Archive | July, 2015

35

25 Jul

Ever since I turned 33 I´ve been feeling like a cosmic countdown has started somewhere. Maximum this many more years to live, if I reach age x I still have that many years left, one third has passed, almost half, etc. Something I had hardly thought about when I was in my teens or twenties. Seeing the numbers go up has therefore become more of a reason for worry than celebration.

A girl I spoke to last month, put me back with my feet on the ground. “The older you get, the more reason you have for celebration,” she said. “It means you got to live that long. People should be happy to celebrate their 40th, 50th,… 80th birthday. Dying young, now THAT is sad.” And although I was secretly thinking You´re only 28, let´s see how you feel about this in a year or four, I knew that she was right.

So another approach towards birthdays seems needed.

Last Saturday I spoke to a friend of mine who had been to a music festival, the second one in his life. He had such a great time there, that he wondered: “Why haven´t I done this more often? I´m already 35.” And I said: “Yes! Same here! I´ve only been to one music festival, can you imagine? Let´s do this more often.” And that´s when I came up with making a list of things I want to do these coming years. It´s not a Bucket List, because I have no intention of “kicking the bucket” any time soon. It´s a list with things I´d like to achieve before I turn 40.

Today is my 35th birthday. That seems like a good day to start.

So I made a list of 14 things I would like to do before I turn 40:

  1. Do a photoshoot with my daughter
  2. Go to a music festival
  3. Read 100 books
  4. Sing at a wedding
  5. Pass the Cambridge Proficiency in English exam
  6. Become politically involved in my community
  7. Have my hair like Jennifer Aniston (will explain this later)
  8. Write a book
  9. Sponsor a child in another country
  10. Work 100 hours as a volunteer
  11. Paint a mural
  12. Sew a dress for myself
  13. Pass the Valencià Mitja exam
  14. Send 100 birthday cards

And of course I will keep you posted on how it works out.

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Life lessons at the pool

20 Jul

3-year-olds at the outdoor pool, showing off the results of swimming classes

they dive like dolphins

they swim like fish

their confidence wider than the cloudless sky above

and a mother ponders:

we were taught to keep our heads above the water

breast stroke, whip kick, not much more

and we swam in line, our progress being measured by how many lengths we could swim without interruption

the first thing these kids learn is to put their heads UNDER

no breastroke or anything

and it works

they dance in the water, they embrace it

maybe that will help them to embrace life

and to know what to do when they go under

Dreamjob

9 Jul

A year or two ago, when I had just started writing short stories, I passed by the library and thought: “Wouldn´t it be great to be a writer? Dropping off my daughter at school in the morning, going to the library to write for a few hours and then pick her up again for lunch? What a perfect job that would be.”

This summer I decided to hire myself for my dreamjob. Just for a month and without any pay, but oh, how nice it is… Every morning I go to the library and I write. It doesn´t matter when I come in, it doesn´t matter when I leave, there are no deadlines and nobody´s assessing me. It´s only me and the story that wants to be told. I don´t know if I´ll be able to finish it, and if so, if it will ever be published. But I´m writing and I´m happy doing it, and that was the whole point.

They say “don´t push your luck”, but there´s nothing against gently ushering it in the right direction.

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Message on a T-shirt

4 Jul

T-shirts with an English text on are in fashion these days, here in Spain. These texts range from absolute cliché (“Live your dreams”) over slightly funny (“I´d rather be in Malibu”) to downright absurd (“Get OFF my CAR and LET me GO.” What the…?).

Two days ago I saw a man rummaging through the garbage, looking for material to sell or reuse, which is very common here. To be honest, I´ve become quite used to the sight of people going through the garbage containers. This man was wearing a T-shirt with the word STRUGGLE printed on it. And as soon as I read those 8 letters, my perception changed. Suddenly I got a glimpse of what life must be like when in the morning instead of taking the metro to a clean office, you hop on to your old, shabby bike and spend the day with your arms up to the elbows in other people´s waste. “Struggle” was probably a fitting word for that man´s situation.

And I wondered how we would look at people if the words on their clothes gave a glimpse of their lives.

The immigrant whose T-shirt would read “I´d rather be in Ecuador”. Or the woman with the black eye wearing a shirt saying “Get OUT of my HOUSE or LET me GO.”