March 2015 archive

Stop and Eat the Ice Cream

Pia ice cream

I’m writing this post sitting in a hotel room a couple of hundred kilometres away from my partner and Sweet Pea. I’ve had a looooooong day at work, my mind is spinning with all that I have to do, chase up, complete, write, process. I’m dehydrated from a day of not drinking enough water and talking too much. I’m looking forward to a glass of wine, trashy TV, my book and a bed ALL TO MYSELF!!!

But I’m also aching for the two people I love most in the world at the same time – those kilometres seem like eons at the moment. Why is it we crave, long for, desire, demand time away just to ourselves and then when we finally get it it’s the last thing we want??!!!

I keep being drawn back to this post. I have thought about it a lot since I wrote it – I think that was one of the main reasons I put it “out there” – I wanted to be accountable to it. I didn’t want to have these thoughts, ideas and grand plans and then just keep on the same track – ignoring the fact that things need to change somewhere along the line if I want my values to be front and centre in my life.

So even though I continue to work hard, and sometimes long and distant hours, I am slowly but surely carving out time and space for other  more valued parts of my life.

Like time for ice cream, and swings in the park, and walks along the lake, and tea parties with Teddy and Kitty, and reading great books, and talking about “real” things and starting to make connections.

It’s not enough, but it’s enough for now.

 

How about you? Are you taking time out to eat the ice cream??

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A Value Driven Life?

Karen iphone 2015 1889

A new university semester started last week and with it my role as a casual lecturer.

I love being a teacher/educator/facilitator of learning. I love being in a class room with a group of (mostly!) young, bright, eager-eyed students – and the occasional bored stare! I love learning and being able to help facilitate learning in others – nerdy stuff I know but it really floats my boat!

In my first class with second year social work students I took them through some practical exercises around identifying values – what are they, how are they formed, how do our values drive our lives – what do we stand for? In the spirit of being an interactive teacher I also engaged with the exercises. Now, I’ve done a lot of reflection on my personal and professional values over the years (it’s kind of par for the course when you’re a social worker!) and I do believe it helps us to get to the core of what we want/need/believe in.

But this particular values exercise hit me a little harder, and a little closer to home, than others I have done. At the end of the exercise it asked “If your life were to reflect your top 3 values more, what would need to change?”

And the answer to this question for me? Quite a lot.

A lot would need to change in order for my current life to truly be reflective of my top 3 values. How scary is that? It really shook me, sitting there in front of a classroom of students, that the life I’m currently living isn’t maximising the essence of who I need/want/would like to be. I don’t feel as though I’m being true to myself, or those I care about.

And the thing is, I know this! I’m working a lot at the moment – more than I really wanted/planned to this year – but some amazing opportunities came up that I wanted to grab with both hands (while really only having one hand free…). And I’m loving (almost!) every minute of this work – it is stimulating, challenging, meaningful work that I am passionate about and engaged in.

But (and here’s the big but!), I have other important, vital parts of my life that are missing out or not getting the best of me because of the workload I have currently taken on. My relationships, my family and myself are missing out. There is only so much time to go around isn’t there?

Now, don’t fear – I’m not about to launch into a spiritual awakening (that really isn’t my style!). I don’t believe in “If you want it badly enough, it will come to you” or “send your needs out into the world and it will deliver”. I’m all about personal responsibility – if something isn’t working for you then you need to do the hard yards, make some changes or sacrifices and change that shit! There is no higher power coming to bail me out and set me on my path to personal fulfilment!

What it means is that I have to consciously take control of where this work is taking me – and where it is not.

It means that I have to make some hard choices about where my time is best spent in order for my life to feel as though it makes sense.

It means I have to reflect on why I continue to take on more and more – how much of it is about me not being able to say no to fantastic ego building opportunities?

It means thinking about if my choices are geared towards things that come easily to me as opposed to spending time on things that might be more challenging at first but ultimately more enriching in the long term?

It means some thinking to be done and decisions to be made…

How about you? Do you find it easy to live according to your values or do things get in the way?

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