Are you sure you didn’t accomplish anything at all?

Wise words spoken [or rather: written] by two wonderful ladies inspired this post reminding me to acknowledge all the little things in life. After taking part in Meg’s Week in Review these past weeks I’ve developed a new sense of seeing personal success. Not [only] in the big things – receiving the Novel price and the likes, you know  😉 – but the small, seemingly mundane happings that escape our memory all too easily. Let’s think [and talk] about that today.

Let's talk

 

But I didn’t really achieve that much compared to [insert name].

But everybody else is working out much harder. My easy three miles are nothing compared to [insert another name again].

If only I was an early riser like everybody else – I could get so much more done!

If only I’d prepped my meals like every other good blogger I wouldn’t have eaten out that often/spent so much on groceries.

 

That’s a lot of if, a lot of but and mostly a lot of not helpful. Sure, getting down on and being unhappy with ourselves is always an option. Usually the go-to option, right? Also the worst option as it feeds a vicious cycle of being stuck in the mindset of ‘never good enough’ = just give up trying in the first place because what you can’t change anything after all, no?

The truth is: yes, you – and I – probably didn’t achieve as much as the next person who’s juggling family life, marathon running, meal prepping like a pro and blogs six times a week along with working a full-time gig. But you might very well have achieved a lot for your own measures. It’s about first listing up and looking at what you did during the past week/month. What made you feel good and happy. And then scaling this list of accomplishments up with what you know is [currently or in general] possible for you. This one being my main point here but if you’re confused let me elaborate:

Maybe you’re struggling with depression. An eating disorder. Or simply are an introvert working in an extroverted business that makes you feel drained by Friday night.Or none of these but you’re just feeling overwhelmed by expectations. These obstacles are your heavy luggage in this game called life. I’d venture to guess most of us carry one or more of these around with us. That one big underlying issue or thing we need to face day by day along with any daily chores or jobs. Or even if you don’t have one specific  heavy luggage you could feel overwhelmed more easily than somebody else. And that is okay. Some of us are extroverted social butterflies who thrive going out with friends after work while others are glad to put on their PJs and Netflix [much needed me time] after work. Some of us can knock out 50+ hours at their jobs [yes, I know those people] while others are exhausted just thinking about that.

PJ pants_striped_bed

It’s about knowing the limits of what you can handle. While it might not be able to say no to every additional task you’re assigned or skip every social event that makes you feel anxious you being aware of your limits helps you see your achievements. Because if you did Don’t let anybody tell you taking care of yourself wasn’t an achievement in itself. I’m trying to not center this post around EDs but if you’re in recovery from one you’ll know that something as seemingly simple as eating every meal is a win. If you suffer from depression getting up is one. A friend of mine is dealing with extreme social anxiety. For her, going to a crowded mall is an achievement while it would be fun for me. We all carry our own little “packages” around and what’s an easy breezy walk for some might mean conquering Mount Everest for you. Breathe. It’s okay. Go at your own speed and if you decide walking the whole way is too much today you can still give yourself a pat on the back for trying. Making steps and staying on the move at all is enough.

Don’t measure your own days up to somebody who has a completely different character, living a different life and having a different background. Celebrate your personal wins.

If you’re struggling – with whatever it might be – at the moment the simple act of taking care of yourself is worth being acknowledged. Many times others will – intentionally or not – make you feel bad for not doing this/only doing that. The [unfortunate] truth is that if you’re burdened by any special condition [especially mental illnesses] outsiders won’t be able to see that what you do is a lot indeed when it’s not up to par with what the average Joe does. But: you are the only one knowing your personal limits. Knowing the amount of work you’re able to fit into a week. Knowing when you need to slow down and take time to recharge. Don’t get me wrong: This isn’t an encouragement for laziness. If you’re [mentally and physically] healthy yet still only lying around doing nothing and eating fries then this isn’t your excuse to keep doing this. For 99.5 % of us this isn’t the reality, though. We all achieve different things every week. And whatever it is that you’re putting your creative and physical energy into day by day: it’s worth celebrating.

 

Happiness-inducing today: An day that was probably exhausting but felt good. I’d have to write a novel to explain this so will leave it at this condensed version.

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No specific questions but just tell me whichever thoughts you have on this topic. I’m sure many can relate.

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What to remember if you didn’t reach your goals this past year.

This might be my most spontaneous not-entirely-random Thinking out loud post ever. Originally intended in a slightly different way, the fact I didn’t get a chance to post earlier today [in my mind: at the only time fitting] turned this around with a new realization or better yet reminder. When I had to realize I wasn’t able to post in the morning I figured all was lost. I tend to get into this perfectionist mindset where I need to hit publish by [insert time] or else the chance is lost for the day. And with that my mood plummets a smidgen upon the realization that – once again [obviously overlooking the many days I did get post published in time] – I failed my own . Which leads me to the topic of this post …

Thinking-Out-Loud

 

2015 was a catastrophe.

Not my words but the ones by a lady I heard when turning on the radio the other day. Granted, knowing what exactly made her feel this way would have been enlightening but the radio show’s task for its audience to use five words or less didn’t allow for more. Nevertheless, she wasn’t the only one summing up the past twelve months in less than kind words. Which got me thinking.

Was my 2015 what I’d hoped for? No. But rather than consider the whole year a fail or lost I’m trying to see the positives. I’m not pretending this was easy every day but it’s worth it. Life is never just sunshine and while there was a lot of rain – to stay consistent with the metaphor here – I know the sun will shine stronger again. And never forget to see the silver linings. Even if there’s no way you can see the positives of the past twelve moments now remind yourself the past year was one wasted. Remind yourself of this:

You can still make your life worth living. You still have the power to create awesomeness.

It bears repeating: mindset is everything. Just like we’re told to see our diet in the big picture rather than fret about a few indulgences more every now and then life in itself is a big picture issue, too. Not to get too scientific here but with a current life expectancy of about … years even having one or two – though I do hope you can see at least a few happy moments in every day/month/year – won’t weigh too heavily.

On a walk

I refuse to consider 2015 a year lost. Despite the many sad moments I had, the frustration and thinking I couldn’t move on: it had its beautiful moments – many, in fact. I might not be where I’d hoped to at this point but that’s okay. We need to forgive ourselves and I’m not saying this with myself in mind only. I see so many people beating themselves up for slipping up in recovery, messing things up in relationship or not meeting their expectations in whichever area of life.

It’s okay. We are okay. We still have time to accomplish your goals. Whether it be in the next 366 (!), 388 or 460 days. There are obviously things we don’t get a second try at. In my life, in yours. But those again are the cases where we have to forgive ourselves and eventually move on to try better at the next chance we get.

flowers

If, by the end of January, you feel like you haven’t made progress in area x or y in life yet: it’s okay. See where you went wrong, learn the lesson and keep trying. Just don’t ever give up on yourself. Never.

And with that I hope you’ll have a great New Year’s Eve – as relaxed or wild as you please – and I’ll see you again on the other side … of the calendar page.

Happiness-inducing today: Winning a game of Yathzee when spontaneously playing wit with my mum. The fact she suggested it alone made me happy [she swears she didn’t like playing games].

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
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No specific questions. Just let me know how 2015 was for you or any other thoughts on the topic.

Why #goals might not be what they seem like

There’s one trend on everybody’s favourite platform for people stalking connecting with like-minded people that makes me cringe. Yes, we’re talking Instagram – endless source of post inspiration for me – and: #goals. In case you’re one of those who haven’t handed their lives over to an app 😉 [it’s too addictive]: #goals is a hashtag used to express admiration for physical attributes, material possessions or any part of another person’s life. Often found as #relationshipgoals [current uses: 1, 626,508 times], #bodygoals or even #lifegoals. It’s a phenomenon that gets me thinking about its influence on our self-worth as well as false asumptions made online.

Let’s pick one of the most popular and the first I stumbled upon months ago [or at least the first I noticed and intially inspired this post]: #relationshipgoals. Sure, the couples in those pictures looks perfect. Usually either dressed in designer clothes or hippie chic but always hugging, kissing, touching and seemingly forgetting the world around them. Only, you know, aware a picture is taken to be shared with countless viewers all over the world. That much for intimacy …

Just remember this before hashtagging #goals or getting lost in jealousy for others’ presumed perfect life: they’re showing their highlight reel. And not only that but a fraction of a second of their highlight reel. The seemingly perfect couple could have gotten into a fight later that day. The very next second that puppy looking all cute and innocent could have run off to do some damage like leaving a little unwanted ‘gift’ somewhere. If Instagram had existed at the time Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston were dating they’d have likely been many people’s #relationshipgoals. Yet: later on separated in a messy break-up.

The #goals you’re admiring might not actually exist. The people embodying your goals might not have the lives they portray on social media. Even when somebody posts a million pictures of their day to day life: still not the full picture of their reality. Because there are 86.400 seconds in a day  and every picture captures only a single one of those. What happened right before or after the picture was taken? We don’t know.

There’s nothing wrong with setting goals. It’s only when tagging #goals makes you feel like the ugly duckling next to the Instagram swan. When it Strive for what is achievable in your own life and also notice how much you already have achieved. Grades in school, being a friend others value having in their life, : these aren’t goals as per Instagram’s statistic but these aren’t admirable goals as per Instagram’s statistic but achievements valued by real people in real life.

I’m 99 % positive the people who are many others’ #goals have struggles of their own. Have days of feeling blue. They might not feel they’d reached their personal goals yet. As Katherine recently stated so truly even having it all – whatever that might  in the particular case – doesn’t necessarily feel as good as it looks from the outside. Those who have it all can still feel lonely, lost in a sea of opportunities, wishes and insecurity about life.

While the lives of some people seem admirable to me, too, I can honestly say I don’t want to be anybody’s #goals. Much less many people’s. Because once you are public like – on Instagram or through a blog –  that you’re under a pressure to maintain a certain image of perfection. Have a bad day? Hide it. Breaking up with your long-term boyfriend and trying to  conceal the fact by simply not posting pictures with him for a while? Rest assured people will start gossiping.

Flower

I’m aware most of my readers have left their teenage times far behind and sure, some of those hashtagging #goals on others’ pictures of their flat abs, pittoresque homes and adorable children are probably meant in a joking way. But Instagram is [second] home to many impressionable young girls [and boys?] who might not be all that secure in their identities. What hashtaggin #goals does is not only showing admiration for somebody else’s life but in subtly voicing a feeling of mediocrity on the commenter’s part.Plus, envy for others’ lives isn’t reserved to Instagram or the times you hashtag #goals. Who hasn’t read blogs feeling another person had the perfect job/family/relationship/vacations?

Having goals and comparing is part of life and completely okay. Only not if it makes us feel lesser-than. At the end of the day, the people who are others’ #goals are humans, too. Like you and me. Perfect just the way we are.

Happiness-inducing today: Receiving a letter by a friend living far away.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
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What are your thoughts on the topic? Have you noticed the #goals phenomenon? Are you aware of it as bloggers?

The Power of Writing

One advantage of being a blogger? You’re legitimated to celebrate not one but two birthday [week]s a year. Because – laugh at it if you’re blogging yourself [yet!] – but looking back at how long your outlet in the online space has been around is worth mentioning. I obviously mention this because today marks Spoon’s third birthday – congratulations to Amanda! It also collides with the fact that my thoughts this week led me to reminisce about why I write. Not just blog-wise but in general so there we go – out loud.

Thinking-Out-Loud

Ever since I was a wee little one I had the reputation of being drawn in by every piece lf writing I could get my hands on. I was eager to start school because I finally wanted to find out the sense behind the letters on the pages of newspapers, books and random leaflets. And once I knew how I couldn’t stop reading everything in sight. Occasionally to the annoyance of my parents who tried their best to get me away from the books when we had guests. Or sighing in relief libraries existed as else the amount I read would have resulted in huge bills.

Putting pen to paper to create my own stories fascinated me, too. While the content has changed throughout the years what hasn’t is that I still write. Sometimes I – and I assume that’s true for other twenty-somethings, too – feel a little lost. And unless this colides with being lost for words, too, I start writing. To clear my mind and find hold again.

Occasionally I hear [read] others describe themselves as broken human being made whole again through their relationships with their significant other. Not to say writing was equal to these people’s relationship with other people. Yet I will say it is healing, therapeutical for me. I’m broken – not only but obviously through my history – and writing, little by little – helps me become whole again.

current view_writing(My current view whenever writing – be it on my laptop or pen-to-paper.]

What I write on here and possibly even more in almost daily posts on Instagram is ## nicht zuletzt ## a reassurance for myself. Like I mentioned I’m not trying to  compete for the most followers but write first and foremost for myself. Though yes, I’m hoping to help others, too. I want to hear from them; from you. I believe that by sharing our stories we can support each other. Lead by example. Two people might be on a similar road in life with one ahead of the other being able to offer hope and help. And next time it might be the other way around. If we wrote for ourselves exclusively and never shared our thoughts with anybody we’d still be lost. It’s about the community.

At the same time putting my feelings into words – often only reflecting on an event the very moment I start typing and letting my thoughts run wild to be surprised by the outcome. In a good way: More often than not writing things out offers me more clarity. Shows me the lessons  I can learn from certain events in life in hindsight. It’s also about commitment and accountability. Funnily enough it’s – like mentioned above – again only now that I’m reflecting on my reasons to write that I see how many and diverse ones there are.

Yes, I write light-hearted posts, too. Actually, though, these are usuallya bit harder to write for me than the deeper ones because I’m an overthinker and apparently that doesn’t match well with [written] humor?*

* For some reason I feel the need to clarify that I can still crack my friends up in person – it just doesn’t translate that well in my writing ;).

I’m writing to discover who I am.

I’m also writing to kick my perfectionism in the curb. If you want to post at all you have to hit publish at some point – and trust me that can be hard when they never feel ‘perfect’ to you  … Good training.

As cheesy as it sounds – but I have an inkling a lot of what I wrote so far will come across like that already – I’m writing my own life story.

I write so I am? Why, yes, I’d like to think so. Take away the ability to write and express my feelings through words and I’ll once again be broken. Working my way to ‘wholeness’. Word by word. And I’m happy to share my journey with you and take part in yours. Let’s build each other up.

 

 

Happiness-inducing today: A little gardening work While working with words/writing is nice for the brain it’s good to get a little physical action on, too.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
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Enough talk about me [as a blogger I probably shouldn’t say it but I don’t really enjoy talking about myself :)]: Tell me why you write. Don’t hesitate to get wordy or even write a post of your own on the topic. I’m honestly curious!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Food Talk Wednesday #3

You know you’re a blogger if you take pictures of your food with every intetion to share them on your social media outlets of choice.

You know you’re a blogger who needs to post about food if said pictures take up too much space on your phone/camera memory card.

All that being said it’s definitely time for another Food Talk Wednesday. In hopes that will reduce the backlog of pictures at least ever so slightly [who exactly am I kidding?!]. What can I say? Flowers [just wait for the bazillion of pictures I’ve been taking] and food – I can’t resist taking pictues of them.

Today’s theme – you didn’t think I’d pass a chance to give rhyme and reason to a post, did you? – are meals eaten out. I could pretend I was a lazy lady unwilling to cook.  Or fantasize about summertime heat [which Germany sadly isn’t blessed with at the moment] making me dread turning on the stove. But I’d rather go with telling the tale of living up to the goal I set myself. I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t add some of the recovery lessons learned here. While I don’t want this to turn into a recovery[-only] blog I’ve been inspired, reassured and encouraged by others doing so I’m hoping I might be able to do the same in  a way.

Food Talk Wednesay_logo[Sorry for the phone camera pictures in advance. Sometimes I’m just not feeling the workout that is lugging around a DSLR at all times 😉 .]

The oldest of these pictures – no surprise my phone’s memory card is filling up fast – is of this lovely asparagus risotto I ate way back. I’d dare to say I still remember its taste, though. Risotto – another dish I hadn’t had in quite a while. Mostly for the reason I usually cook for myself only and it’s not really worth the effort for a single serving. This Asparagus Risotto with Cherry Tomatoes was just perfect. The lovely staff at the café knows me and always finds a way to accomodate my vegan preferences even if their regular menu doesn’t offer anything suitable.

Asparagus risotto

One of my favourite dishes was enjoyed at a festival [it’s not actually a festival but the concept would take too long to explain here]. Its name can’t be properly translated but it’s basically a stir-fry of brown rice, speltberries and lots of vegetables with a delicious fresh peanut sauce. Maybe it was the fact I only get the chance to eat this dish once a year but for once I actually finished the whole plate – and was still hungry. That’s something I’m still adapting to but baby steps …

FTW_June_6

Pizza! Probably sad to admit but I didn’t remember the last time I’d had pizza prior to this one. At that, recovery is a blessing because you get to rediscover the joy in eating a food others have on the regular.  The additional challenges for me: most of my family had been cycling all day while I – then still being cautious because of my injury – had joined my uncle and wife in taking the car. Aside from missing the extra fresh air lack of movement still makes me anxious. Either way, I enjoyed a few slices of this made-to-order brick oven pizza with spinach, mushrooms and vegan cheese sauce. There couldn’t have been a better way of welcoming pizza back in my life.

FTW_June_5

Pictured below is what sadly fell into the category of ‘looks better than it tastes’: Tomato and olive ragout with pan-fried polenta slices. Eaten on a day trip to meet my sister this was another reminder that sometimes a meal isn’t about the food. Did I fully enjoy the dish? No. It wasn’t awful but didn’t hit the spot or satisfy me [a little TMI: my stomach let me know it didn’t approve of this in terms of digestion later, too …]. Did I enjoy the company? Absolutely. Would I do it again? Sure. One meal isn’t worth making a fuss about and much less if it comes with a side of quality time with somebody you don’t see often enough.

FTW_June_1

Something I’ve noticed overall and hadn’t expected, though, is that eating out is actually easier than challenging myself at home. It’s one of the many surprising experiences I’ve made. First traveling as the one thing I was afraid of turning into a great way to free my mind. Then meals eaten out in general as a way to broaden my palate and delve into unknown calorie territory. At home, I’m more often than not stuck in repetition of ‘safe’ meals but handing over control to somebody else in a place different from home somehow works a little magic. Also good for anybody struggling with serving sizes: what is given to you at restaurant’s is considered the ‘right’ amount for a normal eater. As in: what we’re striving to turn into. Unless you’re faced with a pizza larger than the plate it’s served on – yes, this has happened to me before.

In short: if you can’t seem to challenge yourself food-wise at home, either, try eating out. It takes pushing past your comfort zone a lot at first but is rewarding.

 

Happiness-inducing today: Helping one of my sister’s friends editing a paper she had to write for university. Did I mention I enjoy editing a LOT?!

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
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Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

 

Are you guilty of taking way too many pictures of food [or flowers], too?

When was your last time eating out and what did you get?

 

 

 

 

 

Help me SMARTen up my goals!

Hello!

Are we really a full week [+ one day] into the new year already?! It’s crazy. Does anybody else hope 2015 will slow down a liiiittle compared to last year? I sure do. Anyway, hopes are a good bridge to what I actually want to think about out loud. More specifically, the goals I hope to achieve during the next twelve months. Thanks to Amanda for hosting this great link-up another year [yes, I expect her to keep up with it and not change her mind 😉 ].

Thinking-Out-Loud

Despite previously saying I wasn’t really  into setting resolutions for a new year nearing the end of 2014 I felt the strong urge to write down some goals and post them for the [blog] world to see.  Keyword accountability! Part of why I decided on this was that I know there’s change coming up for me in anyway so might as well use that drift, right? Plus, a few of the things I want to change are long overdue and I’m sure you’ll be able to relate to that feeling of constant procrastination.  Not good. So hi there, 2015, you’d better be awesome. Or rather: I figure I have to make an effort to create a better year than the last. Hence the goals so let’s get …

Going for the goals

The one part of goal-setting that probably kept me from it in the past was that I couldn’t figure out how to make them SMART [Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely]. And that’s where I’d appreciate to hear your ideas! I jotted down my overall goals but would appreciate your help in making them SMART.

Food/cooking

Lately, I’ve found myself sticking to the same few dishes throughout the week and only getting a little more creative on the weekends.

1. Use up what’s in my pantry before buying more.

Hello, overbuyer. It’s pretty unbelievable just how much food I managed to pile up throughout all of my moves and in general. My excuse for not using certain ingredients so far was saving them for specific occasions [that clearly never happened …] but that has to stop now. Popular among German [vegan] bloggers Carola inspired this with her Use up along challenge.

SMART: Go through my pantry and create a list of everything in there, then meal plan around these items.

2. Try other bloggers’ recipes.

There’s a growing list of recipes I want to recreate and it’s about time I tackle these in 2015. I’ll update you on my progress because if you’re anything like me you’re more likely to try a recipe that others have prepared and recommended before.

SMART: Post a list of recipes I want to try and cross them off once I did.

3. Eat out more often.

This isn’t contradictory to my first goal as I hardly ever ate out last year. It’s generally not too common over here but for me, my ED has been playing a role in my hesitation here, too. My goal is to eat out at least 12 times this year making it – you guessed it – once a month on average. That might not happen every month but I hope to reach this number at the end of 2015.

Blogging

Blogging truly has become an integral part of my life and I hope to further grow and improve my blog in 2015. Back when I started I never imagined I’d still be posting more than two years later.

1. Figure out a posting schedule and blog more regularly.

2. Get back into the kitchen to create new recipes.

*Become self-hosted. This hugely depends on several factors that I have yet to figure out so I don’t see it happen during the first few months of the year.

2. Take at least one “blogcation”.

I stole this one from Hannah because I think it’s a great idea to take some time – a few days, a week – off from blogging to return with fresh ideas.

 

Life in general

Get up, socialize and live.

In parts due to moving but generally being an introvert I have slacked on the socializing part a lot last year – and I missed it. Actually, I’d call myself – to use an established term – an extroverted introvert because I do enjoy being around others a lot.  I can be quite bubbly once I set foot outside. It just takes a little extra pushing to conquer my anxiety.

SMART: Well, that’s where I’d be thankful for any input. I can’t quite decide how to get started on this.  Ideally, I’d

 

1. Get more sleep.

Sleepy

That’s a huge huge HUGE one for me. I can’t even recall how many times I added it to my monthly goals yet hardly saw a true change. One night of only five hours of sleep might be neglectable. But when it becomes a regular?  Red flag. My goal are around seven hours per night on weekdays.

SMART: Slowly drop from my current bed time to a more acceptable one even if just in 5 or 10 minute steps.

Turn off the laptop 30 minutes before going to bed.

Budget and save money.

Probably one of the most popular goals?! I have yet to figure out the details on this one as my attempt to simply write down every purchase in past years was … less than successful. I bookmarked some helpful articles but would appreciate input from those of you who have the whole budgeting business down!

94 Creative Ways to Save Money Today via Greatist

From Start to Finish – Making a Budget via Long Drive Journey

 

As you can see there’s a lot to do in making my goals SMART still so help a girl out!

 

Happiness-inducing today: Working with a  telephoto lens at work for the first time ever. I don’t have one for my own camera so using it on the job was a fun experience. But wow are they even heavier than they look! 

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

 

Help me make my goals SMARTer! Maybe you have or had similar goals before and can help me get started?

What are your goals for this year?