Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Stress Prescription

Stress Prescription

I recommend a good dose of stress in your life. The kind that calls for the biting of nails, the scratching of the head and the pulling of hairs. I recommend some worrying in your life, the kind that keeps you up after bed time or the kind that gets you up before the alarm clock rings. I recommend doubt in your soul, the kind that forces you to summon your inner strength, re-evaluate your priorities and brings you closer to those who love and support you.

I once heard that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. And although stress is modern time’s most notorious killer; I believe that it’s as necessary to the body as is the air we breathe. Lack of challenges in one’s life makes for a weak spirit, a bored mind and a meaningless waste of time. What good is a life without goals? Without a dream?
What good is a dream if you don’t fight for it?

A friend of mine sent me the following message of encouragement:
It is the most strenuous, difficult, complicated and less travelled upon roads that takes us to the best destinations in life.

She sent this to me nine weeks ago when the stress began to intensify. Over a year ago I decided that I no longer wanted to stay on this island. I didn’t know where exactly it was that I wanted to go but I knew that I needed to be somewhere that allows me to be more than what I am today. After sending countless CV´s to half a dozen countries on each continent, it occurred to me that I didn’t need to change nationality… I simply needed to cross the ocean! I’ve always been a firm believer in fate, and destiny it seems; felt I was pushing in the wrong direction! It’s when I started making steady decisions to move to Lisbon that my heart began telling me that I was on the right track.

I came to this conclusion six months ago and ever since I’ve began my battle for the transfer that is as slow as this country’s bureaucracy… or am I just over anxious?
First it was that “should I or shouldn’t I” of whether or not to respond to that announcement.
Then you go through that “Are they or aren’t they going to give a reply?” phase and end up concluding that you weren’t right for the position in any case.
Just as you begin to relax and forget that you ever applied, they call you up with one of those “We’re going to need you for an interview”
They don’t tell you exactly when so they give you a couple of days to stare at your phone before they let you know that the interview was actually supposed to be for yesterday and could you come first thing in the morning!
So soon?
You’ve barely got time to figure out what you’re going to wear when you realise your stress levels are at an all time high and that one more cup of coffee could represent the caffeine overload that might lead you to strangle the next person that asks you if you’re nervous.

Life has a way of making you go through practise runs… you know… like that first interview that leaves you wondering: “What the hell was I thinking?”.
Fifteen minutes was all it took for both the interviewer and I to realise that I wasn’t meant for the opening and I left with my shoulder drooped, my hopes dampened and a low on motivation.

Back to the drawing board! You somehow manage to salvage your mind from blowing up after it nearly exploded with “What went wrong” reruns.
Picking yourself up and dusting off the dirt, you remember that life is just a journey in any case and you keep filling in those applications wondering where they’ll take you next. And before you know it… the phone rings again!

Getting my head checked….
Big enterprises send their employees future or not on psychological evaluations… they make you look at ink blotches and write down all the first words you can think of starting with an “R”. They expect words like: “reflection” and “responsibility” while the only words you can remember is: “Rodent” “Rat” “Ex-boyfriend”…. Oops, that doesn’t start with an “R” hehehe…
Then you make an oopsie by remembering the word “Repression” but comfort yourself by remembering that the bosses usually appreciate such a word from an employee.
After thirty-two words I was stuck! Blocked… yeap, me a writer running out of words with an “R”.
“Can’t I write these in English? Actually I know a couple in Afrikaans too…” the monitor simply grinned while he shook his head and told me that my time was over in any case.

With three people on vacation and the holiday pressure on, it was almost eight when I left the office. The pharmacy on duty was too far to walk to go buy the special shampoo that’s supposed to cure the dandruff created from the stress I’ve been causing to my head! I stepped on gum and realised that I’d forgotten my cellphone in my desk so I had to walk all the way back… just in time to miss my bus!

I had two choices: Be irritated or laugh it off.

I laughed it off and decided to spend those extra fifteen minutes that it would take to wait for the next bus to visit my favourite spot on the island: The docks.
I watched the reflection of the sun on the calm sea and heard the sound of the waves crashing. I allowed the day’s heat to seep into my veins and I asked God to be with me, to give me patience and persistence not to let go of my dreams.
The start of a new Chapter implies the end of the previous. Every new beginning implies the death of the old and every new destination implies leaving something… someone behind.
Family, friends, colleagues… it seems like too many people to leave behind, too many goodbyes to have to say, too many voids that will need filling…

But I have two ways of looking at this: I can choose to live like I’m leaving, or I can choose to live for the moment!!!

I choose to live the moment, the now, and this instant!… lately I live less the tomorrow that I’m fighting for to concentrate on the today that I’m living in.

I recommend making a joke of things gone wrong, asking for a bib when the juice from a peace makes its way onto your white shirt and whistle “Don’t worry, be happy” when that nightmare client walks in.
The more I live, the more convinced I am that the perspective you choose to have in life is what makes the difference to the glass being either half full or half empty…
Why look at the challenges in your life negatively if they shape and strengthen the person you are and the person you can become?
If life and love weren’t so fulfilling and wonderful, people wouldn’t risk heartache and tears… And the stress in between is merely the excitement that get us from where and who we are to where and who we want to be.

So yeah… I’m a little stressed, but in the end it’s all good. They say stress makes some go mad and the way I see it: I don’t suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it!


Luisa Singer said...

When people are pushed to their limits is when they realise what they´re made of, how much strength they have to spare. I´ve always enjoyed a good chalenge, that´s why I´ve changed my life so many times. I beleave that if something doesn´t feel right in your life, you ought to change it before it kills your inside. So... yes for the strong people, that are not affraid to make the next moove and make a change in their lifes for better or worst, just for different! and no.. for the people that just stop in life beacause they´re too affraid to leave the "old couch"!

Laura said...


Acho que tu es viciada em stress, kida!! Viver intensamente nao é exactamente viver profundamente. Para aprofundar as coisas necessitamos de criar raizes...
Espero que encontres o solo fertil para implantares as tuas raizes de forma a te tornares uma arvore forte e esplendorosa.