I Love Myself

After reading a great post on Serendipity this morning I’ve been pondering the questions posed at the end of it:

So … how much have you changed from the person you were in your late teens? What, if anything, do you do completely differently? Do you like the person you’ve become? Are you trying to change? Do you fit in? If you met the young you, what would you tell yourself?

I love being 30. That was my very first thought on reading the questions. It’s funny, I can’t truly explain the shift in my thinking but there has been a significant change in Mina since I entered this new age bracket. Or perhaps it’s down to a combination of things other than age; the death of a parent, a lost love, friendships re-evaluated, travelling the world, finding “the one”, moving to London. Who knows. I think I’m very much still evolving into the person I am destined to be but I think it’s fair to say that I’ve been on quite a journey thus far.

These days I find I am comfortable in myself for the first time in my life. On a “high” level I know that I am a good person. Friends and lovers have come and gone: I can attribute this to the changing tides of life. I don’t find a common ground in a group of strangers: I find it to be disappointing but nothing more than a tiring evening. I find myself in a politically-oriented discussion with nothing to contribute: I chuckle to myself that if the conversation turned to Austen I would be the one holding court. I no longer attribute these occurrences to some defect in my self. I’ve learned to give myself a break. 

On a “lower” note, I wear yoga pants that may or may not in fact be pyjamas, when I run out for my morning coffee. I just ordered a pair of bright red wellies for the winter rain and last week I finally went all the way and got the pixie cut I’ve been lusting after for some time now. These are all quite superficial things but in this case, the outside has come to reflect the inside. These days my outside reflects an internal self that is far less bothered by the opinion of strangers and far more self-loving than ever before. I have even come so far as to realise that, in my own way, I am beautiful

And so, to the questions:

Do I like the person I have become? Yes, yes I do. I’m not there yet of course, I doubt any of us every truly stop evolving, but I can stand before you today and say that I am happy with the progress I have made so far. Mina: she’s okay! 

Am I trying to change? Of course! I want to continue this evolution, I want to continue to fight my dysthymia and I want to be ready for whatever challenges the world throws at me next. But if this is it, if this is “me” then that’s okay too. I reckon that I can get on quite well for the next 50 years or so with this person.

What would I tell my young self? This is a tough one. When I was younger, I figured the day would come when I would love myself because I would be different…a “better” me. Today, I love myself because I am not different. I am essentially the same me that I was when I was 12 years old, lost and alone, struggling to find my place in the world. Except now, I’ve learned to love that me, to value her uniqueness and to accept her flaws. I would tell my younger self: don’t wish to be different, learn to love yourself for who you are, because one day I promise that you will realise you are already a person worthy of your own love. Of course, if I told that to my 12 year old self she would roll her eyes, turn up her East 17 tape, and go back to dreaming about the future blonde, skinny, genetically re-engineered Mina!

I Love Myself

Stop dissing the office!

Across the internet you can find a multitude of posts about living your life to the fullest and giving the finger to the humdrum of the 9-to-5 lifestyle. Barely a day goes by when I don’t see a Facebook update or a blog post about how to escape the office and start a life of fun, excitement and adventure. And I wonder: when did 9-to-5 office jobs become the poster child for a wasted life?

Of course there are less-than-fulfilling office jobs out there that involve a lot of filing, coffee-making and mail-merging. But there are also incredibly rewarding office jobs, that make the people doing them quite happy. No, I’m not teaching students to surf on a beach in Spain and I’m not serving canapes on a yacht in the South Pacific. In fact I’m usually sitting in my home office in London and the highlight of my day is often my trip out for my afternoon coffee. And yet I wouldn’t swap it for any of the “exciting” jobs these blog posts and Facebook updates dangle in front of me.

Why not, you may ask? The truth is that I enjoy a job that would make others want to tear their hair out. I get to spend 8 hours a day with the love of my life – technology – and I get to do some of the things I love most: rip apart processes, analyse systems for issues & solve real life problems (yes, activity satisfaction is intricately linked to my OCD tendencies). I switch off my computer most evenings with a sense of satisfaction.

Part of my job involves showing people how to use software. Often I encounter technophobes or older people who are clearly nervous and take great pains to point out their IT weaknesses before we begin. The joy I feel in explaining a concept to them and seeing things finally click into place is immense. Not only have I achieved my business objective for the day but I have made a small but positive change to that person’s life. I have challenged their notion of themselves as a “non-techie” person and who knows, maybe now they’ll give that smartphone they got for Christmas another go when they get home.

Just because I get up and sit at a desk every day doesn’t make my life any less interesting than those who spend their days on a beach, in a classroom or on a boat: it just makes it different. And for many us sitting there, just as exciting.

Stop dissing the office!