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!