Tag Archives: Flowers

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!


Photo Friday – Garden Secrets

4 Nov

Garden Secrets

Photo Friday – September in the South

30 Sep

September in the South

September in the South of France is temperamental: it changes its mood from one day to the next and we can never predict what it will bring us tomorrow. Even the morning is not a clear indicator of the day to come: a thick fog may hide everything from view during breakfast, while at lunch I would have to close all the shutters to keep out the heat.

This week, temperatures have been between 26 and 32 degrees Celsius. I would worry about getting sunburnt after ten minutes out on the balcony watering the plants. Friends are racing to the beach to catch the last rays of summer sun and sun cream is still a member of my handbag clan.

Last week, however, when taking photos in the evening, I had to walk on the spot to keep warm. My jumper and jacket weren’t enough to stop the cold seeping through to my skin, and my fingers lost their colour from holding the camera in a fixed position. I would have willingly accepted some gloves and a hat. I thought autumn had come for good and so I wanted to capture its arrival.

Friends for Friendship, Not for Fear

7 Jun

For the past few weeks I have been surprisingly unsettled and it is only today that I found the most probable reason for this anxiety. Next week, three of my closest friends are coming to visit me in my new country, my new city and my new life. Amongst organising our long week-end, amongst looking forward to spending time with them and hearing their stories about the past four months, I am filled with fear.

What will they think of my new life? What will they think of the way I have changed? What will they think of my new views and my new reflections? What will they think of my new worries and my new problems?

I realised that my anxiety comes down to own fear: I am scared that my friends will not like my new life. Or, to put it straight, I am scared that my friends will not love the new me.

These are friends with whom I had my wildest days at university. These are the girls with whom I shared high heels and short dresses; they are the ones who curled my hair and did my make-up before a night out. With these girls I danced on tables and talked to too many strangers. These are the friends who would sit wide-eyed and open-mouthed while I told them about my week-end. These are the friends who are used to a girl whose every minute is filled with activity.

When they arrive next week, my friends will see a girl with barely any make-up on. They will hear a calm voice telling them about a life spent riding bikes, taking walks in parks, watching sunsets, picking wild flowers, going to local markets, taking photos of nature, writing in bed, reading on the balcony and imitating owls. They will find a girl that keeps to herself and is sometimes shy in social situations. They will find a girl that likes to share thoughts on life and death, friendship and love. They will find a girl that is the most confused, yet the most content she has ever been.

When I realised that the cause of my anxiety is a fear of rejection, I thought about how I could make the best of the week-end that I will spend with my friends, without letting insecurity ruin special moments. I immediately remembered a wonderful post I’d read about welcoming guests, and I realised that this is not a time for fear, but a time for love. These are precious days in which I can share my joy, laughter and positivity with people who mean the most to me. These are moments in which I should be giving and sharing, not taking. These are times when I am supposed to be being honest and open, and not trying to impress or Friends Hugging on Beachentertain. This is an opportunity to show my friends how much they mean to me, and not to expect proof of friendship from them.

Fear will most certainly always reside in my heart, but the best thing I can do is to respond with love. So I’ll stop fretting about the broken tiles in my bathroom and the ugly chest of drawers in the living room. I will stop worrying about not knowing the best restaurants or liveliest bars. I will forget about learning the city inside out or getting the best deals for days out. Instead, I will simply do my best to welcome my friends with open arms and give them my open heart.

View From a Field

20 Apr

On sunny days, I love lying in long grass, looking up at the sky and seeing things from a different angle.