with added salt

It's 11:30am, I'm standing in my PJs and slippers making myself a cup of coffee with what's left of the milk after my opportunistic cat took to lapping it out of the jug when my back was turned. Life is back to normal.

Well *close* to normal. I'm still 106kg and so exhausted and fragile that I cry at anything, my eating and exercise is all over the place, it's months since I last took photos, wrote an email to a friend, caught up on blogs or did anything just for me, and even today I'll be spending what's left of it working. But it feels close, like I'm almost there.

Seriously though with the crying thing. Yesterday at lunch, my dark rye and roast vegies toastie was being made up and the cafe woman started spreading avocado onto both pieces of bread when I'd really wanted pesto onto the other side - the tears welled up behind my eyes. A couple of nights ago when I'd gone out to pick up a coffee and they told me at the counter they were shut - more tears. The morning of my birthday - LOTS of tears. Anything and everything is making me cry at the moment. I wonder if flushing out that much salty water might have a detoxing effect?

Thank you for sticking by me and for your kind words, I'll pop by to yours and say "hi" soon enough.

birthday blues

It's my birthday. Hubby has been an absolute sweetie and done all he can to make me feel special - pancakes for breakkie, coffee on demand, dinner AND the washing up - but all in all it's been a benchmark birthday for all the wrong reasons.

It's the first birthday I've EVER worked. In previous years I've always taken my birthday off as annual leave and never so much as opened a work email. This year - a SUNDAY - I've spent the entire day sitting at my laptop finishing off the document from last week's Perth job, despite having worked on it on the plane yesterday and back at the house in the evening before falling asleep. I guess I'm just a bloody slow document writer.

Unsurprisingly then it's also the first EVER birthday when I haven't had that special warm and fuzzy "it's my birthday" feeling. 36 warm and fuzzy birthdays isn't' a bad tally though hey?

Age-wise, this birthday also brings me into my "should-be-a-Mum-by-now" age. My mum was 36 when she had me, the youngest of three children. For years now I've had it in my mind I'd be 36 when I had kids, can't explain why, just always seemed poetically right somehow. Today I turned 37.

A couple of days ago Facebook played it's part in reminding me just how far behind the curve I am on this one. It's the start of a new school year back home in England. On this day 32 years ago, I celebrated my 5th birthday with my first ever day of school.

That's three girls from my own class in school and note how we're talking high school already for their kids.

Me? Well I set myself the limit of 100kg and a healthy head before considering parenthood and you'll remember how I triumphantly reached that target in April. Now, just five months later and the healthy head's as much a distant memory as the sub-100kg weight. It's going to take a lot of effort and energy to turn it around again and I'm flat out of both.

Now I really am just feeling sorry for myself hey, but it's my party and I'll cry if I want to [target reference for 80's gals out there]

The good news is I'm back in Melbourne and shouldn't have to go away again for two weeks now. The bad news is tomorrow's no longer a leave day. I've got my annual review, a document to finish and a meeting in the afternoon - holiday cancelled. And yes, I plan to do all that I can to voice my concerns and rectify my current situation. Tuesday I'll most likely still be finishing off the work lose ends.... but Wednesday that freeeeeedom is still safely on my schedule.

This year's birthday has been postponed, schedule permitting.

the view from my corporate hotel room

I'm still travelling.

Adelaide finished last week and this week it's Perth again. I never intended to sign up for a job that meant I only get to see home at the weekends, especially when I only moved into that home in one of those weekends and am not entirely sure where "home" is.

15 long hotel weeks.

I'm still unsettled, still overworking, still hating my job (there I said it! why am I so scared to admit I hate my job?), still bingeing and still repeating that record.

Last week I worked until 2am on two nights, 3am one night and a magical 4am on yet another. Clearly no boss expects this of his team members, so I can't help but take a large dose of responsibility for letting it all get so out of control. However many mistakes have been made by those around me to lead up to this; the project was over-sold and the client under-resourced and quite frankly in cloud-cuckooland, yet I still took all the pressure upon myself to deliver.

I'm just so darned hard on myself. The perfectionist in me wants perfection - it's one of the few times in my life where there really is just a black and a white - there's to be no allowance for doing the best job I could possibly do given all the constraints. Oh no, it has to be p-e-r-f-e-c-t. And it's my responsibility to work myself to the death to get there. Of course for that I torture myself too, telling myself that it isn't right that I should admit to my bosses how hard I'm working or charge the client for my time; they shouldn't be asked to pay for my inadequacies.

Funny thing is, while I'm in the midst of this, I don't see it as perfectionism. I just see it as what I have to do.

This isn't a life. I flew home from Adelaide on Friday night, worked on Saturday and Sunday (as I did last weekend and the one before that) then flew to Perth on Sunday afternoon, working on the plane and then again when I arrived at my hotel until 11pm. Today I was at a new clients where I took a workshop attended by 17 managers and senior managers. The workshop thing is an odd one - you'd think people who do that kind of thing might have a glimmer of self-belief?

Everything's suffering and I'm failing to find the balance that will allow me to get through it all, while also figuring out a plan how never to find myself here again.

I've taken a week's leave next week. I'm fully prepared for the first couple of days to be swallowed up tidying up the lose ends of leftover work, but then I'll be free. FREE!! Jeepers, listen to me, it's not like I'm the only one who's ever had to travel, ever had to put in an extra effort at work for a couple of months - woe is me, boo hoo.

There seems such a connection in my work behaviour and beliefs as with those in every other aspect of my life. I feel like there is probably a very simple cipher, just the one single key to unlock everything. It's all so inter-related.

When I was a teenager, my mum need only look at whether my bedroom was tidy to know whether my homework had been done or how my eating was. If any one of them was a mess they all were, if any one of them was in order, they all were. When I can feel good about work, I know I'll feel good about myself again, and vice versa, if I could feel good about myself perhaps I could feel good about work.

Next week I have my annual review with my boss (yes in my week off!) and I intend to start putting my plans into action. I don't want to change employer, just change role.

Anyways, for a first post in a while this is a bit of a rambled one. Three months of solid travel hasn't served me well. I truly hope that when I look back I can spot all the lessons I need to learn.

I get back to Melbourne on Saturday afternoon and shortly after that I plan to get back to me. I miss me. I miss feeling good, I miss all my new discoveries, I miss how fantastic it is to feel healthy, I miss how great it feels when food's not the enemy, I miss being open and I miss my skinny jeans.

Thank you again for popping by and checking in on me. I sure do get a smile when I see your messages.