“You know, when you press the pause button on a computer, it stops. But when you press the pause button on a human being, it starts. It starts to rethink, reimagine, reflect.” – Tom Friedman
I had several misadventures in Greece and this must be one of the more memorable ones. On my way from Thessaloniki to Kalabaka, I made a mistake and got off at the wrong station. By the time I realized that it was the wrong station, I went to the ticket office and bought the next train ticket from Larissa to Kalabaka which was a good 6 hours later. So I found myself waiting 6 hours for a train alone in a rather residential town in Greece. How did I “kill time”?
I drank two cups of tea, attempted to have small conversations with old Greek men while watching the traffic (the language barrier is real), read a book, wrote a little and listened to some music. The pattern was as such: I tried to do something, then I got bored and tried something else before I got bored again. It was hard to keep still because I am used to doing so many things at one time. And then I saw another old Greek lady who was waiting for the same train and she simply stared into space and I wondered, “How could she keep still? What’s on her mind?”
So I put away my distractions and tried to keep still by staring into space. I began to question why it was difficult for me to focus on doing one thing at a time. I wondered if there were too many distractions in my life and whether what these distractions are distracting me from. Reality is hard but is running away the best thing that I can do?
I closed my eyes and started to think about 2017. Half a year has passed by, I had some good moments and several bad moments. I feel that I have done quite well at making work-life balance a priority. I am able to stop myself from working incessantly and take a very much needed break to rejuvenate the soul. I learnt that you can never finish work but you have to do enough work such that it does not compromise your work schedule. I have also improved on withholding judgments and I feel that I am better at not judging every time I feel something about the situation or people. I am also better at speaking up for myself but I definitely can improve on that. But there are still many things that I need to work on. I think that I have this deep fear of changing status quo of the workplace. Perhaps it has something to do with how I am trying to blend into the new environment but it feels that I need to bolder and I need to think about how I can make an impact on my workplace. I also will like to be bolder in the grey areas, I don’t want to live my life, pretending not to be myself just because it’s the safer approach. I need to make sense of the grey areas on my own and make a decision based on my own moral conscience. I am also not as collaborative as I want to be. I hope that I will be pushed out of my comfort zone in this regard. In short, be braver.
Professional self aside, I am quite happy with my personal life. I watched quite a few plays, concerts and musicals in the first half of the year and I would not trade that for anything. I also did some hiking, bird-watching and kayaking. I also got to know new people and I am thankful for them. Of course, I also travelled a little and that’s such an amazing privilege by itself. Every time when I pack my bag, I don’t know what I will experience but I am confident that I’ll be able to deal with whatever that comes my way. Of course, I would very much like to embark on a regular something and pick up a new skill but I am looking out for something that I really want to learn and master.
I believe that everything that happens somehow enrich my life in one way or another. And that includes this little pause at the Larissa train station.