all the not so good things

Life is not all about feeling the positive, right?

Sometimes we must also face the sad, negative side of it.

Especially if it relates to people we care about.

Looks like my great uncle has been diagnosed with cancer. He will visit a specialist this week.

It broke my heart as he has been an important figure in my life. But I also know that he will be fine – he is in good health otherwise and has no other comorbidity. My family is experienced with cancer diagnosis and treatment, so is providing support, information, and access to specialists.

However, I also have a family member who has psychological issues when it comes to cancer and cannot handle this well . She supports my uncle and his family, but she is bored and down. Hope she will find a way to move to a better mental state soon.

I am here and away, and cannot do much other than thinking about and calling people.

Life is… well, life is brutal sometimes.

I am positive that my uncle will thwart this off with proper medical care. I am grateful for feeling this way and believing this full-heartedly.

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Love – hate relationships

I have a few love – hate relationships that make me crazy.

I love my family and then they break my heart and here I am, fuming about them whole day and thinking about not calling them tomorrow!

I love my profession and then somebody or many-bodies leave their work to me, do not appreciate my meticulous and hard-work, or try to manipulate or use me, and here I am, complaining about them and almost resigning from my post!

I love my home country and then something happens, and here I am, thinking that it would not hurt to hear negative things about it or defend it if I had not loved it so much, and here I am wishing I had not loved it. But the truth is that this love is the strongest one. The love for the homeland.

I think the philosophers (or was it psychologists?) were right that it hurts if you care. Detachment is the path to happiness.

If only I could.

 

random thoughts

After a hiatus from blogging, here I am again 🙂

Goodness knows, I missed it!!

The last month has been good to me. I still struggle with frayed nerves and occasional elevated blood pressure; insomnia and stress; but things are looking a little bit better.

I enormously benefited from the worry journal practice and I would recommend it to anyone.

I also do not work all the time and try to take a rest during the weekends. This also includes visits to cafe houses and enjoying my time on Saturdays and Sundays. Life is good.

I reduced my baking bread saga to every two weeks, rather than every week. This gives me a chance to just have one less task to do at the weekends. I bake two loafs at the same time and freeze one of the loafs. When needed, this loaf is as good to go as a fresh one. It works wonderfully for me.

I make a good attempt to take the bus and save money from cab fare. This has had a positive impact on my chequing account. I am excited. This was also topped up with the tax return – I am happy to say that I do not need to use my line of credit anymore and my chequing account is lifting up nice and easy. I feel quite excited about this!

I walk more often now. We have beautiful weather that makes it possible. I feel like energized and the hibernation season has surely ended.

Work is going okay. I still feel strained sometime when faced with difficult decisions. But I move along anyway and guess what – nothing is as bad as it looks.

I relaxed the self-imposed obligations and do not attend the meetings at work unless they are really interesting or absolutely required. This feels good as well.

I say “no” more often as well. I kind of prioritize my time over others’ needs. What a change! What a progress! 🙂

I have taken a couple of days off in the last two weeks – only because I was not feeling well or enthusiastic about going to work. I was worried at first, thinking maybe I had lost my interest at work for good, but I rapidly realized it to be a wrong assumption. I love this – I love loving my job.

Spring is here, which signals a time to close the loose ends and start anew. Last year this feeling had resulted in me getting interested in plants – succulents and cacti to be exact. This year I am not sure what it is gonna be, but I wait life to direct me to my next exciting interest.

I have more positive relationships at work thanks to me getting some rest and things look brighter and more positive.

I have socialized with friends a couple of times and this also had a positive impact on me and how I feel.

My relationship with my family is also much better since new year and I am very grateful for this.

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Change is easier when I feel but not when I think about it

I have been waiting for these feelings I experience for some time. I knew that one day I would detach from work and my current life plans, and move on. These days seem to have arrived.

The recent heart-opening experience with one of my family members having a near-death accident has changed me and gave me the much needed shake off. No matter how much I try to think logically to keep going here, I kind of know that I was born for something better and bigger. My work is satisfying but it comes with lots of stress and many little and big work left on my shoulders by either my employer or my team members. I like both of these, but I am resenting the fact that I am not allowed to use my time for things that I am most capable of and it is rather wasted with things that a young colleague with no or little experience can do.

Stress. No or little appreciation. A lot of little work eating up my time. Resentment. Toxic and highly pressuring work environment. Working close to 14 hours everyday, including weekends and holidays. Having financial and employment insecurity. Sleep problems. Lack of time to care for myself, mentally and physically. Lack of assurance.

What was I thinking in keep going with this job?

I know what I was thinking.

I had low self-esteem to find a similar position somewhere else and the job position was something that I have always dreamt of. I was not able to deal with my fears and as such did not want to change my environment, either.

Well.

I may change this environment quite easily. As a matter of fact I feel like I will do this soon. More and more roles that I once dreamt of have been offered to me this week by my organization and more and more I think about not accepting them. I want to commit less to anything or anyone other than myself and my family. I want to make sure that when I decide to leave, I will have freedom to do so, fewer team members to place in a new unit, less furniture to sell/give away, and less responsibility to complete. This is great to feel.

I still have commitments that I must honour. I am doing my best to help move them, but goodness knows if I do get others involved not doing their part and leaving things on my shoulder again, I may as well just quit it there. I know this is a scary thought and I should not feed it, but when one asks themselves constantly “how long more to do these and at what expense?” there comes a moment that the last chain in the link is broken quite easily and it feels right and whatever mattered prior to that moment does not anymore.

I am not asking or planning for this, yet if it is its time, it will happen.

In the mean time, I will enjoy my detachment to my past plans/work and freedom to dream the bigger and better life conditions and job that I know I deserve and I will attain.

 

why guilt is so easy and why self-love is so hard to find

I came to realization that I have a hard time loving myself.

After yesterday’s post on prioritizing myself and feeling selfish, strange things happened.

First, I thank everyone who commented on that post – your support and kind words meant the world to me.

Strange thing is that today one of my family members experienced a very serious accident and another family member helped them return from near-death. I am serious.

My guilt of not being with my family amplified as a result.

I think life is trying to say something.

Do we have the right to prioritize ourselves and our well being? Is it selfish?

These are honest questions:

Do we have the right to prioritize ourselves and our well being? Is it selfish?

I have been trying hard to feel good, especially about myself and my life. My last 20 years in North America and many years prior to that at home, I always worked towards ending this frequent feeling of “feeling like shit”, “fear/anxiety”, “financial and other insecurities”, and “low self-esteem”. I naturally kept studying and working to keep my mind occupied with these so that I would not think about the existential thoughts. I felt better as a result, however randomly. The trap is that studying and working, especially in my highly competitive field with high failure rate and with rapid deadlines, also mean stress and feeling like shit again, experiencing anxiety, insecurities, and low self-esteem due to high competition and failure rate.

So, what is this all about?

Entire story sounds like delusion to me.

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I have been in North America for nearly 20 years now. I left my home-country, my family, and my friends for work, and then stayed. I like the safe and relatively peaceful atmosphere of Canada particularly, even though the economic situations are straining me and my work place is getting more and more toxic especially lately, but it is alright here. And I know that despite occasional racist and discriminative treatment here and there (which really annoys and is so wrong), I believe I feel much better here in Canada than I would somewhere else.

Being away from home and family is never easy. Home is home and family is the most important thing in life. Yet, when being with family and your well-being do not go side-by-side, what do you do? Emotionally, I want to go back, but logically I know this is not the right decision, at least for now. So I stay and I refuse the demands from my family to go back.

I am not convinced that I can survive mentally there, not unless I changed the way I think and deal with things in a more healthy way. Otherwise, I see myself easily in more anxiety, stress, and depression. Who can benefit or be happy with this? Neither me nor my family. I cannot get my family understand this. They think that I can earn much more money, have less stress and issues that I experience or may experience, and feel better there with the support of my family. I do not buy this. I cannot buy this.

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So, my family needs me, yet by prioritizing myself and my well-being, I deny them the help (financial or emotional) they expect from me. This naturally creates conflicts and lots of negative emotions and encounters between me and my family.

Tell me; how selfish am I to do this? Keeping myself rather in a stable and peaceful place that I believe is better for my mental health at the expense of abandoning my family except seeing them annually for a month or so, calling them every off-day, and financially helping them when they need it most?

I believe it is selfish. That is why I feel like shit as well.

As I said, the entire story looks delusional.

 

 

 

holidays diary – Day 11

New Year is here – welcome 2019.

I am very indifferent, as you can see. I slept around 10pm last night and woke up not so enthusiastic about the day or the year, or anything else for that matter. My moody mood continues.

Anyways; I worked today as well. I did not have anything better to do – everywhere is closed. In the afternoon, I called my family for a quick chat and then focused on finding a good book to read. I reviewed maybe 10 books before I finally found one that clicked. It is by an author who has a highly demanding job and she says all the things I want to hear or see; she says what seems unbalanced for many maybe your balance (true – I prioritize work to reach my goals, so I work hard and long. Even I got in to thinking “I should have a balance” trap, but why should I? Nothing I do is something that will keep me from my goals (except those that are somebody else’s responsibility, which I need to shoulder to keep work going). Rather, I work hard to reach my own goals the majority of the time.

Why should I complain about this? Why should I feel tired about this? Why should I feel frustrated about this? Why on earth should i feel negative about this????

My attitude is not right. Hmmm. Will seriously consider to change this around.

Never fall into the trap of believing in somebody else’s truth – find and own your own truth. That is the lesson I have learnt by reading this book today.

Funny thing is that I had this book for many years. I am glad I did not give it away. Today was its time to mean something for me. Well done.

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I must work and finish things, but I think tomorrow I will rather enjoy my life. I am thinking about going to thrift stores tomorrow. I will look for books and extra-ordinary/unusual pots. It is always fun to be able to look for these items and exciting to bring one home. I do not need to spend a lot of time. I certainly do not need any of these, but I would love to enjoy my life for another day, without thinking about the 5-10 bucks I work so hard to earn. Considering that I spend around 5K each year to visit my family (yes, I am still angry with them), I think this amount of money I spend on myself is very minimal. And, I deserve what my money can buy for me.

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I am in a frugal and minimalistic budget again, which is great. My plan, my very ambitious plan, is to be able to save 500 bucks from my every pay cheque – this is after RRSP and TFSA contributions. I know it is not realistic; last year I tried the same, but I was not able to save more than 400 bucks at a time, and often times I was able to save around 200-300 bucks. Nevertheless, it is okay to ask for and it is okay to hope. 

I hope 2019 is treating you with Ease, Comfort, and Appreciation.

 

 

 

holidays diary – Day 10

I slept in a fragmented manner but it was okay – at least I did not have urgent matters to handle today. So, taking it easy was the way to go.

Nevertheless, I am not in a good mood….

I tried to do some work before noon. I stopped and then tried again a couple of times. It is hard to do something when you are tired and then not being satisfied with it.

Anyways.

I went to grocery store to pick some swiss chard – they were wilted so I opted out for a pack of hot-dogs instead. One of my new year tradition (only as a means to treat myself) is to bake some pastry with minced beef or potato/swiss chard. I went for both this time; I cooked the beef with onion for one. I replaced the chard with hot dogs for the other, cooked with onion, boiled potato, and tomato paste, and added some cumin, black pepper, and chili flakes. Yummy, right?

No.

Mistake one was they turned out to be too salty. Mistake two was that both were too spicy. The third was that I do not know why, but rather than buying pastry sheet I decided to prepare my own, which turned out to be too thick and too dense. They did not turn out to be great, even for someone like me who would savour any food regardless of how they look or taste.

Oh, well.

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You know I love my family, but I also have a rocky relationship with them, especially since my dad passed away almost 3 years ago. This is the first year that I did not call and wished them a happy new year. My sister and I have been having another boot of not-so-nice verbal exchanges lately. My heart is broken and I decided not to communicate with my family for some time. I am sure they are surprised or worried about me not showing up today, but they will get used to it.

Also, if they had wanted to reach me, they could call me.

Did they?

No.

So my consciousness is clear.

I do not wish to go visit them this year. I rather could use the time (my entire annual vacation time) and the money (required for flight) for myself…. I do not know. Maybe I could finally buy a dresser for my bedroom (I do not have any furniture in my bedroom except the bed and a small closet). Or, go visit somewhere sunny and interesting for a week or so. Or, stop worrying about not having money and rather use this money to feel a little bit secure.

When the heart is broken, nothing else matters. I want my family to care about me, respect me, and miss me. If they want it, they can find me.

This is a bitter end to this year, but maybe it is for the better. I always cared about my family as much as my conditions permitted, but I guess it is time that I rather care about myself.

The new year is the year of Ease, Comfort, and Appreciation.

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Have a great 2019 everyone – may you be filled with joy, happiness, opportunities, and love and may you be always appreciated, at ease, and comfortable with your life, yourself, your family, and your work.

 

totally random thoughts

It was another day with lots happening at work. I am not complaining. I realized that as long as I do my best, I am content with whatever is going on at work.

It was a fine day with blue sky and warm temperatures. Do you not love such Fall days? 🙂 It was a blessing and I took it up in my memory to remember later and be grateful now.

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I am not eating well and this shows on the scale. I have lost a few pounds lately and I am feeling cold today. Tomorrow night I have a meeting till 9 pm, so I cannot shop, but Thursday is the day to get some warming food. Raisins would be nice too – they are sweet and have iron, I heard.

When I am cold, I often suspect being scared. I do not know where this association comes from, but that is alright. I have my blanket on and feeling warmer each minute. I also thanked the thoughts going thru my mind a few minute back (all negative or worrisome), as I came to realize that they are there for a reason. My mind works on them so that I can be prepared for the worst. This habit creates anxiety but trusting the benefits of it also makes me take feelings generated much easier. Wisdom? Distorted thinking? Maybe.

I am feeling a little above the sea in terms of the things that I feel anxiety about. As I wrote yesterday, no matter how big or small the issues, I have a tendency to look for and dwell into issues. The more issues I have the more I prioritize and then dwell on the biggest. I really would like to believe that I have a limit to anxiety and once the roof is reached, it cannot get worse than it. Only go down from there. Either I manage to do so, or I get support.

Mental health is such an important issue. I am becoming more and more aware of its importance. I have been planning to go see my counselor again sometime, but I have not complied with their advise (e.g. eating better, walking and exercising to reduce my stress levels). So I feel like if I go see them now, I will start from the beginning. What is the point of, then? I must say talking about my stress was therapeutic, as facing an issue almost always reduces its power. Perhaps just for this reason only, I must go see them. Considering that I am not sure whether I am turning things around or approaching yet another crisis, making a new appointment looks like the best idea.

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The thing about my work is that it does not leave much time for anything else. I have so many other things to do. Do I have to wait for the retirement? Will it ever be able to retire? Will I be able to do the things I would like to do now then?

Why to postpone life?

This is a powerful question.

One benefit of the stress and pressure I experience at work is that I constantly question whether this whole thing is worth it. Why do I not spend time with my family instead?

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Truth is that I cannot be sure of I whether I will be at peace and anxiety-free then. Unless I change myself and manage the anxiety easier, no matter where I am, I am probably going to feel similarly.

I am determined to turn things around.

If I cannot, then I trust that life will show me the best way forward. Maybe it will be a good thing to quit this job when it comes to it.

We shall see.

 

 

 

 

 

Yes to life: my life – the life as I interpret it

It had never really occurred to me why I have chosen such a name for my blog. I could use my name, something that was important or fun for me, or something related to then-focus of my writing, which was poetry.

Just yesterday night it came to me that the life I define as “my life” was a part of life, and more importantly, it was a part of life I keep define based on my “interpretations of what was going on in it”.

This was quite strange, because it told me pretty much what every wise person/book was saying – I make what my life is and I am responsible for it. It also said that I was in control of it, I could change and make it better with an intention and a switch in my perspective.

How does this sound?

………………………………..

Having control over my life is very liberating and empowering. It means I am not the victim, but rather the boss and mastermind of my life. I may not change what I do not like, but I sure can change how I interpret or care for them.

Having control also means that I may have so far limited my opportunities unknowingly because I draw the line for what I accept in my life, what I care for, and what I do not have.

What if I choose to have more positive light in my life?

What if I want to take steps to get out of my comfort zone and move up and farther?

What if I want to take more risks and dramatically change things like the work I have, the city I live in, or the way I spend my days?

What if I explore and find out what is more important to me – my current life and the current/future financial stability or moving back to where my family and spending time with them?

What if I leave my fears out of the door and open space for more love, hope, opportunity, and joy?

What is I accept the miracles, self-love, kindness, and being in the moment?

………..

Earth would not shatter, but my life could certainly expand.

I could both change the way I interpret things already in my life and reach out to opportunities, miracles, money, success, recognition, wellness, and happiness available out there further away from the circle I have drawn for my life.

I can be courageous enough to re-evaluate my perspective and expand the circle of life around me with a clear intention, a child’s amusing and hopeful attitude, and a little bit effort.

I do not know what these mean for me or whether or when I would start taking the steps. But I am glad that at this middle age of my life, I finally understand myself, my life, and life as a whole better.

It is mine and I draw the lines. I can change these starting now.

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joy journal, Jan 27, 2018

1. I am grateful for sleeping till past 9 am; I was surprised with this but obviously my mind or body needed this rest. So it is welcome.

2. I am grateful for enjoying my coffee and feeding my sourdough starter; it had risen well and was smelling very fresh and sourdy 🙂 Good baby!

3. I am grateful for speaking with my family and being happy altogether – what a great feeling to be happy together with the people we care.

4. I am grateful for reminding myself that I will make an attempt to not let others hurt me with their greed, unkindness, and mean and demanding attitudes. This is very important for all of us; why do we permit this kind of people or their behavior in our lives? I know at work it is important to keep these people in our circles for our work, but is there not a better way? There is. I will find it out. I am determined to keep reminding me this and make an effort to find ways to manage mean or negative people.

5. I am grateful for walking to a store and buying eggs and other items that were on sale and I had needed. It is important to be able o care for ourselves – whether this is food, exercise, or pampering ourselves, let’s do it!

6. I am grateful for treating myself with chocolate today 🙂

7. I am grateful for working on a report and then stopping to enjoy my evening. I meant to reflect and nurture myself by reading a book. I have read for a while and now it is time to chill in dark, writing my journal, and listening to music.

8. I am grateful for eating healthy with eggs, tomato, garlic, and sourdough bread. It was a light but tasty dinner.

9. I am grateful for liking my graying hair 🙂 What a wonderful feeling!

10. I am grateful for liking to care for myself; I love shopping and getting things that I need or consume; I like making my own bread and eating it with love; I like cleaning myself, my home, and my clothes; I like functioning and still kicking and never ever ignoring my own needs!

11. I am grateful for being abundant and having everything I need being available or accessible to me.

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Things that I appreciate myself for today:

  1. I appreciate myself for keep going and not stopping my routine
  2. I appreciate myself for letting myself to be happy with my family and others
  3. I appreciate myself for pampering myself with chocalate
  4. I appreciate myself walking to the store even though it was a chilly day
  5. I appreciate myself for eating healthy and not needing expensive or luxurious things to eat
  6. I appreciate myself for realizing the progress in me and in my thinking; I learn; I realize; I appreciate; and I move on.

 

 

 

 

joy journal – Jan 7, 2018

Th first joy journal entry of the year 🙂

I am feeling kind of anxious and down. My best remedy is, as usual, remember the people, things, and experiences that I am grateful for. So, here it goes:

1. I am grateful for being healthy and well. I am safe, I have a job, and I have financial abilities. My emotions may be over-whelming right now, but I know from my past experience that eventually my anxious thoughts are trying to help me correct or remember things, and my future acts and experiences, thus, are going to be better.

2. I am grateful for talking to my family and their well-being.

3. I am grateful for cooking a large pot of bean meal today. I love beans! They are hearty and tasty. My freezer have 5 containers of bean meal that will be consumed in the coming weeks. It is a peace of mind to know that I have home-made meal to be consumed later.

4. I am grateful for the weather being chilly but not extremely weird. It is winter alright; with snow, cold weather, lots of high winds, and some sunlight in between. I predict that in May we will have a better weather and all these will be over. 4 more months of this… is.. manageable.

5. I am grateful for baking a wonderful loaf today 🙂 I have more than enough bread to keep me going the entire week.

6. I am grateful for feeling what I feel, however un-pleasant it may be, and going through the turbulence. I know that I am at the eye of the thunder, but this too shall pass.

7. I am grateful for all the food I have at home. I am abundant and well cared for. What a blessing.

8. I am grateful for watching a funny show. It feels good to be paying attention to something positive and have a laughter every once a while.

9. I am grateful for being warm and cozy at home.

10. I am grateful for today being Sunday so that I can use the day to deal with my emotions and emotional turbulence. Tomorrow is another day.

11. I am grateful for tomorrow being a work day so that I can focus my mind into new and fresh topics.

12. I am grateful for wanting to resign but deciding not to. What am I gonna do if I resign? Finding a job is not easy and financial strain will be too much. I pray that there will be better days ahead and my mind will cool down. I know I am not calm or well right now. The last 7 months have been very busy and stressful. I prioritized work more than my own personal well being. In addition, I prioritized a part of my job over others. Now it is time to pay attention to other parts. I feel like if I can control the work better, I can control my personal life easier. Maybe I am wrong, maybe I am right. Only the time will show. In the mean time, all I can do is to keep doing my best, be smart, and keep my nerves cool. Wish me luck.

13. I am grateful for realizing that I am not well emotionally. I will use this realization as a start point to pamper myself and find solutions to the situation. 

14. I am grateful for having this option to vent out here. Facing the adversary and acknowledging it is the first step to solve issues. I believe in it.

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Things that I appreciate myself for today:

  • I appreciate myself for trying; trying to keep my head above the water and trying to face my feelings
  • I appreciate myself for working, even though that means I work at the weekends and late nights. At least I am functioning and my professional performance is good
  • I appreciate myself for getting tired of working at home, which is productive but also causing some kind of social isolation. Hope to fix this soon
  • I appreciate myself for eating healthy food
  • I appreciate myself for having past experience that helps with identifying issues and their root causes, as well as mechanisms to deal with them

somethings do not change, others just do

Happy new year everyone!

I am in the 10th day of my paid holidays. I have done what I planned to do during this time; did not work or think about it, cleaned and decluttered my home, and interacted with my family always everyday.

One things I have not done is to reflect on 2017,  my experiences and having a closure on both the issues and the exciting developments. Each year I have done this, with some success being appreciated, sour points surfacing, and some important lessons learnt along  the way. When these doors are closed, there open doors for a fresh year ahead. Overall, it is a healthy exercise.

This does not mean that I cannot reflect right here and right now:

I have had an interesting 2017. I worked really hard especially in the last 6 months of the year, mostly from home. It stressed me but also made me create new ideas, projects, and reports. No day was wasted. I can say that I made an extraordinary effort to turn things around at my professional life. Whether they will turn out to be fruitful is to be experienced in 2018. So, there is hope there 🙂

I have become more assertive and said “no” at work a couple of times. I am looking for many such occasions in 2018, which will be an interesting experience to come. Hope I can do this well.

I have not visited my family this year, which was hard on all of us. We have differences and lack of communication when comes to certain feelings, but I am hopeful that we will continue to have more open communications in 2018. After all, there is nothing more important than my family and their well-being. I just wished I could support them better. I feel limited and incapacitated in this regard, bu who knows maybe in the new year I will be able to change things for the better. I am hopeful.

On the personal side, on the general I have done well with my finances and savings. It was a golden year. But I do not wish money to be my most important focus this year. There are people (like my family) and myself that deserve a much better appreciation and care.

I took time off and stayed in a European city for 5 days, mostly spent with working or dealing with the cold I had got at that time. It was interesting to see how I would deal with things under unusual circumstances. 

I have had my nerves fried as a result of hard-work and it has been venting out lately. So one other benefit of the holidays time off for me. I just wished it did not affect others around me, especially my family. We are trying to find a common ground on communicating better, which is very pleasing. I love my family.

And I realized how brave I was because since July I am also transitioning to gray hair. I do not like looking “that old“. This is exactly how I feel. Old. Not wise, not aged well, but old. I keep thinking “when did I passage to this age?” Life is fast if we do not stop every once a while and re-evaluate our lives and choices. I have come to this conclusion many times lately. This must be exactly what they mean by the middle age crises. I am right in the middle of it.

These being said, I am aware that a day, December 31st of each year, is not the only day that we can reflect, celebrate, appreciate, change, or improve things as we wish. 

Maybe that was the reason I have not particularly reflected this year until now.

Somethings just change by themselves. I welcome this.

Happy new year!

 

life priorities

I woke up feeling a little bit lost thinking that my life priorities need to change and I should re-prioritize what are important.

For my entire life, my work was prioritized mostly because I love what I do (mostly).

In the last 3 years or so, I prioritized my personal and financial health over work a little bit after I purchased my home: I was not highly successful in terms of personal health (I had a lower back problem that ended me in the emergency, which still acts time to time; I have not lost the extra weight I am carrying around even though I am 5-10 pounds lighter than 5 years ago; and I have not been consistent about eating a variety of food every week). But I was more consistent with the financial planning, frugal spending/budgeting, and savings.

The last 6 months, I became agitated by the toxic work place and all the pressures. One solution to overcome this feeling was working more (irony, is it not? 🙂 ). So I worked almost non-stop since the beginning of July. I feel tired, stressed, and somehow more accomplished. Sadly, working hard and stress also means eating junk and getting lazy and not walking as much as I would. Also not saving as much as I would.

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Thus, I realized this morning that sometime setting priorities do not work and we may not be able to keep up with all of them at the same time. It does not mean we cannot try. It just means that realistically it may not be possible and that can be okay.

In other words, I forgave myself for eating junk food! 🙂

Joking.

I forgave myself for changing priorities and not sticking up with the most important one.

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I know that my traditional annual reflection time (aka holidays ) is coming and it is only natural to realize these now that we are close to it.

For 2018 I would like to prioritize my health and well being, work, and family; they go hand-to-hand. Financial plans will be my least of priorities this year. This does not mean that I will not be budgeting and aiming to save; just reminding myself what is important more.

Family cannot be prioritized enough. We as mortals are here for this moment and may not be the next one. What $ and work can replace the people we love? They will be on top of my list.

I enjoy not having a chronic disease, but who knows what will happen next year? Probability of having one increases with each age. Thus, I will care about my eating, exercise, and lower back as much as I can. 

And work? I can continue to work but maybe a little bit less intense and more effective. What I need is a way to control my feelings and find a venue to vent them out and clarify my mind. The yoga classes offered close to my home always relaxed me, yet looks like they also exacerbated my lower back problem. Goodness knows, I want to start again to feel that way. I wonder whether there are programs designed specifically for people like me having back problems? One thing to check.

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#2 topic for reflection during holidays

I kind of started doing my traditional holiday reflections today; I am early this year 🙂

Anyways.

#2 topic for reflections during holidays will be my life.

In the last few years my main personal interest was to have a more frugal but enriched and simple life. I have done a good progress in this. 

Life goes on and years pass fast. While I am busy with work and trying to control my finances, many other aspects of my life are neglected. One important thing would be my family. Other important thing would be my health and emotional well-being. It is time that I realize as I get old, things that I can do get limited. What is important for me in the remaining years of my life? I must find this out.

This year, I would like to remove money out of my main focus and rather concentrate on these under-served areas in my life. I know that I enjoy simple and frugal life and being resourceful. If I focus on these, I know that financial stability will follow. It is a shift in perspectives. Hopefully this will work out well.

Additionally I want to have a healthier and stronger body and mind. I missed my weight-training exercises and leisure walking. I missed my push-ups at home and exercises that help strengthen my lower back. Maybe I would care my eyes better; since I keep working and reading, I wear my glasses all the time. This is not good – my vision is negatively affected. I lost some weight in the last year and I can keep doing this by focusing on it. My aim would be to lose another 10 pounds. This is not a huge amount, but can take significant effort. I will see how it goes.

Also I want to keep developing new interests and abilities. Lately it has been pickles and marmalade. What will be the next interest of mine? Will I start writing that book finally this year? Is this my next project? Will I start a side-kick, an additional source of income this year? Will I start or undertake something with a significant impact on not only my life but others? Is it my time to start being an advocate?

What will happen to my work, though. Without the stability it gives me, none of these seems like a possibility. I am seriously fed up with the environment and the responsibilities I have. Maybe I should keep looking for work elsewhere? Other positions? What would it be? Where?

I feel like my life will reach a tipping point this coming year.

Saturday morning musings

Listening to a piano piece, and drinking and enjoying my coffee on this quiet and sunny Saturday morning. What else would I need to feel grateful for this morning?

 

This is a day full of house chores, shopping, and interactions with family and friends. excpet the first one, you know, all is exciting 🙂

I am not sure why I do not enjoy house chores. But I kept thinking that I may not be the only one feeling this way. Shout out in the comments area if you are like me.

There is a beautiful , serene feeling coming after the house is cleaned and tidied a bit. It is brighter, more peaceful, and certainly more enjoyable. While I do start house chores out of necessity (one of my almost consistent house rules is to clean the house on Saturday mornings), but the positive feelings I experience after I see it cleaned, organized, and decluttered for the week is amazing 🙂

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As per shopping, I must visit a number of stores today. I plan to get some paint to help finish re-staining my porch, some dried food from a retailer, and yogurt from another nearby store. Thankfully all stores are close to each other and there is a bus stop close by. I am so grateful for the public transportation system that enables people like me to go around their lives easily and affordably. Many people assume that a professional like me would have a car. It is always interesting to see their reactions when I said this was not the case 🙂 I wonder how many of them see is as a limitation on my abilities or choices, rather than a good choice economically and practically….

That reminds me another memory where one of my colleagues was surprised that I had bought a house only after 5 years of moving here. He said he bought his house within two weeks after moving here. I had to tell him that I did not have a down payment at that time. While that was absolutely true, I did not mention that my main reason was that I was not interested in purchasing a house. I have never been and now I am a house owner (ahem…)…. I am still feeling a little bit sour about this; re; feeling the pressure to make an explanation……People can be very judgmental when comes to others. The same colleague was quite judgmental about our work yesterday, not knowing the importance and meticulous nature of it. That pisses me off.

Why do we speak up our minds and evaluate others’ situations without giving a thought on it first? There are so much to learn if we do reflect and think about possible reasons for choices made by others. If not, listening to others can help expand your thinking capabilities. Let’s reflect on this for a moment. I certainly do. I am not excellent about it either, but at least I constantly remind myself and get humble about things. That is one  more thing to be grateful for today.

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I am also grateful for my family, who were always there for me and mostly supportive. They did not get my circumstances and thus are not able to understand the reasons behind some of my choices, either, but at least they are trying after. This is priceless.

Go hug a family member today 🙂

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joy journal – September 10, 2017

It has been a long time that I wrote in this journal. I miss it almost everyday but it is hard to find time to put the words out. Today I am taking my time as I made a conscious choice of being grateful and, as a result feeling good.

Not all days and moments are joyful, or without any problem or hurt that bothers us. But we/I could find some time to remember the things, event, experiences, and people that makes our lives better, safer, and enjoyable. This journal has served me well in this sense, I hope you too will start your own and benefit from it at least as much as I do.

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1. I am grateful for sleeping well and getting up at around 9 am. It was not too early or too late. Just right.

2. I am grateful for my morning coffee which was just right. Every once a while I get the temperature right and today was one of those times. With a little bit of sugar, it was the most enjoyable drink I have had in the last while 🙂

3. I am grateful for not getting crazy over the rain. I was planning to shop today but it rained whole day and made my plan a future plan. I do not need anything urgent, but shopping would be very therapeutic and help me with feeling good and excited. Ah, shopping…. 🙂

4. I am grateful for baking a sourdough loaf today. I run out of the bread in my freezer and I was so craving for fresh bread 🙂 

5. I am grateful for speaking with my family today and for their well being, health, and happiness.

6. I am grateful for working today. I worked around 3 hours reviewing a report and drafting a report about it. I still have work to do on it, but I started and this is good. I must finish my report in two weeks and I have ample time now that I progressed quite a bit today.

7. I am grateful for being assertive with a dominant and bossy collaborator of mine. He changes things or involves more people in without consulting me on matters directly related to me. I swallowed a few incident like that in the last one month and today he did it again and I said it is time that we talked. I asked him to call me, which he did and we talked. He admits that I am a control freak (who did not know this?) and he was too negligent of others’ opinions and priorities. We talked like two mature individuals with understanding and without yelling or getting mean, which was nice. I am not naive enough to think that this talk has solved the problem for ever; no, as long as I work with him, we will come to the same point again and again. But I am happy that I talked without fearing negative consequences (I actually need him for a project of mine), and formed a more respectful bond between us. This is good enough for now and we can always talk in the future should it be required.

8. I m grateful for the kale meal I have cooked yesterday. At one point in the afternoon I took a supplement that upset my stomach. I ate the meal and it was okay after that. Should I not have the meal ready, I think I would suffer longer while trying to cook something new. Long live kale! 🙂

9. I am grateful for my windows being open and having fresh air in. I love this about summer and fall. One of my treasured activities at home. I feel so lucky 🙂

10. I am grateful for listening to a relaxing music that is great for my fried nerves…. Many years ago I used to try to mediate listening to this kind of music. Seeing the bigger picture in life and feeling safe and well in it in the moment are priceless. I should try sitting meditation someday again, but honestly it is the most boring thing for me (I know many people can do it – hats off!!).

11. I am grateful for stepping out for a short time and purchasing yogurt. I love yogurt!! I can eat an entire tub on a single day; it is creamy and healthy. I should make better choices and opt for low fat variety next time. My doctor informed me that my bad cholesterol is a little bit high. I am still at low risk group, but it was consistently increasing in the last year, so I must be careful with it.

12. I am grateful for realizing my needs and short-comings. I  just had a birthday in the last few weeks. Between the trip to Rome and the busy and stressful work schedule, I could not reflect on my new age except in a few short moments….. I have been looking forward to a quiet time to actually reflect and figure out how I feel about my age and aging, what changes I must introduce in my life, and how content I was with everything else. But this is not happening yet, and I feel annoyed by this… I know that I am changing as a middle aged individual. I know my dreams and plans are changing. I know my days are getting shorter and shorter and so are the days of my loved ones. My chronic disease and death probability is also increasing with each passing moment. These demand significant changes in my attitude, my life-style, and the way I look at life and my priorities. I know my health and my family’s health are the most important thing, but ask me how I contribute to either of this and the answer will be very lame. I am so focused on turning work around and dealing with antsy bitsy issues that I cannot find time to think big or be positive. What a shame…. I am rationally aware of what I must do, yet still cannot or do not take the steps to better my life and spend more time with and cherish my family…. It takes one step to start this journey… I wish that I can start it right now… I may or may not, but at least I am aware of my need and wish and who knows, maybe I will take that step sometime soon.

13. I am grateful for having the day to myself. I plan to watch TV after this and enjoy my time.

14. I am grateful for the cat of my neighbour’s who spends time in my yard a lot. It is a beautiful black and young female cat that keeps hunting and surveilling the yard for pests and moth. She killed a little rat a couple of weeks ago in my yard, which was a scary sight at first. But I am so grateful for this mouser that keeps my yard free of pests. She and I do not interact much except that we both look at each other whenever both of us exist in the yard at the same time. I respect her presence and she respects mine. We are a good team 🙂

15. I am grateful for the food in my fridge and pantry; all the clothes, shoes, furniture, and everything else in my home. They make my life easy and comfortable. 

16. I am grateful for making a conscious effort to have a healthier lifestyle as of today. The last 2 months have been crazy stressful and I lacked the time, energy, and willpower to pay attention to my own health and well being. I almost left home today for a convenience store trip to get junk food, but stopped at the last minute and I am very happy about this.

17. I am grateful for being grateful and finding time to note these here today 🙂

Sunday morning musings

It is another Sunday, another beautiful morning, and another opportunity to get excited and joyful about life.

Somethings can help:

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and

 

 

Go lose yourself 🙂

 

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joy journal – May 6, 2017

1. I am grateful for sleeping in today. I woke up at around 7 am again but decided to sleep some more. It was past 9.30 am that I finally got up. It made my day short but I appreciated having a lazy and cozy morning.

2. I am grateful for the breakfast I have had at home. It was healthy and filling. And, coffee was awesome! (as usual 🙂 )

3. I am grateful for wanting to walk and walking to a shopping mall. I walked around 2 hours today. Weather was awesome and I felt quite light. Walking was easy and very enjoyable. I have done very well for my health by walking 🙂

4. I am grateful for going around the thrift stores. I found nothing to buy but i am getting used to this. It is still quite exciting to check the items and hope that one or two will turn out to be mine. In the future. Eventually 🙂

5. I am grateful for my back pack. It is such a sturdy and useful thing. I always grab it whenever I go for shopping. It takes up a lot of things and make carrying items easy.

6. I am grateful for talking to my family; sister, mom, and brother today 🙂 My brother is visiting my sister and mom and it was a fun and delightful talk today.

7. I am grateful for all the healthy food I have consumed today and the milk I have drunk. All of them are helping my body keeping healthy and strong. 

8. I am grateful for enjoying the bright day with blue skies. 

9. I am grateful for the things I bought today; milk which is good for my bones; eggs which are awesome, tasty, and packed with nutrients; coffee that will last for 3-4 months; and the chocolate that felt like from heaven 🙂

10. I am grateful for taking a rest and relaxing into my Saturday night. I need to spend time alone so that I can fully relax. It is strange that when I spend time with others in the evenings, I feel like I miss something…. It is awesome to be spending time with myself 🙂

11. I am grateful for the moisturizers I have! They make my skin feel better. And they smell so good too! 🙂

12. I am grateful for dreaming yesterday. I have a new recurrent theme in my dreams. Wonder what it signifies… Life is so mysterious sometime 🙂

13. I am grateful for being grateful and taking my time to note these beautiful things, people, and experiences.

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What do I appreciate myself for today?

1. I thank myself for pampering myself with sleeping in and treating myself with chocolate! 🙂

2. I thank myself for walking and enjoying it. I now consider myself a regular walker.

3. I thank myself for making a continuous effort to eat healthy and drink milk.

4. I thank myself for being frugal and not buying things just because they are on sale or pretty.

5. I thank myself for having a routine and not getting bored of it all the time.

6. I thank myself for enjoying the Kung Fu Panda! Have you seen that animation movie series? please do!

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joy journal – April 17, 2017

I am not writing to feel joyful today.

I am writing today because the best way to heal or to keep the hope is to be grateful.

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1. I am grateful for waking up early. At around 7 am to be exact. My friends – it is such an unusual thing for me to get up so early. It was a grayish and kinda chilly morning. but nevertheless i got up and prepared myself for the day.

2. I am grateful for catching up the bus. I thought I could walk but as soon as I stepped out I realized how cold it was so i changed into my winter coat and then walked to the stop. It arrived in a minute so I did not even have to wait. What a nice and easy encounter with the bus 🙂

3. I am grateful for changing the fruits this week and eating banana and oranges at the office, rather than the usual choice of apples. I love all fruits particularly apple, but I appreciate giving apple a rest for a while….

4. I am grateful for working really nice and easy. Things are moving well as I have solved some road blocks last week. It is very satisfying to be working like this.

5. I am grateful for taking time to look out of the window several times today; I have looked at the sky, the tall trees, and 4-5 birds across from my building that were either eating something on the ground or were fighting. I thought for a second or two that their lives were harder than mine. What a self-centered life we usually have. I thought that there was a big life and then within it was our live; something that we draw the boundaries around and live intentionally and intimately in. It is our portion of life that we design or protect as much as we can. It can be expanded if external forces/other people allow us to or it can be smaller if we are restricted. But no one or nothing can take our lives away from us, except death. Until then however little or big it can be, we must realize our ownership of life and hopefully make the best out of it. We can do this. Right?

6. I am grateful for having an ex-trainee of mine visiting me! This is always exciting and this is the second time a trainee of mine has visited me this month. This is so nice of them to spare their time and pay a visit. I was very happy and speechless for a minute or two and then we had a little chat and it was great to learn that he was happy and doing really well where he is now (he lives in Norway now, so far away!). May they all be happy and healthy.

7. I am grateful for being kind to myself today. I am taking it easy with myself and I hope that I will keep doing this in the future. I will not let anyone to restrict my opportunity of happiness. I will not let anyone to dictate me how to feel. Whatever the conditions are, I will find a spot or two in my life that will give me a sense of control, serenity, peace, and hope. I will not give up. Neither for myself nor for my family.

8. I am grateful for walking back home from office in the evening. It was a refreshing walk and walking up hill is always challenging and thus quite satisfying once done. I will focus on walking a little bit faster just to challenge myself a little bit further. I think my cardiovascular system would appreciate this 🙂

9. I am grateful for not bothering to cook and eating simple stuff; basically yogurt and my beautiful sourdough loaf that I baked yesterday. what a chewy and tasty bread it is – I am lucky 🙂

10. I am grateful for having the evening to myself. The nights, their quietness, and darkness pacify me….

11. I am grateful for my home, furniture, clothes, shoes, and everything else I have in my house that make my life safe, sounds, warm, and convenient. 

12. I am grateful for my computer and internet connection that allow me to express myself through my blog, read and learn others’ experiences, and interact with others:)

13. I am grateful for taking my time to remember, cherish, and note the things, people, and experiences that made a positive difference in my life today.

joy journal, April 16, 2017

It is a sad day because of something I cared most about crumbled for good today. 

In any ways, a living organism finds a way to entertain its survival instinct. In anyways, it finds ways to survive.

So here is my way for today.

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1. I am grateful for getting up early and having a long day in front of me. It is a challenge to fill a long day with activities. But it is also an opportunity to do things without rushing.

2. I am grateful for the coffee I have brewed at home. It is such an affordable and enjoyable activity.

3. I am grateful for enjoying my morning walk. It was chilly but a bright day and the walk was quiet and lovely. Looking at the houses on the street and assessing their characters is always an interesting activity. A good scenery makes a good difference.

4. I am grateful for not buying peanut butter today! Boy, I love this butter! The trouble is when I buy it, the entire 1 kg bottle is finished in 2-3 days. It is insane! So many calories.. It is not good when I am trying to lose weight. It has been a struggle to not buy it today, but I know that it was the right decision. I congratulate myself 🙂

5. I am grateful for drinking two tall glasses of milk. I have no warm relation with milk really.. Other than the fact that I am making an effort to drink it so that I can get some calcium and vitamin D. That is all. So when I drink not one but two glasses, naturally I feel great about it 🙂

6. I am grateful for the bean dish I cooked today. Friends, I learnt how to best cook beans easily (thanks mom). I am excited about the fact that I am consuming much less of canned bean. Feels awesome.

7. I am grateful for the two sourdough loaves I have baked today. I have had a great dough in the morning. Shaping and baking them was fun – the oven spring was nice and easy and the crumbs are much better than I had expected. what a great sourdough starter I do have! Come to think about it, in two weeks it will be a year that I started baking bread… what an exciting, satisfying, and healthy adventure it has been 🙂

8. I am grateful for speaking with my family and their well being. May they always be happy and healthy.

9. I am grateful for drinking water. I enjoy drinking water especially if it is kind of cool. what a refreshing drink.

10. I am grateful for eating tomato and cheese for breakfast. I am eating tomato quite frequently lately. I have never been a fan of this fruit (I think it is considered a fruit), but it makes a good breakfast material with a dash of olive oil. very tasty indeed 🙂

11. I am grateful for having the evening to myself. It is quiet and I can do whatever I want to do.

12. I am grateful for the movies I am watching and the songs I had listened to earlier. what would I do without the background noise at home? I am lucky to have my TV.

13. I am grateful for shopping my night cream today. It is kind of pricey and i am about to run out of my last bottle. So finding it on sale was an unexpected excitement for today.  

14. I am grateful for thinking and reading about how to be happy. How do we get happy? What is happiness? How do we make ourselves happy? One person was saying on a website that she was happy when she spends time with her husband, son, friends, and while driving. My goodness – I have none of these (no hubby, kids, or car – friends are on the other side of the world so I cannot spend time with them). Joke aside; what is happiness really? How do I make myself happy? How do I become happy with my life? With life? there are so many issues at life and I am so “incomplete” in some ways (being away from my family is the most important reason for that). They say we are responsible for our own happiness. Boy, is it really? Happiness, to me, is not a choice but may be a consequence of choices. Why do we need to choose? because we believe that one option is better than the rest and we take that option. It solves a problem maybe, maybe not, and then time passes and now we are somewhere in our lives where that choice does not matter anymore, yet the conditions are such that we are not, we cannot be happy.  Or may be we can be happy, but we think it is dependent on something that we do not have at that time. I do not know what happiness is but I know what makes me feel good. Perhaps that is what I should be focusing on – to feel good.

15. I am grateful that walking and doing weight exercises make me feel good about myself. 

16. I am grateful for writing these here.

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What am I appreciative of myself today?

I thank myself for being a resilient person – I may be sick, I may be down, I may fail, but I will always rise back on my feet.

I thank myself for making an effort to eat healthy and have a healthy life-style

I thank myself for making an effort to continuously save and for having a frugal life

I thank myself for loving my family

I thank my body for being healthy

I thank myself for being resourceful

I thank myself for not giving up on hope

I thank myself for still keeping going….

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.

joy journal – April 1, 2017

There I am – writing to my joy journal again today 🙂 

It is because in the last one hour or so, I started to feel a lot better. I was reading one of my self-help books that opened my eyes again. The message is that “the more you dwell in negative experiences, thoughts, and emotions, the more they are pronounced in your life.”

How true.

I knew it. Yet, I needed to be reminded it. 

The opposite is also true – the more we dwell in positive experiences, thoughts, and emotions, the more they are pronounced in our lives. I realized that while I am scared of being fired, I actually have no reason to be fired – I am productive, creative, and very well contributing to all aspects of my organization, as expected from me. So why do I have this negative self-suspicion about my own worth? I am worth it; I deserve this job as much as anyone else, even sometimes more than many. I should start pushing away my inner critique and other poisonous people around me.

Very well.

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1. I am grateful that I have not given away the book that I am reading when I decluttered my books last year 🙂  This is a book that I bought in 2015 and it seems timeless and very beneficial for me. Thank you whoever wrote, published, distributed, and sold it.

2. I am grateful for waking up early this morning, around 7.45 am. Quite early and that means the day is long and opportunities are limitless 🙂

3. I am grateful for the coffee I brew at home and enjoying it. I like my morning routines – coffee, browsing the news, and checking the emails before I start doing more serious work. Lovely routine 🙂

4. I am grateful for cleaning my home and doing the laundry. This is my Saturday routine and it works well with me. I am lucky that cleaning my home is usually very easy and does not take much time or effort.

5. I am grateful for speaking with my mom and sister and having lots of laughter. I told them what one of my co-workers said to me this week. I was having a stressful and defensive conversation about something that negatively affected both of us and my co-worker said ” life is so big“. He did not continue but when I heard what he said, I knew how I interpreted it “life is so big and this is such a small issue. Like a little point in the entire universe“. What a beautiful thing to say!  Visualizing this little point in a big circle puts everything in a realistic context for me and many little issues lose their importance right away (do you want to give it a try? – see below).

 

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look at this beautiful upbeat life symbolized by the circle and the small “issue” symbolized with the dot; is it really worth focusing on it so much while there are so many other “points” in life? What is this dot’s worth really when compared to the whole life?

6. I am grateful for taking the bus and going to a mall. I broke the frame of my eye glasses and luckily could find the same frame. All I need to do is now to have the glasses fit in a store.

7. I am grateful for buying canned fish (that I snack at the office), personal care products, and canola oil from a store today.

8. I am grateful for preparing two dough today; one sourdough and one commercial yeast dough. Tomorrow I plan to bake 4 mid-size loaves; two for myself (the sourdough) and two plain bread; one for my neighbor and one for a colleague of mine. It was too much trying to deal with both of the dough at the same time, but both are looking very strong and it will be exciting to see them in the morning all fluffy and risen 🙂

9. I am grateful for the healthy meals I have had today; I did not eat for breakfast, but I have had beans and rice for lunch and quinoa salad with greens and turnips in the evening. The fact that I eat a variety of food that are usually prepared in a healthy way (e.g. not fried or so) should be credited for. I should credit and appreciate myself for these healthy choices.

10. I am grateful for consuming up quinoa! My goodness, I am not buying it again. Such a tasteless and expensive grain. Good bye! 🙂

11. I am grateful for trying to fix a collar that I messed up a while ago. Basically I wanted to see whether a binding tape could make it better and it looks like it is not a bad idea. I just need to make sure to stretch it a little bit so that the collar will hold itself well. This is a progress – there is hope, my friends! I will make it! One day! 🙂

12. I am grateful for having lots of smiles on my face this evening 🙂

13. I am grateful for feeling a lot better today; very positive, and content. Even a little bit silly but yes, I am feeling good and this feels fantastic. Feeling good is a birthright – even though I am guilty of being a perfectionist and a worrying type of person, and thus, usually not feeling good. This being said, it does not mean that I do not enjoy and appreciate it when I feel great. This evening is such an evening. After feeling down for a long time, and dealing with one issue after the other since new year, I take this opportunity to breathe well and put a smile on my face. Till next time.

14. I am grateful for having the night to myself and tomorrow. Tomorrow my plan is to get up early again and walk to a store to get milk and eggs. Then I will bake my breads and a cauliflower dish. I also would like to try another neck line to improve my skills. Yes – sounds like a good Sunday 🙂

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I appreciate myself for the followings today:

  1. I appreciate myself for being healthy
  2. I appreciate myself for having books and benefiting from them
  3. I appreciate myself for re-realizing my worth and the great things about myself
  4. I appreciate myself for taking excellent steps to ensure that I eat nutritious and healthy food
  5. I appreciate myself for not having expensive hobbies or wants
  6. I appreciate myself for constantly expanding my understanding about myself and life
  7. I appreciate myself for smiling 
  8. I appreciate myself for not making unnecessary expenses today
  9. I appreciate myself for being lighter today than yesterday (by one pound)
  10. I appreciate myself for laughing together with my family today

random thoughts

What a boring weekend.

Sorry – I did not mean to rant and depress, but that is what it has been.

I spent the most of yesterday at home because of a snow storm. Argh… Then a couple of friends called and they said they had no power. I invited them over. I was very happy to be able to help my friends and cook for them with the food at home 🙂 Generally speaking I like being resourceful and helpful. Yet, honest  to goodness, the negativity around these people is incredibly annoying. I feel a lot better around positive people – this is a fact. There is nothing more boring and annoying than people who rant all the time and never seem to appreciate anyone. That is a also a fact.

Annoyed GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

So while I felt good about myself, I felt negative about my friends. Do I sound like a hypocrite?

So be it! 🙂

And today was okay. I just felt suffocated at home and went out for a short time and got fresh air. It was very quiet and there was ice everywhere…. Walking was challenging, yet quite relaxing. I have even been to the book store close to my house. Interestingly I only spent maybe 5-10 min and left it without buying any book (when was the last time I left a book store without buying a book? hmmmm)….

On a funny side; I baked a 40% whole wheat flour and 60% rolled oat loaf and what others said was true – oat does not rise. I have a brick-like bread to consume, possibly as croutons. Yay! 🙂

I also sewed a little bit yesterday and today. I realized it is stressing me, not relaxing… This needs to be reversed. I am trying to sew a piece of clothe for my mom and I want it to be great, and also enjoy doing it. I have some mental work to do and I better allow room for mistakes and be okay with messing with fabric and projects… At least for some more time….

Considering how boring today and yesterday was and how annoying my friends were, I questioned once again what the hey I was doing here, rather than being with my family? This is a billion dollar question……It should worth for me to be staying here; emotionally, financially, personally, professionally, health-wise, somehow……. I came to this question time to time, though it has been a while that I have had it last time…. Boy, I must be really bored and mad! I hope not to see those people again for some time.

Anyways; Friday was good friends- I have got my taxes done! I have gone there scared and thinking that I had forgotten to take my cheque book and I hope they could accept VISA or debit for the tax I owe to the government, and came back home just happy. I have got a return! I wanted to celebrate this, but for some reason I did not feel like eating out that days. Maybe some other time 🙂

Mrw GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

What do I want to do with my tax return? A new mortgage pre-payment 🙂 🙂 🙂

That sure makes me feel blessed and happy 🙂

Charm Ladonna GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

 

gifs byhttp://giphy.com/gifs/annoyed-p5uUxRttCeRFK; http://giphy.com/gifs/Rh5Doqi7GQQmY;http://giphy.com/gifs/charmladonna-l3vR5UgInxQW8wK6k

The 14th and the last day of the staycation

I am spending the last day of my staycation for being grateful for this break and the experiences and lessons it brought to me.

For the last 14 days, my priority was not my work, but my home, sales/discounts/shopping, and my inner world. What a nice shift in mental focus...

The first week, if I remember correctly, was spent with cleaning my office and home. I had also planned to do decluttering – I have half-done this and donated a number of items, especially from my kitchen. I am glad they have found their new homes. I have not removed any of the old socks, shirts, or blouses yet, but I am sure I will handle it when their time comes. I also did not get into my storage area – it bothers me, but I know when the right time comes, I will handle that too. This one task is what is left from my to-do-list. And I am okay with that.

One of the lessons I have learnt during this staycation was it was not the end of the world if I had not done what I thought I must. I always have other choices. This is quite a change from my regular (and stiff) practice that if I have something in my mind, I should complete it right away. I learnt that I could be flexible and at the end, it does not feel horrible. So, I am good and slightly changed (which is interesting and quite welcome)….. 🙂

I also reinforced my opinion that I really crave for my own time; while I like being with others  and socializing if they are nice and kind people, I do not want it to be too frequent. I am okay as I am and I am okay being with myself. I knew that for a long time; there is no change in this. And that is okay. Of note; I went to two socials and hosted one during the last two weeks; more than enough for me 🙂

I shopped in four-five days of the staycation. The holiday sales are hard to miss and every year I take advantage of them. I had a list of items to purchase, the majority of which I have. The things I have not bothered buying this time were a tea pot, new socks to stock up, and new blouses/shirts. I know I can get these some other time, so there is no rush for buying them. I left them behind mostly because since November I shopped so many different times that even shopping has lost its attractiveness…. Anticipating to find them in the future is more exciting 🙂

The lesson reinforced is that even too much of an exciting activity can be boring after a while. Like shopping. Like staycation… 🙂 It is true that in the last few days I have been feeling bored at being home, or even away from the office. I am glad I have these feelings – now I will jump start my work at the office tomorrow. No resentment. No disappointment. It is a real balance indeed.

And the inner world; well, work is important, money/saving is important, rest is important, but nothing is as much important as family and people I love. Interacting with my family in a closer and natural way as in the past was the highlight of this staycation. I am grateful for every second I spend with them and I am grateful for their well-being, love, support, and time on this planet. May they all live a long, healthy, happy, and peaceful lives as their hearts wish to.

I hope you all have had a great time during the holidays/new year break and are ready to start a new work year with enthusiasm, determination, and energy 🙂

 

 

 

those little things..

Life can be very surprising sometime.

Yours, our lives, my life.

if you let yourself floating with life, not structuring it, your desires, or actions, sometimes you may realize that there are things that you can do and change for the better. Often times it is a product of spontaneity.

Let yourself be spontaneous today. Have no particular aim. See how your day develops.

Hope it will surprise you too.

I feel like an author of a self-help book or blog; that is not my aim. I am not trying to say what you should do or what I say is the best and the right thing for you. Heck, I do not get, or plan to get, any personal gain out of this. At least not in the form of material.

I just do not know how else to describe and share what I have experienced today.

Being tuned with my inner core thanks to the long holiday staycation, crying induced by some devastating and painful news about people cowardly killed somewhere, and the love for my family all made this first day of the new year very special for me.

I am very grateful for today.

 

 

new year resolutions

I have been thinking, and I have been thinking really hard, and I came to the conclusion that I have no particular resolution for 2017.

The past year I have made some significant changes in my life; such as an effective budget; doing light stretches and weight training to strengthen my lower back, arms, shoulders, and abs; walking whenever I can;  losing weight slowly without a hard diet or heavy exercise regimen; feeling generally better, more energetic, and sometimes even happy; having a low waste life-style and decluttering my home regularly (though it was one thing in my list that I could not find time to do this holiday season yet), etc.

Overall, I seem to be doing what matters to me as a person. I think the majority of these have mattered to me for a very long time, so I am happy with 2016 🙂

But, I have feelings… I miss my family. Just this afternoon it hit me hard once again that I am not sure whether being away from them, being here where I am, and doing the work I do are all worth it.

Honestly I do not think it does. But I am also hesitant to return back – I feel okay where I am. Not overly happy or content, but okay. I have a life here.

Yet, I keep missing them.. This is a wonderful thing actually – it does hurt, but I am happy I have these feelings toward my family.

Just yesterday I was thinking maybe this year too I will not try to structure my life by resolutions, but rather take the new year as it develops. Maybe I should even let it surprise me (and, hopefully in a positive way).

Maybe not looking for only a pre-determined wish is a good thing. Maybe this way I can see the opportunities as they arise, rather than seeing what I make my mind to focus and see (a.k.a. resolutions).

I will let 2017 be a spontaneous year full of unexpected opportunities, love, peace, success, happiness, family time, and health.

May your new year too be filled with beauty and with people and experiences that will give a meaning to your life and tremendous joy to you 🙂

Happy new year everyone! 🙂

the 8th day of the staycation

Wow!.. Days pass quickly. I cannot believe that I have 6 days left before I return back to office and start a work-marathon….This thought somehow depressed me, but I will let it go.

I have had a fine day with shopping and nothing else in particular. I am making an effort to have free time so that I can reflect rather than keep myself busy with doing house chores or other activities.

The year 2016 has been quite an interesting year for my life. I felt happiness quite a bit; especially when I started yoga/stretching classes in January. It was going well, I was feeling connected to my body and appreciating it, but then one night I pulled a muscle on my back and I quit those classes. Alas..

I under-estimated how bad that lower back problem was and even though I was recommended to see a physiotherapist I did not and two weeks later I pulled it again. I had no chance but to take it serious. And I have. I attended physiotherapy, my work-place purchased me a standing desk, and I have been doing my back stretches/strengthening exercises  quite frequently. My back is feeling alright, but I am not naive to think that it has been healed completely. I will keep taking care of it.

Then late February my dad passed away and sadness engulfed me. if you follow my blog, you know I am grieving quite a bit… He was a gentle soul who deserved much better. I wish our lives were different.. May he rest in peace.

My relationship with my family strained a little bit after my dad passed away and we are trying to mend it. I never thought that I could have such a serious issues with my family members, but I did. Just recently I decided to go visit them this summer – I hope things will be back to normal. Love is stronger than anything else, even though time to time I too succumb into disliking things and people. Nothing changes the fact that my family is important to me.

In October, I went to a European convention and got strained there for two additional days because of a labor issue in the host country. The stress and anxiety I felt was palpable – would I be able to find a hotel room to stay? When could I return back safely? . Eventually it turned out to be okay, but this incident changed me a little bit. perhaps next time I can handle it better (not that I wish another adventure like this…). During those times I accidentally stepped on a song by Sia – Chandelier, which remains to be one of my favorites since then. I believe there has not been a day that I have not listened to it. The voice is captivating (though I am not sure what to think about the video).

 

In May I started to bake my own bread and in september I started my own sourdough starter 🙂 these two have been quite interesting adventures and  I am so happy that I have them in my life 🙂

And lately in November or so, I also became interested in sewing; I bought my sewing machine and have been collecting all the notions and supplies since then. I am not good at sewing yet, but I hope I will be over time 🙂

And, as per my budget; I have had the greatest budget at the beginning of 2016; it was the leanest budget I have had in the last 7-8 years and it did wonders for me. I was able to significantly reduce my spending, bring my chequing account to a positive balance, increase my RRSP contributions and my mortgage payments. During summer I succumbed back to spending unnecessarily, yet I hope the new year will give me a chance to keep my budget on track.

And finally; I lost around 15-20 pounds during the the past year. I suspect that baking my own bread and my lower back problem both contributed to it. I am feeling good about it and wish to keep losing some more fat in the coming year.

As per work; it continues to stress me out and I perform well, however, less than before. There are times that our interests change and I guess it has been the case for my work too. I still do a considerable amount of work, but there were times that I wished I could retire. Retirement is a distant dream, but it is such a freeing dream… I wonder what else I would discover and get interested in….

This year was also one of these that I made an attempt to be more social. I hosted a few times at my house, but it worked out well. I socialized with friends and colleagues and enjoyed them to some degree. Honestly I am not very interested in hosting or socializing again anytime soon, but I am glad at least I tried, made an effort to enjoy these occasions, and realized once more that solitude is the best life-style for me.

Quite a busy and influential year, is it not? 🙂

the fifth and the sixth day of the staycation

Finally I feel like I have done quite a bit done today 🙂

Yesterday I baked three different loaves for a social I was invited to, cleaned some more parts of my house, had great time with four kids and four adults at a lovely dinner.

I am glad the socials are done. I just need to host a friend of mine whose mom is visiting them. This, honestly stresses me out as I am not a great cook. But, then the way I see many people are not, either (a positive outcome of frequent socials in the last few months). So I say – go for it and enjoy! I cannot wait this “task” in my to-do-list to be over (see how joyful I am about this? argh…).

And I am done with cleaning the kitchen, floors, and every single corner of the house today 🙂 I have more space in my fridge and kitchen cabinets now. No need to say that I am dumping a fair amount of clutter and gathering items to be donated. It feels good. I am not done with decluttering, though. I still have my storage cabinet to be cleaned and decluttered. Honestly it always scares me, but I think I will be fine once I start it.

I also need to wash two shag rugs at a nearby laundromat. After that I want to sell them. There I said it… I bought and use them with love, but I think it is time we depart our ways and get new ones…. That also feels good to me 🙂

My rotary cuter and cutting mat are not delivered yet – they were supposed to be here last Thursday, but alas.. I have been waiting for them to start doing some serious sewing but this afternoon I was not feeling well and I decided I could work it out somehow. And I kind of did – I sewn a lovely yellow and large dish cloth to be used on my counter 🙂 It is simple yet lovely and I am sure it will help me keep me my counter dry.

As my to-do-list is being taken care of, my reflection time is coming along…. Somewhere above I mentioned I was not feeling well. I missed my family and I am very aware of the fact that none of us are getting younger. When there is family there is love and when there is life there is death.. 2 + 2 = 4. It is very scary. I love my family and I do not wish to them to die, but this can happen anytime. Heck, I may die myself anytime. Why am I away from them? When am I going to be done with the work and start spending time with them? I was not planning to go visit them this year, but I guess I will do it – I want to do it. I was telling a friend of mine the other day – if I could retire I could quit work, too, but I just cannot. Money is not the most important thing, yes, but it can provide opportunities and some kind of happiness, right? Right.

The past one year I have been grieving after my dad and my relationships with the rest of my family has been slightly strained as a result. I am still grieving for my dad, still feeling the reality of death (some mornings I wake up thinking that “there; one more day of my life to be wasted. yet it is so precious. How can I enjoy i and make it more meaningful?” I have no answer to these questions…), but I have nowadays started to feel the fear of losing my other family members.. This clenches my heart…

I believe it is time that I care about my family members more.

After his death, I developed this strange fear of forgetting my dad, but I know that this will not happen. I think my father too would love me caring for the rest of the family.

Self-reflections to continue…..

 

 

joy journal – Oct 23, 2016

I am feeling very joyful and I cannot wait to share it 🙂

1. I am grateful for the warm weather. It has been raining yesterday and today. There is a lot of humidity and surprisingly a relatively high temperature. My window is open right now to let the cool and fresh air get in. What a luxury for a late October day 🙂

2. I am grateful for sleeping well and waking up not too late. I was refreshed and ready to walk and work my body. It is a great feeling for someone like me who is usually not a morning person. I give half of the credit to the warm weather.

3. I am grateful for going to two stores and getting stuff that I would be needing soon. One of them were eggs, which were on sale. Since I consume eggs quite a bit, I was happy to find them on sale and stock up for the coming weeks. I love it when the food I love is on sale; it makes me very abundant and grateful 🙂

4. I am grateful for walking like 30 min in the morning to the stores. It was a fine day; my body enjoyed the walk and the sweats, and I was convinced once more that my iron and vitamin D supplements are doing a great job keeping my energy levels up. I lived in a minimum energy levels for almost 7 years… It is hard not to feel sorry for yourself when you do not even want to walk 10 min to a store. It is actually a horrible feeling, as I was prior to that time quite active and energetic. I am so grateful for my doctor putting me on these supplements and making me feel alright again. May they find the help and support when they most need it.

5. I am grateful for the milk I drank this noon – it was fresh and so tasty. Milk has never tasted so great to me, so I savored it for some time…

6. I am grateful for talking with my family and sharing laughs 🙂

7. I am grateful for my family being safe and sound.

8. I am grateful for my no food-waste policy. I admit that I am not 100% successful in this, but since last year I have come quite a long way. Today, I prepared a nice dish with the stalks of the swish chard that were left from yesterday’s baking. Basically, fry a large onion in vegetable oil, cut and mix in the stalks, add 1 cup water, let them soften for 5 or so and then add salt and chili flakes. Yummy 🙂

9. I am grateful for being 194 pounds.. I am steadily and slowly losing weight and I am excited about this. The tricks were: a) limiting late-night eating, b) eating raw veggies (like celery, red cabbage, cucumber, tomato, herbs, lettuce, carrots etc.) every day. I believe both of these are working just fine. I also think increased calcium intake helps with weight loss, though I have no idea whether this is a scientific fact or a statement from the milk lobby?

10. I am grateful for my new hair; for the first time in my life I have long bangs now. My hair is neck-length and my bangs too. For the first time in my life.. And I am loving it 🙂 Go try something new and surprise yourself 🙂

11. I am grateful for the food I have had today; all fresh, healthy, and tasty.

12. I am grateful for the sourdough I baked today; I should have baked it a little bit longer but it was just fine. I added a little bit more salt this time, which really suits this hearty bread. I hope to remember to continue with it.

13. I am grateful for having so many food and pantry items at home. I believe I do not need to purchase anything for a month or so (except the fresh produce and milk). Looks like I have done very well in terms of stocking up things that I regularly use. I feel very abundant and excited about it 🙂

14. I am grateful for the TV show I have been watching since yesterday – The legend of the Seeker. I remember this show from many years ago and I am loving seeing it again. Thank you youtube for making this pleasure possible.

15. I am grateful for having an uneventful and relaxing sunday. It may be a work day tomorrow, but that also is fine.

16. I am grateful for being safe, healthy, and felling good about myself, my body, and my life.

17. I am grateful for being grateful and feeling excited and happy 🙂

 

 

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 – to 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.

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…

on life and death; and then life again

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How will I do that?

I guess I will figure out one day.

Special joy journal – July 27, 2016: things that I have acquired while I was on vacation

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this is what my new throw looks like. Love the colour, softness, and the little pieces on it – all made with love 🙂
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this little piece is one of my favorites 🙂
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I love this one too 🙂

 

Every time I am home for vacation, I was showered by gifts by my family and friends. I also find a chance to shop as my homeland is not only affordable but also has a variety of items that I cannot find where I am.

This year too I was blessed with many gifts and purchased items. I have been feeling pretty excited about them, which prompted me to write this special entry 🙂

1. I am grateful for the soaps I have bought! They are the softest bath soaps I can ever imagine. The bright green color gives me peace; their softness and foam are incredibly soothing; and i am lucky to have had 6 of them. I feel like I do not have to think about buying another soap for quiet a long time. I am so excited 🙂

2. I am grateful for the blouse I found. It is soft to touch, has lovely little flowers along the fabric, and is a delight to wear. It is also much more girlish than the shirts that I usually wear at the office 🙂

3. I am grateful for the winter boots and the walking shoes I have bought. This is the third year that I have been buying the same brand of shoes/boots from the same store. The winter boots are awesome; sturdy and water proof, and I could not be happier to have them here where the winter is pretty harsh. I have been using the first pair I bought three years ago in the last two years and I believe they will be good to go for another year. I have two new pairs of winter boots now, which means that I do not have to think about buying winter boots for quite sometime. I have the same positive experience and feelings for my walking shoes; the one that I am wearing is 2 years old. It has been battered a little bit, so I am happy to replace it with the new pair I bought this year. They are comfy and pretty 🙂 What a peace of mind to have all of these ! 🙂

4. I am grateful for my new throw! I used to have a nice one for years, which I kind of burnt over the stove while I was trying to help my dough get risen 🙂 So my sister bought me a nice soft fabric, cut it out for me, and fixed the corners and trims with a lovely embroidery. For some reason, I wanted to make it colourful so I knitted around 20 different, little pieces and glued on the fabric. The end result is really cool! Each piece was improvised and I love looking at them. their shapes and colour gave me joy 🙂

5. I am grateful for the spices I bought or were given by my family members: crushed chilly peppers (thanks mom), dried mint (thank you aunt) 🙂 I sure will lovingly use and consume them 🙂

6. I am grateful for the sesame, nigella, and poppy seeds that I bought to be used during my bread-baking adventures 🙂

7. I am grateful for the corn flour that I bought. I have been meaning to try corn bread for sometime. This excitement cannot be missed now 🙂

8. I am grateful for the cat figurines that my sister gave me – they are so cute I do not know where in the house to display them 🙂

9. I am grateful for the little painting in a beautiful frame that my sister gave me. She has done an amazing job with the colours as well as the frame… I will cherish it for ever 🙂

10. I am grateful for the big tea glass that my sister-in-law has given me. It is one of a kind 🙂 I guess it holds around 500 ml of liquid so that means one glass of tea will be more than enough for the day 🙂

11. I am grateful for the purse that may sister made for me. My sister has been interested in this kind of stuff for some time and I must admit she has been doing an amazing job. She made maybe 20 purses, each of which are unique and improvised. The one that I have got has 40 different and unique embroidery-like pieces on the body and the strap. The colours are all nice and joyful, too. I am so lucky 🙂

12. I am grateful for getting two memorials from my dad’s house (he sadly passed away last winter): his cell phone and an old bowl that I remember was around for decades…. I am glad I have found this chance to keep his presence around me right here in my own home..

13. I am grateful for the black sweater and the dark-reddish jacket that my mom knitted for me 🙂

14. I am grateful for the basket that I bought to proof my loafs in! I made it! I found something to do this very important job. It is lovely and my mom and sister also made clothes to put in it to help prevent dough sticking to the basket. cannot wait to try all of these 🙂 I also bought a little sharp knife that I will use to score the surface of the dough prior to baking them in the oven. I am anything but excited about everything I have to help me with the bread-baking adventures 🙂

15. I am grateful for the freezer bags that my mom gave me. well.. here too we have freezer bags, yet these are so nice and easy to use thatI could not help but pack 5 packages with me 🙂

16. I am grateful for the rice. Its grains are bigger than what we can find here – just the type that I love!

joy journal – July 26, 2016

Been a while… There are many things to note yet I will keep it to the things/experiences/people that have been giving me excitement, hope, and happiness lately.

1. I am grateful for the day. It has been just the right temperature; neither hot nor cool, with a little breeze and lots of sunshine. A perfect summer day :).

2. I am grateful for getting up earlier than usual and not getting crazy about hastily leaving the home a soon as I wake and dress up. I spent around 30 min at home in the morning, browsing the internet while waiting for the next bus at 8.30 am. It is awesome to note this (waiting for something/someone makes me crazy usually. waiting for the bus, which is scheduled for every 30 min used to make me extra crazy. But I seem to have tamed… at least for now… is that not awesome?)

3. I am grateful for taking the bus and arriving the office earlier than usual. I have had a peaceful morning when I brewed my coffee and enjoyed it, worked productively, and felt overall good about work and life.

4. I am grateful for walking back to home in the afternoon and taking care of some emails and other paperwork after that. Working at home is usually a very relaxing practice for me. I am so lucky to have a job that gives me such a flexibility.

5. I am grateful for watching TV this afternoon. After my back problem that occurred early in the new year, I had hardly spent time in my living room, or sat on the couch and watched the TV. Couch is not good for my back so it was not long before I moved up to the bedroom again, but nevertheless this change was very welcome 🙂

6. I am grateful for cooking a healthy meal for myself today. I tried a new recipe that I have got from a neighbor while I was on vacation. Pretty tasty stuff made with cracked wheat (bulghur). Hope to post the recipe one day.

7. I am grateful for the open windows and the fresh air filling my home. What a luxury it is! (old man winter does not let that to happen very frequently.)

8. I am grateful for my new throw, couch covers, shirts, and socks; tea, spices, seeds to be used during baking (nigella, sesame, poppy seeds etc.), corn flour, rice, hard salt to be consumed;  decorative artwork that my sister has given me as gifts; the bowl that I had picked up from my dad’s house as a memorial; the walking shoes and the winter boots that will last like for ever. It feels great to remove any hesitation about having/finding comfy shoes and winter boots- I feel blessed to have found and purchased them 🙂

9. I am grateful for my laptop and the internet connection that make it possible to write, read, and learn 🙂

10. I am grateful for not gaining weight lately. Hope to drop more of those resistant fat particles 🙂

11. I am grateful for having food in my fridge, freezer, and the pantry. what a blessing to know that I have more than I can consume and I am abundant.

12. I am grateful for my friends here whom I have called or seen yesterday. It is so relaxing to know that I am surrounded with good and kind people. This is particularly important for me to realize, as I have just come back from a family visit. i do not feel lonely and I feel like I have a life here 🙂

13. I am grateful for the hand moisturizer that makes the wonders all the time. My hands are prone to get dry yet this moisturizer is just right and it smells awesome. I am lucky to have found it 🙂

14. I am grateful for my plans to shop this weekend. Shopping is always a delight (if done responsibly, of course) 🙂

15. I am grateful for my back feeling good and being pain-free in the last month or so.

16. I am grateful for getting sleepy now. I may have some kind of jet-lag, which is okay… if you have ever experienced difficulty falling asleep, you will know why I am excited about getting sleepy. Long live the jet lag! 🙂

17. I am grateful for being safe and sound.

18. I am grateful for my family; we may be a hard ball together but we sure love and care each other. I am extra grateful that they are fine, healthy, and safe, too.

19. I am grateful for being grateful and being excited to have written this post.

🙂

how do I feel as a person who just came back from vacation?

Hello friends!

After 5 weeks of being away, I am back!

I sure have had the most interesting vacation ever (vacation = going to my homeland to visit my family).

There were many nice things that I have experienced during my vacation; like seeing family members and friends.

Being away from my everyday routine and the often-times stressful work was an exceptional plus.

I swam at the sea, got lots of sunlight, ate the freshest fruits and veggies, shopped for nice stuff, and made important realizations and decisions for future that may make things better.

I am refreshed and energized, and as usual I have my resolutions in place to work on, such as to lose weight and to make a better, more social, and meaningful life out of my usual routine-based, work-focused, and one-person life (these two resolutions are recurring themes that I was not able to achieve yet… so wish me luck 🙂 ).

Yet, interesting does not necessarily mean that I have had a beautiful, happy, and joyful time during my vacation. On the contrary…

For example, at the beginning of the vacation, I have experienced emotions that sometime reached to a level very close to hate (which is very unusual for me….). Hate is a very bad feeling – I do not want to feel it. Like ever.

I made many trips to other cities and had to spend time with some annoying people, which made me physically drained and emotionally agitated.

I made mistakes and emotionally hurt some good people.

And, later through the end of my vacation, there were historical and very negative external events developing and making me realize that none of the ridiculously non-essential issues (that made me feel hate-like emotions or break good people’s hearts –  what was I thinking?????) in fact should matter in life or occupy my mind/heart….

I hope I am better than before because of these experiences.

Sometimes life feels like a cheap toy to me: it is awesome one minute and the next moment, it does not mind breaking in front of my eyes. It is as if it requires extreme care, intuition, relaxation, communication, consideration, intention, and luck all the time. That is tiring….

Thankfully, it is also miraculous, beautiful, and awesome the other times……

 

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I hope all of you have had a great summer and great experiences, too.

I have not read all the posts posted while I was away by those bloggers I follow, but I know that some of you have had bad news recently and are keeping their positive attitudes towards life’s hurdles (Go Team Red Phoenix Go! ).

Sending positive vibes to all of you! 🙂 

things that make me happy

After occasional yet permanent rants of mine about the negativity and tiredness around the issues, work, and other stuff in my life, I have prepared “a list of things that make me happy“.

It is good to remember these as I have a tendency to dwell into negativity. Once I started writing this list, it grew pretty fast. I am very pleased with this activity and reminding myself about all the things I have and I do not have (such as sickness or unsafe conditions).

I must acknowledge the support and motivation by NinaSusan about this activity; her question in a comment to one of my posts drove me to post the list – so appreciated 🙂

 

THINGS AND PEOPLE THAT MAKE ME HAPPY

Work:

working nice and easy and taking care of stuff make me happy

coming up with new ideas makes me happy

recognition of my efforts and projects makes me happy

having a great office with windows, great view, and functional furniture makes me happy

being able to brew my coffee in my office makes me happy

flexibility around my schedule makes me happy

being professional makes me happy

being usually tough when faced with adversary or bad attitude makes me happy

having a great salary and benefits makes me happy

having a small salary increase every year makes me happy

having a relatively stable and respected job makes me happy

training and teaching young professionals makes me happy

being creative and resourceful makes me happy

working with great people makes me happy

being highly productive makes me happy

insisting on good quality work makes me happy

 

Family:

having an awesome, supportive, thoughtful, and loving family makes me happy

these people being safe and sound makes me extra happy

 

Home:

having a yard makes me happy

having a large house with functional rooms and kitchen/bathrooms makes me happy

having minimal and functional furniture makes me happy

having a computer, TV, cable, and internet makes me happy

having many books to enjoy makes me happy

my spices make me happy

having a house with large windows and sunlight exposure makes me happy

being safe makes me happy

living close to downtown makes me happy

being close to my work place makes me happy

being close to bus stops makes me happy

being close to restaurants, second hand bookstore, and grocery shops makes me happy

having an old house, which forced me to save more aggressively, makes me happy

 

Finances:

having a  good salary makes me happy

having insurances makes me happy

having a healthy chequeing account (i.e. not negative) makes me happy

having an RRSP account and maximizing it in the last 10 years makes me happy

having a TFSA account as an emergency fund makes me happy

having a retirement plan and investing every year makes me happy

spending much less than before makes me happy

removing two significant costs from my life makes me happy

being abundant makes me happy

having future plans for investment and mortgage payment makes me happy

having cash in my pocket makes me happy

being generous with my friends and people I work with when needed makes me happy

stocking up durable items when they are on sale makes me happy

seeing the positive difference that my budget makes in my finances makes me happy

 

hobbies, life-style, and others:

coffee makes me happy

baking bread and experimenting with yeast and dough makes me happy

reading and buying books make me happy

peanut butter makes me happy

no food waste policy of mine makes me happy

decluttering makes me happy

shopping makes me happy

spending time with good people makes me happy

watching TV shows or movies makes me happy

listening to music makes me happy

writing makes me happy

reading blogs on interesting topics makes me happy

supportive people/friends/co-workers/bloggers make me happy

walking and sweating makes me happy

eating healthy makes me happy

eating oranges, avocado, water melon, and berries makes me happy

eating carbs makes me happy

having great memories makes me happy

national or international trips makes me happy

being at the airport and leaving everything behind makes me happy

having useful stuff at home and using them till they are worn and thorn makes me happy

using cleaning clothes rather than paper towels makes me happy

nice scents makes me happy

my perfume and hand-soap makes me happy

the scent of my shampoo and conditioner makes me happy

my floss makes me happy

having an adequate amount of clothes makes me happy

my sun-glasses makes me happy

not eating too much and losing, however slowly, and looking better make me happy

my annual vacation with my family makes me happy

resolving issues makes me happy

my pens, notebooks, and scrap papers make me happy

my slippers make me happy

my fluffy socks make me happy

my office snacks make me happy

gifts I receive makes me happy

doing light weight training and seeing my muscles developing makes me happy

having an almost minimalist life-style and furniture makes me happy

sunlight makes me happy

anticipation of the seeds I planted in the yard blooming makes me happy

having a good sleep makes me happy

taking the bus makes me happy

having a nice hair cut makes me happy

my functional purses makes me happy

my loyalty cards and the points I use for useful items make me happy

being kind and helpful makes me happy

my new water jar I use at the office makes me happy

frozen food in my freezer makes me happy

weekends and taking time away from work makes me happy

having no critical disease or condition makes me happy

my nice dentist/doctor makes me happy

my imagination and determination make me happy

my resilience makes me happy

………..

 

The list is really long 🙂

 

joy journal, April 2, 2016

1. I am grateful that I have had a relaxing night yesterday and had a good night sleep. I woke up with thoughts rushing to my mind again, which is quite annoying, but I am determined that to not ruin my life and my life choices.

2. I am grateful for taking the bus to and from the shopping mall in the morning. Always a great way to save. Considering it would cost me $16 one-way should I have taken the cab…  It is awesome that in both cases i did not have to wait longer than 5 min (waiting something/someone makes me crazy…).. Am I lucky or what? 🙂

3. I am grateful for the coffee and bagel I have had at the mall. It is the same brand of cafe that I regularly visit at the weekends. Yet, at least this time I have had the opportunity to enjoy a change in the environment.

4. I am grateful for the dollar store; I love buying the stationary items there. All bunch of colorful ones and so affordable. This time I bought 2 packs of dehydrated bread (awesome companion to soups), a cute gift bag, and several candies (all colorful, of course) for my office 🙂

5. I am grateful for having a hair cut! I finally did it and this time it is absolutely short. As I have wanted! Last time the hairdresser was hesitant (why, I should have asked to her) to shorten my hair by 2 inches – so she rather trimmed it and that was not what I wanted at all. This time I insistent and said that I wanted it short! And, short it got 🙂 This hair dresser too commented that I had healthy and thick hair, which is always great to hear. She also commented on the red colour (yes, I do have hair with bright red colour) and said that this tone would usually not suit many people, but it really was suiting my complexion. Awe… Thank you nice lady 🙂

6. I am grateful that a nice elderly lady complemented my hair while I was walking towards a store. I am not sure what prompted her to say that, but that is always a nice thing to hear. The truth is I had liked her hair more than mine, which was just a little bit longer than mine and all gray. She looked so awesome with that hair. I complemented her as well 🙂

7. I am grateful that I did not mind waiting 40 min at the hair salon to get my hair cut. Under different conditions I would hate to wait and probably leave after 5 minutes. But this time I convinced myself that today I was going to get this task done. I have been meaning to get my hair cut for a couple of weeks now and it was so hot today that it reminded me that the short hair was the best. Right on 🙂

8. I am grateful for purchasing some gifts for my family and some little indulgences for myself, all out of my fun funds that I accumulated lately. I also paid my hair cut by my fun funds. For those who are not familiar with the term fun funds; these are the money that I save from my weekly allowance to spend on items or services that help me feel good 🙂

9. I am grateful for finding my favorite yogurt on sale; $2/750 grs, which is the lowest I have seen so far. I eat a lot of yogurt. So naturally I stocked up 5 of them today. I am also excited about the peanuts and canned fish that I bought as snacks for my office and my favorite brand of hair dye, which was on sale. I am extra happy that I did not make any extra purchases – all was needed or will be needed in near future. All is well 🙂

10. I am grateful for speaking with my family and laughing quite a bit. It is great that our mood is getting lighter and happier (it has now been 5 weeks that we lost my dad..).

11. I am grateful for the warm weather, which prompted me to wear my trench-coat rather than the winter coat. Oh, the sweet lightness that I missed! Honestly, my winter coat is so heavy and whenever I switch to spring clothes, the relief I feel is more than awesome 🙂

12. I am grateful for opening the windows on both storeys of the house and letting fresh air in. Even in winter I try to do that at least every two weeks. The weather is really soft and warm, and today I let the windows open over 2 hours! Great feeling 🙂

13. I am grateful for doing my back exercises and stretches. I do them every day and every day I have to have a mental struggle to start doing them. While it is a constant struggle till I lie on my back on the floor and start stretching, after that all comes very easy and I feel overall much better than before. I also feel stronger muscles on my legs, arms, and abs (which I must strengthen, or use, to complete the exercises). I am feeling good about these 🙂

14. I am grateful for finally finishing the veggie pasta I had cooked three days ago. While it was tasty and lovely, eating the same thing for 3 consecutive days is never fun. Time for new dishes, please 🙂

15. I am grateful for doing the laundry. Did I mention that it is one these tasks that I find dreadful? But, then I do find many house chores as dreadful 🙂

16. I am grateful for having the day to myself. After the laundry is done, I will totally immerse myself in writing and reading. There is so much to learn, so many blogs and articles to read. I am certainly grateful for my computer and internet connection for making this possible.

17. I am grateful for being grateful 🙂

“Enjoy the delicious part of life as well”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

grief…

I did not know much about grief till my dad died last week. It is strange; it is painful; and it is a lonely journey.

When I say lonely, it does not mean I needed to go thru my days alone. I meant I needed to face, experience, process, and feel it all by myself. Like many of us I guess. It is a personal and unique experience. I do not know whether this is a survival instinct or not, but I think everybody going thru grief may know what is best for them to help go thru it. I hope you all will find these tools when you need them…

My this experience with grief was something that I found interesting. Without thinking, planning, or resisting, I just let it surround me, felt the emotions, and supported myself (and others) as much as I could. I did not work. I did not go to work, though I had to check my emails and involve in some minor urgent matters (I am still resentful about these….I am still resentful that people required my attention during this time… I am still resentful that I did not say no – you should wait…I am resentful about work and all the neglect I have done for it…. ).

In my case, being alone and not communicating with people other than my immediate family helped quite a bit. After all, I felt like words were only words and would not diminish my loss at all. In contrast, I thought they were driving me crazy…Only after a couple of days, words, especially the good wishes and good memories of my dad started to make sense. As a matter of fact, I craved for them. I still do.. Remembering my dad with love and cherishment became a priority for me. These give me peace.

The circumstances around the death my dad also help my grieving process. He had a long life (he was 88), the majority of his life he was healthy, he lived his life in a way that he wanted, he was proud of his children and knew they were okay; and he had great care prior to his death. He did not suffer too much at the end of his life. The last day of his life was great and meaningful. He, I thought, left this world with dignity, without letting life make him suffer any further or any more hurting. Before he became more incapacitated. He was buried by his children (except me; I could not go) and many of his friends were present in his ceremony. Right before his death, we all had become a family, loving, caring, forgiving, and forgiven. I think he died knowing this, which is the most important thing for me.

I do not know whether writing and reading have always been my tools that help me analyze and contemplate (come to think about it; I guess that is correct), but I found reading and writing about grief, death, and my dad very therapeutic….

I wrote my inner conversations with my dad in a long letter that is getting longer each time I write on it…. When I read it time to time, I can see my feelings and all the realizations and sorrow I have gone through. I also see the love I have for him… During one of this readings I had realized that I would have never wished for another person as my dad; if I had an opportunity to have a dad again, he would be the one I wanted. Feeling and knowing this in such a deep sorrow have been incredibly healing….

Why reading about death and grief? To face them. In order to make sure I was not hiding, ignoring, or running away from them. To take the feelings, however saddening they may be, as they were. To live these moments in an authentic way. And most importantly, to fully and openly connect with my dad’s memory…

I may mention about the books I have read in a later post, but I want to say you this; grief and coping with a loss is an individual journey.. The books usually mention about several stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance)… i did not go thru these yet, certainly not in this order. I did not deny my dad’s death for example. I am not bargaining. I am not fully depressed…I am not feeling anger towards him, life, or anyone else. I am just saddened that we could have better memories, more time spent together, and I could care for him more and better…even though I know we all did our best during our lives and with our interactions, I naturally have regrets…. i also know that these do not matter now (i.e. there is nothing I can do to reverse the time) and I can rather focus on all the good memories and all the goodness and peace surrounding his death.

That also means that I have learnt about others’ experiences with death and loss by reading. I am not interested in comparison of pains or the effects the losses put on us; after all everybody has their own memories, their wishes, their regrets, their circumstances, and their emotions to deal with. But I have seen that there were losses that if happened to my dad would have made my grief journey much more painful;  a long-lasting and incapacitating disease for example. Death at a young age… These give me some kind of peace… Maybe I am being selfish or something… Please forgive me if you have experienced such losses and my experience sounds like a selfishly better or less painful one….. No loss is better than the other; but I hope they all have somethings attached to them that give some sense of peace, some sense of serenity….However different they may be for each one of us.

I miss my dad and I love him dearly. May he rest in peace for ever.

joy journal, Jan 18, 2016

1. I am grateful for sleeping well and getting up refreshed and ready to take the day.

2. I am grateful for my coffee in the morning and at noon. It is delicious and is giving me the kick that I sometimes need to keep focus on work. I am also glad that I brew my own coffee at the office, as I please, as much as I like.

3.  I am grateful for the cheese snacks I have had at noon – better than no lunch.

4. I am grateful for taking my time in the morning to be happy about taking the bus this morning. yes, there was a lot of snow on the ground but I decided to take the bus. It was delayed 15 min this morning, but thankfully there was another lady who was waiting for it and we lightly chatted till it arrived.

5. I am grateful for liking to take the bus this morning – this feeling is important for me to keep taking the bus rather than the more expensive cab.

6. I am grateful for working on two important documents today, which are to my surprise progressing real fast. that is quite satisfactory and exciting as one of the documents I can submit this week and the other one was one of those delayed documents that I could not find energy to work on during fall. Good to see that this task now will be lifted off my shoulder 🙂

7. I am grateful for walking back to home from work, even though there was a heavy snow falling.

8. I am grateful for my back feeling better today, though walking in the afternoon made it ache more than usual. I have stretched my muscles a little bit upon coming to home and that felt really good.

9. I am grateful for having the entire evening to myself and enjoying it.

10. I am grateful for the possibility of a snow day tomorrow; they expect a heavy snow dumped tonite. So tomorrow morning I will check my emails first to see whether my work place is closed. if so, I will go to my favorite cafe and work there until I get bored of being there.

11. I am grateful for the nutritious soup and the almond milk I have had this evening.

12. I am grateful for my internet connection and computer that allows me to browse the internet and learn many interesting stuff. Just this evening, I learnt about the “grey scale” disease that GRRM created for the A Song of Ice and Fire series of books.

13. I am grateful for feeling alright, well, and relax today.

14. I am grateful for my black jacket that I love so much and which I have worn today. the color suits me well and I would like to get one or two black jackets after March when my shopping freeze for clothes ends.

15. I am grateful for communicating with an old friend of mine. She just had a baby girl and seeing the pictures made me happy 🙂

16. I am grateful for the peaceful atmosphere of my home and the night.

17. I am grateful for being frugal today and generally speaking doing really well with my frugal life and budget.

18. I am grateful for the light shoveling I have done in the afternoon – it is a good exercise though I should be careful and not hurt my back again.

19. I am grateful for my family and good friends, for their wellbeing, health, safety, and joy in life.

20. I am grateful for life, for having everything at my home working well for me, for my home being strong, resilient, safe, and warm.

21. I am grateful for being grateful and taking my time to remember these beautiful things/thoughts I have experienced today.

2015 wrap up

This year has been great in so many different ways: I am grateful for many positive and lovely experiences this year marked in my life. I always find it useful to reflect at the end of each year, assess and remember what has happened or how I have done, and then plan and have hope for the new year. That is what exactly I have started doing today.

My list of 2015 highlights is not finalized yet; but here is a general list that I may expand later:

1. Family and health: My family’s and my health has been alright; I am very grateful for this. I also found a chance to visit my family last summer, for which I could not be thankful enough. Our close relationship and support for each other continues no matter how far I am.

2. Finances: After a bout of financial worries and unexpected expenses (mostly home repairs), I had finally realized I had to change things. I started with a budget in June 2015, which turned out to be a great help.

a) According to my calculations, I have saved around 20% of my gross income (not including my home equity and company pension plan); seeing this the other day was a pure joy and happiness.

b) My total savings from would be-expenses (expenses I was tempted to do, but did not) for the last 6 months is ~$3,000…. This is an incredible achievement… I am proud of myself.

c) The shopping freeze was a great idea – I am not sure who came up with this idea first, but I am wholeheartedly thanking this individual(s) for bringing it to my attention. An absolutely working and wonderful idea.

d) While I needed to borrow from my personal line of credit, I kept continuing buying mutual funds during the last year. Having “debt” pushed me to save more and was the initial motivation after the budget saga: while I have had hardship, I gained because of it. For this, I also thank myself for not giving up and turning things around.

e) I did not have any major repair expenses related to my home this year. My lovely house is strong and sound and I do hope that for many years to come, it will continue to stay strong.

3. Food management: My food waste is minimized 🙂 That is something I truly am proud of. I never intended to waste food, but now I am way better than before: I learnt to do the grocery shopping as required (not once a week) and I learnt to freeze food for later consumption. I even learnt and applied blanching to preserve veggies, such as carrots and zucchini. The pleasure these activities have given me is incredible.

4. Decluttering: This was another thing that positively affected my life. I not only removed many unuseful, unwanted, or crappy things from my house, but also donated many stuff to charity, realized how abundant I was and I did not need to buy many stuff for a while, and psychologically felt the lift of some weight off my shoulder. I am looking forward to the next decluttering activity 🙂

5. Work: Work has gone crazy this year, mostly because I worked with minimal performance. I am not sure why that happened, but one thing is that I have been working so hard for so many years that now I want to take my time for other activities, such as blogging and literature. Life is good, work can be stressful time to time, but I will handle all to my best.

6. New stuff around the house: I loved the art-work I have purchased a few months back that gave a new look and character to my house. I also loved the plants I have got, which are absolutely adorable. The couch cover I have got lately is an absolute beauty. I am not materialistic yet the feelings these and others around my house give me should be acknowledged and cherished.

7. Life-style changes: Well, not as good as I would like to, but I have made some positive changes in my life; walking to the office in the morning (when the weather is permissive) is one of these activities. I have eaten generally better, although I could not lose the weight I wanted to; this is the second. Better days will come 🙂

And so on… Many things to be grateful for 🙂

Once I finish this list, I will have a closure and appreciation. After that, I know I will start working on the new year’s hopes and plans. I hope you will have great ones, too 🙂

 

 

 

 

50 things to do before 50

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

to be continued some other time

what was important

I know I am having an internal dialogue about the things I am not happy with (mostly my bad habits and not being able to work lately due to the trips) and the boring daily routine that I have had.

All the activities and their sequences in my life are predictable; the way I get up, brush my teeth, the way I put on my socks, leaving home after that. Brewing coffee right away as soon as I arrive the office, checking the emails, attending to the meetings, coming home (usually by walking), changing my clothes, cooking or preparing something to eat, then the relaxations by browsing on the net and blogging.

I am a person of habit, having a system that keeps things in track. It is not always bad as it also makes my life efficient. It is just boring. very boring.

I know I am not the only one living like this or saying this. So I do not feel like having a unique situation. But I really would like this to change. I would like to be more spontaneous and less structured. I also would like to work better and more.

I have an interesting relationship with my work; I feel a lot better when I work. I feel a lot better when things are completed. I feel a lot better when I can take care of the projects and work.

In the last month, I was not able to do so mostly due to the trips I have taken. I must confess I also liked being away from the work and visit new places and being in the moment. Being away from the office also meant stress as I had to work harder to complete things prior to the trips. But it is time that I go back to my work as before. I should not be hard on myself as I also have worked and accomplished quite a bit lately; my widely praised presentation that got positive feedback from many is a good example. I just need to finish the other stuff. Stuff that has been on my list for months. Time to get them done! 🙂

Timing is also great as the holidays season is coming. I usually take 10-12 days off during this time. That means I can really kick it until then so that I can enjoy both the satisfactory feeling of already taken care of my work and the time off from it.

So I am going to just do that. One thing I need to stop doing is working at home. It is lovely and the majority of the time effective, but it also makes me too relax. I guess I will commit to being in the office and working there from now on. I will work at home only when being in the office is unbearable (which does not happen too much).

I will also come up with plans to enrich my weekend life; whether this will be going and checking out stores, shopping malls, or bookstores, I gotta do this. I know I am on shopping ban for many items and I have a budget, but I will have to trade money with enriching my life with other activities and experiences.

This morning, I thought “what is important in my life?”. Here is the list:

  1. my mental and physical health: eating better and exercising, losing weight a long the way (hopefully), having a content and less boring life, getting rid of unhealthy habits, taking care of myself better and improved personal care.
  2. family and friends: their well being and support are important to me.
  3. work: I love it and I want to be more successful. It also helps me with how I feel about myself, my support to family and friends, and my financial health. that is why it is important. But it should not mean that for the work, I should forget what if more important (number 1 and 2 above)
  4. financial health: as much as I can do; not more important than myself or my family’s well being at this point. Fully dependent on my work and my performance.

I now will go away and contemplate on how I can do better in these aspects of my life.

have a great sunday everyone 🙂

middle age awakening

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

joy journal – Oct 24, 2015

1. I am grateful for the following; I am tired after a long and daunting trip and I feel like I will leave quite a bit of stuff in my work and in my life and move towards a new, better structured, and meaningful life. I am excited about this, as sometime in the stress and problems lie the solution for a better future. I am hoping this is what is happening. I should be cautious as I do not want to make a mistake and leave something just because I am feeling tired (mentally) and frustrated. From my past experience, I have had many knee-jerk reactions, some of which I later regretted. This time, I will think calmly, estimate cons and pros, and decide about the best by taking my time.

2. I am grateful for sleeping well yesterday night prior to the early morning flight which I need to catch up.

3. I am grateful for the coffee, bagels, yogurt, cheese, and bread I have had today; they nourished my body and gave me the energy I needed.

4. I am grateful for my health and well being.

5. I am grateful for being resourceful and being familiar with minimalism prior to my trip, when my airline lost my luggage and left me with a set of clothes. I kept generally positive and look for ways to minimize the impact on myself and my business meeting. I saw it as an “adventure”. It was not the end of the world. It was not that bad. Until I talked to my airline and learning that they were sending the luggage back to my hotel the next day when I was scheduled to return back. I wonder; the airlines have no plan, no system in place to ensure the best for their customers? I plan to put these in writing together with my reimbursement form. Hope they will benefit from the feedback and if we are any lucky, then maybe they will do some adjustments for future customers.

6. I am grateful for my backpack and having some extra items in it prior to my trip. It literally helped me go thru the first 2 days. I made a mental note to have an extra trouser and a t-shirt whenever i go for a meeting, together with my personal stuff in case I get to experience a luggage lost again.

7. I am grateful for the trip starting tomorrow. It is a long trip, but I hope to enjoy my stay. I also get to meet with an old friend of mine who I love. It is gonna be awesome 🙂

8. I am grateful for doing the laundry and nothing else today. I am relaxing and mending.

9. I am grateful for not eating too much or unhealthy today.

10. I am grateful for thinking about my job and my job relationship. I think I am going thru a “middle age awakening: (not crisis). I am evaluating my past choices, my current life and work, and listening to my feelings; what are my priorities now? What would make my life more meaningful, happy, and exciting? What would make my life better? What are the things that I am missing in life? how can I get more meaning, peace, happiness, and satisfaction in my life? What should be the new directions in my life? Am I happy where I am? Where can I? What are my needs? What are my dreams?…

11. I am grateful for coming to home and coming to my senses about my healthy life style plans. I have not done well during the trip, but i have seen how good choices I have made the first day. This is a good reminder to keep going.

12. I am grateful for my family and good friends. Their love, humour, support and sincerity makes my life a lot easier and lovelier.

13. I am grateful for the relaxing music I am listening to now. It reminds me my need to stretch and being mindful. See what is important; what is not..

14. I am grateful for my blogging experience; I have missed reading, writing, and interacting with my fellow bloggers. I have been thinking the other day; no matter how depressing or problematic is a time-period in my life, I always have, find, and do things that I like and cherish. This experience is one of them.

15. I am grateful for being grateful. Honestly I started this post to feel better (which I do not…), as writing my journal always cheered me up in the past. I will accept this as what it is; I will accept my feelings as they are. Tomorrow will be another day 🙂

16. I am grateful for having hope 🙂

random thoughts

Today I am writing for the 88 year old man who I know.

He lives alone as he has not been in good terms with his ex-wife and son. He has two daughters; one of them is away and the other one is going thru the struggle of life. There is noone that can take care of this poor man. He did not want to go to retirement residences until this year; this year he started to fall (otherwise he is wonderfully healthy) and he is very aware of the fact that he soon may need more care than now.

It must be a difficult decision to finally find a retirement home. This gentleman will hopefully be happy there and have excellent community and receive excellent care. The fact that either the residences are full or require more funds than he can afford has been challenging; I sincerely hope that the residence he has found now will work wonders for him (cross the fingers). His daughters cannot support him financially a lot but doing their best. I know it is heart-breaking for them as well. Sometimes, there is no good solution to life’s challenges and this engulfes everyone with its deep misery, hopelessness, and guilt.

Anyhow, this gentleman’s story made me think about it my own future. I am single and away from my family. I am middle aged now but may eventually age and require care (unless I die suddenly and while still healthy or middle-aged). What will I do? would I love going to these residences? How would I feel? Would I still feel my dignity and freedom? Would it depress me or would it be a useful experience?

I do not know; I do not want to think about it for now. I guess I can, and will deal, with one thing at a time.

Wishing everyone a great old age.

random thoughts

I feel like writing about small indulges that make me feel pampered 🙂

Considering that the only expenses bigger than $1,000 were my washer and dryer (excluding my flights to visit my family and my house), I guess I am doing good pampering myself while also looking after my funds.

So here is a list that I can come up with now:

1. Having breakfast: I love having breakfast at the weekends! there is something nourishing about it and the fact that I get to have it on the weekends only, it is my way of start celebrating the weekend. Breakfast does not need to be too expensive (though it  depends on your preferences. Nevertheless, breakfast and lunch are often times much cheaper than dinners).

2. A good book that captivates my interest. There is nothing like a great book that makes your day enjoyable, time frozen, and mind and heart filled with new knowledge, emotions, and empathy. 90% of my books are purchased from second hand bookstores or charity. The only book I have had pricey was a project management book I needed to study as part of a certificate program (time to sell it now). Borrowing books from libraries, of course, does not cost a dime – give it a try.

3. Chicken noodle soup: is there any other food that nourishes the body while also relaxes the mind? What is the cost of this? $3?

4. Taking photos: that is a really fun activity. Other than the cost of the camera and print outs, the cost of all the memories and lovely pictures recorded is basically $0. Plus, can we really put a price on recording memories?

5. A good cup of coffee every once a while. I love caramel or maple syrup added coffee every once a while. There is a cafe that do these in a shopping mall I go time to time. A great way to award myself.

6. Food: food is always a tricky material for indulges. I happen to reward myself a lot by food, especially pastries and bread (though I am trying to limit them lately). My new year eve meal is almost always some pastry I make at home with beef and pastry sheets. Even though I love this meal, I am glad that I do not bake it more than twice a year.

7. Movies: Although I have not done this in years, seeing a movie at a theater is a lovely experience.

8. Tea, apple cider, and hot chocolate: whether black, green, or herbal, tea has a calming effect. On cold winter days, in addition to tea, hot chocolate and apple cider are my favorite beverages.

9. Leisure walking: Although I do not do this as often as I wish to; when I do, I enjoy it very much. Especially those that occur spontaneously where I do not before hand plan for the route, take my time to enjoy and examine the scenery (even looking at different houses and their characteristics can be an interesting activity).

10. Going through the stores at the airport: One of my favorite activities! I love looking at the merchandise and the variety of items. This is particularly nice when the airport is in a different country. As you can guess, the books sold are the ones that get my most attention. but hey, they are great 🙂

11. Browsing the stores: I have a negligible habit of impulse buying thus I am not afraid of going thru an entire store, examining and exploring the items. It is one of the meditative experiences for me when I truly focus and thus get a mental break from daily thoughts and tiredness. Thanks to this activity, I have discovered many different food (e.g. savory I am so fond of) that were not a part of my regular diet.

12. Taking a road trip: I love it when we drive on a car together with friends or family. Have you noticed that the conversations are different, lovelier during road trips? Especially when we all are going to places that we have not explored before. Whenever I have a chance to suggest an activity, i suggest a road trip 🙂

13. Music: Music is… awesome! I listen to it while at home and office. The free music channels and youtube makes it basically free. Could not be happier 🙂

14. Writing my blog and reading other blogs: Very amusing, relaxing, informative, and affordable activity. Okay I need a computer and an internet connection to do so, but these two help with so many activities (listening to music, watching videos, doing research, learning, booking flights and hotels, etc.) that their cost comes really low. Plus writing helped me to learn a lot about myself – how about that as a great benefit?

15. Planning, planning, planning: I have a thing for planning for goals I would like to tackle. Coming up with a question and then designing a step-by-step strategy to reach the goal is always exciting for me. Yep I do mess up with executing the plans sometime (my recent healthy life-style plan that I blew is a good example), but eventually all go well.

16. Sleeping in: every once a while there comes a weekend morning that makes me sleep till noon. This does not happen to much, but I believe it happens when my body needs it. Often times, it is relaxing.

17. Sleeping late: there is something peaceful about late-nights, some kind of freedom… Friday and Saturday nights are my freedom nights when I can stay up till late, reading, writing, or watching TV. Serenity..

18. Spending time in my yard: I have a small yard with a couple of trees; lilacs are particularly my favorites. Seeing them in summer is a beautiful feeling. The same thing with just being in the yard and listening to the sound of trees – the soothing whoosh their leaves make with wind…..

19. Scents: I love my perfume but due to scent-free policy of my workplace, I only wear it at the weekends. Its scent is so lovable I am glad they produced it! The same thing with candles and soaps. I have a soap that leaves a nice scent after each hand-wash. I would not change it at all. When comes to candles, I did not buy lately but I make sure to check them at the stores. One of my favorite one has honey-cinnamon scent.

20. Wearing my best shoes: I am a person of habit, so I keep wear the same things weeks after weeks. Yet, every once a while wearing a different outfit or my favorite shoes makes a difference in my mood 🙂

21. Grocery shopping: I love grocery shopping. Finding fresh produce is a rare and often cheerful activity for me (where I live, fresh produces are hard to find).

22. Shopping after the holidays: this is the season for shopping!. The sales right after the Christmas are unprecedented. Boy, do I stock up? 🙂

23. Thrifty store visits: Even though I often end up not buying as much as I plan to, I love browsing through the shelves in thrifty stores, especially the kitchen items and the books. A good book I certainly will buy. The kitchen items are mostly an interest; to see all the old stuff… I have a thing for old things. They are different and very interesting for me.

24. Ethnic stores: There are so many different things in these stores that I make regular trip to one close to my house. It is a little food store where I can find the most interesting spices, hot sauces, and dried food. Plus, that store is incredibly cheap. I wonder why that is.

25. Soft facial towels: These are priceless; there is nothing nicer at the end of a busy day to come home, wash my hands and face, and feel the soft towel on my skin. I would highly recommend you to get a thick, slushy towels that is a delight to use.

26. Creams and moisturizers: my hands require hand cream throughout the day. In winter, it is almost essential to moisturize the rest of the body. I am grateful for these creams and lotions that not only nourish my body but also smell good 🙂

27. Time spent with family and friends: Do I have to talk about it? It is the favorite activity of many people. Are we not lucky?

I hope your list of things that make you feel pampered is longer than this.

Go pamper yourself in this beautiful Saturday! 🙂

joy journal – August 15, 2015

I have not written my joy journal for quite sometime (due to vacation). I missed expressing gratitude and the good feeling coming out of it so much.

1. I have many things to be grateful about the time I spent with my family – there is no short way to express all of them here. I cherish every memory and every smile, hug, and kind word. I am grateful that my family members are well and sound; loving and supporting; and genuinely interested in my well-being. Thank you all of you for being there for me.

2. I am grateful for my job. I have gotta give its credit; it gives me a sense of purpose, excites, and provides me with livelihood (despite the challenges and occasional crises that I face). Thanks to my job, I get to see around the world, live in different cities, meet with people with diverse backgrounds, and get insurance. Insurances are important too – providing a sense of security if something out of ordinary occurs in life.

3. I am grateful for my house. It is in a quite neighborhood that is close to downtown as well as my work place. It is true that the prospect of the serious repairs (e.g. the foundation problem I probably have) has been giving me the chills and depressed me beyond my imagination; that I cannot develop trust to the previous owners/renovators, which prevents from feeling peaceful in it; and that I constantly find myself checking for potential issues and thus further create anxiety in myself. But then what can I do? I did not know there may be problem in my house. I did not know when I purchased my home that houses can be fragile and they require constant maintenance. I did not know that it would take me a long time to accept these and then finally find peace in this acceptance. I have not still fully accepted these and thus am emotionally suffering deeply, but I know eventually one day I will give up the resistance and glide into acceptance gracefully. I thank my house-troubles for this; reminding me that it is a process and I am going thru it.

4. I am grateful for my retirement plans, however small they may be. It is true that I could have saved and invested more for my retirement and in the past I have had very obvious expenses that I could have avoided. Yet past is past and I can only look at the present and the future. I have been giving serious thoughts about budgeting lately (mostly motivated by the expenses related to the repairs at home) and have progressed quite satisfactorily. I have a healthy and abundant budget that will take care of my fixed as well as variable but essential expenses that I have been implementing in the last 2-3 months. I know I can do better once I feel comfortable with it. It is awesome to feel this hope and confidence. It is awesome to know that I am making a difference in my financial situation, however small it may be.

5. I am grateful for summer; where I am usually is cool in summers (15-25 C). But since I came back from vacation, it has been hot, sunny, and lovely. A perfect summer 🙂

6. I am grateful for the document I have to finish till monday evening. I have made quite a progress with it yesterday and today. Seeing that I can work effectively under mild stress by taking it lightly (the benefit of having a wonderful vacation prior to it) is one thing, but more importantly the fact that I had to do it in such a short time is what helped me to adapt to work so soon and to stop feeling the emotions associated with leaving my family.

7. I am grateful for my blog. Writing is therapeutic, reading other posts and interacting with fellow bloggers are fun, interesting, and informative. It certainly helps me feel better.

8. I am grateful for the breakfast I have had this morning together with a friend/colleague of mine. I had my usual bagels and coffee after 6 weeks of vacation and a wonderful conversation with my friend, which felt great 🙂

9. I am grateful for walking to and from the coffee shop and sweating a long the way.

10. I am grateful for my new little fryer that makes fried eggs so tasty, so different 🙂

11. I am grateful for doing the laundry and aerating my home today. No I am not cleaning my place this week. My friend who house-sat while I am away already took care of this. I am feeling blessed.

12. I am grateful for being keen about starting a huge decluttering at home. Yep! I have been meaning to do it for quite sometime. I will start easy with bathrooms (which are easier to declutter) and slowly move to the other parts of the house. I will open every single box, purse, bag, and drawer. I will sort things out generously, collect the usable items for donation, and dump the rest. I really need this – I feel like I am carrying a huge and unnecessary weight on my shoulders. This feeling gotta go. I am also excited for the possibility that I will find out many stuff that I had forgotten I have had but are useful or valuable. cannot wait to rediscover my stuff 🙂

13. I am grateful for my couch that provides me with a comfortable place to sit on and write this journal.

14. I am grateful for my laptop, internet connection, cable, TV, phone and all others that help me have a comfortable and engaging life at home.

15. I am grateful for all the stuff I have brought from my vacation. Many of them are the gifts that are given to me by my family members, which I love and cherish. Seeing them around make me feel extra grateful and happy.

16. I am grateful for the music I am listening to right now. It is relaxing and something I have not had heard before and thus is interesting.

17. I am grateful for today being Saturday. I can enjoy it as I please without going to the office.

18. I am grateful for my joy journal and my continuous wish to write in it.

19. I am grateful for life.

20. I am grateful for being grateful.

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 🙂

friends, trips, and unexpected expenses of airlines

Something wonderful happened today; my friend who is staying at my place did a great gesture and prepared me a lunch box full of apples and sandwiches – she said considering my recent plans to consciously spend, that would seem about right…. How generous, how considerate of her… Do we not love our friends? 🙂

This lifted my mood right away prior to my trip, as I just realized I need to pay a considerably amount of money for the 2nd luggage. Sigh… The ticket was expensive enough even though I bought it months ago. And now the extra luggage fee? Why do airlines do this? I admit I had not checked the airline, but had rather focused on the date and the timing of the flight. Lessons learnt; I am not flying with them again. Another lesson; if I buy the ticket earlier than usual, then my chances of finding a cheaper flight by a better airline increases.

I am thinking about how to keep up with my budget during my trip. I happen to like to buy books and small gifts for family members, drink coffee and have food at the airports. I used to enjoy all of these 🙂 This time, I will try to make my budget a priority, without limiting myself too much; I still will have my coffee, but I am bringing food with myself this time, and I will not buy books at the airport (rather packed two of them from home), but will buy gifts for my nephew and brother at one of the airports.

I cannot wait to start this trip and see my family in the coming days. I also love the fact that this vacation breaks the work, life-style, and thought routine for me. A nice change that I will not only enjoy but will also use as an opportunity to reflect on my priorities: What is it that I would like to do with my life? How am I doing re; the changes I have been trying to do in my life (budgeting, weight loss, healthier eating etc.)? What else can I do to make my life better?

I hope I will figure out these soon 🙂

Cheers everyone.

The life in the diary – X

Fiction

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Feb 15, 2013

My boss made a great gesture today and sent me a nice bouquet of flowers! The mixture of green, orange, white, and yellow is a must see! One of my nurses brought them to me with a great smile; “look what we got for you!!!?”.

She is, I am sure, curious. I have been here for some time, had a surgery and am going through further tests. But no one came to visit me. No care-giver, no family, no friends.

They do not ask why. I love this about the nurses – never say or do something that will upset the patient. I feel protected by the nurses. Once when the other patient used to stay in the room and had chatty visitors, one of them had said “please keep your voice low, my patient here needs a rest”.

This patient has been for ever grateful to hear this.

We decided to put the flowers next to my bed. Their smell is very refreshing – kind of dominating the medicine-like scent of the bed linens. For the first time since I am admitted, I feel like normal.

My boss had the card signed by my colleagues – going thru the short messages of good wishes delights me… My first personal encounter with the outside world since I am here. How will I thank them? Tell them how much it meant to receive their generous gift? Thinking about these makes me kind of emotional….

But I have got to collect myself; I have more important things to do.

I finally decided to call my family.

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The life in the diary – X

All rights reserved.  © https://lifeasiinterpret.wordpress.com/

random thoughts

A gorgeous Spring day! What a delight.

I have been listening to music non-stop yesterday and today. I had forgotten what a magnificent thing it was. Evoking so many different emotions; from admiration to joy, from appreciation to regretting. Regretting that I had forgotten to enjoy it for some time. Was too busy while take caring of stuff and relaxing.

They say we should stop to smell the roses.

When did our lives become so busy? So demanding?

The activities that excite me most seem to be in the past; meeting with my life-long friends, my family members, going to concerts, visiting new places, singing, falling in love. Ah yes, singing. Art could evoke such a rich array of feelings. Singing almost felt like being awed by life.

It crossed my mind to have a bucket list – have at least one trip a year that will excite me; buy tickets for a show or musical at Broadway; explore somewhere new, like Europe or South America; make plans to meet with friends; stop doing the same things over and over everyday.

Life waits.

Let’s meet.

joy journal – May 26, 2015

One of these days I feel like meh... Today more than the times when I feel better, I feel the need to write my joy journal. At the end, remembering the beautiful things provide a sense of joy and serenity. Today, I will have one giant point to be thankful about;

1. I am grateful for felling like meh.. Why? you may ask. It helps me to appreciate the life as it is. I think we are not supposed to feel good, positive, or excited all the time, though they would be very much appreciated. Some days are better than the others. Eventually, I am still healthy, have a steady job I love, my family is well, and I am safe and sound. These are the bigger things in life that count. So right this moment I remind myself the important things in life I often take granted. What a valuable experience. Thank you meh day.

My take on 2014

My take on 2014 is:

family is great.

long-term and solid friends are the best.

work is endless and as such does not deserve my entire time.

my heart first expanded to the size of Atlantic Ocean, then sank to the bottom, and now it does not matter.

and now I am writing; no words to be unuttered, no emotion unendured, no wishes unblessed, and no day unspoken for.

holiday plans – the change is here

Here are my plans for the 12 days off till after the new year;

1. I will have breakfast every single morning – you got it right; every single morning I will go to my favourite cafe and order my favourite breakfast with coffee. That is my dream!

2. The delightful breakfast will be followed by a visit to my favourite book store close by; I can find beautiful books, buy or browse them as I please. Cannot think about a more lovely time spent.

3. I will walk around, maybe check the shops, see whether there is something interesting I may be interested in. Now that I will have spare time, I will take my time going through the stuff and fully engage my mind with whatever is at my hand. A great mental break – lovely.

4. I will call and visit some of my good friends – I am really looking forward to this! Everybody including me is so relaxed during the holidays that it is a perfect time to enjoy each others’ company and laughter.

5. I will go to the malls and check all the sales I can find – now that is one perfect time to find the best items at an affordable price. Since time is not an issue, I can explore in more detail and find and purchase those that I may like. I really would appreciate getting new shirts and trousers for winter.

6. I will visit the thrifty store, too. There are so many stuff that are interesting in such stores. Especially household items, such as old china or kitchen tools and furniture. I have been always fascinated by the fact that if I want to have a sense of the past of the city I am in, the old items, either at houses belonging to the people, or those who are dumped at the thrifty stores, are an excellent way to do so.

7. I would like to knit a nice toque this holiday season – based on my past experience if I can decide of what kind of toque to knit, I can produce it in a single day. I think it will be red and orange yes the colours that give energy during the winter. Great idea.

8. I will clean my house really well – starting the 2nd floor rooms which are much easier to clean. I will clean the floors well – they are in good condition but a little bit of deeper cleaning would be nice to protect them from permanent dust.

9. I will de-clutter the house – yes I will. I can keep things but not those which are not needed any more. That will help my house breathe better; it will refresh it, it will energize it. Together with the unwanted/unneeded items, I will also dump my old scars and painful memories. As I create space for new items at my house, I will also open space for new beginnings and memories. That is the most exciting of all the activities I plan to do during the holidays. This will lift my heart and my mind.

10. I will start implementing better and healthier life style. I am usually okay in terms of eating good and at least walking every single day, but I can do a lot better. I will start daily light weight exercises, I will stop eating refined carbs, and I will start breathing and relaxing with music more.

11. I will call my friends and family members to catch up with people important for me.

12. I will donate the books I am not reading any more.

13. I will clean my email inbox; ever year this is one of the best practices I follow – just delete the unnecessary/temporary emails, organize and store the others that are important. Open space for new emails, new developments, new important communications! Open space! Awesome – so exciting 🙂

14. I will shuffle the furniture around a little bit – I would like see my home a little bit different – just to have a mental stimulation, a fresh look, a statement of “change is here”. You would not believe how useful this kind of changes are in making more profound changes in our lives. Go ahead, change something and find in yourself the courage and wish to change other aspects, whether it is relationship, habit, life-style, or hobbies.

15. I will review my year and note all things that I have been grateful for. That is a great exercise not only to feel grateful, but also to appreciate the year that is ending and to welcome the new one with hope and positivity.

Go ahead, make yourself tired real good for once!

I am mad.

I know someone, who for his work travels a lot. A LOT. In the last few weeks I am not sure how many states he has been to, often with flights as little as 12 hours apart. Now he says he is about to board a trans-atlantic flight.

Since I am not comfortable talking to him, but I do care about him, I will say it here. He may not know what I think, but at last I have this chance to get it out of my system.

Go ahead, make yourself tired real good for once!!! Get burnt out. Get cold. No heart attack or a serious issue, but something manageable. Maybe you will stop killing yourself. Maybe this time people in your life will, instead of clapping, talk to you out of hurting yourself for your career.

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