Friday, August 27, 2010

5 Month Update: Ups and Downs of a Rollercoaster Life

My life has been a series of contradictions since I started this blog on my 41st birthday.

I lost my job, but I'm so busy with (unpaid) work that I barely have time to do anything.

I often feel like a failure because I don't know what to do with my life, but I've been photographed and interviewed for multiple magazines, newspapers, and radio shows connected to my hobbies, a big event I organized, and my volunteering.

I say I want to be a novelist and have some grand plans for projects, but I've not gotten any of these projects or my novels started.

It's odd. I still don't understand myself that well. I often put off doing those things that I want most (my dissertation took FOREVER!). For a smart person, I'm awfully dumb about some things.

My house project went back to chaotic again when I was 95% done. That's because we pulled out another whole closet and made a big mess again. Instead of finding places for those last few stacks, I created more stacks from a new project and made a disaster area of our living room. It's discouraging but if I keep going I will be better for it.

For my list of "41 Things to Do Before I Turn 42" I have now eaten a new fruit (see my post on the tamatillo) and today I will be doing some sewing so we'll see how far I get in finishing a complete clothing item. I am also buying the ingredients for Cornish Pasty so that will be another item on my list. I've come close to rolling down a hill but chickened out since the clothing I was wearing and the setting I was in were not conducive to rolling around on the ground. Will need to be in a more informal setting. Still, the thought occurs whenever I'm near nice grassy hills, even when not the best time. I'll let go one of these days and do it.

I can't believe that it has been five months since my birthday (and loss of job). Time flies by so quickly.

I look forward to what this next month will bring me. I'm going to work harder at finishing projects. I'm good at starting things and planning things but not always good on the follow through. That's what I am working on this year. We'll see where it takes me.


  1. Hi Real Me

    It's so interesting how much you achieve in your life that's fulfilling & worthwhile - plus getting an impressive amount of outside attention for your hobbies and volunteering work - yet, as you say, this is still a separate realm in your self-perception from those big projects that haven't been started yet.

    It struck me that the things you're achieving are strongly process-based: hobbies, volunteering and building stronger social networks of reciprocal help aren't exactly projects that you start and finish (although they might contain more specific projects, like your event), you just do them gradually and they carry on as long as you wish them to.

    It's funny that your house organising cracked at 95% done. Whenever I tackle some major organising / decluttering, I always, always end up with a chaotic little pile of stuff that I just cannot sort out. I used to feel guilty about not finishing the job. Then I began to believe that you actually have to honour one small patch of chaos in your world, because chaos is a necessary energy to keep things moving. 100% order and efficiency is death. Also, it's a little reminder that we humans aren't perfect - a bit like how Islamic artists and Aran knitters will put a deliberate mistake in their work, so that they don't compete with the perfection they attribute to their understandings of God. I think something along these lines is Gretchen Rubin's reason for keeping both a junk drawer and an empty shelf: you honour places in your world for perfect clarity and perfect chaos, but then find your own way to live well between these two extremes.

    I'm curious as to whether this is a wider, perhaps unspoken phenomenon of decluttering - you can get almost to the end, 95% done, and then something somehow just conspires to make the process break down. But the crucial thing is proportion. Keeping one little box or drawer of intractable junk isn't the same as the strain of living in constant clutter and chaos. So I hope you're able to persist and finish the house organising so that you're happy with the result.

    And I hope you get to roll down a hill before too long as well :)

  2. That's pretty crazy, it's a bummer that you lost your job, but it's pretty cool that you have so much other stuff going on. How do you find the time to blog about it?

  3. It has been hard keeping up with the blog. I'm proud to have stuck with it.

    My volunteer work is important to me. I would do this work even when I had a paying job. I'm just doing more of it right now since I'm having no luck finding something that pays.

    I'm also using the time to figure what I want out of life which is why I started this blog to begin with. And I know I'm not the only person who feels like this so I figure taking my journey in public is good for me and might help me find others who feel the same.


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