Wednesday, 16 January 2019

London Holiday - Musings Part 1 - A 'ME' trip

I am writing this post whilst on holiday in London, sitting in my room after three days of walking, walking and more walking around!

My trip has been a medley up to now of amazing attractions, a bit of shopping and as I said, a lot of walking (even counting solely the running around in the Underground Stations and going up and down the steps there is more than enough exercise!)

Circumstances dictated I made the trip alone this time around and this gave me the opportunity to make it 'my own' holiday so to speak. With no one else to consult with about where to go and what to do (and more importantly for me, what to eat!) as well as having no one to rely on (am so proud I managed to get around pretty well for my reputation of getting lost all the time!) I found this was the perfect time to totally disengage from anything and everything that usually takes up my time and attention and make this about ME.

I do not mean this in a conceited way. If anything, I have to confess I brought photos of my loved ones with me on this trip, simply because I still want to feel them close. However, unlike previous trips where I had to compromise or simply go along with what anyone else had decided to do, this time I was free to, say, avoid the British Museum completely whilst going round the Cath Kidston shop three or four times simply because no one was tapping their feet waiting for me to make my purchasing decisions quicker. I also took one quick look around one side of Hyde Park and, being told by a security guard (who was kind enough to take my photo and also compliment me on my eyes!) that Winter Wonderland had after all, closed and was being dismantled, decided that was enough park-walking for me thank you very much. The point I am trying to make is, that since this is my third trip to London after all, going solo gave me the liberty to pass over what I felt I had done enough of and concentrate on what is 'Wow!' to me.

A lot of people have the idea that we must all sacrifice ourselves for our families, put ourselves last, that there is some kind of martyrdom we should achieve once we become adults. Instead I have learnt that unless we love ourselves first and just as importantly nurture ourselves, then there will not be enough of us to go round for those we love.

Let's take a practical example. My friends as well as partners old and new (in effect anyone that's actually been on an outing or hung out with me really) know that the only times I get really, really cranky outside of work are when I am tired or hungry. Both can be very easily solved and yet I cannot give the best version of myself till they are. In this same way, we all of us, without exception, can be much better parents and partners and workmates and any other role we find ourselves taking on, if we are good with ourselves first.

That is why I didn't begrudge myself of the 'Me' holiday that I felt deep down I needed so bad and am enjoying it to the absolute max.

Friday, 11 January 2019

Coca-Cola Swimming Pool - An Art Exhibition by Lisa Falzon

I have had the amazing opportunity of following artist Lisa Falzon from the start of her artistic career. I remember looking in wonder at her dark slightly cartoonish images back in 2004 as they hung around the courtyard of the Manoel Theatre in Valletta, Malta.

From that first exhibition I followed on as she took up digital art, photo texture layering, illustrations of children’s books and even Etsy commercial art. Now she seems to have returned to her roots, this time however with pop-art colour images that are charged with vibrance and characters that seem happy in their as-always escapist surroundings over her original almost-gothic intentionally-sad pieces.

Some of her gigantic colourful canvases will be on show at Cafe Society at St John’s Street, Valletta (Malta) for a month as from Thursday 17th January, between the hours of 19:00 and 23:59.

Saturday, 5 January 2019

I Never Rush Any More

We live in a culture of 'Busy'. It has become a keyword to 'Success' it seems or else why would everyone be replying to 'How are you?' with 'Busy!'?

I have to admit I am guilty of doing it myself sometimes and my go-to phrase sounds even worse than that as I'm usually texting 'talk later as gotta rush!'

Rushing. I used to mean it when I said that. Nowadays, if you get a text from me saying that, don't take it literally. The reason I would be sending such a message and stopping a chat is actually NOT TO have to rush! Picture it this way:

You are cooking and you know you will then sit down to the meal which can't exceed a certain time because at that point you must get dressed and go to an important appointment. Now you could very well text through the cooking and eating, therefore unconsciously slowing yourself down and then having to rush to get ready on time and maybe even drive faster to make your appointment. Or else you could send that quick 'Goodbye' text explaining how you can't exactly talk right now. It will let you focus on what you need to be doing and follow through with your plans without a hitch.

Sometimes texting is not even the problem. In fact, at times overcommitting ourselves is! Why would you plan a trip to the supermarket just one hour before you are due at the hairdresser's? Even something as small as having a hard time looking for a parking spot will throw you off your tight schedule. I will usually refer to myself as 'Rushing' from one to the other if someone stops me with a phone-call etc simply to explain that I have to get both things done in a timely manner. I would in effect have already allowed a time cushion for any delays.

A third trick I use to ensuring I am never in panic mode is to use a week-to-a-page diary. It might sound like a strange suggestion but the reason I do that is to see that I don't fill many days in the same week with commitments. If you are anything like me, errands of any kind take a toll on your energy and putting too much in a week will feel like 'Rushing through it'.

Some of you might be arguing that it is all very well to make suggestions without knowing just how many commitments you must catch up with. I quite understand your busy schedule because I actually have got one too. In the past I would practically force myself to never rest before I got it all done and cleared from my head but guess what? It will never get all done as there will always be something new to see to at the same time that you are striving to cross off each item on your 'To do' list. No wonder my ex husband and I had so many arguments whenever I pushed him to do the same!

I now find that I am much better off and more able to deal with it all if I allow myself the space and time to not get overwhelmed, over-tired or over-burdened. I have taken it upon myself to learn how to say 'No' when a 'Yes' can't really work due to time constraints else when it is a burden to myself and/or my family. I have even limited my texting time in general and it's given me enough time back to add Meditation time to relax as well as give me more time to write and catch up with deadlines.

So truly, like with everything else in life, it seems like 'Balance' is the key word to counteract 'Busy'.