Saturday, October 24, 2009

Forgiving my body.

I have been thinking recently about how much I complain about my body, and the fact that I tend to treat it a bit like a spoilt child. The reality, however, is that I put my body through a lot of stress and get annoyed when I get aches and pains from the resulting tiredness, so, really, I’m the spoilt brat.

In the past, I have persistently eaten rubbish, not worked out for extended periods, kept what could be best described as erratic sleeping habits, and then pushed my body to do whatever random workout program I want it to, fully expecting to be able to just do it. I have not listened to my body when it’s tried to tell me of problems (admittedly, I did actually listen, it was my doctor who didn’t, but then I should have been more assertive and insistent). This includes the knee pain I suffered as a result of flat feet and the hormonal imbalances I have experienced due to my mild insulin resistance (my body is not as sensitive to insulin as it should be).

In spite of all this, my body generally works pretty well. I am one of those blessed people who do not get sick very often, tend to maintain a healthy weight with relative ease and a good level of general fitness, despite doing nothing to deserve it. Yet I get frustrated and angry with my body for shortcomings, like how when I eat a high GI meal I need to sleep for two hours afterwards (seriously), if I don’t wear insoles in my trainers my knees start to hurt and my body likes to store fat around my middle like it’s some sort of security blanket.

I guess what I’m trying to say, is that if my body can forgive me all my shortcomings in how I treat it, then maybe it’s time I forgive my body for its shortcomings. No matter what, I will always have to work out regularly and eat low GI to feel well (it works best for me) and maybe it’s time I stopped being angry with my body for that and instead accept that it is doing the best it can, but that it needs me to be responsible and make an effort too.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Feeling disheartened

I'm feeling a little down at the moment. It just seems that, of all the things that I was planning on doing work-wise, none of those things are going to be at all possible. I already mentioned that I'm waiting for confirmation that I have failed my Masters entrance exam, and today I found out that I won't be getting a teaching job any time soon. The place is not looking for positions in the location near me, and as I have yet to get my driving license, I am very much restricted.

I've been meaning to get my license since I was old enough to, but, well... it just hasn't happened yet. Boy, do I regret it now.

I'm also concerned that the translation jobs are very competitive, and I don't seem to have the right credentials. Basically, it all feels a little hopeless at the moment.

Having said that, I'm not doing anything to maximise my chances of getting a job. I've thought of a few things, but I have yet to put them into action. Instead, I'm focusing on craft projects. Ahh, the art of procrastination: leave what you really have to do, for something that you feel that you have to do.

I'm also beginning to think about how I'm going to maintain my workout routine at a good intensity after I've finished the 30-Day Shred (I've reached the half way point, so I feel like it's sufficiently near to think about). I'd like to mix up workouts and do a variety of different programs, but I'm afraid that I might lose my rhythm if I do that.

So, my life at the moment is full of a lot of 'we'll see', which I guess, is not all that hopeless after all really.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Update on where I'm at / what I'm doing

Last Tuesday I took the entrance exam for the Masters course at university and, although the results are not in yet, I’m pretty sure I have failed. We had three exam papers: one I aced, one I did okish and one I flunked. Ironically, I failed the exam that I had most prepared for. Ah well, at least I tried, right? Oh, yeah, and I have no idea when the results will be made available, so that I may confirm my awful fail.

As for looking for any other jobs, I am afraid to admit that I have been a completely lazy cow. My excuse is that I am fasting (still!) and I just do not have the energy to keep going. The reality is that I managed to push myself until my exam, and now I am suffering from a little burnout.

I am still doing Jillian Michael’s 30-Day Shred workout DVD. I had just about mastered level 1 (and by ‘mastered’ I mean ‘managed to get myself through it without wanting to give up’) when the first 10 days were up, and it was time to start level 2. Oh my God, I cannot believe how hard I found it, especially the first couple of days. There was actually a point during my workout when I said (aloud): that woman’s crazy! It was during a move called Plank-Squats, which essentially involves getting into a plank position (similar to full push-up position, but with the arms shoulder-width apart and your bum up in the air) and then jumping your legs forwards and backwards whilst keeping them closed, balancing on your arms and trying to remember to breathe. Admittedly, it works a lot of muscles: abs, thighs, arms and shoulders, and probably others too, but these were the loudest complainers. After a couple of days, however, I managed to get the hang of doing it so that it didn’t sound as though I was going to go through the floor, which is something I am immensely proud of. In all honesty, I’m dreading level 3, but I’m also really, really, really looking forward to finishing the whole damn thing!

I am also trying to get back into crafting as I have completely abandoned my knitting since the summer. Also, I borrowed a sewing machine a few months ago from a very kind friend who was not going to be using it for a while, and have yet to use it myself. I haven’t actually used a sewing machine at all since I was about 14 – and then all that I ever made was scrunchies (the teacher wanted to start with something small). Therefore, if I can manage to use her sewing machine and actually make something it will be a minor miracle. But in order to sew anything, I will need fabric (yup, I still haven’t gotten around to getting that yet), which necessitates a shopping trip (yay!) into Algiers. I might take the opportunity to go and stay with my Gran for a night while I’m there too.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Are blogs without a central theme a waste of time?

Yesterday, I read a post over on Penelope Trunk’s blog Brazen Careerist entitled ‘Blogs without topics are a waste of time’, in which she explains that for a blog to be truly successful, as well as to really promote and develop a person’s writing skills, it must centre around a central theme. Her reasoning is understandable and makes complete sense: focusing on one topic forces a writer to be more creative in both how they approach their subject as well as in how they incorporate other themes in with their central focus. It also requires a writer to read around their chosen topic a lot, developing their knowledge of, and expertise in, that area. All of this is of course invaluable in the workforce and for those who wish to portray a particular digital persona (which is the focus of Trunk’s blog).

But what if you cannot choose one topic to blog about? What if you are unsure of the direction in which to pursue a career, or do not know which field to work in? What if you choose to blog as a hobby and not as a career-networking device? Moreover, what about all the successful blogs out there that do not seem to have any obvious central theme, other than the authors’ thoughts and experiences?

I have only just graduated this year and I have absolutely no idea whatsoever as to what I want to do concerning a career. Seriously, I’m at a total loss as to what field I would like to pursue (as this post confirms) and I do not want to limit myself to one central theme that I will then have to change and/or will restrict me at a later date.

Besides, what topic should I choose? My blog is called ‘Random Thoughts’ for a reason: my thoughts are random and I like the freedom to write about anything that concerns me at a particular time, without having to tie it in to a central theme, regardless of how much it would develop my writing skills. Therefore, if I were to pick a topic it would have to be sufficiently broad for me to sound-off on all of the issues I may wish to write about. I have considered focusing on the things that are important to me, such as my religion, health and fitness, cooking and crafting, career and education, travel, life in Algeria, etc, etc… but I feel that each of these topics would be far too restrictive. So I have considered broader, less concrete themes – such as self-motivation and will power – but in all honesty, I barely blog as it is, and such themes (which I could tie-in to pretty much everything) would also require some research. As well as the fact that I found this blog which covers the whole motivation issue better than I could.

Then again, who am I to argue? I have had this blog for over a year, and I am probably the most irregular blogger in all of blog-land. Almost all of the rest of her advice with regards blogging (write every single day for a few months before promoting your blog, using your real name, etc) is extremely helpful, and let’s face it: she knows what she’s doing, after all she does have over 40,000 subscribers.

So what is this blog to me? It is a chance for me to improve and practice my writing skills by writing on a regular basis. What I write about will vary and whether or not it is successful is not really the point. Besides surely success in blog-land is not unlike success in the real world – different people define it differently. Would it bother me if nobody ever read my blog? No, I really don’t think it would. This is a hobby and a tool in promoting my personal development, not a PR tool.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Procrastinating stresshead

Ok, so I've registered to enter the Masters entrance exam at uni. Now all I have to do is revise. Why didn't I revise all summer when I knew that there was a strong likelihood that I would be going in for this exam? Because I'm a first-class procrastinator. (Seriously, I'm real good at procrastinating. I have it down to a fine art. But that's a whole other blog post.) The net result of all that procrastination is that I am now trying to cram in all my revision. And there's a lot to revise.

A hell of a lot.

As a result I have become a stresshead. I've divised a nice, overly-ambitious study program that is going to kill me if I actually stick with (it involves giving up sleep, food, fun, socialising and everything else), and will stress me out no end if I don't. Basically, I'm damned if I do and damned if I don't.

You know what the best bit is? (This is good.) I'm gonna be fasting for the next few weeks. Yep, it's Ramadhan, take two (making up the days I missed due to lady-times, plus the six extra days of this month).

So, obviously, this is the best time to re-start my exercise program. I started the 30 Day Shred (again) today, and Oh My God it nearly killed me. This time, I'm fairly sure I'm not gonna last the full 30 Days. I'm just trying to get through these 13 days, and then I'll deal with everything else after that.

Does that count as procrastinating again?