13 – Idealised version of self versus real version of self

Or – Who I’d like to be versus who I am.
Why this blog idea at this time? It comes from clearing out house and the decision making that is coming with it. While considering keeping or parting with an item I am looking at what it is and how long it has been since it was used but also trying to think forward with the idea of will I need it in Australia. While I may have a good idea of what life will be like back in Australia, I don’t know for certain so it is making for an interesting thought process. The other part of the thought process is – am I hanging on to something that my “idealised” self would use.

This was an idea I came across in the book “The Year of Less” by Cait Flanders when she was sorting through her book collection, and kept some books which she discovered 6 months late still unread and decided that these were the books that a smarter version of herself would read, not the who she was now. It’s been an interesting way to look at my book collection but also other items in our house. Because let’s be honest most of us just won’t ever be the “perfect” version of our self that is in our heads, no matter how much we want to be.

It has also made me reflect on why I have kept some items in previous moves – does any really need 10 years (and more) of birthday cards, Christmas cards, post cards? The list goes on! The photo edit hasn’t been so hard, first thing – get rid of the photos which just aren’t in focus or are double ups – easily a third of them gone! I found photos of my 21st birthday (I look young!) and have finally got them into a photo album.

So on that note I have been sorting and throwing a large amount of stuff, but also looking at what I am keeping and reflecting on is this something that I want to keep. It does mean that there have been a lot of trips to the tip and the charity collection. Eventually we will get there.

Until next time.

12 – Connecting to a place

The eagle-eyed amongst you will have noticed that there was no blog from either Pat or myself last weekend. Why? We were in Venice for a long weekend. Venice has been on my to-do list for a very long time and despite the wet (it rained for most of the time we were there) I fell in love with the place. There was an atmosphere that was amazing. Having no cars, no bikes just boats and feet really made the place feel magical. I didn’t want to leave.

I’ve had a connection to a couple of places while I’ve been travelling – interestingly, Lindfield the village I lived in for a while in England (and for my Sydney readers, Lindfield in Sydney is named after this village). I really connected to Crete; there was something about the feel of the place that I really loved – perhaps being by the sea? And now Venice.

This did remind me of my blog a few weeks back about how to make a place a home and I heard a great quote this week – “home is where you become yourself” and I think that perhaps the things I’ve liked most about Venice and Crete was my ability to just relax and decompress and be a little bit more like myself (or the less anxious version of me).

Here are some photos from my time in Venice (if you click on them they will open in a larger screen). Remember to look at my shared blog with Pat which is about our time in Venice – http://deliaandpatblog.patbell.co.uk/

Until next time

11 – Being the best I can be

I’ve been thinking about what this statement means and mostly what does it mean to me. I do think it can be misinterpreted to something that makes a person feel like they have to be perfect or perhaps they picture their best slightly idealistically. I’m not noted for being a perfectionist, but I think I can be a little idealistic, especially around how I view my “future self” – that smarter, thinner, healthier, sportier…you get the idea… Delia. However I think it can be very easy to perhaps allow yourself to go too far the other way and just say “that will do”.

So I’ve modified the above statement to this “Being the best I can be, to and for me, right now”. So what does that mean? I’ve added this to remind myself that being the best I can be doesn’t mean being perfect (or being that idealised self), it’s about remembering that at times being the best I can be will vary depending on where I’m at and what is happening around me and to me. So last week’s best won’t be the same as this week’s best, but they are still the best I can be at that point in time.

One thing I came across this week was a TED talk (I do like my TED talks), from a guy called Boris Grundl – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bXcXqCLdBjM and while I found the talk a little disjointed I definitely got a couple of points to take away from this talk, one mostly being around the intellect verses the emotion or as he puts it “Do I know it” verses “Can I do it”. It’s an interesting one, because we all intellectually know stuff but don’t (or can’t) put that knowledge into action.

So my challenge to myself over the next couple of weeks, is to be the best I can be – but to also realise that doesn’t mean being my idealised self, it means being the best I can be at this point in time.

Have a wonderful couple of weeks

Until next time

10 – What makes a house a home?

An interesting question, however for me, not an easily answerable one. I guess this is because what makes a house a home is different for all of us. I am still trying to figure out what it is to me that makes a house a home. One thing I find helps me to make a place feel more “me” is putting up my art work – not just my own art work – but also the few pieces that I own.

I don’t think we take the time to ask ourselves what is important to us in our surroundings. I think some people know instinctively what works for them but the rest of us mere mortals actually have to think about it. And I don’t think we actually do think about it all that much.

For me a home is more than somewhere I feel safe and secure but what is that more? In thinking about it, I find that my surrounds are in a lot of ways more important than the house – that old adage “Location, Location, Location” really applies for me – the house can be magnificent but if it doesn’t have the surroundings that I crave it’s just not right. For the most part you can make a house work for you, it can be modified etc, whereas the surroundings are a little out of your control. For Pat however the house is the most important thing, so it does make for some interesting compromises.

I’ve really struggled with writing this blog, as a person who has moved a lot in my life a definition of what is home has been a really hard thing to define. Perhaps a bit more thought needs to happen?

Until next time

9 –How do we know when to quit?

Ok, a totally new topic this week. My original title for this was “Throwing good money after bad – Sunk cost fallacy – How do we know when to quit?” I decided that the title needed to be shortened. This topic made my list after a Sunday morning skype conversation about sunk cost fallacy and how easy it is to fall into even when you know what it is.

Firstly for those who don’t know what I’m referring to:
“Individuals commit the sunk cost fallacy when they continue a behavior or endeavor as a result of previously invested resources (time, money or effort) (Arkes & Blumer, 1985). This fallacy, which is related to status quo bias, can also be viewed as bias resulting from an ongoing commitment. For example, individuals sometimes order too much food and then over-eat ‘just to get their money’s worth’. Similarly, a person may have a $20 ticket to a concert and then drive for hours through a blizzard, just because she feels that she has to attend due to having made the initial investment. If the costs outweigh the benefits, the extra costs incurred (inconvenience, time or even money) are held in a different mental account than the one associated with the ticket transaction (Thaler, 1999).

Arkes, H. R., & Blumer, C. (1985), The psychology of sunk costs. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 35, 124-140.

Thaler, R. H. (1999). Mental accounting matters. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making. 12, 183-206.”


This definition was one of the clearer ones I found on the internet.

So what is the impact of this? For me I find myself having to stop and really think; am I just “throwing good money after bad?” and it isn’t always money, it can be time or effort. I think we all have those things that we continue at, long after we really should have given up just because we have invested so much time, money and/or effort into the “thing”. (A number of personal relationships spring to mind for me plus a couple of films that I really should have walked out of – Thin Red Line; Map to the Stars). The waste of extra time, emotional effort, more money!

It is an interesting thought process – I can guarantee that any of you reading this can easily think of something that you kept at long after it should have been relegated to the bin. So the big question is how does one NOT fall into this thinking pattern? This is the hard part, as the studies that have been conducted on this do seem to imply that it is hard wired into us. This was a survival instinct – like eating food when it was available. Unfortunately our brains haven’t caught up to our modern world. We tend to make decisions by looking backwards rather than looking forward – i.e. we look at what we are going to lose rather than what we are going to gain.

I’ve decided to try and stop and think about my decisions over the next few weeks and see if I can think about the gains rather than just the losses when I make decisions. I’ll report back in a future blog.

Until next time

Current weight – 76.9 kg
Back to eating normally after holidays and the weight is going 🙂

8 – Relaxation

Following on from the exhaustion post here’s one about relaxation. A wonderful thing and something that my dog seems to have mastered (see photo at the end of this post). But one thing I do know is that holidays are not necessarily relaxing – and driving in Corsica is not something to relax into or for the faint-hearted. So what do we do for relaxation and do we set aside time specifically to do something that is relaxing?

I can find walking Siena relaxing but not always; perhaps something to do with a dog that is so excited by the walk? But I also think that for me having a list of “to do” items and only a limited time in which to do them stresses me out.

I know I find my Friday afternoon art class very relaxing and that is great and a lovely way to begin my weekend. I’m trying to realise what else is it that I find relaxing? And how do I include more relaxation in my life. This is my list so far:

Art work
Walking on the beach
Having a coffee / wine on the patio in nice weather (without wasps)
Reading a book
Watching the TV

I would be interested in what other people find relaxing (I know a lot of people – my mum included – find gardening relaxing – I’m not one).

Until next time

Current weight – 77.7 kg
Yep it went up on holiday – lots of wine and ice cream

One relaxed dog

7 – Exhaustion – posted 26 August

Ok this subject heading wasn’t even on my radar until last weekend. After collapsing into bed at 9:00 pm last Saturday night – asleep by 9:30 pm and then sleeping all the way through to 7:00 am – a total of 9½ hours I decided I was a little tired and perhaps even exhausted. I was away with mum in Sarlat in the Dordogne (I hope to write about that soon). So obviously the lead up to mum arriving and trying to clean and organise the house, having an ill husband (slowly recovering but my goodness I never want shingles) and still trying to work and run the household I think things had got a little on top of me. I will admit this week has also been hectic but having mum around has helped. I’ve finished up work this week for my holidays (longer hours than normal) but I can now spend some time with my mum (and my aunt who arrives this afternoon).

One of the nice things is I’m not having to do the dishes as mum is doing these, Pat has taken on trying to do some of the cooking. I also have a lovely weed free patio and one of my garden beds has been weeded. I’m planning on doing some gardening with mum while she is here, not only to get a hand but also for advice.

What I am pleased with is the fact that I usually comfort eat when stressed, and while I will admit a bit of that has happened over the past few weeks, I’ve obviously not gone over the top as my weight is still maintaining.

The other added bonus is that my fitness is improving with two walks a day. Added fitness is always a bonus as far as I’m concerned.

Until next time

Current weight – 76.5 kg
Total loss to date – 11 kg

6 – My Live Life Now list (aka bucket list) – Take 2

Sunday morning while on a skype with one of my friends in Australia we were talking about the things we want to do within our lives, this discussion reminded me of my Live Life Now List. This was an idea that I got from a book not to call it a bucket list but a Live Life Now list and I do think that is a better idea. It has a subtitle of “things I want to experience before I die” and I think that is a great way of looking at life. What are the experiences I want to have – so I dug out my list, as it has been a while since I’ve looked at it – and I got the opportunity to mark a few things off! But it has made me think again about things I would like to add to the list.

So why Take 2 in my heading – I’ve written about this list before (22nd November 2014 on “my” other blog if you are interested).

In some ways this does link back to what I wrote about previously – the inspiration and innovation. Rethinking one’s life isn’t the easiest thing to do, but one hint I got from somewhere is that developing habits it is always easier to start with something small, for example making your bed every day. Now it is a small thing but once you realise that you can do a small change it enables a mind-set that it is possible to make these changes. So I’ve started with making the bed every day and over the past month I’ve missed one day – which is really good. Now on to the next thing – whatever that may be.

One thing I have been doing is my art work, but also doing more thinking about it, looking at YouTube videos on techniques and also watching videos, talks etc from artists about how to make money from your art, as ultimately this is what I would like to do. It would be great if eventually I could make a living from my art, but for now, I’m happy to just look at the option of getting a little money from it.

Until next time

Current weight – 77 kg
Total loss to date – 10.6 kg

5 – Inspiration and Innovation

Two weeks ago I wrote about changing the structure of my day – I then had one of my busiest weeks for work, I therefore I needed to work in the morning and the afternoon – but I have slowly been changing my behaviour by making sure the majority of my (paid) work is completed in the morning and my plan this week is to make sure that this happens and I find time to do the things I want to do in the afternoon – such as my art work and French language studies.

Now, how does this link to the title of this blog? Over the weekend I was up and down emotionally, but eventually I came to the decision that I can create the life I want. A very easy thing to say or to type but not the easiest thing to actually do, so I’ve been thinking about what inspires me and how can I innovate my life to create the life I want.

So what and who inspires me? I realise that a lot of women who inspire me (both fictional and real) are physically strong women, they are also incredibly intelligent women. However most are fictional or historical. So I’m now on the lookout for real people who are alive and well who inspire me. I’ve got a couple already springing to mind.

What else inspires me, what things, music, stuff inspires? – and that is harder for me to quantify. So I think over the next few weeks I might be trying to make myself more aware of those inspirations. Once I’ve realised what it is that inspires me and why it inspires is to figure out how to use that inspiration and how to innovate my life to reflect and honour those inspirations.

The other thing that I want to use to inspire me is how I want my life to look when I turn fifty. I want to get an image in my mind of what it is about myself and the surrounds I am in, what I’m doing with my life, how I connect with people, who I connect with things along those lines.

So until new time.

Current weight – 78 kg
Total loss to date – 9.6 kg