my life, a movie
The first week of committing to this insane idea of writing one positive post every day, and already it’s getting hard.
I spent today in a horrible mood. I had dark, fatalistic thoughts. I practically bristled with negative energy, except that I didn’t have any energy at all. I wanted to curl and give up. I had to resort to the last line of defence, so I used my special secret talent for falling asleep anywhere and at any time, and had a two-hour nap on the couch. When you sleep, you cannot think negative things. Also, you interrupt that horrible downward spiral. It worked okay. I wasn’t in a much better mood afterwards, but at least I pulled myself out of the down trend.
How is this a positive post? Actually, it isn’t. So far. If my life was a movie, I could now tell you a beautiful anecdote of how I learned something about myself, the world, the universe from this day, and how that made it all worthwhile.
Well, it’s not a movie. I didn’t learn some kind of lesson. I’m still not feeling peachy.
But you know what? I don’t care.
This is a positive post because it rained half the day (the garden has been dry as tinder). It is a positive post because the sun came out in the afternoon and glittered on the raindrops quivering on the red tulip petals. It is a positive post because I watched a documentary segment about a young woman in Afghanistan, who sprays graffiti in Kabul to spread hope and spark new ideas through her art, even if she is continually in danger while doing it. This is a positive post, because my grandma is recovering well from a very recent eye operation, because all my family is healthy, and because apparently, from time to time, I need days like this to appreciate what I have and to be motivated for the future.
Damn it, a lesson sneaked in at the last line. Maybe my life is a movie after all?
Well, I better go and find that writer who’s responsible for the script. I have some ideas I’d like to discuss…
the big one
Tomorrow is my birthday. No, really, it is. And it’s not just any old birthday, it’s the one with the big ‘3’ in front. For the first time. I’m dreading it.
Don’t get me wrong: I love my birthday. It’s insanely important to me. I’ve only ever met one other person who is as crazy about her birthday as I am, and she is the eldest of a large family as well. We think that might the clue to this feeling of ours, that our respective birthdays are the most important days in our lives. The one day when it’s all about us. No, change of personal pronoun. The one day when it’s all about me. I get to choose what is eaten, who is invited, what is being done, where I go, what music is being played… and I don’t have to respect anybody’s wishes and I don’t have to take a step back. It’s the one day in the year where I feel totally unabashed about being the centre of attention. Actually, it’s the only day in the year when I like being in the centre.
Also, I’m just happy on that day. I wake up with a good mood, I dance and sing the whole day like some annoying Disney heroine, I love everyone and tell them repeatedly (a bit like being drunk) and nothing can spoil my happiness – I can take anything in my stride on my birthday.
The downside of that: I’ve always taken it as a milestone. Because it is so important to me, I keep measuring myself on that date and compare how I ‘did’ during the last year, what developments I went through, what I succeeded at, where I failed. And because tomorrow is ‘the big one’, I’ve been trying to take stock of the whole decade in the last few days.
I found myself looking at what I wanted at twenty and how much of that I achieved. The answer isn’t pretty – it’s ‘Not much’. I haven’t sailed around the world, I still do not speak more than the two foreign languages that I could already speak ten years ago, I haven’t published a book, I’ve never ridden a horse or went paragliding. The list goes on, but I think you might get the idea. On top of that comes the realization of my present situation: unemployed, living with my parents, out of money, out of ideas, in debt, no practical work experience to speak of.
I *did* warn you, didn’t I? It’s not pretty.
However, the most important resolution I have made is not to whine anymore. Not even to myself, and most certainly not to my friends. So instead of looking at the deficit side (what I wanted and didn’t get), I want to take a look at the plus side. And I want to share it with you. So this is my list of all the things I achieved in the years between twenty and thirty, in no order whatsoever:
- finished three university degrees
- lived in six different towns, three of them abroad
- made a huge number of friends
- stayed in touch with most friends
- lost some friends, but learned from the experience
- fell in love
- fell out of love
- never quit writing
- learned to go out by myself
- learned how to be alone and to rely on myself
- taught at two different schools
- went through a severe psychological crisis and worked hard to come out of it again
- survived a potentially dangerous illness
- climbed mountains by myself
- travelled with friends and alone
- discovered new music and went to lots of concerts
- never gave up my belief in humanity’s goodness, although often questioning it
- helped people who needed help – not always, not everyone, but every time I could
- read massive amounts of books and learned about humanity
- connected people
- never stopped trusting people and faring quite well with that policy
- gained self-confidence
- got experience and knowledge in a huge number of areas: love, friendship, how to listen, when to speak, what to say and what not to say, people in general, group dynamics, music, writing, myself, thinking
- had lots of fun at so many concerts, parties, gatherings
- saw beauty in all the expected and in even more unexpected places
- never gave up questioning the world and reflecting my actions
- never grew up to the point of giving up my dreams
I like this list. Some of the points might be repetitive, but I wrote them as I thought of them. This has helped. I think I’m ready for tomorrow now.
It’s time to go out and celebrate in style and welcome the 3 into my life.
things that are good
My emotions have been up and down like quicksilver the last few weeks. One of the most regular pieces of advice I get is to focus on the positive things. So here it is, in no particular order:
THINGS THAT ARE GOOD RIGHT NOW
- green shoots and spring flowers everywhere
- friends who live close by
- friends who don’t live close by, but are there for me anyway
- a family that exasperates and sustains me in equal measures
- learning more about photography with the help of some really good books from the library and lots of experimentation
- the daily expectation of the arrival of a new family member (I looked up the correct terminology and I believe it is a ‘first cousin once removed’ that I am waiting for – in plain language: my cousin is due to give birth any day now)
- meetings friends for coffee and discovering cool new places to have that coffee (there was this little place in Brick Lane…)
- reading interesting books from the library (lots of reviews stored up for writing on a rainy day!)
- listening to new music (with the input of friends and help of the great website 8tracks)
- the chance to start fresh every day
- even though some days are gloomy and dark, I still have new ideas all the time
- my camera