Musical chairs

Over the weekend, someone shared a metaphor with me:

“Turning 30 is a bit like musical chairs… At 29, the music is playing and everyone is dancing; at 30, the music stops and everyone sits down. Not even on the most comfortable or prettiest chair but on the most convenient one – everyone sits down and holds on for dear life. And there is always one person left, standing in the middle of the room, looking at all the others clinging to their chairs, thinking: “WTF just happened?””

Don't settle! (Pic by Daveynin Flickr)
Don’t settle! (Pic by Daveynin Flickr)

2014 has just started but in my circle of lovely friends, two babies are (to be) born this year and the e-invite for the now near annual hennight has just come through, in preparation for a near annual wedding later this year. Less cynical than the metaphor though, I do like to think that my friends have made their moves as conscious choices; smoothly moonwalking to that 2-person Chesterfield sofa as the music enters the final chorus…

Not even on the most comfortable or prettiest chair but on the most convenient one; at 30, everyone sits down and holds on for dear life.

Yes, as we enter month two of year 30, it’s possible that the one person still dancing in the room might well be me. I’m not sure what happened to my track but I seem to be playing the Baz Luhrmann extended version. Still bopping away, while my friends happily wave their baby’s hand to me (hand still attached to the child, of course!) from their comfy seats. Those moments are still unreal to me, the idea of a third person where there first were two.

At times I get tired of dancing and I envy my friends happily stretched out on the faux-leather sofa but you can’t stop until the music stops – those are the rules! As for settling for the wonky old kitchen stool for one: never. Though tempting at times, even I can see in my weariness that it will only be a temporary comfort until it breaks.

Dancing among the toddlers is not really how I imagined my life to be but then again, I never saw much further than 21 and that was overrated. So as I am slowly being pushed one generation along, I like to think I am embodying the spirit of this crazily American but still kind of cute video for all the new additions on their first days here: “There’s plenty of reasons to dance, you just got to look for ‘m.”

10 on a wedding weekend

It’s been quiet on the Western Front, shall we do a fun post instead of over-analysing life? Here we go, 10 lessons learned from a wedding weekend:

Wedding (Photo credit: 蓝上弦)
  1. Pop some colour – you cannot wear black and ladies, unless it is you up at the front, you probably shouldn’t wear white.
  2. Wear great underwear.
  3. Try out shoes before the big day or have a comfortable alternative, even if it isn’t you tracking down the aisle.
  4. Eat before the ceremony. It is going to be a long happy alcohol filled day.
  5. Enjoy your drink, it will help if you missed point 3 – still have some water, it will help if you missed point 3.
  6. Don’t hide from the camera for a change: everyone’s made an effort, so let’s remember the days we actually looked good.
  7. Prepare yourself for an onslaught of emotions: excitement, fear, awkwardness, happiness, tears. It might not your wedding but it’s all on the cards.
  8. Say hello to the old gang and welcome the new. Yes there is much to catch up on but there are people in the proximity who don’t know why “that phrase” always reminds you of  “Whitechapel, 2006”.
  9. Dance. If you dare not dance on a wedding amongst the jumping, sugar-filled young and the melancholic, tipsy, grooving elders, you need to revisit point 2.
  10. Enjoy yourself and have some good, honest, clean fun. Trust me: it’s the new sexy.

We’re all losers

To my darling friend,

Hopefully you have recovered by the time you read this. I have been thinking all morning about your predicament and I so understand: been there, done that and I think this blog is a testament to the experience. (Getting T-shirts is soooo 90s darlin’).

So the theme of this letter to you is: “We’re All Losers” . It is my personal twist on Einstein’s observation that

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

I take the other angle because I think if we go through life believing we are genii (is that right, my Latin fails me…) and are yet to find the subject we excel in, life can be mightily frustrating. So let’s accept that we are all losers and free ourselves from the pressure. If we accept we are losers, we suddenly have nothing left to lose: nothing that can stop us, no one to judge us (because who cares) and we are free to explore what makes us happy. We are suddenly in charge of our own lives and happiness.

We will only stay losers if we use the world’s standard for success. Funnily enough, more often than not  his “society standard”   is the opposite of what we have achieved. We make ourselves losers. We feel bad about not owning a house, not having a perfect career, a family or never having seen the world. Yet, rumour has it, that even those who tick all the boxes have worries about their work, relationships and bills.

No one will ever measure up to the society standard of success because it doesn’t really exist: there are billions of people on this globe. How can they all conform to one measure? Create your own rules, create your own standard and stay true to you. In the years to come, and hopefully there will be many, you will create your own unique life. Something that only you will have experienced and can choose to (not) tell your grandchildren about.

Come and join us my friend… Don’t hide away, trying to figure it all out by yourself. Connect to others for their insights because you don’t have all the answers. Nor has the internet. If you wait for all the answers or for life to begin, it will pass you by. This is it, unfortunately. It is a bit like a theme-park but uglier, grimmer but who wants to sit in a carousel all their lives? Pretty, with all the lights but truth is that you are only going round in the same circle.

This is it my dear, welcome! You are part of it. Find your way through the maze, find fellow losers with nothing left to lose and enjoy the ride in all its craziness and splendour.

With love




Predictions, predictions – bring on 2012!

The first post of this blog is dated October 2008 in which I talk about “having to write”. This need seem to disappear for a year until October 2009 when I got some sad news and realised that I “had to write because that’s what I do best.”  Since then I have shared anecdotes about my London life, my struggle with the so-called Quarter Life Crisis and my search to find what I wanted to do.

Is it ironic that tears, tantrums and two years later, what I want to do turns out to be writing? Writing, which comes as naturally to me as breathing, is a legal profession (unlike breathing). Perhaps a lazy choice but I feel that my challenge in my chosen profession is not so much the writing as the ‘getting paid’-element of it. It makes me happy, so if we go with the “start your profession from a passion”- mantra, I’m on my way.

Who’d have thunk? Apparently the fortune teller who 18 months ago predicted that “by the end of 2011 I would have discovered what I wanted to do and do it.” It gave me something to hold onto this crazy, chaotic year and amazingly, 2012 will start with a new contract as a social media writer and a few creative writing projects in the pipeline.

It was also predicted that I would possibly have settled down with house and man.  Keyword being possibly as she also pointed out that “I’m bad in relationships… but I try.” Points for trying then: the house has materialised on The Square but no suitable Prince Charming yet. (Being told you’re bad in relationships doesn’t mean you have to lower the standard!)

In any case, the guy needs to be flexible (ba-da-boom) as 2012 is going to be busy. Thanks to your suggestions I shall finish the list of 2012 challenges with these three:

  • Witness a birth ( note: animal birth is allowed too)
  • Learn how to shoot a gun. ( because it scares me and it should be about challenging yourself.)
  • Learn to sing “Ave Maria” – the Bach/Gounod version. ( I just listened to the Maria Callas version. It won’t be like that.)

Soon I’ll start my brand new blog with the how/what and why but for now I wish you a Happy New Year and leave you with the video below. Have a great 2012!

12 Challenges for 2012 continued

Last night, or perhaps early this morning, I accidentally and unwittingly almost added a new challenge to the list.

I was on my annual trip with my crazy friends and had participated in three days of fun and games. Within the three days usually an elaborate game is played which has its finale on the very last day. Last night, or perhaps early this morning,  the finale games consisted of  a personalised game of monopoly. All our houses made their way on the board and  the cards had incidents of our lives on it with the financial consequences.  Our team did very well. So well indeed that we had genuine fear to win…

See, the thing is that the winners have to organise the holiday (and games) next year. It is a serious case of “It’s not about Winning.”  There were only three people in our team and one of us confessed he might have to go abroad next year. Right, so that would leave the other girl and me – the Londonian.  Hmm. Problem.

Luckily, a few alcohol induced mistakes, many millions back and forth (though mostly forth) and 3 hours later we managed to come in second. Phew!

So no Organising Over-elaborate Games Three-Day Party next year but added to the previous list of 2012 challenges:

  • Learn how to make croissants. From scratch.
  • Spending day with my 13 year old cousin.
  • Sorting through my pile of digital pics and make an album.

That is nine down, three to go… and only 24 hours to think…

To Be Continued…

…but let us start in Devon.

I realise after writing this, I should probably have a category called: Food. After having written about Last Suppers and other food adventures in the past, here another account of how I like to spend my weekends.

After an epic coach trip due to the M5 accident over the weekend, I made it to Plymouth for Bonfire/ birthday celebrations. ( Ok, I have to confess – terrible friend as I am I did assume it was the former rather than the latter: oops. Anyway Happy Birthday Gem!)

The weekend was simply fantastic and filled with food: after the Firework display ( cued on music, what a job!) on the Hoe, we went for an Indian meal. All ten of us thought it was wise to order the set menu: 30 min later we could feed a small African nation with the content of our table.

A bakery near Kabul, Afghanistan
Image via Wikipedia It took 30 min but we ended up with enough bread...

The baskets Nan bread seemed to be multiplying and we lost count of the plates of sag aloo. The curry dishes were amazing and we realised that Sunday- best was a mistake: this was a meal that required joggers. Later desert was presented: two chocolate cakes with 3 Letter-shaped sparklers spelling the name of the birthday girl: Happy Birthday  M-G -E!

Sunday was a gorgeous sunny day, after breakfast ( poached eggs and grilled bacon on brown bread: practically healthy) we went out to the country side.

Noss Mayo
Image by rach2k via Flick

The idea was to go for a walk first to work up an appetite for a cream tea but unfortunately the rest of Devon had the same plan, so we ended up strolling through the lovely village of Noss Mayo. We just sat by the water, which was surprisingly clear, enjoyed the sunshine and watched the boats. It was beautifully quiet. We contemplated getting boats and retire here ourselves when we saw a man struggling to get to his rowing boat: it broke the romance, having a boat seemed hard work.

Probably the best cream tea in the world

We were not up for that and thus it was time for tea.

In the quaint little tea room in Newton Ferrers, they indeed served the best cream tea. Despite you just having ordered 2 fresh scones with jam and clotted cream to go with your cuppa, the tea cups all had a little biscuit on the side as well – just in case. (In case you are wondering:1. take scone 2.  first jam and then 3. clotted cream…) It was epic.

A traditional Sunday roast: roast beef, vegeta...
Image via Wikipedia

Oh then we managed to cook a roast at home. From scratch. This is not the real picture, there was no time for that… We did have home-made Yorkshires and the best roast potatoes: super impressed.

I might havegained weight but the stress patches on my skin are completely clearing up: Result.

Stuck on the stationary train ( top10)

… so what is a girl to do but write a quick blog. Ten things I’m looking forward to this weekend:

1.Lying/sitting/walking/ drinking in the sun. Real sun, warm rays that were lacking this summer. It might be over by Tuesday, but we’ll be soaking it up til Monday.

2.Eating. Let’s face it, I always look forward to eating.

3.Wedding preparation / Hen-night talk. The first of us is getting married in April: if you know someone who’s always wanted a small garden wedding… Just wait until they’ve tried on The Dress > Hell Breaks Loose.

4. Daily showers. Oh the small things in life you start to appreciate when your house isn’t fitted with a bathroom yet. ( Don’t worry mother, I have lots of friends with showers…)

5. Reading a book. The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet by David Mitchell is gorgeous and the storylines are coming together now… so why I am writing I don’t know.

6.Well I do of course, simply for the love of it. Might write on one of the severely neglected writing projects.

7.Hang out with friends, not with angry sweaty men on this train who are just trying to get home. The train lady just announced we are going to skip a station to get to Gloucester (=with an hour delay) She was not popular.

8.Have a lie-in and not having to leave the house because six builders are still painting, sanding and wiring…

9. Enjoy the outdoors. Love London, Love leaving it behind.

10. Beat my friends at poker. Mwahahaha fighting talk: Bring on the Weekend!