When life is like a game of Tetris


I’m sitting at my desk to write. It’s something I haven’t done in a few weeks. More accurately, it’s something I haven’t done since I started back at work.

I’ve picked up a two month contract as a technical writer which I’m enjoying immensely. Not only is the work interesting and challenging, and exactly what I want to be doing, but the people at my temporary work place are great. They’re clever, professional and passionate about what they do, and they’ve been really welcoming. I couldn’t be happier.

The only trouble is, after taking four months off, it’s been a bit of a shock to the system to go back to full time work, and not just because I’m not a morning person. The real problem is figuring out how to fit all the bits of my life into a 24 hour day and a seven day week, when there’s one thing in it that seems to take up all the time and not leave much room, or energy, for anything else.

Work takes up nearly 52 hours a week, once I’ve added my lunch break and commute to and from work. I find that I’m struggling to get to basic domestic duties like cooking or hanging out washed clothes to dry. How did I fit these things in before?

I know I did it for over a decade and I’m sure I’ll get on top of it all again but somehow I need to find time to write creatively, too. Something I only really started to focus on since finishing work in January. So I not only need to get my work/life balance back, I have to get a work/life/writing balance.

I feel like my life has suddenly become like a game of Tetris. The pieces keep falling: go to work, walk the dog, cook dinner, call Mum, go to the supermarket, vacuum the house, go to the market, go to the movies, read the paper, check Twitter, wash the dishes, wash the dog, catch up with family, catch up with friends… on and on they come. “Go to work” is such a big piece: I’m trying to remember how I used to fit in all the other pieces. The thing is, every time the “I want to write” piece drops down I can’t fit it in anywhere and the pieces pile up out of control and the game ends. I lose.

I know, from personal experience as well as observation, that the busier you are, the better you become at organising your time. Several years ago I worked full time and studied part time and somehow I managed to find an extra ten or so hours in what was already a pretty busy week to fit in lectures, tutorials, study and homework, without compromising the rest of my life very much at all. So I know it’s solvable.

I also know it’s a matter of discipline. At the moment, when I come home after sitting in front of a computer and writing all day, the last thing I want to do is sit at a computer and write some more. But if writing is important to me, and it is, then I have to prioritise it and I have to find the mental discipline – and energy – to just sit down and write.

Meanwhile, it may be a little quiet on the ol’ blog front. Please be patient and understanding. I’m stuck in a game of Tetris.

Pieces piling up in the game Tetris


More On Forgiveness…

A friend who read my post on forgiveness raised a few questions about the process of forgiving. Specifically, when you feel someone whom you considered a friend has betrayed you, how do you forgive them and move on with the friendship? Especially if the so-called friend doesn’t even acknowledge that they hurt you.

Let me just clarify that the act of forgiveness, as I see it, is quite a stand-alone process. It doesn’t make the behaviour that was exhibited acceptable or okay. Nor does it have any bearing on what happens to the relationship you have with the person you are forgiving.

When you forgive, you are not saying “I’m okay with what happened to me and I will go back to being treated that way by that person”. Quite the opposite.

You forgive so that the pain and anger within you is released. But you acknowledge that what happened was hurtful and distressing and unacceptable. In some instances it’s an opportunity to promise yourself you will never let yourself be put in that situation again (which is what I did when I forgave the boss who bullied me).

There is no obligation to resume any kind of relationship with the person you are forgiving: that’s totally up to you and it’s only dependent on whether you want the person to be in your life. Similarly, you don’t need to confront the person who has hurt you to tell them what you have gone through because of them and what pain they caused you.

When we’re hurt we often have a little vindication fantasy where we confront the person who has hurt us and they confess their guilt, acknowledge our pain, and apologise. The danger is that despite how you’ve played the scenario out in your head, the person may not react at all like you expect and you may feel doubly hurt as a result.

Often it’s helpful to understand why the person who hurt us behaved as they did. What was their motivation? Did they realise they were hurting us?

You don’t actually need to understand the behaviour, though, to forgive the person exhibiting it. Nor does understanding it make it okay and acceptable. What understanding will help with is working through the issues with the person if you choose to keep them in your life.

Forgiveness is about you. It’s not about the other person. You can forgive, and move on. Whether you choose to keep the person in your life and how you go about achieving that, is a totally different matter. Importantly though, it is a choice.

Which One Are You?

I was thinking about a post I want to write on hoarding – coming eventually – and this phrase popped into my head: “there are two types of people: those who hoard and those who purge”.

If you read my post on to do lists, you’ll know that I started that post with more or less the same phrase.

That got me thinking about the fact that I tend to categorise human behaviour in opposing pairs. People who rinse dishes, those who don’t. People who dye their grey hair, those who go natural. Neat people vs messy people. Morning people vs night owls. The list goes on.

The funny thing about this is that it’s a very black and white view of the world, which is ironically very different to how I believe things actually are, namely lots of greys. (Because there are people who see things as black and white and those who see shades of grey… sorry! I couldn’t resist!)

I’m not sure what drives this desire to categorise people in such a way. Does human behaviour sometimes fall neatly into two opposing positions, or is it just that if I create these categories it’s just a little bit easier to understand and make sense of a very chaotic world. Maybe I like the idea that there is balance out there: for every hoarder, someone who purges, that sort of thing. A ying for every yang.

Does anyone else do this? I guess you either do or don’t. In which case I’ve found a new way to categorise people: those who categorise behaviours in opposing pairs, and those who don’t.