Spring Clean Your Heart – Get Rid of Jealousy

If you live Down-Under, we’re one month into Spring! (Yay – although it barely feels like it).  Whilst most of us will spend some time in our lives cleaning the house, cleaning the car, cleaning the mailbox etc, not many of us will  consciously pause to take inventory of the state of our heart.  Sometimes niggling, not so pleasant, emotions harbour there and can slowly grow into something  which eats away at our relationships with others and also with ourselves.
I used to think that jealousy was a teenage emotion and something which I had grown out of.  However, just last month the green eyed monster reared its ugly head.  The situation was fairly quickly resolved, as the person involved sensed the distance between us and cared enough to initiate a conversation about it.  I came to realise that all my worries were figments of my over-active imagination and that I was doing the other person a dis-favour by not raising the issue with them and giving them an opportunity to speak.

Coincidentally, a couple of days ago, I read this article on Jealousy, Relationships, and the voices in Your Head which fleshes out the undercurrents of jealousy.  I love sharing things that I find helpful.  It’s true, ‘a person’s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have.’ (Tim Ferriss)

Go on.  Have that conversation – even if you anticipate it to be awkward.  It’s almost never as bad as the scenario in your head.

the Forgotten Art of Gift-Giving

My iphone cover is slightly embarrassing.  It is so sparkly (read bling!) that I have to hide it behind my hair whenever I answer the phone, particularly in professional contexts.  However, it makes me smile because it was given to me out of love by an eight-year-old.  She gave me what she would like herself and beams every time she sees me use it.  That’s enough reason for me to keep using it.

Being somewhat introspective at times, I’ve come to the realisation that my gift giving strategy is like that of an eight-year old.  I buy presents based on what I like, regardless of how it will be received by the other person.  Sometimes this works well (if I’m buying for a twenty-six year old female), but I don’t think a teenage boy appreciates being given a sportsgirl voucher.

As I think about this some more, I’ve come to realise that gift giving is an art and that some people are really good at it.  I can name every single present that my dear friend E has given me for the 6 years that we were in high school together- that’s because she understood me, took the time to notice and wasn’t stingy with her time nor resources.  They weren’t expensive gifts, but they were something that spoke exactly the right thing into my life at precisely the right time.  For example, when I was in high school I really wanted a trophy.  The problem with trophies is that they must be earned.  Being somewhat of an incompetent sports person, the only sport that I was vaguely good at was swimming.  So I joined the school swimming squad, practicing three times a week before school for a whole year – determined to win the end of year swimming meet.  I trained, I persevered and I won – only to realise that they give out medals for swimming, not trophies.  E noticed this….and for Christmas that year, she gave me a trophy for being a ‘champion friend’!

She’s the one who’s the Champion friend!!!  I went on to win a trophy for tennis a couple of years later – but in comparison – this trophy means much more to me.

T is someone else who is good at getting prezzies that make me smile.  Having noticed that I forever have problems with umbrellas which turn inside out (and often feel embarassed about this), he secretly ordered a Senz umbrella for me.  It’s aerodynamic, doesn’t flip, and should stand up to 80km/h!  Overpriced brolly- yes.  But totally happy – I bring it everywhere with me!

Do you struggle with giving meaningful gifts?  What strategies help you?

The Art of Losing

Throughout life, I’ve come to observe that there is a positive correlation between laziness and losing things – most noticeable in myself (sadly).  One of my closest friends is notorious for losing things also, but she is also great at telling us that she has not lost the item, just that it is momentarily misplaced.  The difference between the two eludes me.

Today, I received a call from a telemarketer (please keep reading……)  Usually, I automatically tune out once I work out that they are trying to sell me something or that I have won some holiday through some competition that I did not enter.  Today was different.  What they were offering was actually a clever idea.

It’s called Secure Sentinel.  The basic gist is that they provide a one call assistance should I experience the loss or theft of my purse, wallet or handbag.  Once I ring them, they automatically cancel all my cards etc on my behalf and assist with the re-registration process.  Snazzy idea, hey?  Unfortunately it’s a little expensive given that I don’t lose my wallet that often….and Melbourne is quite an honest city.  In fact, I met one of my good friends because she returned my misplaced mobile phone.  True story.

Perhaps.  One Day.  If I’m traveling the world or back-packing or become a millionaire, Secure Sentinel might come in handy! 🙂

And….who can write a post about losing something without quoting One Art by Elizabeth Bishop (and yes, this poem was read in the movie In Her Shoes in case you were wondering why it sounds familiar even though you don’t normally read poems):

The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster,

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three beloved houses went.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.

– Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident
the art of losing’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like a disaster.

Too Lazy To……..Get Out of Bed in the Mornings

I’m a gal who appreciates Winter.   I love being rugged up in thick jackets, pretty mittens, hands thrust in the pockets – breathing in crisp, fresh air.  Add on top of that hot chocolate, winter boots, snowboarding, fireplaces, soups and hot water bottles – what is there not to love about winter?  Well, just one thing……getting up in the mornings.  Now I haven’t quite mastered the art of this one yet (so I’d appreciate any suggestions out there!) but here are some things that have somewhat helped thus far……

1.  Setting my alarm clock for when I need to get up (and not when I wish to get up) to enable maximum snooze time.

2.  Putting the alarm close enough so that I can hear it, but far enough so that I’d have to get up to silence it.  Afterall, getting out of bed is the hardest step.

3.  Sleeping earlier (epic fail at this so far)

4.  Laying out my outfit for the day, the night before.  I know, I know, this is not favoured by those who dress according to their mood.

5.  By far, the most effective of all these strategies is having a dog.  Missie, my precious Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, will start barking at 7:30am in the morning without fail.  She is the cutest thing in the world and also as a bonus- she is the best snooze button out there!  

What do you do to help you get out of bed in the mornings?

Too lazy to……Sort out my Snail-mail

One noticeable  change in my life between my tween years to my twenties is my attitude towards snail-mail.

During my tween years, I loved getting mail because it meant, ‘brown paper packages tied up with strings.’  (Please no one make snide remarks about a great classic)  Usually, it involved a card, a present – or even both.  To a child, this meant personal attention and I reveled in it!

Once I hit my twenties however, snail-mail automatically became associated with invoices, parking fines, or unwanted advertising material (compounded by the phenomenon that no one seems to send things in the mail anymore – aside from the occasional wedding invite, thank you and Christmas cards.  Sad story indeed.)  As there is no incentive whatsoever to open my mail (you can guess the content from the none-too-well-disguised envelopes) I  began to encounter real problems for my lazy self – such as forgetting to pay invoices, losing invoices and worse still…..not opening letters of love declarations until years later (just kidding).  Here are the lazy person’s step for dealing with your mail!

1) Realise that this is a must-do job (there are real consequences if you don’t, eg. fines) and not an optional job (ordering your books in height order might be aesthetically pleasing but there are no real consequences if you don’t).

2) Designate a place where you will put all your mail after you collect them from the mailbox, but don’t open them right away unless it looks urgent.  I use a pretty vintage-styled  mailbox.…but  a basket, a shoebox or any container will do.  Now, I choose to free myself from the need to open my mail right away.  Giving myself permission to not open my mail, is the only way to ensure that I will actually put away my mail.  Afterall, how hard is it to take the mail from the postbox and put it in the correct place, provided you don’t have to read it?

3)  Designate half an hour a week to sort out your mail.  I do this on a Saturday afternoon over a cup of tea (incentive).  Each time you open an envelope, you have to follow-through with whatever action the correspondence requires.  Do not put it aside.  If it’s an invoice, pay it.  If it’s a survey, complete it.  You get the gist.

4)  File away.  I use a pretty folder with tabs.  The moral of the story is : keep.  Be a hoarder.   Trust me, you will need it in the future!  If you don’t have it, murphy’s law will apply.

Tadaa – good luck!

PS I wish I got paid for product placements, but I don’t.  The mentioned items are simply things that I enjoy, and I hope you do too!

Photo Credit: Kikki K