Gratitude

I have been learning a little more about mindfulness lately.  Learning how to practice it and learning about why it helps, or at least helps some, to deal with everyday life.  I for one am an advocate, since I have been learning a few techniques I now have an understanding of the fact that a) it’s a lot harder than it sounds, and b) how my catastrophic thinking can derail my ability to seamlessly complete tasks that really should not be so difficult.

Another thing I have been doing this week is acknowledging things I am grateful for.  Every day, I try to write down (but sometimes I just specifically acknowledge them in my head), 5 things I am grateful for.

Today I spent the morning with one of my best friends to celebrate her birthday.  The breakfast was organised by her husband and the hours passed quickly.  I love spending time with these people, they have an innate ability to make everyone around them feel special, and today I realised that perhaps part of the reason why they are so happy is because they are truly grateful for what they have,  these people really understand what it means to be truly grateful and as a result they are all so inclusive, loving and warm, one cannot help but want to be around them.  I also had the honor of spending Christmas day with them.  I will admit that on Christmas morning, I did not want to go.  I had spent the morning by the ocean, encapsulated by the bubble of my own thoughts, and I must admit, very few of them were positive.  I had to resist the overpowering urge to call M and tell her I would not be joining them for lunch after all, but the grown-up in me forced myself to buck up, put on my party dress and get in the car.  There are many moments from that afternoon that are memorable for me, but perhaps the most memorable moment was after I had left in the early evening and was driving home, and I realised how happy I was, and how glad I was that I had gone.  Had I stayed at home I probably would have been by that stage, quite inebriated and feeling extremely sorry for myself.  Instead, despite having left the party, I felt uplifted and contented and…grateful.  This family was the perfect antedote to my anxiety, my pain and my loneliness when my own family were themselves, too far away.

I have been told that if you consciously acknowledge what you are grateful for – preferably by writing it down every day – then you can change your whole outlook on your life in a very short period of time.  I have found myself being far more negative in recent years (this blog is the perfect example of that), yet perhaps with this one simple task, I can change my default setting to a more brighter outlook – one in which allows me to see the best in people first, and allow negativity to slide off me instead of allowing negative comments to stick to me like feathers to treacle.

Today my 5 things are:

  • Air-conditioning (I’m not being trite, this weekend has been a scorcher!);
  • A loyal dog who is always happy to see me, even if I have left her locked up in the house (in the aircon) most of the weekend when she would rather be outside playing;
  • My beautiful friend M, and her amazing family & friends;
  • G, who braved the heat with me in search of new light fittings and paint AND who volunteered his services to even start the prep work when I am out getting a new hairdo next Saturday;
  • The ocean and my proximity to it (even though I could – and would – be much closer to it by choice!)

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

New Year, New Attitude, New Look!

Aside

I would also like to add, that in true Serene style of thinking, with a new attitude must come a new look.  Consequently, I have decided that this shall be achieved with a new haircut.  My hair is currently fairly long, about to the middle of my back and it has been this way for a few years now.  Recently I started making noises about cutting it off and I was met with horrified looks and exclamations of “No!” and “Why would you do that?!” or even “You can’t!”.

I also had a similar reaction when I told people that I had Lasik surgery done, they were all horrified because I “looked so good in glasses” (!!).  Er, yeah totally not the reason why I wore glasses but ANYHOO.

Because of this feedback, I started to think that if I cut off my long blonde locks, then this would somehow make me less attractive or something, so I chickened out the last time I was at the hairdresser.

Well, as of today, I am no longer defined by my hair! And being hair, it does tend to grow back… after all, do I not spend hours of my time every month trying to eliminate or reduce the regrowth of hair on various parts of my body? And now…it’s somehow a catastrophe that I might cut the hair on my head a bit shorter?

Sheesh.

Anyway, here are just some ideas I’m toying with.  Obviously the shorter styles are a little more ambitious and something I will work up to, but so far I think the angled bob that Scarlet Johansson is sporting -which is a bit of a longer version of the Victoria Beckham do- is my favourite, and I think, totally doable.  Although, I’m currently sporting some angled bangs, so perhaps the Dianna Agron would be a better choice for now…

No need for me to decide tonight, my haircut is not until the 18th 🙂

Women-Short-Bob-Hair-Styles short-hairstyles-for-women-after-chemo short-haircuts-11 Pictures-of-short-bob-blonde-hair hair-styles Blonde-Hair-Color-for-Short-Hairstyles-2013 5-short-brown-hairstyles Dianna-Agron-Messy-Bob-Hairstyle scarlett-johansson-02-new-bob-haircut-mango

And so it begins, 2014….

Image

OK so, 2013 was a tough year for me both professionally and personally.  Professionally I was being pushed beyond the boundaries of what I knew (which I considered to be a good, albeit, nerve fraying experience), pushed beyond my limits of what I considered sensible hours to actually BE working, and pushed beyond the safety net where others were around to rush to my defense and accept that sometimes I have to toughen up and stand up for myself. 

Personally, ohhhh….do we really want to go there? I only blogged a handful of times last year and even then most of the times they were a whine-fest.  But I as I always say, it’s my blog, and it really started out as being a bit of an online diary, like many, I suppose.  So, I am not going to beat myself up about having moments of weakness and allowing myself to get caught up in negativity, as long as its a healthy indulgence and not a spiral into self-loathing and man-hating.

So, as has already been discussed in a previous post (or perhaps many, I didnt go back and reread all of my 2013 posts, it was too cringeworthy), many of my friends fell pregnant and had babies last year.  All of the babies arrived safe and sound and I am happy to report they are all quite cute with some distinct personalities already showing, but I am genuinely not bitter and in fact, rather surprisingly, completely unclucky! 

Despite the [temporary] limitations on my social life and the fact that I miss my beautiful friends, I savor my freedom even more so now than I ever did. 

Which has consequently, made dating even harder because whilst the men I have met in recent months have all been very nice, kind souls, I have just found them to be …well…a little boring.  That sounds horrible I know, but its just how I feel. So I would spend my time running away from these men to be on my own and do my own thing.

Its strange that I have no real criteria (other than that they should be employed, non-smokers, and not living with their parents), yet I still haven’t found what I’m looking for (that wasn’t intended to be a reference to Bono but hey…it was a good line).

So that got me to thinking.  Over the past few years, I have whittled my “criteria” down to that short little list thinking that I was doing a good thing (for the guys as well as me), but maybe what it has done is prevented me from really thinking about and identifying what I AM looking for.  So there might be a little more thought going into that this year, I guess it’s hard for me to find the right guy if I’m dating every man that doesn’t cause my tummy to flip but who meets my appallingly short list of must-haves (or “preferable”‘s if that sounds a little more forgiving).

But most of all this year I am focusing on the following:

  • learning to back myself (professionally and personally)
  • spending more time with my parents
  • talking to my sister more
  • resisting the urge to feel guilty about things that I really don’t need to feel guilty about
  • MINDFULNESS. Getting out of my own head and the thought spirals that lead to catastrophic thinking
  • forgiveness

There is nothing in that list about my weight, or sporting aspirations, or money because whilst these too are things I will be attempting to balance better this year, I really think that If I can focus on the list, these things will happen anyway, because I will be happier and more content and will learn how to focus on the things that are truly important to me.

Of course, I will continue to be open to engaging with any new men that come on the scene too, but perhaps I might just pull back on the “searching” aspect.  People always tell me that you find love when you aren’t looking for it.  Quite frankly, I think that’s complete BS.  A few months earlier of course, those SAME people were telling me that if I don’t put the effort in, how am I expected to find it?

But I think there is a difference to being open to something vs. desperately seeking it or conversely, pretending that its not important to me at all.  Both of those latter scenarios give off the completely wrong vibe.

I already have a pretty great life, I dont think I need to take time out to focus on “me”, hell, I spend far too much time in my own head as it is… but I can focus on some key areas that I know will bring me more of what I already love in my life.

So, I guess I just made my 2014 resolutions?

Happy New Year lovely people, whoever/wherever you are.