Life distilled to its elixer

(in grape and orange flavors)

It tastes like...despair...
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My stress levels have been spiking the past week. I'm overloaded, with school work and freelance work and an upcoming interview as well. I actually had to drop one of my projects with a new freelance firm; there's just too much going on right now. They may try and reschedule it to when I'm less busy, but I still so awful that I had to let them down. But we really don't get to control when we have our crisis' I guess.

I'm in two parallels right now: on the one hand enormous hope, on the other just...despair infecting it. Cold greyness, like the bleak weather outside. Cold, slushy, rainy. I can't feel hope. A happy pill or two would usually help but I'm reluctant to indulge. If I take them too often they loose effect.

Every time I have hope it's inevitably dashed. Every time I have happiness it eventually ends. Part of me just wants to...what, give up on the Dream Job and just drift away into an obscure job that makes me anxious all the time? Write-off the last 8 years of study, work, and sacrifice to just start over?

But there are other ways to start over. Other ways to simply leave behind the old, stop dragging it along like Marley's chain from A Christmas Carol. So many mistakes...that's what hurts me more than anything else. I see so many mistakes along the path that has led me to who I am now. If I could just get a full time job, something stable in my life, it would feel like every misstep was worth it. Being raised by an obsessive perfectionist has left me feeling as if nothing I've done was right, everything was a mistake and the whole world is out to get you.

Typing this here helps a little. It's true what they say, that when you voice your fears they become more manageable. What I truly need is hope, a success that tells me I can keep going. But then I disemphasize it, make the success a fluke or something that was too easy. I've gone on this look over and over again, trying to break out of it.

Perhaps I can find some way to quantify it? Make up a list of achievements. I did that before and it helped a little. What if I took every single problem in my life and made up a bunch of lists, one after another, and a way to deal with each one? I tried some project management apps for my phone, but this would be different: something on paper that I can refer back to, wake up to, show myself the path I'm one and how much I've accomplished every day...

Sweet, sweet freedom
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Over the last day or two I'd been feeling anxious. There was no real solution for it, not medication or exercise or anything was helping. Then I realized something: for the last few days I'd been thinking about my first job after college. It kept popping into my head, no real reason for it, just those old memories.

At first I though I was being maudlin, but it didn't feel like any sort of pathos. Just that there was some inspiration there. Then it hit me: it wasn't the job per se, or who I was then, but that there were so many *fewer* negative memories weighing me down. I thought to myself, what if I stopped letting the world influence me, just be my own person?

I instantly felt *fantastic*. At peace, relaxed. I'm going to see if I can still remind myself of that feeling and see how far I can keep it going.

I had a dream
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Last night in the early morning hours I had the most amazing dream.

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Feeling of freedom
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I was dozing in bed when it hit me, a feeling I've been chewing at the edges of but could never really put into words.

It's what explorers feel as they leave on an expedition, that sense of the unknown but hope that something good will happen. A leap of faith that you may fail but you also may succeed, and you don't care which happens.

Dream Job
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I had one of those moments at work today, I realized I have my Dream Job. 5th day no less. I have an assignment to come up with a new interface design and make a prototype.

I've had flashes of it at other gigs, but this...yeah, this was pretty awesome. :)

I know I'm right where I should be.

Back in the saddle again...
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After six-plus months of search I have finally found a new job. The usual elation is still there (I literally did a little jumping for joy when I got the call :) but I'm still going to temper it with cautious optimism. Some of the technology is new (but they seemed pretty satisfied I'd get up to speed quickly) and its more programming than I wanted (but there's still plenty of design, and I wanted to keep a finger or two in coding anyways). So while not ideal, and it starts as a 3 month contract, there are tons of positives I'm trying to embrace:

1. It's at my alma mater, which also means it's an a academic job which will be lower-stress.
2. Some of the new technology I'll be using is exactly what I've been hoping to learn.
3. Other tech I've worked with, just not a lot, so I have a good foundation and will be able to pick it up quicker.
4. I'll have great benefits once I go FT. Even just the contract will be more than my last gig.
5. And lastly, they really, really liked me. Barely 24 hours after I interviewed the recruiter had me on the phone saying I was hired. The seemed very enthusiastic about getting me in the door.

So now I only worry that I won't let them down. But I'm planning on doing a little bit of a refresher via Lynda.com, getting myself squared away, just getting myself in the right mindset for the new job.

This will be awesome. :)

The Past and the Future
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I just realized that one of the chief problems for me in going forward in life lies in how I let the past influence me far too much. This has been a common theme for me, but I feel more secure in...troubleshooting these problems that impact me.

My mind drifts back to an old memory, contemplates it, and it's wonderful to think about. But why is it something so good? Because it's from a time when I didn't hyperfocus so much, scrutinize myself and think that all of my decisions since have been bad.

To build on the past is important, but to not let those old failures plague going forwards is critical. And old personal meme, but I feel like...I have found a certain amount of forgiveness there.

I work not just harder but smarter, I think about the future and how pliable it is, how much the good memories, the wisdom, and the fun ones can help.

And most importantly: they can't be replicated, but new good ones can be made.

Resolving the pessimism was critical, and exercise has certainly helped me find those moments of happiness that may not linger forever but can be collected. And WILL be collected.

So here's to a new idea: building a future that will inevitably contain failure, but to know that good memories are still going to come.

American Dreamin'
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I've started playing Fallout 4. It's s big deal, one of the kost immersive games I've ever played. The fact that I'm unemployed actually dovetails nicely (send out a few resumes, do some work in the morning, then game after lunch).

What sticks with me the most is the opening. You're an average all-american guy in a 50's-verse, wife and son, starter home in a nice neighborhoid, etc. And it reminded me of how I excluded myself from ever wanting, or especially deserving, that.

The American Dream. Not impossible for me to accomplish, but I never felt dedicated to it. I grew up in it, but...I guess I've spent so long dedicated to surviving the rough waters of life I never really came up for air and thought about it...

Epiphany time
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Sometimes it's only after a long time of wandering that you can realize the place you want to stop at could be like. I have friends whose lives are nearly meserizing, how they live is something I wish I had, and I realize how easy it would be to achieve it.

It's like I've been going at it from the wrong angle, intersecting with the life I want but missing it by juuuust a little bit and then skewing off in the wrong direction. Hiking with friends, doable. Enjoying myself at a fancy party, achievable. I feel like I just need to focus more, work harder on staying on the path I want instead of letting worry me lead me in the wrong direction. To focus, to keep going until the way I want to be isn't just a novelty but habit. Will it become boring? Perhaps. But you can't launch a rocket without a rock-solid launch pad.

The future, and my lament for it, are all about perseverance now I think. Let's see how it goes.

If you're fond of sand dunes, and salt sea air...
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I'm on the beach at Cape Cod, watching a murky sunset sink beneath the horizon. Friday was a half day at work, and kinda sucky; I might be getting cutoff, again, from the work I want to do. Also the rest of the time I wanted to spend down here might not happen.

I guess I feel...dreary. My weight-loss attempt did give me new muscle, but we'll see how the fat loss part goes. But to stay on topic, I think the most important thing I've learned, and really listened to, was patience.

I'm a fast thinker, very fast. And I remember most of what I experience, so it's a cathedral of emotions and ideas. But if things don't happen as fast in the real life, if that huge databank doesn't help me learn something instantly, I give up in futility. I've heard from other hyper-cogs about this, that perseverance seems unnecessary, or worse, a sign of failure.

I must slow down (easier since I stopped taking that huge turbocharging vitamin pill that's been amping me up since childhood). Take a bite at learning, a little bit every night.

Sucess through perseverance. I've been reminding myself to do that for some time. I guess I finally succeeded. :)

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