March 1st, 2012

I’ve struggled with being overweight my entire life.  Yes, entire.  I was one of the “cute chubby” babies that never outgrew the chubby part.  When I was in 4th grade, for part of the President’s Council on Fitness, the elementary school I attended weighed all the kids.  I was one of two kids who weighed the most in my grade and everyone knew that due to the way they separated us.  Talk about embarrassing and devastating to a young girl’s fragile ego.  That was really the first time I can remember feeling like I was being treated differently because of my weight.  I mean, I was just a kid and although I was bigger than most of my friends, I never really thought about it, just figuring I would grow out of it or whatever.  My family certainly didn’t make a fuss about it and in fact, my mom was constantly dieting, so I don’t really know what went wrong there.  Should my mom have more of an effort with me to help me not become more overweight?  Do I blame her?  Who knows?  The fact is that by the time I really thought about it and tried, it was tough and I was lazy and not dedicated and quite frankly, enjoyed my sugar too much.

Over the years, as an adult, I had certainly attempted to lose weight in a variety of ways.  Like, all of them.  The old “eat less, exercise more” phrase seems so easy, yet it’s not.  Nor is it just a case of no willpower.  Some stuff has worked and then “life” happens and old habits come back into play.  It’s really astonishing how much of my life I’ve not lived due to being overweight.  The “average-size” person doesn’t think about whether they’re going to fit into an airline seat or be able to ride rollercoasters or if they’re going to get cattle call sounds if they’re anywhere near the beach, etc.  Woe is me, right?  No, I know it’s always been up to me.  Always.  I’ve lost chunks of weight in the past – 20 pounds here, 30 pounds there.  But it doesn’t stick.  Old habits.  New “research” suggests that maybe sugar is as addictive as crack.  Sounds funny, but I think it’s true.  I know for me, it seems that way.  One square of chocolate just isn’t as good as a whole bar.  Remember willpower?  Tell that to the drinkers, the meth addicts, the smokers – all of whom are seen as “addicted” yet fat people are seen as lazy and unable to help themselves due to gluttony.  I’m not making excuses, trying to justify or dismiss my behavior.  I know I got myself to this point and I know I need to get myself to where I want to be.

Today, I start a medically supervised program through my doctor’s office.  I was on this program last year and lost 20 pounds in two months.  And then, life happened.  I started a new job, couldn’t keep my appointments, started slipping back into old habits and not only regained the weight I lost, but added a few more for good measure.  One of the tasks when starting the program is to answer a lot of questions – why do you think you are overweight?, why do you want to lose weight?, what is your activity level?, what medical conditions do you have?, etc.  Overall, I’ve been relatively healthy my whole life (no diabetes, no high blood pressure, good cholesterol, etc.) and I’ve been very grateful for that, but as time presses on, those things might change and I want to be ahead of that curve, not behind.  I’m going to use some apps to help track my progress as well and will be posting occasionally to my Twitter feed.  At this point, I’m not sure how “interactive” I’m going to make this journey, but I do know that the journey begins today.

February 18th, 2012

I’ve been job hunting for a couple of months now (well, going on three soon) and it’s tough out there.  Spending 5-6 hours looking for a job is pretty hard on the psyche and it’s very easy to get into a downward spiral of feeling of not being qualified for anything.  The conventional wisdom is that relying on internet searches is a waste of time and most “real” jobs occur via networking.  I’ve tried to embrace this idea by enriching my Linkedin profile, connections and groups.  I’ve also reached out directly to folks I think might be able to help me in my search, but so far, nothing has panned out.

Part of the issue, in my opinion, is that I have a rather choppy employment past that ranges from senior manager level to mid manager level and everything in between.  Moving from the US to Australia and back again has caused more issues and surviving two mergers with three companies in five years also has been a problem.  Each merger required me to “start over” and try to build up my credit with the new management and it was like a never ending hamster wheel.  The best move I made was the last one, but unfortunately, the testing killed me and that dream was over.

The difficult decision becomes do I go back to the “safety” of retail banking, something I know I can get a job in fairly easily, or do I hold out for something at a higher level?  Also, I’ve been really interested in exploring something closer to my degree in communications, but then you’re looking at more entry level jobs since I don’t possess the years of experience most companies are looking for.

Taking a step in a new direction, I’m paying to have my resume professionally written.  It’s costing a chunk of change, but after using friends as editors in the past, I think having a completely fresh look from someone who doesn’t know me or anything about my work history will help to bring out the skills and experience that I can’t see.  Using friends has meant a certain bias as well, since they know my personality and are surely projecting that into how they see the resume, which might be “pigeon-holing” me into certain roles or industries.  I’m expecting to see the draft next week and I’m very excited.  Taking a chance on this really helping to get me interviews, I’ve been in a holding pattern of applying for jobs, just collecting them and waiting.  Of course, they could be filled or removed in the meantime, but hopefully the new resume and cover letter will breathe life into my searching.

In the meantime, I’ve been spending my downtime reading a lot of online articles on management, leadership, etc. in an effort to improve myself.  I’ve found a few really good articles and reading them and trying to take bits and pieces make me feel as it I’m not just wasting my time all day.

Here are a couple of articles I’ve really enjoyed:

12 Leadership Traits

Things Bosses Never Tell Employees

January 8th, 2012

In my heart, I’m a Nomadic creature.  In my brain, I’m a Settler.  These two fight all. the. time.  Practically speaking, I always think I should settle down, build a nice “nest” for my family and have stability – a good job, plenty of income, routine for my son, etc.  But, oh how I would love to pack it all in and travel from one new and exciting location to another.  I’m not particularly adventurous, but I’m so intrigued to see and experience other cultures and parts of this world I just never know if I’ll be able to see.  Most people spend their lives building up a nice retirement so they can “travel around the world!” … but isn’t it a bit late if you wait until you are older, more tired and less likely to enjoy yourself?

I watch House Hunters International and just dream about visiting some of those places.  I was hit hard by the travel bug when I recently saw an episode of the show where a family from the Netherlands was moving to Istanbul, Turkey.  The city is beautiful!  I did a little research and it’s really not that expensive to travel there, so I’m setting my sites on that as the next place for the family to visit.  My son is turning five this year and I’m in the middle of planning a trip to Disney World for him during the first half of the year, so I’ll look at something late 2012 or possibly early 2013.

In the past, when my mom was alive, nearly all of the vacations I took were “family visit” vacations.  The first non-family trip I took was when my husband, son and I went to Maui, Hawaii for a week in late 2010.  That was lovely.  It was the first time any of us had been there and having a full week to do whatever we wanted without having to please anyone else was delightful.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy spending time with the extended family and vacations are a great time to do that, but this was the first time when we could just make decisions in a “vacuum” of sorts.  I decided from that point that I would make an effort to travel to at least one place every year.  In 2011 we made a visit to Australia.  After having been gone for seven years, a lot changed!  My husband had a chance to spend time with his friends and family and my son was able to meet everyone for the first time.

So, here I am, in the very beginning of 2012 and looking to fit two trips in during the year.  Now that would be nice! I guess this could be considered a “bucket list” sort of item – travel to one new place per year – yea, that sounds good.  That’s going to be #1 on my new bucket list.  I might add more as time goes on … who knows?  I’m just having fun being able to put my thoughts down in a blog without any grand plan.  Hey, that might be #2 on my bucket list – less planning, more living.

January 3rd, 2012

This photo has been around a while, but I just ran across it and thought it was amazing.  If you’ve ever had a kid going through teething, well, seeing this makes so much sense of what they go through!

Child’s skull with baby & adult teeth

January 3rd, 2012

I’ve been trying to think of something fun to do for my upcoming wedding anniversary and have searched on the last minute travel sites.  I stumbled across one I haven’t seen before:

Wanderfly

Now this is a fun site!  You can type in your approximate budget, desired travel dates, areas of interest (family, historical, beach, extreme, etc.) and the site provided recommendations for you to travel to using your criteria.  You can tell it you want any place in the world or narrow it down (Western Europe, Canada, etc.).  I think this is a great way to get some suggestions on places to go that you might not be aware of but fit the parameters you want.  I didn’t find anything for the anniversary (yet!) but I had fun exploring and making a “wish list” of places to visit.

January 3rd, 2012

Sort of.  Hubby built me a new computer so I could finally move on from this laptop.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fine laptop, but it’s just a tiny bit too slow and well, it hasn’t been on any trips in a long, long time.  So instead of trying to use this little fellow as my desktop, hubby just went ahead and built one.  Our garage and “computer area” is like a fossil area for old computer bits and pieces.  Comes in really handy when a friend or family member gives the old, “sooo, I’ve got a little problem with my computer, would you mind having a look?!” – which he gets all. the. time.  He’s (usually) a great sport about it and will spend countless hours helping others fix their issues.  He frequently will dig into the many boxes and find just the right piece of equipment or part that someone needs and solve their problem.  We contemplated just buying me a new computer, but after shopping for one, the prices were crazy for what you get, and hubby is all about “future-proofing” the computers, so unfortunately, being able to expand in the future just wasn’t in the cards for most of these cases.

Hubby has been on vacation over the holidays and yesterday was his last day before going back to work today and he spent ALL DAY building the thing for me (how sweet is that?!).  So now, I have to migrate some of my things from the laptop over and then I’ll be in business.  For Christmas, hubby bought me a little scanner, like the kind you use for receipts, so I can organize myself for the new year.  Don’t worry, I asked for it, so it wasn’t some “lame husband” gift that folks sometimes get.  I’m actually really excited about digitizing my receipts and getting RID of all of the paper needed to run our lives.  Since I have extra time now while I’m looking for another job, I will be able to get everything scanned and get ready for our taxes and shred/recycle the mounds of paperwork. Yea!

January 2nd, 2012

During my random browsing on the internet, I sometimes find things I want to share with others.  I tend to send links to my spouse or sometimes post on Facebook, but in reality, I guess the blog is a better place.  So, I’ve decided to share a few things I’ve recently found and will probably add something new often.

2011 was awful for a lot of people

New Year’s Eve in Sydney, Australia (oh, how I miss you!)

January 1st, 2012

Despite all of the ups and downs of 2011, I’m somewhat sad to see it go.  BUT! 2012 holds hope and promise and excitement.  Last year was great, in the sense that I got a fantastic job that I loved, met a great group of co-workers who became my friends, and enjoyed seeing my son grow up and become just that much more independent.  I spent at least half of the year studying and taking tests, which turned out to be the most challenging I have ever attempted.  I ended up getting my Series 7 and 63, but didn’t pass the 24 and as a result, lost my job (the certification was a condition of the offer letter).  That means I begin 2012 job hunting.  I’m at (yet another!) crossroads, where I can choose a path different to what I’ve done in the past.  I’m well and truly sick of retail banking, not quite cut out for investment banking, and really want to get into communications and/or a project management role, which I truly love.  I’m considering taking some courses in order to get a certificate; at least, the research is under way.  We’ll see.  On the bright side, I can’t really complain since there are so many people out of work.  I’m very lucky to have a spouse who earns enough that my losing this job doesn’t put us into immediate desperation.  That fact takes a huge amount of stress away.

In other news, like most folks, I’d like to start off the year with some resolutions.  I think in order to actually stick with them, though, they will be more about actions/behaviors instead of the results I want to achieve.  So, I’m going to start by saying I want to eat healthier and do some form of exercise at least every other day.  I know, not super lofty, but if I start off slowly and am practical, then I’m more likely to stick with this and ramp up the plan instead of starting off strong and then slowly going backwards.  That seems to be the main reason most people “give up” when they start something.  They’re all gung-ho and then at the first failure, throw their hands up and just say “forget it!” because they made it too hard.  Not sure if my thinking is silly, but it’s what I’m going to stick with for now and my plan is to add little tick marks when I do something good so I can focus on the positive instead of beating myself up for the bad things, so I’ll probably have  little “Twitter-style” posts for those.  Or, hell, maybe I’ll just use Twitter.

At any rate, here’s to the new year – I’ve got high hopes!

December 27th, 2011
January 1st, 2011

It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life … for me.

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