June Check In

So much has happened since my last post in April. I have so much to share!  There have been some progress on my goals, and some fun trips. Yet I wanted to take a moment and back track on my journey the last few months. I have made some major life changes. These changes are centered around putting my overall well being first.

In my last post, I talked about my old job. Looking at that post hurts. My words were careful to skim only the surface. I am passionate about working with people with Intellectual or Developmental disabilities. Yet the place I was working was terrible. We had little support to help the kids. It was chaotic and the hardest workers were taken advantage of. If you got physically assaulted by an escalated kid, you got a five minute break. Each day I was getting beat up. It is hard to do such taxing  work with little support.

On top of the physical and mental aspect, I was constantly sick. In a four month period, I experienced four colds, the flu, stomach flu, and strep throat.  My body was tired, and I was emotionally taxed, I could barely keep my eyes open and was always on the edge of tears. When I wasn’t working I was sleeping, or trying to relax. There was no time or energy for goals or dreams. It got to a point where all my energy was being put into survival the next day. That isn’t a way to live.  Towards the end of May, I needed a change.

I got my break at the end of April. I was diligent and worked to earn myself a new position. It is working in the same field, but with a less volatile population with better support.  I was getting burnt out, and loosing passion for the field. I am so passionate about this field, and look forward to pursuing it.

I was also blessed to be given the opportunity for a trip. I spent ten days traveling in the south. I took this time to step away from everything and relax. I mean everything. A big part of my life is reading and writing. I put both of these aside for self reflection. Most of the trip was spent sitting in the sun, exploring, and engaging in much needed self care.

I needed it more than I realized.

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These are two pictures of me. The left one was taken in April.  My face is sunken and tired. What haunts me the most are my eyes. looking back, I knew how I felt, but didn’t know how evident it was on my face.  The second picture is after seven days on vacation. The life is back in my eye. I look healthy, and alive. Looking at these pictures, I am happy  I made these changes. No job is worth your mental health.

It took a lot of hard work, but I’m happy that I took the initiative and moved on.

Finding Happiness

I have been away, taking some time to regroup. Late in 2018 we faced some challenges that forced us to move in with family. We traded in a wide open country lifestyle for a hectic urban one. It was hard, but we needed to get out of a toxic situation. Yet it has been an adjustment.

Overall, I thought that it would be much more of a challenge to my mental health. In the past, adversary has tended to drag me down into a dark place. Yet this time It has not been too bad. I have been trying to figure out why, and I think it is all about my attitude.

This year I am making a big effort to focus on the positive. I have also taken time for self care, and reflection. I have found that by doing this, my attitude is better. I have found a way to be happy, despite the challenges.

Life is about how we meet challenges. We can either choose to yearn for something ahead, or choose to be happy where we are. This afternoon, instead of yearning for another far off trip, I enjoyed the moment. We forget to do that, and I believe that it steals so much happiness from our lives. It is great to wish for bigger things but we cannot let those dreams consume us and steal the joy out of everyday moments.

There is magic in everyday moments, we just need to open up our minds to see it.

February round up

I can’t believe that it is already March. As I grow older, the years seems to go by quick. It is crazy to think that we are almost a quarter of the way through 2019. This year, I am following a group of goals, set month by month. This is much easier to track and attain that lofty year long goals.

I am using a special planner this year. It is a monthly planner by a company called Orange Circle Studios. Each month it has a goals section, where you can write down goals, and track daily progress. I love mine, and it is has helped me measure my progress. It has kept me really honest, and I think it has helped inspire growth.

These were my February Goals,

  1. Write One Page everyday
  2. Publish on my blog twice a week.
  3. Guided Journals each days.
  4. Participate in social media for the blog.
  5. self care each day.

So these were the goals. how did I do achieving them? It was mixed honestly. I did really well, but some unforeseen circumstances threw my plans off a bit. I got the flu on the 22nd, which really took the wind out of my sails. But that’s life, sometimes we have to make due with things. luckily I made great strides earlier in the month, so the hit wasn’t as bad.

Photo by Bich Tran on Pexels.com

In the blogging department, I did well. Luckily I posted right before the onset of the flu, So I kept that goal for the month. Eight posts were published, which was my goal. My biggest challenges were the guided journals. This honestly was my fault. The commitment wasn’t really there. I plan to recommit to this in March, and am hoping for better results. The other goals were reached as well. I wrote a page everyday. I also got back into social media marketing. I also worked on my self care as well.

February was a good month. I am happy to be making progress towards my goals. Hopefully I will make the same kind of progress in March. Do you have any goals you are currently working on? Do you set goals monthly, or yearly? Drop your thoughts in the comments! I would love to hear from you.

I hope that you have a productive March

Till Next time

Colleen



Knocked Out

Been under the weather for about a week now. On Friday I caught the flu. I have been out of work since. I ran a fever, caught a cold, and somehow ended up with a case of vertigo. After about six days, I am finally feeling a bit better. Honestly it has been a rough road. I am ready to rejoin polite society now.

It amazes me, how tiny little germs can throw our plans off so badly. They invade our lives, throwing everything out of balance. we think of yourself as invincible. In truth we are fragile, at the mercy of the world around us.

I am taking it how it comes. I could get frustrated but it isn’t wort the effort. I am letting go, and just letting it shake out. I am taking a deep breath, enjoying the rest, and taking lots of naps. I figure sooner or later, it will pass, i just have to be patient.

But I am looking forward to getting back to it.

Finding Myself

I went for a walk to clear my head tonight. The days are still cold, but the bright sun lingers a bit longer each day. I’m exhausted, but trying my best to take advantage the extra daylight. We are living in Manchester, and I take walks up at the local college. Being on campus made me yearn for more. My college experience was very limited, as much of my life has been. Tonight my thoughts drifted to my path so far. I have been too cautious, and there have been direct negative effects on my well being.

My choices have always been based off what is best for everyone, even if it hurts me. My youth was spent as a shield, protecting my sister from my alcoholic mother. I attended a college that wasn’t my choice, because of my parents thought it best. A guidance counselor in high school told me that writing wasn’t a legitimate career. Her word made me question my passion, and set me back years. I chose not to move West based on uneducated opinions. My wedding was complicated by selfish actions of those who I thought would always be there for me. I always go above and beyond for people who don’t deserve it.

I am struggling. My entire life, my personality has been smothered. As a child I was sheltered, never given a chance to fail. My teens were shaped by judgements of those who thought they knew better. As an adult I’ve been surrounded by people who question my choices, and do not value my intelligence. And I have allowed others guide me into this sense of oblivion. I have been turned into a cautious timid person, who avoids change.

That time is done.

2019 is a rebuilding year. The house is being brought right to the ground, and rebuilt by my rules. I am done playing by the rules, and trying to appease everyone. I am off on an adventure, to find myself. My needs are coming first, regardless of what others think.

who knows where my path will lead, but I will be the one who picks the direction.

Overcoming Chaos

To say this weekend has been rough is an understatement.

My instinct is to keep things private. To discuss things is to let that wall down. To let people in is to show weakness. It goes against everything that has been bred into me since childhood. Yet sharing can be cathartic, and helps us grow.   There has been a big change in my thinking, that I just noticed over the last few days. This weekend was challenging, but I overcame it.

Photo by Hristo Fidanov

When we went to bed on Thursday, I noticed Maddie, our 10 month old Australian Shepard, was acting strange. She tried to get up and couldn’t. Her body was raked with tremors that quickly developed into full  blown seizures. It was a nightmare with my eyes open. Nothing is worse than not being able to go fast enough as your puppy  shakes uncontrollably in your husbands arms.

We were able to get her to the vet, and thankfully, she is Ok,  The Vet thinks she got into something and it had to work itself through her system.  We got incredibly lucky, and are happy to have her home. Yet it was terrifying. You know it is part of the deal, but it doesn’t make it easier emotionally.

We stayed until they had fully checked her out. We didn’t get home until 3 am Friday morning. Maddie had been given Valium and was sleeping . We had to monitor as she came down, to ensure the seizures had stopped. I was up until 5 am and missed work on Friday because of it.

The rest of the weekend was bumpy as well. My paycheck was two days late, which was a major issue.  We were not able to go out for our special dinner on Friday. I didn’t end up getting bills paid until Saturday. I also managed to get a nasty cold.  Sick and tired, it has been difficult to rest and catch up on that sleep.  The bad things just seemed to keep coming.  It has been a challenging couple of days .

But, it is important to keep moving. And I believe that my focus on positive thinking has been paying off in big ways. In the past, a weekend like this would have brought me right down. I would have stuck in a bad mood, and unable to do anything. This weekend I was able to ride out the challenges, and do it with a positive attitude. I was also able to stay productive. I  finished an entire book, and wrote.  The chores were done, and the bills paid. It was challenging, but I was able to get things despite the challenges.

It was a good weekend, despite the issues. I am learning to rise above the daily challenges, and remain positive.  There is a certain amount of pride that. life hasn’t been easy, but with the right attitude, I can overcome it. This revelation shows me what I am capable of accomplishing. It give me confidence to push into the future.

Till next time’

Colleen

Wildflowers

Tomorrow is Valentines Day, the one day many people take to celebrate love. For me the holiday has almost became too much. I have a major issue with the way holidays are peddled in the United States.  We are bombard by displays in stores, and TV advertisements for jewelry.  The day has become an excuse to sell stuff. yet at the heart of it, I think there is still some good. There are plenty of people who still use small meaningful gestures to express the holiday. It got me thinking about our new lifestyle. What does minimalist Valentines Day look like?

Thus year is our first Valentines day as a married couple. The day is a big milestone for us. It gives us a chance to look back on the wedding, and our relationship. We have come so far, and there are many exciting days ahead for us.  I’m so thankful that I have someone to share all of my adventures with. We plan on taking it pretty easy tomorrow. We may go out for food, and we will spend some time enjoying each others company. Last weekend we went to Wilson Farm in Lexington, Massachusetts. My husband, Ed got me a beautiful bunch of flowers.

It was the perfect gift.  Flowers are a meaningful symbol in my life. I love the way the Lupines, come out and welcome warm days in the mountains. They are followed by the Black-eyed Susans and Queen Anne’s Lace. In 2017 we said goodbye to our Boxer Birdie in a field of Flowers in Sugar Hill.  The year after my Mother passed away, her Lilac Bush that never bloomed burst out with dozens of colorful, fragrant flowers.  At our wedding our first dance song was a cover of Wildflowers, by the Wailin Jennys and My bouquets had wildflowers.  Flowers remind me of good times, and important  time, both good and bad.  We have had a cold dreary winter, and the flowers remind me of warmer weather. They are the perfect addition to the house.

 I know so many people, who would expect so much more. A simple bouquet would be an insult.  much. Often people get wrapped in these holidays. They feel obligated to show how much they care through things. We have been taught that the size of the price tag should match up with how much we care. For me, its more than that. The spirit of the gift is what means the most. Minimalism is perfect for me, because gestures mean more than things. My husband does not need to buy chocolates or gifts to prove his love, he has done that through his actions. All I wanted was a small reminder of the love that we share, and he gave me that.  The simple gesture of love, will carry me through the rest of the cold February days.  For me that is the perfect minimalist Valentines Day.

Excuse me, while I go enjoy my flowers, and think of Spring.

 

Till next time!

Colleen

 

Cover Photo by Barnes Photography!