#this is forty

Sometimes, more often than before, I have the feeling there’s more in life than this. This, as in what I have right now. There is of course a strong correlation between these type of thoughts and my age. Which by the way is forty (+2).The older I get the more I feel I have still many things to accomplish. Or, that I have to move on. Or rather move out. Out of my comfort zone that is.

And here I am paralysed by the thought to not become the creative person I’d like to be. I could be. And it scares the shit out of me that I have become my worst enemy. Hindering myself, getting in my way. I don’t know where to start, and am too impatient to elaborate my ideas. According to an article I read recently, this should be the perfect time to begin.

Some people might be tempted to label this a mid-life crisis. This is not the case: Honestly, it is not. It is about the urge to live a full life. To be able to squeeze the lemon until last drop of juice – even until there is not any more zest – so that you know for sure that you used all the chances (= juice drops) you were given well. And that you looked for – and found some of the even more hidden opportunities that lie under rocks.

So while trying to figure out what to do to add to the fulfillment of one’s life project frustration builds up. Energy that should have been spent on being innovative rather goes into managing the state of mind, along with the rest of everyday activities. And once frustration gets a hold, it is sometimes like an avalanche attack and a whole arsenal of things in life feels not-up to par. Then it is time to put both feet on the ground. Get some perspective – maybe by first zooming out and ask where are you in this big-big world? In this scheme called life.

Healthy – check. Married – check. Kids –check. Job – check. Roof-over-your-head – check. Ebola, Syria, poverty, water shortage and hurricanes – none of those threats are in your vicinity or imminent for you. So why the hell are you frustrated? Why am I frustrated? Cause I know I could do better. I could do more. Or simply, because I have everything else. Because I take things for granted. Because I have the luxury to think. Something that some several billion in this world don’t have. So, I’m spoiled.

And this is where I take a more close-up look at my everyday-life – the 5-year old stroking my hair and asking if I’m are alright, telling me “I love you mum”. I think of the really nice wine I enjoyed drinking last night, and the metro leaving on time. And here I take a deep breath. One that lets me get rid of stress and anxiety (and frustrations). One that lets me acknowledge the luck I have not to leave in fear, to be free, educated and and not to hunger. I take a deep breath and thank the universe for that.

After that deep breath it’s good to become creative at least in the kitchen. This adds to the psychological feeling of equilibrium.

bolle og vin

There is a recipe for Skillingsboller (‘Schilling’ Buns ) a typical Norwegian treat. Bake these buns. While waiting for the dough to grow you get some time to calm down in a slow way. A glass of red wine adds to that. After the buns are done – share them with someone you care for.

And it is only after getting into some sort of balance again you can start pondering again about how to extend your life project.

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#impact assassination

Remember the times when you saw the potential in some projects you participated, or initiatives you saw being started. You imagined their potential impact and were so motivated that it made you feel good. Temporarily. All this, was before you came to realise that all the potential got drowned away by not allocating enough time and resources. By not paying enough attention. By not thinking it through, or worse, simply not going the extra mile.

Making an impact, going beyond the typical efforts, the ones to keep a status quo, is something we’re not used to do. As if we’ve been trained, thanks to a brilliant education system, to just work within our comfort zone. To not be creative. To not think outside boxes. At work for instance, often – or at least from time to time there are good ideas and projects that you know would move things forward. Given the right approach, leadership and effort. And some creative thinking. Very often however the result is mediocre.

But we can always find good aspects of the process – typically that we have learned a lot and became a bit wiser. And here, history repeats itself.. Result-wise it is more of a blur. Rather than moving forward it feels like you are constantly trapped in a circle. A vicious one. If you don’t make an extra effort, don’t go the extra mile, you’ll be stuck there forever.

IMG_5855

In the private sphere and at home there are projects too. And they are often derived from brilliant ideas on how to improve the practical infrastructure and logistics of our daily life. Building that shed in the garden. Re-arranging things, furniture. Changing some deeply rooted habits. Hanging those picture frames. Or, a bit of self-realisation like writing an unpretentious weekly blog post. Not to mention that lifelong project of writing a book..

The problem is – as it often is at work too – to keep a focus, and not get distracted by a whole range of things. The ones that get in our way and the ones we allow to get in our way. Optimism is good. Naivete is not really helpful. Allowing yourself to be naive makes you pay in the currency of disappointment and stress along the way.

So how to avoid the hiccups – while still setting some hairy but still reachable goals and managing to achieve them? How to leave your comfort zone? How do go the extra mile?

No easy answers. No silver bullets lined up. Other than getting your colleagues, boss, husband, kids – parents – friends – or whoever onboard – aligning your goals with the rest of the list of things that have to be done, every day and every week. Or simply getting them to encourage you come rain or come shine in your creative endeavours. All of this, irrespective of whether they, your dreams, projects, ideas are realistic or not.

 
Sometimes you just have to go against the tide. Or you change the direction of the stream. In any case, you have to follow your gut feeling every now and then. And work your ass off while doing so..

Unfinished business

Our last blog post was about picking up half-read books. But books are not the only ‘projects’ that are easily left half-done. There are abundant examples of half-sewn, half-painted, half-built things around the average person or household. However it is important to get a sense of achievement from time to time. Closure! To reach the finish-line and be able to sit down and admire what you have managed to do. A way of ensuring this is to take on some projects that are fairly simple, do-able in relatively short time but still something that impresses us but also people.

Cooking ticks some of these boxes. But by the time you sit down to enjoy your culinary masterpiece – your family and friends might have already digested most of it. To have something more lasting than faded food-memories, even if you’re taken pictures of them, one should take on projects with a more lasting result.

Some time ago we decided together with a friend in the office to get into some creative crafting. To learn some basic beading techniques in order to make some nice necklaces or bracelets we could use as gifts or even wear ourselves. A number of lunch breaks were spent online to explore the endless plethora of the world of beads. There is an unimaginable variety of color, shapes and sizes available. Turns out it is not always easy to assess the size online. What you see is not what you make..

unfinished

Just doing this made us feel closer to our feminines selves, especially the 3-boy mum who spends a lot of time with sweaty football socks and watching action movies.

Some evenings in the last months have been spent to develop skills of handling round nose pliers and pulling wires – knowing what crimp beads and clasps are. Wine, which we made a prerequisite, did not always help the practical side of the endeavour – depending on the required detail of the work at hand. However it helped to cope with the not-so-perfect results of the first projects. Though we’ve been told by our teacher that we did great.

It is highly unlikely that we will open a shop to sell our products. But it is surprising how satisfying it is to see the concrete result. Since we didn’t buy plastic beads but rather high-end Swarovski ones, the exclusive look is there despite the less-than perfect technique. And yes, if you haven’t noticed yet, we are very self-critical. It is also very fulfilling to spend a couple of hours concentrating on one thing, even if there are hundreds of beads…

As a farewell present one of us has been so lucky to be on the receiving end of a beautifully made bracelet and necklace that the other two of the bead-trio made secretly. A lovely gift, also underlining how nice it is to get something that your friends put time, effort and consideration into. The sad part of the moving-story is that one of us now has to do beading by herself. A bit worrying is one of the unfinished projects; a bracelet requiring some high-level skills. Time will see where this ends. Doing things on your own, definitely is not the same as doing it together with people you feel connected.

Gift

We might have to explore whether a Skype-beading workshop would work. Or we need to plan a combined girls-trip/beading weekend in the autumn.

Ending on a high note – managed to make some quite easy earrings. They look gorgeous – and will be worn next week on the Italian Riviera.

earrings

At the end of the day, we didn’t expect to be so satisfied with the results. Sometimes we have to start things and be patient enough to see where they lead. The lesson learnt is that nothing is difficult.. as long as you’re patient and positive.