Full time work and mental illness

This month marks three years since I began working full time.  The news that i had attained my first full-time job was clouded with trepidation.  I had never thought that I’d be able to manage full time work because of my mental illness.  I was sure that my depression and anxiety disorder would make it impossible for me to bear a full time workload.  But here I am, three years on and still doing the full time thing.

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Although I manage pretty well, there are some pretty serious bumps in the road.  I often struggle to cope, and at times have thought about pumping the brakes and going back to part time work.  Today I wanted to share some of the challenges and benefits to working full time when you have a mental illness.

 

Finding time for self care

For me, managing my depression consists of a carefully-structured routine that centres around self care.  Years of trial and error have led me to a series of self-care steps that generally manage to keep my mental health on an even keel. I know that in order to feel my best, I need to eat properly and get enough sleep.  My yoga practice keeps me fit and helps calm my monkey mind.  Journalling several times a week gets those anxious thoughts out of my head. All these steps are choreographed into a daily dance that helps keep my head above water.

When I was working part time, it was much easier to find the balance between working and self care.  Now, when eight-and-a-half hours of each day are spent at the office, that leaves another eight for sleeping and then a further eight for eating, household responsibilities and self care.  That doesn’t leave a lot of spare time for socialising or family time.  And I’m often jammed between choosing to spend time with friends at the detriment of my self-care regime.  If I spend too much time with my family, or my boyfriend, or my mates, then my mental health begins to slide because I’m not able to keep up with those vital self care activities.  But it’s not always easy to leave a family dinner early because you need to do your yoga or because you just need to be alone for a while.  It’s difficult for people to understand why you’re piking out early, or declining invitations.  And after a while, they stop inviting you altogether if you bail too often.

 

Working full time has made it a lot more challenging to fit in those ever-important self care rituals.  And sometimes I’m overwhelmed with frustration because it feels like all I do is go to work, come home and run through the motions of keeping myself sane.  It’s maddening when it feels like there isn’t time for anything else in the day, and when you feel like so much more is expected of you and you aren’t able to achieve it.

 

To tell, or not to tell?

I’ve grappled with the decision of whether or not to tell the people I work with that I have depression and anxiety.  I’ve had mixed responses in the past, and when I begin a new job I’m always a bit gun-shy about disclosing my illness.

There’s the risk that the people you work with will treat you differently when they find out you have a mental illness.  There is still so much stigma surrounding mental illness, and it can be hard to work when you feel like people are walking on eggshells around you.  There’s also the unpleasant feeling of knowing that a workmate is internally rolling their eyes at you and wondering why you can’t just toughen up and manage your life like everyone else does.

On the other hand, many employers and workmates will be exceedingly supportive if they find out that you have a mental illness.  So it’s always a delicate balancing act of deciding whether you should mention it, and if so, when you should disclose your illness.

 

The perils of an invisible illness in the workplace

I went through a period last year where I was going through a really bad patch with my depression.  I was struggling to get out of bed each morning, and I just felt despondent all the time.  But I felt as though I had to force myself through the motions of everyday life anyway.  One morning about three weeks into this hellish patch I woke up with a fever and a sore throat.  I nearly cried with relief.  Why on earth was I so pleased that I was sick?  Well, because I felt like now that I had outward physical symptoms, I could take a sick day. Even though I’d been terribly unwell for weeks, it was only when my illness became physical that I felt like I was justified in staying home.

 

Invisible illnesses come with tricky pitfalls.  There’s always the worry that people will think you’re faking it.  That you’re making it up to get out of work or to avoid responsibility.  When you have no physical symptoms to “prove” that you’re unwell, it’s difficult to justify taking time off.  This is particularly true when you’re depressed or anxious and you simply don’t have the emotional fortitude to assert your needs or argue with workmates who don’t understand that mental illness can be as debilitating as physical illnesses.  For me, I’ve never been brave enough to call in sick when I’ve needed a ‘mental health day”.  Even though I think it would be justified, I still haven’t ever been able to bring myself to do it.

 

The mental load of engaging with others

I am a self-confessed introvert.  I much prefer my own company to the company of others.  I find being around other people (with the exception of a few of my nearest and dearest) mentally taxing.  And when those interactions take place in a professional environment, that makes it just a little more difficult for me.  On my good days, I can manage the daily office banter perfectly well.  I can smile at staff meetings, make small talk at the copier and pick up my intercom without breaking into a cold sweat.  But when my anxiety is kicking in or I’m on the verge of a crash, managing those polite, simple interactions becomes a monumental task.  Just answering a question from a colleague about the stationery order can leave me on the verge of tears.  Each time my intercom buzzes I feel a sharp pang in my chest and my breath comes in bursts.  For me, the mere task of being around other people is taxing and takes a huge mental load.  It’s extremely difficult to keep my professional mask in place and do my job like I’m supposed to.

 

Financial security and the money buffer

One really positive thing that my full time job has brought to my life is the feeling of financial security.  When I was working part time, I was making enough to pay my bills and not much extra.  I would often fall into a panic about what would happen if I had a sudden emergency and needed extra cash.  I wasn’t in a position to cover unforeseen costs, and the idea that I might suddenly require hospital care or need to pay for repairs on my flat was terrifying to me.

 

Now I feel much more secure about my financial position.  I know that my bills are covered and I have enough to put food on the table.  I can switch the heater on or take an extra shower without panicking about the spike in my bills.  And I now have enough that I can save towards some financial goals and stuff a bit of cash away for the future.  For all the stress that full time work brings, that financial security and knowing that I’m looking after myself is really reassuring.

 

A reason and a purpose

Although I’ve mentioned a lot of the struggles I have with my depression and work, taking on a full time job has helped my depression and anxiety as well.  I’ve gained confidence as I’ve learned new skills and managed challenges at work.  I’ve come to see that I’m quite capable of dealing with difficult problems and working with other people in my office as a team. Additionally, there are days when it’s difficult to get up, to shower and to drag myself through the day.  But I do it because I have to.  Because I know I have a job and I can’t afford to lose it.  Because I care about the work I do and I don’t want to let my workmates down. While that could be a lot of pressure for some folks, for me it works well as a motivator and helps me to move forward.

 

Do you have a mental illness and a full time job?  How do you manage it?  What are some of the challenges and benefits you’ve experienced?

 

A year behind me and another ahead.

When the year begins to draw to a close, I start to get a little introspective.  It’s natural to look back at what has happened over the past twelve months, and this year when I peer in the review mirror at my life it’s hard to believe that so much could have happened in just twelve short months.

 

dscf0673_zps92xbbhanHere’s a very short run-down of some of the big things that happened to me this past year:

  • I started a new job in January.  It’s been very challenging and different to any job I’ve had before.  But I’ve learned so much and I’m loving my work.  I work with a fantastic group of people and I feel so pleased with the progress I’ve made this year.
  • I came out as bisexual to my family and friends.  While I’ve known for a long time that I was bi, I had never felt the need to bring it up.  However, when I began dating more widely this year I felt like it was time to tell people.  The reactions I’ve received have been a bit of a mixed bag, and some have been hard to swallow.  But I’m so glad that I’ve been open about my sexuality as I feel that it’s given me more scope to explore it and I’m happy that I’m living more authentically.
  • I had my first (and probably only) polyamorous relationship.  While it was fun and I still care about my ex boyfriend and girlfriend, it simply wasn’t built to last.
  • I was present when a co-worker had a stroke at work and it was one of the scariest moments of my life.  Amazingly, she has now recovered completely and is back at work.  The whole experience made me feel extremely grateful for all that I have, and also showed me how strong I can be when needed.  I always expected that I would be a wreck in an emergency, but when the time came I was frighteningly calm and capable.  I’m proud of how I managed that day and so darn relieved to have my colleague safe and sound.
  • I started online dating and met loads of awesome people (and a few not so awesome ones)
  • I met and began dating my lovely girlfriend, Jac.  It’s been so wonderful getting to know her and I’m excited for all that’s yet to come.
  • I began attending classes at my local gym and met loads of great people.
  • I got an article published in Wellbeing Magazine which touched on two of my favourite topics: yoga and depression.
  • I ran my first craft fair stall in April and then did it again in August.
  • I shaved the side of my head into a sidecut, and I’m still so chuffed with this style.

As you can see, it’s been a massive year for me.  It’s also been a year with not a whole lot of blogging.  I’ve been debating lately whether I want to continue with my blog.  When I first started blogging, I was diligent about posting daily.  Then as my schedule became more hectic, I started posting only on weekdays.  And this year it was my goal to post three articles a week.  But that just hasn’t happened.  My life has gotten so big and so full that there isn’t always time to do all the things I want to.  I sometimes feel guilty when I don’t have a chance to blog regularly and I wondered whether it would be better to just shut down my blog.

 

But I really don’t want to do that.  Blogging has brought so much joy into my life.  I adore sitting down to put together a post and I have met some of the most amazing people through my blog.  So instead of trying to work to a blog schedule and posting a certain number of times a week, I’m going to be a bit more relaxed with my writing.  I’m hoping that this year I’ll be able to put up lots of great posts, but I’m not sure how frequent my posting will be.  But rest assured that I’m not going to bail on this space or the amazing people who continue to visit regularly.  I’ll still be about, living and loving, and I’m going to make a big effort to fill this space with tales of my adventures, funny stories, fashion, advice and geekery.

 

I hope your year has been as full and challenging as mine has.  What did you get up to?

What’s going on around here?

So my blog has been pretty quiet for the last few weeks.  Over the past month I’ve ended one relationship and thrown myself into another one and then had that abruptly blow up in my face.  On top of that it’s tax time, and this has meant an extremely busy time at the accounting firm I work for.  So most days I have just enough energy to keep myself fed and clean, and blogging has kind of fallen by the wayside.

I found this awesome “Taking stock” prompt on Meet me at Mike’s which I thought would be an excellent way to get back into blogging and catch you up on what I’ve been doing lately.

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Making

A big effort to keep in touch with my friends.  So far this month I’ve caught up with Natalie, Miss Fairchild and Katherine and I’m hoping to have time to see more mates before the year is out.

Cooking :

Incredible vegetarian lasagna.

Drinking :

Many, many pots of Earl Grey tea.

Reading:

Warlock by Wilbur Smith which is the second part in an awesome trilogy that I started at the beginning of the year.  It’s kind of like Game of Thrones but set in ancient Egypt.  Also thumbing through Elizabeth: Renaissance Prince by Lisa Hilton which is a biography of Elizabeth I that focuses on how she defied gender roles during her reign.

Wanting:

A holiday.  I don’t even particularly want to go anywhere, I just really want some time off work to recharge my batteries.

Looking:

At possibly buying a house in the near future.  No concrete plans as yet, but I’m starting to put my feelers out and think about what kind of house would suit me and working out what’s affordable.

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Playing:

Outside with Miss Jelly.  Now that the weather is getting warmer she’s really excited about having outdoor time and loves to climb trees.

Deciding:

To speak my mind more.  I’ve come to realise that I’ve stayed in unhappy situations in the past that could have been remedied if I’d only spoken up and made my needs known.  I’m working harder to use my words and tell the people around me what I need rather than expecting them to guess.

Wishing:

That Spring would start in earnest.  We’ve had a few lovely days but it’s still pretty chilly.  I’m so looking forward to proper Spring weather.


Enjoying:

Shaving my own head.  I bought a pair of clippers as a special treat and I’ve been shaving the side of my head myself.  It was going to cost about $50 each time I went to the hairdressers and the clippers cost $30.  I have taken to keeping it quite short so it’s more economical to do it myself.  It was pretty nerve-wracking buzzing around my ear the first time but I’m getting better at it and it’s so nice to run my hands over my freshly-shaved head.

Waiting:

For October to kick off so that I can jump into all my Halloween movies.

Liking:

The feeling of slipping between clean sheets.

Wondering:

About love.  After getting dumped twice this past month I’m beginning to think that maybe I should just give up on dating for a bit.  I’m starting to get disillusioned.  Also feeling like a bit of a failure in the romance department.

Loving:

My daily yoga practice.  I just feel so much lighter and calmer when I step off the mat.

Pondering:

What makes relationships work, why people fall in love and stay in love, whether I’ll be lucky enough to find that again.

Considering:

A new piercing.  I really want to get either my tragus or another hole in each earlobe.

Buying:

More books than I can possibly read.

Watching:

Dr Who from the beginning again.


Hoping:

That my friends get through the rest of the year unscathed.  So many of them have had rough travels lately and I just hope that the year goes smoothly for us.

Marvelling:

At how quickly this year is passing.  2015 will be over in a blink at this rate!

Cringing:

At the snippets of The Bachelor that I’ve seen.  Good Lord, that show is freakin’ terrible!

Needing:

Cuddles and kisses on the couch.

Questioning:

Whether it’s a good idea for J K Rowling to continue to add bits to the Harry Potter universe.  While I respect that it’s her world and she can do what she likes with it, and I relish the new bits, I worry that it’s going to turn out like Star Wars all messy and clunky.

Smelling:

The cup of coffee I’m sipping while i write this.

Wearing:

My TMNT hoodie far too often.

Following:

Henry VIII on Twitter.  One of the most hilarious Twitter accounts I’ve come across.

Noticing:

That my ancient mobile phone is becoming ever slower and that the time to get a smart phone is drawing nigh.

Knowing:

That once I get a smart phone I’m going to wonder why it took me so long to take the plunge.

Thinking:

About my Halloween costume.

Admiring:

Miss Fairchild’s incredible new luggage.

Sorting:

My wardrobe.  I’ve been decluttering and feeling fabulous.

Coveting:

Beautiful vintage dresses.  I’ve bought a couple lately and I only want to beef up my collection.

Disliking:

That so many of my clients are getting scammed by douchebags calling them and pretending to be debt collectors for the Australian Tax Office.  I can’t stand scam artists.

Opening:

My heart once again, even though it’s still a bit broken.  Because to me it feels like the right thing to do.

Giggling:

At the noises my cats make while they’re sleeping.

Feeling:

A bit flat but mostly pleased with the way things are unfolding in my life.

Snacking:

On snow pea crisps.  I’ve been trying to eat a little more healthily and I came across these yummy snacks a few days ago.  They are so tasty and have a lot less fat and salt than potato chips.

Helping:

The team at work to reach our quota for this month.  We have been beating our five-year average every month so far this financial year, and I’m keen to keep doing well.

Hearing:

A lot of fun covers of songs I adore.  In particular I’ve been listening to a lot of Me First and the Gimme Gimmes and The Baseballs.

 

What have you been up to lately? Fill me in on what’s been happening in your world in the comments.

Four things…

My darling mate Nina from Le Fancy Geek tagged me in her Four Things post, and I just couldn’t wait to join in.  It’s been a long time since I’ve done a tag post, and this one seemed like it would be a lot of fun.

I’m not going to tag anyone in this post, but if you want to do your own Four Things post, please leave a link in the comments, I’d love to read your answers to the questions.

Four places I’ve lived.

My parents house.  Until I was nineteen I lived with my parents in a brick house in Benalla.  It was a really great home and my parents still live there now.

College in Melbourne.  I lived in a dorm with eleven other people for three years.  It was crowded, noisy and smelly and I loved it (most of the time).  I did crazy things like riding a mechanical bull and taking off all my clothes to add them to a chain of my dorm-mates clothes to see how far we could make it reach.  It was amazing.

A share house in Heidelberg.  The house I lived in was dingy and literally falling to pieces.  No joke.  We once awoke at five in the morning when a chunk of our loungeroom ceiling collapsed.  It was in a terrible area and a year into my time there a man was murdered on the corner of my street.  But despite all that I loved living there.

A flat on my own.  I currently live by myself in a flat in my hometown.  It’s actually pretty great.  I have lots of space and a lovely garden out the back and a beautiful corner window in my bedroom.

Four jobs I’ve had.

Sales assistant at Target.  I worked at Target all through high school and then again after college ended.  Although it was pretty trying at times it was actually a pretty good job.  I worked with some awesome people and I particularly loved working in the lead-up to Christmas.

Waitress at a pub.  This was probably the worst job I ever had.  At the time I was working two jobs to save for university and I was utterly exhausted.  I would work until ten most nights and come home smelling of beer spills and chip grease.  I got burned with hot plates and grabbed by creepy customers.  The night I quit was one of the happiest of my life.

–  Avon Lady. I briefly sold Avon cosmetics in the year between high school and university.  It was a lot of fun, but I had to put in a huge amount of work for very little payoff.  The best part was visiting old ladies and doing their nails while chatting over tea. In fact, I kept doing that after I quit.

Receptionist for a legal centre.  I’ve had a few reception jobs, but the best one was when I worked at a legal centre in Melbourne.  The centre provided free legal advice for people who couldn’t afford to pay for legal council.  It was a very difficult job and I saw a lot of very upsetting things.  But I loved working there because I felt like I was doing something that really mattered.

Four things I don’t eat.

Tomato sauce.  I can’t stand it, which sucks because in Australia people seem to put it on everything, and I always feel like a total weirdo that I’m the only one eating a pie not slathered in disgusting goopy redness.

Pavlova.  Yet another traditional Aussie dish that turns my stomach.  Every woman in my family hates pav, from my Nana to my Mum.  None of us can stomach it, and I wonder if our aversion is genetic.

Oysters.  Although I love seafood, I’ve never enjoyed oysters.  I’ve tried them a few times but I just can’t stand the texture of them.

Chai.  Although I adore the scent of chai, the taste triggers my gag reflex like nothing else.

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Four of my favourite foods.

Pizza.  Pizza is my go-to food for any occasion.  If I want to celebrate or treat myself, I’ll order a pizza.  Long day at work and can’t be arsed cooking?  Order a pizza!  My turn to pick the takeout?  You know it’s gonna be pizza!  I can’t get enough of it.  And a cold slice of leftover pizza for breakfast is my idea of heaven.

Jelly beans.  Specifically, the special glucose jelly beans that you buy at the chemist.  I love those chubby little bastards.

Hokey Pokey ice cream.  Caramel ice-cream with shards of butterscotch swirled through it, amazing.

Earl Grey tea.  I’m a big-time tea drinker, and Earl Grey is my favourite.  It’s sweet and comforting with a beautiful aroma.

Four films I’ve watched more than once.

– The Wizard of Oz

– Beetlejuice

– Heavyweights

– Ghost World

Four TV shows I watch.

– Bojack Horseman

-Orange is the New Black

– Game of Thrones

-Parks and Recreation

Four things I’m looking forward to this year.

Christmas!  I seriously love Christmas.  I’m always looking forward to Christmas, no matter how far away it is.

My girlfriend’s birthday.  I get mega excited for birthdays, and this will be the first time since we started dating that I’ll be able to celebrate my girlfriend’s birthday with her.  I want it to be very special for her, because she’s an incredible person.

Getting an article published in one of my favourite magazines.  It’s happening in September, and I couldn’t be more pumped.

Spring.  I’m so over Winter, and I can’t wait for the weather to begin to warm up again.

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Four things I can’t live without.

Pets.  I am so much happier when I have a pet. At the moment Miss Jelly and Mr Ringo are my constant companions and they bring so much joy into my world.

Lip balm.  I hate having dry lips, and I feel so much more comfortable when my lips are slathered with balm.  My favourite brand is Lip Smackers and I usually have a few of these on the go.

– An internet connection.  So much of my life is online.  I connect with my friends over the internet, I keep up with my writing online and I don’t know what I’d do without Netflix.

– Pretty lingerie.  Boring undies are for boring people, and I like having a wardrobe of gorgeous underthings to slip on under my clothes.

Four celebrity crushes.

-Kit Harrington

– Dawn French

– Chris Pratt

– John Goodman

Four pet peeves.

– When people say “pacifically” when they mean to say “specifically”.

– When people walk in large groups in a line across the footpath so you can’t get past.

– People who are rude to waitstaff or shop assistants.

– Minions.  I just don’t get why they’re so popular.  It infuriates me that minion-based memes keep popping up on my Facebook feed.

Four things I wish I could do.

Sing.  I’m not a bad singer, but I’m not really a good singer either.  I wish I had the ability to really belt out a tune.

Play a musical instrument.  I’ve tried learning a number of instruments, including piano and guitar.  I just don’t have an ear for music.

Draw.  My drawing skills are woeful and I sometimes wish that I were able to express myself on paper with images.  But I suppose that I’m good at expressing myself with words, which is nothing to be sniffed at.

Be more assertive.  As a very introverted and anxious woman, I find it so hard to stand up for myself and speak up to get what I need.  I tend to let myself get passed over and I don’t like that.  I’m working to be more assertive, but I’ve got a long way to go.

Four subjects I studied at school.

Drama.  I loved drama in high school and I was particularly good at comedy.  I used to have a blast recreating classic sketches from Rowan Atkinson and French and Saunders to crack up my classmates.

– Literature. I’m a reader at heart and my awesome literature teacher taught me how to really delve into a book and appreciate it on a deeper level.  She introduced me to Oscar Wilde, Harper Lee and Charles Dickens and also showed me the creepiest book I’ve ever read: The Collector by John Fowles.

Neuroscience. I have a degree in psychology and I spent a good part of my time at uni studying pictures of brains and dissecting actual brains.  It was fascinating and something that I’m still very interested in.

– Human rights law.  For a long time I dreamed about working in a community legal centre and helping disadvantaged people find justice.  Sadly, I nearly had a nervous breakdown pursing that dream and decided it wasn’t feasible for me to do that kind of work for the rest of my life.  I hope that I’ll be able to go back to it one day, in some form.

Four things near me right now.

– My knitting

-An empty water bottle (I drained it while I was writing this post)

– The remote control for the television

-Darkness be my Friend by John Marsden.

 

Don’t forget to leave me a link if you do your own version of the Four Things tag. I’d love to read your answers.

Peer pressure and my uterus…

Peer pressure is something that’s been on my mind lately.  When I hear the phrase “peer pressure” I instantly think of teenagers being bullied by their mates into shoplifting or experimenting with alcohol.  When I was in school, that’s what I thought peer pressure was.  I recall being made to watch countless videos of unfortunate teens who desperately wanted to fit in so they caved to their friends’ coercion and took a drag from the proffered cigarette/downed a swig from a communal bottle of booze/ nicked an eyeliner from the chemist.  (Ultimately getting caught and reflecting on how they should have listened to their gut instead of their bonehead mates).

 

But peer pressure isn’t just something that affects teens.  As I near my thirties I’ve noticed a different kind of peer pressure creeping into my life.  Only this time it isn’t booze and cigarettes that are being pushed onto me, it’s babies.

 

Now, I’m pretty darn sure that I don’t want kids.  I have nothing against children per se, but they have never really been a part of my plan.  Motherhood just doesn’t appeal to me and I’m OK with that.   There are enough people procreating that I’m confident that the universe won’t implode if I decide not to add my spawn to the gene pool.   But lately I’ve been feeling a lot of pressure around the topic of children and motherhood.

 

The first one to jump on the Baby Pressure Bandwagon was my mother.  She has two sisters who each have an adorable brood of grandchildren and I think Mum’s eager to join them in their photo-and-story-sharing sessions.  And in order for her join the Grandma Club I have to squeeze out a baby.  And when she found out that I had no intention of doing that, ever, she seems to have made it her personal mission to change my mind.

 

Like those peer pressure vids from high school, it started with some casual needling.  A few questions here and there to feel out my position.  “You’re so great with babies, don’t you think you’ll make a wonderful mother?”  “So-and-so named their baby Sunflower,  which I think is really cute.  What baby names do you like?”  and so forth.  Then when my answers proved maddeningly obtuse, she started with a more direct line of questioning.  “When do you think you’ll have kids?” became her catch-cry.

 

Once I made it clear that I didn’t intend to reproduce, she took it upon herself to convince me.  She will jump at any opportunity to remind me that kids are great, and being a mother is awesome, and when you have kids you get to do all kinds of fun things like play in sandpits and have play-doh in the house again.  Any time she sees me holding one of my friends’ kids she will give me a little knowing nod and make a point to tell me how great I am with kids, as though to reinforce my maternal behaviours.

 

At this point it was easy to shrug these things off as a bit of silliness from my baby-crazy mother.  But then the balance shifted when many of my friends started to join The Motherhood, rolling down the streets with their strollers and colourful collection of Peppa Pig toys.  All of a sudden, the pressure wasn’t just coming from my mother, it was everywhere.  Friends who had never batted an eyelid at my childlessness before started to inquire when I’d start my own family.  And then the tension began to mount.

 

What started as a bit of casual questioning took on a distinctly disdainful air.  Whenever I’d mention that I don’t want to have kids, inevitably there would be someone who would roll their eyes and say “You’ll change your mind”.  My decision to remain childless has been met with people asking if I hate children, or questioning whether I’m vain and selfish and don’t want to devote my time to another.  My mother has begun rattling off lists of people I went to school with who have had children, and I’m starting to feel that same old high school pressure “Everyone else is doing it, why not you?”.

 

In the face of this adult peer pressure, I’ve decided to console myself with the very same advice that those videos preached so many years ago: to listen to your gut and do the right thing.  The truth is I like kids.  A lot.  They can be hilarious and a source of great joy.  And I’m good with kids.  But I am also good at handing them back to their parents when a tantrum kicks in.  As much as I enjoy them, I don’t have any desire to have kids of my own.  I’m perfectly content being Aunty Ness to all my friends kids.  That’s what’s right for me, and just because everyone else seems to be having babies doesn’t mean I need to have one too.

 

Have you felt peer pressure as an adult?  What have you felt pressured to do?

The struggle between control and letting go.

I’m a firm believer in going after what you want.  If there is something in my life that I wish were different, I will do whatever is in my power to change it.  However, there’s always a bit of difficulty in deciding what is within my power and what is outside my control.

There is a point when you’re working towards something when you have to relinquish control and just let things happen.  But I’ve learned that I’m not good at identifying when that point arrives and deciding to let go at the appropriate time.  Part of this is possibly due to my anxiety, part of it is probably because I’m a perfectionist who is fiercely independent and wants to do Everything For Myself.  And part of likely comes down to the fact that I’m a bit impatient and I want everything good to happen Right Now.

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I feel as though I’m constantly torn between two beliefs: that of “If it’s meant to be, it will be” and “If you want it, you have to make it happen”.  I often feel the pull between these two ideas, never quite knowing how to draw the line between them.

On the one hand, I’m not about to sit on my backside and wait for good things to come to me.  It’s not in my nature to just wait patiently while expending only the energy to send out some positive thoughts.  While I think that positive thoughts are great, they need to be coupled with dedicated action if you’re actually going to get somewhere.

That being said, all the dedicated action in the world isn’t always enough to propel you towards your goal.  Sometimes, even though you’ve worked really hard, the stars just never quite align and opportunities don’t present themselves as quickly as you’d hoped.   If you keep slaving away, you’ll eventually just work yourself into the ground, so you have to just let things go a little bit.

For me, one thing that has helped me to straddle the line between “working towards a goal” and “letting things unfold naturally” has been to identify where the control in a situation lies.  Often in a scenario, we have some degree of control, but we aren’t able to influence the entire outcome.  Once I’ve found the things I can control, I put my energy into working on these areas.  For example, if I’m going for a job interview, I can’t control the questions I’m asked or the final decision. But I can control my presentation by making sure I’m well-dressed and that I’m equipped with an up-to-date resume.  I can control my ability to answer the questions by researching the company I’ll be working with, thinking about some answers to common questions and trying to remain calm during the interview.  Once I’m out of that interview room, there’s little more I can do, so worrying about it is pointless.  So I try to put my worries out of my mind.

When I get to a point where I’ve done all that I can do to the best of my ability, it’s time to step back.  It’s true that sometimes you have to be patient and just allow things to happen.  And once you’ve done your bit, it’s that much easier to hand the reigns over to the universe and let it drive for a while.

Also, if I get to a point where I feel like I’ve been working my fingers to the bone and I’m still beating my head against a wall, then I find it’s time to relinquish my stranglehold on the situation.  Often, things take a bit of time to take shape and you need to give yourself space to see the bigger picture.  It will pay to let go a little, trust me.

Do you struggle between control and letting go?  How do you deal with this conundrum?

Things I Love Thursday 5/2/2015

Hey babes!  Are you ready for Things I Love Thursday? Because I sure as shit am!  Let’s do this!

This week I love:

– The relief of having everyone in your family recover from various health scares.  This week my Mum got stung by a swarm of wasps and my cat Ringo has been sick with a bladder infection.  But they are both OK and recovering well.  Thank goodness.

– The Darjeeling Limited.  I checked out this fabulous movie during the week and it was awesome.  I can’t get enough of Wes Anderson’s work at the moment.  I’m feeling a definite urge to travel across India on a train now.

– This video for changes that could make the lives of socially awkward people a million times easier.  Yes please.  All of them please.  Especially the alcohol-library combo.

 

– Solo movie dates.

 

– Coming to the realisation that I actually really like being single.  I’m not saying I don’t ever want another partner, but right now where I’m at is pretty freakin’ cool.

 

– The daily “mug shot” tradition I have going with this cool dude I’ve been chatting with, where we each send the other a picture of ourselves along with the mug we are drinking out of that day.  It’s pretty cute.

 

– Wearing slinky vintage robes and apartment stilts around the house and pretending to be a glam Hollywood starlet.

 

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-Knitting.  Oh so relaxing.

 

– Cool night breezes through my bedroom curtains.

 

– Homemade nachos.

 

– James Franco.

 

– Putting on a dress that didn’t fit before Christmas and having it zip up with no troubles.

 

-These postcards featuring the characters from Arrested Development as Cats.  Yes, really.

 

What about you, my lovely sweet hummingbird-face?  What do you love this week?