Saturday, 26 November 2016

Some good and some bad this past week.

It's another weekend and things have totally shifted since last week. My knee is once again limiting me because of the extreme pain and that's making me more tired in general. Add to that, I am once again unable to get up on a step stool or look into lower cupboards as a result of the pain and what might be a new tear in the cartilage as well as general pain in both of my knees. Therefore I had to put a stop to the Minimalist Game, or rather whilst I still intend to eventually get to the end of it, it will not be in a timely manner! I am taking it more as a challenge to part with things that truly have no place in our home and that might already have been replaced by something better really. I managed today to find five more pairs of socks my son outgrew, but which still had a place in the crammed sock drawer.

Meanwhile, were it not so late and me so tired, I intended today to start a review about a BBC series from 2012 that I am watching. The name of the series is White Heat and having watched its first episode, I think I can guarantee enough to say about each instalment, given how detail-heavy it is. I will not however be tackling Episode One today, as truly each day is seeming more exhausting than the one before and I would rather write up my thoughts about this sixties-inspired drama in a better frame of mind. Thinking about it, that might even give some of my BBC-type-viewer readers time to look up the series for themselves and join me in my review by commenting their own thoughts (hint hint... I'd love that!)

That's all from me for today, as I still need to juggle some more housework and time for a meal before I crash into bed for what almost invariably ends up as a shorter rest till the morrow than intended. Hoping you have a lovely Sunday and new week ahead.

Friday, 18 November 2016

Another Friday Night - The Minimalist Game Continues

So it is yet another Friday night and once again I've not had time to think up a post. Not only that, but my son refuses to settle down to sleep so I cannot even concentrate for the constant whining and talking in the background. Seems like I'm going to have to settle for a short update to the Minimalist Game instead. If you haven't yet read last week's post about it, here it is:

Today is the 18th of the month so as you can guess, I should have posted a pic of 18 items to give/throw away/sell in the private group on Facebook where I am playing the game. However since the number has started growing, so has my struggle with finding enough items to shoo out of the house. I have managed to keep it up till now, only once resorting to listing the items I gave away before the 1st of the month. It could be that I don't have that many extra or useless things in my life, which is very true if I compare myself to most people living in the First World and who are not living below the poverty line. Then again, I am sure that there are many things that I could easily give away and never miss but which I struggle with for one reason or another. I noticed that at times the reason is that I'd love to keep them for my 'ideal' self, the one I dream about, who does things I think would be interesting or fun or relaxing, but which truly will probably never really happen. It seems to me like that is my major issue with stuff. I don't mind giving things away that cost me money to start with if I know that they're obsolete in my life anyway. I also rarely have qualms about removing sentimental items from my life. But when it comes to the items belonging to my wanna-be self, boy do I struggle! So maybe I should remind myself more often to embrace the Me that I am, rather than the fantasy one that is not really Me at all at the end of it.

Friday, 11 November 2016

Let's Play A Month-Long Game

It's difficult to find like-minded people when you're a Minimalist living in a Western World that pins too much of its hopes, dreams, hard-earned cash and even time on material possessions. So where to turn to find a place to feel at home when you just need someone to understand you? A Minimalism group on Facebook of course. Facebook is home to all kinds of types of people and all types of things so it was the logical place to search for someplace to discuss the lifestyle as well as ask for tips (and give them too) and encourage each other on in our quest to find our 'Enough' point. Truth be told, however, even Facebook is lacking in this particular field! I eventually found just two Facebook groups about the subject that seemed worth a second look and joined both. They have a different outlook on Minimalism but I tend to be the type of person to find things out, experiment, then make up my own rules to any game. And speaking of games, today's entry is all about the game that helps to set you free. Yes, I did make up that phrase, but truthfully it does help make you feel just that little bit freer once you get (or rather if you get) to the end of the game without a hitch.

I'm talking about the Minimalist Game, as featured on The Minimalists. You may find the link here:

It's very simple really. You must find to discard or give away one item on the first day of the month, two on the second, three on the third, and so on and so forth till you get to day 30 or 31 which will be your last day of the game. It is not the aim to remove anything that you believe still fulfils a function or which you still would like to keep. Rather, the game aims to help push us in the right direction when it comes to those maybes.

Some of the discarded items.

I started out my entry with a mention of two Facebook groups that deal with Minimalism and I am currently playing this game with some other members from one of the groups. Through a private group chat on Facebook, we all of us daily post a list, photo or both, of what we have come up with that is leaving our home. Doing this in a group gives you the incentive not to skip days or give up, as it makes you feel accountable for your side of the story. In my case I find it helped rid me of the really old pop socks that I truly hated but kept not to reduce on my number of pairs, as well as some ancient woolen pairs of socks that make my toes itch. Why I'd not gotten rid of them before? Well, a mixture of 'what if I need them?' and reluctance to part with anything still in working order (even if just about!) But the game is making me look high and low, in cupboards that are hard to get to, and ridding me of those items that I hate on sight but never had enough reason to discard. Suddenly that pesky t-shirt that makes me feel like a grandma hit the 'to give away' pile because the guilt of parting with it was outweighed by the necessity of carrying on with the game. This said, it is never a bright choice to give up on stuff that you actually need or want but deep down, we all of us know there's also tonnes of stuff lurking in corners of our home that could do with moving on from our lives, whether to the landfill or else to another home.

I now must off to take a pic of today's rejects, bringing up my total items for now to 66. Maybe you should try it yourself come the first December? Isn't it the perfect time to rid yourself of the old to find space for the new? Or maybe try it in January, when a good life spring-clean is just what the doctor orders after the flashy Christmas season. Or maybe whenever else you are ready to face your things.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

The Fourth of November

Today’s is no article or review, no update to my current life either. Maybe I should keep what I’m about to say private, or maybe not. Because by keeping it to myself I cannot make my friend’s importance to me known and it is actually thanks to him that I ever started blogging at all, through finding his own blog. However that is only one tiny reason as to why I owe so much to my friend, one of the truest friends there ever was.

It’s four years since I lost my friend in a tragic car accident. Lost but not forgotten and in a way not lost at all. For I speak to my friend still in my mind, even imagine him reply back at times. I have to admit I speak to him more now that he’s gone than I ever did once we were not still in school together. I should have kept in touch more, told him more about what was going on in my life. I have many dear memories and yet I feel like I did not do my part as a friend in those final years. The thing is, I took him for granted. He’d always be there, I thought. Never in a million years would I have conjured up the scenario that still flashes in front of my eyes since four years ago.

Over a thousand days have passed since the phone calls (three of them, each caller thinking they were breaking the news to me) that made me stupidly tell the first caller, “Maybe it was another René Cilia and not him.” Sensationalism sells, so I can clearly remember a scene on TV showing a bloodied poem that was found in the front of his car. That poem was probably his last one, maybe unfinished too, but I clearly remember another one he’d written and which was to be read out during assembly. “Can you read it instead of me?” he’d asked me. “I love how you read poetry.” It makes me cry to remember this. He was probably the person who thought the best of me, the one who not only always respected my decisions but admired me for them. I never figured out why he was so caring, but now I think it’s because that is just the way he was.

Picture from René's old Facebook profile
The dull ache in my stomach comes back each time I think of it - of his death, of how young he was, of how I’ll never be able to see him smile again other than in my head. He smiled a lot, and laughed a lot, and generally was the life of the party. Yes, he was a priest in the last years, but one known to all as ‘The Priest with the Smile’. What a lovely way to remember someone. As the years roll on, his memorial page on Facebook is updated no more, and many have gone back to their lives unscathed if saddened by the loss. As for myself, however, I will never be the same person I was before our untimely parting.

Hopefully, his memory has changed me for the better and it’s what drives me not only to speak up for what I believe in but also maybe pushed me just that little bit more that I needed in my writing attempts too. René was a published author, so I will always be able to look proudly at him also in that he achieved that dream, much before myself, and truly at a time when the rollercoaster that is my life was at a low that discarded even passions I held dear such as writing. In fact I rather think that it was in remembering his achievements that I pushed myself to succeed, maybe many years later than I should have, and definitely many years later than if I’d kept in touch with him as much as I should. He would so have gently but surely pushed me towards writing and achieving my goals.

I would never have chosen to let him go. Truth be told, the enormity of just how much our friendship meant, or rather means, to me is a puzzle even to myself. But as he is gone from this earth and I cannot will him back, I choose to live my life with him as an intuitive presence by my side, keeping my family safe and inspiring me to be myself, create art and phrases with zest, and believe in myself. Because he was that person who always believed in me. I’m glad you got to meet my child at least that once, my precious friend. Now Rest in Peace, until we meet again.
Picture from René's old Facebook profile

I am sharing here a link to one of the articles that appeared in the newspaper after the accident. Most newspaper articles focus on horror and the nastier an accident the more prominence it will be given in the news, like bait to people hungry for disaster. This one time though, despite that countless articles appeared in all the newspapers in my country about the accident and funeral and anything else that reporters could get hold of, the articles presented Father René in a way that is fitting to his memory, focusing on his positivity and caring ways among other traits.