365 Day Blog challenge Day 23 – New Rules #365daychallenge

I’ve woken up a few times this week with the sing New Rules by Dua Lipa stuck in my head. This is a song about who she needs to not be taking her ex-partner back. I often get songs stuck in my head and after looking up the lyrics find some way to adapt them to something going on with my life.

 The last few years have seen big changes within my life – I found a meme about a caterpillar changing over the years.

2016 – The Caterpillar; The year of purging

2017- The Cocoon The year of restructuring

2018- The Butterfly The year of actualisation

 And it does feel that way. 2016 was a tough year full of illness, struggles with work and succumbing to my debt issues. I had to learn to let go of a lot of this, learn to adapt more and move away from the things that were toxic within my life.

2017 – definitely restructuring my life. The last few blogs have detailed this. And while I have changed many things there are still 2 key areas to work on: health and relationships.

 2018 – I’ve started the realisation process a month early in December J  I’ve talked more about the past and my childhood this year than I have in probably the last 30 years and it has brought about realisations and now I need to act on them.

 So I need New Rules to do this. I haven’t thought of them yet apart from maybe eat my fruit! It’s something I’ll be having a think about over the next few weeks.

 What new rules so you want to have for 2018?

I’ve got new rules, I count ’em
I’ve got new rules, I count ’em
I’ve gotta tell them to myself
I’ve got new rules, I count ’em
I’ve gotta tell them to myself

I keep pushin’ forwards

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365 Day Blog challenge Day 22 – Day in the Life (work) #365daychallenge

I was hoping to do this but realised my work life could well be incredibly boring for most people & so this will probably be a short blog! I spent many years as a work coach for the government helping people on benefits into work which I loved but you can only do it so long before burn out so in early 2016 I put in for a promotion and was lucky enough to get through. I now spend my days delving into benefit systems analysing how they and people work within certain topics and looking for ways to improve this. Once done I write a report which goes to senior leaders who then have the ability to make the changes I suggest.
I’ve been doing the job for 15months and I probably hated it for the first 10 months. It’s been a huge learning curve. Having spent a work life time working face to face in customer service roles I was now behind scenes and away from the general public. Funny how you miss the things you once spent each day complaining about!
I had to learn Excel and PowerPoint from scratch as I’d never written any reports before. I had to learn to stop getting upset when I had to re-do sections of my reports after Quality Assessments. It took a long time for me to accept that different audiences would like things written in different styles. Why can’t everyone like my style and deal with it? Not the thing to say to senior leaders who report to Government ministers apparently….
I’ve had to learn to push myself forwards and not be a wall flower which after years of depression was my natural state. In this new department it’s all about making sure people know you’re name and good work so that the leaders and developers offer more. It’s about being visible. It’s not easy to achieve when you spend your life trying to be invisible and go un-noticed. I battled against it for most of the first year.
But eventually something clicked. I started to get into the role, enjoy the research and the presentations of the work. I might be a wall flower but I wasn’t always and it’s pleasing to see my old abilities come back even if I am out of my comfort zone for now. But it gets easier each month. I still hate writing reports but accept that tweaks and changes need to be made and to tailor to my audience. I try and find out now beforehand who the intended audience is and how they like to see things.
So hopefully who know? Maybe this time next year I’ll have even more positive things to say about my job

365 Day Blog challenge Day 21 – Gratitude #365daychallenge

A few years ago I tried keeping a gratitude jar. This year I changed things up a little bit and decided to have an achievements jar instead. It’s been a funny year. I spent a lot of it stressed and struggling with one thing or another yet the jar when I opened it today was full. We d tend to remember the bad stuff over the good stuff. Or I do and that’s something to work on next year

Going through the jar I realised:

  • I’ve repainted all the rooms in my house
  • I’ve re-furnished some parts with new carpets, mattresses and smaller items like replacing bins and lampshades
  • I finished my holistic courses
  • I restarted my degree and submitted my first assignment in 3 years
  • I started a business. While I decided I don’t have the time and energy to commit to it at present I’ve laid a good groundwork to pick it up when I am ready
  • While I’ve been on less trips this year I’ve been out more. I have had  a few drinking nights out which I’d stopped doing. I’e been back to concerts and even a TV taping.
  • While I didn’t get to go on a holiday I did get to have a few weekends away with friends
  • I won a number of competitions
  • And my friends have shown me nothing but love and support

All of which I am very grateful for.

So next year I will focus on trying to remember the good when I am feeling down and not keep it all locked in a jar. Doing a blog a day will probably help as I’ll be able to note it here. I feel like I’ve come through some big changes in life over the 12 months and so looking forward to growing further next year and counting more of all the things I’m grateful for

365 Day Blog challenge Day 20 – Favourite holiday 365daychallenge

Sticking with yesterdays holiday theme I thought I’d write about my favourite holiday. While I had been to Euro Disney in Paris (for 2 days) I went by coach and ferry and it didn’t feel like a trip abroad. So in time for my

30th birthday I packed up my young son and we went to San Francisco and Anaheim. At the time in the UK if you were a single traveller looking at a package deal you paid an extra supplement for being on your own. Travel agents then wanted to charge me further by adding in the cost of my son. So effectively I would pay for him as an adult. I decided to price up what I wanted on the internet and got my perfect holiday saving £1000!! As a single parent that’s a lot of money. So I had a week in San Francisco in the super hot June sunshine. We went to museums, shopped, my son got his first ever Build a Bear (it wasn’t available in the UK at the time or if it was at only a very few select places), we saw our first wrestling match after a shop keeper saw my son’s hat and told us about a show the next day. It was wonderful

 

A funny memory; our flight didn’t get us in until 10.00pm. We were tired and ready for the hotel after around 15 hours of flights and connections. Getting in the taxi to the hotel the song ‘Get Down Tonight’ started playing and totally unplanned we and our driver all started singing along and doing the same chair dancing! Just a funny, you had to be there moment I still think of.

 

The second week was Anaheim. Now in England we have a good infrastructure with trains even if it is over prices and some train companies always late. I assumed I’d find the same in America and could book my connection when I got there. Boy was I wrong. I  got my tickets for Amtrak (and quite cheap if I remember) but there was no direct train. We had to keep getting off the train and catching coaches so the journey would join up. And the trip took 13 hours. However this turned out to be a wonderful day. Whether bus or train we went through so much of California and got to (briefly) see places that we wouldn’t if we’d flown. I’m sure one stop was in the middle of a farm! We went through the mountains, fields, cities, by the sea and so much more.

 

So arriving in Anaheim. This was a week for my son. Nearly every day was a theme park – Disney, Knott’s Berry, Six Flags. The best bit was my 30th birthday. We spent the evening watching the firework display in the park pretending it was something Disney had put on especially for my day. I think it’s one of the best birthday’s I’ve ever had and the whole 2 weeks has stayed in my mind more than some of the more recent one. It’s a trip I will always treasure.

365 Day Blog challenge Day 19 – Disney Challenge #365daychallenge

Trying to think of some fun things to talk about so I don’t end up with 25 Christmas posts and something I saw on the internet was around something you want to achieve and I thought about Disney. I’ve been to three Disney Worlds/Lands in my time; Orlando, Anaheim and EuroDisney and one of the things I’d love to achieve before it ever became impossible was to visit every Disney in the world. So I knew there was Tokyo to do, Hong Kong and now the newest one Shanghai).

 

Those two feel more difficult. I once tried to price up Tokyo and it was quite expensive. I think as well they would all have to be self booked as I’ve yet to find a UK travel agent that would be able to put together a decent package. At the minute my finances won’t stretch to any of the more long distance sites so next year I’ll be going back to Paris. Hopefully once my finances are more secure (March 2020 and counting down!) I’ll have the funds to create the Asian trips and add in a few visits to the nearby cities as well.

 

It’s good to have a slightly impossible dream. It gives you something to aim for. I’d set myself a target of one of those by the time I’m 50 (5 years time) but I also want to go to Australia and new Zealand so I may have to do some prioritising. It’s fun to think about though. I’ve little bits of plans and I aim one day to tick at least one of those newer destinations off my list

 

Do you have any fun travel goals?

365 Day Blog challenge Day 18 – Alternative Christmas #365daychallenge

If you watch the adverts and programmes on television Christmas is a time for typical families with 2.4 children and it’s all happy, cosy and warm. The topic is all I’ve heard at work this morning. People hiding presents from their kids, Buddy the Elf, decorating the garden with Santa signs.

But as one colleague said they ‘don’t have a Santa Stop Here sign’ as they’re 36 and have no husband and kids’…

 

I’m in a Facebook group for singles and there’s been talk in there about many of them having no close family and so will be very lonely on 25th December. Now there is a difference between lonely and alone. Some people enjoy the quiet of the day and happily don’t celebrate it. But it can be a very depressing day for some. Suicide rates spike around this period.

 

For me I prefer things quiet. I visit my dad for an hour and swap presents with his family. My mum comes across for dinner but then goes again not long after leaving me and my adult son to laze around watching Xmas TV. We’ve done that for years and I quite like it. I would like to start sharing it with some significant other one day but it’s not a priority and doesn’t have any negative impact on my day. But for others it would.

 

So I guess it’s being aware of your surroundings. Do you have any single friends or those working away from families that you can offer support to for the main day? Or simply give them an hour and listen to them. It may just be as simple as that to keep the blues away.

 

If you are alone this Xmas then comedienne Sarah Millican has a twitter campaign #joinin to support those alone on Christmas Day. The singles group is planning a thread or posts doing something similar. So maybe see what’s going on in some of your own FB groups – even the ones you’ve ignored for months. It may make all the difference.

365 Day Blog challenge Day 17 – Christmas Movies 365daychallenge

Every Monday at work we have on our internal Social media page a question of the week. This week it’s ‘What is your favourite Christmas movie?’

I found this so hard to answer as while I do like Christmas I tend not to be a fan of Christmas films. In the UK we have entire channels playing these films 24/7 which I actively avoid so I found it hard to pick something and call it a favourite.

I do like Muppets Christmas Carol so maybe it’s that. I believe it sticks to Dickens book quite well and I love the mix of puppetry and acting. And the songs. I’m singing them as I type 🙂

I also like Scrooged as an alternative version. I love Bill Murray and the ending always makes me have a little cry when the boy speaks. This one I enjoy for the humour.

The rest? I can do without them. I appear to have a mini-theme as both films are based on the same book.

Maybe I am Bah Humbug. Or maybe I just have a different film taste to other people

So what is your favourite Christmas film? And more importantly is Die Hard a Christmas movie or not!