How to be busy

Happy Smiley Face

[A bit of the text for this post somehow disappeared, I’m writing it again now]

I used to be allergic to being busy. I hated it. It made me want to hide under the covers and sleep all day. Usually I had school work, a job, and some errands to run. I didn’t have much of a social life and I was unhappy.

Now I am busy. Very busy. There’s something going on almost every night, I have a dissertation to work on, I have stuff to do for the various social groups I am involved in. And I’m loving it!

I am in the Reykjavik Queer Choir (which is fabulous), and I am in charge of organising fundraising sales. I am the secretary for Q, the Queer Student Organisation, and I have quite a few things to do there. I have also been elected onto the 10 person advisory board (I think it’s called in English) for Samtökin 78, the National Queer Organisation.

As previously mentioned I also have a dissertation to write. I have also been in touch with the Red Cross in Iceland about doing some research for them. Oh, and I’m looking for a job.

So yeah. Busy. But it’s awesome! I have a social life, I have friends I meet regularly, I have things to do. And I have figured out why this is working for me now.

  1. I am much happier today than I was just about 6 months ago. I have come out of the closet and I have begun living my life as who I am. I am more confident and I feel like my relationships with people are more honest and fulfilling.
  2. I LOVE WHAT I’M DOING! This is incredibly important. If you’re busy all the time with things you hate, you can’t possibly enjoy them. But if you’re really passionate about your work, and enjoying the heck out of it, then you’re less likely to be bothered by being busy.

Obviously it’s not quite this simple. For me it’s a combination of things: I am happier because I am less depressed. Because I am less depressed I have more energy and passion for what I do. I am less depressed because I am being true to myself. I am also less depressed because I’m doing things that I love.

According to the theory of cognitive behaviour therapy, being depressed is often like a very negative downward spiral. You are unhappy, you think unhappy thoughts, you react to these thoughts in a negative way, you become more unhappy, you think more unhappy thoughts, etc. What I am going through now is the opposite of this. It’s a very positive upwards spiral and it’s hard to pick out the one thing that made it happen. While coming out was clearly a catalyst for change in my life, it’s not the only thing that made my life what it is now. It’s a combination of good things. It makes it easier and easier to combat the negative thoughts, and to deal with the difficult stuff that inevitably comes along.

I’m starting to sound terribly sappy now, but it’s true. I’m happy because I’m doing good things, and I am doing good things because I’m happy.

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Moving again

Life is a bit crazy these days. Recently it was discovered that because of an undetected leak there is a huge mildew problem in the flat I live in. My housemate Heiðar (who owns the place) now has to tear it all apart and rebuild it to properly get rid of it. This is going to take 2-3 months, and I have to move in with another friend of mine for the duration.

This means that I’ve had to pack all of my things again and I’m moving to my friend’s place tomorrow.

It’s frustrating. I don’t blame Heiðar for this situation, if I’m frustrated, I can’t even begin to imagine how he feels about it. It’s frustrating for me because I have been on the move more or less since last summer. I was only able to unpack properly just before Christmas, and now I’m packing again. I just wanted to be all settled down so I could just relax and focus on my dissertation work.

Still, I am going to look on the bright side. The flat will be AMAZING when this is done, and so much fun to live in. Living with my friend for a while will be an opportunity to get to know him better, and I’ll be living within walking distance from my mother. It’s all good.

I also finally have an appointment with an endocrinologist, which means that I can start hormone therapy. Unfortunately the appointment isn’t until 25th April, but I’m on a waiting list, so maybe I’ll be able to get in sooner.

I’m also looking for a job. I’m smart and edumacated and stuff! Please hire me?

In September I will have finished my dissertation, I will have been on hormones for a few months, some of my debts will be settled, I’ll be able to get a full time job. It’s just 6-7 more months and then I can hopefully relax a little bit.

I get ideas

I want to do all sorts of things. I come up with new ideas all the time, and if I forget to write them down, I forget them completely.

I get ideas for art work. But then I can’t be arsed to practice drawing/painting, so they never get done. I really want to learn to work with water colours. Maybe one day when I can afford to spend a lot of money on art supplies.

I get ideas for stories and books. I’ve half written one in my head already. I have the characters and the settings and whole scenes floating around in my head. It’s incredibly vivid, but for some reason I keep putting off actually sitting down and writing it.

I want to do fundraisers of all kinds. I want to put together a charity gig. I want to do a huge bake sale. I want to design stuff that I can sell (t-shirts, buttons, Christmas cards).

I want to walk along the Icelandic ring road. I’d bring a video camera and film all sorts of things. I’d dig up folklore and bits of history and film myself telling the story when I get to a relevant place. Then after the trip is finished I’d edit the videos into a series of episodes and put them on Youtube. I actually plan on following through with this one, summer of 2013.

I want to research infectious diseases in Iceland and write a history of them. It would be a complicated look at the way the diseases reached Iceland, how they spread, and the effect they had. It would be a huge Geographical, Historical, Sociological, Epidemiological (etc.) project and it would take a long time to do. But I think it would be worth it.

I want to knit hats and scarves. I want to knit or crotchet a huge blanket for my bed. I want to write deep and meaningful blog posts about important things. I want to win the lottery.

And then I spend all day refreshing Facebook/Tumblr/Twitter and don’t get anything done. How do people motivate themselves to follow their dreams?

Coldness, milkshakes, and bad naps

Sheffield is cold!

So I’m currently in Sheffield. I came here to get back to work on my dissertation. I had a meeting with my supervisor and I plan to make use of the library while I can. I fly back to Iceland on 15th February.

It’s fucking cold here though! England is more humid than Iceland, so the cold is harder to deal with. There’s also something of a lack of access to wonderful, lovely, awesome geothermal heating, so the houses are cold. And then most of the houses I’ve been staying in have been old-ish and therefore not as well insulated as I’m accustomed to.

This means I’m cold all the time! I’m starting to get used to it though.

I’m addicted to Friji’s Fudge Brownie Milkshake

I never want to stop drinking it! Too bad I won’t have access to it in Iceland. *saddest face ever*

It’s just sooooo yummy!

So thick and smooth and glorious and full of chocolatey goodness.

And it’s currently 2-for-1 at Tesco’s. I’m almost out, I’ll need to buy more tomorrow. :P

Two days ago I took a nap

I somehow managed to twist my neck in some strange fashion. It’s been super sore ever since and I almost can’t turn or lean my head to the right. Today I took a nap again and did something weird to the left side of my neck.

Lesson learned: naps are bad!

Stitch is there to express my sadness over this.

My name

For some time now I have been introducing myself to people as Þór Matthías. In the last few days I’ve been thinking about this name more and more and whether it is actually a name that I want to keep for the rest of my life.

I have decided that it is not. I like Þór, I’m quite used to being called Þór by now, but I want my full name to be a bit more…of a mouthful I guess. I’m not used to having a one syllable name and it feels weird. I’ve always kind of liked having a full name and then a shortened version (Halldóra-Dóra). I also have something of an attachment to the letter H, for some reason.

So I have decided to change Þór into Hafþór (Haf=ocean). I like the idea of people who don’t know me calling me Hafþór, but reserving Þór for those who know me better. It’s also just a fuller, more meaty name, I suppose.

The other part of this is that Matthías is a name I had chosen for myself several years ago. I wanted to keep it in order to connect these two periods in my life, but I have come to realise that it’s actually just reminding me of a time when I was very unhappy. I feel quite distant from it now and I’m uncomfortable with it. Hafþór Matthías is also just about too long.

I went through a list of names the other day and found many that I liked. I decided not to go too far into the weird (with Huginn or Draupnir, even though they are cool) and decided to go with Loki instead. It’s short, it’s not a very common name, it’s interesting and it’s in keeping with the Nordic theme. Also Hafþór Loki just sounds cool, it’s rolls off the tongue quite nicely.

Choosing a new name is very tricky. I want to feel close to it, like it’s mine. I want it to represent me and fit me. I like Hafþór because I come from an island surrounded by the ocean and I’m used to seeing it every day. Þór represents strength and toughness to me, which is something I need. It’s something to live up to. Loki is fun, it has a lot of mischief to it and a kind of stubbornness. It’s a name full of life; a stormy, mischievous, strong name. I like it.

Picking your own name like this is very difficult and a bit sad. I’m leaving behind a good name that I’ve identified with for a very long time. A lot of people around me have to get used to calling me by a new name, and in doing so they might find themselves seeing me differently as a result. It’s a strange experience, but one that I sort of enjoy having. I feel like it’s an opportunity to really find myself, but to reinvent myself at the same time. A chance to take control of my life and set things straight.

Things are all a bit up in the air right now and unstable. I’m in the process of changing and becoming something new, it’s going to take a while and everyone’s a little confused. It’s not going to be the one thing that fixes everything, but it’s something I need to do to find my right place. I am allowing myself to enjoy the journey as well, rather than focusing exclusively on the final result.

Besides, is there every really a final result in life? Each journey gives us the wisdom and knowledge we need to embark on another journey. We collect the necessary tools to enable us to evolve even further. That is the joy of life, this ever evolving adventure.

Random stuff

Today

I woke up to the sound of a lot of cars driving around outside. It took me a while to realise why. I suspect they’re full of families here to pick up their kids for Easter. Now I feel all sad that my family is so far away and that I’ll be all alone here for Easter. *sigh*

Idea

I was thinking about something the other day. There’s a big problem with people drinking and driving. I think it might make a difference if it were made into law that whenever someone enters an establishment that sells alcohol, that they must leave their car keys at the door (if they brought them), and that they can’t get them back unless they pass a breathalyser test.

It wouldn’t stop people from driving after drinking at home, but it might cut down on people getting drunk in town and then driving home. Right?

Medication

So I had some tests done recently and it was confirmed that I have PCOS . I saw a gyno to talk about treatment options. Most of the time the birth control pill will solve a lot of the problems, but I’d been told that due to a history of blood clotting in my family I shouldn’t be on the pill. The gyno checked it out and apparently I have what is called Factor V Leiden which means that instead of the risk of getting a blood clot being 1 in 1,000, it is 1 in 125-250. So no pill for me. Instead I am now on metformin.

This means that my blood sugar levels will be regulated (insulin resistance is a common part of PCOS) and then my ovaries will stop producing too much testosterone. My skin will clear up, my periods will be normal (you totally wanted to know that!) and I might actually lose weight. Especially if I manage to get some exercise as well.

The only problem is that it commonly causes gastrointestinal problems to begin with (again something I’m sure you wanted to know!). *sigh* I guess I’ll just have to suffer for a while.

Future plans

My original plan was to stay in England once I’d finished my degree. That has now changed. I have decided to go back to Iceland and get a BSc in Nursing. My interests are too varied, it’s hard for me to settle on anything. :P

I started out determined to study languages, preferably ancient ones. Then I realised I had no idea what I wanted to do with that (other then being super cool and being able to read Latin) so I switched to Geography. At first I saw myself as a scientist, I’d know all about the weather, and volcanoes, and nature. I’d be traipsing about outside all the time, doing science-y stuff with soil and stuff.

Then I realised that while the nature stuff was interesting, it didn’t really grab me. So I turned to Human Geography and started learning all about the geographical patterns of people and what they do. Super interesting. Then I learned about international development and my interest was piqued. Finally I found out about Health Geography and I was set. Global health and developing countries? Totally my thing!

Now I’ve been in England for a while learning all about exactly that and I love it. I’m dying to get out there and help people! While my degree is cool and very useful, I still didn’t feel quite done. I needed something more, I wanted a wide range of skills. Mostly for the sake of being brainy and cool, but also for the sake of being as useful as possible.

So nursing it is!

I’ll go to Nepal in June, and then go home in the beginning of August probably. I should be able to finish my dissertation at home and then just get someone over here to turn it in for me. Then I’ll have time to settle down before school starts in the fall. Unlike here in Sheffield it starts at the end of August back home.

Random bullet points

  • Baking flat bread is cool.
  • I watched Black Hawk Down the other day, I’d forgotten how good it is.
  • Dominos Pizza have this garlic and herb dipping sauce. Dipping my pizza into it is delicious!
  • I spent way too much money on music on iTunes last night.

Dating

Did you know there are dating sites for rich people that are all about the “sugar daddy” thing? So women (or men) can go there looking for rich men to pamper them and the men go there to look for beautiful women (or other men) to pamper. It’s hysterical. I signed up for sugardaddyforme.com just out of curiosity. Mostly I thought it was incredibly funny and kind of pathetic…then I found a guy who is gorgeous, makes more than $1,000,000 a year, is 38 years old and lives in London. I almost wish I were a gorgeous bimbo just so I’d stand a chance. The operative word here being almost. I’d really rather go join the effort to save the world.

Owls in Sheffield

Picture of Tawny OwlFor several months now, since at least October or November, I’ve been listening to birds making very distinct sounds somewhere close to my house. To begin with it was really annoying and it kept me up at night. At first I thought it had to be a rooster, but I couldn’t figure out why there would be a rooster in the middle of a city. Then I realised it might be an owl.

Last night I was talking to a friend and she expressed some skepticism so I decided to look up owl sounds. Finally I found the owl that makes exactly the sound that I’ve been listening to for so long. It’s the Tawny Owl, which can be found all over England.

You can hear the sound here. It was quite funny to find because it was so exactly the same sound. According to the website where I found this sound file:

“…95% of the time you are going to hear just two calls from Tawny Owls — the well-known hoot, and the “kewick”. The full-volume hoot, hu ….. hu-hooooo, is made by the male, and as far as I know only by the male. It’s a unique sound, and probably involves a use of the vocal apparatus that’s not heard in any other tawny call, whether male or female.”

So there you have it. Somewhere close to Ranmoor Village in Sheffield there is a male tawny owl. There are possibly more than just the one, I don’t know I’ve never seen it/them. It’s not annoying to me anymore, now I smile when I hear it. There’s something so delightfully horror film-y about it. Also knowing that it’s an owl makes me extremely happy. There are no owls in Iceland so hearing one in the wild is completely new to me.

To be honest I’ve spent the last few months going a little crazy every now and then when I see or hear animals that are not to be found in Iceland. I’ve seen a lot of squirrels for instance and I always smile like a loony toon every time. I remember when I was 18 I saw a frog jump across a path I was walking in Denmark. I could hardly stop talking about it for hours afterward. My siblings were not quite as impressed as I was. The summer of 2009 I spent 4 weeks in Brighton and while there I saw two foxes walk across the University of Sussex campus late one evening. We do have foxes in Iceland, but I haven’t seen them very often so it was fun.

Basically when it comes to seeing all kinds of animals I might as well be 5 years old considering how excited I get. On Saturday I’m going for a walk in the Peak District, I hope I’ll get to see some fun animals while I’m there.


Picture from Wikipedia

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