Saturday 10 January 2015

How 2014 Saw Me Break and Rebuild

2014 was a very good and a very bad year for me. However much I enjoy the journey, I will always be a destination person and look at how things ended. 2014 ended very well for me and sees me entering 2015 at the top of my game in my career, with my friendships and healthwise.

Amongst my friends, I am known for my first world problems. They to me seem like a very big issue but to others they would be great problems to have. This last year of my life has involved me getting some perspective and accepting that my life is too good to complain about. There is no such thing as perfection and being upset with myself for not achieving that is plain silly. This is something that I still have to remind myself of but less often than I did in the past.

I always see life as being made up of three different and very distinct segments: Work, Love and Health. So here they are in retrospective.


No means no

After burning out at Microsoft because of my inability to say NO, I learnt the best lesson of my life and have developed the ability to refuse to do every single thing I am asked to do. That is the best skill I have learnt in the past 12 months.

You don't pay me enough to... oh wait, yes you do

2014 saw me work in 3 different contracts delivering software in the biometrics and security space. I was paid very well, in part because I am hyper aware of my worth and because I've become a shit hot negotiator. A friend and ex-colleague reminded me of one of her favourite quotes of mine when I was being asked to do something really silly at work. I said "You don't pay me enough to do... oh wait, yes you do." People do have a price apparently or at least I do :)

The Rule of Three

If you've ever bitched to me about work then you will have had to listen to Damana's Work Rule of Three. For me to stay in a job, I must have two of these three things: Good People; Good Pay; and Good Work. If I have three out of three then I am sublimely happy, which is what I had at Oakton. If I have two then I can keep working happily for a long period of time. If I have one then I leave.

If I am unhappy at work, I try to fix the problem myself. Then I ask for help from a colleague, then from a manager and then their manager. If I can not find a way to fix what I am disliking then I leave. Life is linear and you only do it once. Don't work in a job you don't like. That is why I left the ATO.


Circles within circles

Apparently all human beings have circles of people who hold differing levels of importance in their lives. I have worked out that my family and three of my good friends are in my inner most circle. Everyone else I know (and Stephen Fry) is in the next circle out. The rest of the universal set is full of people I don't know. It used to be more complex than that but I've simplified it. Only those in my inner circle get to know the details of my life and the rest can read about the less important parts of my life on social networks or my blog. My aim for 2015 will be to head for Dunbar's Number or about 200 people in my life.

You don't get to choose them

They always say that you don't get to choose family but if I had the choice, I would have still picked these guys. Through everything I do, my parents and my sister support me in every way I could wish for. They are the kindest souls and the best people I know. On those days when it feels the universe is kicking my arse, I know they love me. There is never a doubt ever. That can get you through anything. Anything. I chose them.

Don't call me Goddess

At the beginning of 2014, I dealt with the most difficult men I have ever had to deal with. My apartment was broken in to and one of my laptops and some underwear was stolen. The guy who did this was simultaneously sending me anonymous bouquets of roses and hate email with pictures of me with my eyes blacked out. He was tracked down via an online florist and spoken to informally by police. No one finger printed my apartment. There is no CSI Canberra. He only stopped because they warned him off. It seems that the police can not do anything unless you are violently raped or murdered.

Meanwhile, I had to deal with a senior colleague whose obsession with curves ended in me talking to our boss. The following three months saw this colleague make my life a living hell until I found a new role. I am very proud that I stayed strong through it and delivered my project early and well before leaving to a job that has been one of the best I've ever had in my life. Lemons to lemonade. In this time, I learnt not to trust a man who calls you "goddess" and quotes Princess Bride at you, AT WORK.

And people ask me why I'm single.


Knock me down and I'll kick the shit out of you

After spending years getting my mental fitness back, being mugged in August 2014 set me back quite a way. Not so much that depression will return but enough that I still feel angry some days and can't always fix it. Each day is better than the last and knowing is was PTSD to start with and expecting it to happen made it easier to deal with it. The tools I have learnt through years of therapy were my saviour. This self rescuing princess totally saved herself.

The mugger was caught last October and charged with mine and another mugging. Although I don't remember his face at all or whether he was black or white and a shade of lavender, it is good to know he is being made to face what he did. I kicked him so hard in the knee when he was standing on my stomach and pulling at my handbag that he limped away in pain. Even if it was the fight bit of fight-or-flight that did it, I wasn't a victim and have proven to myself that in a stressful moment, I can be strong.

Let's get physical

This is one thing I'm still not happy about. After the mugging, I put on three to four kilograms. It has been hard to get rid of it but I am determined to do so. This is my focus for 2015. In 2013 I lost 11kg. In 2015, I intend to achieve a similar goal.

Be still, my beating heart

My emotional health is in a place that I feel safest at the moment. Having finally felt love for someone for the first time since my divorce, it was an interesting year. The pain of heart break was nowhere near as bad as my divorce was. I have learnt something very interesting about myself though. Once I have loved someone (friend or lover), I will always love them in some way. Him, I miss. He is in my thoughts every day but not voluntarily. He sneaks in to my head when I am doing things. It may always be like this but that is ok. It wasn't meant to be this time but I will still always feel that passion and compassion for him that I felt when we were together. Yes, yes, even though he was a complete jerk to me in the end. The heart wants what it wants. Stoopid heart.

In summary, I worked 3 contracts, fell in love for the first time since my divorce, survived and thrived after being violently mugged, made great friends, loved and honoured my wonderful family, forgave myself my mistakes, made good choices and lived the happiest year of my life so far.

I am well proud of myself and my life in 2014. I did that one well.

My aim to maintain my mindfulness and be kind to myself. With a new job, a new country and a new journey around the sun, I anticipate that the year I turn 39 will be my year. There will be awful times. There will be amazing times. There will be absolutely uneventful times and that's ok because I'm finally getting good and this. Participation, Passion and Peace are my words for this year of my life.

Let's do this shit.

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