when the good news comes

Well, my friends, looks like my hard work in the last one year has paid of a part of it – one of the projects I applied for is approved and for the second project I was able to gather some initial funds to help ask another organization to provide the remaining project resources.

Aaah. The sweet taste of being grateful, extra motivated, hopeful, and joyful πŸ™‚

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self-value, self-care, self-respect

If there is something nice about hard times is that you kind of understand your own value and prioritize your comfort.

This is exactly what I have done. I am going for a short business trip. Under normal conditions I would take the bus, I will not do that anymore. I will take the cab so that I can at least have a comfortable and short ride to and from the airport both here and in my destination.

The amount of money I would save by taking the bus does not even cover the expenses I made for a session of the physiotherapy for my lower back, let alone the negative effects and pain of, sitting and waiting in already kind of long flight. Whose money am I saving anyways? A good organization that does amazing stuff, but saving money should not be at the expense of my health.

I am proud of myself and I really like this change.

 

change of plans and it was all for the happier :)

Just yesterday I had canceled a celebration event for a team member of mine. By giving me the extra time I needed during this stressful time, this cancellation was logically the right decision to help lower my stress.

Yet, it occurred to me later at night that my team member was quite saddened by this. So, I went to the event this morning and I am glad I did!

It did cost me around 3 hours away from office and work, yet the pride and excitement I felt was immerse. My team member was also extremely happy and I am glad I made this decision to attend the event.

I compensated for the lost time by getting up early with excitement and working for a full two hours without any distraction, and later in the evening continuing to work with a sense of happiness and positivity. Eventually, I did my work, and made myself happy and honoured my team member on this very important day.

It is a day turned wonderful.

Sometimes we may not remember that happy occasions are the true healers.

 

What comes first? Me, me, me, or my wellness?

It has been somehow stressful day; I have so much to do! πŸ™‚

Yet, I also felt like I could use my time better and I could award myself for doing well as well. This is really lovely – I think I have started to support and value my efforts a little bit better. Self-care is here πŸ™‚

One thing I am doing this week is to cancel showing up in events that celebrate the achievements of my team members. It was a hard decision to make, but I am glad I have as it gives me the much needed time. It is a first too. I talk to my team members and they understand the reasons well as well. I would think this was selfish, but maybe I should be a little bit. In order to protect my time and reduce my stress levels created by the lack of time to recuperate.

I have been to my counseling session yesterday. I talked for 40 minutes. How lovely πŸ™‚ Was I reserved? I was. But I also talked. I did not get a huge number of new thoughts/realizations out of the session that I did not already know -main points were:Β  mental health is important; I worry all the time; I am not interested in getting medication for anxiety or depression unless it is the last resort; I am close to burn out because of the intense work and stress (my counselor’s assessment); I must eat better; and I must exercise. And, time to care for myself – physically and mentally.

It is always good to hear from someone else that I must care for myself. This makes me feel supported in my decisions to not attend extra events this week and the weeks to come. This does not mean that I come first all the time, under all conditions – that would be selfishness and being self-oriented. It means my wellness should come first.

I like that.

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Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β 

 

Sunday morning musings and the happiness of succulents

Sunday morning is here! The peaceful cozy morning that amplifies the taste of fresh coffee and the hope for the rest of the day and the week πŸ™‚

I meant to work yesterday but it did not work out that well : I am not sorry. I actually had a great time painting more terra cotta pots and planting my new succulent and cacti babies. One of my friends gifted me with a number of succulents lately; one very fertile haworthia, two very ignored succulents (one is a black knight), and a number of little cacti πŸ™‚ At first I was skeptical about planting them in my painted and varnished pots, but then I thought I would observe them and see how they are doing. If required, I can always re-pot. Look at these beauties!

Nature is amazing!

The haworthia seemed like too populated with lots of pups, so I decided to divide it while re-planting. I hope to gift them to friends later should hey like their new environment and continue to thrive.

While re-potting, I ended up collecting some leaves as well – the big ones are from the black knight and the other little guys are from the other succulent (which I could not figure out what – if you know the name, please let me know.

My collection of succulents are increasing. I have 6-7 different types of cacti, 22 cacti seedlings that I germinated from seeds, a number of jades (two adult plants and many propagation from leaves or stem cuts), a gollum jade, two additional succulents I do not know what species, and two different types of haworthia, and many props πŸ™‚ If I am correct, I have over 30 pots around the house and the office and I will see how this will go on.

And, two of my christmas (or eastern) cacti leaves have been growing on their tips – I take ethat I am on the right direction and will have beautiful plants next year πŸ™‚

I will never know why I have got so interested in succulents and cacti, but let me tell you something my friends; they are amazing.

Β 

Have a great Sunday!

 

 

random thoughts

It has been a stress-free and lovely day – this kind of days always make me feel grateful πŸ™‚

I am enjoying may afternoon by watching a movie, enjoying hard candy, and thinking about my plant endeavors this Spring.

Yesterday I found mold in my cacti seedling tray. It was expected but I was nevertheless annoyed. I removed the mold and one seedling with it and sprayed the soil and the remaining seedlings with a dilute hydrogen peroxide solution. They looked great today and I hope it will continue like this. I have 22 seedlings left as of today – I am notΒ  sure whether all seeds germinated… They say some seeds, especially the large ones, may take several months to germinate. I remember seeing a couple of them within the seeds. I must have counted and noted the seeds, which would help me with this. Maybe next time πŸ™‚

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these little green things are the seedlings! after around 3 weeks of planting

My rescued bunny ear cactus is doing well. I noticed that one of the two pads was kind of lose, so I took it out, together with 4 other small pads growing out of it. I placed them in a shady place in my office. My plan is to leave them like this for two weeks and then plant in a pot. Hope to get many bunny ears cacti then πŸ™‚

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look at this pretty cactus πŸ™‚

On the jade leaf propagation side; my propagation tray is not doing well; so far I was not able to see any roots or mini-jades growing out of the leaves. I mist them every two days. Perhaps I should stop that as I have two other leaves in another pot, which I ignore mostly. One of them grew roots lately πŸ™‚ It is gonna be a lovely jade!

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no growth in this prop station yet… it has been 3 weeks 😦

On a very surprising side, a kalanchoe leave that I had got from a plant at the work-place has grown long roots (around 1.5 cm) in a pot hardly watered. Ignoring certainly works well with the succulents, my friends. I will be potting it in a lovely pot this weekend. Seeing the roots made my day πŸ™‚

A cactus cutting I have got, on the other hand, rot. I had watered it 2 weeks after I had let it develop callus and planted. Obviously, this was not enough. By all means – just let them be for a while, my friends – these plants know how to strive under drought conditions.

I have had 2 pothos cuttings that are developing strong roots in a jar of water. This plant cannot be killed, I say to you. I love seeing the leaves still growing in water and the roots developing. Life is everywhere and it is miraculous πŸ™‚

My little snake plant has adapted well to its new home (got it from the work-place; it is a product of a highly fertile snake plant with many baby plants potted around). It has a new leave coming out, which tells me that it is happy πŸ™‚

My three little succulent plants I purchased 3 weeks ago are also well – none of them died yet!! πŸ™‚ One of them is severely etiolated (it was like this when I purchased it) but once it gets stronger I plan to propagate its leaves and stalk. The gollum jade is growing a little gollum and I could not be happier to see it thriving πŸ™‚

My friends; plants certainly make one’s life happier and calmer.Β  This weekend we are planning to visit a nursery – I hope to be able to pick some succulents and perhaps some more seeds (if available). Cannot wait πŸ™‚

Happy plantingΒ  πŸ™‚

 

 

all the good things – check

  • sleeping well and getting up early – check

a good quality of sleep is something awesome, friends. It makes you refreshed, rested, and positive. Have I mentioned my doctor recommended using melatonin to help sleep? I took it only once; it upset my stomach and it felt strange. I am considering taking half of the supplements, but I will see how this will go first – maybe the better weather and sunny days will help.Β 

  • working at home on a report review and almost finishing it – check

this feels good. I have been working on it for the last three days. A kind of complicated file and reviewing it was hard, but I am almost there. I do this review for an external organization of which I am a member. There are a number of points that I do not have the expertise to evaluate. I note them clearly and make them know. I have come up with this idea a while ago while reviewing another file. I do not want to be responsible for shortsightedness if the file turns out to be problematic in the future. Feeling good to protect myself πŸ™‚

  • deciding to go to office even though it is a public holiday today (Victoria day) – check

I thought it was the best opportunity to do some work at the office while there were not many people around. I am glad I have! There were a few people like me who worked today but it was such a quiet and peaceful environment that I felt like I have done 3 days worth of work in a couple of hours. I am pleased πŸ™‚

  • walking to and from the office today – check!

this is the first time in a while that I have walked to office! I not only saved money (total around 20 bucks today), but also found a chance to exercise my body and calm my mind πŸ™‚

  • eating better with lots of fruits and healthy food – check
  • feeling calmer and hopeful – check

this is very important for me. I have been having down moments and anxiety lately – today has been really good in this regard πŸ™‚

  • realizing that my health-related expenses are increasing and I must make efforts to minimize my unnecessary expenses – check

This is not particularly a good news, but I would like to see it as such. It reminded me a few years back when I did not have much money left from my pay cheque (immediately after buying my house). It was a very hard feeling but I had decided to cut significant expenses to turn things around. I have not been fugal in the last 11 months, which shows in my chequing account. I have continuous physiotherapy (for my lower back) and now counseling sessions to start.. These are expensive services.

While I recognize their importance and benefits to me, I also recognize the fact that I may not be able to finance all of them while also taking the cab twice a day, eating junk food every day, and shopping without thinking much… It is time that I bone cut my all unnecessary expenses, friends. Every penny counts – I know this. I may not be able to get back all the money I wasted, but I may as well stop wasting more.

Good thing is that one of my recurring expense, my hair treatments as part of my saga to transition to gray hair is about to come to an end. I have one appointment next week and maybe yet another one in summer left to complete the transition (I hope). My hair looks a lot better than what I thought it would be, but it is time that I take a break from expensive toner treatments and see whether I can keep my hair myself. We will see how this will go ahead πŸ™‚ Gray hair is a sensitive matter!! πŸ™‚

  • removing a social from my calendar – check

under different conditions I would be happy to attend, but I am so booked that I do not wish to spend time on other peoples’ functions anymore. This was a surprising turn for me. Am I getting selfish? No. Am I prioritizing myself? Yes. I needed this.

I also did not want to spend money on this function. I thought I would rather spend this money on myself and this felt good. I am taking care of myself πŸ™‚

  • deciding that I did not have to attend all work-related functions or meetings – check

there are at least 4 functions I was invited to in a couple of weeks. These are functions that will acknowledge my team members’ success and achievements. While they are incredibly honoring moments, I will be wasting around 10 hours collectively. I can rather use this time for myself. I can go to physiotherapy, for example. Since each session costs me around 2.5 hours, I was only able to have sessions every other week. can you imagine? i cannot even make it to my physiotherapy because I am so crunched of time…

I kind of found that sad.

It is the right decision. I can use my time to care for myself. I am sure my team members will understand.

  • thinking that whatever has been happening in my professional life, they are not more important than my personal well-being – check!!!

Priceless.

 

 

Saturday morning musings

It is a beautiful sunny day that gives warmth to my heart and soothes my mind.

I m enjoying my early morning coffee and thinking about life, mine particularly.

Some things are going well. I am eating better and I bought a number of fresh produce to support my body and mind. There is something nice about taking care of myself and noticing this.

I am excited about the terra cotta pots that I have painted. So many colours! Will my cacti seedlings find their ways to growth and safe transportation to these pots? They say it may take around 6-12 months to reach them a safe size (around half an inch) to pot individually. I hope to be able to see this happening! πŸ™‚ I have currently around 22 seedlings that germinated in the last three weeks.. Yuppiii! It is a unique excitement to look at them in the office every day and seeing how many there are and how they are doing. I have two “albinos” that if I understood correctly cannot produce chlorophyll and are bound to die. I cannot graft them now (which is one of the ways to make them survive an thrive). That annoys me, but it is a way of nature I guess so I will take it.

 

The week has been turbulent as per the work but it is over now. We have a lot of issues and delays experienced that are worrying me. But then a new collaboration on a new project of mine is developing, which is exciting. I think I had written this a while ago that around 20% of my efforts turn into a productive one. At least I have that many of the work reaching to some kind of maturation. I made a short talk where I mentioned about our projects and it was kind of nice to see what a great diversity I have in my abilities. I also noticed that one project that I have been talking about for sometime now found its way to being in progress. This is awesome! I have yet another one that I am trying to bring to life. It has been in my list for a couple of years and I think I have found the perfect collaborator to do so. Maybe next year I can start talking about it in more detail as we move with the project. Overall, this kind of talks may take time but they also help me to see what I envision for my work, where my passion is, and how I develop over time.

To be able to recognize the positive side, among all the turbulence in my inner world, is priceless.

Add these to this tulip that dancing with the sun in my yard πŸ™‚

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What a day….

I was emotionally quite drained yesterday and found myself sleeping at around 7 pm. I slept around 12 hours and in the morning, I felt quite better.

I had quite a dream yesterday night. One of those dreams where you want to move in a certain way but you cannot. Everything I hanged on to to get up from the floor turned to something else and absolutely useless, and I was making an extraordinary effort to even move my arm holding on to that something….I was so focused on moving my arm and getting up in my dream that I did not even notice, talk, or support the person (a family member so dear to my heart) who was next to me in my dream.

There are many messages in this dream, I found quite reflective of my mental state and life/work struggles. I neglect the people most important to me (family), I find myself in constant struggle to even go through the simplest tasks (but I keep going despite everything and persistently try, which makes me admire my energy and determinism), and I am disappointed by the resources or opportunities available to me (or, I feel like nothing or noone supports me or they are not what I think they are).

What a dream.

I know that this dream is a work of my subconsciousness that is in a healing process. I believe it made my mental state better.

The whole day, I felt remarkably calm.

I knew that I must have changed things.

I knew that I was resisting to many things or changes.

And now I know that sometimes failure, the one thing that I am so afraid of, is actually needed. Sometimes, my friends, things do not go the way we wish them and there must be a stop point in resisting to let go or change the directions of our lives. if we cannot make this decision, then the failure makes us realize that we came to an end. Failure, in such a case, is a blessing, as it stops you from moving in the wrong direction.

I think it is time that I gracefully accept the failure. This feels safe and surprisingly good.

This does not mean that I let go of my current efforts to produce ideas and hard work. It means that I am kind of unattached to all my plans and wishes right now, and I have stopped beating myself about the possibility of current or future issues, problems, or unsuccessful work.

This is a relief.

I am not naive enough to think that all my issues are resolved or this mental clarity is permanent. But I am not afraid at this moment of issues or their effects on me. I may get up tomorrow feeling anxious and extremely caring about every single plan or wish of mine, but right now, I will soak in this peaceful feeling.

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I made my appointment with a psychologist yesterday. I resisted this idea for a decade or two. Maybe this is what is giving me these feelings of letting go. I am not sure. But I want to feel good and gain my composition, strength, and happiness again. I want to see and think more clearly.

Life is interesting. It teaches you everything you need, whether or not you want it is not relevant. It fixes you.

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In the mean time, I started to eat better – I ate some carrots at noon and cooked a meal for dinner. I ate healthy stuff. I took my time to cook for myself. I walked a bit during the day. I considered cutting coffee a little bit – from 6 cups to 3 cups maybe. I did my back exercises – not fully, but at least I recognize that if I do them, my healing will be speedier. I made a conscious choice of not filling my mind with worry about a problematic report that I expect to get tomorrow. I decided to smile more today and being a more pleasant and positive person – and it went well. I decided to not listen to music or TV shows late at night and rather focus on reflecting on the moment.

I decided to write these here so that I can document the reality.

Which I hope will change in a better way starting soon.

what comes with a year

I do not know how I feel, but after eating some food, I must say I am feeling better πŸ™‚

I think I have not eaten much in the last 24 hours. Yesterday evening was busy with a friend. I think we have had finger foods but then forgot to eat a decent dinner. This morning, as usual, I have not had a breakfast. And then, at noon, I managed to eat some left over food. But I guess that was it until 10 min ago, I remembered to eat a slice of sourdough and some yogurt.

Why am I telling you all of these?

I am very aware of the fact that I am highly stressed, somehow depressed and anxious. The last one year has been quite intense in terms of working, having all bunch of frustrations, and not taking a good care of myself. These were topped by the injuries, one to my elbow and the other to my lower back. I very well know that I must care for myself most during this time, and I am most resisting to the idea.

Why, I must ask.

Why would I resist to taking good care of myself?

I feel like every additional step I must take will stress me more. Like walking and other exercises my doctor has recommended to help with my sleep and stress problem. I used to walk every evening from my office to home, rain or shine did not matter much. Not anymore. I even cannot make to physiotherapy every week, even though it is probably a very important healing process for me. There is always something to do and something to take care of. Except my own well being.

I did, however, a good job today and started looking for a mental health counselor. My first shrink session to come πŸ™‚ I cannot believe. Maybe I should have done this long time ago. I really do not know. Maybe I will find relief.

I hope so.

I realize that in order for things in my life to change, I must change myself. The way I think and approach things.

Wish me luck πŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

 

 

a touch of kindness and cacti

I have a colleague that I find quite annoying. I really do not understand his reactions or comments. It is like we are of different worlds.

Fine with me. Fine with him. We keep our professional interactions distant. It works.

This morning he brought me a cactus (prickly pear) – my first cactus ever! He was aware of my latest interest in succulents and thought I might rescue his cactus. It is the most beautiful cactus -aΒ  little one with 3 levels of pads; the third level consist of small ones and it is so pretty πŸ™‚

It has been a warming moment between my colleague and I. I was genuinely happy and he was happy to see how happy I was. Emotions can be quite healing, my friends.

I was excited the whole day.

I planted my cactus in a new pot, changed its soil, and placed in a nice window sill. I will not water it for a week or so to give the roots a chance to heal. In a couple of months, I will try propagating it – I may have mini cacti! πŸ™‚

These being said, I have 4 cacti seedlings germinated. Unfortunately I dropped and broke one of the glass propagation containers. It demoralized me, but it should not (my new approach to self care – trying not to beat myself for accidents or mistakes…). I sifted out the soil, hopefully still having the seeds, and placed in another pot. I am not hopeful about the future of this propagation attempts, but who knows? Maybe the more I ignore (which I am inclined towards now), the more likely that one or two seeds will germinate… We shall see.

Three lessons learnt today;

  • A touch of kindness certainly can dissolve ice
  • Ignoring succulents/cacti is a much better approach for propagation – I can swear that the more you care, the less they grow or strive!
  • I can be compassionate towards myself πŸ™‚

 

 

 

positive vibes

The thought crosses the mind and the heart feels.

That is what they say. I kind of believe in this.

Today, I am turning my regular thought pattern of working of problems, and rather, note the random beauty and safety around me.

Like the light coming into my bedroom window right now – what a majestic thing! It is free, available to everyone, and has found my way. I am lucky :). Ligth finds me.

The song I am listening to right now is peaceful, melodic, and intense at the same time. The guitar is both speaking and dancing. All the peaceful and lively melodies find me feed my soul, get my attention and lift my mood up.

I created two lovely sourdough loaves today and shared one with my good neighbours. To be able to share without feeling the need or enforcement is such a bliss. I like this about myself – I like to share the things I cherish. I am kind to my neighbours and I treat them time to time with nice food, little gifts. I am abundant and kind.

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I find things to do when I need to. Like today I painted a number of small terra cota pots for my yet-to-come succulents and cacti (planted seeds last week – wish me luck). I have hobbies that let me create and get excited about what I can do.

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I feel less anxious than Friday and this is wonderful. Once again, my fears triggered by external resources/people and made me remember what I should be careful about in my future steps (about work). I welcome this fear to make my future less problematic and I let it go now – it served its purpose.

I planted a number of seeds in a windy day. Some may have gone around to my neighbours’ yards. May they find their niche, germinate, and make someone happy and joyful. Nature and I have so much to share.

Rain and wind knocked some of my daffodils and tulips. One tulip is standing tall and is about to bloom. Like this tulip, I too stand up no matter what.

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Everything is available in life and I claim my part of life right here, right now.

How about this as a turn of the way I often think?

πŸ™‚

 

 

 

Plan A and B

I came to realize that my emotions are quite strong.

Sometimes even stronger than my thoughts. They say our emotions are created by our thoughts. These thoughts must be quite silent or subtle for me – maybe my inner voice? – which make it quite difficult to identify them. In the absence of knowledge of my thoughts I am bound to feel the emotions as they come and go. The only ways I found that work are a) to force myself to remember for the good things that happened, and b) no resisting the emotions and rather let them be. They leave after a while.

Many years ago when I feel this way I wold read books. Reading and writing, as I do right now, seem to alleviate a significant part of these emotional burden. I must confess it has been quite some time that I read a book. Maybe tonite is the night.

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I have been to a meeting today. I have been serving in it for a year. Today after 2 hours (it usually lasts 3-4 hours), I could not take it anymore and left. I usually would stick to my commitments but I did not feel like it was going interesting. And by the look of how it moved, it possibly would take longer than 4 hours today. I threw myself out and bought myself a chocolate bar or two and arrived home.

I like this – I cared about myself and prioritized my own well-being and comfort over my commitments, this time an unfruitful one. It does not happen frequently and I have just realized what a great change it is!! One of the positive outcomes of this otherwise highly stressful and hard work year.

I could be getting ready to prioritize myself over the work issues or tasks. I know this would take quite a long time – I am not naive enough to think that just like that in an hour I completely dropped the long habit of living for work and started to live my life out of work… But this is a start and I appreciate the opportunity to experience and realize it.

I could be ready. For a better personal life and self-care.

During these times I appreciate the comfort my money provides me with. I am not sorry that I spent money on cab or chocolate or some extra food to enjoy today. While I recognize the need to use my money better and save for my future, I also recognize the fact that treating myself sometimes is necessary and even better.

We all have some coping skills at the face of stress or adversity. No sure what mine are; food, cardio exercise, books, writing, or plain going through it. I miss my stretching classes but cannot attend them now because of my lower back issue I experienced few weeks before. These classes give me some kind of peace, some kind of joy. It is hard to beat, but when I start them, after a few weeks I pull a muscle and end up popping muscle relaxants and pain killers for a few days. It is strange – but there is a 100% connection between the two. Is it something I do at these classes that triggers it? I am not a superstitious person, but it crossed my mind a couple of times that maybe I am not supposed to have this relaxation and joy I experienced at these classes. This should not be interpreted as I feel like I do not deserve to feel joyful or relaxed. Rather I think whatever makes me tense serves for a purpose.

What is it?

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One of my bosses described me as “intense” may years ago. I remember it very well. I know that I can be quite reactive and say whatever comes to my mind, without being political, and can fiercely object if it is not fair, clear, or right. To me, this is a good characteristics – do you want what I really think, or do you want me to say what you want to hear? I have never been good at being political. Always objective, just, and authentic.

In many ways, I can see why people would have a problem with this. Diversity of opinions and democracy and free speech has little place in teams that are focused on certain tasks, want to get things done, or find strength in their togetherness. The committee I served today is a good example of it. Listening to diverse points of view and having discussions around topics require time. When you have around 50 discussion points on the table, naturally nobody wants to hear different opinions or discussions lasting longer than a minute or two. People want to move on and finish on time.

Maybe if I stay in this committee long enough, I would also assume a similar priority and practice – just vote what the majority votes for, keep silent, and move on. Maybe everybody else thinks that this is not the best we can do, but the best we can have. Like Churchill said about democracy. Maybe all hard-working committees are operating under a similar modus operandi – executing a plan B successfully is better than struggling for a hard-to-get plan A.

I just realized that so far in my own personal life, I settled with plan B. I did not have time or energy left, after spending most of them on work and career most of my adult life.

Perhaps this can change.

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struggle or growth?

I am not sure whether I am struggling with my career or just growing.

It is sometimes hard to know, my friends.

I know I am struggling; I work harder than ever and trying to do many new things all at the same time. It is exhausting, stressful, and requires enormous amount of energy and focus. I do these because I am capable of doing, but the real motivation is the increasingly toxic and criticism-filled environment that makes me feel like I am not worthy and dispensable. I guess I am trying to show that I am not; I am a valuable and contributing member of my work-place. Even I say so now, I, the worst critique of myself.

It is strange writing this here – the real motivation after my over-work is being my frustration towards my work-place. Very counter-intuitive, is it not?

I think I must accept the fact that I had lost, and I am still at lost the majority of the time, my self-confidence in this position. The negative attitudes at my work triggered a reaction to turn things around. That is why I am working so hard and taking new roles. With each work and role accomplished, I gain confidence. Or, may be this is just an illusion. Hard to know….. But if it is real, then this hardship has been incredibly useful for me! πŸ™‚

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I am also growing. A lot changed in me since last year.

I am detached to my work-place and with each blow or slab to the face this detachment is growing. This is strange but also liberating indeed. It forces me to re-evaluate my wishes and my wants, and somehow forces me to think outside of my current box. Just yesterday I realized I could move to another country for work. Would it not be terrific? A new country, a new city, a new apartment, new bakery, new neighborhood, lots of plants, tall windows, people and lights in the street day and night. Energy, change, excitement, new experiences. Wow – that is a great picture!

I also became more assertive since last year and I am good at saying no now πŸ™‚ Well, at least better than before. I can also express myself and my frustration better. I can keep my stand better. This is lovely.

I also care much less about things that I would otherwise do; mostly related to work and work-related recognition. Less stress, less anxiety, more room for more important things. I hope.

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There is an apparent duality in my interpretations of these experiences, like in anything else I guess. One can argue that it is a point of view. Maybe one day I am struggling and maybe next day this experience makes me do something, which grows me (like the job application I made in Europe yesterday). Maybe it is all struggle and my mind finds some kind of serenity in finding/believing in positives (in order not to lose it).

I do not know really. Only time will tell. Right now, I know that I both struggle and grow at the same time.

It is a delicate balance; if struggle gets worse, the balance will tip down on this side and I may sink deep. If I grow, the other side of the balance will lift.

My aim is to lift myself up.

The balance is still unstable though. So, my struggle to end this struggle (what an irony – I need a new struggle to end another struggle??) is continuing.Β 

I am tired. Yes, I am. But I keep going.

I think I am giving a good fight here.

πŸ™‚

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life is interesting

I have done something interesting and applied for a job in Europe πŸ™‚

I have not thought about it, I have not overly thought about my cover letter, I just did it.

If I had waited, I would probably not have done this application. I am proud of myself because this excites me in so many ways.

First, it is a completely different but related career path that I have been interested in for many years. I have done some volunteer work in that area and it is one of my favoriteΒ  activities.

Second, it is in Europe, which is closer to my family! It was almost impossible for me to move there for a similar career to what I have right now. With this application, I am feeling free! I just saw that I have had other options in life, which I was not aware of just yesterday….

Third, this is a significant step for me. I believe this is the 4th time I made an application for a job in the last 10 years (since I have got my job here). The last two applications happened in the last 11 months…. I am not surprised considering the toxicity around my job and job place. But I am quite excited to see that I am taking steps… This is so interesting… And exciting!

The truth is I do not know if I could leave here so soon and move to another place: I have a house, work-place commitments to my team members, and I love Canada. I feel a part of it, safe, and well cared for here. It would be difficult to leave Canada. Oh, Canada!

Yet, if my life and my mental health will be better, and if it is going to be close to my family, I will take it!

πŸ™‚

Hope is a magnificent thing.

Also magnificent is the people and circumstances that piss and under-appreciate me. Thanks to them, I come to realize other opportunities.

Hardships grows and extends us – that is for sure.

 

 

detachment, work-place, and mental health

I feel so detached to my job. Maybe that is a good thing, maybe not.

Maybe it is a good thing. I am not fully satisfied with my job or my work-place anyhow. I am exhausted by the work-load. I can hardly find time for my own personal development and enjoyment. I am away from the people most matter to me (my family). I am frustrated and my nerves are fried frequently. I often ask myself “what is it that I want from my life and my future?” and I have no answer to that. I feel dried up. I feel living in a microcosmos that consists of mostly work, its problems, and the anxiety it creates.

On the other hand, my job is often respected. My salary is good, thank goodness. I have a simple life where I am – grateful again. I can have quite a frugal life if I want and save money each year (well, maybe not this year but that is okay). These are good things.

So, maybe detachment is a good thing so that I can actually leave here and open a new chapter in my life. It is somehow exciting but considering that I must find another job, it is anxiety-creating as well. I am scared of not finding a good job, a well-paying one.

Anxiety is a horrible thing, my friends. It stops you even you take a step. It fills your mind with all the negativity or possibilities that hope and excitement are buried under a heavy cloud.

Of course, one can argue that if I cannot change my circumstances, then perhaps I can and should change myself.

I am not sure that I can change myself. The way I think and take things. Not so much really. If I had worked less, maybe I could see things more clearly. If I had relaxed, maybe I would get less frustrated. If I had not cared, maybe I would not be emotionally impacted. It is hard to change myself, though I made some significant changes this year. Ironically I am working more, but at least on things that I benefit from. Like the committees I work at – they personally and professionally improve me. Like the new projects I am designing.Β  Like my creative juice sometimes running full-bodied and sweet. At other times, with other tasks, however, I am heavily burdened.

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I had started the day more or less well. What triggered this turn of emotions was a note from a superior showing the “stick” (where are all the carrots??). I feel intimidated, threatened, and certainly under-appreciated.

I just wonder how long I should take this sh.t and why I do not have the courage to quit myself. It is like I rather am waiting for something to happen so that I can say “that is it! I am quitting!“.

I am waiting, I see.

It is not a full detachment yet, with each “stick” I get closer to it. Maybe it is a good thing.

And, I have serious suspicions of this work-place making me mentally sick.

Depression? Anxiety? Both? Or simply, being fed up?

 

 

my little succulent heaven :)

I am obsessed with succulents!

A few years back a friend of mine had gifted me two jade plants. I largely ignored them. One of them was so much ignored that it turned its colour to brown and with wrinkled leaves. Upon watering a few times, it is back to its gorgeous self πŸ™‚

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The second jade was watered more and staying in my bathroom – that one did not get bloom too much and one of the stalks was lying around. So, I chopped it and hope that the cut pieces will develop roots and make new jades πŸ™‚

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And this is my prop station – it has been 10-15 days now that I have lied them on a shallow level of soil. I hope to see some roots and little plants sometime. I am worried that so far I have not got one, but hope is hope and I keep going πŸ™‚

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Then another friend of mine has gifted me with a little haworthia – it really loved its new home and grown over the winter. I changed its pot and I have 4-5 leaves that I hope will germinate. They say it is difficult, if not impossible, but I am trying πŸ™‚

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I do not know how I started getting massively interested in succulents, but I have been addicted! I read about them everyday and they intrigue me with their variety and interesting growth and propagation styles. Just yesterday I bought three little fellas that I hope to grow, keep, and propagate. I love the Crassula Portulacea (aka Shrek plant, Spoon jade, gollum fingers). Look at him – is it not a beauty? πŸ™‚

 

One of the other two have etiolated (meaning the stalk has grown tall while looking for light). I know it is challenging to fix this, but I am determined to take care of it well.

And this one is one of the jades that has grown from a fallen leaf – how cute is it?

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Nature is amazing!

πŸ™‚

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PS: I am trying to grow christmas cactus from the leaves. The way I read on the internet, I was supposed to callus the end and then insert into the soil. My question is, there are root like structures on top – was I supposed to insert that part of the leaves in the soil?

Any tips would be appreciated! πŸ™‚

 

random thoughts

Interesting times.

I am working like h..l again, but at least I can get motivated about it. I have two project applications to make in two weeks and it makes me excited only because I am almost done with one of them, and another one is nearly 50% done. I feel that one of them will get acceptance – is this realistic?

No.

But hope is a beautiful thing.

Hope Please GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

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It is my conclusion that only 10% of my efforts are to move forward…. This is a very conservative estimation, but it does not hurt. As a matter of fact, accepting the fact that many of my efforts will not be fruitful is somehow healthy; it helps me with dealing with the rejection.

There is a strange relationship between anticipation and hope and reality and feeling insensitive.

One or the other; hope versus insensitivity. Anticipation versus reality.

Which one do we want to have?

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a long weekend is coming….

A long weekend is coming and for the first time in a while, I do not have a plan.

Is this good? Bad?

Sometimes I see this as an opportunity to be spontaneous, which would be awesome to exercise this week. Maybe I would see a friend or invite over a couple of them. Maybe I will go visit a thrift store again – always fascinating πŸ™‚

Sometimes it just makes me bored or feel like I am wasting a great opportunity (3 days off, come on! this is a great time to enjoy) only because I did not long for it. This past week has been light in terms of work and stress, and as such, I have not dreamt of how great it would have been to have an extra day off from work. Anticipation, they say, is a joyful experience. I now know what they mean πŸ™‚

It is not too late to have the aim of enjoying this long weekend.

  • Maybe I will try a new recipe. As a matter of fact, I have become interested in yet another fermentation product, kvass. Maybe I will try it πŸ™‚
  • I can make some more parsnip and carrot pickle – the one that I made last weekend was amazing. Parsnip has a sweet smell that makes me excited about it.
  • I may try a new type of jam or marmalade, and share with friends. I want to try something unusual and challenging. Orange, clementine, berry marmalades are not interesting at this point (done that, been there). If you have any recommendation or recipe for a different type of jam, please feel free to let us know in the comment area.
  • I may visit my yard and maybe help it rejuvenate. I think I have seen the bulbs I planted last fall coming out a few days ago! Our winter is not over, but it has been such a mild one that I am not surprised to see them sprouting πŸ™‚ I am excited to see how they will come along.
  • My mom suggested that I give a dig or two around my garlic shoots. Yep, I have around 35 garlic that I had planted in fall and seem to be coming around πŸ™‚ What an exciting experience! If this experiment works well, I am sure to plant more in fall. Cannot wait πŸ™‚
  • Perhaps I can sew a couple of cloths to use during baking. I have had many, some of which were thick and really useful. Sadly they have got old and not usable anymore, but I am sure I have fabric here and there that can make my new cloths from. Let’s do this πŸ™‚
  • This week is also one of these weeks when I am attempting some kind of pantry challenge. I have a lot of food in the pantry and in the freezer – it is time that I consume them and open space for fresh ones. This will also help me save some money – I really need to do this so that I can have a healthy chequeing account while also I continue to regularly invest and finance my vacation in summer.

poetry and love

I am listening to a song from a few decades back. It is beautiful.

A part of the lyric says something like this ” do not let anyone to see you, before I do see you“.Β 

This kind of words affects me romantically and quite deeply. The pain and fear of losing the loved one,Β the innocent jealousy, the sincere admission of all of these raw feelings and only for our loved one.

Love is a great thing, my friends.

It literally gave me wings once. Joy. Zest for life. A hint of purpose. A different world. A different life. A different me.

I miss these feelings.

The only thing I could not experience was jealousy.

I have never been jealous of my loved ones. Why is that, I wonder. Was I unafraid of losing them, did I not love them, or did I just not have them at the first place?

Hard for me to know.

Say Goodbye GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

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generosity of a mentor

I read somewhere today that being a mentor/teacher means first and most being generous.

You know that I have been kind of self-centered lately, trying to keep my head above the muddy water,Β  and trying to care for my own wellness and work-related development and performance.

In the last few days, I have been feeling much less stressed and ready to take new challenges and tasks. Today one of my team members reminded me that before new challenges, I must turn my efforts to the development and progress of my team members.

My team members are all young and doing very well themselves. The intricate details and expectations from our work necessitate intensive training, however. That is why I spend a lot of time, especially in the initial years of my team members, to teach them. It is demanding and over time gets frustrating, but we all do well at the end. I have been doing much less of such training lately than before and giving independence to my team members. I must say some of them flourished duringΒ  this time, some of them are lagging and require my support and push, and some others do great, have incredible potential and character, and can do even more excellent if I side by them. The team member of mine who reminded me today to be generous with my time, support, and effort is of the latter type.

She is visiting my team for a short term. At first I was not overly enthusiastic, but I can see I was wrong. She is independent, very smart, and very enthusiastic. The work she has been doing is new to her but she grasps the concepts and does the work nicely. Today she brought me a gift (an inexpensive – thank goodness – but unique item that came directly from heart) to express her appreciation of me as a mentor and I was speechless. I do not accept gifts from my team members, but rejecting her gift was upsetting her very much, so eventually I decided I would accept it with the condition that she would never give me a gift again and I would get her a gift myself.

What bothers me is that I at least for five minutes drilled her for getting me a gift (could I not just graciously accept it and make her feel good at least?) and she got me a gift because she thought I was a great mentor (me??)…. I had not even spent enough time with her and with her work! How could I do that? Why was I so self-centered and did not care about her development as much as I normally would? My consciousness is bothering me big time.

From tomorrow on, I will start praising and further supporting the team members who are doing well themselves;Β  I will start tightening the work schedules of others who are lagging without my push or support, and I will find extra time to further train and develop the team member who reminded me that generosity in terms of sharing my time, expertise, and wisdom is the best I can provide and what I should exercise as a mentor.

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changing for a better me, for a better time

So this past year has been hard on me – it was highly stressful; I worked long hours; I was skeptical and suspicious of my professional future; I have got my blood pressure peaked a couple of times and almost got panic attacks; I have got my self-confidence shook very very strongly; and I have mostly ignored my daily, personal, simple, and frugal life so that I can channel my energy and time to my work-related efforts and use my money to comfort myself during this hard time.

Got GIF by Game of Thrones: #PrepareForWinter - Find & Share on GIPHY

The hardship started last summer when I realized that our work-place was getting more and more toxic (mostly because of financial issues) and they were openly making comments about firing people. How demoralizing? Very indeed. I worked so hard and did so much for my work and this organization that after all of these, if we get this kind of treatments instead of appreciation, it was time to think about what to do with my future.

  • This was one of the nicest things I have got out of this experience – that I was better than this and I deserved recognition by my work-place, not depreciation like they tend to favor.
  • I also did not want to spend my time trying to prove myself over and over. All these years and after all I have done, what else do they want?? (they do want lots of thing, by the way. It is never enough for them).
  • Most importantly, I realized that I was better than my current work-environment let me be and I was longing for developing further and reaching my personal and professional potential.
  • I applied for a job, for which I did not receive any response back. But that is okay. The important thing was I had started to react to my work/position here and I was being detached from it. This was wonderful – I never thought that I would leave my current job. Great experience!
  • I worked harder and on different topics, which took time and required a lot of courage. I did these. They have not yielded outputs yet, but I am hopeful and determined that they will.
  • I took new roles. That meant lost of time and reading/discussions/practicing to learn new things and taking new risks. It has been tough, but I am moving on smoothly.
  • I exercise new leadership roles and I am developing and discovering about myself in such roles. While this is emotionally challenging (a lot is expected from leaders and knowledge and experience together are required for effective leadership), there is so much I learn about myself that it is amazing πŸ™‚

I also aimed to change myself.

  • I realized I did not want to do what others were in fact supposed to do (my job requires a lot of this if we want things to move – sad truth is that as a project leader you shoulder a lot of the burden others should) and starting to say no. I first said no to reviewing a report, then another, and then another. I try to save my time for the things I want to deal with now.
  • I raised concerns and demanded better working conditions when my work place came to me with a silly tasks to be done (which can be done by someone else pretty easily).
  • I started to distance myself from the colleagues who ate up not only my time, but also my nerves with their negative, demanding, and belittling attitudes. This is one of my most significant victories….
  • I started raising my voice when my friends or colleagues unfairly criticized me – they think twice now I guess. I found that generalization is very easy and people tend to do this pretty frequently. However, seeing the view from the other side is necessary to understand things better. Many people miss that. I am vocal about this now when it comes to me or my work. I won’t take unnecessary and unfounded criticism that easily.
  • I say no to socials with people whom I do not wish to spend yet another minute.Β 
  • I started to value my time, energy, well-being, professional efforts, skills, and performance more than ever (talking about confidence that my work-place was trying to diminish with the talks of firing us.. What a nice turn of self-opinion? πŸ™‚ )
  • I started to be a little bit more smart and took steps to strengthen my position in my work-place while also developing myself further. I have two positions at my union’s committees and I am not only learning about our rights as workers, but also how to support myself and other workers against any organizational or professional issues. I feel safer and well supported. And in many ways, also protected. I will continue to work in one of these committees in the coming years, which I know is very beneficial for me. It is like a shield that can defer many silly attempts on me and other vulnerable colleagues. I am loving this.
  • I recently realized that I was very content and pleased with my efforts, hard-work, development, and changes. With this comes confidence and shutting down any effort to belittle me or my work. This is, my friends, priceless.

After all, this hard time is turning into a better and more pleasing experience. Like winter ending and Spring flourishing.

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one of these awesome days

One of these days that I am calm and feeling good about myself and the work.

One of my team members and I finished a big project today, which was on the go for 3.5 years. I cannot believe. She made that happen and she is leaving soon to move on with a better career. I could not be happier and more proud of her. May she always find success, happiness, and support in life. She has got my full blessing.

I feel like accomplished now a little bit and am feeling hopeful and excited about my work again. Results of this project will be used in many other projects and noone in the world has ever produced such results. The more I think about it, the more I am realizing what a unique and exciting project this was. I must be happy and proud of myself as well!

This realization brings me some sort of confidence and excitement – I have done very well indeed. There is hope that I will sign under the many more difficult and exciting projects. This is such a much needed feeling for me. I would not be surprised if I shed some tears out of joy πŸ™‚

Now I have space for future projects and my calendar is more permissive to move on with others that I have been planning. Happiness! πŸ™‚

I have four presentations to do withing the next four weeks – two of them being this week. I am ready for them. The other two, on the other hand, needs work. Ok – I can do this! After that my next biggest task will be writing a new type of report, which I am looking forward to. It will be challenging at the beginning, we have been keeping it under the radar for some time, and now I will have time to work on it. Something fresh, interesting, and developing me further as a professional. Excitement!

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I was telling one of my friends today that I wonder how I and my life will develop in the next three years. I know that I have been changing my approach to others at work, becoming a little bit more focused on my own interests and reducing my commitment to others’ work, being interested in challenging and developing myself by taking new roles and responsibilities, becoming more assertive, and most importantly, questioning my own look at my life. I told my friend today that I sometimes think about resignment. Not that I want to but I guess it is one way to free myself from all the little issues and attitudes that bother me. Thinking about resignment gives me some kind of relief from the current issues. It also helps me with un-attaching myself from work. I was always overly committed to work and as such have ignored the other important things in life.

What are the important things in life?

Certainly my family is important.

I am important.

It is time that I let these realizations sink into my mind…

It is exciting that I am curious about my future, don’t you think? πŸ™‚ This is certainly becoming an exciting anticipation for me – I want my future to be better, happier, healthier, and more meaningful. I want to have dreams and plans. I want to do different things. I want to feel good about myself and my frequent efforts to do so!

May the next days bring joy, success, happiness, health, and good people, experiences, memories, and opportunities to all of us πŸ™‚

 

all the good things – check

  • eating carrots and an apple at the office – check
  • not being stressed much – check
  • working nice and easy – check
  • advising three of my team members about their performances – check
  • having the energy to work and keep going – check
  • prioritizing comfort – check
  • saying no to an extra responsibility – check
  • deciding not to attend to a social I am insisted to attend – check
  • finishing up some great projects and opening time for new projects – check
  • aiming to re-prioritize my well being and simple/frugal life – check
  • planning to visit some thrift stores tomorrow – check
  • flossing my teeth – check
  • feeling good about a new team member’s performance – check
  • being vocal about an extra work we are imposed to by the administration – check
  • drinking kefir – check
  • getting a large piece of home-made cake by a colleague and enjoying it with coffee in the morning – check

 

time to slow down

I have been sleeping much less lately.

Last week I woke up around 5-6 am each morning and went to bed at my regular time (around 11 pm). This is like 6-7 hours of sleep per night. Today I woke up at 4 pm after 5 hours of sleep and worked a full 12 hours at the office. Surprisingly I am not even feeling tired.

This is not normal.

I think I am at a heightened state. I knew that I was stressed and working very hard since last July. But I did not think that I would adapt to this prolonged stress situation and perform high. I realize it now that I may be close to a burn out, and thus, I should slow down to prevent it.

I have an important submission to make tomorrow. After that I will have to take care of many things but I will take it easy. I plan to take the Friday afternoon off and have a kind of long weekend. I want to sleep, eat better, and just wind down.

I can do it.

With this, I am not saying that I am capable of doing it.

I am saying that I allow myself to do it.

last week: What do you do in such a situation?

Last week was interesting.

My computer crashed.

What do you do in such a situation?

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Well.

First; keep calm.Β 

Two; get a new computer after making your homework and selecting one suitable for your needs.

Since it takes some time to do #2 above, I spend 3 days without computer at home.

Three days!!!!

What do you do without a computer at home?

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First; keep calm.

Second; see whether the radio-clock works and you can listen to music/news. It did work, which was a huge blessing. May I say that this was the first time I listened to the radio in the last one decade or so? Well done.

Third: get bored and read a work-related book (that I have been meaning to do since last summer and feel good about this). Score!

Fourth; get bored. And, boy, what a boredom it was. So go to sleep early.

Fifth: since you are going to bed early, be prepared to get up early. 5 am to be exact!

What do you do with all the time at your hand?

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First; you (I) take a cab just because buses do not work at that hour, and work, which is awesome. It gives much needed time to finish a couple of things.

Second; since home is not attractive anymore, you also spend more time at the office, which is great. This way you continue to work and finish tasks.

Third – among all of these catastrophic(!) mis-order of daily life, you kind of realize what an important role computer has in your life. It is the window to the outside world and number one channel to interact with others. It is one tool that helps you relax, read, write, listen to music, and watch TV. It is one thing that keeps your life in order with the planning sheets and record documents. It is one thing other than a human that can make your life easy, comfortable, cherishable, and fun.

Go hug your computer – it deserves it.

 

remembering dad and a few good things

Today is the 2nd anniversary of my dad’s passing.

I remember him with his smile, sky blue eyes, nice skin, strong chin, beautiful voice, and presence. I wish things were different and we could go back and fix everything between us. I wish I could be there for him and kiss his cheeks once more. I wish I could say daddy again.

I cannot.

But I also know that he and I loved each other and we would not wish for another dad, another daughter. He showed his fatherhood and introduced us to not only life but also death, and walked through his lonely journey all by himself. Like his dad, like his mom, like his brothers. At least he was not alone.

Rest in peace dad. One day I will find you again. I promise.

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In the last few days I have been getting really tired of being annoyed by some people and my work being the most important thing in my life.

I had to have dinner with two colleagues I really dislike (!) and a third one I somehow like. I hated the idea of spending my time with the people I disliked but the night went okay, thanks to my third colleague. The two continued to annoy me during the dinner and it has come to a point that I do not want them to affect me this way anymore. I do not know why I cannot let go off their ridiculous ways, but this is what it is.Β  I will find additional ways to further distance myself from them. At least the benefit of this highly annoying dinner was that finally I have had it enough. It came to a point that cannot be ignored. And this is a good thing. A large part of our relationship is over.

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And I have been thinking for sometime that life has been going, I was getting older and closer to death each day, and all I was thinking about lately was how miserable, stressed, unappreciated, and financially insecure I was at work.Β 

One of the changes that has happened this past summer was that I did not want to dwell on small issues and rather use my time, effort, and skills for bigger issues, bigger fights, bigger good. The fact is this: I happen to find issues in anything in life (a professional curse) and dwell on them full force. The question I asked myself was whether I wanted to have a bigger professional life and deal with bigger issues taking similar time and energy, and having similar levels of irritation/stress. The answer is an easy yes. That is why I undertake a lot more this year in terms of leadership and committee work.

I have started to extend this to my personal life. This morning I was talking to my sister and I said since my social life is small, even the little social interactions, if a little annoying, annoys me big time. I said that I have decided to have a bigger life and then get annoyed if I must. Maybe I will learn one or more things. Maybe I will meet great people. Maybe I will find ways to enrich my own inner life. I know it will be better, no matter what.

As part of this, I am excited to say that I re-started my stretching/meditation classes tonite. Just like that I showed up there, purchased my plan, sat on the floor in a quiet, warm, and cozy room with others, breathed in and out, calming my mind and soothing my body. And I just felt that calming my mind was one of the most fantastic things I have ever done for myself lately.

πŸ™‚

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all the good things – check

  • getting up early and going to work before 8 am – check
  • working with a team member very effectively and finishing a project of 3.5 years – check, check, check! πŸ™‚
  • remembering to celebrate the end of project – check!
  • walking in the evening – check
  • working at home for 3 hours on a report and thinking “what do I do wrong to have this hectic year full of work and stress?” I must change things again – it is the time. I should say no more often. I should write my reports better so that I will not have to revise and change them significantly – this is causing me to work on them more than required. I must look for opportunities to lessen my paperwork.Β  I can set aside time each day for little work that would not require full focus or energy; these could be taken care of really fast and would give me acceleration. I notice that I work incredibly efficient in the morning – so I can aim to get up earlier and do the important work first. From tomorrow on I aim to get up around 7.30. check
  • getting no discount from an international meeting. I did not really want to attend this meeting this year. I asked for a discount in attendance fees and I was not awarded it this year. I feel relieved, even though this is a rejection! πŸ™‚ There will be other opportunities – a new city, a new type of meeting. I am looking forward to the opportunity to find it out!Β  – check
  • being ready for important work tomorrow and having good plans for tomorrow and the weekend – check
  • securing a seat at a committee of my union for another year. This is important for my professional development and feeling more supported and secureΒ – check

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all the good things – check

  • missing the bus and walking in the morning to office – check
  • treating myself with a muffin – check
  • working long hours without losing focus or energy – check
  • having a lunch with a friend, a very rare treat for me during the week days – check
  • getting a ride back home by a colleague in the afternoon while it heavily snowed – check
  • drinking kefir and loving every drop – check
  • keeping calm the whole day – check
  • realizing despite feeling largely like a failure, how well my projects created unique outcomes in the last one year and will continue to do so in at least the next two years – check
  • feeling sleepy and getting ready for a resting night sleep – check

all the good things – check

  • not spending on anything, other than the bus token – check
  • eating home-made meal from freezer (thawed overnight) – check
  • walking in the afternoon from office to home – check
  • working till late and taking care of some minor work – check
  • taking “me” time and watching a favorite show – check
  • eating apples at the office and yogurt at home – check
  • being happy for someone dear to my heart, who is having a happy day – check
  • being proud and excited of these – check

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random thoughts in a fine day

It has been a fine day.

What a luxury.

I am for sure grateful for today enormously.

The day started before 9 am with a good night sleep and not so negative thoughts rushing in my mind. The Sunday morning routine, which consists of shaping my sourdough loaf and then drinking coffee nice and easy while also browsing the news and emails, went without any rush or stress. It was fully relaxing.

A couple of things that I have done differently than my routine weekend activities were speaking to my family a little bit early, dressing up for the afternoon funeral, taking the bus to go to office, and working there for a few hours without any distraction or humans around.

This may sound weird, but not having anyone around gave me peace today.Β 

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I then walked to the funeral home nearby and paid my respect to the deceased person I knew. She was lovely person with a genuine interest in anyone she met with. I hope she had had a lovely life and lots of laughters. She sure was loved.

At the funeral home, I gotta meet with a few colleagues of mine and found a chance to talk with them as well. It was nice to feel like a community and supporting our friends during these difficult times. Togetherness means a lot in these situations. I am glad I have showed up there today.

While I stayed longer than I planned, I left there feeling at peace. The walk back to home was around 30 min and relaxing. The chilly but clean air makes a positive impact on me – it was one of these rare occasions lately that I just walked effortlessly and without any work related issues in my mind. There was no stress today.

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I keep thinking that I am not a funeral person. I believe this was the 3rd funeral I have ever attended in my life. I know this is weird, but I am not used to death even though I am mid-aged. I have a tendency to get emotional, break tears, not know what to say, eventually feel like a drama queen who thinks that she behaved like everything was about herself, rather than a concerned person who supports the people who have lost a loved one. I find myself ridiculous, in summary. But I also like the fact that I am aware of my behavior or naiveness. I know that next time I will become closer to what I think I must do and support those people with words, actions, and care.

It occurred to me once again today that I did not attend my father’s funeral almost 2 years ago. Not that I did not want to. I could not. It would require me to fly around 24 hours to reach to my home country and then an additional 12 hours to reach where my father used to live. I could not see myself doing this trip without breaking emotionally. So I rather stayed here and lived every single pain, concern, and true sadness of this new reality of my dad.

One of the colleagues I met at the funeral today told me that we come to life alone, and we leave life alone. How true. It is this part of the journey that made me sad more – the process of death and going through it all alone. Did my dad know that he was dying? Was he scared? Did he need me or someone else? I will never know. But I know that by giving my full attention to him in my thoughts I at least felt like I was with him then.

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Death changes you. That is for sure. It is so powerful. But so is life. Another colleague of mine I saw today said that it was all about what we wanted in life and whether or not what we have right now was it. If not, what were we waiting for? Let’s make that jump to start the journey towards what our heart wishes.Β 

How interesting to hear this from someone else today.

I told her what has been on my mind for sometime – I know that this was not what I wanted, but I did not know what I really wanted and hence cannot take the steps. Yet.

She smiled and said – its time would come eventually.

I believe in this.Β Life is precious. My life. Your life. Anybody’s life.Β 

what matters in life most

I will be attending a funeral tomorrow for someone I knew.Β 

Like many of us, I have many minor things in my life and thoughts that actually do not matter most in life; work-related issues and people’s behaviors would be the top two. I stress and hurt myself over these.

What is the purpose of all these fuss that clogs our vision and prevents us from seeing what really matters in life? I do not know. Maybe we are taking it too serious. Maybe we need to secure our physical, mental, and financial well-being before we can let go or enjoy life. Maybe we are conditioned too much or scared unnecessarily? I do not know really.

Will it matter eventually?Β 

Soon it is gonna be two years that I have lost my dad – may he rest in peace. I had realized only after his death that in reality, one day we are alive and the next day it is done.

Thus, the question:Β What really matters?

  • My family matters
  • I matter
  • Making a positive contribution to society or others matters
  • Feeling good matters
  • Feeling free matters
  • Being hopeful matters
  • Being treated with respect and fairness matters
  • Feeling optimistic or in control about my future and retirement matters
  • Seeing things a little bit more clearly matters
  • Developing skills to know what is important and what is not, and to act or change accordingly, matters; if you have any suggestions on how to do this, please drop a line or two in the comments section

what is it that I am supposed to become?

This is a crucial question.

What am I supposed to learn from all of these work-related failures and then shape my future accordingly?

Two important applications of mine have been rejected recently, one being today, making my hard-work in the last few months nill.

I think I am kind of catatonic because I am not even feeling the sting of this situation.Β 

Things are not going well, re: work and my career. I understand that I must learn something and move on, but what the hey is that? When will I know what it is?

I kinda believe that I must stop all my attachments to my current work and whatever I feel is necessary or important (except my family and my well being), so that I can open roads for wider opportunities. Maybe I am not supposed to continue here, but move somewhere.

Where is it?

Maybe the future is bright, but I realy do not know..

Will it reveal itself to me?

How many more times must I feel like I am making one last effort to turn things around?

I have not given up yet, but it would be nice if I could get something out of all of these hard times..

Please.

……………………..

 

The curious case of “what if this is the best year of something?”

I was reading a blog post somewhere which gave me this idea:

What would be one or two things that life this year could have presented me with the best yet?

  • Best moments of feeling free (in rare moments in between stress)?
  • Being less perfectionist and saying no at work?
  • Being more outspoken in circumstances that require a reaction?
  • Being a little bit more self-oriented?
  • Actively engaging in changing my approach to life and work?
  • ……………….

I like this idea πŸ™‚

Not everything can be bad. I guess within all the fog, we have some kind of lovely flowers growing somewhere out there.

What is it that this year has given you the best yet?

wish for a new chapter in my life

Today was an interesting mix of feelings: I have been feeling kind of better one moment, and the next moment, feeling the same as in the last months when I was quite stressed and anxious.

In the middle of all of these “transitional” feelings, I felt like it would be so nice if I had closed this chapter in my life and open a new one; after all, thinking about what happened or did not happen would only make me feel frustrated, resentful, or anxious while thinking about how I changed and what I learnt along the process would only make me energized, freed, and hopeful.

Choice is quite clear.

Somethings will likely continue: I will still have to work hard and long hours; deal with issues and find solutions; deal with people; and deal with stress.

But I will also keep saying no to extra work; lose my perfectionist attitude on un-critical tasks; turn off my email when I need to focus; delegate some of the tasks to others; pamper myself with little indulgences (such as chocolate); be kind and supportive to myself; read inspirational or positive news and stories; and spare time for myself and my daily routine. I would also not dwell on the past issues or experiences and make my mental space less toxic and foggy.

How does this sound?

It sounds and feels great to me. I am ready to forget past feelings and replace them with a clean sheet of mental and emotional space.

I am releasing the negative thoughts about the people who gave me hardship; I am releasing the negative thoughts about myself; I am releasing the negative thoughts about life.

I am welcoming the opportunities; lovely people; success; calmness; peace; hope; and self-appreciation.

I feel like I must write these last sentences over and over to make my stubborn mind digest them πŸ™‚ I may or may not be able to do these right away, but I know that I am moving away from negativity towards a new chapter in my life, and away from feeling like s.it to feeling stronger, determined, and hopeful πŸ™‚

 

 

 

it can only get better from here

Life is interesting.

I was talking to a cab driver this morning who told me for an unrelated (economy-related) issue that “it cannot go worse than this; I think we hit the bottom of the rock, it can only get better from here – up“.

I believe in this and had said a similar thing to a friend about my own recent stress and struggles. Together with my experience with my friends yesterday (which helped me to actually demonstrate myself that I have had the confidence to stand up for myself), hearing this from a stranger today has helped my mind to materialize this hopeful attitude.

With these positive experiences, as another step towards making myself less stressful, I decided on an important report that it did not have to be perfect. It was already in a good shape and as such, I submitted it today. Additionally, I finished another one tonite, which will be submitted tomorrow πŸ™‚

Two big jobs that have been on my list for weeks are now done.

Wow.

I did it.

These are the second and third imperfect (but perfectly in good condition) work that I have submitted in the last two weeks or so. What a beautiful change in how I approach my work and personal wellness. I feel relieved and happier.

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I have been hard on myself for taking the cab (rather than the bus), but I guess life has had its own way of telling me that sometime what we think as bad can actually be pretty good for us.

 

 

a little rant

Ok. So you think you have friends and tell them that you are not feeling well. Two of them take you out for an afternoon coffee and they start lecturing you about how you should not feel this way or that way; how you should do this or that. And when you react to what they say (which is mostly not relevant to me or the situation I am in), they mention that your perception of things and their efforts are affected by you not feeling well, and as such, is distorted.

Well.. Well.. Well..

Excuse me!

In order to understand the person across from you, you must first listen to, rather than questioning or lecturing. Over-generalization of everybody and every situation is NOT a good practice. I understand that my friends were trying to be “friends” and “helping”, but this is not the best way to demonstrate these.

I rather wished my friends asked me how I think they could help or whatΒ I would need from them.

Let’s keep this in mind next time when we have a friend who is going through a stressful time.

On a separate note, I am glad that I stood up to my grounds and expressed myself.

 

it is time to have some plans

Now that I do not get any more (strong) anxiety, I have decided it was time that I come back to my regular routine by re-introducing my small daily life goals.

They literally make me feel like I am in control of my life, I am capable of taking care of my life and myself, and I am capable of making positive changes in my life.

They may be small, but mighty! πŸ™‚

Here they are:

Working at the office, not at home, during the weekdays: Working mostly at home in the last 7 months made me socially isolated. I now feel better if I am in the office and do the work there. I can and will continue to work at home after hours/weekends, but at least my social health will be better. I will also enjoy being at home – lately I went through too many of stressful times while trying to do work at home. It is time that I experience what “home” means.

Taking the bus and walking: Last week was good in terms of taking the bus in the morning and walking in the afternoons (back to home). I do not want to waste anymore dimes on the cab (although I love it – so easy and comfy. Also the cabbies are always nice and very talkative). BUT I want to keep my money for more important things. I must keep my money for more important things.

Eating better: I have done well in the last two weeks by eating a variety and healthy food. I still sometime munch on candy or chocolate, but I cook more and eat more salad. The lettuce seems to be doing the magic πŸ™‚

Stretching and elbow exercises: My physiotherapy continues and my elbow has been feeling better but not quite healed. I was given a new exercise last Friday that aims to smooth the muscles around my elbow (they are very tight). The effect was instantaneous and I cannot think about not doing these exercises! I feel so lucky and hopeful that my elbow will be like new quite soon πŸ™‚

Budget and frugal life-style:Β  This is a long one.

I have been struggling with keeping up with my budget and that makes me feel bad. Literally bad. I have had a very successful history of highly effective budget and saving as much as I can. Last year was hugely successful.

However, I have not started this year well and I am way above my weekly budget and cannot save much from my pay check. This is ridiculous – I have some payments coming up; one soon for a plane ticket to Europe and another one for an investment account (an annual sum that challenges me each year, but I keep making it knowing that in the future it will be so useful). According to my calculations, unless I save around a good sum of money each month, it looks like I will not be able to make pre-payments and I will have to tap into my line of credit account.

WHAT??

An additional debt? Was mortgage not good enough??

By the way; why did Bank of Canada increased its interest rate? Argh.. Now the major Canadian banks are increasing their mortgage rates and they predict further increases in the future. My term ends in 2 years and with increased tax and no salary increase, how the hey am I supposed to pay my mortgage, invest for my retirement, and have a comfortable life all at the same time ??

……..

Going back to my frugality plan; all I have to do is to start being responsible and motivated about savings again. Which is hard. I meant to do this almost everyday lately. I know that it will happen one day, but when is that day? Tomorrow? Monday? Next week?Β 

I chose Monday – wish me luck πŸ™‚

 

 

 

craving for garlic

Boy.. I am craving for garlic…

Luckily I have a nice bunch of garlic that I have been munching on since yesterday.

I do not find garlic gross at all, but this craving is unusual. Having its crunchy and fresh texture between my teeth makes me feel great; having its smell in my nostrils rejuvenates my energy levels; and having its bitter taste at the tip of my tongue makes me feel alive.

I kind of think that it helps with my feeling down. Maybe my blood pressure has elevated and it helps drop it.

Whatever the reason, I am feeling better by eating it and I welcome this relatively healthy craving.

finding a balance

My recent bout of feeling anxious and down has several causes I can think of. One of them is the re-prioritization of extensive work in the last 7 months of my life; I worked day and night and with great intensity. I have undertaken new roles, new projects, and faced lots of issues to deal with. I have been trying to grow and get stronger professionally. That meant giving my own emotional and physical health a lower priority and some parts of the jobs the same.

Right now what I am feeling is lack of control over my work and personal life. My mind keeps presenting me scenarios of negative outcomes, one being failure. Anxiety I am feeling is real.

I find some level of serenity by facing the issues, realizing what happened and why happened, and getting back to my past experience to predict for the future. My issues are the ongoing neglect on the other parts of my professional and personal life that if not handled soon can create negative outcomes; the reason they have happened is because of the toxic and negative work environment that pushed me to work at a high level continuously and the need to deal with this stress with unhealthy habits or food; and my past experiences tell me that this too will pass if I handle things well now, re-prioritize things in my life, be kind to myself, and the anxiety I feel is often an alarming but useful reminder of these changes.

I may be a control freak and I have no shame in telling this. My job requires a good deal of control for a high quality work, so maybe I am well cut for it. Maybe it makes me this way – who knows?

It is well known that in my line of work, there are many pressures that we need to deal; internal or external. Nothing new to me. I will take one thing at a time. Some things need to be dropped. Other things need to be started. I cannot prioritize my personal life yet, but I will start with controlling the work first (obviously it is very important for me) stating with neglected parts of it, starting tomorrow.

I may also ask for help. My mental health is important to me. If this goes on for a period of time, I will be speaking to a doctor.

In the middle of all of these reflections, I keep wondering how that life-work balance works for everyone.Β 

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how blogging changes your life

I have been contemplating, however late it seems this year, about the changes I want to make in my life in 2018.

Then I realized I have already done quite a bit of changes and improvements that made my life abundant, easy, more self-sufficient, and satisfactory. I think I am good where I am πŸ™‚

The majority of the changes I have made fall in the following categories: frugal life; simple life; reduced waste; and self-reliance.

Let me explain.

The need for frugal live was driven by the home-ownership that necessitated cutting costs and increasing age that require better investments so that I could handle the repair and other costs a house requires (a 100 years old house requires many) and the anxiety and uncertainty about my own future. While I was on the average pretty good in living below my means, thanks to many inspiring stories and bloggers going through the same journey I found some kind of strength and higher level of motivation. Score! πŸ™‚ Frugal life-standards made me appreciate what I have had and the excitement coming out of finding ways to cut cost, better deals, and better financial management. As a result comes the feeling of being less dependent on material and being abundant in so many different ways.

As part of frugal choices, I also switched from automatic take of cab in the morning and the afternoon during the work days. It was a struggle alright and it still is. Bus operates only every 30 min and in our harsh Canadian winters it is not a pleasant activity to wait in an open bus stop. I still take the cab time to time when I am crunched in time or tired. But when compared to previous years, I say the reduction in my transportation cost is an impressive success.

I also walk time to time to work and from work. I am usually good at routinely walking in the afternoon. In summer time walking in the morning is also very pleasant. I feel great after walking 25-30 min and it also makes me proud of myself for having a day relying on my own abilities rather than others. It is one example of self-sufficiency and easy-peasy life style I have developed lately.

Other examples of self-sufficiency efforts are baking my own bread, making my own jams/marmalade, ad pickling. They are not only exciting activities, but I also share them with neighbours and friends, which gives me an extra level of excitement.

The frugal life also brings in reducing waste, particularly food waste. I now am very conscious about what I purchase and I also freeze food. Frozen food is very practical for me as I do not like cooking everyday and a ready meal is always appreciated, especially if they are home-made. I implemented other changes in my aim to reduce the waste. Plastic shopping bags is a good example; I mostly use my tote now. I donate my clothes and other items if they are in good conditions to prevent them from ending up in the landfill (and support people in need). I use mostly re-usable cleaning cloths rather than paper towels. I cut up old clothes (not good enough to be donated) and use them as one-time cleaning cloths. I make use of coupons, while not in great quantity, to help with my expenses. Last, I also purchase items from thrift stores that helps not only me and environment but also the people in need and the organizations that support them.

I also declutter once a year or so to identify the extra, un-wanted, or battered items, and then remove them from my office or home by dumping, donating, or re-using. Excellent activity I must say. What a relief once they are gone out of my life. Additionally, it helps me to see what I already have and make use of them and feel grateful for their presence in my life. How many times I found a pair of shoes or a piece of clothe in good condition that I could use? Blogs about decluttering was instrumental in doing this activity at a more conscious level.

When I look at all of these I kind of realize that they are all inter-connected; frugal life style is powered by decluttering and making smarter choices about expenses and needs/wants; waste and unnecessary expenses are reduced by many small acts; abundance increase by being aware and grateful; and life becomes quite easier once we realize the alternative ways to do the daily activities.

How is blogging related to all of these?

First, we by sharing our own stories and plans somehow support the others with the same interest. Second by sharing our plans, we move one step closer to implementing these plans in our lives. Third we often find new ways to enrich our lives and reach our goals; whether it is through shopping bans, or developing a hearty sourdough starter by looking at the others’ experiences.

My take on my current life style is that I in fact have done very well in reaching these aims and changing my priorities. It took me around 3 years, but I am content at where I am right now and I think this blog and blog sphere have been instrumental in it.

 

Here is to a new year in our lives

May this year be an opportunity to grow, accomplish our goals, improve our kindness and understanding, and do something that makes a wider positive difference.

May we see the beauty around us more, have less cluttered mind and smaller ego, have fantastic plans for ourselves, family, and community/humanity.

May those need food, shelter, safety, health care and mental support be given these without much of a struggle.

May we, despite our differences in opinions, habits, and ideals, re-find our common ground and focus on being human, being a part of the nature, and strengthen our collective consciousness.

May we take a moment each day and cherish those who are alive and remember those who passed away with gratitude, affection, and understanding.

May we make each day worth living and loving.

 

somethings do not change, others just do

Happy new year everyone!

I am in the 10th day of my paid holidays. I have done what I planned to do during this time; did not work or think about it, cleaned and decluttered my home, and interacted with my family always everyday.

One things I have not done is to reflect on 2017,Β  my experiences and having a closure on both the issues and the exciting developments. Each year I have done this, with some success being appreciated, sour points surfacing, and some important lessons learnt alongΒ  the way. When these doors are closed, there open doors for a fresh year ahead. Overall, it is a healthy exercise.

This does not mean that I cannot reflect right here and right now:

I have had an interesting 2017. I worked really hard especially in the last 6 months of the year, mostly from home. It stressed me but also made me create new ideas, projects, and reports. No day was wasted. I can say that I made an extraordinary effort to turn things around at my professional life. Whether they will turn out to be fruitful is to be experienced in 2018. So, there is hope there πŸ™‚

I have become more assertive and said “no” at work a couple of times. I am looking for many such occasions in 2018, which will be an interesting experience to come. Hope I can do this well.

I have not visited my family this year, which was hard on all of us. We have differences and lack of communication when comes to certain feelings, but I am hopeful that we will continue to have more open communications in 2018. After all, there is nothing more important than my family and their well-being. I just wished I could support them better. I feel limited and incapacitated in this regard, bu who knows maybe in the new year I will be able to change things for the better. I am hopeful.

On the personal side, on the general I have done well with my finances and savings. It was a golden year. But I do not wish money to be my most important focus this year. There are people (like my family) and myself that deserve a much better appreciation and care.

I took time off and stayed in a European city for 5 days, mostly spent with working or dealing with the cold I had got at that time. It was interesting to see how I would deal with things under unusual circumstances.Β 

I have had my nerves fried as a result of hard-work and it has been venting out lately. So one other benefit of the holidays time off for me. I just wished it did not affect others around me, especially my family. We are trying to find a common ground on communicating better, which is very pleasing. I love my family.

And I realized how brave I was because since July I am also transitioning to gray hair. I do not like looking “that old“. This is exactly how I feel. Old. Not wise, not aged well, but old. I keep thinking “when did I passage to this age?” Life is fast if we do not stop every once a while and re-evaluate our lives and choices. I have come to this conclusion many times lately. This must be exactly what they mean by the middle age crises. I am right in the middle of it.

These being said, I am aware that a day, December 31st of each year, is not the only day that we can reflect, celebrate, appreciate, change, or improve things as we wish.Β 

Maybe that was the reason I have not particularly reflected this year until now.

Somethings just change by themselves. I welcome this.

Happy new year!

 

Happy new year to who?

I have been very fond of my friends and teachers/mentors and every Dec 31st, I would send a short but personalized email to each one of them to express good wishes for the coming year.

I stopped doing this last year. Last year I wanted to see who would email me before I email them.Β Only one friend of mine and a previous mentor of mine did this. These people deserve the best.

I was frustrated with the rest and this year too I am not going to send my traditional happy new years emails. I want to see who would take their time, remember me, and send me good vibes. I am not very hopeful, but who knows maybe one or two people will be doing it. If not, my motto will be “Let’s declutter that part of life, too“.

The other two, on the other hand, have been emailed or will be emailed tonite. They have a special place in my heart.

And to you all out there, I do not know you personally but I am extending what I would say to my family – Happy New Year! May 2018 be an exceptional year with lots of positive vibes, memories, and experiences.Β Live it to the end and live it to the fullest!

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decluttering home and emotional health

I have been cleaning and decluttering my home in the last 3 days.

I am not done yet, but I am finally becoming very pleased with the progress.

I knew that decluttering would help me release pressure and old scars; this has been exactly what has been happening.

I have been angry the last three days; I fought with people in my mind; remembered bitter encounters; and became angry and tearful. All while cleaning and decluttering. There is a direct correlation between dumping the physical clutter and dumping the emotional garbage.Β 

The other day I decluttered my wardrobe. I have a nice collection of donations and some hefty cleaning cloths made up of my old clothes πŸ™‚ My wardrobe looks slim now and contains only those that I like or am interested in πŸ™‚ Feeling fresh and joyful looking at it πŸ™‚ ThereΒ  is so much space. It is not crowded and over-whelming anymore. What a beautiful feeling….

Today, I have decluttered my storage area, which is a scary place. Last year I had refrained from getting in there. This year I have done it – I removed all the empty boxes, wrapping supplies, extra and useless paperwork (lost of it) and a couple of useful items that I had forgotten I have had. It looks clean, empty, safe, and fresh. Nothing to be scared of. Just the way I needed to feel.Β 

This is the 4th day of my paid holidays, and finally I feel like I am dealing with my bottled emotions, head butting with them and experiencing them, and then letting them move on.

And just like I remove the old, battered, and un-useful items from my home and my life, I become ready to welcome new and exciting items and experiences right into my life.

do something good today and tomorrow and the days after that

Let’s do one gesture, help, support, kindness to someone who is in need of it today, tomorrow, and the days after that.

Let’s make it someone who we may know or we may not know; can be family, friends, neighbours, fellow residents, or a complete stranger here at home or somewhere else.

Let’s make it an animal who needs a home, shelter, food, or who just (rightfully) needs respect for its existence from us.

Let’s be human for not one or two days but the rest of the days.

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1st day of the holidays

It turns out today was a paid holiday for me πŸ™‚ Can I be more uninterested in my employee rights? πŸ™‚

Anyways; I went to office and worked with a team member of mine till noon. I then cleaned the office and looked out of the window to register the fact that I was now starting an off time without much of an obligation….. What a great opportunity to feel free… I just cannot feel it yet, though…. I hope it will occur soon.

I then went to visit two thrift stores. If I remember correctly this is what I had done last year as well – start the holidays with something exciting like thrifting! I found two shirts, a lovely long and soft cardigan, and a new backpack. Altogether they costed me around 28 bucks. One of my most expensive thrift store haul, but then the items are in great condition and the backpack is so cool that I cannot believe how lucky I have been to find it πŸ™‚Β 

Excellent start for holidays πŸ™‚

likes and dislikes

While yesterday I had felt pretty excited about Friday (start of time off from work for 10 days), this morning I woke up feeling kind of sluggish.

I, as usual, went to office, had two meetings and came back home to finish work at around noon, but I got overwhelmed again; there is so much to do – some I want to do, some I must do, and some just appears out of nowhere. My blood tension increased again I guess.

In the last 6 months, this is the second time I have had my blood pressure increasing. Both are stress related. Both stresses are related to work.Β 

I want to feel good.

I am increasingly noticing the things I like and things I do not like. These will be my compass to re-organize my life and work in the coming year.

For example;

  • I dislike doing others’ works
  • I dislike pressuring emails or words
  • I dislike not being appreciated
  • I dislike people not knocking my door before waltzing in my office
  • I dislike people not doing their parts and leaving me on the limbo or with more work
  • I dislike the sacrifices from my time and energy and work I feel like I must do to protect my team members and to move our projects

I must change.

  • I like shopping
  • I like planning for shopping
  • I like saving money from sales or use of loyalty points
  • I like trying new hobbies, such as jamming, pickling, and bread making
  • I like thrift store visits and hunts
  • I like being abundant and able
  • I like walking and feeling energized
  • I like reflecting and progressing
  • I like being in a clean and decluttered environment
  • I like supporting people in need
  • I like looking at my fridge and pantry and realizing how much I have
  • I like reading a decent book
  • I like watching a nice movie
  • I like being excited about daily and little things; whether it is walking, taking the bus, or being resourceful

I will work on limiting what I do not like and enriching my life with what I like in the coming year.

My promise to myself.

 

 

 

three days till Friday and holidays

I have three more days to go and then I will be free for 10 days!!

Freedom is something that I really cherish I guess. Just yesterday I was feeling like if I did not have to go to work today, I would have stayed up late and watch a movie. Three more days and I will have this freedom for 10 days πŸ™‚

I thought I was exhausted last week, but this monday I woke up feeling better and having a clear mind. Things did not look so bad to me, so I am working and keep going. There will be many things that I had planned to finish that will remain undone, but some other stuff are being done. Like today we have finalized a document for a team member – she was joyful, and so was I πŸ™‚Β 

I plan to finish cleaning and declutter my office on Friday, my traditional activity right before the holidays. What a beautiful plan πŸ™‚ I think after this I will go for shopping or visit a thrift store or two. A nice start to the holidays.

All of us deserve to feel light and good about ourselves and the coming opportunities. I hope all of you out there have great plans, positive anticipations, and wonderful smiles on your face.

good neighbours

My next door neighbours are the best I have ever encountered in my life – it is a couple at 60s and young son at around 30 years of age. I have seen nothing but help and kindness from them. They are also the only people that I consistently and lovingly gift during the holidays. Considering the fact that I am not into gifting at all, you may rightfully realize that they must have deserved this somehow. And they do.

After the snow storm yesterday I took my time to enjoy my coffee and go through the emails. I then decided it was the time for the dreaded shoveling of the front door area. My neighbor was out and had already done my door! This is not the firsts time she does that – she says she loves shoveling, which is an extra exercise for her. For a women in her 60s, this is amazing.

I helped her moving the snow at around her vehicle and we chat along the way. The neighbour from across the street also mowed the snow around our houses. We had a little chat and said thanks.Β The white stuff brings sometime the best out of people.

Snow storms may be a nauseating experience, but the feeling after this out there shoveling, chatting, and having a laughter or two is priceless. I love this feeling of being a part of helpful neighbourhood.

Wishing everyone a great neighbourhood! πŸ™‚

snowy and windy night

We have got our first snow storm – yay us! πŸ™‚Β 

De Blasio Snow GIF by JaegerSloan - Find & Share on GIPHY

It is quite windy as well making me nervous. There are a number of trees in my yard that have tall and shaky branches. Why did I not get them trimmed the last summer/fall?

I will answer that:

I was busy, even though the idea crossed my mind several times. Bad choices. Or bad priorities.

Anyways; as soon as weather becomes bearable, I will call someone to see whether we can do this now.

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The wind is shaking the house a little bit and is worrisome. Last year we survived a wind storm that moved the roofs of some houses in my area. What an incredible experience. This time we are crossing finger that over night the wind and snow will subsidize and things will turn okay. Okay means less snow but snow and less wind but not this wind. We shall see.

I was naive the other day when I said that I loved seeing it snowing. Obviously forgotten how it felt to shovel in cold and while the rain or snow batters my face. I walked to a nearby store this noon to pick something and I thought this was the end of it. Humans seem to forget the nasty weather easily, especially when they have a warm and long summer and fall, like we have this year. Naive=silly=there is nothing much to do=suck it up.

Hmmm.

I can hear a vehicle outside hoping it is the snow mover. But no. Must be someone brave or in urgent need to go somewhere.Β 

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Does that occur to your town too? When there is a warning of bad weather like snow storm, do people raid the grocery stores and get everything they can find? Last year I was not able to find milk one time and half of a huge store was gone. We all have food, but I think sometimes it does not feel enough. Panic? Maybe. An alternative opinion, which made perfect sense to me, was that people would go grab stuff thinking that the new ones may not arrive soon after because of the weather. That can explain a part of it, though I must admit I never thought like this and shopped.

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Anyways, I turned my lights off knowing that in some areas people had lost power. In this chilly weather we could preserve whatever we can to help the others. I have had black out twice here. In both cases it lasted less than 24 hours but staying warm in unheated house and trying to keep calm and not thinking whether this would last longer and if so what could be done. Panic and lack of hope is not something we are looking for.

Where ever you are, take a moment to be thankful for being warm and well-sheltered tonite.

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life priorities

I woke up feeling a little bit lost thinking that my life priorities need to change and I should re-prioritize what are important.

For my entire life, my work was prioritized mostly because I love what I do (mostly).

In the last 3 years or so, I prioritized my personal and financial health over work a little bit after I purchased my home: I was not highly successful in terms of personal health (I had a lower back problem that ended me in the emergency, which still acts time to time; I have not lost the extra weight I am carrying around even though I am 5-10 pounds lighter than 5 years ago; and I have not been consistent about eating a variety of food every week). But I was more consistent with the financial planning, frugal spending/budgeting, and savings.

The last 6 months, I became agitated by the toxic work place and all the pressures. One solution to overcome this feeling was working more (irony, is it not? πŸ™‚ ). So I worked almost non-stop since the beginning of July. I feel tired, stressed, and somehow more accomplished. Sadly, working hard and stress also means eating junk and getting lazy and not walking as much as I would. Also not saving as much as I would.

Stressed Big Bang Theory GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Thus, I realized this morning that sometime setting priorities do not work and we may not be able to keep up with all of them at the same time. It does not mean we cannot try. It just means that realistically it may not be possible and that can be okay.

In other words, I forgave myself for eating junk food! πŸ™‚

Joking.

I forgave myself for changing priorities and not sticking up with the most important one.

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I know that my traditional annual reflection time (aka holidays ) is coming and it is only natural to realize these now that we are close to it.

For 2018 I would like to prioritize my health and well being, work, and family; they go hand-to-hand. Financial plans will be my least of priorities this year. This does not mean that I will not be budgeting and aiming to save; just reminding myself what is important more.

Family cannot be prioritized enough. We as mortals are here for this moment and may not be the next one. What $ and work can replace the people we love? They will be on top of my list.

I enjoy not having a chronic disease, but who knows what will happen next year? Probability of having one increases with each age. Thus, I will care about my eating, exercise, and lower back as much as I can.Β 

And work? I can continue to work but maybe a little bit less intense and more effective. What I need is a way to control my feelings and find a venue to vent them out and clarify my mind. The yoga classes offered close to my home always relaxed me, yet looks like they also exacerbated my lower back problem. Goodness knows, I want to start again to feel that way. I wonder whether there are programs designed specifically for people like me having back problems? One thing to check.

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9 days to holidays and reflections on finances

Counting down the days till holidays πŸ™‚

I started cleaning my office yesterday, my traditional activity before the holidays. I am 1/3 done and would love to complete it sometime soon. Maybe tomorrow, maybe Friday, but maybe next week. But I will be doing it πŸ™‚

I also started thinking about my budget and life-style for the next year. I can see that unless I become more careful I may not be able to save what I want to save.Β Last year has been a great teacher for me in terms of finances and my own attitude.Β 

I learnt that:

1. if I do extreme budgeting I get unhappy and all I think about is spending money. I know that because I tried a pantry challenge or something early in 2017 and restricting my shopping experience was unpleasant and expensive :)))) So I should not restrict my already tight budget

2. Work stress makes me feel like I am entitled to make unnecessary expenses, such as on junk food. This is very silly and I need to work on this

3. I need both short-term and long-term financial goals.Β My overall calculations are for the entire year, but I would feel much better if I can have a soon-to-be-completed goal so that I can keep my eye on it, strive for it, and eventually feel the satisfaction of completing it. I think I will have to work on this idea to keep me motivated. After all, we can aim all we want but unless it is realistic or reachable, we will lose our hope first and then the intention to reach the goal.

4. While I can spend on junk food and rationalize it, I also continue not to over-spend on grocery or other things, which is strange… This must tell me something. Why do I turn blind to unnecessary expenses, which are often much more than my grocery bill? if I can figure this out, I can figure out many other things…

5. I continue to be not cheap when it comes to socials. I notice that many people do not get that generous with me when I host them, so I want to opt for a smaller thing to take with me to socials; a loaf of bread, a jar of pickle, a baked goods are good options.

6. I stopped picking my colleagues’ bills when we go out together, which is awesome.

7. I still treat my team members with lunches or so time to time; this was 2-4 times a year so far. I think I will make it once year now. I will have to really work on this because I really like celebrating their accomplishments.Β 

8. It is great to be taking advantage of the sales for items, such as clothes, required each year. This occurs often during October-December. I think one thing I should aim for is to save this money way advance; whether it is thru my fun funds or savings from the expenses that I could easily make but do not (like picking up others’ bills).Β 

9. Talking about the fun funds, I have never been clear about how to use them last year (fun funds are the money left out of my weekly allowance). I think it is time that I handle this better. I think this year I will replace the term “fun funds” with “weekly savings” and I will use these savings as mortgage pre-payments.

10. I will be on shopping freeze for trousers and jackets this year; the only place to shop for blouses/shirts will be thrift stores. I will continue to buy items that are supposed to be personal, like socks, from regular stores.

– to be continued –

 

holidays wish list

I am getting excited about the prospect of having some time off and shopping during the last week of the month πŸ™‚

Fall is usually a busy month for me in terms of shopping. I usually take advantage of the sales, whether in stores or online, and purchase things that I will need in the coming year.

My plans for this year are as follows:

1. Canning kit and stainless steel funnel. As part of my new interest on jamming, I figures I may make my life easy by getting a kit, including a stainless steel funnel that can be sterilized easily and is durable.

2. Sea salt. This will be nice for my pickle trials.

3. Jars, lids, and rings. I used to have a number of jars but since I give away pickles and jams, I am running out of them. My wish is to get 250 ml jars for jams (so that I can boil and can them), 1 liter jars with wide mouth (to be used in pickling and other adventures), and two 2-3 liters of pickling jars (so that I can make pickles in large amounts to consume over time). I am so excited! πŸ™‚

4. Non-stick frying pan. I replace these very year. No matter how carefully I use them, they always scratch over time.

5. Garbage bags. I love having a number of durable items in stock and garbage bags are one of them. I have enough bags to last another year, but one can never get enough of these bags, right? πŸ™‚

6. Steak knives. After 15-20 years one of my steak knives (I used them for all cutting purposes) got rusted last week. I am perplexed but I guess it is time that I look for a good deal on some sharp knives.

7. Trousers and leggings. I have a number of trousers stocked up, thanks to some sporadic sales. But the boxing day sales cannot be missed. If I can find a good sale, I would love to buy a couple more and also a pair of leggings so that I can start wearing dresses πŸ™‚

8. Thrift store visits. I love these adventures πŸ™‚ My wish list this time includes blouses/shirts, shopping tote, purse, back pack, a book or two on baking and canning, fabric and sewing items πŸ™‚ Who knows, maybe I will also find other items that I need or cherish.Β 

What a wonderful list πŸ™‚

 

#5 topic for reflection during holidays

I have been thinking; without taking new challenges, growth is stalled. Why do I not look at the problems as challenges and see how I learn and grow?

Taking issues as challenges will be my #5 topic to reflect during the reflection season (aka holiday season).

I have been dealing with a lot of issues all my life, both at work and at my social life. IΒ  yesterday mentioned about “liking my comfort zone” in the last few years. It is somehow related to this.

I have many work-place issues that I constantly try to solve. Little, big does not matter. They are constantly occurring. There are times that I am free of them, which are blessing. Naturally when one appears after such a period of comfortable time period, I react negatively.

I will try to take it easy next time. Next week I have an important meeting that can change things for me. I trust life. As long as I keep my cool, it is gonna be fine. I suspect that I will have to make a hard choice after this meeting, but it is possible that this choice is the better one. I must trust life. I must trust the unknown.

I will then decide with a soother and more rational mind.

#4 topic for reflection during holidays

This has been something I have been keep visiting but never fully committed to:

#4 topic for reflection during the holiday season for me is to take more risks. Being more bold. Doing things differently or doing different things.

I have had a tendency to move around my comfort zone, both at work and at life in the last few years. This past 6 months I somewhat moved into two new fields at work. It has been a bold step that was hard on me (too much stress and too much of a hard work), but it also helped grow me. Being interested in new topics, challenging myself, and then producing things/reports/projects that look really good gives a huge satisfaction. I would like to keep growing this way at work. Who knows; maybe I will even change my work πŸ™‚

As per my life and life-style, I need to apply a similar mind-set. The trouble is that as I age, I find that I need/enjoy more of stability and less of challenges. Social interactions would be one example – I am getting more and more enjoying a solo life and limited social interactions than before. Good? Bad? I do not know. But this might be one area to challenge myself.

Another area may be changing my style. This past weekend I wished I had worn dresses πŸ™‚ Would that not be amazing? With proper leggings/pants, summer or winter I may be able to enjoy this new style. I think it will be just fine together with my new (naturally silvery, pepper and salt hair) πŸ™‚

Goodness knows, maybe I will even go out to musicals or concerts πŸ™‚

#3 topic for reflection during holidays

Being more assertive is my #3 topic to tackle this year during my reflection season, aka, holiday season.

As I age I found that I got more understanding and tolerant. While these are great qualities, they are not always great. Sometimes we must sit back, evaluate, and then say no. Whether it is our own ego’s or somebody else’s request, it does not matter.Β 

This past year particularly I have had a number of experiences with my colleagues and work-place management where I was literally taken advantage of and burdened with extra work and ridiculous requests. Since winter I have been distancing myself from such a colleague and I still need to handle another one. Also, for some time now I have been asking questions and not saying yes to everything my management asks me to do. Hear me my fellow bloggers and do not sign anything before you absolutely sure to understand. There is so much sneaky management tricks that may fool you, especially if you are like me and tend to trust. Consult your union, knowledgeable people around you, or a lawyer. This is real.

So I have had some progress in this area and I know that I will keep going until all becomes manageable. There is more to be learnt and I am looking forward to it.

 

#2 topic for reflection during holidays

I kind of started doing my traditional holiday reflections today; I am early this year πŸ™‚

Anyways.

#2 topic for reflections during holidays will be my life.

In the last few years my main personal interest was to have a more frugal but enriched and simple life. I have done a good progress in this.Β 

Life goes on and years pass fast. While I am busy with work and trying to control my finances, many other aspects of my life are neglected. One important thing would be my family. Other important thing would be my health and emotional well-being. It is time that I realize as I get old, things that I can do get limited. What is important for me in the remainingΒ years of my life? I must find this out.

This year, I would like to remove money out of my main focus and rather concentrate on these under-served areas in my life. I know that I enjoy simple and frugal life and being resourceful. If I focus on these, I know that financial stability will follow. It is a shift in perspectives. Hopefully this will work out well.

Additionally I want to have a healthier and stronger body and mind. I missed my weight-training exercises and leisure walking. I missed my push-ups at home and exercises that help strengthen my lower back. Maybe I would care my eyes better; since I keep working and reading, I wear my glasses all the time. This is not good – my vision is negatively affected. I lost some weight in the last year and I can keep doing this by focusing on it. My aim would be to lose another 10 pounds. This is not a huge amount, but can take significant effort. I will see how it goes.

Also I want to keep developing new interests and abilities. Lately it has been pickles and marmalade. What will be the next interest of mine?Β Will I start writing that book finally this year? Is this my next project? Will I start a side-kick, an additional source of income this year? Will I start or undertake something with a significant impact on not only my life but others? Is it my time to start being an advocate?

What will happen to my work, though. Without the stability it gives me, none of these seems like a possibility. I am seriously fed up with the environment and the responsibilities I have. Maybe I should keep looking for work elsewhere? Other positions? What would it be? Where?

I feel like my life will reach a tipping point this coming year.

#1 topic for reflection during holidays

I need to protect my time better at the office and let others do their work. Not me. I repeat, I should not be doing others work.

Period.

Since last July I have done well preserving my energy to mostly my own work. That costed me my 5 weeks of annual leave being spent at home working hard to do my own work. What a ridiculous situation… I still do not know whether I should be laughing or crying over this.

On the positive side, however, it is good that I have realized this and prioritized my work and performance over other colleagues’.

During the holidays you know I like to reflect to improve things in my life. This will be area #1 to further improve.

More to come.

three weeks to holidays

Three weeks to holidays when we have 10 days off.

Every year I would be very excited about this. Except this year I have not come to that point yet.

See, I have been working non-stop since July and it kind of became a daily habit. Today I have submitted an important report, a third one in the last 6 months (which is very productive). I must be excited and relieved, but not yet, I see. I think it is because I have a short trip to make this week for business and I have some more deadlines/tasks to complete in the next few weeks. I should not be complaining that I am still on the “work” gear – it is very useful for me and my work. I just wished my mind was rather focused on the 10 days of off time, start making plans, and get excited about them πŸ™‚

I kind of think that two weeks later I will start slowing down. This would mean wrapping the little works, making and documenting projects for the new year ahead, and finally cleaning the office for once and best. this would mean dusting it, putting aside all the paperwork, or better yet dumping all in the garbage. It is my favorite thing to do at the office! What a great closure to a year of hard-work πŸ™‚

And as per the off time, my plans are more or less the usual; clean the every bit of the house, especially the floors; declutter nice and easy; donate the unwanted/unneeded items; shop and get stuff that I need, socialize with friends; read a book or two (have not done this for some time – it is the time that I get the pleasure of reading again); thrift; sew a piece or two; and reflect.

I have lots to reflect this year. As per work many things happened, first demoralizing/toxic organizational things and then the hard-work I have been doing since July. I have had three trips this fall (including the short trip I will make this week) and the one in Athens was particularly memorable. Also, I am getting used to my gray hair and do not even care about it anymore (what a strange thing that is….).

After celebrating and noting cherishable memories and experiences, it will come to this : “What do I want to change or improve then?”

We shall see πŸ™‚

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my love affair with self-sufficiency

Life is interesting.

I have never been interested in cooking or being self-sufficient.

In the last two years, however, this has change. I still do not like cooking but baking, pickling, and jamming have been awesome. I could not be more excited πŸ™‚

Fermented food

Sourdough: I first became interested in baking bread and I now even have a sourdough starter that makes wonders every week πŸ™‚ I have not purchased any store-made bread since May 2016. I also shared my sourdough and commercial yeast loaves with my fiends. What a joy πŸ™‚

Kefir: I then was gifted by kefir grains within 2017 and i not only fell in love with kefir itself, but I made cheese/spread from it and even used it in baking bread πŸ™‚ Drinking kefir makes me feel good and I know that it gives me the calcium that I need at my age in addition to many nutrients. I am very happy with it πŸ™‚

Pickles: I did pickles before thanks to my mother, but I have never been this interested in it until recently – I love the beet and cabbage pickles I make! I think it is the benefit of living in a cold climate that the pickle lasts long without going bad and this way I always have a jar or two in my kitchen. I made three batches of beet pickles this fall enjoyed by myself and my friends πŸ™‚

Sauerkraut: And tomorrow I will try my first ever sauerkraut!Β 

How about this?Β 

I think I am moving in the right direction πŸ™‚

 

Jam/marmalade:

And just within the last 5-6 weeks, I started experimenting with making jam; dried fig jam first, then orange and tangerine, and today the raspberry jam/marmalade πŸ™‚

I feel like I am doing such a great job refraining from additives and chemicals in store-bought jams/bread/pickles. I must be rightfully proud of myself and I am!

 

Sewing

Okay.. I have not been as productive as I wished, but since I purchased my lovely sewing machine last year, I have done small stuff, including lots of covers for jars and discloth/cloth for the counter and window sills. I am yet to undertake a serious project, like a blouse or a quilt, but I know when the time comes, that will happen too πŸ™‚

 

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These are newfound interests for me and they have been enriching my life, providing me healthy and affordable food/items, and I feel increasingly “able”.

I really am excited about this change in me.

 

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fried nerves and the Don Quixote syndrome

I woke up feeling like I was ready to charge and take down anything and everything that bothered me.

After an hour or so fuming with annoyance and having two productive meetings, this feeling thankfully subsidized.

I blame my fried nerves and extended period (since July) of non-stop working, shouldering every single problem at work, and resentment created by finishing tasks that others can do for this recent Don Quixote syndrome episode.

Don Quixote Illustration GIF by Sean Mirkovich - Find & Share on GIPHY

I just decided to take a week off from work to recuperate. I have a business trip to make soon, but after that I think it is best that I soothe my nerves by being away from the office and its problems, by reading books, by baking, jamming, and pickling, and by sewing the blouses that I was meaning to since last year but never found time to sew. Great plans!

Have a wonderful night everyone!

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choices, children, and the desire for a time-travel machine

I worked a lot this evening and as a result I am feeling hyper now πŸ™‚ Does that happen to you, too?

I am used to work till late, especially lately. It makes me tired and less thinking the itsy bitsy stuff, so actually I love sleeping well and not over-thinking during these intense work periods. Nevertheless, I am kind of annoyed tonite and am looking forward to winding down and relaxing.

While I sleep longer and deeper lately, interestingly I also dream more. Last night I have had two dreams, one about a little child that I met last weekend. He was one of these really kind and lovely kids. I felt quite an affection and protective feelings toward him.

Meeting with him made me think – should I have had kids?

Having a child has never been a real wish for me; it was partly because i was not married and was very busy with my work/career/life struggles. When I met this child, I kind of felt like I should have had kids. The love and affection I felt was awesome really.Β 

Then I remembered what an anxious type of a person I was and what a control freak of a mom I would turn into should I have a child. I know from a friend of mine that when you become a parent, anxiety related to the kids’ welfare, wellness, and happiness become the most important thing for you. It would not be something I could easily master or move on. That is a sad truth.

Or maybe I could. There are millions of parents on earth and some of them must haveΒ  personality like me. So, if others can manage it, so can I. why not? Right?

Adoption is always a choice. In the past, once or twice I have had considered it and eventually ruled out. Not that I would not like it. But because as a single person I did see it as a difficult task to take. I know from years back a single woman who adopted a lovely girl. She had a busy career as well, but did excellent with motherhood. I wish I had kept contact with her so that I could get an insider’s opinion/experience on adoption and child care.

Sometimes life is brutal I guess. I know what I have become has been shaped by my past choices. if only I was 20 years younger, perhaps I could make different choices.

That reminded me a new year eve 7-8 years back. I had that very strong wish to actually go back in time and re-start my life 10 years earlier. I had a lot of regrets and naiveness around me then. What if stories were true and one could move back in time?

I have a similar, albeit not as strong, wish today to go back and re-start my adult life. I wish we had not lost certain things in life, like our youth. I wish we could have better choices. I wish we lived our lives differently…

Logically I know whatever life I have right now is the best. There is no going back to certain things, abilities, experiences. I am old enough to know that whatever happens, it must be better than a less desirable outcome.

Today, I want to believe in this more than most other times.

December is coming!

We are about to welcome December soon πŸ™‚

December is always a good month; it signifies the end of our annual work/tasks, there are lots of deals and sales, and the last week of the month is usually off so that we can take a break from work, and focus on closing the year and welcoming a new one πŸ™‚

As usual, I cannot wait till the last week of December – this is a time that I can focus on mostly myself. Not work, not family, but myself. I usually spend it at home, too.Β 

My usual plans are to socialize a little bit (but not too much so that I can still find time for myself), shop at thrift stores and take advantage of other sales/deals, clean and declutter the house (cannot wait for his – always a delight), and stay away from work (if I can).

I also want to reflect on life, my life, the past year. Lots happened since last new year. There are lessons learnt, decisions made, and memories gained. I want to remember and realize these.

And make plans for future! I want to do this too! It is the most exciting part of it actually; there are things that I must change or appreciate by making new plans. Like my budget, my life-style, or work-related plans!

December is the perfect time to re-start.

Hope we all will have a great time in 2018 πŸ™‚

 

Sunday night musings

Lots of great things happened this weekend πŸ™‚

First of all; I have not worked this weekend πŸ™‚ A first in the last 6 months or so. I am still tired but my spirit is high, so all is well πŸ™‚

Second of all;Β I baked my first corn bread and it was delicious – that is so exciting! I can bake it of my guest as well πŸ™‚ I feel like my baking and cooking skills are significantly improved by this dish… I love this feeling πŸ™‚

Third of all; I thrifted today after a long time. I spent hours going through everything with excitement. I tried on maybe 30 pieces and bought three; one blouse that I was hoping to find (I have its exact same copy, which I love, love, love! I was hoping that I could find a similar one so that I could wear it for a longer time. Today my dreams came true πŸ™‚ ). I also bought two good-looking cardigans that i am sure I will wear with love. A very good day indeed πŸ™‚ I plan to thrift next weekend too.

Fourth of all; I cooked multiple meals for me this weekend, which is awesome. I usually would refrain from cooking or cook one meal to last 2-3 days, but not this weekend. How lovely is this? πŸ™‚

Fifth of all; I found a great deal on my favorite french press and ordered it πŸ™‚ It is expected within a week or so and I could not be happier πŸ™‚ I literally got it 75% off.. WOW! It is good that I have waited so long. Jack pot!

Sixth of all; I re-started push ups and back exercises to help ease my back problems and strengthen my arms, chest, and abs. My muscles are aching – that means my exercises are effective. I am happy with this!! πŸ™‚

Seventh of all; yesterday I used loyalty points for a large amount of shopping (like a hundred bucks) to purchase personal care and cleaning products. I found all items I was looking for and I only bought things that I will use or need. So every point/dime was used for a good purpose and no waste! πŸ™‚

Eighth of all; I am feeling good and lucky with all these positive experiences and this makes me relaxed and happier πŸ™‚

I could not ask for a better weekend!

Have a great Sunday night everyone πŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

“me” time; what? It is sacrificed for work tonite

Β I just finished up working…

My day started at around 8 am.

I missed the first bus and waited for the next while also reading a document at the bus stop. My first ever work at a bus stop!!!

Then I attended a long meeting. It at least had food and continuous stream of coffee, so that I could wake up after an hour or so. The meeting had many speakers and was interesting, but eventually I could not take it anymore and left early. I am not sorry!

I came directly home and worked, worked, and worked until this minute. When there are too many things to do all at the same time, when I cannot finish things at a time that I aimed for, and when time-crunches on me, I just feel inadequate. This feeling does not help. Luckily I have learned to ask myself what I was feeling and why. This exercise helped identify the cause of the stress I have had. I calmed down by reminding myself that this was not the first time I have found myself in such a situation.Β 

Eventually, I decided that I could do this even though it would mean that I would have to work till midnight and sacrifice “me” time. My other alternative would be to have “me” time tonite, which would mean I could find myself in the same situation tomorrow. And the next day to come. And so on…. The right choice was clear.

It was an epic struggle but I am happy to say that eventually I have done it.

Now I am gonna eat something.

Good night everyone – may you never have to sacrifice your “me” time..

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in preparation for the long weekend

We have a long weekend coming up – The Remembrance Day in Canada. We remember once again all the armed forces that died while protecting us. May they all rest in peace. What a sacrifice..

Hence the next Monday is a holiday. This is the last one before the holidays. Needless to say I am excited about it. Here are my plans:

  1. Make orange jam! Yes, my first trial of this type and second trial of jam πŸ™‚ Exciting!
  2. Work. I will take this opportunity to do some more work, now that I have a great acceleration. Things are moving and I feel fantastic about how creative I am nowadays. Very much appreciated.
  3. Sew something? I have not been able to find time to sew anything lately. Even jam covers would be nice – let me try that πŸ™‚
  4. Thrift store visit. I want to do that so hard πŸ™‚ Time to renew my wardrobe a little bit and purchase clothes that are more active-style like. I figured with my new short hair (which seems to make me look young) and the gray hair growing fast (which reminds me constantly that I am not young anymore), I find that an active style makes me feel better about myself.Β 

 

an appreciation of the last 4 months

I made the final deadline of an important task yesterday and as of yesterday I am thinking “what a fantastic 4 months I have had” πŸ™‚

It was hard, stressful, and full of personal and professional struggle, but I made it! Now, all I can reflect on it how beneficial and useful all these were.

let’s start with the beginning; we have had a fantastic summer and I walked during the day in the nature. It was very enjoyable and relaxing. I kept thinking how bright the future would be.

I made a job application out of frustration re; my work place; even though I have not heard from them, it was nice to see what I was up to. A personal and professional development opportunity indeed.

Then I took my vacation time (4 weeks ) to work at home and to get away from the meetings. I have done an enormous number of things during this summer and fall, which is such a great thing. I am very satisfied with my performance, even though I have no idea how the outcome will be. I trust life.

I made two over-seas trips (business trips) and have had interesting experiences. I was so focused on working that I missed many opportunities to enjoy my life, but now I just laugh at my naive-ness πŸ™‚

I have dealt with serious and difficult tasks, one particularly very challenging. It dragged me down, made me suspect my abilities and made me lose precious time. But I made it, however imperfect it was. And I learnt about myself a long the way; I learnt that I do not quit when it is important for me. Something that I respect myself for. This experience also made me realize that I pull through difficult times, no matter what, and I can do this again!

In between all of these, I also decided to transition to gray hair, and boy, have I got the most challenging time! I hated my hair, felt old and lost, but kept going anyways. I am more brave than I think I was. What better feeling than this?

I have learnt that I can take risks and not be scared of them or failing. I learnt that I am stronger than I think I was and this feels great.

I have had a wonderful 4 months and now that it passed, I can reflect and realize.

I love this opportunity to learn about myself, changing as a person and as a professional, and undertaking more serious tasks and experiences.

Life is good my friends πŸ™‚

 

 

back from Europe

I am back from business trip / vacation at a European country. Greece to be exact.Β 

While it was great to be away, the business meeting went really well, and I much appreciated the opportunity to just sit and see a museum or two, I must say the corruption of the cab drivers (they extra charge and they are not ashamed about this, or not turning the meter on, or picking up a second passenger and collect fees from both you and them!!!!!) and the hatred of the Greek people towards some nations/immigrants threw me away very strongly this time.

I plan to not go there again.

Sorry, not sorry.

I know many nations that promote hatred and many nations do not. Be more like those which do not.

Shame on all of you countries/governments/cultures, who do promote hatred of others.Β 

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Other than this I think I am okay.

I was in a pretty edged-shaped right before I started the trip, and the first two days of it I constantly and very annoyingly fought with everyone in my mind! It was so strong that I needed to just sit down and self-therapy myself.

Here is a excerpt from the self-therapy:

………………………..

it is okay to know

it is okay not to know

it is okay to be angry

it is okay to think

it is okay to feel

…………………..

It was very effective. Instead of labeling things as “good” or “bad”, being neutral to anything in life may be boring but also does not create any expectation or frustration. My new realization πŸ™‚

It is okay to feel, and it is okay to be angry, and it is okay to be okay…..

πŸ™‚

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Today I am slowly back to my routine and I really am enjoying it.

I hope you all have had a great week and are enjoying the weekend πŸ™‚

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less is more…

I have come across a horoscope on the internet today. I do not believe in horoscope or estimating future. So my relationship with horoscopes is quite rejecting. But I could not help but read this one, which ended with the phrase “less is more“.

It is talking about not only physical but also mental clutter. I am good at keeping my home minimally cluttered. But, how about my mental clutter?

I am guilty of mental clutter that often drags me down.

I tried many times in the past to effectively block this mental negativity. Exercise is good, reading an exciting book is good, making plans is good, working is good.

I work big time, especially nowadays, but it is actually a resource for the mental clutter. So what do I do?

While quitting my job crosses my mind, logically I do not want to do this. I have commitments for the next 3 years, so it is out of question. Plus, I have no better alternative right now, so it is not a feasible option.

Then, what is my solution?

I do not know but a break and de-stressing would be awesome. Timing could not be better – I am going away for a couple of days for a business trip. This will give me much needed break from office. But it will not be a permanent solution – as soon as I returned back, I will find myself in the same stressful and on-the-edge situation.Β 

Removing negative people from my life would be a good option to tackle. I have a friend and colleague who is quite negative and constantly complaining about the work and other colleagues. As a good friend and senior colleague, I listen. I have been listening to for years now, and I cannot take it anymore. Time to keep my distance….

Setting a time aside to meditate each day would be an amazing thing to do. If done properly, this “doing nothing” state always made me feel better and more optimistic.

And being grateful for my job. Just yesterday I realized that I had missed to be grateful for my job….. There are so many things to be grateful for it. I make a living thanks to my job. I am a part of a big organization and train young professionals thanks to it. I have benefits and vacation time thanks to it. I save and invest for my future thanks to it. I have a place in my community thanks to it.Β 

There are countless things to be grateful for my job.

I think remembering these will help make this difficult times turn around.

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cannot believe it is October already..

The year has passed very fast.

Last October I was trying to get a good deal on my sewing machine. It was an exciting ordeal πŸ™‚

Then I shopped for gifts and my own needs by taking advantage of the sales.

Then came December and the holiday season. It was nice.

A year later here I am not knowing how to process this speedy pass of time. I managed to live one more year. I also became a year closer to my own death. Hmmm..

Maybe I should keep this in my mind and sweeten my life a little bit.

 

trusting life during hardship

Our work place continues to be toxic and putting lots of pressure on us. One of my colleagues and I were having a conversation today and we both are fed up.

I cling because I have no interest in losing what I have built in the last decade here. I also do not wish to lose my financial stability and benefits. Honestly looking for a job does not sound so exciting, either. While I still think about resignation time to time, I silence myself and keep going.

I know that this is a very challenging time. The last one year has been quite stressful and pressing. The last three months I have been working too hard. I have lost my daily routine, budget, and healthy life-style and scummed into high levels of stress, junk food, and financial waste. I am not pleased with this, but at least a part of the work is going well.

This is not the first challenging time of my life. Before I found this job, for two years I had lived in financial limbo, not knowing what to do. I had jobs but they were just enough to keep going, without making me happy or excited. Then I have got this job, which is decent but comes with lots of hardship. These previous times I was like right now, not knowing what the future would bring and how I could find a solution… It hurt, but eventually these times were followed by my current job, which solved at least the financial part of my problems.

Tonite I am kind of thinking that perhaps the current difficult time is a transition to a much better time…. The future can actually be an adventure….. It can be a much better job, a change of location, and finding what I had longed for but forgotten or failed to attain in life.

Why not?

Yes,Β I have a kind of optimism that I hope will last πŸ™‚

I believe that these difficult times will lead to a brighter future, and I am being excited about what the future may bring πŸ™‚

For a usually skeptical and pessimistic person I welcome this change in my perception.

I think I just trust life now.

πŸ™‚

my new hair – II

After 8 weeks of first treatment (e.g. dyeing and highlighting), I have visited a hair salon for the second time as part of my saga to transition to my natural, gray hair (you can find a picture of my hair at around 10 days agoΒ here).

It took around 3 hours to foil the highlights (platinum) and dye the rest of the hair to a neutral dark gray/light brown colour, followed by application of toner.Β 

I must say the new dresser was awesome; very understanding and positive. When I saw my new hair, I have had a reaction similar to previous treatment, but much milder and much more positive……Such a change is not easy to take. I feel like my hair will never have a dark colour anymore (feels like an end of an era… it is saddening…).

I also look old.

Much older than I thought I would look…

I can always start dyeing my hair, so that is a freedom that I may or may not exercise. We will see.

My new colour is much lighter than any other time in my life, very close to dark gray. My roots (which were not treated today) nicely mix with the new colour. I have strong platinum highlight at around my face, which I specifically asked for. There could be no better way to transition to my natural hair. I am rationally very, very pleased.

It is just that I must get used to this hair. I also think that if I smile more or change my make up, I may look better. Not a mid-age and tired woman, but a mid-age woman gracefully comfortable in her own skin……

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my perfect life

Working very hard, feeling agitated and dealing with negative emotions related to mostly work, I feel more and more the need of sitting down and reflecting.

I have some inner work to do, which I have been neglecting, because almost all of my energy and time has been spared for work in the last three months. There are many warning sings, like being on the edge, having high blood pressure time to time, and lack of patience generally. I must stop and reflect.

This morning while trying to win the mental judo in my mind, I asked myself what would be my “perfect” life?

I know there is no such thing.

But I also know that I can always strive for a better life and more inner peace.

To reach that level, I must change the level of attention I pay to issues and peoples’ behaviors (that bother me). I must bring myself to my core, the loving life force, and open my eyes and mind to the bigger picture called life. I must set aside a time to just breathe and connect.

Even the idea of “setting time aside” puts me off.. When did we become so busy that we cannot even assign a few minutes a day to our own natural needs and abilities? When did centering our mind around life as it is become something unattainable? When did we become so full of work but lack of life? Why are we so competitive? What are we afraid of?

Sometimes I want to move to a deserted but safe place, like an island in central America, cut out all communications with outside world, and “lose myself” with just doing nothing. No phone or internet talk, no work or social obligation, no project to start, execute, or finish, no place to visit or explore. Just sit, gaze at the sky, and let my mind find itself.

sometimes trying something hopeless pays off

Yesterday I have prepared two sourdough; one can be found here; it was prepared by a starter that was rigorous and with a long rise (around 16 hours at room temp) with 4 hours of proving, following my regular recipe. It turned out to be a lovely loaf with a great oven spring.

That loaf will be given to my friends that I have seen yesterday night. So upon returning home at around 11 pm, I decided I needed a loaf for myself so I prepared a small dough using the left overs from my starter that I resurrected this past week. These left overs are those that needed to be removed and replaced with fresh flour and water while feeding the starter. I did not want to put it in garbage, so I thought I could find a use for them (like tortilla), so had kept around 3/4 cups of them in my fridge. They were not necessarily the best starter, but I took my chances with my second loaf.

The second loaf had 9 hours of first rise with limited stretch and fold (1 only) at room temperature and 5 hours of proofing. Honestly it did not look good when I put it on parchment paper (it did not keep its shape). Anyways, in the oven there was some kind of spring. So I was still not very hopeful. But when I cut it, I was very surprised; it has the largest air pockets I have seen in my sourdough! It is soft and the sesame seeds give it an incredibly nutty flavor πŸ™‚ Although its rise was short, I think dough being slightly sticky helped it to turn into this beautiful loaf.

I think sometimes keeping the faith and trying something that does not look much hopeful pays off πŸ™‚

 

 

Four seasons

Fall is upon us. It is my favorite season.

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The season of energy and renewal (summer) has come to an end, leaving its place to this gorgeous season.

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Fall always remind me of “closure”; evaluating and finishing things, even they are only thoughts, and move on with a period of quietness and break, and then bury or leave those that do not serve you anymore during the hibernation season of winter.

Winter is a season of survival, though. It is often harsh where I am and our daily lives are somehow dictated by the weather; will there be snow today? Will I shovel? Will there be a snow day? Can I really go to that store to pick up something? Will my power be restored, if it is cut due to some reason? What if I want to walk but cannot make it because the sidewalks are full of snow banks, or even worse, ice? Am I warm enough?Winter thus makes me feel like I must rather focus on the physical world than my inner world.Β 

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Spring, on the other hand, is a kind of time of re-birth; the time of new ideas, new adventures, new plans, new hope…. There is something awesome about the awakening of the nature that inevitably makes me feel like now I can do what I have not done or could not do before.

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The cycling nature of “nature”, whether that is snow, plants, trees, or flowers that flourish, animals populating, or simply changing temperature and daylight, is thus a reflection of our lives.

Maybe our lives is a reflection of nature?

I do not know really.

But we all are connected.

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reflections

Today I have not worked like crazy as I have done in the past 3 months. I rather took my time to reflect and I needed it. This was mostly motivated by the fact that yesterday I almost collapsed emotionally. My nerves are fried and I needed a break to go back to a healthy level of exhaustion (if there is anything like this ever) and feel good (because I deserve it, like anyone else).

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Life is bigger than what we experience and in order to expand our experiences, we must stop this wheel of routine and un-focus for a while, and look beyond where we are. It is exciting and refreshing. I am glad I have found a chance to do so today.

One thing I keep notice in such times is that I actually do better than I think. For instance, in the last 3 months I have re-arranged the furniture in my living room and kitchen, and they both look lovely and more functional. It was hard to move everything by myself, but I made it and the end results are excellent πŸ™‚

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I also made quite a progress in my yard. I digged the high part of the yard and placed the digged soil on the lower parts. I have four stalks of mint that are flourishing in the yard. I have planted seeds and grew beautiful flowers. New flowers and plants appeared in my yard this year, which are a delight to look at. I filled the sides of my yard with soil in the last two days (commercial soil) and now I have a wider-looking yard and the side sections are ready to be planted next year. It was tiring and challenging to carry those soil bags (30 liters each) from store to home, but I made it. I planted potato, garlic, and onion and all flourished and yielded (I have collected around 1 kg of potato; can you imagine my joy?)? I planted 35 cloves of garlic last week for harvesting next year and mulched over with dried leaves to protect them from frost during the winter. My neighbours renewed their part of the fence with fence similar to mine, and as such the yard looks really good now. Also the next door neighbours painted the exterior of their house and it looks beautiful. I have been lucky to have had all of these improvements this year πŸ™‚

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As per work, I have done really good, even though it was stressful. At least my efforts produced results, which is extremely satisfying.

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I have points to improve still, but I am not worried about them. Only because I know I am capable of doing them, too. One recurring issue is eating better and a variety of food. I am making an effort again nowadays. we will see how this will work out. I must reduce or eliminate my extra expenses that are made only to feel good in such a stressful time of my life, but I am slowly getting there. I must also regularly do my lower back exercises to keep it healthy. A manageable list of aims that I am sure I can do. It is just a matter of time.

Today I have taken steps to improve in these areas. I ate veggies and fruits at the office; I took the bus rather than cab; I made an appointment with my physiotherapist to help me get on track with my lower back. I ate junk food in the evening, but I am assuming this too will be gone sometime. I accepted the fact that sometimes change occurs over time, rather than when I want it. Acceptance brings serenity. Nevertheless, I must keep trying and making these changes occur.

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multi-purposed items are very useful :)

I like having items (such as in the kitchen) that I can use for multiple purposes. For example, Β glass mixing bowl can be used for serving salad as well as for mixing items together. I also like to use items for different or multiple purposes so that my home will not be cluttered and I will have a more or less resourceful daily life. Good examples could be using shopping bags as garbage bin liner, old clothes/t-shirts as cleaning cloths, and my shopping cart.

The shopping cart I have was purchased almost 15 years ago when I was in Toronto. It is not big and also foldable, so it is a practical item. It was incredibly useful in carrying groceries which I often bought from the Kensington place. Carrying a cart full of groceries and walking from there to my home (around 20 mins of distance on foot) was easy and peasy.

When I moved from Toronto to where I live right now, I got it transported with my furniture but I do not remember using it for grocery at all. While decluttering my home a couple of years ago I considered donating it but later decided that I could rather use it as a container for extra items in the laundry room. It serves this purpose very well.

Today I used it for shopping! My yard has some uneven surfaces, particularly on the sides. I have been planning to fill these parts with soil so that my yard would look wider and I could have flowers lining my yard. This weekend I noticed that the garden soil wason sale (buy one, get one free; hello!). I was skeptical at first because they looked heavy and I do not have a car to transport them home. I did not want to ask my friends to help me with it, either. Then, I came up with the idea of using my shopping cart and voila! I bought four bags of 30L of soil in two store visits. Bags were heavy and I still had a difficult time lifting them and placing in the cart and pulling the cart to home. But it is all worth it – I placed the soil on my yard and I can see myself planting flower seeds in that area next year!

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I cannot wait! πŸ™‚

I could not make this happen today should I have not decided to be resourceful and use that cart for another purpose πŸ™‚

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I am lucky…

I continue to feed positive messages to my mind right before going to sleep or when I wake up during the night. Last night the phrase that came to my mind and repeated many times was “I am lucky“.

I am lucky to be given a life. I am lucky to be alive. I am lucky to have every material I need.

There is a house with a little yard on my path to office. A couple of months ago I saw men dumping soil on it. Then little things sprouted out of the soil, which turned out to be clover. They grew incredibly well and are now around 10 cms. I love looking at that yard while walking.

Today I saw one with four leaves!

It was huge πŸ™‚Β 

I was amazed and deeply amused.

Am I lucky or what? πŸ™‚

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graceful acceptance of failure and mistakes

I have had a comment from an experienced colleague of mine about a work I have done which also included his involvement. Looks like I have missed some critical information in my report, which he drew my attention to.

I fully agree with him that these information should have been there. So in contrast to my regular self who would become defensive, I realized he was right, and thanks to him the work would be better presented now to others. I gracefully acknowledged this.

I was surprised with my reaction, but I am equally pleased with it. Admitting a negligence and mistake is a good thing; I like it when I see it in others. Today was my turn.

I must say this is a great experience for me. I had had another meeting on Friday, which had some heated arguments. I am not afraid of arguments, but creating a negative air around myself and the room. I realized that with today’s experience I would have managed the Friday’s meeting better. It is too late for it, but next time I will be better.

This experience tells me that there is always a possibility and opportunity for spontaneous growth and one can fail but can also accept it gracefully. I like this newfound wisdom.

transitioning to gray – 6.5th week after first treatment

Here is my hair after 6.5 weeks of first highlights and dyeing my hair close to its natural colour.

Highlights finally show up, which is a blessing (I am still fuming about the invisible highlights right after the hair salon visit).

My hair grew like an inch.

Between grays and highlights, there is a dark stripe (the dye applied last time, which gives an additional oddity to this hair…).

Honestly this hair does not look good at all (why did I not at least comb it before taking the pic?)….

The roots are annoying but not as much as before – I think the hair dresser was right – after a while highlights help soothe the gray roots. Only problem is that now I have my natural colour (dark brown), latest dye (lighter brown), grays, and yellowish highlights in addition to previous hair colour of red!

More is better!!

Argh.

I have an appointment in two weeks to get it dyed again and hopefully with better highlights this time. I would love to have wider streaks of platinum highlights to help with the gray hair coming off the roots. I hope this dresser will be able to give me what I want. Honestly, I am not very hopeful, but I will try as much as possible to demonstrate (with pics from internet) what I really want and expect.

I must say despite everything, this is a much better feeling than previous.

I previously very much disliked seeing the gray roots after 2-3 weeks of dyeing. Now it is 6.5 weeks and I am feeling okay with the roots. This is I believe because I have much bigger problems in that hair than only the gray roots…

I know this is a long journey to take up to a year, but I already have had the first 6.5 weeks, so I want to just keep going and get this transition done.

Wish me patience please. Because I may as well chop the entire thing and start from fresh!

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where is my resilience?

I feel on the edge the majority of the time. My nerves are firing and sometime for the little things. It is time that I take a break.

I have another 3 weeks of speedy work schedule after which I will have another business related trip followed by a couple of days for rest in Europe. I am really looking forward to this break. When I return I have another month to go with stress and high work volume, but I am assuming that the break will help heal my nerves. I keep telling myself I must find a way to manage my stress. The best way, in my experience, is cardio exercise, aka martial arts. At my age?? I am hesitant…

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My other alternative is to sooth my nerves with junk food.

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What is it gonna be?

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what would I do when I retire?

I want to retire in 8-11 years only to get rid of the stress and ridiculous issues that I deal with everyday at the office.

A few minutes ago I thought about this: what would be my retired life like?

It would be free of work related things, I would have some kind of financial stability/security, but then how would I fill my life? What would it be like?

This is an unknown situation. As someone living alone, I probably would need some human interactions. I think I would have a part-time job. That would also give me some pocket money. I can switch jobs easily too if I do not like the environment. That is a relief.

What else?

I think I would travel a little bit with tours. I have no interest in going around the world by myself at that age. Too much stress. Tours, on the other hand, would make this experience easier. I would love to go see the South America and Europe.

What else?

Would I write a novel? Poems? Where would I publish them? Would they be good? If not, why to write at all?

What would I do really??

Would I be free of stress? I think not, but at least I would not have the stress of work. I think I would be stressed about other things.

My health for one. I would probably stressed about health problems. Right now I am free of chronic diseases, but heck, anytime something may show up. So..

Life does not wait and time flies. I think I should stop thinking about retirement and rather focus on how to have a better and more fulfilling life.

What would make me more joyful and fulfilled now, I wonder?

Spending good time with my family. Having laughter. Feeling energized and hopeful for the future. Being more in the moment. Caring less about work and more about my life experiences. Being more positive. Seeing opportunities more. Taking opportunities more. Changing things that do not work. Removing toxic experiences and people from my life. Caring less about money and having less anxiety about future financial well-being. Being more spontaneous. Joking with life. Dancing with life.

Do I want too much?

 

 

short-term memory problems

I have been having short-term memory problems (or absent mindedness) in the last one year or so. For example, I just went down to my living room and thought about picking my notepad and rather come up with the idea of taking a tub of yogurt from the fridge. Then I came back to my room and realized I forgot to get the notepad!!! This kind of things have been happening almost everyday. Should I be worried?

I am kind of worried because one day I had the stove on to boil water and I almost forgot it. Luckily the hood was on so I felt like checking it. I could have easily forgot the pot on the stove and create a fire hazard should the sound of the hood did not get my attention. This kind of possibilities are terrifying me.

I am mid 40s now and I think it is quite early for a serious disease, such as Alzheimer’s. I was looking for this online (not a good idea I know – there is so much information and often not even accurate when comes to health, but…) and one of the possibilities is the onset of menopause. Now, is that fair? Nevertheless I will prefer this as a reason than a neurological problem.

I am doing well in other areas, especially at work. So I am assuming it is not a generalized problem. Maybe my mind is too occupied. Maybe I feel the need to distract myself frequently, which cause me to forget things that appear in my mind just a minute ago. I do not know. But I will continue to monitor my symptoms and make a mental note to be more in the moment. Being too much thoughtful and distracting myself do not benefit me.

Why am I writing this? Because I wanted to logically face this problem. Writing is the best way to do so for me and I am glad I can look at it from a healthy angle. Maybe I will get better in dealing with my absent mindedness.

 

 

 

 

what a wonderful trip I have had to Rome :)

I have been back from my short trip to Rome and what a beautiful trip it has been! πŸ™‚

I have had a great time away from work and office, and all the ridiculous problems I have been dealing with at work lately. It was a business trip and as such I have had work related activities, but they were rather joyful and successful encounters, and as such I feel good about myself and my work again. This was much needed πŸ™‚

The transatlantic trips are long and inevitably make me tired, but they are so good for my mind. A fresh look at life as it develops right in front of me is a great experience. I tried new things this time and instead of taking the cab, I mostly took the shuttles and bus. It takes more time, but is certainly a great meditative activity – you gotta find out how to get to somewhere and how to get the tickets etc. A great activity that forces you to be in the moment. This is an amazing relief for the mind. And seeing once again that I was capable of overcoming hurdles in a country language of which you do not know (thanks to its residents who know some English) is a boost for my confidence πŸ™‚ And all the money I saved for my organization by not taking the cab is anther plus! I am pleased with myself. A lot.

I gotta go around the city (Rome) the first day and I found myself really relaxing. It is so beautiful with its history and art. I wish I could retire there πŸ™‚ Dreams are powerful and I realized that I have attained some of my dreams of young age; I am in a profession that I loved so much, obtained good credentials and positions, and I am living in Canada, one of the best countries in the world now. Realizing these during my trip gave me some kind of satisfaction that I cherish even today.

Italian food is not my favorite (i.e. pasta, pizza), but I managed to have wonderful lamb and vegetable dishes. I am grateful for making good choices in food and eating all the fresh produce. I ate peaches, my friends! Where I am, it is almost impossible to find – how lucky I have been πŸ™‚

I am back to work and I feel energized. I have a busy 2 months in front of me that will require lots of attention, focus, and hard-work, but I think I will be fine.

Viva Italia! πŸ™‚

 

dreaded chores

I have taken it quite easy today and mostly engaged in activities that I must have done at home; these included painting the wood trims outside the house. Each year I replace them as they usually peel off. Our harsh climate with generous amount of rain and snow necessitate this maintenance. It took me around 3 hours to do all, but I am very pleased with myself. It is one of these things that I must do and it has been on my list since June. I am glad it is done! I still need to stain the deck, but this will have to wait till next week when I hope we will have good weather, like today πŸ™‚

I also opened the windows and have had the house filled with fresh air. I used to do that more frequently in the past, but I think I have got quite lazy lately. I would like to do a couple of more of this activity in September. I truly believe that a house needs good aeration. I also cleaned the window sills and painted two of them. Also the doors from outside are cleaned – I do this twice a year; one in summer and one in December. Done till December πŸ™‚ Β I feel good about all of these!

There is an incredible amount of relief and happiness coming out of doing the chores that I dread. I do not know why I waited till the last minute (ahem.. did I mention I disliked them?), but these were on my to-do-list for so long that they dragged me down.

Now, I am free.

pretending

Ok – I cannot tell lies as a brutally honest person, but sometimes I feel like I must pretend in order to prevent a huge negative consequence.

I have had a very stressful 6 weeks and mentally I am very, very close to exhaustion. My body was exhausted 2 weeks go and 3 days of rest had mended it. But mental exhaustion is something else; you must recharge and cool down and excite with other matters. Or, burnt out is inevitable. It certainly is not an easy deal. I was burnt out once quite badly. It took me almost 3 years to fully recover. This is a very long for a professional with a highly demanding job. I cannot be there again.

Today I emailed two colleagues about a work we are supposedly doing where I am the only one shouldering 95% of the things. I said I am almost exhausted and cannot do more now; would they do their part?

We will see how it goes.

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leaving everything behind soon

They say anticipation is more exciting than attaining something.

I truly believe in this – in a few days I will be flying to Europe for a couple of days of business trip and I must say I was not able to anticipate much till this morning, but I guess I am now and it excites me. I will leave everything behind for a couple of day – all the stress of work, work-place, and issues.Β 

I will be free.

Something marvelous at last πŸ™‚

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The X-files: Mulder leaves, Scully becomes Mulder, Doggett becomes Scully, and we get another Mulder, Reyes

I am on Season 9 of the X-files and boy, do I get bored.Β This show is messed up. I can tell you that.

a) without Mulder there can be no X-files; sorry producers – fans were right. Story completely changed and i.t. i.s. b.o.r.i.n.g.

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b) Scully becomes believing in things, even defending them, that Mulder could not convince anyone in the past. Heck, I did not believe him….Poor Mulder. Anyways, beyond that childish (aka innocent) charm and his pain, it turns out he was right after all. But it is strange that after Mulder leaves now we have someone else pushing the E.T. life and supernatural agenda, and that person is noone other than our once-rational and scientific Dr. Scully.. What an arc…. Awkward……

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c) Doggett is more like Scully we saw at the beginning of the show, maybe even better in skepticism as he is colder and more direct.Β I like the Doggett character.

d) And another addition, Reyes, who even is more exotic than Mulder as this character is obviously reincarnated several times (episode 8 – season 9) and can see or feel “things”, like evil. Brrrr…….

Did we need all these switches of behavior among characters aka the polar bodies (believer or not believer in E.T. life and government conspiracy)?

e) what is up with the romance between Doggett and Reyes??? Why do we always have to have this?

Looks like they tried to create a new couple like Mulder-Scully.

Could you not just bring Mulder back??…

What a mess you producers have done.

sometimes the time just flies

Today was one of those days; time flied like nothing before. One moment I was eager to finish work and finally in the evening I realized I will not be able to do what I think I would do. That means this weekend will be a little bit busy with work.Β 

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My plans for the weekend are similar to before; clean the house, do the laundry, pick up milk from a store, prepare sourdough, and keep the yard tidy and free of weeds. And of course, some work…..It has been sometime that I have been to anywhere other than home, office, and a nearby store or two. It would be nice if I could visit the thrift stores or others, but I guess this will have to wait till next week.

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Why do I like thrift stores that much?

I shop there time to time. As a matter of fact some of my favorite blouses and fabrics are from thrift stores. It is affordable. More than that, however, I am interested in seeing different things. Thrift stores in my area are large and they contain more stuff and variety than the majority of the stores I know here. It is interesting to go through these diverse items. I particularly like the old stuff; like old metal objects or frames, which I would like to collect over time. I cannot wait till the next visit πŸ™‚

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By the way, I will be away for a couple of days in Europe. There is something great about the airports; they make me feel like I am leaving every issue behind and am ready for an adventure. This anticipation only should give me enough motivation to finish my work this weekend and the next week πŸ™‚

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frugal, waste-free, and simple-life style activities this week

I want to remember the activities that fulfill my interest in frugal, waste-free, and simple-life style this week; I am positive that they will help me see the brighter side in everything and motivate me to do more πŸ™‚

 

Here is the list:

Frugal activities:

1. I messed up with my budget and frugal life-style big time lately. Nevertheless, I managed to walk to work one day (rather than using transportation) saving myself 10 bucks.

2. I did not over-spend on grocery. As a matter of fact, I have purchased much less than regular in order to eat what I already have in my fridge.

3. I used a coupon. Now, considering I am wasting more than 200 bucks a week nowadays I wonder why I have even cared finding or using this coupon. Every penny counts I guess…

Waste-free life:

1. I continued to bring my tote to stores in order to reduce the amount of plastic shopping bags in my home. There has been a considerable improvement in this and I am happy to say that I reduced the amount at least by 2/3 πŸ™‚

2. I ate the food in my fridge before they went bad. Some of them still did, though, which I resent…. Next time I will be better.

Simple/self-sustaining life:

1. I baked my own bread.

2. I made my own strained curds/cheese from kefir πŸ™‚ I am straining another batch today. I want to try one from yogurt for a change of taste.

3. I did not unnecessarily made my day complicated by filling it in many different activities (only work).

4. I made sure to do other things than just work after 7pm everyday to give my mind a break and enjoy my life.

5. I did not socialize with anyone, which helped me keep my time and energy to myself (yes, this is one of the benefits of living alone πŸ™‚ )

6. I cared for my yard and removed weeds to make sure they will not take over the yard (a preventive measure for a long-term simple life)

Decluttering and minimalist activities:

1. Nothing particular than regular, except that the unnecessary paper that were on my study table are now dumped.Β 

2. I bought no item (other than personal hygiene products and grocery) for home or myself this week.

slowly slowing down

I have been slowing down the work, and stress as a result, in the last two days. I am feeling good and ready to come back to my regular self. Not yet, but soon.

I developed this fear that the moment I will relax, something else will happen. So I am keeping my guard up for any new events to show up. A tiring feeling.

Next week will be busy with drafting and finalizing a project that I have been working on for some time. Including many people in it is an opportunity for a better project, but managing conflicts and everybody’s interest is not something I am looking forward to. I try to convince myself that this is neither the first nor the last time that I will have to handle such a complex team dynamic, so eventually things will be better. Eventually I will forget or move on with a valuable experience. This is good πŸ™‚

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While I am officially off today, I went to office and had two meetings with my team Β members. Since these meetings move our own work, I am happy to show up at the office. However, I realized once more how much I resent doing little work that others can do. What a waste of time for me while more important issues wait my attention/time and my team members can take care of the little points themselves with a little bit effort. That is a dilemma… I guess if I was not such a control freak and aim to do high quality work, I would eagerly let my team members to take care of the fine points. Yet the past experience says that they are still young and not highly experienced, so to ensure that we will have a good product, I feel like there is no other option, but me being directly doing the work… Tiring… But the reward is well worth it… Still resenting it, though…

I finished working at home in the afternoon and was ready to do something different. Honest to goodness, nothing came to my mind.. Shopping? Walking? Seeing a movie? Watching TV? None…. I could not even think about reading a book. I understood that my transition from fast and high-volume work to my regular work load (and mental relaxation) has not finalized yet. Give me a couple of more days…

Yesterday I made a list of things that I have done in the last 5 weeks (the start of my work staycation period). I liked what I have seen :)))) There are so much done in that period of time. Yes, it was hard on me, very stressful and threw me off my routine, but eventually I have done what I meant to do. New issues are emerging and some of my tasks are not done yet, but I keep this list somewhere close to me so that I can look at it and find motivation and satisfaction. That was one great idea that I am glad I have come up with πŸ™‚

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I remember seeing a profile of a surgeon somewhere in Canada. He was just appointed as a director of a large unit. In that news, he mentioned something like “I am looking forward to challenges this position may/will bring and resolving them“. I always thought that this was odd, as I take challenges quite serious and it takes extraordinary mental energy to resolve some of the issues. So, I do not know whether he just said that, as it was expected from a director/leader, or has indeed a personality that can look at challenges without getting emotionally and energy-wise drained. I know some people are better in handling challenges and I want to believe that that person in fact stated the truth. This would mean that there is still room for me to develop and achieve that mental attitude.

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Tomorrow is another day. I will see what the day will bring. Until then, I am off to preparing a nice dinner and watching the X-Files πŸ™‚

 

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I want to go back to my regular self

It is not good to work under stress and undertake too much.

It is not good to eat junk.

It is not good to drink so much soft drink per day.

It is not good to spend money on cab while I can take the bus or walk.

It is not good to feel like nothing I work on moving while they actually do.

I want to be fine again, like prior to 5 weeks ago when I was walking, eating healthy, visiting thrift stores, saving money, and feeling great about myself.

I really do.

I think it is time that I take a couple of days really off and slowly start doing what I used to enjoy; thrift stores will be a good start. Hopefully sometime soon.

on life, death, and nature

My mom’s little bird has died after a couple of week’s illness. It was loved, cared, pampered, and cherished.Β 

My mom and sister are feeling the pain of losing something that they loved so much. They feel like they have not done enough to care for the bird and blame themselves.

Nothing could be far from the truth; they cared for it while she was healthy and especially when she was sick. They have got an expensive medical care for the little one and gave water using Β syringe and kept it on their chest when she needed warmth and contact. They monitored it around the clock. They have done more than many people I know respecting and caring for that life. Yet, it was just her time to go and here my sister and mom feeling the blame and sadness.

It is natural to feel the sadness and grief, but I wished they did not blame themselves for what happened to this lovely creature.Β 

I told them what I experienced when my father had died 1.5 years ago. The sadness was nothing like I knew before, grief was overwhelming, I too blamed myself for not caring for my dad while he was alive or while he was dying. I still do. But I remember my wish to walk and see the nature as it is at that time, as life and death are a part of our life cycle and seeing nature I was able to put this in a rational frame. I remember looking at the trees, some naked and dried up, some looking like dying, but I knew that in spring some of them at least would flourish. I also remember seeing a man with a little child…. Life was continuous, only the life forms would be changing. We may lose one, heck, we will lose ourselves one day, but life will continue with a different tree, in a different place, with a different human.

It is impossible not to feel sadness and grief upon losing someone or an animal that we have loved. We have two options; either not love anything/anyone to protect ourselves from this, or love and go through the consequences. That is a natural dilemma of being human and having a consciousness. There can be no good solution to deal with death of a loved one…

But we can care and demonstrate our love while pets and humans are still alive.

After all, life is short and we have a tendency to focus on what we have in our plates at the time being, and forget the reality to come.

Go hug someone, a pet, or a tree today. Tell them or show them you care. Love yourself too and receive the love from others. Do not be shy.

 

 

 

On The X-Files and love

Let me tell you something about the X-Files.

I am currently on Season 7; why have I been watching The X-Files in the last months or so?Β 

Mulder and Scully – that is all. I like the characters and how they complement each other like Ying and Yang.

But the stories do not attract me:Β I do not believe in supernatural. I do not believe in E.T. I am more like Scully, I guess.

Only things that really attract my attention are the personal struggles and pains of the two characters; I like it when the stories are around them.

However; I do not know what to think about the romantic moments between these two characters that are scattered here and there. Nothing serious up to the Season 6 yet, but a new year’s kiss (somewhere in the Season 6 or 7) somehow threw me… Thankfully this moment was only temporary (although beautifully executed; you would swear that these two were in love so deeply and so unbelievably), as the next episode had no romantic or close encounters between the two. Like nothing happened and it was an everyday encounter…. Meaningless and weird stuff.

Anyways, I do not know whether I want it for these characters. I know that in the future episodes/movies they get together and then they broke up. There is a child that is likely to be Mulder’s and Scully’s. Looks like it is a natural extension of trust, years of watching each other’s back, saving each others arses, and sharing personal moments (like the deaths in Scully’s or Mulder’s family) that bring these two characters together.Β 

If you ask me, the romantic part between Mulder and Scully was unnecessary.

It is because it was like growing to love someone rather than falling in love.

I somehow prefer falling in love than growing to love over a period of time because the last time I did this (a thing, not a person), it took me 15 years to love!!!!!!

Love should be spontaneous. Un-calculated.

I know many people will reject this idea, but this is what I believe.

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