Archive | January, 2013

The Pressure is on… To COMMIT.

28 Jan

This is my fourth and final post for January! Wow I’ve committed to ONE MONTH of blogging. Yay me!! I’m actually excited about this blog as I have built an expectation so I don’t want to disappoint. I didn’t know what to write next but this great idea came to me whilst I was in the shower so I had to keep drying my hands, typing on my phone and then getting back to my concert that makes Beyonce look like a back-up singer. (Mr JA aka #NOTteamTola… I haven’t forgotten about your comment in university about my dreams, pshhh). Anyways, it seems all my great thoughts manifest while I’m in the shower (high water bill) or in bed (insomnia). Cool huh?

Anyways back to my commitment challenges. As many of you know, it snowed last week. (Well it did here in the UK, not in Portugal or somewhere, because apparently it never snows over there!) And at the beginning of January, I was encouraged (and even sponsored) to take up a sport as it would help me focus and commit. I decided on swimming because last year I actually took lessons and passed my deep water test (meaning I can swim in the deep end of a pool; don’t know if that applies to open water but I think it’s too soon to find out). Swimming doesn’t require me to have a partner (I have some lazy, I mean “busy” friends) or join a team (I can be anti-social sometimes, I’m quite shy!). Yes, I know there’s jogging but I’d rather run on the treadmill and no I’m going nowhere, then run outside and have my neighbours laugh at me saying “She runs every day, but hasn’t lost weight” because I still snack a lot and eat junk food. Anyways this isn’t about losing weight, it’s about commitment. Let’s stay focused people, focus focus!!

So I chose swimming and decided to be going twice a week; Tuesday and Saturday. Since the 4th of Jan, I’ve been a total of… ONCE! Long story short, I gave many excuses for why I couldn’t go swimming. I had to change my internship day to Wednesday. It was snowing, so I couldn’t drive as it was dangerous. My mum has the car. I can’t get Public Transport as that turns a 7 minute drive into an hour journey. (I’m not even exaggerating, where the Swimming Pool is from my house, you have to get two buses and then walk down for 10 minutes as no buses go down there.)

Needless to say, I am very disappointed with myself (no chocolate biscuits for me today). That lone day I went swimming I actually enjoyed myself when I eventually got into the pool. When I paid at reception, I was hoping the pool was too busy, so I didn’t have to swim and say ‘at least I tried’. Tomorrow is swimming day, and the thought of it makes me want to cry. But I have to pump myself and think of the euphoric feeling I felt while I was doing my lengths. Let’s do this!! (Don’t get me wrong, I do really like swimming, it’s just the journey into the pool that bothers me. And it’d be nice if I had some company.)

Moral of THIS STORY; Commitment isn’t easy. Giving excuses are. But you have to push beyond feeling uncomfortable and laziness so it becomes a habit and then second nature. Sometimes you have to commit to things that aren’t fun and most times you have to go it alone. Set yourself targets and be DISCIPLINED!

Two years ago, I sat down with one of my mentors and drew up a goal plan.  We established a career path that I was to pursue before I was 30. I hated those, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years” questions. Well ALIVE (hopefully) duhhhh! “Doing what?” Living of course, duhhhh! Seriously!  So as I began this ‘new’ journey trying to find a career path, I realised I came RIGHT back to my initial passion that was discussed during my one-to-one! What was missing between then and now was COMMITMENT. I stopped pursuing that career path because a few obstacles came and I thought maybe this wasn’t for me. It reminded me the book The Alchemist, and it’s circular theme; sometimes you have to go far to find what is near.

Moral of THIS story – STAY COMMITED! “Brick walls are there for a reason; they let us prove how badly we want things.” Randy Pausch. Keep trying! Even when you come against some crazy storms, and high walls, if you are certain that THIS is what you were called to do, then pursue it and persevere! The OBJECTIVE always stays the same, but the PLAN may change in order to accommodate obstacles, challenges, and changes in circumstances. This is something I didn’t understand; I thought if the plan changed then I was on the wrong route. But the plan is just a method to execute the OBJECTIVE!! If you don’t take anything else away from this post, take that!

I’m sure it raises the question; how do I know when to keep trying and when to let go? Well if it’s something you know you can’t live without doing then it’s worth it to die trying. In other words, NEVER LET GO! You’ll either get there eventually or die! Whichever comes first! It’s all hard work and you have to ask if you’re willing to work hard. I always ask ‘how hard does hard have to be?’ Cheeky Monkey!

My final challenge of commitment in the week came in the desire to QUIT! I studied Law at university, and in hindsight I feel it wasn’t the degree for me. Though I’d like to say it was a mistake, as I’ve learnt (and so my mum tells me) ‘no knowledge is lost.’ (Now you know why I’m great at arguing, persuading and showing you how 1+1 can be 68) So no regrets! I graduated in 2010, threatening to quit every year, and succeeded in dropping out in Jan 2008. However, I was then threatened to go back. (You already know the accent so here it goes; ‘So you wont to leave in deese house. Han you will nort go to skoo. We sha see habout dart.” My mother says as she clicks her fingers above her head.) We all know what happened next right? A month later I was enrolled to resume my studies the coming September.

grad IMG00087-20110108-1118 100_1325

So recently, I was encouraged (no persuaded) to make use of my Degree and get experience in a Law firm which I’ve been doing for the past month. Last week, I was just fed up. I felt like I was wasting my time, energy doing something I don’t even want as an occupation. My girls encouraged me not to quit, that the experience may come in handy one day and I should stick at it for the mean time whilst finding what I really want to do. This now pushes me to be very active in building the career I truly desire, that actually makes me happy.

Moral of THIS STORY – Sometimes commitment is just a process of seeing it through and sticking it out until you find something better. “Your commitments can develop you or they can destroy you, but either way, they will define you. We become whatever we are committed to.” Rick Warren. Commit to what is true to you, and not what everybody expects you to do.

The best thing to come out of my degree! Law students; I'm sure we were breaking some kind of law. Muahahahaaaa

The best thing to come out of my degree! Law students; I’m sure we were breaking some kind of law. Muahahahaaaa

What are YOU committed to?

Ahhh, commitment commitment! If I’m being honest, it somewhat scared me. Because up until this year, I lived a life of doing as I pleased, when I didn’t like something or it was too hard; On to the next. And I’d wonder, “Why am I not moving forward?” The only thing I was committed to was being uncommitted, lol!

So in light of the new me, this year I’m determined to be committed (to the right cause), because you know being an “adult” and all, I have to learn to be responsible and yadi da di da! So yeah! Commitment can be a scary thing when you look too far ahead. Just take it ONE day at a time, giving the thing all your attention for that day.

COMMITMENT and FOCUS!

I have found calmness in the midst

Ms Tola

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Starting Over

19 Jan

“Maybe we reached the mountain peak,

And there’s no more left to climb.

And maybe we lost the magic piece,

And we’re both too blind to find.

Let’s start over, let’s give love their wings,

Let’s start over, Stop fighting ’bout the same old thing,

 Let’s start over; we can’t let our good love die,

 Maybe we can start all over, Give love another life.”

Beyonce – Start Over

Third blog in and I’m sure you’re thinking this should have been my first post. However, I think it has followed a logical order and I’ll explain how. The first post “I just don’t know” reveals we’ve come to a dead end. (Not a crossroad as that implies we have options.) A complete halt. Even if we charged through the brick walls, we’d still find ourselves in a black abyss. Like a path that stops at the edge of a cliff, we have come to the end of the road. Therefore step one would involve admitting ‘this is it’. No longer can we keep going in this direction.

The next post was “Background to my Background.” I’m trying to be clever here so stay with me for a minute. Let’s just focus on the word ‘Background’. In some context background refers to a person’s social heritage or what they did in the past. We all know the famous sayings ‘In order to go forward, we must first go back’ and ‘you can’t know where you are going until you know where you’ve been.’ So in order to move forward, occasionally you have to be willing to look back on the past and reflect on what didn’t work and how you can do things differently. You have to back to when you reached that crossroad; go back to rediscover your values, your passions and yourself you lost along the way.

That brings us to  “Starting Over”. I’m sure we all know what it means to start over. Even if we can’t define it with clarity and perspective, our experiences and the situations we’ve found ourselves in illustrate our understanding of the phrase ‘starting over’.

To use an analogy; let’s think of the buttons on a DVD player (I was about to write video player, then I realised I need to keep up with the times. You know how technology is forever upgrading) so think of the buttons on a BLU RAY Player (2013, baby). Life goes on at Play. If you’re living in the fast lane, and your life metaphor is that life is a race, you’re probably on the Fast Forward button. For moments of reflection you have the Pause and for periods of retrospect and regression, there’s the Rewind; maybe you missed something important and need to go back a few steps. Now the Skip Forward/Back button is more exact. For those people that spend a lot of time on Pause, they are able to Skip to specific moments; they know precisely how far back they need to go, or what the next step is. Skip Forward is what I like to call the Move On button. It works particularly well in relationships where it’s not a matter of going back a few steps but completely moving on to the next chapter.

Now in light of all this starting over would be the remaining two buttons; Stop and Eject. It’s time to take out American Beauty because you’ve seen the film a million times and no matter how many times you rewind, forward or pause, it still ends the same way. So why don’t you put in something more humorous or action-packed? Maybe it’s time for a movie with a happy ending!

Starting over is about doing something NEW! In order to differentiate it from moving on or taking a break, it has to be fresh and most times disconnected from what it once was.  It has to be on a new set of terms, with a new set of ideas; detached from previous emotions and hurts yet in light of past failures. Obviously it’s not always easy especially with people reminding you of the way you used to do things and how you used to be, but it’s greatly possible because you can always restart; changing the movie as many times until you find the one you truly love. It’s not about erasing out the part of the picture you don’t like but completely ripping out the page and starting on a blank sheet.

Starting Over is coming to an end and going from a new beginning. So exactly how does one Start Over you ask? Only when you believe you have truly reached THE END, will you be able to Start Over!

Background on my background

11 Jan

Would you look at that, I already have a topic for my second post.I sent a friend the link to my blog site to have a read of my first post, which he was impressed with. Then I looked at the background and said to him, “oh you know my background, I took that picture.” He was like really, and I confirmed it was I. He thought I found it on Google or something. Then I thought (a-ha), that’s the topic for my second post, ‘Background on my background.’

The picture you see on my blog page (the smoking clouds with the sun peering through), is a picture that I took in 2012. IN JAPAN… Here’s the story….

Friday 31st August 2012, I arrived at Haneda Airport, Japan at 4.25am. My friend, Jason Adenuga (who will now be referred to as JA) thought it would be fun and somewhat romantic for a group of us to go on a mountain climb that same night. (Bear in mind, I’ve just landed from a 13hour flight.) When we spoke about this prior to my departure from London, I was pretty optimistic about the idea. (Sometimes in life, we hear these crazy ideas and agree to them without considering the logistics of it all.) So there I was feeling pretty cool with myself; yea I’m going to Japan, pshh, gonna climb a mountain. *dust that dirt of my shoulder*

The flight was a never ending journey; I’d watch two movies, sleep for a bit, still not there. Watch another two movies, have something to eat. STILL not there. Watch a comedy, laugh. Sleep a bit. Still not there. Watch a movie. NOT EVEN HALF WAY! I actually spent my whole Thursday in the air. I had no one to talk to and the seats were uncomfortable so I couldn’t sleep for more than an hour without feeling like my neck was going to snap off. But then eventually, (my favourite word that ‘eventually’) we landed “Hallelujah, Praise the Lord, I have arrived”! My eyes are already slightly chinky, but after that journey I was squinting on all sorts of levels. Welcome to Japan!

Anywhos, I wasn’t so enthusiastic about the climb anymore, so JA advised me to have a nap and see how I felt in the afternoon. I was too excited about being in Tokyo I didn’t actually sleep till like 12pm. (My insomnia kicks in especially when I’m excited about something, e.g. it’s 3am now and I couldn’t wait till the afternoon to write this post?)

Fast forward, fast forward. I woke up around 2pm and we set out around 4. Met up with JA’s friends and we were all hyped about the climb; one of them was really commending me on how brave I was especially after the 13 hour flight and having only 2 hours sleep, and here I was about to climb Mount Fuji, the highest mountain in Japan. I just smiled, and thought let’s see if I actually make it to the top.

The Gang!

So we took a shuttle bus to the 5th station as that was OUR starting point. (One of the lady’s that climbed with us had previously done the climb and started from Station 0! Erm.. Some people are just awesome). I’m really trying to just get to the crunch of this story without missing on the important details. (Pardon my digression). We had dinner about 8pm, got our food supplies; water, ‘Ongiri’ (my favourite snack in Japan) and energy bars. 9pm pronto we started on our journey. I’m going to try and upload pictures so you can see the progression. The first few hours were a blast. I was all hyped thinking pshhhh, mountain climbing, yup that’s me. I even had to take off some layers of clothing, because I got so hot whilst walking up, and then put it back on when we stopped as the temperature dropped so rapidly. Most trekkers start at night as they want to watch the sunrise (if you’re smart and do the maths, you’re already ahead of the story). So trod trod, along we go, having a laugh, looking at the lit cities from a distance and just soaking in the foreign air at high altitudes.

Getting our strength on!

Feeling so fresh at the start!

Then it began. Even writing this now, I’m slighty traumatised. After the 4th or 5th hour, it started to get to me; the mountain got steeper, the air thinner. My legs were getting tired. I was getting bad migraines, so was puffing hard on that oxygen gas. Then it occurred to me, “What am I doing? I’m not a mountain climber, my athletic days finished in high school.” The distance between stations got longer (the Summit of the mountain was at Station 10) so it was a while before we could take a break. We walked well into the night, so visibility was reduced. I cannot pinpoint the exact moment I started losing the will, but I’m sure it was somewhere along station 7; that station went on for ever. We climbed, I stopped, we climbed, and I wanted to cry. We climbed, climbed and climbed some more. Then it became a race against time, as we wanted to reach the top BEFORE the sun rose. JA kept pushing me, “Come on Tola, don’t stop. You can do it. Keep moving.” Obviously, at this point I’m not trying to hear this motivational speaking; I’m rapidly losing the will to live. So I’m getting frustrated with him, like stop rushing me, I’ll go at my own pace and if you want you can go ahead. But he didn’t want to leave me behind so we snailed up. (This is the polite version of events)

      So close, yet so far !!

I am not even joking, my life was flashing before me. I imagined what it’d be like when they called my mum to tell her the unfortunate news; I could already hear her in that Nigerian accent “Who told ha to climb mountain. Did I ask her? No! I didn’t send nebody climbing mountain.” At this point, I can’t even remember, if I cried or what, I just remember being so angry, so mad and emotional (all these emotions combined with a mountain, is definitely not a great idea.) We faced some other challenges along the way, like one of the other ladies having a mild burst of hypothermia, so we waited a bit and she rested in a station to warm up. As tiring as it was, the gang supported and encouraged me and I knew I couldn’t give up. It was going to take a while, but I was determined to get there.

The contrast of the rough texture of the mountain and the smooth fullness of the clouds capture my bittersweet experience

Back to the picture, it was taken around 5:30am, as the sun was rising. We (JA, I and two others) didn’t making it to the Summit before sunrise. But we were close enough so I took it from a few hundred metres away. I was adamant that I wasn’t rushing anymore. I told JA I am on a break. I wasn’t moving so I sat and watched as the sun made its appearance into the sky. Obviously, I can say this now because I am no longer on that battlefield, but just watching the sun rise, it truly was a magnificent moment. I felt at peace, warmed by its glow and I cried knowing how privileged I was to experience a moment like this, knowing I had walked this far. It was a breathtakingly beautiful moment.

Here She comes...                                                           The Epitome of Grace! <3

We made it to the top!!

Once the sun settled, we continued our journey to the Summit and reached there about 6:20am. JA gathered with the rest of the group and everyone just hung out at the top for a little while sharing experiences; I sat in solitude – I was not in a ‘people friendly’ mood AT ALL!!! At 7am, we rounded the troops. You know the saying, “What goes up…” So we made our way back down. You’d think going down would be easier right? But oh no, it was TWICE as hard. The steep was a 47 degree angle so it was really awkward and challenging to walk down without falling down. The ground was covered with loose rocks so as you walked it was really harsh on the ankles. (Mind you, there were people running down, gliding smoothly like they were on a ski slop. Show offs!) It took almost forever to get down, and to make thing worse, it started raining so the ground became slippery making the falls more regular and vicious. What made the descend harder for me was that I was mentally stuck on the journey. Yet, if I didn’t go through the painful process, there was no way I was getting off that mountain; there was NO OTHER WAY!! No cable car, no helicopter, nothing, nada. So I had to keep going down. And with every step I took, I cried inside that bit more when it wasn’t the last step. The end seemed so far. I didn’t help my situation arguing with JA, being moody beyond measure, while it poured with rain as I buckled, stumbled and fell on the ground. All I could think was, ‘Blood will be shed and someone will die,’ (just joking, but not really. If I put ‘Lol’ does it soften up?)

Lol, this is the face of someone who has lost the will to live!!

Eventually, (sighs with relief) we made it to the bottom at 12:33pm – Saturday 1st September 2012. And believe I was SHATTERED!!!

9.5 hours UP + 5.5 hours down = a 15 hour trek!!!!

It’s all over!! Beyond shattered! I could barely talk, barely stand.

I can’t even fully describe the tiredness, stress, frustration, anger or pain I felt, but boy was it a CHALLENGE! However, I climbed Mount Fuji, the highest mountain in Japan at 3,776m. I have pictures of the journey and memories that will last forever. The group I climbed with were an awesome bunch and added to the positivity of the experience.  That climb signified many things; that 1) It’s clearly a case of mind over matter 2)I overcame, I didn’t give up. Though I complained and cried most of the way, I saw it through. In regards to other challenges in my life, I will overcome just the same. 3) I was shown to a new level of glory, seeing the sunrise 4) Pain is temporary and 5) I’ve climbed a mountain; other than the people in our group, I don’t personally know anyone who has climbed a mountain, so that is clearly cool points right thurrrr !! (the Pocono mountains in Pennslyvania, USA don’t count; they are merely hills compared to Fuji). JA took us to a fantastic Onsen (Google it) and I just soaked my aching joints for hours. We had a nice meal and then I slept peacefully through the night.It’s fair to say I forgave JA for his brainiac idea and I’m truly grateful for the experience of climbing that mountain. Would I do it again?

Absolutely… Positively… Definitely NOT !!!!!!!

I Just Don’t Know!!!

9 Jan

Who would have thought, I created this blog on January 14th 2012 and I am yet to post!

So I thought (look at all these ‘thoughts’ already, I guess thoughtchannel really is a great title for this blog), ‘Hey, another year has passed so I’d better get writing.’ Why? Just to put down my thoughts and clear my mind of all the words that constantly bombard my brain. Being left handed and all, the way my brain processes things is different because I use a different side of my brain, and if that part is clogged up, it really affects me functioning properly and yadi ya, so I have to write to free up the space. You catch my drift. Also, I just love writing; I write notes and I jot things down but I actually cannot stand loose sheets of paper; it’s so messy and unorganised so I had to find some other channel (I’m definitely milking this title) to transfer my thoughts.

Please bear with me, because my thoughts are all over the place. But there is a specific topic I want to discuss today and I’m going to write this. Forgive me if I digress a lot; I’m going with the free flow of thoughts. But I will get there eventually.

So today, I had an appointment with a careers advisor and we had a very interesting conversation about my life and what I’d like to do with it (like being the operative word) And it reinforced two things for me. 1) I can possibly do any job in the world (excluding the ones I hate, overlooking the ones I’m not actually qualified to do, and disregarding the ones that erm… I’m not particularly interested in) and 2) I’m actually quite a catch. After giving him a brief synopsis about my life (talking about 10 minutes), he said and I quote ‘You’re impeccably employable. I would hire you, and I haven’t even looked at your CV yet.’ Clearly I said something and he was thoroughly impressed about the ‘me’ I sold him. So there wasn’t a doubt about what I can do, but what I’d LIKE to do…

Anyway, VERY long story short. We spent the whole day talking and doing exercises and all the other stuff you do when you’re on training. I spoke, he asked me questions, and I answered. We concluded that I’ve done quite a lot of a ‘jobs’, I’ve got experience and skills in a variety of fields and I was quite the enthusiast for learning-on-the-job. The problem you ask? Well I don’t actually know what I want to do career wise. And for a long while I hated to admit that, the notion that you just don’t know what to do wasn’t something I was proud of. Academically, I’m an intelligent student (so say my school report cards, not necessarily my grades) so I’d know pretty much a lot. If I didn’t know, click and be sure I’d find an answer for you. If I still didn’t know, then obviously I just wasn’t interested in that piece of information. *disregard*

A few weeks ago, whilst having a debate with my family about life perspectives and motivates, my mum told me that I lack focus. As much as the ‘lawyer’ in me wanted to play devil’s advocate, I couldn’t deny the truth that stood so clearly before me. I watched Ally McBeal, I wanted to be a lawyer. Watched something else, wanted to be an actress, love travelling, maybe I should work for British Airways. You see where I’m going with this, right? I remember hearing a quote, “A person who lacks vision is easily influenced by every suggestion” (I actually just tried to find this quote but couldn’t find it, so now I’m questioning its validity, maybe the person who said it was mistaken. Phew!!! Because I love watching Scrubs but you don’t see me wanting to become a doctor or nurse or anything in health care for that matter. In light of all that, yes I have dreams and things I want to achieve but right now I just need to focus on ONE thing. ONE thing at a time. Find ONE thing and pursue it. Sure my extra-curricular activities will just be a bonus and benefit, but I will keep the main thing, THE MAIN THING. My two words for 2013 are FOCUS and COMMITTMENT!!

So to conclude (sorry if you got lost in the middle, I feel like I’m starting to waffle, and I actually have homework to do by tomorrow and I’m pressed for time) I’m on a journey to find, not so much a career path per se, but to find something that is meaningful and which I can devote my time, energy, skills and talents to. You know, something that will inspire and support people whilst providing an income and means for me to support myself. Something in which I can grow, develop and learn more about myself and the world I live in. A lifestyle that’s more than a job title.

So here it is; the theme of this post is I JUST DON’T KNOW (career wise). Feel free to join me on this journey. ‘I don’t particularly know where I’m going but I promise you, it won’t be boring.’ (Now that’s a quote you can Google.) The beauty of this journey is I’m in a place where I have accepted that it’s ok not to know; it doesn’t make me any less of a person, it doesn’t diminish my intelligence, it shouldn’t make me feel inferior to those who may have figured it out. The first step in resolving an issue is identifying that there is a problem. Now, let’s find that solution. I’m not going to worry or stress myself to figure it all out straight away. But just enjoy this discovery, enjoy this moment because I believe all things will work out for my good regardless.

So to put my two words of the year in a sentence; the FOCUS of this blog is to channel my thoughts (don’t you just love the word play) for clarity and organisation and to help me COMMIT to the art of writing on a regular basis. That is all.

I have found calmness in the midst of the craziness!

Ms Tola x