Life is a Rollercoaster

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Isn’t it amazing how quickly things in your life can change.  One moment you can be happy as a clam and one little incident could change that, be it losing a job, breaking off a relationship, a family emergency, or any number of things that can affect your life for the worse.

And of course the opposite is true as well.  When you’re feeling down and something good happens to you, it can be such an amazing ego boost that you just want to run down the road laughing like an idiot.  Or something like that.  ;-)

Well.. I’ve got some good news – I got a new job!!  YAY!!!

Man_streaking_after_skinnydipping*runs naked down the street, laughing like a maniac*

So as I mentioned in my previous post, I had three different interviews lined up over the course of the next week, with the first one being yesterday.  And surprisingly, they called my agency back within half an hour of me leaving the interview to offer me the job.

Brilliant!!

To be honest, I wasn’t 100% certain about this job or company, because it’s an industry I know nothing about, and it’s more of an admin role than the call centre work I’ve done previously – all of which are also good things, since I wanted to change sectors anyway.

But at the same time, I went into this interview (despite the usual nervous tummy) feeling really confident and sure of myself.  I knew what the company did, I could quote things from their website, I knew what the job was about, and I knew how my skills could fit into what they were looking for.

And they obviously did too.  In fact, the interviewer actually said to me before I left that he was recommending me to be hired, and would possibly see about placing me in a more billing/invoicing role (which the HR person knew nothing about when my agency asked about that lol).

I’ve never had an interviewer come out and say that to me before, and to to be so interested in making sure I became part of their company.

Which of course comes to my confidence boost… And makes me think I might have got my mojo back as well (see previous post).  And that a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders once I got the callback (while picking up groceries, still dressed for the interview lol).

I’m not sure what I truly did that was different, but I do know I was completely determined to get this job (or one of the other two scheduled for next week).  The interesting thing is normally when I’m that determined, I usually get super nervous and come across like a blubbering idiot who can’t string two thoughts together.

Confidentiality-250x250But this time I was calm and cool.. and very confident.  I don’t think I’ve ever felt so confident in an interview before, and it was an amazing feeling.  A feeling I’d love to have continue into other parts of my life.

This whole thing has definitely helped restore my confidence in myself a bit, that my skills and abilities truly are amazing and any employer would be stupid to not recognise that.  That I really should believe in myself, because I’m fucking amazing at what I can do, even when it’s learning something new.

Things most definitely are looking up.  *phew!!*

Are Things Looking Up?

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So here I am, just over 2 weeks into my unemployment and job hunt, and I’ve yet to have an actual interview.  I mean an honest to god, face-to-face, get all dressed up and try not to sweat through your suit interview.

Sure, I’ve had a couple of chats with recruiters over Skype or Facetime, but those weren’t actual interviews.  Instead they were more prospecting calls to get to know more about me and my experience, and to to determine if they would put me forward for the role in question (I didn’t reach the interview stage for either role, unfortunately).

It doesn’t feel like it’s only been two weeks since I left my job.  Somehow it feels like I’ve been job hunting forever.  But perhaps that’s more to do with how much I’m looking for a new job, not so much as the actual time that’s passed.

economy-usa-sack-sacking-firings-outsourced-redundant-cwan85l.jpgSo far I think I’ve been averaging at least 50 to 60 applications a week.  I’m keeping track of them all through my Job Seekers online profile (because I have to or else I don’t get any benefits..), but I haven’t really been counting.  Much.

The main frustration I’ve been having is that I’m not getting many replies back.. still.

Just this past Monday alone, I sent out about 30 applications to a variety of roles, with different companies, through different websites.  I spent all day job hunting, taking a break to go to the gym (YA!), and then heading to the coffee shop around the corner with my laptop to do some writing.. But before I realised it, I was filling in more applications.  And then I did some writing (the post To Beard or Not To Beard in case you’re wondering lol).

Well apparently all that hard work might be starting to pay off – Tuesday alone I had calls from at least SIX different recruiters!  This resulted in:

  • A phone interview Wednesday morning for a role near London Bridge;
  • Registered in person in the afternoon with an agency in the city for a role not far from home;
  • A call from another company to invite me to an assessment day next Wednesday;
  • A returned call from one agency to let me know the role in Central London they thought had been filled hadn’t been, so would now be putting me forward for it;
  • And an ACTUAL INTERVIEW next Friday from an application I’d sent off a week or so ago – where if I got the job, a good friend of mine would be my BOSS!!

Phew!! It’s been busy couple of days!Dressing_for_success_tips_on_dressing_for_an_interview_330x330

UPDATE – Received a call back from the agency I’d registered with yesterday and I’ve been invited to an interview tomorrow afternoon for the job not far from my house! :D

Although I’m very VERY hopeful that something comes from all these calls, meetings and invitations, I’m trying to not get my hopes up in case none of them pan out.  Mostly because I know myself – when I get excited that something is going to work out, I start thinking what it would be like working at such-and-such place, which leads me to become absolutely crestfallen if it doesn’t happen.

Or if I screw up the interview.  Trust me, it’s happened before where I’ve been super psyched to get a specific job, thinking I had it in the bag.. only to be a blubbering mess at the interview.

What I will do is remain positive and confident that I can get any one of these jobs.  None of them are at the same level I was at before the redundancy a couple years ago, but who cares.  It’s a JOB, and I need one as my bills won’t pay them self.  LOL

Mostly I’m just happy that I’m finally seeing some movement from my applications.  Let’s just keep our fingers crossed that something comes out of one of them.

And pray that I’m not jinxing anything by writing about it here. ;-)

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How To Get Your Mojo Back | LinkedIn

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Layout 1When most people think of someone losing their ‘mojo’, they generally think of that scene from Austin Powers when he’s lost his sex drive.

More generally, losing your mojo means you’ve lost your self-confidence and belief in your own abilities, and not just when it comes to sex.  That you’ve lost your ability to bounce back from a debilitating trauma and negative attitude.

Like when you’ve lost a job and you’re left feeling adrift or with no idea of what to do next.

Yep, that’s been me for most of the past 2 years.  The longer my unemployment went on, the less confident I was in my own abilities.  And I couldn’t stop the negative thoughts creeping into my head – that maybe I wasn’t that good at my job, or that maybe my past successes were just a fluke.

And despite friends trying to bolster my confidence by reminding me of all the great things I’d done, all I could muster was something non-committal.  Because in my head, all I could think was ‘I suck’.  Even though I didn’t.

Basically when you’re in this situation and your mojo seems to be playing the most annoying game of hide-and-seek ever, you need to take it as a sign from the universe that it’s time for a change.  That maybe you need to go in a different direction, and soften your usual rushed go-go-go approach to life.

Here are a few helpful tips gleaned from an article on LinkedIn a friend posted on Facebook (click the link at the bottom for the full article).

Write it out

As evident by this very blog, I like to write out what I’m feeling and thinking instead of letting it bounce around my poor head.  By journalling your thoughts, it allows you to look deeper into yourself, find ideas your conscious mind might not have normally thought of, and allows you to guide your own reinvention.

Change it up a bit

If-you-do-not-change-directionSometimes you just need a break from what you’ve been doing or trying to do and take things in a different direction.  A lot of people tend to get a survivor job while looking for more gainful employment, and this allows them to do something completely different. It can help you stay focused mentally, as well as keep an income coming in.

In fact some people continue to work a second, part-time job once or twice a week just as a way to shift their attention.

Get Out of Your Head

This is advice I need to take – stop trying to ‘solve’ everything like a logic puzzle, because you’re not a puzzle.  Instead you need to look at this as a time for reinvention, like the physical transformation when a caterpillar turns into a butterfly.

So the best advice for this is to do something fun and possibly artistic (like working on that damn novel I started a few months ago).  Go dancing.  Enjoy the sunshine.  The more you care and respect your body by letting your brain have downtime from the normal job hunt, the faster your mojo could return.

You’ve come a long way, baby!

We’ve all gone through rough times and came out of them flying like the wind.  You need to remember where you’ve been and how you’ve gotten to where you are, as it’ll paint a picture of your path and remind you of how far you’ve come.

Whenever I start to think life is crap, I try remembering how I got here in the first place.  And by here, I mean London.  I was living in Montreal, bored with life, and I decided one day to do something about it.. and spent the next year planning, organising and saving to move to London.  It wasn’t easy, but I put all the naysayers behind me and achieved something I never thought was possible before.

It reminds me that anything is possible if I want it hard enough and actively move towards it.

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Get off your ass and step away from the computer!!  Or at least that’s what I tell myself when I’ve spent untold hours every day sitting at the laptop looking through job ads.  So I’ve been making myself leave the house and going for a walk, or forcing myself to go to the gym (I’ve been quite lazy about that lately..).

You can’t force your mojo back by sheer brain power itself, so you need to let your body take over and take care of you.

Helping others

A great way to boost your own mojo is to help someone else in need, be it through volunteer work, listening to your mate’s boyfriend troubles, or helping a fellow job seeker with some advice.  By helping someone else, you’re boosting your own sense of self as you’ll realise you have more wisdom and knowledge than you ever thought before.

Be aware of what’s around you.

When looking to reinvent yourself, you need to remember it doesn’t happen in a linear process.  Instead you need to keep an eye and ear out for the little messages around you.  It could be something overheard on the bus, something you notice sitting in the coffee shop, or even something that pops up in a dream.  Whatever it is, it could lead you to your next adventure, so listen up and enjoy the ride.

Un-define yourself from your past

I felt lost and confused when I first went through my redundancy, as I’d defined so much of my life based on my job.  Those feeling caused me to become unsure about myself and who I was as a person.  What I needed was to remember that a job is just a job, and it isn’t the whole of my existence.  And it most definitely didn’t define me as a person.

You need to remember that bigger adventures are always on the horizon, and that you are fine and amazing.  You need to give up on that perceived fixed identity and be ready for the possibilities.  You don’t need some high-paying, powerful job with a fancy business card to be amazing, because you’re already there.

Be yourself and let life take you where it’s supposed to.  Trust me, you’ll enjoy the ride all the better.  You just need to give it time for your mojo to come back to you.

dilbert_cartoon_powerlessnessClick here to read the original article - How To Get Your Mojo Back | LinkedIn.

To Beard or Not to Beard

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hipster beard2Does anyone else out there think the whole beard trend has gone a bit too far?  Am I the only one who’s tired of pretty much every guy out there has a beard of some sort?

Of course, that is probably an over-exaggeration, but we’ve gotten to a point where most guys have a beard or scruff of some sort.  And it’s not like it’s their day off and didn’t need to shave.

Personally, I love nothing better than a sexy man with a nice beard or stubble.  For some guys, it’s what may actually make them sexy in the first place.  I know I’ve looked at pictures of guys with and without beards, and thought they looked a lot better with one.  Not that they were ugly or unattractive without.

I suppose it’s all a matter of wanting that perceived masculinity in a partner, that the beard somehow makes him seem more virile.  That the beard makes him seem more of a man.

And for awhile, at least for me, it made it a bit easier to identify beary or bear-friendly guys.  ;-)  You rarely found a twink or some muscle queen with a nice, full beard.

Unfortunately these days, with the social acceptance of facial hair over the past few years it’s gotten to the point where you can’t throw a cat without hitting a guy with a beard, and not just in the gay community.

Beards Keep You Young, Healthy & Handsome, Says Science – World Observer Online.

In fact, as I sit in the coffee shop writing this, out of the 8 guys in my immediate vicinity, only one doesn’t have any kind of facial hair… then again he’s 10 years old and hasn’t hit puberty yet.  Lol

beard spelledI’ve seen guys of all walks of life with big bushy beards, gay and straight.  But the thing that bothers me so much these days is how this whole beard trend has been taken to the extreme.  To the point where there are some damn ugly beards out there, all because they think it’s ‘cool’ and ‘trendy’.

Take the hipster look – a generally skinny guy, with odd clothes, and now with a huge bushy lumberjack beard.  This is a common look for a lot of guys living in East London.  And on some guys it can look super HAWT!  But on most it looks like they’re auditioning for some film about the Amish.

I recently read an article on The Guardian website that suggested that perhaps we’ve reached ‘peak beard’ – that a man’s attractiveness to potential partners may fade as facial hair becomes more prevalent.

Fashion-conscious men warned we may have reached ‘peak beard’ | Fashion | The Guardian

Is this true, or just a matter of some fashionista not liking beards so is hoping to get people to start shaving again?  Or is it just a matter of pointing out the obvious, that this trend will too pass?

Interestingly there was a conversation about beards at a picnic I attended recently, where the majority of the guys there were clean shaven or just hadn’t shaved that day and only a couple of us with full on beards.  Most of the guys there just associated beards with the bear community, and one guy went so far as to say that smooth-faced guys are quickly becoming the more desired since too many guys out there have facial hair now.

Paul_BunyanTo be honest, it’s a thought I’ve had many times myself over the past while.  Usually when I’m standing in front of the mirror dreading trimming my beard to ensure it doesn’t go all Paul Bunyon-like.  LOL

Hell, I’ve come very VERY close to just shaving the entire thing off in a fit of frustration .. and probably laziness.  Haha.  Though I think I’d look quite weird without a full beard – I’ve sported one for close to 10 years now!

Anyway, regardless of the ‘peak beard’ effect or whether fashion trends will swing back towards clean-shaven men, they’ll always be somewhat trendy and prevalent in the bear community.

And yes, damn sexy. ;-)

Dating in the Gay World: Extinct…or Evolving?

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business-men-in-coffee-shop-300x235So this is a subject I’ve been wondering and worrying over for ages now – do gay guys even bother with dating any more?  Or is the idea of meeting someone for a coffee, dinner, or a walk in the park to get to know each other such an archaic form of meeting guys that it’s practically extinct?

Being a single and gay in London, I’ve find it increasingly difficult to meet other single guys, be it online or in person.  Personally, all I find are partnered guys who are in open relationships looking for a bit of fun on the side.  Or guys visiting London looking for a hookup while on holiday.

I’ve tried talking to some friends about this on many occasions, and they all say I shouldn’t worry about it, that it’ll happen when it happens.  Like I’ve never heard that before.  lol

I’ve even talked to a couple partnered friends about introducing me to some of their single friends.  But they all said the same thing – that they don’t know any single guys who are looking to date.  In fact, the few single guys they do know are only looking for something casual or a bit of fun.

GrindrSo what is a single guy like me to do when I’m bored of the casual shags or hookups?  Especially when it seems like I’m not even getting those any more.

To be honest, I haven’t a fucking clue.  LOL

The odd thing is it didn’t used to be this way for me.  A few years back, before the job issues and such, I used to go on dates fairly regularly.  Sure a lot of them ended up just being shags, good or bad, but at least I was getting interest from some really cute and sexy men.

Ok, so I had periods where I was just a downright slut, but I was enjoying myself and meeting some interesting guys.  And I was getting out of the house.

But it makes me wonder if the way guys are using these apps have changed and I didn’t notice or change with them.  That I’m perhaps still looking at things from several years ago and they’ve moved on.

Or perhaps I’m the one who’s changed.  Maybe because I know I’m not that interested in casual hookups and want to find a boyfriend that I’m looking at things in a different way.

I used to be somewhat more forward (despite being a shy guy) about approaching guys online.  I’d send a quick hello or message saying the guy was cute/handsome/sexy/etc, even if it didn’t lead to a possible shag or meeting for a drink.

But now I just seem to wait for them to message me first.  There are load of guys online that I’m attracted to, but perhaps my self-confidence has taken such a hit that I couldn’t stand the possible rejection.  Or perhaps it’s that all the guys I do find attractive are partnered or are just looking for sex.

Side note – it’s scary how many profiles I’ve seen lately that are looking for bareback sex, ‘FF’ (aka fisting), or ‘poz’ guys.  Or a dozen other things that don’t turn my crank.

It could be because of where I’m living now – in the burbs, far away from Central London.  Meaning guys who might be interested in me aren’t seeing my profile.  Sometimes it feels like I’m living in a no-gay zone of a sort.  ;-)

Fantasyblog1So, what’s the answer to all of this?

I’m not sure there is one to be honest.  Maybe I need to centrally more often to ensure my profile can be found.  Or maybe it’s just a matter of stopping being so darn shy and start messaging guys I think are cute again.

Or maybe it’s time to take a more drastic approach – give up completely and delete all the apps/profiles since I’m not getting any messages or interest anyway.  What’s the point of doing something that isn’t getting any results?

Yes, I know that’s a negative way of looking at it, but it may be a more pragmatic approach as well.  Sure, I could just change my profile and picture again for the millionth time to see if that gets any interest, but I’ve done that so many times and it hasn’t helped any.

But is becoming celibate the answer?  Should I give up on my silly fantasy of ever finding a boyfriend or having a relationship?  Is it possible to be happy being single for the rest of my life?

Or is there some happy medium in between?  Where I can concentrate on other things in life while still meeting the occasional nice guy and stop obsessing over it all.

brasil-gay-beachDon’t get me wrong.  Despite the apparent negativity in this posting, I am trying my hardest to stay positive about everything.  But it makes me wonder why I obsess over finding a boyfriend when I’ve got more pressing matters to worry about, like finding a job.

Or perhaps I’m just over-thinking things as a result of how my job-hunt is going, and it’s having a domino effect.

I suppose only time will tell.

Motivation is Key – Tips While Job Hunting

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job hunting sucksStaying motivated when you’re looking for work is not an easy thing at the best of times.  Especially not when you’re already unemployed.  Job hunting sucks, plain and simple, and I don’t think I’ve met a single person who actually enjoys it.

The longer the unemployment goes on, the more you may start wondering what you’re doing wrong, the more the bills start piling up, and the more rejection letters/emails you’ll receive.  You cannot predict how long it’ll be before you find a new job, but hopefully you’ll use your time wisely.

One of the main keys to staying motivated during this time is persistence.  You can’t give up and you can’t allow yourself to become complacent or down about the whole thing.

Here are a few tips based on an article I found on Monster.co.uk (click the link at the bottom to read the original article).

Set and keep to a routine

They say when you’re looking for work that you should treat it like a full-time job – set an alarm, have a shower, and basically start your morning as if you’re getting ready for work.

Although I love sleeping in without an alarm clock, it may help me maintain motivation if I did set a schedule and stuck to it, as well as add in other activities to break up the monotony.  Like a bit of writing, going to the gym, or taking a walk in the nearby park.

Set yourself daily goals

todolistThis is vitally important.  Without daily goals you can sometimes feel like a hamster running on one of those wheels in a cage – you’re huffing and puffing, putting all your energy into job hunting, but it ultimately feels like you’re not getting anywhere.

By setting yourself some daily goals, it gives you something to celebrate once you’ve met them.  And with how lonely and depressing job hunting can be, you need something to give yourself a boost in order to maintain your motivation and positivity.

Clear some space

Set yourself aside a specific space in the house that you’ll always do your job hunting from, be it at a desk, the dining room table, or wherever.  Basically set yourself up a little office to run your new business called ‘job hunting’, and ensure it’s free of distractions.

messy-desk-cartoon-11However, you don’t want to be chained to your kitchen table all day either.  Feel free to change it up once in awhile – I love to pack up the laptop and head to a coffee shop to work, be it job hunting or some writing.  Sure, it will be noisier and there will be more distractions, but I sometimes find I can be more productive there than at home.

Probably because I can’t walk away from my laptop in the coffee shop. ;-)

Watch your diet

It’s way too easy to pack on the pounds when you’re unemployed, especially if you’re doing your job hunting from home as you’ll end up snacking more throughout the day.. The kitchen is just a few steps away now, and you’re not restricted by any sort of break schedule like you would be at work.

It’s just a matter of being more conscious of what you’re eating throughout the day, as well as whether your alcohol consumption has risen.  Being unemployed doesn’t give license for becoming a boozy drunk – it’ll make you lazier the next day thanks to the inevitable hangover.

Maintain your support network

Job hunting can be a very lonely place in the world, so ensure you keep your friends and loved ones around you.. don’t push them away in frustration, and don’t be afraid to talk to them about how things are going.  Be willing to call them up when you’re feeling down.

As well, make sure those same people aren’t just waiting for you to come to them.  Sometimes a quick call or a couple text messages from them to see how things are going can do a lot to brighten up your day.

Law of averages

job searchLet’s be honest – the more applications or cv’s you send out there, the more likely some recruiter is going to contact you back and (hopefully) offer you that dream job you’ve always wanted.  By increasing the chances of your cv being seen, you increase the chances of bagging that job.

Unfortunately, too many people (myself included) tend to panic and ‘blanket’ bomb as many recruiters or job ads they can find.  It’s hard work, and sometimes feels totally unnecessary, but you should always tailor your cv for the specific role you’re applying for.  It makes more of an impact than that generic cv you’ve been using.

It’s a transition period

Any time you move jobs, it gives you an opportunity to reassess where you are in life, what your goals are, and sometimes find out what you really want to be doing.  It’s also a time to work on personal goals or self-development and make yourself stronger once you come out of it with that shiny new job.  If you can afford it, take a class or learn something new.

Get feedback

offeringInsist on getting feedback on your interviews and your job search activities.  All too often recruiters will just send an impersonal email or give a quick phone to let you know you haven’t gotten the job.

But when you ask ‘why’, most of them won’t have the details to hand because their job is to place people in jobs, not give feedback.  With proper feedback you’ll know what to work on for next time.

Have some fun!!!

I made this mistake last time I was unemployed – I didn’t allow myself to do things that weren’t related to finding a job.  Instead I’d be glued to my laptop, reviewing job ads, feeling miserable and lonely.

By-the-pool2Too often when people are suddenly unemployed and starting to worry how they’re going to pay their bills, they forget to still go out and enjoy life to the fullest.  Ok, maybe not the fullest as your credit card isn’t going to pay itself off, but at least enjoy what life has to offer, even if it is on the cheap.

Invite a friend over for dinner, go for a few beers, play a video game, watch a movie, or even just go to the park to read for a bit.  Whatever you do, it’ll help take your mind off things and recharge.

Find the original post at How can I stay motivated during my job search? on Monster.co.uk.

Feeling the Pressure

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Ok, so I’ve only been looking for a new job for a week now, but already I’m starting to feel the pressure of it all and feeling very stressed about it all.  I know in my head that it’s probably too soon to start freaking out or whatever, but I can’t seem to stop myself.

All last week I was feeling fairly confident, energetic, and quietly optimistic about finding a new job quickly.  In fact, I had 2 calls from recruiters in the first 2 days, so this definitely gave me quite the boost going into the weekend.

But for whatever reason I woke up today feeling stressed about it all and started to worry about what’s going to happen next.  There are other worries as well surrounding this, but I’ve promised not to discuss them on here.

One part of me feels like I’ve been doing tons to try and find a new job.  I’ve signed up for multiple online agencies and registered my details on too many job sites to count, not to mention sent my cv in response to close to 20 job listings today alone.

interview-jobI’ve lost track of how many applications I’ve sent off in the past week.

But somehow I can’t shake the feeling that I’m not doing enough to get a job.  That there should be something else I should be doing to get those recruiters to call and say ‘You’re hired’.  That maybe I need to do something different in my job search.. If I only knew what it was.

For whatever reason today I’ve been feeling the pressure so much that it feels like someone is standing on my chest.  And it fucking hurts.

But I think mostly the situation has just finally sunk in.  That I’ve lost my job, and I’ve reverted back to where I was last year before I found the last job.

And yeah, I’m scared that I’ll end up going through the same year-long unemployment I went through last year.  Really scared, because I barely made it through that the first time.  I don’t think I could stand another bout of that again.  Especially don’t want to go through the depression again.

Several friends have told me to just stay strong and keep applying for jobs, and to not let myself get down about it all.  I’m trying, really really trying.. but it’s not easy to stay positive right now.

I suppose it’s to be expected to feel down about the situation, especially since I had barely allowed myself a moment to feel bad about the situation when it first happened, regardless if I hated the job..

And I can’t help thinking that possibly secretly, deep down, I wanted to get fired.  That subconsciously I thought if I was forced to look for a new job, then that might give me a kick in the ass to get moving.

stress2Well, now here I am and I’ve been given that kick in the ass.. I’m motivated to find a new job, and I’ve been looking as hard as I can, but it doesn’t alleviate that feeling of dread or the tightness in my chest.

Of course maybe I’m just having a bad day.  I’m allowed (I think) one once in awhile, right?

9 Things to Stop Doing During Hard Times

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tumblr_lndax4RZJl1qczqexo1_500Life can be damn hard sometimes.  And sometimes it can be so hard that it makes getting on with your life practically impossible, and could potentially make things worse or make the rough patch last longer than you’d want it to.

I’ve written several times about the hard times I’ve had over the past couple years, especially since my redundancy back in April 2012.  And despite my best intentions or actions, things have continued to be something of a roller-coaster in my life and it’s been difficult to get past the problems to move forward to something more positive.

Although I’ve recently lost the job I’d finally found after being unemployed for a year (previous post) and I find myself back in the same situation I was in last year, I’ve been fairly calm and focused about moving forward and putting this behind me.

I haven’t been wallowing in self-pity or allowing myself to get depressed about the whole thing (surprisingly).  Instead I’ve been determined to find a job quickly to ensure other parts of my life don’t go downhill as well (long story that I can’t write about here..).

Awhile back I’d found an article over on Marc and Angel Hack Life, an amazing website/blog that shares inspirational advice and practical tips for life, about things NOT to do when you’re going through a rough patch (click the link at the bottom for the original article).

In the end, it’s all about finding a way to cope with the difficult stuff that come along in your life, and move yourself towards where you want your life to go.  Here are a few tips, and my interpretation of them.

1.  Be honest with yourself.

You know what they say, denial is not just a river in Eqypt (get it? ‘De-Nile’? OK, bad pun..).  Trying to ignore the situation or not facing the facts of what has happened and what brought you to that point will only make things worse.  You cannot hide from the truth as by lying to yourself, you’re only going to make things worse in the long run.

Be truthful with yourself.  Get your head out of the sand.  Be honest about how you got to where you are, what the cause of the situation is, and where you can go from it.  Learning from bad experiences or mistakes is what makes us stronger as we move forward in life.

life-can-get-hard

2.  Wishing the pain away.

To be fair, nobody truly wants to constantly feel like they’re in pain.  Well, unless you’re a masochist, but that’s an entirely different thing.

We all have painful moments in our lives, in a variety of different ways, but pain can be a good thing.  It at least reminds you that you’re still alive, that you’re still getting through the days and moving towards the future.  It reminds you that you care and have feelings, that you have a desire for something more in your life, or even the pain of knowing that instance of happiness you’re feeling at the moment cannot last forever.  There are endless possibilities ahead of you, you just need to reach for them.

3.  Holding onto the past.

be strongWe all do it without realising it – recounting some dramatic story from our past over and over again, sometimes even hypothesising that one specific incident is why our life has turned out the way it has.  We focus all our energies on recounting and re-examining something that happened possibly years prior, instead of focusing on the present and looking towards the future.

We all need to start letting go of our pasts as a way to move forward in life, because if we don’t, we may start missing out on opportunities that could be exactly what we’re waiting for.  It’s not an easy thing to do, but if you continue to re-enact behaviours from the past, then you’ll continue to have those incidents that bring you down.  Live in the NOW.

4.  Holding on to who you were before the storm.

Part of going through hard times is that it can change you, hopefully for the better.  Unfortunately, too many people are so focused on who they used to be or how a certain part of their life (like a job) formed a large portion of their own vision of themselves.

This isn’t healthy, and can ultimately lead to you feeling resentful that those parts of your life are over, or could make it even harder to move forward towards something equally terrific.  Or hopefully even better.

We need to be willing to see ourselves for who we are, broken pieces and all, and recall the good parts of ourselves to utilise them in the future.  Let go of who you used to be, good or bad, so you can become who you are right now.  Struggles are part of our lives, and fighting past them is what makes us grow as people.

5.  Over-thinking can make things worse.

just_a_bad_day_not_a_bad_lifeAs discussed in the post ‘7 Things Over-thinkers Do‘, when you over-think a problem, it can lead to needless worries or negative thinking that can easily spiral out of control.  Which could lead you further down, possibly into an unnecessary and preventable depression.

Instead it’s always better to approach change and hard situations with a positive attitude, while working towards a change for the better. We’ve all heard and said it a million times – if you don’t like something in your life, then change it.  And if you can’t change it, then change how you perceive or think about it.  Only you can choose to be happy or miserable in your life.

6.  Just SMILE dammit!

smile-123Too often when life is getting us down, we go stomping around with a grim look on our faces, even when trying to have some fun.  There’s no rule that if life is kicking your ass right now that you can’t smile or have a laugh once in awhile.

In fact, it can sometimes be much healthier to deal with life’s burdens with a sense of humour, and smile your way through all the bad times.  Once you’re through, you’ll feel better about it all, and perhaps it’ll give you a better perspective on the challenges thrown your way.

7.  Be your own drummer.

You know the cliché – what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger.  And it’s actually true.  You must endure through the hard times to get to the good times, and by enduring those periods it’ll make the good times all the so much sweeter.  Try not to focus too much on where you are now, but instead look towards what may be in the future.

Basically don’t give up or give in to the troubles you’re going through at the moment, or thinking there’s no hope to change what already is.  Be willing to do things your way, try something completely different or unexpected, and be bold enough to live your life without any apologies or regrets.

And who gives a damn what anyone else may think – it’s your life, just go out and live it.

8.  Stop holding onto the present.

2723073_UKI145p8_cSometimes the feeling of not knowing where you’re going next can be constricting.  At some point, especially when you’re going through some bad times, you need to just let go of any preconceived ideas of where you think your life is going and let it take you where you need to go.

Letting go and allowing yourself to enjoy the feeling of freedom from where you were before can be difficult.  But it can be freeing and exhilarating to realise you don’t know what’s going to happen next, and that you can’t control some situations.  You just need to let them happen.

9.  Don’t get disheartened.

Just like over-thinking above, it’s quite easy to focus on the negative things occurring in your life, especially during a bad patch, and missing out on the positives around you.  When something negative comes into your life, don’t allow yourself to get disheartened, but instead choose to learn from it and use the experience as a way to work towards something better.

Choose to be positive about your life, about where your life is going, and look towards the new adventures that are awaiting you.  When you obsess over the negative stuff, it can seep into other parts of your life.  And when you focus on how shit your life is and how hard it’s going to be to improve in the future, it can turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Smile, laugh, have fun with your friends or family, and just enjoy life for what it is – an adventure.

TRA297_BLOG_Article_Img_HabitB_v11-2This post was inspired by 9 Things to Stop Doing During Hard Times at Marc and Angel Hack Life.

Guest Blogger: On Nakations…

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mpwilson:

Here’s my guest post on A Guy Without Boxers all about how it feels to go to a naturalist beach while on holiday.. especially when you’re as body conscious as I am. :D

Feel free to check out his other posts as well, all about being a gay nudist enjoying life and sharing it with others.

Originally posted on A Guy Without Boxers:

martinpwilson-beachnudemaMxdsolo (1)

For some who may be unfamiliar with the word nakation, it’s a term combining the two words, naked and vacation. For the most part, a fun time, I thought a nakation post appropriate for Nude Recreation Week. Travel is a favorite leisure pastime for many, regardless of their nudity status.

A brief explanation as to why I qualified the words, nakation and vacation above. Just as some have experienced a disastrous vacation, the same is true for nakations. Even the best planned holidays can become hell.

MartinPWilson This month’s guest blogger is Martin Wilson, author of Ramblings of a Supposed Disease Free Mind. Click on the title to view. Some of you may already be familiar with some of his writing as I have referenced several of his works on my High Five, Bare Bear posts. Martin is a self-identified bear and I’ve followed his blog for more than a…

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17 Practical Gay Dating Tips for the New Age | My Mental Medley

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gay men kissingI found this list through a link on Facebook, and thought it would be great to share on here.. since I’ve shared my own tips on gay dating over the past while.

Please click the link below to have a look (this is a reblog, obviously lol) and enjoy.  I’ll be interested to hear your thoughts on the list as well.

17 Practical Gay Dating Tips for the New Age | My Mental Medley.