As we ring in the new year, I was reflecting on all the good things that have happened in 2018.
For me, there were three major highlights:
Mum’s improved health
This time last year, Mum had developed further complications along her spine. As a result, she wasn’t able to hold her head upright without the aid of a collar. It was awful seeing her struggle to eat as the food wouldn’t enter her mouth without spilling. She wanted to feed herself and while it took awhile for her to eat, I thought it was important that Mum still had her self-dignity.
In May, prompted by my impending trip to New Zealand, my parents finally accepted the fact that we needed extra help. We were very fortunate to meet Christina Quah, a wonderful professional caregiver from Homage. Christina comes to our home twice a week in the afternoons to help out with Mum’s bath and general well-being. She makes sure Mum does her exercises, gives her a massage and keeps her company.
During those times, Dad was able to go to work with a peace of mind. Also, I was able to head out for meetings and focus on work, otherwise both of us would be juggling our time to ensure that one of us was always home to take care of Mum.
With a combination of Christina’s visits and physiotherapy sessions at the hospital, Mum’s condition improved tremendously. She was exercising effectively four times a week and did not need the collar after two months.
In fact, this year I had the best ever Christmas present when Mum decided she wanted to attend Christmas morning mass.
I am so grateful that God has answered my prayers.. He is truly good.
This was the year I finally managed to get my business, Pollyanna Consulting, off the ground.
One of the important key elements in running this business to me, is to enjoy work-location freedom. This is partly due to my desire to work from anywhere in the world as I love traveling. Also, given my home situation where I support my Dad in the care of my mother, it was important for me to have flexible working conditions.
As I look back on 2018, I can honestly say that I have achieved this goal of work-location freedom. It’s baby steps for now as I juggle work and family/home commitments, but it’s a start! 🙂
I have acquired two new clients who are wonderful to work with. The work that I do for them allows me to be based anywhere in the world, as long as I have a fast internet connection.
2018 saw me traveling to Hong Kong, Fiji, New Zealand, England and Thailand, and I was able to work at the same time!
In the past, my work with SOLE 2 SOLE afforded me trips predominantly to England and Europe. I did not travel elsewhere as there was no time to do that. When I went back to corporate life in 2016/2017, I hardly travelled due to a limited number of days of annual leave.
So when I now look back on 2018 and the places I have been to, I am feeling really grateful that I am able to travel and work at the same time.
A 2-hour train journey?
I just take out the lap top and work on a project! With internet connection becoming more easily available, it has made working on the move effortless.
This led me to wonder if it’s possible to now lead this life for a longer period of time…
Digital nomad life
As we welcome in the new year, I am in Phuket, Thailand. It’s the first time I’ve ever spent new year away from home!
As cliched as it may sound, I am relishing every moment of it. From spending time with dear friends who relocated here from Singapore, to having quiet time for thinking and dreaming.
My friends, with their two boys, moved to Phuket from Singapore just over a year ago. They have shown me a different view of life and living. Singapore, for all its efficiency, cleanliness and stability, has become very expensive to live in, let alone retire in. Meeting and spending time with these friends who are now based here, it’s certainly opened my eyes to what is possible. Visit my friend’s blog on her move to Phuket to find out how they did it.
All too often I’ve found these past few months I have just been doing, doing, doing; being in a constant state of action whether it’s dealing with home and family affairs or working with clients.
I cannot complain as the work has been rewarding and acquiring two new clients who are wonderful to work with just added icing on the cake. Having said that, I found myself at times feeling rather overwhelmed and ‘lost’. And so I now question the choices I am making with regards to my life and how I want to live.
Which leads to…
Setting self-care boundaries
After a period of time, especially during Q4, I realised that I had to start setting boundaries for self care. I was quite often feeling drained, I had stopped my regular yoga practice, and was always ‘serving’ others.
While it is my innate nature to be of service to others, I think after awhile if you don’t take care, the cup is empty as the saying goes. And so setting time aside for quiet solitude became sacred to me.
I began waking up earlier in the day so that I could have some personal time before my day began with the household affairs. I started my morning with brisk walks together with my new exercise buddy, Nugget.
The little ol’ sweetie had put on weight since he came to stay with us so we were both on a mission to lose some weight before the year end festivities! I have to say Nugget lost over a kilo and was quite svelte by Christmas.. not too sure about me though!
Learn to tune-in to your body
I also restricted my social engagements to ones which I knew would be positive encounters. Realising early on that I am an empath, while I was good at being a listening ear for my friends, it was time to stop letting whatever energy I had left be sapped.
It wasn’t the fault of my friends, as I know that this was not intentional. I just needed to limit my meeting people who made me feel drained after our encounter.
Supporting the emotional needs of the family became a priority and with more responsibilities, it simply resulted in friends having to take a back seat. It didn’t mean I loved them less, it just meant that I had other priorities now.
When I realised I was feeling ungrounded and ‘all over the place’, it was time to put my own needs first. Hence this wonderful trip to Phuket where time slows down!
All I do is focus on one or two activities a day instead of trying to accomplish ten different things and just tune into my soul. It’s taken me a week to reach this state, to actually start to feel creative and grounded again. Methinks that the next trip like this will need to be longer. 🙂
So as you reflect on your 2018, think of the top three things that happened for you, journal and celebrate that!