What a day….

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

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

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

What a dream.

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

The whole day, I felt remarkably calm.

I knew that I must have changed things.

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

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

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

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

This is a relief.

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

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

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

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

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

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

random thoughts

Interesting times.

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

No.

But hope is a beautiful thing.

Hope Please GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

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

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

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

Which one do we want to have?

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changing for a better me, for a better time

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

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

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

I also aimed to change myself.

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

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

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the sixth day of “work” staycation

The morning went well, but I lost my hope for success in the afternoon again. Being a naturally skeptical and highly critical person, especially towards her own, I am not surprised with this.

I work, work, and work, and only a small fraction of it goes into “recognize me” bin. All these efforts, careful and meticulous work, time, energy, and deals with stress I put into this work seem to wash away and bring me from all the way bottom to all the way top, the feeling of being inadequate. Its pain and heaviness are inescapable.

I wish I could retire. I do not want to say that I wish I was old enough to retire – I have a life to enjoy and explore still. I want to fully immerse in it before it becomes too late to do whatever I can do with my healthy and able body and mind. But nothing makes me feel more remorseful of having only a little amount of money saved, which prevents me from even thinking about retirement.

They say education is great and a must, and what an education I have had. I have got a PhD degree, worked in four different countries, did countless of interesting work. Yet it was not only after 36 that I could get a job with benefits (including pension plan) and only after 38 that I have got a job with a decent salary. I want to ask; where is all my knowledge, skills, and experience now? Obviously while my efforts, tears and sweat have benefited many organizations, countries, and people (for which I am actually happy), here I am at mid-40s struggling with the idea of leaving a job that constantly makes me feel low, stressed, and unappreciated. Where are the benefits of all my education and capabilities when it comes to me?

Low self-esteem should be broken by all means; nobody is as “low” as one can think. I cannot do this in my case, however. This has been like this for years, fueled by my current position. I competed with many talented individuals to come all the way here and here at this position I am not capable of going any further. I cannot blame others or the conditions, but I cannot blame myself, either. I gave my best and countless numbers of hours and brain cells to this work over the many years. I cannot take this feeling anymore.

I want to believe that even without attaining the level of success I wish for myself, I still can and do great work. I know many people at my position going through the same struggle, and even performing less than me. Yet, they are good at standing, talking, and walking tall, in contrast to me. My own hardship on myself, my own expectations from myself, and my own frustration are the ones that drag me down in my own eyes and then in others’. I sometimes think that this job is more about mental stamina and confidence, however false it can be, than having the capabilities, skills, and excitement for creativity, quality, and effective work. I lack that stamina. 

I once had told another colleagues of mine at administrative level that I was more of a manager than a leader; I get things done. He was understanding and said that “….a leader is great, but a manager is even greater. Leaders open the way and develop the ideas, vision. Managers are the ones that make it reality….” How great is that?

I am affected by the lack of effective leaders at my organization as well as the lack of transparency, trust, and presence of lots and lots of silos. I need a leader that can open the way for me and provide me with better resources so that I can soar. Yet, nauseating truth is that I am supposed to be a leader of myself and do all of these. Nobody is going to care about my conditions, needs, or improving my morale. It is all on me.

I wish I could just stop resisting this frustration and accept myself as a failure to find some kind of peace and perhaps identify new paths to explore and move forward, but I am not capable of doing this. I have either a competitive nature that I am not consciously aware of, some kind of hope that does not go away and keep pulsing in my mind, or I am in fact better than I think I am. Not necessarily awesome, but just better. Whatever the reason for not accepting myself as a failure is, I am not sure whether I am grateful or not. What I know is that my time did not arrive yet, so I will keep going, even under harsher conditions. Eventually I will figure out how to make “lemonade”.

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random thoughts

It a beautiful crispy and sunny fall day again 🙂

The beauty around the weekends (or no work day) is the freedom that it gives in terms of how you would like to spend your day, the absence of rush of the work or work environment, and the possibility of having nice conversations and get-togethers with friends and family.

I also like the feeling of “taking care of myself” feeling – whether it is shopping for grocery, cooking a nice meal, cleaning my house, or handling other stuff related to our daily life.

Taking care of ourselves is a must and although I often times forget this, especially when I work, I love doing the activities that remind me that I am on track.

I used to have a great relationship with food, always looking for diversity and nutrition. It was a pleasure going to the stores and finding excellent veggies, fruits, and others. I would find myself often grateful for everything that is available to me and for being able to afford them. I am still hugely grateful for these, but something is missing really…

Over the years, my priority changed from taking care of myself to taking care of work. It is a mistake if you ask me. Those who follow my blog knows that I love my job; it is interesting, keeping me engaged and being productive, the work I do I believe benefit many people and humanity as a whole. The satisfaction coming out of it is incredible and I am very grateful for having this work-line.

I have been feeling, rightfully, though it is now time to switch to “taking care of myself” mode. I have been struggling with this for some time (my healthy life-style journal and breaking the routine page is a good example) but I keep going. Not everything is perfect but I am putting a continuous effort. I am determined to do better for myself and although I lack better and newer ideas, I believe I will do better over time.

They say it is not the end point but the journey that matters, that is valuable. Perhaps that is true in my case. I have seen quite positive changes with my other efforts (conscious spending plan is an excellent example) – I have more or less functional plan that excites me and yields positive and immediately observable outcomes. I need to see over years how it goes and how it helps me to handle financial problems and enables me to retire comfortably. I am grateful for doing this so far and the hope and confidence it gives me now.

Of course, I would like to see the same progress I have with my conscious spending plan with the healthy life style plan. I have been thinking; I am not sure what the reasons behind me not losing weight as I used to, but age is one factor. And of course I should not forget the effect of the trips and my mentality that promotes unlimited eating freedom during the trips (I seem to have gained 8 pounds back in a week). I wonder why I can do so well with the budgeting but not better life style?

Perhaps it is the fact that with budgeting I can see a progress in my finances in a week, while with the weight loss, it is kind of tricky. I remember when I had walk on to the scale a couple of weeks ago and seeing an 8 pound difference and how it had made me feel accomplished and more motivated to keep doing…..

Going back to the idea of “not the end points but the journey matters“, I believe that what I am going thru with my healthy life style plan should be a teacher for me, I should be noticing things about myself and my life as a whole. Perhaps I am aiming for the wrong things (i.e. weight loss) than the beauty of having a healthy life, with great food, exercise, and stretching. Perhaps I am hard on myself and put the weight loss as an indicator of the success of my plan…..

Considering that is possibly the reason (I have implemented many good things as part of this plan, such as walking more, especially in the morning, started stretching, eating whole and healthier food, cutting out bread and carbs from my diet, and supplementing my diet with calcium and vitamin D and milk, both of which are great help for my bone health) is in fact an eye opener.

Perhaps what I should focus on is all the good things I have done for my body and physical health, rather than the mere weight loss.

have a great weekend everyone 🙂

random thoughts

The summer is slipping out of our hands; I have been wearing jackets in the last few days. I sure will miss the sunshine 🙂 Well…. till next time.

I left the office early but continued to work at home. Sometimes it is a lot efficient this way, though I feel bad about not being in the office.. Anyways, looks like my “take-it-easy” days are over and I really need to kick if I want to finish things in a timely manner. And I do. Working will thus continue throughout the weekend. Cannot complain 🙂

I did grocery shopping this afternoon, which really made me feel good. I like shopping :); I gotta tell you though buying less items and as required made a huge difference in my “waste” levels. I am glad that this is working for me.

Today was also the first day of my new financial week (i.e. feeling rich as I have a weekly allowance at my disposal)- I treated myself with a cup of take-out coffee in the morning, right before a 9am meeting; could not be happier 🙂 And I am really proud of myself that I now have no problem catching the bus or waiting for it should I get up a little bit earlier or late. When I remember the internal fights I have had for several months till the last couple of weeks, I am sincerely surprised. It tells me that change does not come easy but it comes eventually….

By this inspiration and by noting the fact that I was only gaining weight in the last few weeks by not cooking meals at home, I am now moving up with my next challenge in the list: eating healthy food and losing weight. Just like taking the bus rather than the cab, I expect this effort to be a little bit inconsistent at the beginning, but later becoming standard.

And did I mention I loved shopping? 🙂 Yes.. Yes, I have. I will treat myself to a thrifty store visit this weekend. Hey, I may as well bring the bags of clothes that I had sorted while decluttering my wardrobe a couple of weeks ago. I meant to check them again to make sure that I was not giving away anything that I could use, but the fact that I have not done this since then tells me that I already gave up on these items. Time to find a new home for them.

have a great friday evening/night everyone 🙂

my another set of two-cents on budgeting and saving

Vastly because I am bored this evening and thus am looking for something interesting to deal with, I decided to write about budgeting and saving again.

While I am an experienced saver, I had not been for some years and the possibility of financial hardship in future and having a chequing account with almost $0 in it (mostly due to home-ownership), you know I have been trying to change things a little bit.

Read a lot, tried and liked some of the strategies about budgeting and saving.

Here they are:

1. Expense freezes: Stop purchasing items or services of your selection for a short and defined period of time. Short period are important as in my case at least, it tells me that this is not a total deprivation; I know for example I will start buying books again (I have one more month left out of two months freeze). It does not hurt when I have such a mental attitude (and freedom).

2. Change the items/services for the expense freeze activity periodically: After one freeze can come another one; rotate the things/services so that you will never feel deprived of any of the many items and services you like.

So, after books, what will be my new freeze item? I am thinking about not buying spice or tea for 2 months. I love spices and teas; but I already have so many of them at home and teas at the office; so why do I need to purchase new ones? Maybe the only one I can buy is the savoury; this spice has something very much appealing to me.

3. Take an inventory of items: That I find is a very surprising activity. I have not checked or emptied my pantry for sometime. I am sure when I go in it, I will find many stuff that I do not regularly use, currently possess, but nevertheless forgot. Many of the spice jars (some may need to be dumped as they go bad after a while) or tea bags I know I have are good examples. I know I have some canned food which I have not eaten for some time; is it not a waste not to eat something already available?

Just last week I noticed how many rolls of toilet paper and paper towel I have stocked up. I am not going to buy paper towel until I have 6 rolls left (it can take upto a year to come to that point). I can buy toilet papers only when they are on sale . Otherwise I am good for another year.

When I look for other parts of my house, I am sure I will find other items/goods I have forgotten I have. I have a facial mask somewhere, which I loved using….Time to find it.

4. Re-use if you can: I am sure we all do that somehow, but good to remind ourselves time to time.

I used to use cleaning clothes in the kitchen, which I would replace every two weeks. I realized I can actually wash them up and extend their usage. The books now I am reading, which I have bought years ago, are other examples. Or the shopping bags I use to protect the small garbage cans (rather than buying garbage bags). The list can be really long.

5. Forego the comfortable alternative time to time: I was writing a shopping list last week and I noticed that I would like to purchase wet mops to clean the floors. I am happy with them; they are practical, doing decent work, and when done go to the garbage easily. I will try whether I can clean the floors with other stuff, like paper towels or old clothes. Just for some time.

The most important one for me is of course taking the bus rather than the (comfortable) cab 🙂

6. Give yourself rewards: I cannot tell how good that feels. I am not talking about having big rewards, but eating out a couple of times a week, buying a hand lotion with a lovely scent, or trying new types of flossers that make flossing just a pleasant activity are among the rewards I have given myself lately.

7. Design a budget for yourself and track it weekly (and then monthly and annually): I have calculated my annual  income as well as fixed and variable expenses (an approximate) lately using Excel. I have a much better idea about what I can do, what I can change, and what I cannot. I also have an idea about how much I can save (both the maximum and a less, more realistic number). An unexpected positive outcome of this budget sheet was the realization of how well I was doing in some categories; for example the % of my retirement investments are above good. So even though I have little cash in my chequing account, I am not totally disadvantaged.

Short-term assessment of my budget, such as for a week, works wonders for me. I not only control my spending better (now that I have a motivation to see the progress in a week) but also see the general spending pattern I have; how much I spend for grocery? Cleaning products? Transportation? Dining out? Extras? How do I feel about all of these? Can I let go some of them? Should I include some more?

8. And the magic!: If there is a magic to saving and budgeting, it is to have the motivation. My motivation to save (more) came from home-ownership and serious repairs. I did not want to have a worse level of financial hardship in the future, so to help prevent it I am saving now. That is my motivation. What is yours? What are yours? Keeping a focus on the end-product can help you keep motivated.

9. And the extra magic!: Be grateful for all efforts you put into your budget and savings; the articles and blogs you have read; the funds you have saved; and your determination to keep going even though unexpected expenses occurred or you slipped off your track and thus your budget or savings do not seem to be working for you and you feel maybe disappointed with yourself or the process. It is important to recognize your interest, motivation, and effort no matter how the finances turn out. Be proud.

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There; now that I have written those, I already feel better 🙂

Good night everyone.

random thoughts

Life is good.

I am working slowly but steadily. My mind is working and thus is happy.

It was a warm day; the evening is young and I have many interesting books and blogs to read; I am happy, peaceful, and slightly excited; just the way I would like to feel.

The effect is mostly coming from the carbs I have eaten for the dinner – I know this feeling so well. I am trying to limit the carbs but their positive effects on my mood is amazing.

Moderation… Moderation.

I have made purchases today, which kind of threw my weekly budget up to the maximum level. I am feeling a little bit nauseated with that, but I know tomorrow is another day, next week I can make it better, and under all conditions, I am constantly striving to do my best 🙂

Sometimes I feel like the effort and having an aim to accomplish is more exciting than reaching the aim itself. I need years to turn things around with conscious spending. Instead of waiting so long, why not to enjoy today and reflect on my experiences?

Yes, Mam 🙂

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