Looking back: what I learnt in 2015


This annual post seems to have become a tradition for me, so here is this year’s offering.

  1. Being ‘authentic’ is more complex than it sounds. It’s become a bit of a buzzword, this thing about being true to yourself. Of course I try to live this way, but  my version of authenticity, for example, is having no filter. When a client asks me what my alternative career would be, and I artlessly say ‘stripper’, it occurs to me afterward that ‘that’s an inside thought’. My true self is also bossy; if something doesn’t happen, I make it happen. This is a liability in the dating world, where we are apparently meant to wait for men to direct things (and they turn out to be totally useless most of the time). I guess there is a fine line being being true to yourself, and failing to modify your behaviour for adult life. Since my true self is outrageous and inappropriate, I end up walking that tightrope all the time.
  2. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses is a powerful thing. Growing up in a family where teasing is an Olympic sport, I learnt early that the best approach is to find something the target is sensitive about. I have a certain cousin who is still exquisitely tortured by references to getting a rock stuck in his ear 30 years ago. (The gift that keeps on giving). But if you have mulled over your weaknesses and owned them, and are clear on what it is you do well, you can filter through the accusations leveled at you. When someone accused me of ‘being full of shit’, for example, I saw it as mere projection. Of all my faults, dissembling is not one. See Point 2 above, stripper reference. When a certain ex accused me of procrastination? Guilty as charged. (Notwithstanding the pot-kettle-black nature of the observation.) Life is just easier when you don’t spend time being offended by stuff  that isn’t true.
  3. The harder the slog, the sweeter the reward. A while ago, I set myself the target of squatting 100kg. Sounds plausible; plenty of ladies (in the powerlifting world) can do that. But I failed to account for several handicaps: my body hates building muscle, I have weird biomechanics, and I just generally  suck at squats. So, I spent about 18 months getting to 70kg, then a month getting to 80kg. But when I got there it was the best feeling ever, because it was so damn hard. Who knows how long the last 20kg will take, but I’ve come this far now… so, look out 2016.
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