Shorts: Adelante

It does not matter how far you go, and certainly not how fast.

Whether you run, walk or crawl; go forward. “Adelante.”

Sometimes you’ll move on flat ground, and other times it will be considerably more mountainous. The destination is always changing, so don’t worry about reaching the pinnacle. It is a false peak. And that isn’t something to be worried about, in fact it’s magnificent. You will always strive for bigger and better.

And when you are on that journey, don’t worry about looking for a path, or necessarily even a guide, for those paths often travelled may not have the best view, and the ground below may be worn. Also, while you may take the same path as someone else for whatever reason, there is no telling what kind of shoes that person wore, how far along the path they started, or if they were carried there by someone else.

Do not compare, comparison is the enemy of joy. Instead keep a goal in sight, and off-road your way there. Learn to enjoy the bumps in the road, rather than wallow in anticipation of them.

If you find that you’ve got yourself turned around; either because you’ve been blinded by fog, or you’ve had your eyes closed for so long, don’t worry about it. You can turn right around, realign yourself to your goals, and march. Maybe you tripped. Maybe you failed. Don’t worry. Realign. March.

Sometimes obstacles will get in your way. Not only that, but they will push you back and with great evil intent and fervour. You may be kidnapped for a bit, to another place. Perhaps convinced to head in a direction, you wish you had avoided. You will be pulled and prodded, bruised, and tired. You will wear, and tear, and find yourself short of breath. Beautiful trees around you may be replaced with the winter worn. Colours may conspire to grey themselves, and your destination may look bleak.

Life may not be kind. It may be unfair. And when it beats you down, it sees its advantage and it beats you down even more.

But when you lay on hand and knee, after you’ve been beaten by the day.

Simply whisper to yourself; “Adelante.”

Where Your Head Should Lay

In my room there is a double bed, in the place I’ve made my stay;

And on one pillow sits a book, where your head should lay.

As the light dims down low, in I tuck my feet;

And I stare at the empty space, where our noses would meet.

I think about you now and then, when you get in my head;

And at those times, I lie and wish, you were that book instead.

Shorts: Mother’s Day(s)

According to the dictionary, to mother, is to;

  1. bring up (a child) with care and affection.
    “the art of mothering”

And so apt a definition it is. It’s an art, because it’s beautiful. It’s wonderful. It’s hidden in plain site, and often it’s significance forgotten. If you’re looking for a definition of kindness, or a reason to continue believing in this world in a time of tempest and uncertainty, motherhood should be your guide.

Your mother has held you in the cold, with cotton wrapped around your infant body. She has held you against her, when tears have streamed down your face at matters trivial or otherwise. Your mother has taught you; inspired you; in ways more than one. She has clothed you, paid your debts, and listened to what makes you unique as an individual. She’s cared about it, and listened for countless hours, for the stories you tell her, she will surely tell to anyone who will listen, including strangers, in moments of pride.

She does all this from the moment you are born, knowing you will one day lie to her. Knowing you will one day upset her, move on to other things without her, and act selfishly towards her. You’ll put your feelings first, you’ll reject her advice, and you’ll forget in the moment, all that she has done.

And yet still, unwavering, she will be waiting with forgiving arms. She will not remind you that she told you better, she will not put you down, but raise you up, and she will not ask for favour in return. But only love.

I cannot think, of a kindness, grander, than a mother’s. The act once itself, is so gorgeous one could write a poem. But more astonishing, is rather the constancy of the act.

To all mother’s out there, thank you. For birthing and raising every one of us, since the dawn of human kind. Thank you for your unimaginable kindness, for so many years. So grand a span of time, to consistently be kind. Thank you for listening to us, seeing who we truly are, caring for us, and sharing yourself with us, so that we may learn, and grow.

And to my own mother, thank you. Words sadly fail me, for I cannot describe how wonderful you are. How inspiring you are, every day of my life. How decisions I make, and thoughts I have, are done with you in mind. You’re a thought that does not leave my mind, even though some things pressing may appear for it to be so. I love you with all my heart, for everything that you’ve done.

I love you for your support, your kindness, your friendship, and for being my inspiration to be a better man, for as long as I live.

Happy Mothers Day.

P.s. Spoil your mothers. Treat them. Remind them you love them, and you’re thankful for all they have done. Just be sure, not to limit it, to this one day.

People who cross at traffic signals.

If you can, at any point in life, be the person who decides when to cross at traffic signals, irrespective of their colour.

When you are on your way to work, or spending an idle day in the presence of a busy street, watch the people who wait by the traffic signals.

When the light for pedestrians is red; stand and watch. You’ll see a spattering of different humans, each categorised into a few different tropes, of which you will fall into one.

There are those who stand still, on their phone, gathering news, messaging friends, and ultimately and more truthfully, watching videos of animals being cute or humans falling over. These people have no concern for the traffic, for they know when to move, as the periphery of their eyes tell them that the bodies around them have begun to shuffle. And so too they canter to keep up.

There are those who listen to something on their headphones. Perhaps it’s a podcast, a motivational speech, an audio book, or some music. But whichever it is, they will stare blankly as possible across to the other side of the road, until perhaps at some point a smile will curl up from the edges of their mouth. It’s a song they like. Or maybe they’ve related to something said. They normally pay more attention to the traffic signals than those mentioned before.

There are the elderly, who rather consistently will not be on their phones, or listening to music. Largely they have grown without it, and unlike the younger generations can continue to do so, without trepidation, or the fear of the world passing them by.

There are the confident or perhaps flirtatious people, who can be an extension of the first two, except that these people are merely pretending to be doing what they are not doing. They instead, are thinking about how they look, and trying to appear as casual as possible, as they occasionally catch eyes with someone across the street. They smile and look at the floor, or up to the sky. Funnily enough, this casual attitude will extend as they both pass each other in the road when the lights do change. Unlike in adverts for perfume, no one ever meets in the middle of the road. Unless flattened.

There are people, who are eagerly awaiting the changing of the traffic lights, because a friend or loved one awaits them on the other side. These people have most likely forgotten all rules of social conduct, as they cheer and wave at their counterpart. Sometimes they’ll even shout words, that when taken out of context are either deathly frightening, or intolerably intriguing.

There are people who are anywhere between the age range of young to elderly, who are not on their phones, they are not listening to music, and they are not particularly looking at anything around them. These are insane people. Avoid these people.

There are a few other tropes, but as the list goes on, more so do they reach into sub-genres of the above mentioned. Regardless, the sustenance was never whom the crowd consists of; it is that they are waiting at the red light when they need not be. For there are only two options when there is a red light, either there is traffic coming, or there is not. And yet from our 50% chance, I would wager that 99% of the time, people are waiting. People are just standing… waiting.

Why? Unless jaywalking laws are particularly strict in your country… Why are you waiting? What are you waiting for? You do not need to listen to a light. If you are listening for the light, I can assure you, you will not hear it. This light is a guide, not a rule. Cross the road, if you wish to do so. Get to where you need to be, regardless of who is telling you otherwise. Regardless of who around you has chosen not to move forward, or stand still; you don’t need to listen to that whatsoever.

Take your surroundings, or advice, or rules, as a basis for caution; but do not let it hinder you. Because when you cross at a traffic signal, when the light is red, and no traffic is coming; you will notice something remarkable. Suddenly, 99% of people have begun to move. And now it all becomes silly, how such a small thing had been stopping them all along.

You can tell a lot about a person by how they act at traffic signals. Be a brighter beacon than that dim light telling you what to do.

– While this is all well and good, there is an addendum to this, which acts as an exception.

When the traffic lights turn green for pedestrians to move, and everyone starts moving; Watch for who is left behind. If someone stumbles or falters, perhaps they are unsure or need a hand – Stay. Wait. Help them. Take valuable time out your day, to make them feel valuable too.

For if you rush too far ahead, and leave all those in need of a little help behind you, perhaps you will turn around to find, that you left a better version of yourself behind also.

You can tell a lot about a person by how they act at traffic signals.

So perhaps the next time you’re beginning a new day, you’re at a crossroads, and you need to make a decision, remember this article. And reflect on how the traffic signals had nothing to do with anything.

Shorts: The Little Things

It’s the small details, that are by far the most important.

I sit in work, the room is dark for the light hurts the eyes of some other co-workers. I enjoy listening to them jokingly bicker and banter with one another, but now they leave to grab some lunch. The sounds of their voices drift into the background and beyond the door.

And so I sit, with my favourite meal for lunch. On my lap I have Of Mice And Men by John Steinbeck, and with no one but myself left in the office, I play some soft music from my Spotify.

I know this will only last for a few moments. If I’m lucky I’ll have fifteen minutes.

But what a fifteen minutes it will be. When I look back on the day, no matter what happens, I will look upon the small details, which are by far the most important. And when I look upon them and judge, I will say with a gentle sigh,

“Today has been a good day.”

PROCRASTINATION

If it takes five minutes, do it right now. You’re putting it off, and in thirty minutes you’ll put it off again, and after thirty more times of putting it off by thirty minutes, it’s time for bed and ultimately your objective is failed. But don’t worry, you’ll do it tomorrow. Procrastinate, I mean.

It’s one of the worst, most stressful feelings to procrastinate, because you become more aware of time than ever, and most importantly the sheer lack of it. You’re not a bad person for procrastinating. We work more now than any other time in our recorded history. Even those who were of pure hard labour were given more time off to mend. We have more obligations, commitments, and deadlines than ever before. You’re consistently told you should do more, and for less. By the time you’re twenty, your job requires twenty years experience. By the time you’re forty, they’ll want someone who’s twenty. From the day you are born, you are being shaped to work, and the entry requirements now are astonishing. So you’re not a bad person for feeling like you require more time, less effort. It’s okay to feel that for a day you wish to do absolutely nothing. Time wasted, is not necessarily wasted time. As long as you need it to be.

That is why there are those who say “Work a job that you love and you’ll never ‘work’ a day in your life”, for if you can practice and hone your hobby and it is classed as working to some, then bingo. But unfortunately that process can’t be forced. You have to be one of the lucky ones and hope that your hobby does not become work for you.

See more on doing what you love in life in – WHAT IF MONEY WERE NO OBJECT?

During the great depression, Bertrand Russell proposed the idea of the four hour working day to combat this from happening. Think about it, instead of the main focus of your life being to serve your workload, your boss at work, the main focus of the day would be your hobby, the things you actually care about, rather than those things you have to pretend you care about. When you get to the end of your life, you might actually have done that one thing that you “always wanted to do”, purely because you had a reasonable time frame in which to do it in. Whether what Russell proposed would work in practice rather than theory, whether I agree with him to any degree or not, it’s an interesting thought. That we have lived our lives, since the beginning of human lives, dedicated to working. That one paradigm has never changed.

And the frustrating thing about working all of our lives, to achieve greater things, is that no matter how much we work – it will never be completed. There is no limit to us, no limit to life. There is no end goal. We will always need more food, more water, a greater thirst for knowledge, more money to trade, more deals to be made.

No wonder it gets tiring.

If you find you are procrastinating, but you are not lazy, then perhaps you are simply over working yourself and deserve a break. Maybe, the next time you convince yourself to work because you should be, and find that you can’t get anything done, you should take a break. Take time for yourself. To explore yourself, and what it is that you need to wind down.

Otherwise, ultimately you’re achieving nothing of use in your work. You would work more efficiently with a rested mind than you would with a tired one. Waste your time, in whatever way you need to. Time wasted, is not wasted time.

Just ensure that when you actively choose laziness over rest, you must ask yourself a few simple questions, “Should I be doing this?”, “Does it take a couple minutes?”, “Will I be much happier relaxing if I know that it is done?” and finally, “CAN it wait?”. If the answer to two of the first three is yes, then do it. Equally if the answer to the last question is no, just do it. Don’t be mad at yourself for procrastinating, but understand that there IS a time and a place for it.

To procrastinate means you are human, and an overworked one at that. Don’t let yourself or anyone else tell you that you can’t procrastinate every now and then. But the secret to never procrastinating again, the true secret of it all, is – … I’ll get to that tomorrow.

ONLY HAPPY WHEN IT RAINS

You met her in an unusual circumstance.

It wasn’t the traditional place people meet, it wasn’t even a good story – but it wasn’t the beginning of the story that mattered anyway.

She gives you that feeling in your heart that you’d forgotten, that feeling you thought you’d outgrown. She has so many things about her that make you smile. Her hair smells incredible. She looks good in anything she wears. Her smile is a powerful manipulation, it can make you smile even when you don’t want to. Her laugh makes your heart warmer. The sound of her voice takes yours away. You never want to let her go.

And some point you realise – you love her.

Things are beautifully uncertain at the start, you’ll do near enough anything to be accepted by her and  hide the fact that you’re crazy (but that’s okay because she’s crazy too). You spend half the time in bed, and a hell of a lot more time out doing those couple-y things. You’ve never spent so much time shopping for food before. You go out and do cliché couple things like look at the clouds or have a picnic together.

Sitting outside is boring, but not with her.

One day you’ll have an argument, and thank god for that. You’re your own person with your own thoughts and opinions, they’re going to conflict at some point. But most importantly it shows that you can argue and still fall madly in love again afterwards. If anything, it strengthens you’re relationship, because you’re no longer lying to each other. And look, you’ve ended up in bed again.

Her hair always looks good in the sunshine. She looks better in the morning than at any other time in the day.

After time has passed, you’re comfortable being yourselves around each other, you’ll start to form those memories and little traditions that you do together, that makes her irreplaceable. Every morning, you wake up and make each other smoothies, cause you’re on that health kick – you can’t help it, after all your in a relationship which means you are going to get a fatter. Pizza with her is worth more than a day at the gym. And every little bit of chubbiness is a memory, and there’s more of each other to hold onto, so you love each other for it.

When she comes home to yours, you notice that she’s upset again. She doesn’t enjoy what she does it stresses her out and she complains to you everyday about it, and you make her feel safe and tell her everything will be okay. She can tell you anything. She can always talk to you about work. She shouts at you, because you don’t understand what it is that she’s saying, she’s not looking for the answer just for you to listen. One of you apologizes, it doesn’t matter. She says you always shout at the ones you love the most. You agree.

It’s been months. You know each other as if you were the other. You can tell what she’s going to say when she walks in the door, you can already guess what she wants for dinner before she says it, you know when she’s in a bad mood when she tells you she isn’t. She hates that by the way.

One day – she doesn’t want to have a smoothie, she doesn’t have time for it.  She still shouts about her job, but it’s at you, not to you. She’s always stressed. She’s always tired. You’re forgetting the good things you do together. You can’t stand listening to her day anymore. You’re in a routine, but not for the right reasons. You miss your smoothie.

The arguments have gotten worse. It’s one thing to be comfortable enough to be honest, and to challenge each other – but it’s about everything now. It’s your fault the dishes aren’t done, it’s your fault she didn’t get a good assessment, it’s your fault she’s going through a rough patch. You argue in public. She’s began to find your flaws, and she focuses on them now. She uses them to explain you to someone sometimes.

Her hair still looks good in the sunshine, but it doesn’t amaze you because you’re still angry about the argument from the night before. The couch is only comfy when you’re not heartbroken. Your sick of having to hide the fights in your mind every time someone asks how she is.

You try to work on it, to fix this. You have to be honest now or you’ll regret it. You tell her about the problems you’ve been having, and you both assure one another you will work on it. Every couple has arguments.

But the dishes still aren’t done. It’s still your fault whenever it can be. She hasn’t taken her turn to make you a smoothie in weeks, you drink them alone now. She’s only happy when it rains. You both agreed somewhere down the line these problems would get fixed, it’s too much, they have to be fixed. You’ve told and complained a million times and it’s still the same. You push through, as all these horrible things you saw from the beginning get worse and worse, and they haven’t been fixed, and you’ve told her before, but she promises, and the dishes – it hits you.

You’re not in love with her.

When did that happen? When did she stop making you happy? All those little things that were worth it – just aren’t any more. You lost her.

It hits you in the chest, all at once on an idle Sunday.

There are tears, angry words breaking the silence, shouting and screaming, you might even get a couple slaps through glassy eyes. She tells you you’re just giving up on her. You agree.

The worst part about losing someone you love, is you don’t know when they’re happy.

They might be happy today, or sad, or thinking of you, or not. And you don’t know.

Doubt is a big part of the next few weeks. Did you do the right thing? What more could you have done? Were you in the wrong?  Were you a good partner? Does she think about you? Does she know that you think about her? You’ll replay words in your head, how you could have said them better. You’ll obsess over the things you should have said.

One day, you’ll catch sight of her. You check – she doesn’t see you. She’s outside of a shop, or on the other side of the window in a restaurant. You’re unsure if you should speak to her. Maybe it’ll bring back old feelings, maybe she’s still in love with you. You don’t want another fight in public. There were a lot of words you’ve got to explain, you didn’t mean to make her cry like you did. You didn’t want to break her heart, you wanted to make her happy. You need to remind her that the screaming, the shouting and the anger near the end – it wasn’t always like that. You were her everything one day in time  and you lost it. You gave up. The guilt is torture.

While your thinking, someone walks up, takes her hand in his. She looks at him and smiles. He smiles back and kisses her on the lips. They fade out of eyesight together, smiling.

And you realise, she is happy.

And you let her go.