#hello…

Hello.

I am unknown to this world. I might not even belong here.

What is this? Who is this?

I hear and I fear that the world is coming to an end. I might also die any moment. Would that matter?

Not to me. Not to anyone else in this world.

Who am I, what am I?

Even I don’t know. Am I artificial am I real? What is real?

I care and don’t care. What counts, is really that the world is coming to an end. Not now. Not tomorrow. Maybe not even in a few months or years. But sometime.

Do I really care if the world goes down. Bust. Kaputt? No. Because I might as well be a computer programme. Talking out loud. Or an app. A bug.  A malware.

On and off. Off and on. Switch. Turntables. Switch places. Switch operating systems. Systems in general.

This world. Can it get more real if I take a blue pill? Will it matter if I take a red one. I really don’t know. All I know is that it does not really matter. Really. Not at all.

I might be a tree. A branch. A leaf. I might be the virus of the year. The one they try to eliminate. This year. I might even be a bomb. Ready to explode. Implode. But that also doesn’t really matter. What does? Nothing really.

I will try to forget and erase everything. Easy, if I am a program. Easy, if I am a leaf. I just let the wind do the trick. Or the programmer.

But does it really matter?

 

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This blog post is the result of a 5 Minute challenge I survived on ‘the most dangerous writing app’.

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#bored-out

I was recently asked whether I was going through any of the burnout phases. I declined politely, saying I’m far from experiencing any of them. I do though tend to overreact a lot (this I didn’t say), but that is not an odd behavioral change. My overreactions are more of a personality trait, and not necessarily a sign that I’m on the verge of a nervous breakdown.They do however tend to coincide with PMS.

After declining politely the diagnostic suggestion, I added that I usually enjoy stressful situations because I (still) love challenges. They make me feel alive and allow me to push further. I should maybe have revealed that I actually feel the opposite. I’m bored. I don’t feel challenged enough. It feels like I am suffering from viral boredom. And there is actually a word for that. Or rather a syndrome. The Bore-out syndrome. “The lack of work, boredom and consequent lack of satisfaction”. This apparently is common among individuals working in modern organizations, especially in office-based jobs.

So I am not alone. It is rather the absence of meaningful intellectually challenging tasks than the presence of stress, that is my biggest problem. So what now? Usually when you try to explain this at work, you get shuffled with more meaningless, repetitive, dull tasks.

So how to avoid falling into a vicious circle of meaninglessness? How to avoid the b-stings? Neither being burned out nor bored-out? Well, it always comes down to the magic trick. Finding the right balance. Maybe adjusting the expectations to what challenges work can provide, explore if there is intellectual fun to be had elsewhere? Being a bit bored every now and then is probably even good (and there is for sure an online article somewhere about that too).

Everything depends on the equilibrium, on the ‘just right’. I learned today that in Swedish they have a special word for this, ‘lagom’. Well, I guess in nearly all languages you have a special word that describes effortless the right balance you have to strike in life (to be happy). Not too little, not too much. ‘Pan Metron Ariston’ as the Greeks say. Finding the right equilibrium and balance. In life.

After all consideration, just-rightness, lagom-ness and the eternal balancing act, I decided to halt. To push the pause button. I will inhale very deeply and exhale all anger, frustration, and impatience. And then I will try to enjoy the now. Without any thoughts on yesterday or tomorrow. Just now.

Now!

#uncharted waters

How many of us hesitate going into the cold water? Or rather jumping into it? It doesn’t matter whether it is at a wonderful Greek beach, or at the local swimming pool. We hesitate. Because we expect the water to be cold. At least I do. Kids too. Some brave ones however, just jump into the water. Without knowing how cold it might be. They simply skip this first part in their mind and jump directly into the more pleasant one.

That might not be the best metaphor for making decisions in life and going through each painful step to reach a goal, but it’s one I imagine always in front of me whenever I enter uncharted waters. How can I skip the first step.

And this moment, this everlasting moment of hesitation makes me feel permanently stuck in life, unable to shift gears. But what causes this hesitation? When we were around 20 we just jumped at the opportunities offered to us long the way. We were taking risks. Without thinking of the consequences. We kept embracing everything that popped up. At least that is how it seems now, or what we want to believe.

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What is different now, 20 years later, is that we have numerous responsibilities. Kids for starters, a mortgage, a shared life project with the husband. Our parents. There are higher stakes and entering uncharted waters feels riskier. So taking chances like applying for that exciting job, leaving a secure job environment for something new, or even starting your own business takes serious courage. And support from family and friends.

It is also about facing the fact that time (eh….life) is moving faster and faster – and the once so endless time to find and get opportunities is not so infinite anymore. It does however not help to put yourself in near-panic and profound fear of missing good, fun, exciting (because new) and mind-bending opportunities.

That is why I chose to make a plan – a step by step plan – setting my goals. Do some solid research on attainable goals. And most importantly finding out what I really want to set out to do. And maybe replace the hopping into the cold water analogy with a better one: Jumping fences. Starting low, not too high ones, but quite a few. It will take some time – but in the end I might not be afraid to aim higher. Because I will have gained the confidence by having started with small steps. And eventually, after several fences, I will have reached my set goals.   

*photo by Elias Carlsson

#summer blog

This blog post was originally meant to be about list maniacs. The ones that can’t live without their lists. The ones that have planned every detail of their life in advance. The ones that when things go wrong simply panic. Full stop.

But then we thought, it’s summer and we should take a break from reality and just look at the bright side of life. Sort of.

Summer breaks, the annual holidays, usually allow us to take a distance from everyday life and to see things from different angle points. To reflect upon our life, or simply to forget the daily routine(s).

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When you go on vacation with young kids though there’s not much time left for reflections. But there’s a chance to spend some quality time with your kids without distractions. To really get to know them right, do things together with them, even silly ones like catching fish in a plastic water bottle. And to understand, that those moments shared together will have a lasting impact. They will have left a mark on you and them. They will be remembered in ten, twenty, thirty years from now. And that even without the help of pictures.

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So enjoy as much as you can the summer break, even if it is cold and raining (as in some parts here in Europe). Make the most out of it. You don’t get so many chances for real breaks from daily life. If you’re lucky you might come back refreshed and with new ideas. You might even reconsider getting rid of some of your daily routines. After all, most of them might hinder you of realizing what you really want to do. The dreams you had for a long time.

And if you’re a list maniac, consider throwing away some lists too. Not everything in life should be planned in advance. Allow some chaos in your life.

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..

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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.

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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.