Happy Birthday to me – 26 goals for year 26 + One year challenge

Good day to you people!!

I hope everyone is having a good, stress-free, easy Monday.

As you might have noticed from the tittle, it’s my birthday.

26 years ago today (close to 5 p.m), mom was probably in a lot of pain, poor thing. Thanks mama, for pushing me out, I know it must have been hard for you, despite the fact that it was probably the only time I was ever thin.

I used to love my birthday, but I’m NOT feeling it at all this year. For several reasons:

  • I’m no longer in my early twenties;
  • I’m close to 30, my scary age;
  • I’m NOWHERE NEAR where I thought I would be by now, if you had asked me 10 years ago.
  • I had the shittiest year, 25 being extremely hard. Is it going to be over now?
  • I’m still going through some of the consequences of my mental health issues, meaning I’m still a fat ass and I hate my body and can’t stand looking at myself;
  • I have some small family issues, nothing to big, thankfully;
  • I have lost one of my best, childhood friends, probably forever.

I told Rui that the only thing I wanted to do today was try a pumpkin spice latte and go thrift shopping. I need some cardigans. I have decided to just go to Primark to get them because it’s closer and near Starbucks.

I’m going to my mom’s house for dinner. Not feeling it at all, but I need to do it for them.

Rui always takes my birthday off and so we have enjoyed a lazy morning, talking about my birthday blues and eating my favorite cereal (me).

I still have to work from 5 p.m to 7 p.m, which I don’t mind at all. I like being with the kids, even if they drive me crazy most days.

Because 25 was so bad, I’m kind of determined to TRY and make 26 way better. I came up with a few goals and also a few challenges.

26 goals for year 26:

  1. Finally get my f*cking driver’s license;
  2. Finally get braces and endure all of the suffering. At least high school has been over for many years so there’s no one to make fun of me;
  3. Lose the damn weight;
  4. Travel somewhere; Anywhere. Just see some new place, outside the country;
  5. Get into that second degree I want to take so bad; (shhh, you all know what I’m talking about but I won’t say anything so I don’t jinx it. I’ll be doing my best to accomplish this goal which is more than just a goal, but one of the things I NEED to do with my life.
  6. Write an e-book. (I have, but as a ghostwriter); 
  7. Double my number of followers on this blog;
  8. Go back to being a red; I just love it so much.
  9. Share some exciting news in May; Can’t talk about it yet, sorry.
  10. Learn Spanish so I can help the kids; 
  11. Join the church choir. So, this might be happening already, I just haven’t said anything. I’m not particularly religious, as you already know. I have faith and I pray and I love to read your posts about faith and God’s word. But I don’t consider myself fully catholic and I don’t go to church. But I feel the need to sing. I haven’t in a long time and my spirit longs for it. So I looked into different options and the easiest and friendliest was the church choir. I have talked to one of the ladies and she lives near me so she even offered a ride. I’m going next Monday and try it out.
  12. I had this idea or this calling after all of the things that happened in Portugal for the past few months. I would like… and bear with me… to train to be a volunteer  firefighter. Putting out fires is not all they do. They are the first at car accidents, 911 calls, they ride ambulances, help in all kinds of situations and are the first ones to be there for people when they need it the most. I thought it sounded stupid and impossible because I’m so far from being fit and I have no physical strength or resistance. I have talked to a girl I know who is a firefighter and she told me that’s not an issue at all. She said the physical test are minimal and that I could always get better and lose the weight before or while I’m taking the preparation course (250 hours, I think) because it would be long before I had to actually do something. I talked to my local fire department and they said I should go there and speak to them in person. I don’t know. Rui and I are talking and trying to figure out  what this would mean to us and how and if we could make it work. I don’t know if I dream too much of if I’m just someone who really wants to make a difference.
  13. Learning how to sew;
  14. Keep collecting plants and turn our patio into a beautiful garden;
  15. Double my income;
  16. Do my best to get organized; For the past few year, maybe more, I’ve had this problem where I can’t seem to get my shit together. If I’m working and being successful there, my house is a mess and the dog needs a bath. If I’m off, I should be cleaning the house but I seem to always feel tired and lazy so nothing gets done anyway. Laundry is an issue too. I’m always behind on errands. People keep telling me I don’t call or answer their calls. I just need to find a way to balance things better.
  17. Really help someone;
  18. Learn how to dance;
  19. Volunteer at some charity or event;
  20. Finally decorate this house;
  21. Go off my medication completely. 
  22. Meet some new people and make new friends. Be open to people and to the world in general;
  23. Be in more pictures;
  24. Just go to places and get out more;
  25. Try new things;
  26. Challenge myself;

Year 26 Challenge:

  • 1.5 L of water every single day for a year;
  • Exercise every single day for a year; (even just 15 minutes of yoga)
  • No McDonald’s or soda for a year; (here’s looking at you, coke)
  • 1 book a week for a year;
  • 1 post a day for a year;
  • 1 selfie a day for a year;
  • Mandatory full skin care for a year; (Never go to bed without washing my face, never leave the house without sunscreen, never forget to moisturize after showering, remember to clean and moisturize my face on the weekends)
  • Write 1 nice thought about myself every day for a year;

I guess I’m ready to take on this year. I just need to accept being 26 and try to make the best of it. I don’t to let another year go by and feel like I haven’t tried hard enough or that I haven’t accomplished anything. It’s the worst feeling.

Does anyone want to join me in one of the above challenges? We can be sodaholics anonymous together!!

Thank you for being here, friends.

Desenho sem título (4)

Special Guest Post “30 Days Cleaning Challenge” by Margaret Ellis

No, I’m not crazy. I know it’s Saturday. My Guest Post Series is still happening tomorrow. Today I bring you an article by Margaret Ellis. She is a writer and the owner of a small cleaning business, based in London. (No, this is not a sponsored post at all. If she gets a few clients because of this post, I’ll be happy, but I’m not getting paid to publish her article, I just thought it was really good and that it might be fun as a challenge).

Need some motivation to clean – try this 30 days challenge

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What is more pleasing than getting any job done? Watching your progress and the results of the job you have done. And how can that be achieved? Not only through seeing your home being clean because this does not last long but you can make yourself a visual to help you see your progress.

The easiest way is to make a schedule for your cleaning chores and stick to it and cross off chores and see your progress. And also, you should take into account which time of the day is the most convenient for you to clean before work or after work. Set aside an hour in the morning or two hours after work to follow your cleaning schedule accordingly.

And one more thing to keep you motivated and stick to your schedule is to figure out a reward for yourself. When your 30 days are over reward yourself! You deserve it.

There are many ways you can make a cleaning schedule, you can categorise it by rooms, by daily or weekly chores, etc. It is up to you how and when you do them, but here is an exemplary 30-days challenge for cleaning your home.

If you need such motivation to clean you can try this 30-days cleaning challenge (which of course you can adjust to your personal preferences and needs) suggested by moving out cleaners Shacklewell:

Day 1: Clean surfaces in your living room and kitchen

Day 2: Clean kitchen appliances (microwave, fridge, oven, etc.)

Day 3: Clean surfaces in the bathroom – scrub bathtub, wash shower curtain, etc.

Day 4: Disinfect toilet, taps, rearrange bathroom cabinet

Day 5: Clean other rooms – laundry room, home office, guest bedroom, etc.

Day 6: Clean windows inside and outside

Day 7: Vacuum and mop all floors

Day 8: Clean and dust details – mirrors, skirting boards, pictures, knick-knacks

Day 9: Clean medicine cabinet – throw away everything empty or expired, make a list to refill

Day 10: Organize closets, drawers, throw away everything unnecessary

Day 11: Clean behind and under furniture and kitchen appliances

Day 12: Wash sofa and seat covers, cushions, curtains

Day 13: Clean walls, fixtures, light switches, etc.

Day 14: Clean and organize pantry – wipe down, throw away expired things, organize, make a list to stock up on things

Day 15: Clean the kitchen sink and under the sink – get rid of empty bottles, etc.

Day 16: Vacuum and deodorize carpeting and upholstery

Day 17: Clean TV and other electronic devices

Day 18: Wipe down bookshelves

Day 19: Clean dryer and washing machine

Day 20: Clean your vacuum cleaner

Day 21: Clean closet and get rid of unwanted clothes, organize and make room for new ones

Day 22: Organize and clean your kid’s room

Day 23: Clean doors and door frames, especially your front entry

Day 24: Clean porch or patio, take out all trash

Day 25: Dust ceiling lamps and cobweb the house

Day 26: Empty all trash cans and clean them

Day 27: Dust and wipe clean vents

Day 28: Wash bed linen and clean the mattresses

Day 29: Sweep and de-clutter the garage

Day 30: Clean your home office (if you have one) or your car

Then relax! Your one-month long cleaning challenge is completed. It is time for your reward now.

Make small check boxes next to every chore and put a cross when you complete a cleaning job to see your progress. You can even add a line with title Day 31: REWARD! And see how slow and steady you are getting closer to it and you are having a much cleaner home. Good luck!

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So are you joining this challenge? Anyone? I know I am. Come on, Angela. You know you need to do some cleaning. (I thought I would make you laugh at this one so I had to mention you, my friend). It’s the perfect time to do it too. It’s almost June and we can start it on the first of the month. The timing is great because it will be like a good Spring/Summer cleaning.

Tell me what you think about it!

Thank you so much, Margaret, for such a nice challenge.

One Month Blogging Challenge – Day 4 (My Family – the girl with no daddy)

Today I’m going to talk to you about my family. That’s today’s topic and maybe one of the hardest for me to write about.

I’ve never had a traditional family. I didn’t have a traditional childhood either.

My mother was sixteen when I was born.

My father was 33. He was abusive, violent, crazy. He used hurt my mother pretty badly, even when she was pregnant with me. I haven’t seen him in a long time, he was never a father to me. I’m no one’s daughter, just my mother’s. I have no idea what it’s like to have a dad and I often wonder about it, especially when I see little girls with their daddies. Life didn’t give me the chance to have one. No man has ever loved me unconditionally. I’m okay with that now, I didn’t use to be. The Father’s Day school parties hurt too much. No one was there for me. I used to write the cards for my grandfather and I was ashamed of it. It was one of the most difficult times of the year for me. Because everybody knew, they could all notice I was the only kid there with no father. It was the 90’s and things were not as easy for different or blended families as they are now. That’s all I will say about this subject. About him. What else could I say anyway? He doesn’t exist. I don’t know him. I just know his name.

His mother used to visit me, when I was very little. My maternal grandmother used to tell me “help your granny go down the stairs” and I would. She was very old. My maternal grandmother was very young. She’s not young now. Nor healthy. My paternal grandmother died at some point, I can’t remember when. I can’t ask my grandmother either, she doesn’t have control of her own mind anymore. One of my grandmothers is long gone, the other is half way there.

My paternal grandfather had already died when I was born. Word is he was a very bad and violent man. My father is the youngest of 6 and they all say their father was a horrible man. Yes, I do know my father’s family. His brothers and sisters and nephews and nieces. They all took an interest in me when I was a teenager. When I no longer needed them. Thank you very much!

My maternal grandparents I do know very well. I lived with them for practically my whole childhood. I lived with them exclusively for 7 years, while my mother was working hard in Germany. My sister and I were here, living with them. It was not easy or happy at all. I loved my grandfather. He had a heart of gold but his liver… the liver of an alcoholic. That’s what he was. An alcoholic. My grandmother is/was not an easy woman. She has always had severe depression, suicidal thoughts and maybe even bipolar disorder but she never sought help. They would fight hard and often. Little me would try to protect and take care of my little sister. There were dark days. He would get home drunk, she would go to bed and cry her eyes out and we would be left to fend for ourselves. It was so lonely. So sad. No one to take care or protect me, my little sister to think of. I was never a child. As a 2-year-old, I fully understood my father was a bad man. No one ever told me, but I would pick up on their conversations.

My childhood was indeed very lonely, very sad and empty. I can still feel that pain today. Most people in my family choose to say I exaggerate. That it wasn’t that bad. Well, I was there.

There were many other things I had to go through with close family members.

  • Drug abuse. At 5 years of age, I already knew about drugs and what they did to people, what kind there were, etc. Every time I saw an ambulance I would think my drug addict family member had died and they were coming for them.
  • Alcoholism. From several family members. And some people wonder why I don’t drink and why I hate alcohol. Just the idea of it makes me feel sick and anxious.
  • Gambling. Yes, At some point, someone thought this was a good idea too.

I was enduring so much while my poor mother  (barely an adult herself) was working her butt off, in a foreign country, thinking we were happy and safe, because we were with her parents. We only told her how things really were a few years later. We were scared and thought that was normal life. The spanking (never by my grandfather, he was incapable of landing a hand on a child, my grandmother? She was incapable of NOT landing a hand on a child. It was the only punishment she knew. That and stop talking to us for days), the poverty (my mother would send money and it would go… elsewhere), the loneliness… Oh, the loneliness.

You wanna know the funny part? My mother worked so hard that she was able to pay for a private school. Imagine being the poorest, fatherless child in a private school. Not a good place to be.

Enough with my sad childhood. I don’t want you to feel sorry for me at all. It could have been worse. There was never real and severe abuse. Some people have gone through that. It could have been worse, right?

Today my family consists of:

My mother – Her name is Isabel. She’s 42. I love that I have such a young mom. She’s funny and supportive and the most positive and optimistic person I know. Even after going through so much. I love her and admire her so much. We are super close and we usually say we are soul mates. I can’t let a day go by without talking to her.

My stepfather – His name is Luiz. He’s Brazilian. He’s 47. He’s the kindest, funniest guy. Every time I call my mother, she always says he misses me. We get along really well. I know he loves us and we love him. He gets a Father’s day card and present. Every single year.

My sister, you know her. I have introduced her too you. She got her own special post. I love her to death, she is my baby, I’m extremely protective of her and I would give my life for her. I’ve been taking care of her my whole life and always will. She hurts, I hurt. She cries, I cry.

Their cat – My mother would kill me if I didn’t mention their cat. His name is Gatsby and it was supposed to be mine. Long story.

My love – You know him too. He’s name is Rui. He’s 26. He’s a computer science engineer and/or systems analyst or whatever. What he really likes is his vegetable garden. And me. He’s the kindest person I know. He has been there for me for so long. I love him so much.

Rosa – You know she’s my dog. I mean, she’s our baby. She will be 2 years old on May, 6!! She needs her own special post. Maybe an interview?

My grandfather’s name was João. He died almost 7 years ago, cancer. He was the kindest and funniest person you could meet. He was crazy about my grandmother. And so was she, although I didn’t think she knew it until he died. That’s when she started to get sick, and now, 7 years later, she’s unrecognizable. Her name is Teresa. I know that, despite being such a difficult and aggressive person, she loved us. I mean, she still does. She might not rule her own mind right now, but her heart is still in the same place.

My mother has two sisters and one brother. She’s the youngest of all. The oldest is not my grandmother’s daughter. My grandfather had been married before. Then my grandparents got married and they had a boy, my uncle. My grandmother’s favorite. No one even questions it, we just know, we always have. The middle child is my aunt Lena. They are my godparents. Then they had my mom.

I love Rui’s side of the family. He has a big family, which I never had. They’re all really nice and funny and have always been so good to me and made me feel at home.

I guess I should stop now? The post is becoming too long!!

 

Don’t forget I’m doing this with Maggie and Angela!! Check her posts as well!!

Thank you, friends

xx