Trips and Travels

I have been blog-tardy.  I don’t even know if I have a good excuse.  Or…any excuse.

I don’t know what is happening with my life, it is quite literally flashing before my eyes.  I don’t seem to have time for anything! I’m always rushing and sleep is far too infrequent and fleeting. I have not had a sleep-in for weeks, but having said that, I’m not really complaining.  I’m actually loving having a full schedule, less time to wallow and wait for some wave of lethargy or depression to wipe me out because my life isn’t where I expected (or worked hard for) it to be.

The only downside is that I possibly have not been engaging in quite enough exercise, perhaps one or two glasses of vino too many (well any is too many as far as my trainer is concerned) and definitely too much sugar!

Ah well, you only live once, right? Besides I would have been exercising more, but for the slight mishap I had on my run last week.  We were only two kms in and I inexplicably started tripping a few times…(ok so I’m out of condition and consequently I was not picking up my feet!), but I thought how great my reflexes were and how well I recovered …and then before I knew it I found myself sprawled on the path bloodied and bruised (it’s a toss-up as to whether my ego suffered more…I suspect it did).

I peeled myself off the pavement and hobbled back to the car, blood dripping from the ends of my fingers and yep, I had done a good job.  6 hours later I was hobbling through my house wondering how I could have managed to graze and bruise both sides of my body and how a simple fall could do so much damage? Seriously, you would have thought I had fallen off a cliff or down a ravine or something! Stiff and Sore? Yep.  Feeling sorry for myself. YEP! Now, I am generally deemed to have a fairly high pain threshold but I was feeling particulary battered a few hours after the incident and I can see now, how 60+ year olds really hurt themselves quite significantly just by falling over around the house (and then I was silly enough yesterday to read about a fellow blogger’s much more serious incident, which gives me cause to feel particularly feeble).

Anyway, despite the fact that my lack of eye-foot co-ordination in running was responsible for my injuries, it was rather ironic to think that running was now the only thing I could do.  As I had quite a significant chunk out of my left palm I could not lift dumbells, or rest my hand on my bikes handlebars, or bear my own weight on my hands in yoga.  Finally, after a week of dressing and re-dressing the wound I figured it was finally well enough to battle yoga on Sunday. 

Turns out, it almost was. 

Oh well, I figure my blood-stained yoga mat is sure to give me some cred with the instructor.  How’s THAT for dedication!

We have also moved offices at work.  Entirely new building.  I only have one complaint.  The elevators are too fast.  Yes, that’s correct TOO fast.   On the building’s website, they are called “super-fast lifts”.  All well and good until you meet a handsome stranger in said lift and then realise you are at your floor before you’ve barely had time to work up to a joke so that you can flash him your newly-dentist-clean dazzling smile! 

Ok, so…he was probably married. I wouldn’t know, the lift was TOO FAST and I didn’t even get to check his hand! Ugh, though I despise myself for admitting that I am now one of “those” women who checks for a wedding ring.  Might I add, on behalf of all single 30+ somethings everywhere, our plight is made all that much harder by the fact that many married men these days choose not to wear one! No fair, guys.  Seriously.

But all in all, I am liking the new location.  Fresh faces, fresh coffee places, it’s as good as a holiday.

Ooh, speaking of holidays: 25 sleeps until my little island escape, which I booked on a whim after the email incident.

Not that I’m counting or anything.

I have an App that does that for me…



I have been posting a lot of items up for sale on Ebay lately.  Now that the wardrobe is installed I thought it would be a good opportunity for the 3rd major cull since I purchased this house almost a year ago.

Frankly, it amazes me how easily I accumulate stuff.  I never used to be so obsessed with shopping or “things”. I can’t deny I have always had a bit of a fixation for shoes, but I don’t recall ever being quite so distracted with fashion as I have been these past 15 months or so.

As I sorted shoes between the wardrobe and the “Ebay box” I contemplated this change in me and wondered if it was an indication that I was becoming shallow.  When exactly did I start being so concerned about how I looked?  I have always been fit and always conscious of my weight, but that has stemmed more from a “staying healthy” perspective rather than a purely cosmetic influence.

I suppose, the new friendships I have developed over the past couple of years and in particular, the work colleagues I now have (many of them very fashionable women who do enjoy a spot of lunch-break-shopping followed by a detailed show and tell when they return to the office an hour or so later), may have something to do with it.  What girl wouldn’t be lured over by the “oooh’s” and “ahhhh’s” emerging from the shopper’s office, and the ever so enticing crinkle of tissue paper as the treasures are unwrapped?

Yes, it is easy to get caught up in the excitement, especially as almost every retail store in the city appears to lately be in a perpetual state of: “SALE!”

But I suspect there has been a little more to my preoccupation with pretty things than the camaraderie that accompanies a girls shopping trip, and I suspect it has a bit to do with a certain fear that I have not wanted to acknowledge.  I have hinted at it, and I have thought about it, but I have not wanted to bluntly admit that despite my successes, my friends and my busy schedule, I still experience the pang of loneliness on a regular basis.  Sure I’m not unhappy, and a lot of the time I enjoy my “me” time, but I cannot deny that the more time that passes, the more frequently I seem to find myself wishing that there was someone else around during the quiet times.  Those times when you just want to stay at home and relax, you don’t want to leave your house, but you want someone there with you.

I have been noticing that it is during these times that I find myself checking my email, surfing the Net and scouring the online stores for yet more fashion items that I really don’t need but all of a sudden cannot live without!

Some people fill that hole with food, others alcohol, some just fill it with constant and obsessive exercise.  I fill that hole with shopping.  Unfortunately, the past time has created a hole of an entirely different nature- the one in my bank balance!

It was with this in the back of my mind that I arrived at work on Monday morning, only to discover a distraught colleague who had learned of a recent ex-colleague passing away unexpectedly.  I had never met this man but he apparently died suddenly a few days ago from an aneurism.  He was 36.

Only 3 years older than me. He is survived by a wife and two young children.

How’s that for perspective.

So, I figure it might be time to make a change.  I started doing yoga this year in an attempt to help me find “serenity” but perhaps I can start to achieve that inner peace in other ways, by shifting my focus. It’s time to stop trying to fill the hole in my life with “things” and instead, concentrate on filling it with “experiences”. 

If I were to look into a crystal ball and learn that by 36 my life would be over, how would I want to live my life in order to feel more “ready” to go?  What if tomorrow is my last day? Would I be happy about the life that I have led?

Will I give a second thought to the 50 pairs of shoes in my closet? I think, not.

I am hardly addressing anything new here, people are always going on about about “living your life as if every day were your last”.  But we are humans, and we have short memories and we are easily distracted.  We forget.

2012 is approaching rapidly and I am dedicating the last few months of 2011 to shifting my mindset.  2011 was about me taking control of my life, it was about getting settled on my own, it was about an inward focus and learning to recognise that it is acceptable to put me first.  I think materially, I have pretty much ticked that box.  Spiritually and emotionally, I have definitely made progress but I think true success in this regard requires…something more

I am now ready to start prepping for the next challenge and the next challenge is all about making my life…bigger (NB not “flashier”).

To lead a life that is both more expansive and more inclusive.

One of the best ways to do that is to travel.

Another way is to say ‘yes’ to as many opportunities as possible.

2011 was the year of “Serene”.

2012 is going to be the year of “Yes”.

Email Vendetta

I have been a little hit and miss with my blogging lately.  After the 27 [non]-debacle a couple of weeks ago I pretty much had a bit of an internal hissy fit and decided to disappear for a bit.  Not just from blogging but from pretty much everything except work, which as fate would have it, has been more than enough for me to cope with.  I haven’t been to yoga for over a week and I feel a bit crappy because of it, so I’m keen to make it back on Thursday (which is the earliest I can do it given my schedule).  I did go for a run last Monday though, and lo-and-behold, this very day I pulled my road bike off the rack in my garage, dusted it off, pumped up the tyres and took it for a 40km spin with a newfound cycling buddy.

So, having calmed down a little I’ll fill you in on whats been happening.

Wednesday the week before last I gave a presentation at a public seminar.  The event was related to my industry and there were also two other speakers on the evening.  My presentation was rather vanilla-flavoured and I knew where I did and did not want the discussion going, purely because it’s not my area.  However, during Q&A the discussion headed precisely down the path that I had tried my best to avoid.  So, I also kept my responses vanilla-flavoured.

The other two speakers were far more candid.

Normally, I would consider this to be a good thing, but this was the first public presentation I had given on behalf of my employer of 14 months and I really wanted to stick to the stuff that I knew, but I also did my best to be as informative as I could even on the questions I would have liked to pass on.  All went well, I had some good feedback in the foyer afterwards from a number of attendees.  All in all, I was on a bit of a high for the rest of the week.

I suppose I should have realised then, that it was inevitable that I was due for a rather abrupt reality check.

Sure enough, two days later I received an email from our legal counsel, forwarding through an email that had been sent to the CEO about my presentation earlier in the week.  The email had originated from someone who had attended the event and he was having a very spectacular rant about why he would never do business with us.  It was all very dramatic, the email was entitled “WARNING: DANGER!”. Looking back, that should have been an indicator as to how much credence I should place in the following email. However, in light of the fact that a) it was my first public outing for my employer, b) I am trying really hard to add value to the company and c) not destroy my career in the process, I was devastated by the contents of the email.  Firstly, I was offended, no – outraged because he was stating as a matter of fact, that I said certain things that I absolutely did NOT say.  Some things word for word what other presenters had said on the evening.

I was furious.

Criticism I can take, but to send an email like this, which was factually INCORRECT, and which ultimately ended up in my CEO’s inbox, well, that’s not criticism.  That is something else entirely, and it was potentially damaging not just to the company but to my career.

Upon calling our legal counsel immediately to clarify what had been said on he evening, she listened carefully, and finally agreed that as the contents of my presentation had been reviewed prior to the event, she simply couldn’t see me saying these things.  However, the CEO had left for the weekend so I would have to wait until Monday to clear this mess up.

Great. two whole days to stew over whether or not I had a future with this company.  Two whole days to go over and over the evening in my mind and to try and figure out where this guy had not only gotten the wrong end of the stick, but a completely different stick altogether!

I was a nervous wreck all weekend but by Monday morning, I realised it was wasted energy.  There was way more to the story than I had been privy to, and the boss was very understanding. We are still somewhat confused by this man’s reaction to my presentation and though we can only speculate, if he did have a vendetta, he has probably failed to realise that it has done less to hurt the company and more to hurt the individual (i.e. me) but is still likely to have little impact overall.  Given I have had a number of people contact me for potential future business it would appear that he was the only one to misinterpret the message on the evening.

Whilst I have the support of my superiors, it bugs me is that this guy sent this email to goodness knows how many people, and the fact that he was wrong, he specifically named me and so now my name is out there in a less than favourable light.

I guess now I know what a politician feels like.  Who ever thought that lil’ old Serene could be so controversial?

But it does bug me, and it makes me angry. Who knows who has received that email and how it might come back to haunt me in the future…. but I suppose one thing I learned from stressing all weekend, is that there is little point worrying about what “might” happen.

So, closing the book on that one now…

On a completely separate issue, I now have a fully installed, fully functioning wardrobe.  It’s wonderful. If I could live in my bedroom 24/7 I would.  Perhaps thats partly why I haven’t made it to yoga in over a week- I feel so comfortable in my uncluttered, clean bedroom! Ok so I still havent finished the painting and I need to get new window dressings, but this is probably the best bedroom I have had since…well…ever!

It’s starting to look and feel like me, and suddenly I feel so much more settled and comfortable. My house is finally starting to become my home.

I have also, very spontaneously, booked myself 5 days on an island off Langkawi in November.  This is a pure relaxation holiday, a time for me to get away, unwind, not think about work, or men, or renovations.  A short reprieve to just recharge the batteries and experience some sunshine and warm weather, and if I’m lucky, maybe get a bit of a tan.

And in honour of said holiday plans, today I decorated a new shelf in my bedroom with my favourite photos from my travels over the past couple of years (hmmm the shelf is still looking fairly sparse)…

In any case, bring on the sunshine- time to dust of that bikini!