good things that are happening:
- I’m less tired
- I will be sitting in/participating in a youth seminar for three days next week with the possibility of working as a mentor on future seminars, which means a potential source of sporadic employment
- temperatures have risen and it feels like spring outside
- I got tired of walking the same old rounds with the dog, so we took the car and drove somewhere new and it was great – interesting new smells for him and beautiful views for me
- my brother passed his exams and is now (finally!) an architect (on paper, at least)
- I have about ten brilliant ideas of what I want to do with my life every day
bad things that are happening:
… none really, but maybe I should re-phrase…
things I’m not happy about but don’t want to call bad because that would seem like base ingratitude and major whining:
- none of the ideas I have – all of which are fine ideas, practicable, fun, something I’d be good at, something I feel good about – get past the first initial research and I don’t know why not – I loose faith, energy, focus, courage and then the idea just crumples up and goes to die on the graveyard of might-have-beens that is taking up an ever-larger part of my brain
- if I don’t get my act together very soon, I will miss the wedding of one of my best friends, because I won’t be able to afford to fly there and
- I will still be living here when my parents return from their world trip, which is really not something I think I can do
- and I just hate feeling this useless – that although I have years of education, tons of life experience, a good understanding of myself, a supportive family, fabulous friends… I still go to bed every evening and when I ask myself what I’ve done that day, I can’t think of an answer
Sorry. Sorry for being this down. And I’m not even down. I’m furious at myself and disappointed that again, I’ve let a deadline slip past – for a fun project with one of my best friends – without having got the work done in time, even though I really want this project to succeed. WHAT is stopping me? I don’t understand. Any ideas?
2013 is almost a week old already. A lot of people have written about resolutions and plans. I don’t write resolutions, but I felt that I wanted to make some kind of statement to myself. So I wrote wishes on self-made cards and they are turning out to be quite motivating, spread around my desk. And pretty to look at. Amongst them are things as general and important as ‘I want to earn my own money again’, as well as those that are more personal and immediate, like ‘I want to attend Nathalie’s wedding‘. I have also chosen the beautiful song ‘Ends of the Earth’ by Lord Huron as my personal anthem for this year.
These wishes and this song will guide and accompany me. However, there was something still missing. A direction. Something to strive for, to go towards. Then I remembered that author Lynn Viehl, who blogs at Paperback Writer, sets herself themes for each year. I thought about what this could mean for me and I had two words in my head that I was experimenting with and had almost decided for one, when courage came along.
1. the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.
2. Obsolete. the heart as the source of emotion.
definition from Dictionary.com
Courage and bravery are often used synonymously, but they aren’t the same when you think about it. I’d even argue that bravery is a result of courage. So I looked it up in an etymology dictionary and got the following:
courage (n.) c.1300, from Old French corage (12c., Modern French courage) “heart, innermost feelings; temper,” from Vulgar Latin *coraticum (source of Italian coraggio, Spanish coraje), from Latin cor “heart” (see heart) which remains a common metaphor for inner strength.
In Middle English, used broadly for “what is in one’s mind or thoughts,” hence “bravery,” but also “wrath, pride, confidence, lustiness,” or any sort of inclination. Replaced Old English ellen, which also meant “zeal, strength.”
definition from the Online Etymology Dictionary
Isn’t that a wonderful word? Inner strength, heart, confidence, lustiness, pride – all part of this one concept: expressing what is in your mind or thoughts. I don’t know what triggered me to think of courage in the first place, but since I have, I see it everywhere. It pops up in blog posts, in video talks, in discussions with friends, in old diary entries. I think it’s a sign. So I’m adopting courage as my theme of the year.
And because I like to be thorough in these things, I also looked it up in a thesaurus and while some of the synonyms were a little contrived, there were a lot that I really like – amongst them words like boldness, adventurousness, audacity, daring, determination, endurance, enterprise, fortitude, intrepidity, mettle, pluck, resolution, spirit, tenacity and élan.
So 2013 will be the year of courage – a year full of intrepid enterprise, determined resolution and bold adventures. I know it will be – because I’m going to make it so!
Do you write resolutions? Or choose themes? Or maybe an anthem? Or is all of this new-year-new-beginning thing a nuisance and unnecessary anyway?
I’m a miserable failure with the challenges so far. I’ve played with the thought of going out to a café several times, but haven’t done it. I’ve also not been running for longer than a few minutes, with the dog, which is not what I meant. AND I haven’t participated in any official writing challenge. For the second and third, I still have time. The first one, however, I really failed.
Unless you’d allow me to count that I went to our local Christmas market this afternoon with two friends and their little son? And we did end up in our favourite café? And that I’m driving over to a bigger town with my sister tomorrow to do some leisurely Christmas shopping and book browsing? Both of which together in two days is more socializing and getting-out-of-the-house than I’ve done in weeks. Can I chalk that up with the café challenge?
… No? Ah well, alright then. I knew I couldn’t, really. I need to do the running, though, I want to.
Also, unexpected side effect – I’ve been much more productive with my writing in the last week! All in all I have to say that I’m not regretting it so far.
Oh, and I’m also bribing you to not be too harsh on me with the picture of a pretty winter sunrise in the country and that of a very lazy dog (with a very untidy beard).
At least he understands about the running…
I have to warn you: This is not a happy post. Nor a funny one. Nor a helpful one. Nor a pretty one. Proceed at your own discretion. You have been warned.
What I want to say today is the following: Will I ever grow up?
Maybe you are one of those people who believe that growing up is very much overrated and your first reaction right now is to say: ‘Girl, why would you want to? Be glad you’re not grown up!’
Or maybe you are one of those who never had to think about it because your growing up just happened and you’re thinking right now: ‘What are you talking about woman? You’re thirty years old, of course you’re grown up.’ (Okay, maybe you didn’t know my age, but let’s assume you did.)
I used to think that all grown-ups knew what they wanted and had sound reasons for the things that they did. I’m still not fully over the shock of discovering, somewhere in the middle of adolescence, that grown-ups had no clue themselves. They were only figuring things out as they went along themselves, and often they went along blindly. Sometimes I still wish that realization had never happened.
Let’s take a quick look at what being grown up means. Of course, what that really means is that I am looking at what it means to me. And there are two sides to it. There is the emotional, inner side. On that side it means taking responsibility for yourself. Knowing what you want and having a goal. Knowing how to go about achieving it. Knowing yourself. Being secure in your identity. Knowing what are your passions, what are your weaknesses and how to keep each in balance.
Then there is the factual, outer side. On that side it means having a place to live. Paying taxes. Dealing with bureaucracy. Saving money. Taking care of retirement. Having financial stability. Owning furniture, a car, a computer or TV. Having stability. Having a plan.
(I’m leaving out anything relationship-related, like a partner or kids or friends, because that relies on other people as well as yourself.)
I’m afraid of the outer part. I long for the inner part.
Unfortunately, I can’t really get around paying taxes and dealing with bureaucracy, but I can refuse to own furniture or a car or thinking of and planning for retirement – and I do – but I really can’t imagine being without a computer. Half-half, I guess.
As to the inner part… I used to have no idea who I was. I made it up as I went along. I’ve become much better at being honest with myself, listening to my own voice, getting to know myself. Especially the last two years have done wonders for me in that area. I still have problems with knowing what I want, and even more, with knowing how to go about achieving what I want. Or how to be able to stick with it.
Today, more than on any other day recently, I feel like my mind is just a big swarm of flies. Thoughts buzz around, settling again and again on the same spots, only to take flight as soon as I approach. It’s a buzzing, shifting mess and I cannot sort it out. I have new ideas, I have old ideas refusing to die down, and all the while my stomach is fluttering from nerves and the back of my neck is prickling. It feels like I have forgotten something very important. Like I’m about to miss the one and only chance I have. Like I have to step onto the stage and perform and I have no idea what.
I don’t know where I’m going. I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m very busy all day, but when I look at what I’ve done, there is nothing I can show for it.
So my question is: Will I ever grow up?
Or, if you want me to re-phrase it: Will I ever know what I want? Will I ever have a clue? Will I ever wake up and just KNOW?
On Monday I visited Vigelandsparken (Vigeland Sculpture Park) in Oslo. I was there before, years ago, with my family. I can vaguely remember it. I remember we had a lot of fun climbing around the statues and posing with them. I remember I liked it. What I didn’t remember was that it is absolutely awesome and what I couldn’t remember, because at the age of thirteen or so, I wouldn’t have noticed, was that it is a writer’s dream.
The whole park is the design of the sculptor Gustav Vigeland and all the 200+ statues in there are his work. They are all concerned with one topic, and one topic only: humanity. Every expression of every emotion from childhood to old age is represented – from birth to death to birth with everything in between. All the statues are naked, making them timeless and focusing the attention on the feelings and motions. Yes, motions, because hardly any of them is in repose – they are all caught in movement and expression. I dare anyone with the tiniest amount of fantasy to look at those statues and not immediately be caught up in their individual stories! Just watch the slideshow and see…