We need a new plan…

Thank goodness there are 26 letters in the alphabet. When Plan A falls apart, there’s always Plan B…or F…or K…I don’t have a plan for a way forward at the moment. I’m not even sure I know what I want anymore.

I have been trying to go with the flow and I’m not sure if that is what makes me feel uneasy this week, but that could be many other things. It’s good to go with the flow and let plans change. Releasing expectations is certainly a wise thing to do…when things flow well, life is easier. When I fight the changes, it seems too hard.

And at the moment, things feel harder than they need to…the only way forward is one step at a time. Look forward to small things every day…and dream some new dreams…

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Dreams interrupted, sad news and why I say “I love you”

Yesterday began as a normal day at work…coffee, working hard, minor frustrations. On Wednesday we had a new person start – finally – which helps with the continuing high workload. I struggled yesterday in little ways…I was training someone and trying to get my own work done, I was tired (my own fault for never getting enough sleep) and I was wondering what to do on the weekend.

I was still a little flat at having to cancel my trip with Mum to Wimbledon. Dad had developed a chest infection and Mum was worried about him. We decided to cancel…and luckily Qantas refunded the whole price of the tickets. Hopefully next year we will be luckier with the ballot for tennis tickets and Dad will be healthier. Lots of people have suggested I go somewhere else but I am not sure I want to. Still thinking about it. I think we made the right decision, I feel better being closer to Mum and Dad if it’s going to be a cold winter. So I have struggled the last few weeks with adjusting to the changed plans and needing to set some new goals. But back to my reality check at work…

An email flashed up in the corner of my screen and my heart filled with sadness. Last year in August, a colleague in another area was hospitalised with a mystery virus. She was in ICU and we didn’t know if she would live. I never found out if they worked out what caused it. M worked in a different area of the university but I have had regular contact with her for many years. There was hope she would come out of it…at one stage they took her off life support and she was out of ICU. I thought of her, prayed for her and her daughter and family. I hadn’t heard much in a while. I had thought of her earlier this week, trying to think who I could contact in her area to find out what was happening.

I stopped and read the email. A friend had written to some of us that she had heard they were switching off the life support. I feel for her family. It would be the most difficult decision anyone wold ever have to make. I feel for her young daughter. I know how much M loved her, putting her before everything else. I don’t know anything more. The world seems a cruel place.

Last night’s thunderstorm meant staying home, snuggling in a warm house with the cats and thinking. There was nothing I could do to console Aggie about the thunder, but at least it distracted me. I look for little things to do to make other people happy…which in turn cheers me up. A couple of parcels are prepared. I will make some cards, plan for happier times to come.

And remember why I always tell those I care about that I love them. Life can change in an instant. Appreciate every moment, hug people as much as you can, and always, always tell people you love them.

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Unfinished business…

Is it strange that I started this post over a week ago, in fact looking at the date it was 12 days ago, and it is unfinished? I had started it. One line, freshly deleted. And the title. The concept of unfinished business is not a new one. So many things in my life are ongoing, upside down, undone, unfinished…

I read a great blog post recently about the drain that people experience when they have lots of things (big or little…big and little…) undone in their lives. In true “me” style I now cannot find the post. I put it somewhere safe…obviously a little too safe 😉 Or it is printed and in a pile of papers on the dining table – the piles of important things I want to file and remember and have on hand to refer to. My print-out of the tickets for England are there too. That’s as far as I have gotten with the organisation for my wonderful trip with Mum. Oh no, I tell a fib. I have put in my ballot preferences for Wimbledon tickets. Fingers crossed we get Centre court, day one!!So much to do still…

Why do I continue to believe that if I get the right planning system, lists, organisation, folder etc that life will begin to unfold perfectly, pleasantly, in a rose-scented cloud of perfection where I get enough sleep, eat properly and manage to get everything done? I think it’s time I let go of that belief.

Yet I still have to deal with life. And the email from my PhD supervisor asking about the article I haven’t started yet. The second email! And getting the car serviced, the work not done at work, working weekend, seeing and supporting the people I love, the health check-ups that are now overdue, the ongoing decisions that become more difficult because I feel so overwhelmed.

Here’s how I can tell when I get overwhelmed. I get asked to make a decision. Just one…big or little…and it sends me in to a tailspin. Spiralling downwards, out of control…not knowing what the right thing to do is. Or knowing. And knowing that it might disappoint people. So I don’t decide…or write the list of things to do…or call the mechanic…or start the article. And it drains me…it’s draining the life out of me.

In a lot of ways it is easier to ignore it. Spend my time worrying about the friends dealing with bigger issues – operations, divorce, sick kids, sick pets, ill health. And worrying that I am not doing enough for them. Yet I know one thing, and I was reminded of it in conversation today. If I don’t stop, take stock and sort my self out. If I don’t go back to putting myself first (or start doing it), then life just might give me a wake-up call. I already had a small one a few weeks ago when I was rushing around to kill a cockroach (having stepped out of the shower to do so) and slipped over on the wet floor. Luckily I didn’t do any damage. So maybe it is time to listen…time to take action and make decisions. So I finished this post. One small step. What’s next?

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Things I am thinking about…

Integrity…doing what you say you are going to do!
Changing patterns of behaviour and how easy it is to slip back into comfortable old ways…
Good friends being worth more than their weight in gold and precious gems…
Wimbledon!!!
What my core competencies are and how to work more of them into my life? How to focus on the most productive and efficient things to do?
Wine…

Things I am not thinking about…(but probably should)
The journal articles I should be writing…
Why I haven’t called a couple of friends who I should call…
How to pay for Wimbledon?

What needs to be started? What needs to be finished?

 

Until I work these things out…there is wine…

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So far from where I want to be…

That is how I feel…I re-read my letter to myself. Yesterday and today have been frustrating. Being asked to complete a task by Monday…at 4.15 on a Friday, when you know it’s going to be at least 5 or so hours worth of work…and you promised yourself you weren’t going to work any more weekends…

I was left feeling angry, sad and disempowered. Frustrated and trapped…like there are no choices. Yes it was a task that falls under my remit…and I appreciated Clare saying that she wanted me to tell her which days I was taking in lieu of last Saturday and this one. But then I look at the important and urgent ones and wonder how to do that. I know I should take them and not care.

I realised several things today though – the anger shouldn’t be turned inwards or it becomes depression. I think that’s what I have been doing. And it’s hard to know how to stop. Crying again writing this…I am exhausted. I have been doing this for too long. It is impossible to continue doing the work of two people. And I have to consciously make choices that empower me and put me back in control.

It’s 8.16 Saturday night. I have barely eaten today. Tomorrow I am going to pick up a chest of drawers for a friend and then to another friend’s who I haven’t seen for a while. Tired. And I have to set the alarm on a Sunday. Tired…time to start looking after myself…maybe then I will have the energy to do the other things I want to do…like working out where my goals went…or at least planning my trip with Mum.

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Do what you say you are going to do.

This is one of my favourite quotes from last year. And today I did just that…albeit work related on a Saturday. Not my favourite thing to do on a Saturday. But I am handing over examinations to the new manager…and having been doing two jobs for a few weeks I was seriously behind. So I decided to go in today and just clear the examinations backlog. I feel a bit sorry for Katie who will have to come in on Monday to her desk piled high with 5 sets of theses to be sent for examination, or reports to be sent to 4 students who have passed.

I was tempted to stop at 5.30 and go home…you know, it is Saturday, I had been there since 10.30am…but what kept going around my head was that quote. Do what you say you are going to do.

Slowly getting more organised…I think this is going to be one of the keys. And especially if it’s not about my commitments to other people but also my commitments to myself!

By the way, the quote is from the wonderful Danielle LaPorte…love her work. http://www.daniellelaporte.com/#

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Life 2.0 continued…

A meeting with my mentor today over coffee…mainly a quick catch up, but now we have a catch-up scheduled for the rest of the year every six weeks or so. There was a lot she didn’t know. We discussed the new job opportunities on the horizon, my handover as acting manager, the reasons I won’t be continuing as acting manager…

When I hesitated about applying for the new Manager position that’s coming up, she stopped me. I had started to think that maybe the other position would be better (easier maybe)…she insisted I should go for the manager’s job.

Today’s other news…I can see how I need to do handover within a set period of time, which I think Clare will want anyway…so I am aiming to have it all done by the end of the next two weeks so that I can focus on getting my normal job under control and stop stressing about it…at the moment I’m still doing a job and a half. It’s the interruptions that get me…it’s almost constant…And it is hard to focus on anything (like writing and planning) when you don’t get home until after 8pm.

On the upside, a good friend is out of surgery, I’ve started reading one of the many time management books I bought last year, and I am home and in my pyjamas.

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