Equinox Resolutions: A Personal Blog

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Recently the Autumn Equinox passed (or Spring Equinox for those in the Northern Hemisphere) and it got me thinking about balance in life. At this point you may be wondering ‘why is she writing a blog post?’ (I’m not really sure actually) or ‘why is she writing a blog post that is completely unrelated to the topics of this blog?’ (because I can – sue me).

It was a perfect last remains of summer/beginning of Autumn day, it was warm but not humid and the autumn leaves are starting to fall. For those who don’t know, the Equinoxes occur twice a year and are the only times when there is an equal amount of daylight and darkness. It’s a time when the Earth is in perfect balance and it’s the perfect in-between winter and summer weather. For me it’s a time that always makes me think of balance in my own life, so I decided to make a list of Equinox Resolutions.

It almost makes more sense to me to make a resolution at the equinoxes rather than the start of the year. Sure we work on the idea of finishing a year and beginning with a whole new one as a good time to make resolutions, but for me the Equinox is a more powerful time for reflection away from all the end of the year/new year festivities.

At the moment I’m feeling like I’m taking a lot on – and I mean a lot. At the top of my head I am working full time, doing five hours a week of freelance work, running two meetup groups and taking Japanese lessons. I also live independently and have a strong focus on being neat and healthy – i.e. cooking a nutritious meal most nights and waking up to a clean kitchen.

I keep feeling like I need more downtime, but I struggle so much to say ‘no’ to people and when I look at all the things I’ve committed to – I honestly can’t choose one thing that I want to stop doing. I enjoy my work, finally learning Japanese and love my Meetup groups despite the feeling of being overwhelmed it can cause me.

This week I’m working really hard on my freelance work, I essentially come home from work, watch a dumb game show and then start work again at 6 for an hour or two. This has meant that I’m intimidated by my Japanese homework that needs to be done on Friday, and know I have to do it in my lunchbreak.

Somehow I am managing to keep all these balls in the air (at least for the time being) but I’ve tried really hard to come up with a list of Equinox Resolutions to help me not take on anything else.

Equinox Resolutions

Say ‘No’ more often

(This week I have actually managed to successfully do this, my boss asked me to write some copy for his parents real estate ad – and kindly offered a $50 gift card if I did it for him after hours. Even though I was more than happy to do it, I told him I simply didn’t have the time because of my current freelance commitments. He told me that was no problem, and actually changed his mind and said I could do it during work hours if I wanted – almost like I was rewarded for sticking to my resolution of saying ‘no’ 🙂

Have more ‘no plan’ weekends

(I’ve been feeling the pressure lately to catch up with people I haven’t seen for ages, or say yes to every social invitation that comes my way – I think there’ll be a lovely pleasure in having nothing planned every now and then)

Make more time for me

Move More 

(I haven’t exercised properly in 12 months, besides a few at home yoga classes and meditation. I know it’s not enough and I do miss regular exercise. I don’t need to be running marathons, I just need to move more to keep those stress hormones down)

I hope I can stick to my goal and that things will settle down, I also have to challenge the guilt trip that comes when I ask for help or tell people I need to stop a commitment. This is just how my personality seems to be formed, I don’t like disappointing people or missing out on things – and I feel guilty about it. But I’m trying hard to stop this! 🙂

What do you do when you’ve taken too much on? Is it a natural part of being a grown up and realising there’s not enough time to do everything? Do you happily just quit things when they become too much or wait until it starts affecting you mentally/physically?

A New Year, A New Blog (a sorta farewell)

imagesI think there is a point in 90% of bloggers lives, where you start getting sick of your blog. You go from posting a few times a week to a few times a month and before you know it, you haven’t posted in two or three months. The bloggers who blog on a weekly basis for 3 years or more are in my experience, the exception to the rule.

Ladies and Gents, I feel I am going to be the rule rather than the exception.

I’ve enjoyed my blog, but the reason I started it in the first place was to write about living in France and that was 18 months ago. Since then I’ve managed to write semi-consistently with posts about language learning, reviews on French-related products and life in Melbourne, Australia.

But my blog started when I was at a different stage of my life. When I moved to France I was a journalism grad fresh out of uni and looking to complete my gap year dream of time abroad in France. I still felt like a student, I was living at home and for the first time uncertain about my future.

Now after almost two years back from France living there is a pleasant but distant memory, I’m living more and more independently and I have just secured my dream job (which starts next week). I don’t have any plans to live in France again unless an amazing opportunity came up, or even to go back to Europe since I’ve got my eyes set on other destinations to explore (The Americas, Japan, South Pacific) etc.

So I want to say an official Au Revoir to this blog, in the sense that I will not be updating it regularly. It doesn’t seem to make much sense to keep it running since I haven’ t lived in France for so long, but that doesn’t mean I will never post here again. I still have a handful of unfinished blog posts which I might still upload if I feel the urge, or I might write a whole new blog series one day if I feel inspired. But there’s no point in putting any expectation out there that this is an active blog.

One thing I will do is keep checking back for new comments, I LOVE when people comment and I love replying to them and having discussions with people. I have a few other blogs on this account and I subscribe to a lot of other blogs, so I’m logging into WordPress at least once a week. So if you do want to comment on a post, even if the article is old  you will get a reply from me quickly 🙂 

New Blogs

I do have a few more blogs out there, one is more of a project/more interesting to the general public and the other is more personal.

‘A Journey Through Dymock’s 101’ This is my attempt at reading through the entire list of Dymock’s (Australian bookstore) Top 101 books. Not sure how I’ll go with it, but I’ve always wanted to give it a try!

‘I’m (trying) to Quit Sugar’ Less than 12 months ago I read ‘I Quit Sugar’ by Sarah Wilson (Australian author but the book has just been published in the UK and will be published in the USA) and it changed my life. It completely changed my perspective on sugar and inspired me to quit the stuff for good. So I decided to write a reflective blog to track my progress, I didn’t show it to anyone at the time which explains why the writing’s a bit messy 🙂 But some of you out there who might be interested in doing what I did, may want to have a read of it!

Oh and this is happening this year: 

mt-fuji-viewTwo week dream trip to Japan, here I come!!!

So thanks to all of you who have read, commented, liked, shared and subscribed to the musings of my mind for so long.

Please stay in touch! 🙂

Samantha (OhSacreBleu)

Why is there no time? (To Learn a Language)

Is it harder to learn new languages the older you get? And I’m not talking about the theory that adults find languages harder to learn than children, or whether you can ever get rid of your accent past a certain age… but something seems to have changed since I turned 22.

Where the heck did my time go?

I mean, where on earth is there time to now do anything? I feel I’m at a life stage where I’m starting my career properly, I’m working 5 days a week in the media industry (yay!) meaning I work 9-5 or 5:30 Monday-Friday depending on the day. Including my job, these are the things I like to fit into my life Continue reading

How to Learn French…When You Already Speak It (Part 2)

Oui_je_parle_francaisA follow up to my previous post ‘How to Learn French…When You Already Speak It’ and the problem advanced French students have with progressing in French. My last post focused more on free resources and now I’m going to list a few that you may need to pay for (but personally I think they’re worth the money)

Read (and listen to) Audio Language Magazine 

When I started to feel I was an ‘advanced’ French learner, I started to think I could casually read French magazines, newspapers and watch French movies designed for native speakers. While this isn’t necessarily detrimental, it’s not necessarily the best way to improve. I started reading about ‘audio language magazines’, essentially they’re magazines that are written entirely in a foreign language, but usually come with either a bi-lingual glossary or a transcript. But their most important feature is that they come with native-speaker audio. Continue reading

How to Improve Your French…When you already speak it (Part 1)

jeparlefrA mistake that many students make is that once they reach a certain ‘advanced’ stage in their language learning, they stop trying to learn the language. Once you have lived in France, have French friends and maybe even enjoy the occasional magazine in French you might start to think you no longer have to keep studying.

Or you might know that you need to keep studying, but it becomes increasingly difficult to find resources that really challenge you and are of any use to you.

Camille at ‘French Today‘ says advanced students are able to communicate effectively in French, but often still struggle to understand French movies or be subtle or witty in French. She also describes it as the ‘hardest level to make any progress on.’  I can definitely put myself in this category, sometimes it’s easy for me to rest on my laurel’s because I can confidently say ‘I speak French’ it’s easy to stay in my comfort zone and not push myself. Continue reading

New French Words

Why hello abandoned blog, sorry it’s been a while since I’ve posted – I haven’t really been that busy, it’s more that I’ve lost a bit of inspiration for more things to write about…. I suppose this blog began to document and discuss what it was like for me to be living in France for the first time, and now it’s been over a  year since I’ve left France the topics are starting to dry up a bit….

But don’t worry – I still plan to keep blogging, but I don’t know if I’ll be blogging as much as before. If there are any post ideas or things you’d like to know about, feel free to send me an email or write a comment on what you’d like to know! I’m an open book 🙂

Continue reading

Do The French Hate Speaking in English?

keep-calm-because-i-don-t-speak-englishWhen it comes to the French, everyone’s got an opinion. Rude, sexy, arrogant, romantic, everyone seems to think they know what French people are like. One stereotype that continually persists, is whether the French like speaking English or not.

Many say they hate having to speak in English and I have mixed feelings as to whether I think this is true.

When I used to live in France, I remember going out with my French friend Pauline and her Finnish friend Netta. Pauline and Netta had been au pair’s together in England and Netta had decided to come and visit her. We were in Dunkerque, a small town in Northern France, and decided to head out to a local cafe for some drinks. Continue reading