Torchlit chess

Playing chess by torchlight is a beautiful thing. Having no electricity for almost 24 hours sure was definitely a challenge, but it was lovely to spend a few hours without the incessant background noise of TVs and computers. It was wonderful to have a proper family dinner, without people running off to do things as soon as they’ve finished their last mouthful.

It almost makes me wish for the times of candles and limited electricity…

But then I go to check my inbox or do some work, remember that the power’s out and I therefore have no Internet or computer, and curse the electricity for being down.

Perfection 101

It’s okay not to be perfect. I know there’s always someone better, bigger and brighter than you out there, but knowing it and really understanding that are two different things.

I’m not perfect, and I’ve never pretended to be. On the contrary, I consistently voice my faults – it seems to comfort people, and really encourage them to be better than any pep talks I give. I’m okay with not being perfect, and I am perfectly okay with people knowing my faults.

However, I am not okay with not being the best I can be. And accepting that people will be miles better than me on my best day is something I find difficult to swallow. Everyone deserves their success, and fight it as I might, I am jealous of that success. I want to be a better person for other people, and do everything I can to improve the world. There is always a niggling feeling though, that other people do it better and more efficiently than I. Does this mean I should stop trying? Resign myself to a life lived well with a partner and a pet and no more? I want more. I’ve already proved to myself that I can live in a way that benefits and supports those close to me, but I believe I can be more. I can help more, and have a wider effect on more than just those immediately close to me.

So – am I doing it wrong? Am I not trying hard enough? Do I lack innovation/creativity/passion/insert other essential aspects? I would say no to all the above; I guess it all comes down to what I encapsulate as ‘success’ and exactly how I want to measure it. I don’t have an answer for that right now, as I keep changing my mind about what I think success is. Case in point, I’m indecisive.

There’s no right way to do anything. As a constantly evolving race, we have proved this to be true. I’m exploring the options, figuring out the best way I can help people – and in the end, I suppose it doesn’t matter a great deal how successful I am, as long as I help those who I can.

Disjunct

I feel like I’m winning at life. It’s not like my situation has visibly changed from Wednesday – still job hunting, volunteering, and looking for ways to be better. Still waiting, worrying and thinking a lot. Why, then, do I feel so victorious? Like I’ve been given the job of my dreams or fallen in love all over again?

Could it be the morning yoga?

Could it be the slightly excessive consumption of chocolate I endured an hour ago?

Or indulging my love of fantasy literature for a few short hours earlier?

It could be a combination of all the above. It’s funny, I think I’m above self-denial because I know myself well and try to reflect on my personality fairly often. These past few weeks most definitely tell me I am NOT. I applied for a position I believed I was perfect for a month or two ago, and smashed all the interviews out of the park – or so I had thought. A few weeks after the last interview, I hadn’t gotten any congratulatory calls. As the days went by, I felt more and more upset, but convinced myself it wasn’t because I hadn’t heard any result, it was due to not hearing from ANY companies and my depreciating bank account. I enquired about it this week, and finally had an in-depth conversation about my application and performance. As it turns out, it wasn’t that I wasn’t good enough – I lived in the wrong state! I was given some really lovely and positive feedback, and that made my spirits soar.

After some thinking, I don’t believe it was their belated reply that affected my mentality so much. I believe it was the disjunct between my perceived performance, and the reality of the situation (or what I believed to be the situation – by this stage, of course, I had stupidly built it up to enormous proportions). I was upset, of course, because I had thought I had done really well and proved myself, yet – why wasn’t I given the job? Oh right, I must’ve failed somewhere. Oh, but course, it must be me – my skills, attributes, or my ideas must all be terrible.

All that seems so silly, now that I know it was something (more or less) out of my control, and that I had done as well as I had originally thought.  It made me realise I have a great fear of becoming disconnected from reality. I don’t want to be one of those people – those that believe they have certain strengths but it’s all talk and no action. Acta non verba.

C’est difficile!

We encounter challenges of all sizes daily – this is not a groundbreaking new fact, but it was something I had forgotten. I kept choosing a challenge to begin with, only to realise it was a challenge I was already facing and not a new one designed to push my boundaries! I would settle on something like “finding a job I love” or “going for a run twice a week” only to realise these were things I had already promised myself. Kind of defeats the purpose of this doesn’t it?

Although finding a career I love is a challenge, it’s not the kind of one that will push me to be better. Sure, I’ll write cover letters better and be able to communicate my own strengths to faceless recruitment officers, and I’m sure my life will change a great deal after I get a job. But this kind of challenge is not going to develop me or help me overcome fears. I get along well with most people and can hold my own in an interview, so these activities are not particularly scary (to me).

I need to get my shit together, take a breath and jump into something that I’ve never done before, or have previously struggled with. Like diving or rock climbing!

It’s on…

I feel bored with my life. Right now, I empathise with all the other 40 – 50 year olds who are going through a mid life crisis; wondering what they’re doing with their life? Where has their youth gone? Was all the hard work worth it? The sad thing is, I’m 23. I still have many years to go before I even come close to experiencing a mid life crisis at an appropriate age. Yet, I identify strongly with these questions – the whole youth thing included – and have been mulling over them for a least a couple of months now.

I love my life. I have a rare, beautiful love with my boyfriend, amazing friends and an incredible family with a quirky (read: strange and sometimes inappropriate) humour. I finished my university degree with Honours and loved it – much to my mother’s amusement -and found a field that I am dying to enter. Yet somehow, I am unsatisfied. I feel as though I am ‘frozen’ in place, and struggle to make any real progress towards my ideas and passions.

My lack of Internet at home and urgent desire to answer emails found me working at the Town of Vincent library. It was here, that I stumbled upon Richard Branson’s audiobook “Screw it, Let’s Do it.” I’m always looking for ways to work more efficiently, and figured listening to it while I was driving was a good way to encounter a book I would never normally read. I was incredibly surprised and impressed by the Richard Branson and his book – it was engaging, funny and inspirational. I would love to get a paperback version, so I can highlight some of the things he said that resonated with me. It was around this time that I began to realise what had happened to me – I had become old and scared.

I had gotten lax. I had stopped growing and developing, and was scared to attempt new things. What could I be scared of? Shitloads! I was scared of being rejected, of failing, of being outdated and replaced, of being ineffective, of being stuck in a job that I hated, of losing my ideals and values to a cruel and bitter world. I had let the fear reign for far too long, and it had become an unfortunate ally of mine. I lacked the fun and exhilaration I used to have, and my life had become boring. My knee jerk reaction was to run away to a challenging and inspiring holiday in a far off land, but I don’t have enough money. It wouldn’t create any long term changes anyway, and it wasn’t an effective solution. I need to use this as an opportunity to learn and develop – to be free and daring at home, and to be unafraid of myself.

I will be challenging myself and documenting these experiments here. Peter and I have been speaking about the extreme things we’ve always wanted to do, and I need to make sure we actually do them. Life is about more than weight, hand bags and ladder climbing.

It’s like Yoda always said – “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate – leads to suffering.”