Kick in the butt to move out of the rut

Sometimes a kick in the butt – as uncomfortable as it is initially – is the wake-up call we need to start getting active again. The reminder of appreciating what we have while we still do when faced with a possible change in life coming up. Yes, I realize I’m being vague here but until things have finalized I don’t want to spill the beans. What I can spill the beans about, though, is that the above-mentioned kick in the butt was part of the reason my weekend was pretty marvelous. Not just because of the flowers and sunshine that have started gracing the area around here with their reappearance. Can we agree that spring is pretty marvelous? [and yes, I know that you know I’m asking this rhetorically every week]

MiMM_new

If you read yesterday’s good good links you might have seen Gracie’s post – and I included it not without a significant reason.  Because yes, I’d found myself in that [seemingly at first glance from the outside] all-too-comfortable rut again after moving back into my apartment. Most of my friends from university have moved to other cities which meant I didn’t get to reunite with a group of familiar faces. Luckily work has been keeping me busy throughout the week so I didn’t find myself missing anything in the evenings. Much more so come the weekends, though. Going on walks, reading or watching movies at home is only so much when on your own. And no, I neither am nor was I ever happy with this situation however much I tried to convince myself I was enjoying it. Because I’m naturally introverted. Yet even introverts need togetherness and I’ve found I do more than I and others around me assume. But at the same time I have a hard time changing things and move on. Simply because I don’t know how and where to start.

yellow_flowers_tree

This weekend offered a pleasant change and gave me a taste of socializing and enjoying life. All the while shifting the focus from food to just livingsomething I’d admittedly been neglecting. It’s amazing how little it takes to turn things around for a fresh start: A short text to a girl I met several months ago shortly before moving and we met at a vegan outdoor market. So yes, food was included. Lots of it, in fact. The kind that’s proof vegan can be far from healthy food, too ;). And I can say I guiltlessly enjoyed chocolates, dips, bites of greasy vegan gyros and my first taste of baklava. All the while chatting, laughing and not thinking about calories. So much that I didn’t even think about taking pictures. Bad blogger? Maybe. Bad time? Certainly not.  Coming home to my apartment I realized how much more I need those semi-spontaneous times out. Sweet, sweet times like those marshmallows I snagged. Vegan health comfort food at its very best ;).

Marshmallows

Like Gracie pointed out an important step is to admit this to others. Important, yes – and hard. I felt like admitting to the fact that I was stuck and didn’t know how to get moving again was embarrassing. The feeling of being a negative Nancy when I had so much to be thankful for: why? For me it were numerous of the reasons Gracie lists in her post. Whatever it was, though, the above-mentioned kick in the butt was much needed. I can’t say for sure it won’t take a few more for me to actually make a huge change but I’m starting with small ones now.

That means making the most of my current actually quite marvelous situation and trying not to worry too much about the changes the future’s going to bring. Here’s to getting those trees planted.

Happy Monday!

Happiness inducing today: Talking to a blend via Skype.

Stay in touch!

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

 

How do you get out of ruts?

What’s your favourite way of meeting new people [for the non-party types]?

 

Me, myself and I in 39 [plus one] questions

Mondays are for … survey fun! And I just had to go with that title for the fact that survey really are self-centered – no way  in denying it, is there? Whether or not I’m the last person to jump on this train I’ve been eyeing the 39 questions Amanda posted way back for a while. We can ignore the fact I don’t like uneven numbers because I sneakily added a 40th one. Either way surveys – uneven numbers or not – are a great way to start the week after a relaxing weekend. Happy Monday and make it marvelous by visiting Katie’s blog. Congratulations to our sweet host who just started her yoga teacher training.

Marvelous

Were you named after anyone?

Actually yes. However, different from many others who were probably named after a family member or important person I don’t know the woman whose name I’m sharing. The sister of a not at all close friend of my parents was an inspiration for this unusual name.

2. When was the last time you cried?
It’s been a while but I wouldn’t mind saying when if I remembered. I’ve mentioned before that I think it’s an important means of letting our feelings come to the surface and has a ‘cleansing’ effect. And mum: thanks for the hugs and kind words.

3. Do you like your handwriting?
It’s not an artsy kind of handwriting but after the many letters I’ve sent to blends recently I’ve come around to being okay with it. The only ‘complaint’ I’ve heard is that it’s a fairly small writing but try as I might I can’t seem to write bigger letters. So yes, my handwriting’s me and I like it.

Letter

4. What is your favourite lunch meat?
Any that doesn’t make an appearance in my lunch 🙂 .

5. Do you have kids?
Can we get back to that question in … due time? One day, one day.

6. If you were another person, would you be friends with you?
Friends, yes. Maybe I’m interpreting this too deeply here but I think it’s a good question to ask ourselves on the regular. If we’re being honest but also not too hard with ourselves it should help us find an inner balance. Right now there were several days when I had to step aside and honestly admit I wouldn’t have wanted to be my mum or sister in that moment. I’m not sure about you but I know I’m a lot different around friends than family and have given my loved ones a hard time more than once before. But in the end I think we all have our good and bad characteristics and as long as we’re able to see when we’ve hurt others and can admit to it things even out. Talk about a lengthy reply but this question really got me thinking.

 Sheep_September

7. Do you use sarcasm a lot?
Apparently more often than some people would expect from me because I’ve gotten some hilarious responses [read: or lack thereof in the form of speechlessness] to it sometimes before.

8. Do you still have your tonsils?
Yes, I’m still a proud owner. But before you’re asking: no, I haven’t named them – for fear of losing them after all, obviously 😉 .

9. Would you bungee jump?
Are.you.kidding? Risking my life and paying money for it?! Thanks but no, thanks.

10 What is your favourite cereal?
Hello from Cereal Desert Germany. If we had the same choices you lucky ducks have overseas I’m sure anything peanut buttery would be high up there. But right now I’ll go with plain Saltoos. Think fruit-juice-sweetened crunchy rings made from whole-grain spelt. Fancy. Feel free to mail me those Peanut Butter Puffins I keep hearing about and my answer will likely change in a minute.

Cereal

 11. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off?
Boots for the win! Zipping is all I need to do. Talking running shoes: no. Maybe it’s lazy but it’s just a timesaver.

12. Do you think you are strong?
We’ve talked about my favourite strength workout before so if that counts then: yes. But don’t ask me if I’ve ever set foot into the weights area at the gym.

13. What is your favourite ice cream?
Not a fair question for an ice cream fiend at all. Previously an ice cream parlor’s rating in my book would depend on the quality of their cherry ice cream. Trust me, I can tell a good from a bad cherry though I’ve since moved on to make it depend on mango. In the picture below I went against my usual picks and had vegan Tiramisu ice cream – a delicious way of breaking routines.

Ice cream

14. What is the first thing you notice about other people?
If they’re looking overall sympathetic.

15. Red or pink?
Life wouldn’t be complete without either of them. And no, that’s not cheating – just naming the facts. A look into my wardrobe would tell you.

16. What is your least favourite thing about yourself?
My lack of time management skills. I might be a perfectionist but there’s still part of me that’s way too chaotic. Is that’s what we call balance?

17. Any tattoos?
Just thinking about them makes me cringe. 1. Because getting them requires a way-too-long for my liking contat with needles [anything longer than ten seconds is, no, scratch that: one second] and 2. Because … did you realize you’ll have them forever?! I occasionally can’t even seem to pick clothes that I’ll still like a year from now so don’t make me choose a tattoo motive.

18. Do you have any hobbies?
For some reason it always felt awkward answering the hobby question in friendship booklets and not just because I’m so indecisive and there’s way too little room. So just to confirm: yes, I do have hobbies.

19. What colour shoes are you wearing?
All the colours of the rainbow. Okay, maybe not all. Favourites are dark red or black.

Shoes

20. What was the last thing you ate?
Almond butter. Typical.

21. What are you listening to right now?
Another sunny day. We could really use more of these again after the past weekend.

22. If you were a crayon, what colour would you be?
Don’t ask me why but my instant answer was yellow. Really, though, I feel it should be red as that’s my favourite. Does anybody care to let me know what my first intuitive pick says about me?

23. Favourite smells?
Roses, freshly baked goods, vanilla ice cream [the IKEA candles!], … too many to write all of them down here.

24. Who was the last person you talked to on the phone?
My mum. Next up is my grandma because I’m long overdue calling her.

25. Mountain hideaway or beach house?
Mountain hideaway. Maybe it has to do with growing up in the countryside and being a fair skin type but I just can’t get as excited at the premise of lying around in the sunshine all day than hiking around in beautiful scenery.

Autumn walk

26. Favourite sport to watch?
None. Don’t get me wrong: I’m sure all of these athletes are doing a great job but my mind drifts off minutes after I start watching. Okay, maybe making an exception for soccer during the European or World Championships.

27. Hair colour?
A light brown my mum used to call “dark blonde” but … it’s not.

28. Eye colours?
Matching my hair colour: light brown.

29. Do you wear contacts?
I wish I was able to but my callus didn’t feel like cooperating the time I tried.

30. Scary movies or happy endings?
Will you believe I’ve never actually watched a whole scary move until the end? And don’t we all need a little bit of cheesy or at times heart-breaking romance in our lives?!

Movie night2

31. Last movie you watched?
The Butler which I definitely recommend watching if you haven’t seen it yet.

32. What colour shirt are you wearing?
Actually, I’m sitting her in my PJs right now and my shirt’s a light rosy colour.

33. Summer or winter?
All the seasons! I might complain about the cold right now but I couldn’t imagine living in the heat all year round, either. Every season has wonderful parts I wouldn’t want to miss.

34. Hugs or kisses?
Hugs. There’s something so deeply comforting and secure about a big warm hug. A good hug says more than a thousand words.

35. Computer or television?
Computer. In fact, I don’t own a TV and feel fine without. Not so much without my computer … [note that I don’t own a Mac book, though. Not an apple addict here.]

36. What book are you reading right now?
Tiger Mom by Amy Chua. After finishing The Heavy I noticed I wasn’t up for fiction right now and this one had been on my to-read list for a while already. If anybody’s interested I can do a review once I’m finished.

37. What’s on your mouse pad?
Is this the outdated part of the survey? Okay, so:  there’s none.

38. What colour is your house?
Our house in the countryside is an old farm house with red tiles. Just looking at pictures makes me feel all cozy inside.

39. What colour is your car?
I don’t actually own a car myself but my mum and share one when I’m at their place – it’s a black Opel.

… and because I mentioned I don’t like uneven numbers:

40. What’s one motto you live by?

An oldie but goodie that I remind myself of every day. A day without a smile is a lost day. And would you want to loose any days of your life?

Happiness inducing today: A blissfully lazy day and many good [text] conversations with friends. Can tomorrow be Sunday again?

Stay in touch!

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

It’s your turn: Answer some of the questions, too!  But definitely the 40th 🙂 .

It’s okay [to cry]

Note that yes, I realize it’s the second post in a row having a heavier topic but with a positive outlook. If it’s not for you I promise I’ll be back with more light-hearted posts during the remainder of the week.

Another one of those posts that I’ve mulled over sharing or not. Ironically, in this case, because the reason I pondered not doing it was shame while the topic is promoting to not feel ashamed. Or no, I actually don’t feel ashamed for addressing it but just wasn’t sure how to go about it.  Crying. It’s probably not as taboo as some other topics but I feel we still shy away from talking about it. Because isn’t crying a sign of weakness? Of an inability to control our feelings?

 

But there I was, crying at my mum’s shoulder the day before my birthday [and apparently that’s normal …]. Not Maybe you’re thinking: so what? Why even mention it? What made this special for me was that I hardly ever cry. Even if you spent a longer period of time with me chances are you would never see me tear up at. Somewhere in between childhood and teenage years I worked towards suppressing tears in public – and after a while even when I was alone. I didn’t want to be the shy, easily hurt girl anymore but have a thicker skin that [on the outside] protected me from any mean comments and the likes. Yet – the outside can be deceiving. We can pretend not to be touched by hurtful comments on what we look like, the way we act and are – but that doesn’t mean we’re actually oblivious to any and all criticism let alone invulnerable.

Source

Whatever you might think I’m convinced it’s important we let go, let it all out at times. Bottling up our feelings because we’re trying to maintain the image of a strong person will only backfire in the end. Though looking at it more closely crying does in fact not only not make you a weak but actually a strong, smart person. Reaching out for help – or simply a shoulder to cry on – isn’t easy but it shows we’re taking care of ourselves and our emotional health. Those who know me more closely will hear or have heard it at one point or another: I believe that the only true, real friendships are those where we completely bare ourselves. Where we open up about feelings and … In fact, I don’t judge people for talking about their struggles, asking me for a hug, to lend an ear or shoulder to cry on: I respect them even more and feel honoured they are opening up towards me. Because I know I won’t share all of my feelings with everybody but those whom I deeply trust only.

Writing this post and simultaneously – guilty of multitasking –  catching up on my blog reader a little I saw this amazing post by Chelsea. Vulnerability is human and by showing that we’re not flawless we become even more relatable and lovable to others. That still doesn’t mean I’ll be an open book when it comes to my feelings and share them with everybody just like that.  But none of us has to be superwoman [or -man] and hold back the tears. If everything gets too much to bear it’s healthy to cry. It helps us to move on and live life happily again.

Happiness inducing today: Sleeping in.

No questions today – just whichever thoughts you have on the topic.

Dream a little dream [of life]

Ask a child for its dream job and it will paint you a vivid image of its future life: being a model. An astronaut. An actress. A princess [okay, you caught me off guard here]. A fireman. When we’re young the world seems exciting and infinite. Most importantly: all of these dreams are considered possible – not out of reach. Children don’t set or see any limits of what they might become. They don’t dwell on whether their dreams are realistic, if they’ll make a proper income through them or the likes. The beauty lies in them trusting that life is offering them all opportunities and it’s just about following dreams. The older the get the less hopeful and more realistic we become in where we see ourselves in the future.

While my dream is still to become – or be? – a journalist I’ve gotten a glimpse into different jobs lately that offered me to see what else I might be interested in. Not even seriously considering these, however, as I’m [sadly?] too realistic to actually let my mind wander off and look into other options. However, I stopped being a dreamer early on. Whichever dream job I announced having there were people making me look at the nitty-gritty details  The same was true now: Just very briefly mentioning it others saw the need to give me a healthy [or hurtful?] dose of reality by running down the not so awesome parts of my [possible] job alternatives: requiring skills I didn’t have [yet?], not being financially stable, … Needless to say I got discouraged and have put the idea on the back burner not even researching it further.

Which made me think that maybe at times we’re giving up on our dreams too early.  Even if you don’t feel like turning your life upside down and take up a new job: what would be wrong about [day-]dreaming a little? Just letting your imagination go wild. Sourcing the possibilities. Letting your mind wander. What are we risking by looking  If anything we might get inspired or inspire others, connect with like-minded dream followers, change our views on certain topics, develop a better understanding of different work fields or show more appreciation in what we have.

While I’m not sure of everything I want in life and where it’ll lead me eventually there’s one thing I can say for a fact: At the end of my life I don’t want to look back and regret choices I did or didn’t make. Further encouragement came my way through a conversation with a close relative when I had already started writing this post. She’s been working in the same job for almost her entire life so far and still thoroughly enjoys it. However, now that her work environment is going to change in the not too distant future she’s been pondering to change jobs one last time. Possibly giving up a well-paid position to turn one of her hobbies into a job – even if it’s not making a lot of money but will allow her to follow her passion. Proof that – even if we don’t dare taking a risk now – it will never be too late to try something new. Letting dream become reality.

And think about it this way: Becoming a princess simply requires marrying a prince after all, too. Easy, isn’t it? Being realistic is good but getting lost in reveries every once in a while and possibly even following along with our dreams is a marvelous way of living life.

MiMM_new

 

Happiness inducing today: An amazing day in Berlin with my mum and meeting Lucie! [yes, recap to come once I’m not about to fall asleep while sitting at the laptop.]

Are you a dreamer or realist? Has this changed throughout your life so far?

Do you follow your dreams or hesitate?

When a binge turned into a blessing

When you’re reading this I’ll have gone back and forth between whether or not to post this for a while. My final decision to publish it came when I remembered how it have been just these kind of honest posts by other bloggers like Heather or Sarah helped me in terms of recovery. They made me feel understood, less alone in my struggles, realize it’s okay and not feel ashamed because I ‘slip up’ at times. That being said …

It’s time to talk about Christmas once more. Only not in the way I did before. While not lying when talking about Christmas before I focused on the marvelous parts of it leaving out the not-so-awesome happenings.  Because that’s life. We all know that life has its ups and downs but it’s up to each of us to make the good parts those we remember at the end of the day. Hence why I chose to highlight my favourite parts of Christmas, the ones I should remember when thinking about it later again  – the blessing and joy of spending time with my family – instead of grieving over the bumps in the road. The reason I’m bringing up one of the less stellar moments now is the lesson I learned from them which in itself holds a lot of positivity.

Fast forward to Christmas Day – the day of the amazing walk on the beach – we had the traditional cold dinner buffet at my grandma’s house. I truly love my grandma but these kind of dinners honestly don’t rank on my list of favourites. While I assume I enjoyed them a lot more years ago when I was still eating meat action they aren’t a taste experience these days. Beautifully arranged plates of vegetables, cheese, yogurt-based dressings and bread basically sum up the vegetarian fare. Probably not the most unsatisfying meal if you eat all of those. However – and yes, call me picky for this one – I know I’m someone who needs warm meals and when lunch is replaced by cake and cookies a dinner like this really doesn’t cut it for me. I’ve tried it numerous times before – only to notice it doesn’t. Adding to this ‘problem’ is trying to stick to vegan dishes when my fully vegan cousin’s around. Explaining the whole background here so I’ll just keep it to saying I added the additional pressure.

Remember me mentioning this not being a taste experience? This – among other occasions – was what I factored in when making my resolution to ‘Just live’. Breaking the day down it was actually about bonding with the family. The main memory and major happiness for me that day was feeling [and, yes, even exclaiming it aloud] joyful and blessed. For once not worrying about my future but living in the moment. And that’s what mattered.

Source

Despite what happened after dinner: I binged. Binged on the chocolate ice cream I’d restricted myself from because my cousin had been around and I kept telling myself I’d eaten enough treats before already. While I’d have rather done without the scenario above it helped me learn more about myself again. Going overboard on ice cream was a sign. Just when I started typing this post I remembered a passage from Intuitive Eating which I’ve been rereading during the past weeks. Though then referring to the use of food in a way to deal with emotions I feel it fits in this context, too. The authors call those sudden ‘slip-ups’  after eating normally for a while  “a strange gift”.

“Overating is a sign that  stressors in your life at that moment surpass the coping mechanisms that  you have developed. […] So, you revert back to eating as a familiar way to take care of yourself. […] When you find this happening, it may be a signal for you to reevaluate your life and find ways to put more balance into it.”

Interpreting it in the context of my experiences I assumed I’d eaten enough throughout the day only to see I hadn’t. So maybe, yes, it was a blessing my intuition came through taking care of the ‘issue’. We can’t learn if we don’t struggle. If I’d gone for a bowl of ice cream in the first place when the rest of the family was having it I’d likely have kept it to an ‘normal’ serving size instead of going overboard. And I’m not going to lie. There are still days  when I continue to ‘slip up’. In fact, I did again after the ice cream incident. That time, though, I already felt calm. let go and ate more knowing it was a sign I needed it.

It really is. Nobody said recovery was easy but I feel [and hope] that every of my struggles will serve as a learning experience and ultimately help me proceed on my way to recovery. Every step forward counts.

Happiness inducing today: My mum reassuring me on a work-related issue.

Don’t be lonely.

Hi!

Mondays are getting a bad reputation with many people dreading the start of a new week of work, college or school foreboding stressful and busy days. If I was honest, though, I’d have to admit Mondays are some of my favourites. At least right now that I’m still funemployed [thanks, Davida!] and the weekends aren’t a time needed to rejuvenate. In fact, they can feel quite lonely unless I’m spending them at my parents or my friends are in the city. Just this past weekend was an example of such a weekend I would normally try to mask by finding the itty bits of brightness in it not admitting to being all alone.

Although I’m not a native speaker I feel there’s a difference betwee being alone and lonely. Alone is the physical state of being on our own. But lonely is the feeling we experience when we let being alone influence our happiness. It was only this past weekend that I felt okay about being alone for the first time in a long while. After the weekends at my parents’ place I let loneliness into my mind. Most of my friends from university have moved either back home for the moment [if they don’t have a job yet] or to different cities for work. So yes, it can get way too easy for me to let myself wallow in lonely thoughts.

Even when we are physically alone loneliness and the unpleasant feelings coming with it aren’t happening unless we let them.  I’m not pretending I was immune to this feeling.  There are still days when I’m grieving, feeling uncomfortable with myself and letting solitude weigh heavily on my mind. But the past weekend was a great example of actively working against the sulkiness of solitude seeping in. At first I wasn’t even trying. Instead, my brain apparently had found its own way of making things happen.

Sunday walk_October

Not getting into all the details but Saturday started with me deciding to just quickly drop off some books at the library and returning home again. Yet after I’d done it my feet just kept going, leading me into the city for some errands and some more walking around – and before I knew it three hours had passed. Three hours in which I hadn’t once pitied myself. Once home I prepared a nice lunch, ate and then spend a good time reading in bed. All rounded out by a nice run and watching part of [yes, I know … my attention span …] a movie. Sunday was spent in an even more productive fashion and a lot of outdoor activity enjoying a cold but gorgeous fall day. What I learned from this weekend were some key point for enjoying me time instead of letting it become unpleasant loneliness.

Reading

1. Be prepared: If you know you’ll be encountering a day or weekend of being alone prepare yourself. Mentally in terms of telling yourself that it’s not forever but also physically by having a good book or movie at hand. Seeking out activities you know you’ll enjoy on your own, too. Maybe there’a a fitness/creativity/cooking/… class you could attend? A movie you’ve been meaing to watch in cinema that none of your friends wanted to come along to see?

2. Pamper yourself: Even if it’s ‘just’ at home treat yourself to a manicure, take a long bath, sleep in – do anything that makes you feel good about yourself. Light a candle, put on your favourite scent and declare it a mental health and self-care day.

Candle

3. Run away from loneliness: Metaphorically speaking loneliness is like a nasty beast trying to catch you off guard [why, yes, my brain works in a figurative way at times] and make you feel down. While you don’t need to do any strenous workouts or run miles upon miles a long walk can be quite calming. Anything that gets you out of your apartment and away from the feeling of isolation. Just being around others – even if you don’t know or talk to them – can be a nice change. Or plug in your iPod, listen to some good tunes and walk out those worries and sadness. It’s amazing what a bit of fresh air and a change of scenery can do.

4. Write it down: Whether you use a diary, turn your feelings into a blog post or – a recent favourite of mine – write a letter: be creative and make good use of the time you have on hand. The letters I’ve written this weekend didn’t even revolve around my loneliness but I just used them as a way of letting my thoughts divert away from those negative feelings. Busying my mind with happy thoughts didn’t leave much [or any] space for negativity.

5. Decide to see the benefits: While I’d still prefer most of my weekends to be busy and filled with activites it’s simply not always happening. And if you know how to make the best of this me time it can be quite beneficial. Being alone allows you to reflect. See and hear things you might blind out when with others. The opportunity to be selfish without hurting anybody’s feelings. No need to hurry when you’d like to spend some more time in bed or trying on clothes at the mall without anybody getting annoyed and dragging you to go.

 

Once more it is really about the attitude we have towards a certain situation. When we are alone for too long it definitely gets hard to bear. But if it’s a day or two we can still have a pretty marvelous time without feeling lonely.

Happy Monday!

MiMM_new

Happiness inducing today: Spending the largest part of the day outside soaking up the October sun.

 

How do you deal with weekends spent on your own?

What are your favourite “me time” activities?

And some random curiosity:

1) current book?

2) favourite scented candle [mine are the Vanilla ice cream (!!!) scented ones from IKEA]