Start of a new month

Tomorrow is March 1st.

I am glad that the harshest months of winter – January and February – are behind us. Yet, I feel like time flies and I have some sort of grief coming with this.

Nevertheless, I think we must celebrate reaching to the middle of winter. Spring is always joyful, and makes us feel much better. Nature awakens; yards, tress, and birds become alive and joyful. Having a window open and getting fresh air in are certainly priceless and delightful.

This weekend was fine. I worked in the morning and am ready for the week. I must say the weekdays continue to stress me and weekends continue to relax me. They say so much about the life-work balance. I wonder if this balance is ever achievable?

What is that balance, anyhow?

I was reading an essay about it the other day, and the author claims that there is no such thing as a balance, as there is no true border between work and life. Also, the term itself implies that either our work or life – or both – are miserable and unbearable.

Truth.

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In my profession, having this balance is almost impossible. We work anytime and any day, as we always chase for new things and have serious obligations. The expectations increase day by day, especially happened during the COVID-19 pandemic for some unsensible reasons – as we have a highly competitive job. So either we will perform normally and risk being called and feeling unsuccessful and a failure (duh! even with a little bit of or work, we do amazing and incredible things), or hurt ourselves with countless of hours of work, stress, thinking, writing, reading, discussing, training, and presenting. All to feel competent and successful. Whoever has implemented this self-inflicted, unhealthy, and counter-intuitive system must be very proud of themselves. There seems to be no way out of it, unless the vast majority think the same way and stop slowing.

Slowing down is a term I have been associating with the pandemic. I heard it from many of my friends and colleagues, and it kind of makes sense. I believe that I could be not only healthier, but also more creative if we could slow down a little bit.

On the positive side, I feel like I have slowed down somehow and tipped to scale towards the life part of the work-life balance, especially now that I have a lovely foster cat with me. Spending time with Mona, even feeding her or cleaning her litter box are giving me much needed mental brake. I am determined to continue with fostering even when she is adopted. My beautiful girl. May she always have the best, kindest, and most compassionate people around her, the best meals and cleanest litter box, and the best vets.

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long weeks

Some weeks feel, like, consisting of 30 days or something. They are full packed, lots happen, and yet it is just the beginning or the mid of the week.

The last few weeks have been feeling like this. I am not sure why. Perhaps I am doing good not working during the weekend too intensely, and rather work harder during the week, or a lot of things come to conclusion and this makes me feel like accomplishing a lot. I think it is a little bit of both.

Working from home is hard. It is good every once a while, to focus on the work at hand without distraction. But not continuously. Cannot believe it has been almost a year that we have been doing this. Except a few times a month, I almost always worked from home, myself, with my team remotely, and with all bunch of committees I am a part of. Lots of things have not happened on time. Lots of things lost their priority as new ones merged. Things that we could normally do in a year expanded into two or more years. Some things have just needed to be cancelled altogether.

Since new year, some mid size projects have been coming to conclusion and new ones have been emerging. This is one reason why I feel like lots are accomplished, and as a result, time becomes longer. Good. Very good.

The overwhelming feeling of the pandemic and working from home are getting a toll on us. I know I am not the only one. I want to say, no scream, STOP sometimes. To all new obligations, new requests, new roles. We cannot breathe sometime – where are we going like this?

Many people are behaving like all is okay. Let me tell you something – it is NOT ok.

Organizations are good at saying compassionate things, like how much they appreciate our hard work during this difficult time. But they keep pushing us to the limits. Adapting to changes takes time and sometimes it is not even possible. How do you train new staff for specific work tasks, some of them requiring high tech applications? How do you correct processes that go wrong, which can only be corrected by hand and by being there physically? Not everything can be done remotely, and not everything can be done good remotely.

These being said, sure, there are positives about working from home. Comfort of the home is a good plus. Ability to take breaks when needed. Remote learning opportunities, which are now more wide spread and more affordable. Having fresh lunch (which is a treat for me). Not combing the hair unless it is required for a meeting or something ūüôā The pj’s and slippers (I feel like my feet got longer – do you have a similar feeling??).

Anyways, the moral of the story that we have challenges and less needs to be expected. If you are a boss like me, remember it. Also make sure your bosses know – just saying it is important to take care of ourselves while going thru this difficult time is not enough. They need to demonstrate lower expectations and obligations from you.

My two cents.

Sunday morning musings

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

I used this sentence first yesterday and I kinda liked it Рso 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 Рif 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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Learn to say “no”

Today I said “no” twice.

It felt good.

I have a number of people in my life who have tremendous influence on my life. They are indispensable, like my family or my mentors. I like them very much, I have a strong bond with them, but I also have frustrations and heart-breaks with them. Since they are so important for me, contributed to my personal and my professional life substantially, even though they break my heart (I possibly break theirs, too Рto be fair), I keep keeping them in my life, loving them, and being nice as much as I can be. Like many people, we hardly talk about our issues, which often means we continue this over-the-surface relationships while deep down both sides are hurt somehow, sometime, over time. We argue sometimes, too. The negative feelings inevitably accumulate and reach a level that cannot be over-looked.

One of my mentors made a comment about me on social media yesterday¬†(which sounded more like an insult to me; considering all the sensitivity around our relationships, it is not unusual that I felt that way. It could have been just an innocent comment, too. But honestly I do not give a darn about the intention of her comment right now…), which was the last drop in our¬†long history. I took it lightly and managed to play low and joking, but it did change me. I wondered why I keep her in my life, visit her whenever I can find time, or call just to say hi, especially that she does not take steps to contact me.¬†I decided it was time that I cut this charade.

Today with my family too I finally said no. No, I did not cut my ties; they are so important to me and I love them. But I also feel inadequate as a family member. They have expectations from me and I do from them, but when we are short in delivering the expectations, you feel nothing but inadequacy and low self-esteem. I am sick of this feeling. It has been a long way. I am tired.

I am not sure whether I should go visit them this year. Last year was horrible in so many different ways and my relationship with my family is a little bit strained. When I mentioned that today, my mom said whatever happened between my family and I was all in the past. She is nice and all, but she does not consider that it is not over for me. The same thing when I am there; my needs or wishes are hardly a priority; I go where they go, travel quite a bit to see them with long trips, find myself in ridiculous dialogues with ridiculous people (people other than my family), and eventually come back even more tired than when I start the trip.

It is my annual holiday and I think I deserve more than this. Like taking a rest and having a say in where and when to go somewhere, if ever. What if I have other things that I would like to do? ……

My family is sad that I consider not visiting them this year. But perhaps I should prioritize¬†my own wishes this time. I have one life and at one point I just would like to feel “good about myself”. Do I not deserve this feeling?

I have been meaning to visit South America for a very long time. I wonder whether I can do it this summer. Or, just have a staycation. At least I would not feel not approved, loved, or respected.

what a day…

After the exhaustion I felt yesterday, I am feeling better today. I attribute it to eating relatively better today; I have got breakfast and lunch. Also prepared myself dinner. I did not eat veggies or fruits today, but I am hoping at least what I have got provides my body some energy.

I have had meetings in the morning and then in the evening. The evening one was a mistake – I should not have arranged that meeting. I was not prepared well, but more than that the person I had the meeting was not someone I trust or like working with. I remembered why I had turned down his offer to collaborate many years ago. I have done well then. I just messed up today by looking for ways to work with him. It is not gonna happen. And I do not care. Lesson re-learnt.

Since I have been struggling to finish everything I assigned myself prior to my vacation, I re-addressed this intention today. There is a limit to what I can do in a limited time. I like the fact that I am motivated to do things, but then it is not realistic to expect so much from myself under so much stress. Work is not the most important thing in the world and it would not worth to harm myself like this. I better stop expecting that much from myself and getting uptight. Some relaxation would prove to be beneficial. Maybe I would be able to handle things better after my vacation. Maybe things would develop in a different way while I was away and some of these things would not even be needed or important then. Maybe I was supposed to rather enjoy my life for once.

Today is one of those days that I am seriously considering resigning from my otherwise wonderful job. It is generally meaningful, pays a decent salary, and it took me decades to get such a position. Yet, I am missing life big time as it fills almost the entire world of mine. I do not like that…..

I know that I have not decided to resign yet, but I have been coming to this point time to time over the last year or so. This is a phase that maybe preparing me towards the resignation. I am still resisting because I need the salary and I am not sure what else I could do. Do I have alternative ways to make money? Nope, unless I take risks and start a cafe or something like that… It is not going to be all joy and positive developments, either. So, why to leave this job then?

I wish I had less concerns for my future retirement and financial health and more dreams and plans for enjoying the life. I wish I had planned a trip to Caribbeans, for example. I wished I had taken a temporary leave from my work and gather my strength back. I wish I had spent more time with my family. I wished I had just enjoyed one day without thinking about stuff, issues to resolve, plans to make.

I wish I was a little bit smarter ūüôā

 

unassuming of you (#1)

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no Sir,

not yet

you seem not to

have shared

the best of you

and you tell me that

I do not get you?

no Sir,

not yet

without mutual laughter

and time spent together

I can not be guilty of

unassuming of you

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Kate’s short story – XII

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