Learning Patience

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Learning Patience

Post by nearly_takuan on Thu Feb 19, 2015 1:39 pm

Lately I have been having some trouble being patient. With myself, mostly, and kind of with Life.

I started a new job very recently, and it's been better than I dared hope, but I'm still adjusting to the new sleep schedule; I'm adjusting to having a sleep schedule. I'm adjusting to the commute, to the routines and processes and expectations and regular meals. But I want to be done adjusting. I haven't even collected my first paycheck yet, and I won't really be secure until my third.

Cognitively, I know my life and lifestyle have changed drastically over the last several weeks. I know it's not yet time, in terms of either finances or stresses, to try so hard to change other things just yet.

I have a sort of plan, helped along by the fact of there being some delay before I start getting to use my work benefits, of when I can acquire a car, start seeing a primary care physician, return my dentist's calls, investigate shrinks, budget some time for more rigorous exercise, etc. There is a sort of timetable for each, but they are all still several months away.

What do I do until then? Work. Because right now the commute + work is eleven hours per day, and I spend almost the entire rest of the time "recharging". (I sleep a lot.) The trouble is, during that recharge time, I think about the shits I don't yet have together (some of which I used to) and worry about how long it'll take before I'm finally better off than I was two years ago. (Never mind that I'm better off on all but one vector than I was at any point before "two years ago"; jerkbrain does not care.)

...Anyway. Is there anything you do to be more patient with yourself? Or to, I dunno, set more realistic expectations?
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Re: Learning Patience

Post by Werel on Fri Feb 20, 2015 2:44 am

Don't think I've got any brilliant advice, but can indulge in some commiseration. I'm having trouble with the same thing right now. It's been thirteen months since I moved to Hawaii and joined a PhD program, and I'm still missing a lot of the things I thought I'd have after a year. E.g. social circle(s) of people I honestly enjoy (I also do the comparing-to-the-past bit--"last time I moved to a new city, I had way more cool friends after a year than I do now"); some clearer feelings on whether or not I actually want to complete a PhD; being more fit and spending more time outdoors (I live in fucking Hawaii, I thought I'd be a super-ripped surf-hike-swim machine by now). And it's been really tough to come to terms with the fact that I'm not going to be able to make progress on those fronts as quickly as I'd like (or maybe at all in the foreseeable future), because like you, the vast majority of my time and energy is going to school/work. I often feel like I barely have the internal resources to maintain the relationships/ambitions/body I already have, much less improve or form new ones.

For me, it's helped to remind myself, over and over, that what I'm using all my energy on (school) is hard. It is supposed to be hard, and it is supposed to take up all of my resources. I say it out loud periodically. "I wish I were going out/making friends/doing outdoor activities more, but I can't right now. This is what I chose. I can re-choose if I need to, but this is what I chose." It helps to remind myself that no, there's not some secret well of extra time and energy that I could access if I just tried harder. My capacities are limited, and I'm choosing to throw all of them at one thing for a while. Other stuff just has to wait. There's no way around it. (Sometimes I think I'm making a terrible, insane, regrettable mistake by putting relationships and health on the back burner, but that's another thread!)

Your capacities are limited too, and right now, sounds like you're using them all on work and recuperation. An eleven-hour day is nothing to sneeze at-- add in the mental exhaustion of adjusting to a new work culture, new responsibilities, re-adjusting to employed life after a long time being unemployed (which is HARD!), and financial instability, and... jeez, would you expect someone in your shoes to be there yet? If this were a friend, and not you, would you not applaud them for simply keeping their head above water during the adjustment period?

I wish I had something to say that was likely to help, but adjustments and waiting are just tough. It's hard not to feel the pang of what you're missing right this very moment, but presumably you feel like you're making the best choices among the options you realistically have. There's nothing more to do than that (if there is, please share with the class!). It just takes time. (A little trust and your time.)
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Re: Learning Patience

Post by Guest on Fri Feb 20, 2015 3:52 am

I wish I had something to say to help too, but I always had a patient streak in me. I went through a very similar series of changes at the same time last year when I got my current job which also involves days from about 12 to 14 hours of travel and work.

But, I did have a similar method to Werel in dealing with it by reminding myself it's not easy to make a change like that. It's a big deal, especially given my sleeping pattern was almost 10 hours of sleep a day and now it's around 5.

It took me about three months to feel like I had both settled and could manage the fact I had a lot less time to tend to myself (both including and excluding sleep). Until then, I focused all effort on the job in order to block out the fact I was missing other stuff while recovering.

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Re: Learning Patience

Post by nearly_takuan on Fri Feb 20, 2015 2:19 pm

(ETA: Sorry, MapWater. Remembered the posts incorrectly today.)

Thanks, Werel and MapWater. I keep recalling a textbook I had in high school psych, that had a table assigning "stress points" to various types of life events--moving, new job, lost job, new S.O., marriage, divorce, children, new car, lottery win, etc.--and I don't remember how many "points" they gave those things but I always thought that was kind of beside the point anyway. The lesson was that any major change, whether it's "positive" or "negative", is stressful and requires an adjustment period. Taking on additional stressors when you already had a big one recently is unhealthy, and so forth.

Guess that's that, then. Remind self that we're doing hard things. Try not to be too much of a jerk about platitudes, etc. In a few months, things will be better.


Last edited by nearly_takuan on Sat Feb 21, 2015 2:26 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Learning Patience

Post by nearly_takuan on Fri Feb 20, 2015 7:26 pm

I guess one of the things that has been making this harder is that in addition to what feels like slow progression, I'm also finding myself in a position of having to make certain concessions that set me back in ways I had been handling better before.

I no longer have the time or energy to daily play at calisthenics for an hour. Meal prep feels like it takes more time out of my day, and now I eat out for around four meals per week instead of only once a month + birthdays etc. Said meals now include caffeinated and sugared beverages (lattes, sodas), instead of water or fruit juice. More animal fats.

The only thing I'm staying reasonably on top of, that I can think of, is that I usually manage to get 7 hours of sleep each night, and I always wake up at (around) the same time so I can take care of hygiene things and show up on time for work. Theoretically, that also leaves six hours to take care of other things. Aside from maybe two hours I've been spending on Heroes o' th' Storm, I'm not really sure where the rest of the time goes. :/

So, maybe that's something to do. I'll try to keep better track of where I'm actually spending the available resources I do have, and see if I can make some net-positive changes there, preferably ones that have close to immediate gratification (because work isn't going to start "paying off" for a few more months; even though I enjoy it, it's still work and I sometimes have to remind myself of that).
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Re: Learning Patience

Post by Guest on Fri Feb 20, 2015 7:38 pm

I've had to make a lot of sacrifices, including my already terrible diet getting worse by a degree. But I think the worst is, combined with my anaemia which makes me lethargic at the drop of a hat, it's been very difficult to write or draw after work. I have to wait until the weekend. Not fun, and a very disappointing.

You have a good plan - try to make sure you actually tend to yourself and manage your time to facilitate that. Even if one loves their job, one should always makes sure they don't sacrifice more happiness outside of it than is necessary.

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Re: Learning Patience

Post by reboot on Fri Feb 20, 2015 9:45 pm

The transition from unemployment to employment is rough because it is a whole different lifestyle so everything will be out of whack until you get settled into a new routine. You are not used to having 11 hours of your time blocked, so the activities that used to fill the day that you want to keep are compressed at each end of the day and to weekends.

I cannot give advice on patience because the way I learned it is not a good way and do not recommend it. For squeezing everything into a day, though, I might be able to help. I work 11-12 hours a day, so I have some practice at this:

Food prep: get as much ready on weekends as possible (e.g. chop onions, wash veg, slice meat) so you can toss it together fast when you get home. I aim for recipes that take less than 30 minutes cook time or are slow cooker for weekdays

Lay out your clothes the night before

Pack a lunch the night before. I usually do this when I am cooking.

Save as many errands and chores for the weekend as possible unless you can do them while cooking or on your way home from work

Figure out if your best exercise time is before or after work. If it is before, adjust sleep schedule to fit it in by going to bed earlier (I kind of suck at this)

Order water or juice when eating out as much as possible. Buy a water bottle for work so that you always have that to drink.

Bring fruits, veg, nuts, etc. to work so you are not hungry on your commute home and will take time to cook. I keep apples and oranges on my desk and bring things like raw sugar snap peas, snow peas, green beans, baby carrots, tomatoes, etc to snack on at my desk. Pick things that require no prep, stay good without refrigeration for a while and need no utensils to eat, things you can just throw in a ziploc and go.

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Re: Learning Patience

Post by nearly_takuan on Sun Mar 01, 2015 3:33 am

I haven't gotten better at patience, but I've started feeling a little less pressure lately anyway. On reflection, I think I kind of felt like I still hadn't earned anything yet, and I still needed to prove to myself that I'd done something meaningful/useful. In this past week, I've gotten some very positive unsolicited feedback from managers and coworkers, plus I got my driver's license.

While the job itself is something I sometimes feel was given to me, instead of being something I worked for (because that's at least somewhat true, and I'm also not great at separating "earn" from "deserve" for myself regardless of my abstract beliefs), my drive test grade and freshly printed license are physical objects I can hold in my hand; they're evidence that I do have certain skills now that I didn't before. Maybe for now that's enough.
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Re: Learning Patience

Post by Guest on Sun Mar 01, 2015 6:14 am

nearly_takuan wrote:I haven't gotten better at patience, but I've started feeling a little less pressure lately anyway. On reflection, I think I kind of felt like I still hadn't earned anything yet, and I still needed to prove to myself that I'd done something meaningful/useful. In this past week, I've gotten some very positive unsolicited feedback from managers and coworkers, plus I got my driver's license.

While the job itself is something I sometimes feel was given to me, instead of being something I worked for (because that's at least somewhat true, and I'm also not great at separating "earn" from "deserve" for myself regardless of my abstract beliefs), my drive test grade and freshly printed license are physical objects I can hold in my hand; they're evidence that I do have certain skills now that I didn't before. Maybe for now that's enough.

I went through this exact process in my current job, but I was quite literally given the role I have. It gave me a similar feeling, like I hadn't really earned the role and there was extra pressure there to prove I could not only do the job but excel at it.

I talked about it with my co-workers, actually, to try and see where they stood on the fact the big boss basically threw me into the fold with them as that kind of move can look really dodgy. While I was honestly not expecting compliments, I did receive them which put some fears to rest. I also discussed the idea of separating 'earning' and 'deserving' with my Dad, who helped me to turn the idea around a bit - the job I was given was a requirement by a client and they were putting a lot of pressure on the company to get someone. So, I was essentially doing the CEO a favour by taking the job after but a phone call. Removes the need for advertising, interviews and delays. Not to mention I have the qualifications, so all I really skipped was an interview I've been told I would have passed. It doesn't mean I deserved the role, but it does take the edge off the fact I didn't officially earn it.

So, what I'm saying is I get ya. And, it may help to look at how you were 'given' the job and look at it from the perspective of who or what gave it to you and why they did so if that's still tricky.

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Re: Learning Patience

Post by nearly_takuan on Sun Mar 01, 2015 7:05 am

Yeah, that's exactly it. I have to show I can really do this, be part of the team, do helpful useful things on a daily basis, earn my company more money than they pay me, because I don't want to be a leech.

The company has a standard probation period of several months, after which they will reevaluate whether or not they want to keep me hired. I guess I have also been feeling impatient about that, because the anticipation is a source of stress: if they don't keep me on, then I've failed; but if they do keep me, maybe they're just not very discerning, and the nepotism that got me here in the first place may still be "helping" me.

I unfortunately use some very circular and self-defeating "logic" when it comes to evaluating the motives of good people. Looking at it from the perspective of the friend who got me the job, I think he believes strongly that I am going to do well in this job: I've always known him to be honorable, pragmatic, loyal, generous, and extremely smart; he wouldn't do anything that he thought would hurt his company, hurt his own standing within that company without better reasons, or hurt my future employment opportunities (which is what would happen if "got fired" made its way onto a report of my job history). But that doesn't mean he can't be biased (by friendship) or skewed toward ideas due to stories he's only ever heard my side of.

I'm waiting for the day when I trust myself enough to set my alarm for 6:30 when I intend to get up at 6:30; without really thinking about it, I've had several alarms set for 6:00 for the last month, just to give myself the time I needed to lie there for thirty minutes simultaneously wishing I could sleep more and keeping myself awake fretting about my imminent need to get up and get ready. A similar time-wasting ritual happens prior to sleeping, most nights before work. I have to form the right habits again, and then I have to re-learn trust for those habits, and I know that's going to take time...
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Re: Learning Patience

Post by BasedBuzzed on Sun Mar 01, 2015 7:41 am

This could be a good start: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lW3K8_yBByo

In all seriousness, if you're skeptical of your own abilities despite what others might say, perhaps also become skeptical of your ability to evaluate yourself objectively? To me, you always come across as thoughtful and perceptive, but picking the worst possible viewpoint on your own actions out of several possibilities.

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Re: Learning Patience

Post by Guest on Tue Mar 03, 2015 12:18 am

I meant to reply to this days ago...

nearly_takuan wrote:Yeah, that's exactly it. I have to show I can really do this, be part of the team, do helpful useful things on a daily basis, earn my company more money than they pay me, because I don't want to be a leech.

I think, in cases like ours, it is good to put your best foot forward and utilise that pressure to do great work. It's tricky to find that balance of accepting enough of that pressure to do good work and dismissing the errant facets of it that are created in our heads, but it's possible.

nearly_takuan wrote:The company has a standard probation period of several months, after which they will reevaluate whether or not they want to keep me hired. I guess I have also been feeling impatient about that, because the anticipation is a source of stress: if they don't keep me on, then I've failed; but if they do keep me, maybe they're just not very discerning, and the nepotism that got me here in the first place may still be "helping" me.

I see, I avoided any probation period. Or, I wasn't made aware of one anyway. But, I would advise you to trust the fact that if they keep you on, it's because you're an asset to the company. You'll find even with nepotism, a company as an entity will not stand by having an employee who is a liability.

nearly_takuan wrote:I unfortunately use some very circular and self-defeating "logic" when it comes to evaluating the motives of good people. Looking at it from the perspective of the friend who got me the job, I think he believes strongly that I am going to do well in this job: I've always known him to be honorable, pragmatic, loyal, generous, and extremely smart; he wouldn't do anything that he thought would hurt his company, hurt his own standing within that company without better reasons, or hurt my future employment opportunities (which is what would happen if "got fired" made its way onto a report of my job history). But that doesn't mean he can't be biased (by friendship) or skewed toward ideas due to stories he's only ever heard my side of.

When it comes to bias, I find it best to accept them and move on. I got the job where others didn't get the chance to apply. That's, arguably, unethical and definitely nepotism. But the fact remains that in both our cases we were picked because we could do the job in the first place. Even with the bias, it sounds like he wouldn't pick you just because you're his friend. Which is where things at least have an ethical groundwork - from then on, it just means you have a bit of a trial by fire period of proving that even if there was bias, you wouldn't have gotten that job anyway.

nearly_takuan wrote:I'm waiting for the day when I trust myself enough to set my alarm for 6:30 when I intend to get up at 6:30; without really thinking about it, I've had several alarms set for 6:00 for the last month, just to give myself the time I needed to lie there for thirty minutes simultaneously wishing I could sleep more and keeping myself awake fretting about my imminent need to get up and get ready. A similar time-wasting ritual happens prior to sleeping, most nights before work. I have to form the right habits again, and then I have to re-learn trust for those habits, and I know that's going to take time...

It took a while for me to get the hang of mornings (especially getting up at 5:20am, what the fuck) and now I operate okay on five hours sleep. But I still have that nightly ritual of faffing around. Still working on condensing that, hah.

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