.: Who do you want to be? :.

“If you could be anyone today who would you choose to be? Would you be doing exactly the same things as right now? Why is this a question we only ask ourselves when something really drastic happens in our life?
What if we stop waiting for the turning point and stop the clock right now. Imagine you have a magic clock in your hand and with the turn of the engine you could be anything? What would you be? Would you be a musician? A bailarina? A creative? For a small group of us out there we would rather say: at this point in time I am what I want to be, no change required. For most of us though, that endless door of possibilities is a fiction book we are only allowed to read once in a while in our dreams. But we barely read it so every time we do it we have to start again. What happens with our lives that we just let go of all possibilities and we no longer there. Someone would point out that it’s part of growing up and having responsibilities, that we can’t have everything.
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Deep inside I feel like Peter Pan and refusing to grow up and still feeling that little star within me that keeps on whispering it’s never to late why don’t you try it out? Then the rational side of me says if that was that easy…  You don’t ever know what you want, so just go back to what you know and stick with it until you’re sure. But will I ever be sure?
When I was a little girl I wanted to be a lawyer because I used to believe I could make a difference to people. That soon disappeared from my mind. Then I  don’t think I had any further wishes and was always wondering what I wanted to be. Used to spend hours writing. Oh I loved writing. Would let my feelings guide my pen and just feeling free. Maybe in those pages I could be a hero and be doing all the things I wouldn’t ever dare to dream. Then I would draw stuff although I don’t think I was that good at it, so went back to writing. At that point I was a teenager and had lots of emotions flowing through my veins. There was this constant search for love. A love I felt it would never come. Had no other wish back then but to be loved. I was quite the classical dramatic and emotional teenager. One day I found love but that was at the same time as growing up. Start to work, pay the bills and follow up routine like everyone else. Throughout the years though I always felt that a part of me was missing. That my creative side had felt into a black hole and ever since I’ve been trying to find it. I know its within me somewhere and I hope that by finding it I’ll finally find the answer to who would I be if I could be anyone tomorrow?”

.: No more waiting :.

So many things left unsaid
So many dreams left undone
And you wait, you keep on waiting for the right time
The right time to say I love you
The right time to say I miss you
But the right time never comes and you wait
You wait for the rain to stop falling
You wait for the sun to shine again
You wait for warmer days
And then it feels you wait for ever
And the opportunity escapes through your fingers
But what if one day you would stop waiting and would open the door and go
If you pack your bag and follow the road you never tried before
What if one day there’s no more excuse to keep on waiting and you’ll just go
And sing in the rain
Cherish that moment when freedom is all you need
And you will run with your bare feet on the water
And you will hug those you love and say it there and then
“Why did I had to wait for so long?”
– Welcome back my old friend, I’m glad we’re all together again!
Suddenly nothing else will matter
Just living, just daring to do
When the dreams become a reality that you can hold
When every moment along the way matters
What are you waiting for?

.: Do you ever wonder? :.

Do you ever wonder why you do the things you do?
I do
A lot

I blame myself for being an idiot and keep on giving myself so much at work and then leaving all the important things behind. It’s that sense of commitment that keeps me moving, the need to deliver something and feel that I was part of something.
The need to feel a sense of belong and not let the team down even if it means rolling my sleeves and doing much more than I should.
Then you have that reality check when people just ask: but why do you do that? And that’s the moment when I realise I didn’t had the chance to even think about it and I simply don’t know.
It’s not even because I feel that I’m career oriented, I’m ambitious in a way that I want a career and want to feel that I’m growing, but it’s more within me. I want to deliver, I want to feel proud, I want to feel like I’m growing and only then I would try to get people to notice that. It’s that sense of ownership and not letting go. It’s learning to say no. And I never learn. Never

Work smarter, not harder.
That’s a mantra I wish I could follow, but it’s stronger than me. And then I blame myself, several times. Look into the mirror and all I see is an exhausted face looking back at me. Someone I should recognise but I realise I don’t. When did I aged to much?
But then I also wonder, is it worth it? Is it? I’m not entirely sure it is, because I’m leaving too much behind. There’s a world outside and it feels I’m missing out. Should look better for the ones I love, should spend more time doing the things I like to do, and worry less that I won’t be up to the standards.

I don’t want to look in a few years time and regret all the things I didn’t do because I was being dragged away by what’s not necessarily the priority. I don’t want to look into the mirror and feel empty. Don’t want to wait for a moment when something bad might happen to suddenly realise I need to change it all.

Do all the things I didn’t dare doing. Travel to the places I always dreamed of going. Say yes to your friends, spend more time smiling and photographing the world. Be part of the story, don’t just tell it. Dare!

But when I wonder, why do I do the things that I do instead?

.: Going sabbatical :.

Right…. this is it. I’m seriously considering taking a sabbatical.
Before I jump in the reasons why or what I would plan on doing, let me just say that taking any unpaid time off is completely against my personality and my culture as well. Barely anyone in Portugal could be able to afford to do such a thing, so I’ve been educated in considering my job seriously and doing whatever it takes to stay there. Even moving between jobs was badly perceived in my family.

But I’m reaching a tipping point. I though I was tired before but I guess after 5 years of sleeping always away from home, all the commuting and the high levels of stress most of the time (and again a main caveat which is most of it it’s my own fault, as I take ownership and responsibility when sometimes I should, and should just delegate). But I’m cracking now. It’s quite a step for me to admit it, but I’m really losing the plot. It feels like hell waking up on a Monday morning, I leave the office at 22h swearing and blaming myself for being so stupid and keeping working harder rather than smarter. So I guess I really need proper time off, not the random 1 or 2 weeks. Ever since I’ve started working I never took more than 3 weeks off, not even between jobs (Yeah yeah I know, how stupid is that). Not even when I moved between countries.

So this is something that we’ve started talking at home. We’re now seriously considering taking 2 months off and do our dream travel, go a few weeks to Portugal and get back. This is something that only started to take shape now, and we still need to wait to see what’s happening around us with our jobs to understand if we can do it or not (his project is about to finish so we need to wait a bit to understand what’s going on), but I wish I could go right now!!!

I know most people take at least 6 months and ideally 1 year, but as I’ve said, it’s already very though for me to think that I will be 2 months without any income, 6 months it’s too crazy, moreover I can’t afford travel all over the world, so just the chance to do my dream travel makes me smile already.

Where do I want to go?

Japan!!! We speak about going to Japan one day almost ever since we’ve started dating, and that was more than 10 years ago, so it’s a long wait. It just happens to be one of the most expensive places in the world to travel. Second place is Vietnam. So the plan is something on the lines of:

London > Tokyo (3 days) > Kyoto (3 days) > Hanoi (6 days) > London > 4 days at home doing nothing > Lisbon (2 or 3 weeks) and the rest of the time to be back home doing nothing again and just look back at the pictures and wish I was back

Just for the flights I need lots of money, but I’m counting on saving points from the hotel to be able to pay for my stay in Japan with Marriott Points.

Some pictures for inspiration

 

Kyoto

Tokyo

Vietnam

And the food!!!

There’s quite a big chance that I wouldn’t be able to do any of that. I hope the winds help me out here and next year around April / May I’m out!

 

.: Time is running out :.

For some reason this has been the thought in my head for the whole of my week. Maybe because I was inspired by my trip to Lake District  and now have the feeling I’m missing out and I’m just wasting time doing the wrong things

Somehow it just feels wrong, like I’m wasting my time 
Not really sure where to go
Or even where to seek for help
Somehow I just know it’s wrong and I’m wasting my time
Doing things I shouldn’t bother to do in first place
And leaving behind moments I will never have back
Grain by grain, time moves on and somehow I’m staying behind
Waiting for something to happen and change it all
Waiting that I’ll be able to find the answer
Before time runs out, before it becomes too late
I wish I just knew what the answer is
How can I make most of my life and just stop wasting time
Somehow I know I’m trapped into an infinite pendulum
Being pushed from one side to the other
Never having the chance to realise I’m in a spinning wheel
That goes faster and faster 
And my energy is being dragged
And all I had left is lost behind
All I wish is to stop time so I could just rest
Lay in the grass looking into the sky and counting the clouds moving on
Slowly, 
Yes, I wish time was going slowly
I could feel at ease, and rested
But time doesn’t stop… and I’m just wasting my time

.: Surrounded by people… yet… alone :.

I think I wrote here already the effect of solitude even if you are surrounded by people all the time. I have had this feeling myself a couple of years ago. That powerful feeling that no one seems to notice you or who you are. No one cares. I think this is a feeling that it’s getting stronger and stronger, enhanced by the modern age of internet. Yes we have facebook and twitter accounts, we e-Exist yet we forget those real relationships, the physical touch (and power) of a hug, of a touching hands.

In recent years I have been trying to take notice of people, I smile, I say hi in the supermarket, I thank people and they seem to smile back, they actually get surprised that someone stopped the running and just said hello I recognize you are a human being and I’m wishing you a good day.

I guess no one would like to end up alone, all of us want to believe that if we would disappear tomorrow someone will notice. Not just our families but also the friends who care about us. Yet… for some people it doesn’t work out.

Again guilty year, but not that long ago I was so focused in my own work, that I was gradually unplugging myself from real life. I barely saw my friends, I barely spoke with my family. It felt I had a social life because I was going out with colleagues (and now friends) from work. But was that for real? Thankfully I live with someone by my side who cares and pushed me back to reality. So did my friends: you can’t carry on like that any longer. And I couldn’t. Thankfully I had them, but what if I didn’t?

A few years ago there was this story of a lady called Joyce. She was only found in her apartment 3 years after her death. So yes it is real. It does happen and it’s striking sad…

I will watch this documentary, if for nothing else, just as a constant reminder that we should not unplug ourselves from live, that we should value every moment with have with the people that matter.

I actually found out this documentary, because it was the inspiration for Steven Wilson‘s new album: Hand cannot erase

Did you had this feeling before? Do you know someone that did?

.: Lost :.

And there she is looking through the window
As if she’s lost in the scenery that goes outside
Except she isn’t
Probably she’s lost in the reflection of herself
Her mind wondering places she doesn’t even recognize
As if she’s not there
As if she’s nowhere

.: 2014 – Looking backwards :.

Yes it’s that time of the year and even though it’s quite cheesy I do like to look back in terms of what happened this year. Just had a look back into my objectives book (I also had a blog post) – which we write together every 31st December and I have to say I wasn’t very successful. Most of it was to try to spend more time at home, and I haven’t really managed to do that 😦 So easy to know what my 2015 goal will be.

I have to say though a lot happened this year. I finally got promoted, I resigned on the same week as I’ve decided that far more important than a career was quality time at home with those we love. I still travel but it’s within the same country and I work a lot less than I used to. So I guess if for nothing else, this year I’ve learned a precious lesson. It may look harder to say yes it’s even harder to say no. A friend told me these words: “Don’t work harder, just work smarter!” and I guess this was a value lesson from 2014!

I’ve also learnt the value of being nice. Smile to people, be polite. I felt better by doing so and realise other people were smiling too. I say “have a good day” so often it’s become part of my vocabulary now, but I really mean it. Sometimes we just need to keep it simple.

It was also quite a foodie year. I’ve been visiting lots of new restaurants in London and Bristol and created my account on Zomato, which has even encouraged me to explore further 🙂 Also, because it’s so easy to get nice food in Bristol I’ve been eating quite a lot of fish and soups again! Yummy! Who would ever say I would miss fish this much?

Books in 2014: 17 /12 – Mission accomplished

Travel – It wasn’t a good start, but I guess I managed to recover pretty well at the end of the year

What was your major moment from 2014? What have you learnt?

.: About natural beauty :.

I was just reading this article about Keira’s frustration with constant photoshop manipulations. Who would even bother to manipulate her photos when she’s naturally gorgeous and elegant?

If they manipulate her photos what to say about us common mortals? Why do we care so much about a model of perfection impossible to achieve? Why don’t we celebrate natural beauty and admire what we have including the little imperfections? No wonder it’s so hard for a women to get confidence.

My favourite video of all times on this is still Dove’s campaign:

Here’s a little secret, I used to have a huge lack of self-esteem. I used to believe I was ugly while I was a teenager, because everyone else was dressing better, had perfect teeth and better bodies than I did. It took me a while to overcome my confidence and start appreciating the things I really liked, like my eyes, my cheeks and my “cute” looking and ahh good skin too. But if the world expects all women to be barbie like, to wear high heels and be flawless all the time, I say the world is wrong. So well done Keira, you’re gorgeous anyway!!!

So women out there please celebrate yourself, after all you’re beautiful the way you are 🙂

Letter to my 20 year self

What would I say if I could speak to myself 10 years ago? Remembering everything back I guess I wouldn’t say a word and just hug me. So many things happened in that particular year. I was feeling so lost, lonely and trying to find my own identity. I will also say it took me long to recover. It’s not easy to be 20 years old and trying to reborn from the ashes. I did, although I never believed I would. So here it goes:

Dear me, I’m writing to you from the future. I’m now very close to 30 and I can say it’s hard to believe all I’ve been through, but I grew strong. I’m quite successful in my job, but I guess you were expecting that. Never give up working hard and it will pay off! Learning is quite a curve and you need to be ready to do anything, just make sure you follow your principles and everything will be alright. But that’s not where you need any advice right now, is it?
Ah… 2004, I still remember it.
It’s been the most remarkable year in your life, and I have to say it still is. So much has happened. It was quite a game changer. If I could see you right now, I would hug you so dearly.
I know how you feel so lonely surrounded by people, not understanding why all this things happen to you. It’s hard not having anyone by your side that you can really trust, that you can be your true self. You think no one will ever understand what you are feeling, but maybe they would. You should be living more and letting all go. Be like all the other 20 year old out there, go to the parties, get drunk, be with your friends, don’t hold everything within yourself. But it’s easy to say isn’t it? It feels like vague words. Somehow you feel there’s something bigger out there, and that enjoying the fact that you’re young is not something important. It is! You should open up a bit more and maybe you will have more people around you, people that truly care about what you are. I guess you spend too much time thinking about the past that living the present. You blame yourself for everything that happen to you. It was not your fault! It wasn’t. All you ever wanted was to feel loved, at least once. But your low self esteem takes the best of you, even 10 years later – although I’ve learned to value the person I grew up to be. I don’t have many friends, but I have good ones and people really value my strength, can you believe that? Even at work everyone is amazed by the fact I can handle stress so well, and with a smile. I guess I’ve learned it all from you, the master of hiding tears with a smile. Oh my dear, just live: go, have fun, do all you feel you should be doing without holding back.

You’ve met friends for life this year and most of all, believe it or not you will find love finally. Well, it won’t go that well at the beginning, but in a few years time you’ll have your first “I Love you”. It all started 10 years ago, and we’re still around. Just don’t give up, please. And here I will quote you: “My dad always said I live in my fantasy world, surrounded by music and computer and don’t allow anyone to get in and then forget to live.” Daddy is right you know? Live, you won’t regret it. You will survive all of this, even if you still remember all the bad things that happened for many year to come. But there was also lots of good moments you’ve let go because you were too focused on the half-empty glass to recognize them.
Remembered when you were looking at the moonlight on the beach and when you’ve hold firm and said: “I’m strong than this, I can do it”? You can and you will.
Thank you for helping me being who I am today.
Ah oh, P.s please tell daddy more often you love him. You hold too much what you feel without ever saying it. I hope you learn to be free, even from yourself. Live.