The challenge here is to start putting into practice what my ultimate goal is: to combine present professionalism and investment in the future I am building. The aim is that by the time that future happens, it will have already been built.
It may sound too cryptic, so, for those who don’t know… no. The prejudice would already overcome and destroy the vision.
Let us just say that I am working towards being fully and self-sufficiently self-employed, because I do like to do things my way, I like to assert my own agenda, and I am still looking for the final place to live, my final home.
Many factors have come together to be a lesson for me. I wish to share them because I believe these concepts apply to a lot of people, and it’s time we stopped dividing the professional from the personal: happy people work better, create more work and are more pleasant to work with, so why talk about work without talking about what can make us happy?
This year I realised that after 20+ years I was done learning, and it was time I put my learning into practice. That meant leaving a job I was doing mostly for the sheer pleasure of interacting with the people I worked with, and taking a risk by going back to doing what I actually love, and ONLY what I love: translating and writing books.
I had never translated like this before, it was always a rush rush panic my children need food kind of work. Now, thankfully, I had the slightest leeway, thanks primarily to my artist husband learning to use some budgeting software recommended by a photographer friend. I cannot possibly afford NOT to work (we live in an extremely expensive town), but I can breathe and work my way.
Then I decided to let go even more of relationships that caused me grief or excessive energy waste from my part. Most of the times these relationships are caused by ourselves: we decide that we absolutely must give and receive certain amounts, because we realise the potential of said relationship. But sometimes one has to say well the potential was there, but it failed to materialise. There is no point in even looking for whose fault it is, there never is. At some point when the anger and the frustration subsides you realise that relationship is simply distracting you, taking too much from you, and giving nothing back. So you let it go.
The immense sadness that always accompanies the times I have felt disappointed in this way was always crippling to me, at least for some time. This time not so much. I was left with a clarity that immediately extended to all my other relationships, instantly simplifying them so that I could recognise what needed investment and time now and what didn’t, not now, not ever, or just later. The greatest ability is to pick your battles.
Pick your battles. I repeat it because it’s one of the main ways in which we can fight the loop. The amount of time we waste fighting the wrong battles is mind-boggling. Besides relationships, my battle this year was for a computer. Since my faithful and coffee drenched macbook finally died a few years ago, I didn’t have a computer and no justification to buy one, as I was working full time though woefully underpaid. My friend sold me one, it was ok and worked perfectly though a little slow, not very powerful, but my daughter took it over. The time came where I had the reasons and the means to get one. I ordered one at my previous favourite PC seller. It took forever to come, then it was faulty, then I sent it back and it was returned as “fixed” (but wasn’t), finally after many emails and so-called support interactions and frustration I sent it back, asked for a refund that didn’t come for 20 days, started bad reviews and twitter mentioning, finally got the refund. I then ordered what seemed the perfect laptop at a reliable seller on Amazon, it never came, asked the seller, he apologised profusely and said he “he didn’t understand why it hadn’t been sent”. He sent me a better one instead. The computer is perfect, the best ever. And yet, it is missing the finger recognition bit and the webcam: the engineer forgot to put them in. The seller offered to replace it with a new one. By this time it had all become funny, as well as exhausting, and I wasn’t going to return this computer to ANYONE. So I said, thanks, but no, it’s fine. I don’t need finger recognition or silly webcams anyway.
I broke the loop. Instead of getting angry and kicking and pulling my hair out at the frustration of it all, and carry on fighting, I knew when to let go, and just take what you have, which may not be perfect, but it is pretty awesome just the same.
And that was how my computer odyssey was a lesson for the year. We all come across a multitude of opportunities to learn, all the time. We are given chances by life ever day, to turn it around for ourselves, because nobody is a victim, no matter how much we might feel like one at time. We all have choices we can make that will break the vicious circle. It is usually as simple as: I decide to let it go. The words may be simpler than the action, I am primarily aware of how hard they are. But a moment CAN come, even for unyielding me, when we can say I let it go, even if it means I have failed: it was just a pointless battle.
Turn your attention to what matters, and fight with the skills you have, and the loop will break and you will finally be able to skip to the next song, move onto a different stage, and be surprised by what you find.