Being m.i.a. lately

SELF-REFLECTION

I don’t usually get too personal on here but I felt the need to explain why my blogging has undergone a major hiatus lately; in fact, I’ve kind of dropped off so many other radars to a point a few friends and family have checked in to see if I was still alive and kicking…

Well, I am (or just about!)…it’s just that there’s been a gazillion different things going since the summer and I’ve somehow managed to get completely caught up in what seems like a snowballing state of mayhem, that finding the time or energy to have any bit of down time was simply beyond attainable! I also hated how I was losing my balance and focus at the whole juggling act, but worst of all, I soon realised I was becoming increasingly disorganised and frequently getting myself into a state of panic over every little ‘obstacle’ that came my way (I’m talking meltdowns) For those of you that know me well enough, you’ll know how uncharacteristic that is for me as I’ve always been a take-the-bull-by-the-horns kinda gal who’s always taken on a proactive and positive outlook……but I must admit that this is the first time I felt like I’ve been stuck in what seems like a sinkhole and that my frantic efforts to get out of it, where in fact making me sink further. So what’s caused all this distress then…?

  • Change: As many of you may know (I’ve briefly touched up on it here in previous posts), I’m in the middle of a career shift; moving form the realms of architecture to that of graphic design, illustrations and art direction. Having invested over a decade in something you thought was you, this switch was understandably quite the jolt to the system, perhaps more so on my conscience, however, I eventually learnt to come to terms with it this summer and gave myself the remaining four months of this year to tackle this big unsolved puzzle of mine in what I thought was a realistic timeframe. Great. So, I had a plan of action, a goal, some structure…and I set off with my problem-solving hat on, looking for answers. Unfortunately, this ‘figuring-out’ process in the last few months hasn’t been quite the ‘exciting adventure’ I kept telling myself it would be, probably because I’ve been soooooo darn focused with solving it that I’ve not really stood back to process or reassess any thoughts along the way. Of course, there are other things and events (aka life) that’s come along the way (both good and bad) which constrained my much-needed headspace even further……my mind has been on constant overdrive, (a mess to be precise) that I just couldn’t see the wood from the trees. This brings me onto the next point…
  • Chaos: I’m not sure if there’s many of you out there that relate to this, but I for one, cannot do anything productive, be inspired or feel motivated when I everything around me is chaotic or in a state of disarray. This includes both my state of mind and physical surroundings. I work from home, and while that is a luxury in many ways it can be really disruptive too and the one thing that came to light recently (despite learning to tolerate it all this time) was the lack of a clear designated workspace. I’ve moved around between our lounge, bedroom and my brother’s room trying to find the right space for the task at hand (eventually ending up in our bedroom) but my stuff was still in all corners of the flat. I really don’t want you to think I’m a spoilt brat whining about the lack of space, quite the contrary! It’s the lack of a clear, defined work area where everything has its proper place, that has been bothering me (And one that’s conjoined to either your sleeping or living area!) Granted, that my house proud, OCD traits and my constant yearning for clean and organised spaces hasn’t help matters but then when you’re designer, crafter and maker, you do need things to be orderly, (particularly if space is at a premium!) or it can be incredibly stifling and disruptive having to constantly pack up or move your things away come end of the day (or in recent cases forgetting where things have been put away!) If all I needed was a surface to sit at and write, then I could continue to be flexible and adapting but this nomadic routine wasn’t doing me or my mind any favours, particularly with my head already up in the clouds ‘figuring’ a whole lot of other stuff. We’ve even reorganised things about in the flat but the results have been slow or not what you’re after so I end up ‘settling’ with mess again.
  • resistance and setbacks:  As mentioned earlier, I’m normally the type of person who would set off to climb/conquer any mountain than came my way, however big, or find some way or another way to take any problems in stride….but I guess this time, I’ve struggled with that badly. Its that resistance of not being able to overcome or move to that calmer and clearer place, in a given timeframe (which obviously added more pressure) that has sadly weighed me down and clouded up my peripheral vision. Unfortunately, all my best efforts to explore and dabble in many creative realms in the hope that would help inspire, identify and pave my new creative path over these months, have been greatly overshadowed by all the anxiety brought on from all of the above. The blog, my portfolio (the rebranding of both) and many other creative ideas, ended up on the back burner which then caused all the distructive overthinking, and then the fear of not moving forward throws me back into that creative slump I was (and still am) so desperately trying to get out of! Little did I envisage that overthinking and procrastinating would be my biggest hurdle! (so unlike me!) And trying to solve things on your own can get so awfully exhausting, you’re left with hardly any energy to think, let alone juggle various other things. Everything just takes 10 times longer to get done! It’s like a vicious circle where you find yourself feeling frustrated and determined over the idea of getting defeated but the concoction of the two only creates further turmoil. Go figure, eh?

So yea, that’s basically the very crux of why I’ve been m.i.a. lately. It’s not been all doom and gloom as there’s been a lot of great things going on too; from interning with an awesome design agency up in Hackney and attending workshops/events to spending some time with family. Unfortunately, these few months got way more ‘full on’ than I had anticipated, and the setbacks it created in other areas caused unforeseeable distress which I let get the better of me. Things are getting calmer my end and I do feel like I’m gaining some clarity and structure again, so I do hope to be back on track….slowly but surely! :) I guess I’ve had a bit of hiatus in all aspects! Mind you, I’ve definitely learnt a few things from all this: the need to let go of some things (I can’t do or solve everything!) AND to take some time out to step back when things get a bit hectic! It’s only natural to be tempted into throwing yourself head first at work or whatever it is that niggling away at you. However, being on constant overdrive only leads to burn out and wallowing over things only stops you from enjoying the good things in life….two valuable things I’ve definitely been reminded of now and I hope to take forth with me.

Gosh, I’m am sorry for pouring all this out on here as I do try to keep it cheerful being a handmade/crafty blog but I guess I felt I needed give you all a proper explanation as to why I’ve dropped off the planet, especially when my blog has been my main creative outlet.  Well, I’m taking control of things again and learning to SLOW DOWN so let’s hope it’s onwards and upwards from here……….and all those crazy meltdowns just stay far FAR away!!! :)

Thanks so much for stopping by and listening xxxxxx

[Image credit: ©MadebyMolu. The illustrated portrait of me is by the lovely and talented Viktorija of AndSmile Studio. I felt this photo of it on the wall with ‘stuff’ accumulating all around it perfectly depicted the chaos that has surrounded me recently – smart, eh? lol]

New Year, New beginnings

MbM_2014-Planner_headerSo, with New Years come new beginnings but while it’s easy to get carried away drawing up several list of resolutions and goals for this year (in my case, all project/task-related and categorised….yep, I’m the queen of list-writing!) it’s probably a good idea to pick out a few key things off your lists that you need to focus on this year. I’m not sure about you but there are times where I find its hard to carry out everything on your lists which is why I narrowed it down to a handful of things that would be my primary goals; ones I want to make a conscious effort to adhere to throughout the year as oppose to just having it ticked off. It’s my positive approach to life, so to speak; six simple things to follow continuously without fail……..and who knows, perhaps these could inspire you too! :)

  1. to appreciate more; something I constantly need to remind myself of as its easy to forget or take for granted the smaller things in life that are in fact the most significant. Since being in London, I soon realised how quickly you get sucked into the ‘fast-paced’ and busy lifestyle but while that is totally fine, it is essential that I stop to take more time out and appreciate the people and things around me a lot more. Whether its taking longer walks to appreciate the fresh air and your surroundings, or stopping to listen to a street artist busking away, having an extra long embrace or cuddle with your better half /family before you rush off to work or even having breakfast in bed, to picking up the phone and ringing your grandparent or best friend you haven’t spoken to in ages. Life is all in the details.
  2. to forgive more; I’ve never been one to harbour any ill feelings or grudges but I must admit (whether it’s an age thing or not) that I do sometimes get easily wound up, vexed and disappointed in people and with their words or actions. One thing I simply cannot tolerate are people with hidden agendas, or still appear to have this high school mentality, show no disregard or respect to those around them. To forgive or even ignore these things that niggle away at you is probably easier said than done but it would make one hell of a difference to your mind and soul! And more importantly (and the trickiest of them all!)….to forgive myself more. I know this will be a challenge as I tend to be a lot harder and critical on myself but while these can be useful self-motivational techniques, I’ve realised that too much of it can actually kill any chance of happiness you get from what you do.
  3. to accept and adjust more; no matter how much we plan, life can take unforeseen turnings or create setbacks we probably aren’t always prepared for so when that happens, it’s important to not let those changes bug you but to accept it, take it in stride and move on. There is no point stewing over things that don’t go your way….and that’s definitely one for me to tackle. I tend to get very focused and passionate over stuff, striving to do the best in everything I do and when the end-result I had pictured in my head doesn’t quite work out I can find that very disheartening, and quite often antagonise over it for a while after. To be honest, this is a long term goal I’ve actually been working on for a while and slowly but surely getting better at it. Don’t get me wrong – there is absolutely nothing wrong with striving for perfection or working hard as long as you know not to feel completely defeated if things don’t go always go your way.
  4. to explore and discover more; my mantra has always been to ‘live life to it’s fullest‘ or to ‘live everyday like it was your last‘ but its not always easy to step out into the unknown. Reality (aka the practicalities of life) or even fear and doubt normally tends to rein us in from making those somewhat irrational or spontaneous choices that could in fact prove to be the best things we’ve ever done! So I need to conquer those fears once in a while or perhaps even steer off from the ‘norm’ and try new things or discover new places; whether on my own or with others.
  5. to laugh more; I’m by no means a miserable old git (quite the contrary!) but I am known to take things a little too seriously sometimes (I may have to blame that perfectionist/OCD trait of mine!) and can easily let things get to me. ‘Uptight’ is probably the word I’m looking for. Thankfully, my husband is the polar opposite (not saying he can’t be serious!) where he is so much calmer, cooler and easier going than me (for those of you that don’t know us – we are so Chandler and Monica!) so I think I need to take a leaf out of his page this year and learn to loosen up and just live a little! Life is too short to be constantly serious all the time….and growing up doesn’t mean you can’t have a good ol’ laugh more, right? ;)
  6. to prioritise more; I absolutely LOVE keeping busy and am always in search of something or another to keep me well away from being idle. If you ask anyone, including my husband, they can vouch for me when I say I simply cannot sit still or even lie in on weekends! I could easily be labelled a workaholic too! My main concern (and more to the point), is that I do have the tendency to take on far more than I can probably handle…even if I do completely deny it! Whether it’s work, personal or social life, I need to either slow down or prioritise what is important and not just jump at every glimpse of opportunity or event that comes my way. Okay, so you may have to do that every now and then, especially if you want to get your foot in the door or move up in life but again, it’s all about doing it in moderation. I had a few manic months last year where both my work and social life suddenly peaked and before I knew it I found myself doing a juggling act; working on several projects simultaneously (both PhD and freelance), attending various events and splitting any time i had left for family and friends…all within that short time-frame. And rather than prioritising things I continued to juggle on and then take on more until the madness go far too much to bear and the exhaustion eventually kicked in. So this year, I need to somehow start categorising all the things into ‘needs’ and ‘wants’, and then prioritise what’s truly important (i.e scrapping everything else in between) which could help me feel a lot more calmer, confident, in control and happier without of course pjeopardising my sanity! ;) And with this year being my final writing-up year for my thesis I have to be even more ruthless! ;)

So, that’s my key primary goals for 2014! If you were to narrow them down too, what would be your key ‘approaches to life‘ this year? Well, if you need something to muse over, I shall end with this remarkably simple yet poignant quote by Mother Teresa – it pretty much sums it all up :)

“People are often unreasonable and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you.
Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough.
Give your best anyway.”

~ Mother Teresa