WELL HELLO THERE!
REST AND RECALIBRATION – As the name of this post might suggest, I’ve been a bit absent from the blog as I’ve needed some time out to – rest and recalibrate. I’m actually not quite done recalibrating but thought I’d pop back with a bit of a catch up style post as it’s been a little while since my last post. 4 weeks to be exact – eek!!
What does recalibrate mean? Well here’s a few descriptions that Google came up with for me that will give you the general idea:
to make small changes to an instrument so that it measures accurately
to change the way you do or think about something
to correct or adjust the gradations or settings on (a measuring instrument, sensor, or other piece of precision equipment)
to reexamine (one’s thinking, a plan, a system of values, etc.) and correct it in accord with a new understanding or purpose
I also just haven’t felt like blogging! This happens sometimes and when it does, it’s best to step away for a while, do what I’m doing, and come back when the enthusiasm and purposeful feeling about it comes back again.
This post has ended up a lot longer and a lot more personal than I intended, so strap yourself in, grab a cuppa, please have an open mind, and good luck to you! Fingers crossed you can make it to the end!
REST IS IMPORTANT
I loved my 100 Day Project but when it ended, all the exhaustion of that commitment and effort hit me in a rush (I kinda crashed & burned) and I’ve needed some rest. In addition to that, there’s a lot of jobs around the house that were neglected over those 100 days and I also had a heap of health checks and concerns that needed dealing with. I’m slowly ticking these things off my list but there’s more to go yet! I’m currently sitting here with four (4) stitches in my tummy/hip area after having a skin excision following a skin check. Nothing serious hopefully but a relief to have that one ticked off the list. By the way, the exhaustion I’ve been feeling could also be attributed to extremely low iron levels and I’m actually booked for my second iron infusion this week! The first one was over a year ago. It seems my body is not absorbing iron (not even from iron supplements) and though it does well after an iron infusion, eventually my iron levels start declining and another infusion is needed. Another health check thingy ticked off my list (nearly). Within two weeks of having this infusion I should start feeling so much better!
Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time ~ John Lubbock, The Use of Life
Since the 100 day project ended I did another module of Art Mentoring Classes with Studio Yellow and that is now done for the year as Natalie (the owner/teacher) is not doing the usual final module for the year so that she can FINALLY travel to Sydney and meet her first ever grandchild. There will be home quarantine when she returns but boy will it all be worth it to finally meet her first grandchild – a sweet little girl. I have three more modules to do and then I’ve done them all. I posted my creations from those classes on Instagram (here, here, and here). I also did a drawing of a cottage for International Artist’s Day. Apart from that I’ve done nothing because of all the other stuff I’ve mentioned (within this post) that I’ve been doing. I do plan to get back into my art and I’d like to actually make something of it. I think I’ll have more success with this though once I have all my health checks completed and I’ve had the iron infusion to help me not feel so tired and lethargic all the time. An energy boost will be very helpful indeed!
I considered writing a post for last Monday but last Monday was my Dad’s birthday. He would’ve been turning 91 if he were still here. It didn’t feel right to post about anything else on that day, and I didn’t want to do another blog post about my Dad so I decided to not post at all that day. Besides, I had gone to my Mum’s the day before with one of my sisters and we stayed the night. We went out to the cemetery on his birthday and then had a nice lunch. If you want to read about my Dad, here is the post I wrote after he passed, and here is the post I wrote on the first of his birthday’s after he had passed. I’m still grieving the loss of my Dad. I always will be I guess.
Part of my recalibration purpose aside from: 1) Getting some rest 2) Catching up on jobs around the house, and 3) Getting some health checks done; is to get some exercise back into my life. I haven’t got back into walking as yet as there’s been a couple of obstacles – stormy, raining weather and I have an issue with my left foot/ankle/knee/whole left side up to my shoulder. This is ANOTHER of the health checks I’m getting done. Fun times! However, I have managed to get some yoga, pilates, meditation and diverse and interesting masterclasses into my life and for a very good price too! Also I can do it all from home whenever I like and as often as I like and regardless of lockdowns or Covid situations. Sounds too good to be true doesn’t it! There’s more about it in the next paragraph.
The key is not to prioritise what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities ~ Steven Covey
MERRYBODY ONLINE STUDIO
I’ve signed up to MerryBody Online Studio. Once signed up you can access via a webpage or download an app for use on your phone, iPad or tablet. It combines all the things that I love – Yoga, Pilates, Meditation and there’s even Masterclasses. Additionally you get access to a private Facebook group and there is a Podcast. MerryBody is the creation of the Merrymaker sisters – twins, Emma and Carla Papas. They wouldn’t remember me, but I actually met them both briefly back in 2015 at a ProBlogger Conference on the Gold Coast that I attended. They’re lovely cheery girls and a joy to have as part of my daily life. You get regular emails with plenty of guidance and fun along the way too. I am loving it! I have my own yoga mat and bolster and have used both so far. I look forward to this every single day. You can do a 7 day free trial if you’d like to test the waters first. It costs $37 per month if you pay monthly or $28.70 per month if you pay annually which I think is an absolute bargain for all that you get and you can do as many classes as you want. (This is not sponsored – just sharing because I love it!). I will miss my reformer pilates but Pilates studio classes have become ridiculously expensive, and I had no hope of doing Yoga on top of that, or meditation or master classes, so this is perfect. Best decision for me!
I FEEL A SHIFT HAPPENING
There’s not only a shift in how the Aussie blogosphere feels these days (less active bloggers, less collaborative activities etc) but also I’m feeling a shift in my priorities and how I want to spend my time. I feel a shift in what I might post about on this blog. I need time to sit with myself without distractions and obligations in order to have that shift fully reveal itself to me. So I sincerely apologise that I’ve been absent in the blogosphere lately. I’ve had to prioritise myself and my wellbeing at this time.
I’ve had ‘shifts’ before. They’re not new to me. I started blogging back in 2012 about a 365 Gratitude Project I was doing. That was on my first blog which is no longer active. I had a strong focus for a while on Mindfulness and Self Investment. I moved on to a lot of photography based content and some travel posts. I then moved into content around midlife, particularly life in our 50’s and some nostalgic posts in my I Remember When series. And of course there has been my Gems of Zen series of guest posts and posts by myself. Lately the focus has been on art via my 100 day project. In between there’s been lots of other posts – The Kitten Foster Files, Corona Chronicles, Taking Stock posts and much more.
My blog evolves along with me, and it seems I’m evolving again.
I’m also feeling a shift in other areas of my life – a need for more time in nature, less time on devices, less exposure to social media, more face to face interaction, wise choices on who & what I give my energy to, exploring my strengths & joys in art etc, etc.
When you can’t change the direction of the wind, adjust your sails ~ H. Jackson Brown
SOCIAL MEDIA & THE BLOGOSPHERE
Still on the shift I’m feeling, there is 1) an increasing feeling of not wanting to share as much of myself or my life on the blog and on social media as I have in the past, and 2) there’s an awareness of the impact social media is having on me and a need to kind of mitigate this.
On the first point – I’m not sure if this is a permanent feeling or temporary, however I feel that I will still be my authentic self regardless, but perhaps with less detail of my day to day life, thoughts and feelings. It might be time for a more specific focus that is less personal. This post may well be one of the final posts where I share my inner most thoughts publicly.
On the second point – there’s a few ways in which I think too much time in the virtual/social media world is affecting me:
- I think it has affected my ability to concentrate. I have a lot of trouble reading a book nowadays as my concentration span is so short. I think the constantly changing and 24 hour accessible world of social media and constant scrolling has contributed to my reduced attention span and problems with concentrating long enough to really get into a book!
- Comparison trap. We all know about it but yet it can still get us regardless. I often feel less than – in how I look, in my achievements and purpose in life, and my personality and popularity, based on all that I see on Instagram. What I need to remember is that I’m a 57 year old woman, retired from traditional working life and now wanting to live a fulfilling but yet ‘unbusy‘ life. My nature is quiet and introverted but not shy. A large portion of those I follow are in my age range but many are younger and are in a different stage of life (working and much more socially active). Many of those I follow might be introverts like me but lots have more outgoing personalities, perhaps different skill sets and interests, and often even posting focus (e.g. fashion) & priorities. I followed them for a reason but perhaps it’s time I rethink who I follow?!
- Being spread too thin and the resulting drain. Many blogs not only have Facebook pages but now also Facebook groups. Though I’m a member of a few of these FB groups, I just can’t be active in them. I can’t keep up. I can’t be across it all. I can’t do everything. I think it’s important we know our limits and not try and over extend ourselves. When I’m actively blogging my priority is to have good bloggy manners and to read and comment on other bloggers posts and to respond to any comments on my posts. My social media of choice is Instagram and I try and be active there. I’ve found lately though that I’m more active in the stories than on the grid.
- I hope I don’t upset any bloggers with this one but I’m just being honest based on my experience. Another contributing factor would be that I have learnt I should not place so much weight in my online friendships. I’ve met some wonderful people over the years, but they eventually fade away (not all, but most). In my experience over the last 9 years, many moved on to return to work, some quit blogging, some just stop engaging and interacting and some moved on to form friendships with others. Recently, I noticed one friend hadn’t interacted with me on Instagram in many months which seemed really odd (she used to interact very regularly) and when I checked I saw she had unfollowed me. I am a deeply sensitive person (¹ I’m officially diagnosed as an Empath and VSP – very sensitive person. Well my psychologist and I have discussed it and have agreed that it is so.) and this has really hurt me because I can’t understand why (did she hate my art, did she just not like me, did I say or do something wrong?). You can see that my mind can torture me. To fully understand the impact this kinda thing has on me, you need to know that this blogosphere replaced my workplace back in 2012 when I had left the corporate life in May and started blogging in September. Unlike most other midlife bloggers, I’m not living a retired couple life as The Tennis Player is still working so I’ve needed something to fill the ‘working’ void, fill my days, and give me purpose. My blog and the blogosphere became my new workplace. Blogging was my work and the people I met through blogging (mostly other bloggers) became like my workmates and friends and I felt a lot of loyalty and kinship and placed a lot of weight in that which in hindsight was a mistake I think. This is a good reminder that nothing ever stays the same. Change is always inevitable. Regardless, my sensitivity has meant I’ve really felt these things deeply, but thankfully I know myself and I will be ok. On top of all that of course the wonderful Bupa Bloggers Alumni that I was part of ended (without a word) along with a lot of other great collaborative activities that used to be fun and profuse in the Aussie blogosphere, and so my ‘work’ and ‘workmates’ all mostly disappeared and here I was feeling quite lost and having to reinvent myself yet again.
Some say I’m too sensitive but the truth is I just feel too much. Every word. Every action, and every energy goes straight to my heart ~ author unknown
So I need to set myself up in a way that protects me from going through this kind of stuff again. I need to rest, recalibrate, and mitigate! Reminds me of when I was working in Project Management and doing work on risk assessment and mitigation plans! Time now to put that to use on myself!
IRL – IN REAL LIFE
Based on all that I’ve written in the paragraphs above, I’ve made an effort to do more IRL social stuff. I’ve been thoroughly enjoying my once/weekly art mentoring classes. I also joined their social club which meets once a month for a coffee morning and occasionally go on outings as well. I’ve met some lovely new people with art being the common interest and the face to face interaction is so enjoyable and uplifting. Instead of our usual November coffee morning we will be meeting for lunch and doing a Secret Santa gift exchange which will be a lot of fun and I’m so looking forward to that. I also enjoy meeting up occasionally with my regular friends, and of course – lots of visits to Mum.
PHASES OF LIFE
Life is full of many difference phases. At 57, I’m definitely in a phase of life where more dedicated attention needs to be given to my health and wellbeing on all levels – mind, body, spirit. It’s also a phase of life where my Mum is needing assistance, company and care more these days and this has increasingly become a big part of my life. This is a high priority for me and takes precedence over everything, along with looking after my own wellbeing.
VAN GOGH ALIVE
On the day this post publishes (Monday 8 November) I am going to see Van Gogh Alive with a friend and I can’t wait! It looks to be such a wonderful immersive experience! It says on the website “Van Gogh’s masterpieces come to life, giving visitors the sensation of walking right into his paintings, a feeling that is simultaneously enchanting, entertaining and educational.” So forgive me but I may not get to read your posts and comment on them or reply to any comment on my post until later in the day or on Tuesday as I’ll be immersed in Van Gogh’s painting and loving every minute of it I’m sure.
So that’s probably enough of a brain dump for now. Woah – I wrote more than I set out to! If you read everything all the way to here then well done! I’m not sure when my next post will be. There will definitely be my next Taking Stock post in December sometime but I am sure there will be a post or two before then. Meanwhile, wherever you are in the world, take good care of yourself.
Ciao for now,
¹ I’ve always intended to write a post on this subject but had concerns it might seem a bit woo woo to some. I’ll think on it!
So glad you’re planning on doing more art – it really seems to be your thing. It’s also great that you’re listening to your own mind and body and doing what you need to do to be healthy enough to jump onto that shift as it comes.
Hi Jo – yes I’ll get back into the art. There’s just been so many things I’ve needed to get done before I can lose myself in art again. Re the shift – it’s the biggest one I’ve felt in a while. It’s also the most aware of a shift I’ve ever been which is quite interesting!
I think your art is wonderful, Min and definitely a path you should follow. I’ve been one of those bloggers recalibrating and wondering what is really important in my life. I sense a shift in many and perhaps COVID has had something to do with this feeling. Glad you have found a workout that works for you,because staying healthy and fit in both body and mind will enable you to discover what brings you joy. #lifethisweek
Thank you Sue! I was certainly re-inspired after the wonderful morning I spent at Van Goh Alive yesterday. Made me want to lock myself in a studio and create, create, create! I think all of us need to recalibrate now and then. We are constantly evolving and so is everything and everyone around us so it’s no wonder. I agree that COVID has shaken up a lot of us and kind of made us see what is most important and what is not. I’m loving the pilates and yoga. I’m terrible at yoga though – not flexible or balanced enough but hopefully with time I’ll improve. I do love it though! I had planned on getting back into my waterfront walks but my foot is causing issues. Podiatrist appt coming up do hopefully some resolution soon. I seem to be higher maintenance as I get older! 😬
Enjoy the Van Gogh – i just loved it and a great thing for straight out of lockdown.
As for moving off SM, a lot of my RL friends have. I still like it but I use it differently to the way they did (tho my bugbear is somepeople move of FB but then use Whatapp group chats as FB – it drives me made. Just be on FB so I can dip in and out, rather than waste time making sure I haven’t missed something important ()like a meet up time and place).
The blog world has changed greatly but I still like it with my core little regulars. And some of the oldies have even come back.
But the most important thing, as there is less money floating around, you can actually just do it how you want to. Like SM, it should suit you, not be dictated to you.
I am sorry about your dad and these moments are difficult. I do find the anniversaries and birthdays easier because you can prepare, emotionally. It sounds like you did a lovely thing on the day, and how lovely for your mum to have that extra support there the night before.
Take care and we’ll see you when we see you. #Lifethisweek
Hi Lydia – I LOVED Van Goh Alive! It was the most wonderful way to experience art and get an understanding of the artist. I thought it was so clever how it was all choreographed to music. Loved it! I’m happy with the few regulars on the blog too. I miss the early days of blogging though – the meet ups, the conferences, the opportunities, the lots of linkups, the huge amount of Aussie bloggers that were active in the blogosphere etc etc. Nothing stays the same though. Change is inevitable and that’s ok! I mostly just post on Instagram when it comes to SM and I have it set up so what I post there goes to FB & Twitter. I mostly only go to FB & Twitter if there are comments for me to reply to. See you next when I read & comment on your post this week. I’m trying to catch up today!
Great introspection, Min. I’m glad you have a mitigation plan going forward to stay healthy. I hope you continue blogging whenever you feel like blogging and enjoy it. Take care. #lifethisweek
Thanks Natalie! xo
Hi Min – this was a fantastic and heartfelt post – very honest and very vulnerable. I could relate to SO much of it (especially the online stuff!) I can also relate to the feeling of needing to recalibrate (fantastic word!) and it’s exactly how I’ve been feeling over the last six months as I try to re-balance my life with more IRL stuff and less online stuff. I think recognizing the need and then acting on it is a really healthy approach. x
Thank you Leanne. I’m so glad you can relate! The word ‘recalibrate’ perfectly sums up this shift I’m feeling and the process I need to go through to understand what this shift will mean for me. I got a lot more rambly and personal than I intended but it was kind of needed in order to explain myself properly. Anyway I’m very happy it resonated for you – thank you! xo
Min and Leanne, I think Min is feeling a lot like Leanne and I have been. Like Leanne said…recalibrate is a great word. Reassess. I haven’t been blogging much and tend to blog pure fluff because I don’t necessarily feel like baring my soul on social media. It almost hurts to be so open, so authentic and honest. And I don’t like opening myself up to that.
So enjoyed your post in 2017 about your father. He must have been a very special man. I know he would be proud of the self-reflection you are doing now. I am sure he would want you to spend this chapter of life spending as much of it doing the things you love best. And being with those you love most.
Your #100DayProject was fabulous but being creative, that beautifully creative, is hard work. It zaps you. I hope you will continue your art with Studio Yellow and share with us when you can.
Glad you are taking care of your health. My right side has been a problem since I fell from the attic onto the concrete garage floor years ago. But physical therapy has made a difference. And being active, as active as I feel like being, keeps things moving and ‘lubricated’.
Thank you for this heartfelt post. It tugged on my heart strings and I have bookmarked it along with some of Leanne’s to reread.
Hi Leslie – it can be hard to bare your soul publicly on the blog or social media, I know! I actually find it easier with the thought of strangers reading it then people I know in real life reading it. I know that my siblings, mother, aunts, cousins, friends could read what I write and that thought can mute me quite a bit …. so sometimes I have to put it out of my mind. I try to mostly post generic kind of posts that are not baring my soul but eventually the NEED to be authentic pulls at me until I again write a post where I do bare my soul. I find these posts connect the most with people anyway and get more response and interaction and conversation than those generic posts I do. It’s actually a brave thing … COURAGE … to bare ones soul publicly. Thank you for your comments on the post on my Dad. He WAS a good man. A very good man! Solid as a rock. Loyal, reliable, loving, quiet natured. Gosh I miss him so much. So much has happened since I wrote this post which my post today explains a little. I find myself talking to Dad a lot to help me get through these current days. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my posts and comment with such thought and heart Leslie. I really appreciate it so much! xoxo
This was a very honest post Min and much of it I could relate to, as the other have said in their comments. It’s a tricky thing trying to fit it all in and doing what suits us, not what we think we should be doing in regards to blogging and SM. I’m glad you’ve listened to your body and taken this time to ‘shift’ and shared with us your thoughts, as many of us feel the same way but haven’t managed to say it as eloquently! Stay well and do what you want, when you want! Your art is amazing by the way! Take care xx
Thank you Debbie – so much has happened since I wrote this post so I have even less time for blogging or even my art right now. Today’s post explains further. Thanks so much. xo
I also could relate to the shifting blog-o-sphere. I’ve wondered a number of times if I should continue, but then I read something that makes me feel connected, not alone in my feelings. I’m now to the point of commenting only when something stirs my thinking and posting only when I think I need to connect or get support. When I retired (early), I had few other retiree friends IRL and the blog world gave me those connections – like minded mid-life women.. Now, I have more IRL connections, but still find it’s the bloggers who have the love of words like me. They (you) articulate things so well! Whatever you decide, listen to your body and your heart…. wherever the recalibration and mitigation take you will be right.
Thanks so much for your comment and for sharing your thoughts Patricia! I think we need to be open to change and understand that what we need or want does change over time as does our circumstances and priorities. I can’t bare the thought of ending my blog or stopping at this point but I don’t feel the pull to make it such a huge part of my life as it has been over recent years. It’s a mixture of my changing priorities and the shift in the blogosphere I think. I love my blog though – love having the outlet and the connections – so I’ll just continue to post when I have something to say and the time to write it for now. I suppose that one day I might feel that it’s time to close down the blog but that time certainly isn’t yet. xo
Great post Min, which I thought was a very telling way to share exactly how things are for you. It’s really tough when the old(er) body starts giving us grief. I have noticed similarly for me about how much I want to be chasing blogging things..by that I mean, more connections via blogging. I also know that when I stop enjoying something and it becomes a chore, I need to examine why. I have made significant changes in my thinking and doing, and even if you don’t link a blog post next week…come and read my plans for 2022 and the ‘why’ of that too.
Good to see your art features highly in your life now, and thinking of you and the changing relationship you are having with your mum due to her ageing. You are a good and kind woman!
It’s always good to see your blog in the link up for Life This Week! Thank you so much for being a part of this community. Next week I am announcing my plans for 2022 on Denyse Whelan Blogs. See you then too, I hope. Denyse.
Thanks so much Denyse. I knew you’d understand where I was coming from, particularly as you’ve been part of the Aussie blogosphere for a long time and seen the changes too. I’ve not been able to link up every week as you’d know but I have seen your plans for 2022 and totally understand and am thankful you are taking steps to listen to your body and look after yourself. Grateful the link up will still be active and I will do my best to link up as often as I can during 2022. As you’d know, much as changed since I wrote this post and so I have even less time for the blog, or my art, lately. I’m trying to not think too far ahead but to take each day as it comes and go with the flow. I’m always grateful for your support and kindness. Thank you! xo
lots of interesting thoughts there to chew on. i have many of the same thoughts going around in my head lately. hubby and i are working on our health and our eating and i am trying my best to get my brain and mental health in order. i too find it hard to concentrate and i know it’s social media that does it. I’ve read lots of articles about how it changes our brains and concentration. anyways, keep well i am off to see van gogh next week. should be good.
I really do think social media is the cause of so many problems – some of which perhaps we’re not yet aware of! Don’t get me wrong – I love it for sharing and connecting and learning BUT I have noticed a big difference in myself since it became such a huge part of my every day life – especially around my concentration span (or lack of) and inability to focus and read a book like I used to. I used to get completely absorbed and lost in a book for hours and hours. I can’t do that anymore. I hope you enjoyed Van Gogh Alive – I sure did! xo
oh dear my comment was swallowed. just saying i often feel the same as you about blogging etc. off to van gogh next week.
I got your comment – it must’ve just taken a while to appear maybe?