Bye 2016!

This year has been weird and awful in many ways (that I will not recap here, because we all know what they – mostly – are).

This year has also been the year when I (hopefully) finally let go of most of my emotional stuntedness and learned to truly talk. This has included asking for help from people, relying on the support systems that are in place, as opposed to stubbornly thinking that I am going to “do it all” myself. That I have to do everything myself. I really began to talk to people. (And not just professionals.)

I have probably been a burden on many people too. I hope to repay all those people by returning the support in the future, and by continuing to build on the foundation that they have given me to be a better person.

In 2017, I will take control when needed, and delegate when needed. I will conserve time and energy and spend it where it makes me feel good. I will care about how people are instead of what they are doing.

In 2017, I will also embrace being a grown-up, and owning everything I stand for. And acting on what I believe in.

But if I ever lose my sense of childish fun, you are welcome to slap me across the face. Just mind the lipstick.

In 2017, none of that “oh yes, 201X will be a good year for me”. 2017 will be a good year because we WILL MAKE IT SO.

Be safe out there tonight and take care of yourselves.

Eve of December

I like to get my annual reflections out of the way earlier in the year so that December doesn’t feel so final and I can enjoy it more. Thus! Things I have learned this year:

  • As a young person who (comparatively) has more of time and energy than money – the holy trinity of currencies – you have to take care of yourself. Even if your main aim in life is to be good to the people around you, if you’re not healthy, then you can’t help others even if you want to. Put on your own oxygen mask first.
  • Politics is the world’s biggest and most fickle game. I have been reminded of this for the past three years running, but the surprises never stop coming.
  • If you can afford it, sometimes it is worth paying for convenience and/or peace of mind.
  • There are times when the only way to deal with your grievances is to make like a three year-old and scream really loudly. Then nobody can tell you that they didn’t notice.
  • Talk to the people you like more. On the phone, video-chat, in person, etc.
  • Eat more zinc and B vitamins during cold-and-flu season. (Evergreen 1)
  • Wear sunscreen. (Evergreen 2)

Anything to add? Leave a comment!

A Few Thoughts on Acknowledging Mental Health Issues

What comes after acknowledging the presence of something in your life that was previously a taboo conversation topic?

  1. Am I sick?
  2. Will other people think/assume that I’m sick?
  3. Will other people think that I’m making a big deal out of nothing?
  4. Will other people think that I’ve been hiding all these years and that I’m actually a completely different – sick – human?
  5. How can I stop myself from wallowing – if I do start to wallow – in my newly acknowledged problems?
  6. How can I best figure out the people in my surroundings with whom I can speak freely about mental health, and those who will look constipated if I wander within a white elephant’s breadth of the topic?
  7. How can I help others in the same, or a similar, situation?
  8. Will I ever get better?
  9. Yes, I will get better.
  10. But how?

Freshers Week as a Final-Year, Academented PhD

  • How are you all so young?!
  • I wish you the best in those years bridging youth and adulthood.
  • “Work hard, play hard” is, in short, the way to go.
  • Although don’t forget to have nights in to watch films or afternoons to read [fiction, luxurious fiction].
  • Please learn traffic etiquette.
  • Not from the drunk man waving his hands in the middle of traffic on a Friday night.
  • Taking after more senior students (on the traffic etiquette front) would be more preferable. We’ve always thanked any bus-driver who didn’t give us an awful journey when alighting, and we LOOK BOTH WAYS before crossing the road.
  • Please share the width of pavements and corridors. You won’t be excluded from your new group of baes just because you give way to somebody walking in the opposite direction.
  • “Bae” means “poop” in Danish, so its newfound popularity in the English slang vocab will never cease to amuse those who enjoy scatological humour.
  • Including yours truly.
  • Because I am an adult.

(Take the last line seriously at your own peril.)

People I Like and People I Like a Lot Less

The latter:

  • People who smoke at bus shelters while waiting for the bus in windy weather.
  • People who put out their cigarette just before stepping on the bus.
  • Sexists. Especially on buses.
  • Racists. Especially on buses.
  • People who don’t know how to share the pavement with fellow pedestrians.

The former:

  • People who motivate me to work.
  • People who motivate me to play.
  • People who indulge my egocentricity.
  • People who snack.
  • People who truly know how to give constructive criticism.

What to do on a staycation

  • Avoid academentia
  • Work
  • “Work”
  • WORK!
  • Vurk
  • Not really work
  • Read – fiction
  • Read – “faction”
  • Binge read
  • Watch television
  • Actually spend time in the outside world that isn’t part of your commute to-and-from the office
  • Exercise
  • Change your mani/pedi/facial horticulture/visual aspect every day
  • Sleep
  • “Sleep”
  • Blog?

The Referendum, one week on

Between all the opinion pieces written about the referendum result – for the UK to leave the EU, for those who avoid politics altogether (or have been living under a rock) – this short video from the BBC about conflicts within a family who have voted differently strikes a chord. The children of the family who are of voting age say that they cannot win against their parents in arguments concerning whether to remain or to leave, but mention in the individual interviews that [their parents] are not “bad people”. They are merely voting for what they think will be the best for themselves and (hopefully) the people around them.

Throughout the campaigning for the EU referendum, many people have been called out for being “bad people”. Between “the immigrants”, a large number of politicians, and the England football team, that is a lot of bad people, without even beginning to delve into the reasons why the Remain and Leave camps are talking down each other. Many opinions disguised as facts are flying through the air, and many actual facts are going ignored. I am not aiming for an op ed piece. As a referendum that has been touted as one where “feelings won over facts”, I am going to get emotional about this.

  • A week ago, I joked that however people voted, I was going to take it personally. While I know it’s not personal, I did feel a little less welcome in my adopted home of 13 years (which is longer than I have lived in any other country) last Friday morning.
  • Being told to “move on” is frustrating, even though it is in my nature to “move on”. It was one of philosophies on which I was raised by my parents. Do not show that you care too much. However, if we apply the theory of “voting for what they think will be the best for themselves and (hopefully) the people around them”, and one of the results of the referendum is the despair/disdain of most of the people around me, I am not going to take it lightly.
  • I should note here that as an EU citizen, I did not have a vote to cast, but frankly, my main concern would have been security. I am privileged to have family and friends all over the world, and knowing that they are safe (and happy) is paramount to me. I would not recommend parting from your group to walk home alone late at night.