We are a couple of weeks into the new year now and I have gradually transitioned back to work and life. For the first time in my working (and student) life, I actually took a solid two-week break over Christmas. No work, no laptop, no emails (OK, a few emails - but more for personal/career progression reasons than strictly work related). I spent time with family, did some travelling to the coasts - yes, plural. Northern and South-Eastern coasts. I also spent time with good friends and time trying to work out what is next in my career. It seems that options are freeing and liberating but the old existential truth in freedom and choice is the fear and anxiety that inherently presents itself as soon as we realise we, alone, are solely responsible for our own outcomes.
I have been reading some Brene Brown, as I sometimes do. She writes, near to the beginning of her 'Daring Greatly' book, that 'what we know matters, but who we are matters more. Being, rather than knowing, requires showing up and letting ourselves be seen'. There is something about women empowering women to not shrink into themselves and not not to make themselves smaller to accommodate for powerful 'others' who dominate and eclipse our own needs and undermine our worth (that is indeed a Shonda reference). But there is something more about encouraging each other to 'show up' - to let ourselves be seen. Although this does bring me to another point, but I won't go into the structural stuff around the boundaries and barriers we face as a product of the structures we live in. As a women, as a young women, regardless of skills, qualifications, knowledge and experience, purely as a women in her 20s, it seems there are additional mountains to move and additional structures in society that serve to determine a set of assumptions and judgements regarding our capabilities and worth. It is curious, I get stuck between anger and rage, disillusionment and naivety, solitude, and then a big 'screw this' attitude, whereby I book last minute weekends in Amsterdam (I did do this... AND am pleased I did) or I blast out the abstract for the seminar session I'm doing next month that I can surely convince myself I 'do not belong' in. Funny, these messages we pick up along the way.
Anyway, Happy belated new year to all... I figured as my break consisted of plenty of people, wine, and the sea, I'd post (more) pictures of the coast..