Whenever the Christian festivals roll around I always feel a bit older and crotchetier. Easter particularly brings this out in me. I’m not a strongly Christian person, but it offends me on behalf of those who do strongly believe when hot cross buns come out in January. I think it is wrong when I see kids walking around the supermarket eating Easter eggs three months before Easter.
Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse I got inundated with toy catalogues in the past four weeks. Apparently the health conscious parent should not give their child chocolate eggs at Easter, they should give toys. Seriously?!? How about you give them an egg? Hard boiled. They can paint it.
We all love to watch the excitement of children going on an Easter egg hunt, but where is that excitement if they have been eating chocolate eggs all year? Are we not capable of a little self control? We already eat non-seasonal food artificially grown or imported from thousands of miles away. Can we really not go without chocolate eggs and hot cross buns for 10 months of the year?
Regardless of your beliefs, I think the religious holidays are a good time to consider your faith, to explore your spirituality and get in touch with a side of you that is not about work or homemaking.
I hope this Easter you get to share quality time with those you love, and look into yourself and find peace with who you are and your place in the world. And yes, you can eat the hot cross buns and chocolate eggs now.
Sometimes when I haven’t written for a long time I get scared that I’ll forget how to write. Up until now it hasn’t been the case. My little absence, once over, had tended to make me a better writer, if anything. But this break feels different.
Even when I don’t write, I still usually think about my stories. I imagine what the characters are going to do next, I picture myself writing the story in the future, sometimes I even get new ideas that I try to remember for later (but never do).
This time I seem to have relished the break so much that I have completely cut myself off from my stories. There was only one time in all of January when I found myself thinking about a story; that was in the middle of the night when the temperature didn’t dip below 25’C and there was something outside the window making noises that sounded like they might have been coming from an alien. My mind wandered a lot that night.
Even now, as I sit at the computer with hours of free time stretching out before me for the first time in weeks, my brain is blank. I don’t even know which story I want to work on, let alone what I want to happen next.
This time I really am worried that I have taken too much of a break. This time I feel it is possible that I can’t go back. Even worse, it is not so much that I have forgotten how to write, but for the first time in longer than I can remember, I just don’t want to.
With the New Year on the horizon a lot of us will be setting (or meticulously honing) our goals for the next year. As an avid goal setter, I would like to share one piece of advice for when you are setting your ‘achievable’ goals and that is make sure you understand future you.
Time and time again when I set my goals I seem to believe that future me will be somehow more motivated, dedicated and un-distractible than current me. For example; my list for what I wanted to achieve with my week off between Christmas and New Year gave me three tasks to complete on Boxing day, one of which was ‘paint deck’. By the time I had scrubbed the deck, and painted just the outside fence part it was 7pm and I was exhausted.
Current me stupidly took time off for meal breaks, phone calls and sun exposure which future me apparently would have worked through. Current me also only works at a human pace, while future me gets no muscle aches, hand cramps or frustration at having to save so many bugs.
The point is, you should factor in a lot of contingency in your plan. I’m already looking at my list of what I want to achieve in January and it is looking very full. At the same time I know that I have an event on every weekend, not to mention visitors to catch up with, so the *future me* alarm is starting to ring.
So if you suffer from a bit of future me, my advice is take your list and halve it. It will always feel much better to achieve MORE than you set for yourself rather than less. I’m going to take my own advice and put the red pen to my current list, and hopefully I’ll get the deck finished before I go back to work.
I’ve started thinking about my goals for 2014, what I want to do more of, less of, and what I want to achieve. This got me thinking about my 2013 goals and I thought that I should check-off which things I had completed. Only I couldn’t find where I had written them down.
I remember being very motivated when I wrote the list, and I remember being convinced I was going to follow everything through. I think I can even remember signing the goal list, like it was some kind of contract with myself. So I don’t know how I expected to achieve those goals if I didn’t have them up where I could see them.
There is now a space cleared on my wall where my 2014 goals can take pride of place. Better still, I’m taking down some of the noise that is currently up on the wall, if I have too many pieces of paper up there, it will just blur into the background and not be seen.
So I guess I’m already getting ready for goal number one; keep my goals front of mind. If you don’t know what you are aiming for, there is a pretty good chance that you won’t get there.
In my writers groups I’m always the one looking for plot holes and continuity issues. It’s not that I’m particularly observant, it’s just that my confidence in my grammar is so low that I feel like finding plot holes and continuity issues is the best that I can offer!
I’m one of the gen X’s who went through on the new way of learning English back in the early 80’s, which is to say we didn’t learn it. Our grammar lesson (yes, singular) was pretty much limited to; “there are these things called nouns, adjectives and verbs, but you don’t really need to learn them.” As lazy six year olds we all clapped with excitement (high fives had not yet made it into the behavioural norm), little did we know it would set us up for a lifetime of never quite understanding our own language.
It came back to haunt me in year 12 when, in our dry-run English exam, none of us could answer the question about “the purpose of the adverb in the following sentence…” not because we didn’t know what its purpose was, but because we didn’t know which word was the adverb! So in my last year of high-school, just before I sat my final exams, I had my first lesson in English grammar.
Since then I have studied dummies guides and old English grammar books that I’ve picked up from the second hand book shop, but I still don’t feel like I’ve got a good grip on grammar. It is all well and good to say that by listening you can learn the building blocks of language, but have you heard how people talk these days? Really it is no surprise that I have a love affair with dangling modifiers and tense slips.
This week my office did a personality test. I passed, I have a personality, but it unnerved me how close it came to who I am based on some forty random questions. What alarmed me even more was those who protested that the test got them wrong were wrong about the test getting them wrong. The test knew them better than they knew themselves. So I guess I have to conclude the bits I thought were wrong are perhaps not so wrong.
The point of it all was to get us to understand each other a bit better and help us with our team communication. I don’t know that it really will, we have been working together for a long time and pretty much had everyone pegged. It was only the outliers themselves that were surprised about their position in the group, the rest of us were always nodding.
But it got me thinking. Are we really so formulaic? Supposedly I could do this test at any time in my adult life and get approximately the same result. It is only my emotional score that could change (I was the outlier here, having the least emotion in the group. I like to think I pour all my emotion into the page and don’t waste it on the frivolities of real life).
I felt a little like a robot after the session, but clearly that didn’t upset me much as I am a bit lacking on the emotional front, but it unnerved me. While we are all being stars of our own movies, we like to think the best of everything human is secretly lurking in us somewhere and when we don’t express it that is just because of circumstance.
This test makes me wonder if maybe the truth is some of us are just assholes, some people are inherently generous, some people will always be driven and some are just passing time, and this won’t change. Is this why it takes a disaster to make some people re-evaluate their belief systems? I wonder if anyone has done one of these personality tests before and after a life-changing event?
I like to believe we can all grow into better versions of ourselves, but then again, my personality type was a bit of an idealist…