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A while ago I read an article by @bmjc98 , where she listed a few signs of how her life improved with time. I have a tendency to save these articles for weeks or months, until the time when I have more time to write. That happened while I was on holiday and my parents took care of all my daily needs. It was a great time for me to write more and I even managed to save a few drafts.
Without any further ado, let's list the signs that show how my life has improved over the years:
I like going to work!
Seriously - that's a new one for me. I might not enjoy getting up at 6am to go there, but it's not a disaster either. Even if it does happen that I oversleep, nobody is giving me a headache about it. I just text my boss to make him aware and get there asap. That makes me feel at ease, which is an important factor of why I like going to work. They might have a joke here or there about it, but it's just not a big deal. I like that a lot.
The main reason why I like going to work though is that I feel appreciated. The company I work for is small and operates on outdated rules. I love that (almost) every effort I make to bring the standards up is met with appreciation. Of course there is an exception to every rule and always a few people resistant to change, but majority of my co-workers already understood the importance of improvements I am trying to make and welcome the change.
I also get invited to more meetings and discussions and even the owner of our company comes to my office for a catch up on a regular basis. That makes me feel like a valued addition to the company. Nice atmosphere and appreciation is all I ever wanted.
I have a car!
Back in a day when I was a child my parents never had a car. We would walk and carry heavy bags of shopping back home. Not that it was a problem, we just did shopping more often and buy less. I was also a frequent user of public transport. I knew timetable by heart. From my windows on the first floor I could watch my neighbours changing cars and I always saw it as a sign that they're do well in life.
Contrary to my college friend, who got her driving licence as soon as her age allowed her to pass the exam, I took extra few years and only passed my test when I was 21. My then boyfriend got his first car and taught me how to drive on some empty carparks. I felt the drill of driving for the first time and I still love it now. I must admit I was much more fit before I had a car though!
These days in developed countries having a car is no longer a sign of luxury. Almost everyone I know has at least one car in their household. Having salsa as my top hobby would be tricky without a car. I often travel for hours to get to a salsa party. Going to work would be an absolute nightmare. I would either be limited by the distance I can travel by a public transport or be on a mercy of someone to give me a lift to work. Having a car is an absolute must for me these days.
Although times are constantly changing and these days travelling to London is extremely expensive. For that reason I had to learn to use a public transport in England. In my old age... 😅
I am happy with my work-life balance
I know I talked a lot about it, but I am really satisfied with my work-life balance these days. Working 4 days a week used to be a luxury I either couldn't afford or one that was unthinkable in the world of engineering. Covid and Brexit have changed a lot and not only for the worse. Many more people started working from home in covid times, which I think is brilliant for our environment as well as the change in employers behaviour. It's easier now to find work from home or work less days in the office. Brexit made many people leave UK and that in turn makes employers go extra mile to find suitable employees. Thanks to these circumstances I am finally able to have a 4-days working week and this has made a huge difference to my work-life balance.
I can enjoy a late night out at my favourite salsa school and have a lay-in on Friday morning. Any necessary appointments I can schedule for Fridays. Any shopping on laundry can happen on Friday too. Allotment work, long forest walks - there is time for everything. Or I can just sit on the stairs in front of my house and sip coffee while enjoying morning sun. No matter how I chose to spend my Friday, I still have Saturday and Sunday to rest before the start of a new working week. I absolutely love this. I also think that I am much more productive when I only spend 4 days at work rather than 5.
I have a good relationship with my father
There was a time in my life when I stopped talking to my dad. It lasted a good few years. Truth be told, he was not a great dad when I was a child. He drunk a lot, never kept his promises, often got locked up in prison and in general was not someone I could look up to. My family was a family of black ships thanks to my dad's behaviour. I had to endure it while I still lived under his roof, but as soon as I saw an opportunity, I moved out of my parents place and never looked back. What broke the camel's back is when he got my brother in trouble. I cut all my contact with him and vowed to never forgive him for what he did to our family.
Years went by and I didn't even blink when he got cancer and never made an effort to visit him in a hospital or say a prayer for him. In my head he didn't deserve any interest from me and I seriously didn't care whether I see him again in my life.
His sickness and lonely days in hospital bed made him rethink his life I think. He stopped drinking and started looking after my mum. This earned him some brownies and slowly, but surely I started paying attention to his actions again. Apologies never interested me. Most likely thanks to him, who always cried and apologised, but never changed a thing. The best apology and the only one that counts is changed behaviour and when I noticed that, I didn't need any other apologies. With time our relationship improved and I realised that all the qualities that helped me most in life I inherited after him. Just his constant intoxication with alcohol made these qualities invisible for many long years.
When I am planning my next trip to Poland it's my dad that I call to organise everything. I can count on him to pick me up from the airport or to book all necessary appointments while I'm here. I never used to be able to rely on him in this way.
These days I live in peace, knowing that my mum has someone reliable to grow old with. I don't experience sleepless nights worrying about her and her wellbeing. That's a luxury I never experienced when I was younger.
I care less what other people think of me
Or rather I don't give a s*** to be more precise, but hey, there is no need to be vulgar here 😉 Caring less makes me happier!
When I was younger I took everything personally. If someone didn't like the colour of my t-shirt I would feel offended. If someone made a joke about me I would feel some kind of way too. These days other people's opinion matters less and less. That's all it is - an opinion. Everyone has their own and everyone loves to share them whether asked or not. Family and nosy neighbours are the masters of it. That's partly the reason why I love living abroad. I rarely talk to my neighbours and my family is far away. I come to visit them once a year and everyone is so happy to see me that I rarely hear their opinions. The religious part of my family might not like that I left my ex husband. Old friends and neighbours might have wondered why I don't have children or family of my own.
In truth it's none of anyone's business how I chose to live my life. There is ONE and only person that has been with me throughout my life, understands all the choices I've ever made and their opinion matters to me. That person is ME. Everyone else can have an opinion, but their opinion is none of my business ;)
Understanding this gave me peace and freedom to do anything that makes me happy. Isn't it what life is all about?