of things to improve or do, but I have almost zero motivation to get started on it. And just continuing to plan and daydream and make lists is slowly driving me crazy.
So, that’s all really. Two years to the month [crazy] and this is all I wanted to say. Here’s hoping I get out of this funk soon and onto new and great things.
Well hello there again. I have been writing and rewriting this post in my head for about a month now. And I wanted to write it here because I need to talk some things out, but I need to talk them out with several people at once. So I’m hoping that by giving in and doing this here today, I can make a decision to stop worrying over all the things I’m going to write about.
Lately I have been thinking again about my future. Mostly career wise, as I have few personal relationships to manage right now and I would really like to get my career side in order before I even try to start trying to add any romantic relationships to the list that is my life. Over the course of my time at My First Real Job, I have grown in ways I never imagined. I had a general plan when I took this job, and nothing I generalized on has happened. I have stepped away from the main course of design as I have found I have greater strengths in things like organization, coordinating and helping people. And really, the main thing I say I want to do these days hasn’t changed much from what I was saying two years ago. Upon graduating from college I knew I didn’t want to do just one thing – I just wanted to help people make stuff. Two years later that has morphed into “I want to help people [and/or companies] do what they do better” – which includes making things, but also includes learning, helping to teach, helping to create new systems, and generally just helping people get their mess together.
So my main question to myself lately is “How do I go about doing this?” What should I be doing now, in my current position that will help me get to that place? What should I be reading or doing or watching or talking about? You’d think with all the resources available to us these days I’d have found at least something to get me started. However, Friday my plans were put on halt as something unexpected happened. And the problem with trying to think ahead and consider all the angles, is that I know I’m being ridiculous in my line of thinking right now. There is no point in jumping ahead and thinking of every possible scenario that could happen if this happens, or that happens, or those things happen. It’s making me long for my school days when all my friends were freaking out about relationships and school work and I just kept thinking “Why? I’ll get it done, and if I don’t, I don’t.” and that was that.
Now I worry if I’m doing well at my job. And if I am, I should be documenting it so that it will eventually help me go to the job I’m supposed to have after this. Because after all, I don’t want to be in one place “forever”. But then, is it traitorous to be thinking of other work while I still have a job? But then, it’s also good to think ahead. And then what if I do get a new job, wouldn’t that be awesome? But then what if I have to move. What if I get there and let them down? What if I get there and I don’t like it? What if I get there and then get stuck there “forever?” Then I should be open to new things, but that leaves too many things. So I should just concentrate on one main goal? Well what is that goal? What if I get into it and it doesn’t work out/I don’t like it and I have to start over again? How long should I give myself to figure that out? How long before I actually need to stop thinking about all this and really make a choice on something?
And don’t even get me started on adding in a romantic relationship into the equation – that would be the biggest monologue ever.
So, as of now – 3:15pm on September 7, 2013 – I am going to stop with this line of thinking. I am going to make a plan to find any form of help I can – preferably in book or blog form, as I can’t afford mentoring – and start something. I am going to figure out what I want out of my career and start working towards that, and not think about where that next step will be located.
After all, it’s a bit hypocritical to not listen to my own advice – everything will work out when and how it’s supposed to work out. Especially since it irks me that other people don’t listen when I give advice. Also, it’s just adding more guilt that I’m worry over all this when there are greater injustices and suffering going on in the world.
So here’s to a new start, or more accurately continuing with the path I’m on and seeing what happens.
I’ve been doing a lot of official write ups already this week and today I was trying to wish a colleague well on their new adventure – without using the word adventure again. So yet again I turned to the thesaurus, but this time the synonyms were not very helpful. But they definitely ring true for a friend of mine who is about to set out on a great adventure herself this Sunday.
So I thought I’d share, since it’s common place to forget the other side to the thrill and excitement when talking of adventures…
1 …excitement, thrill, stimulation; risk, danger, hazard, peril, uncertainty, precariousness.
2 …exploit, escapade, deed, feat, experience.transitive verb1 : to expose to danger or loss : venture2 : to venture upon : tryintransitive verb1 : to proceed despite risk2 : to take the risk
endanger, compromise, gamble (with), hazard, imperil, jeopard, jeopardize, menace, peril, risk, venture
intimidate, threaten; expose; subject; chance,wager
guard, protect, shelter, shield; preserve, resume, save
So try to keep that in mind the next time you embark on an adventure. Just because it’s exciting, doesn’t mean it can’t be terrifying at the same time.
Having a dad who works with computers means I have a lot of habitual practices ingrained over my 20 or so years using a computer. One of these habits is keeping a clean desktop. Not only can it slow down your computer, it just looks messy. I never had much of a problem while working in graphic design, but working in Structural Design over this past year means my desktop can quickly get filled with temporary files. I don’t like to make folders for these files, as I like a quick and easy way to find a file. But this week I was given six dies to complete, which means I also needed to make samples, spotsheets, blankers, counter plate vinyls and convert them in Impact to go on our company’s database. So I finally broke down and took a note from DESIGNLOVEFEST and made an organizational system with my desktop background. And I kept it a PSD file so I can apply it when I [frequently] change my background.
One of the things I read a lot are people’s revelations. They’ve just realized something and have created a well articulated post or article about it. I find that most of these things they’re learning are common sense.
“Most of the pain and unhappiness in my own life – and I would go so far as to say most of the pain and unhappiness in other people’s lives as well – is directly attributable to a pathological inability to tolerate the Not-Okay.”
“We fail to recognize this simple truth: that implicit in the act of living is the possibility of f-cking it up. We sell out on the deepest convictions of our hearts to placate other people; we avoid suffering at all costs, choosing instead to submerge our pain in sex or alcohol or food or video games or socializing or stamp-collecting; we quietly bury our chancier dreams to make room for a life of comfort and ease and predictability; we make decisions we wouldn’t otherwise have made in the name of keeping the peace; we fear failure and so refuse to hazard anything at all.”
It has been a very stressful week this week. Not even in terms of work, but in ways that probably only introverts find stressful. I recently found the book Quiet:The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. I read the introduction and first two chapters on Thursday and have yet to pick it up again, but already it is ringing true.
I’ll probably want to write more on it later, but this post is all about stress relief.
I never had much stress in high school and college. While all my friends were freaking out over the standard drama or about getting assignments finished on time, I simply figured if it was going to happen or get finished – it would. So aside from the yearly freak out I had during my first two years in iARC, it was quite a blessing. Then I graduated, and the real world started. And when I finally found a job, things didn’t go like I wanted them to, and the worrying started again. But lately, despite not knowing what will come of the work I do now, I am actually happy with the work. Our manager was out on training last week, leaving me the official stand-in as question-answer-er and organizer while she was gone. And while Tuesday was a challenge simply because I haven’t had a vacation day since the beginning of April, I found myself telling her later it was all just organizing to me, so I liked it.
And now this week, we are all in training at our plant. Which brings the challenge of other departments not listening when we say we are too busy, because we’re here aren’t we? Why should they send out for what they need when we’re here? And then there are more people than usual in our tiny space; all talking and working and talking louder at the same time. And while I try to be adaptable and work within the chaos, I’m again blaming the lack of vacation down time on my supremely irritated mood this week. We’re learning a new program, which I would normally embrace, but I don’t think the reasoning behind it is more than “Because I said so,” so I’m resistant to learning it. Then one of the teachers is not the best at helping others who don’t already know what he’s doing, so even I fight to keep up when he’s clicking around and talking at the same time. Then any down-time to check and send email at my desk is hindered by the amount of people trying to take up residence in our shared office space.
So this morning, I find myself listening to Attack! Attack! with both headphones in, and deciding to try and be more adaptable and unflappable in the face of so many people and conversations. To try and keep my cool when I am “in charge” and just get things done. Freaking out gets no one anywhere, and it just makes me more annoyed. To put it in the words of the current favorite [overused] phrase – Keep calm, and carry on.
So here I go. Off to more training and trying to keep my cool. Thank heaven I’m taking a vacation day after Monday’s nation-wide vacation day. It’s definitely time for lots of sleep and a trip to Asheville.
Also, it’s my little brother’s 21st birthday today. I can’t believe it. And I have no idea what to get him, especially after his amazingly perfect presents he gave me for this past Christmas and birthday :/ Just one more thing to add to the list.
One of the things I like most about myself is that I try to empathize. To try and understand why people do things, even if it’s not what I would do. It has grown since 2008 when I decided to be more flexible. To “roll with the punches” as it were so that I was less agitated when change happened. I think it’s something more people should try to employ because it really reduces the amount of stress in your life. Because as they say, whether you’re happy or not is really dependent on how you see things.
So with this desire to be empathetic, it’s still hard for me to understand when people don’t learn from their mistakes. I was telling my coworker [and have probably said it before] but it makes me feel like a Vulcan [I’m really big on Vulcan’s these days] – “Why are you doing this? It’s just not logical.” Along with this is the fact that very few people listen to my advice. I know I’m not perfect, and I don’t know everything, and I really haven’t experienced much in the grand scheme of things – but that doesn’t mean I don’t know what I’m talking about. And I try not to take it personal when I give advice and someone comes back with the same problem, never having even tried what I suggested. But it’s something I still struggle with.
I read all of these posts, specifically from designers &/or bloggers I follow having break downs. They talk about how they put too much work on their plates – they’re trying to do it all. They keep a good face in public, always smiling and talking like everything’s hunky-dory. But it’s not. And I don’t understand how they do that. I can fake it with the best of them for a little bit, we all do things we don’t really want to do, but to do it for a long period of time? I just don’t understand. In my mind, if there’s something that makes me really uncomfortable or I really don’t like it – I don’t do it/wear it/involve myself in it. So why do so many people continue to subject themselves to situations and thoughts that are bad for them? I’m sure there’s some psychological explanation, but I just feel like if it’s not a medical reason, just don’t do it.
I know it’s so easy to say that when I’m not in situation, no matter how much I can imagine what it’s like. But I also believe that if you want something enough, you do it. You want to be a stressed out workaholic? That’s what you’re going to be. You want to find balance in your life – whether it involves work, school, friends, family or kids – you do it. It’s not easy of course, but you do it. And a lot of times finding this balance of a happy life involves bringing other people into your problems. Which is scary, I know. And it won’t be all sunshine and rainbows everyday either. But do you want to continue trying to do it all yourself and be miserable, or do you want to be happy? Because that’s completely your choice.
Lately, Seth Godin has been my favorite reads. His insight is sometimes what I’ve been thinking or even stating in my day-to-day life, but also inspirational during my current career struggles. Recently he stated:
“You’re not lucky to have this job, they’re lucky to have you. Every day, you invest a little bit of yourself into your work, and one of the biggest choices available to you is where you’ll be making that investment.
That project that you’re working on, or that boss you report to… worth it?
Investing in the wrong place for a week or a month won’t kill you. But spending ten years contributing to something that you don’t care about, or working with someone who doesn’t care about you… you can do better.”
“…The best way to honor someone who has said something smart and useful is to say something back that is smart and useful. The other way to honor them is to go do something with what you learned.
Good listeners get what they deserve–better speakers.”
So maybe you’re having a hard time in your life, and you’re going to someone to vent. Do them a favor – listen to what they say. And I’m not necessarily talking about the small boosting talks we all need now and then – I’m talking about when you’re having a problem and you’re talking [sometimes complaining] about it and the person you’re talking to is trying to help. The best thing you can do to respect that person who’s there for you in your time of need is to at least consider what they’re saying. And you never know, it might be helpful after all.