Today I relaxed. No really, I relaxed. I thought I was relaxed before but it turns out I’m not actually all that good at it. I have to force myself to relax which I am sure defeats the purpose. I have been pushing really hard towards the end of the year to finish things because that makes me feel in control (note to self: draft up the “illusion of control” post). I have pushed so much that even when I’ve been “relaxing” I have had a mind filled with lists and business and, to put it in a way my knitter friends will totally relate to, loose ends to be woven in.
Now, thinking about it, the loose ends metaphor is a good one. Those pesky ends can teach us so much. Something can look superficially finished but look a little deeper and that lovely stripy vest is hiding a horrible secret. When I was going through interpreter training there is another, related, metaphor that is used by many tutors: Be like swans. Swans are graceful, they glide along beautifully and look calm… on the surface! Underneath they can be paddling like the dickens to stay afloat and we’d never know. Be like swans, when your brain is running a sprint, remain calm and look graceful. Easier said than done, but some people are masters of it. Ever had a friend drop the bombshell that they are really struggling but you had no idea? yeah, that.
Back to the stripy vest, it looks done on one side but it’s not, it needs the ends put away and finished properly. If you don’t finish it properly and then try to wear it, you know what will happen, it will unravel and that shiny finished exterior illusion is blown.
Hmmm, my current interpreter professional development has me focused on freer translations and that means really understanding the meaning of the English to get its essence to achieve the best translation. Apologies if that leads to the over-analysis and subsequent killing of any metaphors in the process. But still, the above metaphor is good for explaining what I’ve been trying to do lately.
I am a master procrastinator. I’d have awards to show you to prove it but I didn’t make it to the ceremony because I found other things to do. That procrastination builds up unfinished things, half finished things, lists of lists and general stressful un-satisfaction. So I decided I’d had enough. I split my massive “To do” list into smaller lists by subject area (I didn’t say I was stopping procrastination completely).
- To be paid
- Self employment tasks
- General to do list
- College lecturing tasks
- Professional development homework
Each of these lists started rather long but I would just take one achievable task from one list and hammer it out until it was done. Some of them were quick and easy, some took more time and planning to complete. But now, about 3 weeks on from the list separation and I feel like this is a system I can use indefinitely to keep on top of things. It has slowly given me focus and drive, but that meant I was always “on”, if you know what I mean.
There are still some nastier things that I am putting off from my lists (that I shouldn’t be) but it feels good seeing each one shrink even if they are rolling lists with re-growth.
How was today different? How did I relax? I did relax for most of today even if not as deeply as I perhaps will in future. I don’t know what made today different, whether I saw it as the Scottish holiday that it is meant to be or something but when I couldn’t do my first choice activity today (spend time with my mum) I chose to spend time on me.
I cooked. I used up some past its best veg to make a very tasty pasta dish.
- 400g chicken
- 2 leaks
- 1 onion
- 1 orange pepper
- 3 minced garlic cloves
- 1 packet of chicken fajita spice mix
I don’t really do recipes as such but this was really tasty. I don’t know how much it cost per portion but I now have one large portion in the freezer, one snack size and one regular size in the fridge. I fried off the chicken until sealed, added the onion, leak and then pepper. When that was all cooked I added the garlic and fajita mix and cooked for another couple of minutes then mixed into some cooked pasta. For extra kick I added jalepenos.
I baked. It’s not new years in Scotland without shortbread so I made some of that too.
I pottered, cleaning and tidying the kitchen as I went.
I listened to podcasts.
I watched some shows on netflix (currently watching Vampire Diaries).
I knit. I am so close to the heels I can nearly taste it! I am bored of this pattern though. Ironically I think I would have been less bored if I was knitting a completely plain sock that just went round and round… I could focus just a little less on that. It would be nice.
For a day, I just was. I didn’t tick off anything from my lists. I didn’t write up the goal/resolution list that has been rattling around in my brain for a few days. I just was. And it was completely needed.
ps. The all ends on the stripy vest were sewn in and it was worn for the first time yesterday.