31 days writing challenge

I consider myself an amateur who simply won’t quit. I don’t have a particular writing style, my English vocabulary is pretty bounded and it’s not like I’m some kind of a genius everyone wants to listen to. What I do have is a wild mind and a passion for writing. And since I really want to become a better story-teller, I took up this challenge not to polish up my skills, but to develop them. This mission only has one goal – to make myself proud. The decision to write about my personal beliefs and values has fallen after I started feeling a little alienated from myself.

 

Day 1: The day I met my best friend

It’s amazing how my best friend and I grew since the day we first met. The day I met my person, she couldn’t say I love you to anyone. It’s “Ljubim te” in Slovenian and she could only go as far as “L… stop stop stop”. Now she is a mother and a loving life partner. We met when we needed each other the most, of course. Life always gets you what you need, and this time life gave me a true gift from above. It seems to me now that our friendship was like a mission of bringing each other up, help each other to overcome insecurities and close the wounds of past, and then just leave it there.

We were young, wild and blessed and then we simply grew up and got happy. What more can you wish to get out of a friendship? I will never forget how this friendship made me feel, and I will always appreciate the smile it draws on my face when I remember all the good times.

The day I met her we were on top of the world. Seaside, working as camp counsellors, in the magical ambient, the bubble that makes you grow personally even if you don’t intend to. After an embarrassing confession after a morning walk of shame, a true friendship and alliance was born.

I knew she would become my best friend, because she was interested in juicy details, but she rather made a picture in her head by herself than to ask me stupid questions. She was the first friend I felt really comfortable around. The first one to talk to about things that were a taboo for me. At the time, we were twenty years old, both recently single, but on the other hand very insecure about who we are and where we’re going. She was there through my struggle, I was there for hers. She quickly became the first person to call when life was tough and the only one who I listened to when it came to life decisions. We grew into young professionals through our “working sundays”, developed many soft skills during volunteering and finally found our place in the world.

In this friendship, I learned a lot about being humble and vulnerable. On one side I felt looked after and protected. I admired her self-discipline and humbleness, and her graceful way of dealing with inner peace disturbances.

She might not be my best friend forever, but she will always be my person. The one that gets me even though we might be growing apart. Having the feeling of warmth and love when you think of someone is something everyone should feel on a daily basis, but on the other hand its rareness makes this pearl so precious.

Day 2: Today a reader, tomorrow a leader!

Nothing more convenient as a short story about my unconditional love for books on the Worlds’ Book Day. If I could, I would spend my day in a bookshop. When I think of books, I don’t think about reading a good one in the park or on a beach. I think of bookshops, they are my favorite. I would choose them over Ikea every single time. Maybe it is because I’m more of a book-lover than a book-reader.

I still remember the day they opened a first library in my hometown. I can perfectly recall the smell and how it took years after I could reach the top shelf. The movie Matilda (1996) just came out, it still holds a special place in my heart. I always wanted to have the stroller she had to carry all those books from the library. I used to read a lot as well, but I could never read all night like some of my friends or my mum. Sitting still for a long time was always a struggle for me. However, from the very young age, I admired my mother for reading. She would pack a whole suitcase of books when we went on holidays, she had books in every corner of our house and I still remember the day she introduced me the enormous collection of books from her childhood. She was the one who offered me the first two Harry Potter books for Christmas and was then the first one to read them. She was the one taking me to the library every month. If wanderlust, weird-shaped eyebrows and passion for cooking are something I got from my dad, the endless love for books is something I share with my mother.

The other day, we went to the library together after more than 10 years. Again, she took 10 books and this time I asked her whether she actually reads them. This question came across my mind for the first time about a year ago. During my studies in France I  finally had time to read. Year before, the time was always my excuse for only buying and not reading. But however, I didn’t read much. I read more, but not much more. That got me wondering – my mum lives a very busy life and to be honest, I rarely saw her reading. How on earth does she read ten books per month? So I built a theory. An apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, so I believe my mum is just like me – she has books, but she doesn’t really read them. I was wrong. She actually reads them, mostly during the night.

I read a lot when I was younger and losing that somewhere along the way is something I regret. I still read a lot, but I moved from books to articles, which feels fine, but not great. In 2017 I took up a challenge to read at least 2 books per month. In two months I read three books and bought seven more. I’m getting there.

I guess I will never accept the fact that my excitement over buying books is bigger than the passion for reading, so I will try to develop some self-discipline. I’d like to be more like my mum. Anyways, I believe books are forever. They won’t go anywhere, and one day I will read them all. Until then I will continue buying them. I will continue building my international library – instead of magnets and postcards, I collect books from traveling. I am creating sort of a travelling library, to liaise two of my passions. Like this, I can go back to Espinho beach whenever I want. It might miss the scent of the sea, but it will smell like books, which is pretty much the same thing for me.

Today I will treat myself with a new book, I sort of need to, it’s the World’s Book Day 🙂

 

Day 3: The day I answered a “What does a psychologist do” question a hundred times

Today’s career fair was something else. 100 women and 1000 young girls with one goal – to inspire and empower each other. BPW (Valletta) Malta organised an amazing career fair for young girls (age 14) to come look for inspiration and career goals. As a true career fair, it was also an opportunity to network, which was especially interesting for me since I am still kind of discovering what else is out there. About my ability to network and small chat, though… It is probably one of my greatest weaknesses. Got a great word of advice today, though – one day you will run your own business and you will just need to do it, otherwise you won’t survive. And from then on, it will come naturally to you.
Back to the career fair. In the beginning, it felt a bit odd to me, because who am I to speak about my career? I only entered a labour market a few months ago and I my master’s thesis is still in progress. Girls didn’t care about that, in fact, I think they liked it.
I was lucky enough to have a backup from a career guru. I shared my desk with Carolin Zeitler, a coach, dance therapist, author of How Women Succeed and an inspiring person to talk to or simply be around of. Together we were representing our company which was not an easy mission since girls don’t really know what recruitment, training, psychometric testing and data mining stand for, but it felt overwhelming seeing their inspired faces after telling them how our regular day at the office looks like.
With regards to my answer to the famous question, I tried to keep it simple yet complex enough to keep them motivated. I was kind of sad when I realised that for the majority of them, the most common association with psychology was depression. Maybe I am not experienced enough to talk about the diversity of psychologists’ tasks, but I am proud to demolish some stereotypes and let those girls know what else is out there.
What I learned today is that even there are many incentives, we still do not invest enough to career orientation. I was kind of disappointed when I realised that the pool of professions young girls know is rather short and that their understanding of professions is very conservative. I think the whole community should take responsibility for that.
When it comes to career fairs and career orientation we often forget about how teenagers think. They don’t care about the name of our companies or understand our fancy job titles. They want to listen to our stories. They don’t care if you are a core banking platforms system officer. Tell them about how it is to be an IT girl! We live in a modern world, full of Business Developers, Recruitment Resourcers, Software Engineers, QA Analysts, SEO marketers etc. They don’t know the terminology, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t understand what you do. However, in the situations of career fairs, unusual job titles on your name tag will probably scare them away rather than make them curious.
Today’s lesson: To empower is to be empowered. I think it’s definitely something the world could use more of. It is amazing how empowering another human being bounces right back at you. Even though I only started my professional career, I felt on top of the world today. Looking around seeing all these women and hearing all the career stories made me feel like I am a part of something. Something meaningful for young generations.

 

Day 4: The Day I asked myself about my regrets

Apart of answering the question, a wild thought comes to mind. How do people feel when this question is asked? How am I supposed to feel? Surprisingly, I don’t feel any unpleasant feeling and I wonder is there is something wrong with me. If I’m narcissistic or something because I don’t really have regrets. Even though I’ve made some questionable decisions in my life, broke some hearts that didn’t really deserve it, cried rivers because I believed, the only I do regret are all the chances I didn’t take. Even though I honestly, without being egocentric, believe that I was meant for big things, I was never fearless enough to go for it.

Regarding my personal life, I don’t think I have any regrets. I like where I am now and I know that all my choices lead me here. On the other hand, when it comes to professional growth, I must confess I have quite a few regrets. They start early, in high school, when I was investing in all those extra curriculum activities, which spread my horizon and gave me a lot, but they didn’t necessarily take me where I would like to be today professionally. I regret all the CVs I didn’t send, all the applications I didn’t make, all the career opportunities I didn’t take because I was afraid to click on the submit button. I always found a little thing to excuse my fear – lack of time, laziness, I was too intimidated to ask for a recommendation letter. I am fine now, though, but deep down I still feel I’m not great. Even though I was always active in the NGO sector, studied abroad, was a good student, I don’t feel like accomplished everything I could have. Or should have. It wouldn’t matter so much if I wasn’t such a big daydreamer and planmaker. Usually, big goals come out. Unfortunately, in the majority of cases, it stayed there, waiting for magic. Goals remained in the wish state, I never made a concrete plan out of it. I don’t feel sad about it, I just wish that in some situations I had some more courage and self-discipline to turn my dreams into goals.

I guess they were right when they said we only regret the opportunities we didn’t take. All my oops moments got me where I am today. But who knows where all my “go for it” moments could take me.

The weirdest thing about regret though is the following: I know what I will regret in the future! And I don’t do anything about it. I have this cool new business idea every month but look at me, still working 8-5 not doing anything about it. I don’t even try to try, that’s how big of a chicken I am.

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