Friday, October 23, 2015

Know Thyself: Take 2

I spent the past seven weeks working on a special assignment for my day job. Seven challenging weeks that rocked me physically, mentally, spiritually. Challenging because of the long days (on average, I put in 16-hour days). Challenging because most of the days I was on my feet (no time to sit) and eating, not so well, on the fly. Challenging because of the different personalities clashing, testing the limits of my patience (I “snapped” during week six when one colleague had gone too far). Challenging because of the disruption to my writing and exercise routines. Challenging because I felt that I had lost myself.

In accepting the special assignment (hard to refuse when you’re handpicked by the person leading the team), I knew that the days would be long, and that I would be tired. But I went into the assignment with the same positive attitude I bring to work each day. This was an opportunity to do something different, to visit places I hadn’t seen before. And I had to think, as we often hear, that a change is as good as a rest. I also knew that I would have to “steal” time to write. Most days I was so tired I couldn’t concentrate, and was lucky to get down a few sentences. Admittedly, I didn’t make much progress on the writing project that I had brought with me. By the end of the assignment I was exhausted and irritable, and desperate to write and to get out for a run along the Martin Goodman Trail.

My day job is just that. A job. I don`t love it, I don`t hate it. But when I show up, I give 200% and bring my best to it — a positive attitude, a client-centred approach, and a smile. But this special assignment reminded me (I needed the reminder) that:

I’m direct. At the beginning of 2014, I challenged myself to maintain a healthy, positive outlook on life. I’m happy with my life, happy with all that I’ve achieved. That`s why I do my best to stay outside of the negativity so ingrained in society — to try and build something up and see the silver lining as opposed to always criticizing, deconstructing, tearing others down. People with negative attitudes, if I allow them, suck out too much of my energy, so I ruthlessly cut them loose (and during this special assignment one of my colleagues learned that lesson the hard way, despite many warnings).

It is so important to do what it is that you love to do. For me, that`s writing. It`s what puts the spring in my step. Whenever I could, I wrote. Sometimes that meant not going out for drinks and/or dinner with my colleagues at the end of a long day, casting me as “antisocial.” I was okay with that because writing is what gives me a sense of purpose, brings joy into my life. That was me being true to myself.

It’s important to keep the faith. Never compromise on who you are, and hold strong, hold fast to dreams. No one can fault you for that.

I now have almost three weeks off to recharge, to get back to the core of things. To write! I’m back to work, regularly, on a tough rewrite. But I’m writing. Yes, I’m doing what it is that I love to do, and that feels good.

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