Archive for October, 2013

What if things go right?

25 October 2013

I have a confession to make: several, in fact.

Firstly, I’ve been a terrible blogger. THAT much is obvious. Even after a gap of several months, I haven’t yet resumed my good habit of blogging every Tuesday, which I did last year (including Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, no less). So I’m a few days late, trying to get my blog (and my life!) back on track.

Secondly, I’ve been a terrible minimalist. Well, not that terrible: my room is a bit messy. And while normally I would tidy it up quickly, I haven’t for the last few weeks; I made a start yesterday, and I may well do some more tonight.

And lastly, my life hasn’t exactly gone to plan: I didn’t plan to get gall bladder disease, lose my job, and seriously look at moving back to Melbourne. The last few months have been like a bad trip (literally: this one went for over 900 kilometres!), and it’s the most natural thing in the world for me to exclaim that all is not well, have a little pity party, and just take to my bed. For about a fortnight. (That’s two weeks for North American readers.) Which is exactly what I did.

Time for a reframe.

My friend Daniel G. Taylor posted the question on Facebook “what if things go right?”. That is, when everything seems to be going badly, it may just be the universe’s way of unfolding something absolutely delicious. What if things go right? What if things were going right, right now? What if things were unfolding perfectly, according to a plan that I can’t quite make out right now, but that everything was not only going to be alright, but better than ever?

Mike Dooley has a similar idea, which he calls pronoia: the belief that the universe is actively conspiring on your behalf. (It’s the exact opposite of paranoia, by the way.) And what if a belief in pronoia, that the universe is actively conspiring on your behalf, was actually enabling the universe to actively conspire on your behalf? And what if I could ride that wave?

So I decided to go down the pronoia route this afternoon. Looking on the job sites, I found a job that I’m abundantly qualified for in Melbourne (O Melbourne, how much I have missed you. A kind of a weird thing for a Sydneysider to say, but truthfully, I get Melbourne.) And jobs with my strange set of qualifications are not exactly common. I could go back, complete my doctorate, and research what I am passionate about.

And the money will come. I’m still not totally sure how yet, but in a pronoic universe, it does, as long as you accept the universe’s gracious bounty. So far I’ve just had over $17,000 worth of debt cleared, so I’m on the right track.

So — what if everything was working out spectacularly, deliciously right???

I’m now a stripper!

17 October 2013

Yes, folks, now that I’m not working full-time, I’ve become a stripper. That’s right, you read correctly: I am officially a stripper.

In case you’re wondering who on earth in their right mind would pay money to watch me take my clothes off, the answer is: I’m not that kind of stripper

<sigh of relief>

No, the kind of stripping I’m now doing is stripping life down to the things that matter. Which means finding out what actually does matter, and then

What triggered this is that I’ve just left a deeply unsatisfying job (even with a six figure salary!) that slowly etched away my soul like acid. I realised a few weeks into it that I was, once again, a small cog in a large machine, producing “outputs” that, really, didn’t particularly improve patient outcomes, just potentially added to the bottom line of a multinational corporation. And while it’s nice to have the money, it’s not nice to feel like you’re not really doing anything productive for 40 or even 50 hours a week. I believe we’re here to make a positive difference, and that no amount of money can make up for meaningless work — “billshut” jobs as they’ve been called.

So I’m following my passions. I’m preparing for my doctorate (the last submission went awry because I had moved interstate for the job — so now I’m moving back to Melbourne in the next few months), which is about commercialising biotechnology, which absolutely enthralls me as a subject. I’m passionate about getting new, lifesaving technologies to people who need them — and how the process can be streamlined.

I’m also passionate about writing — I’m on the second draft of my novel, (some 50,000 words) about discrimination. It’s been more fun and way more challenging than I had ever imagined. I’ve had to go back to scratch on more than one occasion, but in the moments when you get into the flow of writing — it’s so worthwhile. Having grown up in a part of Sydney that was an ethnic melting pot I heard so many derogatory terms: first at the Italians, then the Vietnamese, then the Muslims, then the Africans… and it was wasn’t just redneck trash serving up these epithets. I remember when a Sudanese was attacked , our then immigration minister Kevin Andrews accused Sudanese refugees of fighting in bars and congregating in parks to drink alcoholic beverages, and stated that they weren’t integrating well — methinks the problem is with the people beating Africans up. </rant>

I have other passions too — growing vegetables, cutting gemstones, and most importantly, connecting with other people. Working 50+ hours a week, in order to buy lots of STUFF, doesn’t work. I’ve deliberately pared down my possessions, because I’ve realised what matters is time to do the things you love, with the people you love.

And that’s what really matters.

I’m baaaaaaack!

8 October 2013

Yes, after a three month absence the blog is returning — and once I work out how to upload photos, hopefully brighter and better than ever.

I have some interesting reflections on the last few months — one of them being that a shiny job with lots of money distracted me from what I *really* want to do. As of two weeks ago, I no longer work there — and more to the point, I’m not tempted to go back to a similar job. It’s settled: the corporate 9 to 5 six digit salary being a small cog in a large machine does not work for me (and truth be told, never really did).

So, where to now?

At this point I’m inventing a new job. Yes, you read right, inventing. I am in the process of creating a job that makes my heart sing. (Actually, several, but that’s beside the point.)

And I think the main moral of the lesson of the last few months is: if you get off the track, the universe will be sure to let you know. (In my case, with gallstones.) And realising that, although the job I had was well-paid enough (in spades!), it really wasn’t going to take me where I wanted to go, and certainly didn’t make my heart sing.

Enough of that. Life’s too short to do stuff you don’t really want to do.

What I REALLY want to do when I grow up is 1) finish my novel (and I have written a 50,000 word first draft, so it’s no longer in the someday / one day category), and 2) do my doctorate in commercialising biotechnology. Oh, and if I get to travel the world (hello, Iceland!), cut and polish some gemstones (sapphires and rubies in particular), and ingest dumplings, tea and macarons, that would be pretty epic too.

So now I’m focused on what I REALLY want. And I’ve made a great start today — I’ve had $17,000 worth of debt cancelled. 🙂  I think going after what I really want is the way to go, I’m sure Abraham Hicks would agree. 8)