Thursday, May 27, 2010

Winning At Life and Why May Doesn't

For a couple of reasons, I'm so ready to leave May behind. May is always a hard month, I think, because, for lack of a better expression, it's when shit gets real. And not only real, but often really hard, too. May is the month of the year when people start expecting to see results. After the weeks of January, in which the year is kicked off in a lazy, hazy 'the cleanup after the party' way, with a feeling your way around in a dark, unknown house kind of slowness, February comes along with zest and plans. March does march in, and within it we begin to execute these plans with zeal, for at least a week. But then things begin to get monotonous and unforseen problems crop up, due to underplanning or too enthusiastic planning or unrealistic planning or those crazy, so called "acts of god" that slam into and shatter the planning, and our plans all fall apart. We start April a little lost and bewildered and not sure where to go, so we keep working slowly in the direction we were working in the whole time, but now completely without conviction or enthusiasm. We slowly burn ourselves down to the point that we catch the inevitable "pre-winter flu" and get to take a few days off. Then comes May. When everyone who has been totally oblivious to our slow demise over the preceding months begins to demand their share of the year's profits so far. People are all of a sudden wanting to see our progress, are asking for material evidence and statistics and numbers and data that we know just aren't satisfactory. Suddenly the end of the year is looming much closer, and the shadow of those annual deadlines is seemingly expanding at a rate of knots. Doom is what you feel, doom is what you see and doom is what you hear thundering towards you from all sides. Your own impending doom.

But June comes along, after you've had your second bout of flu induced bedrest and Gilmore Girls marathons, and June is crisp and wintery and exciting. You've suddenly made it halfway through the year and suddenly you're thinking that if you made it this far, you may as well keep going, hell, you're even excited about it! You get to stop at this halfway mark, take a breather and reevaluate. That's accepted, even expected, and people think you're wise if you change your original plans now, rather than the weak, bailer they would have called you had you pulled the plug back in April. So you continue, with a fresh outlook and a tinge of excitement, although there's a sense that it's gained a bit of maturity after enduring months three, four and five. Day by day you go on and you see it out and at Christmas you tell everyone you see and celebrate with what an exciting year it was for you, how different it was from other years and how you really felt like you made progress. And you probably did. You're eager and ready for next January (well, February really) to make your new plans for the new year, because this year you're going to tackle really big things. But sometimes, just occasionally, you have a flashback, or a nightmare, or are just sense something that reminds you of that month, May, which you know is coming, when you know it will all go to shit.

But now it's the end of May, so I have a whole year before I have to get back there. And perhaps I'll be clever and avoid the May catastrophe altogether next year. I hope so.

Here's to June!


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Some thoughts for a Monday

Here's what I'm thinking about on a quiet mid-morning Monday in May.

-Consequential Strangers- a term given to those strangers with whom you inevitably interact each day, is defined and explored at this thought-provoking blog. I first came across the concept in this article on Sarah Wilson's blog (which I love and adore) and it's been bouncing around in my mind since. Just think about it, the number of these strangers who pass through our lives will always far outnumber those people with whom we have close relationships, and despite our seeming lack of connection to them, they play a highly important role in the operation of our daily lives. They might provide us with our food, pass us on a morning stroll with a friendly greeting or fill up our car with fuel, and each of these little actions helps us on our way, while we in turn give our custom or our own smile. More importantly than this surface interaction, though, is the connections we can make with such people, as we are much less bound in this relationship by pre-conceived notions or judgements on our characters, as our close friends and relatives have, and so can in some ways be more open and honest; more the person we would like to be. It is possible to have such fleeting but deep interactions with these people, and that is what makes them so special.

There is this guy who works as the lollipop man at the school the little girl I nanny for attends. He's young, probably my age or younger, and sets up his crossing every morning like clockwork, arriving at 7:55, slotting in the orange flags and pulling on his vest. He stands with his stop sign every day, rain, hail or shine, helping the kids get across the road safely. Today, my little girl laughed as we walked up the footpath after crossing. "Everday," she said, "everday it's exactly the same: 'Hi! Have a good day!' he says." She was amused at his unfaltering routine. I have noticed, too, that his greetings rarely change, and when I leave the school and walk back across he says the same thing. He is so dedicated to his job, to starting the kids' day off safely and happily, and he never fails to bring a smile to my face too as I drive away. He'll never know it, but in that small way, he's changing my, and I'd guess a lot of the other adults dropping kids off before beginning their work day's, life, and only for the better.

These consequential strangers are put into our lives for a reason. We're all connected, we all have the power to change the world, and it's a worthy pursuit to be mindful of appreciating the value of those we meet everyday in all sorts of places and situations. Afterall, the more connections you make, the wider your circle of wisdom and influences becomes, and this can only be a good thing.

This reminds me of two things. First a quote from Desiderata, which has been a favourite of mine ever since I read it on a poster tacked to the roof above my dentist's chair.

"As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story."

And also the wonderful Missed Connections blog, which everyone has been raving about for the past couple of months with good reason. This one is my recent favourite:(click image for the story)

BuzzChild xx

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Working Girl

So, lately I've been making character cards for the play I'm working on, and making red velvet cake for my mum for Mother's day. I'm counting both as success.

Monday, May 3, 2010

A Helpful and Handy Hint

Stress creates tension, often held in the neck, shoulders and jaw. Next time you accidently step on a piece of metal, how will you be able to watch for the signs of a developing tetanus infection when your neck is always stiff regardless?