2013 in review…part 1

Starting this blog post is interesting. One of the things I wrote in the last couple of posts was, I recall, about writing more often. That was 3rd August and now we are a few days from the end of 2013. Hmmmm….the year seems to have sped by, although during many days in the second half of the year it felt like an arthritic tortoise swimming through molasses…frozen molasses at that. And then I turned around and it was Christmas.

The end of a year always makes me reflective. It’s difficult to say overall if it was a good or a bad year, there are always high and low points to every year. 2012 had its good points, but they were overshadowed by the bad times. This year has had more good points with its fair share of frustration. I finally got a new job, probably just after the last blog post. Technically I was meant to start the day before my birthday in September…well, that kind of didn’t happen. And still hasn’t. Now I am starting handover to my replacement on 13 January 2014. For a week. Then I have two weeks leave booked, and start my new role on 3rd February. I am worried (natural state) about the amount of backlog work that I have to get through. It was impossible to deal with that and get the job done during the last four months of the year. So good point one, I have a new job & with a great team.

Close friends had a baby girl on 25 July 2013. She turned 5 months old on Christmas Day and Milly is a delight. Milly cuddles make things better. That’s good point number two.

Michelle and James are together at last in Florida, I got the verandah roof fixed and a new fence, my parents have celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary and Dad is doing well health-wise. More good things. I don’t want to dwell on the other things…some of them are out of my control (HR policy, workloads etc) and some of them are in my control and I slipped (too much chocolate, too much coffee, not enough sleep & exercise).

So this time is for reflecting on what worked (the only goals I set, where I thought about the actual outcomes, were to see more of friends and family and get a new job! I achieved those for the most part – just should have been more specific on starting the job) and what didn’t…fitness/health, money, and enough sleep. Tomorrow is time for planning 2014 and focusing on more of the positives…that is why this is part one! more to follow…

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A bigger life

I saw a note to myself in my filofax, which I have been looking at making more useful and jazzing it up a bit. It was a note for a blog post. All it said was “A Bigger Life” and I only have a vague sense of what it meant when I wrote it. I think, perhaps, it was about feeling like my life had become focused on small things. Away from my dreams and goals. Focusing inwards and not outwards, or outwards but not reflecting enough.

I can’t recall. At the moment what it means is that I have been letting little things get to me. Small things. Petty jealousies, little worries mounting up. Like a thousand little threads, pinning me to the spot. Immobile. Not a nice place to be but I am okay. I am being more self-aware – particularly about the worries and jealousies. Stopping the negative thoughts and replacing them with positive ones. Letting go of what I can’t control. Caring about the people I love, in whatever way they need.

So I muddle onwards. Thinking if my filofax gets better organised them my life would be too. Trying to remember what my dreams are. I have an interview for that job, and a lovely cold/cough to take with me to it. Luckily it doesn’t seem to be bronchitis, it feels different than two months ago. However, it has interfered with my plans to see little Milly tomorrow. I want to keep this to myself.

Today has been quiet, and I don’t know why I feel flat. Maybe it’s just being sick. Or feeling like things are out of control a bit, or not knowing what I want. I think it’s because I am sick and have over-thinking. Time tomorrow to focus on preparation for the job interview. And my PhD supervisor is going to call me on Skype from the UK tomorrow night to talk about it.

Onwards and upwards…one step at a time 🙂

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Things I have learnt recently

So much for my promise to myself to post more often. Life as usual has gotten in the way. There have been some big disappointments, a wonderful new addition, and lots of lessons.

I had at least two big things planned for this year – a new job opportunity and a trip to Wimbledon with Mum. Dad being unwell meant that Mum and I were both reluctant to leave him for a month and we cancelled the trip. I applied and gave 110% to my application for a new role at work and didn’t get the job. What did I learn? Focus on little things – don’t just pin your hopes on the big things that you give a lot of energy to for years. Constantly review your goals, aim high but don’t expect…expectations lead to disappointment. I was disappointed about the trip but we got a full refund on the airfares and we both felt it was the right thing to do. The job failure knocked me sideways. I guess it is only to be expected. I have always been successful in job applications, I was very nervous in the interview and the other person was the better applicant for the job since she is already in that area. It has made me question myself and my abilities. I have just completed my application to be the new manager’s replacement in her substantive role. I will submit it tomorrow. I expect nothing.

There are positive things in this world to look forward to…close friends just had a gorgeous, tiny little girl. A beautiful, wondrous bundle of joy. Aunty Lesley is besotted. And I got to spend time with my nephew, now 16, and see how much he has grown up recently.

I have sent out some random acts of kindness, supported some friends who are having difficult times, spent time with family…life goes on, up and down, it goes on…and there is always wine!

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focus, discipline and frittering time away…

I had a note stuck on my computer when I was doing my PhD. It read “Focus + Discipline = Freedom.” Somewhere in the last two years I have lost that focus. I feel like I lose or waste a lot of time. What my mum would call ‘frittering it away’ – she uses that term for wasting time and money.

Some of what I do certainly isn’t a waste of time. I talk to friends. Read. Work. I’ve started knitting again. I do watch too much TV (although it tends to be on in the background while I am on my other biggest time waster – Facebook).

So what do I want to do with my time? What am I not discipined enough about? Well, I am not in a decent routine with housework, I don’t exercise, and I don’t cook enough healthy meals for myself. I don’t write, aside from this blog occasionally.

What do I need to do? What do I want to do? I want to be more organised, because more organisation means more time to be lazy without feeling guilty. I want to spend less time at work, so that means being focused and disciplined while I am there. And it also means having the strength to leave on time. I have to stop ignoring things like my health and wellbeing.

I know that I tend to set unrealistic goals for myself. That I beat myself up a lot for being imperfect. I assume the blame for everything. However, I learned some valuable lessons in the past week and a half. Mainly that patience really is a virtue. So is paying attention to your body when it comes to a halt and you have to rest. Everything is behind at work, and I have to focus and get things done. A lot of things.

I am still waiting to hear if I have an interview for the new position. And I know I need to prepare well for that interview. I need to not panic about the work that needs to be done and get stuck in – remember that I cannot do everything at once. I want to run around and clean the house from top to bottom, but I am not. I am sitting here updating my blog. Telling myself that overdoing it when I finally feel like my bronchitis is clearing would not be wise. Isn’t it funny how I resisted the need to sit and do nothing all week, and now that I am better and can do things, I prevaricate. Cannot decide what to do first so I do nothing. The house is a mess. It needs cleaning. Probably two weeks of solid spring cleaning. However I don’t have two weeks. And I don’t have an organised list of what to do. Ahh lists…we need more lists!!

I do have some more things to do in my lovely little house. So far today I have done the dishes, put a load of washing in front of the heater, and changed the cat litter. I am focusing on what will make my life easier this week. And what is driving me craziest. I need to vacuum and I need to iron and put all the clothes away.  If I get those two things done, I know I will feel better about the week. I may even go out and get groceries so I don’t have to do it on the way home from work tomorrow night.

Focus…on to the vacuuming…


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Number 1 priority

This last week or so has taught me a valuable lesson. I need to make myself and my health the number one priority in my life. It’s obvious, not just to me, that I was not only burning the candle at both ends but also in the middle.
Now I don’t mind being busy…but working 10+ hours a day, not eating properly, not exercising and putting lots of other people first has taken a toll. I would normally have shaken off this cold in a couple of days, not ended up with bronchitis for a week or more.
It has forced me to rest, drink enough water, take my vitamins.
So what now…I don’t know what my priorities will be but it seems a good time to start. Especially since I am being treated to a massage and facial tonight by a friend as an early birthday present. Other than that…enough sleep will do as a starting point, and drinking more water.

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The quickest way forward is to stop.

Well sometimes it is. When you develop bronchitis and keep pushing yourself to get better quickly. When you get up and go to work on a Tuesday morning only to be told to go home again and rest.

Unfortunately the body heals at the rate it heals. Looking after yourself helps during these times. So I did come home today, have a lie down (because I didn’t realise how much getting dressed and getting to work would take out of me), and then snuggled on the couch with the cats. I have inhaled steam with eucalyptus oil, drunk about 2 litres of water, stayed warm, had soup, taken my antibiotics…and I am over it. I caught a cold last week which was a bad cough, on Thursday. It’s now Tuesday and I’m still coughing.

At least I had the sense to go to the doctor’s. A couple of friends pointed out that I was/am run down. That this isn’t the first time I’ve been sick this year. I have been working long hours, worrying about everyone else, and burning the candle at both ends. Okay…I’ve acknowledged that. Agreed with them. And now I have to work out a way forward.

I have tried to just sit with this while I am sick. I know it’s my body’s way of yelling at me to stop and rest. So I am…albeit somewhat grumpily. And I have not been planning or organising. I’ve just been…letting myself heal. Watching that I don’t get too down. I could be knitting, organising my next 5 year plan, preparing for the job interview I hope is coming up soon. Saving the world 😉 I do need to do those things. Just not right now. I did call my aunty today to check in with her – that was important. She is coping okay althought she is sad. I wish I could take that sadness away but I can’t.

I need to stop worrying about everything and everyone else. Well, more than is necessary. I need to get enough sleep, let myself heal and work out a way forward. For the moment, that means dinner, tv, rest and letting the future unfold for a little while on its own.

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When life has other plans…

What I thought was just a cold turned out to be bronchitis…I actually did go to the Dr today to find out what was wrong because I knew it had gone beyond a common cold. Mainly because I coughed so much last night on going to bed I got worried. Irrationally worried. “I’m afraid to go to sleep” – type scared. I read a whole book, snuggled under the blankets and realised it was because this time last year my uncle was in hospital with pneumonia. Some little gremlin in my brain was connecting my coughing with that and I was worried I wouldn’t wake up.
Obviously I did wake up…had a massive coughing fit and decided I really should just go to the GP. I’m not THAT kind of Doctor…as is pointed out to me sometimes. I usually think the Dr will say there is nothing wrong with me…I went through a lot of antibiotics last year with several colds and bugs. But sometimes you just need to face up to needing drugs to get rid of this particular bug.
I think the best advice was from the pharmacist’s assistant – mega doses of vitamin C, lots of water, take the antibiotics and bed rest.
I’m not that good about being told to rest. A few people have mentioned it…I pushed myself to go over to my aunty’s for dinner. Given this is the anniversary of that weekend Uncle Norman was hospitalised, I didn’t want to let her down. But I think tomorrow needs to be a day of bed rest.
Maybe that will give me thinking time…maybe I should stop thinking and just let myself heal…

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