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5 More Things I have Stopped Caring About

1 Apr

1. Dancing in public

By in public I do not mean in a night club or at a party or festival.  I mean in the street, during the day, in the corner shop, in the supermarket, at the garden centre and in the swimming pool. Having worn Elsie in a sling for much of her first year of life I have gotten so used to swaying, bopping, bouncing and squating my way around life that I’ve forgotten how not to dance.  The first time I went to the corner shop post Elsie, without Elsie she was about 10m old and I found myself dancing in the queue, at 2pm in the afternoon.  When I realised my faux pas I felt the need to explain myself to the man behind me.  He just laughed and said not to worry and that I have “rhythm”.  Since this incident I have realised life is actually a happier place to be if you dance along. I don’t care if it looks totally bizarre.

2. Intellectual conversations

I used to love to explore intricate, abstract and philosophical concepts.  Over a bottle of wine, country walk or lengthy telephone conversation.

Now?

Please don’t ask me anything complicated!  Don’t ask me to think!! I don’t have space in my head to think about anything extra and you are distracting my limited processing power from thinking about what I want to think about which is: working out what I can cook for Friday night that is baby friendly, healthy, tasty, vegetarian, wheat free, not massively processed and can be prepared with one hand during the time Elsie eats her lunch on Thursday and provide a lunch for the next 5 days. Actually. Sod that. I don’t want to think at all, Please can you think about that for me too.

3. How I look

Here I am talking beyond basic cleanliness and health.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve never aspired to be magazine cover material and always focused my energy in other directions.  But now? It’s fallen totally off the radar.  I used to worry people would judge me for not making “an effort” but I’ve realised there is no law about having to make yourself look pretty.

4. Making up crap songs 

I’ve always wanted to be good at music, but never really developed the skills.  During my pregnancy I read that I should sing to my bump. I thought it was a good idea but the perfectionist in me got stuck in working out what song it should be, should I write one? What if it’s Rubbish? I never did sing to my bump.

Now? We have a song for everything.  The songs are not remotely poetic or musically sound but they aid communication, provide cues, jolly us up and punctuate our days. They get us through! Here are a few examples:

I’m going to wash, wash, wash your wees away. Wash, wash, wash your wees away. Wash, wash, wash your wees away and wiggle your waggles away (to the tune of shake your sillies out) 

We’ll have a cup of tea and a boobie, we’ll have a cup of tea and a boobie, we’ll have a cup of tea and a boobie, ’cause that’s what mummies and Elsies do, boom, boom boom (to the tune of Alice the camel) 

Bye bye water, bye bye bubbles, bye bye day time, bye bye troubles (I don’t know where that time comes from) 

5. Having low-brow tastes

Please consider this my official “coming out” I’ve always secretly liked a bit of crap telly, but now, if I get the chance to spend a few minutes in front of the box I need a zero-effort-super-fast-brainless- hit.  I need something to turn my brain off to.  I love made in Chelsea, TOWIE and 90210. While I’m confessing I might as well tell you I also love KFC, Krispy Kreme and all inclusive beach holidays. I wish I didn’t, but I do. Life’s too short to pretend otherwise.

What do you no longer care about? Either as the result of having a baby or due to other sources of personal change?

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Honeymoon

14 Jun

We got married back in August last year, but with the impending Viva, house buying and relocation, plus the fact we had just paid for a wedding we didn’t really have the time, nor the means to go away.

We played with the idea of winter sun, expensive Caribbean destinations and exotic, cultured tours.

But actually, what we really wanted was to lay on a beach drinking cocktails, and doing naf all.  We didn’t want the pressure of being somewhere where we would have to go and see buildings, art galleries or wonders of the ancient world.  No, sod that, we didn’t want to be entertained or cultured.

Neither of us are particularly adventurous so we have come to love the greek islands,  the greek people are friendly, engaging and don’t seem to mind if you can’t speak greek.  Most of all we feel safe there.  We also realised that there was little point traveling half way around the world to just lay on a beach drinking all-inclusive cocktails!

So we waited until the start of the Greek holiday season and went to Kos, an island we have visited previously with limited cultural interest (all of which we saw on our last trip) and where we managed to get a fairly bargainous all-inclusive-10-day-deal.  It was still significantly more expensive than our usual 3-star-self-catering job.  But we figured we should make it a bit more special than our usual holiday.

We stayed at the Hotel Oceanis Beach and Spa Resort which is a 4-star-couples-only-mega-all-inclusive-hotel on the beach.  We were expecting it to be a bit posher that our previous holidays, with no food shopping to do and 10 days instead of 7, we also expected it to be a bit more relaxing and luxurious.

The hotel surpassed all our expectations…
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The room staff folded our towels into animal shapes:

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And when we mentioned we were on Honeymoon:

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The food was awesome, the drink all inclusive:

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And we actually managed to do nothing for a whole 10 days:

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Aside from, of course, some experimental paddle-boarding:

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And, posing in the sea:

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We also learned a little bit of Greek and made friends with the Beach Bar Staff:

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With nothing to do for 10 days, we felt as if we had a decent break. I was sad to leave, so sad I cried on the crappy flight back home.

However,  Life goes on, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that the puppies had survived our trip away.  They had been well looked after by Dan’s parents and were pleased to see us but also quite happy with life as it was:

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Also, the Apple tree had blossomed:

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And the flowers had begun to flower:

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Going ‘Off Plan’

20 Apr

It’s been a stressy week. I have not managed to take time back.

I have worked overtime, over time that I won’t be paid for and probably won’t manage to claim back.

I figure that I need to start giving clients a set number of hours per week and sticking to it! I have been pulled into various meetings about clients and have still felt it was important to go and see them, write their notes and analyse data about them. This just isn’t feasible! (unless I can get my caseload down to two!).

Anyway, yesterday (Friday) I was driving around Thanet between a session with a client and a case conference about a different client. I realised I had a hour to spare; not enough time to get back to the office; too much time to go straight there.

I realised I was driving through broadstairs and it occured to me that I could take a lunch-break yes a friging lunch break. I had heard that Broadstairs is nice, and I suddenly felt like I might have the opportunity to do something totally unpredictable to even myself.

I felt as I were being somewhat reckless as I parked my car on the high street and walked down the hill towards where I imagined the sea might be. To think that no one in the world knew where I was or what I was doing, nor could they guess felt alien and exciting to me.

I felt as if I might have managed to go off plan; to have demonstrated my own free will and independence of thought.

I walked down the road and identified that Broadstairs was indeed, middle class, with an old-fashioned bakery, haberdashery and butcher on the high street. A funeral parlour with the tag line “today is a good day to plan your funeral” gave me an idea of the demographics of the town, yet strangely, the only young people I could see were teenagers. Not British teenagers, but French, in fact, the only language I could hear being spoken was French. I wondered if I might have accidentally entered into a rift in the space-time continuum, or maybe just, absent mindedly driven through the eurotunnel into France.

As it began to rain I realised I was indeed in Britain, and like a true Brit, carried in regardless down to the beach.

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I walked along the pavement by the beach huts and identified a picnic bench to venture across the sand for. Wearing a full length woollen coat and my red-leather work shoes I suspected that should anyone have noticed me they might have thought me rather odd. Indeed, in my psychologist outfit, I felt more removed that usual from nature and less able to be connected with the outdoors. I fantasised about taking my shoes off and running across the beach to paddle in the icy sea. I noticed this urge and reflected that, had I have not been in psychologist mode I probably would have gone with it. I comforted my self with my flask of coffee and a cigarette.

I was aware of this chap sitting in the bench next to mine:

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I’m not a fan of seagulls but he stayed put, looking at me and talking to the other seagulls. He reminded me of a dog, or rather dogs when they whine at each other. On making this association, I paid him some more attention. He seemed wise and grounded. I wondered if he had an understanding of the universe and realised that, on a level, he did. Not a cognitive level, but on a practical, behavioural level, and perhaps, an emotional level. Looking at him made me feel as if he had a sense of mastery over his world, a complete understanding of all he perceives, or at least the feeling of understanding of all he perceives.

I reasoned that I had a fairly good, practical understanding of the universe and my place in it, but there is no way I will ever have an understanding of it all on a cognitive level. Even if i had infinite mental capacity to understand all the knowledge in the world, the facts are still unknown. I wondered if I could ever understand it all on an emotional level and fairly quickly dismissed that as too time and energy consuming.

I wondered, however, whether I am missing a level or two?

I started to get cold and wet and retreated to my car, dissatisfied with my attempt to be reckless but satisfied that I had achieved some thinking space of my own.

I felt a sense of achievement as I arrived at my next meeting with wet hair and sand in my shoes.

Also, at the meeting I apologetically informed my colleagues that I would not be present the week after next for two consecutive weeks. They surprised me by seeming genuinely pleased for
me to be getting a holiday. I walked away realising that I had fallen into a trap of thinking my presence is more important than it actually is.

I drove home after the meeting feeling a little bit free…

A Four Day Weekend

1 Apr

I have been holding out for this weekend for a while now. It has helped to know I would get four whole days off. I think that we have been so busy that the usual Two day weekend hasn’t been long enough for me to really slow down and reflect on how I am and whether I need to change.

It wasn’t until the third day that I felt I had got everything that needed doing done. When this happened, yes, I wanted to sit and do nothing but it also gave me some space to realise how stressy I have got myself!

We have been for two very beautiful walks with the dogs, which we were able to do without time limits, or guilt or anxiety about losing time.

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And Dan and I have actually spent time together and talked. We have had space to share ideas and interests rather than day-to-day frustrations and to-do lists.

I’ve even (with much help from Amalia) decorated an Easter Tree!

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Having this time has helped me reflect and realise that I don’t want to find ways of earning more money,  I don’t want a bigger house or a better set of qualifications.  I want more of this:

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More time to stop and be.

 

 

Breaking into a sprint

1 Apr

Life has gone and got busy, again. Work has got stressful, again.

I never really stopped after the doctorate, never really had the’come-down’ I was led to believe was inevitable.

I recall feeling as if I had just got off a high speed train in a foreign land, but was still running along the platform. I have come to realise that this is because life simply doesn’t stop (well not until the end anyway!). We really are on a journey and there will always be stressors in our lives.

A few months into my new job I spoke to my mother and told her that, for the first time in my life, I felt as if I was in an enviable position. I described feeling guilty for having so much. My mother re-assured me (albeit in a slightly cynical fashion) that life would not stay this good forever, so to enjoy the good times while they lasted, and not to worry, I would get my fair share of cr*p.

I’m now six months in to the job and the honeymoon phase is truely over! I have too much work to do and too much risk to manage. I’m allowed to claim back any hours worked over my contracted 37.5, but realistically, if I’ve worked over my hours, that’s because there wasn’t enough time in the week and if there wasn’t enough time in the week to do the work, then taking a few hours off the next one isn’t going to help me. I’m trying to be as effective within my contracted hours and to not work much over them. I feel like my job is important, but I don’t want it to take over my life. If this is going to be sustainable then I need to look after myself.

I feel as if I had just about slowed down to a walking pace on the train track but now I’m verging on breaking into a sprint. I would really like to just sit down for a while but I think the goal should be more like walking pace, maybe a slow jog or even a bit of skipping?

Resolutions Week 2?

19 Jan

So we are two weeks in and I have already missed the setting of a set of resolutions (last weekend).  I thought about setting several:

  • Book a haircut (and start getting it done regularly!)
  • Buy a ball gown (graduation ball is next thursday!)
  • Go to Karate again on Monday

I wanted a more meaningful resolution,  I considered trying to do a random act of kindness for someone each day but the week has gone so fast I’ve not had the chance to put anything into action or sit and blog about my plan. I didn’t manage to do my cleaning during the week but I did manage to go to Karate, speak to a friend on the phone, have a friend round for dinner and clean the bathroom.  Fortunately Dan took a day off this week and cleaned the rest of the house!

Work has been somewhat turbulent; I have ended up staying late and on thursday I came home completely overwhelmed with thoughts and feelings about my clients.  Again, Dan came to the rescue and helped me re-ground myself and re-package my clients back up into appropriate boxes in my mind!

I have been managing to spend an hour in front of the telly each evening, and frankly, I’ve been so tired, I’ve pretty much fallen asleep there most evening.  While sitting in front of the telly I’ve been engaging in some wool organising in preparation for my next project:

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This is the first time I’ve had really posh wool.  It’ was hideously expensive and I started the above project not realising that I really should have wound the Skeins of wool into balls.  As a result the lovely yarn had become tangled and enmeshed in its bag.  It was a right mess!

Winding up the balls has been a bit like organising my clients in my head, it has required de-tangling with care and attention.  The end result feels good.  If only everything in life could be wound up into a neat ball where it would stay  eh?

Speaking on the phone to a friend this week we discussed my issue of feeling as if I have no time for myself.  She is a mother of two small children so she did incredibly well to be sympathetic towards me! We agreed that I did have time but that I am filling it.  This is my choice,  but I’m not sure it’s a functional one!  I explained that I feel as if I need to do a lot in order to feel I have made use of my time.  The weekends feel short and sure, I do have house-holdy tasks to do but I fill the gaps with things I think I need to achieve in order to prepare for the week ahead and in order to feel as if I have had some ‘me’ time.  She suggested that I might feel as if I had more time if I spent time doing nothing.  I had to ask her what doing nothing is.   She defined it as watching something on telly, eating snacks and doing nothing else.  We agreed it would be a useful experiment for me to try.

So, call it a resolution if you like, Dan has gone out for the evening, the puppies have been walked, Its 3:30pm on Saturday.  I am going to sit and do nothing until at least 6pm.

Hello 2013

1 Jan

I really hope 2013 is a quiet one!

I have resolved to take at least the first half of 2013 as a ‘break’ from major life events.  I know this is not entirely within my control, but I won’t be adding any major life events to any that occur of their own or other’s volition.

I know the next major event that I hope to plan will be a baby, and I know that feels like a very attractive proposition.  However,  I am also aware that I have spent the last three years lusting over time to call my own.  Post-doctorate,  I still haven’t found this easily and I suspect, that should we have a baby, this will be a dream lost.

I now know that I have issues with claiming ‘time’ for myself.  It gets lost within the list of ‘should dos’ and ‘I will have a break whens..’ I struggle with the idea that I might be self indulgent and do something ‘just because I want to’.

I believe that I am improving in this struggle and this blog is a testament to that.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to become a hedonist, but maybe just less of a masochist.  I would like to be able to claim 15 minutes for myself without feeling guilty. I would like to chose to make myself happier rather than miserable.

So my resolutions?

1. Find More TIME

Yes, I have a plan for this:

  • House cleaning is to be constrained to weekday evenings and for no more than 1hour on any one evening.
  • Cooking fancy meals (those that take more than 30 minutes) only at weekends and in a big vat on one evening per working week.
  • Supermarket shopping only once per fortnight.

2. Set a New Goal Each Week

This is with a view to continuing personal development; it might be related to finding ‘time’ to do something I really want to do but it might be about another, broader aim.  I will record each goal here at the beginning of each week and will review it at the end of each week.  Repeating goals is acceptable and may well be necessary.

3. Go to Karate Class Once a Week

I used to beat myself up for not managing to attend more than once a week, but realise now that although I was only managing a class a week, I was the fittest I have ever been.  No, it’s not the recommended amount of exercise, but it is exercise! I have inquired and discovered my old club is national and are running classes in this area,  I just need to find my membership card, my Gi, and go!

4. Take the Dogs to Dog-Training Classes

Again, I have made appropriate enquiries and am awaiting feedback.  Either way, I will find a club and take them!

5. Will Obviously lose 71b

Once we have finished the Christmas food.

6. Blogging

I hope this recent splurge in blogging continues, even if it is just to check in with a weekly goal.  It represents a successful 30 minutes of ‘me’ time and makes me think about what and how I am doing.

Happy 2013 Chaps, lets rock this one!

 

 

 

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