No blog this week?!

First of all, please let me apologise for not publishing on Monday, and then again, yesterday. It was a tough and frustrating decision to not publish a blog post this week.

As my loved ones say, I have a tendency to overcommit and want to do a good (note, not perfect!) job. Last weekend, I had to complete a couple of projects and I also had some engagements this week. Knowing that my energies were running low, I chose to not publish this week.

It was part of saying my approach of “Say No to say Yes”.

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No shopping for one month

I’ve read a number of articles where folks experimented how long they’d last not buying something. Often, shopping has a very calming effect. In the short-run, it gives you that pleasant feeling. Almost like a reward. You’ve made it through another tough day at work. Treat yourself to that nice handbag, that lipstick or that dress. You are worth it. It will make you feel so much better!

Yet, shortly afterwards, this positive feeling changes into guilty. Did I really need that handbag? How can I justify spending so much on a lipstick? Is that dress really looking that good on me?

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Be cool. Be grateful.

Simple MindsIt’s simple. I love my weekends and what better way to start it than by attending a concert with my friend? Simple Minds were playing at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium. Wow! The stadium was packed, the band put on a great show and we were just soaking up the fun surrounding us.

As I looked at the stars during one song, I realised again how lucky I am. It’s late January and we were outside (I admit the 21C/70F did feel cold though). It was a Thursday night, last day of our working week, and we were being entertained by a fabulous band from my childhood. I was spending the evening with one of my closest friends. I was simply grateful for what life gave me.

Gratitude which is defined as “being aware of and thankful for the good things that happen; taking time to express thanks.” can be such a cool thing. What are you grateful for?

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Wrap up the year

Year End PartyThe last few weeks of a year always seem to be a mad rush. Last week, we had our company year end party which was such a great laugh. In less than 2 weeks, we’ll celebrate the birthday of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and Christmas. For a lot of expats in Dubai, this will be time to travel to their home countries and many are also thinking how and where to spend New Year’s Eve. I’m so happy that all this is sorted and I’ve some peace of mind!

Yet, as we’re getting ready to celebrate, it’s also time to wrap up 2015. Nowadays, year end is almost forgotten and few people only use it to reflect. Instead, we’re already focusing on the next year. Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s finish this year first. Here’s a list of activities to wrap up in 2015:

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Be kind

Travelling to Hong Kong, I wanted to write about overcommitment and instead watched the film “Batkid Begins”. If you’re like me, you may not have heard about the film but I bet you’ve heard about the story. Miles, a 5-year-old boy defying leukaemia, was fortunate to be granted his wish by the Make A Wish Foundation: he wanted to be Batman! San Francisco became Gotham City in 2013 and thousands of people saw this little boy fight evil. Such an uplifting and touching documentary!

If one little boy had the power to make all these adults happy, what power would two, fifteen or hundreds of children have to make this world a better place? Over the last 2 weeks, we’ve seen too many bloody attacks across the globe. People were shocked, intimidated, yet determined to not give up and continue living their lives. What if there are small steps to improve our surroundings?

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Thanksgiving – Great time to enjoy time with friends and family

Halloween is hardly over and it’s already time to get ready for the next holiday. Thanksgiving! I love turkey and stuffing and for me, it’s always been a great day visiting friends and family in the US. One year, driving to Lawrence, KS and spending the holiday with my friends from school, it was actually so warm (21 C/70 F) that it didn’t feel like a cool autumn day. The walk after a huge meal was fantastic and it was such a relaxing weekend. I’m still looking back at it with fond memories.

Often, holidays like Thanksgiving can become a nightmare for the host. There’s so much to prepare and cooking a turkey takes for ever. To not get frazzled by it all, you can follow these 11 easy steps for a relaxed Thanksgiving party:

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Time to say good-bye to your friendship

When you’ve first moved to Dubai, were you lucky enough to know some people already? Or even better, to have some friends living here?

In my previous company, I supported the Middle East offices from the UK and experienced our relocated employees’ quest for new friends from afar. In such a transient city like Dubai, it’s easy to meet people but finding friends?

When I resigned from my company and moved to Dubai, I had one friend waiting for me and only knew 2 more people. It was one of many moves I’ve done internationally and across continents, so I wasn’t afraid of starting (somewhat) new again.

Looking over the last few years, I’ve seen some of my friends leave Dubai which was rather saddening. There were also some friendships to which I said good-bye – deliberately. For me, a friendship is a give and take and not a one-sided relationship. There was one particularly friendship where my friend only allowed meetings to take place when, where and how they suited her. Seeing her became stressful for me. I no longer looked forward to catching up and our conversations became superficial at best. It was time to end our friendship.

Some say it’s easier to leave a job, then to leave a friendship. But when do you know it’s time to say good-bye?

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Benefits of Being Organised

While I’m no big believer in fate, I sometimes wonder why a certain person would be sitting to me on is trip. During the NAPO a conference, I met some awesome organisers who shared different stories and insights, leaving me invigorated and energised.  On my return flight, David was sitting next to me and what a beautiful conversation we had.

Working at JFK airport, his belongings created stress for him. He hated driving or even more so being stuck in traffic. When he finally made the decision to sell his car, he could feel a load being taken from his shoulders. For him, deposing a number, well, a lot, of his belongings meant gaining freedom. “I’m relieved,” he said. “I’ve space in my apartment and can focus on the people and things that really matter to me.” For him, decluttering his life style clearly have paid off and he described him as a more balanced and appreciating person.

What could you gain from being (more) organised?

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