Sunday, July 23, 2017

that special feeling


Remember I wrote about a new and interesting project I accepted in the beginning of the year? But also a project that initially left a bad aftertaste due to financial reasons - I'm a freelancer not a serf, and seriously, if companies don't pay reasonable money to the ones that actually do the very job in the end, us freelancers, then that will never ever be good practice or decent behaviour, is that really what your company wants to stand for?

That said, to not be engulfed in the financial resentment of not being reasonably paid - which have and will happen to us all one way or another sooner or later - I've decided to always, always look at it as an opportunity to learn new things, grow and be a more well-rounded (professional) person, add skills to the CV and not least do a great job before I move on. Because badly paid or not, moving on is the fabulous option at the end of a gig we freelancers have, we're rarely bound to any lengthy contracts.

So what have I done these past few months then, part time? Well, I've been contracted subconsultant in the role of career coach for international talents. An integration project specifically targeting immigrants from different backgrounds and countries with the common denominator being they have an academic degree.

I've put in lots and lots of hours, I've been moved, nagging, hopeful, annoyed, impressed, angry and very happy. But for the financial reasons it has been a fantastic learning and growth experience. And as it turned out, surprisingly enough, also a great way to make a real difference both in a single person's life as well as in society. Noone can change everything but we can all make something change for the better.

The heartwarming outcome for one of my participants - an electrical engineer from the African continent - has been that after finishing his 12 weeks traineeship, at a large Swedish corporate group that's also one of Europe's leading generators of electricity, he has been offered a permanent position with them.

Which made me so incredibly happy to hear. And not least seriously proud to be a part of the process. The company itself, or rather the employees I've been in contact with, have also impressed me a lot, their honest solution orientation, getting people on board in the project and openness. Kind of blown away about it all actually.

To be a subconsultant is obviously not financially sustainable, but I will forever be grateful for this experience. And the people I've met, the stories I've listened to, it has made me into a better human being. And made a real difference. On so many levels.

I've always seen myself as a champion for animals and animal rights - because those rights are intricately linked to women's rights and human rights (and not least sustainability), I just wish more people could connect those darn dots by now! - and obviously deeply concerned about environmental issues, climate change and sustainability.

But as much as I know integration is an important issue that hasn't been taken very seriously for decades - and look what that's led us - I've never, for various reasons, seen myself as someone working with such matters. Nor have I seen it as a sustainability issue, but I've come to realise social sustainability is equally important to environmental sustainability, without either we can't have a stable and sound society and world. Or a healthy future, if there's still a chance of that.

I don't know where the road will lead me from here on, professionally and privately, but I'm open and expectant for whatever exciting things, opportunities and people that will cross my path. And again, so very grateful to have been a part of this. Turned out I was pretty great at connecting with the right kind of people and doing a job I'd never even concidered. And somehow this experience has tickled my ol' lawyer-gene and background. Who knew.

And that special feeling? Well, that's the magic blend of stepping outside your comfort zone, learning new things while applying your skills, doing a great job, meeting new, interesting people, making a real difference working with others, being a part of something more hands on substantial than writing web copy, content or managing social media channels. Even if its always rewarding with satisfied customers, and fun tasks, I have to admit that so far those assignments haven't touched my soul in quite the same way as this one did.

This was simply rewarding on a whole other level. And that's a warm and fuzzy feeling I want more of in my professional life. Though from here on, accompanied by a reasonable payment, thank you very much, Future.

Yours truly with gratitude,
P

Thursday, July 13, 2017

hello emotional flooding


Who knew active work with the grief recovery process would open up a veritable flooding of emotions? As if I wasn't an (over)analyzing person before, now my mind is on some crazy overdrive with thoughts and feelings everywhere. I know it'll be all good in the end, but current status: exhausted. Mainly. When I'm not feeling exhilarated and expectant or wistful and blue.

Just before this summer's period with substitute buses for the commuter trains begun - 

three years in a row, hopefully this will be that last year... It's been such a stressful hassle, and I haven't even been forced to commute for a job every day. This summer it basically means a journey from door to door takes double the time ie for me getting to the city takes about 2 hours. Which is just crazy. So as much as I'd love to just take the train to the fair capital and enjoy unpretentious walks, views and fika I can't stand the hassle so unless I have booked meetings I need to attend my city trips will be very scarce until the trains are on again on August 14. Which means I have  a  l o t of time with my brain as my company alone this summer (as last year)... Hooray -

it was an intense period of meetings and meaningful conversations. It felt like a great idea to cram in as much as possible of that before the substitute period/most people's holidays begun. In hindsight perhaps it wasn't a very wise move.

Life right now is like a bowl of summer strawberries - some juicy and sweet making me go all week at the knees, others sour with a bitter tang and some are even moudly and inedible. But the overall impression is sweet and delicious, I think.

My intuition and gut feelings are stronger than ever, but at the same time I'm not really comfortable following their every instinct. What I am comfortable doing is saying no to things my intuition says is not for me. I'm working on becoming comfortable in saying yes more often. And being more proactive in certain situations - but that's scary...

Stronger and more determined for every day - except for the blue days, but they shall always pass - I'm just incredibly grateful for so many beings and things I've had, have and will have in my life.

Referring to my last post and the internet dating thing - that isn't me at all but one must brave one's prejudices now and then. My experiences so far (which have made me think of a making a podcast on the subject):

:: The first site I tried has continued to disappoint and entertain (because it's so poorly user experience designed). With few exceptions the men seem obsessively interested in sports, training and drinking wine, intellectual interests are far and few apart. Add to that bad selfies and badly written profiles. 

As I have no interest in paying for the *service* I can't search for vegans/vegetarians which is my basic criteria. I have also purposefully written my profile in a way that's either pretty scary or intriguing. The only one who has dared to contact me so far was a very short guy who had pictures of himself drinking supersized champagne bottles. I. Can't. Even. 

I have no interest whatsoever in depicting myself as a graceful damsel in distress-like woman with no real views or values of importance. Of course I don't have a sign around my neck irl with all my views and preferences/demands, I'm actually quite easy to talk to and grown up enough to realise you can't mould someone into some ideal person that tick your every dream box. But really, some basic standards isn't too much to ask for and if you can't be really clear about who you are and what you're looking for (in a way that some might find intimidating, no pun intended) on a dating site, then when can you?

I'm not desperate, I'm discerning. And will forever continue to be.

:: I then remembered there's a dating site for vegans/vegetarians, perhaps that would be a better bet? 

It turned out to be a like a chat room for teenagers and full of pimply 20 something guys. I deleted my profile after five minutes.

:: There's a dating site that actually has a rather cute TV commerical, well, might as well try that one too while I'm at it.

That was a mistake. In fact it was truly scary. About five seconds after I had registered a profil with a photo it had a gazillion visitors, messages, flirts and likes. So many desperate men (or stalkers) looking for love, who knew. I must have lived a very sheltered life. The experience was so creepy I promptly deleted the profile.

As this experience so far has surpassed my every prejudice my only conclusion is that I was right, it isn't for me. And it will never be. I'm sure it suits some, their stars align and that's just lovely. The answer to most everything is love. But the answer on how to find it differs. Which is great, because how boring would life be if we all looked for meaningful relationships in the same way, in the same places?

Next blog post - job related. Promise.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

the grief recovery process


Hi, hello, long time no blog.

And again so much, yet so little, has happened I don't know where to start really. But I suppose the most important thing I've done since we last met online is that I'm doing grief recovery in a small group. Turned out it was both really difficult to find a good tip on grief counsellors and they were really expensive. And in order to get a therapist that is connected to the public health care system (ie you only pay a fixed sum) you first had to go see a doctor to get a referal. A lengthy, emotional process to get there.

And then a friend suggested I'd connect with her former manager who had experience in this. To cut a longer story short I'm now doing much of the work myself and then we meet in this group and talk, listen, cry and laugh together with the help of my friend's former manager as the guide. It's so cathartic. We're going through the grief recovery process with help of "The Grief Recovery Handbook", we're half way through it and will reconvene in August after the summer holidays.

I never ever thought I'd enjoy (possibly not the right word here, but "find it useful" sounds too dull and unengaging) group sessions, talking about deeply private and intimate things, some of which I've never told anyone before. But I think 4 people is just the right number for it.

Friends and my mother have commented I'm looking more relaxed and open since I began with this. And I have to say I'm feeling much calmer. And the strange thing is that I discover things about myself and why I act, react, do and feel things the way I do in life in general through this process. I'm getting much more out of it than the grief recovery itself. Which is amazing.

When it comes to work I've accomplished a lot of things, but not as much as I would have liked. I still worry about my finances and am still looking for that brilliant part time job. Not a lot you can do about it over the summer though, in Sweden, where pretty much everything closes down in July. Especially one work thing I've accomplished, as part of a project, has made me truly happy. It deserves a post of its own - and will hopefully be written in a not too distant future.

With all this recent and current liberating of emotions and thoughts, talking with friends about relationships and what the future might (hopefully) hold I did something today I've sworn I'd never do - I've signed up to a match making site. I see it as part of a study process of human behaviour and not really something that suits me.

But every decision you make move life forward, one way or the other.

I'm open to meeting new people, of course, but I'm not really open to dating yet. I'm not sure I'll ever be. It just feels like a really awkward thing to do. But feel free to laugh about it. I know I have, when I've looked through all the so called matches of men that has been lined up for me.

Seriously, after all the questionnaires I filled in, after being VERY clear with the importance of vegan, vegetarian, sustainability, animal rights values, these are the men your algorithms match me with.

If this is what the world has to offer I will be forever single. 

Or quite possibly the best people, my kind of people, as I suspect, don't use dating sites. I'm just too opinionated and strong-willed to have any "success" at this, too odd. And that's fine, adapting and compromising too much would not make me (or anyone else) happy.

The best thing about this though is that when I read through my eloquently written - compared to the well-educated guys in my age group that apparently haven't bothered about writing since they graduated high school - descriptions, I kind of fall in love with myself instead. I'm just a quirky adorable person, with amazing values and pretty decent writing skills.

And I believe in magic, serendipity and when the time, place and person is right it just happens.

At least I got a good laugh from it all, and confirmation of my suspicions/prejudices. I will now continue with the grief recovery process, my part-time job hunt and being as happy as I can be with just amazing me, myself and I. And the fabulous felines.

Monday, June 19, 2017

the cats want a dog


Remember I wrote about an unexpected phone call and a possible offer of something I hadn't thought of at this moment in time, back in the Easter post

Well, it was a little dog that needed a new home urgently due to her dog family bullying her. And it was a Pomeranian, which is a breed I've had a keen eye on for some time. Irresistably adorable, smaller than a loaf dog, quite a different sort and without herding or hunting instinct. Perfect fit for the cats. And not too difficult to carry in a bag when we take the bus or train.

I had a think overnight and in the morning I realised it would be a chance to do good and take a step forward, make a change for myself and someone in need. I called the owner/breeder - not the acquiantance that alerted me about the situation - but she didn't pick up the phone and never returned the phone call. I texted her a couple of days later. Never heard from her. I thought, despite the slightly odd facts about the case, she had suddenly simply found another new home for the dog. 

However later I learnt she decided to keep the dog despite her being so bullied by the other dogs and the situation so urgent. Since she for various reasons didn't think it would be in the dog's best interest to try another home. People are weird.

The situation however made me realise I am now very open to a new little dog in the family. I was alerted to another pom at a nearby shelter a couple of weeks ago. He was absolutely irresistable and I immediately let them know I was interested, with credentials. Two days later their website said all the little dog (it was him and four girls) already had new homes. I have absolutely no idea how they could screen the new owners properly that quickly. And yesterday, two weeks later, I got an email saying he already had a new home... Their communication and administrative routines clearly need as serious overhaul.

I'm sure they make an excellent job with all the poor dogs they take care of - the shelter in question has recently been subject of a reality show and I'm really impressed by the job they do - but my heart can't deal with getting my hopes up and then ending up being one anonymous privy in a long line of privies. So I've let people know I'm looking for a little doggie that needs a new home, a dog that can get along splendidly with cats, I think that's a better way to go. Fingers, toes and paws crossed.

And the excited Norfolk terrier in the top pic isn't Malte, it's just an adorable little girl named Berta that I met when grocery shopping the other week. Her personality was so much like little loaf's. It reminded me how sweet it was to have a dog, much more work than the cats obviously, but also rewarding in other ways.

One day the right one will cross my path. We look forward to that, the cats and I.


Thursday, May 25, 2017

looking for my kind of people


Dear Blog, it has been exactly one month since I last blogged. Which is the longest (voluntary) blog hiatus I've had. Not for the lack of thoughts and things to write about, but it is after all better to live and experience those thoughts and things than writing about them.

I can't even begin writing about everything that has happened during this past month, so much meetings, seminars, inspiration and people - but at the same time, here and now despite all this nothing has drastically changed for me personally, as far as I know. And when all the activity slowed down last week and I welcomed a breather I was struck by a horrible cold, that has been a most unwelcome companion for over a week now. I haven't had this nasty kind of cold for years so I suppose it was the body's way to say slow down. And hopefully I've now boosted the immune system for years.

The climate change has certainly been very obvious this year, the last (?) snow we had on May 9. Craziness. And then a few days later early summer arrived. We've had some lovely summer days with temperatures around 20+C and over, but the evenings are still unseasonably chilly. Summer colds are definitely worse than winter ones and even if I'm not allergic to anything the pollen season has been adding to the nastiness of it. Ah well, I'm feeling better now, if not all well.

Talking about climate change, I attended the Climate March in April. I do not do marches or group things, but still I did this one, because just as the sign I made says "you know it's serious when even the introverts turn up". Had a nice march with friends but it was really dispiriting to see how poorly organized it was plus how appallingly few people that turned up for the march. Was I the only introvert in Stockholm who realised how serious our situation is?

I'm still no closer, as far as I know, to that part-time job goal of 2017.

A few times I've thought I've been but they've turned out to be far from the great opportunities they looked to be - two misleading ads, one job was a case of "wanting someone passionate about working in an office with no need of flexibility" and the other interview was a case of blatant mansplaining. Sigh. I thought we had come so much further in 2017.

But I'm working on it! And of course continuing to run my own Prosit business. Which I hope to do for oh so many years still.

A few highlights of these past few weeks have been -

:: A lovely breakfast seminar about diversity at Junibacken experience centre/museum of Astrid Lindgren's magical storybook world. It was before the museum opened - no visitors, only the utter delight of experience the quirky building, the stories, the ambiance and not least the Storybook Train (which made me tear up). The museum is also a conference centre and open for private functions. I didn't know and I think that is such an awesome place for it!

:: A great TED Talk with global speaker and writer Navi Radjou about Frugal Innovation, which was pretty mindblowing, to say the least. You can listen to his talks here. And you really really should, you will become a better human being for it or at least strive to be.

:: Another lovely breakfast seminar at sustainability agency Futerra where co-founder Solitaire Townsend talked about how they work with Theory of Change. Brilliant. (Incidently it seems like a pretty perfect place to work at...)

:: Geek Girl Meetup 2017 - Geek Evolution. A day of geeky unconference talks by inspiring women only. In a mad world there are so many great projects out there!

Since it has been another busy month I haven't had time to really think a lot about my need for grief counselling. But I have got some nice tips of people I'm going to look up. When you're busy with practical things, with inspiring stuff, there's no time for those difficult thoughts. It's when you have to reflect they come. So yes, when the time is right I will do something about it.

This past month I've also thought a lot about how difficult it seems to be to find my kind of people work-wise. I may be a bit of an oddball, but I never thought my reasonable needs for regular solitude, flexibility and general decent behaviour could be so at odds with many workplaces still. It may be naïve but I really thought a lot had happened since I was employed years ago. Seems alas it hasn't.

Or perhaps it's just the usual case of there's a time and place for everything and when we find eachother, that illusive workplace with my kind of people and I, everything will finally feel awesome, right and we'll create magic together.

My quest continues.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

do you want spagetti or macaroni?

cherry blossom, kungsträdgården stockholm, april 2017

After a really busy month, as well as naturally emotionally month, I've realised that despite coming a long long way this last year I now need professional grief counselling. It has been a year of getting myself through a day, week, month at a time. And some days have been great, they really have. But there have also been many days when I've been playing the role of normal, brave and strong. Despite feeling far from.

I have accomplished a lot, grown so much, over this year. But with all the practical things I've been forced to deal with I haven't really had the time to process the grief as such. At least it doesn't feel like that now, I feel emotionally stuck. I have lost my foothold. Feeling more melancholic than ever. Even if some days still are really great.

But I feel that if I don't get professional help - sometimes there's only so much writing, talking with friends and cat cuddles can do to help - I will continue to feel blocked and unable to move emotionally forward. No matter how smart and analyzing cookie you are, sometimes you need a helping, listening, questioning hand that's able to give you the right tools and point you in a healthy direction.

So parallel to working and continuing to sort out practicalities - neverending story - this is my current project. Yes, looking at it as a project makes it easier somehow.

As far as the work is concerned I'm alas no closer to that illusive part time employment (as far as I know) but I have ticked off 3,5 of my 5 professional goals of the year, huzzah. More of that in another post I think. I've actually applied for a few full time jobs too, because they've sounded great as well as flexible. Turned out at least one wasn't flexible at all, despite what they claimed at the interviews, they wanted someone who was "passionate about working in an office and didn't need flexibility". Yes actual quote, really, in 2017. I'm glad I got away, we wouldn't have made eachother happy in the long run.

Oh, I feel I have lots of things to write about, but I also feel that this post should be mainly about being stuck in emotional cross roads of sorts. Simple daily sentences like "Do you want spagetti or macaroni for dinner?", who knew you one day would miss such mundane comments so much? Life is short, potentially much shorter than we could ever imagine, and I desperately want and need to get emotionally unstuck. There is no going back, there is only moving on.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

easter 2017 ~


Easter used to be my favourite holiday. But since M's death last year on Wednesday before Easter it is with very mixed emotions I enter this weekend. 

Since Easter this year is much later than last year I had hoped it would be easier, but unfortunately next week is his shoul-have-been birthday as well as date of funeral so well, it's not a very joyous time...

Some day it'll get easier, a year down the line not so much.

I got a very unexpected phone call yesterday with a possible offer of something - not work-related - that I hadn't thought of at this moment in time, but the more I think of the possibility the more it feels very right. I hope it will happen and that it will be as sweet as I imagine - perhaps I'll have some cute news to blog about next week.

Also, the cherry blossom trees are very early this year (due to some warm days in March, even if snow fell today...). It was a lovely, albeit cold, sight yesterday.

Hope your Easter is a joyful, kind and loving holiday, happy weekend!

Friday, April 07, 2017

the stockholm attack


I'm safe, everyone near and dear are safe.

It's a senseless attack, but not completely unexpected. I, the worrying kind, has indeed been worried about this for years now. I've shyed away from crowds and the underground ever since the Paris attack. I don't feel unsafe in the city in general of course, but self-preservation is a basic thing for me. Wherever I am. Even if you can never ever prepare for everything. Or other people's deplorable deeds. 

As far as confirmed news are concerned:
(writing this at 5.40 pm April 7, 2017)
A deliver truck was hijacked from outside a restaurant.
5 humans and 1 dog have lost their lives, several more are injured.
The first reports on gunmen and shootings are false.
Noone has been arrested.

Stay safe. 💙💛

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

happy carrot day


Since April 4th is International Carrot Day I dedicate this post to the humble, delicious and jampacked with awesomeness vegetable.

I eat carrots practically every day and I mostly enjoy them raw and grated, but grilled, roasted, soup, stew, pasta, wok, carrots in any shape is bliss as far as I'm concerned. And I don't think you have to suffer from the carrot defect to be like I...

What's your favourite carrot recipe?

Happy Carrot Day!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

one year later



A year that in a strange way has been the shortest as well as the longest in my life so far. A year not only filled with deep sorrow but also resilience and an incredible amount of growth. Acceptance, gratitude and glimpses of happiness.

After the devastating fact so much and yet so little has happened since. Be as that may, I'm so darn proud of myself. Wherever I am today it's okay, we all manage sorrow and life differently and looking back I've achieved lots even if it doesn't feel like it some days. I'm not quite there yet, financial stability and serenity is not, as far as I know, within my reach just yet.

However these past few weeks have been a whirlwind of emotions, filled with very personal meetings as well as professional. I'm still quite dumbstruck as to what I've achieved and experienced in March alone. This March.

One of my features is pride, accepting defeat and asking for help does not come easy. I want to cope with things, solve my problems on my own. With the end of my company's financial year coming up very soon I realised things did not look well. Thought a lot about different plausible solutions. One of them being to contact M's parents asking for help. Given everything that happened between us during this year I'm sure you can understand how utterly deeply uncomfortable that was, I thought I'd close the door to that part of my life since writing that letter in September.

But realising I needed to solve a pressing issue and coming to terms with the fact that noone will thank me for my pride in this case and the only one with something to lose would be me. Also - what would the future me thank respectively reproach me for? So I bit the bullet. The very uncomfortable bullet. And to my surprise it turned out to be an easier bullet to swallow than I would have ever thought.

Without going into any details - but actually those details would be fit for a long blogpost about human behaviour, the far from uncommon notion 'if we don't talk about it it hasn't really happened' and communication gone awry - I got the help I very much needed. Without any discussions. A rather substantial weight has been lifted from my shoulders. Not every weight is gone, but still a big one. 

And even though I obviously remember how rubbish their behaviour over the year have made me feel, I understand now that a large part of that has been due to a strange lack of clear communication. And I do believe I've come to the forgive stage, even if it can't be forgotten or changed, forgiving is moving on. 

The next step, a new year. One year later.
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