365 Day Blog challenge Day 75 – Development Course #365daychallenge

This week I started my year long development course. Two days away from work with a bunch of other female civil servants to look at what I want from my career and start taking the steps to achieve that. It was an incredible couple of days with unexpected results.

Within the civil service there are lots of people around the age of 50 sitting and waiting until 55 so they can take early retirement and go do the things they want to do. I’ve got 22 years (at the current retirement ages) left to work and I don’t want to do it in a job that doesn’t inspire me. I don’t want to sit it out until a leaving package comes up.

We started the day with a visualisation where we looked at where we wanted to be in 2, 5, 7 years time. Basically in the future. My answer wasn’t the civil service. It was teaching or tutoring. Sounds like something out of the blue? But it’s not.

I had a long walk today and had a good think about this. I started my degree in 2010. After completing the first year I looked at the idea of teaching. I did tons of research then when I had my breakdown and had to take  a break from studying my self sabotaging ways managed to convince myself that a degree wasn’t for me, I didn’t need it anyway and I should probably just stick to what I’m doing.

Thinking today the idea of teaching goes back even further. I’ve been in the civil service 10 years and even way back at the beginning I was looking at training providers and whether I could be a tutor there.

Going even further back I gained a qualification to teach foreign language students English

Even further back to when my son started school and I went back to work (20 years this year) I wanted to make a move to the Learning & Development teams of every ob until I got to the civil service

That’s twenty years where I’ve let the devil on my shoulder talk me out of what I’d love to do.

On this course there are other women who have the same devil, there are some that don’t and just need some support as they push up the ranks of promotion. We will meet every 3 months for 2 days with the last session on Jan 2019.

In 2020 as I’ve mentioned a few times my debt replacement plan finishes and I graduate. I can make so many decisions then. Until then I’ve so much more research to do.

I need to decide when my debt plan is clear whether

  1. I leave the civil service and do a full time teaching qualification (1 year)
  2. I leave the civil service and do a part time teaching qual whilst working somewhere else (2 years).
  3. Stick with the civil service while I do the part time degree
  4. Do a tutor course which will limit my options possibly (I need to check this. Not something I want to commit to right now but I’m loving the positive vibes I took from the course and can’t wait to see where this next 12 months and beyond takes me.

365 Day Blog challenge Day 63 – Lean On Me #365daychallenge

I woke up with these lyrics in my head today. It’s something I need to take note of for myself. Certain things have changed over the last week and while it’s not life threatening or anything major it will make life difficult while I re-adjust so I need to remember to lean on others. I’ve spent a lifetime not having that luxury so often I forget that I can. So this is a little reminder to myself

Sometimes in our lives we all have pain
We all have sorrow
But if we are wise
We know that there’s always tomorrow

Lean on me, when you’re not strong
And I’ll be your friend
I’ll help you carry on
For it won’t be long
‘Til I’m gonna need
Somebody to lean on

Please swallow your pride
If I have things you need to borrow
For no one can fill those of your needs
That you won’t let show

You just call on me brother, when you need a hand
We all need somebody to lean on
I just might have a problem that you’ll understand
We all need somebody to lean on

Lean on me, when you’re not strong
And I’ll be your friend
I’ll help you carry on
For it won’t be long
‘Til I’m gonna need
Somebody to lean on

You just call on me brother, when you need a hand
We all need somebody to lean on
I just might have a problem that you’ll understand
We all need somebody to lean on

If there is a load you have to bear
That you can’t carry
I’m right up the road
I’ll share your load

365 Day Blog challenge Day 60 – Try or not try #365daychallenge

I found the following questions on the works well being page which have given me something to think about:

2 Two things I will get better at . . .self belief, essay writing
1 Something I want do less of . . .procrastinating
1 One new thing I will try . . .mindfullness

The first ones weren’t too hard but the question below gave me a lot to think about. It’s easy to say what you want to achieve, or was for me, but what do I want to learn? That I found a lot harder. I managed it eventually
8 Eight things I want to learn . . .

  1. To be a better cook
  2. Learn to grow some vegetables
  3. How to re-seal my bath
  4. How to use my sewing machine
  5. Stick to my budget!
  6. Learn more about my ancestors through my family tree
  7. To use Excel and PowerPoint better
  8. Yoga

What about you? What do you want to learn this year??

365 Day Blog challenge Day 59 – Driving #365daychallenge

Today, as with yesterday & many other days, I’ve been stood waiting for a bus in the cold and wet wondering why I don’t drive. More recently I’ve been counting down the months til my debt plan is cleared and I can use that repayment money to learn to drive.

The public transport service in my city is atrocious. I’ve coped for my whole life without learning to drive but as I get older I find I want comfort. Up until recently I would say I was about 70% happy to travel by public transport of any kind. I’ve always been content to go everywhere by coach and train and enjoy being ‘chauffeured’ around.

The other 30% is linked to my past.

If you scroll through some older posts you’ll see I have mentioned once being an abused wife. Way back during that time he tried to teach me to drive. He wasn’t a very good teacher and I freely admit I’m not a good student. I get easily distracted. So much so it became apparent I’m not cut out to drive a manual (stick shift) car. I tried in an automatic and I’m much more comfortable.

The lessons caused so much stress. Being an emotional abuser and knowing that people would be quick to spot any violent marks he made sure to belittle me, to call me names, at one point he smashed a window in the car while I was trying to drive, covering me in glass and then blamed his actions on me. At that point, beaten down by a few years of emotional torment I believed it.

I tried a couple of lessons after my divorce and would have panic attacks. I tried a male and female instructor and didn’t feel comfortable with either of them.Then on the occasions I’ve talked about this (the panic attacks but never the abuse. That’s something I’m only learning to do in recent times) I’d be laughed at for saying I wanted to only try automatics. I was told it was lazy driving, it was because I was too dumb to learn manual, to get over the panic attacks because I was being stupid. This from friends and work colleagues

Far easier to never learn again.

That was 20 years ago. He’s long gone and I’m a stronger person. I’ve tackled or am tackling most of my demons but this one has long remained dormant. I think the annoyance with the buses has brought everything up lately. I’m fed up with being cold.

It’s something I’m giving serious thought to. From May 2020 at the latest it’s something I can do. It’s a challenge for that year. So many obstacles have been overcome and I feel I might be ready to tackle this one

365 Day Blog challenge Day 53 – Balance on a Budget #365daychallenge

One of the hard parts of having a debt repayment plan is that so little money is left for savings or fun. Or planning for Christmas. Yeah I know it’s only just gone…. but when you know money is scarce things like this matter

For many people Christmas is hard going on the finances and that’s without throwing in debt issues. There are plenty of banks, building societies and credit unions that will offer you a savings plan that pays out around October in time for Xmas shopping. These are great and help with budgeting and I would endorse them however for me I feel they don’t allow someone to take advantage of the sales throughout the year.

The UK shops are always having sales and sometimes it can be worth stocking up on gifts when this happens and spread the burden of spending later in the year.

I have actually got 3 gifts already. I spent a grand total of £5 on gifts that before Xmas would have totalled £22. That ind of thing makes a huge difference.

My great aunt used to do this 40 years ago when we were all small. I remember people laughing at it. She was probably laughing right back at them when she went on her three holidays a year!! I didn’t understand as a child but I do now 🙂

So save a little each month, take advantage of the sales and if you have the money left over afterwards give yourself a treat for  a job well done.

365 Day Blog challenge Day 1 – Introduction #365daychallenge

I’ve been thinking of ways to re-start this blog and having seen one of my fellow bloggers attempt a daily challenge I thought I’d have a go. Firstly I was going to wait until January 1st. Then I thought it will soon be Xmas so why wait nearly a year to talk about Santa when we can do it soon (and by soon I mean mid-December as I am fully signed up to the November is Too Early movement)
Then I thought why not just start?? Why do we always do things ‘tomorrow’. There is a set of self help books by John C. Parkin called ‘F*** It’ which is all about just doing something  whether letting go, not worrying or simply taking a step. So today I am starting my 365 day blog challenge. The challenge will mostly be finding 365 things to talk about however it’s not all about me rambling on. I am allowing myself a day where I share some uplifting quotes or cute cat pictures (because everyone loves cat memes right?? Right????)
Who am I?
This blog has been going for around 4 years now. I started it as a way to share positivity whilst rebuilding myself after a breakdown. Sometimes we focus so much on the negative we miss the good things and I wanted my blog to be a safe place away from the horrors of the news we seem to be bombarded with.
I originally followed a few different practises: that of a Danny Wallace book ‘Yes Man’ where the idea is to say yes more. In the book he said yes to everything but I amended it to whatever fits in financially and within my moral/value structures
Plus Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway. Someone asked me if I fancied a team away weekend in a cab on a field. I hate confined groups of people. I hate camping. I did it anyway and had such a great time I did it again 6 months later.
Over the last few years the blog has been full of my debt issues, my attempts at starting something self employed (and putting it on hold due to afore-said debts and trying to hold down a busy day job too), lots of failed attempts to diet and I feel I’ve lost that element of fun and positivity and the Yes.
So hopefully the 365 challenge will bring some of that back as well.
I’ll end this today with a little positive story linking back to the lesser ones above and some links for anyone struggling. Two and a half years ago I finally admitted I had a debt problem after years of stresses, depression and a breakdown. I sought help from a debt charity in the UK. I am have just 30 months left to go as an absolute maximum and have paid back approximately £10,000. It’s hard work sometimes as you’ll see if you read any earlier blog posts but sometimes just seeing the numbers go down is reward in itself. I can see the end of the tunnel and I’m looking forward to it J
UK national
Step change
Christians Against Poverty
Citizens Advice
The first two are charities and do not charge for their services. I have worked in previous jobs with those companies and they are very professional and supportive. They are able to give advice and support but also help set up any repayment plan that is decided upon. They will not pressure you into taking any decision you are uncomfortable with.
Leeds only
Money Buddies
Leeds Credit Union
Money Information Services
There are many charities that offer debt advice and can help arrange repayment plans or give support on bankruptcies and other financial options in your country. Please check the small print beforehand. Being in the UK I do not know whether charities in other countries will charge fees.
Please feel free to leave details of charities and support networks in the comments especially not UK.
See you tomorrow

2017 mid-year in review

I’m a few months late really for a mid-year review but I’ve just spotted my gratitude/good- things-happening jar is 3/4 full. Without looking through it (that’s a treat for between Christmas and New Year) I’ve been thinking about the last 8 months.

Work – It’s been a roller coaster year. Some days I love my job and some days I just want to hide under the duvet and pretend it’s not there. Pretty standard with most people I guess. I’m just a Geminian drama queen so when the horrible days happen I’m telling everyone I want to quite and having mini-meltdowns (as I did about 6 weeks ago). However I’ve recently taken on the role of well being advocate so I get to put together events such as our team walking challenge. Events like that make me happy enough to push through on days when it’s not so great

Self employment – I had a push to re-start this in 2017. It’s also had it’s ups and downs to the point where I decided to take a step back to see if it’s really what I want to do with my life. Turns out I’m passionate about these things but not so hot on working for myself. I’m just not business minded. There are so many things I could be doing besides updating websites, pushing the business, and doing all that annoying paperwork. As I have a day job guess what – the boring admin jobs don’t get done. The task now then is to find ways to utilise the things I love but maybe not on a self employment basis. Or just plod along and see what the universe has in store.

House – This is an area with lots of success this year. Tomorrow I get a new hall carpet after it twice suffered through a burst boiler. I’ve talked in previous blogs about having a debt plan and little spare cash so this is a big deal for me at the minute. I’ve also repainted all the rooms. Still a little bummed that my lovely coloured walls are all pale magnolia/barest peach but if I follow through on my plans to sell up in 2 years these are the colours buyers want. If I decide to stay then Oh I m going to have so much fun repainting everything red/orange and yellow! I’ve also replaced lots of little things like lampshades, kitchen utensils, pots and pans and so on. By the end of the year the last few rooms (kitchen and cupboards) will have been repainted. I may have to give in to the idea of pale walls but I’m getting my colour in my accessories.

Health – My diet blogs are ongoing. 6lbs so far and I’m keeping up to the diet. I’ve a walking challenge on this month but I’ve been pushing the number of steps for a while now. One thing about being a wellbeing advocate. It means I have to practise what I’m preaching so less pizza more health. I’ve reconnected with a dentist and currently saving for some cosmetic dental treatments. I finally started having the money to get my hair styled and coloured on a regular basis. The second half of 2017 is all about me and these small things are going some way to not finding myself but rediscovering myself.

Fun/Life – Oh this needs work. I’ve been to a few events this year. First music concerts in a  couple of years and some drinking nights out. What I’ve discovered though is that I miss being out and about. I’m a sociable person but the debt plan is killing that. Me and my friend who lives in a different city had a heart to heart about this with the plan that we will take turns visiting each others houses per month and go out on the town. That’s one thing to look forward to. I then made a list of who I am and what I like to see how I can use it to start reconnecting with people. How do I get out without much financial investment. I’ve started at a couple of book clubs which are ok. It’s early days yet. One of the things I thought of was a night class. Instead I decided to re-start my open university degree/ I have 2 (part time) years left. That will give me the opportunity to go to some study days and connect with people on Facebook forums. I’ve a little list of some other bits to look at too.

Money – This is a biggie. I am now half way through my debt plan. I’ve managed to reduce the end date by 3 months and most importantly I have cleared 50% of my debt. Seeing the figures last month was one such a happy moment and one I didn’t think I’d see

So when I have a bad work day or a day when my mood is low I can actually look back and see actually this year has been pretty amazing. They’re all small steps but they’re adding up to one great year.