How long can you sit still for?

*I wrote this ages ago and wasn’t sure about publishing it but it still seems to ring true 2 years later, so here it is!

It’s funny how the world has evolved; you look at the first world countries and you see millions upon millions of people spending their days sat in offices, looking at screens and wishing they could leave already. That’s a funny version of the “free” societies we claim to operate. How is it that years of hard physical graft turned us into extensions of machines, often doing jobs that let’s face it, mean nothing in the context of humanity.

When was the last time you produced something real? Something tangible? Chances are, unless you’re one of the few who works a trade, it’s been a while. If you’re like me, it’s very likely that you produced a few emails, wrote a few lines of code or perhaps wrote a quick blog post and produced a lot of hot air explaining some abstract concept using a load of jargon-y words. I bet you thought that was a productive day, too.

Do you get the itchy feet though? The restless bum on your corporate torture device (chair)? The achy muscles that feel like they want to burst from your body because they’re so underused? No…you’re probably on the low energy current then; how about constant sugar and caffeine cravings? Incomprehensible weight gain? That headache that just won’t go? Almost everybody I know who works in an office complains about at least some of these symptoms and usually many more, so why do we put ourselves through it? We’ve built whole industries based on these office jobs that chain us to desks and they only exist because they’re mutually dependent. Why don’t we just go back to making things and using our bodies to do more than type every day?

Maybe I’m dreaming and maybe we’re all too lazy to do that, maybe we’d prefer to just sit still and moan but that’s exactly where I think the problem lies. I think that the more days that pass where people sit still and moan, the lower their tolerance becomes and the consequently, the lower their “productivity” is. So really what we have is a load of people running at a very low productivity level who should be set free to do something more useful with their time. Why don’t we make sitting jobs like national service? Something you have to do for a few years to keep the world turning and then you’re allowed out into the big wide world to do something you actually want to do.

It could just be me though; I said from day 1 that working in an office would be a struggle and the days when I’m not out and about, oh boy it really is!

The Fear

This weekend just gone, I was sat happily watching a film when something hit me like a tonne of bricks; I’m scared of change. Let me explain further…

I spent the first ~27 years of my life terrified that nothing would ever change, that I would always be miserable, that I would always want to wake up and be someone else or not bother waking up at all. Now, don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t suicidal and I certainly didn’t present myself as somebody who was so blue to the outside world. In fact, many people thought I was a happy person during that time and for many milliseconds dispersed throughout each day, I was. The problem I had was that for every millisecond of happiness, I had another when I realised nothing had changed. 

I could never live in the moment and I never appreciated all of the wonderful things about my life because at my very core, I was unhappy, I was discontent and I was very, very unsettled. The obvious solution to this problem would have been to change things, shake up my life until it suited my needs but I couldn’t because I didn’t know what needed to change and I was scared of making things worse. On and on this went, year after year until it just vanished without me even realising it.

This weekend, I was watching The Theory of Everything, the film about Stephen Hawking and because I was on my own, I allowed myself to feel the emotion of the film. (Usually this is a no go because I HATE crying in front of other people so I tend not to risk it.) As I was watching, I realised that the reason it was upsetting me was because I could empathise; for once I could feel the heart wrenching fear that something wonderful was about to change and it was out of everybody’s control. That was the moment. That was when I realised that I have the same fear; I am scared of significant change in my life which isn’t affected my me because I’m there. I’m bloody well happy with what I have, I’m content and I’m settled and it happened without me even noticing.

Somehow, somewhere, the discontent and the feeling of being unsettled just upped and left me. They’ve been replaced by much less aggressive feelings that just bubble away under the surface, giving me a reason to get up in the morning and a feeling of real happiness that keeps me grounded when things get tough. So, if you’re in that bleak place that I used to be, don’t give up, things can and will change, you just need to give it time. When you stop looking for the happiness, it will find you x

Turning Negativity Into Positivity

Today is one of those days which forms one of those weeks, which is rapidly turning into one of those months when I just feel down. Blue, miserable, bummed; however you say it, that’s how I feel. Until yesterday, I thought everyone would know how I feel when I say that it just feels like everything is too much. Things I usually deal with suddenly feel too much. Then I told someone who isn’t really familiar with that feeling and I realised that maybe we don’t all get like this, it’s just the special ones of us who struggle day-to-day to get up and smile. Now you might be wondering why that little bit is relevant…well, it’s relevant because if other people don’t get like this, then it’s obviously not the standard human state and that means I can change it.

I’ve got a whole load of things I want to change and a lot of them are physical / health related and I already know they will take months, if not years of hard slog to fix but I’ve decided to look on the bright side. I must expend an inordinate amount of energy on negative feelings; not through choice but I’m not really putting up much of a fight either. What if I took even half of that energy and spent it doing positive things? Well, firstly I’d need to be very self-aware to catch myself in the act of feeling negative, but I am so that’s fine. Secondly, if I did all of these positive things, surely some of the things I feel blue about would start to get sorted and I’d have less things bashing around my head making me feel so tired and drained. In turn, that would then give me more energy to spend doing positive things!

So this is my Spring resolution; I’m going to take that negative energy and make it positive. It sounds easy but I’m sure it’s going to be quite tough at first and it’s going to take some working out to understand what I can do to actually make this a reality. I’m already on track though, check out my current examples of things I have done:

1.)    I am totally broke, anyone who is a regular reader knows I have a mountain of debts and I shop to cure my boredom and depression. Recently this has been bugging me more than usual and I keep feeling like I don’t have enough money to live within my monthly pay cheque and socialise even a little bit. Today I was stressing about this big time and getting mighty miserable about it, so I took action. I logged in to my online banking and checked up on where all my cash has gone. Before I knew it, I found I have spent £500 on shopping and socialising already this month because I’ve had a couple of birthdays and took my parents out for dinner, etc. £500. Let me say that again, £500. And I’m telling myself I can’t live on my salary??? Pah! I’ve got loads of money, I’m just not using it properly. Tonight, I will be enlisting the help of a certain someone to sort my budgeting out to make sure that next month I have change from my £500 and I’ve had loads of fun!

2.)    This afternoon I’ve been sat at my desk not in the mood for work at all, literally feeling soooooooooo low it’s unreal. My mind has been buzzing round and round in circles thinking about things I can do nothing about whilst at work and wishing for instant solutions I simply will not find. So I thought some more and decided that I wasn’t settling for that this Tuesday, I was darned well going to make my day better and the way I was going to do it was by writing. So here I am, chit chatting away to you about nothing more than the slightly weird thoughts in my head but it’s making me happy!

So you see, whilst I might not be working any miracles, I’m already using some of my negative energy to find positive solutions to my problems. Yes, those are two fairly minor examples and it’s not always that easy but it is day 1 of this resolution and my change in mindset is already making me feel happier and more like I can overcome the mountains I see before me; I’m just going to do it one molehill at a time! If you have any great tips for turning bad thoughts into good ones, I’d love to hear from you! Happy Tuesday people 🙂 x

Starting Over…Again

The concept of starting afresh is a strange one, it’s something that fills some people with an unrivalled optimism and others with pure dread. Unfortunately for those of us in the second category, it seems inevitable that most people with have to start over again at something during the course of their lifetime. For me, the thing I seem to have to keep starting over at is my career.

To put this in context, I’m a graduate (2008) and a really driven person with a strong desire to learn and achieve highly, not  someone who wants a “job”, someone who wants a career. However, I’ve only be working for 3.5 years since I left uni and yet I am now on job number 3 and at the bottom of the pile again. This is not because I am incredibly indecisive or lack direction – both are partially true, but actually this is a result of the recession / economic downturn / money related thing that most people don’t really understand. I’ve had 1 redundancy and 1 job I left just prior to redundancy – what rubbish luck for a grad!

So how have I dealt with this? The first time, I left out of choice and although I took a step back in terms of responsibility and money, I took a step forward in terms of potential and networking. The networking paid dividends in helping me find a new job this time round (phew!). This time though, I was forced out like a newborn into the world of the unknown. I am now no longer a fairly big fish in a small pond but instead a tadpole in a massive lake and it’s tough. I’m only on day 4 but I’m missing my creature comforts, the trust I had built up in my previous organisation, the challenges I faced daily. Today I am filing, as per the last 2 days. 3.5 years of work and I am filing all day, something doesn’t feel right.

The big bonus is that I am now working for a much larger organisation so my potential is much bigger than ever before. Somehow though, that won’t stick in my mind, what sticks is that I am filing and nobody knows what I can really do. Why is that? Why is uncontrolled change so hard to stomach and how can I beat the feeling?

What’s come alongside this is that the other things which stress me out seem even bigger and I’ve got a stress head like you wouldn’t believe! How do other people manage this? It’s bizarre that logically my brain says one thing and then backflips and makes me stress about the exact same thing seen from another angle…argh!!!

So who’s done it? Who has started over at anything and loved, even when it was forced upon them? If you have, please let me know how you keep on the logical path and don’t end up on my crazy rocky road, this is too much for my poor little mind!