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.

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The Quiet Ones

The other day my manager called me ‘quiet’. I took huge umbrage with it. I’m not quiet ask anyone. I did – that night I met 5 good friends for a meal and mentioned it. They laughed… a lot…

You’re not quiet. Where did she get that idea from???

But it’s made me think. I’ve written in some earlier blogs about how being in debt robbed me of my self esteem and I stopped going out and socialising. It also seems that I stopped talking to people. The friends above I’ve known since we all started working together 8 years ago. My best friend I’ve only known 4 years. I made a friend at work when I started my new job 10 months ago (although we were stuck together on a training course in the middle of nowhere with nothing to do except talk to each other).

So somewhere over the last 2 and a half years I’ve stopped sharing to new people. Old friends know me and my depression and can spot up and down swings and know how to work within that. New people don’t and low self esteem issues have meant I’ve not even bothered.

In the spirit of positivity and because I have to start going out (but cheaply) more I joined a new book club. And it was excruciating…well for me no idea about the others. I didn’t say a whole lot and when people shared what they do for example run some blogs where I could have said ‘Oh me too…’ and moved a conversation forward my brain went ‘oh no you can’t say that they’ll think you’re competing’…..

Aargh

It’s ok I have given myself a big kick for that.

My boss is a big fan of ‘So what?’…so what are you gonna do about it? I started by telling people about my weekend, I shared holiday chats with the big boss. I told her about enjoying art galleries and history. I texted everyone I know that I lost 4lb in my first week at weightwatchers. And a few other bits and pieces. I don’t think I overdid it. And I’ll never be an over-sharer with personal stuff (I hate that on Facebook )

But I’m going with the new thought of telling people stuff…any stuff and if they don’t like it…tough. I’m also going back to bookclub. A different one but same book shop as they run a few (the one from last week isn’t on again until August but I’ll be there also) and I’m going to speak up. I can deliver presentations to groups of people who hate the government I work for without batting an eyelid so I can have a go at letting people get to know me. I can only try.

 

So I’m sharing and then people will see what my old friends already know….

I’m not bloody quiet

(P.S….there’s nothing wrong with being quiet as a natural state 🙂 )

2017 – Be Excellent to Each Other

I saw an article yesterday that said 130 celebrities had died this year. I may be riddled with flu but I was stuck naming more than a handful besides the few that died this week. I’ve seen arguments on both sides about how much grief one should have about a celeb death and how much with that grief has.

On the other side, sadly I can name more than a handful on my Facebook friends list who have lost family and close friends (and I’m including the pets in this) which is  a bit more close to home.  While it’s sad for anyone to die these mean more to me because I’m seeing my friends (no matter how long it’s been since I saw them last) suffer.

Facebook and Twitter seem to be awash with negativity and various polls, elections and votes have given results that have stirred up anger even more to the point that people are viewing this as one of the worst years ever. I’ve seen the twitter posts stating 1939-1945 were probably worse which is right but sometimes I think of social media as a hive mind of doom. Bad news and misery seems to be following us everywhere. There was a twitter moment regarding some good things that happened in 2016 (mostly animals coming off the endangered species) but in less than 48 hours it’s gone and we’re back to misery and political tit-tat.

We really need to kinder to each other. It doesn’t matter if you weren’t best friends with a celeb, if their lives touched you grieve away. Better than keeping the crap bottled up and struggling. If you don’t like it, unfollow that person on FB for a few weeks. Then let it all go back to normal. Let’s help each other out. If someone is upset (for any reason) give them a hug; offer them tea or just sit and chat. As someone who has suffered with depression for many years sometimes this is all a person needs.

And then maybe we can spread that to people outside our social circle. But in the secret altruistic spirit of George Michael let’s not tell anyone! Don’t tell us you gave Bob the homeless guy you’re filled free coffee coupon. Post some articles or write a blog on the plight of the homeless instead. Don’t tell us about your volunteering somewhere – raise the profile of that charity instead. Let’s share the different ways to volunteer and help people rather than making it all about us.

(However if you’re after the money for charity, promote away. I may be doing that again if I decide to do the St Gemma’s Midnight walk again.)

We need to make 2017 a year where we’re not counting down the hours wishing it to end but one filled with as much positivity as possible that we’d be quite happy to do all over again the following year.

Let’s just be excellent to each other x

Achievement Jar

About 18 months ago after a bit of sulking on how my life was going I decided to keep an achievements jar rather than a gratitude jar. I’ve emptied it today to free it up for my 2017 goals and thought I;d take a look at what I’ve done

Self Employment

I’ve given some thought (and written a few blogs) on setting up as self employed. I was pretty much ready to go then got a promotion in my day job so decided to put everything on hold to get to grips with the one that pays my wages. Hopefully at some point in 2017 I’ll revisit as everything is set up to do so and I enjoy it.

I found in the jar:

  • I qualified as a EFT therapist
  • I qualified as a crystal therapist
  • I qualified as a Angelic Reiki therapist
  • I’ve almost finished both my Business/Life Coach diploma and when I find some enjoyment again for it my hypnotherapist diploma.
  • I’ve started a course in CBT
  • My house was redecorated to enable me to work from home. I got the insurance and all the equipment.
  • I got a promotion.

There are also some Get Out of Debt achievements in the jar:

  • I gave my debts to Stepchange and set up a repayment plan
  • I read Marie Kondo’s de-cluttering book and too action by de-cluttering the house. I went through my precious bookcases and gave up any book that I did not love and would not read again, I traded them in and used the money to pay towards bills
  • I did the same with the shed and my wardrobes. I took part in a number of car boot sales and made myself a little money.

It’s not a huge list but it’s still god to be able to look back and see some of the good things I worked on in the last year. I’m looking forward to seeing what will go in the jar in 2017

Getting out more…

A few months ago I decided I needed to get out more. I’d just got a new job with a bit of extra cash and so it seemed like a good idea to re-start life in a few different ways. 

Well so far I’ve mostly pottered around the country; sometimes through wortk and sometimes through coach trips but that’s it. I’ve done nothing else. Looking back at various things I’d done over the last few years I realised I’ve only been to the cinema four times in two years. For someone who used to go twice a week that just shocking. Actually twice a week is shocking too but I had a monthly pass so got my monies worth (or not depending on the film) but I digress.

It’s all got me thinking – what is “getting out more”? Tweny years ago this woud mean more pubs and drinking and while I still could do with some of that I want to talk to people, meet new people and chat in a  civilised manner. So how do I do that in this age of technology and people being more interested in their phones (or so it seems). Therein lies my problem. 

I’ve made it my mission to see at least 6 films at the cinema next year. That won’t fix the problem but it’s better than waiting for DVDs and just talking to myself. I have a few female friends who will happily sit in pubs on their own with a drink and a book. I’m the type of person who won’t go in a pub unless  know someone else is there already. I was that fashionably late person for years for that very reason. So start small; baby steps – I will spend more time in coffee shops looking cool, mysterious but approachable 🙂 And probably not my local supermarket cafe or Mcdonalds. Not being snobbish but it’s not normally the place for lounging away an afternoon even if their teas are cheaper. 

I’ve also been looking through our sport and social catalogue. I’ve found a craft club which looks interesting but I carry enough junk around with me on a working day without adding knitting needles and wool. That’s a maybe. Then right at the bottom I saw we have a dance group! I do love me some Strictly Come Dancing so I’ve emailed them to see what kind f dancing and is there any lessons. Now though is it “getting out more” if it’s still on work premises?? Do I have to revise my wording? 

I was going to some book clubs but had to give them up as they clash with my new work hours. I might look for another one or maybe I’ll reset up an old one I used to do with a friend. I haven’t looked into that properly yet. But what else? What do people do these days??? Time to get my thinking cap on. Any ideas most welcome

How work and debt can ruin self esteem

I’ve recently been trying to work out why my self esteem is low and how to re-build it. I couldn’t think of one particular obvious trigger that set it off so I revisited some old blogs and diary pages to see where things went wrong.

I’ve decided now it’s a combination of several terrible (previous) bosses and my debt issues. I’ve written before about recently gaining a promotion and the traumas of the 2 years before that. I was angry at the world when I applied. I was in a lot of pain, I felt no one was listening to me and had finally been put in a position where I felt I was going backwards professionally. My goal had been to write my competencies, try them out on a few applications and then use the feedback to try again. My esteem was low enough that it never occurred to me that I was good enough to get the first one I applied for and that’s exactly what happened.

Life has done a complete 180 since. I’m in a team where development is key; people listen and encourage and let you have the training your request. Frankly it scares the shit out of me. Suddenly instead of fighting to prove myself someone believes me up front and I’ve been terrified of getting it wrong.

I am calming down. It’s been three months, I’m still here and working on projects that I enjoy, travelling and meeting lots of new people. Some of my favourite things. I’m slowly starting to accept I’m where I should be.

It’s also led to a few other self revelations. During a three week training course awy from home we ate out as you have to do, we had drinks in the pub and a good laugh and it made me realise I’ve stopped going out. Yes I have days out & a monthly meal out ( see my other blog travelpalooza.wordpress.com) but I couldn’t tell you the last time I went to see a gig, had a girls night out and I think I’ve only been to the cinema once this year.Or simply sat in the pub with a friend. I’m in serious danger of turning into a hermit.

A lot of that is down to debt. First I was in an absolute mess trying to balance everything (and failing) and now I have a debt plan. It leaves me with a limited amount of cash each month. Scared of making an even bigger mess I’ve simply stopped doing anything. I don’t have enough to go out on the town several nights a week but I can do more.

Having little money though does affect your esteem. Not being able to join in you start to feel your not worthy enough to be part of anything. Especially if you already had mental health problems. Turning events down because it might mean a new dress and you can’t do it and the ones you have don’t fit any more. Or because you’re sick of being the only one nursing a pint of diet coke all night as that’s all you can do.

Don’t get me wrong. I got into this mess, I’m working on getting out of it but it destroys so many things.

Having the promotion I still have a debt plan to pay but I have enough left now to do little things. I can sit in the pub for a few hours with a friend and have more than diet coke. I’ve started wanting to feel better about myself and my appearance rather than not caring. The other week I out my earrings in for the first time in a couple of years and wearing a bit of make up. Hopefully I can make some more changes. I’m not going to be shopping in Gucci but I can buy a few more clothes that make me feel good about myself.I feel like I’m finally going forwards in life and it feels good

New job, new positivity

I am now two and a half weeks into my new promotion. And what a difference those 12 (working) days have made! The funny thing is way back when I wasn’t even sure if I should put the application in my self esteem and motivation was that low. However I also knew that the only way to change the situation I was in was to push myself; put the application in and see what the feedback was and act on it. Luckily for me the feedback was a new job.

I’ve spent so many years being told that things cannot happen for ‘business reasons’ (such as sideways moves). It’s very hard to get out of my old job unless you are promoted. But here in my new place they actively encourage changing teams to prevent boredom and stagnation. In the first 3 hours of my new job my manager was discussing the best way to get competencies for the NEXT promotion.

And that’s where the biggest change has come from. I feel like I’ve gone from small to big thinking. Whereas this promotion seemed half impossible and if achieved possibly my ceiling. Now I’m at the bottom of the next ladder looking up at so many choices. Yet I’m actually still working for the same company.

I’ve also felt motivated to do some more things for myself. There’s a gym and swimming pool onsite that I will look into once I finish a training course that will take me away from home until the end of October. I’ve put my name down to join a walking group. I try and walk 8000 steps a day as a minimum and have always fancied ‘proper’ walking so figured why not?? There’s also a knit n natter group for my more crafty side.

And to capitalise on my new big thinking I’ve joined the works library (based in London – they post the books to you) and got my first coaching book on mistakes women make that sabotage their careers. Yes careers – I have one and want to push it further which seemed impossible six months ago.

It’s astonishing what change can bring when you let go and decide to see what happens.