Dealing with Challenges and Finding Creative Space

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Last night I injured myself playing a football game. I was running with the ball, changed direction quickly and *pop* (you could hear it) – my knee gave way. What followed involved lots of pain; four hours in the emergency department; multiple doctors and nurses; tests and an x-ray; a painful sleep; two more hours at the doctor’s surgery this morning, and an MRI scan. What the doctors suspect is a tear in the Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) of my left knee. Now I have to wear a full leg brace and get around on crutches. I find out the severity of it on Monday, but at this stage, recovery is approximately 3-6 weeks. Not too bad for ligament damage, thankfully. I’m off work for at least a week at this stage but hopefully can get back there really soon. Why am I telling you all this? Simple: because it serves as a reminder that things in life happen. When things happen that are negative or challenging, we all have choices to make. Do we sit in frustration, play the victim and wallow in self-pity, or do we make something positive from the situation?

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Entering a Fairy-Tale World

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Imagination is a beautiful thing. Couple that with technical skill and the results can be stunning. I recently came across a poem by Neil Gaiman, titled Instructions. It’s a beautifully written piece of literature that guides the reader on how to enter a Fairy-Tale world. It is published in a children’s book under the same name, with illustrations by the respected Charles Vess. Take the time to read the text below and watch the brief video at the end of this post. You won’t be disappointed. What will follow are some of my thoughts on why this is so lovely.

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What Do I Do Next?

What do I do next?

The answer to this rather difficult question came from a light-bulb moment. I was having a conversation with a colleague, and he was talking about a Ted Talk that he watched. He began to describe this talk in vivid detail, and I found myself hanging off every word. I felt motivated, inspired and ready to go, you know, to make something happen. But what?

I reviewed my passions and interests, and through thorough investigation, I decided that I need to invest in myself, just a little bit more. Those who know me, know me as a charismatic, energetic zookeeper who plays with tigers. Those who know me well, know that although I love my career, I am a massive bookworm, fantasy nerd and aspiring author. Not only have I always wanted to intertwine these two careers, but I’ve also wanted to become established in both.

I think that too often we lump people into categories and stereotypes, and suggest that they have to fit into “column A” or “column B” to be successful. The question is, can you dare to fit into both, or better yet, create “column C” as your own? Creating your path is often considered dangerous, risky and unconventional. Unfortunately, unlike those who are subjective to societal expectations, I’m not afraid to admit that I don’t like being generalised or categorised. My goals, my passions and my endeavours are entirely my own. It’s what makes me, me.

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