Kickstarting The Blog

This is the posting, where the blogger usually laments for not publishing anything for a long time, in this case for over half a year, and promises to get more active again. The regret often makes it a bit dull, however, on the other side of the coin lies those, perhaps interesting, reasons having lead to the such a break.

The first excuse is travelling Bali and Australia for 1,5 months. The trip was a success and a bright light of the year in every way. Skipping the darkest time of the year in Finland was naturally out of question earlier. I was lucky having this opportunity and experience on the other side of the globe.

The second excuse is writing intensively something else, to be precise a bunch of poems, over the course of the late autumn and the winter. Instead of  writing I could also say, that the words only came out, which is fascinating and weird. This creative work was therapeutic, engaging and rewarding, but at the same time intense, difficult and ate a lot of energy and time. Kind of pity, that they were written in Finnish, but time will tell, if they get published later somewhere.

The third excuse is a lack of inspiration. Well, so I first wrote here until understanding, that it is actually merely about a lost ability, hopefully not facing, but at least exposing the reality. I surely would like to have some spectacular news, plans, endeavours, a new studying place in mind or an announcement about a cool start up. Instead, during blog silence I may have actually a few times sailed through some of the darkest waters since quitting the job a way over a year ago. So, for months I did not even open the blog page.

This last point about facing the reality reminded and demonstrates once again, what exactly is one of the hardest things to learn and to execute with the blog and in life. Kickstart My Heart and the project live only through pure honesty to the self, being direct and relatively open (I say relatively, as you won´t shout aloud all about you, right?) Any acting or showing the things proceeding either better or worse, than in reality, would be fatal both to the blog and to the entire endeavour.

“Fake smiles, pretended cries, a few white lies and everything dies.”

What also eventually drives me returning to the blog is, that it clearly has a great value in terms of connecting with the people. Within one year I have already got new friend(s) because of it and with many existing friends the relationship has gone into a deeper level. Even during these months of not being active, the blog has (in&)directly led me to a couple of new interesting and lovely people.

This leads me repeating the two simple lessons learned. Lesson#1. You got to give something from yourself in order to get something back. This has never been very natural for me, but hey, for example writing a blog is one way of practicing. In reference to the work life theme of the blog, giving something from yourself becomes overwhelming during the times of excess work loads, exhaustion and stress. Lesson#2. We are not working machines, we are human beings and we need time and energy to connect and face each other. Our society still keeps on forgetting this, so, people, we need to keep on reminding!

In Order, Clean Cups For Coffee

The first day at the office. I´m again sitting behind my desk located somewhere in the middle of the open office. Distant voices and an occasional clear word from a few discussions going on somewhere around fly in the air. I´m struggling with the new lap top. There are emails; an urgent one escalated from the top, but not the one, that I´m eagerly awaiting for. A task is on the table immediately on a day one. In the hallway people are speaking in languages, in German, in English, in Finnish.. Then, I´m suddenly at the coffee machine, which wants to give me only dirty, already used, paper cups. There I´m for the first time running in to my bosses and colleagues, who, some smiling, relatively laconically state “Well well, you came back then..” before passing by, some with a coffee in a clean cup in a hand. I´m left at the coffee machine and still receiving more and more only unclean cups.

Instead of interpreting dreams I rather observe them and focus on to the overall atmosphere and the feeling. Certainly details are often fascinating, perhaps symbolic and might sometimes play an important role. Having recently returned to the office and to the old job, or similar, during the several nights is nearly everything, that is worth reporting from the previous couple of months

Disconnected. Lost grip. Stuck. Stagnant recovering. Tautology. Those are some of the words describing the beginning of the autumn. Surely there have perhaps been an enjoyable dance night in a state of flow or I have got endorphin flavoured kicks from outdoor activities on a sunny day, but still, those magical meaningful moments, when everything makes sense and you feel belonging into something bigger, those miraculous chains of events and unthinkable coincidences, which only you know are not coincidences, all those, which arise merely from being instead of doing and makes life a life, have suddenly become too rare.

 

In Order, A New Vision Of Me

The last couple of postings have been a step towards positive and energetic direction. Truly so. There are occasional sensations about the desired state of being in the future; a small idea, where I want to go and I have had the  first few moments of belief, that it really might be possible to get there.

Believing, however, is challenging, because the aim is something I don´t have an experience about. This break from a hectic life style is not only about a recovery. It is not about returning to where I was. It is not about bringing a life, a mind and a body back to the state they have been earlier in my life. It is about something more, what I can only imagine at the moment.

edf
Imaging an unforeseen destination and preparing for a journey.

Before jumping off I had been floating and drifting for a long time. Then when you drown, the first step is surely to get back to the surface to have some breath. When I left the work I could not have real practical thoughts, plans or hopes for the future; I rescued myself from sinking. But this time only reaching the surface to continue struggling won´t be sufficient. I want an uplift. So, where is it that I´m going, do I know now exactly, what I want to do in the future? No. But what I know and what I for the first time believe is achievable, is something more crucial; a vision about what kind of a person I would like to be – The New Uplifted Vision Of Myself.

Aren´t we slightly annoyingly asked already as a children, what will you do (i.e. meaning particularly a profession, when you grow up? (I had said a janitor, when I was three) Perhaps we should merely ask, that what kind of a persons we want to be? What kind of a characters we really would like to hold? What kind of a life we overall want to have? How do we want to express ourselves? A least I hadn´t too much idea about these type of questions when turning from late teenager to a young adult. Did I at that time or ever really envisage what kind of a life style would be the most suitable for me? No. Despite overall pretty healthy habits, numerous sporty hobbies and I guess in some ways a fresh appearance; have I really listened to my body and respected its limits? No, still learning it. Despite all the studying, various physical and artistic hobbies, readings, philosophising and being interested in self development and whatever; have I deeply understood and set real goals concerning; What kind of a mindset I want to develop and maintain, What kind of energy I want to spread around, What kind of relationships with other people I want to have, How to be more self-aware? No, not enough, especially at younger age. Now all these and several other related questions and topics require my new or updated responses before going forward.

edf
Direction plus Destination equals Vision

So, my vision is still under construction, but it´s getting a shape. As some people around seem to be near to what my vision might become, why not to use them as breathing examples? These persons, a source of inspiration to me, seem to have most of the following qualities and characteristics; they have time; are well rested, healthy, present, eager, creative, passionate, energetic, not anxious but relaxed, and intuitive; they find meaning and want to contribute. I might miss a few things from the list and also the areas, where I don´t have an “issue” naturally get less attention. It is no necessary nor fundamental to have every detail included and in place, but what I think is essential is, that you have a vision of yourself, you continuously work on it to have it always up to date, you believe in it and keep on chasing it! What is your vision?

From 2017 To 201X -Crystallising Values And Growing Into A New Person?

I had recently an interesting discussion with a CEO for a small-mid-size company. This senior leader had also earlier pursued a successful career in global companies leading big international organizations and surprisingly let me know, that she had had a full year recovery break at that time last decade. We shared together two experiences; leaving, ok maybe too late, but just on time before running into a more severe situation and longer recovering process (both had seen examples also of that); and that half a year is still a short time on a leave. She even mentioned seeing now herself as a bit of a jerk before the accident, but staying on a leave for a year provided the time to crystallise values and grow into a new person.

Another interesting detail of the discussion was, that according to her in recruitment situations an applicant, who has had a burnout and had therefore some time off from work is not nowadays too rare and is actually as competitive as anyone else. “Those applicants, who have been on a leave have learnt their limits, so it can not be seen as a minus!” Sounds like good news in terms of my future, but raises serious questions. Is this becoming a norm already? What kind of a (work) life have we built?

Hmm, I guess I´m about have a new line item on my CV: –From y2017 -> To y201X – Crystallising values and growing in to a new and even better person! Recruiters, what would you think about that?

Letting Some Light In

otk office
A sunset through an office window close to the midnight at a previous midsummer 2016. Can´t complain about the views!
edf
No windows nor Windows with the midnight sun this year!
edf
I received a couple of comments, that maybe the blog needs next something else, than such a serious discussions and topics like anxiousness, stress symptoms, recovering..
sdr
Agree, most of the postings up to now have been written in a dim of the night and deal with a bit of a shadowy side of life.
edf
However, right now, I also feel it´s time to let the setting sun shine..!
sdr
Then breath and look around…
sdr
…and learn, how the same surroundings, yet with different eyes, can feel..
edf
..positive and energizing..
sdr
..enjoyable and relaxing..
edf
..beautiful and peaceful!
edf
With bright eyes you reach to the sky..
dig
..and to the sun!
edf
Evidently, you can get it and hold it..
edf
..and become one with it!

Kickstart In Public – About Writing, Blogging and Cracking The Identity

It is not so many years ago since I for the first time in my life started writing in to a private “diary”. Well, not like in a real diary on a daily basis nor regular intervals, but continuously just about my own thoughts, experiences, a bit of an history from childhood onwards, fears, accomplishments, values and so on. In the beginning it was not an easy bite to write something honestly on the paper about myself, even if it was for my eyes only. But as everyone, who has done it, knows, how eye opening and liberating it can be and how it can be one of the best ways to learn to know yourself better and to clarify your mind.

clearing sky near salmisaari
Writing helps clearing the sky sometimes.

Writing in public is different from writing in to a private diary. I don´t have a lot to say about it yet, but that is an experience I wanted to have. Naturally it might not be for everyone, but I believe, that for some people it can be an opportunity to grow and learn. Creating and presenting. Giving something personal from yourself to the outside without caring, what someone might think, or might not think. If only one person finds help, encouragement, inspiration, gets pushed to think more or differently, publishing the blog has already been worthwhile.

The blog was started first only for myself. I´d create it, write a few postings and see how it feels. At some point I made it public and shared slowly one by one to a few people, who seemed to have an interest or relation to all this. Here I had emphasized, that I’d just provide the link, but it´s no one´s duty to read a single word and I expect no comment nor any feedback. However, as the topic is close to the heart, I´m naturally very open for a discussions, many of which have already taken a place!

Writing something personal in public was in the beginning as big step as was writing the first rows in to a private diary. I have wanted to remove the entire blog for a several times, when I have felt, that it is too much of whining, no-brainers and a load of crap, and I’ll be classified as a weirdo. I’ve also been afraid of endangering future career opportunities especially in a case I have to, or I want to, return to the old career path.

Publishing Kickstart My Heart to the wider audience a couple of weeks ago was a tough decision and it took time to gather the courage to do that. The blog serves as a landmark, a tool and a log for the kickstarting process. Inside I might have known since the first writings, that I should make it public, but something was hindering. Only after publishing I understood, that the issue was a fear of breaking the identity. According to logic and idea here the identity means our own inner identity and as importantly the identity and a picture we present outside. Your true self lies underneath the layers of identity and when your identity doesn´t correspond to what lies underneath, we adjust. The adjustment can happen automatically, consciously or somewhere in between and all almost at once or more gradually during the longer period. The adjustment can be done or supported in a million ways and methods, one of them being my current approach with the blog; writing and publishing unexpectedly something bit softer, philosophical, creative and even radical in order to break the old identity. Apparently braking the old identity inside-out partly through the blog was in this case one prerequisite for at some point starting to build a new one.

stairs montmartre
A blogger exposes herself step by step and without knowing, who is watching.

Why to write a blog concerning this journey? Struggles in a work life and in a wrong career paths, stress, burnouts, downshifting and all kinds of life changes seems to be slightly a hidden, but a common theme within a peoples´ lives and minds in a western world. Many talk about these things, but as far as I´ve seen not so many actually does something about it. In my case I felt I had to do in order to save myself before ending into a more severe situation. Who knows, if this jump over the edge might also interest somebody else and make even a small effect in the world.

What additionally supports writing now and from this experiment is a time resource. If I can´t find time to try blogging and write a postings right now, when in a life would that be? By the way, writing really takes more time, than you would first think and thus my appreciation towards writers is increasing. Hopefully my writing gets faster, I think it already got. One enjoyable creative aspect with the blog is also an opportunity to utilize my own photos, some new, some from the archives.

beach trees bench
Writing takes its own time and space.

A language in the blog is English (or ”midnight-English” as I call it). It´s not a native language and I often write relatively fast at night, so the text might be far from perfect in that sense and I know it. However, by choosing English instead of Finnish I feel like getting in to a “universal” mental state, where I´m writing for the much wider audience, for half of the world, not only for the family and a few friends in Finland. Secondly, there are a bunch of people and ex-colleagues around, who have now a possibility to read the blog too. The third point is, that writing in English is a good practice and a way for maintaining the language. One thing I truly miss from my jobs was internationality and also a possibility to use a foreign language every day.

The name Kickstart My Heart came from the farewell concert of Mötley Crue, a rock band to which I never paid attention and a not very good song itself is totally about something else, i.e. girls and fast cars, than this blog. Anyway, the TV, which still worked at that time, was opened for a few minutes while writing the first posting and was trying figure out a good name to the blog. After hearing the name of the song, I realized, that I had found, what I was looking for!

Freedom and Anxiety

The main discovery after being 3-4 months outside a work life is a general anxiety. And restlessness. In the morning it is often hard not to start thinking immediately. Thinking of some free time activities, normal “duties” related to house or car keeping, a growing list of friends and relatives not contacted nor visited. Before even noticing a hand already wants to crab a mobile device or a lap top get stimulation for the brain, even if I´ve been trying to avoid extensive amounts of social media and especially regular news at some extent for years. And in the evening then? Often the same story. Worrying. That´s what it also is. Sometimes about small stupid things, not always related at all to the expected main item: What on earth to do with my life now after resigning?! During the days it´s easiest to keep yourself busy. Despite getting rid of the job, there is still something underneath to be discovered, learned and tackled. Or learning to stay still without trying to continuously unconsciously tackle something. I´ve received a feedback, that the change on my presence during these few months is clearly visible, which I´m happy about. But why to still keep your mind in an anxious mode? Without the extra weight from the work, this anxiety doesn’t crush and endanger health, but it is there. I couldn´t expect finding out something like this and that realizing such a simple thing would take months!

IMG_20170507_211028.jpg
”Nice, you´re going the summer cottage on Sunday evening, while others prepare for a work week!” 

Sometimes, not that often, but like this morning, the anxiety is closer to a panic. Then the source is more focused on to the above mentioned “big” item. A head is exploding from the thoughts like: what the hell are you doing, you quit just for nothing, you have no plans.. Except this magnificent idea, that a sufficient time of freedom, rest and drifting will eventually automatically provide a guidance. Are you abandoning a profitable career, where you could make a comfortable living, just like that? Where can you actually use all your great ideals and thoughts, isn´t it just enough of money in the end what a human nowadays in practice needs? When I nowadays recognize these moments and days I try to let the thought come and hopefully go asap!

One interesting and a slightly harsh view to the topic is from the article describing how the main driving force of our time in work and in life is anxiety. In the first stage of capitalism/industrial age a dominant reactive affect holding it together was Misery of the working class. It was fought back e.g. by strikes and political organization to ensure a social minimum. In the second stage from the world wars onwards the control strategy switched from Misery to Boredom; life was more secured, but people escaped boredom resulting from a simple repetitive work and life to ”a work-consume-die-cycle”. In the current third stage of industrial age the necessities of life are available, but withheld conditionally. We experience omnipresent surveillance (schools, workplaces, even in a private life). We live the time of individualism and loneliness. Communication is mediated. Anyone is disposable at anytime; especially at work. We are safe, however insecure. The public secret, what everyone knows, but no one admits, according to the article is, that we are all Anxious. I can truly relate to all this and feel it too. Thinking, reading and listening too much about politics, societies, environment, how things are developing in the world and also trying to understand as much as possible doesn´t have the most relaxing effect.

colouring book 1m flowers
Being creative fights anxiety.

Last Sunday evening after the training a friend asked me for a beer. I was busy as I was heading to the country, to a summer cottage for a couple of days. This was the first time ”travelling”, going somewhere out of home, during the working week this year. A friend responded: ”Nice, you´re going the summer cottage on Sunday evening, while others prepare for a work week!” True. On that evening and during the next day I tried to be aware and sense how does it feel to be free from duties. At the same time I was and I was not able to fully enjoy it. Despite feeling all the above mentioned aspects of anxiety it naturally was twenty times better and more convenient Sunday than earlier.Those evenings used to be pretty tough for years. The worst times during the last couple of years I could not enjoy Sundays at all due to a starting work week and for example hardly slept a few hours on Sun-Mon nights. At some point for a short while I started being afraid of those terrifying Sundays already on Saturday and could not anymore enjoy or recover during the whole weekend. Sounds ridiculous. A people in this world have also real problems, right? They are dying for hunger in Africa and in wars in Middle east! What is sitting in a office for five days, every week, every month, every year, compared to that? I don´t know. One friend, who apparently has worked with herself quite a bit, said once: ”If you have a peace, it doesn´t matter what you do, you can work with and do whatever, if you have peace” Might be so, but then I´m not there yet. Evidently one can be free and yet anxious, but does this mean, that it´s also possible be imprisoned and in peace? I wouldn´t accept that as a permanent state of being, but I guess finding peace first would enable setting yourself free quicker.

cottage terrace
What is your prison? Where is your freedom?

 

Innsæi – The Power Of Intuition

This posting is heavily inspired by an Icelandic documentary Innsæi, The power of Intuition I just saw and also by the discussion initiated by the previous writing concerning of the relationship between intuition and fears. Already before this film Iceland had a bit of special vibe on me and was popping up here and there, and I´m actually going there next month. The creator of the film had had an international dream job at United Nations, but still felt, that something fundamental was missing from her life. She had ended up having a burnout at a relatively young age and decided to quit. She found herself investigating intuition and came up with this film. Inspiring story!

Intuition sounds fascinating in today´s fact based world. A controversial part behind the leading thought of this blog concerns about following the intuition. Writing is also a counterweight for all the years filled with making analysis and calculations based on logical thinking (which are interesting as well and of course needed to run the society).

sea-green-madeira
“Innsaei” can mean “the sea within”; the borderless nature of our inner world, a constantly moving world of vision, feelings and imagination beyond words.

The discussion regarding the previous posting I had started from the comment and question; how to differentiate intuition from fears? How can you be sure your decision is based on your intuition, not on your fears? Two aspects come to my mind. Intuition and fear are truly entwined, but according to me the very feature of an intuition is, that it particularly recognizes fears and works independently. Intuition is something stronger than fears. Intuition does not care about fears. Intuitive decision can push you fighting the fear(s), or it can alternatively as well show a smoother path with no fear to overcome. And on the other hand, why couldn’t an intuitive decision actually be affected by some kind of fears? As we know an intuitive decision is not built on probabilities and logic, but is based on your gut feeling. If you have a fear as a part of your gut feeling, perhaps just let it be there, make a decision and we still call it an intuitive one?

Perhaps I live in (a social) media bubble, but feels like intuition is ”in fashion”. Surely there has always been those, who are exceptionally highly intuitive and connected, but still I believe all of us has at least some of it. Intuition has just been overdriven by science, theories, business, numbers, boxes, logic, stress, entertainment.. It has been forgotten and now a few, however an increasing number, of us are rediscovering it. Same applies with (extraordinary) sensitivity, which I have thought is also “fashionable” until I received an explanation, which I also bought. Surely people can be here very different, but I believe most of us have some sensitiveness. We are only stuck and numb in our more or less imbalanced bodies and minds. When you get overloaded by the modern lifestyle, slow down, begin to feel more inside and see brighter outside compared to the majority around, you naturally may consider yourself (extraordinary) sensitive.

rock sea madeira
“Innsaei” can mean “to see within”; to know yourself, and to know yourself well enough to be able to put yourself to other people´s shoes.

My decision of jumping out from the business life included some logic and realities, however looking at only those would have still kept me, where I was. An option of leaving, or still rather changing the company was mentioned with my boss and with the company doctor/psychologist around the time of my burn out leave, i.e. already year before I eventually left. Apparently I was not ready for it at that time and I still think it was a good decision to return in order to get some confidence back and enforce self esteem. However going back in time to the moment; when I knew, that I would resign, well not even resign, but only, that I’d just leave; for me it surely was nothing but intuitive.

In early/mid September we still had a couple of very exceptionally warm days, still like in the summer. The office has a magnificent location by the sea (not logistically though) and in a good weather I had a habit to get fresh air after a lunch or making an afternoon coffee break outside on the docks with small boats. A few times in the summer I even swam there after running to the work from home. So, I really liked the docks, boats, sea and the environment. One afternoon in mid-September I enjoyed afternoon coffee (i.e. in my case “a healthy” diet-coke or pepsi, which helped in keeping going the hard times) a small break by the sea between excel crunching. The summer had suddenly returned for a couple days and today it was exceptionally nice, warm and sunny for that time of a year. The next day I went out again. I had managed doing some good controller work meaning analysis and reports etc. in terms of quality and amount during the previous week and was satisfied, that I could still deliver by high standards.

colouring book sea
“Innsaei” can also mean “to see from inside out”; to have a strong inner compass to navigate your way in our ever-changing world.

So, the sun was still there and weather was warm, like the day before. But what was changed was the wind, it was not as warm, but rather slightly chilly, messaging, that this is an absolute final, the summer ends right here, right now. The same time, I had a strong similar feeling of absolute finality deep in my bones, that I won’t experience another summer in this place. No sunny coffee breaks, not these seagulls, not these waves, no swimming in the morning. This feeling had nothing to do exactly with my work. It was more derived from the place, the surroundings and the space. In this moment I knew; I would go, leave, give up, change direction.

It smelled in the air and in the wind. I did not know how and when exactly, and it took one and half months until I announced my resignation, but the intuitive decision, was not done, but took place, happened, at that moment. Consequences of this intuition you can follow at Kickstart My Heart!

Flowers in Winter – Three Months

Quite a while since the previous posting.. ..so, how is the ”project” proceeding?! I have had relatively peaceful and standard routines at home for nearly three months including quite some physical daily activities, a bit of social life and plenty of time spent alone. A change or a cut to this routine is however bubbling under. During the last few weeks there has been a growing feeling, that sleeping over the winter in the candle light might be coming to its end and it´d be soon a time to crawl out. Maybe a few day trip as a start, some new activity, or something bigger; I´m not sure what, but it is there.

 

lower white
Month#3 Mar: Womens´day photo shoots

Questions about the future plans come every now and then. What are you interested in, someone asked? To be honest I´m not currently interested about anything so much, that I´d like to use most of my time and earn a living with it. Sounds worrying? Feels worrying! A part of the above mentioned weird mood anticipating a break in to the current routine is, that despite being curious and slightly anxious, it clearly at the same time requires patience, especially in terms of bigger moves, saying; “Don´t go hastily after something whatever, instead wait, wait still for the right thing and the right moment!”  So, maybe I´ll just try to continue focusing on laziness, recreational activities, socialising, reading, having a plenty of great philosophical thoughts.. and wait for a while what happens, IF something happens!

 

One interesting, and financially positive thing is, that I received some bonus salary due to a good results a company delivered last year. This money strongly supports my few month ban from all the unemployment subsidies. Should I take this as a positive sign from my decision? I have never received anything but some nominal amounts from the incentive programs and now, when I decided to resign and pay it from my own pocket something like this comes. The first ”thought” (not a thought really, rather some reflex) was, that ye ye now back to that business as money comes ”easy”. The second was, that hmmm, why would I deserve something extra, well it´s not extra, it´s an official company process, but still, many people in the world have much less. And was I even personally performing that good last year, even though I received quite positive feedback. The third thought was, that hell yeah I deserved something from the running early and late, not sleeping, visiting doctors because of the stomach and chest pains and so on..

cof
Month#2 Feb: Capturing Valentines day

I see the bonus case as a kind of ”test”. For many these are probably just regular doubts, that always appear, but I have started calling them ”tests”. When you are taking or have chosen a new path these ”tests” seem to pop up for many of us; sometimes they are really hard, a love letter from your ex or a generous job offer from the company operating in an area you want to get rid of etc., forcing you to think thoroughly your choices.  Perhaps we should learn to have a positive attitude towards ”tests” allowing us to double-check everything once again, or even see them as signs and evidence about being on a right track.

 

valentines tulips night
Valentines..

 

I also assumed, that very introverted times would have been awaiting, when the off-work season started, as others are naturally working five days a week and I´d be free. And for sure it wasn´t even close to my mind, that I might meet a nice lady, who thinks I´m doing a correct move by letting it all go for a while, who would have a possibility and willingness to spend her time also in the middle of the week with a guy having no job, no income, no own house.. ..but with a plenty of time instead! Seems, that various funny things are popping up; let´s take them all as a positive signs!

burst
Month#1 Jan: Flower theme started from the colouring book

Last night I stayed awake due to a weird burst of energy (have an idea why, but it´s another good story..) and in the end before the dawn I lost hope and went to the sofa watching YouTube videos and reading. I also watched how the sun rose, how the first bus passed by, how the people started walking outside with their dogs and then headed towards workplaces and schools. I instead headed back to bed before the noon falling finally a sleep for a few hours.

Sunday Sickness

IMG_20170228_040254.jpgI was sick for over a week. It was, or is as I´m still a bit of recovering, not only a physical, but a mental exercise and test even more than normally due to the current circumstances. I´m not really sure, if I passed. Practising sport pretty intensively all your life teaches how to listen to and observe your body carefully every day, every hour, even every minute.. Probably you also automatically build your identity at least partly on physical fit, wellbeing and outlook. And when there´s something wrong with the physics, it can sometimes feel like a world end. Everything stops and there is no energy for doing or thinking anything, that makes sense. You should let it go and surrender to the virus without thinking about the fun you miss every day. And without planning, that “okay today is spoiled, but tomorrow I´m back in business”, because then when you are not, you naturally get more disappointments. This time I did nearly all that thinking you shouldn’t do and got even more frustrated, depressed, weak, tired..

This time the situation of not having a work or any kind of a life plan is what makes the mental part of “the test” difficult. Positive mood, belief and confidence to the future flew out of the window. Afterwards I can see, that this is natural. Even though there was no alternative to leaving that career path and life at this point, the decision was still kind of intuitive by nature. When you are sick, the feeling of your own intuition gets lost among all the other mental abilities and senses. In a fever, feeling exhausted and without the intuition being present, you might easily start hesitating and having doubts on these kind of decisions, which were not made based purely on “normal” brain logic, or do not follow the standard road. Lesson learned is, that you should consciously ignore the hesitative thoughts and doubts, and keep on trusting your old decisions until you get well and feel strong again (note to myself:)) .

The illness also emphasizes your state as a needless outsider. No one cares about your sickness and inability to participate in daily responsibilities, because you don´t have any. Everyday is Sunday! You almost hope, that “dmn I wish I had a job from which to take a sick leave during these feverish days.” In a personal life side, I found here an opportunity to mirror, how I feel about the way of using these continuous Sundays; am I wasting these days by not doing something “useful”? A good check for yourself is to play a bit with a thought, that you might be wasting already wasted days. This idea of “double wasting” brings quite absurd and meaningless feelings. Am I in a process of necessary recovery in order to find the right path later on and resting, hanging around, reading, blogging, dancing and colouring the adults´ colouring book is exactly what I need? Or should I use the time already for a more goal-oriented self development? Or, should I´ve been doing something following the more normal societal principles like studying or back-packing?

Special and slightly scary feature during the fever was the same stomach pain, which I have suffered many times during the last couple of years. I believe this pain is somehow related to the stress and nerves, because it luckily has nothing to do with digesting. The acute phase in the beginning, when you almost hope, that you die, takes several hours and it often comes with the fever. When the worst pain disappears the stomach gets swollen and sore for a couple of days and it goes gradually soon back to normal. Doctors never found any explanation. The symptoms could refer strongly towards appendicitis, but once a full day of investigations and the final computer pictures at the hospital proved, that the appendix and everything else were fine.

For me these pains stand for strong experience and evidence of my mind-body connection. When I was ordered to the burn-out leave and when the work and stress load were decreased on my return, these pains, as well as the constant four week chest pain, disappeared for a year, until there was one incident again on a last really busy week just before this Christmas and my last days in the office. At that time the overall stress level already was going up as also sleeping was again alarmingly getting worse.

Regarding the current fever and flu I surprisingly received a positive and encouraging diagnosis from my cousin: “Your body now burns and pulls all that old crap out of the system.. ..so this is Good!”  Thanks, I try to take it like that!

Lo(o)sing and Choosing

This week I for first time had to transfer some funds between bank accounts, i.e. from the savings account to the current account. That did not feel like a big deal; not sure, if I should say surprisingly, as I must admit I´ve used to pretty secure life what comes to finances, because most of the time through the working years I have been able to set aside even a tiny part of my monthly salary. This small saving naturally now helps and enables making this kind of experiment of taking a total break from everything. The process of finding out if and when I might be entitled to receive some unemployment allowance is still in process and a few month ban from receiving anything is expected due to the fact, that it in this case an employee was the one, who resigned from his own will. Naturally a state, where more money goes out than comes in can´t last forever and the plan is not to live on other taxpayers´ support in a long term. A column in a main newspaper only a short while ago touched on to this topic distinguishing downshifting (you resign, travel to the far east for spiritualizing and leave running the society to the others´ shoulders) from downgrading (more favourable new terminology, where you contribute more to the society perhaps indirectly and don´t just disappear, but only downgrade). I justify my move also by stating, that I´m actually saving myself mostly with my own money and risk from a probable another burn out leave and perhaps severe health issues. These kind of consequences might get much more expensive to the state in comparison to the some months´ unemployment allowances, provided I´d receive something.

So, instead of buying finally an own flat, or investing in shares, like nearly all the people I know, I´m investing directly to myself, my wellbeing and hopefully for the future! Well, it´s easy to say this, but I feel there was no other choice. Although same time there is this voice from the back of my head repeating, as it from time to time does though lately it has luckily gotten more rare: “No, job, no income, no house, no wife, no family, no car..”  Wait, a car! That I still have and have definitely used to being able to drive around, but I think I´m not lying, when I say I´d be able to sell it if necessary. In the future I might need to give up, at least temporarily, most of the travelling and all the expensive habits and hobbies. Company health care at the private doctors was lost already. As well as a daily social setting at work and regular contacts to international network of colleagues. If the new life would take me to somewhere else from the home town I should be ready to give up frequent contact to some very close people, family and friends.

One slightly inconvenient question about losing things has been; am I wasting the university degree and ten years of valued working experience in a case I´d end up doing something totally different, or being permanently unemployed? Putting it in business language and logic, university and work experience is a sunk cost, which has no effect to the future decisions as such. Certainly, they can be somehow beneficial and serve as an asset, but not the kind of an asset you could get rid of and sell or swap into something else. I have to get used to the thought, that those experience and knowledge may become relatively or partly redundant.

Getting more philosophical, should people at a some point in their lives actually get into a situation of losing nearly everything? Seems like we at least should be ready to give up everything, if we want to live according to our own abilities, moral and values, and also search for our purpose, passion and mission. Only from a far you could see clearly and recognize the really valuable things you have had earlier and those you may then later on  try to return back in to your life and replace all the crap with something better. Possibly many times we in the end perhaps don´t need to lose everything, but we just need to be ready for it? I think I´m beginning to understand most of the above, but I haven´t lived it all through yet.

This week I finally did a small bigger cleaning in the apartment, which has been in mind for two months, instead of a very quick&dirty vacuum cleaning; so I´d say this is a progress in activity level!;)

Questioning and Actioning

Earlier this week I was purchasing an entrance to a gym with the discounted price for unemployed (7euro vs normal 1oe). It´s a barren and unpolished, maybe the most ascetic gym I have seen in capital area, where also quite a few bodybuilders and big strong guys go. The receptionist, a guy slightly younger than me with an appearance matching with the place, chatted with a low voice asking, that where did I work and what kind of a job I´m searching for. I replied and he finished stating with such a great simplicity and confidence “Man, you need to do what you like. That´s the way you can keep on going for a long career. That´s the one and only way for it.”  I felt quite stupid while starting to warm up; of course it´s obvious, he knows it, but here I am, writing this blog..

The discussion at the gym highlights the question I´ve been struggling with along the week; not which topics to touch in the blog, but merely why to write at all, is this purely ridiculous? Why would someone create a blog around this theme, which should be more than clear to everyone? Of course you already from the beginning as an youngster do and work with what you like and where you are good at, and maybe additionally educate yourself into it, right? Right!? Am I the  only idiot in the world, or is it really  understandable and common, that values, believes and behaviours we adapt, or miss to adapt, until we are adults, misguide us in our lives? These things making us partly blind to ourselves have been repeated million times: security, (high) education, decent livelihood, family, money etc.

Secondly, is it justified to complain and get totally imbalance, work already significantly affected to my physical health and mental wellbeing, due to a career, knowing how the things are for a majority of the people especially in the third world? On the other hand, aren´t our experiences and feelings always and only subjective nature? A western world has already for a while been over the break even point, where an increase in wealth results an increased happiness. So it should be understandable, that people get picky, despite the fact, that at the same time there would be a million(s? of) Indians willingly flying here to crunch my excel tables with a fraction of the salary. Also, there is always someone doing worse than me, should I feel guilty about it?

Would be interesting to see some statistics regarding amount of unhappy career or life path choices. There surely is a lot of research done concerning stress, burn out leaves, the usage of sleeping pills and relaxants. Would be also interesting to see some statistics how common it is to switch or totally abandon a career. And, how many have just left like me, without any plan? In a publicity you can only read stories about undoubtedly financially secured former (big) bosses quitting and establishing a yoga center or selling paintings. Okay, maybe also one article describing a smooth career switch or downshifting of almost “a normal” citizen. How about those who fail and remain unemployed, or had to return to their previous career; I just don’t never hear or read about them, or none of them actually exist?!

Well, IF someone failed, even though I haven’t heard from anyone, that one definitely had discovered her unpleasant state of mind and perhaps also body and honestly admitted dissatisfaction. In a best case that one does not anymore blame the world, society, parents or anyone else about the past, but sees the earlier choices being the absolute best with an understanding at that point of time. The first and foremost, that one gave a shot and took an action, learned and experienced something new and grew significantly him/herself as a person! And of course established and wrote a blog about it!