Bouncing Back

I’ve been in a bit of a funk over the last week or two. Until today, I hadn’t been able to put my finger on why. Work has been crazier than ever the whole year. Was this starting to take its toll on me? We laid my uncle to rest last week. Was my sadness at having to say goodbye to him, adding to this feeling of being drained? I hadn’t really had much “Me-time” either the past few weeks. Was this also contributing to the feelings of weariness and exhaustion? My mind feels like it is clogged with a million thoughts all wrapped into a ball of fuzz. Even writing hasn’t helped me get clarity as to where these feelings stem from. I have been so frustrated.
This afternoon, while scrolling through Facebook, I happened upon a post from “Elephant Journal” that gave me an AHA moment. The concept is not new to me or anyone. I, for one, just needed a reminder. My physical world was in complete disarray! My wardrobe shelves are stuffed with clothing. Half of it I don’t wear. My house is bulging at the seams with “stuff” that I don’t use. As a result, I have no space for the things I do need! The bathroom scale has been groaning under my weight. This continued weight gain has started making movement a chore. It’s not healthy and it’s not fun feeling and looking like a tub of lard. As a result of all of this,  I have not had a lot of energy so a lot of chores and tasks that I wanted to get done/progress have fallen by the wayside leaving me feeling terribly guilty. Each item has had a knock-on effect on something else. Yes, you have figured it out…I desperately need to spring clean almost every facet of my life!
“Things come to you when you let go”
The clutter is causing stagnation in my life and my thinking. I took a break and did just a little bit of clearing while writing this post and already a see a light at the end of the tunnel. This, of course, is not enough so here is what I commit to doing over the next month:
1. Bag – place all my old clothes that I haven’t worn in at least a year in a bag for donations. I will do the same for Alex’s clothing and toys
2. Discard – throw out the broken goods that I either can’t fix or am not interested in fixing.
3. Take before and after pictures so that I can see the difference and appreciate how far I have come.
4. I have chosen the colours for my dining room and kitchen walls (finally!) They will be painted to celebrate the arrival of spring 🙂
5. Re-look at my budget and identify wasted money that I can put towards a goal that I have.
Accomplishing these tasks will go a long way to making space for the things that need to come into my life. I will keep you posted on my progress.
If you would like to read the Elephant Journal article that led to my aha moment as well as for additional tips, you can find it here: Clean it up
I would love to hear tips from you on how to not only go about spring cleaning your house and your life but also how to maintain the change. Please leave your tips and suggestions in the comments.
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Wish me luck with my spring cleaning!

My smartphone…friend or foe?

I feel connected to my smartphone at the hip. Sometimes this feels like a good thing and sometimes not. I take a look at how I use my smartphone and the benefits it brings as well as the drawbacks.

Hi All,
Earlier today I was reading about a Netflix producer who had decided to give up the internet. He had deleted all the apps on his smartphone, including his browser. I don’t know about you, but the idea of it made my heart rate go up just a spot. I could feel a bit of anxiety kick in. It was quite freaky to realise how I was reacting to the mere thought of no internet. This got me thinking. Is my smartphone my friend or my foe?

I bought my first cell phone back in 1999 I think. It was a Sony Ericsson. It was blue and black and had a stubbish aerial. I thought I was the bees knees, the fly’s thighs and the bugs ankles when it rang in public…lol. Of course, all it could do was make and receive calls and text messages. It didn’t even have the game “snake” on it. It was mine though and I loved it. My internet fixation was fed through a dial-up connection and a desktop computer. The brand of the computer escapes me but I do remember that it was a white one. I lived alone at the time which made it easy for me to spend hours on it some nights. Everything was so slow back then that I did not always have the patience to wait for the computer to start up or for pages to open up.  This resulted in me not accessing the net every night. The internet turned out to be the perfect place to feed my insatiable curiosity about “stuff” and “things” :-). It opened up a whole new world for me. At this point, though, the internet and my phone had their place in my life. I still spent a lot of my time reading books and magazines. I loved going to the mall and shopping with my friend or even just window shopping sometimes. I enjoyed flea markets and visiting friends.

Fast forward to 2017. I now have an iPhone…a mini computer in the palm of my hand. I have instant access to personal and work documents and mails as well as everything the internet has to offer, and I can still connect with my loved ones via calls or messaging. Sharing experiences in real time with friends and family around the world is not only possible but it as easy as pie.  Life has definitely changed dramatically and a lot of things have become easier to accomplish which is fantastic! The problem is that all these apps on my phone can serve as a distraction from the more meaningful experiences in life like connecting with my son, spending quality time with my boyfriend (he is probably worse than me when it comes to the amount of time spent glued to that phone’s screen though). I also don’t read as much as I used to or even get to the mall that often. As for visiting friends…well, I can’t blame my phone solely for not visiting them anymore. They have lives too, and we all have different priorities now, although our smartphones do help us remain connected on some level.

I used to tell myself that my games helped me switch off from the world. Candy crush only allows me 5 lives at a time, thereby imposing a limit on the amount of time I can spend playing (Thank goodness!) and I have to wait for my opponents play their turns on scrabble so my interaction is limited but is it all really necessary? I can live without Candy crush, but I do enjoy my scrabble games and the people I play against. It is so easy to get lost on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I don’t actually spend that much time scrolling through feeds believe it or not. What does happen is that I”ll see a link to a blog or an article that interests me and then off I go. That article will have links to other articles and websites and I will just keep on clicking until, next thing I know, an hour has passed and my watch is telling me that I need to stand :-). The truth of the matter is that I was probably procrasting about something that actually needed to be done like washing the dishes or working on an assignment or worse, studying for exams, and instead of postponing it for a “few more minutes” I have now lost an entire hour to a distraction that probably wasn’t adding any value to my life.

Time is precious. Before I became a mom, I was not as acutely aware of this as I am now. “Me time” especially is more precious than gold when you are a mom. When you have it, you also become more aware of the concepts of “priorities” and “opportunity costs”. I find myself using my smartphone as an excuse or tool to numb myself to these facts of life and slip into a cocoon surrounded by the internet and the illusion that I am “educating myself” in some way or another when I should really be doing something productive towards my goals especially. So yes, in this instance the smartphone is definitely my foe. It does have it’s place, however. The camera on my phone is a lifesaver! I use it to take pics of everything, including my shopping lists, recipes I see, interesting information I come across in a store or on the street. Google/Safari helps me find quick answers to everyday stuff that I might suddenly need to know. I do learn random stuff through Facebook and the like and I enjoy keeping up to date with friends and family through them as well as keeping abreast of local and world events. I have discovered however that deleting the apps and accessing them on the net only results in less frequent visits because access is no longer at my fingertips and, because I don’t see the icons all the time, they are no longer top of mind . It also means I have more space on my phone and use less data. (yay!).

I guess at the end of the day, the technological marvel that is the smartphone, is definitely a good thing, a friend, but it can easily be a foe if you let it. You just have to remember who holds the power (and yes it’s you and not the phone…).

Do you have any tips or tricks that you use to keep your smartphone from taking over your life?  Please share them in the comments below.

 

Thanks for taking the time out to read my blog.  Don’t forget to follow me if you would like to receive updates via email.  Do like and share as well.

Chat soon 🙂

Older but by no means colder!

Hi There,

Welcome back!

I was reading an interview with Dame Helen Mirren in the July 2017 issue of Fairlady magazine yesterday.  I love her to bits.  No matter how old she gets she never loses her spunk! Anyway… in it she was saying how things get better as you get older.  She says she is more confident and less likely to give a hoot of what people think.   It got me reflecting on my own life experience and I have to say that I agree.

I am almost halfway through my forties and in a lot of ways, my life is way better now than it was in my twenties.  I might be back to being single (yes, cute tattoo artist didn’t work out so we live, we learn and we move on…swiftly) but I have come to realise that life is filled with possibilities and opportunities  that I just hadn’t considered before.   I have mentioned before that I have been a late starter in everything so no surprises here..lol.  I feel more settled in my own skin and as a result, my confidence is growing. I feel more optimistic about my future than I ever have.  Weird when I think about it because in the current economic climate, my job is not secure.  I put this down to listening to the words of wisdom of those who have gone before me.

There is so much wisdom out there.  There is always a lesson to be learnt from other people’s life experiences.  I find people’s journeys through life fascinating as I believe that your past experiences and your reactions to them shape who and what you are today.  I recently watched “Becoming Warren Buffet”.  I found the man most fascinating. The thing that really blew me away was how decisive he is.  He also struck me as introspective.  As a young person in particular, he was very aware of his shortcomings and the impact that  they would have on him acheiving his goals so he would actively go about correcting his self-perceived flaws.   Reflection is a great tool that has clearly helped him grow in business and as a person.   Confucius says, “By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest”

A key difficulty that I have faced since turning 40 is the change that I see in the mirror.  I have learned that tying your identity to your physical image makes ageing harder.  I was always thin and, I didn’t realise it then but my perception of the level of my attractiveness was very intertwined with my weight.  The reason for this is a subject for another day. Anyway…as I have gained weight over the years I have felt less and less attractive.  Now I look in the mirror and my skin is not as smooth as it was and the tone is not as even and boy it has been hard to accept.  The icing on the cake was when i gave up smoking and gained 20kg in 5 months. What a shock to my system physically and to my psych!  (A word to the wise, when giving up smoking, replace your smoking habit with healthy habits to avoid such excessive weight gain.)  I am now able to accept that I am still attractive despite my weight (I pause to thank Anthony for helping see this), I feel a lot more confident.  I even feel sexy 😉  The weight definitely still has to go though.  Moving around is just easier as a thin person 🙂

Feeling more confident, more settled, more curious and having a better understanding of people has, I believe, led me to be a better mother.  I have been able to put more thought into the decisions I make with regards to my son and less afraid to go against the grain.  I make lots of mistakes no doubt but I  pray that he is on the right track to being able to make a meaningful contribution to this world one day.  I suspect he would have been a complete mess if I had had him in my twenties so God decided to bless me with him a little later.

Lastly, it is only in the last 2 years that I have felt ready to tackle my fear of commitment.  I bought a home for Alex and I and entered into a relationship that I believed had the potential to be long-term.  Sadly that didn’t pan out but it taught me that I am capable of adjusting my lifestyle and making compromises in order to give a relationship a fair chance.  I am a control freak and have always jealously guarded my independance so the fact that I could give up as much control as I did  to make the relationship work completely blows my mind.  Gees I was even cooking and baking!  I never thought I would see the day…lol!  Oh well, it was a great experience and it all just means that there is still someone out there for me 🙂

I feel like my life has really begun at 40.  I like to believe that I am a little wiser now with a lot to look forward to and lots of goals to achieve.  If you are on the cusp of 40 and a bit apprehensive about it, don’t be.  It’s actually a wonderful place to be 🙂

Until next time.

Bye

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