You release your stress
Closely watching the kettle blow steam
You match its pace and do the same
Doing the opposite of a mental undress
As you stir your milk into your tea
Now, let the day begin on the count of three…
Coming back from traveling abroad is quite a weird experience. As your everyday life stands before you and you’re forced into ‘business as usual mode’, you play with the prospect that perhaps your holiday was just a fever dream. (I mean, of course, you know that’s not true and you probably have a million photos to prove it, but you know what I mean. It feels like it might as well be!)
I just came back from a lovely trip to the Greek island of Santorini and am going through such a transition. After a questionable Spring in the UK (weather-wise), it was nice to see the sea, walk in the black sand and experience the beating sun on my skin – even if a momentary experience. I personally can’t tolerate very hot weather for long but since it’s June it was only in the early 20s. Plus, because we were based not far from the coast, the sun was complimented by a frequent breeze which made it feel heavenly.
We had some lovely food (we tried to try as many local foods and dishes as we could!) and explored all the touristy sites on our bucket list for the island (well as much as we could fit into the four-ish days we were there anyway.) These include a dormant volcano which you can access via boat and climb, Oia (the lovely place all over social media with the blue domes) – where sunset watching is heavily recommended, and visiting the island’s hot springs. (They’re not that hot at this time of year apparently but do get hot during peak summer.)
Getting the balance between rest and relaxation can be quite tricky when you go abroad – some people are like energizer bunnies wanting to do things in every crevice of time each day allows whilst others like to take a more chilled approach and go with the flow. It’s a personal preference as to what you do so there’s obviously no wrong way to go about it. The only issue is when preferences clash with the people you’re holidaying with! I’m probably in more of the latter camp but, luckily for me, I was on the same page with my travel companions (who also happened to be family 🙂 ) so it made for a smooth and highly enjoyable trip. Some photo highlights are below 📸:
There is a power in the passing of time. Moments and memories that were once fragile or sore scabs in the mind, heal with time. I find the that ultimate sign of this happening successfully is when you can look back at a once painful or embarrassing moment and laugh at it. It no longer has a hold on you, its grip loosening with each laugh.
Similarly, choices that were not so wise can be viewed with clarity when once upon a time reflection was too painful or you were blinded with regret. Former contestant from popular Netflix reality TV show, Love is Blind, Iyanna on a podcast talked about this when asked about her relationship with the person she was married to on the show. They’ve now split up but reflecting on the relationship as time has gone by has helped her realise and notice things she didn’t before. In a way, it has unexpectedly helped her healing journey. Time passing allows you to find perspective, and see the memory from a different point of view. Yes, time doesn’t heal all scars but there’s something beautiful about its ability to aid the process.
However, it does mean in the process of going through difficult or uncomfortable times patience is needed. There will be a time you’ll look back on that particular period and only gain strength from it. From the fact you endured and came out the other side, despite the fact you thought it may not be possible. Or perhaps you may look back and think ‘Thank God I’m not there anymore’ and, to be honest, that’s okay too.
*Photo by Thomas Grams on Unsplash
We live in a society with a lot of options so I often feel the weight of indecision when going into certain situations. For example, you go to the supermarket to buy crackers and cheese and you’re faced with about 25 brands of crackers alone (like, why?) However, there are times when you may go guns blazing into a situation, knowing exactly what you want. And it’s VERY annoying in those circumstances when you make it crystal clear what you want and it’s still doubted for some reason.
You say ‘no’ and people think ‘ahh, she just means ‘not yet’.
You say ‘no’ and people think ‘she’ll say yes with a bit of persuading.’
And why? What part of ‘no’ or a ‘yes’ is so confusing? This often happens, surprise surprise, to women because God forbid they be highly rational or know what they want when they make decisions. It’s why we have to give credit to female entrepreneurs and CEOs – I honestly can’t imagine how often they face this issue on a regular basis and yet they still make moves and get things done. It must be tiring, constantly jumping through hoops and hoping people take your decisions at face value.
Anyway, that rant is to segue into my recent story of a grapple with customer services this week. I decided to save some money and cancel a subscription from a certain well-known British TV service provider. I made this very clear when I called – the automatic voice when you call customer services asks the purpose of your call and then so does the human adviser when you finally get through to one. For a straightforward request, I was shocked to find myself on the phone for over an hour trying to cancel my subscription. I was forwarded to three or four people, all as unhelpful as the other. In fact, they were even trying to sell me MORE things during the call (can you believe it?) The cheek. During and after the call I was fuming – it was a hairpulling experience, to say the least. I finished that call unsuccessful with my request. I decided the next day to call again and go in guns blazing, being very clear about what I wanted. I think I even said something along the lines of ‘Can we make this process quick please since I’m working and don’t have much time to spend on this.’ Result? A shorter call overall and my cancellation was successful.
The moral of that story isn’t to be rude to customer service but sometimes being firm and repetitive about what you want can never hurt.
Read more about my ramblings with customer services in this previous post.
Photo by Negative Space
Every now and then you get asked the age-old cliché ice breaker of ‘If you could pick one superpower would it be?’ Most people turn to a typical few answers – being invisible, being able to read people’s thoughts, and so on. Even I usually say to fly (typically accompanied by the joke that I’ll save a fortune on travelling, especially around London because it’s never been a cheap endeavour.) However, do you know what one power is underrated? Being able to duplicate/clone yourself. I mean yes, it’s a bit of a scary prospect but for me, that’s outweighed by its various and obvious benefits.
One thing that can be stressful about trying to organise your social calendar is when things conflict – two parties at the same time, someone having a dinner whilst you’re on holiday. Most of the time you equally want to go to both and can imagine you’ll enjoy whichever one you choose which makes it more painful that you can’t be at both places at once. To avoid stress and keep some integrity, my general rule at the moment on such occasions is that I’ll try and honour the first commitment I make. It makes things easier practically but emotionally it can sometimes still be hard to reject something else.
On the other hand, if you could duplicate yourself, imagine the possibilities. Double the experiences and knowledge at all times! One of me could be working full time and my clone could be exploring the world, ticking country after country off my bucket list. Time is such a rare commodity these days, perhaps you could slowly claw some of it back as you strategically use your clones(s) to attend events on your behalf.
I’ll end by bringing this post down to Earth because, of course, I know no one can duplicate themselves (if you can, please comment below and make yourself know😁.) And to some extent, there are benefits behind this limitation – because our time and where we can be at any one time is limited, it makes how we spend it more meaningful. When you go to a friend’s birthday or housewarming do, for example, it makes it more meaningful to know that you could have been anywhere else but decided to not go to those and instead came to support/spend time with you.
The power the sun can have over your day is quite phenomenal. I’ll give you some more context. At the moment as I type, in the UK it’s a Saturday following Good Friday, which is a national Bank Holiday, it’s not the hottest, temperature-wise, according to Bing (I mean, 11 degrees is so and so) but the sun is shining beautifully and unapologetically. Looking and feeling the brightness of it can’t help but make you feel happier, even if by just a smidgen.
It’s been a long few winter months of dire weather and storms so to see the sun grace us with its presence again is exciting and hopefully a snippet into what will be a lovely, warm Spring and Summer this year. (Or one can only hope at least!)
To be honest, I feel slightly like a fraud since I’ve been in and out of bed all day and yesterday. The closest I’ve gotten to the sun today is looking out my kitchen window every now and then. I have no plans today and my coughing fits make me feel like staying inside these four walls is my best option for the next couple of days, so that may have to unfortunately be my plan.
I have a tickly, dry chesty cough which is not going away as fast as I would like but is at the moment bearable. Over this week (which is when it started) I’ve been doing every home remedy known to man – ginger shots, tea, Lemsip (which is just awful by the way), inhaling hot water, Vaporrub, lemon juice, etc. I’m not a scientist on any level but I suspect none of those things have really helped exactly. That’s the annoying but also humble thing about illnesses, isn’t it– they move on their own timeline, and they really don’t care about yours.
Without sounding too dramatic I knew the sniffles (most likely a cold) were coming my way soon since pretty much everyone around me had it, so it would have been a miracle if I survived ungrazed. I read it should go away in about 2-3 weeks (which sounds a bit long too me ☹) so I’m just praying and holding tight. In the meantime, I think I have permission to wallow in my illness and laziness and feel sorry for myself as I recover.
Hope you’ve had a good week so far!
Current watches: BEEF on Netflix, Love is Blind (season 4) on Netfix.
*Photo by Masaaki Komori on Unsplash
We love to reminisce about the past as a species, don’t we? Thinking of better days, whether it was when we were younger and more naïve (a preferred state of living for some but I can’t necessarily relate) or when we had fewer responsibilities on our shoulders and more time to play with. It’s probably one of many things that distinguishes us from animals since – well as far as we know anyway – they don’t come back from hunting sessions and think to themselves ‘remember the days when there wasn’t climate change…’. Or maybe they do, who knows. They do say an elephant never forgets but do they just have impressive memories or do they interact with their memories like we do and experience feelings such as nostalgia and sadness as a reaction? One for any scientist readers to answer if you know! (😉)
Anyway, back out from that rabbit hole of a tangent. I’m very prone to nostalgia these days. Goodness me, all it takes is a good 00s or 90s Spotify playlist (think Destiny’s Child, Missy Elliott and Mario or Sugababes and Misteeq) to take me back and create feelings of happiness. For many of us, it can be a coping mechanism, particularly to deal with the harsh realities of the present. In fact, you see many businesses and industries even capitalising on nostalgia and its power to make money. Think of all the reboots and remakes of old TV shows gracing our screens over the last few years, for example (Fuller House, Raven’s House, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reboot) which rely on the nostalgic, now adult audiences that grew up with these shows for their successes. And as I said, nostalgia is powerful, people will definitely fork out a decent amount of money just to feel it and dwell in happy parts of the past for a period of time.
Nostalgia is one hell of a drug, as they say. And like all drugs, it can be dangerous too. Because, let’s face it, it doesn’t really have much use after a while. There’s a brief hit of euphoria and then, bam – it’s gone. You eventually have to jump of the cloud high it produces and feel the damp earth of reality under your feet again. Secondly, the passing of time doesn’t change actual facts. Our memory can sometimes distort how we experienced certain events – it’s the effect of ‘rose colour glasses’. That is, thinking everything in the past was a ‘better time’ when in fact, if factually compared – you are definitely in that ‘better time’ now! I for example, have many fond childhood memories but I remember youth – particularly around teenage years being plagued with a feeling of powerless and just wanting to grow up already so legally and resource-wise I could do more. It doesn’t mean you can’t reminisce fondly every now and then (God knows I can’t stop you) but don’t get so lost in the haze that you start to lose appreciation for the present, because there is value in the now too!
Perhaps there’s something we can learn from animals, who I assume are more forward-looking if anything. Because we spend so much time looking back when in fact, the future is probably more exciting to ponder on. Yes, it’s unwritten and unknown so lowkey scary in many ways because only God knows what will happen but that’s also its beauty.
*Photo by lil artsy
What evokes feelings of nostalgia for you? Let me know in the comments 🙂
Recently I’ve been thinking more about the ‘science’ (for lack of a better word) behind a bad day. Is purely it psychological, triggered by a series of external events or a perhaps mixture of both? Perhaps it works sometimes more like a self-fulfilling prophecy where if you think ‘oh boy, this day is gonna be bad’, it ends up being one?
My thinking down this ‘good day’ rabbit hole got me thinking about my previous post about being a morning person. Update from that post – I’m still not one so the struggle continues (I know, very sad.) However, I have started to realise the role mornings play in really helping set the tone for the day. The time to meditate, pray and do the occasional stretch (if I’m lucky) can really be a game-changer.
Of course, it may be possible to still start your morning right and have unfortunate series of events still warp your day into an unenjoyable one but there’s not much you can do about that.
When you’re lost in the heavy fogginess of a bad day it’s easy to mentally checkout and feel like you might as well as strap yourself for a day that is going downhill. At your lowest, you develop the opposite of rose-coloured glasses and start to feel mentally that your energy and patience levels are draining away. I would say planning little pockets of joy throughout a bad day is vital. These are just small things to look forward to and keep you going. Maybe it’s ensuring you listen to your favourite podcast or playlist as you work, saying a little prayer or texting a friend you know you can rely on for a dose of humour. Often when I’m stressed or feeling quite overwhelmed when I work, I’ll blast on some guilty pleasure tunes and let them fill the room. I know I can also always rely on a few close people to fill me with encouragement if I confide in them about the struggles I’m having that day. Sometimes it’s tough love but ultimately it’s good to get a different perspective since maybe the solution to turning your day around is easier than we think.
And for those reading this struggling with this week, wondering if good days are coming/ever returning, I promise you, they are. I can’t predict when but they’re coming so hold tight!
*Photo by Maria Oswalt on Unsplash
‘Play us another song’ they chanted
And though he silently groaned
His heart longed to play a song to take them on
the journey of love and redemption he had traveled
Which had brought him to this very night
He strummed his pain with his fingers
And it lingered, warm and tender in the air
Palpitable through every family of notes he sang
When done, everything and nothing remained unsaid.
*Photo by Gabriel Gurrola on Unsplash
“One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” – Proverbs 18:24
I feel like every year I learn something new and insightful about friendships. I strongly believe they have a God-ordained part in your life and are important for nurturing character and gaining wisdom. Every time I leave the house, I take a portable charger with me. The charger itself needs to be charged in order to boost my battery on the go. In the same way, we feed into other people, we need other people to feed into us – mentoring us, providing us with love and direction.
However, when I was younger, I remember being highly concerned that I didn’t have a best friend. You know, a BFF (best friend for life), a ‘bestie’. In children’s books, TV shows and even toy advertisements for girls, this idea of having a best friend who you always do everything and anything with is very prevalent. You make friendship bracelets for each other, go for sleepovers all the time and have birthday parties together. It filled me with a slight longing and sadness that I didn’t have one. Sometimes I thought am I missing out on something here?
Although, for the record, I did have a best friend when I was in my starting years of school (so around three to five years old) but we later lost contact when her and her family moved out of London. To be fair, last time I checked, long-distance relationships were not children’s strong point!) After that I just flittered between friendship groups at school like a social butterfly, gaining company where I could but not always feeling like I fully belonged anywhere.
I never really bothered giving anyone the label after that. Not because I didn’t want to but out of the fear that it wouldn’t be a mutual feeling; i.e. you call someone your best friend but to them, they actually think someone else is their best friend. To me that just sounded nightmarish since the whole point of ‘best friends’ to me was the element of a mutual agreement of your place in each other’s lives.
Yet, as I’ve gotten older it’s concerned me less as I find the pleasure many may get in one best friend in multiple people. I think my introverted nature also often means I enjoy my own company too, a lot more these days. In moments alone you find an incomparable peace, and for me, I am reminded of a God I have, who is everywhere and will never forsake me. (Deuteronomy 31:8) So although I may feel it sometimes, am I ever truly alone? Probably not.
*Photo by Walter Randlehoff on Unsplash