The Swell

I have been contemplating what to write for the past two months – not for the lack of things happening, if anything there would be so much to tell, but honestly between work, workouts, and questionable work-life balance, I have no idea how to form any words beyond my usual everyday jibberish. So, as it’s almost 6 pm and I’ve been at work since 7.30 this morning, I decided to give it a go and write about the one thing that has been bugging me since the last time I wrote a blogpost: creativity.

I am a very creative person (I’d like to think), but you wouldn’t necessarily think it if you’d look at me per se. I dress like I’ve never owned a mirror (a mix between I am homeless, didn’t get around to doing my laundry, and most of my clothes just are shapeless and about 7000 shades of black), my hair looks like it never saw a brush (the last time I brushed my hair was in 1995), and yes, absolutely – there is an absolute lack of caring about what I look like. Now, my other skills, like cooking (non-existent), gardening (let’s not worry too much about how many plants I successfully killed over my existence), or home decoration (if it weren’t for A, my home would be functional and semi-uncomfortable only) are not too impressive either. I don’t paint really, I don’t sing well, I don’t write songs, I don’t play any instruments, I don’t write poetry, I don’t tell stories well, I don’t… well the list is endless of all the things I don’t do, but still: I am a very creative person (again – I’d like to think).

My creativity comes in one way (mostly), and it’s words. Not speaking, singing, or drawing them, but rather (and only) writing them. I have since ever (see – creative way of putting that sentence together) believed that I was going to be a writer and that’s really everything I always wanted to do, but never knew that I actually could do that. I can still hear my mom say that writing was not a way to make a living… I know she meant well, she wanted me to have a secure future and not to put all my eggs in one basket and then be unhappy if it didn’t turn out well. She wanted me to be safe and how often have you heard of someone becoming hugely successful because they were writing? Not often, I suppose, but then again, how often have you heard of anyone being really successful?! Before you dwell on that one for too long, let’s get back to me…

I am not sure what it was about the ability to write anything, but it captivated me from when I was little. I’d come home, do my homework, sit in my room and write until night fall. I would write stories and stories, with no rhyme or reason, I’d just write them. I didn’t need anyone to read them, actually – in hindsight – I really prefer if no-one did, as I can only imagine the absurdity I’d put into words, but the bliss (and blisters) I’d get from writing, that’s when I was truly at my happiest.

Fast-forward twenty odd years and here I am, at 6 pm on a Wednesday night, at work (and yes, I finished today’s tasks) and I am writing. The journey of undertaking a PhD is painstakingly difficult, make no mistake, but honestly, anyone with the inability to not question why something is the way it is, the persistence of seeing something through until the end, and the energy to take rejection in whichever form it comes (academics get rejected for their thinking and their writing and their philosophy all the time), can successfully pursue a PhD. Whether or not you should is a different question. Anyways, so here I am, typing away.

I hadn’t realized it until just a few days ago, that my inability to write a blogpost didn’t come from not having stories to tell, but from utterly spent from the work I perform on a daily basis and that’s the best thing that could have ever happened to me. Without ever knowing it, my work has swallowed me and my creative brain up, asking me to put my creative (and critical) thinking and writing skills in forms I never thought possible and because of that, I find it hard to write blog posts. Which is a tragedy, because I really love writing my blog, but it’s also the very best thing that has ever happened to me.

See, sometimes we find ourselves in difficult situations when it seems that where we want to be is so far away from where we are and what we are at that moment in time is something we may have never really wanted. In that moment, it may seem like you’re stuck, like the ocean swell has taken you over and swept you away across the ocean into the depths of despair far removed from the world that you hold so dear. The reality is, if you look under you, into the swell, you’ll notice that the bubbles created around you are tantalizing, energetic, exciting, incredible, marvelous and magnificent. There is a whole world around you that may have been nothing like you ever thought it would be, but that’s what life is about, being swept away and swimming in this amazing beauty called life.

My point is, you’ll find yourself in many odd places throughout your life and it will be scary and uncomfortable but if you stop for a second and just take a look, you may find out that it’s really beyond beautiful. That being said, if there is ever a swell taking you away in real life, you need to get help as it could easily be a rip-tide or if you’re on a boat make sure you’re facing into the wind if you’re prone to sea-sickness, that may not end pretty otherwise.

So, my parting words for today may also be parting words for a while, that’s life sometimes, taking you places you never knew existed. Be kind to yourself, be kind to others, be kind to the world around you, and be sure to let others know that you love them. Be a bird and be a fish, make a home, and don’t be afraid of finding a new home. Be yourself and most importantly, be happy. Get help if you need it, give support when you can see that others need it, and always carry chocolate… There is so many things, I want to say, but for now, I’ll leave you with Goethe’s ‘song of the traveller at evening‘:

Over all the hills now,
In all the trees now
Barely a breath. Birds are through
That sang in their wood to the west.
Only wait, traveller. Rest.
Soon for you too.

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