Tag Archives: Lifestyle

Changes

20 Oct

Dear Reader,

As you may have noticed, Love Out Loud has been quiet over the summer.

Many changes are taking place in my life at the moment and many new projects are being born.

Therefore, I am putting this blog on hold for the moment.

I will be back soon, but, for the moment, I wish you a beautiful autumn.

autumn-leaves-wallpapers-photos

 

My Guilty Passion

5 Jul

As I sit down to write this post, I feel guilty. I feel guilty about writing.

I realised that I felt guilty about writing almost a year ago, when choosing a career path for the first time and thinking about what it was that prevented me from giving myself to the activity that I love most of all.

From a young age, I had been taught many things about life and work from the adults around me. These things include:

1) All normal people have a 9-5 job.

2) Working longer hours than everyone else actually signifies that you are talented and/or important.

3) No one ever really enjoys their job.

4) A job is a way to earn money. Having fun while we’re at it? That’s just a child’s naivety.

5) We have to pick our career path at college, study hard for it at university and become a specialist in our field by our 30s.

6) Career changes are for undecided, unmotivated people.

7) Being ‘unsure’ is almost equivalent to being a failure.

8 ) Productivity is respectful, creativity is laziness.

9) A respectful person is one who works hard, sacrifices himself at work for his family and never ever complains about his job.

10) It is selfish to choose a career that brings little money simply because one ‘enjoys’ it. Instead, one should choose a career that guarantees security and stability in order to be able to support family and be ready for any unforeseen events/circumstances.

11) Only those who have ‘achieved’ something are those who are worthy.

As you can see, writing doesn’t really come anywhere into this. As a teenager I would only write in my ‘free’ time: after I’d finished my homework, during the summer holidays or late into the night. At all other times, there were more ‘important’ things to do: revise for exams, practise my musical instruments, help with the housework, babysit…I felt guilty about spending so much time in my day doing an activity with no ‘purpose’ or no visible results. I had been taught to always do useful things first and use any remaining time for rest or play. (But if we only ever do what is useful, will we ever have any time to do what is fun?)

Despite having pinpointed the thing that prevented me from dedicating myself to writing, I continue to have feelings of guilt. Few of my friends are in the creative field; when I say “I spent a whole afternoon writing”, only one or two will sympathise in replying “Ah, I know how you feel. I spent the day painting a beautiful park”. Since moving to my new country, with a calmer, slower lifestyle, I feel almost embarrassed to tell my friends that ‘what I do all day’ is work, go for walks, ride my bike and write. This answer never seems to be satisfactory and I only receive a nod, or an “OK..”, or further questions starting with “But do you not go/do/see….”.

In their late-thirties, both my mum and her best friend had drastic career changes. They took evening classes, sat exams and started from scratch. After their final exam, my mum’s friend said something that has stuck with me since, and that has perhaps been a reason for most of the writing activities I have done in the past few years. She said “Do what you love now. There’s no point in wasting time and settling for something else. In the end, you’ll end up going back to the thing you love, anyway.”

Torn between doing what I truly love and doing something ‘respectful’ I ask myself: did Dostoevsky, Hugo or Shakespeare ever feel guilty about writing? If so, they were damn right to laugh, spit and stomp on guilt’s face!

London vs. South of France

23 May

In my birth city, it is 15 °C; in the city I grew up in it is 20 °C; in my new city it is 28 °C. The weather is not the only difference between London, where I spent 15 years, and the Southern French city where I live now. The geographical distance between these two places isn’t spectacular, but the lifestyle is noticeably different.

The most obvious difference:

1) London: 8 million inhabitants. My new town: 200, 000 inhabitants.

London From Above

London - 8 million inhabitants

Amusing differences:

2) London: you’re lucky if you meet a British person in the city. My new town: I stand out for having a foreign accent.

3) London: everyone has an Oyster card. My new town: everyone (apart from me) has a car.

The differences that a Londoner, who is used to having anything/everything at any time, is finding hard to get used to:

4) London: the nearest grocery store was three minutes away from my house. My new town: the nearest grocery store is a twenty-minute walk away; add ten extra minutes if it’s a particularly hot day.

5) London: within a ten-minute walk from my house I had: a grocery store; 3 gyms (including swimming

Cat lying down in garden

My new neighbours

pools, dance/yoga/martial classes); 3 libraries; a dozen restaurants, bars and cafes; 3 bookshops; a park; several hotels; a museum; clothes shops, banks, etc. etc. My new town: within a ten-minute walk from my house I have: a football pitch, a small park, a post office, an organic food store…and hedgehogs, cats and owls.

6) London: shops are open from early morning until late at night every day of the week, including Bank Holidays. My new town: shops are closed at lunchtime, on Sundays and any other time they choose.

7) London: life never stops. My new town: everything stops between mid-June and September, when everyone goes on holiday. Students leave the city, all evening classes are cancelled and the sun drives the only remaining people into the coolness of their homes.

8 ) London: it would take weeks to count the number of galleries and theatres in the city. My new town: I can count them on one hand.

And the differences that a Londoner is greatly appreciating:

My new city centre

9) London: the buildings reach up to 253 m, soon to be 310 m with the completion of the Shard London Bridge tower, the tallest in the European Union. My new town: buildings are mostly around five-storeys, with a lot of houses in my area being bungalows or two-floor homes. Apartment blocks vary from two to six storeys, with only a handful of tower blocks on the edge of the city.

10) Following the point above – London: we appreciate nature through a square meter of sky directly above us. My new town: a 360° view of the sky!

11) London: you’re lucky if you get eye contact from…anyone, really. My new town: passers by not only look you in the eye, they actually smile at you.

12) London: you haven’t even put your change into your purse, but the check-out assistant at the supermarket is already screaming “Next!”. My new town: the check-out assistant makes a comment on the delicious food you bought, says thank you and wishes you a nice day.

13) London: with double-glazing and closed windows I could hear the incessant noise of traffic, fire brigades/ambulances/police cars, drunk people singing in the night, bus doors opening and closing, cars beeping, delivery

A cycling route in the area

trucks unloading, garbage men cleaning the streets. My new town: I can hear birds and the wind, and sometimes a rodent rustling in the bushes.

14) London: ride a bike at your own risk. My new town: ride a bike at your own pleasure.

15) London: after two years of living in the same place, I had no idea who lived in the flat opposite me. My new town: I know four of our neighbours; two of them helped us out during our move, the third gave us DIY advice, and the fourth invited us for drinks at their place on several occasions.

16) London: if you blow your nose after a tube journey, don’t be surprised if your handkerchief turns black. My new town: during the first few weeks here, I got lightheaded after every walk, because of the high quantity of oxygen in the area.

17) London: silence is golden in public transport. My new town: communication is appreciated and even encouraged.

18) London: complaining about the weather, the public transport, the tourists, the parking wardens, the queues and the prices is a daily practice. My new town: the weather is nice, everyone owns their own car, tourists are far and few, parking is permitted pretty much anywhere, there are no queues and prices are reasonable. No wonder everyone always has a smile on their face.

~

Every place has its advantages and inconveniences, and it is always an enriching experience to explore the rhythm, the rules and the visions of a life that is different to our own.

More about this change is lifestyle to come soon…

Form One Good Habit at a Time

11 Mar

Forming one good habit at a time is the best path to the lifestyle that you desire. When we have a list of things we want to improve in our lives (eat healthier, do more sport, get more fresh air, spend more time with family, learn an instrument…), it is very easy to be overwhelmed by all of the changes we need to make in order to make them happen. This can paralyse us into not doing anything at all, because we can’t imagine being able to manage everything at once.

Yet when we form one good habit at a time, we allow ourselves the time to introduce a small change into our lives. Our everyday life isn’t overthrown by this new habit, which makes it easier for us to integrate it into our current routine. A month ago, I stopped drinking coffee in the morning; two weeks ago, I started eating a healthier breakfast; and last week I started doing regular exercise. Giving myself time to get used to these changes made it easier for me to keep them up.

Modern trends advertise fast results, that require extreme changes in our lifestyle. However, a study carried out by Phillippa Lally showed that, on average, it takes around 66 days for us to form a habit. Lasting results come about from continued effort. If we persist, slowly but surely, with a new good habit, we will benefit from all the positive things that this brings into our lives. And to make this easier, we shouldn’t try and achieve everything at once, but take it one step at a time.

A New Country, A New Adventure!

3 Mar

Three weeks ago, I moved to a new country. I packed all of my essentials into one suitcase and set off to start a new life. The lifestyle in my new environment is different to the one I’m used to in one of the world’s central capitals, which means that I have felt a bit lost and confused at times. However, once I remind myself of the reasons for which I decided to move,  I am able to see what a wonderful and exciting opportunity this is.

I am here to…

  • be with the person I love
  • be independent
  • have a calmer lifestyle
  • be closer to nature
  • discover a new place
  • discover a different way of living
  • meet new people
  • lead a more active and outdoor lifestyle
  • have more fresh air
  • grow my own flowers and herbs (in the outdoor space that I now have)
  • be in a warmer climate
  • cycle
  • spend time in the countryside
  • buy fresh food from local producers
  • …and so – eat better food
  • have a new challenge (of starting life in a new place)
  • go on road trips
  • take evening walks on the beach
  • lead a simpler life

Let this adventure begin!