Last weekend I got to do the Oxfam 50km trail walk with friends down in Whakatane. It was a lot of fun. I got to spend time with close friends and enjoyed it for the most part. I was in one of my extroverted moods when I started coordinating this and kept our team on track with training, logistics, and fundraising for the 5 months following. I was only slightly emotional just prior to reaching the finish line (as lawyers shouldn’t be emotionless) because I decided on doing Oxfam about 5 months prior and managed to coordinate us up to this point; I was sad it was over but elated that I had gotten us to the end, together.
We finished in 13 hours and 14 minutes with about almost 2 hours worth of “break time”. A decent effort overall. The fastest team finished in 7 hours. The competitive streak in me wants to get closer to that time eventually – but that’s another post.
This weekend I had arranged to volunteer at a youth camp – but I called in a few days before to say I couldn’t participate. The previous few weekends had been full of life, new/nurturing connections and high energy activities. I attended a wedding the weekend before, had a load of life-admin the weekend prior, a 40km walk with our crew prior and was in Wellington for Te Matatini the weekend prior. This weekend, I needed quiet time to reflect. And I did get to do that. I slept most of the day (no hangover from the CBA dinner the day before thank goodness) and got to have some quality alone time.
I’ve realised that I’ve been doing this for 5 years, doing volunteer work for UN Youth NZ, Pacific Society of Reproductive Health and suite of other smaller groups that I jump on the bandwagon for here and there. I’ve helped organise conferences, events, administrative/project work etc. Which has been GREAT in terms of adding to my skillset but ABYSMAL at filling my soul cup directly (It fills my cup indirectly because they either go towards achieving wider career goals later in life or because I get to travel for free – plain honesty there).
On a tangent – the reason I over-extended myself in the first place in 2013 was because I was in a relationship that wasn’t constructive, so I decided to do what ENTJs do best – try to address it but when I couldn’t, work more. I remember the evening I made that decision quite clearly – when I decide I want something, I’ll do everything I can to get it. I’ve had some life-changing experiences because of that decision.
I’ve known for the last 6 months, that I need to step back and fill my time with activities that actually make my soul sing. I used to dance a lot, with Ura Tabu, and I’ve been nostalgiac to this for a while now. I used to paint, draw and play around with photography. And my soul has been craving this creativity since leaping into the world of criminal law and general litigation. I’ve enjoyed this career turn (I hated criminal law at university) but this means I have little emotional energy during my personal time because I’m instead giving it to service. I want to avoid any depressive apathy and that downward spiral when one start’s to lose the humanity in their actions.
Litigation is a high-pressure environment that requires positionality, which is fine in my opinion – if I had activities outside of work that I intrinsically enjoyed on a regular basis. Creating on my own and creating with others is a deeply satisfying experience. Conceptualising some work and then making it. There is a level of connection to self and environment that “creating” can give, which I miss. That may not make sense to some, but I’m confident the creatives would understand.
I’ve got a meeting later today with the two organisations I volunteer with; one as a “coordinator” and the other as a committee member. Both are going through busy periods but I’ll be leaving them both by mid-year and giving myself 12 months beyond that to practice saying “no”. Being a Pacific Islander, one is generally hyper-aware of others’ interests ahead of their own.
Here’s to committing to myself, the comedown after a 5 year joy-ride and the pre-30s reinvention.