“Grey hair is a crown of splendour; it is attained in the way of righteousness.” (Proverbs 16:31).
When did we become so ashamed to age? To advance through life, accepting with it the advantages and disadvantages life may throw at you physically and mentally as you go along. We’re in a time where people causally have ‘botox parties’ or have regular injections to fight the signs of aging with the anti-aging industry likely being in the millions, if not billions of pounds. If there’s a way to run and hide from that looming shadow of ‘old age’, boy, will we run.
In particular, I increasingly come across many women who are never forthcoming about their age and it’s a bit of shame. In fact, you’ll often be in social situations where you have to think twice about broaching the topic of age with some people in case it causes offence. Which is actually bizarre when you think about it – surely, I’m just asking a factual question? I suspect the logic behind this taboo, which has emerged over time, to openly say your age when you reach a certain point in your life is due to the fact it makes it all the more real. Many worry, particularly, if they’re presumed by the crowd they’re with to be younger, if their real age is known, will they be viewed negatively now? As ignorant, slow or less able, perhaps? Whether you’re 43, 38, or 51 – that’s something to be proud of, wear that badge proudly. Each year that advances is another reason to be grateful, life is too short to be shrouded in shame about something you can’t control.
Of course, there’s wider societal factors at play here. Firstly, in many societies old age is painted as one filled with loneliness, money struggles and physical discomfort. Don’t get me wrong, the stats do show that these things can indeed become more prominent as you get older but it doesn’t have to define the life you have as you get older (I hope!). If that’s all you hear all the time, no wonder you would be scared to let go off your youth.
The media secondly, doesn’t portray enough instances of older or elderly people living fulfilling lives. Even for many actors and models in their industries, as soon as you reach a certain age, you’re only given the mum and grandma roles. For sports people, you go from being on the pitch, in the limelight to doing the commentator or show hosting jobs. There is undeniably a shift in If you’re heralded in the industry it usually correlates if you don’t actually resemble that age. We need more Mamma Mia-type films – where older actors are thriving and living their best lives, forming more intergenerational relationships (not just with family) and filled with a hope/positivity that keeps them going.
Not every moment you experience will be IG perfect and that’s okay. You’ll be surprised how averse people are to experiencing moments in their raw unfiltered beauty these days. Instead, because of social media, many think of every moment they experience as a potential social media post. Is this Instagram-worthy? And if not, what can I do to ensure that it is? What should the caption be? And so on. It’s fairly common for people to go a location (supposedly for leisure) and then when it comes to taking photos instead of few natural snaps to memorialise the moment it becomes this eventually stressful endeavor to capture the perfect like-worthy shot.
I knew things were very much going downhill when people a year or two ago criticised an influencer who got engaged. She showed an obligatory photo of the engagement ring on her hand and instead of sharing her joy – as she probably assumed would be the response – many people focused on the fact her nails weren’t manicured in the photo. Since then, it’s been a running joke for many people that their partners should give them a heads-up before a proposal so they can get their nails done. What should be a romantic, intimate moment is now, for the most part transformed by this overwhelming desire to ensure the moment is approved by the numerous unknown eyes viewing it on their timeline. A bit of a shame if you ask me.
This is why, a friend and I concluded over brunch recently, not everything needs to be posted on your socials. It’s very tempting, and I can admit I do fall into this trap more often than none. I’ll be bopping to music playing at a gig and think to myself, ‘I should probably post something on my story’. As if people actually care. Regardless of if they do or don’t, the moral of this story is sometimes you just need to put your phone down and enjoy the moment.
Aren’t overly positive people slightly annoying at times? Don’t get me wrong, it’s an attitude that’s mostly welcomed and has been many-a-time just what I needed to hear to motivate myself to do things or get through certain situations. Sometimes there’s nothing like a good ol’ ‘Yes we can’ Obama style speech to get us pumped up and feel ready to rule the world. However, at other times I do feel there is a level of positivity people ooze that doesn’t quite concur with the reality around them.
I remember on one random occasion saying to someone oh yeah ‘I don’t do that’ or I can’t do xxx’ and they were like ‘why not? ‘there’s no such thing as can’t’. To me, yes there is. And yes, there should be. I do admire the sentiment of the phrase but I think there can sometimes be a misunderstanding as to why someone is saying ‘I can’t do this’. I’m not saying ‘I’ll never do it’ – because. who knows I one day might! However, I’m speaking in that moment in time and acknowledging I have a gap in my ability – no I can’t do this xx CURRENTLY.
But let’s also keep in mind that just because it’s something you could in theory master or learn how to do, it doesn’t mean you should. We’re only one person with 24 hours a day and numerous responsibilities, at the end of the day. So we should pick carefully what we pour our time and energy in or give attention to.
I think being realistic and acknowledging your limitations in such a way can be empowering. I would even go as far to say not many of us do it enough. It may be a downer for some people but in all honesty that’s how you grow – you group things in different categories; primarily ‘things you can’t do’ and ‘things you can’ and then you may one day wonder, how can I tranfer this item from the ‘can’t category to the ‘can’ one?. And thus, a journey of discovery and growth begins.
Don’t you miss the days when things were built sturdy, to stand through tough times? To be fair, I’m quite young so maybe I don’t recall much of ‘those days’ but I do remember things like the solid old-school Nokia phones which could survive through any roughs and tumbles thrown their way. Back in school as a teenager, I recall one of my friends telling the story of how she washed her clothes only to eventually look through the washing machine door with dread and helplessness as she realised her phone was in one of the pockets. Long story short – the phone (a Nokia or Sony Erikson I believe) survived.
Of course, they don’t build phones – or literally any product – like that anymore. I mean even the new houses being built across London look a bit suspect compared to their older, Victorian counterparts.
These days it appears price does not always mean longevity so it can be hard to tell what would be a wise investment and what would last longest. Product warranties are getting shorter and shorter – for one, it really doesn’t make sense that you can spend over a grand on a phone – quite a hefty investment for some of us! – that only has a one-year warranty (Yes, Apple I’m looking at you). On top of that, the business models of brands like Apple mean that they start to phase out phones really quickly and at an increasingly fast pace. Your phone may have come out 2-4 years ago and suddenly it’s out of date and barely being sold in shops anymore. So even if you tried to be rebellious, and hold onto your phone as long as you can, you’ll end up being forced to get a new one sooner or later because Apple will stop providing security software support and updates general updates to your phone. This makes your phone vulnerable to attacks or the work of hackers (which I’m sure noooo-one wants.) Such is the capitalist system we live in!
I say that but then again there are brands out there known for their quality products which often then to be very endurant – i.e. Dr. Martins and Birkenstocks. I invested in both this past year and think I’ll be trying to continue to try and intentionally invest more in such brands because, let’s be honest, the hassle of replacing things that break unexpectedly or/and very inconveniently can be stress we really don’t need more of in this life.
If you’re interested in doing the same you may be interested in this Youtube channel which covers this topic. The couple also has a new related channel you can check out here.
I also have a previous blog post on sustainability here which you may fancy reading too 🙂 .
Every day I prepare to leave the house I look at the weather forecast and use the unfolding climate for that day to decide how I’ll dress for that day. If it rains or is raining (a common occurrence during UK winters!), I’ll ensure I’m wearing my winter coat or have alternative protection in the form of my umbrella. If only life was like that – we could scroll through what circumstances would come next and prepare ourselves – and our hearts – accordingly. For many people, more often than we would like, circumstances turn for the worst and thus, an uphill battle begins. A cancer diagnosis, a sudden redundancy, a loss in the family, a theft at home or even on the street. Life is mad and maddening, it loves to throw us curveballs that do NOT discriminate and are probably more frequent than we tell ourselves. When these things happen they can do so out of the blue and unfold at a flash of light. Your landlord raises your rent and suddenly you’re in arrears and out wandering the streets with all your belongings in one suitcase.
Reading the above just now, I’m probably not telling you anything you don’t already know. Yet, despite knowing all this, it’s interesting that we often do not prepare as if those things may even happen to us. We read stories and often go ‘that’s horrible for them’ but suffer some sort of dissonance and never imagine we could be wearing those shoes ourselves. I recall roughly a scene from the book My Sisters Keeper by Jodi Picoult where the protagonist’s dad, who is a firefighter, is at the scene of a house where a fire happened. He asks the house owners if they had insurance and they admit they don’t because they never thought something like that would happen to them. As someone who is going through a bad situation, one of those situations he thought would never happen to him (one of his daughters has cancer) he thinks to himself about the homeowner – what a privilege it is to think like that.
There’s a prominent fallacy that if we prepare for the worst – i.e. taking out life insurance, maybe even telling our family our wishes for funeral arrangements, then we’re somehow tempting fate or bringing bad ‘voodoo’ our way. This belief is prevalent in some communities more than others (I’ve even come across is many a time myself) but I believe it can be harmful. As adults, if it can be afforded, we need to be taking out life insurance and taking other necessary steps to shield ourselves and our loved ones from worst-case scenarios. It’s what I can only describe as being wise, people can be cruel and so can life in general. However, we don’t have control over other people or life in general so we need to do what we can with what we can control.
More and more this year I’ve found myself longing to become more of a ‘morning person’. You know, the kind of person who happily and easily rises at 6am to go about their day. You see this all the time in magazines like Stylist where they interview businesswomen and men and without a doubt all of them awake daily at 6am, if not earlier, with yoga stretches (or a jog) and a green smoothie. They make a to-do list, listen to a motivational podcast and then feel ready to conquer the world – and make more money, of course.
I can 100% percent say that is very much not me at the moment and that most mornings can be a heavy wrestle with the bed to get up. Each effort to arise seems to sink me deeper into the mattress and the rational part of my mind which is filled with urgency and the aspirational part of my mind which has none whatsoever battle each other. I set about four alarms (I know, don’t judge me) which all annoy me and surprise in equal measure when they go off even when I know I set them. In fact, I often feel like an imposter amongst a word of mainly morning people. Of course I have to adapt to survive (and have a job) but I actually find myself more productive in the evening and night. I’ll often have random ideas float to the surface of my mind at numerous points of the night and feel the need to urgently write them down. It’s actually the process of how a lot of my poetry and some earlier blog content has been written. But it is the dream though to be more of a morning person as opposed to someone who just rises early out of necessity. I often find on the days when I can wake up slightly earlier – I have more time to psyche myself up for the day, to pray and reflect before getting ready to go to the office and/or open my laptop.
Luckily at the moment I can rely on my body clock to wake me up consistently at a reasonable time to get things done but this is still something I struggle with so I’m very open to any tips. So far I’ve read about setting a to-do list for the day, meditation, brief morning exercise and making sure you read something in the morning.
What about you, are you a morning person or night owl? And do you have any tips on how to make the most of your morning?
It’s been a little while so it’s nice to be back. Since I last posted I’ve moved jobs, so I’ve just been adjusting to a new work setting, getting to know new people and processing bucketloads of information.
We live in a world where everything is available on demand, so it doesn’t seem too surprising that patience is a very rare trait. Get-rich-quick schemes, schemes promising to help people lose weight or gain pleasure instantly are common scams as old as time, which evolve with the times but have mainly found their success by tapping into the lack of patience people have regarding such issues. Even I’m guilty of this, I often start a new role or project and expect to pick it up in a few days. I did this at a previous job, constantly comparing myself to people at the company who had spent years honing their craft (which really makes no sense, now that I reflect on it!)
The Bible in Galatians calls patience a Fruit of the Spirit – that is, a character trait which becomes evident in a Christian as they become spiritually transformed by Christ. Patience can be easier in some circumstances than others; I’m likely to find it easier to wait 10 minutes longer for a Deliveroo order than deal for an hour with difficult personalities in a social setting, for example. However, we can start being self-aware – what things cause and stem from our impatience? Are you, putting unrealistic expectations on yourself or a situation, for example? Reflection is key, prayer is key and hopefully, together we can work towards becoming more patient people!
Revenge is a dish they say is typically best served cold – or piping hot, if you watch either of my watches from today’s review. My recent watches from Netflix are the K-drama, Remarriage & Desires and Turkish drama, As the Crow Flies. Both are fairly new additions to the Netlfix, with the latter being the newest series added to the service. Both dramas, although very unique, possess the common theme of revenge and a related strong rivalry between two female characters who are intent on each other’s downfall. Curious as to what on Earth I’m talking about? Let’s dive into one drama at a time.
As you would have guessed from previous reviews I’ve posted, I am a massive K-drama fan. Despite this though, I’ve been on a hiatus for the last few months, so this drama marks my (hopeful) comeback. Unlike typical Korean dramas, this one is only 8 episodes – which proves to be the perfect amount of time, to pace the drama, the plot and build tension, as well as character development. Without spoiling the ending too much, it has definitely been set up for a season two to take place – so be prepared that this drama will likely require a commitment of 8 episodes…but for now only.
This drama follows housewife (Seo Hye-Seung) whose life takes a sudden nosedive when scandal and an affair gone wrong force her husband to suicide and leave her unexpectedly widowed and a single mother. As she unfolds the truth of what happened to her husband, she sets her eyes on his mistress and decides to wage war – a decision that will come with tragic results.
By the time I was halfway through this drama, I was in full binge mode and had the full series complete in a few days. It’s honestly so juicy and packs a lot of punches. Unlike dramas like Sky Castle, which centres on the uber-rich, this drama is slightly different in the fact that it centres on two women who are infiltrating the world of the uber-rich but for different reasons. Jin Yoo-hui, I suspect because she’s always longed to be rich and envied the security wealth provides those that easily have it. Whilst, Hye-Seung on the other hand was doing so, not entirely voluntarily but because she saw it as a necessary step to getting closer to Yoo-hui and thus, getting her revenge.
This drama gets a 9 out of 10 for me. My only annoyance is that it was slightly slow on the romantic front. Although Seo Hye-Seung was in an obvious love triangle – her focus on revenge meant she didn’t really express interest in either guy in the triangle, so we couldn’t really read where she stood with either of them (and neither could they, based on how things were playing out!) So, to the directors of the show, when shooting the second season (which I’m convinced will happen), a little fan service won’t hurt – give us the romantic scenes we love; we want to see her enjoying herself and being in love! God knows she suffered enough in these eight episodes.
Carrying on with the theme of revenge, we have the Turkish drama, As the Crow Flies. This series follows Lale Kiran a highflying news reader who seems to have it all, namely a national evening news show that she solely hosts. Her life starts to crumble quite dramatically, once an intern, Asli, who is determined to take her down by all means necessary, enters it.
Interestingly in this drama though, the victim of Asli’s elaborate scheming isn’t actually unlikable, this is what makes it harder to justify Asli’s scheme at all. Lale is a woman at the top with her own struggles behind the scenes (which, little does she know, are set to get worse.) I love the David Attenborough-like commentary in the show which compares the events which unfold in each episode to animals in the wild – mainly lions (those with power in the show) and the bird/crow (Asli – it’s an outsider but it’s ability to see things from a higher vantage point gives it a power the lions don’t have and easily underestimate.)
Ultimately, this drama is about power and although it’s specifically witnessed in a newsroom setting, this could apply to many industries and how they operate. A few people are positioned at the top and they maintain power typically through gatekeeping and tightening their network. Asli, as an outsider trying to get within ‘the gates’ is a bit of a rebel in some sense; determined to get power in any way possible. Her drive is really quite astounding, every move she makes is premeditated to the point you’re actually scared of her. She’s a typical Machiavellian character, her ‘two-faced’ nature helping her avoid suspicion as she plots Lale’s downfall. Asli’s downfall however, is her willingness to try and find a quick route to power, something Lale, as someone who has power, assures her does not exist. One way to look at it is a generational gap in the approach to success, Lale – in her late 30s or early 40s – grafted hard to get her role as a news anchor on prime time Turkish TV. Asli on the other hand doesn’t seem to have much skill but yet seems hell-bent on gaining a role she, therefore, isn’t even qualified for (which doesn’t make much sense.) She’s stubborn and doesn’t seem willing to put in the work to learn the skills needed for the industry, despite her internship providing the perfect opportunity to do literally just that.
Revenge is never really as fulfilling as dramas make it out to be, and I think this is reflected in the drama in some ways. Once successful, it really just starts a never-ending cycle that leaves you vulnerable – something we see at the end of the show was Asli claims she’s feeling a ‘chill’; a hint that something ominous is around the corner. I’ll give this show overall, an 8/10, closer to the end it lost momentum and some unplausible things started to happen, but luckily it recovered and picked up again (otherwise the score would have been much lower!) This series also feels set up for a season 2, so I’ll definitely be looking forward to watching that too and seeing what direction they decide to take with it.
What’s on your current watch list? Do you have any recommendations to share?
Every time I scroll through Hinge I find it very interesting that ‘not political’ is an option people can choose when it comes to describing their political stance/affiliation to potential matches. In all honestly, for me it’s usually a turn-off because how could you be completely ‘not political’?
In theory, I could understand the attraction of this option. It’s likely a direct product of an apathy a lot of younger generations have toward modern-day politics due to feelings of helplessness and frustration. We vote, we protest, we tweet and yet it seems we’re rarely able to shift the needle on the topics that matter to us most. But when you think about it, literally everything from the price of milk, the state of education, our pensions and healthcare is dictated ultimately by politics. Since you can’t opt-out of that fact, it’s worth staying clued up and engaging where possible with the political system at hand (even if it’s just only local politics.) In other words – just because you can be apathetic, doesn’t mean you should.
I often wonder if perhaps this trend of being ‘non-political’ is more of a Western phenomenon or a symbol of privilege. Our ability to zone in and out of the news accordingly without it impeding too much on our day-to-day is something many people across the world cannot afford to do, especially for members of marginalised communities who are always having their rights chipped away at.
Podcasts are a great way to stay informed, especially on the go. Some of my usual go-to’s are below: