Organised time wasting

I have just spent my first two hours at the office in a meeting. It certainly was… interesting. You just gotta love meetings in big corporates. They are just an organised waste of time. The good thing about this particular meeting was that it was in the boardroom with the great view. I got to sit there for 120 minutes watching the rest of the city getting about doing constructive things.

This particular meeting was with the marketing department. Those are the best ones. They make sweeping statements about what needs to be done and then finish them off with “That shouldn’t be a show stopper, should it Sarah?” They then go on to put ridiculous time frames on things. Or ask impossible questions. “How long does a site take to build?” I’m thinking about learning Russian so that I can randomly answer in it. I don’t think they’ll even notice.

Speaking of other languages, the reason I was in the meeting in the first place is because they need a ‘site’ built for a new campaign they are doing. No problem. Turns out the ‘site’ is actually a pretty complicated application. Still no problem, although a server would be a good start. Things started going downhill when they told me that the ‘site’ needed to integrate some new software that we are showcasing. Uh huh. They asked for a timeframe. I suggested that perhaps they should show me the software first. They were very helpful. They gave me a manual to skim.

The very first page of the manual made me a little nervous. It specified that the platform only supports programming in a language I know very little about. I mentioned that. One of the guys helpfully left the room to print me out a learner’s manual. I thanked him graciously and asked him if in return he would mind hosting an event for me in a couple of weeks time. In Chinese. I think they started to take my point.

Anyway, it’s all so surreal that I’m finding it quite entertaining. They have obviously been planning this campaign for months. They have a very complicated planning diagram all mapped out with timeframes locked in and tasks assigned. Most of them seem to be mine.

It would seem the only thing they forgot to do was tell me about it.

Tears

Emotions are so fickle. You can go from being on top of the world to completely miserable in the space of a few seconds. I find it so frustrating yet so tragically beautiful at the same time. It’s what makes us human.

I’ve been going on lately about what a good place I’m in. How happy I am. Then one person says one thing and it’s all blown out of the water.

Someone I love is angry with me. I’m as much to blame as I’m not. I didn’t do anything except not do anything. He had expectations of me that I was aware of but wasn’t able to do anything about. I guess it’s a classic example of how being ‘unguarded and transparent’ backfired on me. I thought I had laid it all out on the line. I thought he had too. Turns out he hadn’t. He was thinking and stewing and getting angrier and angrier.

It’s funny how emotions blind us. Anger makes us say things we regret. Love makes us behave foolishly. Excitement makes us careless. Hurt makes us vulnerable.

Is it emotion that seperates us from animals? Or the complexity of our emotions? Are there people that are more profoundly affected by their emotions than others? Or are some people just better at dealing with them? I wouldn’t be without any of them and I marvel at their ability to test me. As I’ve gotten older I’ve learned to learn from them.

But right now I feel like I’ve lost one of my best friends. I’m grateful for the others that I have.

The naked truth

I don’t have an issue with nudity. You probably know that already, from such posts as naked cleaning and naked sunbathing. It is definitely due to the way that I was brought up. If you look through my childhood photo albums, you’d be forgiven for wondering if I actually owned clothes up until  I started school. Thankfully, mum insisted that I start wearing them to go to class. One of my personal favourites is a shot of the three of us riding inflatable ‘pool ponies’ naked in a para pool.  (That would be me and my siblings, not me and my parents.)

So… nudity. It’s an unavoidable part of life unless you shower in a swim suit. It just seems ridiculous to be uncomfortable with it. It has only been in recent years that I have realised that some people are. My parents have always lived an incredibly busy life, so when we lived at home with them, in order to get them both in the same room at the same time it was often a case of having to go in and chat with them in the morning while they were having their respective bath and shower. We didn’t blink at the idea. It was just how it was. On the odd occasion that I have mentioned that to people I have had some rather shocked looks.

In more recent times I have been interested to notice how other people try to hide their nakedness. I shower and change at work after the gym each morning. You have to walk through the changing area to get to the toilets, so a relatively constant stream of people goes past. I just do my thing. Other women have complicated systems of holding towels in their teeth or trying to hide behind tiny locker doors whilst dressing. Why would you bother?

I understand that there are cultural implications relating to nudity. There is a fairly high contingent of Asian women that work here. They tend to avert their eyes and look embarassed when confronted with my nudity. That is understandable. The reaction that surprised me the most and prompted this post was from a born and bred kiwi girl.

She walked into the changing room the other morning when I was dressing. As it happens, I wasn’t even naked. I was wearing underwear. She shrieked and covered her eyes. I would have been offended had she not started shouting “Oh my god, I’m so sorry! Don’t worry, I didn’t see anything, I promise. Honestly, I didn’t.”

Uh, great. I told her not to worry. It’s called a changing room for a reason.

It’s a beautiful life

Right now I’m in a really good place. You know those times in your life when it feels like things are just going really well for you? I’m in one of those and I’m lovin’ it. I’m going to hold on to this feeling for as long as I can so that I remember what it’s like next time something isn’t going quite so well.

I remember only a month ago driving home from work and thinking about how down I was on my job. I was thinking about what my dream job would be. It has since occurred to me that I’m pretty much in it already – the grass only looks greener. What was really happening was that I was procrastinating over a project that I really wasn’t in to. It is an application that I wrote last year that now needed some enhancements made. I had been watching it in my Inbox for months and the longer I left it the guiltier I felt. Last week I pulled my finger out and nailed it (the app, not my finger). Now I’ve moved onto a new project that I’m really excited about and I love my job. Oh, how fickle.

My company is taking off again after a hiatus for holidays and moving house. I’m working on two big projects, both of which are for great clients. Those people that are just easy to work with, and more importantly, seem to love everything I put before them! I’m about to take on two wedding stationery clients as well, which are always fun and are great money for very little work.

Then there’s the new house. Holy hell. I have never loved a new possession more. Shaun and I sit down at the end of every day and talk about how much we love it. You know how when you’re a kid you imagine the kind of house you’ll own when you’re a grown up? (Well, I used to. I guess it was my alternative to the wedding day fantasy.) Well, I have my one of those houses now and it’s all I had dreamed it would be.

I’ve managed to balance out my social/work/relaxation time significantly better than I was as well, so I don’t feel like I’m burned out all the time. I haven’t had the ‘flu once this year, which is absolutely unheard of for me. Aside from surgery earlier in the year, I haven’t been sick at all.

Anyway, I guess there’s only so much reading about someone else ranting on about how wonderful their life is that the average person can stomach, so I’ll quit now before I lose my readership!

If I get struck by lightning on my way home, I can honestly say that I’ll die happy.

Never shake a baby

This post is a bitch about babies. Not because I don’t have one, but because I did. This weekend we babysat for friends who came up to stay from down the country. They had a wedding to go to and we said we’d mind their 1 and 2 year olds. It sounded like fun. I have since reassessed fun.

The kids were absolute angels, until their parents stepped out of the house. Then the screaming started. To be fair, the two year old was fantastic. He even announced to me at six thirty that it was his bed time. Perfect! The one year old howled at the top of her lungs constantly for around 5 hours. Shaun took her for a walk around the garden. No go. He took her for a walk to the park. No go. I bounced her on my hip until my arm just about fell off. No go. I fed her, I changed her nappy, I gave her toys, I let her pull the cat’s fur. Nope. It was around that time that I entertained the idea of shaking her. I can see why people do.

I put her to bed at six fifteen, as per my instructions. She lay in her cot screaming. When her brother went to bed they played happily for an hour or so until she fell asleep. I don’t have words to describe my relief, and that’s quite something. All was right in the world.

For an hour.

Then she woke up for some reason and started up again. I ignored her for 5 minutes until it became apparent that it wasn’t going to stop. I brought her into the lounge and tried to console her. As if… After well over an hour of this, I discovered that she would be quiet if I laid her on her stomach on the ground. So I did. She went to sleep. Then I realised that should her parents come home, the sight of their baby asleep face down on the wooden floor might be rather unnerving, so I picked her up and put her on the couch. I was worried about her smothering herself in the cushions though, so I had to arrange her carefully. Queue the howling.

How do people cope? I consoled myself with the idea that if it was my own child I would feel differently. The next day when I was describing it to mum she said “It’s worse when it’s your own child.” Holy what?? How can that be?? She says it’s because you feel more responsible.

It really has put a bit of a bruise in my desire to create offspring. Maybe they require more patience than I have. If I make one and that turns out to be the case, it’s not like I can put it back.

I’m having a moment.

Laying bare

This week I have become acutely aware of something that I was only passively aware of previously. I am completely unguarded.

Recently I have been in several group situations where people have been sharing experiences. It is common at Youthline, it’s called ‘process’. Process tends to make most people extremely anxious. They get adrenaline rushes and shakes and flushes when they think they are going to have to say something. Or they get equally nervous because they feel they should say something but they can’t think of anything that they deem important enough that they feel comfortable sharing. They think that people will either judge them for what they say or wonder why on earth they bothered saying it.

I don’t experience any of those feelings. I am completely comfortable talking about myself. I am never in a situation where I feel that whatever it is that I choose to reveal or say may not be of value in some way, whether it be to other people or just to myself. More importantly, I am not afraid of what people might think of me as a result of what I share. I don’t know if that’s arrogance. I don’t think so. I think it’s just something that I’ve always felt. I’ve never known any different.

I brought it up the other night in my personal development group, expecting the room to be split fairly evenly with people that keep a guard up and those that don’t. Man was I wrong. I was a lone cowboy.

Now I’m noticing it more and more, kinda like when you learn a new word that you are sure you’ve never heard before in your entire life and then suddenly you hear it 5 times in one week. It happens to a degree in my relationships. If I want to know something, I just ask. It would never occur to me not to. I now know that people often wonder about things and are left wondering forever because they don’t ask. By their rules, they wouldn’t want to talk about it so they don’t ask others.

While I am sure that a small part of this phenomena is unique to me, I think the lion’s share is the result of the family in which I grew up. My siblings are similar. An interesting example of that is my sister’s quest to have a baby. Everyone we know knows that she is doing IVF. She talks about it openly. In her view (which is one that I share) it is not something that needs to be kept secret. By sharing you are able to seek support from other people, perhaps offer support in return. But the number of people that come out of the woodwork once the subject is raised and admit that they too are in a similar situation is stunning. It’s like they feel they need permission to talk about it.

While I am incredibly grateful for possessing the openness trait, it does have a flip side. I find myself getting irritated, even downright annoyed at times, when people keep things from me. I wonder why they don’t share since I am. My rational side knows that it is so completely within their rights to do so, and that everyone has their own boundaries, but there is still a part of me that feels bugged by it. I have sensed the irritation for a very long time, but I have just never been able to put it in context until now.

I guess if everyone had the same boundaries life’d get pretty crowded round the edges.

The friend police

For the second time in my life I have found myself in the gutwrenching position of feeling forced to tell a friend that I am concerned about them as a result of their behaviour. Several years ago I was part of a staged ‘intervention’ for a friend that was spiralling into a black hole filled with alcohol. It was heartbreaking. He was angry and hurt and scared.

This time the situation is very different. The behaviour in question isn’t comparable, but the approach I have taken is. The friend is not behaving badly. She isn’t jeapordising her job or friendships (although it is definitely affecting her health), but she just seems to be floudering a bit – enough that I felt something needed to be said. More because I wonder if there is something going on inside her head, than because I want to call her behaviour into account.

It wasn’t actually my idea. Another friend raised it with me so I started paying attention and realised that her concern was valid. And that is what this post is about.

Why is it always me that has to be the friend police? Why is it that people turn to me to take on the hard jobs? Everyone else seems to be fine voicing concern when the person in question has their back turned, but no one ever seems to have the guts to man up and do the dirty work. That always seems to come back to me. Along with the fallout.

I don’t have better words than anyone else. I don’t have bigger balls. I don’t have all the answers. Perhaps I have a different concept of social responsibility. All I know is that I can’t sit by and watch someone I love hurting when it might be within my power to do something about it.

The act of confronting the person is sickening. I can only imagine how it must feel to be told by someone that your behaviour is causing concern. It must make you reflect back over things that you’ve done and wonder what people were thinking. It would be embarrassing and belittling. But I think it’s just as bad being the person that does the confronting.

I am not in a position to judge people. I don’t believe anyone is, and my good-bad behaviour ratio is worse than most! I don’t believe I have the right to take a higher moral ground. I am not better or more stable or less irresponsible. I just know that if positions were reversed, I would want my friends to do the same for me. I don’t know that they would.

So it’s hurting my heart, but sometimes love does.