Life, living and letters

There’s more to life than just plodding to work and back, sleeping and repeating, but for most of January that’s mainly what I’ve seemed to do… I’ve had very little energy or motivation – I’m just about on time for work and on top of the washing up (because otherwise I run out of cutlery…) but I’ve found very little get up and go for much else. I’m sure some people do all sorts of things and create huge amounts in their evenings, and I’d love to be one of those people, but most nights my projects and letters remain untouched. I’m feeling restless and easily distracted, I want to make plans and go places and complete things but the steps to get there seem they require more energy and decision making ability than I currently have. I’m hopeful that a bit of determination and the imminent arrival of Spring will get something done soon!

My first thought on realising that it’s now February and the Month of Letters (Lettermo) was  ‘I won’t get it done so why bother?’, but maybe a challenge is the motivation I need to complete at least one letter or card each day, and feel like I’ve achieved something. And once I’ve started it will hopefully be much easier to carry on.  I’ll start with letters and postcards I’m owing to various people, then move on to family and friends, then Postcrossing, Postcard United and Swap-bot – plenty of opportunities for all kinds of post πŸ™‚

​I tried to keep track of all my sent post last year but I moved house and misplaced my list… I’ll try to record all of my outgoing and incoming post this month, and hopefully anything else I end up doing.

Outgoing post:

Great travel themed letter off to exotic London!
Incoming post:

Swap-bot ‘send me something to make me smile’ swap from Australia. There’s plenty of goodies to make me smile here πŸ™‚ and clearly a swapper making full use of a laminator!

This card coming home was a surprise, it was part of a travelling postcard swap which hasn’t happened for a while. The swapper who sent this back said they had received theirs so sent mine on. It looks like it missed round 3! I’m hoping to hear back from the swap organiser if anything more will happen. I’m also signed up to the main travelling postcard swap on Swap-bot now, I find it fascinating.

Roll on February! I might just get things done πŸ™‚


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Sewing chaos

I’m in a weird mood with my sewing at the moment… I have a long list of planned projects (Christmas gifts, tops, sewing set, skirt, dress, birthday quilts) but I don’t seem to have the patience or the motivation to get on with things. I just want it all to be completed! And then I get frustrated that I haven’t achieved anything and stressed that nothing is ready, which is all ridiculous because it’s supposed to be fun. I can sit in the office all day mentally designing all sorts of things, but in the evenings I don’t seem to be doing more than the basics of living – eating, cleaning, sleeping… And recent weekends have been busy with events and trips and things like food shopping. I can probably blame the darkness and increasing cold, it’s much easier to curl up and read. No one but me will know if home made gifts never get given or finished, it just feels like there’s creativity going to waste somewhere. And I could really use some new tops and skirts and a way to organise my desk πŸ™‚

This is my sewing desk right now, featuring: the finished blue skirt that needs a hook to stop the zip undoing, a half finished grey skirt that ground to a halt when I couldn’t locate my zip foot in the mess, scattered fat quarters for Christmas gifts, a stack of fabric for organisational things for my desk, piled with dressmaking cottons and a vest top that I added sleeves to then tried to adjust and made a horrible mess of and just needs hemming as a vest to be wearable (but it looks like camouflage fabric from a distance so how wearable I’m not sure!). And the tubes are to store quilt binding.

I think I might be just a little overwhelmed. I’ll put some of it away and focus on one thing at a time – maybe that way I’ll get one thing finished πŸ™‚

Worries and imposter syndrome

As was really the idea for this blog, sometimes I just need to put down a few thoughts. Put down the baggage and walk away… I overthink things, and I worry too much about things that worrying won’t help with. 

Tomorrow I have my annual review at work. Logically I know I shouldn’t worry, there’s been no problems mentioned, I’m doing more complicated work and I know a lot more now…but still the imposter syndrome has been hitting hard this week. Ridiculously, it was kicked off by a surprise payrise (I haven’t been in the job long enough to know if it’s a regular event and money is a thing people don’t discuss) and it’s the sort of thing that should fully reassure me that my boss likes my work and wants me to stay and will likely give me a good review as I’ve already had the reward, but…I still worry. I’m now earning more than I ever expected, and having starting with several low paying entrance level jobs it’s all feeling a bit surreal. I don’t feel grown up and professional, I don’t feel like I do a particularly good job of working or looking after myself and my home, I don’t feel like I’m achieving much, I want to travel but nothing’s happening, I have very little social life – basically I feel like I’m drifting by a lot of the time with little to show for it. I’m also in a very niche industry and I don’t know what’s normal here – I like stability so this doesn’t help. The payrises I’ve had in this job have been completely unexpected and made me worry that I now have to prove myself in some way, and really anxious that I might do something to suddenly not deserve it,  or to make people realise that’s it’s me working here – the forgetful, shy, occasionally scruffy, distracted, self-doubting mixer up of words. Oh yes, the self-doubt; the little voice wondering if I’m good enough, clever enough, fast enough, was that a stupid question, have I bothered people too much recently, is this right, should I know that? It’s a thing that’s hard to talk about, I’m not great at expressing myself and reassurances from anyone outside of work won’t do much to stop the worries, because what would they know? I’m sure my family would instantly reassure me that I’m amazing, but they may be a little biased! And what do I say? “Do I deserve what I’m earning and when I was told I did a good job was it was actually any good?” I think I only person who can answer these questions is my manager, good thing we’ve got a talk organised tomorrow… I just need to be able to ask the questions.

Thoughts and plans

I have come to the realisation that my life is fairly boring and very ordinary. Not that it’s necessarily a bad thing – I now have a nice apartment, a well paying office job, some good friends and I’m working on the social life, and I few hobbies I enjoy. But I also have a desperate urge to travel and get out there.

I’ve possibly been reading too many travel blogs but the vague idea to book cheap flights to Bergamo is now a sketched out and budgeted 5 city trip across northern Italy. Not that I really have the time or money, or it’s something I’ve ever considered before. I have a list of big trips (Iceland, southern Germany/Switzerland by train, the Norwegian coast by ferry, back to Japan…) that are expensive enough without going all out on a passing urge for a city break. I think my main problem this week is that after nearly 4 weeks medical leave I’m tired and not used to working. I also have no plans for the entire rest of this year beyond 2 trips to the theatre, which is slightly depressing and leaves a big void for the imagination to fill – and I have a good imagination!

I’m sure plenty of little things will happen to fill the gap, but I won’t stop dreaming yet πŸ™‚

Anyway, here’s the plan (squashed up against my work notes) that probably won’t happen:

On friendship

A few days ago I went to a social event to view an art exhibition. I’m really trying now to find a social life in this city. I’ve been here a year and still have no-one close by to just go to the cinema with, or out to lunch, or any of the little last minute plans that can happen when meeting up doesn’t involve a short train journey. So I went to the (insane and incomprehensible) exhibition, and when everyone headed to the bar, I…ghosted straight out of there. To my surprise someone did actually see me leave and I had to explain that I was stressed and just wanted to go home (rather than saying actually mainly middle aged men are not a social group I’m interested in cultivating and I can’t face trying to make any more forced conversation). And there are other groups that are more female focused or aim at my age group but it’s hard work to keep going sometimes.

It’s got me thinking about a few things. How friendship requires effort and that when I’m feeling alone I need to put that effort into existing friendships as well as looking for new ones. And that some of my best friends at the moment are people I’ve never met and only communicate with through letters. And how bad I am at maintaining communication in any other format with people closer than 500 miles away! So more effort required – circular argument here I think πŸ™‚

I’ve also been thinking about when a friendship isn’t worth the effort. Like the group of old men I feel will never become friends. I’ve never straight up ended a penfriend relationship. I’ve been friend dumped once, by email, and it was really painful, made me completely doubt my ability to be a friend, and made me wonder why anyone would like me. I hope I have some redeeming qualities and that people aren’t just being polite in return… I’ve ghosted on penpals a few times when I’ve got 5 lines a couple of times a year and thought ‘why bother?’, but I don’t do confrontation so I mainly just keep writing back. Maybe more slowly and not chasing when another letter never arrives but reading about their children’s summer activities or a recent shopping trip and trying to be that good friend.

Sometimes we just need someone out there to listen. People need connections to others, and with the terrible current political climate it’s important to know people in Russia and USA and everywhere else, and know that the news doesn’t reflect the individual good people around the world. Maybe if all politicians had pen friends the world would be a nicer place. I’m trying and failing to imagine Teresa May and Angela Merkel as penpals, but maybe they could share leadership advice and how to ignore people criticising their fashion sense…

As a shy introvert it will of course take much longer to develop in-person relationships and have more than 2 friends, but there’s still plenty of options to explore. And despite the dominance of old men in certain local groups, or racists or painful silences or when only 2 of us turn up (all recent experiences) and late night doubts, I’m still optimistic. About everything.

And if there’s any lonely people in Derby or anywhere else – hello!!!