snafu /snaˈfuː,ˈsnafuː/

noun a confused or chaotic state; a mess
adjective in utter confusion or chaos

 

What a happy day when I happened upon the word snafu! Admittedly, it was quite recent (read: last month). I had no idea that such a fabulous word existed to describe mess and chaos. I was perusing some or other wedding blog (as you’ll come to know, I’m somewhat obsessed with marrying the Bear) when I read a sentence describing the snafu that ensued at some or other wedding when some or other supplier did some or other terrible thing. Truthfully, I couldn’t focus on the rest of the sentence as soon as I’d finished reading snafu. I was so curious about this delicious mixture of letters that flitted so beautifully from my lips and sounded so wonderful. And to describe chaos no less! Glorious!

Of course, since then I’ve been using the poor thing to death. Ugh, my desk is complete snafu! To cancel now would be to enter a world of snafu. Could that convoluted sentence have been any more snafu? Why do I love this word so much?

Well, I think because for me it represents the outlook of an optimist.

Chaos – complete disorder and confusion – is dark. It paints an image of absolute lack of control or harmony. Gridlock traffic? Chaos! A closet with clothes shoved in? Chaos! A fridge filled with leftovers and something in the corner that you’ve deliberately avoided for months because you once think you saw it moving? Chaos (and disgusting)! Chaos is hopeless. Chaos is overwhelming. Chaos is defeated.

Enter snafu.

Snafu is like an eternally optimistic friend. No matter how depressing (or dirty) your life is, snafu’s that one person who says thing like well, your life can only get better. Or, it’s OK that everything is upside down – it gives you the chance to practice turning things the right way round again. And what about, look at the bright side – you grew something, even if it was in your fridge. Snafu is upbeat! Snafu is can-do! Snafu is hopeful!

Life can be chaotic. But with a little shift in perspective and some new words, we can manage the snafu. Here’s to lives with a little less chaos but a some more snafu.

Nats.

reassurance /riːəˈʃʊərəns/

verb to restore confidence*
A common experience I’ve found among people in their early to mid-twenties is that of fear. This fear stems from the swarm of concerns that, on a daily basis, consume the people of our generation. These concerns can range from ‘am I in the right career?’ to ‘how the hell am I supposed to find a partner, get married, and start having children all within the next few years?’

Perhaps at this stage I should add the disclaimer that it is not my intention to generalise – I’m sure there are many twenty-something year olds out there who have everything figured out. Based on my experience, I have yet to meet one of them.

Frequently, the ladies (the friends in my life without whom I would not be able to survive) and I have had lengthy conversations about this feeling of insecurity that permeates our twenties. My friends and I have sighed with heaviness that feels beyond our years at our sense of being lost. The world we inhabit feels so different to that of our parents, who at our age were already on their second child at least (in most cases). The media is no help either, bombarding us with images of super self-confident and cocky artists and actors, all loving their twenties because they finally have ‘real’ money and can start living a quality life.

The thing is, those examples don’t reflect – at least not in my experience and that of the people around me – the reality of the gut-wrenching fear-of-the-future that can sit like rock in your belly. It’s pretty scary being a twenty-something year old; you still feel so much like a teenager wrought with the same childish tendencies (procrastination, binge spending, instant gratification) but find yourself suddenly yoked with grown up responsibilities. It kind of knocks you off your feet.

I went for my first ever surgery this week and as I was being awoken after the surgery, I began to cry (not a very uncommon occurrence I’m told). I couldn’t speak because my mouth was stuffed with gauze like a roast chicken.

However, I distinctly remember my first feeling – a childlike need for reassurance.

I reached my hand out from underneath the blankets towards the nurse who had woken me and in my mind all I could think was: “please hold my hand”. It was a plea from someone who felt vulnerable, frightened, and alone.

Being in our twenties is oftentimes a scary experience that can leave us feeling exposed and isolated; the need for reassurance is overwhelming. Sometimes, this reassurance is given freely and happily such as when I was wheeled, tears and all, out of the operating theatre and saw the Bear waiting for me (you’ll come to know the Bear as my person). Sometimes when we seek this reassurance (as with the nurse who woke me) there is rejection. Although this makes the moment insufferable, it inevitably helps us look elsewhere for this reassurance – hopefully within ourselves, to those who care for us, or to a higher power.

I think the important thing to remember is to have the courage to ask for that reassurance from the people we trust to love us. If reassurance is to restore confidence then as twenty-something year olds, we need to be seeking this comfort from the people in our lives who believe in us.

Reassurance comes from someone who, in your darkest moments of insecurity and doubt, reminds you that you are strong enough to handle any future the thirties-and-beyond may bring. Reassurance comes from the people who want to help you fulfill the potential they are already see in you. Reassurance comes from those who even when you are at your darkest, remind you that the sun will rise again tomorrow. As a fellow twenty-something year old, my ‘oh-so-wise’ advice is to fill your life with these kinds of people.

Nats.

P.S. On a side note, I bought a dictionary! But more about that next time.

*Collins Dictionary and Thesaurus fourth edition (2011)

procrastination prə(ʊ)ˌkrastɪˈneɪʃ(ə)n/

noun the action of delaying or postponing something.

How simple an explanation for something that not only plagues, but actively hunts, me. According to my last post (never trust bloggers – they lie), I was supposed to have found the dictionary that shall become the main character of my online narrative by now. I haven’t gotten round to that yet.

I’ll do it tomorrow.

Of the many online resources that I have scoured for solutions to the ailment that is procrastination, this is the best one I’ve found. As any procrastinator will tell you it’s not our fault; it’s the monkey’s.

When I was in the final throes of writing up my dissertation, I found it strangely satisfying when I managed to wake up in the morning at 05:00, make myself a cup of coffee, and sit down to write. Although I was tired for the first half hour, I eventually experienced a superior sense of self-satisfaction. So much so, that I still secretly hold out the hope of waking up that early this  winter (I’ll let you know when I win that battle). This silly little example highlights a rarely acknowledged fact about procrastination: it provides us with the opportunity to persevere.

Maybe today you fell down the dark hole of avoiding your life. Maybe today the evil computer sucked all the time out of your day. Maybe today procrastination beat the snot out of you (and kicked you while you were down, the bastard). But there’s always tomorrow. When we make the mantra of procrastination – ‘I’ll do it tomorrow’ – the affirmation of perseverance, we empower ourselves to believe in possibility that tomorrow holds.

I’ll do it tomorrow!

Nats.

dictionary [ˈdɪkʃ(ə)n(ə)ri/]

noun a book or electronic resource that lists the words of a language (typically in alphabetical order) and gives their meaning, or gives the equivalent words in a different language, often also providing information about pronunciation, origin, and usage.

I started out wanting to be cool. I thought, ‘let me define the word being. Or me. Or perhaps even am’, to explain who I am and what I want to accomplish with this blog. But then I thought it wasn’t so cool to have a blog about exploring life through words if one doesn’t have a really old, really reliable reference book that can be crafted into a character to love, admire, and respect. My next thought was:

I should buy a dictionary. That would be cool.

And that is all you need to know to understand who I am and what this blog is about. If you don’t get how buying a dictionary would be cool, trust me you’re reading the wrong blog. So off I am to purchase my first piece of literary pornography.

I’ll keep you posted.

Nats.