Day 55: RBS

I have decided to give a name to my condition.  It is called RBS or Restless Brain Syndrome.  My friends think it is when your brain runs with a million thoughts and not letting you sleep.  For me, it is a little different.

Every so often, I get restless.  I start feeling like I have not accomplished enough.  I want to do something to help others, help myself, have a good time and make some money.  Meantime, I am sitting here, middle-aged and middle mind.  I am not going anywhere and I feel like a rat on a wheel.  The last time I felt like this, I got up one morning and said I was leaving the country that I was born in to make a life back in the USA.  That was about four years ago.  Well, actually, it was exactly four years and seven months ago.

Here is where it gets tricky.  When this happened in 2009, I did not have a job, my kid was graduating from high school and the economy back home was three times worse than here.  So, I got up with no money, picked a suitcase for me and one for my daughter, and moved here sight unseen.  I got lucky that the apartment was great.  The state I picked has not grown on me at all, maybe because the first three years I did not have a good job or a car.  Things are a little different now.  I love the place where I work and they pay well.  I can see myself growing with the company.  I just don’t know if I want to stay here for five more years.  I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.  That is where the RBS kicks in.

My condition also comes from the fact that I have just spent four weeks recovering from surgery and calibrating my life.  I’m not happy where I am physically, mentally, emotionally or professionally.  I think I have a lot more to contribute.  I don’t know what I am going to do with myself.  And this is where the wheels are spinning and I don’t know when they are going to stop.

So how do I deal with this.  Lucky for me, I quit smoking a long time ago.  I don’t drink alcohol, so that is not an issue and I was never a druggie.  Needles and stuffing things down my nose were never an option and to be honest, I don’t even like drinking Tylenol, so any other drugs would be a major imposition on my lifestyle.  Another alternative  would be to eat crappy food, which right now I am not allowed to do.  The only other choice is to finally start running…which I am not allowed to do for one more week and weight lifting, which I am not allowed to do for another week.

In the meantime, I am reading, I am writing and I am getting headaches from all this thinking.  So I ask you, what do you do when your mind is going around at a million miles an hour and you are just BORED with where you are?  Leave your comments below.

Day 41 Back to Life

Today is the first day I go back to work since having the surgery.  It has been a long journey for me, from the visit to the ER last July, to surgery on January 24th and now back to life.  A couple of things have happened that I would like to share as knowledge from the journey.

Some times, we are so focused on getting things done, that we forget that we need time to heal.  When I first spoke to my surgeon about the surgery, he warned me that I was going to be tired.  He told me that the first four weeks after surgery were going to be wearing me out.  I did not know how tired I was going to be.  That first week after the surgery, I took two-hour naps during the day and still slept eight-hour days.  I was exhausted, especially after my twenty-minute walks.  I walked so slow I felt ancient.  And then I felt guilty because I was not doing anything, not even writing.  The only thing I did was read some books.

Then the second week started.  My doctor told me that he wanted me to walk a couple of times a day.  I started walking half miles.  I started napping only once a day.  I felt great.  Then I read a little book called The Alchemist.  Something interesting happened.  I got ideas of things I wanted to do and more importantly, things I wanted to draw.  That gave way to a project I want to work on this week.  It also gave my mind permission to wonder and remember when I was a child.

The thing is, when I was five years old, I started drawing these girls.  They were not tall and lean like my brother’s fashion drawings.  To be honest with you, they were curvy and kind of chubby.  I could never get them to look slim.  As I was reading that book I understood that everything we do in life, even the stuff we don’t think matters, happens for a reason.  When I was in my teens, I stopped drawing, frustrated because I could not get them to look like my brother’s models.  42 years later I realized that I was not supposed to make them slimmer.  On Friday, I drew my first girl after all these years, as curvy as ever.

One of the two biggest lessons I learned in the last two weeks is that we cannot do, do, do and not take time for ourselves.  Relaxing and recovery are as important as getting things done.  It is not lazy to take a day off to just enjoy the fact that you are alive.

The second lesson that I learned is that we are all here for a purpose, that we glimpse when we are young.  If we are lucky, we recognize the signs and we move with our purpose.  I did not get fat just because I eat.  I got fat to learn what it is like and to support all of those that are just like me.  We do not fit the mold of the size six and we don’t want to.  We are happy with who we are and what we do.  That is more important than the size of our clothes.

What do you think?  Leave your comment below.

Day 20 Inventory

At least once in a lifetime, maybe more, there are opportunities for you to figure out what you want to do when you grow up.  At those times, it is wise to listen to your mentors.  I have what I call mentors in my head.  One in particular, let’s call him Don, says that the first step to take charge of your life and your future is to take inventory.  Of what? you may ask.  The answer depends on your purpose.

I like working.  I like getting up in the morning, having breakfast, going for a walk, getting ready and going to an office.  There are things that I love about my job and there are things that I could do without.  Even when you own your own company, there are things about your day that you would rather not do.  If you have a good company, you can learn to delegate those.  If you work for someone else, you learn to live through those.  Either way, there are lots to learn about your own experience.

When you decide it is time to move to a different position at work, or start your own company or just figure out what you want to do next, this is the time to start your inventory.  I, for one, decided to take the entire month of January to do this.

In my case, I am taking everything I can figure out by numbers first.  From how much money I owe, to where I spend, to my measurements and other medical facts and how much reach I have on the internet.  All those things can be figured out because they are black and white numbers.  Your weight is a number, your Facebook friends are a number, your cholesterol level is a number.  This is what I call my starting point.

I could go on to list my possessions, but that is not relevant to my journey.  Whether I own 200 or 2,000 books is not going to improve the possibilities of a promotion.  How many books I read in a year, especially if they are related to my goal, might.  So keep your numbers to things that are related to your goals.  Now, I realize that we have not discussed what goals to set and the reason for the inventory is to come up with the ultimate goal list.  After all, you can’t know where you are going if you don’t know where you have been.  The thing is, in the back of your head, you have an idea of where that destination is.  Making your list of shoes when you are thinking of starting a career in flower design is really not the best use of your inventory, unless you are making flower pots out of your shoes.

After you have figured out all your relevant numbers, the fun begins.  It is time to list your assets.  I am not talking about products or possessions.  I am talking about the things that make you unique.  What are your skills and talents?  What do you bring to the table?  I want you to make two lists:  one of the skills you have now, and one of the skills and talents you wish you had.  If you always wanted to learn to saw, put that on the second list.  If public speaking is something you do every day in your job, put it on the first one.  I suggest you ask a couple of coworkers and even your manager if you have a good relationship with that person.

I’ve given you enough work for a couple of weeks.  Go on and start the process.  If you have any questions, leave them in the section below.