Archive for the ‘Thoughts’ Category

One of the best advice I ever got was to write down my thoughts when things felt overwhelming. Initially I could not see the benefit of this. Why would I do this? How could it help me? How would that give me any answers? These were questions I asked myself.

At the time I knew I could no longer express how I felt to others. Not because others did not care but I started to feel like I was a burden. How many times could I repeat the same lament? How many times could people bear to listen?

It is strange when all you want is to feel happy but you just don’t. When you know you need to “snap out of it” but you can’t. I knew I was stuck and I felt like a broken record stuck on repeat. So I stopped saying how I felt. I stopped trying to talk about it. I could not pretend to say things were OK because I just did not have the energy to even do that. I stopped.

With no answers I started to write. Longer pieces, shorter pieces, letters addressed to no-one. Sometimes I pretended I was talking to a friend. Sometimes I just wrote down a mass of words jumbled together. I did not receive any answers but somehow it lessened the tightness in my chest. Piece by piece what I wrote down lighted the burden. Maybe it was because I could be brutally honest. Not having to take into consideration how others might feel. Not having to think about not wanting to worry anyone. I just wrote.

How I felt then and how I feel today is vastly different. Today I look at life and smile. I have a curious positive outlook forward. There will always be down days of course but in general I feel pretty damn good.

I am not trying to say that writing down how I felt back then made me all happy now. There are so many things that made that happening but I am not writing about those changes today. What I am trying to say is that writing down my inner most feelings and thoughts when I was at my lowest helped me getting through it.

Recently, for the first time in a long time, I actually dared to look at those entries that I wrote back then. It was both a scary and emotional experience. I had forgotten how low I felt. I am glad that I once again can put them back in the box. Not forgotten but eased out of mind with a few lessons learned.

Sometimes a simple advice can make all the difference. An advice I will be eternally grateful for.

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Balancing Act

Image by Digitalnative via Flickr

One of the buzz words heard a lot around offices these days is “work-life balance”. In many ways it is more important today than ever before. The economic situation of today means that people have to put in more hours, work harder, for less pay then before it all went downhill. The pressure is on. The days when you just changed jobs whenever your current position felt boring or when you wanted a significant salary increase are no longer there for most. Today, if you have a decent job, you stick with it. You deal with the pressure and pray that you still have a job in the foreseeable future. People worry about paying their bills, their mortgage/rent and they worry about the future for their families.

New problems arise. People feel pushed. There is always more to do, more hours to put in, tighter deadlines to adhere to. Burn-out becomes a reality.

A burned-out employee is not something anyone wants. It is costly, cause’s performance issues and any decent employer realises that the health implications which this brings should be avoided for everyone’s sake.

Hence the buzz around work-life balance.

What is important to remember is that WLB is not just something that can be thrown out there as a concept. It requires action. Both from the employer as well as the employee. The employer must enable a work-life balance by realizing that changes must happen internally. Listening to the employees is important. Let them vent all these things that are frustrating them. Let them do so in an environment where they can feel safe to do so without fear of any retribution. Then ensure that all together can look into what actions realistically can be taken. What is possible to change and how to do so.

Employees also carry part of the responsibility towards their own WLB. Just moaning about things helps no-one. You need to actively engage with peers and management to see what challengers are there, what can be done differently and what can be solved. Sometimes the ball has to be dropped. Sometimes you have to realize that you cannot be everywhere or do everything. If you do not set the right expectations and actually say “NO” then nothing will change. No-one will force you off that laptop. No-one will magically source additional people to help you. BUT you have to be able to rely on that your points are taken seriously by your management team. That the concerns are understood and that there is a real desire to address change.

If this does not happen from both sides then WLB will just continue to be a buzz word with no real change happening at all. It will just turn into a joke.

For me this is an on-going issue. I am still trying to find a balance. Sometimes WLB is hard. It can be really hard to achieve. One step at a time… and hopefullyI will be able to catch my breath sooner rather than later.

Glas of german "Würzburger Hofbräu" ...

Image via Wikipedia

In this particular moment I am sitting on my balcony in my sun-chair with my laptop in my lap (obviously –  as I have yet to invent telepathic blogging…working on it though). I have a cold beer (German pilsner) next to me and let me tell you… it is oh so good! The sun is shining, there is not a cloud in the sky and the temperature is hovering around 25 c in the shade. Can it get any better than this??

It is a bank holiday weekend, meaning that all are off on Monday as well. As we do not get this sort of weather often in Ireland our managers in work decided that we could all leave at 3pm to enjoy the sun and to have a great long weekend. This month will be mad busy in work so they basically told everyone to go home and chill while we can. Yep… it is a pretty decent job that I have, even though it can drive me mad at times.

Tomorrow I will head into the Wicklow Mountains with a friend and go for day of hiking. Ending it with a night in a B&B before heading back to Dublin. The weather forecast looks promising and I am really looking forward to it. Will hopefully remember to take some pictures and maybe put together a post later on – provided I have not gotten lost and am halfway to Galway or something… with my sense of direction anything can happen.

It has been a pretty good week altogether. Busy in work but not mentally… yet. Attended a course yesterday called “Emergenetics”. Not sure if anyone of you ever have heard of it or done it but it was great fun. Basically it is about finding out your preferences and certain behaviours etc. It was pretty awesome. It helps in seeing why some people react the way they do and makes you understand others that you work with easier. I am not going to go through my results here. All I will say is that according to my profile my emergenetics motto is: “Efficiency with feeling”… LOL!!

I will continue to catch some rays now and try to get a somewhat resemblance off a tan. Living in Ireland means that you must take every available opportunity there is to get some sun. I was supposed to clean my apartment but there is no way I am doing that right now. Hope you all have a great weekend wherever you are!

Three different tea bags

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One word, nah make it two, describe how I feel lately. Mentally exhausted. It is like if my brain is doing an Iron Man every day and forgot to tell me about it. I go to bed exhausted, dream weird stuff, wake up just as tired again.

I start doing something, like boiling the kettle, and then I walk off and forget about it. The amount of times I had to pour cold tea into the sink because I forgot to drink it or because I left the tea bag in and it had now reached the strength to rival a nuclear blast… I have lost count.

I really have to kick myself to ensure I focus in work. I manage… with lots of coffee. No news there. Yes, there have been moments when I managed to get by, by the skin of my teeth. I am just lucky I have great colleagues and a good manager.

Yes, my life is a bit of a mess right now. It is not easy to re-adjust to being single after a long relationship. The most exhausting thing is the fall-out of all that needs to be sorted BEFORE you can move on. It is not like I can just skip away and forget everything and not having to deal with responsibilities such as house, banks, a life.

Yes, I know it will be easier, for everyone involved, once time has passed. All I long for right now though is sleep. Blissful sleep and that perfect moment just when you wake up – just before any thoughts or memories invade you mind – that moment when all is well and good in the world.

Night all.

What a week it has been. Month end at work which means very high stress levels increasing with every deadline, programs not playing along and expectation to meet. I sat in work with shaking hands due to the adrenaline coursing through my system as I needed to get all sorted in time. Bad adrenalin rush caused by stress. Once the final meeting was done I felt wrecked, spent even.

To off-set this I made sure to go down to the club on Tuesday and Thursday evening and finishing up with a class on Saturday morning. Those two-hour classes were exhausting, physical demanding and just what I needed. The passive stress from work got funneled into physical exercises and was let out.

Yesterday I spent the rest of the day in the armchair reading a book. I was exhausted and tired but still I felt pretty good. I could sleep again without dreaming about spreadsheets and entering my life experiences into our work programs (yes, that was a pretty messed up dream).

I know now that from next week onwards I will get offloaded a bit in work. A colleague will take over some of my workload. Thank god for that. I will have some bandwidth again. I will be able to breathe.

So it was very busy, slightly mad, week. It was also a week with good news and good self realizations (see previous post). That is what I will try to remember from this week, the good things. Those that made me smile.

Being a woman

Posted: January 23, 2011 in Life, Thoughts
Tags: , , , , , ,

I love a good banter. When the words snap out fast, the come-backs come even faster and the smirks that follow can turn boring times into fantastic moments. My partner and I were discussing chocolate. I state that for some women chocolate is a substitute for sex… when he points out that it is good then that he is not a woman (this as he tries to steal my chocolate). This obviously means that I say that he couldn’t handle it anyway – being a woman that is, referring to the superior beings that we are. Well and on that way it was. It was good fun.

Afterward it got me thinking… about being a woman. What it means to me and would I want it any differently. Would I want to be a man? Well maybe for a day or a week. Just to try it out. It could be fun I think.

Would I want to change it forever?

No.

I like being a woman. Yes there are many things that I am not too fond off (PMS anyone?!) but overall being a woman rocks. What’s there not to like? We have bodies that can go through amazing changes. Each of us have the potential to look amazing. We bond, we connect, we love, we fight for our right to be treated just the same as anyone else and we never give up.

I could go into the whole debate about equality or how what I describe is not applicable to what other women feel or what they stand for but you know what… I won’t cos this particular post is not about that. Neither is this post about how women are better than men and so forth. This post is purely about how I feel about being a woman and what it means to me.

Women are beautiful. There is softness, gentleness and a caring nature. There is dynamism, strength and unrelenting fierceness. Let’s face it … there are multiple-orgasms… what else can I say?

So to all the women out there… always treasure who you are and never forget to celebrate the fact that you are a woman. Cos it rocks… seriously!

In work at some stage today the subject of teenage angst and being a teenager came up. We talked about how most of us would not want to go back to when we were around 15. All the insecurities, trying to find our place in the world, wanting to be unique but at the same so desperate to fit in. Fretting about if so and so likes us, wanting to be part of the right gang or full of disdain for the others not part of “our” group.

The drama. The commotion. The hormones. The emotional roller coasters. Feeling misunderstood. The black&white aspects of our young lives.

So what has changed?

We might have gained some more confidence. Gone through serious relationships. Experienced the ups and downs of everyday life. Gained a better understanding of where we are in life. Realized life floats more in a gray-scale than in black&white.

Yet.

Are we not still searching? Trying to be part of something meaningful? Fitting in with people we like and respect? Being understood?

Do you feel that people “get” you?

It struck me when I was driving home that I often feel that people do not “get” me at all. I do not mean that they do not understand my weird sense of humor or that people do not understand what I say (even though that does happen…). It is more on a deeper, knowing someone really well level. I believe that it is easy to know someone skin-deep but going further is unusual. It is hard. Not only does the person you want to get to know, have to open up but you must also dare to really try to get to know the other person. It requires a lot of work, patience and  involvement. Things that most are too busy to deal with.

Sometimes you can run into people who seem so easy to get to know. Where you can feel that you have known them for years. Then why can it be so much more difficult with others? Even people who you actually like? Maybe the people who seem so easy to get to know really are more multifaceted that we think. Maybe we are only getting a glimpse of who they really are.

Or maybe some of us are just too weird. Too complicated. Too demanding?

Isn’t that a great feeling?…

Or maybe I should just stop listening to angsty music (read: “Absolution” by Muse) in the car while stuck in traffic. I tend to think too much.