Sunday, 29 January 2017

End of January - phew!

How I'm feeling in January...

Not that I want to make it seem like I'm rushing or anything, but I'm really looking forward to January being over. Mentally, it's been a bastard, bringing me down for several weeks at the beginning of the month. It's only been the last week or so that I've finally started to feel better and brighter. To that end, I've essentially written it off as any kind of productive month and am just using it to organise, plan and think about what I want to do for the rest of the year. It's still doing something (more or less) just not as energetically.

I had almost 10 days off over Christmas and was planning on having a few days alone to recharge and plan after a short visit with my sister. That plan was scrapped after she had to leave the place she was staying - no physical danger, fortunately, it just had become very unwelcome and uncomfortable for her. So she ended up here, initially for a couple of weeks, but only left yesterday. My cousin is annoyed because she was promised a weekly monetary contribution which hasn't happened - she's given my sister an extra week to pay it. My sister asked if I could loan her the money (£300) but I don't have it. So it's up to her to figure out how to make it happen.

It was a long time to spend with my sister and I'm feeling more relaxed now that she's gone (she can be quite spiritually intense). She's applied for a job in Devon and in the meantime has moved to a housesit near Salisbury for a couple of weeks.

I had a nice enough break, we did lots of walking and relaxing, probably got through a book or two, and all too soon work rolled around again. It's still fairly quiet and I hope it picks up again soon. It's nobody's fault, but it is a bit frustrating and despite best efforts, I am becoming bored again, which is not good.

However (!!), because I am now a mature and productive adult (haha), I've decided to forego rash and impulsive decisions about leaving jobs I'm not happy with and finding something else because I'm tired of doing that. No, it's not the most challenging job I've ever done and my boredom plays host to all sorts of alternate options, but I am lucky to have a) a permanent job, b) a steady paycheque, c) colleagues that I like, d) good bosses and, e) the opportunity of a slightly flexible schedule (in that I can take a day off here and there and make it up, rather than being held to taking it as vacation or sick or whatever). I can set my budget (within £20 or so) each month to pay my bills, pay down some debt, etc. And in this economic environment, that alone can be enough.

I don't REALLY want to get a second job, despite the fact that I'm struggling with my wage, but if I can get my debt down to a much more manageable level (have no one to blame but me for that), then I would have more to do more FUN things, rather than feeling this lack of... all the time. Having said that, I haven't ruled it out, I just would prefer not to (and it would depend on the job). But needs must, I know...a goal of mine this year is, however, to ask for a raise.

In December, I bought a fun goals planner here. I've not quite completed it, but am doing my best with it. I'd like to have it fully done by the end of January. One of the items in it is a list of '100 Things' that I want to do this year. They can be literally anything, simple to complex (a weekly bubble bath, climbing Mt Everest, sitting with a cup of tea or glass of wine for half an hour each night, starting a business, reading more/less, watching the Northern Lights - you get the idea). I have just over 80 at the moment, several of which I can already confidently cross off the list! The ones I've crossed off are:

  • Go to York (going with my cousin for my birthday in April).
  • Go to Edinburgh (going with Jane in September!).
  • Contact a genealogist about their work.
  • Visit friends in Nottingham (May - yet to confirm, but at least we've discussed it!)
  • Self-catering weekend with my sister and my cousins - just us girls! (booked for end of May)

Not a lot, but I still think that, despite having the energy of a slug, it's a good start! :) One of the other items on my list is to read more non-fiction, so I started this year off with a book about feng shui, which I've just finished today. It was really fun, so I made copious notes and I've got all kinds of plans for my room. :D It's a little project I can do over the next several months, including collecting little bits & pieces to enhance it.

I'm trying to decide what my next non-fiction book will be.

As I said at the beginning, January is a write-off, so a lot of the other stuff is going to start in February, now that my energy is coming back. And if I don't get them all done (is Goal #100 "meeting Gary Lineker" really going to happen?), I'll just move them to next year. The book is all about taking responsibility for change and fun and your circumstances. There's a Facebook group that's supportive and fun and interesting and there to help you reach your goals - you can use it as much or as little as you like. I'm spending a bit too much time online at the moment, so one thing I plan to do is remove the FB app button from my iPad to make it less accessible. It's become overwhelming, politically speaking, so I need to step away from it.

I'm planning a trip to Scotland with Jane in the autumn before she goes on her hike. I'm going to drive up and meet her and we're going to spend a week or so exploring the country from Edinburgh to Glasgow to Fort William (with hopefully a visit to Loch Ness, a Jacobite train trip, and a few little side trips if we can fit them in). My return from Glasgow will hopefully include an overnight in the Lake District, as I go right past it and it seems a shame to miss out if I don't have to. It's supposed to be beautiful.

Last Monday I was in a car accident en route to the train station with my sister. There was heavy fog and the roads were quite icy. I thought I was going slowly enough but as I hit a corner (a tricky one even in good weather), I was obviously STILL going too fast. There was already a car on its side in the ditch and a police officer on the scene and as I tried to avoid a van that was coming the other way, the brakes locked and I hit him on the rear driver side. My poor wee car had a smashed headlight (which needed replacing anyway) and now has a permanent dent. The other fellow drove off without much concern or exchange of information after asking if all okay, so that left me hanging as the officer couldn't do anything without details. I drove home and my sister had to take a cab to the train station instead. I ended up taking the day off to drop the car for repairs (the rock stars at the garage repaired it the same day) and calling the insurance to report it. What a pain! I paid for it out of pocket (£85) because both the fellow I spoke to at the insurance company and the guys at the garage said if they'd had to take the front panel off to repair it, the car would have been written off instead. That startled me but I suppose makes sense, as that would have cost far more than the car is actually worth. As the guy at the garage said, the car is worth more to me on the road as she is. A dent is unsightly but she's still roadworthy and driveable, so doing any more work isn't worth it.

Annoying and frustrating, but no one was hurt, so overall it could have been much worse.

I've decided that I'm going back to school this year. I need to have a focus and that seems like a good one. I double checked to see if there was a similar program closer to home, but there isn't, so it's an hour's drive for me once a month to attend class. I'm okay with that. I want something that'll make me some (extra) money as I head towards, and into, retirement in the next 15 years and that'll allow me to feel good about what I do. I've decided on acupressure, and the following year will add aromatherapy. That feels more like what I need, so I'm going to follow that feeling. I can register for the online portion of the course anytime, which would lessen the workload in the fall. This is something I plan to do at the end of February. Then I have to make sure I take the time to do the reading and reviewing to get it completed.

I'll also be meal planning and try to get into the habit of making meals that will last more than one day. Freezer friendly, easy, tasty and cost saving - I need to make more of an effort with my food. My cousin is really good at that sort of thing, so I know will be able to help with stuff like that. I'm lazy - I admit it - and would rather spend my weekends just not doing much of anything than cooking 101 things, but do acknowledge that it's a real time saver during the week and the less thought for me around what to eat, the better!

Anyway, that's really about it. Just a few thoughts to catch up. To those on the east coast, I hope the ice storm eases and that some sense of normalcy returns soon. Take care of yourselves!


Jane said...

Hi Annie: I don't think January was as bad for me but I am still glad to see the end of it. Glad you're perking up a bit - winter in general can be so depressing, especially the let down after Christmas and New Years. You're doing the right thing in making plans for little getaways as well as Scotland. And...get a good look at the Lake District - that's somewhere I'd love to go! I'm going back and forth wondering if I should do the hike prior to meeting up with you in Edinburgh. I'm going to procrastinate til tomorrow and then make a decision :) I'm really good at putting things off til tomorrow lol. Motivation in the winter is rare.
I'm a big fan of both aromatherapy and accupressure (I'm sitting on my accupressure pad as I type. One of my cats likes to lay on it too so that's a good recommendation I think!

Northern Living Allowance said...

Hi Jane: I don't remember a January being quite so tough before, but I'm starting to feel better, so that's the main thing. Having little getaways gives me something to look forward to as well - it's refreshing to have a long weekend here and there. I'm so excited about Scotland, even though I'm not walking this year. I think a shorter, experience rich holiday will be just what I need! :D I'm going to keep my reservation at the hotel in the Lake District (it's not a cheap one), as why not spoil myself for an evening in one of the prettiest places in England?

I'll be registering for the online course in the next couple of months, so I can get it started and finished before Scotland. x

MW said...

So glad you (and your car) are OK! I didn't realize you had been feeling down during January.

I can't remember if you have you tried a light box (full spectrum, not the blue ones) before?

I've been using one for about 18 years (between Oct - Mar) usually about 10 - 15 min a day and can feel an immediate difference.

Rented one from a pharmacy for a month first and they credited the cost of it towards the purchase if you decide to go for it.

The last few years I've been going to more hot weather places in the fall and winter so I haven't needed it, so I know UV light and probably vitamin D makes a difference for me.

Your upcoming course and future planning makes a lot of sense. Enjoy the learning!

Northern Living Allowance said...

Hi MW! Nice to hear from you :) I hadn't thought of a light box - I'll look into that. It might be a good idea, and there's a pharmacy just up the road from work. I'm not sure about rental possibilities, but I can't see that it would hurt to ask about whether they do it or not.

My problem is that I don't like hot places (I swell up and get terribly uncomfortable), but can definitely see the appeal. Perhaps some Vit D pills or something if I can't get a light box or away to the Riviera... ;)