In April 2016 I had a week where my life seemed to fall apart. So many bad things happened to me in quick succession that it was difficult to keep track of them all. I was overwhelmed and scared and anxious.
I handled this by shutting out the world. I hid in my bed. I wallowed in self-pity. This was the only way I thought I could make it through that patch.
This week has also been really diffiult for me, both professionally and personally. And it’s been draining. But I feel like I’m handling it a lot better
This is probably the combination of many factors. Seeing my therapist was vital. Being on antidepressants has kept me stable. Having a routine means I have something to fall back on.
In addition to this, I understand myself and my emotions much better, and so do my friends. This means that I’m able to sooth myself and my friends are more easily able to step in.
As a child I often wondered how adults managed all the ups and downs of life, while balancing careers, families and friends. But now I know that this comes with experience and an acceptance that sometimes things are out of our control.
No one is able to handle anything the world throws at them. But we can choose to get better at managing the curve balls. We can actively learn, reflect and make changes to be able to deal with problems as they arise.
It’s a difficult journey. But in the end, life goes on. And the sooner we are able to learn this, the easier it’ll get down the line
Image was taken on the prom this afternoon 🙂 there was some weird cloud cover but the whole scene was pretty spectacular
I remember getting to Grade 8 and feeling like a tiny ant compared to the staff and older students. I remember getting to my first year of university and feeling very small and insignificant compared to the lecturers and senior students. And I know that since finishing my undergrad I’ve felt like a tiny speck compared to the grown ups in the working world.
But I also remember being in Grade 12 and feeling like I could get anything done at the school. I remember getting the assistant lecturer position and feeling like I had access to the whole university. And now I feel like I’ve gotten roots in the working world.
There are many situations where a group of people will have significantly less power in their environment. This could be because of age or work experience…. but it can also be along race, gender or sexual orientation lines as well as other imbalances caused by the past.
When you’re in a position of power, whether as a Grade 12 student, a lecturer or someone higher up in a work environment, you can leverage your position to help those with less power. This might be as simple as introducing them to the right people or advocating for them when necessary.
The same applies to situations of historical imbalance.
It’s easy to say “there’s nothing I can do about the past.”
The process of building habits fascinates me, which may be because I struggle to form good habits and break bad ones. I even got a book on the topic, The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, which I would highly recommend.
I’ve also written about things that help me form habits. These include announcing your goals so that social pressure can influence you and committing to pay an amount if you fail to implement a habit.
Recently though, I’ve found another useful way to maintain a habit. And that is to tie a habit to an addiction.
This came about from my love of a certain smoothie store at the Waterfront food market. The smoothies are quite expensive, so I’ve been trying to ease up on buying them. However, I realized that I could use this addiction to my advantage. I’ve decided that I’m allowed to have one on any day, as long as I have completed 2 hours of thesis work before hand.
The obstacle to getting my smoothie isn’t massive (I considered making it 4 or 6 hours of work). Instead, it’s just the right amount of time for me to setup my work for the day and get some momentum. But not too much for me to completely stop my addiction.
So if you’re looking to start a new habit, look at something you’re hooked on. And tie your goals into that.
Over the past few days I’ve hit a bit a slow patch with work. Nothing too serious, but it feels like I’m wading through thick mud. So I took some time off this afternoon to walk to the promenade and reflect.
On my walk I realized that one of my key weaknesses was starting to show again. And that weakness is my inability to follow through. I’ll start projects that really excite me, and pursue them with a great energy. But I get distracted when the project has been going on for too long or if something new comes along.
I know this is an inherent part of my personality. It’s a trait that I’ve been aware of for quite a long time. And I know that something like this doesn’t change overnight. But I’d like to focus and follow through on my three existing projects.
The three projects are:
My masters dissertation (yes, I know this has been dragging on)
The Matter Innovation report
The #365of25 project
In an ideal world, I’d like to have these done by the 7th of December, before the summer holiday season begins. This would give me two weeks to get through as much as possible. However, I know these things take longer than I expect and that putting myself under pressure isn’t the best way to be effective.
So I’m setting myself a deadline for the projects of the 14th of December. Before the christmas parties and before the holidays are in full swing.
I’ve had a phenomenal year. And it’s time to end it off in style.