Life is too too short!

I wasn’t sure whether to publish this post as some parts are not very pleasant¬†but I am hoping you will get something out of it ūüôā

A couple of days ago I found out a friend’s colleague¬†died. I don’t know anything else other than my friend was deeply sad about it.

My first thought was my friend, how she might have felt and how I would have felt if one of my colleagues had died. Oh my, even thinking about it brought tears to my eyes. That’s what happens when you try to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. The better you get at exercising empathy, the more you can feel.

My second thought was that this is just another reminder that life is so short. Scary thought but liberating.

If I were to die right now would I die happy? Well, yes!

Funnily enough I¬†had a think about it earlier that day whilst I was looking on pictures on social media of people who don’t work 9 to 5, who are out most nights, drinking or people who are on the go and travel all the time.

I enjoy going out drinking and I LOVE travelling but wouldn’t like to do that every day. ¬†I am happy with my life as it is right now. It can always get better, filled with more things that I enjoy doing but I am happy right now!

Take 5 minutes and remind yourself what you are grateful for in your life. That’s what I did. And I am grateful for a LOT, I won’t list them, because this post will get very very long!

The next day at our choir session, one of my favourite¬†friends and I had such a laugh, I haven’t laughed so much in months (I tried to remember when was the last time I laughed that much -it was hard, I laugh a lot!-, but I think the last time I laughed almost non-stop¬†was probably last December, on a chilly Sunday night, and before that it was October, on a sunny afternoon in Cyprus, so it’s been a while). I am so grateful for the friends I have in my life and my adorable family!

Every time someone dies, especially unexpectedly we all remind ourselves that life is too short and the next day we forget and we get upset with little things, we argue¬†with friends or relatives for silly reasons, we fall back to our old habits. But that’s what we humans too, it’s inevitable.¬†

I hope this post made you stop for a minute and think of things in your life right now you are grateful for. And give your loved ones, friends, family anyone special for you an extra special hug!! (or message them if they live too far!)

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Miss you and love you to the moon and back!x

Love you all! x

PS. When I went to work the next morning, one of my lovely colleagues sent me some funny song lyrics and  a video and we had a laugh together (he had no idea about what I mentioned on the post, but I grinned and just thought how lucky I am to work with such nice people, however long it lasts).

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What I’ve learned in the last 10 days…

I realised I haven’t posted for more than a week… I guess I was too busy with life and lost in my own thoughts I haven’t realised how time flew by…

They say you learn something new every day… and it’s true!

What have I learnt over the last 10 days??

Well, the SUN makes everything better, ¬†I love the sunshine and we’ve been lucky enough to have a lot of sunny days recently ūüôā

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Having a good laugh and making others laugh ALWAYS makes your day better.  Even with silly things you do yourself, and oh dear I do that a lot.

A week ago coming back home from a night out, I parked at the wrong building, I only realised after I got out of my car. I burst into laughing when I had a look at the building and finally noticed it wasn’t were I live!

I’ve learned that you can’t be scared of what’s next and let fear get in your way. Trying things you wouldn’t normally try is amazing, but it’s OK if you don’t like them. At least you gave it a go.

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I got to meet cute ducklings thanks to a lovely friend, thank you ūüôā

But I also learned, it’s OK if you are not ready. Sometimes and for some situations you will never be ready and you need to push yourself, but sometimes it’s OK to take your time…

I’ve learned that although spending time with your friends, keeping busy and meeting new people always helps, you can’t avoid your own thoughts. You need time for yourself to process everything and be OK with yourself and whatever is happening in your life.

I am one of those people who gives second chances. I don’t know if it’s right or wrong. And why it should be right or wrong? And this week I did it again. I gave someone who I wouldn’t thought I would a second chance, we are now chatting and laughing and you know what? It felt amazing.

So I’ve learned again that forgiving and being nice feels SO much better than hatred. But stay away from people who made it clear they don’t want you in their lives. Respect their decision as people who are not in your life anymore respect your decision to let them go.

And finally I’ve learned that you need to do what is best for yourself, even if that comes across as selfish sometimes. Life goes on so do whatever you need to, you won’t always get closure but that’s OK!¬†

I promise, it gets better, it always does.

I have a busy week ahead, so I will not be able to post until later next week.

I hope you all have an amazing week and weekend! Mine started well with lots of homemade cake (not by me, I haven’t baked a cake in years!)!

Love you all! x

PS. A heartwarming thank you to the people in my life who care about me and show it in different ways, it makes my little heart melt, you are all very special to me:)

A month of blogging today!

Our one¬†month anniversary! 20 posts in 1 month (including this one), and 900 views. Just amazing.¬†I can’t believe how it’s been a month already since I started this blog!

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I’d like to thank everyone who read and has been reading my blog for the last month. I didn’t expect¬†such a response!

And thank you for all your amazing comments (most of them, but all comments were and are welcome), advice, and unexpected support. I still get people coming to me telling me how much they enjoy it! It made it even more special for me.

It’s almost April, how time flies! In less than 2 months I’ll be 30 (I have been recently told I look and act like a ‘young’ and not an ‘old’ 29 year old, which made my day, thank you ūüôā )!

And as I already mentioned, it’s been a month today since I started this blog. One of the best decisions I ever made ūüôā

This year has been surreal so far. It started with plans and expectations (although I tried to avoid any long term planning ’cause I know how quickly things can change¬†and they have changed, I am so wise sometimes!) but ended with another reminder that- LOST COUNT OF LESSONS SO I WILL JUST HIGHLIGHT FROM NOW ON- life can change at any minute (so planning is most of the time useless) and that life is much more enjoyable when you have no expectations!

I recently read this amazing article a lovely friend shared on social media about living with no¬†expectations. It’s definitely worth a read!

http://brightside.me/article/how-life-changes-if-you-stop-expecting-things-to-happen-40555/

The last month has been challenging at times (a special thanks again to my friends and colleagues for their amazing support) but probably the most incredible so far.

I won’t get into details because I’d like to keep some of my personal life private but I’ll share what I learned ūüôā

A month ago I was disappointed, upset, overreacted to situations and struggled to control my feelings. I’ve said and done things I shouldn’t, I was a mess! (But that’s how we learn, from our mistakes).

A month later, I feel I know myself better and I learned a lot from my experiences and mistakes. I try to enjoy every day as it comes, be open to new experiences and not dwell on ‘what if’.

I had the most amazing week back home which has truly been healing and exactly what I needed. It couldn’t come at a better time. And I can’t wait to go back in the summer!

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A tiny part of my hometown

What also helped me immensely is this blog. Writing down and sharing my experiences enabled me to  explore and put my thoughts and feelings in order. It allowed me to clear my mind up and figure out what I really want and what I still need to get over,  which sped up the healing process.

Sharing my experiences and what I learned, just letting it out in the open was a weight off my shoulders. And I am grateful and happy I learned so much more about many of you!

What helped me I’d say, probably the most, is empathy.¬†

Empathy is an amazing¬†ability, which becomes stronger and stronger the more you practise it.¬†And I’ve practised it a lot for the last couple of years, but even more the last couple of months.

And that’s why I don’t hate anyone. It’s not because I’m a ‘nice’ person.

(ET- sorry, a long one!-I believe the majority of people are not nice or bad, we just behave differently under different circumstances.¬†I don’t think a behavior or a reaction to a situation necessarily determines someone’s personality and I wouldn’t make assumptions and form opinions about people solely based on a bad reaction or an outburst or a lie or someone else’s opinion about them or …

If my sister or a friend has been mean to me, I know they are not mean, it’s just how they reacted to a situation. Why would it be different for any other person who doesn’t happen to be a relative or a friend?)

It’s because I try to understand why people react the way they do. I try to imagine how it felt to be in their shoes, dealing with the situation from their perspective.

I won’t pretend is always easy or successful. Sometimes it just doesn’t make sense. But the more you do it, the better your understanding gets!

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SO now what?

Well, life goes on. I tried and I’m trying new things, I got to do things I’d never imagine, I’ve made new friends, I came closer with people I didn’t expect (see that’s why it’s much better if you don’t have any expectations), I added so many happy and funny moments to my memory bank, and have some¬†news I’d like to keep for myself for now, but can’t wait to share if all goes well. ūüôā

The most important lesson is to live in the moment. And I do it most of the time.

Smile at a stranger on the street, notice the surroundings (I was impressed with how many things I never noticed on my way to work or when leaving a friend’s house until recently. Focusing on the moment makes such a big difference), chat to the cashier, say yes to whatever comes along,¬†just enjoy the little things. Little things add up and make life better.

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Life is beautiful.

But we are only humans and common sense¬†and feelings don’t always follow or listen to each other. And the mind sometimes wanders and loses its focus from the moment.

Well,¬†time is the best medicine! Feelings don’t always go away easily (sometimes they never do) but they go away eventually (or you learn to live with them) and it gets better, it always does!

And I now know I’ll get it right next time and it will be amazing! ūüôā

Enjoy¬†the long weekend ūüôā

Love you all x

A day of reflection…

Today it’s been a day of reflection…

After an amazing week back home and an awesome evening last night, ‘holiday’ blues got me.

But it’s been an amazing day chatting with friends reflecting on life. And the sunshine made everything better.

It’s not I don’t feel happy. I do. But I feel unsettled… And I can’t figure out why. I am getting over a lot of things, so I can’t put my finger on what it is. I am not sure what I really want in life. Move to Australia for a year? Save money and change careers?Volunteer in Africa? Settle down and have a child? The options are endless…

I might need to change myself, or I might need a major change in my life, move away for a while, reset and come back.

Ask yourself, what it is that makes you feel unsettled/unhappy/bored? When you figure it out, you are halfway there. Then you’ll know what to do and do whatever it takes…take your chances, what’s the worst it can happen?

What it really matters though is to be happy right now. I wouldn’t like to wait a year or two saving money but not enjoying the present, just to do something else later on. I’ve made that mistake before. Living in the moment is the way forward!

But then again, I wouldn’t like to rush into things. I’ve made that mistake too and it didn’t end well.

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It’s difficult to find a balance. But I will get there. Having options in life and not knowing what might come up next is very exciting!

Being scared of getting hurt again or being too cautious carries the danger of missing out amazing opportunities and pushing away lovely human beings who want to be in your life (special thanks to my professor for his amazing advice, he is absolutely right) and I wouldn’t like to miss out because life is too short.

In the last couple of months I became friends with people I’d never thought I would and created special bonds with friends I’d never thought I would. I learned over and over ‘never say never’ so I am open to whatever life brings.

I feel lucky I have amazing friends home and away (and pretty cool colleagues too!) who made today a special day.

Thank you everyone ūüôā

It is scary to think about it, but we can die at any time. And if I die tomorrow I’d die happy because I had a nice lunch with Shebz, tasted the most amazing chocolate from NZ and had amazing chats about life with¬†awesome friends.

I’ll leave you with a quote (I do love a good quote):

Life goes on… whether you choose to move on and take a chance in the unknown. Or stay behind locked in the past, thinking of what it could’ve been…

Love you all! x

Money and happiness

I was never rich. And I’d probably never be (except if I win the Euromillions!).

My family was never rich. My dad had two jobs since he was 20, even before he met my mum and my mum worked occasionally. I haven’t travelled abroad until I was 19.

But we were never poor either. My amazing parents always tried their best to provide for us and they did. And I owe them a LOT.

Does it really matter though? I had an amazing childhood, raised with love and affection, I had the best uni years, going out with friends and just having fun and that for me is much more important.

I think been raised with not having much makes you a better person. You learn to appreciate people and life more, you learn to stick together through difficult times and care no matter what, you learn how to enjoy the little things.

Money and money worries came up in conversations with friends recently and we all agreed that at the end of the day worrying about money is just waste of time.

Yes, of course we all work to make a living, pay our bills, improve our quality of life. And dealing with financial difficulties is not easy.

But we spend 8 hours a day with our colleagues, who of course we get along with (most of the time) to then spend 2 hours a day and the weekends with the people we love or go on holiday 22 days a year.

I might not afford a brand new car, or 10 holidays a year (although I’d love to, who wouldn’t?) but spending time with the people I love, doing things I enjoy, visiting new places when I can afford to is enough for me.

I just had the most amazing time with friends and family and I wouldn’t change that with anything.

Money is important but can’t buy you friends or love or happiness. What if I could afford to buy a mansion if I were to live there on my own? What if I could travel the world but had no one to share this with?

This is happiness! Your grandpa asking you if he looked alright on the selfie you just took!

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I’ll leave you with a quote from one of my favourite children books, the Little Prince. I think adults will benefit if they have a read!

‚ÄúGrown-ups love figures… When you tell them you’ve made a new friend they never ask you any questions about essential matters. They never say to you “What does his voice sound like? What games does he love best? Does he collect butterflies? ” Instead they demand “How old is he? How much does he weigh? How much money does his father make? ” Only from these figures do they think they have learned anything about him.‚ÄĚ

A quick update before I go on holiday…

Hi lovelies!

I would like to thank¬†everyone again for all your incredibly beautiful messages. Since I started this blog a week ago I heard from friends I haven’t heard for years, amazing people I haven’t known for long and people I’d never imagine would read my blog!

I would like to thank you especially for your kind messages about my aunt. I am moved by how her story touched you. She was an incredible, loving, selfless woman who will always have a home in my heart.

I’ve heard amazing stories and learned valuable lessons from your experiences, I hope I get the chance to share some in the future.

A lot of you asked me how I feel now…

Lesson 20: Resilience is an extraordinary ability and we were all born with it.

Writing down everything that happened to me the last couple of months and letting it all out in the open helped me immensely and I feel, after the last couple of weeks, that I am back to being happy (most of the time, we are only humans) and open to whatever life brings! And the most amazing things happen when you are open to new experiences. Life is full of surprises and I LOVE surprises! I look forward to it!

Holding grudges and being upset is not worth it. Life is too short to worry about anything!

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Something that always lifts my mood is making up silly stories in my head from what I see around me and giggle to myself. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but works for me!

A lot can change in a week and it has! I had an fun week already, catching up with friends, meeting new people, having lots of laughs and I am spending next week with amazing friends and family!

And a lot of fun planned for when I’m back including my first mini holiday abroad in a long time!!

Thank you all again! I am hoping to blog again if I find some time when I’m home!

I am leaving you with another gem I came across recently:

Forgive yourself for not knowing what you didn’t know before you learned it.

Have a lovely day everyone! x

 

 

You try… so try again… you never know…

I want to say thank you for everyone who is following my blog and for all the amazing messages I received from people I’d never expected to! I’m moved by your kind words. It makes this even more special for me.¬†

I can’t believe it’s already March! A¬†new month, a new start!

I try to live in the moment ‘‘Be happy in the moment, that’s enough. Each moment is all we need, not more” (Mother Teresa)

But I need time to get over everything and something I recently learned and helps me is: When a negative thought comes in your mind, don’t avoid it, don’t push it away but don’t dwell on it either, let it flow, process it and then let it go… do that with every thought and you soon be more able to live in the moment!

Life is not always nice but remember, you are never alone! They are millions of people out there who probably are in a similar situation as you are.¬†This song has kept me going for a while… It’s worth a listen.

I am flying home in a few days. I am glad I planned this trip, although ¬†(ET) I don’t like to plan anything too far ahead. I can’t imagine how my life will be tomorrow let alone in a month’s time…

Spending time with friends and family, with people who truly love me and care about me  AND soaking in the sun is exactly what I need.2015-03-12 14.29.11

Who knows what will happen next? ¬†” Chance is always powerful. Let your hook be always cast; in the pool where you least expect it, there will be a fish” (Ovid).

Next blog- sunny snaps from ¬†my beautiful homecountry…

4 months ago… the start of a (then) new life…

How life can change so much in such a short space of time???

That was in my mind for a long time and still is… (and little did I know how much more it could and did change).

The next day after we broke up, I decided to get organised. Get out, get a job and start thinking about my new life. My relationship pushed me away from the few friends I had and it was now time to get back to the social person I was before I let this relationship change me, make new friends and start building a life on my own.

I still had bad days, I felt I didn’t want to do anything else but stay home and cry… I lost my aunt (I’d never in a million years imagined I’d live what I lived that horrible week), I lost my partner… and I was dealing with unemployment (we all know how frustrating that can be) but I pushed myself as much as I could. LESSON 13. There is always worse. But that doesn’t mean your problems are not important for you and in my own little world dealing with everything that happened was and is not easy.

And I managed to get a temp job within 3 days!!!

Sheba was there for me throughout everything I went through. She was and is my guardian angel.

My choir family was there for me too. They all made me laugh and cheered me up. And unexpectedly, two choir friends supported me through this too.

Thank you guys for supporting me at a very difficult time in my life, not many would have done for someone they don’t really know that well.

After a couple of weeks, I managed to get a job back at the Uni, although I’d said I’d never go back. LESSON 14- NEVER SAY NEVER ( this lesson I learned over and over the¬†following months).¬†

I felt I was back home as soon as I walked in when I went for my interview. I needed a job I could learn how to do quickly, I couldn’t face a brand new challenge at this point in my life. I needed stability and time to heal... ¬†(also Sheba still works there, which is a bonus). So I went for it.

And I am glad I did. My managers and colleagues have been very supportive and understanding through all of this… and there have been times it was hard being at work but they supported me every single time…¬†

After a month I felt my life got back on track… my ex and I still lived together until the end of our contract 2 months later¬†(which proved extremely difficult and painful, especially a month later, it will make¬†sense after reading¬†my next post), but I had a new job, at a workplace which felt and feels like home, working with lovely colleagues, chatting all day, having a laugh. I started making new friends, going out more… having fun…

And then something unexpected happened… again!!! ‘3 months ago’ coming next…

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4 months ago…part 1

Edit- ¬†I’ve received some feedback (although rude and threatening but still took it into account) so I’ve amended some details on my previous post- I have no intention to insult or show disrespect to anyone. I only want to express my thoughts, what life events meant for me and what I’ve learned from them..

Before you go on reading, just to let you know, I have a lot of theories, my theories, so let’s call her Eleni’s theories, ET for short! They will be mentioned occasionally.

So, four months ago, in October 2015 things were not going well and one of my theories is, if you don’t speak up, whatever is bothering you will eat you alive.

I didn’t enjoy my new job at all and I desperately wanted to leave… I felt very demotivated and unchallenged with the tasks I was asked to do. So I had my first ever difficult conversation at work, letting them know how I felt and what we can do to improve it. LESSON 4. Honesty is the best policy.

I was later blamed ¬†for a mistake I didn’t make and had to have a difficult conversation with my managers¬†(after an emotional conversation I had with them about my aunt and warning them I would have to leave at any time to hopefully catch her alive and say my final goodbyes, PS I’ve never cried in front of any of my colleagues or managers before this)

I never really had to have any difficult conversations at my workplace before as my ex-manager and good friend Chris and I always talked openly about everything. I love my ex-colleagues, they are the loveliest bunch of people ( I know I use the word ‘lovely’ a lot).

I later received an apology for wrongfully blamed for the mistake I haven’t made, but the trust was gone. I couldn’t see how my career would progress there¬†and although my manager did his best, we just clashed. LESSON 5. If your relationship with your manager is not good, do something about it.

So I was in a job I didn’t enjoy, at a workplace I didn’t enjoy with people I didn’t really fit in(remember lesson 2?) and I knew I had to leave.

On a personal level, my relationship had reached its lowest point, although at the time I really believed it can get better so after a long, honest conversation, my ex boyfriend and I had decided to do our best to make it work because we loved each other.

He supported me with my decision to quit, so I took the plunge and quit…

In all this I became best friends with Shebz, who supported me and helped me in all this. She is one of the most incredible, amazing, caring people I ever known and I feel lucky and proud to be her friend! Love you! x

One of the things that helped me through this was my choir family. I joined a community choir in April and since then I met the loveliest people who always cheered each other up and had lots of fun and laughter and a bit of singing!  If you are thinking of starting something new, I definitely recommend singing in a choir!

So, I quit on Friday, 16th of October 2015 and I booked a ticket to fly home on the 17th as I received devastating news that my aunt’s health was deteriorating rapidly.. The following week I will never forget, I still haven’t recovered… Part 2 coming soon and is not an easy read…

6 months ago…

So… although not everything started 6 months ago, that’s when ¬†my life as I knew it started to change…

I had a ‘I’m almost 30 years old’ crisis on my 29th birthday in May, realising how much time I wasted being in an a job I didn’t enjoy anymore, a relationship I was unhappy in but desperately tried to make it work, a life I didn’t enjoy. And I decided not to celebrate my birthday at all.

I’d been in the same job for 4 years and I tried desperately to get into a field I then thought I really wanted to get into, Occupational Psychology so I spent money and time to gain more qualifications etc, but without experience and in need of a substantial¬†salary, that meant I couldn’t. LESSON 1: If you know what you want to do as a career, do it as soon as you leave University and you have no responsibilities, it’s MUCH easier!

So in June 2015, I managed to get a job as a reward analyst, something I haven’t done before, but it was at a large, reputable organisation and was loosely related to what I then thought I wanted to do. So I went for it! But, it didn’t work out. I was asked to do basic tasks, I never felt challenged, I didn’t fit in with the team and my manager couldn’t fully understand and utilise my potential.¬†LESSON 2: Always appreciate working with nice people!It makes a huge difference!¬†(More on that later)

But not all was bad, I managed to get tickets to go to Glastonbury Festival, something I wanted to for ages and as my then partner of 7 years wanted to go too, I kept trying to get tickets and I was ecstatic when I finally got them. If you haven’t been to Glastonbury, you should at least once in your life, it’s a different world, a magical world full of music, crafts, acrobats, meditation classes (and smell of weed) and lots lots more. I hope to go again at least once more now that I’m a completely different person.¬†LESSON 3: If you really want something done, do it yourself!

In the meantime, my lovely, adorable, kind aunt was diagnosed with terminal cancer back in 2014, and her illness was taking over, so I did everything I could do to support my family back home, especially her daughter, my cousin. As her health declined in the summer I spent hours talking to my cousin, emailing her doctor as no one could give them a clear answer and comforting all relatives.

So, that when I had a wake-up call. I realised I wasn’t happy with my life and I knew I needed to make big changes…