Change is good and is here

Happy Sunday, folks – I hope you all are safe and well.

Do you know this feeling when you constantly run from one thing to the next and wish you could just stop and process what has been happening?

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I bet you do.

Those who follow my blog knows that I have an intense work that makes me run from literally one meeting to the next, from one task to the other.

I hardly have that life-work balance, and work most of the time, even when I am exhausted.

The good thing is that I have been taking a couple of days off here and there, and this gave me the much needed opportunity to just stop and process.

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What did I find during these self-reflection moments?

I have done so well within the last few years, and especially since the Holidays since when I was non-stop working. Yes, things are slower and requires much more effort and time (working from home..), but I have actually done quite a lot, and also entered into new areas and experiences professionally, so I actually admire my interest and resilience now.

I also found out that I was in peace with my past and was peaceful in the present. Whether this is because of my age and wisdom coming from it, or something else (like my antidepressant medication), I do not know. What I know is that I feel good and I am aware that everything happened and every choices I made, even the bad ones, brought me to today.

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I also realized that I had changed a little bit, especially during the pandemic. I can so “no” more easily and reduce my workload (and stress). I can stop being too meticulous on things that do not matter that much. I still do a great, high quality job. I just better sort what needs my meticulousness, time, and efforts at full extent, and what does not.

And, I found out that I need to change a couple of things in my daily life. I struggle with eating a variety of food – I tend to eat the same greens and fish all the time. Recently shopping became just an automatic act, picking up the same things all over week after week. I always fell into this routine. I made a mental note that I could make an effort to diversify the food I am consuming, and make cooking and eating a little bit fun.

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I also need to care more about my bones, muscles, and flexibility as a mid-age lady. I know walking is great but it does not help much with the bone density, so light weight training as well as stretching need to be an integral part of my daily life. These are not new aims – in the past I was able to keep up with them for sometime, and then they slowly slipped out of my routine. Why? Because I have so many things in my to-do list. By having a me-time, which will help these permanently integrated in my life. is thus more important than ever.

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My weight. I was always a big girl, which I do not mind. But with age came the fat in the belly area, which I do not like. I know what makes me lose weight and what makes me gain weight. Exercise will not make me lose weight, only what I eat. So more greens, less starchy food, and more protein. That is my best dietary strategy to lose the fat. Since I many times in my life wanted to lose weight but never kept it, perhaps this aim is now more important than ever. Why not to make the weight loss one aim that will stamp my mid-age years? Worth trying 🙂

Professionally, I looked at my to do list and I have seen a couple of things only 🙂 That means I can start new projects, undertake new roles, and develop more as a professional. I am very excited about this 🙂

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Somethings however does not need to change. They are well established in my life and they are good. for example, saving, investing money for my retirement. Cleaning the home regularly. Visiting the thrift stores for items I may need and use. Helping others in need, such as family or animal shelters. Limiting waste, especially food waste. My furniture or other items in the house. All good for now.

The moral of the story is that sometimes we need to stop and help our mind bring us what needs to be cherished and what needs to change. Both are good. Take that time off, folks.

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. 

  • 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 🙂

  • 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 🙂

  • 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 🙂

  • 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 🙂

  • 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 🙂 Gray hair is a sensitive matter!! 🙂

  • 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 🙂

  • 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.

 

 

#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 🙂

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 🙂 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) 🙂

Goodness knows, maybe I will even go out to musicals or concerts 🙂

Saturday morning musings

Another Saturday morning filled with fresh coffee, music, and “me” time 🙂

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It is a kind of chilly day that deserves staying at home and finding ways to enjoy the day. I have no plans to shop or go out for other reasons, so this suits me well today.

I must, however, do house chores, my necessary yet un-joyful weekly activity, which continues to break into my day time plans. It is a great reminder of what needs to be done in order to have a comfortable house life. And, I will do the chores, knowing that after them I will feel great about myself, my home, and my life overall. So give me just  another hour to reach this level of serenity.

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The optimism I have had last night continues. I keep repeating in my mind the past experiences that always lifted my life after a period of hardship. I will be fine. I do not know when and how, but life will be good to me again. There are times that we must change things or ourselves, but resist or cannot do. Eventually life takes it at its own hand and puts you in a period that is challenging, anxiety-creating, and uncomfortable. We must go through this time, which maybe we were supposed to be with our own efforts, but did not. Life corrects us. 

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They say wisdom comes with age and I kind of believe in this now. Our past experiences not only develop us, but also help us understand how life works and have hope for the future.

I have had many hard periods of life as well – it was not fun. Once upon a time (a.k.a. when I was younger), I had had a sense of adventure that made me curious about life and future possibilities. The entire world was under my feet, I felt strong, able, and good. Those times have left me a while ago. I think it is my current conditions that I prefer; living in a small city, having a once-permanent and great job which is hard to leave, etc. that made me feel living in a much smaller “world”. Aging and having past medical conditions exaggerate this feeling as well – I find myself asking and wishing for a stable and comfortable life conditions. So my choices are limited.

What are my choices?

For today? 

For tomorrow?

For the next few years and beyond? 

I want to be responsible for my life and life-style, the way I think and process information, and the way I act. 

Considering the difficulties I have experienced currently, making different and better choices is gonna be hard to do, but I know that once I start it, just like my house chores, it will likely move on.

Best to everyone out there who is struggling one way or the other.

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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.

socialization attempt

I have been contemplating lately about the changes that have happened to me and one area that bothers me is the low frequency of social interactions out of work.

I used to host my friends almost every weekend 10-15 years ago. We were all young, single or married, but with no kids. It was easier then.

Then I moved to another country and my friends over there were now over 30 and lovingly with babies/kids. I loved the kids, I loved my friends, but what I was cooking or offering at home as entertainment for my guests were not adequate (I had no toys or board games, for example. I sucked in cooking meals that kids would love). I got to play with the kid when I visited their homes and was welcome and never felt awkward because of me being single or without a kid, but honestly I eventually fed up listening about kids all the time and watching the kid movies. I started to miss sincere conversations about life, our lives, and other philosophical discussions. It also annoyed me quite a bit after a while that my friends thought that I could be there whenever they wanted, as I had “no dependent“. They missed the point that I too had a life, issues, joys, interests, and needed time for myself and needed people/friends who would listen to me and intellectually stimulate me.

We have had enough frustration and disappointment. Bitter emotions built up. Eventually, I drifted away slowly as they also did.

Then I moved to my current city and got very, very busy with the work. I met with many wonderful people but was not able to host them because of time-restrictions. I developed quite a bit of insecurity about my cooking skills too, which also contributed to my anti-social life. Not to mention a number of serious health and family issues I have had in the last few years that made me more and more introvert.

But no insecurity or busyness or being anti-social are helping me and it is time to break this cycle.

It was an unusually busy week and I am tired cleaning the home and thinking about the menu tomorrow, but I am doing this with excitement – I am hosting a number of lovely people and two little kids tomorrow 🙂

 

random thougths (mostly on cat ownership)

I woke up early this morning, before 8 am (yes, it is early for me: I usually get up around 9 am). I was wondering how Jamie the cat was. After doing the morning routine (it is routine now, like changing his water and cleaning his litter box), I left him for the first time at home for the day.

The morning was awesome with a cool temperature but nevertheless sunny and walking felt good. I was planning to take the bus, but then feeling the goodness coming out of the day and walking, I decided to walk to office. I was there in 30 min. I found a chance to look at the trees and enjoy the quite morning with little traffic. I really enjoyed this morning walk.

Work went well and after two long meetings, I was back at home in the afternoon to continue to work here. I was wondering how the cat did, and to my joy everything was alright; he was well and nothing at home has been harmed, broken, moved, or trashed by the cat. That felt good and once more I realized what an easy cat he was.

I try to pet him and play with him time to time. I guess it is true what they say; when you ignore them, cats approach you. I must say surprisingly he is the one that wants to lie on my lap, climb on me, or head butt me. It is really interesting that I get so much love and comfort from this cat. I hope he will not change. I hope he will not get frustrated by constantly asking for love/attention from me and getting it maybe 60% of the time.

I feel conscious about this; I feel like I must address all of his needs and wants. I am good with providing him safety and food/water/clean litter (i.e. basic needs). I pet him the majority of the time he wants it, but not always. So far, I did not let him climb on my face or bite my socks. I lift him off my keyboard. I feel like rejecting the poor animal, which makes me quite sad/sorry. I know how it feels to be rejected…..

But I also think that I cannot do everything he wants me to, like play when he wants, scratch when he wants, climb on me, bite me, or let him sleep on my bed. One of my fears is to have a cat who is pretty spoiled…

It turns out we both have rules.

I have a trip to make in October for a week and I wonder how we are going to handle his care. I either need to find someone to house sit him or I will place him in a boarding facility. I do not know how I will and how he will feel about it.

Honestly while it is a great cat, I can tell you it is not all white and black for me. I feel like I cannot give him the attention he needs. When I am away on trips, it is a problem. Since I am used to live alone, I kind of scared of the sudden noises he makes, especially at night. The fact that he becomes more active at night is unfortunate; these are the times that I really need the quiet time for myself. Feeling conscious, having  some kind of remorse, and all bunch of other feelings….

Maybe they were right; I should have fostered him first and then decide to adopt. It feels like the buyer’s remorse; when you buy the house it is exciting first and then it becomes kind of worrisome and you regret its responsibility big time. Until it becomes your routine….

I have not given up yet, but honestly I miss my freedom 🙂

How am I doing in my 3rd day being a cat owner?

Jamie the cat and I are doing really well. It is a very well mannered cat. So far there has been no aggression or biting/scratching kind of events. He used his litter box and did not vomit or urinate everywhere (I hope). He wants me to scratch his neck quite frequently. I am happy with this for now as it helps us to bond, but I hope he will not expect me to do this all the time 🙂 I also try not to pay attention when he meows – the last thing I want to have is a cat that can get my attention whenever he wants…. (I know this sounds heartless, but honesty that is what I think….)

I introduced him to the first floor today. He is good at exploring and seems to enjoy looking out of the window.  He also sniffs the two second hand rugs I got last week; it is possible that they came from homes with pets.

He still visits his room; as a matter of fact his bed, hiding place (aka my old suitcase), litter box, water, and food trays are all there. Today I cleaned the room and opened the windows. While his litter box does not smell, the room does. I do not know whether that is the dry food or he urinated on the shag rugs to mark his room. Something happened.

Jamie and I often compete for the keyboard 🙂 I try to limit him step on it but I am not sure how that will happen..How do we make cats conditioned to not do something? if you have any advice, please tell me.

So almost everything is fine. I am still trying to adjust to having something at home and something to care for. It is kind of strange as I have been living alone for a very long time. I must admit I feel like my freedom is limited now; it is only because of me watching Jamie all the time 🙂 I try to see how he behaves and whether there are dangers at home that I have not counted for. I guess this feeling will go away in a couple of days.

Right after I typed that, Jamie, while trying to climb in a storage cabinet, dropped something heavy. Of course, that is not nice but I talked to him, does he get it? I needed to open the vacuum to clean the mess and that caused him to get a little bit more scared. I do not know where he is right now – hiding somewhere I guess.

Since I am usually a quiet person, I try to make noises around for him to get used to noise. I rang the bell, TV is on, I used the vacuum to clean the house yesterday and today. I expect a couple of visitors this week, which I hope will give him an opportunity to get used to having people at home.

So, I still have some internal work to do and need to get used to live with a cat/another living being, whose rules and habits do not match mine, but I could not ask for a better mannered cat. He is quiet, not violent/aggressive, eats and drinks water well, does not walk on the counter or the dining table yet (I have newspapers with double-sided tapes – he tried once and he did not like the sticky thing I guess. I have not seem him doing this again. I got the idea from internet. I hope to keep him away from these places), is young and looking healthy. A nice cat after all.

I will handle my emotions and the responsibility towards him. We will be fine over time.

“Enjoy the delicious part of life as well”

I got up this morning with the thoughts of “What do I want for my life? How can I get them?

This is a recurring question in my mind over many years, even decades. With the recent death of my dad and head-on clash with the concept of death in reality, I am not surprised that these questions arise again.

When I look at my life, I do see that I pacified myself with my education and training in the past and do the same my work now. It is like shutting the emotions down and focusing on problem solving. They say it is the rational side of the brain (the left side) that works while working on a problem, not the right side, which is more concerned about emotional aspect (whether or not that is true I do not know; but I know that when I focus on work, I am overall feeling better)….

I also know that a number of times I have attempted to make my life better as I wished it to be. Moving to a city or country that I love, or marrying a man whom I would see myself excited and happy with. Many times these did not happen. Many people know that I am kind of stuck at my present city, which is not bad but not great or exciting either (small, isolated city with less attraction and diversity). Yet the work is amazing and I live comfortably in terms of finances, safety (very safe city, which is awesome), and life is overall very simple and easy (which helps me have lots of time for work and myself). So there are so many positives of being here, yet there are also so many other great cities out there. My thoughts always linger towards them…

After I moved here, i have applied to only one job which I thought was better than what I have right now. It did not happen. The small number of job applications tell me that after all I should be content with where I am or my life is. I think in a lot of ways I am content. But then, why do I have this feeling of “I am wasting my life”?

The fact that I live away from my family and home always feels bad…. I should have been with my family. I should have been with my dad more. I should be spending more time with the rest of my family. yet, here I am….

I over and over contemplate about why I prefer a life here than at home and I always decide that this is better for me, even though I am away from home. This is strange and somehow hard to understand. Of course when I get close to retirement, i will reconsider this and the chances that I will go back home. But, is there a guarantee that I will live that long or find my loved ones well and alive then? I can not know.

But I know one thing; after the death of my dad, I am feeling resentment against my interest in work. I, by liking it so much, neglected a lot of things; myself and my family. This gotta change. I also realized, as my dad said a couple of years ago, “life is really short and before it ends and when you still have time, do things that will give you more joy, happiness, and excitement. Enjoy the delicious part of life as well, not always see and engulf yourself in the hard part“.

I had taken notice of this wise and somehow unexpectedly understanding advise from my dad, but I did not overly improve the quality of my life, or make changes that will give me more joy, excitement, or happiness (except that a couple of years back I had almost fallen in love, which had felt exactly like what my dad had described).

I have dreams of course. I would like to move to a South American country for example. I can still work and would be very happy to contribute to a developing country with my skills and experience. I would love the better climate and genuine people. I would love to learn the culture, history, and the language of the country. I would love to sing songs with the elderly and have laughters with the youngster. I can always do that, yet two things bother me; a) I may not be financially as good as I am now, and b) South America is even farther away from my home. So, I will not work towards this dream.

On the other hand, I can focus on my current life, which is already abundant, comfortable, and safe. There must be things that I can do now, on top of what I already have, to enrich it. That sounds like a doable plan. My only problem is; what can I change or do new that can give me this excitement that I am missing in my life?

I guess now it is a good time to read a couple of my books that tackle exactly this question. Good to know that I am not the only one and, hey, who knows, perhaps this time I can see something….

After all, there is nothing more insensible than wasting my life. I am determined to make it more meaningful and work for me. Hopefully this time, I will start enjoying the delicious part of life.

today’s bits

The title may puzzle some of you; it is just an alternative to my regular “random thoughts” posts. For some reason, in this new year, I did not want to use that title anymore. So here we go “today’s bits” 🙂

It has been a nice week overall. Right after the holidays and right before our work schedule gets crazy (starting next week), I have had 4 days of peaceful work. I worked quite a bit, mostly with a team member of mine. I am glad we have had this time to fully focus on his project. I spent regular hours in the office, only to leave after 5pm, which felt good. Only exception was today, when I left my office to work at home around noon.

It was a kind of chilly day today, but i managed to walk back home. I also visited another grocery store, maybe 1 minute off my regular route. I am glad I have done that as the store has different products and somewhat different prices, too. I have bought more than I could carry comfortably, but it was worth it.

I took advantage of the sales and bought stuff that I would not usually consume. Like turkey legs. I in fact like turkey legs; turkey broth is  quite nourishing and smells nice. I particularly love cooking pasta in that broth – that is what I will try this weekend. I also bought a large bag of potatoes and am planning to try fish cakes this week. Hopefully I will not mess it up and it will turn out to be a delicious dish as I have been hearing here and there.

While I have gone to yoga for the last three nights, today and tomorrow, I plan not to. Not that I do not love the stretching classes. But because I wanted to “miss” being in there. In my case, no matter how awesome and well feeling something is, continuous exposure makes me get bored after a while. I need to “miss” such things by staying away for a while. Today this is what exactly I am feeling; missing being in those stretching classes. Sunday, I will resume my classes. Looks like 5 nights a week is a good plan. The remaining two nights, I can take a break, miss it, and do other stuff like reading my book “A Clash of Kings” by GRRM.

have a great Friday night friends 🙂

 

challenges – daily progress

I am speaking too much today 🙂 this is my third post. But I gotta write this one, as it keeps me motivated and helps me make these changes in my life.

So here is the list of things I have done today to improve my life: I took the bus in the morning and surprisingly did not mind waiting 10 minutes for it; drank a cup of chamomile tea, which I usually do not like but was fine this time; looked out of the window to enjoy the nature and the surroundings at the office; walked back to home and then to the post-office at a fast pace (yay!); am motivated to walk more in the evenings and weekends; ate healthy meals and limited carbs; listened to the music at the office while working; and did not make any purchases.

I have done well today; maybe I should increase/change the challenges as time goes on. New challenges, new excitements, and new reasons to feel good 🙂

cheers everyone

random thoughts – conscious spending

I am really excited and interested in reading material on frugality, budgeting, saving, and simplifying life. All thanks to a (relative) financial hardship (due to recent home-ownership).

I am doing allright financially, though my savings for my retirement are not great and my chequeing account is empty. Plus, I have that huge mortgage and I am looking at some serious repairs in a couple of months. I am not complaining; I know there are many people out there not as lucky as I am and given time and with some job stability (which I kind of have), I am likely to clear my debt and improve my retirement savings in the future. But what bothers me is that I can do a lot better given my current income.

I started investing in retirement accounts quite late in my life. I was 35 when I opened my RRSP account (mutual funds); I started with a biweekly contribution of $100. I remember the day I had seen the $100 become $100.01 in a couple of weeks. It was not a huge(!) increase, but I had felt proud of myself. It was only a year after that when I got a job that had a company pension plan. 36 years of age sounds late to me to start having a pension plan. That is another reason that I would like to be an aggressive saver and investor. For my own future. While I can do it. But can I do it?

I used to do well prior to buying the house and now I am not sure what I can – something gotta give; the house, the retirement investments, or my spending habits.

I am considering selling my house after I fix the issues I am aware of. But I should say I am also somehow attached to it. I will see how it goes.

In the mean time, all I can do is to control my spending to make sure I have adequate means to continue to invest in my non-company retirement plans: together with the portion I need to pay back for the Home Buyers Plan (I withdraw money to make down payment for my house), regular RRSP contribution, and a personal retirement investment plan, I invest around 10% of my income per year for my retirement. I am glad I do that.

My primary concern is to get the extra money to finance the house maintenance/repairs and lift my chequeing account to a positive balance.

I have kept records of my weekly spendings in the last 8 years or so. I have a good idea of what my expenses are; which ones are essential, which ones are inevitable, and which ones are I can live without. I have been making some calculations and by taking the bus rather than the cab every morning, I save around $4,000 a year. I am surprised by this number. It is a huge amount of money. I have other expenses that I can remove from my life easily and double my savings. Amazing is it not?

It is.

If I can do this for extended period of time, the level of financial stability I can have is amazing.

They say frugality is a life-style and I am intrigued by this. So far my aim is to try it for two months and see what I can do and how I feel about the entire stuff.

So far, I am not consistent but I certainly am feeling excitement and interest about “conscious spending”. I like using this term because it tells me that a) it is my choice, and b) it is the responsible thing to do. Two things I like.

challenging myself

I have been thinking about changes that will enhance my life, my health, and my financial health for some time. I have not done anything substantial yet, which finally came to a point that the entire lack of implementation of changes started to make me unhappy with myself.

I do not need to be unhappy about myself.

The main problem of mine is that even though I know what can work, I have the confidence that they will work (I have done similar changes before), I just have a substantial need of pampering myself. The need to relax; the need to take a break from everything; the need to feel good; the need to not constrain myself. The more I pamper myself, the longer the issues remain unresolved, the heavier they accumulate as an emotional baggage.

In other words, pampering myself  = inaction = bothering myself more over the long run.

I do not need these.

From this morning on I invited myself to several challenges:

challenge 1: take the bus (not the cab) – get up at 8.15am to catch the bus.

challenge 2: eat better and healthy – cut out the carbs and consume more veggies

challenge 3: walk an extra 30 min at the weekends

challenge 4: do not buy books for two months

challenge 5: cut out the bagel breakfast- one bagel/breakfast

challenge 6: do grocery shopping as required and buy small amounts – many stuff perished in my fridge so far – what a sad waste.

challenge 7: start listening to music and relaxing 20 min a day.

challenge 8: drink at least one cup of tea a day

challenge 9: get up in the morning and smile to yourself and hum a song

challenge 10: look outside the window at the office three times a day – enjoy the view and relax

challenge 11: record the progress in these areas in breaking the routine or joy journal categories

challenge 12: increase the contribution made to the RRSP account

challenge 13: during the day remember to smile

challenge 14: lose 15 pounds in two months – record weight and food consumed every day

challenge 15: stick to the plans – I have done these before and I can do it again

breaking the routine – March 24, 2015

Ok.. albeit with no concious effort on my side, today I did break my daily routine by joining a visitor and two of my colleagues at a lovely dinner, filled with great and informal conversations.

That also means that I came home later than usual, and thus I am able to spend less time with the computer tonite than usual.

So, one event, two changes to my routine…. I love this 🙂

breaking the routine – March 17, 2015

With or without choice, here are the things I have done differently today;

1. For the first time in my life, this morning I spent around 45 min to open a passage to get out of my home. For the first time!! There was a lot of snow yesterday, but the city’s snow plows should have worked during the night/early morning to put the snow in the street to the front of my house.

2 I ate  salad after a month or so. Happy to eat raw vegetables as part of my new recent “healthy eating” choice.

3. I started real work at the office quite late – may be 3pm or so and continued to work till 7.30. I am surprised because my energy would usually drain in the afternoons. Must be the benefit of the long weekend 🙂

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