Friday, July 19, 2013

Can I break moping in 21 days?

I had lunch recently with a group of inner circle friends, I love the randomness of each individual and the entertainment factor of just being in the group dynamics.  After a quick check in with each other, there was some discussion about my supposed moping.  I had thought I was handling/hiding most of it pretty well!

The challenge was thrown out that I had until the next lunch to recover from it.  Interesting concept, I don't know really what to make of it.  I think an unravelling relationship with over a year's seniority deserves some sort of mourning period, but even an ambitious goal setter like myself had not contemplated a strategy to snap myself out of it.

The next lunch will be at least three weeks away.  This reminds me of the 21 days to break a habit concept.  So after ending the week like I started, I figured I should continue to wallow for the balance of day, and then use my morning optimism to get cracking on the challenge.

At times of stress, my usual approach is to take a step out of it all, have a reorganisation phase, check strategy and set new goals.  This approached worked well during my juggling act of full time employment and part time university.  I also use it for work, and when progressing through my yearly goals agenda. 

This morning I have finalised my tax return, very interesting.  Well it is for someone like me, pull out the neatly organised display book already containing receipts in categories, and of course a lovely matching spreadsheet.  This year I am running late, I usually have my cash by now. 

I also notice that my office is a mess, and I even have unreconciled bank statements, my goals need updating on the last two months activities, my to do list is on 20 sheets of note paper, and there are even piles on the floor.  This in itself reminds me of the complexity of life between two houses, and how inefficient my use of time is.  The house in general is in a state of flux, I even have the local paper on the desk to find a house cleaner, as I cannot manage to do everything.  The chaos needs to be stopped, my mantra is 'Balance', I want a simple life.  I have archived the concept of a cleaner, and instead the child and I will work together to find a new rhythm.

As I am consolidating the to do lists, I also notice that I have a stack of projects that are planned, and mostly not started, with some started and just not finished.  Outlook requires some revision for my weekend planning, and I need to get more organised in supporting the youngsters academic improvement program.  Another activity that I have not been diligent about. 

I also have not been maintaining the social circle.  Every weekend has been mostly dedicated to the relationship over the past year, so I have some rebuilding to do there, including my family connections which require a new approach now they have moved to the other side of the city.  I can already feel the distance starting.  My blogs are also behind......

Day 1 has now kicked off, I have organised a movie with the family later in the day, and I have the iPod on my favourite playlist.  The child has finished the music practice and is now onto homework.  I have half the washing done and will do some housework as well as a cooking lesson with Maddison planned after homework.  I may need to revise some of the playlist, or this mood will be derailed.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Love and Money - Rule 61

A few weeks ago I purchased a book called 'The Rules of Love', and I have really enjoyed reading it.  I haven't quite finished, but well on the way.  I have found the book so fascinating that I have pages and pages of notes.  Things that I can improve on in my own relationship, plus general concepts that I use to spark more thought provoking conversations to learn more about all parties in the relationship.

Rule 61 was sure an interesting one, and a topical one;

'Keep your finances separate'
The author does say that there are loads of people who argue about this rule and he also says 'I've seen lots of couples argue about money - and in most cases it's contributed to break-ups - but I've never seen it happen in a relationship where the finances were separate'.
The author does say that the concept of a joint account for shared expenses is a good logistical option, and he also talks about the contribution to such not necessarily being equal depending on earnings and consumption patterns.
His concepts is that arguments are avoided as both parties can do what they like, save, invest, splurge...etc.  I did really like that his thinking which was also broad enough to cover when there was only a sole income and a partner at home with the kids, although that is not relevant to my circumstances given that my youngster is at school now.
A few rules along and 63 is;
'Be generous to each other financially'
I am a big fan of the separate finances, but I am also a big fan of this rule.  I would certainly hope that my partner feels that I am a generous one.  I do agree that 'you're in this together' and I also agree if one earns more then one should pay 'more of everything, in fact'.  I never count, split the bill or any of the other items mentioned that would supposedly lead to living your life 'as a hermit and spend your days worrying about your investments, and curl up at night in your lonely bed with a pillow stuffed with banknotes'.
I guess the challenge really becomes when one side of the equation does not want separate finances and the other does.  I thought the answer may be something like a hybrid of the above, a joint account where both contribute and agree on what comes out of there, such as holidays and living expenses.  I think that life circumstances such as divorce and blended families of children do make things tricky to work around.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Athletics Carnival 2013

A year has finally passed, and the scars of last years efforts have faded for both the parent and the child.  I grew up with a love of all things sport, and excelled at most things I turned a hand, foot or stick towards.  The most frustrating thing is that I know that Maddison has an athletic ability inside, I have seen it.  She ran four laps of the school oval, just so she could keep the principal company, and chat to him along the way.

Last year the worry monster appeared as we were called to head to the start line, by the time we lined up the tears were pouring, and when the gun went off so did all the girls....except mine.  I was really annoyed at all the efforts I had put in to trying to encourage Maddison to just take a start.  I headed off to the very long parental coffee line, just to calm down and avoid showing my disappointment.  I don't need for the child to win, but I do need for her to just try.

Our academic development program also consists of activities that encourage confidence building, and I have been super impressed by our progress this year.  But when the athletics carnival rolled around, I think both of us were worried about how it was going to go.  We discussed it together for weeks and I think I had managed to convince her that just taking part was all that was required.

This year I stayed at the other end of the track and let her line up all by herself.  The hangs were wrung and there was much glancing from side to side.  I could feel the tension from 80 metres away, and with the zoom on was reading the frantic moments of indecision about this sprint thing.

After the first ten metres was out of the way, something finally clicked in the little mind......

...that's right girls, I appear to be a few metres in front here.  From here on the pace built and the youngster who was afraid of taking out of the blocks had actually managed to have a moment of.....

...extreme pride from the both of us.  We celebrated with some home made cookies, enough for the best friend as well.  The rest of the carnival was easy after our first race efforts, and out team managed to win the relay as well, even with a smile during the race.

There was a fair amount of cheating in the skipping contest, and much hilarity from me when I asked how many jumps she had done to get 4th place.  I am certainly proud of her negotiation skills, especially when I made her count again on the iPhone movie.  Of course this 11 was met with 'that is so not me!'

Just to ensure that there was ample positive reinforcement, we headed out for super big sundaes and a pick of choice at the toy store.  First in the swimming carnival and the athletics carnival, whooo!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Acupuncture and Moxabustion

With a chronic health condition, I have tried more than a few things to assist with managing it, in fact I seem to have a team of people who play various roles.  I often get frustrated by the inability of the body, to keep up with the mind.  At the end of each year my goal that suffers the most is the number of fitness sessions completed.  Despite this continuous cycle, I am determined to not let the health issues overcome me.
The latest quest was forced on me by a friend.  After weeks of nagging, I finally found a spot in the schedule to go.  Now I possibly should have taken more notice about what I was heading in to, but the reality was after months of horrendous work hours and stress, it really didn't matter, I was happy to give anything a try.

Enter Japanese Acupuncture  I was caught unaware by the randomness of the needle giver.  Possibly too left of centre for my little conservative Capricorn ways!  I have however been attending weekly for a couple of months, and I now know that Qi is much different to Chai :-)

It does take some focus to keep an open mind during the sessions, and certainly some effort to try and get a conversation and connection going when I have absolutely zip in common.  Some how I have managed to make Judith laugh each session, and I have learnt bits about the self confessed 'cooking feral'!  Of course she may not know as much about me, but then I am not the one poking the needles around, so potentially not that important.
Moxabustion is a fancy word for what Maddison refers to as the fire stick.  At one session whilst lying in a semi clad fashion, the youngster bursts in through the door with my work phone.  Of course she had accidentally answered it too!  Her eyes almost fell out of her head at the sight of the 'doctor' waving around a lit stick of smokey something, whilst Mummy was lying flat.  The car ride home was quiet until the question;

"Is she really a real doctor Mummy?"


Taking Opportunities for Optimism

To set the scene.....

I would have to say that I love to control just about everything in my own life.  But I am learning to accept small moments of assistance, although often without much grace!  In the business world, the higher up the corporate ladder you climb, the less time you have to actual be in control. 

Your life is dominated by others above, who couldn't care about your own method of time management, what you diary looks like or even what the existing priorities you had on to resolve that day.  On a recent business trip I left the intended flight schedule that met my personal commitments with another to organise. 

Picture from
I wanted to leave the afternoon before I needed to be in another state, as the 2 hour flight was going to be a challenge to arrive the same day.  Imagine my surprise to learn that I had been booked on the early morning flight, the same day.  Awesome, I live an hour from the airport and I am on a 6:00 am flight.  I do have to shower, get dressed and drive to meet the flight time, as well as then survive a day long meeting that has a networking event and dinner.

The flight was of course delayed, but only after I arrived at the airport.  Sigh, now I am actually going to arrive late.

The following morning as I prepared to go to the networking breakfast, I glanced down at the itinerary and then had a double take.  For some reason instead of the mid morning flight, I was on an 8:00 am flight.  It is just after 6:00 am and I am over an hour from the airport.

As I was sitting in the lobby, quietly fuming, a hotel staff member comes up and asks if she can make me a coffee to take away?  This lady may have been heaven sent, as I was going to miss breakfast, and also enjoy the Virgin flight without food.  I really don't cope well without food for long periods, or even short periods!

Thankfully the cab driver did not question bringing in a beverage.  We quietly drove a short distance before entering peak hour traffic for the next hour.  I arrived at the airport ten minutes late for the return flight.

Scene set :-).......

Despite all of this, life often hands you moments in time that don't go according to plan, it is what you do in these moments that often defines who you actually are.

The travel company sorted
another flight, in an hours time on Qantas (yay finally food).  With a few minutes spare in my schedule and opportune time to think about the goals for the year, so I swung by the newsagent and picked up a book, 'The Rules of Love'....sounding a bit random?

I have general reading as one of my personal development goals.  I like to read a number of books for both development, general knowledge and just interest or entertainment.  But in this case, the opportunity to have a skip through my relationship and see how I and it was going, well that was money and time well spent. 

No matter how things are going, we can always do better.  It is an expression I use at work and home.  I am half way through the book and have about six pages of notes which will be used to have really interesting conversations with my partner.  The book is very cool and I will use it to publish a series of posts.

But back to the day in question.  I arrived much later than intended, so took the opportunity to head home instead of the office.  I had some quality solo time at home working, then drove against the traffic to pick the youngster up from school.  Despite the opportunity for a really bad day, things turned out pretty well after all.