Posts Tagged With: spontaneity

Love someone? Tell them so.

I used to think that saying ‘I love you’ all the time was a bit of an exaggeration. Whenever I heard couples on the phone saying ‘Bye, love you’, I used to think: ‘Why do they have to say that all the time?’ I use to think that the more you said ‘I love you’, the less meaning the words had. A bit like saying ‘Are you alright?’ when you meet someone on the street. It doesn’t mean much, does it? It’s just part of the greeting process.

I don’t know what has changed, but I now think in a totally different way. And the process didn’t go like: ‘Ok, from now on, I’ll say ‘I love you’ every morning when we go separate ways to work, in every text message or call and every night before we go to sleep (with some added ones when we cuddle and the words appear out of nowhere again)’. No, none of this was planned.

One day, I just realised that one day didn’t go by when I didn’t say ‘I love you’ to my partner. I mean, I have had other relationships before and this didn’t happen, so it does bear the question: what has changed? Yes, you thought right. I guess when it feels right, the words just come out without you thinking too much. And yes, I do think I have loved before, but I don’t think it was a love strong enough to say the words every day, if that makes sense.

It doesn’t happen just with couples, though, does it? I, for one, can’t hang up when I talk to my dad before saying ‘I love you’ first. Or to my grandma, or my mum, or my sister. I mean, the people that are very very close to your heart make you just want to say it, because you want them to know exactly how you feel.

When you think about the meaning of the words ‘I love you’, what comes to mind? To me, it means: ‘I’ll be there for you always and I appreciate you in my life, just the way you are’. I think this covers it. But some kids have their own translation of the words, and each and every one makes perfect sense. They show that you don’t necessarily have to say the words to show someone how much you love them.

Here’s what the kids said… (these are from a study where professionals asked kids aged 4 – 8 years-old the question ‘What does love mean?’). Some are quite funny, but they are all so honest…

“When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn’t bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That’s love.” Rebecca- age 8  

“Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.” Karl – age 5  

i_love_you_fingers

“Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.” Chrissy – age 6

“Love is what makes you smile when you’re tired.” Terri – age 4  

“Love is when my mommy   makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to   make sure the taste is OK.” Danny – age 7  

“Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more. My Mommy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss.” Emily – age 8  

“Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken.” Elaine-age 5  

“Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day.” Mary Ann – age 4  

“When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you.” Karen – age 7  

“You really shouldn’t say ‘I love you’ unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget.” Jessica – age 8 

And the above is exactly the point of this post. People need to know how we feel. It’s so good to know how other people feel about us, so why do we sometimes hold back? Saying ‘I love you’, in whatever way it comes, is the most selfless thing you can say to someone. Yes, it makes you vulnerable. Yes, it means you wear your heart on your sleeve. But then again, if you don’t let feelings take over often enough, what is the point in living?

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Categories: Love matters, Relationships | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Just a matter of time

I find myself with no time. And when I say no time, I mean no spare time. Of course, I have time to go to work (since I have no choice in the matter), I have time to brush my teeth and time to clean the kitchen floor. But I don’t have time to BE. I have no time to just sit and watch the world go by, to just look out to the sea and day-dream. I have no time to do the things that inspire me because everything else takes over.

It’s quite sad when you realise that your life is passing by and you are not being able to take control of it, to take the bull by the horns and say: “Hey, I have a say here! I want to spend my time differently!”. I want some time for creative idleness. That time that you use to do nothing or do a lot. That time that you use to do whatever floats your boat, to make you happy, to inspire you and make you productive.

Some people like to drink, others like watching TV, some people eat to pass the time and others go running. I like to just BE. I don’t have a specific activity that I like doing to be in my creative idleness zone. I go with the flow. Sometimes even cleaning gets me in the mood to create something and that’s fine, as long as I feel like I’ve achieved something from time to time.

I know that we all suffer the pressures of not having enough time in the day – and I’m not even considering the ones who have children (honestly, can’t figure out how they manage!).  We all have things that if we don’t do, we feel guilty about. I feel guilty when I don’t give myself the time to exercise, for example. I know that my body benefits immensely from it and I know I like it after I start it but, most of the time, I simply can’t be bothered and then I feel really bad for not making the effort afterwards. I also feel a little guilty if I don’t keep the house clean enough or if I don’t give enough time to my friends. We need more hours in the day!

I always give 110% at work and although I consider this a good thing, I get home with my brain cells smashed. Some nights, I get home with no more energy than the necessary to make something to eat, shower and go to bed. Yes, it is demanding because it’s always so busy, but it does drain me and affects my life outside work. And life should NOT be just about work, there is so so so much more to it!

I wish my time was spent more wisely. I wish I didn’t care if there are clothes to be washed or a sink to be cleaned. I wish I was more of a ‘happy go lucky’ kind of girl. But I’m not. No matter how much I try, the dirty sink will get on my nerves if I leave it, so I’d rather go and spend 5 minutes doing it than worrying about it for the rest of the day. It’s just the way I am, I guess.

I’m not sure what I can do to make this better, rather than writing about it, which always helps in my case. I don’t know if there are things I can leave out of my ‘to do list’. I simply don’t feel able to cross anything off at the moment. I just wish I could get ‘in the zone’ a bit quicker. By being in ‘the zone’ I mean getting to that place where your mind is clear, ready, inspired. That moment when I feel I can create something out of nothing, something I can call MINE, something special, even if only to me.

This quote kind of explains how I feel about time:

“The soul requires duration of time – rich, thick, deep, velvety time – and it thrives on rhythm. Soul can’t be hurried or harried… We may go through many events in the day and experience nothing because the soul has not had the opportunity to feel them from many different points of view.” Roberto Sardello

The choices we have to make every single day on how we divide the hours in the day into what deserves our attention can be overwhelming. And I know when I’m not making the right ones because I basically feel crap if I don’t do the things I like to do. It’s simple maths really:

Time + things I like to do = Happy Marilia

Time + things that I have to do but don’t necessarily like to = Unhappy Marilia

My commitment to myself from now on must be, I guess, to try and declutter. I must try and erase from my life the things that don’t deserve that much of my attention. Like cleaning, for instance. Maybe I can clean less, so I can read more. Maybe I can worry less, so I can day-dream more. Maybe I can just apply this newly found maths to everything that requires time in my life. This way, I’ll know straight away if spending time on something I don’t really want to do is taking away time that I’d be using to do the things I love, so I’ll feel more empowered to saying no to a few things here and there. If we think about it, even the person who has absolutely nothing, has time. Time is universal, everyone has it, even if only a little left. This makes us pretty powerful. We ARE in charge.

Right, enough talk, I’m gonna go make a nice coffee and read my book for an hour. Sod the washing-up.

Categories: Creativity, Dreams, Personality traits, Quirky thoughts, Time, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Right turn, left turn

Today I got thinking about the choices we make in life. I was thinking about how my life turned out to be in England and not in Brazil. I have said it here before that when people ask me why I live here I don’t even have a plausible answer. I just kind of nod (‘Yep, I’m from Brazil!) and say a few sentences hoping that they will suffice. They never seem to do, though, and the reason for that is because I don’t think my answers are convincing enough. It’s hard to even convince myself sometimes. This got me thinking abot what my life would be like, right now, if I was living in Brazil.

I have discussed this with some fellow migrants before, and the majority of us agree that when we move away from home, we tend to do everything a bit later than everybody else. The process of finding our feet in a completely different country with its own rules and no family around to help takes a little time. So, basically, the time we’d be getting on with the ‘normal process’ of life in our native countries, we are finding out how to register with a doctor, apply for citizenship or how to drive on the ‘wrong’ side of the road. Now, I’m not assuming here that life has an order, all I’m saying is that people seem to follow patterns and the majority does things according to some kind of unspoken rule: the rule of ‘society’.

The word society, according to the Oxford English Dictonary, means “the aggregate of people living together in a more or less ordered community.” Ah, I see… society means that we have to live with a group of people and follow the same rules. I like that. Rules are necessary when we live in a group. And I like it because in no way, shape or form the statement says that we have to be the same. But how is it that, somehow, we seem to think that being the same is the best?

I seemed to have taken longer to find a job that I love, for example. I tried different things (like accountancy) and after hating one particular thing (accountancy), I decided to go back to what I learnt at uni: good and old marketing. And guess what? It was the right thing to do. Had I stayed in Brazil and lived there my whole life, would I have had many jobs? Would I be in my dream job now? Mmmm… I don’t really know the answer. But I can surely ask the question and spend some afternoons wondering what the answer would be.

I also seemed to have taken a little longer in finding the right person to spend my life with (did I, really?). And, again, I’m not even sure if this IS the right person whith whom I’ll be spending the rest of my life with (who knows, anyway?) but hey, for now it definitely is, so let’s go with that. I wonder if I was in Brazil I’d be married with (and here comes the third of my divagations)… KIDS! Now this is something I’ve talked about many a time before and if you read my blogs you may have already read about it (sorry, but here I go again!). The decision of having kids still doesn’t make much sense in my head. For some bizarre reason, I’m not really maternal and, believe it or not, I still feel like a teenager. I did play with dolls when I was a kid, but it was never to be cuddling them, it was to have some kind of control (now that’s a hard one to admit, give me some credit). I used to play that I was this busy mummy that worked a lot and had this busy life and had to juggle everything. I used to play that I was on my phone trying to organise people, places, ballet classes and christenings. Poor me, little weirdo.

Well, I grew up to be very far from what I maybe imagined I’d be by now. I am quite a placid person who hates confrontation. Yes, I say what I thinkmost of the time, but I’d rather never see you again than to have a full-blown argument. I just hate it. I am still the goofy person of always, though. I especially love making fun of myself. This really is my favourite. I still hate peas, but I no longer think I can live off my written word, as I once dreamt. I quickly realised how impossibly hard that would be.

As for organising everything and everyone, I think this may have been one route, but I see myself slowly moving the other way. I can kind of feel the weight of making all the decisions all the time, it’s exhausting. Let it be, for Christ’s sake! Let go of trying to have control of the controllable and the incontrollable.

I feel quite under pressure sometimes, to be doing what other people expect me to be doing. At my (tender) age of 33, maybe I was supposed to be doing this or that, but hey, I’m not (or maybe I am, who knows?). Still, though, I feel this pressure hanging around, but what annoys me the most is that I actually fall pray of this little machine called society and these unspoken ideas about what I should be doing with my own life. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I wish it didn’t affect me but hey, it does, somehow. And this is what drives me crazy. I wish I didn’t care one bit about what other people think and I wish I didn’t worry about turning right or left and the effects such turns can have in my life.I should go for it a bit more, perhaps, and just see what happens… I shouldn’t worry about pleasing everybody, this is never going to happen anyway.

Ok, rant over! And to end it well, here’s to a life with NO RULES!

PS: right, just for the record, nothing bad happened to me, I just got really carried away with thinking about rules, expectations, ageing and reality. And then I had to share my thoughts here with you, poor reader. 😉

 

Categories: Babies, Brazil, Dreams, Living away from home | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

You, the better girl

I watched a movie on Friday, a chick flick that actually didn’t disappoint as much as I thought it would (it was called ‘This means war’). In said movie, the girl was torn between two guys, for different reasons. One of them was really out there, a proper Casanova that knew the seduction game really well with all its tricks. The other guy was a bit more of an intelectual, a bit more laid back and not such a ‘try hard’. Basically, the girl liked them both and could not make a decision. At one point, when asking for some advice to a friend, the friend said: ‘Don’t choose the better guy. Choose the guy that makes you the better girl’.

Wow! Now that’s a great piece of advice in my opinion. Yes, she could choose either of them for various different reasons, but which one actually made her a better person? I won’t reveal the end here, but she went with her heart, which is usually what we do in any situation related to emotions.

The friend’s advice did make me think, though. Usually, girls tend to have such an extensive list of what they want in a man that it becomes practically impossible to find someone that perfect. However, if you were to analyse the whole thing based on the advice this friend gave the girl in the movie, would the list be any shorter? Would it be easier to find someone nice and that makes your heart beat faster?

From what my friends tell me, I see that lots of the requirements on their lists relate to how people perceive other people. A lot of it is about people judging other people and us all worrying about it. If the guy is ugly, people will think “oh, is this the best she could get?”. If the guy hasn’t got much money, people will say “oh, why did she go for such a loser?”. If the guy wears shoes that don’t quite go with his pants or shirt, they will think “oh, I couldn’t go out with someone that can’t dress properly”… and so on. The list of why other people might not approve of our choices is interminable. It’s tiring.

I think we girls should have a different approach when it comes to finding ‘the one’. I’m sure lots of us already do this, but from what I hear from some friends and friends of friends, and so on, females seem to sweat a little too much over the small stuff. Here is my approach based on a 5-question quiz. For each one of these that the guy is/has/can provide, he gets a point. You need a 5-point score to have a winner.

So here it is:

1. Does he make you laugh? Yes: 1 point   No: 0 points

2. Does he make you feel special (in general and in bed, because we can’t just ignore this one)? Yes: 1 point   No: 0 points

3. Do you like having nice long chats with each other? Yes: 1 point   No: 0 points

4. Do his beliefs in life match yours in a way that there won’t be serious conflicts? Yes: 1 point   No: 0 points

5. Do the things that you want out of life complement each other? (they don’t need to be the same, of course, but they can’t be so far apart that you can’t handle it) Yes: 1 point   No: 0 points

Take me as an example. I was married before, in a relationship that lasted 9 years. I was happy then, but if I compare how I felt then to how I feel in my relationship now, I think: what a difference. Of course, people are completely different and my ex-husband, with all his good qualities, is very different to my current boyfriend. But back then, I didn’t realise the one important thing about a relationship: your partner needs to bring out the best in you. And in my marriage, we were such different people that this very reason made it impossible for us to do this. We didn’t have our aspirations tuned, so when I was trying one thing, he was trying another, which inevitably made each go onto a different track. And thank God for that, because we would have struggled to the end if we had decided to stay together.

We have to think about ourselves. We have to be selfish when trying to find that one person with whom we want to spend our precious time with. And it should be simple, not a marathon of ticking off a million requirements. Poor guys!

So, if they make you feel like you’re walking on clouds regularly enough, you laugh and chat together, he brings out the best in you, you know how to make each other better when one is down, there is respect in your relationship and you feel incredibly lucky about him being in our life, then there’s no judgement out there that can make you two crumble.

Categories: Love matters | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Being brave

This week, I found myself wondering about what being a grown up really means…

I had a bit of an episode, when I got really nervous about something and I think this is what triggered my thinking. You see, I get really nervous around motorways or whenever I’m driving and get lost somehow. I won’t dwell on it on this post (I’ll probably write about this another time), but I just wanted to say that the simple fact of a road diversion can get me all jittery.

This week wasn’t a very stressful one overall, but little things managed to get to me and throw me slightly off balance. When that happens, I usually think “what would the grown ups of my family do?”. These can be my mother, my grandmother, my dad, my stepmother or my stepfather. I have these 5 people on a bit of a pedestal, as they usually have all the answers for me.

I am 33 years old and I still see myself as a teenager most of the time. And then when I do something really grown up, like braving myself through a different route to work, I don’t even remember that no, I don’t really need praise for it. This is what I should be doing all the time at this stage in my life.

The bottom line is that I don’t consider myself a very brave person. You know, like those people that just don’t hesitate to take a risk and just go for things. I need to always have a bit of a plan in place, and when that plan is in place, I always organise a plan B too, just in case. I fear that my very specific approach on taking risks in life means that I’m probably not enjoying it as much as I could. After all, we only live once, don’t we?

When I feel really useless and like a little girl afraid of everything, I try to go through my life and remember some occasions where I did show some sort of bravery. Like, for example, when I moved to a country on the other side of the  ocean, miles and miles away from home, all on my own. I should take the credit for that, shouldn’t I? I know that millions and millions of people have done this before, but for a relatively scared person like me, this should count as a bit of a life achievement.

I was also brave when I decided to stay in this country and start a life here for myself. I have had jobs (and now have one I love after one more little act of bravery!), I have new friends, I have a new doctor, I even have a new mechanic for my car. And I found the way to get all of these all on my own. However, there are still areas where I go into panic mode. When I’m driving, for example. Or when I have to make a big decision.

I hate making a decision. I always analyze far to much and then end up confusing myself with all the pros and cons, ifs and maybes… it’s stressful, but I tend to make it even more stressful than it should be, really. My partner Lee, on the other hand, is a very straightforward person. He is quite quick to grasp if something is a good or a bad idea and things are usually quite clear and simple for him. On my side, I sleep on it, I dwell on it, I stress over it and I always end up making a decision that I’m never entirely sure is the best one. I lack on confidence.

To be a grown up, though, you need to be confident, don’t you? You need to be able to deal with so many things at the same time and also try and keep that peace of mind that is so important. For me, getting paranoid over things means that my energy gets drained and I feel powerless. I have to change that.

Although change is necessary, I’m still not quite sure about how to do this. Do I just start being braver in my decisions and going for it, not thinking too much? But then if I do that and things don’t go well, won’t I regret it all and then blame myself for not having taken a more cautious route? It’s hard to change yourself. You know what people say… start as you mean to go on? Well, I believe in that. I’m a great believer that we do things for the sake of it, because we have done it the same way for years and it has become a habit so intrinsict that it becomes almost impossible to change. But I also believe that we have to recognise when something needs changing. We need to recognise when the way we go about things is holding us back instead of taking us forward.

It is a big challenge to make a big change, especially when some of the things we do and the way we do them is connected so closely with our personality. I want to be braver. I want to have the courage to see an opportunity and believe that I can do something about it. I want my belief in myself to drive me forward and I want to stop wasting time making plans and trying to schedule life so much that opportunities just pass me by, waving at me whilst I sit there with my cofffee and my ‘to do’ list .

To make big changes, we have to start somewhere and I know that most people usually get overwhelmed by how big a task it is to change some of our habits. Perhaps if we take it slowly we can achieve more. We have to keep going, slowly but surely. Things won’t change overnight, but we have to start. I have always loved a sentence from that movie “Vanilla Sky” and I think that I’ll use that as my startying point for my change of being braver in life. If we think about change as putting one foot after the other, maybe the whole process will look less scary. The sentence from the movie is: “every passing minute is a another chance to turn it all around”. Let’s grab all those minutes and make them count just as we want them to.

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Just in time

Time…. what a precious commodity!

We all love to say that we are busy, busy, busy. It seems to make us feel important. The question is… are we, really? If you were to stop and analyse where your time goes, I bet you’d be surprised.

There are so many things that we do that we don’t account for in a day. Checking Facebook, for example. The vast majority of us do it. I probably spend a good 20 minutes to half an hour each night, just browsing and reading things that usually amuse me. I don’t do it at work because I’m usually quite busy there and that is the truth. Ok, Facebook can be considered entertainment. But how about the endless shitty programmes that we watch on the telly? Are they bringing anything positive to our lives? I am guilty of that too, hence one of my New Year’s resolutions was to watch less TV and read more. It seems to be working so far…

I used to think that I couldn’t be the perfect daughter, sister, girlfriend and eventually mum if I didn’t have loads of time to dedicate to each of these roles, which is why I find becoming a mum so scary. I used to think that my loved ones deserved lots of my time, be it in thoughts or in real activities. I still do. However, I now see that we all jugle our time and spend it with different people, so even if I had all the time in the world for my mum and dad, they probably wouldn’t be able to reciprocate. What we have to do is make sure that we spend quality time. This, to me, means giving someone 20 minutes of your time but with no distractions. When you speak to them (even if it’s on Skype), you look into their eyes. When you go somewhere with them, you don’t check your phone all the time. When you are listening to them, you are actually listening and not thinking that you forgot to defrost the chicken for tonight’s dinner.

Something else related to time that strikes me nowadays is how people are averse to spontaneity. Gone are the days when you’d knock one someone’s door for an unannounced visit. That seems to be rude, especially here in England. The surprise element of seeing the face of someone you like having in your life is wiped away by numerous phone calls and text messages trying to arrange a suitable time to spend a few moments together. I say a few moments because most of the time we are just “fitting people in” as well, making life feel like one giant puzzle where people are tiny pieces.

I think we have to remember that every day is a new day and offers a chance to see something you have never seen before. Every day we have a chance to surprise people, to be spontaneous, to make people smile. We don’t need to box off times to be happy, to do errands, to see loved ones, to work and to make dinner. We can potentially have it all at once. I think the secret might be in stopping to see life as this game where we have to play our cards carefully. We should just throw all cards upwards and laugh when they all come down, messy and scattered everywhere.

I guess that what I’m trying to say is that we have to stop being so organised with time, we should just let things happen, just go with the flow more than writing it all in the diary. Ok, some people, especially the ones with kids, will say that they have to be organised, but I challenge you to just let it all go for a week and see what happens. If you don’t limit yourself, then maybe you will be surprised… maybe you’ll feel freer and maybe you will find yourself naturally spending your time just with what/who really matters.

Categories: Time | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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