An Unwelcome Acquaintance

The secret to my sauce has been simple: never give up and always do what needs to be done today, now. In part these two things came from my upbringing and then were reinforced over young adulthood. My parents, despite wanting to do better for us, often put dreams away into the distant horizon. “One day” is how they responded to things we wanted be it vacations or consumer items. What we learned from this was to put dates, goals, plans into place if we wanted something to happen.

In high school and then college, I learned how to take a larger task and to break it down into more manageable parts. Other people’s work, like Anne Lamont’s famous essay “Bird by Bird” reinforced the idea that with enough planning, really there wasn’t much I couldn’t do. This formula helped me finish two thesis projects during my Masters degree. It got me through several very low valleys as I was writing my PhD dissertation. Helped me plan a wedding in another country while being thousands of miles away. In short it was the elastic band that adapted to fit any situation in my life including the various jobs I’ve had over the past five years.

I’m thirty-one, so past the quarter life crisis stage and too young for the mid-life crisis but I feel myself slowing down. I could blame it on the pregnancy and am sure that it does have something to do with the overall lack of energy and fatigue I feel. Or it’s my priorities re-aligning. But this seems strange because the things I always thought made people shift their focus during pregnancy – getting sick, having complications, the onset of multiples – are not true in my case.

It may be that the past five years of full tilt running are catching up with me. As in most of the nightmares I have about plays that I preformed in, these come months if not years after the physical fact of being on stage. This lull may be my mind saying, whoa, we need a breather here in order to keep going. Like the farming practice of crop rotation when fields were planted with different crops to make sure they didn’t go dry, my mind may be putting in it’s own request to slow down in order to be fertile again in a few months.

All I know is that procrastination, something I’ve never known much about, has set up residence at work and at home. And it’s not welcome. I’ve posted other entries about how to get rid of it. Now I wait to hear some of your suggestions.

Inciting Change

In college we had a friend who didn’t like change; avoided it like the plague and dread most people reserve for finding out that their leg has to be amputated.

But having left my birth country at the age of four, I only knew life as constant change. Every few years my family moved somewhere else so that my father could work on a different research project at yet another university. In my twenties  I lived in Raleigh, NC for six consecutive years while finishing a bachelors and a masters degree, this was only the second time I had ever lived in one city for such a long time. The other being Gainesville, FL for middle school and high school – seven years.

Starting my fifth year in Qatar has brought a feeling many would consider comfort. Mind you in the last four years there has been enough change in the city as well as my personal life to challenge anyone: on those lists of "major life events" I’ve been able to circle at least five since 2005. Moved to a new country, got married, moved houses (4 times), finished a PhD, and changed jobs three times. Despite all of this and the accompanying adjustments, I’ve managed to change in negative ways as well.

Bad habits have crept in – long afternoon naps, too much time in front of the T.V., poor eating habits.

And now I find myself deliberately trying to instigate change in this steadying stream. I don’t have to go to a group exercise class to work up a sweat. 

I can break out the Bose and try the video it came with, right in my own home.
I can snack on green grapes, a taste I love equally as much as the chocolate I’m used to reaching for.
I can stay in the office and do one more thing instead of going to the study at home where I’m likely to waste time on social networking sites.

It’s conscious, steady and deliberate but I am claiming my life back from those seconds which spill into minutes and the minutes that slip into hours which drain my life away slowly but surely into nothingness and mediocrity.

Share anything you’ve found to embrace or encourage change. And let’s remember in the words of the late Michael Jackson (how weird is it see that in print?) if we’re going to change anything in the world, it has to first start within.

No longer a "white" house

If you’ve seen the email forward of the guy on the bike, riding through traffic, on the back of his t shirt is the slogan "It’s called a white house for a reason" then you know some of the fallout from the election results.

People are justifiably upset by this slogan and it’s racist underpinnings.

I think the statement needs more credit. The slogan is true because the mentality behind it has held true. It has been a white house for 43 presidencies. And people have been used to thinking of it as a white man’s job.

Guess what? 

No longer!