Guilty

Neglecting your blog feels a bit like neglecting your child. It gives you the impression of being a bad human being. And frankly, if you neglect your child that does kind of make you a bad person. And yes, I’m a grown woman I should know that no one really cares if I don’t blog for a while, and even if they did, neglecting a blog does not automatically make you a bad person (although, if you neglect both your blog and your child, you’re still a bad person in the grand scheme of things, sorry).

Well, anyway. I’m not making my point very clear. The good person/bad person debate is of no importance and I have no affiliation with child neglect, so don’t worry. Thing is, I started blogging almost two months ago because I thought it might make me happier. And it did. It still does. But at the same time, it has also added to my daily guilt. Where the voice only said ‘You should study for your exams!’ and ‘You should sleep less!’ and ‘Wash your hands!’ it now also adds ‘You should write a post’, it questions ‘When exactly was the last time you published something?’ and mocks me with ‘You can’t even blog!’.

This was not the plan! I did not plan to turn my “I could start a blog” into an “I should write a post”. I’m tired of the coulds and shoulds. To be fair, my plan was not too helpful. Of course it planned that blogging would make me happy and wholesome, but I had also promised to write a post a day, which, you know, is possible (and was a lot of fun), but also very demanding. Then, I didn’t do myself a favour in this regard by signing up to all sorts of Blogging University courses. Well, I kind of did. These courses are amazing. They motivate you, challenge you and, most of all, provide an opportunity to connect with loads of other people. I would wholeheartedly recommend them. But I was now faced with an additional daily assignment that guilt-trapped me.

Looking back, I should have done either or: Either following my own agenda or fully committing to the course. Okay, now switch the positive thinking on: The only thing worse than the shoulds and coulds are the should have dones, so rephrasing is needed. I have learned not to put too much on my plate because I have recognised that I am no good at dealing with guilt, so I will act accordingly in the future. There we go.

Now, of course, a new plan (a better plan!) is needed. I must warn you, it is in it’s early stages, but I can already disclose that it involves fewer posts (I know, but would you please try and keep the sobbing down), an editorial calendar and weekly feature(s)!

Hehe, my ‘L’ key is a bit moody so I kept typing ‘pan’ instead of ‘plan’. Such giggles.

Stay cosy

B x

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I Blame You, You Blame Me

I want to go back to bed. I must be ill. There’s definitely cold sweat, definitely. Is it a fever? I just want to go back to bed. Slowly creep underneath the covers, noone has to notice, and just lie there in the warm and safe envelope that is my bed. I have a special bond with my bed. Even though the bed changes, sometimes night after night, it always seems to be the same bed. My bed is where I’m home, no matter where I actually am. Sometimes it fails me, my bed. It fails to protect me from that person in the hostel room whose snores are drilling into my skull. It fails to muffle the sounds of my friend and her boyfriend making out next to me.

Somehow, my bed has also become my enemy. It is like I’ve betrayed it. I have to resist its constant almost magnetic pull and I hate it for the strength this requires. Strength I need for other things. I also curse it for being so possessive. Why can’t it just be happy with having me in its arms during the dark of the night? I’d like to spend the day without it, I need some space. There’s nothing to it. The chairs I sit on, the streets I walk, the things I lean on, they’ve got nothing on you, dear. We’re just friends. Yet, its jealousy ruins my relationship with the chairs, the streets, the things. And I, annoyed and exhausted and resentful, deny you my company when it gets dark. At two or three in the morning we make up reluctantly, because we rely on each other, we need each other. And when the sun rises, the whole ordeal begins anew.

Why, why can’t we escape this truly vicious cycle? We are slowly ruining each other, day after day, as the anger and the contempt grow ever and evermore. Of course, I blame you, and you blame me, and there is a nice symmetry to this. But we can’t go on. Maybe we need a break. But we can’t break, can we? You follow me wherever I go, wherever I sleep. You are home. And I’m still happy when I’m with you. Our nightly reunions are such a relief and pleasure that sometimes I think, maybe it’s worth it, maybe all the drama is worth it, just for that moment of unity.

But it’s not, is it. My unhealthy relationship with my bed poisons my waking hours. It makes me hate myself and sleep through what could have been my life. It is my own version of meth. It fills me with regret and resentment and brings me sadness and frustration. I will never get away from it, it will be there, no matter where I sleep, on heavenly futons, dirty sheets and disappointing roll mats. But maybe we should just be friends.

B x

Having The Wobbles And Inspiring Blogs (While Feeling Utterly Uninspired)

These days I seem to be having a day that I feel uninspired and tired and mushy (let’s not even get into the state of my hair…) pretty much every day. Can’t do much about it (well, I could: I could put on some music I know will cheer me up, plug in my daylight lamp, eat something, drink something and feel energized and positive in a minute – but I just don’t feel like feeling that way today).

So maybe for now while I sulk in my misery (there’s not actually any misery, I’m just being whimsical), I can still keep one single New Year’s resolution (it’s only day 14, for God’s sake!) and write a blog post.

And what do uninspired people do who are too uninspired to come up with their own topics for blog posts (well, I could of course refer to my long list of ‘things to blog about’, but I just don’t feel…, you get the gist)? They consult The Daily Post and, if they are incidentally also enrolled in their Blogging101 course, they just look at their daily task.

Which I have, if you haven’t quite caught my drift yet. But, I am a cheat (always have been, probably always will be) so I cherry-pick* what I like from it and ignore the rest (thank God I’m not a scientist). And all that jazz about finding new blogs and commenting sounds very much inspired, so not for me (plus, in this mood, I’d probably ruin someone’s day with my point of view, so no comments from me today, it’s for the greater good), but I can manage to list some blog I really like and scribble down something about why I like them (although it is likely to be less enthusiastic than usual, my apologies). Here we go.

Let’s start with one that comes closest to what the original assignment wanted: I literally just found this blog yesterday (or was it the day before?) and it is a true gem. European Travel Adventures is a very hands-on travel blog written by a British student, who caught my eye with travel tips about Budapest, a city I fell in love with last summer. What I like most (bit uninventive, but let’s roll with it) is how her travelling seems to be more like my kind of travelling, meaning not at all like in Eat Pray Love or any of the like: you don’t always look amazing, you don’t necessarily find yourself but you have lots of fun and it’s totally worth it.

Time for the second blog: My favourite mildly (ok, hugely) amusing blog is It’s Dolly Darling. Please, just read for yourself, this lady is hilarious. I loved especially her most recent post with little wisdoms that I guess Gretchen Rubin would call her ‘secrets of adulthood’ (you know when you have read too much of one author in too little time and it makes you nuts? Well, I do), but Dolly just calls ‘Dolly-isms’ (charming, isn’t it!).

Last but truly not least (Blogging101 wanted me to do 4, but 3 is a much more congruent number, plus ‘look at me, I’m a rebel’): My favourite blog about my favourite pastime (apart from eating and sleeping, but I haven’t quite taken to food blogs yet…): A Year Of Reading The World is based on an amazing idea: The blogger read a book from each of the 196 countries that are member states in the UN. Now, she did this a while ago, in 2012, but it is currently relevant in that her own book will be published soon. While I love reading about what she did (she also did ‘A Year of Reading Women‘ the year before),it also leaves me with what I call reader’s guilt: I could be doing a project like that, I should be reading all the books she reads, and more! But gladly, despite my misery and egocentricity, I do have a voice of reason that asks me: If I read everything that she read, would I still have the time to read what I read? No. But, literally, so inspiring. I can’t get enough of reading about all the exotic tales and will definitely need that book on my shelf once it is published (UK release date: February 5th, 2015).

Cheerio and very sorry about the aggressive bracketing,

B x

*this word I picked up from the book I am currently reading, Ben Goldacre’s ‘Bad Science’, which is one of the many many books I have started ages ago but never finished…

Dreams, IDs And Shocks

You know when you have a dream that is so realistic that it takes you a moment to grasp where you are when you wake up? That moment of realization can be incredibly relieving when you’ve had a bad dream and a little disappointing when it was a good dream. I find that what makes a dream realistic is not how akin to life the setting and ‘plot’ are, but how familiar and intense the feelings you feel while dreaming it are.

Now, last night is an ideal example of this. What happened in the dream was not super realistic (lots of water everywhere, but I can’t recall a feeling of wetness… you get the image), but I felt a feeling of panic so acute that waking up came as a positive shock.

The source of this panic brings me to my next topic: I lose things. Everything. While in this particular dream I left my backpack (with all my belongings and valuables – my life was pretty much in that backpack) at the site of a festival and only noticed it on the bus home. In real life, however, this applies to practically everything. I have lost phones, money, and everything you could possibly think of.

Not only am I constantly looking for something, this habit can get really really inconvenient (hence the panicking). When I visited friends in English over new year’s we went out clubbing into the closest town – quite a shabby southern seaside town, the kind of town where clubbing is only fun if you are completely and utterly smashed. A girl like me is now faced with a lot of choices before even leaving the house: What do I wear, what about make-up, do I bring a coat (in December, the answer to this one should always be ‘yes’), do I bring a bag. The last one is particularly challenging for someone who has trouble keeping track of one’s possessions while sober and fully awake. To minimize the risks, I tend to take as little as possible. Annoyingly though, you need your most valuable items on a night out: phone, money, ID.

So, on this particular night out, I did get completely and utterly smashed and had a super fun time out. Trouble started when I woke up in the morning, a bit more sobered up but still ridiculously drunk and completely delirious. That is usually the moment when I turn over, check whether my valuables are on my bedside table and go back to sleep. This time, however, there was no bedside table, there were six people in one tiny room and I could not quite remember how I got into bed in the first place. Usually, this kind of amnesia is quite pleasant, it stops me from remembering actions that I would want to forget anyways, but in this particular situation it was hindering for once.

My panic was increased by the fact that the things I was hoping to find on the non-existent bedside table were vital to the next few days: My phone for communication as I was travelling across to London, and my ID, most importantly, because this was my (only) travelling document and I was due to leave the country the day after. It was, however, not my house and my delirious state of mind did not help my emotional output. There are not enough words to describe the height of the panic that I felt that morning. I pictured myself stranded at some embassy, with no way of contacting anyone anywhere, being interrogated by scary officers and walking alone through the streets at night. With these upsetting images in mind, I fell into some sort of half-sleep/half-wake.

Luckily, I did find all of my valuables in the morning and was able to travel to London and leave the country according to plan. Last night’s dream, however, (more than a week after the actual panic occurred) shows that this issue is deep-rooted in my subconscious.

Now, as I am still deeply immersed in my happiness project, I will not simply accept that this habit of losing things and the panic that follows will be a constant part of my life. So, I shall do some research into the topic, but, please, if you have any experiences or tips, do share them.

B x

Catch-Up Time And All About You

For me weekends are, and always have been, about catching up. Whether it was homework during my school career, catching up with friends and family or, like today, with assignments. As a part of Blogging University’s ‘Blogging 101’ course I have already written about why I blog, changed my blog title and added a tagline, yet, after only one week, I am terribly behind. Luckily, weekends are off and allow us busy blogging newbies to go back and see what we missed out.

Let’s see. I left out Friday’s “Love Your Theme”, but I’ve been through the process of the preview binge when I started the blog back in October and feel no need to repeat this experience. Why change something that works perfectly well for me?

So, next. Oh, I missed out on Thursday’s assignment, too.This is an interesting one: “Write To Your Dream Reader” (and include a new-to-you element, don’t like this part…). So, here we go.

You, my dear reader, probably know yourself best. You have your own opinions and convictions, but you love to learn about other people’s views. After all, isn’t it fascinating how different and yet similar all or our lives are? You’ve found yourself relate to someone with a life If you are part of Blogging 101, you are most likely familiar with the sensation of marveling at how diverse the blogs of participants are – from heavy metal aficionados to fiction-writing housewives. But what most impresses you is the amount of passion that each devotes to their life. You probably have your own blog or are toying with the idea, admit it. You have something to say, anything, and you like a good challenge (especially if it involves ticking things off a list!!).

But most importantly, you have an everyday life that has its unrecognized pit-falls and difficulties, difficulties that are rarely talked about and seem trivial but actually have quite an impact. And you know that the pleasure is in the little things – the two minutes that you stay in bed longer than you should and the teaspoon of honey that you add to your tea.

Ideally, of course, you enjoy reading this blog.

B x

The Worst Time For Resolutions? – A Review

Oh dear. What is it about the new year that seems to stop us from keeping our resolutions? Unlike many others, who have drafted their resolutions on or shortly before New Year’s Eve and put them into effect the day after, I started my Happiness Project and the resolutions it entails before Christmas even. Now that it is actually the new year, I have a massive slump. There is a few things that I could blame (haven’t fully re-settled into my routine, bad weather, etc.), but ultimately it’s all just me.

Now as a supplement to my constant aspiration to be organised and gain an overview, I think it is at the time to have a pit-stop and face how it is really going with my Happiness Project. Like Gretchen Rubin, I have been keeping a Resolutions chart. Sadly, or luckily, though, I am not as obsessive as this lady (also, who doesn’t like listening to music? You weird people!), so I left the chart on days that were unusual, like Christmas or when I was staying at friends’ houses. As a consequence, only half of the chart is even filled in. After all, these resolutions are specific to improving my everyday life.

What is painful to admit is that I obviously struggle hard with some of my resolutions. One that has never been ticked so far is “Go to sleep before midnight”. Here, again, I have nothing but myself to blame: the resolution is clearly defined and concise, and I know how much a regular sleeping pattern would contribute to my happiness. Yet, somehow, it challenges me more than it should.

On the plus side, there are some that I have kept every single day, that have become natural to me. After I noticed the massive discrepancy between the time I spend on it and the joy it gives me, I vowed to stay off BuzzFeed. Turns out, it is a lot easier for me to stay off it completely than to use it moderately. My abstinence has now freed me from a lot of guilt and frustration, and it now seems almost funny now that I wasted my time determining “which Disney princess” I am and finding out whether BuzzFeed could “guess my account balance”.

My most significant success so far was achieved with the help of the “Make your bed”-resolution. As a student living in student halls, apart from my desk chair the only opportunity for sitting or lounging is my bed. In combination with my sleeping habits however, this often ended with me taking extended naps on a regular basis. This was a source of constant irritation and disrupted my routines and plans rather often. Making my bed was a quick and easy measure against the tendency. The results were astonishing. Even when I did sit or lie on my bed, it was much easier for me to resist the urge to slip under the covers. This made my days more productive and my nights more restful.

The most significant development though, in my opinion, is how sensitive I have become to areas of improvement in my life and possible future resolutions. While I write them all down, just in case, I know that for now I should focus on keeping the current ones instead of thinking ahead. In one area, however, I have decided to make an exception: Education. I have my big important Danish exam in exactly a month and could definitely use some practice. Therefore, I shall compile an extra list of resolutions specific to this subject, but more on that another day.

B x

Overview, Or: My Secret To Happiness

To maintain an overview over all the little things going on at the same time in my life has always been one of my greatest struggles. So great, in fact, that it became a source of alarmingly scary panic attacks at some point.

But the more I think about it, the more the feeling of overview (others use the term ‘control’, but in my opinion ‘overview’ is a more fitting description) seems like an illusion. Now knowing that I crave this very comforting deception, I might have to learn to create it myself.

The reason all of this is currently on my mind is that I have returned to uni only yesterday and already feel like I have lost my grip. Writing helps, so here I go.

There are a few things going on at the same time. First, there is uni. Although I only have three seminars at the point, I am barely keeping up and I have trouble motivating myself to do the work that needs to be done (although it is actually enjoyable work). Then there is my happiness project. The point of it was to help me master everyday life and rid it of frustration and guilt. At this point though, my resolutions chart only seems to be yet another source of a bad conscience.

Here we go, writing is already helping. All I need to do is put on some music, have some tea and maybe a shower and voila, I have a new, more positive perspective and can focus on what I need to focus on.

So if you’d ask me know what I do to help me create the illusion of control I can honestly tell you that it is the little things: write a blog or a diary to help you get back on track, drink a cup of tea, clean yourself or your flat, make lists. Oh, and the easiest and quickest measure is good lightning. I’m telling you, I have a daylight lamp that is like pure magic (I might actually write a post in its honour soon): It’s like switching on energy and motivation, especially if you live in the north of Germany where there is very little sunlight during winter.

You must excuse me now, I need to go shower and make a list!

B x