A Line of Production

Every now and then, I find myself being productive.

It happens not out of preparation, nor is it borne of any guilt, intrigue, or opportunity. And there is plenty of guilt within to motivate me if that actually worked. No, rather it’s an urge, a sudden realisation that I am already within the productive mode and a feeling that, well I’m here now, so let’s just do as much as possible and ride the wave.

This is a magical time where rooms are cleaned, doors and drawers are fixed, overdue appointments are booked, and so on. These periods of being productive take a lot of weight off the to do list, which is great for everyone involved.

I guess this seems like an odd thing to be writing about this week, right? I’m not the kind of person that gets off on getting shit done, which is one of the characteristics which frustrates me about myself. I doubt myself, distract myself, confuse myself, and convince myself that everything will be sorted on another day, at another time, or in another place. So when I’m in the midst of manic productivity, I try and use it to the best of my ability.

One of the few things that I have noticed over the years which sends me into this mode is responsibility. An overwhelming sense of obligation. If my inaction (or action) is going to affect other adversely, I am triggered into it. and God help you if you get in my way once I’m there.

I feel like the reason I’m sharing this thought with you today, is that as much as I hate that I am programmed like this, and despite my efforts to change otherwise, I’ve learned to work with it. When I’m not feeling productive, I do my best to enjoy the downtime. Use it, harness it to recharge, to build myself up for the challenges ahead.

This isn’t a happy story, but maybe a helpful one.

Guise.

Mother

Endless, unwavering love, 

Giver of life, 

Feeding from the spring of existence. 

Dreams made capable, 

Power beholding, 

Your grace and love a pillow on the dreary bed of days. 

Worthless words, 

Juxtaposed, 

Your deeds,  too great for words to know. 

My endless love, 

And gratitude, 

To you, sweet nurturer. 

Guise. 

The First Wall

I think I’ve hit the first wall. 

On the 1st January 2017, I set a resolution. In an effort to train the writing muscle, I decided that I would be posting on a weekly basis. I wanted to achieve something I have never done before, and that was to transition from being an aspiring writer to simply the latter. 

71 days in, the reality of this challenge is starting to set in. 

Maybe it is simply poor preparation this week, or even an inkling of complacency. This week is the first of the year that I’ve felt blank. So what better to write about this week. 

Whilst the challenge feels as though it grows, I believe I can compare it to training cardio. That feeling of hopelessness as the weight of the challenge sets in. Hitting the first wall. 

Feeling like your body is not capable of getting past it. The panic that the feeling will not pass. Fear of suffocation or asphyxiation. 

But then you learn that if you just push past this sensation, this panic and fear, your body finds its second wind. 

So today I’m choosing not to panic. I’ll acknowledge that I’ll hit my second wind, and after that I’ll hit a second wall. But knowing that I just need to push through makes all the difference. 

Guise. 

Decisions, Decisions…

I don’t enjoy being indecisive. In fact it sends me into a self-deprecating cycle of doubt and despair (pardon the melodrama).

It stems from an overarching fear of consequences and hindsight. A fear that at some point in the future I’ll be looking at this decision and think about how clear the answer should have been. 

Irrational yes, but we are not rational creatures. We act out in fits of rage, we curse the uncontrollables, and turn to jelly at the sight of rodents, spiders or snakes. So I’m comfortable being irrational in some parts of my life. 

This is a part of me that I am trying to address, but behaviour does not change overnight, it is a sustained effort over a long period of time. 

One of the worst parts of being indecisive, though, is just how exhausting it is. It isn’t easy playing out multiple decision trees in your head in short periods of time, trying to decide which path is of least damage and best value. 

In the meantime, I apologise for the untimely delay in any decisions that I may cause. 

Guise. 

Rhythm and Blues

Wake Up. Don’t hit that snooze button again. You have a train to catch, or traffic to beat, or ferry to ride. It’s time for work.

Nobody ever told me just quite how it would change. Growing up, you are warned and whinged to about the hassles and stresses of working life. “Enjoy your school days”, or “make the most of uni, they were the best times”, that’s all we were ever told. The details were omitted of the difficulties of adulthood. We assume the details and believe that it all comes down to the stresses of paying bills, and raising a family. I don’t know about you, but I was never warned about the expectations, and THAT is what has been the biggest adjustment to adulthood.

I’m no stranger to responsibility, rather than shirk it off, my personality drives me at it and I thrive on it. Expectations are different however. Expectations from your manager which far exceed either your skill set, formal training, or time capacity. Expectations from your family to be there for them, to not snap at them, keep your patience, and to be the person that they have loved as you grow up. Expectations from your friends to always be the same, smiling, and ever-happy guy they have grown up alongside. Expectations from your partner to be a caring, nurturing lover, a keen listener, and a rock firm support during their tough times. Expectations from society that we will uphold the morale good, not drink to excess, work hard in our career, turn away from drugs, avoid violence, and so on. These expectations are all valid, and it fills us with a great satisfaction when we meet those expectations, but it leaves very little for one to focus on, develop, and grow one’s self, without some of those expectations falling away to way side, leaving us with broken or strained friendships, unfulfilled career potential, a rocky relationship, or a reputation as that family member that nobody can stand to be around.

Nobody warned us of the pressure; nobody warned us of the monotony of working life, and the anxiety that comes with it. Considering the improvement for worker’s rights that we have seen in the last twenty years, it’s fair to assume that this is the best it has ever been. I don’t want to know what it was like for our parents, grandparents, and so on. Ignorance helps me sleep.

So what’s this all about, exactly? Why scrap together 650 words of whingeing about life? Is it about the pressure of a career, the monotony that working life brings, the conflicting expectations drawing and pulling us in multiple directions, or a personal vent at the state of NSW infrastructure? I suppose it’s all of the above. It’s not to say that you or I can’t handle it all, or that we are destined to failure or an asylum. It’s simply that it sneaks up on us. When our career, family, relationship, friendship, health and hobbies come at us demanding the same scarce time that we have to spare, we cannot prepare for this moment. No matter how many warnings our relatives, mentors, and acquaintances offer to us, nobody is ready at that point. We are still young, possibly immature, but ultimately overwhelmed by the spike, in expectations.

Happiness is the key. Either find something you love to do, work for someone amazing or an employer who openly shows how much they care about you, just find something, because I’ve found in recent months, is that happiness makes the darkest days feel bright (don’t you dare say a word about that cliché).

When you find that happiness, make sure you show your appreciation to the person or people who supported you when you found it tough to wake up. When you were pressing that snooze button three too many times a morning, they were your happiness when you needed it most. She is my happiness, and the reason I fought through some of my toughest times. Thank you.

 

Guise