Looking Back, Looking Around, Looking Ahead

In the great Rush song “Time Stand Still”, the chorus went, “I’m not looking back, but I want to look around me now.” I’ve invested several months in looking back and looking around, with the goal of looking ahead with clearer purpose.

Originally, I launched this blog because I was encouraged to do so to market myself, “create a brand,” etc. I’ve had difficulty contributing to it because none of that feels authentic to me. I don’t want to commodify my ideas … my feelings … my self. So I’m reclaiming and repurposing it as a place for me to share ideas and thoughts, and to explore them with others who are interested in doing so in good faith.

Last year was quite difficult for me, both personally and professionally. My career—if it can be called that—has for nearly all my life been at the mercy of others: mostly my partners and their jobs/preferences, but also my children’s needs. A seemingly innocuous question from a good friend led me to look back and recognize that, and I realized that one result is that I’ve been underemployed for nearly the entire time. While I’ve enjoyed most of the work I’ve done, nothing has put much of my education and skills to their full use. I want to change that. I want to be energized by my work and to know I’m making a difference, helping to make the world better in some way. There are many ways to accomplish this and I’m not sure of any specific job titles that might be a good fit, so I’m going to embrace and enjoy exploring the possibilities.

I invested a lot of time and energy trying to address that issue in ways that others thought I should, rather than in ways that feel best for me … related to branding and commodification again. The stress that created left me unable to enjoy any down time, and the resulting spiral was predictable and awful. I’ve resumed a few activities that I’ve enjoyed greatly and which have helped me relax, regain a more balanced perspective, and have been intellectually stimulating. They include: listening to music; reading, both fiction and nonfiction (look for some book reviews to emerge from that); starting a personal karate practice as I’m able (standing basics [basic punches, blocks, and kicks] for now, as there’s no room for performing any kata at home); and knitting. I have two sweaters in progress at the moment—one for each of my kids—and several others in various stages of planning. I also have incomplete projects that I’ll be assessing; some will be completed, but at least one will be frogged. I’m not sure whether I’ll restart that sweater, or use the yarn for a different project.

I’ll be blogging here about most of these things, alongside explorations of my frustrations with the current state of psychology, grumbling about politics and current events, and anything else that might catch my attention. Questions and topics to consider from anyone who wanders by and would like to explore with me are welcome, too.

Looking back, I found the fundamental source of most of my discontent. Looking around, I see that in trusting myself to know my own needs better than others do (no matter how well meaning), I can create a more fulfilling life. Looking ahead, I’m excited to see where that goes and who I might meet along the way.

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