Tag Archives: Everyday

I Haven’t Been a Good Friend to You

29 Aug

Dear God,

I have realised that I haven’t been a good friend to You. I seek your company and Your guidance when I feel lost or unhappy, yet when everything is going well I barely give You a second thought.

I run to You in an emergency, I pour out my problems to You on my ‘bad’ days, and I expect You to be there for me every time I feel unhappy or unsatisfied.

And yet, I never thank You for the passing of all the beautiful days You give me. I forget to tell You how happy I am to have passed an interview, found a new home, or made a new friend. I take it for granted that the sky is blue and that the sun is warming my skin. I am blind to all the miracles You perform in my every day life.

I am beginning to realise just how much You do for me. Today, You reminded me to take my umbrella, because You knew it would rain; You whispered poems to the trees, which swayed to the rhythm of Your voice as I walked past. You cleared the clouds to help our tomatoes ripen in the sun, and You gave me ten minutes to drink my tea in stillness and in silence.

I am sorry for having taken You for granted for so long, and I am sorry for having been such a selfish friend. You have continued to give me love and care, despite my ingratitude; You have continued to give, despite not receiving anything in return; You have been loving me unconditionally.

I thank You for everything, and especially for helping me realise my ingratitude.

I promise to be a better friend to You from now on.

All my love,

Your (selfish) friend

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Life is More Than an Adventure

9 Nov

“Make life an adventure”, this is the new advice that has become so fashionable amongst life-gurus. Following their advice is supposed to lead to a happier and more fulfilling life. But is it really possible to make life an adventure? If so, what sort of adventures are we supposed to be pursuing? And will the adventures really lead to long-term happiness and fulfillment? I am starting to think otherwise…

As I mentioned last week, I have been feeling unhappy in the city (and hence country) to which I moved ten months ago. I came up with a billion reasons for my unhappiness, many of which I am currently trying to resolve. Yet one reason, so deep in my subconscious, went unnoticed:

I could be unhappy because I do not want to accept my new life in this new place as my real life. I want to see it as an adventure, as something temporary, as something with only positive experiences, as something that falls from the sky and takes no effort, as something that will be short and awesome, as something from which I will take away only good memories.

But my life in this new city is far from all those things. My life, although filled with moments of joy, love and discovery, also contains boredom, frustration, confusion, failure, doubt and apathy.

And that is what I am having a hard time coming to terms with: my big move is not just a big adventure, it is real life.

Avoiding real life has been my favourite hobby since the age of 13. It started with escapism through books, then through hanging out on park benches, then through week-ends of virtual chat, then nights spent clubbing and days spent sleeping, then driving to new places and visiting new countries. All of these activities always included obsessive hunts for adventure. Something out of the ordinary, something exciting, something to get an adrenaline rush, something forbidden, something naughty.

Adventure was my drug.

In my moments of ecstasy I felt on top of the world. Adventure makes you feel like you can do anything, be anything, achieve anything. Without adventure, I would fall on a low. I needed to get my weekly dose, otherwise life seemed empty, pointless, colourless. I didn’t know how to love life without adventure, just like I’d never heard anyone say that they got drunk on air.

Although my life slowed down naturally a few years ago, taking on a calmer and more sober rhythm, I always had adventure at the back of my mind. I proclaimed being clean, all the while craving one more shot. Just one more coincidence, one more encounter or one more dare.

Adventure. The word’s synonyms include danger and risk, chance, fortune and luck.

How can we “make our life an adventure” if an adventure is often something out of our control?

Adventure often falls onto us when we least expect it or takes on a form we could have never imagined. Adventure is Tinkerbell – flying around without sense or reason, sprinkling its magic dust on whoever happens to be in the way.

But life isn’t like that.

A happy and fulfilling life requires effort, energy and time. A happy and fulfilling life requires faith and hope. It needs strength and courage. It demands endurance and stamina. It can’t do without patience and perserverance.

Life does bring adventures and exciting experiences, but life is not made up of them. Poppies may grow in a field, making it all the more beautiful, but other flowers grow there too. These other flowers include joy, love and surprise, as well as hard work, disappointment and doubt. To define life as an adventure would be to only allow room for a field full of poppies.

For these past months, I wanted to be a passer by, a visitor and a guest in this new city – taking only the best and not staying for long enough to give or recieve a negative impression.  I wanted my life to be an adventure, and became disappointed when new experiences soon turned into everyday routine.

Now is the time to realise that, just like a field with many varieties of flowers, life is much more colourful than just an ‘adventure’. From now on I will focus on creating a rich real life in my new city, by becoming a part of the community, by making an effort to understand the local people and their lives, and by embracing both the highs and lows of life in an unknown land.

I welcome ‘real life’ with open arms!

 

Happiness Project

3 Nov

“I am not happy”, the thought that we all dread came to me earlier this week. I realised that I am no longer happy in the city to which I moved ten months ago, I am no longer happy with my lifestyle and I am no longer taking pleasure in my every day life.

I feel a loss of energy, a loss of interest and a loss of motivation. I don’t remember the last time that I sung in the shower. It’s been months since I blasted out my favourite music and danced alone in the living room. And don’t ask me what I look forward to when I wake up in the morning, because I simply don’t have an answer.

It’s tragic, it’s heart breaking, but most of all, it’s very confusing.

Figuring out why we are not happy is a very difficult thing. Figuring out what to do to make ourselves happy is even harder.

Even if we find out why we are not happy, there could be things about certain situations that we simply cannot change. We cannot always move away if we’re unhappy with the place in which we live, we cannot always leave our job if we know that it is making us stressed, we cannot always heal ourselves if we are unwell, we cannot change the people around us if they are bringing negativity into our lives.

So what can we do if we realise that we are unhappy?

For the moment, I am not going to leave my current city, I am not going to change my job and I am not (and cannot) transport my best friends to my city. All I can do is to change a few things in my every day life, which could give me energy, inspiration and joy.

My happiness project for the next month is as follows:

1) Go for a walk every day.

Promenade

2) Wake up at the same time every day (apart from Sundays, of course).

3) Go to bed before midnight, or preferably at 11pm.

4) Find a music teacher and practice the guitar every day.

girl guitarist

5) Read a fairytale.

6) Buy myself something pretty to wear.

7) Go to see a classical music concert.

8 ) Do some sport every day. Dancing, yoga, aerobics, jogging, stretching, walking with heavy shopping bags…

9) Do something that I am scared of (call to ask for a job opportunity, enter a competition, apply for a course, book a trip away, start writing a novel)

10) Go to one new social event a week – alone.

11) Write one story or poem a week.

12) Set an evening every week for personal pampering.  Beauty treatments, meditation, learning how to do a new hair style, taking a bath, listening to music with eyes closed…

13) Try a new recipe every week.

14) Buy a juice making machine, and drink fresh fruit juice at least three times a week.

15)  Go to a new place in the city every week.

16) Edit any of the above points if they start making me unhappy.

17) Create a blog-report on each week of the happiness-project.

 

My happiness project starts today – I have five minutes to get myself ready for bed in time for my curfew!

***

What activities would you put on your own happiness-project list?

Photo Friday

9 Sep

It’s been quite a few months that my pen and notebook have had a new member join their handbag crew. Exilim now travels with them on almost every journey, capturing in image what I cannot seize in words.

With my love for photography catching up with my love for writing, I decided to dedicate a little space on Love Out Loud to this new passion.

Every Friday I will share with you a photo of the moments that flash by in my corner of the world.

Through My Kitchen Window

A Break is a Change of Activity

12 May

It’s that sort of day: a list of things to do and a mind/body/soul completely resistant on doing anything. You stand paralysed in the middle of the room, staring blankly at your ‘to do’ list. With a distracted mind and a tired body, your whole being rejects the idea of doing any of the tasks at hand. “No!” it screams “I do not want to sort out my bank statements. I do not want to call the phone company and I certainly do not want to fill out all those forms”. And that’s it; you’re on strike.

We all have days when we sigh and grumble getting out of bed, when every task seems like a chore and when we are so overwhelmed by banalities that they block us from getting anything done. Our head spins and our body freezes; the only thing we seem capable of doing at that moment is hiding under our bed covers. But stopping all activity at a household choresmoment like this is the exact opposite of what we should be doing. In order to get ourselves out of this rotten mood, we need to do something – anything – that does not require emotional or mental effort.

Don’t feel like sorting out your bank statements? Wash the dishes. Can’t face calling the phone company? Put up that book shelf. Don’t want to fill out those forms? Take the dog for a walk.

By doing something productive that requires no emotional or mental effort, we are making it easier for ourselves to tackle those tasks that we are reluctant on doing. We are distracting ourselves from the things that are blocking us, we are giving ourselves a break from negative thoughts and we even feel good about having done a useful activity. If, in these moments, we stop everything and sit on the couch feeling sorry for ourselves, we give ourselves even more reason for grief.

Yesterday, I froze up at the thought of spending my afternoon calling various companies, filling out forms and reading endless information about jobs and courses online. I was so overwhelmed by the things that I had to do, that I felt like jumping into bed and sleeping through everything. Instead, I put on my sandals and went to pick flowers for a hair mask in a nearby field. I then cooked a meal using a new recipe, and by the end of it all, I was feeling so happy and satisfied that I sat down to complete my other tasks with a smile on my face.

But be careful – distracting yourself with other, more menial, tasks is a solution for getting things done and not an excuse for putting things off. When you are overwhelmed – mentally, physically or emotionally – by your ‘to do’ list, taking a break and changing activity is refreshing and energising, but using menial tasks as an excuse to delay completing more important things is procrastination.

As my grandma always says “A break is a change of activity”.