time to embrace my grey hair?

I have started to have grey hair quite young (in my late 20s, early 30s). Since I started this current job almost 9 years ago, it has been getting worse. I believe more than 50% of my hair is now grey. I have been dyeing my hair regularly in the last 9 years and I can say that I forgot the real shade of my hair. More than that, lately I started to need dyeing my hair every two to three weeks. Boy, who has got time for this. Also and more alarmingly, what the heck is happening – why needing so soon?? 

I have been meaning to stop dyeing my hair for quite sometime, but it was my mom and sister who convinced me otherwise. They think I am too young to have grey hair and I agree, but the current situation states otherwise. I am one of these people who have prematurely grey hair I think it is time that I embrace it.

I hate seeing my hair half dyed half natural, so I will go to a hair dresser, a good one who is not afraid to cut it short!! (see a previous rant), show her or him some pictures as inspiration, and will get a dark grey colour with light highlights so that my grey hair can blend in well.

I have one last bottle of hair dye of the current shade that I plan to apply in the coming weeks. After a few weeks after that, the time of the grey hair will start. Let’s hope I can find a great hair dresser, can wear the grey hair well, and my clothes are compatible with it.

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this was not the life I wanted

This was not the life I wanted.

I was supposed to love, be loved, and have a family of my own.

I was supposed to be happy and joyful, smiling and laughing. I was supposed to be with my friends, having care-free and fully supportive relationships without personal agendas.

I was supposed to live in a fair and just life.

I was supposed to work at an organization that valued me and my efforts rather than belittling me because of my gender, where I was from, or what they assumed I believed in.

I was supposed to be comfortable under my own skin, feeling great about my own identity, body, character, and acts.

I was supposed to feel confident and strong against any tides life could throw in my direction.

I was supposed to be free, walk in the weekends in busy streets, see the movies and dance to the songs I have loved.

I was supposed to discover myself in relationships.

I was supposed to have excitement. 

I was supposed to live somewhere else.

I was supposed to be happy.

but I am not.

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I have none of these that I thought I was entitled to. Not because I did not want to. But because I made choices.

I chose to move here and take this position, which now is under too much stress and the environment is getting more and more toxic, with lay offs and people blaming, belittling, or pushing away each other.

I chose to have a secure position that will give me financial stability and a sense of meaning and strength. I chose to do what I once loved to my bones – my job.

I chose to stay even after I realized whatever I was getting was not enough for me to feel good about myself or my life. In contrast, I was in so much stress and pressure that I do not know why I have stayed. Tell me – why did I choose to stay?

I chose to not have trips to see new places or friends to rather save the money for my future.

I chose to over and over take a mental note and saying “there is nothing much here for me to do alone”. A hobby class? A dance/sports club? A cooking class? Poetry? Writing? New language? Anything. I chose to have no such interests.

I chose that instead of having zillion of friends, I would have a few good ones in my life.

I chose to believe in that I was not a good cook so I hardly host my friends at my home.

I chose that the most interesting activity for me at the weekends would be to visit the two shopping malls in my city, browse the stores, and purchase what I may need.

I chose to believe in that at my age of mid-40, I was already old.

I chose to believe that I was not lovable.

I chose to have no future plans. I have tried multiple times. It just does not happen – what am I waiting for?

What is it that drags and anchors me down?

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What am I supposed to change in my thinking, my priorities, my life?

What choices I must reverse and what new choices I must make to be happy?

Tell me.

random thougths

It is Friday 🙂

This week has passed pretty fast and I did not get tired. That means I am planning to go back to the office, hopefully tomorrow and take care of some stuff. That does not happen to me frequently, but when I feel like working at the office at a weekend, it usually indicates my eagerness to finish something without getting stressed. So it is a good thing 🙂

Tonite I am listening to Amy Winehouse – Back to Black.

It somehow saddens me to see her singing in this video, knowing that she has passed away. What a strong voice, what a vulnerable person. The video clip is so openly about death that it heightens my sadness somehow – did she ever think about her death while shooting this video, while singing this song? Does anything that mattered to her when she was alive matter right now?

The answer is a clear no.

So, why do I keep get upset about the tinniest s.it? I am particularly agitable about someone at work the last few weeks. I want to get rid of this annoyance, these silly thoughts. I want to enjoy my moment and cherish everything I am grateful for. Yet, when was the last time I wrote my joy journal?  I increasingly believe that it is only the human nature to be engulfed in the little issues in the absence of apparently bigger issues.. Maybe I should be grateful that I have such small issues at the centre of my life right now.

……

The last two months have passed very fast…. I cannot put my finger on why. It is not like I was amazingly busy at work or out of work. It is strange. I wanted to live and be mindful of each day. Yet here I am at the beginning of March looking back two months and I cannot identify anything notable that happened in the last 60 something day… Strange.. Weird..

Something needs to change, I guess. First thing first is to find new projects at work and at personal life. It is boring to keep thinking and doing the same thing, going to the same places/stores, and buying the same types of food.

Where is my adventurous spirit?

Where is the curiosity? Once it was continuous. Now it is hard to find fast….

Please do not tell me that I just got old.

Birthdays, middle age, and reflections

It will be my birthday soon.

As usual I do not plan to have something special that day. I used to have birthday parties with family and friends when I was young. Since I am away from my family, that tradition has long gone. One of my friends insists that i do something, even a little cake for myself, to take note of my birthday. Maybe I will..

When I was young, the age I am becoming now would terrify me. I would say it was too old and I could never imagine myself reaching that age. I hope I did not give the message of “please die prior to that age” message to my subconsciousness; I have no interest in dying now. As a matter of fact I just feel like I started living.

I am middle aged now and probably missed a couple of life’s opportunities, like having a kid. I am not sorry for this. For some reason, I was never interested in that. Maybe I never realized how fast the life goes on. This is a possibility. But other than that I feel like I have become more experienced with dealing life’s ups and downs and this gives me some kind of peace.

I have been reflecting for some time about my life so far, how I feel about the age, and my future plans and wishes. I continue to have no long – term plans, interestingly. I have some wishes, of course, like to live a long life safe and without chronic or serious diseases. The only thing that terrifies me about aging is getting incapacitated or suffering from a serious disease. After all, I live alone and it looks like I will keep it this way till the end.

I am not bragging about living alone. It may be hard to keep up with work and life and all the responsibilities by myself, but I guess I proved it long time ago that more or less I handle it. Of course there are hard, trying times, I make mistakes or fail. But then who does not?

I also wish to visit South America one day. This has been a recurring wish for me for quite some time. I had written about this and other wishes here. I have no idea why so far I have not taken steps to do so.

There are other things in that list, which I still keep being interested in. My wish to have a cat continues, even after I had to return back the lovely cat I adopted; I will try fostering cats for short times. Less responsibility for me and possibly a good chance for these lovely creatures.

I continue to work on my financial health and plans, including paying off my mortgage.

I may as well get that black dress sometime soon, if I continue to lose weight. I have lost my appetite for the last 6 months or so, and I have been losing weight slowly. I am kind of anxious that this may as well be a sign of a disease, but I sure hope I am wrong.

Overall, I have had an interesting life, not necessarily a happy life, but a very interesting one. It is my sincere wish that life will continue to amaze me, drive me to new and exciting territories, make me a better and wiser person, and bring me more joy and happiness 🙂

 

 

 

 

on life and death; and then life again

A couple of days ago in a morning, I had woken up early in the morning and then tried to get back to sleep. This happens to me almost every morning. In those times my head fills with thoughts, which often times stress me. This time, one of the thoughts was that this would end one day and that I would die.

This was a very scary thought…This is not the first time that I faced the future event of my death. After my dad passed away last winter, it had occurred to me that one day I too would perish.

They say it is an instinct to survive. It probably is. We, as humans, have unfortunately consciousness as well and are maybe the only species on earth that is aware of their future death. Painful truth.

While I do get depressed time to time and there were moments in my life that I sincerely preferred to be dead than being alive (how silly I was…), since my dad’s death, I actively wish to be alive. I wish to be alive and enjoy/be okay with even its hurdles, the stress it gives me sometime, and the depressive mood or other problems.

While life is complicated and can get pretty seriously wrong (think about all the people in war-thorn countries, for example), it is also precious. After all, a life is better than no life….. Since it will end one day, what is all these fuss about the little issues in our lives, like missing the bus; an argument with a family member or friend; a lost item; a lost opportunity; or work-related issues?

I am middle aged now and can see that the majority of my life I spent with school/career and little family/financial problems. There are only a small portion of my life that I remember with joy and happiness. There are only a few people who are important for me; only a few hobbies/out of office activities that gave me joy and excitement; and only a handful of memories that I cherish. The rest is full of failure/struggle/arguments/lost hopes/identifiable or unidentifiable causes of unhappiness and anxiety.

I am guilty of dwelling into the little problems in life; particularly work-related ones, that makes me unhappy, depressed, stressed, or mad. Yet, at the end will they matter? Probably not.

Life is what we make out of it, they say. I cannot control the life as it develops fully, but I am more and more contemplating about finding a right mental state to explore and integrate new faces of life in my life. I may not know what they may be, but, hey I am at least more open to what is going on in life.

If you follow my blog, you know that I care about my profession and the work I do very much. I feel not truly successful and am constantly striving to do better. The atmosphere and the events occurring or not occurring in my work-place have the heaviest weight in my life and emotional world. I even contemplate about resigning time to time, even though I do not know how I would provide for myself or what I would do as work (again a very silly idea; what was I thinking?) only because either I feel inadequate or am fed up of the stress I create over work.

It is time that I either accept or deny fully that I am inadequate and remove this unnecessary stress from my life with a more relax and positive outlook. Whatever the pressure I may be imposed by my line of work or by my colleagues, I must keep going. I should also reduce the expectations from me; I can make mistakes (which I do), I can be late in completing tasks (so what? they eventually are done); I may not be the star-professional in my work-place (there will be always someone better than me anyhow); I may be classified as successful by somebody’s criteria, but do I not do high-quality and creative work, even with limited resources? I do. And eventually when I get old or sick, would that be what I will think about anyhow? Nope.

Hug a tree. Watch a movie. Host good friends. Start writing that book that I always wanted to. Visit more countries/cities. Laugh more. Pay more attention to family and friends. Forget work-related issues upon leaving the office. Find out more about life. Find about more about love, understanding, and forgiveness. Care less about money and care more about people. Create new memories that I will cherish.

Yes; let’s create new memories that I will cherish.

How will I do that?

I guess I will figure out one day.

fear of death, and the need to change and live

It has been over 6 weeks that my dad has died.

The pain of loss and the regrets I have are one side of the coin.

The other side is about me having faced the reality of death and realized how real and inevitable it is. How lonely and scary it is… And how unknown, how anxiety creating it is.

Death puts life in a different perspective, my friends.

By facing my dad’s death, I also re-faced many things that I have been ignoring for a long time. For example: I ignored my own life by going around my comfort zone, I overly-protected myself, I have not dared what I could that would possibly make me happier. I have failed to change my life in a way that would make me feel complete, excited, joyful, and happy.

These regrets are because I needed to prioritize one way over the other (for instance; working in another country away from my family was a choice that I have made. I have got a great and meaningful job, but the time I spent with the people I care most about is limited… That make me ache now). I now prioritize my financial well-being, which prevents me from moving out of my work, out of the city I live in. Ache.. Ache.. Ache..

But should I continue with these priorities? That is an important question.

…………..

By facing my dad’s death, I realized life was precious and transient, and I too will lose it one day. That scares me and feels depressing…. No wonder all these centuries the human as a whole has made the extraordinary effort to find a meaning in life and ways to cope with death.

Not surprisingly, with these depressive thoughts came abroad all my feelings and thoughts that I knew they existed but were ignored anyhow. One though and regret stands out: I have wasted parts of my life and if I do not wake up soon and do something about this, I will continue the rest of my life with this regret.

I usually wake up with this thought in my mind. It is like a daily reminder that this could be just another day that I will continue to miss my life unless I do something about it. And I do not want to miss life anymore.

The problem is: I do not know what to do about it and how to turn things around.

I think about quitting my job time to time (I wrote about it some other time), which I believe will force me to take the necessary steps for a chance of better life. But, having no financial stability and the prospect of financial hardship is a strong deferrant (I wrote about that, too). I can of course find a job first and then quit my work+life here, but for some reason I do not work towards that, either.

I have another option of course, making my life here better. I just do not know how.

I feel stuck.

I over and over come to this same spot. At these times, the only thing I am left with is to believe that everything happens for a reason (eventually for a better outcome) and when it is the time, things start rolling.

I am in the waiting mode right now, but I will be looking for opportunities that can change my life for a better way.

 

 

50 things to do before 50

For someone who does not have long term objectives in life, this list will not come easy. Yet, I would like to give it a try.

I love making plans (usually short-term) and then working towards accomplishing my objectives. It is like a little, friendly race. Gives me a sense of friendly competitive edge. More importantly, I believe it gives me a chance to keep my objectives in my life right in front of my eyes; when we are aware is when we notice the opportunities. When I have a chance of getting excited about them. Changing them. Striving for them, Reaching them. These are all possible if I am aware of them.

I do not think I will come up all the long-term objectives right now (I am trying free-writing here, writing whatever comes to my mind. Except the first aim, none of the other objectives below I am aware of as I write these words. Interesting and exciting). So let’s see what I would like to do in the coming years, before my big 50 🙂

1. Visiting South America and spending some time there. Maybe a couple of months. Not necessarily going around from one place to other. But more like a visit paid to a specific city. I am thinking a work-leave for 2-3- months, going to a major city less than a million residents, living the moment with the city, getting to know the culture, history, food, and people of the city. I imagine I will be living on a second storey of a 2-storey house. With a little balcony looking at the narrow street. Where I see myself adoring life and the energy around. I see myself happy and smiling. With a nice dress purchased from a local store. From a lovely elderly lady who hurriedly tries to understand me as I talk to her in short English sentences. So that we can understand each other better. She smiles, I buy the dress and I see myself coming home and changing into the dress and never want to not wear it. It will be a beautiful dress 🙂

2. Reading more about history, especially the ancient and indigenous history. Examining the ancient languages.

3. Buying a black dress and wearing it! I have not done this in ages and I certainly am missing it! 🙂

4. Feeling girly again. Okay… this has been ages as well 🙂 Where did that lovely, quiet girl with nicely done nails, nicer hair, and the black dress go? I want myself back! 🙂

5. Being happier and at ease with life. I have no idea how I will do this, but I am wishing it now so that along the way I can be aware of this wish and note the things that make me happier.

6. Paying 50% of my house. with the current payment schedule, I am capable of doing this. My wish is to go beyond that and make extra payments over time. But this will have to wait a couple of years. So for today, my wish is to pay off the 50% completely till 50.

7. Getting a promotion at work. Promotion in my field is not easy. It requires quite a bit of accomplishment. I am on the right track, but not necessarily a great candidate for promotion. The next 2-3 years are critical.

8. Writing more poems and maybe self-publishing a poem/short story book. Alright; I am not great and I am aware of this, so hush :)). But my experience says that it is with trying, failing, and re-trying the improvement and progress happens. I may as well have something left for the next generations – who knows?

9. Spending more time with my family, even inviting them here: this will be totally dependent on the financial situation. I expect salary increase each year, but I am also aware of the cost of home ownership. But maybe something will come up or change. Maybe it will be possible. Maybe.. Good to keep this in the list.

10. Having a net worth of $300,000 including my TFSA, RRSP, home equity, and other savings (excluding pension plan). This number does not look good even though I have a good salary. I should have saved more, invested more. This is one area that I really need to come up with better plan… OMG… this is alarming actually; I do not have enough for my retirement!!! (ouch)

11. personal life: I may continue as single or get married with a great guy. Wow! I am happy being single, but would not say no to a humble, good-hearted, kind person who would understand me and love and cherish me. It would be nice if I had the same feelings toward him too 🙂

12. Getting a pet, possibly a cat: I can do this! my only hesitation is the lengthy trips I make time to time. Well…

to be continued some other time

regrets

Like anyone else, I have regrets in life.

I regret eating unhealthy food today. I regret buying a useless book at the airport yesterday. I regret not losing any weight since the beginning of fall despite making huge changes and effort. I regret living in a city with limited energy. I regret loving my job so much that I keep present wherever it is present. I regret not have spent a long time with my family. I regret not saving money while I have had it. I regret not being happy. And I regret many other things in life.

I was having a conversation with a good friend of mine and the more we talked, the more clear it became that regrets were inevitable. Especially when we needed to choose between different alternatives or take different routes.

But whether or not some regrets were inevitable because we had no control over them was debatable. Regrets were certainly context-dependent and some regrets were unnecessary. Realizing this was uplifting and frankly made my day; I do not need to beat myself over some regrets – I can rather accept there was no better alternative, I tried my best, it did not work out, and I can move on. Priceless 🙂

For example, I can regret buying that book and spending $25 on it now. But if I had not bought it, I could regret it, too, because I would probably be bored at the airport by doing nothing much. I chose between the two alternatives; buying and not buying. I resent my choice right now, but I could as well resent not having this choice. So feeling the regret does not serve me well; I tried to prevent boredom and did not become lucky with the book. That is all. There is no room for regret here. Let’s move on.

I regret eating unhealthy today. I do not know why I have not eaten better. Maybe I needed to shop. Maybe I did not want to cook and prepare food. Maybe I just said “okay, I will start it again tomorrow“. I made a choice and now I regret it. This regret is different than what I experienced with the book (above), though; I do not think I would regret eating healthy, for example… In other words, the other alternative, eating healthy, was an a lot better and perhaps the best alternative. This regret is well deserved, as I simply did not make a good decision. I hope that regret now can serve as a valuable teacher for me to make better choices next time…

I regret not being happy (I am not unhappy, either – I am in a neutral state between being happy and unhappy), as I know what happiness means and how great it feels. I did not make the choice of being unhappy or being not happy. In contrast, I always wanted to be happy. “Maybe you just do not know how to be happy“, one may say… (I hope noone will say this; happiness sometimes is not attainable by the way it works for others). Anyways, I regret not being happy, but I did not choose it. So why do I have regret?

I guess the answer lies in the fact that I still believe that I can be happy and I can work towards it. So far in 40 something years, I have not figure out what it is that can give me lasting happiness (except falling in love with someone great… then happiness was the natural state; I just remembered….). But there is hope. One day.

I also regret spending my time and years in a city that does not excite me. My alternative is to move somewhere else, but I did not make this decision yet. I regret living here, but cannot take the steps to change it.

Why is that?

Because I can understand that the alternative may not be so good either and I may regret it big time, too. For one, finding such a job that I have here is almost impossible. Even though I am not making a lot of money, my salary and job are stable. If I leave this job, I may never have such financial and job stability in my life, even though I get everything else that I long for for an exciting life… That is the scariest part of it.

The moment I wrote the above sentence, however, something blinked inside my mind. I remembered that using the word “never” was a way of generalizing things without much evidence. So, who knows? Maybe there are other jobs that can provide me with these stability somewhere else. Maybe I should go check for them, yes? 🙂

Writing is awesome; it helps clear things for me. But more than that I am grateful for having hope 🙂

the dream of a future simple life

It is not un-obvious that my current life is full of routine and lacks excitement. I keep thinking whether I could leave my current job, which is stable, respected, and provides me with a good income and benefits, and move to somewhere more exciting but possibly not as prosperous and stable as this one.

It is, I guess, normal to have this conflict as in life we always strive for the best living conditions. Considering that I am also very aware of having only one life and it is not fully satisfactory, I do not mind re-visiting this idea time to time.

I was having a conversation with one of my friends lately and she made an excellent point; she said the issue (of leaving my current city for a more exciting one) did not come to a “boiling point”. Boiling point is when we do not think or question; it is when we know we are done and take the action (in my case, resigning from work, selling my home, and finding another job to work  and another city to live in).

I have been wishing to move to a country where people are lovely and lively, culture and history is interesting, living conditions are not too bad, there is political and civil stability, nature is amazing and vibrant, and life is simple…

Simple life is so appealing… Not thinking about all the hurdles and complexities of my work or how to maintain and manage my house for example.. Would it not be wonderful if I had less time and energy spent on these issues and more time, effort, and time put in finding a greater meaning, a greater happiness, and a greater satisfaction in life?

It would be.

Thanks to my education and job, I have got to move around many different countries and cities. I have been to developing countries and developed countries. I have been bombarded by the news and issues as well as opportunities and great health care other services. I have seen the rich people as well as homeless people. I have seen how the technology made our lives easy and then how it made us dependent on it. I have seen good people as well as bad people. I have seen comfortable life and also very dry, de-socialized, and most importantly, always “rushing” life.

I do not want to rush anymore nor be away from people. I do not want to regret being in the city I live. When I walked in the street of the city, I would like to feel the energy. When I look at it, I would like to see a character. I would like to be somewhere where I would not be marginalized, discriminated, or stereotyped because I was not originally from there. When I live in the city, I would like to feel like at home.

I also would like to be intrigued by the history, culture, and daily life of the people in that city. I dream them being nice and smiley all the time, being positive and hopeful, having time for each other, curious and respectful, protective of the environment, animals, and people, cheerful and happy with their lives and their people. Content with what they have and satisfied with their conditions. Not fully complaining, not feeling insecure, not feeling unsafe or unsuccessful, not gossiping or back-stabbing. Happy, healthy, content, relax, wise, and humane.

I do not know whether there is any place like this on earth – at the end we are all human and human have predictable behavior. But I believe that there are places where I can find at least the half of these features and where I can get rid of the stress and “rushing” of this modern, high-tech, and high-demanding life and work. Where I can find myself, without the clouds and mess of the current life conditions, obligations, issues, stress, and others.

The simple life I am dreaming of would include serving the society; maybe as a teacher. Having a small but safe house with a yard and lots of trees around. Having a study at the house where I can have my library of books and a study desk. On the desk I would have my laptop or computer and I would write. I would write the stories that I could not formulate, develop, or write yet. On the streets I would talk to people and at the market I would buy fresh produce. I would eat my food with interest and with admiration. I would chat with my neighbours and invite them over for ice tea at my yard. We would laugh and enjoy our moment. I would have a cat, better yet a cat and a dog. I would read the most extraordinary stories by the most beautiful writers. I would cook at my kitchen with a large wooden table in the middle. I would cook for the people I love. I would walk on the streets with a smile on my face, thinking about almost nothing, phasing out with the rhythm of my breath and the kiss of sun on my cheeks..

And, before I forgot, I would have financial means to do so, live like this, without depending on anyone or anything.

That is the most depressing part of this dream; I do not have the financial means to make it come true. If I stay with my current job and current budget for another 25 years, I may have enough for my retirement. Maybe in my retirement I could move to such a place.

But, my dear friends, would it not be a waste of life?

middle age awakening

As a middle aged person (mid 40’s now) and familiar with life and death, and change in the body and age, I have started to have different feelings, different thoughts for some time now.

Death is a subject that I, like many people, would like to ignore. I am lucky in the sense that none of my family members and dear friends have yet passed away. But I am at an age that makes me realize that this may change soon, starting maybe with my parents. Not that this means that young people in my family or friends cannot die; they may. It is just that the increasing age makes it more likely. And all is scary…

I do not think I will ever come to terms with death or understand it fully for that matter. But I am glad I at least started to realize how real it is.

A couple of days ago, I thought about my own death as well; it scared me as it felt lonely. This thought, the thought of my own death, was something new to me. I did not want to die. This somehow helped me to notice my love for life.

I decided to do and prioritize things differently to have a life that I will love and has no or little regrets.

Regrets are hard and like anyone else I too have regrets; I wished I was happier for example. I wish I had handled things better and made my well being a priority. I wish I had spent more time with my family and I did not love my job that much. My job probably has a bigger role in my life than others, as I not only earn a living with it, but also changed the countries and cities I have lived in,  hardly got settled in anywhere, and with it and because of it I have got to get many difficult life and work experiences.

Eventually, I am grateful for what I have become and for my life as a whole. But it is time to re-think, re-assess, and re-decide what is important, what is not. What deserves my time and energy? How do I find more meaning in it? How do I help others better? How do I stop beating myself and relax? How do I take better care of myself? What are my needs that I neglected? What can I dump along the way to release myself from stress, sadness, and hopelessness? What excites me and how do I get them?

I feel like I will revisit this topic time to time. I am not interested in having a bucket list of 50 things to do before 50, but hey, maybe I should. Maybe they will help me discover my needs and wishes. This is gonna be challenging as I am someone who does not have long term plans, but maybe that also should change.

Now that is what I call the middle age awakening, rather than a middle age crisis 🙂

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