Illegitimi non Carborundum

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Source: Pinterest

This is one of my favourite quotes. My manager Mr D used to tell me this when we were facing crisis after crisis at work. The first time I heard him say it, I didn't know what the whole saying meant, but I knew what carborundum was - my mom was a master gem cutter and she used carborundum grinding wheels to cut stones, even the really tough ones.

"DON'T LET THE BASTARDS GRIND YOU DOWN"

It was used to increase troop morale during WWII and I'm finding myself thinking it daily now, almost as a mantra.

With the current things I'm navigating personally, spiritually and physically, I feel ground down. I feel bombarded by "stuff" and sometimes find it difficult to sift through the constant noise of what's happening locally and internationally as well as all the other stuff that's going on to find substance and meaning that has a positive impact, even if it is just for a brief while.

What do you do when you feel stuck and overwhelmed by noise ??

I organize things. I clean things. I keep busy so that I can be active physically while letting the thoughts in my head do whatever they need to do and then I try and find meaning in it, something I can take with me moving forward.

It's kind of hard when you are numbed by all the "noise", but I decided a few nights ago I was going to try organize the folder I have sitting in my laptop that's titled "Sort this shit out!!!"

It's mostly photographs from the last decade that have come off phones, hard-drives, back-ups etc and is was an absolute mish mash mess of - well - everything.

It seemed tedious at first, but as I went along, I discovered an array of photographs that I thought were lost. Memories from friendships long since lost to life's changes, text conversations that took place after 4 glasses of brandy (before I gave up drinking for good) which were ridiculously funny and elicited a lighthearted, jovial laugh that escaped effortlessly from my soul. And in that moment I felt JOY.

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I also realized to my dismay that the particular folder I was organizing was 128GB and consisted of over 35k files. It also included a collection of over 700 quotes that I found along the way that resonated enough with me to save them. I went through a lot of them and thought "wow, what happened to my love of collecting shiny things?" I'm a bit of a magpie like that, not in a material sense, but in a thought provoking and soul finding sense. Or that just tickles my weird sense of humour. Not everyone gets it, but I like it.

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Okay fine - I do collect some material things - I love inkwells and writing implements and I have a small collection of vintage style crafted pieces that decorate the mantel. I find them beautiful because of the potential that they hold for expression as well as the fact that they don't make anything like that anymore, we now use laptops, iPads, styluses mostly. They are pieces that captured a space in time where owning an inkwell was special but they are now obsolete. It's a weird concept I suppose.

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Then I did something that people do on a daily basis - I looked up some of the musicians and bands I used to like and the last albums I had of there's are now 7 years old. WHAT? Seriously? Where the hell did I go? The crappy part? What happened to my love of music? It got pushed aside by all the noise of day to day adulting. There's of course an advantage to this - I get to catch up on all the developments that I missed, but I was quite shocked, astounded and ashamed that something I cherished so much, had brought me so much happiness, courage and motivation had been removed by me and replaced by all the other humdrum things like household chores, to-do lists and financial responsibilities.

I scrolled through the files and saw that I was living in the moment then. I was unashamedly and unapologetically me. Sure, life was challenging. I sold my house, moved suburbs, had to find new work, but it was all ok and I managed it pretty well. I went for runs every few days and got really fit. I went out for coffee and cake regularly (my guilty pleasure) sometimes with friends, but often alone, at peace with my solitude and my mind. And I never felt guilty about treating myself with these things. I felt I deserved to savour something delicious.

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It was kind of like reading a book you read many years ago. You kind of remember the plot but you can't remember the details until you pick it up again. Then you remember the minutia, the lines that impacted you then that impact you again now. The imagery you came to appreciate but all but forgot.

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So I'm now on this funky new journey. Not just to get my folders organized but to regain some of the sparkle I once had before the noise became deafening. It took some courage and honesty to see where I had self sabotaged and stopped including myself as a priority.

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Have you ever felt like this? Like you lost some of yourself along the way? What did you do to regain that?

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Have a beautiful day and appreciate the awesome things that make you YOU.

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