Pauses and Puzzles

So it’s been interesting.  I haven’t been blogging because I think my brain has hit the pause button.

I am tired and that’s okay.  Life has been challenging but more rewarding than ever.

I recently went to a comedy gig/charity fundraiser in honour of Eurydice Dixon and her favourite charity The Welcome Group: Supporting Refugees

I got to meet some awesome comedians and find out more about potential gigs.

Eurydice’s murder rocked us all.  But it also contributed to me deciding to pack up and come to Melbourne, cause life is too damn short to waste it being where you can’t pursue your goals fully (as much as I loved Alice Springs).

So before the gig I sat in a restaurant that was in one of the oldest houses in Fitzroy, an awesome spot called Mr. Ottorino   It would be not far from where my father was born.

Not only is the food beautiful, but the house has some original features.  I was able to imagine my grandparents going up and down the staircase in the 1920’s.

So there are little pieces of the puzzle that is my family history in Melbourne coming together.  I haven’t lived here since I was four, it’s a journey of discovery.

I have a couple of job interviews this week.  That will be interesting.  One is in Collingwood, another spot significant to the family.

The Egg of Doubt – Managing Change

Doubt, like any emotion or response to an emotional state, has a purpose. I don’t doubt my decisions that led me to where I am now, but I am experiencing some self-doubt. But I have no doubt that this doubt will be useful! Irony much?

If you don’t doubt what you are doing, then you are not growing, not developing, not learning. Doubt exists right in the middle of Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development. The ZPD. The heart of my egg of doubt.

So, Vygotsky’s ZPD is about our learning comfort zones (see image below).  The ZPD requires  thatzpd the learner access properly scaffolded (staged) learning activities to make them more comfortable with the stuff they don’t know how to do. Then after a while the stuff they didn’t know becomes the stuff they do know.

But I think the ZPD exists in our emotional learning too. I think we can apply ZPD to the doubt we experience when making major life changes or trying something new.

This is something I have called “The Egg of Doubt”. Why an egg? Because doubt usually represents birth or growth, as does an egg. It’s important to note that I am applying this to change that we have chosen, not change that is inflicted upon us (although some of this would still apply).

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I have renamed the ZPD to the WTF. Yes, the “Zone of What the Fuck”.

Because change makes us doubt and doubt makes us change. It is a contradiction of the most perplexing and, often, frustrating type.

Making Sense of “The Egg of Doubt”.

While making coffee this morning I collected some thoughts (as you do!) on how to make sense of this as follows:

  1. Do I want this change or challenge? If the answer is no, then re-evaluate the change. It might not need to be thrown out altogether either.
  2. Does this change bring me discomfort and is this real discomfort that is a threat or are we merely sitting in the “What the Fuck” zone? If it is discomfort that will cause you harm…go back to #1. Maybe the change does need to be thrown out altogether. Or change the change. It could just be that you are clinging to the familiar and you need to let go and be okay with the discomfort. It’s okay to not know what you don’t know.
  3. What do I need to do to in “What the Fuck” zone to ease the doubt and move to the new knowledge zone? This is where you make a list of things to do to make the journey more comfortable while still learning. This could be talking to the people around you about the change you are experiencing and getting support. Or practicing self-care. But it is important that’s not too big a list or composed of large tasks. Nurture the WTF zone. It’s there for a reason. It’s there to get you to the new knowledge that will eventually become the stuff you do without thinking much about it.
  4. And finally, but most importantly, give yourself time. Change takes time.

Again, as in #2 above:
It’s okay to not know what you don’t know.

On losing count…

I’ve lost count of the days of my little healing blog experiment.  Never mind.

I think that means I am healing.  My mind is going elsewhere – to things I am writing, doing, seeing.

Today I am having lunch with a fellow comedian whose work I very much admire.  So here’s a picture of my favourite coffee cup.  The only mug that came with me to Melbourne.

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Days 11 and 12 – Routine Change

Sometimes I imagine my life a bit like a fire alarm drill.  Does that sound a little cray cray? Nah, not at all.

Take the example of a fire alarm drill at work.  A voice comes over a loudspeaker.  It’s usually a loudspeaker that you didn’t know existed in the building and you’re not exactly sure where it is.

Life and the need for a change can be like that.  You know there might a message through life’s fire drill loudspeaker at some point that will require you to act, but you are not exactly sure when or from where that instruction will come.    

You can be just “trudging” through life when an external or internal voice, like our own fire drill loudspeaker says “you gotta move, do something different”.  Whether or not we listen to that voice can be the difference between living a life we want or just existing.

The next thing that happens in the work fire drill scenario is that everyone gets up and has differing responses.  Some laugh.  Some sigh.  Some complain “do we really have to do this?”.

When I first knew that the funding for my job wasn’t continuing I felt like my fire alarm drill response was a daily occurrence.  I felt disrupted and annoyed.  But I knew it was also an opportunity.

Just like a work fire alarm drill is an opportunity to get outside in the carpark and stretch your legs.  Have a chat, a laugh, for some a cigarette.  The point is, it’s not a real emergency but a routine change, prompted by the need to prevent emergencies.

I like to think of life changes like changing jobs or homes, or cities like a routine change.  Sometimes if we don’t do it, there will be an emergency of sorts.  For me, if you are in the same pattern at home and work and it feels like you are in a holding pattern, then maybe you need to change something.  A routine change of some sort.

Change is always uncomfortable, but if we make it routine change, like a fire alarm drill, we manage our thinking about it better. It’s not an emergency, it’s a routine change to preventing one.

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The awesome Feedback Cafe

I spent yesterday unpacking my car and organising my life.  Then I went for walk and had coffee in an awesome café, The Feedback Café (pictured above).  Booze, blues and coffee.   It is an awesome funky, quirky spot to hang out.   Oh, and bought a book.

I then cooked a hearty meal for my housemates (who I am immensely grateful for) and a couple of their friends.  I feel at the moment the urge to hurl myself in life, into job applications and walking the streets of Melbourne to find what organisations are out there.

But I recognised that I need to bring to routine to this change. So I made my space comfortable and enjoyed the awesome creative people around me.

My new little office/bedroom is in a bright, cheery, timber floored room in a sleepy inner city suburb of Melbourne.

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A corner of my little piece of inner city Melbourne

There is more to see and do within five blocks of me than I have experienced for a while.

I can go out the door and be surrounded by cafes and bookshops and art in no time at all.

I am enjoying this change, although it was prompted by life’s interrupting and annoying loudspeaker.

It feels right.  It feels like the right kind of challenge.

The loudspeaker of life is not making huge announcements at the moment, but there is static in the background that says “get organised and things will fall into place”.

I believe that is because I am prepared to let life deliver me whatever change, challenge or opportunity is next.  I will act towards directing that a little, but I am quite okay with being at the mercy of life’s fire drill loudspeaker.

Day 10 – Old Beginnings

Sometimes life takes you in unexpected directions.  Well it feels unexpected, but in some ways, like there is some kind of draw to back full circle as well.

I only lived in my place of birth, Fern Tree Gully, Melbourne, until I was about four years old.  My immediate family then moved to Queensland.  In my teen years I very much missed out on getting to know the extended Melbourne based family.

I knew a bit about them and I have been working on a family tree for my late fathers side of the family.  But I don’t know them and they don’t know me.  Most of both sides of the family only know what my Mother tells them about me and I rarely know what is going on in their lives.  The lines of communication have been closed for many years and I am not really sure why.

There is a part of me that wants to reconnect with family here, but a part that wonders if I am too different, too strange.  I am in no way like anything I know my family to be.

Another part of living here fascinates me more than the family connections and that is the history.   Particularly the places Dad would talk to me about.  His childhood.

img_1921His time at Collingwood tech.  His apprenticeship at WL Ryan and Sons at 590 Elizabeth Street in 1939 (he is pictured above – sitting in the foreground on the box at the back of the workshop).

I still have his letter of reference from WL Ryan written in 1949.  I have searched for theimg_1923 premises, but they have been replaced with a modern building.  But I will go for a look and I am thinking about taking Dad’s old apprenticeship papers to the Victorian Museum for safe keeping.  They have some photos of inside the workshop, so they might be interested in his documents to add to the collection.

I am performing comedy in September in North Fitzroy, where my father was born.

I know so little about getting around Melbourne and I feel as though life is just starting again, despite the family history here back to the gold rush in the 1860’s.

It’s an exhilarating but most unexpected turn of events.  Everything is new and interesting and a touch daunting.  But I am very glad to be here, just a little bit away from my late father’s early life.

Day 8 and 9 – Driving and recuperating

Well that was a great drive yesterday, all 1000km or so.  But I am here! In Melbourne! In img_1893a sunny inner city suburb!

So very excited.  And tired.  Yeah, two days of 12 hour drives was tiring.  Today just resting and doing my tax return.

So I will put a photo of my breakfast in…and find some energy for a longer post tomorrow.

Ciao for now!

Day 7 – 1227 km

Well that was one heck of a drive.

1227 km through the desert, out of the Northern Territory and into South Australia. From Alice Springs to Port Augusta.

Tomorrow is “only” 1077km to Melbourne, Victoria. But I’m excited. Most excited I’ve been for a while.

I was born in Melbourne, but only lived there til I was four. I’ve always wanted to live there. It’s a homecoming of sorts.

More driving…