Sunday, April 06, 2014

2014 Q1 Review

Well, gentle reader, as you will no doubt have realised, I have not been blogging at all much recently. It's been a strange combination of being too busy, yet not feeling that I've had anything really interesting to blog about. If you asked me in person whether I thought I had an interesting life, I'd answer in the affirmative. I'm constantly doing things outside of work that I'm happy to be doing, even if I'm struggling with them. I'm getting out and enjoying life. Yet, I just can't seem to find anything that I want to write about.

So, instead, I'll write about what's changed in my life over the last few months. It may only be the beginning of April, but there's a part of my brain that's just going, "Has three months of 2014 really gone by? How?" I'm not sure how, why I don't feel as if I've done that much, but, obviously, the calendar and the lengthening spring days tell me that it must be true.

2014 is supposed to be a better year for me. Or, more precisely, the Year of the Horse is meant to be better for those of us born in my year. Of course, for me, that means each and every one of my close female friends should be experiencing the same uplift in fortunes, but, as with all horoscopes, that simply isn't possible. On the other hand, I suppose you could point out that as long as I don't have to undergo surgery this year, it'll definitely beat last year. Set the bar low, I always say.

Without further ado, let me move on to the main sections of my life and just sum things up. Otherwise, I risk boring you and myself, and goodness knows that'll mean I'll be blogging even less regularly than I am now.


Well, where do I start? I restarted dancing some time in February, after my physiotherapist said that West Coast Swing looked to be a suitable dance for someone like me. It's been a tough ride, as you might expect. After all, I'd been away for quite a few months, and it's only natural to expect that I'd regressed. Still, as I foolishly thought when I first started, surely I won't be afraid any more because the fear of simply restarting dance was so intense, that it should be nothing compared to asking people to social dance after this.

I was wrong. I've lost quite a fair bit of my dance mojo, and while I still enjoy it, I'm struggling with the intermediate classes, which, of course, means that I'm learning, but I look around me and constantly feel as I though I'm the worst dancer in the room, which does nothing at all for my confidence, and makes me feel less like asking people to dance, meaning I don't get to practice after class, and on and on. Yes, it's a vicious cycle, and I know there's only one way to get out of it - by asking more people to dance, but it's hard, and I'm trying.

On a positive note, I had an absolutely brilliant dance with my teacher during last week's social. It's the first time I've danced with him since my operation and it was an absolutely amazing dance. I'd had a bit to drink which meant that I was much more relaxed than usual, but it's not a tool that I'd like to employ before every dance.

I started going to Mysore yoga classes in the morning three weeks ago. Man, that has been intense. I progressed much faster than I expected to during the first two weeks (can you say headstand and back bends?), and it has been exhausting. I can feel the improvement in my knees and posture though, and, tiring though it is, it's been worth it.

Ah, oh yes. I'm still undergoing physiotherapy. It'll be the six month anniversary of my surgery in a few days time, and I honestly thought I'd be 100% by now, but I'm not. I've learnt that surgeons are rubbish at estimating recovery time as they don't deal with after-care. My physiotherapist has been much more realistic, but, the important thing is, I'm making progress, and my consultant doesn't think I'll need a second surgery.

Other than activities, perhaps I should mention that I gave up coffee for Lent. Yes. Coffee. Me. I had terrible headaches for the first 7 days, but, a month on, I'm feeling much better and clear-headed. To be fair, I didn't drink coffee for the caffeine, but for the taste, so I'm looking forward to my first cup on Easter Sunday!


I'm still feeling the same sense of ennui that I have in the past few years, indeed even before I moved to London. I'll be the first to admit that I'm doing a lot more this year, especially in terms of big projects, but it just isn't enough for me. I'm tired of what I do, of being a specialist in this function, and I desperately want to move before I get stuck here for good.

On the bright side, I have a much higher profile this year than I did last year, and I'm not sure what's changed. My manager's manager - one of the members of the top management team, as my company likes to call it - has spoken to me directly more than 10 times this year. That may not be a big thing, but that's more than he's spoken to me in the 18 months preceding that. And it's not because of things that have gone wrong, but because of projects I'm working on or initiatives that need to be headed up.

Also, my line manager gave me a higher performance rating than I'd given myself. I would have given myself the rating that he gave me, but, at the time, I was so unmotivated by the never-ending work and the frustration of just being in this department that it was difficult for me to argue for a higher rating given that I hadn't managed to achieve the impossible goals that had been set for me. As my rating has a direct impact on the bonus I receive, it was a nice surprise.

I've also been nominated for my company's leadership programme, which is nice. Only thing is that others whom I don't think have performed as well as I have have also been nominated. In other words, to quote The Incredibles, when everyone's special, no one is. Still, it's a honour to have been nominated, and it's even better to have been accepted. Hopefully, it means something rather than just being another meaningless label.

I'm still looking for a role that allows me to stretch myself more than I have been though, whether it's been within the company or outside of it. Fingers crossed that something works out for me.

Outside of work, but still on the professional development front, I'd attended a professional women's group event recently. While I felt terribly old (I'd discovered at the event itself that it was targeted at millenials), quite a few people at the event directed me to StrengthsFinder, and told me that it'd changed their lives. It's based on the premise that everyone has a combination of 34 strengths (there are no weaknesses) and that it would be far better for people to focus on those strengths and do work that allows them to utilise those strengths, as opposed to the conventional thinking that we should always work on overcoming our weaknesses. It's an interesting idea; it is, after all, far easier to work on something that you're good at and that you enjoy, rather than constantly forcing yourself to do activities to make you stronger at your weak areas. It's much like the theory of comparative advantage, rather than trying to develop an absolute advantage in everything, work on your strengths, and outsource your weaknesses to someone else who's much better at them. I did the test yesterday and was a little surprised by my top 5 strengths. I'll be doing more reading in due course and will blog about it here... maybe.


There's really nothing much to report here, other than that I am still incredibly happy with the boyfriend. He's been utterly wonderful, and I look forward to seeing him every day. I know it's nauseating, but he just makes me so happy, that it's hard to think that we've gone out for more than 2.5 years now.

While this might have been more appropriate being placed in the section on Life, the boyf and I have resolved to do something new every month. The idea is to ensure we make the effort and get out and do things, particularly important this year as both our workloads have ramped up, so it's easy to just want to stay home and relax. So as not to stress ourselves out too much, the definition of "new" has been left rather loose. So far, we have gone to a masquerade ball (January), gone to Turkey and seen Urinetown (both in February), and visited a museum (March). 

So that's it. My quarterly report of my life as a whole. I hope it made for interesting reading. At the very least, it's helped me just review what I consider the major milestones.

Thanks for reading.

No comments: