Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

One of the best advice I ever got was to write down my thoughts when things felt overwhelming. Initially I could not see the benefit of this. Why would I do this? How could it help me? How would that give me any answers? These were questions I asked myself.

At the time I knew I could no longer express how I felt to others. Not because others did not care but I started to feel like I was a burden. How many times could I repeat the same lament? How many times could people bear to listen?

It is strange when all you want is to feel happy but you just don’t. When you know you need to “snap out of it” but you can’t. I knew I was stuck and I felt like a broken record stuck on repeat. So I stopped saying how I felt. I stopped trying to talk about it. I could not pretend to say things were OK because I just did not have the energy to even do that. I stopped.

With no answers I started to write. Longer pieces, shorter pieces, letters addressed to no-one. Sometimes I pretended I was talking to a friend. Sometimes I just wrote down a mass of words jumbled together. I did not receive any answers but somehow it lessened the tightness in my chest. Piece by piece what I wrote down lighted the burden. Maybe it was because I could be brutally honest. Not having to take into consideration how others might feel. Not having to think about not wanting to worry anyone. I just wrote.

How I felt then and how I feel today is vastly different. Today I look at life and smile. I have a curious positive outlook forward. There will always be down days of course but in general I feel pretty damn good.

I am not trying to say that writing down how I felt back then made me all happy now. There are so many things that made that happening but I am not writing about those changes today. What I am trying to say is that writing down my inner most feelings and thoughts when I was at my lowest helped me getting through it.

Recently, for the first time in a long time, I actually dared to look at those entries that I wrote back then. It was both a scary and emotional experience. I had forgotten how low I felt. I am glad that I once again can put them back in the box. Not forgotten but eased out of mind with a few lessons learned.

Sometimes a simple advice can make all the difference. An advice I will be eternally grateful for.

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It’s the second week in January and lo and behold… the world did not end. Quelle surprise.

Instead it is the usual January blues with credit cards bills piling up, bleary eyed office workers turning up to work, off-licenses noticing a down-turn as the “white month” is in full swing and gyms bursting with sweaty new year’s resolutions.

It is a new year. Full with potential if you decide to grab hold and do more than just wish. For some it is a change of life-style, change of focus, change of perspective. For some it is yet another year of half-hearted resolutions given after too many glasses of champagne. Resolutions broken just as quickly as the bubbles dispersed.

I spent the last two weeks thinking about what I want for this year. What I would like this year to mean for me. I guess I got sick of always having more or less the same resolutions that always end up lasting until February (in a good year). Of course the whole “get fitter, work-out more often and regularly” is still very important but that is not a new year’s resolution. It is a life resolution and a very tough nut to crack. So yes, I will once again try.

Apart from that one then? What will be different from before? So I could focus on ensuring I reach my targets in work, lose weight, work-out (see above), eat healthily, try to make a positive difference in the world even if it is just a small one … but those are things I TRY to do all the time (not always successfully).

I think this year I will just go with a general wish of doing what makes me happy and to set goals as I go along. The road to achieving and reaching those goals is what matters.

Thinking about it… I have some amazing people in my life. People who inspire me. People who I care about deeply and unconditionally. People who care about me. With friends and family like that, what else can I wish for apart from spending time with those who matter to me?

The rest will follow naturally really – I will do my utmost to reach my targets in work so that I get the extra cash to see all. The work-out will follow as I need to improve fitness in order to be able to do the things I like with my friends and stay healthy. The weight-loss will slowly follow with the fitness and the healthy food follows the fitness (as I cannot eat crap when I have been working out, it just feels wrong). And if an action from me can put a smile on someone’s face and if an action somehow helps the betterment of this world then I have made a difference. I can wish for nothing more.

So there is my wish for 2013 and beyond. Happy New Year.

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Age.

The other day the fire alarm went off in work. So down the stairs we went. I sit on the top floor. Taking the elevator back up was pointless, too many people queueing. So up the 6 floors we went once they let us in again. A person next to me was complaining that she was too old for this. I was laughing and saying “Don’t be silly, how old are you anyway?” The answer I got was “34”. I was shocked! This person seriously believed she was “older” and that this was too much. I am 36 and while I am no fan off taking the stairs in work, I also do not think that I am “too old” for it. Just a tad lazy.

This is not the first time that I have heard something like that. I remember a former colleague once going on about “at our age we should not be doing this or that”. She was the same age as me.

Many would argue, maybe correctly so, that society today puts a disproportionate focus on being young (read: 20) and that being young and “beautiful” is all the success you need. I do however also suspect that many use this as an excuse the other way around. “Oh poor me, I am no longer 22 so I cannot do this or that, don’t you understand? At our age (read: 30isch) we have to be careful and keep in mind our bodies cannot take it any more”.

It is a load of bull in my opinion.

Yes, I cannot handle hang-overs as well as I once could. Yes, my back is stiffer now than it was 15 years ago if I just sit around. Yes, I do seem to “heal” a bit slower as well. On the other hand, I am hardly THAT old.

While I sit here on the sofa I do not ache. The minute I stand up I notice that my back is sore, my legs hurt, my neck feels heavy and my throat is scratchy and sore. This is pretty easy to explain. I trained at the club on Thursday and also today. As an added bonus I am getting a cold and therefore have a sore throat.

I also feel great.

I enjoy physical activity better now at 36 than I did 15 years ago. I do not feel that my age is an obstacle any more than I did then.

While age is an inevitable fact and time will take its toll on our bodies, I believe that the biggest danger is our own mental age. Not our physical age. Sometimes the age lurks more in the mind than in the body. How is the old saying  again…. “You are only as old as you feel”… Otherwise we would not have 60-year olds that are perceived as”youthful” or perhaps a 40-something that seems ready for the last rites. Figuratively speaking.

Today I feel like I am 36 years old. I feel great. If this is being old, then it can only get better.

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Do you ever get that almost euphoric feeling when your chest expands and life feels so full of potential that you do not know where to turn or where to start?

When there is so much you could do but yet you have no idea whatsoever what it is that you want to do?

I think that feeling, that expanding emotion – that is what life is. That is what it mean to feel alive. To feel THAT is what makes getting up worth it.

This is the feeling that some might feel when jumping out of a plane or seeing their new-born for the first time or perhaps it comes to those that feel they have found their inner Zen. And no, I am not talking about getting high. Even though I am sure some would claim that they get that feeling. I would not know, I can’t smoke for my life.

All that I do know is that it is a feeling that I have started to experience again for the first time in quite some time. And boy, does it feel good! I have not jumped out of an airplane (heaven forbid!) nor have I become a mother and trust me; I have not found my inner Zen… but I do feel that life is full of potential. I have no particular new reason for this feeling really.

My circumstances have not changed terribly much. Still skint (surprise, surprise) but maybe I have accepted it better and even though I feel like I have a non-existing social life I still have quality time with the people I care about, be they locally or not. My credit card is still not paid off… will it ever… but I try (emphasis on try!) not to use it too much and put a long-term plan to pay it of little by little and most importantly relax about it a bit. I still do not have a high-flying high-earning job but I did change roles and there is potential for the future even though I will never be on any high-earners list. I am still single and will not mention how long it is since I had sex (let’s not go there) but I am cool with being single and … ok … the sex bit is a bit of a drag but hey, it is not like I have been looking either so that is cool.

Maybe it is just very simple. Not much has changed for me but little things have and the one major thing that has changed is just me. How I look at myself and my life. A good friend of mine once said something like; when you are walking in a dark, deep valley you will eventually climb the mountain and reach the crest. I did not necessarily understand it fully. Because I was still stumbling around amongst the rocks at the bottom. At some stage I stopped stumbling. I do not know when and I do not know why. It is not like all the sudden things were great. There were things happening that did not make me feel great. Events that made me sad or frustrated. Somehow though, I started to see the potentials of things instead of letting them drag me down. I started climbing.

I have a new role in work that could possibly lead forward. It is not perfect but then what job is? However maybe just maybe I can, through hard work, actually make enough money to do something that really does make me feel happy – visit and spend time with people who I care about. If I can do that and get by in my daily life, paying my bills and hopefully be saving some money at some stage – then what else do I really need?

I am still not the size I would like or most importantly not in the physical shape I would like to be. This may be the most frustrating part because I am very impatient and not all that good with the whole self-discipline but I am getting better at it. Another thing as well – the more I go to the club and the gym the more I want to do it. So there is hope yet.

Being single is actually pretty cool. It suits me as well right now. I can do whatever, whenever and however I want. God knows I have zero time or patience to be dating. Just the thought of it alone gets me stressed. So that will just have to wait. Yes, it would be nice to share my life with someone at some stage. But right now I am actually feeling way too selfish to be doing so.

I still have an apartment that is fab but where they really did forget to insulate the bedroom so yes, it is bloody freezing but I also got the cosiest PJ’s ever. Yet another good thing about being single, I can indulge in wearing whatever I like. And I do have a thing for checkered flannel PJ’s.

The funny thing is that these are things that I have known about and could say all along. But I could not feel it. I would say the words but it felt empty. They were just words that I knew were right but that felt so far from what I was feeling that I might just as well have speaking of winning the lotto and moving to Tahiti – hmm I do speak of those things as well but you’ll hopefully get my drift.

Now however I do feel the impact of these positive things and it feels good. Whenever I feel a bit down and bitch about something (god knows that happens) then I sometimes just need a reality check. Because let’s face it – I have a job that is new, challenging and with a bit of luck can make my life a little easier. I have friends that mean very much to me. I have two furry companions that greet me and cuddle every day. And I have two pairs of checkered flannel PJ’s – what else could a girl want??

So yeah, I do get that feeling when my chest expands and all feels good. When I feel there is so much I want to do and I have no idea where to go first. That is because there is so much that I could do and little by little – I will do just so.

Now it is high time to climb into bed wearing my lovely PJ’s. Now THAT is Zen!

I am back to work now the last two weeks. Easing Stumbling back into everyday life… – funny how that happens so fast again even after almost three weeks off.

I had a lovely two weeks in Sweden visiting family. We have a few new family members this year and it was fun meeting everyone though I am not 100% sure of what they thought about meeting their “great-aunt”… lord, am I really a great-aunt!? Scary!

The two weeks were pretty hectic, seems like there were 50 people around most of the time. Not to mention several dogs, horses and cats. Even with all the visiting and seeing everyone; it was great. So much laughter and catching up.

I started in Copenhagen in Denmark and then went up the east coast of Sweden to my parents for a few days. I could only stay for a few days as they have a smaller apartment and with three adults, two cats and one dog it does get crowded. Not to mention that although I love my parents to bits; I can only take that many days before I go slightly mad. We then drove to my brother’s place which is inland. Well, I drove. I persuaded my Dad to let me drive his car. He was notably nervous as I mainly drive on the left hand side these days (he frequently reminded me every time we came to a roundabout…). Well let’s face it, I was not going to travel 200km at 60km/hour due to my Dad’s regrettably slightly diminished eyesight.

I stayed a good few days at my brother’s place. They live in the middle of nowhere. It is fab. So quiet at night. Surrounded by forest, horses, big dogs and seemingly a constant stream of people. Most days there were at least eight of us. I helped out a bit on the farm and loved it. Though I was less fond of those blasted horse flies and mosquitoes that took a liking to me. I did not understand why they were biting me like never before until I realized that they seemed to like the body-butter I used. So hint, hint… Body Shop’s Body Butter is great but avoid in the vicinity of horse flies. Though everyone else was grateful…

My sister and her partner (or maybe I should say boyfriend.. though can you really say boyfriend if someone is over 45?? Haven’t figured it out) arrived on her birthday so we had a great birthday celebration. I laughed until my belly hurt.

Then I left with my sister to go and see my nephew who lives in the most gorgeous idyllic place, in a place that is the essence of the county where I am from; Småland. He and his family live in this gorgeous red wooden house with white corners built in the 1600’s. They are surrounded by lakes, cows and more dogs and cats (seems to be an ongoing theme in my family).

Then as my last stop I stayed with my sister on the west coast of Sweden. Shopping, a bit of sunbathing (when the sun decided to actually make an appearance), a round of mini-golf (which I suck at ), lots of chats and laughter and meeting everyone else (and again some more dogs and cats).

The weather was not great unfortunately during my two weeks but I had so many laughs that it did no matter. Not to mention all the absolutely fantastic food. I normally do not have a second helping but during these two weeks I ate until I was stuffed til bursting point. Best food ever! Oh a few beers, cocktails and wine found its way to me as well…

Then it was back to Dublin for a few days of chilling. I rounded off my holiday with a long (20km) walk along the coast of Dublin with a good friend. The sun was shining (for once) and it was fabulous.

I’ll leave you with a few pictures. Hope you all had a lovely July as well!!

All quiet in the hood:

Småland:

Then there was a bit of time for just pure chilling as well:

The bonds between friends, family and lovers are like intricate threads shifting in the wind. Sparkling with all the colors of the rainbow. Like shimmering gossamer in the sun. If we could but see them.

Across the universe threads drift, connecting every living being together. Some loosing an all too light connection. Some ripping apart. Some holding on forever.

With every being we meet and seek; a new thread is created.

Those illusive threads that stay strong have knots that could tell a tale of rife, of sorrow, of forgiveness, of understanding and an unyielding strength – if only we knew how to read them.

These are the threads we knit together with those we love.

In the fiercest gale the threads are stretched taut but do not break. In the darkest night they glimmer to show us the way. In the farthest distance they reach our hearts.

These are the threads we knit together with those we love.

Hello dear Blogosphere,

I am currently contemplating if I will have yet another latte on this lovely Sunday. Then I am pretty comfortable sitting here on the couch and getting aforementioned latte would mean I would have to rise from the couch. That does require some consideration.

Now don’t think that I have been a couch potato all day here. Waking up this morning I had no plans at all really, well apart from what I would have to eat. That was fully planned… I was going to attempt to make home-made Eggs Benedict and then I have this soup that needs to be eaten and finally I made this lovely Texan Chilli yesterday which will be my supper tonight. Don’t you just love it when you have friends from all over the world that can give you fab recipes, like Real Texan Chilli (not for the faint hearted!).

The Eggs Benedict… I cannot poach an egg for my life (need to work on that) so in the end I fried the little feckers the eggs. Then the Hollandaise sauce… I had found some ready-made one that I thought I’d give a try. Well now… the sauce was vile! I ended up scraping if off my (fried) eggs and ham and most ended up in the bin. Major fail! (At least the latte was great, cos that I can do). So lesson learned here; next time I want Eggs Benedicts – eat out!

I was eying the sky all morning to see if it would clear. In the end I decided to brave the heavy clouds where the sun peeked out every so often. Ended up going for a long walk and found a way down to the Grand Canal not too far away from me, a walkway that I did not know existed. It was sooo nice! Many others were out for a walk, the canal was surrounded by greenery and flowers and birds were chirping everywhere. I even saw a bird of prey. Now don’t ask me what type as I was a bit too far away and also I never got into bird watching so all I can tell you is that it was a bird of prey of some kind (the other bird he was chasing would probably confirm that).  It could have been a falcon as they are known in the area.

I also discovered that you can walk all the way into town via the canal. Will definitely try that at some stage. It is about 14km which is doable. Not today though as it looks like it will start to rain any moment now. I am glad I found that walkway. Definitely beats just sitting inside on the couch all day.

Well I believe that coffee is calling me after all. I will leave you with a few pictures of the Grand Canal and hope you all have a lovely Sunday.