Move some of that Clutter Around

I read today that a teenage instagram celebrity had quit social media but/and launched a website to raise awareness on how much it can take its toll on you (if I remember correctly). Beyond her article, video and frankness on some of the captions she edited to show what was really going on behind the scenes with all the pressure she was under to paint these perfect pictures, the commentaries made an interesting read. I think what tickled and surprised me in equal measure was the seeming shock that came as a result of her brave announcement. It made me recall this picture where there’s someone reading, lost in an actual book in a plane and everyone around her taking photos because that is how swimming against the current looks now.  It had not occurred to me that being ‘live’ has become a thing (I had also not known we have instagram models or celebrities, now I do) but that this is not really about Essena  (you can catch up on her story here.) Its about how she made me think of what else I have not thought about as ‘a thing’ that has now crowded the space that is my life.

Living alone has its perks but one of the downsides are that after long days, when you are too tired to talk or text (yes, that is a thing), you catch up with people by following what they have been sharing all day. On a good day, there’s some interesting stuff in there. Not just the new car selfies or the fashion and foody pics or the relationship trails. Some days we learn you finally got that promotion or that you just watched a movie we all should (and hope that your review will not cost us  a fifty and hours we can never get back) or that you had a really awesome experience to share. Some days we laugh at the hilarious memes you share – where do you get those? Or sober up for a couple of minutes, thump our chests and soak in the encouragement when we read that quote you posted from pinterest on making it through the darkness or hanging in there because something good is in the making and what not. Then there are those days that we cry because we learn you lost someone or you’re going through a really rough patch or you just got out of surgery and we want to be there to cry and walk it out with you. We are not sad that we learnt of it online, we just want to be there. On those days, no matter how tired we are, we call, we text, we talk. So yes, I can understand how our online presence run parallel to our actual lives and sometimes even seem to take over more ground than we care to admit. I can only imagine how much more for a teenager born at the height of the info-age – it must be crazy.

I realized then that I understand why her announcement was that – an announcement and why it sent ripples across her world. She had it all but was choosing outside of the norm and right then, I wished her Godspeed. She might want to keep off the website part and detox for a little while but then again, she might not. Bottom line – we need more people that remember they can always make that daring turn to head upstream. No matter what poison you picked, it is worth it – that shot at getting away from it all.

So today I am thinking and looking to see what clutter is clogging this life. It is definitely not instagram (not on that pro-lane anyway) but it is something (s) and I need to make my own upstream choices soon; very soon. As it is, the whole superwoman, juggling thing is not working out so well. My system is shutting down alarmingly fast and not even several cups of tea can fix it. I need to find a new working formula to either keep me running for the next couple of months or overhaul the entire system – but then again where is the time (says one of the people in my head). As luck would have it, this months read is all about that focus. I should have figured it out in about the same time it will take to go through it twice. Wish me luck and pause the stalking today, call, text, talk to someone. Catch up. Move some of that clutter around. One of us should.

Move Some of that Clutter Around

I read today that a teenage instagram celebrity had quit social media but/and launched a website to raise awareness about its effects  and how it took a toll on her (if I remember correctly). Beyond her article and frankness on some of the captions she edited to show what was really going on behind the scenes and the pressure she was under at the time, the commentaries made an interesting read. Some called it a crisis of conscience by the teen insta-star. I think what tickled and surprised me in equal measure was the seeming shock levels that came as a result of her brave announcement. (You can find a couple of takes on it here)  It made me recall this picture where there’s someone reading, lost in an actual book in a plane and everyone around her taking photos because that is how swimming against the current looks now. It had not occurred to me that this would become a thing (I had not known we now have instagram models or celebrities, now I do) but that made me think of what else I have not thought about as ‘a thing’ that has now crowded the space that is my life.

Living alone has its perks but one of the downsides are that after long days, when you are too tired to talk or text (yes, that is a thing), you catch up with people by following what they have been sharing all day. On a good day, there’s some interesting stuff in there. Not just the new car selfies or the fashion and foody pics or the relationship trails (I try not to post so much of those because I am thinking of you 😀 ). Some days we learn you finally got that promotion or that you just watched a movie we all should (and hope that your review will not cost us hours we cannot get back) or that you had a really awesome experience to share. Some days we laugh at the hilarious memes you share – where do you get those? Or sober up for a couple of minutes, thump our chests and soak in the encouragement after we read that quote you posted from pinterest on making it through the darkness or hanging in there because something good is in the making and what not. Then there are those days that we cry because we learn you lost someone or you’re going through a really rough patch or you just got out of surgery and we want to be there to cry and walk it out with you. We are not sad that we learnt of it online, we just want to be there. On those days, no matter how tired or disconnected we are, we call, we text, we talk. So yes, I can understand how our online presence run parallel to our actual lives and sometimes even seem to take over more ground than we care to admit. I can only imagine how much more for a teenager born at the peak of the info-age – it must be crazy. I realized then that I understand why her announcement was that – an announcement and why it sent ripples across her world. She had it all but was choosing outside of the norm and I wished her Godspeed. She might want to keep off the website part and detox for a little while but then again, she might not. Bottom line – we need more people that remember they can always make that daring turn to head upstream. No matter what poison you picked, it is worth it – that shot at getting away from it all.

So today I am thinking and looking to see what clutter is clogging this life. It is definitely not instagram (not at that pro-level lane anyway) but it is something (s) and I need to make my own upstream choices soon; very soon. As it is, the whole superwoman, juggling thing is not working out so well. My system is shutting down and no, even tea has not been able to help. So I need to find a new working formula to either keep me running for the next couple of months or overhaul the entire system – but then again where is the time (says one of the people in my head). As luck would have it, this months read is all about that focus. I should have figured it out in about the same time it will take to go through it twice. Wish me luck and pause the stalking today, call, text, talk to someone. Catch up. Move some of that clutter around. One of us should.

Something for ‘When You Want to Quit’

Even the ones with the corner office walk along this path sometimes so yes, you are okay and no, you may not need therapy for this. What you need is a few days in, a rerun of The Office and perhaps this:

q5

Warning : Dosage indicated varies per case. If symptoms persist, remember – everyone is moving into graphics and web design, photography etc So you need to be sure your idea has what it takes and then some – the world does not need another t-shirt making enterprise…or maybe it does?

q2

Okay – maybe you do have the t-shirt enterprise that will blow every other t-shirt making, photo taking, graphic designing start up out of the water – great! Now get your mind, your spirit and your bank account in line because it will probably take a while before it breaks even, maybe not. But in those first few months you will need to remember abs are built in a day said no one ever.

q1

You may walk down this road and maybe learn it wasn’t really for you or you may discover there is more beyond the cubicle and that’s the stuff you were made for. Truth is, you can never really know which side of the coin you will get until you’re looking at it. Whatever it is, whatever decision you finally make after the day you want to quit, own it. There are only a few things more worthwhile than making the best out of everything. So while you’re at it:

walled

Repeat dosage as often as required. The key is to discover and live out your life’s passion(s) well before you are 65 and realise you need to start living when what you really ought to be doing, is taking it all in.

Live a little

When I was younger, I wanted to be a doctor. In retrospect, I do not think this was because I loved the practice or anything; I actually realized later on I could not stand the sight of blood. I wanted to be a doctor because growing up, we were told both at home and at school, that doctors, lawyers, pilots and engineers were the ‘sky limit careers’ we should aim for. That was the bar. Teachers were considered a poor lot and teaching the last, last option. Now I’m a Human Resource Management Graduate working as a Program Assistant is a community Development oriented organization running mostly communication, monitoring and evaluation tasks. Go figure. When I was little, I had no idea either existed. My fall back plan was law ☺
When I was younger, I would never walk around after the lights went off and everyone was asleep. See, mum was – still is- an avid reader and she got us this big bedtime storybook with 365 stories. I read one story each night. In one of the stories, this little girl would hear noises in the night when everyone was asleep. Unlike me, she was a brave one. She walked up to the kitchen door and snuck a peek and voila their whole kitchen had come to life! It was the spoons, the stove, the pans….that were doing all the talking and get this-having a party! They would go ‘back to normal’ at first light. My little mind was excited when the story was read but froze over when I heard any sound after lights out. I would cover my head, hide under the covers and sing myself to sleep because in my version, the house and all in it were now alive and they might be coming for me. Haha! Yes, I did and still do have a mind with a life of its own ☺
When I was younger, I had a single view of many things. What Chimamanda would call my ‘one story’. I only knew one way of how to do things. What I knew, I saw and what I believed, I heard from those around me. So I would probably be a blood fearing doctor just now (haha!) and I would still believe things came alive at night, and therefore be afraid of the dark…and of the kitchen. In many ways, we had one story, one view of something that we only discovered was not the actual truth after we travelled down a different path. Such is what growing up brings.
I realize I have many ‘single stories’, attitudes and beliefs on a lot of things, experiences, people, places…of myself that don’t really hold water. Slowly, I’m learning new perspectives, forming new belief systems, understanding people, things and situations differently and maybe, dare I say, better because I’m getting to hear other stories. I’m getting to write one too….my own. We will always fear the unknown in a way but not everything in the unknown is out to get us right? There is nothing that comes alive in the darkness that is the unknown to ‘get you’ (well maybe there is but I’m setting a motivating aura here haha) …there is no reason to hide under the covers and sing ourselves away from embracing what could be our next big thing. And there is the light switch that is opening up our minds to the possibility that where not everything we know works, perhaps something waiting to be known will.
Here’s to learning new stories, breaking free of the danger that is living, believing and never questioning the single story. Here’s to learning, to creating change, to living a little – just a little. ☺

Taking Stock

Christmas is done. Whoa. Feels like this year is in a hurry to leave and so before it does,i must give it a proper send off 🙂

In many ways, i feel like this has been the longest year i have had to live through (seriously, it should probably end already haha). This was one tough series. There are many impossible things that have been, i would probably need to keep you here a while if i went through them all. I could tell you of the ‘valleys of the shadows of death’ or the sunny days i did not want to end; they all brought with them what i consider great lessons – even for those i seem to need repeat classes 🙂 . Perhaps those will make a better read, i’ll stick to 10 written/selected in no particular order 🙂

1. Life is like a never ending poker shuffle, you never know what you will be dealt but somehow, you will still have to use them to play the game. And what do you know, sometimes you win.
It still sucks that i cannot know what the future holds. You still have to wing it though, use whatever you have to get through whatever you face. Would be great to get a heads up sometimes, no? Anyone with a crystal ball?

2. People are people. Expecting them to be anything more is unfair.
In many ways, i am an idealist and for the longest time, i have expected people to adhere to a certain code – it rarely works. I am learning to remember that people are people and expecting them to be a certain way is unfair to us all. Would be a better world if they did things my way though… at least half the time 😀

3. Friends can be family but family is family
I like to think that i have a lot of friends yet perhaps for the same reason, i have very few. These very few have been through most of it with me – the crappy days, the venting, they stayed even when i went AWOL for weeks or when i did not call them or text them back (due to frequent brain black outs :D) and i hope to go through it all with them again, i cannot be thankful enough. For a while, my friends were my friends and my family; it happens sometimes – when they seem to be closer and easier to reach but as i have come to learn, there is a place for family than can be filled by no one else. I am grateful to have realised that, very grateful.

4. Not my circus not my monkeys
A very, very wise and useful Polish proverb i must say.

5. It gets better…and other half truths are half truths
Well, not to be pessimistic but even my yellow self has come to understand that we have been fed a lot of half truths as solids. It really is much better to understand that anything without a definite time period allocation and a million variables at play should not be held so close because there is always the possibility of depression if said something does not pan out as we expect. Let half truths be half truths is what i have learnt, much less heartache. Conclusion? One day at a time, live one day at a time.

6. Choose to be happy
There are very few things that can beat down a happy soul. So whatever makes you happy, do that – everyday. We need it more that we know. And yeah, being happy really is a choice.

7. Savour the moments
‘A star shines but for a while’…its pretty easy to go through life without actually living it. Remember to remember to live a little, savour the moments – in the end, its the little big things that really count. I’m not at the end yet but i can tell 😉

8. Don’t hold back
This, currently on replay >
‘I wanna leave my footprints on the sands of time
Know there was something that, and something that I left behind
Brought someone to happiness
Left this world a little better just because
I was here
I lived, I loved
I was here’
#4

9. Remember when they said we should pray more, they were right. It HELPS.
I have found that few things keep me sane – Prayer, GOOD internet, GOOD music, sleep and sugar. (Okay, its quite the list so i thought o stop there hehe) So i try to keep my supplies as lush as i possibly can. So if you’re trying to hold on to your sanity, i would recommend my no 1 – pray. And as a bonus, its really very effective, budget friendly therapy 😉

and lastly 10: Hold on to people
Disclaimer : Not everyone, some you need to literally kick out haha but seriously, when you find kindred souls:a) if you can – marry one of them and b) hold on to the rest. Its a long journey we’re on and it helps to have some good company along the way.
Also, we never know how much time we have left to share – i am learning to give more, which is hard for one with hermit/hoarder-ish tendencies 😀 but try i will!

Am i happy this year is done, yes. Am i looking forward to the next? perhaps-maybe, its too early to tell – i am still trying to get some inside information, a crystal ball maybe before i throw in my verdict 😉

Here’s to a year well lived, here’s to family, here’s to friends. Here’s to life and the unfolding of another unwritten script.

Happy holidays everyone, Happy holidays.

© Ang’asa Malowa