Now is the right time for mistakes

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In one of my previous posts I referred to daring decisions and how they can help us to overcome our fears (https://weirdlifestyle.com/2021/06/04/how-to-overcome-your-fears-through-daring-choices/). When I wrote that post, which was actually just a few weeks ago, I had no idea that I was about to make another daring decision. Although, I think I wrote it because I had a hunch or something.

I knew for some time now that I was doing something wrong with my life and I desperately needed a change. The thing is that with everything else going on at the same time I could not realize where and what was actually that that was the root of my problem. Financial insecurity, lockdown psychological side effects, long term work from home with the least possible human interaction. I think everything had something to do with it. 

The daring choice

I was working at the same company for more than 12 years now. The reason I say “was” is because I decided to quit last week. I know what you must be thinking about. She just mentioned financial insecurity just a few sentences back.  

Yes, financial insecurity still exists. I did not win the lottery or something.

The thing is that I was in this job for 12 years and realized that some things will never change. I will not suddenly wake up one day and love a job that I physically hated all these years. It is a job that gives me too much pressure and stress and I get no joy out of it at all. Not only I don’t get joy but I am even underpaid for what I offer. No, it just isn’t worth it.

The future plan

Honestly, I need to take some time away from working, at least in the same kind of industry. Maybe I will try something new that I like and get some joy out of it. I don’t know.

Do I worry?

Of course I do. But you know what?

The minute the words “I resign” came out of my mouth, I felt like a huge weight was removed off my shoulders.

I think the feeling shows something about the impact this job had on me. 

Maybe whatever new I try will turn into failure. Maybe I will eventually prove wrong and have to get back to work for the industry I hate just because I have to make a living somehow.

Yes, maybe.

But what if maybe I manage to find something that makes me long for working on it. What if I find something that might not offer me lots of money or recognition but gives me joy and makes me happy?

I mean, life is short and we will all die eventually. Why shouldn’t we at least try for this little time we have available on this planet to make it something more than just surviving?

After all, if I don’t take action now, when should I?

And what if it turns into a mistake?

At least I will not have to wonder what would have happened if…

A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.” Albert Einstein  

The tyranny of excellence

I don’t know how many of you are able to make a living out of your writing. However, I don’t. Actually in order to make a living I work in a company which implements Information Technology related projects to several customers. I am the analyst, the developer, the project manager etc in every project I am involved in. Is this a good practice you might ask? If I have to be honest the answer is definitely no. But this is not the subject of this post.

Well, this last month of my life turned out as a living hell to me. And let me explain. 

I was assigned to implement a project which was of really high standards. A complicated algorithm which everybody else seemed they were trying to avoid in every possible means. But, no, not me.

I thought that no matter how complicated something is, I could just try to break it down in smaller pieces and reduce the level of complexity. And that is what I did. I had completed almost 85% of the project and it was working as expected. There was only this 15% missing and the project would be successfully completed and delivered to the customer.

Sometimes you just are not enough

I was working on this for more than two months. Constantly trying to squeeze my brain, break the big problem to smaller ones, thinking of ways to overcome each one of them and produce a solution. I was really happy about it and my superiors were happy with the results. 

Until one day I just could continue working in the same rhythm. I might have gotten tired, I might also have had other personal problems that were just distracting me from the project. I also had some health issues that were considered as more important, since they were.

The struggle with myself

The thing is that I did not want to admit that I was going through something like this, that I was unable to produce results. I wanted to convince myself that I could continue working as I did for so long. I got extremely stressed. I could not think of anything clear and make a good decision. Even when talking with others about the project I had a feeling that there was a black sheet in front of me and I could not hear, see or process anything that was discussed. 

I started having those terrible headaches and in order to make it through the day I had to take 4 painkillers a day. My heart was beating like I was constantly running. At night I could not fall asleep. These last few weeks the maximum night sleep I could get was 2 hours. And even within these 2 hours I would jump out of bed due to dreams or thoughts related to this 15% of the project that was missing.

I was longing for the weekend to come when I would finally find some time away from everything. I thought that I would use this time in order to relax and take my mind out of it.

But, I didn’t. Instead of that, I spent those two days fighting with myself because I was not good enough. No matter how much help I might have been provided I just couldn’t finish the project I had started. My head was ready to explode and my nerves were stressed to their limits. I was crying every time my thoughts went there, which was almost all the time. I even called my director on Sunday afternoon to submit my resignation, just because I could wait until Monday morning.

I was advised to take some days off just to relax and take care of myself. This is what I am still doing until I get my final decision.

Now that I think about all these I had to go through, I realize that my expectations for the excellent performance of myself were the ones that actually caused my problem.

Why did I have to put myself into this?

And ok since I did, when I realized that I could not proceed anymore why didn’t I want to admit that I just couldn’t?

Because I was afraid to admit that I was not enough.

Sometimes we just are not enough, and you know what? I think it is OK!

We should not struggle and make ourselves suffer. Our body sends us a message and we should be able to hear it. When we try to ignore it we make it even harder to deal with.

We are humans. Most of us are mediocre. And that is also OK. Thinking that we must be excellent in whatever we are working on could be just an illusion. Could be just a way to make us suffer because we realize that we are not excellent at all.

Do you try to perform excellently in whatever you work on? How often do you make it?

How do you react when you realize that you cannot make it as good as you thought you could?

How to Overcome Your Fears Through Daring Choices

Let me start this post with a personal story of mine.

The story begins almost 20 years ago. It was before I had my final exams to enter university. It was then that I had a bad accident and had to spend 3 months in hospital with my doctors questioning whether I would ever be as I used to be and whether I should ever walk again. It all happened around Christmas and my final exams to enter University were in June.

As you can easily understand, I was not in the condition to take those exams. However, I did. As expected I scored really low. I did not take those exams at the time because I thought that I might get a high score. I did it because honestly I was terrified that I might not even be able to get to the exam center. I was afraid that even if I finally got there, I might not be able to climb up the stairs to the first floor. That I wouldn’t be able to write at least those few things that I had managed to study, and that would happen because I would get too tired sitting on a chair for too long. My physical condition was really bad back then.

Once I finished the exam, I felt exhausted, but so happy for myself just because I did it. I went there, climbed up the stairs and took those exams. I could have decided  not to do it. I was excused. But at the time it felt like I would be giving up if I didn’t. It proved that even if my score was low I managed to be accepted in one school. It was of course one of my very last choices but it still was one school of my choice.

The school was “Landscape architecture” but I decided not to attend it. Lots of things would have been much different if I had attended it. But I didn’t. I decided to take the exams again next year, as I did, and entered a school that was my third choice. Computer Science and Digital Communications.

It was a year and a half after my accident, but I still hadn’t recovered completely. The school that I entered was 450 Km away from my home city. My parents were terrified even at the thought of me moving so far away. I was still in need of medication and medical supervision. Who would be cooking for me? Who would be looking after me?

Well, they were right. Moving so far away from home and living alone at the age of 18 and having all the issues I had at the time, ment only one thing. That there was nobody else to take care of me, but me.

I have to admit that at the beginning it was hard and scary. I knew nobody. I had never been to this big city before and I had no idea where everything was. I felt like the fish out of the water.

At this point I have to mention that in my home town is situated one of the biggest universities in the country. And as a matter of fact, it also has the same school I entered back then. The thing is that I never chose the school that was near. Not because it was not good enough for me, but because if I stayed I would not have become good enough for me.

All the schools I chose back then were at least 300 Km away. I wanted to challenge myself to do all those things that my parents were afraid of. I wanted to challenge myself to do all those things that I was terrified of.

There was a chance that they would prove right. There was a huge chance I would be unable to manage it on my own. It could have been a wrong decision, a mistake. Maybe I would have to give up and move back home. 

But I didn’t. I stayed there, I fought and finally made it. All by myself.

4 Steps to Overcome Your Fears

1. Identify the fear

What is that that is causing you fear? To me when I decided to take the exams for the first time was my bad physical and medical condition. The second time was the fear of the unknown. The fear that I will not make it on my own.

2. Identify the logic behind the fear

Is this fear a logical fear or something else? For me when I decided to take the exams for the first time I was afraid that I might collapse during the exams, but it was a logical fear since I was still in really bad condition. I also used to be afraid of heights but this is a phobia not the kind of fear I am talking about. My second fear, the fear of the unknown, had no actual logic behind it since if you think about it better every single day of our life includes the unknown.

3. Create a safety net

Let us be reasonable. I would never suggest you jump out of an airplane without a parachute. Even at the most daring choices you must have a little plan in case everything is fucked up. For my first fear of collapsing, what I made sure of was that I took my exams in a special examination center for kids with health issues. This meant that there was an ambulance in front of the building and a nurse inside each class, just in case something happened. It was a reasonable fear and had to deal with it accordingly. For my second fear I just believed a bit more in myself and showed some trust in the universe. Ah, and also tried to find doctors and health check centers within the first week I moved, also just in case…

4. Take that daring decision and trust yourself

Nobody knows if a fear can be left behind until they actually try! If you know what is that that you are afraid of and why you are afraid of it you can start creating your safety net. Once you are done just do it! Worst case scenario you will just fall on your safety net. Best case scenario …..Who knows?!

Looking back at my story I am so glad I made those choices. 

Yes, fear of the unknown is huge and always our decisions might turn out as big mistakes, but, what are we if we do not make mistakes? If we do not make hard decisions that might change our life forever? If we don’t push ourselves to our limits?

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~ Mark Twain 

What about you?

What was the most daring choice you had to make in your life?

5 things you should know about me

1. Lots of people think of me as weird

This is why I gave my site this name. There are not many who can relate with me, but those few who can know that they will love me as much as I know that I will love them. I think it is mostly my lifestyle that does not follow the “normal” or common way of living for people my age. I am a woman in my mid thirties in case you are wondering. I will elaborate further in next posts.

2. I think of myself as an Introvert

I am not a social type of person. I like spending time on my own. In fact, I love spending time on my own. I call this time precious. Who else could be a better company for myself than myself? Actually, there was a big period of my life that I had no other choice than to spend it completely on my own and I realized that I am perfectly ok with that.

3. My friends are family

Yes, I have friends and I actually love them. When I decide to spend time with them I do it because I actually want it, not because I don’t want to be alone.I have written another post about how much I appreciate my friendships (https://weirdlifestyle.com/2021/05/15/8-great-quotes-about-friendship-how-they-made-me-appreciate-even-more-the-value-of-friends-in-my-life/ ).

4. Passion for words and literature

I love reading and writing fiction. For many years I used to read all the classics like Dostoyefski, Tolstoy, Dickens etc. It was the last ten years of my life that I started reading Stephen King and I fell in love with his writing. Of course I keep reading other writers but he is and I think he might always be my favourite.

5. Positive no matter what

Even in the worst circumstances I rather focus on the positive side. Even when I am really sad I try really hard to paint a smile on my face. It might not fix anything but it will make me feel a bit better and I know that everything starts on how we feel.

I will end this post with some famous words about being weird which in some way inspired me to start working on this blog.

I think everybody’s weird. We should all celebrate our individuality and not be embarrassed or ashamed of it.” Johnny Depp

I never set out to be weird. It was always other people who called me weird.” Frank Zappa

I am weird, and you know what? That’s OK. So are most interesting people.” Em Bailey, Shift

8 Great quotes about friendship: How they made me appreciate even more the value of friends in my life

One of the things I love reading is quotes. I always thought of them as a collection of wisdom. I would like to share with you my friends some great quotes I found about friendship and how I interpret them.

1. “Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.” – Anais Nin  

I feel so grateful that I was able to find people in my life that made me realize aspects of my personality and character. Those amazing people that are my friends came along and helped me evolve. A different perspective, a different background, even different habits are all valuable gifts that introduced me to a whole new world.  

2. “A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.” – Walter Winchell  

There were times in my life that everything around me went from bad to worse. Even my own family had no words to support me anymore. The only thing that they kept telling me was that I failed. That I had to admit it and I should just give up. Only two people in this world insisted that I should hang on and they kept helping me no matter what.

3. “Life is partly what we make it, and partly what it is made by the friends we choose.” — Tennessee Williams

I am the one who makes the choices for my life, and of course my friends are also part of my choices. They are there to support me and to help me evolve. Who I am and the way my life has turned out is also the friends I have chosen to accompany me in this ride.

4. “A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words.”– Donna Roberts 

There are times that the everyday struggle to survive holds me back from all the things that are important to me. It is then that I tend to forget all those things I should be grateful for. All those things that make me feel happy. I tend to be overwhelmed and frustrated, full of nerves and stress. A good friend is always there to remind me what I am fighting for. Is aware of my goals and when he realizes that I seem to lose my way is alway there to help me find my way again.

5. “True friendship comes when the silence between two people is comfortable.”
— David Tyson Gentry 
 

Being with a person who is truly your friend means that words are not necessary. You can just be there and enjoy the presence of the other person. It feels like magic. You don’t feel the need to talk, but yet you know that you are not alone. There is no need to break the uncomfortable silence because there is no uncomfortable silence. 

6. “You can kiss your family and friends good-bye and put miles between you, but at the same time you carry them with you in your heart, your mind, your stomach, because you do not just live in a world but a world lives in you.”— Frederick Buechner

Life itself often separates me from dear friends and family. There are times that I might spend even years away from a good friend. But, no matter where I am, no matter how much time has passed since I last saw him, there are still things I say that make me think of his reaction. There are jokes I say and think of how they would make him laugh. And when we meet again, it is always as if we were together just a few hours ago. Oh, time is so relevant when you think of loved persons that you always carry with you in your heart.

7. “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one” – C.S. Lewis  

Haven’t you felt that there are times when you meet somebody and you somehow know that you will become friends from the first moment you start talking? This is because we recognize part of ourselves in his /her words. We know how to communicate, and even if we don’t always agree on everything there are those little things that we used to think of as our things which when recognized to another person is the beginning of a new true friendship.

8. “Intimacy is the capacity to be rather weird with someone – and finding that that’s ok with them.”  — Alain de Botton  

When you are with a true friend you feel this kind of intimacy. There is no need to suppress yourself. You can be exactly the person you are, even if it means that you are not what most people call “normal”. True friends are there to accept you just the way you are and that is what they do. 

Do you have a favourite quote about friendship?

I would love to read your thoughts.

The little story of my relationship with this weird thing called writing

Ever since I remember myself I was fascinated by these little things called letters. Even my first memories at age of 3 or 4 years old include me trying to draw letters. It felt totally magic that those little pieces of drawings on a piece of paper would have their own sound. That they could be combined in so many different ways. That could be structured side by side like an army of soldiers ready for battle. That even their presence there could drive my imagination so far away that nothing else could. 

Yes, I was a strange child. I even hated books with drawings or photos. I only loved books full of words and nothing more than that. I did not like anything that could drive my imagination at one specific direction only.

As you can imagine when I was finally able to write full sentences using the basic staff I had learned, I started writing fairy tales. It was a need. I needed to know that I could use the army to create my magic world. That was at about the age of 8 years old.

While growing older I adopted my older brother’s reading habits. I have to mention that he is 10 years older, so when I was 10 he was 20. He was an adult who had long ago started questioning everything and went far beyond of what you can call “children literature”. 

To me it was a fascinating new world. Strange, but so much more interesting. I remember reading Dostoyevsky’s “Crime and Punishment” at the age of 12 and Nietzesche “Zaratoustra” at about the same age. The years that followed, until the end of my teen age, my writing became what I can call the process of understanding myself, my relationship with others and all the changes I was going through. It became more experiential and philosophical.

During my college years, since my basic studies involved IT, I used writing as an escape. IT is pure logic and rules that need to be followed to get from A to Z. I felt trapped in a big joke and had to write to save myself. Years after establishing my position and had a steady income I decided to follow my heart. I took a Master in Creative writing and I finally studied something that I honestly enjoyed.

My relationship with this weird thing called writing is my only steady relationship. I am in love with words. I am in love with thoughts that can be translated to words. I am in love with all the imaginative worlds that I can get lost inside.