Lost in my 30’s

Hi there, and thanks for checking out my blog. I decided to write this because I keep thinking that I know where I’m headed and then something sends me wildly off course. For example: I have been working towards healthy living for a couple years now, but that morning tea or extra glass of wine will always find its way into my hand… and then, of course, once I start I can’t stop. I have no self-control so moderation – that beautiful ‘key’ that is discussed on all diet, health, and fitness websites – goes straight out the window.

Or how about my track record with relationships? I thought I was doing it right: I found the right man and (quite literally) moved across the world to make it work, only to find out that he was not the right man at all. I ended a 6.5 year relationship only 2 months before my 30th birthday and though I couldn’t have been happier with that decision, it left me wondering if that was my only chance. My dating track record ever since does lead me to believe that maybe the wrong man is the only kind of man out there.  Then I still find myself reading about the success stories of online dating and think maybe – maybe – the next one won’t show up being 10 years older than his photo, or won’t tell me I owe him a beer for making him take the bus to meet me… maybe. There were one or two nice ones too, but if spitting wine all over the table and his shirt (oh right, I’m also super clumsy) didn’t have him running for the hills, well, I don’t know what would.

So this has brought me to blogging. The way I see it is that I can’t possibly be alone in these experiences, trying and failing at daily self-improvements while barely holding onto a moderately successful career and constantly fighting the social pressures that told me I should be married with kids by now. But that’s not me. I’m a traveller with very different priorities to most people, trying to find contentment in a ‘normal’ life. So here’s what really happens when you try: to live as a vegetarian (that lasted 2 days) or a minimalist (still working on it) or try meditating on the bus (DO NOT fall asleep, trust me).

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Today’s a bad one in my 30’s

Since last Tuesday I’ve been pretty good at taking it one day at a time. I’ve been watching what I eat, trying to get more active, and have cut back on the alcohol – a bit. I still drink everyday but I’m actually only having 1-3 drinks as opposed to lying about it or justifying filling a wine glass to the brim as ‘it’s technically just 1 glass’. I’ve been out to the beach, and visiting with friends, and healthily caring for myself mentally. This morning I was just telling my mom how good I felt and how I felt that I was rebuilding some of my resilience to deal with stress.

And then I got a call with more bad news from home and I find myself sitting here with no idea what to do. Do I book the next flight out? Do I wait and hope for the best? It’s one of the many difficulties about living far away from home. Ultimately my entire life boils down to this simple equation: does the value outweigh the cost? And everytime I feel like I’m making a stride in the right direction, there’s another road block that sends me right back to where I was. My goodness this is one hell of a battle to get out of my spiral!

I would like to start by saying family will always outweigh anything in my books, but the question is not that cut and dry. If I go there, then I can help out while my dad is in hospital and my stepmom is sick and my mom is recovering from her surgery… but dad’s in hospital so doesn’t need any help that a nurse can’t offer. Mom’s at home and on the mend with a doting husband caring for her (yes, she found the dream!) so again I can’t offer much assistance. And my stepmom is the one who desperately needs help, but her own daughter lives about 150kms away while I find myself literally across the world… so how do I justify going to help out when no one actually needs my help?

Then there’s the mental health aspect of it. It would be great to see my parents and for them both to see me… but they would want to entertain me or go out or cook for me, etc which I wouldn’t allow… and that would cause them no end of grief internally that they are the helpless ones while I’m caring for them. They’re both in their 50’s and being so sick is new – especially to my dad, so while he loves catering and hosting and cooking for everyone else, he’s impossible to sit still and let others care for him. He’s really struggling, today especially, with all that’s going on, but keeps telling me not to worry and so I haven’t told him that I’d like to come home if even just to see him when he gets out of hospital. Mentally I’m not sure if it would do more harm than good for them, so while I know it’s what I want and what would help me through this time, I’m still not sure it’s the right decision.

Add on to all the other factors: the season. It’s nearing Christmas meaning flights are more expensive, and the weather is currently awful where I’m from apparently. That mix of snow and then rain has caused a wet cold mess of a winter so far… which leads to potential flight changes, etc. adding to the potential concerns of how many days off I would need to get home.

Days off… I have none to take as paid annual leave so everything would be taken as unpaid leave. I would need about 3-3.5 weeks to stay just past Christmas (because why go all the way there to leave 2 days before all the family events), so that’s 3 weeks of pay that I would miss, on top of a very expensive flight (holidays + last minute = ridiculous cost!). I just don’t know if I can afford that if not absolutely necessary. Even if I budget as best as possible, I’m still looking at an $8,000 expense.

So does the value of this trip outweigh the costs? I’m not sure and that’s why I’m so conflicted. I’m barely holding it together here and while I try to find a cheaper alternative, I have to admit that I don’t see one. 😦 So an $8,000 bill at the end of all of this is a hefty price tag if dad recovers in the next couple days – which we are all optimistically hoping for. But what if he doesn’t? What if I miss my last chance to see him all because I was trying to save money? It doesn’t sound like it’s immediately life-threatening, but that could change over night and I won’t have time to get there. I just don’t want to wait until it’s too late. But again, the stress of that financial burden would be a lot for me to handle when I’m so emotionally fragile to begin with.

My anxiety is so overrun with the what-ifs of every possible scenario that I have no idea how to even begin to tackle it. I literally just want to go home to bed, and it’s only 2:30 in the afternoon. I feel like a deer caught in headlights and completely incapable of moving. This decision has far surpassed any I feel capable of making at this point.

The day I snapped in my 30’s

Ever wake up in such a mood that nothing can change it? That’s me today. But I can’t explain it. I’m angry, motivated, annoyed, upset, frustrated… and all with myself. It was my birthday last week so I’m officially 32 years old and you know what? So far it’s no better than 31! Since writing ‘Trainwrecked’ I have continued on that path, despite making some positive changes so here’s a few updates:

Relationships – Steve is nowhere to be found, as I expected (or as a result of my actions, who knows at this point). I think I might be starting to date someone else though, but I’m not really interested – it’s just that he’s a) not married (that one kept messaging me until I snapped at him to stop), b) not in a relationship (that one got mad at me because I didn’t make myself available to him for a bootycall – whatever bro, I’m really not interested in being ‘the other woman’) and c) no one better is knocking down my door at the moment. That’s sad isn’t it?

Health – I still drink too much, eat like crap, and don’t sleep well. The doctor has put me on a new antidepressant and that seems to have helped me adjust somewhat, so that’s something positive at least admidst the constant heartburn, bloating, back/knee/neck pain and headaches.

Weight – heavier than I’ve ever been – EVER. I feel awful daily. My colleague asked me if my asthma was acting up yesterday because I was so puffed coming up the stairs. I was embarrassed because I knew the real reason but did that stop me from eating leftover cake for dinner? No it did not. So something’s gotta change!

Work – I’ve managed to attend daily (or otherwise have a Dr’s note for it), which is great, but I don’t get much done while I’m at work. And now I’m being bullied by the office bitch. He’s the cattiest person I know and I have no idea what I did to get on his radar, because he used to act like we were besties. I’d seen this happen before so I knew not to trust him, but it still sucks that I have to come in to snide remarks and bullying every day.

Family – my dad’s in ICU right now but he remains stable with a good prognosis for the moment. My mom got out of surgery and is home recovering now so again, good news.

If I’m being honest, my trainwrecking spiral started when my mom was diagnosed with cancer. My dad was in and out of hospital for a couple months and then was finally given the all clear… a week later mom has cancer. They’re divorced so let me add here as well that my stepmom (married to my dad for the last 22 years and the majority of my life) is battling terminal cancer at the moment, going through her third round of chemo while she cares for him. And my mom’s husband of 3 months lost his previous wife to a long and difficult battle against cancer about 3 years ago. If ever there was a time to scream ‘life’s not fair’ at the top of my lungs, this would be it.

So there’s a bit of a backstory for the last month or so… now I come to today. I get up this morning having slept through 3 of my 4 alarms (yes, this is my life now), and realise I have no time for a morning workout. So day 2 and I’ve fallen off the wagon. I’m instantly annoyed. It’s also the day I told myself I would weigh myself because I haven’t in a while and I need to know where I stand to get myself back on track. So I do. and I weigh in at 92.2kgs. I’m shocked. Not only have I breached 90kgs, I’ve also breached 200lbs! No wonder I sound like an asthmatic when I’m breathing. When I saw that, something just snapped and I realised I can’t keep living like this. I’ve never been a small person, but I’ve gained about 35lbs (16kgs) since last year. I’m uncomfortable and can’t manage the activities I used to very well. Squats hurt my knees. Biking hurts my knees. Walking hurts my feet. Boxing hurts my back… the list is endless and I know it’s all the same issue: I weigh too much for my stature right now, and I put it all on way too fast to cope with. So I know the issue : great. Doesn’t fix it though does it?

I know not all of my issues stem from my weight, but a lot of them do (confidence, self-love, health, etc. will all improve if I can lose some of this excess), so that’s my focus from now on. I am back on the ‘lose-weight’ track and I hope that this time I will be able to stay on it for more than a day or two! I need to change something and at least this, of all the rest that is happening in my life, is in my control.

So, here I am, divulging a bunch of personal details on the internet, so I might as well take that one step further and make a pledge to action: I will change my habits starting today (not tomorrow, not Monday, today!) and I will lose weight.

Trainwrecked in my 30’s

Here’s what happens when my anxiety takes over and I don’t get a hold of it in time; let’s call it a few weeks of ‘irresponsibility’… drinking too much, ‘enjoying’ (term used liberally in this context) single life a bit too much, giving in to youthful temptations rather than adult responsibilities, forgetting daily requirements in lieu of reckless behaviours… and then what happens at the end of it? The dreadful aftermath of “what was I thinking?” sunk in yesterday, only for me to realise that a few weeks of acting recklessly has cost me invaluably and will now take me a lot of time and self-loathing to get over. In the last three weeks, I’ve singlehandedly destroyed all my previous goals and any potential development oppotunities:

Health-wise, I’ve been blind drunk on five occassions during this time, drinking (even if in moderation) every day except for one in three weeks), and I haven’t eaten a single home-cooked meal in three weeks. I’ve been snacking relentlessly at work or at home in the evenings, and I’ve only made it to the gym about once a week. I have plenty of excuses for this – I’m stressed, I’m busy, I’m injured, whatever… but the ultimate result is the same: I feel physically ill and have gained 2.5kgs back of the 4.4kgs I’d worked so hard to lose – which, of course, will take three times that time to lose again. I’m not sleeping well, I’m exhausted and I have a lot of muscle aches from the singular workouts I have been doing because I seem to be ‘making up for lost time’ and pushing myself way too hard to try to rid myself of the guilt. I’m dehydrated, bloated, depressed and unable to keep up with my usual activities without difficulty – which further enhances the depression. I’ve stopped seeing a counsellor as she said she thinks ‘I’m armed with the tools to manage my stress’ – great, but I need to actually apply them – no?

Work-wise, I didn’t show up to work one day and then two days after that I went out at lunchtime and just didn’t return. I’ve been looking on job sites, dreaming of holidays or a new job, and have been lying to myself when I say I’m trying to focus but can’t because of *insert excuse here*. The only thing that gets me excited is payday, and I’ve lost a will to actually do the job that I love because I’m being jerked around with my contract at the moment. I usually have a very strong work ethic and this is very difficult for me to reconcile, but I’m currently so far behind my schedule that it’s terrifying to even look at my to-do list. So again, such a short time to let it all fall, and I have such a long battle to get back on top of it all.

Financially, I don’t even want to admit how much food, booze and frivolity have been charged to my credit card right now. What I will say is that I’m hanging out for payday and I will be needing a fairly stringent budget to recover in the next few months.

Relationship-wise, here’s where my mental health has been affected the most. I’ve gone on four dates and think I might be leading on a friend by accident. Stepping back to the first week of this three week disaster, the first date I reference here resulted in getting blind drunk and taking this man home because we were getting along so well and he was saying all the right things… needless to say, I never heard from him again and I felt pretty foolish. Then half a week later, I got blind drunk with a mate and ended up hooking up with him again (yes, it’s happened before) – again, not my finest moment. I’ve been told by onlookers that this friend has a thing for me, so, while in that state I don’t have all my faculties about me and I did not instigate anything at all, I still feel bad for his feelings.

I then decide to avoid men for a while because this behaviour is uncharacteristic for me, but this resolve wanes about a week later in another fit of alcoholism. I go back online, start talking to someone, Steve, that sparks a really great connection and then go on two dates with him. Turns out I actually really like Steve and would like to keep dating him, but I let my anxiety get in the way when I didn’t hear from him in a day (yes, a WHOLE day… I know it was an overreaction), and so, in the second to most recent blind-drunk state, I convince myself that nothing will happen with Steve and instead, made out with a random person in a parking lot – who turned out to be married (again, I was NOT the instigator but yes, I feel awful). Steve then messages me again later that night and every day since but since I’m still convinced that he’s not interested, I start talking to a previous fling, who asks to set up a friends with benefits situation. I’m considering this when he tells me that he’s now seeing someone and hopes that won’t be a problem. I was first floored by this and then so thankful that I dodged that bullet previously! What is it about me that attracts unavailable men? I know I’m doing the repelling all on my own in relation to the good ones, but how do people think it’s ok to cheat on someone? And why with me?!?! I have digressed a bit here…

Back to the story, Steve, who is still messaging me daily but not very often, asks if he’s done something wrong… since I have convinced myself he isn’t as keen as I am (thanks anxiety), I figure I have nothing to lose and tell him I’m upset about something he said (which was true, but still, it’s way too early to have that conversation) – he’s of course floored that I would be so grumpy about such a small thing. Anxiety, you suck! I figure all is lost and agree to go on a date with another man which ended up being the most boring date imaginable and resulted in me sorely regretting having been such a basket case to Steve. I have managed to sabotage any potential there, while leading myself down a garden path with a bunch of men I’m not even interested in so that I can grasp whatever attention is thrown my way while I mope about Steve not being interested. Sidenote: Steve is still messaging me and will be calling me tonight apparently, this is ALL my anxiety talking. And yet, just because I’m aware of that, doesn’t make it any easier to handle at the moment.

Here’s when it hits me and I recognise the depressing results of all the damage I’ve done in only three weeks:

Yesterday, I was swimming at the beach alone when I got caught in a rip. I’ve never been in that situation before and I was very fortunate to remember what to do. By the time I got back to the beach, my bathers were askew enough for me to lose my dignity as well, and I was so exhausted it was hard going to even walk the beach back to where I’d put my stuff. I sat down about 10 minutes later, still huffing and puffing, and thought what just happened. I could have died. I was too hungover, arrogant (I’d been warned not to go in), distracted and reckless to actually recognise the danger I’d put myself in; and nearly too unfit to get myself out of it. Despite wanting to get home asap, I sat there shaking on the beach for half an hour until I’d calmed myself enough to drive home. It gave me a bit of time for reflection on what had just happened, but also I’d been doing for the last three weeks. On the way I stopped at the grocery store and once I got home, I did the last 3 weeks worth of laundry, dishes, vaccuuming, etc. I cooked lunches for the week and reflected on how far I’d fallen in three mere weeks considering the goals I’d created and set my mind to so recently. My mental health, confidence, physical health, bank account, work ethic, feeling of self-worth, pride… it’s all shot. My birthday is next week, maybe I’ll be able to accomplish something greater in my next year on this Earth because this is not a good feeling. I’m sinking; I’m drowning.

This is not where I want to be.

Worried in my 30’s

It’s been a few weeks since my last post and I have to admit, it’s because I’ve been dealing with a difficult situation. My mom was supposed to be visiting me at the end of this week. Instead, she was told that she has cancer and needs immediate surgery. Just like that, I was heartbroken, stressed, and not sleeping. This news came a week after my dad was let out of the hospital, having had life-threatening complications from a routine surgery, and at the same time that I was invited to sit 4 very difficult and very important assessments for a potential career move that I’ve been working towards for almost a year. A week after the news of my mom’s cancer, I find out that my step mom’s cancer has now spread to her lymph nodes – in addition to the spinal tumours and bone cancer she has been fighting for nearly two years now.

Needless to say, I’ve had a rough few weeks. I’d love to say that I was able to take something away from it, but as I sit here waiting for my mom’s test results to come back and her surgery to be booked in, all I can say is that I am taking things one day at a time, and that I am trying to distract myself with other things. When I was invited to sit the assessments, I spent every waking hour not at work studying. After the assessments were completed, I threw my energy into hosting a Halloween party. Now that’s over and I’m working on organising a birthday party for myself at the end of November… only this time I wanted to do something different. I was supposed to be spending my birthday with my mom after all. In light of what her and my stepmom have to endure, I feel completely helpless – especially since I am based on the other side of the world. An idea struck me to donate my birthday (party) to the Cancer Council, so I am now brainstorming and will host a games night of sorts where players can bet on the games with half going into a ‘donation pot’ to be donated at the end of the night. I will also supply drinks/food for sale with all proceeds going to the donation pot as well. I’ve never done anything like this, to be honest, I don’t even know if I need some kind of license or something, but at least I am putting my time and efforts to something worthwhile.

I’ve also started volunteering in three different capacities for two different charities. I’m just hoping that I don’t burn myself out by doing it all at once, but I need the distractions. I’ve continued with my exercising, only I have been punching the bag so hard at boxing that my knuckles are all bruised up and I need to let them heal. I walk to work when I’ve not baked for my colleagues, and although I haven’t cooked for myself in weeks, I have been eating those frozen, calorie counted meals more often than I have takeaway so I’m calling that a win. I’m doing everything I can to keep my head above water at the moment, and that seems to be distraction. When I’m at home it’s all I can do just to clean up after myself, let alone do anything productive. I started a puzzle 2 nights ago and that was so mindnumbingly welcome that I ended up staying awake until 1am just shifting the pieces around. But, the six hours of sleep I got that night is still more than I have been averaging recently, so I think at least that I have become so exhausted that I will actually be able to sleep a bit, despite the worry-induced sleepless hours and nightmares when I do finally manage to fall asleep.

One day at a time right now, it’s all I can do. But I think that sometimes that’s ok.

Losing friends, not weight, in my 30’s

My goal at the moment is to get fitter and lose weight, but instead, I find my weight to stay the same (or go up) and the only things I seem to be losing are friends (well, that and my keys, my purse, my phone, and anything else I could possibly lose I guess…). But losing friends… that’s what’s bothering me. These are irreplaceable relationships and for some reason I can feel a number of them distancing themselves or cutting contact altogether. It hurts and it’s difficult to understand. Is it because I’m changing? Or maybe because I’m not changing and they are? I’m not sure. I’ve noticed this over the last year or two and I have to say, I can’t figure it out in several occassions. I’ve lost 4 close friends in the last 2 years. Close to the point where I would have considered them best friends. And 2 of them just dropped off the face of the Earth. They stopped responding to messages, stopped coming round, and just stopped all contact. No explanation, nothing. And the other 2, well, one of them explained that things were getting negative between us and then bailed – which is fine but it still hurt. The other one, I tried to talk to about her poor behaviour to me (she was yelling and screaming at me and even locked me out of a hotel room one night at 2am when we were travelling together) – and she ended up just unfriending me on facebook and, like the others, just stopped all contact.

These situations hurt me. It’s been probably about 6-8 months since they did that, and I still feel the pain and still wish I understood why, but like all relationships, sometimes things just don’t work out. But I feel it happening again now. I have a few friends who are always busy whenever I ask if they want to catch up, and I’m starting to get really upset about that. And then, I have 1 friend, Bill, who is a Fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) worker and every time he flies in we spend time together a few times in that week, but this time, he said he was busy when I asked to catch up with him the first night, and then he didn’t even get in touch with me for the rest of his stay at home. Maybe he’s busy, but it’s not like him to just ignore me all week. So I keep wondering: what am I doing wrong? I know when you hit your 30’s your friends change, your priorities change, your life changes… but it sucks. I have a few friends who have moved away and that’s hard enough, but for the ones who are still in the same vicinity and we were still catching up until recently, I don’t know what’s happened.

I know that the 4 I mentioned earlier were lost while I struggled with depression. For whatever reasons they had, all I can do is speak for myself. I was likely not as supportive as they needed or I was depressing to talk to or I needed something from them that was too much to ask – I’m not sure. But at this point, I’m feeling quite positive in my direction, striving to attain my goals, and have plenty of time for whoever needs me, whenever that may be. Even at my lowest, I always try to encourage and support my friends and so now, more than ever, I am that person. I guess this is just a time in life where your friends, priorities, and life changes. Maybe the ‘quarter life crisis’ doesn’t actually hit at 25, rather: 30.

A failed attempt in my 30’s

So, let’s put it this way: I fell off the wagon this weekend with regards to my diet and exercise. It was a long weekend and I started this eating/drinking on the Friday so… 4 days of excessive calories and no exercise. I wrote last week about my plans and, while I still hold on to my goals, I definitely fell off the wagon. I ate whatever I wanted, and I’m talking the good stuff: pizza, ice cream, tim tams, chips, etc. and I drank beer, wine, and even some baileys! So here I am midweek after that binge and I’m trying to recognise the triggers to that behaviour and how to prevent it from happening again. The problem is: I like it way too much. I’ve never been the kind of person who likes veggies or fruit, and I don’t think I’ll ever be that person. And, if I’m being perfectly honest, as I write this I’m nibbling on some lollies my boss brought in. It’s an affliction that many can relate to. Even when I make all the right choices at the supermarket, meal plan and prep, and I hide all the potential off-roading snacks and high calorie alcohol/juice – there’s always going to be temptation.

For me, this temptation is all around me in my social life and even at work – not to mention always on my mind! So I do what I can and what I’m working on now, is to not chastise myself when go off track. I don’t want to be miserable in my pursuit of health and weight loss. And, when I find myself feeling guilty about my consumption decisions I end up stressing myself out more, which then creates another barrier to my weight loss goals. So for the time being, in addition to calorie counting and exercising, I’m also focusing my energy on two specific things: waking up early and not being too hard on myself.

Just to summarise, when I say calorie counting, I use myfitnesspal to monitor my food intake. And, other than the weekend, I’ve been quite good at completing it and watching the number of calories that I consume versus the number I burn in exercise everyday. I have some meals I prep on Sunday or Monday for the week, each adding up to about 350-400 cals, and by prepacking these into portion-controlled containers, I manage to stay under 1200 calories each day, only adding more when I exercise. For exercise I have joined my boxing gym again and I have been going regularly three times each week. I set myself a minimum goal of three times each week and, although I had hoped to get up to four, I have hit my goal each week for the last three weeks. I’m calling that a win. I also walked to work today (seven kms), which is something I had started doing last summer and haven’t been able to since because I never wake up on time.

This brings me to my first ‘mini-goal’ that I’m now focusing on: waking up early! Yesterday I was walking with a friend at lunch – yes, I’ve even dragged my friends into my healthy choices with me – and she was telling me how early she gets up while I was complaining about how much I hate mornings. Thanks to this, she offered to give me a wake up call in the morning at 6am. I happily accepted thinking that would get me out of bed. Just in case, I set three alarms between 6 and 6:45. She called at 6:05 and again at 6:25 and I slept through both of those and my first two alarms, waking only for the 6:45 alarm… but I did it! Yesterday I slept through my normal alarms and woke up naturally at 9, which made me very late for work, so this change really needs to happen. And, even though I wasn’t awake quite as early as I wanted to be, I still managed to walk to work this morning. I don’t know what else to try so I can wake up earlier, but I know that sleeping in is a major barrier to the exercise I can do, since I’m already active in the evenings at least 3 times per week. I shall continue to try to get to bed early and wake early and hopefully after a while it’ll become routine right?!

And second ‘mini-goal’ for the moment is not being too hard on myself. Like a lot of other people, I find myself berating any steps in the wrong direction and creating a negative relationship with food and drink. I end up telling myself I was good or bad that day; if I ‘cheat’ on my diet then I was bad. But I’m not actually a bad person just because I wanted to have a beer (or wine or cake or or or) with friends. On the contrary, that makes me a social person. The decision to have a beer should be a conscious one, and I need to recognise the extra calories will mean a healthier dinner or extra exercise, but I want to get to a place where my decision to have a beer is just that: a decision. It’s just a beer. I’m not good or bad because of it, I just wanted a beer and I had a beer. I’ll see how I go with this one, I know it will be even harder than getting up with my alarm(s), as I have a very long-lived habit of self-sabotage and discounting my positive attempts by focusing on any negative. It’s all about the mindset, I just have to get there! 🙂

Getting back on track in my 30’s

Again, it’s been a long time since I posted. I was on holiday for a while, and then, to be honest, I was avoiding this – just like all other adult responsibilities. I really enjoy writing on here, but sometimes it feels like a chore, and I’ve been avoiding those things like the plague lately. But, that’s not to say that I haven’t been productive – on the contrary, I am quite proud of what I’ve accomplished over the last few weeks. Namely, that I’ve developed some goals. I’m no longer wandering around directionless – at least for now – and I’ve sorted out where my improvements should be focused within a few key areas of my life:

  • community and relationships (volunteering, strengthening friendships, determining my values for a potential romantic relationship)
  • personal development (write a bucket list, learn to use time/talents more effectively)
  • work and financial aspirations (obtain permanency, create financial security)
  • beliefs (stop sabotaging my successes, stop letting the past affect me negatively)
  • health and fitness (lose weigh, improve fitness level, run an obstacle challenge, etc)

These aren’t all of my goals, as I have 24 of them at the moment, but as part of these goals, I’m going to try turning this blog into something a bit more productive for my wellbeing. I’m going to try using it more effectively to help with my goals. First I would like to say that I’ve already made a few strides to accomplishing my goals (I’ve been interviewed, screened and accepted as a volunteer for the Red Cross yay!), but personal development doesn’t just stop at the first sign of success, it’s a constant improvement. And, after all my years in this body, I know that a lot of my depression stems from being overweight and, more importantly, unfit. So that’s the key area I will be focusing on for right now: health and fitness. My goals are as follows:

  • lose 15 kgs (ultimately)
  • improve fitness level
  • maintain healthy lifestyle
  • improve posture

In order to do this, I’ve broken these goals down into steps.

To lose that weight, I will create meal plans each week and use one day a week (Sundays at the moment) for meal prep. This way I have healthy foods readily available all week long. I’m going to monitor my calories in myfitnesspal which will let me eat a fairly normal diet of things, and just to monitor the calorie intake as opposed to going on a serious diet… I don’t do well on a diet. I end up cutting out sugars or wheat products or dairy or all of the above for a couple weeks, end up tired and feeling so lethargic that I can’t resist anymore and then binge eating everything I can get my hands on: which includes driving to wherever so that I can put my hands on burgers, chips, ice creams, whatever I so painstakingly discarded from my home a few weeks prior. But in the end, my biggest issue will be to moderate my alcohol intake. I drink daily. Not to oblivion, but a glass of wine/whiskey/beer here and there adds up to far more than any one person should in a week. I was sitting with my friend once and we looked up the standard amount of alcohol one person should have in a week: for a woman, it’s 8 standard drinks. My friend and I looked at eachother, and laughed as we looked at the empty beer bottles because we’d had 8 drinks that night alone… EACH! That’s not every night, but you get my point. So, my aim is to drink only on 1-2 days per week. This way, I’m still able to and won’t feel like I’m missing out, but I will not be ingesting all those empty calories daily.

To improve my fitness level, I have rejoined my boxing gym that I gave up on last year because I’d just tapered off my attendance until I was paying for something I was never using. And I plan to start and complete the bikini body challenge (BBG) – a 12 week guided-ish program – next week. Too much at once is a recipe for disaster, so I’m hoping by then I will have progressed enough to do some strength training in the mornings and boxing at night. I also wanted to play beach volleyball again this season, but I wasn’t able to find a partner, so that leaves training and social play at the weekends – which I have full intentions of attending.

To maintain this healthy lifestyle, I’ve enlisted my friends as my support system. I’ve added friends on MFP so they can see what I’m eating and when I complete my log. I’ve encouraged a friend to join boxing with me so we go together, and I have another one considering it after she comes back from a holiday – so I will be motivating her to join as well! I’ve also brainstormed with a friend to find alternative dates/activities to going out to a bar for a drink… I think the challenge will be finding dates who actually want to do this. It will be nice to find that though. 🙂

And, to improve my posture, I intend to begin stretching regularly at work (just quick arm and back stretches – I can’t be having my arse up in the air in some deformed yoga pose that I can’t quite get as the boss walks by) to ensure my desk-seated employment doesn’t work against me here, and I will try yoga on the mornings that I’m not doing the BBG. I’ve never been good at yoga, but I’ve downloaded a beginner’s program that will at least get me stretching. I’m also going to consciously stand/sit straighter instead of slouching in the worse positions imaginable – that for some reason are always the comfiest, until I try to stand from them and feel a kink in my neck or a charlie-horse in my hip!

I’m hoping that writing this all out here is like my pledge to myself. I want to be a better version of me, and although nothing changes overnight, my motivation is there and I want to stick with it until I reach my goals. I know I will fall off the wagon sometimes, but I know that it’s ok to slip if I can catch myself and get back on asap. This is not a quick fix, this is for life: for my life to be what I want it to be.

 

 

Indignant in my 30’s

I wrote last week about a bad day I was having… well, more like a bad week, but as with all storms, it has passed. However, in it’s wake I’m left feeling indignant. After dealing with all the drama from men who had no right to treat me as they did, I found myself angry about it. No one should have the power to make me feel bad and the whole time I was dealing with those bad few days I was moping around saying ‘I’m a good person, I don’t deserve this’. Well, life’s not fair and a lot of people go through things they don’t deserve and so my sadness turned to anger and I worked through that but not entirely: I’m still indignant. I still whole heartedly believe that I shouldn’t have been treated that way – no one should – but I’m also indignant about a few other areas of my life as well: work and home.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m on contract and my contract was recently up for renewal. Instead of being signed on for another year, I was offered 3 months. This is good, since it was at least renewed and I now have time to find something else, but I’m frustrated with the fact that I’ve been busting my butt at work for the last two years and I’ve received no job security. I could have been made permanent, but instead I’m being dragged along and I feel like I’m being taken for granted.

Another reason for this feeling is my tenancy. I’m looking at re-signing the lease for my rental and I saw that there are many other properties around me that are significantly cheaper or nicer. So I mention this to my property manager and ask for a rent reduction of $30/week to MATCH the price of a vacant unit in the very same complex as me – and the owner refused this. I’m frustrated because again, I feel like I’m being taken advantage of. I don’t want to move, I just want what’s fair. I set out a reasonable request, evidenced it with links to other properties (some of which are offering the same set up as mine but are slightly smaller and are $75/week less than my current rent). I’ve lived there for nearly two years, have never been late for a payment, get along with the neighbours and have cared for her place as if it were my own – not to mention the fact that I’m a neat-freak bordering on OCD. I know I’m biased, but I think she struck gold and yet, here I am, feeling taken advantage of. At the end of the day, I really shouldn’t worry about these things – if I sign on again it’s not that big of a deal financially, as it’s already what I pay, but I hate feeling this way.

Other than the indignation, I’m feeling much better than last week though, so I’m glad to be through that last storm. It was a bad one, the worst in a while.

An awful day in my 30’s

I’m significantly depressed today. I don’t mean to say that I wasn’t yesterday or the day before, it’s been building up, and today is just a very bad day. I got out of bed, which is more than I can say for myself two days ago, but to what end? I’m not sure. I came to work but I don’t know that I’m going to get anything done. The reason for coming was simply because I’d already taken one day off this week. Not because I feel loyal to my organisation – no, they’re not loyal to me. Not because I have work to be done – I have plenty, but no one else on my team is holding up their end of the bargain so why should I bust my ass for a project that’s not likely to amount to what I had hoped it would anyways? It’s because I feel guilty staying home. Because I feel like staying by myself will result in me wishing I was around people, but then the people I have already passed on my way into town, have made me want nothing more than to crawl under a rock until everyone has passed so that I can run home… and if it were closer, I swear I would – heels and all. These are the days that are so bad that I can’t figure out what I want or what I need and I just go along on autopilot because I simply don’t know what else to do. I haven’t had one of these really bad ones in a long time.

It’s stemming from a terrible weekend, a horrible date, exes not letting go and just constant feelings of inadequacy over the last few days. Friday night I had a date who was such a jerk that when I called him out on it he told me how unattractive I was and how I think too highly of myself because I didn’t buy him a beer (no, he hadn’t purchased me the round before – he made a big show of how he hated that women expected to be bought drinks/dinner on dates and he then expected me to pay for his beer). I was really only there for that beer to be polite and really, because it was a Friday night and since I’d set aside the time for the date, I didn’t have anywhere else to be. I had no intention of seeing this man again after the first 10 minutes, but I figured I’d give him the benefit of the doubt and maybe we could be friends or something… well that turned into him walking away from me at the bar because I stood my ground and didn’t buy his beer, only to come back half an hour later to throw a lot of insults my way. I ‘salvaged’ the night by chatting and continuing the night with some random people at the bar who turned out to be lovely, but inwardly I was still recounting every horribly thing that man said to me. In attempts to it drown out, I drank way too much and woke up the next day feeling very sorry for myself.

Saturday I dealt with my hangover as best as possible and I proceeded to go for coffee,  build some furniture (as expected), go for a walk, and head to volleyball – all as expected. I was so hungover I was shaking and feeling very insecure and unsure of myself, and while I want to say this hasn’t happened in a while, this has actually happened twice in the last few months. Apparently I’m now binge drinking when I end up in a situation I can’t deal with – I know, it’s not good and I will watch that it doesn’t turn into a worse problem, but for now, I’m focusing on these events. When I went to volleyball, luck would have it that I was paired with 1 lovely (quiet) man and 2 chauvenistic jerks of men, who refused to pass me the ball, talk strategy with me and would even body check me out of the way to get to the ball that was perfectly passed to me by the other team. I should say here, I’m actually a pretty good volleyball player, but they were playing their own game and every time I would try to get into it, I would get pushed aside – and I have the bruises to prove it. So I left that night, feeling inadequate in every way, because even though I didn’t feel good, I’d rallied so that I could go and engage in a sport that I love and get some physical activity, which I know is a great help to me when I feel down. Did I mention this is a social club? There’s literally NO prize for winning and people come and go as they please.

Sunday and Monday I spent sulking, leaving the house only to go watch Game of Thrones at a friend’s house. Monday I was ‘warned’ by my friend to stay away from the bar in my Office building because my ex was there. Thanks for the warning, but it bothers me that my ex still comes to this bar. I know I don’t own the bar, but if I knew where he currently worked (he’s changed jobs since we broke up), then I would be considerate enough to avoid it. And yet, every time he’s in town I get a warning message from my friend to say that he’s chosen the bar in my office building again. Well, I can’t avoid it when I’m at work, I have to walk out the door literally right next to the bar to go home – and he knows this. I know this isn’t a game of ‘turf wars’ but come on, have some courtesy and attend any of the other 200 bars in the city please! Fortunately I was home on Monday so I didn’t have to worry about running into him.

What I didn’t expect though, was to receive a message from the Dr that I was dating 2 months back who completely ghosted me. He played so many games with me that even though we were only dating for 2 months, it took me just as long to get over him. His message to me was ‘heard a song (Skinny Love by Birdy) and thought of you’. I said thanks and left it at that – I didn’t want to be rude, but I also don’t want to go down that path – and then he sent me a few more messages that were begging me to ask questions and complete with a kissy-face emoji and I was instantly back to where I was 2 months ago questioning every one of them: ‘what does this mean?!?!’ Instead of walking down that path, I wished him well, deleted the thread, and haven’t stopped thinking about it since… but at least I’m not acting on it.

Tuesay I went to my friend’s house for ‘steak night’, where I was uncharacteristically quiet until I had a beer in me and everyone else seemed a little tipsy already, then I figured I was ‘safe’ and that no one would realise quite how negative I was being, because everyone else was having fun. I went to dinner at my friend’s house – the same one that told me I was work obsessed last week – with the couple across the way coming as well. Normally I love hanging out with these people, but last night I realised I’m sitting in my friend’s new place with all his new furniture and looking around at how well he’s done for himself I felt pride, but also significantly inadequate (again) since I am renting and have no assets of my own. Then the couple came over and again, as happy as I was to be visiting with them, the big, shiny engagement ring that she was wearing was glaring in my eyes as a reminder of what I’d had once upon a time, and given it up for what only feels like loneliness in this current downward spiral. I found myself unintentionally competing with everything anyone said, as if trying to ‘keep up with the Joneses’. I apologised this morning and was laughed off saying no one else noticed, but I still feel bad that I engaged in such behaviour with my friends.

I woke up this morning and decided that if I stayed in bed, there was a chance I’d never want to get out, and so I struggled, but I forced myself to get up. I did some push-ups and some sit-ups as a quick mood boost so I wouldn’t return back to bed, and I decided to get into my new dress and make myself feel good. Well, it turned out to be too small in the arms. This ‘tailor made’ dress is too small – great. So I rummaged through the closet until I found a loose-fitting comfortable dress that I can hide beneath all day, and that was my last straw of a bad few days, thus bringing me to my terribly depressed mood. I got in to work to find my morning meeting extended to twice what it should be while I have a mountain of work to get done. My only consolation is that there is an enormous rain storm outside (the biggest of the season so far), which is (oddly enough) making me feel less alone in this depressed state; as if the black cloud that has been following me around has ultimately gotten so big as to bring the whole city into it’s shadow. It will pass soon enough, and I just hope my own storm goes with it.

Work obsessed in my 30’s

Last night I went out with a few friends to a local pub for food and drinks. I met one of them, Tyson, early to catch up 1-1 before the others got there. We were talking and I saw his eyes glaze over and then all of a sudden he said ‘here you go bringing work to drinks again’ and it left me a bit dumbfounded. We’ve always talked a lot about our respective careers, mainly because we’re both ambitious and were in contract positions. He was offered permanency about two months ago, but I’m still contract and so my conversations are usually working out all the little ‘hints’ of whether my contract will be extended or not. Naturally, that’s what I was doing last night because I’d gotten a few ‘big hints’ about my future in the department – namely, someone at my level is going on maternity leave soon – so I was going through these things and using Tyson as my sounding board, as I always do. I was surprised to hear him so annoyed at me because I was talking about work! Maybe it was because now that he’s permanent he’s no longer as interested with the intricacies as I am? Or maybe I’m actually obsessed and talk way too much about work! I told him that I hadn’t realised I do it and he responded with ‘it’s all you talk about and honestly, it doesn’t even sound like you like your job’ which was another surprise: I love my job! At least I thought I did.

I think on my quest to attain permanency I’ve forgotten what I really enjoy about it. I’ve gotten used to it here. I know the people, I know the work, there’s always something new and challenging coming up – which I love… but perhaps that’s what I love and not the job itself? I haven’t stopped to think about it since I started here really. This job is so perfectly suited to my skills that I just naturally thought I loved it, but realistically, I don’t know what it is I love about it now that I was called out by Tyson. I love that I’m in a position to make a difference across the entire state, but recently I started looking into how much of a difference this office actually makes and, it turns out, it’s not much of one – which has been a depressing battle of mine since I figured that out, and it’s made me less excited to come to work every day. So, I tried to break it down into aspects of my job that I will either like or dislike:

  • nature of the work : like.
  • content of the projects : like.
  • background of the projects : dislike.
  • people at work : dislike (with very few exceptions).
  • office dynamics : dislike.
  • loyalty of managers to me : none, so, dislike.
  • efficiency of the Office : dislike.
  • managerial style : loved until my boss left and was replaced inadequately so, dislike.
  • job security : none, so, dislike.

The list could continue should I continue to delve into it, but as I go, I get more and more depressed about it. I really thought that I love what I do and now I think I may be wrong. I love researching and investigating and holding people accountable and being able to affect change, which are all things that led me down this path, but the background of anything I work on stems from child deaths, and I have to read into each one of them. It’s awful, sad and ultimately depressing. I have always been able to do it knowing that if I can affect change by writing my report and save even one child’s life, then it’s worth the struggle I deal with on a daily basis in reading about all these children for whom it’s too late to save. Recently (a few months ago) I realised that the reports I work on, thus far, haven’t affected change though, and that’s significantly more depressing. And forget the accountability aspect: it’s a joke! If something is not done that we’ve recommended, there’s no repercussions at all. It makes me wonder why I’m doing this at all. I hope that maybe there’s a difference to someone. Maybe the stats would have increased had it not been for the reports, and a brief analysis indicates that this is likely, but it’s awful to see the same numbers, or even rising numbers in some instances, across a range of issues that are ultimately preventable deaths.

Now I’m just starting to get into a rant about work and I realise maybe Tyson was right. Maybe I do bring my work home with me far more than I should. I guess it’s unrealistic to expect to read about a child’s death (and usually I have to read and research multiple) and then at 5:00 just leave it all at the door on the way out without any adverse effects on my mental health. I thought I was doing alright with the balance, but perhaps I was leaning too hard on my friend as a sounding board to get through the particularly rough days. I’d never go into details and I’d usually just end up complaining about my colleagues or a deadline or something, but still. If I take the nature of my work out of the equation for a moment and even look at job security in itself, the outcome is not much better. As I am on contract here, I can’t plan anything too far into the future and I never feel secure in my work. I won’t buy a house because I don’t want such an investment in the instance that I am not renewed. I feel like moving forward in my life is currently on hold. I’ve been here for two years now and watched several people made permanent in other teams, but for me, there’s no permanency because I’m in a requirement-based position. It’s frustrating to give heart and soul to a job and not have any loyalty shown to me. In two years, how has there not been a business case approved to make me permanent? I’m consistently told that I’m working higher than what’s expected of my level and that my work is very well done. I’m commended for my enthusiasm and I was even told last week that I’m ‘integral’ to the success of the project I’m currently working on. That’s my manager’s word, not mine, so how is it possible that I have not been made permanent?

I like to think that I’m making a difference and I like to think that my manager will continue to have my back in at least renewing my contract, but at the end of the day, who knows. I take pride in a job well done and I figured that the feeling of being drained at the end of the day (or midday on some occassions), and always wanting to indulge in more wine than I should after work, was ultimately a result of my work ethic and that it was just something that comes with a career; but maybe not. I had no idea how much ‘work’ I was actually taking home with me every evening until last night’s conversation with Tyson. It was a rude awakening and something I need to now seriously consider.