I think this is the line I hate the most. Generalizing everyone into one and discarding any development at all. Aren’t we all heard of this line? And have you noticed that almost always it comes with slight scorn and refers to something bad? I hate it. And I do believe that every human is on the journey of self-development. And even if someone’s beliefs or habits in one specific area are the same – it does not mean that the person as a whole is the same.
We all change through life more or less and our habits are the ones that reflect these changes the most. I refuse to consider myself as old, and I can’t present myself as young either. But even I have changed tremendously turning my short life. And still, there is a part of me that has stayed the same through it all.
I want everything, at once and more. That hasn’t changed much to this day. Everything, more and now. But I am older and a little more accepting that some things take time. Just a little more accepting. But still, people closest to me tend to laugh when the subject arises that with something I need the patience to do. I laugh too.
Most of my high school* went by in a sleepless haze. It was normal for me to sleep only 2-3 hours from Monday to Friday. Wanting everything – my days were spent at school, afternoons studying, and evenings out with friends or gaming. Or out and then gaming. This resulted in the sleeping marathon on the weekend I could easily drop to bed on Friday and wake up on Saturday evening. Be awake for a few hours and head back to sleep. So I actually had only one free day between school weeks – Sunday.
But now I feel like a zombie if I skip a night. And makes me wonder how I coped with double-shift life for a few years when there were periods of time when my sleep routine was close to high school. But with a difference that when in high school I was functioning at least the first 3 days. Now it takes only one short night to through me off balance. It’s annoying. Frustrating. And the most annoying part is when I tell someone and they say: “It’s a normal part of growing old”. I refuse to accept that I am old. I don’t feel it – unless I am tired or reminded that my baby sister is older than I feel myself to be.
Always on the move
My first official job was POS systems technician – which meant I spent most of my days and nights at stores or pubs, and clubs. It was a crucial part of surveillance for internal controls and most of our clients had contracts with 2-4h response times. And it didn’t count where the facility was located. In Tallinn or in Riga. And there was only one team for the Baltic states – mine.
This meant that for a decade I lived mostly on wheels, always prepared that when I leave home – I didn’t know when I was getting back. Same night? Next? In three days? It was normal for me to wake up in Tallinn and end up in Stockholm. And although we had 2-4 hours response time the trickier problems could be sorted after working hours – for stores after 23 PM and pubs, etc in the daytime. It became a norm to arrive from work at 8 AM and leave work at 9 PM.
And work around the clock on ships – because when stores are open – pubs are closed or had minor client traffic. And moving to stores when they were closed down. It was normal to make round trips to Helsinki and Stockholm – and not to leave the port or even ship. Or move from one ship to another. It seems weird to think now that I once thought working 48h shifts were normal and I even had energy and time to party in between. Really? How?
I did enjoyed that hectic life back then. It felt normal for me and I hardly thought I might miss something because of it and to be honest – friends’ lives with the same stable routine seemed boring. If I could ask past me I think she couldn’t even imagine being more stable. Maybe even laugh at me?
So some, including past me, may say my life is boring now – it mostly contains moving through a routine path home-work-home, since last year home-work-dream home-school-home path. But for me, it is a good change. I find a weird comfort in knowing I don’t have to have 2-3 days of supplies with me. And even though my life doesn’t follow a strict routine – I will be home to sleep. Whether I arrive home at 6 PM or 1 AM, doesn’t matter. I sleep at home and leave home in the morning.
I learned from past life to get by with minimal things with me and not worry about wearing new sets of clothes every day, but also to look and appreciate multipurpose items. And all the more I cherish now the ability to dress up in the morning with knowing I will be home in the evening. Not that I do that often, but I can if I want to. For me, this holds a bigger meaning.
Turning into a fitness fanatic
At the moment it is really weird to think that I used to be the crazy fitness chick. I tried all group workouts that were available in my gym and I could be found there 5-7 days a week. Yep, even 7 days. I loved that rush after a great workout, every muscle is intense and sore, my heart was racing, and a feeling of accomplishment.
Sometimes I wonder what happened to her. The one whose idea of hangover cure was Bodypump challenge topped with BodyCombat? And the best way to start the new year’s party was Bodycombat-Bodypump-BodyBalace in a row on 31st December. Yes, attending 2-3 workouts in a row was normal. And I was seriously considering taking courses to become a personal trainer.
Sometimes I found myself debating hard whether to attend some social event or go to the gym. I didn’t have any workout buddies or socialized with others, I just did my thing – so the workout was all I was drawn into. When my workouts conflicted my first option was always to check – can I attend after the workout? Can meetings be pushed or I can be late? I felt ill when I missed my routine workout. And now – if we don’t count occasional walking, treadmill uses, or working at dream home – I don’t do anything.
Expectations to life
This might be the most invisible part of any human. What they really expect and want from life. Some share it in high volumes with anyone in reach and it doesn’t matter do they want to hear it or not. Some keep it all to themselves. And some are talking about one thing while wishing for something else – but society has made them feel like they shouldn’t want it.
Past me was excited about social life and parties. Present me not so much. Past me enjoyed sarcastic dialogues and sharing mean comments. Present me does get when someone is sarcastic to me but prefers a softer approach with guidelines “if you don’t have nothing nice to say – don’t say anything”. Present me is also more able to see things through someone else’s perspective and willing to explain or discuss the differences, yearning for more information, and more willing in making compromises.
Does it really matter?
Some years ago I was a stressed-out wreck. I worried about everything – how I performed at work, at home, at the gym etc. I stressed even about (in my opinion) wrong decisions made by my boss or family. So basically about everything and it did take a great toll on my well-being and mental state, but I couldn’t see that at that time.
I accidentally stumbled upon the 5×5 rule and something changed. When I read about it got me thinking about things that stressed me the most or most often. And I realized they were just little details with hardly any reasons to worry about. Like the kids not eating some part of the meals if their stomachs are full – it’s fine. And the more I thought about it and my stressors, the more I realized that many things that were stressing me out aren’t my responsibility. For example – I am not responsible for how my co-workers and boss work. Only how I and my team work.
This changed my thinking radically and my mind is so much calmer. Now I am more able to see positivity in life and enjoy living. I am not totally stress-free, but I now choose what I stress over. Because stressing about little things, things someone else has to stress about or out of my control is hurting me. Me and my family, because when a person is stressed and nervous it catches on and spreads to everyone around. Sometimes it does require taking a step back and breathing deeply when my temper gets in the way because changing your thinking is a neverending process. But I am better at it and my family is better because of it.
From the outside my biggest changes as a human – don’t show. To bystanders with whom I interact are those changes in me invisible. Does it mean I haven’t changed? And if my biggest changes don’t show – how can we say that people don’t change just because we don’t see the changes?
What are your experiences with changes in you and the people around you?
*Estonian high school grades are 10-12, starting at 15-16 years old depending on first grade age and birthdays. First grade is mandatory from age 7, but some start early, and some apply for an extension.