note to self, caffeine is nat my friend

It’s 2.30 AM in Melbourne and I feel like I have taken drugs. I had 2 coffees today (almond lattes, so Melbs) one at 4 PM (great idea) and I don’t know why I did. Caffeine always makes me feel a bit weird and wired but every day I somehow forget and get one. I think in part from addiction, in part to be social at work and in part because my monkey mind convinces me each day to just have a coffee and not over think it.

I’m going to set the intention now to cut out caffeine. I’m naturally quite a rushy person so I don’t even need it as a pick me up I just like the taste and as per above I’m addicted, but I don’t think it is worth the anxiety, sleeplessness and wired feeling…. I mean why do I do this to myself?

Lets see if posting this publicly helps me stick to this intention!

Night night… (fingers crossed)

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End of year review

So I had my end of the year review today at work. It has been 13 months since I moved to Australia from London and I have been in my job for 11 of those. I can honestly say I love it.

Things I love about it:

I walk a casual 15 minutes over a bridge and I am at work. I mean, it’s the dream!

I feel so supported here, my boss is a sweetie and we have a funny little team. It’s me and 4 guys, all quite quiet and on the introverted side, but we get on and it is a nice working environment.

I feel safe. When I ran my own company I think I was living in fear of something going wrong, that we’d run out of money or I would mess up. It has taken me a while, but my boss is encouraging me to try things out and not be afraid to fail. It’s so nice feeling like you have a safety net and everything will be okay.

When the shit hit the fan in my personal life 3 months ago (when I came out to my parents) my boss and colleagues were here and unjudging. My natural attitude is not to share too much at work, but I broke down one day after I received a nasty message from my Mum and they told me they are my Melbourne family and support me. I felt so touched by their response and it is liberating to feel I can be 100% myself, be vulnerable and not have a personal and work face.

The actual work is creative and interesting (I’m head of Marketing and Branding for a health start up), although we have had set backs this year (tricky staff, website issues, product issues…) I still enjoy what we are doing day to day and I am excited for 2018. Although things haven’t happened as fast as I might like this year (because I’m a rushy perfectionist who wants everything to happen now) we have learnt a lot and I think in the long run we will be in a stronger position.

 

What I don’t like and how I am going to turn these don’t likes into likes. 

It can be a very small environment with just the 5 of us and I am the only girl. Sometimes I miss more interaction especially as I am in a city where I still don’t have ‘heaps’ (Aussie language pick up) of friends.

I have joined quite a social gym where it is easy to meet and chat to people. I think being in that environment doing HIIT work outs which really get your energy raised, and where I have made a few friends, balances out the quieter work environment. 

It is very autonomous which is great but I have to be very self accountable and trust myself. There isn’t really anyone mentoring or teaching me and I am only 29 and want to keep learning.

I try and set myself a MIT (Most Important Task) each day which I try to achieve above emails so I feel I am making progress towards our bigger goals and have a sense of accomplishment. In the new year I am also going to look to compliment my work alongside reading/podcasts/short courses (in Branding and Writing initially) so I can keep learning and start to be more assertive. 

In a general sense, being more assertive in who I am, what I like and don’t like, at home and in my work ability is going to be my area of focus in the New Year. I’m naturally quite a quiet people pleaser and I don’t like to make a fuss but I’m slowly learning it is okay to be different and be myself as long as my intentions are in the right place.

 

 

Learning to relax

I have realised that I have been living in fast forward a bit recently. Becoming a bit obsessed with getting up, going to the gym, being busy, my to do list, re writing my to do list. I suddenly realised that I’ve had a sore throat for a few weeks and felt pretty ill so yesterday I made myself come home from work and sit and do nothing.

Today I took the day off, and made myself relax, watch TV, not go to the gym, not to over eat to fill the discomfort and uncertainty of doing nothing and just being at home with my thoughts.

I binge watched Pretty Little Lies (so great!) and Wonder Women. Saw myself getting distracted by my phone, tinder, whatsapp, grasping for peanut butter, (which I gave into twice).

It’s now 5.30 and I am feeling a bit more relaxed and at home in myself without the distractions of busyness, but it’s hard. Being aware of my grasping mind and meeting it with amusement rather than annoyance or self criticism is what seems to help.

I think I’ll go into work tomorrow but try and not go to the gym and let myself rest (and not add a layer of guilt over that). I’m going to try and work without constantly checking Facebook and my phone as a distraction too. Lets see how I go!

Putting something out there

Someone said, create more than you consume. 

I want to. But I don’t know where to start. I like to write but I don’t know what I want to say, but I feel like I have something to say. I feel like I am working stuff out. 2 steps forward 1.5 steps back maybe. So for now, I think I’ll just post, a brain dump, online diary. And try and not over think it or over worry about it.

 

Losing and finding presence

When I started meditating and once it had become a daily (ish) habit, I think the hardest thing to get my head around was the realisation of how many times looking back I wasn’t present in life and a sadness at how I had essentially missed out on connection and life. There’s also a day to day struggle,  when I know I am lost in thought or anxiety and still unable to be present and really myself.

It is hard not to feel sad and also angry at myself but I try to offer myself compassion, give myself a break and appreciate that it isn’t easy and it is a journey of one step back two steps forward.

I find I get quite anxious and unpresent (?) in crowded spaces, big groups and at the gym. I still get lost in my head and anxious in these situations but I am working through it and seeing those environments that are difficult to me as challenges to face up to. Focussing on my breath going in and out of my nostrils helps and picturing myself in those environments before I get there, how I will act and respond also helps. Maybe pushing myself to say hello to someone or really feel a sense of awareness in my body before I get somewhere.

It’s a work in progress 🙂

Letting go of bitterness

As a person I don’t tend to hold on to ill feelings and I assume the best in other people although I am critical of myself.

It is funny for me now though, as I have realised that my aspects of my childhood weren’t as rosy as I remember and I’m feeling anger and bitterness for the first time. I felt I was so lucky and I couldn’t complain as I grew up with two parents and we always did nice things. But, I can see now that the relationship I had with my Mum wasn’t always perfect. We were more like friends, she over confided in me and inadvertently turned me against my brother and father who caused her problems. I was always on team Mum and I think our closeness, which lacked a parent – child separation led me to act how she might want me to act over the years. Now I am being more authentic to myself and she doesn’t like that and has turned on me. I can suddenly see that my memory of growing up isn’t quite what I had always assumed.

As well as the sadness of our deteriorating relationship, I feel sad for the lack of relationship I have had with my brother and father over the years and I feel sad for myself as a child who was taken in and influenced so greatly by my mum.

I want to try and let go of this sadness, bitterness and anger which I have found and focus on the now and the future. Reach out and build my relationships with my brother and father and re define my relationship with my mother. I don’t want to shut her out as she tried her best, it definitely wasn’t all bad and is a fragile human like all of us at the end of the day.

I will strive to accept the past both positive and negative, not dwell on these feelings but not shut them either.

‘Home’

I landed back in Australia on Saturday night after a 5 week trip home to the UK. The departure terminal changed at Heathrow and I had to rush with all my bags on the tube as the trains were cancelled. There was then a 3 hour delay in Kuala Lumpur airport and I landed late. I think I slept for about 2 hours on the second flight. I travelled back to my flat share where my flat mates who I met a few months ago were out. I unpacked my suitcase and got into bed.

I was very much alone and felt alone after a tense trip home where my Mum can barely look me in the eye as she is so hurt that I have chosen to live in Australia despite seeing how happy I am. [Literally probably for a year or two but from her reaction you would think I had signed a 20 year ‘sentence’]. I no longer felt at home at my parent’s home and that is a sad thought as we have always been close.

I moved here because my gut was telling me too, I enjoy travelling and meeting new people and I have a job here I enjoy. I don’t have many friends (I can count them on one hand) but the friends I do have are awesome and supportive. I like my flat and flatmates, I like where I work and get my coffee. I walk 15 minutes to work over a bridge and sometimes there are hot air balloons in the morning. I play tennis and will sign up to some more lessons and I would like to join a meditation group and do some more hiking at weekends.

It’s a much simpler set up to what I had in London and I have no family here. But, deep down I am at peace with what I am doing and happier than I have ever been. You can’t live for other people or what you should do, I have learnt that you can be happy anywhere as long as you are happy in your Self. I am my own home away from home and think that is pretty cool.

Stoicism short video

Love this video. Out of everything I have read in the past two years I have found the philosophy of stoicism the most practically useful in helping me deal with life struggles and change how I perceive them.

[I wrote this post about how I have used stoicism this year.]

Emotionally sensitive

I’ve realised that I am always very aware of people around me and very sensitive to their emotions. It’s nice as I find I am very able to relate to people without really trying too, but it is also quite exhausting when you are around lots of people and I find that emotions can rub off on me and I can get self conscious easily.

Last night I had a lovely, relaxed dinner and stayed the night with my best friend and her parents who I have known for my whole life and live on a farm down the road. They are so relaxed in each others company and in themselves. There is no rush to get dinner ready, no plan for the evening and no awkwardness when there are natural pauses in the conversation.

Being in my home, where my parents constantly bicker, if you are late for dinner you get yelled at and my mum is always worrying about something in the future, there isn’t usually a great sense of ease. I can see how it directly creates a sense of anxiety in myself and I start to shallow breathe. Usually I try and soothe any tensions with chit chat and small talk.

Just being aware of my hyper sensitivity to emotions like this, which perhaps stem from growing up in said home environment with lots of dominant characters, helps me not get so caught in it and almost step back and witness any feelings of anxiety. I am then in a better position to try to relax in myself and my body regardless of what is going on around me.

Overall, I think if I build on being more present with my emotional sensitivity, it can be a positive personality attribute which will help me be more receptive and approachable in life. The key will be having that awareness of my emotions so I can use them positively rather than let them control me.

Being okay with being selfish

My parents, both intentionally and unintentionally, make me feel guilty for moving to Australia. They don’t understand or support the decision. My Mum says she feels like I am punishing her by choosing to move away and no longer asks me about my life. Sadly, I can now see that it is this ego centric attitude which probably led me to want to be away to some extent as I am aware of the influence she has on me back home and I find it easier to be myself away. Also though, it is my life and it doesn’t have to be the end of the world me being in Australia. I am happy and have a great job there, they should be proud and happy for me and not try and influence my life by how it affects theres. It is hard and painful when you know you are causing pain to those around you by being yourself and doing what suits you, but I do believe it is more important to be true and authentic for yourself as only by being kind and valuing yourself can you begin to help those around you and lead a happy, true and full life. If someone relies on you for their happiness, that is their issue they need to overcome and learn to be happy in themselves. At the moment I have daily guilt over my decision, but I am sticking with it as deep down this feels right for me and I know I haven’t done anything wrong. (repeat 10 times)