Standing still

“Not all those who wander are lost.” Perhaps not, but maybe there are a few who during their walkabouts are not 100% sure they are heading in the right way…

On the superficial level, the above describes my life: blame my dire sense of direction. Only last night, I managed to roam the same block looking for a pub, 100m from the station and this is while being the blue dot on my phone: my map-reading skills also need some work.

In the less literal sense, i have been trying to make mind up on which way to go. Last weekend, someone shared his philosophy “Life is just wasting time”, it is just us who want to give it meaning. I don’t know if there is such thing as meaning but at the very least if we are going to spend a day or two here, I would like my time to be pleasurable/happy. I don’t mean 24/7 debauchery and entertainment (well….) but something more Aristotlesque.

Virtue (film)
WordPress helpfully came up with this as a picture suggestion… (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

(For those who need a refresher: “[Aristotle] says, not that happiness is virtue, but that it is virtuous activity. Living well consists in doing something, not just being in a certain state or condition. It consists in those lifelong activities that actualize the virtues of the rational part of the soul.” Quote-unquote from the Stanford Encyclopedia)

At the moment, I am just not quite sure what makes me happy as defined above, priorities seem to be shifting and as some new elements come into focus, which I hadn’t previously considered important: I wonder whether the things I now seemingly aspire to, are actually my own wishes or projections of others.

Against my nature, I have decided to forgo the wandering and stand still: to listen, to observe what is going on, in the hope that from the ashes a fire shall be woken and that a light from the shadows shall spring.

Shock to the System

Driving into the city, there is an overwhelming glare of light.

People are rushing past me.

Blue lights, sirens on their way to another emergency.

A lady tries to scam me out of a couple of quid but she works the block – I have seen her before.

The smell of  traffic, stale beer and food.

The shop is crowded at 10.30pm (not 22.30) and drenched in neon light.

As I spot the cement bags in front of  house, I expect the building site that is to be found upstairs.

After 15 days of quiet, of family and friendship, I lie in bed in an empty house and remind myself that I choose to be here.

Sundays in the City

Telemann-Poloniosy1 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Early morning in the city. Even around the usually busy Square, there is hardly a sound. No people talking, singing or shouting at each other, no alarms, car or other going off. I just heard one car driving past. One.

Early Sunday mornings have a sense of melancholia. Had I been with someone else, I would no doubt still have been in bed. Had I been with that someone else long enough, we would possibly have been up for the last three hours, on our fourth cup of coffee, with some cartoon noise on loop in the background. Life’s swings and roundabouts.

As it happens, this is not the case and while I am typing this I’m listening to Telemann’s Die Falschheit – and I only know this because the internet radio tells me so. Mixed with the recycling van that just came thundering past, must have known I was getting concerned about the silence, this creates an interesting Sunday soundscape.

Sunday. It can be the ultimate together day: the let’s stay in bed and erhm read day, the pack the kids in the car to spend time with grandparents day,  the let’s go for an outdoor walk/cycle day, the leisurely breakfast/brunch/lunch day with family, friends and loved one(s).

Sunday can also be the ultimate solo day. To clarify, I mean this not so much in the Johnny Cash’ Sunday morning Coming Down but rather Otis’ Sitting on the Dock of the Bay kind of way. It’s the day to indulge yourself in your own fancies, your own choices, your own passions because others will be too busy with the togetherness side to bother you.

Swings and roundabouts kids.

The radio’s moved on to Ottorino Respighi The Pines of Rome, which seems a little dramatic for this time of morning but then again, perhaps not. The orchestra clangs into a euphoric crescendo: This. Is. Sunday! ( Yes, do imagine this in Gerard Butler’s voice please.)

Next week, Sunday will be a day of togetherness again but today it is mine. As I retreat: whatever you do with yours, I strongly suggest you enjoy it.

Keep swimming/running/going

Victoria Park, London

Last week, something nice happened as I was running.

It was too hot, like it has been in the last few days. Having to get up early is the only remedy but that takes some dedication I don’t always posses. Thus I started an hour late but determined to get a run in, I ploughed through with the sun in my eyes. It all got better once I reached the shade of the Park but we’re pretty much 5K in by then.

Sips of water and protection from the trees got me through the park but then you have to head back. To be fair, it was much better with the sun not blinding me and as I was in full flow, I suddenly realised that all the things I wanted to achieve were actually so close I could taste it.

I realised that right now, the only obstacle between “where I am”  and “where I want to be” is time and this will pass. From not knowing where I was going, I am now so close, I can see it. I am heading in the right direction: all I have to do is keep running.

Transitions (part 1)

One day I woke up and found myself yet again in the eye of the storm. Despite having become quite the expert in weathering these transitional moments, I still have to grit my teeth. Through the years I have noticed different responses that are triggered in dealing with change:

The initial emotional reaction: I have learned to sleep on this reaction. If I kept acting upon this first instinctive jolt, I would a) keep crying b) keep leaving the country.

The organisation mode: jotting down problems, listing solutions. Actioning the latter in fits and starts of productivity.

The Laissez- Faire attitude:  indulging in minor hedonism to balance the tension. This part can get messy and expensive but as long as no one gets hurt in the process, I have learned to just give into it. It beats breaking down and the time it takes to get up again.

Throughout your heart beats in hope, fear, frustration, elation and survival: thinly veiled underneath the harness of experience. Of course, solutions will come and new situations will become the new normal, but before that, in between the old and new normal, there is a great vulnerability.

I might be tired but this too shall pass.

Monday morning 8am


It is pre 8am.

A program on BBC Radio 4 is discussing politics in the background.

The blinds are open and I am awake.

The last 24 hours have been an accumulation of the roller coaster I got on in the last two weeks.

How has it come to this?

Reading back through this blog, I smile.

Three years of thoughts, highlights, low lights and caramel blonde, documented ad random.

Worries, fears, epiphanies and happiness.

It is 8am and today is one of those: the first day of the rest of my life.

Buckle up and enjoy the ride.

… and breathe…

Apologies to those who get this by email but two minutes after I had written the previous post, I read Paulo Coelho’s blog and stumbled promptly upon this:

by Thomas Merton:

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going,
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.

Nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think I am following your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.

But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.

I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road,
though I may know nothing about it.

I will not fear, for you are ever with me,
and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

Just wanted to share this moment…