This year, I decided to take a look at astrology – an interesting, though controversial subject – and each month examine one star sign and the personality features it allegedly entails. Last month we had a look at Aquarians and – to my surprise – the overwhelming majority of you claimed that the star sign, even if not the most important factor in determining one’s personality, played an important role and often influenced our choices. The characteristics of Aquarian personality seemed to match Aquarian representatives fairly well. I’m curious to see if the trend continues. Today, Pisces take over and they’ll reign until the 20th of March.
Hey. Hi. Hello. Welcome to my blog, again. Deja vu? How many times can one take a break from blogging, then make a loud comeback and take another step back? Way too many, that for sure. I’m a horrible blogger.
As I promised in my previous post, I’m going to go through my New Year’s resolutions now. I never used to make any resolutions, but this time I really needed to start working on improving my life and it just happened to be around New Year’s, so I came up with a plan to work on from January 1st. All of my resolutions are very long-term but with my current level of desperation I’m hopeful and truly believe that I can complete them all.
Work out every day
Yes, yes. I know. The most repeated, cliché resolution of all times. But the reasons why I decided to put it on my list aren’t exactly the same as most people have. Instead of aiming for weight loss, which I don’t really need, I want to exercise to strengthen my back – in my previous post I mentioned my health problems from last autumn, which kept me in bed for a very long time. In more detail, I had problems with my back, most likely caused by lack of exercise and fully sedentary lifestyle (being a programmer at work and a gamer in spare time surely doesn’t benefit your health 😉 ). So to prevent any further problems in the future I really, really need to exercise regularly.
But there’s also another reason why working out is a good resolution for me. It’s the only resolution that requires actual physical effort from me and when I exercise every day without exceptions it helps me immensely stay disciplined and stick to my daily plan overall. After all, if I managed to work out hard for 35 mins (that’s my daily goal), then skipping a resolution that can be done from the comfort of my chair or even bed would be stupid, wouldn’t it?
Plan each day
This is just a small resolution that, along with working out, is supposed to help me stay disciplined and make sure I don’t become lazy and try to skip any goals. Even though all of my resolutions are daily based, some of them – as you’ll see – are rather general and the exact work done on them can vary greatly between days. That’s why planning it in advance is helpful – I try to be realistic and set my agenda so that I’m actually able to do all the tasks planned and at the same time so that I get some good chunk of work done. Takes only 3 minutes a day but really helps a lot. I like to write my plan down on paper, in my calendar. There’s nothing more satisfying than crossing things off to do lists 😀
Improve my English
Okay, now getting to the main points. Currently my life revolves around the dream of moving abroad and all doubts and uncertainties about it. One of them is a question that keeps coming back to me like a boomerang: ‘Do I really know the language enough?’. I’m able to read books or watch films and YouTube videos in English without any problems (even if there’s a word I don’t know the meaning of I usually understand it from the context) and I believe I’m also able to make myself understood when I speak the language myself. But as the perfectionist that I’ve always been, I want more. I’ve had this idea of learning a dictionary by heart for ages and I feel like it’s about time I did that. No, hear me out, I’m not crazy. I hope I’m not. It’s totally doable. I have that little dictionary that I got for Christmas when I was in… first grade? Obviously it doesn’t contain all words used in contemporary English but the description on its cover says it covers about 50 000 words… and I believe it’s enough for the start. Sounds scary, but I know the majority of them, so I’m not going to have to learn 50 thousand new words or expressions, don’t you worry. My goal is to learn new vocabulary from one page each day. Only one page. On average it’s about… 30 words per day? After a week I can say that it’s totally doable – with the good memory I’ve always had, learning 30 words a day shouldn’t be a problem for me, especially that the number doesn’t only include words that are completely new to me but also those that I simply don’t use enough. To make sure I don’t skip any days and to keep myself motivated I wrote a date at the bottom of each page – and it looks like I should be done in the middle of October. Considering that it’s something I’d been planning to do for ages, I’m sure that if I stick to the plan for those 10 months my future self will be unbelievably grateful. I’ll definitely update you on how I’m doing in this matter in a few weeks time. Currently my plan is to each day go through the vocabulary meant for that day and repeat words from the last 3 days. Then on weekends I’m going to revise the whole week and at the end of each month – the whole month. The first week proved successful but I’m fully aware that it’ll most likely get harder with time. Nevertheless, I still believe it’s possible. And even if I don’t manage to memorize everything, I’m sure I’ll still learn a lot.
Read a book each month
There are two reasons for this resolution to be on my list. First of all, I used to be a bookworm and I feel awful spending all my time on a computer and reading no books whatsoever nowadays. One book per month isn’t much, so I should be able to do it with close to no effort – I used to read one book per 2-3 days, so one per month seems like nothing. Secondly, this resolution is closely related to the previous one due to the fact that I’m going to read those books in English. In this case, however, my focus isn’t on the vocabulary. Instead, I’d like to concentrate on how words in books are put together to create that beautiful, vivid, cohesive, poetic style. Without paying too much attention to it though. I simply believe that the more I read the more natural that style will feel and I’ll be encouraged to construct my own sentences using more sophisticated and varied vocabulary instead of always choosing the same set of worn out, popular, overused words.
Work on potentially starting a side business in my spare time
Now here’s the tricky bit. I’m going to write a separate post about this issue, but here’s a brief explanation: if I actually manage to move abroad, having some extra source of income from my personal, freelance work will be incredibly helpful, even if I was to only make 50 quid a month. Money is often considered a taboo, but in actuality it’s something we can’t live without, and, unfortunately, it becomes even more of an issue if you plan on moving to a place with much stronger currency and – sadly – much higher costs of living. I’m currently looking into two fields – creating and selling handmade crafted items and digital 3D models, but I’m open for other opportunities as well. More on this topic in a separate post later this week 🙂
Focus on myself
This one is certainly easier said than done. The main area of life in which I need to improve on being selfish are relationships. I’m still the kind of person who will do everything to make the other person happy while also getting attached to them way too easily. I write fairy tales in my head in the very early stage of a relationship and then cry for weeks when the story doesn’t end with ‘lived happily ever after’. I do it every time and really, it’s about time I stopped. Although fairy tales do sometimes happen in real life, my statistics clearly show that they must be in the minority and if I don’t want to suffer once again I should pinch myself really hard every time I let my imagination go too far when things aren’t fully sorted and functioning. I even wrote a post about why it’s good to be selfish and I should probably finally listen to myself.
(Move to the UK)
Here it is. The main goal that’s supposed to be easier to achieve thanks to all previous ones. Now here’s how I see it: I’d like to move before the first batch of Brexit provisions goes live, which I believe is supposed to happen in March 2019. Or actually, I should probably have my life sorted there by that time, meaning that I need to have a place to live in and a sustainable source of income (so a job in my career field). What I believe should be achievable is moving around September-October, taking two months to deal with all formalities and get used to the new place, potentially doing a simple job part-time until mid December while slowly looking for a job in my field. Then I’d go home for Christmas (I know for sure that me moving abroad will be a tough experience for my family, so going back home for a couple of weeks not too long after moving should make it easier for all of us). And after New Year’s I’d have to either start a new, steady job or focus all my strength and effort on finding one. Sounds easy… but I know it won’t be, haha.
That’s the sketch of the whole process that has formed in my head. Obviously, with something so complex I have to expect unexpected and I’m fully aware of how different reality can be to the most meticulously carved plans and ideas. Either way, I still have a few months left before I need to make any serious decisions, so aside from keeping abreast of jobs and estate rental markets I don’t have much to do in this subject just yet.
Proper skincare & getting more sleep
On a less serious note… or actually, who said skincare isn’t serious? These two came to my mind while I was writing this post and I’m adding them to my resolutions. I’m always tired in the evening and usually end up not even using any cream – I can’t see how bad it is for my skin just yet, but I’m pretty sure my future self will appreciate present me taking proper care of my skin. And about sleep… I usually go to bed late, trying to use as much free time in the evening as possible. But in all honesty, I constantly feel like a zombie and the time I have is never spent efficiently. I’m not expecting miracles and I know that with my lifestyle I can’t get 8 hours of sleep every day, but I’ll be happy if I manage to get even 30 minutes extra every day.
That’s it when it comes to my resolutions for 2018. Ambitious? Maybe. Doable? Absolutely. I’ll make an update on my resolutions at the end of each month to remind myself of the goals I’ve set for this year and – hopefully – to get that extra motivation seeing how successful I’ve been. We’ll see how it goes!
Hello and welcome back. Today, I’m coming with another storytime post. I’ve been thinking for quite a while whether I should post this, but I feel like the story is so unusual that it’s worth sharing. Until now, only 3 of my friends have heard about it.
I’ve always been more active online than in real life, so quite naturally I made a few online connections – some of them broke, some of them stayed. But there was one that made me completely baffled and it remains a mystery up to this day.
The first time when my online life outgrew the real one happened when I was in high school, around 6 years ago. I left a comment under a YouTube video and for some reason community liked it enough to bring it to the top and leave it there for a while. One guy saw it and wrote a private message to me regarding what I said. A few messages exchanged, we started talking about random things. He seemed… lonely? Lost? A little weird for sure. In one of his first messages he told me he’d almost died twice due to overdosing drugs. He said he’d nearly killed himself when his girlfriend left him. He seemed like he needed a friend… and so did I. The initially weird story grew to extreme levels though. Between the lines he told me how his parents died when he was a child, how he grew up abroad, living with distant family, how he trained his favourite sport and now lived off it, travelling around the world, taking part in competitions. The sport was very specific and rather expensive to do, only a few do it on an international level. Curiosity killed the cat they say… I googled everything. I quickly figured out who he was claiming to be, he also eventually sort of confirmed it using a name to sign one of the messages instead of his YouTube’s username. However, not all pieces of the story he told me matched the info I could find on Google. And I could find a lot, as the said person was actually one of the best in his popular yet elite discipline. It wasn’t even only about details – some basic facts didn’t match either. Dead parents? Then why can I google thousands of photos of him and his living father? He got injured and sent me a photo of him with crutches? Too bad the photo was taken 2 years earlier and was published by one of sports websites. He says he’s going to an old friend’s funeral in his hometown, and while the ceremony should be in progress, his official Twitter posts about an event he’s taking part in, in a completely different part of the world. And finally, last but not least, dogs. He – the real person I was talking to – had two and loved them above anything else. He kept sending me photos of them… never them and him at the same time though, wonder why. Google has never seen a photo of ‘him’ with the dogs, and he claimed to always take them with him, to whatever part of the world he was going for a competition. You don’t have to be a genius to realise there was something odd about the entire story. And as I started questioning it, he switched to the defensive ‘why do you not trust me when I love you’ mode. (Oh, yeah, after a few months of daily talking he actually said he loved me.)
I had no idea how to talk to him. He was obviously making up a huge part of ‘his’ life, or rather borrowed it from someone else, thinking I wouldn’t notice (? really? how can you not notice that!?). Of course, there are thousands of people pretending to be celebrities. But his case was different, he didn’t straight away claim to be that certain person, it all very slowly grew to eventually get to that point. I know, it was all a lie. But on the other hand… first of all, he seemed lonely and lost, and I didn’t want to hurt a person that had had suicidal attempts before. Secondly, between the lines of that made up story he seemed like a very nice, caring, fragile person. Always supportive and paying compliments. Great friend of animals of all kinds. He also actually seemed like a wealthy person (judging from the background of the numerous dog photos I was sent) – and since he didn’t have a serious job (or at least I doubt he did), he might have been from an environment that could possibly fund a sport like the one he claimed to train. And last but not least, he never tried to use that fake identity for his advantage – it seemed as if he just wanted some bio to go along with his personality, but he never really tightly stuck to that background. I really wanted to solve that situation in the least disastrous way possible. I thought that maybe he’d made that story up to increase his chances of finding a friend to talk to, so I tried telling him how I didn’t care about who he was, as I respected and liked his personality that I saw in his emails. But he seemed to desperately want to stay delusional and believe in the entire story he’d built.
I started university and had less and less spare time, it was also the time when I knew for sure how unreal the made-up story of his lifetime was. Finals came, I had plenty of work and also got ill – didn’t check for emails for a couple of days. He got worried – okay, I get that. He wrote to my Facebook friends, asking about me (he’d found me on Facebook a few months earlier) – woah, wait. He wrote to my friends? What?! I did not sign up for that. I don’t know if he actually did that (none of my friends told me about any weird messages regarding me and I didn’t ask), but just the thought of it was terrifying. I got mad and from that point our relationship started to die out. I wanted to be a good friend, support him regardless of all those lies (yep, good auntie Alphe, supporting a suicidal liar), and in return I also had a friend to talk to – something I desperately needed at that time. But it was too much for me. I felt beset. Slowly but surely, the connection broke after a bit over a year from its start.
Was it a regular catfish? I wouldn’t say so. He seemed genuinely involved in that relation, remembered every detail about me. And not only then; he kept writing to me for my birthday/Christmas/other holidays for the next 4 years, every time only getting a short, generic response – except for the last one which remained unanswered, and that’s probably why he never wrote again. But he still remembered me. I have a feeling that he was so desperate to make a connection with me that he felt like he needed to create a story that would appeal to me and keep me interested. I don’t know, however, why he decided to stick to it when I clearly knew it was all a lie and suggested starting over, without making things up.
It remains probably the biggest mystery of my life. I’m really curious about who he really is and why he refused to ever admit his life wasn’t how he pictured it to be – especially since he actually told me about some dark sides of his past that most people wouldn’t want in their created perfect lives. I’ll most likely never find out.
The aftermath, aside from the left unsolved riddle, also includes my highly increased online privacy awareness. That mostly affected my Facebook profile, I changed all settings to private, visible to friends only (something everyone should do to be honest, and many people still don’t). I don’t use my personal data anywhere online (unless it’s official stuff that I fully trust).
Funny thing though, that didn’t stop me from making new online friends, I was just a lot more careful with them – and it was totally worth it, I gained great friends from different countries that I fully trust, that I can fully rely on and that I met (or am about to meet) in person.
Have you ever got into a strange online relationship with someone?
Happy New Year everyone! I need to start by saying that the Christmas time was extremely busy for me and that’s why I took a short break off blogging. There was no new episode of my You are what you eat series last week, but it will be coming tomorrow. Now, however, I’d like to talk about something else. I’ve mentioned a few times on this blog my failed relationship. Today, it’s been exactly a year since the breakup. And on that occasion, I thought I’d share the story with you.
I have to admit I used to be one of those believing that love only happens to everyone once and lasts a lifetime. I thought it was simply impossible to stop loving someone. Sadly, now I know how wrong I was.
I was in a relationship for nearly 3 years. We had both good and bad times, like every couple does, but I was convinced it would be the relationship for life. Unfortunately, with my caring nature, I soon got into the giver’s spot in that relation, while my ex-boyfriend stayed on a receiver’s position. And although I didn’t mind giving the loved person all the best, it wasn’t a balanced situation. Before I realised, it got to the point where all my effort was taken as a given and I couldn’t expect anything in return. Not that I had high expectations, but when, from time to time, I hoped for something small or asked him to do me a favour, it either went unlistened or was done with a lot of suffering and complaining. And each situation like that only led me to lower my expectations even more, ending up being left without any. Now I clearly see how bad it was, but even then I had that thought somewhere in the back of my head.
A month or two before Christmas 2015, I started to feel that the relationship was slowly but surely heading to its end. I didn’t want to believe in that and I was trying to push the last bits of hope to the top of my mind, but deep inside I knew it was going to end. I still loved him then, and I loved him many months after. But the day I found out he didn’t love me was the coldest day in my life, for many reasons. November 2015. Me, my ex-boyfriend and his best friend were hanging out in town. The plan was to go to a bar or two and just chat and enjoy ourselves. However, the two got a better idea mid-evening. They had a friend who then worked in a small petrol station in the suburbs – they wanted to go and visit him there. On most days I wouldn’t mind that. But that day was the beginning of winter, the weather was awful and the temperature was very low. And I was not prepared to spend the evening outdoors (the station only had a small cabin for the employees, we couldn’t all get inside). I have to say here that my cold tolerance is far below average – I’m the kind of person who often wears a jumper in 30°C cause it’s not warm enough to take it off. In winter, I can wear the thickest clothes I can find in stores and I’ll still be shaking and turning into a human icicle. And on that day I wasn’t even wearing the thickest coat, as winter came unexpectedly after a few warm weeks. Maybe it sounds silly, but physically it was one of the worst experiences of my life – spending around an hour trapped in the suburbs of my town, literally shaking from cold, because of an unplanned visit my company decided to pay their friend. I didn’t want to ruin their time so I just suffered in silence, jumping from foot to foot and walking in circles to warm up my body just a little bit. I didn’t want to say anything out loud, but soon it became clear how hard of a time I was having. And then I saw it. My ex looked at me, and in his eyes I saw ice, colder than the air between us. He didn’t say a single word, but his eyes did. ‘Stop being cold, can’t you see I’m having fun here?’. I realise how silly it sounds. But we were 24. Mature, adults. And he saw nothing wrong in me literally freezing because of his impromptu idea for some ‘fun’ meeting.
We stayed in the relationship for a while after that event. Christmas came and our tradition was to discuss the main gifts with each other, so that we could both get something we wanted or needed instead of a bunch of random, not necessarily needed or liked stuff. He had a very specific choice of the main gift he’d like to get, but only one online store sold it at that time. He sent me a link to the item saying he was aware that the gift would most likely arrive after Christmas. That’s indeed what happened, and January came. We decided to go to a cafe, where I could give him the gift and where we could spend a nice afternoon. Also, it happened to be the same cafe we went to on our very first date 3 years earlier. And those were the only two times we were there. The first, and what later turned out to be the last date.
We’d been in the cafe for around an hour, having a nice, argument-free time, when he said he didn’t feel well. He insisted on going to our homes and meeting again the day after or so. That’s what we did.
I got back home, got on my PC. So did he. And like always, we talked there… kinda. Basically, he just wrote to me to break up.
A 24-year-old educated man with a serious job, broke up with his girlfriend of 3 years on an online chat, right after taking her to the place where they went on their first date and having collected his Christmas gift. 2 weeks later, he spent a weekend around 300 kilometres away from home, with his new girlfriend.
We met twice after that, accidentally, many weeks later, and only exchanged a few words.
Looking back and trying to be objective, I did nothing to deserve that. And even if there were situations in which I did something wrong, I still believe that no one deserves being treated like that. One day you’re happy with your partner of a few years, the next day you get dumped via and online chat and never meet them again until some awkward moment months later.
The way it all ended should have shown me his real value. But although now I can say he was an asshole who never really respected me as a person, after the break-up I was completely devastated. Like, completely. I spent the first two weeks in bed. Crying, refusing to eat anything else than my sedative pills, crying some more and getting nearly no sleep due to my heart beating as if it was gonna try to escape from my body. I would have stayed there for even longer, if it wasn’t for my finals at uni and a terrifying possibility of failing my life even more. I’d still have sleep problems and occasionally burst into tears for the next ~6 months. And even then, it only started to slowly heal.
After a whole year, I don’t know if I can say I’m entirely fine. I do clearly realise that he wasn’t worth me and my love. But on the other hand, it was my first that serious and long relationship. I had plans for the future and I have plenty of good memories, mostly from the beginning of it. It’s not something I’d like to erase from my head – I definitely learnt a lot from it. But at the same time, I was unable to smile and have any kind of fun for like half a year after it all got ruined. Also, I’m in the age when many girls get proposed to/get married or even already have their own house and a kid or two. And it feels so bad and hopeless that I’m all alone.
As I said, a few months ago I started to slowly recover from this whole situation. I changed my environment and spend time with new friends, and it feels great and refreshing. I can genuinely laugh and have fun, something that I was nearly sure I’d never experience again.
New Year’s resolution? I’d like to write a part 2 of this story next January, in which I can sincerely say I’ve recovered and, most importantly, I’m happy with my life.
Inspired by this week’s discover challenge I thought I’d write a few words on why it’s good to be selfish when we’re trying to find our place in this world.
I should start by saying that – in my own eyes – I’m a very empathic person and for my nearest and dearest I’d do pretty much everything. However, I’ve learnt the hard way that sometimes it’s good to set aside our altruism and be a little bit selfish.
I used to think that being in a relationship means you should always be there for the other person and value their happiness above your own. I still think that, in a perfect world of equally dedicated people, it would be the recipe for the most successful relationship possible. However, reality seems to be a lot different. If you’re an eternal giver and your partner is a little bit more of a receiver, it’ll soon turn into a relation in which you’re the one doing your best to make the other person happy and they just start to take you for granted and don’t really appreciate your effort. Of course, in matters of great consequence we should always be there for our partners and support them in hard times, but on every day basis it’s good to sometimes demand stuff for ourselves instead of always being the giving side. Unless you wanna wake up after some months in a messed up relationship in which you do all the effort and they don’t even care.
First things first – I don’t support the ubiquitous rat race. We live in a crazy time and if you want to get somewhere it’s not enough to have all qualifications – what helps more is being able to fight for your sake by all means possible. I personally believe that having a calm, friendly atmosphere between your colleagues is a lot healthier than living the rat race and wanting to kill yourself and everyone else after 8 hours spent at work. However, not everyone’s like that and it’s important not to let people use you. And if you really want to be promoted – sorry to say that, but you’ll have to be the loudest & strongest one fighting, not the one with the most charming smile.
I fell into this trap myself: I lived my life only to be the best for other people, forgetting to also take care about myself. And although it’s great to see the smile on your loved ones’ faces, if you continue to give up on your own goals only to make others happy, they might eventually stop even noticing your effort and take it as a norm that has and will always be there. You, on the other hand, will wake up one day being washed out of all your goals, feeling no sense in your life. And it’s really, really hard to build your life once again from scratch once it’s been wiped out.
To sum up I’d say that while trying to find our place in the world of relationships with other people it’s really important to keep a good balance between generosity & nobility and the good sort of selfishness. Once the balance is disturbed, it’s really, really hard to get back on the right track and sort out your life and goals.
The photo also fits the topic, but in a physical rather than abstract way. It’s my absolute favourite place in the world, I left my heart there over 10 years ago and it’ll probably stay there forever, forcing me to come back there from time to time no matter where I settle down.