Time equals money equals stress

My life as a fulltime freelancer took a bad turn after a shoot last week. I had a stressful day and a half, and while I was chilling on the couch later that night, my husband pointed out that I was scratching my face. This isn’t new, I often scratch my skin when I’m stressed out, but when he pointed it out I realised that it actually itches. So I went into the bathroom and discovered that not only is my face itching, my arms are itching as well. I pull up my shirt and find that the rash I had before the wedding is back. And it’s everywhere.

Somehow I think I’ve always handled my time carefully. I always show up early for meetings, get up extra early so that I have time to take it easy in the mornings, plan my work so that it doesn’t pile up and almost never wait until the last minute… and yet here I am, covered in rashes with a brain not operating fully due to long-term stress. I’ve blamed myself for this. “It must be me, everyone else seems to be able to handle life”. But in the last few months I’ve watched people around me break down, one by one, and I’ve realised that it’s not just me. It’s not up to us as individuals to try to cope, something needs to change.

Looking back at past jobs and job interviews where they ask you how well you operate under stress, makes me want to go back in time and give a lecture about the negative effects of long-term stress and how it isn’t a positive thing for the company to hire people on the premise that their job is stressful. If the job is stressful – change something! No one will thank you a few years down the road when you crash and can’t function like a normal human being.

Stress-related illness is a rising problem in society, and we cope by changing our mindset, trying out a new diet or becoming more “spiritual”. Sure, we can try to learn mindfulness, do yoga on the weekends and “not get ourselves worked up”, but how is that going to change anything? How is mindfulness going to help you when your boss emails you late at night, telling you he needs your project, that you haven’t even started, to be done by lunch tomorrow? How is mindfulness, or yoga, or excersise going to fix the core problem? The core problem being that time equals money.

I blame consumerism and our outdated views on work. We need to realise that yes, time is precious, but time isn’t money. Money requires time. Quick results might seem tempting, but letting things take their time is more beneficial in the long run. Innovation, inspiration and new ideas can’t grow in stressful environments. And think about how much money society loses on sick leave due to stress. We’re talking billions.

We need to talk more about these issues, especially with employers, and not apply for jobs where the word “stress” is in the job description. Health comes first.

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The times are changing…

Once again times have changed. Summer is over, fall is slowly fading away and winter is creeping in on us, reminding us that it’s all darkness from here. At least here in Sweden we have about 4-5 months of darkness ahead of us.

Fall was brief as I spent it mostly in school. How is that going you might ask? Well I decided to drop out. Most of my family and friends are against my decision as they are afraid I’ll never get my shit together, but I just can’t deny my gut feeling that this isn’t where I’m supposed to be. Don’t ask me where I’m supposed to be though, I haven’t quite figured that one out yet. But I have a strong feeling that things will work out just fine. Now you might say that it’s better to stay in school while I figure out what to do next, but during the two months I’ve been there, I haven’t had the time or energy to think about anything else. A master’s degree is definitely not a piece of cake. Just the sheer amount of literature we have to read is crazy. It’s pretty much the same amount of books we read during ALL of high school combined. And when you realised you have no interest in the subject, getting through that literature is hell.

In other news; I am now a married woman. The month leading up to the wedding was apparently so stressful that I developed a rash all over my body and face. I had to be heavily medicated the week of the wedding and for about a week after. It wasn’t an ideal situation, but despite this and despite the rain on the wedding day itself, we couldn’t have been happier. We had a quick wedding in city hall and then a small gathering afterwards in our backyard.

The next day we flew to Italy to spend our honeymoon there. We started in Verona and then travelled to Garda lake to spend the last few days there. It was all wonderful and so much better than we could have hoped for. Verona is such a romantic city, I highly recommend going there for a honeymoon!

I can’t really come up with a great segway from here so I’ll just jump right into the present again. Yesterday I went to see Bohemian Rhapsody and it was the most amazing movie I’ve seen all year I think. The music, the story, the editing… I loved it. It somehow made me miss filmmaking, particularly script writing and editing. I left the theathre teary-eyed and inspired, even more sure of my decision to drop out of school. Even though this decision is really hard on me, I know that what I’m doing is right. I know that there is a greater purpose for me out there, as bold as it may sound.

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How do you find your life purpose and choose a career?

I’ve been thinking a lot about my life purpose since the realisation that I chose the wrong path in terms of my career. A couple of weeks ago I got an idea of what I wanted to do instead, and it didn’t take me long to get things moving. I found a programme at the local University, asked around for internships and even managed to get an interview with two people who are working in that particular field. I wanted to know what I was getting myself into before I decide to apply for two more years of school. It all seemed great and I was super excited. But surprise surprise, I’m starting to doubt the whole thing now.

The applications aren’t open yet, so I haven’t made an official decision. I’m afraid that this is going to be another bad turn. When talking to the two professionals I got the sense that one of them wasn’t very happy with his job, and the reasons for it are reasons that I know will bug me as well. It’s an administrative job, often controlled by other decision-making people, and everything has to go through them. Me being a person who needs control and has an issue with authorities, might have a problem with such a business structure.

But I need money, I need to make a living, and this job would mean a steady income. That is, if I actually get a job after the studies. Cause you never know. The statistics are looking pretty okay at the moment, but a lot can change in two years. Including my mental state and feelings towards this line of work. The whole reason why I came up with the idea in the first place is because I was searching the internet for jobs that suit my introvert personality. I found this profession interesting and “easy” enough to work with my anxiety problems. But is that really the right way to go? Am I settling for less than I actually want out of life?

I’ve always wanted to have my own business. To do great things that people will acknowledge. I wanted to help and change people’s lives. I still do. But I’m not well and have no energy to attempt something greater right now. Or at least that’s what I tell myself. Maybe I’m just afraid of failure? Or stressed out about the whole money situation. Having your own business can be very rewarding on a personal level, but the money won’t exactly pile up the first couple of years. It’s tough, and you need to be mentally prepared to stick with it, even when business is bad. I guess the key is to start a business you’re really passionate about, and where you can see a sustainable future. I don’t know what kind of business that would be, and as excited as I was for that new path I started exploring, I think I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.

But then again, do we ever find what we are looking for? I think we’re all just lost souls searching for something we believe will make us happy. But happiness isn’t around the corner, it’s right here. Even if I don’t feel it all the time, I know it’s here. To me it’s not the happiness I seek, it’s the meaning. A greater belonging. A sense of fulfilment. One of my greatest fears is being basic. Wow, I’ve never actually thought of it that way… That’s exactly my problem.

I feel like this is beginning to sound like a therapy session, so I’m going to end it right here. Please comment if you have any thoughts on this. Are you also afraid of not living up to your full potential? Have you found the right path? How do you know what you are supposed to do with your life? Do you just focus on surviving and providing for your family? Is your career important to you?

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To new beginnings

copyright: wanderfall.se

I’ve thought about how to start this blog for a long time. Should I write a long introduction? A short welcome? Or perhaps just get straight to the point and skip the whole “Hello, my name is blank, cheers to new beginnings!”?

I am a wandering and constantly lost soul. Writing is something I’ve always turned to whenever I was feeling down or had some sort of struggle in my life. I used to write pages and pages of desperation, heartache, and unrational anxiety. It helped me through tough times and it made me see clearly. Later on I set goals for myself. I wrote down the things I wanted to do, the destinations I wanted to go to and how I wanted my life to be in order for me to be happy. And it worked. Somehow I managed to do most of the things I dreamt about. But then life happened. And I stopped writing.

I’m turning 30 this year. When I was younger I used to think that those 30-year-olds had it all figured out. They drank coffee, went to work, drove cars, started families… They were real grown-ups. Sorry to make you disappointed, younger self, but I have nothing figured out. Honestly I’m surprised that I’m still standing up and breathing. Not to be overly dramatic or anything.

The idea of this blog is to find a context in which I feel like my true self. To give birth to new ideas and dreams, and to share what I’ve learned along the way in hopes of helping someone else. But don’t get discouraged by what may seem like a depressing starting point. I’m going to do my best to make this place filled with inspiration, photos and the ocassional thought-provoking text.

So hey, my name is Linda. Welcome!

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