Sunday, 21 June 2015

Second time round.

A simple solution to most of our sophisticated problems, right? Do more of what makes you happy. If you like watching films, watch them. If hiking makes you happy, do it. Maybe it's knitting, painting, sculpting or simply skipping that puts a smile on your face - it doesn't really matter. As long as it makes you happy. Of course I am about to question it (like anything in life, I even question questioning sometimes) with these words: but is there a limit?

If you know me you might as well remember that I love running. Running makes me happy. Definitely. It all started when I was unintentionally inspired by the love of my life (before he turned out to be the love of my life) when I saw how happy it made him. Seeing him grabbing his black coffee and a sweet sticky Danish pastry after a morning run just gave me the idea that there's nothing wrong with putting your left foot in front of the right at a steady pace. Moreover, it clearly would give him a glow and make his smile even bigger.

So I kind of secretly started doing so as well. It took me a while (due to the fear of being called a copy-cat) before I admitted it during one of our long-hours text conversations by asking about the time he normally would complete a lap around our local park in. Now I kind of regret it. The reason being (I've always voluntarily admitted to being competitive), ever since I couldn't get the idea of my joy being defined my time out of my head. Obviously, the more you are into something the better you want to become. The hours spent learning a foreign language, the C++ course you paid for, the flowers you planted in your back garden - we all want to see results. And not just to post them on Instagram but to reward ourselves.

There's very few more amazing things than seeing yourself progress. In anything. But there's absolutely nothing more discouraging than not seeing yourself progress. Not to mention regress. And the problem usually is that the better you become the slower the progress. Be it in exercising, dancing, drawing or playing the guitar. At the beginning things are happening quickly. A week makes a huge difference and you feel that you can move mountains, make plans to shift the extra 2 lbs or play Bach's Cello Suite No 1 in G Major as smoothly as the master himself. It happens. But then, to my surprise, it becomes so much harder (if not impossible) to become... better.

So what happens when you stop becoming better? What happens when you hit the plateau? This morning I was one of the 10 000 women running around Victoria Park in London trying to establish a new personal best. But I didn't. Admitting (just to yourself) that you didn't run faster than last year is so painful and takes the whole joy of the very act of running away. I am the happiest runner when I do not measure anything. When I just go, face the world with no sports watch, no running app. Just me versus the road. Why do we spoil it for ourselves? Is there a point when doing more of the thing that makes us happy starts making us unhappy?

At the point when I'm nearly 30 and should at least be ever so slightly resembling an adult I still find joy in simple things that never stopped making me laugh. For the last 29 years (or maybe 27 since I only learnt to perform them at a certain age) I have been the happiest when eating ice cream, jumping on my bed (despite my mum telling me not to) and blowing bubbles. I think I'll stick to that and put my sports watch away for a while.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Oh how goooood does the good wife look?

Any 'The Good Wife' fans out there? Ok, I am not an expert on exciting series as I still haven't seen 'Breaking Bad', 'House of Cards' or 'Game of Thrones'. Moreover, I am highly unlikely to ever watch it. But I was swept off my feet by Julianna's performance as a power woman. Without going into detail and going on and on about how good this show is, I just couldn't not share this fantastic, classy, sophisticated and mature editorial. After seeing Julianna next to George Clooney (one lucky lady) in pink scrubs in 'ER' for year it's simply mind-blowing! Bring your hand together for team 'The Edit' and Ms Margulies!

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Or is she...?

Correct me if I'm wrong but it seems like Mandy Hale is a woman herself. In her humble (yet not so humble as she's being quoted to nearly 5.5 million followers of Word Porn plus gazillions of people they share it with) opinion a woman is more attractive when being vibrant, busy, more than likely fulfilled and independent. I have to admit that I would think so as well, at first glance so here I was about to share it with 350 of my friends on Facebook. But before I clicked the magic blue button I had a second thought: or is she?

Just like Charlotte (SATC), I have been dating since I was 15. Nearly half of my life so far so let's say I've got a bit of experience. That the fact that I have been repeatedly 'rejected' by the opposite sex was  actually very often based on the fact that I was independent, busy, vibrant, self-confident and all things we are pressured to be. Or choose to be as we hate the bleak, ghost-like women who start every sentence with 'my boyfriend says/thinks/does'.

By no means will I go into detail here but there are at least three of my numerous life stories that would support the fact that women like us (strong, independent, etc) are the ones who are not attractive at all. Ok, let me get something straight. We are attractive at the first glance - men gather around admiring our smiles, laugh at stories we choose to tell with a hint of flirtation, offer to spot us at the gym. That's all great. But once they realise that we are perfectly ok on our own they do not see the need to hang around. Unless you're offering a comfortable shag.

Not so long ago I have been told that they (the fabulous men I was involved with) were getting back together/staying with/going to marry yet another girl that was present in their lives (I am not proud to admit that may have been 'the other woman') because, and I quote, 'she needs me', 'she loves me and I can't do this to her', 'she will collapse without me', 'she is not as confident as you', 'I don't want to leave her devastated'. So I was left, collapsed, lost self-confidence but still hopeful that things will be different next time (oh yes, so smart yet so stupid).

Dear Ms Hale. Please spare us this 'quote of the day' which will leave us deluded and thinking that we are right. We aren't. My father once told me that it will be difficult for me to find a good man because I simply don't need one. I got my place on my own, graduated from uni, I can fix cracks, install a dishwasher and check oil level in my car. I wish I couldn't do all that sometimes. I wish someone was there to do it but, as any earthly being, I adapted. So is love a simple relation like the supply - demand one I was lectured about so many times at uni? Is it really that simple? If so, is it my own fault I don't have it because I don't create demand? Or are we facing short supply? Maybe it's a continuous imbalance of both? I'm not really sure how I got my A in economics....

Friday, 12 June 2015

Is timing everything?

24 hours ago I had romance on my menu. A year ago I was crying about the love of my life leaving it permanently. 6 years ago I had the best first date of my life. 7 years ago I was saying my goodbyes to the best people in my life and moving to another country. 12 years ago happened the only event I wish I could take back. 29 years ago (minus 12 days) my mom got her contractions and I decided to take my first breath. But was all that happening at the right time? I am watching the 8th episode of the 3rd season of SATC (remember: when in doubt, SATC) and cannot help but wonder: Is timing everything?

Our lives are determined by the concept of time. We assume what should happen when we are 6-8 weeks old - we should be reacting to loud noises, follow people with our eyes and smile when a random adult is making weird faces at us. When we're 5 we go to school, when we manage to read, write and buy our own lunch we are sent to college and are supposed to figure out who we want to be in life. Then we kind of try to make this happen. We face bumps and dips on this long winding road but it's all still dictated by timing. Getting into the right party at the right time to see him. Leaving the pub a minute earlier to catch the last tram home. Saying 'I miss you' before these words don't mean anything any more.

Yesterday I met my estate agent who happened to be selling another house on the street and he told me that my timing was perfect. Apparently, I already made 20% on my property in the last 24 months. He thought I couldn't be happier but in fact I had other things on my mind. I might've got my first step on the property ladder right but the rest of it was off.

I have met a lot of fantastic people in my life. Some were role models, some were inspiration, some pushed me to learn, others encouraged to move forward, travel and dye my hair blonde. How come that all this stops being appreciated when we meet the right person at the wrong time? I have a feeling that someone is having a great laugh up there. How come fate is so cruel that it makes our paths cross with the best potential partners, fathers of our children and sharers of our mortgages and then, as if by magic, takes them away? It's simply unfair. If it happens once - ok, shit happens. But if it keeps on happening over and over again it changes into plantar fasciitis and makes us unable to walk in any direction for a bit. The inflammation keeps on coming back in the most inappropriate moments and hurts like hell whenever we try to take a step.

It's always something like 'there is that girl I used to date and we're getting back together' or 'I just broke up with someone'. 'I'm moving back to South Africa'. 'I am in no position to give you what you want right now'. 'I need to focus on my career now'. 'I meant to tell you that I just started seeing someone'. I believed every single one of them. But then tonight I couldn't help but wonder: were they real reasons or simply poor excuses? How come it felt so right to get into something that turned out to be so wrong?

Suddenly my life was all about timing. And I was getting it wrong.