Journey of Life

the place formerly known as control your destiny

Tag Archives: Life

Introspection

When I first started in the financial services industry a friend told me “this is not your talent”. Those words have stuck with me ever since but at the time when he told me this, the title of “Financial Advisor” filled me my ego with pride to the extent that I paid no attention to those words and have suppressed it ever since. At least until now. Those words have come back into my awareness and I am paying a lot more attention to them now. I have come to the conclusion that he was, in fact, right 10 years ago when he told me this. It is not my talent.

I could start a journey of regretting the fact that I have wasted ten years of my life trying to suppress this fact but realise that this will do me no good whatsoever. I have learned a lot in this time (mostly the hard way) and I have finally begun to accept myself for who I am without a fancy job title to validate my own worth in this world. Whilst the need for approval still rears its ugly head from time to time, it is losing its power. I still very much shy away from conflict which I suspect is because conflict poses a potential risk of disapproval which means I still have more work to do.

As for work, I have made the decision that it’s time for a complete change from the dog eat dog world I am in now. I don’t have that attitude of being hungry for the business (a typical management phrase) nor do I want to develop that attitude in the corporate context. The job title means nothing to me anymore and I want a job in which the reward evenly matches the level of responsibility which is not the case at the moment. I want a job where I can switch off when I go home with enough energy left over to focus on finding a way to support myself through writing, art and web design (and whatever else I can add to this list). I know this will take time and this is fine. I have woken up to the fact that there are no “get rich quick” schemes around, unless of course you win the lottery. It is not even riches I am chasing. I just want enough to support myself without having to face the slavery of 9-5.

I know I have a lot to learn which is fine too. I like learning and now that I have let go of the urgency of getting to the finishing line, I can take my time with it while enjoying the process.

I often day dream of a life in which I am supporting myself through working from home doing something that feels joyful and worthwhile and at the same time provides value to others.

I dream of a nice little house by the sea where I can write away while looking at the ocean. I suspect that this kind of view could easily serve as a distraction but I am willing to take that risk.

I have noticed how my views on life have changed, specifically in recent years. I remember a time when material possessions (the big house, flashy cars, all the latest gadgets etc) and social status were goals I dreamed of achieving, hoping that one day it would all become a reality. Now I am more interested in a life where I have the freedom to work on my terms and according to my values and beliefs. I realise that this level of freedom has a price tag that at this point I don’t have the financial resources to acquire. However, this doesn’t stop my desire to work towards it. I also realise that I am still very much depending on employed work and i am sure that once I find a job without the level of pressure I am currently experiencing, I will have more energy left over to be able to work towards this dream.

I am also starting to see the benefits of a more frugal lifestyle where less is more. I have stopped accumulating stuff since I moved back to Oxford and now and again I still feel the need to have a clear out after which I always feel more relaxed and at peace with my surroundings.

It’s funny just how quickly I have grown to love the act of writing. Or has this love for writing always been there? Did I suppress it in my quest to fit in with society? I remember when I was around 6 or 7. I would spend hours in my room pretending I was writing my own newspaper. This was before computers became part of our everyday lives, so I was hacking away on an old typewriter I had borrowed from my Gran. I loved the sound of it and loved watching the words appearing on the paper. It didn’t matter if I was copying the words from an actual newspaper or if I was making it up myself. It was the process and the act of doing it that brought me joy and this is very much the case today. Now I am writing on a laptop but I still enjoy the sound of the keys on the keyboard and seeing the words appear on the screen. Whether or not I suppressed the love for writing for so long is of no importance anymore. I have reconnected with it and it makes me feel good.

Had someone told me 5 or 6 years ago that I would spend the majority of my spare time writing I would not have believed it. That said I did spend a great deal of time creating music which gave me a huge sense of enjoyment and I could happily spend hours doing it regardless of the end result. I gave up on the dream of becoming a musician when I realised that I would never have the courage to actually perform in front of anybody and in truth, I never had the desire to perform anyway. It is the creative process that I really enjoy and it’s the same with writing. It is the actual act of doing it that provides the enjoyment.

There’s still a practical/logical part of me that keeps telling me not to waste my time thinking and dreaming that some day it may lead to more than just a re-discovered passion or hobby. I try my best not to pay attention to this voice and I know he is the part of me that fears change. I am also beginning to understand that he is the one often causing self doubt with the question of how.

I have not got the answers to all of the “hows” but I do know some of the basics required to at least make a start.

  • Conceptually I know how affiliate stuff works and whilst I have yet to fully grasp this, I think this may have a big part to play, at least to begin with.
  • I know I have the ability to write in a way people can relate to, at least to some extent
  • I am good at coming up with ideas but need to learn to follow through on these and not give up at the first hurdle
  • I can design a website from scratch and make it look good. (Well! At least I think so.)

I still have a lot to learn in term of turning a website/blog into a format from which I can generate enough to support myself and I know this will be a journey of work and effort on my part. However, I am beginning to question whether or not I am using a tunnel vision approach in that income can come from a multitude of avenues and does not have to be restricted to just a blog or site. Maybe this is the kind of mindset one develops after too much time in employed work!

I am not expecting anything to happen overnight and I am going to take it slowly.

The point is that writing really is something that, in a lot of ways, have saved me from complete insanity. Even as I am writing this now do I feel more peaceful and grounded than before I started. My shoulders and my neck is aching a bit from having sat in the same position for the past hour as I have been writing this and yet I am still going. Also, I have not noticed the passing of the last hour nor have I felt distracted. To be so engrossed in something that time and space is of no importance, to me, is just pure joy. This is why I want to escape from the prison of 9-5. This is what makes me smile and what makes my heart sing. This is my why.

If you are still with me…Thank you for listening

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Observing and being Present

I often get caught up in my desire and dreams for a different life and reality that I miss some of the little things that happen in my present reality.

I can be very impatient at times and despite numerous reminders I still find myself getting into the “Instant Gratification” mindset of getting to the end result with no regard to the journey there. I know it is the journey that is important and as much as I try to remember and live by this, I fear there are times I forget.

The desire for a different life is stronger than ever which often causes the impatience in the first place. However, I am beginning to get a clearer picture of what my preferred reality may look like as well as what the journey may entail. I know the journey will continue to change and so will my perceived end result. I also know that along the way I will be side tracked and thrown off course, which, i realise is happening right now as this was not really what I set out to write, so let me park the dream for a moment.

As I was walking to work this morning, thoughts were flying around in my head, as is the normal occurrence, but instead of categorising or labeling them as good or bad i decided to simply observe my thoughts as nothing more than just thoughts. See, normally one thought will lead to another and before long I have this whole movie playing around in my mind and more often than not it is not exactly an uplifting type of movie. It did take some effort to just observe without judging or labeling but it was worth it.

I also decided that instead of getting myself worked up or frustrated by the normal dramas at work I’d try my best to accept each situation for what it may be while remaining calm and peaceful within.

As I logged on to my computer at work (usually the first stress of the day based on the number of emails I am usually greeted with) the first email of only three was from a friend (Thanks Viv) and it read:

Easiness:

I am always light and take on no burdens.

I don’t take insults or aggressive behaviour personally.

I know who I am and I stay peaceful and calm

This somehow convinced me that it would turn out to be a good day.

Two other events today made me smile inside and out;

The first one was my first client meeting of the day. It started out pretty normal but we then got side tracked into conversations about writing, blogging, web design, publishing and reading and despite her being a little pushed for time due to work commitments, for a moment we lost track of what she was here to talk about. When reality crept back in we both agreed that talking about financial stuff was a lot less interesting than the other topics we’d covered.

Around lunch time I was told of someone who had come to the office. Someone who had been experiencing some rather serious financial difficulties. However, this was not the reason for his visit (I never saw him) but it transpired that he had just inherited a rather large sum of money which meant that all his financial troubles had disappeared in a flash. This really made me smile, despite the fact that I have no idea who this guy is, but I loved the fact that the universe (or whatever label you prefer) smiled on someone who really needed the help.

It is events like these that I often miss in my normal quest for a better life but I am grateful that I was open to them today.

Searching for Answers

There are times when I seem to be challenged with spells of very low moods. Times when most of my thoughts seem to be of fear and despair for a future that has not yet happened and a future that may never happen, except for in my thoughts.

At times I have some clue as to what causes these moods but at other times their arrival is unexpected and with no apparent explanation.

My usual response or approach to handling these moods is to start searching for a way out of the fog. I never have to search for long before I am presented with a smorgasbord of advice, suggestions, tips and endless how to’s. The problem for me however, is the fact that, while the advice is mostly very good (with some exceptions) sometimes I am so lost in that fog that what’s on offer has the opposite effect, at least for a while. I have come to understand and accept that during those times the only option is to simply ride out the storm until the fog lifts on its own without my trying to control or change anything. I understand this sounds like a defeatist attitude and perhaps it is, but when I am in that space being offered practical advice just doesn’t cut it.

I have also come to accept that my condition (however you choose to define it) is something I will have to live with. I know I could visit my doctor who will no doubt diagnose me with the label of mild depression or something equivalent but how is that going to change anything? Would that kind of diagnosis make it easier to cope with? Would medication keep the feelings at bay? Perhaps, but I am not a fan of medication, which in my view never solves the problem anyway, it merely numbs the symptoms as long as one keeps taking the medication. I prefer to find a way of accepting the feelings for what they are and learn how to live with them.

As mentioned earlier, I don’t always understand what triggers these feelings. Sometimes it can be as a result of tiredness and lack of sleep, at other times it can be a result of the food I eat or the amount of alcohol I drink. It could be a deficiency of certain brain chemicals or a combination of all of them or something entirely different.

I have tried herbal remedies such as St John’s Wort and 5-htp in the hope that it would help. In truth, I have no idea whether or not taking these helped or not. I had a problem with St John’s Wort in that the instructions were to take them three times a day with a meal. This was a problem as I rarely eat three times a day (which could be part of the problem) so I can’t really comment on whether or not it works as I never really tried it properly. A point worth remembering is the fact that I was looking for a quick fix! A magic pill that would take all the pain away! 5-htp had some effect on me. It enhanced my dreams quite dramatically (in a good way) and I found that I woke up feeling rested and refreshed more than I do now. I haven’t taken it for a few months now. As for reducing the spells of low mood, I didn’t experience any real noticeable effects. It may be worth trying again and actually journal how I feel in comparison to now.

However, even if it does work, it is still just numbing the symptoms and not actually getting to the root of the problem. At this point I have no idea what the root of the problem is. I have some ideas that relate to a lack of self love or self esteem but the ideas aren’t clear at the moment. I also keep thinking that I need to somehow go back and remember more about my childhood as this could contain clues. I had a very safe and caring upbringing and did not experience any traumas that could help explain how I feel. I don’t think that I have some deep buried memories of abuse that needs unravelling. On the other hand I do know that I never felt as loved as my younger brother. I often felt he was the son they really wanted and that I never lived up to their expectations. This is a feeling that has stayed with me all my life and something that is worth exploring further.

I am not coming from a point of blame although my favourite poem may suggest otherwise;

Philip Larkin – This Be The Verse

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
  They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
  And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
  By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
  And half at one another's throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
  It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
  And don't have any kids yourself.
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