Tag Archives: Work

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

 

Thank You for Reminding Me

3 Dec

“It’s sunny outside”, for the first time in what seemed like months I lifted my head from my computer and looked out of my window.

My stunned eyes took in the beauty of the park in front of my house. When was the last time that I took notice of what was around me? As if in a trance, I got up from my desk and opened the balcony door. Like Alice in Wonderland I felt like I’d stepped into a fabulous new world.

A world where birds skip from tree to tree, and children ride scooters singing. A world where teenagers swing their rucksacks as they walk home from school. A world where elderly men smoke pipes as they carry fresh baguettes home for lunch.

The world right outside my window had become more distant than riots in Egypt, presidential campaigns in Russia and the state of the stock exchange. For weeks I was focused on one thing only: my work. New responsibilities, new expectations, new commitments. I would wake up with one thought in mind: to perform as well as I can at my job.

I studied, I focused and I worked. Sales, economy and business. All my thought-power and energy going onto my computer screen. All my thought-power and energy going onto things happening thousands of miles away. Laws, regulations and – most importantly – results.

This is not what you’re here for. Your work is not your reality.

I stood on my balcony for the first time in weeks.

Peace. Silence. Sunshine.

Rays of sun were warming the plants that I hadn’t watered for weeks.

A soft breeze came shyly towards me to say hello. We hadn’t seen each other for months. He wondered whether I remembered the moments we’d spent together in spring.

Leaves were yellow and discreet. Trees danced with eyes closed. They nodded to me with a smile, feeling my presence.

I breathed.

This is not what you’re here for. Your work is not the reality you wish.

The sun waited for me every day, but soon it let the clouds take over.

The birds sang outside my window, but soon moved to more welcoming lands.

The trees whispered sweet secrets, but fell silent when they realised that no-one was listening.

I was too busy thinking about international relations and corporate reputations to notice.

This is not what you came here for.

I know. Thank you for reminding me.

What Gets You up in the Morning?

5 Oct

Waking up in London is easy. From 5am I hear the delivery and rubbish trucks moaning in the streets. From 6.30am buses open and close their screeching doors every fifteen minutes outside my window. From 7.30am the hum of cars at the cross-roads signals that the city is awake. Millions of people are already preparing for a day of action and decision, of learning and discovery, of fulfilment and happiness. By 8am I bury my half-open eyes into the warm pillow, relishing the smell of sleep and sweet dreams. I know that in the neighbourhood someone has already done a morning work-out, had a fresh fruit juice, read the paper, got their kids ready for school, prepared lunch for the family, and is on the way to work, looking fresh and full of energy.

“I gotta get moving,” I mumble to myself, stretching in bed and reaching for my diary. “How many things are programmed for today?”

Waking up in the South of France is a challenge for the unprepared. Heck, even the locals seem to have a hard time making out of bed on time for work. Shutters keep out the sunlight, making the body insensitive to the time of day. Living in suburbia, my morning alarm is a rooster calling out from a neighbouring house. Birds tell each other their dreams and I listen, lulled back to sleep by their songs. The elderly gentleman in the house opposite is no doubt walking around his garden, checking what changes the night brought on his crops. The cats are stretching on their fences, wary of getting their paws wet on the shimmering morning dew. The sun, like a ripe grapefruit, is peeking out to check that the world is ready for him. My plants are shivering in the shade; the warmth won’t get to them until the afternoon.

The alarm rings for the third time. “I should get up,” I think to myself, seeing the sunlight creep in under the door “Or else I’ll miss the cool smell of morning air, the shadows cast on the kitchen walls by the rising sun, the rare stillness of the trees, and the silence that falls upon the whole of nature in the early hours of day”. I open the shutters eagerly and a smile spreads across my face. “Good morning to you too, Mother Nature!”

It Will Change My Life

27 Sep

“You don’t try to build a wall. You don’t set out and say ‘I’m gonna build the biggest, baddest, greatest wall that has ever been built’. You don’t start there. You say ‘I’m going to lay this brick as perfectly as a brick can be laid’. You do that every single day, and soon you have a wall.”

This week, I watched a video that blew my mind. Posted by Marcella Purnama in a post about wisdom, this video will probably change my life.

I would like to share it with you.

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!