It has been a fine day. Again.. :)

🙂

I love the serenity and joy that having some “me time” and reading positive news/affirmations and thinking that there is truth to these, bring.

Reading and thinking about positive things and possibilities, indeed are healing and making me feel more in the life and enjoying it.

I came to realize that not everything was a hurdle or difficulty I had to go thru, but rather there were many beautiful things that were happening and awaiting me to recognize them.

Today the most sweet of all was to recognize that there were many opportunities out there (whether work or personal opportunities is irrelevant) and if I had wanted, I could reach them. I in fact have been reaching to some of them lately. Like the additional position I have got lately. I wanted it, genuinely, and it just fell on my lap after a year or so. I feel lucky!

And today, I was just walking to help warm my muscles and found out a yard sale in my neighbourhood. I managed to find a great book on self-development that I read with great interest and a pot that I have loved dearly 🙂 All for a couple of bucks. I was one happy and lucky person again, all by chance again! Should I not have wanted to walk at that random time, I would have missed this beautiful opportunity.

Sometimes my friends, we just need to show up and life will deliver to us. This is a fact.

If we look, we can see.

I am looking at life now and am excited about all the great things it can bring to me. I am ready to reach, savor, and be grateful for them!

I am lucky.

I choose to have thoughts that empower me.

I choose to have “me time” and read and contemplate on positive thoughts.

I choose to believe that I am capable of reaching out and succeeding in life and at work.

I, my friends, am choosing to bless these thoughts and the mental state “me time” can bring.

*me time: not working or using computer. Rather just sitting and making it a priority to go through my thoughts and make conscious choices to switch to joyful ones – try it 🙂

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all the good things – check

  • deciding to feel good as nothing much in our daily/work life matters that much – check

I have had a kind of relaxing but also somehow nerve-pitching week. All work related issues of course. On the other hand, weather has been incredibly nice and Spring is really here. I have been feeling awesome about this – there is a real feeling of “hope” and “new beginnings” induced by the arrival of Spring. Should I be wasting these great feelings with focusing on shitty things and behaviors?

No.

Right. 🙂

  • walking to the office in the morning – check

I have been walking in the last few days from home to office in the mornings. This feels great really 🙂 Last year was the first time I had made it a routine activity to walk in the mornings (weather permitting). It makes me feel calmer, energetic, happier, and healthier 🙂

  • working without much of stress and taking care of a tricky document – check

I knew that it was gonna be tough but I also told myself repeatedly that I would do overcome this too. The last year has been particularly very challenging in terms of work, stress, agitation, changing myself and my work attitude, growing my gray hair (I did not update you on this, did I? Man, I have gray hair alright – looks better somedays than the others, but I am still resisting the idea of dyeing it 🙂 ), and undertaking new professional roles. One of the benefits of it has been to go through really tough time and tough decisions, so no new challenge is a big deal (at least so far) – great! 🙂

  • taking my time to enjoy the plants on my floor – check

it has been a pleasure really, looking at all the beautiful plants and flowers that have been around me for so long but have never been cherished or recognized by myself. I feel awesome now that I know each one of them. Plants are amazing, friends. There are so many different types of them, they do survive with little help, and they make one feel great emotions and joy…. Go hug a plant 🙂

  • walking to a nearby store and buying groceries – check

there have been many food that I needed and were on sale this week – I feel lucky 🙂 I want to get some succulents nowadays. There were some aleo vera that were on sale in this store, but I did not want to buy them this time. There is a store 30 min away on foot that I can go check sometime to see whether they carry succulents. Even reading about the succulent made me feel excited and happy yesterday 🙂

  • drinking fresh kefir – check
  • eating good home-made food – check
  • making a conscious effort to not dwell on negativity – check
  • enjoying a comedy show – check
  • having a simple life with minimal expenses today – check, check, check! 🙂

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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 🙂 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. 

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 have  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.

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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Sunday morning musings

Happy Sunday everyone 🙂 Wherever you are, I hope you are having a great day, joy, hope, safety, and anything else your heart may desire.

Happy father`s day too! Those fathers who have been great to their kids and families – you should be proud of yourself. Hope you are having a great day too.

I am having a rather quiet Sunday.

When compared to yesterday this is an excellent change I must say. So how was my Saturday? First of all, I prepared my first sourdough with beet and we shall see how that will develop this afternoon when I bake it (proving now). I also did quite a bit of shopping yesterday: as usual I went to a store 10 min away to purchase milk. And then to another one 25 min away (on foot) to purchase yogurt that was on sale; I consume them quite frequently so I was happy to get them yesterday. Also, weather was so nice (around 20C, which is Summer! for us here) that walking and being outside felt like I was on vacation somewhere exotic or something 🙂

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Then, as if all these walking was not enough, I decided to walk (~1 hour each way) to a shopping mall, having a hair cut along the way and checking two thrift stores for pitchers. Well, at the end I did not find anything I really needed, so I also checked a department store. I found a pitcher but honestly it did not give me any joy, so I decided to leave it there (even thought it was affordable and do the job). I am glad I have done this because I checked another nearby store and guess what? I found the loveliest pitcher just like I wanted: affordable (and on sale), large enough to take all the kefir I produce (around 3 liters – I plan to collect a couple of days’ produce and store in the fridge), with a large neck/lid (so that cleaning inside is easy – kefir usually leaves it fat marks on glass quite easily), and the lid is adjustable so that you can tighten it up or loose as you wish (which is critical while dealing with kefir, because grains produce gas which needs to escape the container otherwise it can explode)! How happy I was with that purchase? Very 🙂 That is a great feeling.

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When I reached back home it was already past 7 pm and my legs were just aching. I think I walked around 3 hours yesterday. I know I could stretch and relieve some of the muscle tension in my legs yesterday but I was too lazy to do this and rather I slept over it and now I am feeling much better. 

So, what are my plans for today? I am taking it light today. I have an interesting sourdough loaf to bake, family to talk to, some laundry to do, and some work to seriously think about. I can also work on the yard and clean the weed up.

And, I can always enjoy my coffee and reading 🙂

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Have a great Sunday friends 🙂

 

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appliying for a job

I am feeling optimistic nowadays, which is awesome.

You know what I will do soon? I will apply for a job that I thought was suitable to me and is meaningful and challenging at the same time. 

I had saved the link to this job ad for some time and today I started drafting the application letter. 

I am not 100% sure that this is what I want to do; maybe things would change here and I would feel better with some change/some people leaving. But then maybe the fiscal situation would only go worse, and with that many other things like the way we run our organization, our work-loads, and the pressure on us – who knows? Seriously.

I feel obliged to trainees that I have recruited and believe that they are the only thing that can keep me here even if they offered me the said job opportunity….. Or, maybe I would talk to them and get them new places within the institution so that I could free myself from them and leave for the new job… I do not know.

This is an example of classical dilemma of being responsible for others versus being responsible for yourself – you can never know which one is better and always feel selfish if you choose to be responsible towards yourself, even though your primary responsibility is your own well being and happiness. Right?

Right…

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Seriously – what if I am offered this job and also like what they get to offer and decide to leave my position here? How soon can I leave here? Would I really do this? How would I do this? Oh, boy – it must be a really great job to be able to leave my job here…. Unless of course, something awful occurs on top of everything and acts as the last drop to help me end my bond with (and suffering) here…

I know it is too early to think about all of these because I did not even apply yet and there is no guarantee that I will be even selected for an interview, let alone be offered the job, but I cannot keep trying myself with the future possibilities. It is good to know that I still have some kind of faith for my current work-place, care about my team members, and am hopeful that a positive change can occur. At the same time I should also be cautious about the possibility of issues increasing over time and the low self-esteem this position/institution left in me.

I think I will go and make this application mostly because I am eager to know whether I can get this great job. If I cannot get it, I will not get lost, but if I get it, then my confidence will be higher.

It is worth it.

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Sunday morning musings

It is a quiet morning.

I am sipping my coffee with gratitude and listening to a great song by Sia:

 

As usual, morning routine consisted of shaping my sourdough loaf, brewing myself coffee, checking the news, and planning the day ahead. Needless to say, news are depressing. Almost everyday something insensible or violent happens – the humanity better shakes itself up. Why can’t we just love all? I know love is complicated, one can prefer love for one over the other, and it is not always shaped by our feelings but by our thoughts, but I keep wonder anyhow. Choices, my friends, are interesting. All these choices we have made in our lives. 

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I have had another dream that I remember. I interpret this dream as being adaptable to the unforeseen changes in life and distinguishing between the fears in our lives and the fears in our minds: we just had a conversation about this topic a couple of days ago. Or, it can be interpreted like this: sometimes it is okay to take time and not rush at the face of an adversity to resolve it that can create more problems; this pretty much sounds like what was going in my mind lately about my work situation; it is not the best time to aggressively look for jobs right now. Things will change for the better – so stay put for some more time.

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My plans for today is to bake my Sunday sourdough loaf, plant seeds in the yard, bring forward the summer clothes and hang into the wardrobe, speak with family, cook a cauliflower dish, and walk. Not overly exciting, but so far looks really good.

Have a great Sunday everyone! 🙂

 

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Sunday morning musings

It is a great day with the freedom to do nothing and everything 🙂

I used this sentence first yesterday and I kinda liked it – so please ignore it if it bothers you. It just reminds me my own freedom. For a control freak and someone like myself who has a lot of things on her to-do-list, that is a great feeling:)

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I am drinking the first cups of my morning coffee and looking ahead the day:  I have a bean meal to cook (started already); a sourdough loaf to bake (proving right now); a yard to dig and fix somehow; loved ones to speak to; and mentally work on the problem of “what is best for my future self“:

 

1) is it staying at my current job and job environment, and aiming to change my mind set so that I can feel good about myself no matter how negative or problematic the work is?

Can I really relax, lower my expectations from myself, adapt a new attitude, care less, and become more self-confident and just make things happen – if they can happen? 

Not sure, but I sure can try….I am quite aware that my self-confidence is quite low. This is mostly because of myself and the expectations I have from myself. Certainly, it does not help when you self-critique yourself all the time…. Please do not do that, friends; it is good to be aware of yourself, but please be not rigid in your thinking about yourself and others. You change; people change. I too can change. I just do not know how to handle that…

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2) is it taking the risk or opportunity (depends on where you are looking from), and looking for jobs aggressively?

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Assuming that I find a new job that I am content with; 

Am I ready to make this change mentally and physically? Yes, I am. I have done this before – I can do it gain.

Can I move to another city? Yes I can – I have done this many times in the past. packing and getting rid of stuff is a head ache, but it happens eventually. The worst thing would be to ask a couple of friends or contract persons to rent a truck and deliver the stuff to a donation centre.

Can I sell my house? hey, yes I guess so. Also, keeping it and renting is another option, is it not?

Can I leave my team at work? That is gonna be tough….. They trust me that I look after them and advance their work and careers. They trusted me and relocated here….. So it is really tough. I am kind of thinking that we can find better jobs for them; at least we can try. And if not, look for alternative ways. I am sure it is gonna be just fine….

Can I leave my position, salary, benefits, office? Yes, if I can get a comparable one somewhere else.

Will I change? the way I look at my work, performance, and my expectations from myself; will I find myself in a similar situation in the new job too?  This is even a tougher situation for me…… I am not confident that I can be fully happy with my new job, either. I feel like I may end up feeling a similar way; lack of self-esteem may take over again. what will I do then? Start looking for another job? How will it affect me now that I am middle aged?

How will it feel to start a new chapter in my life? Energizing and exciting! It will be great to get rid of the garbage off my shoulders and put my chin up with positivity, fresh air, and hope!

But, if I do not make this change, do I have a chance to change? Do I have to get a new job for these:

  • to have a better look at life 
  • to have better interests and better value to my work?
  • to make positive changes for myself and others
  • to feel good about myself

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And, most importantly; what is it that I really want? To change myself or to change my work?

Is it about changing what I see or how I see what I see?

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on brutality of social media

I will write about the brutality in social media. Like Twitter.

Boy.

You risk getting a blast back if something you say pisses someone for some reason. It does not have to be personal, but there are many people out there who are ready to strongly oppose/make fun of an opinion. It does not matter that your intentions were good to start with. This is particularly true for sensitive topics. Or for topics that some people have sensitivity towards. 

I am not interested in adversity but I am not interested in restricting my freedom of speech, either. I certainly am not interested in apologizing for something that is not intended to hurt anyone. A healthy conversation is fine, but then when it becomes a piss race what do we do? What is the best way to stop people, especially those that I do not know, to respond and attack/make fun of my opinions?

Can I label is as a “rant”, or “please do not respond”, or what? Would that even stop getting a negative and unsolicited response?

How do we find that balance between expressing ourselves and risking adversity? 

It depends I guess.

There will be times that I will be hesitating to post a tweet but risking it and going forward with posting it anyhow. And there will be times that I will remember twitter is not the only place to express myself – even though I have every single right to do so.

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 thoughts

I always found March-May kind of tricky; they feel like spring but then they are not. As you can guess, yes we are expecting another snow storm tonite. I am sure it is not going to be a snow day, but boy, do I really want the freedom to walk without thinking about the snow banks or ice? Well, looks like I will wait for sometime for that.

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Nevertheless, I walked this morning and it was a pleasant walk. I had my dental cleaning appointment, which went well. Only that I have been cranky lately and that meant I was not complying with everything. For example, my dental hygienist suggested that I have an additional X-ray, which I refused. She might have had a good reason, but I am not getting an X-ray unless it is absolutely necessary or recommended by a dentist. I am proud of myself for saying NO, which is easier when I am not in the mood. Also, it helped that the hygienist made me extra annoyed by asking all bunch of personal questions, spending time like this, and making me pay for an extra time. Next time, I am making clear that I am keeping the time to make sure I will not be charged more than the required, especially while also being subject to a ridiculous conversation. So, that was how I started my day….

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Anyways; after that it was better. First, I felt hungry and bought some muffins/baked goods and ate them with great appetite and enjoyment 🙂 Since I usually do not have breakfast, this was a nice change that I appreciated very much – I can do this more often 🙂

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The rest of the day was not eventful, for which I am grateful. I walked back home and prepared myself a healthy meal. I still have 10 pounds to shed (that I gained lately), which bothers me. Yesterday, for example I was miserable thinking about it…. Yet, I want to feel positive, rather than negative, and believe in myself that I will take the necessary steps to start removing extra fat from my body… This evenings’ meal was a good example of healthy meal (cracked wheat salad with lots of onion, tomato, celery, pepper, and parsley 🙂
Hope I will keep this determination up 🙂

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impulses, mistakes, choices, and life as it is

Like many of us, I made mistakes that shaped the rest of my life for the worse (that is how I interpret them anyhow) upon wishes and desires of my heart, but not of my mind.

I had felt I was suffering anyhow, so the alternative (a.k.a. the mistake) would be equally hurting. So, what the heck? At least I would feel alive; pulsing with life, hope, excitement, and happiness.

And I had 🙂

Yet, I was not the same after a while, somethings were inherently gone, and I missed them. So, that is why I interpreted them as “mistakes”, as there was no opportunity to go back in time and get again what I had had.

I then decided that mindful choices were better than the desires of my heart, safety more than excitement and impulses. Love was out of question, so was taking risks. I become conservative in my look to life and I would rather have a structured/safe life where I would have peace of mind. I also went through financial hardship – being fired twice in a year (even though I found jobs right away and did not even have one day out of pay check) and knowing how valuable a dollar can be (could buy 1.5 cans of beans for a buck those days), I also prioritized financial security as a result..

Now, I have got all of these; a great job with a great salary and benefits in a safe city. Arse boring life, but safe, well structured, and financially secure. 

Do I feel accomplished?

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How do I feel really?

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I feel like I want to quit this job and find the true desire of my heart again.

Take risks, move somewhere, meet with new people, and have spontaneity and curiosity about life.

Be open to excitement in seeing new faces, new cities, new cultures, and new experiences.

I want to rediscover myself and the course of my evolution…..

But, I will not take an active step and write that resignation letter.

Not yet.

I will know when it is the time to get out of this, and explore and bloom with excitement.

I will know……

I gotta trust that.

Freedom at last.

One day.

I will be waiting.

One day.

 

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weekly budget check

Interesting times.

First, I feel like I am spending way more than I should, but this should not annoy me; I only purchase stuff that are either durable and on sale, or are needed.

Second, I think walking to the office in the morning now is a thing for even winter! I am making a serious effort to walk by default now, unless it rains or is very icy 🙂 Walking is so cool 🙂

Third, it is becoming a nice habit to use the small savings to pay as mortgage pre-payments – this year I have made 2 and today I ordered another one to be in effect next week. I am excited and very, very proud 🙂

Anyways, going back to the weekly account:

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Weekly allowance: $120

Expenses related to the weekly allowance (grocery, breakfast/coffee at the cafe, cab rides- if ever, and other little miscellaneous expenses): $73

Fun funds saved this week: $120 – $73 = $47

Fun funds expenses: $0

Total fun funds accumulated so far in 2017: $564.5 

Other expenses: $49.5 (hair dye etc.)

Savings from would-be-expenses: $46.5 (these are the savings from expenses that I would normally make, but decided not to; such as walking rather than taking the bus, having breakfast at the local cafe etc.)

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*Pantry/freezer treasures enjoyed: canned beans, quinoa, rolled oats, soup noodle from the pantry; breakfast calzone, beef, and pastry sheet from the freezer 🙂

*a while ago I decided that I needed to use the food I stocked up in my pantry as well as the freezer. This will hopefully help with my savings as well as limiting my food waste.

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Happy budgeting and happy savings 🙂

 

random thoughts and #TheLeanSpendingMonth

It is going well – this quiet and relaxing weekend I mean 🙂

Weather is good; I walked yesterday for 25 min or so and am planning to do so again this afternoon; I cook and eat healthy with lots of raw veggies; house is cleaned and laundry is done; a number of movies are enjoyed; world news are followed; better spending choices are made; food in the pantry/freezer is being consumed; and life feels overall not too eventful and is peaceful.

Of course, the world news are interesting. What the hey has been happening in the USA? I sometimes think that all the little problems of mine are unnecessary – I guess this kind of mentality and actions are the ones that will fuel a much larger world-wide conflict, unrest, and violence. So who cares about whether I will be able to do every thing I want to do this year? Save that much and invest this much? Nope. We may be looking at a much bigger and global problem to erupt (not to mention the pain and suffering by the people most needed the safety). I am sorry if I sound pessimistic (which I usually am).

Nevertheless, I try to focus on what I can control so that I can not feel hopeless altogether. That brings me to my #TheLeanSpendingMonth challenge I assigned for myself (a.k.a. super-duper lean spending month).

I initially had decided to try it on February but more or less since new year I am on it.

What is #TheLeanSpendingMonth challenge?

As the name implies – it aims to challenge me to spend the least amount of money on non-essential expenses (for me that would mean taking the cab, eating breakfast outside, buying coffee or other treats, buying more grocery that I can consume, and buying anything new while I still have a working copy at home).

I am not 100% lean in my spending; I decided a while ago that fully restricting myself was not a good idea. So I am buying one treat a week as I please (like peanut butter which is not essential for my diet). But I am quite conscious of my spending, and I am making it a choice to calculate the cons and pros of each of my expenses and think about how I could benefit from by not making the expense.

For example, I walked yesterday 15 min away to get eggs on sale, also thinking that walking is a great exercise that I am looking forward to anyhow. Yet, today I decided once again that baking dry beans would not worth it and the canned beans is a much better option for me regardless of the cost (it takes so loooong to cook beans…)…

I also needed an extra and quite clear benefit of not spending unnecessarily and so I come up with the mortgage prepayment account; I note my savings each week which will be later used to make a prepayment whenever I have more than 100 bucks in the account. I did this for the first time 10 days ago and I am excited about it 🙂 So I have more than enough motivation to keep going. 🙂

If anyone had asked me whether I could budget stricker than what I used to have last year, I would say no. But I am proving myself wrong now – I see that I can save more. This cannot be a long term plan for me though, so I rather see the #TheLeanSpendingMonth challenge as some kind of “shopping ban”. After  all I also have a life to enjoy and I would love my weekend breakfast to come back sometime 🙂

So my advice to you, if you are interested in this kind of challenges, is to learn about yourself and your choices as much as possible. Also think about it as a temporary thing; who knows maybe it will turn into a long-term habit, but if not that should be okay, too. I should also say that it is fun to challenge myself and finding ways to cut my expenses. I hope you too will have a similar and positive experience.

Have a great Sunday everyone!

 

 

 

weekly budget check

The minimal spending plan till the holidays is continuing. This was a great week in terms of spending my weekly allowance frugally (covering grocery, transportation, weekend breakfast, and other little daily expenses).

The additional shopping and taking advantage of the deals are also continuing, meaning money is spent now to save money over the long run (what an interesting thing to say….).

My fun funds are nowhere near being positive, which is bothering me. Hope to lift it up above $0 before the new year 🙂

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Expenses within the weekly allowance: $48.5

Fun funds (left-over from the weekly allowance): $120 – $48.5 = $71.5

Fun funds expenses (my discretionary spending): $80

Total fun funds accumulated to date: -$53 (yes, yes… it is a negative balance. no, no…. this is not great…)

Other expenses: a hefty $238.5, $100 of which is made for sewing supplies and notions

Savings from sales, transportation, and other expenses that I would normally do but have chosen not to this week : $222.5 (at least that is a good number; i could as well spend all of these. I am glad I have not..)

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Overall, I am benefiting from the “minimal spending plan” – it helps me to consume what I already have, which is awesome (also helping with limiting waste and food hoarding). Since I still have lots of fresh and dry/canned/frozen food to be consumed, I think I will be fine with continuing with this plan for some time.

I will slow down with my other expenses and am not planning to make any stocking up or additional shopping for personal care or cleaning products (other than for sewing-related needs) .

Let’s see how the next few weeks will go ahead 🙂

The half full glass of sewing

I became interested in sewing only lately – I believe 3 weeks ago or so. I had used a little toy-like machine to sew around the edges of a piece of fabric to have extra baking cloths. I immediately fell in love with it!  I looked for a good deal, finally got a nice one, ordered a wonderful sewing machine, and eventually received it last Friday:)

Well, there are also expenses associated with it. I ordered additional bobbins, presser feet, and needles; am buying threads and fabric; and am needing other supplies like cutting mats, rotary cutters, scissors, pins, and more threads and fabric. I will possibly need more stuff and notions over time. So, it will cost me money….As a matter of fact just yesterday I have had that dilemma again – is this really worth it considering that I am on a saving adventure?

I do not like this thought at all.

I believed genuinely that sewing was good for me and that is why I bought the machine. I enjoy it and I sure will benefit from it. So tonite, I have been busy trying to list all the benefits of sewing and now I am feeling better 🙂 .

Here is my case for sewing:

1. Sewing is a great, interesting, and exciting hobby: Everybody needs a hobby or two that will distract our minds from the daily stress and issues and make our lives whole and better. I used to read books till last year as a continuous hobby; then started baking bread; and now am moving with sewing. I am in fact lucky that I have these beneficial, positive, and lovely interests in my life!

2. Sewing can help me make my living environment better: Once I got the supplies and necessary trial-error-experience, I can do so much with the sewing machine and improve my home. My long-term plans are to sew curtains, table cloths, bed covers, quilts, pillow covers, placemats, dishmats, napkins, sewing machine cover (yes, I will do this one too 🙂 ), bed sheets/linen, to name a few.

So for all these new and hopefully beautiful things crafted just according to my taste, soon and over the many years to come, am I not supposed to be actually joyful and grateful? I project that these will cost me more money than the factory produced items I could buy, but may not the pride, excitement, effort, and anticipation of making them myself just worth the extra price?

3. Sewing can make me more self-sustaining: I know from my bread baking adventure that it feels wonderful to be able to keep trying and baking my own bread (sometime brick-like, but that is okay), not buying store-made bread any more, and sharing my loaves with friends and neighbours.

If I can sew stuff, including clothes, then I sure will be more self-sustaining and I sure will feel the pride coming out of it. I did not sew till just 3 weeks ago!! Is that not a great ability now?

4. I can repair clothes and household items: I have a number of shirts and trousers that need a stitch or two. I also would like to fix certain problematic areas of select clothes that are in good shape but are not my favorites right now (like sleeves that are a little bit longer than I desire). My other alternative would be hand-repairing them, but this type of sewing has never been very successful with extensive repairs/fixes. So, in fact now I may be able to do these a little bit better. Will this not limit waste and increase savings over time?

5. I can sew clothes: In fact I would love to sew tunic tops; I even have a plan for a green one in my mind (it will be my first serious sewing project). How about pajamas?

6. I can make gifts by sewing and save money: This will be a penny-saver that is for sure. Every year I spend around 300 bucks for gifts. There are people that I love who are away and I do not gift at all (like my good friends). So, why do I not just improve my sewing and craft skills and make them gifts myself? A nice table cloth or quilt is sure to warm even the coldest heart.

In summary, here are the main benefits associated with sewing: better mood, better self-sustaining abilities, limiting waste, reducing a portion of my regular expenses (like gifts), and making my home/clothes the way I want it…

With these in mind, can I really brag about the expenses associated with sewing?

Especially that I am making an effort to identify the best priced supplies and do not do haphazard expenses?

And also, I just remembered: at the beginning of a new adventure like sewing, certainly the expenses are higher because of the additional but durable items required (like scissors, cutting mat etc.). Over time, my main expenses will be threads and fabric.

Overall, what is my verdict?

I will be okay and I should focus on enjoying my sewing journey!

 

joy journal – Nov 27, 2016

Tonite, I have find my mind going around negative thoughts and feelings- what better reason to write my joy journal? 🙂

1. I am grateful for sleeping well, having many dreams, and interpreting them. I am not an interpreter but among all three dreams, there was one common theme – that I was dwelling on/keeping the (negative) past memories and events too much. It is time to let these go and move on with a positive attitude, and create new memories…

2. I am grateful for the coffee I have had at home. I love brewing coffee at home 🙂 why did I not do that before? Until three weeks ago, I only brewed my coffee at the office and at the weekends I bought  myself coffee at coffee houses. As part of my minimal spending plan to finance my additional shopping during the holiday season, three weeks ago I started brewing it at home and this week I realized how much I actually enjoy this 🙂 I would love to make it a better experience by buying maybe better and aromatic beans for a change. I love vanilla and hazelnut – flavored coffee :). Otherwise honestly the coffee at the coffee houses are much better than mine! Time to change this 🙂

3. I am grateful for speaking with my family and having lots of laughs together.

4. I am grateful for catching the bus and going to the shopping mall. On the way back, I needed to wait around 40 min for the bus, but, hey, what can I do? In the past I would take the cab, but my conscious choice is to be able to save my money for more important things… So, even though it was a dump and rainy day, I was grateful for waiting for the bus inside the mall and keeping dry..

5. I am grateful for the french press coffee maker that I purchased – it was on sale and I have got an additional discount. It did not cost me too much and it looks really lovely. Upon my return I brewed coffee in it and I must say it is even better (lid is more solid and secure) than the presser at my office. I could not be happier for having this affordable, beautiful, and useful item 🙂

6. I am grateful for all other items I purchased today, which all will be useful in my life.

7. I am grateful for dying my hair 🙂 I am so not excited about this, yet I gotta do it every month or so 🙂 I am trying a new shade and it looks like the dye itself was better than the previous one. Thank you 🙂

8. I am grateful for being 190 pounds 🙂  I was heavier. In 2016 I lost around 15 pounds, very slowly. I am no sure about the exact reasons, but it is mostly because I do not eat late at night anymore (I used to eat a lot before I go to sleep…). I am very happy with this new habit and the positive outcome it brings to my life. My aim is to drop another 10-15 more pounds, maybe in a year or so and hopefully keep them off. The trick is to have this healthy eating pattern over time – a great trick 🙂

9. I am grateful for making conscious choice of letting negative things go off my mind and reminding myself to keep having a happy mental state. There are things that bother me… yet, I have been feeling so great lately that I will not let these thoughts/feelings ruin my overall mood. Feeling good is an amazing thing and I would love to keep it as much as I can.

10. I am grateful for making the better choice of buying and eating dried fruits than biscuits at the shopping mall 🙂

11. I am grateful for the big salad and the healthy meal I have had at home for dinner 🙂 They are healthy and good for my quest to lose fat.

12. I am grateful for having the night to myself and enjoying it as much as I can by watching movies and reading – what a blessing!

13. I am grateful for being safe and sound in this bad weather. We have had quite a rainy and windy day today and the wind is pounding everywhere. It is awesome that my home is standing tall and keeping me safe during this difficult weather.

14. I am grateful for having lots of food at my fridge. freezer, and pantry. I have a lot of things to consume in the coming months. The minimal shopping plan that I implemented in the last three weeks was very useful in consuming what I already possess, but I am thinking I can do better. For one, I have not eaten dry food lately and I may as well focus on consuming them this week. This will help me not only save from my current grocery bill, but also give me a chance to replace them with fresh ones.

15. I am grateful for my computer, internet connection, power, heating, appliances, furniture, clothes, books, TV, and all other items I have at home. They make my life easy, comfy, enjoyable, and safe.

16. I am grateful for my joy journal and taking time to note all the lovely, exciting, interesting, valuable, lovable, and appreciable things, people, and experiences 🙂

not picking the cheques anymore?

You know I have been on a budget to spend less and save more for my future, whether I do that to pay extra mortgage payments, to finance future house repairs (likely considering my house being an old one), to built an emergency fund (we all can need it anytime), to help family (they are important to me), or retirement (hey; I am important too).

And lately, you know that I got interested in sewing and have been saving extra to finance my new sewing machine, in addition to support my shopping plans for the holiday season.

You may also know that I like to be generous and pick up the cheques as dinners/cafes, if I am with friends or colleagues.

I came to a point that being a saver/conscious spender and being generous do not go well sometime. Sometime one has to choose one over the other.

Yesterday I have had two socials with the same people; a brunch and then a dinner. I offered to pay the bill of the brunch, but I was not let to. I am grateful for their kindness. Then later during the dinner I decided I did not want to pick up the bill. So, we got split cheques after a few awkward moments.

I felt cheap, I still somehow feel cheap, for not paying the entire bill, but it was the right thing to do.

One; I had no say in the choice of the diner (one of my friends yesterday made the reservation). It had one fixed menu. (by the way, that is quite strange… what if I do not feel like eating those?). Honestly I would love Asian cuisine much better and then it would worth every penny. So, strike one.

Two; it was an expensive restaurant. Do not get me wrong; it was a fine restaurant, food was interesting, and the service was excellent, but do I really need to pay around 80 bucks for a 5 course meal? I am here sacrificing from my weekend breakfast (that consists of a cup of coffee and one bagel) to help save for my sewing/holiday shopping needs, and then at one night I can spend 80 bucks? 80 bucks pay for 20 breakfast……That is a huge….The best choice is clear.

Three: as I was conscious of my money, I did not order extra meals/drinks like my friends did. Should I really pay for this?

Four: in the past I have picked cheques for both of my friends, so we should be fine.

So after this analysis, I am feeling better and I decided I might have been cheap but not unnecessarily. The question is; how am I going to continue making better choices in the future with other socials?

There will be some learning,  I guess 🙂

brought Jamie the cat back to the shelter :(

I put Jamie in his carrier using his favorite toy as a bait (after 30 min of trial and error), called a cab, and brought him back to the shelter. The person at the shelter was not happy when she learnt that I was returning a newly adopted animal.. I kind of deserved the somehow unhappy and disapproving face….

I know that if he is not adopted in a certain period of time, he can be euthanized…. This is breaking my heart big time, in addition to all bunch of other things. He was happy here, he wanted to be with me, he was smart, very well mannered (except occasional aggression/frustration that scared me). This last part of course is my own deficiency; I was not ready fully to understand the nature of cats and then handling them better. I did try my best, though.

There were a couple of people at the shelter looking for cats to adopt, or came to take their newly adopted cats home. I really hope, I really want to believe, that he can be adopted and be happy. So, please, if you are reading this, please join me in sending the best wishes for Jamie; let’s all hope that he will find a suitable home right away…. Thank you a bunch… 

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The whole morning, I cried at the office…..

I cried when I returned back from the shelter and started cleaning his room……

I cried when I picked up his scratch post (which I forgot to bring with me to the shelter to donate) and when I heard the bell on it chiming…..

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That cat changed my life in 5 days.

Just 5 days….

I remember many things about him and I: The moment I opened his cage and  the way he looked vulnerable and innocent, sniffed around, and approached me while I was pretending to not show interest in him; the way he accepted my hand and let me scratch his head; the way he ate his first wet food, which he loved; the way we connected and did head-butts; the way I missed him in the mornings; the way he scared me with his runs at nights; the way I lied on the couch with him in the afternoons to let him have a nap next to me; the way he got frustrated when I took him off the keyboard; the way he started to bite whatever I was showing interest on (like my computer or notepads) rather than him; the way he meowed when I came back home from outside; the way he loved to play with his favorite toy and jumped high to get it; the way he looked scary the majority of time except those times  when he was curious about the water dripping from the faucet. This last one I will always remember and cherish – he was so innocent….

I am still surprised that I could take him to the shelter myself. My friend was supposed to help me do this, yet she could not make it today. I sat down and thought again – do I really want to do this?

Emotionally, no. But logically the answer was yes; because it was the best solution not only for me but also for him.

I thought about how he would not get the love/attention he wanted; the way he would get frustrated when I do not let him sleep on my bed; the annoyance and stress he would get when I would leave him behind at a boarding facility for my long trips, at least twice a year and sometimes for 4-5 weeks…. Could he really be happy? Was what I was offering good for him?

No.

So, this was not a solely selfish decision after all.

I was selfish, though. I adopted him when I was very well aware that I would be away from his life for extended periods of time and that would make him unhappy and stressed. Where was my mind then????? If I was not selfish then, I would have not adopted Jamie at the first place.

That is a hard-learnt lesson – never make decisions mostly under the influence of emotions. Assess thoroughly first.

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Jamie in some ways made me learn about myself, too.

What were my borders?  What were my limits? Wishes for myself and others? Unconditional love? Thinking about myself and at the same time for others that I love? How to make difficult decisions? How to cry like a baby for something that entered my life only recently…..

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I am grateful for Jamie the cat for many things, but one particular thing stands out. He was the only living being I said “good morning” in my house that I live now. What an honour, what a beautiful experience to have had him in my house and in my life.

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Before I finish this ordeal, please join me again to wish the best family to adopt him and be happy with him.

Thank you so much.

 

 

sad decisions….

Sometimes there is no ideal choice and you just need to pick one that will better fit your current needs or wishes.

That is what I have done yesterday night.

Tomorrow, I am giving Jamie (the cat I adopted last Friday) back to the shelter.

It breaks my heart….

Jamie is a lovely cat. Just maybe too friendly, which I cannot accommodate in my life; like not being able to pet him very, very frequently as he constantly asks for it; not being able to allow him to lie on my keyboard, which otherwise limits my work and personal time; and not being able to let him sleep on my bed at night.

Rejecting him at these occasions feels very bad and he also shows the signs of frustrations, by biting or chewing….. Yesterday night after a number of biting and chewing attempts I thought: I knew I was not completely ready to have a cat (lots to learn to take excellent care of him), but I had never thought before that I would be scared of a cat….Sure somebody else would have handled these better, but I just feel helpless as to how to figure these out now.

This afternoon, I called the shelter and they expect him back tomorrow. My friend will come to help me to get him in the carrier. People at the shelter were sad…. I was sad. Very sorry…..

I feel like sh.t…..

I am sending a lovely creature out of my life to a shelter that he was not happy with at the first place (he does not like other cats while he is extremely good with people). I am denying him the happiness he has had here with me. I will miss his voice, his warmth, and trust on me. I will miss cleaning his litter box (for some reason, I never negatively reacted to that), picking up food and toys for him. I will miss the good memories we have had in the last four days, the way he made me feel unconditionally loved and trusted.

These are the emotional parts of the entire ordeal. I broke tears many times since yesterday….Emotions, after all, are quite powerful.

There is, of course, a logical part of the entire ordeal as well. I am not only denying him happiness but also frustration coming from not being pet/scratched every 10 minutes. This is actually good for him. I imagine him being quite happy in a new home with multiple people. I imagine him being happy with someone who is just happy with the way Jamie is, or knows how to train him (if there is anything like this)  to not do certain things or show certain behaviors. He is a great cat, young, beautiful, and healthy and I am sure that he can find a new home soon (I do not want to think otherwise….).

As per me; I will continue to feel like a failure, guilty, and heartless for some time. But when I think, I know it is the best decision not only for him, but also for me. I will be back to my regular life and life-style, and reflect on myself, my life, and my relationships with people or animals I love. I just hope that I will not dwell too much on this and over-generalize my failure with Jamie to my entire life and to my other relationships.

Love, my friends, can bring one to her knees, or make one to fly up high. The clash with emotions and logical thinking, on the other hand, can be detrimental; my self-induced self-hate right now, after all, is mostly due to this clash.

I am almost sure in a couple of weeks, I will be fine. Just like how I have overcome the emotions I have had for the first cat I had loved but did not adopt because he had extensive dental problems in the past…. I have hated myself for quite a long time after that, too.

It is strange that all of these and my interest to adopt a cat happened in the last two weeks.

What a strange, emotionally dense, and wonderful time of my life at the same time..

 

random thoughts

It is a beautiful day; neither cold nor too hot/humid – love it 🙂

Before I noticed it, August is passing by and fall is coming. I made a mental note today to enjoy August more; like spending more time outdoors and finishing the minor painting/staining as well as decluttering that I must do around the house. All will be fine.

I worked mostly at home today and I have done really well. I complain to myself that I have so much to do and stress myself; yet eventually everything is going okay. Whatever will happen will happen…. There is life out of work and career.

I bought a second hand rug last week, which I love. It is clean and new, big enough to make me notice how wide my living room is, and the nice gentleman (the previous owner) even delivered it to my home free of charge. I felt very lucky after that.

There was one other rug I had liked and I contacted the owner. In 30 min I had the rug driven to my house, checked by me, and purchased. That was a very fast  🙂 I like the texture and the design of the rug, yet upon closer examination it turned out it has two small dents. It is also quite dusty. I vacuumed it now and am planning to wipe in the coming days to make sure it is clean. So it is not a problem at all. I just do not know what to do with the dents. This is my friends, an example of how you will not always get lucky 🙂 But considering the low cost and the convenience of the purchase, I would say it is well worth it and I am glad I purchased it.

So, I have two choices: either repair or hide the dents of the rug under my coffee table (which is actually a great idea), or place it in the room of Jamie.

Well, who is Jamie?

Jamie is the cat that I have been planning and then hesitating to adopt since last week. There is nothing wrong with the cat; he is beautiful. It is myself that I cannot be sure of. But, hopefully tomorrow I will go and put in the adoption papers. If I do or do not get cold feet again, you will know from my posts tomorrow… Hopefully in the mean time, Jamie will not be adopted.

 

decision day, re: adopting a cat

You know I wanted to adopt a cat and liked two of them last week.

I was ready to adopt the same day the cat I first saw, yet it turned out to have extensive dental problems, which I did not see myself dealing well with. My circumstances are a little bit limiting; I live alone and I make trips for extensive period of time (like 5 weeks family visit I make every year). I could not possibly provide the best (medical) care to this cat, especially while I was away.  It broke my heart very much not to have that cat….

Then I liked another cat and even had one of my friends check him. My friends said that he was a lovely cat with lots of character and that fit my opinion, too. At the weekend though I started to have strong hesitations. Again, what to do with the cat while I am away? How to provide for him?

Also I got somehow confused about the financial aspect of having a cat, understanding their medical needs and sicknesses, and all the diseases I may contract from him.

I worked on these issues quite a bit.

I made calculations (and fellow bloggers helped me to see the expenses more clearly) and I saw that it did not cost too much  to care for a cat.

Also, the diseases could been largely prevented by vaccination and good hygiene at home. After all I was not the first or the only person who would have cats. I am sure whatever the health risks they were, they were manageable.

As per medical needs and sicknesses; I have read many websites and watched many videos. It was tough to learn everything (which I have not, but could over time) but I was feeling like I could learn all of these. The worst thing I could do was to bring the cat to vet every time I was suspicious of something.

So I worked on many of the serious issues I may have with a cat. One thing I could not solve was how to care for the cat while I am away. Long story short, I called two cat boarding facility here this morning. Yes, the both board cats for extensive periods of time. It is kind of pricey, but then it is well worth it.

So…..

Looks like my all problems were solved.

Or, were they?

I have such a cold feet right now and experiencing the biggest hesitation about owning a cat so far; you would not believe. 5 weeks in a boarding facility for a cat is too much. Especially considering the fact that this repeats every single year. I even considered going away for only 3 weeks per year, but then come on; it is my family who I visit and they deserve all the time we can spend together. I do not want to choose between my family and anything else. Even, when it means I will miss a lovely cat in my life.

Taking the cat with me to my family is not a solution either, as the trip is too long, my mom has pet birds at home, I travel to other cities to visit my other family members (which would mean the cat having extra changes and anxieties), and I was not planning to keep the cat in a cage or on leash, either, meaning during the entire time I face a risk of losing the cat.

I really wanted to have one of these cats. I thought they would be excellent companion for me and give me joy, and the love I felt for them was more than anything I can imagine, except the love I feel for my family.

Some choices are hard and this one was too. Overall I am not happy with this decision, but I guess it is the right decision for me.

I hope I will not change my mind again. I kind of got tired of thinking and trying to find solutions to my issues…

there is (cat) love once again

After my emotional experience “deciding-not-to-adopt-the-adorable-cat-due-to-his-previous-health-problems“, I have thought quite a bit.

My first reaction was to get cold feet again. But there was something nice about the scratch post and the little toys I had purchased last week, which are still in my living room. I did not feel like donating or removing them from my sight.

Mouser or not, I guess I realized I really wanted to have that type of special bond I had felt for the cat (that I decided not to adopt) with another one.

I experienced quite a sadness about the first cat choice of mine, yet now I think it was in fact useful for me. Prior to looking for cats, I always thought about the happy moments and joy that I would have by having a lovely living being around. If s/he would hunt pest/mice, that would be great too (the recent pest problem in the house has been a great motivator for me to get a cat, even though I had considered to get a cat in the last one year or so). I had also thought about sicknesses and felt the responsibility of taking care of the cat, but honestly I had not considered the emotions I would have when the cat would be in trouble (e.g. sick, injured etc.).

In other words, I was not completely ready to have the cat.

It was like buying my house. I bought the house with excitement and 9 days after I moved in, my roof leaked from 2 different places and made me severely anxious and depressed. I had felt betrayed by the previous home owners/renovators, and my real estate agent and the home inspector. I felt clueless, ineffective, and very stressed too as it took me almost a year to find a contractor and get the problem fixed.

While that was a horrible experience, it had also told me that life was not gonna go on like I imagined it. Even though I had heard the house repair and maintenance needs/issues from others, I guess without experiencing it, I had felt like it would never happen to me. That was not the reality. While I felt bad for a long time and I still feel like my home may give trouble to me anytime, I guess now I have a more realistic view too. Yes, good days will happen (like the last 1.5 years during which I have had no major issues at my home) and bad days in the future (like that time when I have had the roof problem). And that was only normal. Expected. My house-roof problem had made me experience and see the reality.

Realizing/remembering these helped me to think differently about my cat ordeal. I would be attached to my future cat too and there would be both good days and bad days; there would be sickness, injuries, and even death. I could not expect all joy and excitement, re; my life with the cat. I would have anxiety, depression, or worry about the cat, the way I take care of it, the way it is and the diseases, such as worms, associated with it, and the financial cost of taking good care of it (vet visits etc.). And there would be purrrs and all too 🙂

So, I feel better now and I am not afraid to think about getting another cat.

As a matter of fact, I went back to the first shelter I have been to two days ago, alone, and planned to check the cats I have chosen through the website. I had 6-8 cats in my list, but I found myself checking/spending time with two only; both of these cats I had seen two days ago.

One of them was a female with odd-coloured eyes (one green, one blue). She is quiet and feels alright. Yet, not necessarily exciting, bonding..

Then I went to the male cat section and I found myself checking the young male cat who spends time in his cage mostly and who looks quite grumpy to me. I had joked with my friend the other day that I would love to adopt and observe this cat very much, but it looked like I was scared of him and that he would give me trouble/stress, so I would not be interested in him.

Well, I was wrong – that is the cat that I am pretty attracted to, one that I can feel some kind of love, affection, and interest towards. I spent some time with him, let him sniff my hands, touch my hands with his little feet, and eventually I took him out of his cage and held for a minute or so. I was not scared this time and he was not, either. So that was the moment I decided that I could get this cat.

We do not know much about this cat as he was abandoned a month ago and was a stray. I was told that he does not like to socialize with other cats and that is why he is spending time in his cage, but I am not sure that is the whole truth or he is sick/old or something (hope not). Honestly, he does not look like a very active cat or a mouser to me, but hopefully I am wrong.

I will go have my friend look at the cat again and if things are alright, will put in the adoption papers. I may get heart-broken again if there is something wrong with him or he is too old, so I am keeping my hopes lower this time, but I am also kind of excited that I could love and bond with a cat again 🙂

what was love for me?

I have no answer to that.

The fact that I have decided not to adopt the cat that I have loved, touched, hugged, and admired (seriously did) only because of its dental problems that showed up at a young age (suggesting a serious problem that will need me to handle in future too, emotionally and financially), I must actually question this very hard.

After all, I too show a behavior of preferring those who are healthy, or have been healthy, over those who have not been, to love, to care for, and to make a part of my life. I know many people who would be hesitant/reject the idea of marrying others who have family history of heart problems or cancer, for example. How is that sensible? Is this not ridiculous?

Has this not been a behavior that disgusted me much in the past? Did I not say that that was discrimination and equally offensive, insensitivity and short-sightedness towards those who have gone thru much already? After all, every living being deserves to be loved, regardless of their conditions.

Who says that we all are healthy and, most importantly, will remain healthy?

Who says we will not make extra effort, emotionally and financially, for others we love in our lives?

Who says that I will not be that person who will be sick or require extra care and effort?

Where is my consciousness? Where is my mind? Where are my values now?

What makes me think that a healthier cat today will not get seriously sick next day and give me the same trouble I would have with the cat I liked but denied to adopt today?

probabilities. reality. emotions. thoughts. calculations……

All internal conflict – that is what I am going thru tonite.

Conflict over my decision.

Conflict about love.

Conflict over myself.

Tonite is a hard night indeed. I admit I cried for that cat and seriously is hating myself time to time.

I gotta be realistic.

I gotta bury my emotions, right?

Right.

But since I am questioning a much bigger concept, love, this does not seem to be possible.

Love, after all, is an emotion. And a very important one.

How can we deny love to others because they are sick, have been sick in the past, or we think they will give us more trouble over time?

How can I do that myself ????

How can I deny love to others because they are sick, have been sick in the past, or I think they will give me more trouble over time ????

……

I really do not like myself right now.

 

what was love?

One of my friends told me about an old movie about a young and beautiful lady with a little kid running away from something/someone and eventually finding sanctuary at the house of an older guy, who would protect and got to love both of them over time.

They were not wife and husband, though, as the lady was still in love with the father of the kid; the father who has not cared about them, the mother and the child, and the father whom they were running away from (or the negative conditions that were created because of the lack of the care by the father, like providing for them, protecting and making them safe, etc.). They just stayed at his house and under their care without any problem/annoyance created by the older guy.

Then the father shows up many years later and things get tangled. She still loves him in a way. First thing that she wants to do is to reunite with the father as he is the love of her life, yet then there was this other guys who protected and provided shelter, food, and safety to the kid and the mother without expecting anything in return. Plus, he got to love her as a woman and the kid like his own.

She was confused: What should she do?

Her heart pulled her to the father and then to the other guy, and then to the father, and then to the other guy.

And eventually, she chose the other guy.

She asked herself before making her decision:

“What was love?”

 

“Love was the demonstrated goodness/kindness/camaraderie.

Love was effort.”

………………

I keep thinking about love in multiple dimensions today because of my decision to not adopt the wonderful cat I fell in love with, which seems to have serious dental problems even though he is only around 2 years…

What was love for me?

What was love?

my animal shelter experience today

You know I have been considering having a cat as a companion for sometime, which was further motivated by the pest problem I have had in my house in the last few months.

Well; yesterday I ranted a little bit about the cat and I liked at a shelter and my cat-friendly friend who would refuse to go there to give me a hand with her cat-wisdom. I was frustrated and a little bit angry yesterday, but today things turned out to be better.

Let me explain:

Today, my friend took me to another shelter first. It was a nice one with lots of cats, who were not solely cage-contained (they had other contained places to go, including fenced areas outside). How nice.

I have liked one grumpy cat called George, who did not like other cats and preferred to be in his cage only. Okay…. George was a lovely young male cat and it would be awesome to have him around and watch/observe. Yet, my feeling is that his grumpiness could give me some stress, especially when I need to do things that he would not like (like trimming his nails, or putting him in a transporter). So, while he was an awesome and likable one, I a few hours back decided not to get it.

I saw another female cat, white and with odd-eyes. She may be deaf in one ear, not necessarily a great looking cat, but very easy going. I feel affection for her, especially for being deaf in one ear. Her eyes reminds me about “being different” yet still being beautiful and valuable. I am inclined to get her for now. Hopefully thursday. I hope she is a mouser 🙂

When I said to my friend that I also would like to see the cat I liked in the other shelter, she said no first, but then decided to come with me… That was incredible on her side, as she has very strong and negative feelings about that shelter. Anyways; we have been there, the shelter did not take her dog inside the shelter so she had to wait outside, and I checked the cats. They were all contained in cages and they have had no free space to explore, walk, run, or play. This, my friends, is cruel if you ask me and the main reason why my friend did not have a positive feeling about the shelter. I understood her better today and she has every single right to dislike the management of that shelter.

Anyways; I found the cat I liked (i had chosen him thru the website/photos). A very cute and young male cat. very easy going as well – i held him in my arms! I was not scared and he was not scared or aggressive. I asked about him and they told me that he lost a few teeth but was fine now. I went out and asked my friend to check the cat; she came back and said he was lovely. We made plans to adopt him tonite.

Then while driving back, we talked about the teeth and my friend and I got a little bit skeptical about it. For a young cat like him, losing ” a few teeth” would not be considered normal… It would mean he was sick, old, or plain unlucky. I emailed the shelter and it turned out to be a likely permanent gum/neck problem that would require further tooth loss in the future…

My heart bleeds my friends that I will not have him. Considering how much I liked this cat and he may have health problems that require immediate attention, I cannot possibly leave him behind while I am away for extended periods of time (which I do at least twice a year). Since I must make these trips, that means that he should not be under my care.

Would someone love him as much as I do and care for him as he needs? I do not know…. See, I am still hesitant and emotionally would love to get that cat, but logically it is better I do not.

My first cat-love has now ended with a broken heart, I must say.

It is like the first love in life that cannot be  replaced by another. I guarantee you that….

I am determined to love the next cat, though. All living beings deserve love.

weekly budget check

I am almost back to my regular budget after my vacation two weeks ago.

Last week has been good, yet I am aware that I made extra expenses that did not enrich my life. They could have been avoided, but I preferred not to. My choice. Like any other choice in life, I am responsible for it and since the effects are not detrimental, I am also okay with it 🙂

Anyways, here is last week’s account:

expenses within the weekly allowance (grocery, breakfast/coffee etc): $108

savings from expenses that I was tempted to but did not: $204

weekly fun funds savings: $120 (my total weekly allowance) – $108 (this week’s total expense): $12

fun funds spending: $165 (these are the expenses I regret…But hey; fun funds are here to help me have this flexibility in my spending. I had fun making these expenses, so even though I may not feel the same excitement right now, I am sure at that time it was the right decision)

total fun funds accumulated so far/left: $18

Other expenses (such as cleaning and personal care products as well as clothes): $188


Overall, I am pleased with keeping up with the weekly budget; comparing prices at different stores or following the sales and shopping at thrifty stores (for clothes) to increase my savings; walking or taking the bus rather than taking the cab and saving a significant amount of money every week; cooking and baking at home rather than dining out (except weekend breakfast). This week has been a little bit expensive, but this does happen time to time, so all is well 🙂

what is important in life?

I just got a reminder for a meeting tomorrow late evening. It made me annoyed right away, not because of its late hour (6pm to be exact), but because of the people in that meeting. Last time I was at that meeting, the leader of the group was too interested in disrespecting and insulting me in front of others because of who knows what. This unprofessional attitude and the hurtful comments of that person stuck with me. One of those experiences that make me grind my teeth each time I remember.

Anyways; this entire meeting is for a large collaborative project where I am interested in being a part of. So I must bury my personal feelings and focus on my professional objectives.

I can do this by asking myself – what is more important? Feeling the annoyance by a ridiculous person, or feeling the excitement of a possible benefit to me by being a part of this project?

I chose to feel excitement.

Plus, is that project so important for my life?

Possibly not. I have people I love and care about; I have my health and well being, which are so far alright.

Years later when I age or on death bed, would I remember this person or this project?

Possibly not.

So, right now, after these evaluations, my decision is to go to that meeting  tomorrow. I can not care about that ridiculous person anymore.

coupons make me think

I do not coupon, even though I am interested in limiting my expenses and saving more. I mentioned this a couple of times before; I am not against couponing. I understand that a large portion of us rely on it to make the ends and put food on their tables. I also understand, as someone who likes this kind of “seek-and-find-and save” activities, that couponing (finding them from a variety of resources, using them and making significant savings or even getting items free) must be an exciting activity after all.

These being said – I, however rarely it may be, use coupons when they fall on my head (not literally). For example when they show up in my mail box together with weekly flyers, are posted on the shelves at stores, or placed on the product itself. In the last one year I think I have had something like 2-3 coupon usage adventure.

I think even though you do not need it, couponing can be an interesting activity. My main (theoretical) interest in couponing is the fact that coupons are available to everyone. If one person can get the same product at a discount price, why should not the others like me?  Do people like me who do not use the coupons feel like they are being taken advantage of by not getting items at discount prices?

I must say I feel silly  for not using the coupons – why should I pay more while I can pay less, like others? So, why do I not coupon?

A couple of reasons.

First, I have limited time to look for coupons.

Second, when compared to many people, I do not make a lot of purchases so purchasing a newspaper for its coupon insert does not make much sense to me. (I however follow the sales and compare prices among different stores on walking distance to my house – that I think is a continuous and practical strategy for my savings).

Third, I do live in a city where many stores with great coupons are not available.

And fourth, sometimes I read couponers’ tales where they buy multiple items by their coupons, which would take years for me to consume. I just read a blog where there were more than 20 rolls of paper towels purchased. The blogger claims that all was free, which is awesome. But I just thought that it would take me 2 – 3 years to consume those. That is not bad as paper towels are durable items so if they were free, I would get them too 🙂 But some tales and blog-pics are somehow horrifying to me; like buying 10 bottles of shampoo or 20 boxes of cereal, or 10 mascara, only because they are on sale or at hugely discounted prices with coupons. I cannot possibly buy these items and consume…

I believe both cases are fine – for some couponing works perfectly, for some like myself it does not.

I have read this post a few days ago and I loved it as this person very clearly demonstrates that frugality has multiple faces, multiple ways, and “one size does not fit all“. Its main message is that there is no one right way to save money or have a frugal life and I fully agree with this.

 

toxic people

It is annoying to have “toxic” people around, be exposed to their “toxic” ideas, behavior, and attitude, and to keep up with their “toxicity”.

I have such a person in my life who is a colleague of mine, who we work closely in some projects, and whom I socialize. Not because I want to regularly socialize with this person, but they invite and I go. It is as simple as this. Yet, there has been no time that something about her attitude, the way she talked about people and their work/performance, or the way she talked about my choices, life, or whatever did not bother me.

I keep up with her because of our work relation, not because of our personal relations. I am okay with that but it is really annoying to be around someone who is constantly tense, aggressive towards other people or opinions, exaggerate her own importance, skills, or whatever.

I decided to reduce my exposure to that person.

I have a life to live and enjoy.

the quest for happiness

The more I write about happiness, the better I understand about it.

Yesterday I wrote about it here; comments and interactions by other bloggers were great, too. I understood somethings; about myself, about happiness, and about how other individuals see it.  Thank you everyone who commented.

I understood that the definition of happiness may be not one, but many.

I understood that if the power of being happy is in ourselves, then that means we are responsible for our own unhappiness. Boy… Does that mean I am silly, incapacitated, or weak (otherwise I would be happy?). Does that mean my “happiness genes” are mutated? I strongly react against this statement; I believe things out of our control can greatly influence our chances of happiness and how we feel. I would have never chosen to be unhappy. Why would anyone choose to be unhappy? Unhappiness is not a choice. Not mine. Not many people I know who were unhappy. You cannot stand tall, laugh, and glow when you have lost or never have had things, people, opportunities, loves, and all bunch of other things that affect you today. You can choose to move on with your life maybe. You can choose to forget maybe. You can pretend to be happy maybe. But sometimes our circumstances lack the conditions to be happy. No matter how some of us try hard to be happy. Can we really blame this person for not being happy?

I understood that I could be clinically depressed nowadays as I have everything I need; I have a great family, a great and meaningful job, finances and anything else I can need in the material world. I lack no material. But I lack happiness, the zest and excitement of life.

I understood that I find in me the right to be happy. I demand happiness. I demand my right to be happy. I am rebelling against the status quo re; unhappy state.

I understood that if that turns out to be because of a chemical imbalance in my brain, I will regret not going to a doctor before. Nobody deserves to be unhappy and miss their life because of a chemical imbalance.

I understood that I am not the only one with a quest and thirst for happiness.

I understood that my happiness and unhappiness might be different than others’ experiences. As I wrote as a response to a comment; “sometimes we must accept that we do not have all the answers and we cannot get everyone’s circumstances. In those cases, empathy has the softest voice and silence has the sweetest tune“. I may not understand your unhappiness and you may not get mine. Assuming that we understand and have all the answers you or I need is not right. Discussions are helpful, but sometimes empathy and silence are the best ways to respond to someone unhappy.

I may be depressed but not even once I thought about leaving life. That makes me excited 🙂 I hope I have a long and well life in front of me, in which I will keep exploring myself, life as a whole, and become happy.

am I the only one?

I cannot be the only one who is feeling a void part in their life; feeling the regrets for the choices made in the past that have shaped the life and life conditions for today; facing this steady and deep feeling of “I am missing something/a lot in my life“.

I cannot be.

I try to remember everybody I know in my life and the way they see their lives. Some have familial/marital problems, many have lost important people in their lives, some are dealing with or surviving critical illnesses and health problems, and so many have financial worries or hardship. I know no one who is fully content with their lives.

So after all, I must be okay, as I am not the only one.  In contrast, I seem to lack what others are wishing to have. I do not have a chronic health problem (very grateful); I am doing okay financially though I have worries for my retirement because of the future forecast of the global economy and limited savings/investments I have had so far (very grateful); I am safe and sound (very grateful); there is nothing much I can do to prevent the death of my loved ones (so acceptance…). I have every reasons to be happy!!!! So what am I bragging about?

My only problem is the lack of joy in my life.

Why is that?

Why do I not feel happy and joyful, unless I put an effort to remember things that make me happy, excited, and grateful (my joy journal page is a good example).

I do not know why I cannot be different. Smiling for no reason. Being excited by just the experience of life. Taking things a little bit easier. Realizing how lucky I am in so many different ways.

I know a couple of reasons:

  1. Taking everything, including myself, too serious: Partly because of the work I have. Everything needs to be free of error and the highest quality possible. When my work is dependent on others, certainly unless I trust them 100%, gaining confidence in the work produced is hard. I have suffered a lot from this and constant checking and correcting things. I gotta relax. I gotta relax into the process and hire people who are good. Really good. This gotta change. How?
  2. Not having interests and hobbies out of work/house life: My primary interest out of work is to read books, to read other resources, and to write. None of these requires to be away from home. Ok. What else? I am not interested in book or cooking clubs or others; I am not interested in vacationing in interesting places; I am not particularly interested in socializing; I am not interested in spending time out of my office or home, other than for cafe. So? what are my alternatives?
  3. Living alone for a long time: Since my teenage years, I have been away from my family first for education and then for my work and career. I have taken care of everything myself, as there has been no one around to help or support. I got cranky tired, and burnt out many times. I am over-protective of myself. I lack human compassion and support in near vicinity. For some reason, I have not formed my own family, with a spouse and kids. This has not been a conscious choice; it just has been what it has been. These meant that I had to not only support, protect, and take care of myself, but also cheer up and make happy.

So my final diagnosis is that I am not capable of being happy because I take everything serious, as a serious problem to solve right away, and I am not capable of finding things, activities, or people that will cheer me up, excite me, and make me happy.

So, the problem is me.

OK. They say finding the cause of the problem is finding the half of the solution.

I would like to get the strength to follow up on this 50% of the solution and take steps for the rest of the 50%.

I want to be happy and I want to make myself happy.

I guess from now on, I will have one great promise and duty for myself; to make myself happy.

I hope I will be granted the wisdom, opportunity, and clarity of mind that will help with me finding these ways to happiness….

plans for Spring

Change of season is a great reminder of the continuity of the change in our lives. While I cannot control every change in my life (like aging), I can make some changes in areas that I need.

1. Decluttering again. It has been a while since my last decluttering activity. while stretching my back muscles this evening I noticed all the books that I will probably never read again. I love them but it may as well be the time to depart our ways. I hope they will get enjoyed by someone else.

Books are of course just a start. I am sure I have accumulated one or three glass jars here or there; some old cleaning cloths somewhere around the house; some old socks and shorts/pants that wait to be retired. I am sure this decluttering will not be as extensive as the previous one (it was a major effort) so I hope one weekend I will just start and complete it. Not this coming weekend, but sometime..

2. Eating better and hopefully losing weight at the same time. This has been a continuous wish that has not occurred yet. why is it so hard to lose weight at middle age? I used to easily lose weight if I wanted to when I was young, but my two latest trials ended up with gaining weight. what is happening? what should I do differently?

I know limiting bread and other refined carbs (like bagels and pasta) helps to lose weight. I also know that fruits like apples or pears as well as raw chewy veggies like cucumber  and daikon help me to lose weight. There is something about raw food – I can guarantee you… So, my aim is to eat at least one apple or pear and one chewy veggie everyday. wish me luck 🙂

One of the best ways is to bring fruit to the office. I often need snacks anyhow; why not to eat fruits? Hmmm.

3. Time for new shirts. I have not shopped for shirts in the last one year or so. I have exhausted my current ones, except a couple of nice ones that are kind of tight now… If I lose weight, they will be lovely to wear. Should I wait or buy now? Okay – maybe two shirts can be purchased, why not?

4. New hair? I have been meaning to have a hair cut for sometime but so far I have not done this. The last time I have had it (around two months ago), the hair dresser did not shorten it much. So now I have shoulder length hair. While it is not bad, I always have liked short hair. I really hope I will find in me the motivation to go to the hair dresser this weekend and I will find a great hairdresser this time. I also need coloring, but I will do this as usual.

timeline:

1: a future weekend

2: starting tomorrow

3: this weekend?

4: this weekend?; I can have the hair cut at the shopping mall when I can also buy the shirts. So this is quite doable if i do go to the mall this weekend.

 

 

 

random thoughts

The work has stolen some of my sleep last night… I woke up at around 5 am and the thoughts about the work that waits for me to take care and all the work-related issues that I have experienced lately have jumped on me. I could sleep after a while but it was not nice.

There was a period of my life right after the new year when I had started the yoga classes; this period of time was when I had felt genuinely happy…. This lasted around 5 weeks until I got my back problem exaggerated. It was a great feeling, it easily came to me, and it was beautiful. I woke up happy and excited in the mornings.  Not like before when work related thoughts would just fill my mind as soon as I woke up; this almost always made me cranky and stressed. Not the best way to start a new day…

I feel like I am returning to this depressive mornings and I do not like the idea. As a matter of fact, I feel like I may be slipping in to a little depression.

Work related stress is something real. I know I can deal better if I stop undertaking too much or by having a less perfectionist but more relax mind. So far I was not able to do either of these. But tomorrow is another day… Hating my job or having a depression are not somethings that I am looking forward to.

random thoughts

I made a conscious effort to feel good today and I believe it has worked 🙂

I have been really on the edge lately and I got tired of the mental wrestling I have had. So I decided I have done what I could do best; life was too short; and I deserved to feel good. It was time to let go.

This was mostly motivated by the fact that I seem to divide my day as “time spent at work” and “time spent at home”. Home time is focused on relaxation and enjoying my life and work time is for work, which is usually pleasurable but also stresses me. For example, I started to dread emails I have got. Or, the issues my team members are facing that require my involvement to solve. And at home, I usually have a great time reading, writing, or watching TV series; they help me relax.

I decided this division was not healthy and I could feel good at work, too.

I took it easy today and also decided to ask for help with issues that I spend too much time to resolve. That lifted quite a weight off my shoulder. I also worked very productively – Mondays if lack meetings prove to be the most productive day of the week for me.

Anyways, I had an appointment with my bank so I left office early and I walked around 1 hour to my appointment. The weather was warm, the sun was noticeable, and I sweated a lot 🙂 This is also because I still have my scarf, gloves, winter coat, and hat on me. I guess it is time that I switch to a lighter outdoor clothes.

Now that my bank arrangements are done, my next step will be preparing a will and having an estate plan. Since my dad died, I am very aware of my own mortality and I do not wish my family to face hardship in case I die here away from them. I gotta find a reliable trust company and start the process. It may take some time but I will do that. I should do that.

I am grateful for my financial choices

I have chosen to do something about my finances last year as the weight of home-ownership as well as negative chequeing account made me depressed, hopeless for my future, and hugely anxious.

I knew that unless I have had a hard look at my finances, these feelings would continue and I would experience further financial hardship.

So I made the choice of doing something about the situation and started a budget, where I calculated and monitored my fixed (e.g. mortgage, bills, etc.), flexible (grocery and other purchases, entertainment), and savings and investments for my retirement. I failed many times to keep up with my budget but eventually it stabilized. My spending was more conscious and wiser. I have had shopping freezes for items like books. I took advantage of loyalty points and followed sales. I still was taking the cab and wasting money, but hey, that was what I could do best at that time. Eventually things got better, but not perfect. Nevertheless, it was a small victory.

Then, I decided I could do way better. In the new year, I have aimed for a tighter, smaller budget that forced me to be better with my spending and better with my choices. I started price comparison and followed the sales more closely. I designed my meals around the produce on sale. I stop taking the cab and started taking the bus almost all the time. I traded one expense/product for another, more enjoyable or useful alternative. I never, even once, forgot to reward myself. I listened to my feelings and saw I was happy and excited. I saw that I was able to save way more than I can imagine with the new budget. I decided I liked savings and I paid my gratefulness everyday. For some miraculous way, I never felt deprived. In contrast, I have been feeling empowered, abundant, free, and able.

My choices and feelings have a huge role in my current financial status. I cannot know what the future will bring, but I know whatever I am doing it is working for me so far. I have wiser choices and more satisfaction, and less anxiety over the finances. It did not come with occasional fails, but that is a part of any journey. What matters is that I have seen my own progress and it made me excited and more motivated.

I think it is important that we find ways that work for us. I think it is also important to record and monitor our goals and our progress.  Additionally, I think it would be dry and somehow demotivating if we have not rejoiced our progress or achieving our objectives. So, give yourself the chance to celebrate your financial choices and progress.

I am lucky that I have a simple life, I am not materialistic, I do not bend in the presence of peer pressure, I do not have a car or wishes for luxurious items or vacations. I do not mind shopping items at thrifty stores if they are in good conditions and in good hygiene. I do prefer to shop whenever I visit another city or country, where things are cheaper than where I am. I am lucky that my feelings give the motivation I may need to keep going. I like these about myself and my life.

Maximizing the value of our dollars is a very valuable choice. I do not use coupons (I am not against them, just cannot have time to find and use them), but sales, price check, and the loyalty points all made it for me. Would it not be wonderful if we had bought the laundry detergent half of its price? It would be. So if I can, I stock pile durable items while they are on sale. I cannot believe how much I am saving this way. In terms of food, the pantry items and dry food proved to be awesome (i.e. much cheaper than prepared meals), and so did the frozen meals and veggies I learnt to prepare myself. I regularly freeze my extra meals and consume them later when I do not feel like cooking.

Freezing food and being conscious about my spending also helped me to limit my food waste, for which I am extremely grateful.

And over time, I noticed that I did not need to spend money to feel good. I rather felt good with my choices, the funds accumulated, and the hope and empowerment I have got as a result. This requires a daily reflection and being in touch with my finances and feelings. A good way to spend 5 minutes each day to monitor my finances and a good way to calculate the increase in my net worth every two weeks on the day I get my salary.

I am extremely grateful for this new found freedom and appreciation I have. Like any other achievement, it started rough and was somehow as a struggle at the beginning, yet keeping going seems to be the best way. I also appreciate and am thankful for all the fellow bloggers who support and share useful tips and experiences that made this journey a pleasure.

I also thank myself for being candid with my financial situation, for writing about my journey in my blog, and making my finances, savings, expenses, and budgeting a daily, organic, evolving, and pulsating part of my life. I hope I will be able to go ahead like this for some time and keep these positive feelings towards my financial situation.

re-assessing my financial decisions

I have been re-assessing my financial priorities and decisions lately.

There is an incredible satisfaction coming out of achieving a financial goal; now I have a great budget that works for me; my chequeing account is on the positive side; my emergency fund (aka TFSA) has a good sum of funds accumulated; and I have increased my biweekly RRSP contributions (to take advantage of the low market and to pay off the HBP faster) as I am getting a little salary increase in April.

I have another little increase coming up in September. My plan is to put the extra amount into my mortgage. So I will increase the biweekly payment beginning of September. I am feeling good about this, too.

I have been trying to project my next year and what I would do with the money I would save over the year. Would I increase my mortgage payments? My RRSP? Or my TFSA?

I am not sure what would be the best for me; they all have cons and pros. A balanced act would be desired I guess. Here are the cons and pros I can think of:

RRSP (registered retirement saving plan):

How would I would like to make the extra contributions: Lump sum contributions to directly pay off the HBP (home buyers plan withdrawal that I have had as a part of my down payment).

Cons: Once the contributions are done, I may not have access to these funds unless I take the risk of penalty of early withdrawal.

Pros: The market is down and it is the best time to make investments for long term. Plus, I gotta pay back my HBP anyhow (i.e. I consider it debt), so early payments are better.

 

TFSA (tax free saving account): 

How would I like to make the extra contributions: Lump sum contributions. I have still contribution room, which I believe will take me another 3-4 years to maximize with the amount of contributions I make now.

Cons: none that I can think of. I am just not sure which one is better; to contribute to TFSA or to RRSP/mortgage? I am inclined towards RRSP or mortgage payments more than contributing to TFSA at the time being. But, this is likely to change over time.

Pros: TFSA is liquid and I can have access to it anytime I want. This gives a huge peace of mind as I may need money for emergencies or important things, like serious home repairs. So, if I have a surplus of funds and nothing better to do, why not to invest them in TFSA? My current TFSA plan is extra safe; it does not earn much but it does not lose much, either. I am opening a new one next week which I would like to be a little bit more aggressive (high risk category). It will be small at the beginning but I am planning to contribute to it from now on so that it may have a chance to grow over time. This TFSA will be hopefully for long term investment.

 

Mortgage payments:

How would I like to make the extra contributions: I would like increase my mortgage payments over time. I am thinking from September on, if things go ahead as projected, every time I get a salary increase, it would be nice to increase my biweekly payments. One thing I am scared of is whether or not in case something happens I am allowed to reduce it. If that is not possible, then the lump sum payments seem to be the best option.

Cons: Once the funds are paid, I may not have access to them in case I need liquid funds. That is why my TFSA accounts are so important to keep healthy.

Pros: Knowing that the debt is reduced and there will be a better motivation for me to pay it off in a shorter time. There is a psychological part that works for me; if the debt is small, I can get more excited and committed to pay. I am not sure when I can fully pay it off, but I hope it will not take longer than another 10 years.

 

And how am I going to find out whether I have extra funds to supplement my RRSP, TFSA, or mortgage payments (if lump sum)?

That is where the chequeing account becomes important. I would like to ideally keep around $5K in it to be able to handle the fluctuations in budget and extra/unexpected needs. But, whenever it is bigger than that I can decide to make the lump sum payments. The best time to decide is the fall; between September and December. I have some lump sum payments in summer and then in December (for insurance and others). That means after these expenses if I still have a surplus in this account, then I will have an opportunity to make lump sum payments to my choice among RRSP, TFSA, or mortgage. Then in winter, I can start saving and accumulating for the coming lump sum payments for insurance in summer and December.

I guess that is a good plan for now. I hope things will move on as I project them. If not, I am ready to re-assess and adjust.

All is well for now.

 

economy, job security, and life choices

The economy does not look good where I am and there are talks about cuts coming quite soon so that our province can start paying our huge debt down. Of course as one of the government-backed institutions, my workplace is at risk too and things, to tell you the truth, do not look good for us, my colleagues, or my institution.

When there is little money/resources, the demand is higher. And money is so essential for everyone that it just makes the cuts and the fierce demands to relocate the cuts from one place to other, escalating quite fast. I was looking at the news and looks like my institution in so many ways seems like the one that will get some cuts. The end results will not be nice.

The fact that we are working in a small place and trying to reach and deliver a national or worldwide standard in our workplace does not come easy. We are often understaffed, our resources are limited, and these mean there is quite a pressure to overwork to get to the expected results/deliverables. Our salaries are also less than our peers in many other provinces. But when you look at the numbers and compare our salaries with other workers in the province, many people think that we are over-paid and that is unfair. As a result, many people now demand for cuts.

I do not blame people for wanting to cut unnecessary expenses (which I believe should BE done), but I really do not understand why it is the salaries (unless unjustifiably high) that gets the most reaction. I am making a decent salary but have been working very hard to do what I am doing. I know when compared to other institutions, our salary and benefits are not as good. Yet, here I am trying to make the best out of my capabilities, skills, and the limited resources I have access to. I try hard and I work hard. But then many people do these, too….

Honestly, I am scared of the cuts and the future of the economy. I am scared of having less and less in the future while the demand and pressure for work increases. I am scared that they will start laying off people, who were hard to get here at the first place. I am scared that the quality of work done will reduce substantially. But I am not that scared if they lay me off with a big fat cheque or severance pay (lets say a net pay of my 10 years of salary or something. Right – I am dreaming). As a matter of fact, if my institution agrees to give me a nice sum of money and possibly a small pension plan at my retirement age, I thought for a minute that I would be the first one to volunteer for it.

Why?

I am already fed up with the lack of opportunities and excitement here, presence of discriminatory behavior, and naturally I am longing for a better life. I am not sure whether I can make it better in my next city/work place, but honestly that could be an opportunity to have a new, better life nevertheless. I so far remained because of the job stability I have had and the pleasure I got out of my job. Overall, things have been fine, not great, but fine.

I do not wish hardship for anyone with their life, especially with their finances. It is not my fault that the economy is unstable and all of a sudden my province accumulated a lot of debt. It is also not my fault that I have not completely loved where I am. but if there will be a hardship on me because of the budget cuts and increased pressure, I would rather see it as an opportunity if I can also get something nice out of it, like a financial compensation. Without the compensation, though, it would significantly derail my life, especially financially.

So I better be careful with what I wish for. I would and do prefer financial and job security over excitement in the future. Just like what I have done so far in the last 6-7 years. So, I wish the cuts will not lead to lay offs and significant cuts in our salaries and benefits. I wish we all can pull this off somehow. I wish a better judgment could be made as what was unnecessary or necessary and the budget cuts could be placed fairly and appropriately. I wish nobody would lose their ability to put a shelter over their head, meal on their tables, food in their stomach, and most importantly their hope for their lives and future.

I had not realized how important the economy was until today.

 

thanking myself for my life style

Self-appreciation is something we do not even think about, but we all deserve big time.

I have many things to celebrate and appreciate about myself, work, character, life-experiences, and resilience. For this post, I will just focus on my life – style. Specifically, for its being simple and cost-effective.

here are the things I come up that makes me quite satisfied about my life-style:

1. Having no car: True that it may be restricting my mobility, but that does not apply to me. I have other means (walking, taking the bus, or flights) to go to places. I do not have to buy or lease one, I do not have to pay for the insurance, I do not have to apply for a parking permit to the city or pay for a parking spot at work, I do not need to look for and pay for parking space in the city, or I do not have to maintain or pay for repairs/replacements.

I am not arguing against having a car or two. Having a car is a necessity for many people, especially those who commute, or have kids to transport to schools or activities, or those who live away from their work places. I also know that it is a must for many where there is no public transport (like many cities I know in the USA).

My monthly transportation expenses, assuming that I take the bus or walk, are around $25.

Just by looking at that amount I now realize how easy it is for me to save…

2. Brewing my own coffee at the work days: I have been brewing my coffee at my office in the last 7 years. There were occasional buys from the cafeteria, but that is pretty much it. I am not sure how much I am saving by this habit, but considering I drink around 4 cups of (light) coffee per day, it must be quite so. A large can of coffee (~$10), 300 grms of coffee mate (~$3), and 200 grms of sugar (~$1) are enough to brew coffee for two weeks.

Can I guess how much I am saving compared to buying 2 cups of coffee/work day from Tims, for example? I think I can:

$3/per day x 5 work day = $15 per week. $60 per month. $120 per two months. Based on this calculation, I am saving around $50/month only from coffee…

3. Not eating out frequently: Since I started my budget last June, I limit it to maybe one or two times a month. Sounds pretty good to me. I used to eat out at least once or twice a week prior to that.

4. Having simple and low-cost pleasures:

   a) My weekends almost always include a morning coffee and bagels at a cafe. This is my signature pleasure – I must have them! 🙂 Honestly, I do not mind giving $6-10 per weekend to them.

   b) Over 90% of my books are second-hand books, purchased from second-hand book stores or the thrifty sores.

   c) I do not eat dessert or meat regularly, or buy food from convenience stores. The last one is mostly because there are 2 grocery stores within 10 min walking distance to my home – I am lucky.

   d) I live alone and I cook for only myself. And if you follow my blog, you know that I do not like to cook… For myself, I cook simple things and salads are my favorites in addition to soups. At the work days, I do not have breakfast and lunch is usually a canned fish or other snacks like trail mix. I am aware that this is not an healthy eating style. So please go ahead have your own delicious meals regularly as you need them, as you wish them. This is how it has been for me for decades and I guess that is what works for me.

   e) I am not interested in fashion and I often buy clothes and shoes when they are on sale. Holiday sales are my favorites. When I travel to other countries or cities, I shop there too, which are often much less expensive than where I am.

   f) Using internet for both entertainment and learning: I am very happy with my computer and internet connection. every evening and night, these give me a chance to read blogs and articles on the net, and watch TV series/movies. being content with these is something I must truly celebrate.

5. Exploring international stores and other small businesses: I can find many food, diverse food, at a reasonable cost in these stores. There is one close to my home where the spices, oriental sauces, pickles, canned beans, noodles, legumes, and olives are way cheaper than the stores. Many of these items I cannot even find in the big chain grocery stores. Plus, there is a pride and satisfaction coming out of supporting small business owners. Win-win situation in so many different ways.

6. Not hosting dinners at my home: Again, I am not arguing against this.. As a matter of fact, it is sad that I do not do that. Main reason is the fact that cooking for my lovely guests is an incredibly stressful event for me (only because I usually mess one or two dishes each time…). Maybe once a year or so, I will have my good friends over – but that is it. They understand and I am glad they do.

7. Not comparing myself with Jonases and giving up upon peer pressure: i do not do these. I do not need to have the latest computer or the TV, nor the cellular phone. I time to time get talks from friends about how I need to replace my old TV or replace my phone etc, but I do not give in. Give me a break. It is my life. I will replace my stuff when I need or want them. Not when the others suggest. I hope you do not have such toxic people in your life.

8. Vacations: I take one vacation per year and that is to visit my family. I do that every year and I am glad I do that and I am financially capable of doing that. My friends from other cities and countries invite me to their places, for which I am really happy and touched. If I had more vacation time or more funds at my disposal, I would love to do these visits – they are truly lovely and nice people. But I made a decision long time ago that my family had more priority over my friends. And I am glad I have done that, as now that my father passed away, I am glad I have seen him every year in the past decade or so, or before that whenever I could make it.

 

I am sure I have a longer list of experiences and choices to appreciate. Perhaps at another post.

I am sure you have many thing to appreciate about yourself. I would like to encourage you to find and appreciate those choices you have that enrich your life without breaking your bank account or psychology.

cheers 🙂

 

abundance and gratitude

One of my colleagues a couple of times commented about my TV (which is not an LCD one) and suggested I should buy a new one. She said LCD TVs now were “cheap” so it should not be a problem for me to afford.

My colleague does not understand the fact that I am happy with my TV and I do not feel the need or the pressure to replace it with an LCD TV right now. I bought my TV long time ago, it serves me well, I like it, and I have no interest to replace it until it breaks (which I hope will not happen for a long time).

How to explain such a simple thing to people with a mind set of “I must have the latest technology / the best available”? I have no idea. I told her exactly what I wrote in the previous paragraph – whether or not she sees my point, I am not sure. I hope we will not have this conversation again..

In the last week or so, with the excitement of the new budget and my ability to protect my money better, I have been filled with gratitude and thankfulness for everything I now have; everything in my house works well for me and I should be proud of exploring, finding, and using them. The furniture, the clothes/shoes, the cleaning or personal care products I use, the food and kitchen items.. Everything I have is perfect and works wonders for me and for my life.

I am also grateful for decluttering and getting rid of all the unnecessary items from home last summer. That made me become aware of my stuff and develop a deeper appreciation for those that I left at home. While I gotta do this sometime soon to get rid of a couple of old socks and this and that, I feel like what ever I have right now has a purpose and they serve me well.

I have a tighter budget now this year than before and I feel more abundant and rich than before. The reason? Knowing that whatever I get actually has a purpose and use for me. That over the years, I have found out the items that work best for me. That I follow the sales and stock up durable items. That I take advantage of the loyalty points. That I am okay with shopping at thrifty stores. That I learnt to freeze my food and consume them during the week when I am too tired to cook. That I only purchase food that will nourish my body and will be enough for a week or so, so that I will not waste any of them. That I explored different stores and now I know which products or produce are available at a better price.

That I am grateful for whatever I have, rather than what others think that I should have.

My life. My choices. I lack nothing and everything I have works wonderfully.

 

money is not everything

I am starting my yoga classes tonite.

Its monthly fee is $100. The studio is 5 min away from my home, it offers classes everyday especially in the evening that are most suitable for my schedule, and the classes I intend to attend are about stretching (not the traditional yoga with postures and stands) that had given me not only a muscular relaxation but also mental relaxation when I had tried it last year. I remember the peace and mental clarity that came out of these classes very well. I remember how my posture was better and the back pain was gone. I remember how my abdominal and arm muscles had felt stronger.

For someone on a budget and with long term financial plan, this fee is high. Yet, when I consider both the short term and long term benefits, I say it is well worth it. If there is something that will give me such a good feeling and benefit me both physically and mentally, I decided I must have it in my life.

A Game of Thrones; choices

The more I read, watch, and think about the “A Game of Thrones” book by the author George RR Martin, the more I am fascinated.

This book so far has been about unique and creative circumstances the author created, reactions of a chunk of characters to these circumstances, conflicting emotions (love versus other values such as duty or honour particularly), being human and being susceptible to the glory or the tragedy, and most importantly, about making choices.

Long story short; the author is telling us that harder the circumstances, easier (and perhaps inevitable) it gets to make the harder choices.

what is it with George RR Martin and love? – II

I am increasingly thinking that the author George RR Martin has the love and contradictions it causes in life as one of the central, if not the central, theme, in his book “A Game of Thrones”.

I am reading a Jon Snow chapter again where the Maester Aemon talks to Jon about the reason why the men of the Night Watch are sworn to not marry or father children (page 662). Simply put, he says that it is almost impossible to carry on a duty or being dedicated to a cause/honour unless love is eliminated from their life, otherwise at one point or the other, there will be a situation when one needs to choose (love over duty/honour, or vice versa) (to some extend of course, as their lives do not exclude the brotherly love they have for each other. I believe this is even necessary should they want to keep their order together).

Maester Aemon says that “we are only human, and the gods have fashioned us for love. That is our great glory, and our great tragedy“.

It is indeed, especially in this book.

I have not read the entire series of the books yet but so far, we have this theme meshed up in this saga in many different ways, by many different characters (Jamie Lannister, Ned Stark, King Robert).

Love is such a strong, influential feeling. I want to ask; when was the last time one has made a choice (right or wrong) for love, because of love?

On a separate note, I love it when Master Aemon says Jon that as someone who has gone through this choice before (after he makes it known to Jon that he is a Targaryen), he cannot say whether Jon should stay or go (at that time, Jon’s father Ned Stark has been arrested for treason charges against King Joffrey) and whatever Jon chooses, he is the one to live with the consequences of the choice for the rest of his life (i.e. Aeron did not impose any choice on Jon, which is admirable).

I guess Maester Aemon has suffered too much of his own choice (of not leaving the Night Watch to help his brother and his family). Apparently, when he made his choice it was the right choice. But this does not make it the right choice for all the time.

Love, duty, honour, values, choices, contradictions, and regrets; life as it is.

I am loving this book deeper and deeper every day.

 

 

 

A Game of Thrones – what wrong we can do for love?

What would you do for the people you love?

In biology, there is this concept that is called “kin selection”, which says that people (and sometime animals) can sacrifice (lives or materials) for the well-being of genetically close individuals, such as family members. It is also possible to do so for non-genetically close but culturally or value-wise close communities/societies: defending countries in wars is a good example.

Anyways, you know my fascination with the George RR Martin’s “A Game of Thrones” (the first book of the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series) and puzzlement by the phrase uttered by the character Jaime Lannister “the things I do for love” right before he pushes the character Bran out of the window to presumably protect himself, his lover-twin sister Cersei, and their 3 kids (and yes, I still am disgusted by this incestious relationship).

Since these two characters (Jaime and Cersei) are possibly the most hated ones at the beginning of the book(s), it is so hard to believe for me that a great and pure feeling as love would be felt by them and can have a direct role in such a horrible act (that eventually crippled Bran, a 7 years old boy at the time of the incident).

Yet, later in the book we see a similar phrase “the lies we tell for love“, this time by possibly the most liked character, Ned Stark (page  504, A Game of Thrones, GRRM), when he chooses to write “my heir” rather than “my son Joffrey” in the will that King Robert is dictating him at his death bed. Ned stark does this as he believes Joffrey is not King Robert’s son and has no claim to the throne. Ned Stark, who is the most honorable character in that book, thus slips to the dark side…

Or not?

Should Ned have done the right thing and write down the exact words dictated by the King? Or, was what he has done the right thing?

I keep wonder; what is the right thing to do in this situation?

Consider a parent stealing food to feed his children who have not eaten in the last one week. This act is wrong, but then how about the alternative? What is worse and more wrong – to steal or to starve your children and let them die?

If you had read the book (or watched the movie) “Sophie’s Choice by the author William Styron”, you will notice a similar dilemma where no choice is better than the other.

I do not wish anyone to have such dilemmas in their lives. But as these examples make it clear sometimes there is no better alternative, a clean solution. Sometimes all possibilities are bad or unacceptable one way or the other. I hope no one will find themselves in such situations and will always have a chance to do the right thing.

Another hats-off to George RR Martin for not only writing a highly creative saga but also constantly challenging our minds and understandings.

 

making better choices

There have been many lovely thoughts that crossed my mind today, all by making good choices 🙂

First and most, I walked to my office this morning; I got up with usual crankiness, decided to take the bus (the nice thing about Friday being the first day of my budget week; now that I have some new funds allocated for the transportation category for the coming week, psychologically I was more motivated to keep them than spending on cab fare.). I realized I was to wait 10 minutes for the bus; and as usual, decided not to wait and I walked.

I did good 🙂 That was a great choice that I kept congratulating myself the entire day. I exercised in the morning, both my body and my mind benefited from this exercise, I was proud of myself for starting to walk again, and I saved $10 by not taking the cab.

I made other excellent choices today; I bought ginger for example – it looked so fresh. I thought about preparing tea and nourishing my body with it. It turned out this ginger was turning green inside; so unfortunately I needed to cut out a big chunk of it to remove the green part and consumed the rest. However little that piece of ginger was, I congratulated myself for giving my body useful nutrient.

Another choice I made and made me feel completely happy with myself was preparing a red lentil soup, this time with carrots and a table spoon of turmeric 🙂 It turned out to be more orange-colored than the usual red lentil only version and with lemon juice, it tasted just great. I am aware of the nutrients and the anti-inflammatory characteristics of this soup; so I felt once again happy with my choice and my efforts to prepare this healthy soup.

Good choices can be made anytime, with any situation. Sometimes, like myself lately, we all get overwhelmed and forget or ignore them for the other, easier choices (which are not necessarily the best one at that time…).

My incentive to have better choices today than yesterday was to be able to be kind to myself (as opposed to beating myself up for all the things that I have not well lately, like eating irresponsibly) and to be able to recognize my own role in the things I do well; the more I am aware of them, the better choices I make. The more I recognize myself, the better choices I make.

My psychology totally loves such positive incentives 🙂

So, dear reader, lets’ be kind to yourself and acknowledge all you do well in your lives; I am sure you too will be happy to do this exercise 🙂

 

sometimes it is okay to sink

Sometimes it is okay to sink down…

I have been feeling too much pressure in my life lately, feeling like I have to much to do and too little time or energy. My eating is not great, I am not losing weight at all (despite my efforts since september), my budget is more or less alright but I am opening the purse more liberally nowadays, I was not able to remove one last unnecessary expense from my life for years, my mind is overwhelmed by the things I need to do, things I want to do, and things others expect from me.

The end result is constant struggle, loss of confidence and lack of satisfaction with myself and with my performance, followed by indifference to the wishes and plans for good things, good habits, and good experiences for myself.

While I was going in the direction of my aims previously, now I am not. I not only stopped going towards them. Worse. I started walking the opposite direction along the path, towards the beginning.

Is this not annoying?

Yes, it is.

I feel like I am wasting all the good things I have done for myself (such as unhealthy eating habits harming my body or the unnecessary expenses decreasing my savings). I am also missing good opportunities at work as I am not able to finish things on time and I am certainly not efficient.

I deserve better than living and working with low performance and constant mental struggle.

I feel like the time for shattering certain patterns or re-constructing my plans/wishes/priorities is coming.

I feel like maybe I should stop for a couple of days; no work, no blogging, no whatever I do every single day, and work on myself. Listen to myself. Clarify things. Clear the mud. See through. Identify what it is that I need to realize, change, work on, remove, or include in me. In my life.

I feel that it is gonna be hard turn. Something will drastically change. I will have to make a choice or two.

I remind myself that there is always somewhere to go along the journeys; if I feel like I sank to the bottom, then it cannot get worse than it; from there all I can do is to go up next.

Better days will come.

post-vacation blues

Hello everyone,

Just came back from my vacation of 5 week. I had incredibly beautiful and at the same time an emotional time with my family and friends. It is always sad to leave the people I love most behind and come back to work and my life here… I suspect I will write many posts over the coming days about the feelings and realizations I have had while on vacation, and more importantly after I came back.

I love my family more than anything else. Each time I come back I think about leaving my job and life here to join them. It is a possibility yet the conditions are not perfectly fine (mostly financial). And that is why I keep doing this – living away from them and visiting them once or twice a year. Yet, I question a lot whether that is the best. Will I be able to see them again? Will I regret the times spent away from them? Is it worth having my daily life here while I emotionally dessert myself so much?

I cannot know.

On the positive side, my friend who house-sat while I was away is still at my home and keeping me company. I owe her a lot – she not only gave me a piece of mind but also distracts me from my post-vacation blues. She even prepared a nice welcome back dinner yesterday; is that not awesome?  🙂

It is great to have people around who care, love, cherish, and support. If you are one of those lucky people, please take a moment to appreciate them.  I sincerely hope you have many of them in your life 🙂

breaking the routine – March 30, 2015

well; my list seems to be long today 🙂

1. I did walk from office to home (after a few weeks of taking the bus).

2. I woke up easily and almost joyful; not grumpy as I almost always am.

3. I did not stress myself over work and all worked very smoothly today.

4. I made a concious choice of not drinking the 3rd cup of coffee.

joy journal – March 27, 2015

I think the main reason I want to keep writing to my joy journal is because I am depressed and need to feel good. So; let’s do this one more time:

1. I am grateful that I woke up a little bit earlier this morning. I did not want to; I have such a low energy overall, but especially in the mornings. Usually, lots of things look difficult to me in the morning and thus I prefer the comfort of the office (i.e. go to office right away). This morning though, I had to go to the City. So despite my usual reluctance, I did go there… Come to think about it, I think what helped with that was I needed to shovel the front of the house a little bit… The city trucks cleaned the snow on the streets yesterday night and of course dumped quite a bit of snow to the front of my house. I had to shovel it to open a walking passage. I wonder whether this extra activity in the morning actually helped me to “wake up” a little bit?

2. I am grateful for realizing that my lack of energy in the morning (or overall during the day) may be because I do not move my body and as such my body remains in a relatively lethargic state whole day??? If that is the situation, there is solution to my low energy levels (see also the point 3 below)! I am kind of excited about this…

3. I am grateful for having a conversation with one of my good friends this afternoon. I had mentioned her about my energy levels. She said ” lack of activity/exercise is making us slow and lethargic (at work) and being slow at work means we need to spend more time at work, which in turn limits our chances of exercise – what a cycle..”. How wise is she? Very 🙂

4. I am grateful that the cab driver this morning was one of the regulars, who is kind, positive, and super professional. As soon as I left the cab, I was ready to take the day. Good humans make a huge positive difference.

5.  I am grateful that the people at the City were incredibly kind, nice, and helpful. They have helped me get good advise about what to do with my wall. One of my walls is cracked; it is a straight crack on both sides of the wall. The inspector I talked to was a nice, kind, and highly informative person, who told me that that was somehow normal, the house was moving, and unless I can see through the crack or it starts leaking water, I should not worry. However, she said if I am nervous about it, then I should see a structural engineer. I will certainly do that, first thing on Monday morning! I could not solve the problem, but I have taken time and energy to start working on it – I am proud of myself 🙂

6. I am grateful that instead of omitting that wall-crack, I got worried and took steps to understand it and to get it fixed. It did not feel good; feeling worry never is. yet, thanks to these feelings, I took action to get fix it. Thus, until this moment, I was negatively reacting to the feelings, but this turn of perspective is very welcome 🙂

7. I am grateful that the City was just 50 meters away from the company that files my taxes each year. I have been meaning to get my tax stuff done for sometime; yet it is such a busy time of my work that I was sceptical that I would ever spare time to go there anytime soon. I had all the documents with me for some time, so I took that chance, went there, and a very nice lady filled my tax for last year! It is a relief, the lady was so nice and friendly, and I was able to get my tax refund cheque immediately.

8. I am grateful that my bank is also in that area. I deposited my tax refund, purchased some coins that help me with my daily life, and then went to a nearby cafe to get breakfast. The day was bright and warm, people were nice and helpful, I had taken steps to resolve or took care of two important tasks for my life (e.g. the wall-crack issue and filing the tax), and I was enjoying my breakfast and moment. I thought quite a bit about not to go to the office today, but then felt the pressure of things that I have to take care. I went to office anyhow.. It was nevertheless a very joyful morning 🙂

9. I am grateful that I took the bus after the breakfast to go to the office. the bus literally arrived 1 minutes after I arrived to the bus stop – was I lucky today or what ? 🙂

10. I am grateful that I have taken care of two small but important emails/tasks in a short time, but after that i decided it was time I had some social interactions. So, I went to see a friend of mine – she just moved into a beautiful building with a nice office. I grabbed some chocolates and teas. We both were tired, overwhelmed by work, and had low energy levels. For some reason, we started talking about second hand stores and she said we should go now! what else do I want! of course. and there we went.

11. I am grateful for this second hand store – I have a thing for this kind of stores. They almost always have interesting stuff, one can find nice stuff at a very affordable price, and purchasing things from these stores helps the charity and recycling of items. I bought 5 different books in great condition and I am very excited about them 🙂 I also bought a nice jacket. Unbelievable 🙂 !

12. I am grateful that my friend gave me  ride home and I then bought myself a nice meal as a present.

13. I am grateful for my friend.

14. I am grateful for being able to buy myself a dinner.

15. I am grateful for reading my books tonite, which relaxes me.

16. I am grateful that I have made some healthy choices of food, even though not completely healthy. I am working on it, resisting the temptation to go back to completely unhealthy eating.

17. I am grateful that writing this post made me feel relieved and positive. Joy is here, however temporary it may be….

have a joyful weekend 🙂

Something to think about

I thought about taking today off yesterday night as I was very much enjoying the quietness and low-pace of the night, writing, and reading. But, this morning as soon as I woke up, and I woke up a little bit early today, I started thinking about things to do at the office and I was ready to roll.

Then, I opened the door and I have seen ~50 cm of snow at the foot step! By checking the emails, it was confirmed that it was another snow day in this long winter. OK…

Work somehow got into my day through emails and correspondences. At one point I was very much annoyed actually. That was the time when I decided I needed to listen to some music to relax. That went well.

That was also when I wanted to enjoy my day. While shovelling the front door (oh boy; it was the highest snow bank in front of my house; I shovelled around 3 meters long narrow path just to be able to get out of the house tomorrow; the height of the bank was, without any exaggeration, around 1 meter..), I had seen a couple of people next door with paper coffee cups at their hands. That gave me the idea of getting out to get coffee and eat something at the same time.

I did that; I found a nearby branch of a large coffee-chain open. Coffee was awesome, so was to be away from the house for 15-20 minutes. Bagels were not so bad, either.

So, three things I noticed today: 1) when the weekday hits, my mind shifts to being a “work mind” with no problem; that is good, because otherwise I think I would drag myself to work, which would not be nice. 2) If I commit to enjoy my day, I make an effort to do things that I enjoy. 3) coffee and food are usually on top of the list of items/activities that make me feel enjoying my day.

I am okay with all, but I better remove the food out of that list. I wondered; while the things that make me joyful are easy to acquire and quite affordable (that means I am not a “high-maintenance” person, who could be difficult to please..), was this also the cause of my unhealthy eating habits? if I wanted to eat something healthy but not bagels, I sure would have to pay more. Scientists were right; there may be a link between the financial health and the physical health.. Others might also be right; maybe the material should not be a source of our joy…

Something to think about.

the tango I did not dance

it has been my choice

the length of my hair, colour even

the clothes I have had

the tango I did not dance

the song that moved me in to deep emotions

the book I have not written

the violin I have purchased

the cities I lived in

the love I missed

the love I missed more than anything else

all my choices

now I am middle aged regretting

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PS: I accidentally published this draft – I was going to edit it yet I think that is what it was supposed to be. Leaving it as it is.

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