Thursday, July 12, 2012

Labours of love and fear: What I'm Doing Now

To put it eloquently, lately shit has been getting real.

The last couple of weeks have been full on and I have been inundated with new challenges, ideas, people, events, responsibilities and opportunities. If life had given me lemons, I would have been too preoccupied micro-managing myself to have come up with a funny, new end to that line.

Busy is my middle name. My week-to-week life consists of interning, work, networking (a new, different kind of work) and working on my baby project Will Travel For Life. These could all be separate, neatly organised blog posts about each colour-coded post-it noted segment of my activities... but seeing as life is more organised chaos than structured story-line, so too will be this post.

Interning at a not-for-profit youth organisation run on volunteer interns has its perks. You run the show, are the voice, the backbone, the guts of the place you work. You aren't sitting in on meetings taking notes on the corner, you're organising them and attending them as the main contact and putting in your two cents, and then some. You're pushed, pulled and dragged upward into spreadsheets, cc'd emails,  sponsorships, partnerships and press releases to write - things that make you feel important and confused (do all adults feel this way?).

Then there is the little-written about project I've been working on the last couple of months, Will Travel For Life, the child of my confusion and travel experiences. It has grown into an online documentary series of which I am now, suddenly, awkwardly thrust into - more unknown territory. I have never made an online documentary series, I have only a basic grasp of iMovie, I've never been a producer, an interviewer, or had any knowledge of what those both entail. Yet, here I am.

Both of these areas of my life right now are both intolerably frustrating and endlessly gratifying in equal measure. Maddening children I want to strangle and embrace at once. I am doing these both voluntarily (though not without the occasional whinge) yet free at anytime to renounce them, clear my bank account and go on a year-long, life-escaping "Find-Yourself" sabbatical again.

But I don't, because I'm bound to what I'm doing. Like the best relationships you'll ever have, they push you to be better than you are, pull the rug out from under you and take you so far out of your comfort zones it'll make you question what you were doing all your life prior to this point. I wouldn't choose to be anywhere else, doing anything else - as much as I might be tempted to flee and despite how much easier my life would be otherwise.

Life isn't about easy (although sometimes it is about sipping mojitos, re: spain 2011). It's feeding off that whole 'Constant Terror of Being Alive' business; the fear is there but so is the excitement, there's the failures and the challenges, the successes and the glorious moments of satisfaction. In between flailing over projects I am little qualified, yet overly passionate about, I eat a lot of brownies and drink a lot of tea, which helps immensely. And I take time to be a little self-congratulatory. The small victories need to be celebrated. 

I am embracing that nerve-racking, heart-racing, sweat-inducing fear that near paralyses me everyday. Feeding off it, giving into it and getting past it. Fear and I, we're old friends. Fear is one of those friends that keeps you in check. My general rule of thumb is that if I'm scared, I'm doing something right. 

At interning I'm scared of doing things wrong, of forgetting important details, of not doing enough. For Will Travel For Life I'm scared I won't finish it, even before it's really started; I'm scared people won't get it, I'm scared I won't like the final product, I'm scared, I'm scared, I'm scared. 

I'm scared of posting this, and having somebody comment. I'm scared of posting this, and having nobody comment. I'm scared endlessly by the possibility of failure. I'm scared when I am not busy and the ugly beast of self-doubt creeps in. I'm scared when I'm not busy, that I should be doing more. I'm scared of the scariness of responsibility, decision and adulthood.

Going by my rule of thumb on fear, all this being scared must mean I'm doing a whole lot right with my life, or I have some sort of pathological addiction to anxiety and fear. Let's go with the former!


  1. I wanted to comment: just to say that you're doing great and keep going. Also, you write beautifully.

    1. Thanks Clare, it means a lot coming from a writer like yourself too.