Draining

 

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I’m a software developer by day, songwriter and wannabe rockstar by night – well, some nights, at least. Those where I have the energy. And therein lies the rub. Our jobs can drain the very energy we need for the leisure time pursuits that feed our soul (or power our escape dreams – whether or be business or art … )

For instance, take music. There’s creative aspects, social aspects and performance aspects. (And a pile of other stuff, but let’s keep it simple or we’ll be here all month).

Now with me, in my double life, the secret secret, known to most of us geeks, but not perhaps apparent to outsiders, is that the job I do is primarily creative. Oh, there’s social and co-operative parts to the job, and also performance, especially in client interaction, but primarily, most of the day, we sit in our chairs making stuff up out of our heads and making it happen on the screen  (or just on some server or hardware somewhere, to support other software that has, in the end, effects on the real world – from powerplants to phones, cars, washing machines, tractors – whatever). Which takes the same energy as composing and arranging music, writing lyrics – it’s all coming out of us, from nothing to something. The intangible made real, whether encoded in JavaScript or musical notation, played back on a browser or a piano. Problem solving, pattern matching, holding complex structures in medium term memory. And, of course, these days, it also means sit (or standing) in front of a computer…

My boyfriend is also a musican – and a salesman by profession. His job takes performance energy, but not really creative energy, so he finds it’s stage work that is tiring after a lot of work. Being creative is fine.

This past week or so, I’ve been finding it difficult to do anything much outside of work, be it songwriting, admin or even cooking. It goes in phases. I’ll have to just wait it out.

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Dreams in the dark


I dreamt last night that I was ill, with full-body visceral recall of how it feels to cough and cough, all night, all week, all winter. As a student, I did just that, pretty much, from November to May. For 5 years. I don’t know why. The doctors didn’t – and frankly considered it normal for Scotland in the winter.

I ate better than most students, because I could cook, but still relied on too many white rolls (usually with “Crema Bel Paesa” cheese), cheap noodles, pints of milk, apple turnovers, fruit gums and very much too much alcohol. Oh yes. I didn’t smoke, but everyone else did, and back then, indoors too. Whatever the reason, I suffered for a bit less than half the year, all that time.

Then I got a job, moved to England, then Germany – and I’ve been ill with a cough 4 times in the intervening 25 years, once in my first year in England. None has lasted more than 3 weeks (and that was when I was also horribly stressed and depressed). I’m kinda famous for never catching colds/flu, even when everyone else does.

It’s all just old dreams, from which I’m very glad to wake.

Sail on

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Strange day at the (current) boat today. I was really sleepy all the way there, thought about a nap first, but after a short chat with the commodore who was taking his mast down ready to motor up to the sea, I just went out.

I’d told him about my new boat, so I guess the word will get round.

Top batten snapped putting the main up, got caught just when I was pulling and not looking up! It’s just hardwood and I’ve got to go to the DIY store anyway this week, but mildly annoying. There was not really enough consistent wind to sail – but enough gusts to dislodge my anchor inside an hour. I had one short swim and ate my lunch, but I was not holding well, and when I upped anchor I decided just to motor back (dead upwind and there’s a 1km stretch that you are not allowed to tack in at all). Just as well, and just as well I’d gone to a far closer spot than usual. I was struggling to stay awake most of the way back, like I’d been standing watches on a multi day coastal trip or race.

Got back, made myself drink some water and basically passed out for 3 hours. Took photos of the boat for the for sale advert, not the greatest, because it was SO bright, but at least they are current. Had ice-cream, kebab and sweets on the way back (normally I’m a super healthy eater). I suppose the flukey wind was no worse than usual for the river/lake – I just didn’t have the energy to deal with it today. Oh, and despite not holding, the anchor and chain were full of mud, so I had to chuck some water over the deck -and my legs to clean up. That just seems unfair!!

Guess some days are just like that. I’m OK with it. It’s still 100% better than a day at work!

Fears

I fear that I am lazy and selfish. That I just want to do the minimum possible. I fear that if I do what I want, that what I do will be of use to no-one but myself, and therefore it will not sustainable as a lifestyle over my lifetime. I REALLY don’t *want* to turn me into a “brand” and twist my life into a business for the sake of doing approximately or tangentially what I love.

I fear also that if I were to walk the path of what I want to do too long then I end up unemployable and with no fallback – broke and very probably dependent on jumping through bureaucratic hoops to get just enough state aid to stay alive. With no freedom at all. The ultimate in being told what to do.

I mistrust intuition or instinct. Partly because I can see in the world so many people who (perhaps due to poverty, lack of education, or no energy or time) operate almost entirely on instinct plus whatever societal rules or prejudices are in their environment. And that is rarely pretty/enlightened/even in their own medium-to-long-term interests. Partly because so very very many human intuitions are provably inaccurate (when compared with real world measurements and events). But mostly because following my own emotions has not led to me either longer-term happiness or peace, and has *also* materially disadvantaged me every time. Money is power and choice.

I want to just *be* and explore the world, inner and outer, in perfect freedom – and to know that I can do it forever.

Thinking bigger

I love hearing about other people’s successes – especially when it does not come “easy”, when there are lessons to be learned, when there are setbacks and recoveries and persistence when, co-operation and self-belief win the day. When people make their escape from where they were, and make it to where they want to be. I think it is human to cheer each other on – at least when we’re not unfortunate enough to suffer from the misconception that success is a zero-sum game. Because it’s not.

Your success as a rock star doesn’t stop me doing it too. It has no effect. Her business success does not block yours – if you are in the same area, and she finds plenty of clients, then that means there are plenty of clients who want this service or product. Which is a WAY better situation than everyone finding there are none! His success with selling his art does not in any way change how you might do in selling yours. In fact the only effects are positive, it says there is success to be had, and that some people know how to get it. We can study them, but better than that, some of these will be willing and happy to advise/teach.

My personal challenge right now is a mental one. I see success in others. I cheer them on, and get a wee thrill from their victories, their progress. I have more trouble with myself. Somehow I don’t feel the belief that *I* can do it, that I can build a business, and income stream, a personal investment fund. I believe I can achieve goals (done that plenty). I know that I can take in new information, learn new skills. The technical side of things does not worry me. It’s a scale issue. I somehow find it tricky to envisage and believe that I can succeed with larger scale enterprises. With those where I can get myself out of the business, or sell it off. With having big enough ideas, with providing big enough value to enough people to bring in big income. With succeeding long term in my investments.

I don’t know why. I only know that I’m working on it, with courses that I’m doing, with mastermind groups I’m in, with networking and helping out – however I can. With asking questions and listening​ to the answers. With trying to learn to love the process.

Dreams come true

I’m not sure why the habit of writing here slipped, yet again, out of my daily (or at least weekly) routine. I can say too much screen time, I can point out my 4 week long wait for my wrist to heal after the boat scrubbing epic, I can mention my procrastination over whether to start seperate blogs for business, for sailing, for investing, for music. All this and more, and yet that’s not it. A failure of hope, of imagination, of belief in my own importance.

There’s some declarations I’m working on. You may know this concept as affirmations – same thing when done right. And they are telling me:

I am important

I have important work to do

I’m here for a reason

I fulfill my mission

I live my vision

I make a difference

I am a warrior of the light

This is my destiny

(I can only hear the last in Gerald Butler in 300 style – “THIS IS ….MY DESTINY!!” Maybe this is useful 🙂 )

Believing this now is important, it *is* the mission, it *is* what I’m here for right now. It *is* the place where I am on the path that I’m on. The actions I take as a result of these beliefs are what get me to my goals, are what make the dreams come true.

Should bes

I should already be free. I had it all. But I clearly could not handle it. We came back from the sea, made an album .. and in the middle of it I went crazy. That is the only way I can see it right now. There was rescue even then, but no, I destroyed (not only) my life and I still don’t really know why. Tired of trying to be perfect? But what a way to rebel against that. Then, in the aftermath, hideously depressed, near-drowned in guilt and shame and grief, I clawed my way far enough out to survive, build yet another life – but made further hideous decisions that mean I am right back in the Hamster Wheel, fighting again to get out. I have no idea if I am “better” yet, if I ever will be.

I would say I can’t live with it, but I am doing.

I am trying every day to appreciate what I have (which ain’t nothing! By all the gods that don’t exist, it is so very very far from nothing!).

But it hurts. Still. That I am not free, like my soul says I should be. I am re-Minioned, rewound and replaying. Obsessed with plotting and planning what I know I can do – escape. Knowing I can’t wait, knowing that this time I will have to give up part of what is good about where I am now.

I think I need to forgive myself – I can only see that redemption in the resumption of my dreams. Me, a small boat, and the sea…