This year I’ve changed my modus operandi.
It seemed to have just happened of its own accord but I think my deep dive into classics and fiction reading, warm long summer days and my bullshit detector going on overdrive have something to do with it.
Since starting the new year, I’ve decided to do things a bit differently.
I’m a worrier, a planner and on top of that, I have FOMO.
This might seem strange to you but much of my life has been spent doing one or the other to catch up and get ahead. If I don’t have something to worry about, I’ll make something up to worry about.
The rest of the time, I’m planning something or another.
People come to me because they know, I’ll get things done, I’ll get it off the ground. They’ve got an idea and they need someone to make it real and tangible who can put things in place to make things happen. I’m the person they come to.
It sounds like I’m full of myself here but I make no apology. It’s just the way it is. We all seem to have certain skill sets.
This is one of mine.
An entire career in corporate – and even my outside of work hours volunteering with not-for-profits and my years in Rotaract and Rotary – has been spent planning, coordinating, managing, developing, conducting projects of some sort.
I even do it in my own time with my own projects such as my coworking & social group Third Place along with also being the social event organiser for my friends and family.
I think my military background played a part here. This skill set came in handy while I was in the services – I think I always had it – but it was honed while I was in the Navy. It may explain why I found my time there as one of the best career experiences of my life and relatively easy – except for the physical fitness which I hated but that’s another story.
Or it could have just be that I’m an Aries or an ENFJ or whatever Myer Briggs thing you want to box me into if you’re into that thing?
For some reason, some people may need assistance in this area when it comes to managing their projects and they come to me.
Usually, all I need is for them to tell me what they want, who they need, what they want to achieve and in my mind’s eye, I can see the entire plan all laid out in my head as to what tasks need to be completed when, by who, how, and what.
I think my brain is a hyperlinked Kanban board of colourful post-it notes frankly.
Some of the post-it notes are laid out in perfect order while some others curl up and float to the floor of my brain, they stick to my shoe, I pick them up and whack them up against my brain wall which may explain some of my left-field ideas….
Anyway, having this skill irks me. It was even confirmed in my performance reviews when I was in corporate as I was ranked highly for project management, organisation and coordination.
The more I’m writing this, the more it sounds like I’m blowing my own trumpet but trust me, I wish project management skills were NOT the skills I was good at.
I actually wish I was known for having a free spirit, a devil may care attitude, fearless, courageous, creative explorer, an adventurer and an intellectual – all rolled into one but I’m not.
I’m the pragmatic person who just gets in there and gets it done – and when I do, I realise the enormity of what I have agreed to and then try to think of ways to get out of it.
However, I think I’ve reached a stage in my life where I’m simply…tired.
Well not physically tired per se, I guess you can say, mentally tired.
Maybe it’s an age thing as I reach a milestone age in the next month and consider, what do I want the next 10 to 20 years of my life to look like?
All I know is that I don’t want to be busting a gut, arguing the same old points with the same old people and going over the same old ground.
Also, believe it or not, there are many times now when I just want to be a follower. I don’t want to be asked to take the lead anymore instead happily following the younger ones who no doubt would do a better job than I would – and make it much more fun in the process.
It sounds like a cop-out doesn’t it? It’s not really. I think I’m claiming my right to be a little bit selfish now.
To step aside and let others show their true value.
It doesn’t mean that I leave my work or my love of learning – not at all.
It simply means I’m going to pick and choose what things in my life I will focus and devote my time and attention to. I’ve long come to realise that I cannot keep up with information anymore, things at work are changing too quickly and society is changing along with it.
What I’d like to do is to reclaim some time back away from thinking about work as my main goal and instead pursuing interests and people who I can connect with that get me thinking deeply but without losing the joy and laughter from life.
It also means letting go of some people and networks in my life that don’t nourish me anymore instead, preferring people who aren’t afraid to express their own creativity, sensitivity and vulnerability – even mistakes and failures openly.
I’m not so much interested in what people do for their work anymore as much as I want to learn what they do and create OUTSIDE of it now because I feel that says more about their character than what they in their 9 to 5 jobs.
So I decided this year to do little experiments and do the OPPOSITE of what I usually do and am compelled to do.
- Rather than agree to everything, I’ll bide my time to respond so that I can think of a proper and well thought out response
- Rather than spend hours in my day working or thinking about work or talking about work – I’d much rather spend it reading books that transform me; and doing other leisure pursuits to clear my mind
- Rather than listen and watch the multitude of social media influencers online and following the crowd, making more one-to-one connections with people who make me think and who challenge my beliefs
- Rather than just following people in my field of learning and development – going beyond that and connecting with people outside it who are presenting alternative views
- Rather than responding to everything and anything on social media – I’ll let it sit or reply via private message
- Rather than rush around being busy for busy sake, I’ll nap more, read more, knit more and get out more to explore my local area (it’s amazing what I have discovered already just 5 kms from my home)
- Rather than send IMs to people through social media, I’ll phone them up and talk to them – even better meet up for a coffee, lunch or some shared activity we can enjoy – go back to basics
- Rather than rush around creating blogs and vlogs and videos across all platforms – I’ll reduce it because it was overloading me for no reason at all because it started to be a competition with others
- Rather than spend my time in front of a computer, I’ll go around to my parents more often because usually over there, there’s always something interesting that they’re doing such as drawing, learning, making something, cooking, listening to world music and reading. I never know what I’m going to learn – last week it was binding our own note pads; yesterday it was how to memorise a music score from a flamenco guitar piece that had some difficult key changes. (My father had developed a system for him to memorise music notes when playing the classical guitar…and as I sat there with him explaining his little marks on the paper, all I could think about is how I just don’t experiment enough with my own learning).
Well anyway, where was I going with this?
Suffice to say, that this year, it’s the most rested and relaxed I’ve felt in a long time. It may be something to do with age and that I have nothing to prove anymore.
It may be because there’s a freedom of thought around enjoying each day and whatever happens, happens.
It may be because I’ve been reading such wonderful and beautiful books about the human spirit and creativity that anything else I see online on social media that is nasty or follows crowd thinking’ is plainly absurd and doesn’t warrant even commenting on anymore.
Life is too short to be working all the time and I’m now plain ready to enjoy it.
I’m going to finish it with Michael Leunig’s JOMO poem https://www.leunig.com.au/works/recent-cartoons/769-jomo