How To: Rest And (Not) Relax

So I thought I’d take a breather from work in 2020 to reflect my life and figure out how to spend the remaining half of my professional life. In hindsight (thank you, useless as always) I should have self-medicated myself into a year-long coma like the protagonist in My Year of Rest And Relaxation by the brilliant Ottessa Moshfegh, but haven’t – yet. Here’s what to expect during a pandemic sabbatical.

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Notes on Intercultural Mentoring

Eight years ago I made an attempt at returning to work in Finland after several years abroad. It was, to all intents, constructions and purposes a return to the fold of a wandering Finn. It was obviously a breeze: air was fresh, tap-water clean, domestic garbage collection impeccably organised, public authorities had access to the internet and could perform all types of matters online, everybody spoke my language and lunch was had at 11:30.

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The Education of an Idealist

I felt I had the Obama-era cabinet members and advisers pretty well covered already – those who had served in the White House (such as Michelle Obama, Alyssa Mastromonaco and Beck Dorey-Stein) and those who should have served in the White House (Hillary Clinton), but I came across another book that I didn’t want to pass on: The Education of an Idealist by Samantha Power.

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What Would Shakespeare’s Sister do?

I gave it a fair chance and nothing came of it: maybe it was the lockdown scrambling my brain, maybe it’s just how I’m wired, maybe it was mild claustrophobia building up, maybe all of the above, but I was getting nothing done at home. I would pace around my apartment like nervous pigeon, have half-started projects all over the place and switch between levitating on the sofa and manically skipping from one activity to other. A friend summed it up perfectly: it is idiocy to expect a new outcome if you keep doing the same thing without changing something. So I got myself a working space.

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