Reflecting on 2018

I have had a brief survey of the year in my mind. It has been an interesting year indeed.

Important things in my personal life were:

Physical health: I re-started yoga/stretching classes in early 2018. As usual, I have enjoyed the relaxing feeling it provided me with, but eventually I pulled a muscle at home and ended up in the emergency room again. I have had excessive physiotherapy this year, which I should be continuing but cannot because of the financial reasons for one. And mostly because after a while I stopped doing my exercises, so what is the point of getting physiotherapy sessions anyhow? This can be one area to work on in the new year.

Mental health: I have had a tough year with stress and anxiety. I for the first time started to attend a counseling service and I keep it in my mind should things get unbearable again. It is a peace of mind, knowing that there is and there will be support should I need it.

Financial health: I did not save as much as I wished, but I have done what I could. I am trying to turn things around since last week with my spending curbed for now. My investments lost quite a bit due to the fluctuations in the market, but I am taking it easy, knowing that  have no control over it and maybe over time they would rise again. Hope is a great thing.

Affirmations: I became interested in affirmations and at one point they really helped me get positive thoughts and beliefs about people and experiences. I know that they can work and help me feed my mind with different perspectives and better thoughts.

Positive thinking: Being an eternal pessimistic ( 🙂 ) it was great to read positive words and alternatives lately. I actually started to experience these positivity in the form of little miracles, better luck, and better feelings overall. I am grateful for the books that give me positive thoughts and am looking forward to keep doing this and affirmation practice in the new year.

Transitioning to gray hair: this saga has been going well this year. 2018 can be the first year in the last ~20 years that I have not dyed my hair myself at all. Yes, I have been to hair saloon to get toners and highlights to help with the transition, but I never struggled myself at home trying to dye my own hair. For this, I am very happy 🙂

Visiting my family in summer: This was great and quite positive. Not everything is rosy of course, but I am happy to see them. It also gave me the much needed break and soothed my nerves. The positive feelings and well-being continued for a while after I returned back. It was overall a highly positive experience.

Stress, anxiety, and sleep changes: These have been I am afraid quite high this year…. It is mostly work related and deep down I know how to better handle it; walking/exercising, better diet, less work, more extracurricular activities, etc. When there are too many work to do, stress and anxiety becomes difficult to manage. I must be wiser than this. Hopefully in the new year. We shall see. Overall, however this kind of experiences help me personally develop and take things differently. Take my sleep disturbance, for example. At first I took it as a very negative experience (hence the term “disturbance”), yet later I benefited from it by ending up at the office early mornings (around 5-6 am; I realized that until 10 am, I could do much of the work I expect from me, as these are the times with no or little distraction around). This was a great realization, for which I am grateful.

Plants: My… I became interested in succulents, cacti, and house plants this year, which have given me the most satisfying and joy-creating experiences ever. they make me happy! Growing them, caring for them, watching them, sharing them with others 🙂 All is well in the plant world.

My professional life:

Funds for new projects: I was able to get two projects as the project leader and another one as the team member, which are all great progress in my career. In a time when everybody is fund-crunched, these projects put me in a much higher place than many of my colleagues. I should be happy and proud of myself. My extraordinary efforts in the last few years are now paying off – this is wonderful. Perseverance, hope, and hard-work are all benefiting me. I am grateful.

Reports: I was able to get 5 big reports out this year, a couple of them especially being hard to bring to completion.

Completed projects: One big project of mine, which was lingering around for around 4 years have been finally finished in early 2018. It was a hard ride, but eventually is done, and I could not be more excited.

Dumping a committee work: I let go of a committee I was a part of in the last 7 years. It was not an easy decision as I had enjoyed my role in it, but it was also the right one. I cherish this decision.

Taking up on a new role: I took a new role in my organization, which I have been interested in. I feel lucky 🙂

Interview with an outside organization: I got interviewed by an outside but professionally related organization in Fall. They even circulated it to thousands of my colleagues all around the world via an email. I feel honored and excited by this. I am glad that I took my time to prepare this interview.

Online courses: I took two online courses this Fall, which were amazing. I want to take a little bit more, maybe in the Spring to help develop my skills and knowledge better. Learning is always exciting 🙂

Overall, a year full of both negative and positive experiences, like anyone else. It has been a hard year – that is for sure, but it also showed its good side and credited my hard-work and perseverance. I think my focus for the new year will be to take things a little bit easier, caring for my mental and physical health much better, and continue to grow personally and professionally.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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all the good things – check

  • getting my thooth filling fixed – check
  • walking during the day for 20 min – check
  • deciding to work tomorrow to clear some outstanding work – check

I am not very enthusiastic about this, but then it is good for me as I am behind many things nowadays. I can always take a rest later, especially on Sunday. Looking forward to it

  • sharing some plants with my colleagues – check

this always feels good 🙂 Some of my friends with whom I had shared plants expressed how positively the plants changed the feeling of their offices/home, and I believe in them. What a fantastic feeling to be able to help spread the power of plants to others. Today I was also given a couple of baby plants that I cherish 🙂 This also feels great 🙂

  • learning the importance of context dependency better with the help of a plate – check

a couple of weeks back I had purchased some second hand plates from thrift stores to be used to collect the water underneath the pots/planters I have. One of them, even though has this wonderful green colour, had not fit well any of my pots so I had decided to give it away. Today I tried it with the new pot I was gifted with a plant and to my cheerful surprise, it just fit so wonderfully – both in size and in colour. I almost got tearful with joy! I was about to get rid of it just because I did not have a use for it and I was feeling quite bad about purchasing/owning it 🙂 It is all fixed nice and easy now 🙂

  • having a strong and pain-free lower back and no physical problems at the time being – check

very grateful!

  • being gifted with some pastries by a friend this morning – check

this was a wonderful gesture on my friend’s side. They were delicious and I ate all of them in the morning. They absolutely lifted my energy levels up and made me feel good. I think this example showed me once again the importance of breakfast and the need to start having regular breakfast. It sure will help me go through the stress and heavy work much easier. I am of course highly appreciative of my friend for thinking about me and helping my body and mind nourish with her kind gesture

  • starting a new task that I have been delaying lately – check

I am behind many things, but once I start I often follow. So I was happy to start this work this evening – it is going to be finished 🙂 Yay!

  • not having any shopping plans this weekend – check

I am too busy to shop… I love shopping but it is not good for my purse. Plus, I appreciate it more when I have a break from it for a while. All is good 🙂

  • seeing my succulents props doing well – check

these plants are a bundle of joy 🙂 seeing that they grow roots and little plants out of mere leaves is a miraculous feeling. I may have killed a couple a long the way but generally speaking my succulents are doing well 🙂

  • getting good opinions on my quest to find out what is the best thing to do when you have two options both of which are the correct (or incorrect) roads to choose – check

thanking the blogger friend for her valuable comment. I sure am thinking like her and this gives me a sound base to work on.

 

 

 

 

random thoughts

It has been a fine day 🙂

The morning was peaceful and warm enough. I have had a pleasant bus ride to office, enjoyed my coffee, took care of urgent matters, socialized with a colleague during lunch time, bought two lovely pots for my succulents (they are amazing – originally tea cups with beautiful colours and shape) from a thrift store, by the way (double amazing!), came home kind of late from the office, did grocery shopping and bought myself nourishing food, all for a small amount of money.

After the careless spending that took place between the summer of 2017 and this year, I am back to my sensible, frugal self. I gotta! My chequing account was at the minus side at the beginning of this month and I knew I could not keep doing what I was doing. Right after the beautiful family visit, here I am at a kind of stricker but nevertheless abundant frugal life. I must say I have saved quite a chunk of my salary this month and I am moving the chequing account to the positive side. It feels great 🙂

Originally I had an extensive shopping ban till new year, but after 3 weeks I realized such a regime was making me quite unhappy. So last week and today I made visits to thrift stores and bought myself some nice blouses and pots. I am very excited about all of the purchases, which costed me around 30 bucks. What did I buy? 4 blouses all in great condition and loveable; one new plastic pot, one ceramic pot just right for my beautiful succulent props, two other pots I mentioned above (the tea cups),and a large sturdy ceramic plate to be used as a tray for a large terra cotta pot of mine 🙂 Just remembering these makes me joyful and excited 🙂

Life is good, my friends.

I have other good news. I have been wishing for an additional position within my organization in the last 1.5 years. It is something I would absolutely enjoy (it is related to training new project managers like myself), which would also strengthen my place in my work-place. Luckily, this year the colleague who has been undertaking this position had to have a leave and I was offered the position as a replacement! This is on top of what I am already doing, so it is extra work, but I am up for it. My boss wants to see how this one year will go and after that we will see whether my colleague or I would stay in the position. Even for one year I am grateful for this opportunity and yesterday, when I get the appointment formal, I was hyper the whole night with excitement and could hardly sleep at night 🙂 I believe that life is supporting me well and my hard work to keep my job and become more successful is paying off 🙂 I am grateful!

Super duper 🙂

Have a great Friday night everyone 🙂

 

 

 

when the good news comes

Well, my friends, looks like my hard work in the last one year has paid of a part of it – one of the projects I applied for is approved and for the second project I was able to gather some initial funds to help ask another organization to provide the remaining project resources.

Aaah. The sweet taste of being grateful, extra motivated, hopeful, and joyful 🙂

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three weeks to holidays

Three weeks to holidays when we have 10 days off.

Every year I would be very excited about this. Except this year I have not come to that point yet.

See, I have been working non-stop since July and it kind of became a daily habit. Today I have submitted an important report, a third one in the last 6 months (which is very productive). I must be excited and relieved, but not yet, I see. I think it is because I have a short trip to make this week for business and I have some more deadlines/tasks to complete in the next few weeks. I should not be complaining that I am still on the “work” gear – it is very useful for me and my work. I just wished my mind was rather focused on the 10 days of off time, start making plans, and get excited about them 🙂

I kind of think that two weeks later I will start slowing down. This would mean wrapping the little works, making and documenting projects for the new year ahead, and finally cleaning the office for once and best. this would mean dusting it, putting aside all the paperwork, or better yet dumping all in the garbage. It is my favorite thing to do at the office! What a great closure to a year of hard-work 🙂

And as per the off time, my plans are more or less the usual; clean the every bit of the house, especially the floors; declutter nice and easy; donate the unwanted/unneeded items; shop and get stuff that I need, socialize with friends; read a book or two (have not done this for some time – it is the time that I get the pleasure of reading again); thrift; sew a piece or two; and reflect.

I have lots to reflect this year. As per work many things happened, first demoralizing/toxic organizational things and then the hard-work I have been doing since July. I have had three trips this fall (including the short trip I will make this week) and the one in Athens was particularly memorable. Also, I am getting used to my gray hair and do not even care about it anymore (what a strange thing that is….).

After celebrating and noting cherishable memories and experiences, it will come to this : “What do I want to change or improve then?”

We shall see 🙂

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my perfect life

Working very hard, feeling agitated and dealing with negative emotions related to mostly work, I feel more and more the need of sitting down and reflecting.

I have some inner work to do, which I have been neglecting, because almost all of my energy and time has been spared for work in the last three months. There are many warning sings, like being on the edge, having high blood pressure time to time, and lack of patience generally. I must stop and reflect.

This morning while trying to win the mental judo in my mind, I asked myself what would be my “perfect” life?

I know there is no such thing.

But I also know that I can always strive for a better life and more inner peace.

To reach that level, I must change the level of attention I pay to issues and peoples’ behaviors (that bother me). I must bring myself to my core, the loving life force, and open my eyes and mind to the bigger picture called life. I must set aside a time to just breathe and connect.

Even the idea of “setting time aside” puts me off.. When did we become so busy that we cannot even assign a few minutes a day to our own natural needs and abilities? When did centering our mind around life as it is become something unattainable? When did we become so full of work but lack of life? Why are we so competitive? What are we afraid of?

Sometimes I want to move to a deserted but safe place, like an island in central America, cut out all communications with outside world, and “lose myself” with just doing nothing. No phone or internet talk, no work or social obligation, no project to start, execute, or finish, no place to visit or explore. Just sit, gaze at the sky, and let my mind find itself.

random thoughts

It is quite cold, my friends. We are talking about below 0C. 

Air is fresh and crispy but honestly it just feels like when winter is just starting in December. Déjà vu….. Not so cool. We have had with winter already.

Since my morale is low in the last few days, I try hard to feel okay. I am kind of numb or absent-minded. I feel like if I do not keep busy, all the thoughts and emotions will rush towards me and I will collapse under their weights. I know this is irrational thinking. But it just feels so. So I keep busy – I work and work and work and that feels good.

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All my life I worked very hard, except may be a couple of times when I have had personal troubles that kept me from focusing and working a lot. Working seems to help keep my fears and emotions at check and for that I am grateful. It is just that I know that there is no running away from troubling thoughts or emotions, so one day I will have to face my sadness and worries. I hope to gracefully accept them when the time comes, rather than resisting and reacting. I found that not resisting makes it easier to cope with.

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So, am I kind of saying that I am grateful that I am not retired?

What would I do if I had no work to go to or focus in such a mood? Let me tell you – that would not be nice. So, yes I am so very grateful for my job and not being a retiree right now 🙂

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random thoughts

Today I had meetings over meetings, made important decisions, and completely got drained energy-wise. I will work tomorrow too at the office with a team member of mine, and it looks like for the next 4 weeks or so I will have hardly any time to take it easy.

But that is okay because 5-6 weeks later I will be visiting my family. Vacation and family time!

I am just stressed  a little bit but I know I can handle this. I have gone thru similar pressing times at work. Even though it does strain me, eventually the outcome of hardwork is good and desirable. I know I will be okay. I just need to spend my time more wisely and give myself “awards” that will excite me.

So this is what exactly I have done today and bought myself a can of traditional active yeast 🙂 You know my love for yeast, right? The other day I had also got additional flour (I already had whole wheat flour, now I would like to try all purpose flour for a softer type of bread) and now I am ready to roll 🙂

I would like to try a lovely loaf on Sunday. I plan to rise it really well this time. So I will start the dough in the morning and will give it enough time to rise. I have been reading a lot and I have got many tips. One thing I cannot be sure about is whether I will have a plain loaf or a veggie bread, like zucchini bread. I will decide it at that time I guess. Nevertheless, I am excited!

It has been raining today a lot, so I took the bus in the morning. I am glad that I decided to do so, rather than taking the cab. I am very content about this shift in my thinking; previously nothing would stop me from taking the cab in the morning, especially if the weather was annoying. My mind-set at that time was “I deserve this” and “I better go to office as soon as possible to start taking care of work” and “I am really not in the mood and I have little energy; so taking the cab is the greatest convenience for me right now“, and “it is so annoying to wait 5 or 10 minutes for the bus“.

As we all know, these thoughts are feelings of mine are now mostly gone. I, more than 90% of the time, take the bus or walk to the office in the morning. I am not annoyed by waiting for the bus. I enjoy taking the bus (or walking). I enjoy using the cab fare rather on more meaningful things, such as strengthening my bank account or investing for my retirement.

There are a number of factors that has helped me with this mental transition. First, my determination to control my finances better. Second, the iron supplementation that increased my energy levels. And third, waking up a little bit earlier, which makes me feel like I am not late and it is okay to spend extra time to take the bus.

Little things can make huge difference. I feel lucky for being able to have these factors in my life.

Cheers everyone 🙂

 

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