For the first time last year, I undertook a review of the previous year of my life, see Here. Although my last review did not quite fit with the calendar year (July to July). I have decided to repeat as a year end for 2019/20 as I found the whole exercise extremely useful.
I am scaling everything down, last year I had 11 Life Lessons, this year it is just 5, this is a reflection on the need to simplify my life and focus on what’s most important to me right now.
So here goes ….
Lesson 1. My Job is Killing Me (slowly)
My current job is bad for my health, it is extremely pressurised as my workload has doubled (I took on another person’s role on top of my own, this was not an option but an expectation with no extra pay) and it’s looking like they are about to pile more on to me. I have expressed that I am struggling and it’s too much for one person, but this has been met with a sympathetic look of acknowledgement, but ultimately ‘deaf ears’. I am only contracted until March 2020, but it is looking like this will be extended to March 2021, after that I will be unemployed.
My job is reasonably paid, but at what cost? I have been depressed the past few months, hence I have not been posting blogs, funny how ‘stress’ and ‘depress’ rhyme. I believe my increased workload has caused my depression. How am I dealing with this? Not very well on the surface, but I am trying my best by intentionally eating healthier. I am doing the bare minimum at home, so as not to put additional pressure on myself. I keep telling myself this is temporary.
Because of my low mood, my good habits have slipped, I have stopped meditating, reading, going the gym, doing walks, journalling, this is not good at all and I know will only drag me further into depression. Exercise is especially important when you are depressed, but feels like the hardest thing to do.
I am on a Christmas break right now and have brought lots of work home, as I couldn’t bare to go back in the new year drowning in work. I plan to choose one day only and blitz as much as I can, even if I work until midnight. I realise this is not sustainable, I work hard enough, I don’t want to bring work home and not get paid, even if I did get paid, this is not what I want.
The positive of this is, I realise this is not the life I want, I want to work for myself, and help others in some way, job satisfaction is essential to me, I need to feel I am doing ‘good’ in the world, no matter how small. This has spurred me to start planning for a change I hope to take place in March 2021.
I have started to ‘save’ money each month, not much but I am driven by the need to change my career. I am planning my future, and preparing for the life I want to live. It is this planning and preparation that is keeping me going and giving me hope.
I have come a long way in the past few years in terms of my personal and spiritual growth, I am not about to let my current job ‘undo’ my progress.
Lesson 2. Self Awareness
Self-awareness was one of my lessons for last year, but this has ‘grown legs’. I can’t stress enough the importance of self-awareness, it is helping me not only understand myself but to accept my self, the good and bad bits.
Although my journalling has temporarily ceased, I still do monthly self-reflections which includes;
- My Top 10 Achievements of the month
- What I learned
- Distractions / Mental Blocks / Fears
- How I made myself feel good
- What did not happen and why
- What actions I can take to improve
- My greatest insights
- Obstacles or fears inside myself?
- My emotional vibration and how I let go of any negative emotions
- What I enjoyed and how I can be more present
- Ideas / notes for the month ahead
I have also recently undertook the Myers-Briggs personality test and was shocked at it’s accuracy. I have discovered I am an INFP type, a rare type with only 4-5% of the population having this personality type. This has been reassuring, as I now understand that my personal ‘struggles’ in life are not because I am ‘cursed’ in some way, I am just different from most. Once again this is greatly helping with my acceptance of self. I am reading up about the INFP type and will be buying an in-depth book on the subject to further develop my self-awareness.
My shadow work continues, I feel that as I have started to accept my self more ‘warts n all’, strangely other people are too. Yes, there will be people who won’t accept certain aspects of you, this just makes it easier to identify the kind of people you need to ‘eject’ from your life.
Lesson 3. Goal Limitation
This lesson is about less being more. Last year, I did have some awareness that I had too many goals, and have tried to reduce them, but not nearly enough, so for 2020/21 I have chosen to focus on just 3 areas of my life:
- Health & Wellbeing
I scaled these down by asking myself which areas of my life need improving now and in terms of related goals, which goals will have the biggest impact on my life?
Although my finance and career goals are closely related, I separated them out because a) I wanted to reduce my spending and increase my savings and b) my career goals are not just about income, but job satisfaction, doing what I love and making a difference.
I feel if I can achieve my financial and career goals, this will impact greatly on my health and wellbeing, I will be happier, less stressed, and hopefully have more time freedom to take care of my health and wellbeing. The domino affect is what I am aiming for here. My plan is to take 2 x 10 week courses this year to gain qualifications.
Lesson 4. Purchase only what serves you
Okay, not so much a life lesson, but for me I feel so much better when I am organised, my house is clean and tidy, the lesson here for me is I need this for my wellbeing. My decluttering goal is an ongoing goal, but I am ready to take it up a notch now. Although my home looks relatively clutter free, don’t venture into my cupboards, loft or shed as this will show a different story.
I love books and these are one of the hardest things to ‘let go’ of, but I am making progress, all be it slow. As someone who used to buy at least 4 or 5 books a month, I have restricted this to 1 a month maximum, although some months I have not purchased any. This is huge for me, how did I do this? I simply asked myself if this book is related to one of my current goals? Will it serve me in my quest for improvement? If the answer is ‘No’, then I don’t purchase, I just save it in my wish list. This mindset helps me in multiple ways, which funny enough relates directly to my other goals; 1) Clutter; there is less ‘stuff’ coming into my home, 2) Finances; I spend less, 3) Goals; the books I purchase help me focus on my current goals.
Lesson 5. Trusting my Intuition
I have never really trusted my intuition, my head (or ego) always gets in the way. Finding out I am an INFP, has given me more confidence in trusting my intuition, as INFP’s are highly intuitive. I knew I was, but never trusted it. I have put this into practice on a few recent occasions. The first I identified two ‘players’ (who were trying to play me) in my life and batted them out of my ‘ball park’. I am quite proud of this because part of my problem is that I am too trusting of what people say, even though I have niggling doubts about their authenticity. Some people call me naive, because I have a tendency to only see the ‘good’ in people and I never want to change this, because I believe most people are ‘good’, even if they have lost their way.
The second situation was in relation to interviewing potential lodgers (my current lodger is leaving). I never really liked my current lodger, not that he’s been a particularly bad lodger (I’ve had worse), but there was a recent incident in which he lied to me, so the trust has gone. When I interviewed him, I wasn’t keen on offering him a room, but I listened to a friend who thought he was a good choice, even though this went against my gut feeling (intuition).
I have recently been interviewing and had an applicant who has not been in this country long who has a large dog. A few people think it’s risky, particularly allowing a lodger with a large dog in my home, but my gut instincts are that he is a good man who is just trying to make a better life for himself. In terms of the dog, since my dog died last year, this has left a gaping hole in my life, but because of my circumstances I cannot have my own dog. So having another dog in the house, who won’t cost me a penny and I have no responsibility for is a major plus. Dogs for me make a house a home, and the way this man is with his dog, reminds me of the relationship I had with my dog. He said a few key phrases when talking about his dog, phrases I used to use about my dog, I took this as a sign. I am taking a risk as you do with any new lodger, only this time I’m going off my gut feeling, if I’m wrong then I’ll accept any consequences.
To help with the progress of my goals, I have purchased 3 x 10 subject A5 Project Books from Amazon.co.uk (1 for each area). I am in the process of brainstorming ideas at the moment and putting them in the first section of each book. I am trying to do a bit each day, ‘little and often’ is my motto to make steady progress.
I will use the second section for my Action Plan and the remaining sections will be for research in specific areas, and tasks etc.
Reflecting back on the year, it would be easy for me to think I have taken a backward step in my progress due to my current work situation and subsequent depression. However, I do fully acknowledge the huge progress I have made up until the past couple of months, where I have hit a brick wall, a wall that I will dismantle brick by brick to get back on track! I am not giving up, I will change my life for the better because as long as I keep moving, I will never be ‘still’.