Thursday, 11 August 2011

I Couldn't Have Said It Better Myself

Somewhere at the back of my mind is a quote...only I can't remember exactly who said it, or how they said it. Oh yes, wait, I do! It was Raloh Waldo Emerson, who wrote:

"A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within, more than the lustre of the firmament of bards and sages. Yet he dismisses without notice his thought, because it is his. In every work of genius we recognise our own rejected thoughts; they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty.....tomorrow a stranger will say with masterly good sense precisely what we have thought and felt all the time, and we will be forced with shame to take our own opinon from another."

Isn't that an eloquent and beautiful way of telling us to have faith in ourselves? The French film I watched the other evening (Love Me If You Dare) had a scene in which the male lead character meets the female lead character again after a number of years. She is working as a waitress, and he asks her something to which she replies (I am paraphrasing here) 'this is not my life, it's just my job'. Now that is an attitude that I need to adopt a bit. I don't mean that I don't want a job that I don't love and care about, or that I would give less than 100% to my job. More that I don't want to define myself by my job anymore. Doing that has not exactly brought me happiness so far, especially in the last months.

Have I mentioned before that my little brother (he is in his mid 20s and probably a foot taller than me, so not really little, but younger!) works at temp jobs? He has been in his last one a while, but he definitely goes for jobs rather than a career. That is because he has a lot of outside interests, and he works to fund them. He has a hobby that takes him all round the country, and occasionally across the pond to America. Whilst I would like to see him happier at work, it did occur to me that he probably has a far healthier attitude to work than me. If you were to meet him, he would tell you about what he does with his life, where he went at the weekend, his last trip abroad, the one he is already planning. I would probably tell you what I do at work. Ok I have lots of outside interests too, but work has always been a big part of my life.

So I suppose really, this post is all about finding oneself. A lot of my character traits and personality quirks are firmly drawn in already. Anyone who knows me will associate tea and red lipstick and never wearing trousers with me. Books and black and white films and sparkles and baking and vintageness. Taking a cup of tea into the cinema. Eating my packed lunch off a china tea-plate. Writing in fountain pen, even just to sign the bill. I would say that I am fairly comfortable with who I am, with not being 'fashionable' but liking my own style. But of course we are always growing and learning and developing. I like to think that there is more, much more of us waiting to be discovered by ourselves, if that does not sound too out-there. I also think that we have two 'selves'...the self that we see and imagine ourselves to be, and the self that everybody else sees. I think it is good from time to time to just check in and make sure that you still enjoy everything you are doing and being, to let go anything that you don't need or isn't working for you anymore, to pursue new avenues or branches of interest. But most of all, whatever and whoever you are or want to be, it is important to embrace your authentic self, to borrow a phrase from Sarah Ban Breathnach. I have been working through the Muse programme written by the wonderful Alison at Brocante Home, which is all about becoming your true self, so this kind of thing has been in my mind lately.

To cut a long post short, Fleur de Guerre, whom I admire very much, wrote the most stunning blog bost today. Do go and read it at she really says it better than I can myself. I am coming up to 30 myself, and silently shudder when I find a silver hair, so her thoughts on ageing are inspirational. Also, I realised, all of a sudden, that I have not been particularly happy this past year and a bit. I swam a lot when I got my new job (the one I just lost) to swim away the stress that came from it. I think one of the reasons that leaving it has upset me so much is that I never feel I really got to grips with it. I realised, browsing the 'wellbeing' shelves at work, that I probably haven't been particularly well. I don't mean that as a euphamism for anything, more that the stresses of work and then the stress of the restructure and redundancy have become almost commonplace to me, so waking up suddenly and realise that I am not going through it any more, it is a thing that happened to me in the past, is rather relieving.

Of course I do need another job, and quickly too, but I imagine that I will have a few weeks of just working part time (and I pray it is not much longer than that). But I have decided that I really want to take this bit of time and work on my wellness. To drink fresh apple-carrot-and-celery juice, to do yoga stretches in the morning. So when Fleur wrote in her blog post

'it's never too late to take up a new fitness hobby, beauty regime or change in your eating habits to make yourself shine from the inside'

it really resonated with me. It is not that I want to change who I am, more that I want to make the best of who I am, and spend a time on a little self care. My hair really is properly long now, so I want to take time to learn to put it up. I like the idea of one of the 'things' that people associate with me being beautiful vintage up-dos! I want to sign up to a burlesque dancing class in the autumn, and start going on early morning walks. I want to shine from the inside!

My manager recently told me that I really need to start being kind to myself, so I think I will try doing that.

What things do you do to be kind to yourself?


Jackie said...

Hi Mimi!

What a thoughtful post.

It sounds as if you have uncovered the silver lining to your current twist in your life's path.

I think we sometimes feel we have to tick off a set list of achievements to be considered successful, and we lose sight of the fact that we must make our own list.

I look forward to seeing what you decide to put on yours.

(by the way, I'm with your husband on the cream/jam arguement!!)


Dinahsoar said...

wow Mimi--you are blossoming in this present valley. I know you will look back and revel in all that you have learned here.

I was asked one time in a seminar 'who are you?. I replied "a bank teller". I was quickly told "no, that is what you do, not who you are." It made me think. What we 'be' versus what we "do" are not always one and the same.

Mostly the jobs we work at to earn money are to support our ability to live the life we want to live. They do not and should not define us. Nor should the amount of money we earn. All too often we feel worthless if we don't earn a big salary. That is a shame and shows our thinking and values are off kilter. We should not feel 'less than' based on how much we earn or how much we have/own.

Yes, it takes time before we fully know our real selves, because we are growing and changing as we are least hopefully we are..if we are not then we are stuck in a rut usually. Or resistant to change and missing out on so much life has to offer.

Years ago there was a book with the cute title "Who Moved the Cheese". It impressed me to realize that I had a hard time accepting the changes in life. Understanding how important it is to embrace change, accepting what cannot be changed, and taking the steps to change what can be changed, is one of the keys to joyful living.

Finally, you wrote: waking up suddenly and realise that I am not going through it any more, it is a thing that happened to me in the past, is rather relieving.

The fact that you are relieved says a lot. I heard this analogy about the tongue in your head and the tongue in your shoe. They both speak to a matter at hand usually, and if the tongue in your shoe is saying 'run/resisit' while the tongue in your head is trying to reason otherwise, you'd best listen to the tongue in your shoe, for it most often reveals what you really prefer/want.

All too often we do things based on what is expected versus what we prefer. Doing the tongue check is helpful.

I read this quote "begin today to live the life you dream about". Who said that I don't know, but it is a wake up call because our days are numbered and we should make the most of today...yesterday is history, tommorrow is a mystery, but the present, it's a gift.

midorigreen said...

you might like this short post that I found a link to on Thrifty chick

I think it's absolutely true. My career has been mainly luck and making the most of opportunities (even if they didn't feel like opportunities at the time). I've often felt that I should plan my career better but I think the truth is that unless you in a very structured professional and you are willing to give up all other areas of your life you can make a career plan. All you can do is agree with yourself that you will seize opportunities, be good to yourself and live life.

Maybe your perfect job hasn't been invented yet!