#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?

 

____

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

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#why my (bloody) comfort zone is not increasing

This January I looked back at the last year and was wondering how many times I had managed to leave my comfort zone. Not many I guess. Wouldn’t bother to count, because it wouldn’t add up. Why? Well, for a starter: because I was afraid to fail. Not that I’m afraid to fail for my own sake. I just don’t like the idea that others will see me as a failure.

Not having left my comfort zone, means also that I haven’t made many new experiences. Last year. My inner self is screaming that I didn’t achieve more. Very loud. So much about resolutions..

What I did last year is to seriously consider “The 15 Minute rule”. It’s basically about procrastination (the chronic disease I suffer from….) and how to take charge of my life. This rule has nothing to do with leaving comfort zones, but should help me getting focused on one thing at a time. I’m struggling when I try to stay concentrated. Maybe I have my own attention deficit syndrome? Add that to chronic procrastination and you get a good picture of how I function. I lose interest. Quickly. Like really quick. In micromoments.

recite-evro26

Why the lack of focus? Of course – with the world at your fingertips and available on screen 24/7 it’s a feeding frenzy for the curious. There is so much useful and nonsense information, fun stuff and mind boggling things around that it feels like a non-stop smørgåsbord. In addition there are all the things to keep track of: family life, friends, work. Going beyond the surface means spending more time and effort to get real in-depth understanding. That also includes finding the actual time to do so.

So maybe I just need to apply my 15 minute rule* more rigorously and stop spending time online. I started already last spring by deleting my Facebook account and that felt really liberating. Now I just need to liberate more of my (online) habits and get more creative and active IRL. Both mentally as well as physically. One step at a time.

One step..

 

*= There’s also a 2 minute rule I came across while writing this blog. Worth looking at.. After all, much, much shorter than 15 minutes and still manageable with my short attention span.

#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.

shaggy

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

#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.