March On

Up until some time ago, I never really gave the concept of friendship that  much thought. I was never one to have a whole list of friends. Quite to the contrary, I always had a small number of friends I counted as real ones, and the rest were just acquaintances – people I would not share more than a ‘hello’ or a smile with.

The younger you are, the more important it seems to have lots of friends. The number of friends you have seems to be directly proportionate to how popular or unpopular you are at school. The bigger the posse, the more high-up the fame-scale you find yourself.

With university, your friends change. Friends you leave behind for different courses or work are soon replaced with new ones, and only the treasured few remain as true friends. It only makes sense that the new people you share new experiences with become new friends, ones who can understand what you are going through, and who you find yourself confiding more and more in.

And then you start dating, and you get married and you have children, and suddenly you realize  that you have become isolated from everyone and everything. When children come in the scene, you are so involved as a mother, that all the rest seems unimportant. You lose yourself as a person at times, and the only conversation you can hold seems to revolve around feeds, nappy changes and the colour of the baby’s stools. When I had Cesca I was not working at the time. I was a stay-at-home wife, still discovering a new country and being happy with baking and watching television. When she arrived, my life was all hers. I used to force myself to shower, change and get out of the house, and when we visited Malta, I found that I had lost so much of myself. My conversation was boringly all about babies. I had become the person I never wanted to be. Only then did I realize how important working and being round people was for me.

So I did what I could and changed that. I found a new line of work, I met new people and I very slowly began finding myself again. Being a mother is a gift, but it is also very tiring and draining. I was ‘mummy’ all the time, and I had truly forgotten what the old “Josepha” liked and who she was.

And so came another change. I found new me-time, I made new friends, and I started opening up more and more. I made a new set of friends and realized that adults need friends. We need to be around similar-minded grown-ups and be able to moan, complain, joke and laugh around them. Life is so crazy at times, we need to know that it is not only us and our situation which are chaotic, but others are actually going through the same things.

There is something liberating in being able to meet up with a group of friends over dinner and a bottle of wine, or even a quick cup of coffee and discussing every topic under the sun, without feeling guilty about leaving the husband or children behind.

I do believe in balance. Between work and family, I had so little time for myself. So I did what I could and I made the time. And I threw all the guilt I could possibly feel out of the window.

Take yourself as a whole. Now remove the mother part of you, the wife part of you, the daughter part of you, the worker part of you. What are you left with? I am still not left with much, but I am content that the little I now have is much more than what I had a couple of years ago. And it fulfills me a hundred times more.

So any opportunity I have to be just me, I seize. Being able to recharge as a person after meeting up with friends, or going out with my husband alone, makes me a calmer and better person for it.

Again, no guilt.

None.

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Spring-Cleaning

I love this time of the year. It’s just the right time for the cold weather to calm down a bit, and we get to enjoy some beautiful sunshine without the sticky and stinky humidity our summers bring.

Whilst March is always a tough month, one I do not like at all, it also heralds the beginning of spring. And of all four seasons, it is most definitely my favourite.

I associate spring with new beginnings. After March, April starts with the promise of warmer breezes and bluer skies. I finally put my heavy jackets to rest and take out my cardigans and lighter layers, with the hope that I am not tempting the fates into throwing at us more wind and cold. I set my boots aside with a huge sigh of relief. I can finally wear sock-less flats and perhaps even dare to show my feet if the weather permits. That is after getting a pedicure, with a pretty coral colour perhaps. I slowly start removing layers and layers of clothes, scarves and socks. Skin is scrubbed and buffed, dead and dry skin discarded of,  and body parts hidden by the winter cold start getting properly prepared for the outer world to see. I start pushing myself that bit harder at training because visions of me in a bathing suit start popping up every morning at 6am whilst squatting, and panic starts kicking in. The days become longer, and so can our walks. Gozo at this time of the year still stubbornly holds on to the last of the green grass, before the brown, dried-up ambience sets in – typical of our summer.

Now is also the time when I start pining after a new hairstyle, look up new, fad diets and amazing superfoods. I restart my Bucilla kit for the tenth time because I suddenly realize that I can finish it in time for next Christmas…but only if I continue working on it for more than a couple of days.  I start a frenzy period of internet shopping because suddenly not one single female in our household has any single item of clothing to wear. I go through the girls’ wardrobes with a heavy heart because I have to empty the winter clothing, half of which will never be worn again.

After reading Island Fairy’s post, I immediately downloaded the Headspace app. Today is Day 2 of my meditation practice. With it just being ten minutes long, it’s something I can find the time for more easily than an hour-long session. I have also grabbed hold of my copy of The Universe Has Your Back, and started reading it again. I go through periods when I can not read some books. They just do not appeal to me and I physically hide them away till I feel ready to give them another go. After reading the reviews on this book, after eagerly waiting for it to arrive, once it did, I was just put off it. I read the first chapter, found myself blocking over it, and I had to stop. I now feel that the time is right to give it another go. I’m thinking that ten minutes of meditation a day and some pages of this book, will help my mind go along with the sense of new and fresh beginnings this time of the year brings.

This is perhaps my own version of spring-cleaning. I think we all have our rituals this at this time of the year. Some which we perhaps do not realize unless we sit down and think about it. I can go through spring with a clear head. It is perhaps the only season where my energy levels are higher than usual, and things are that bit more possible and happier. Summer is too hot for me to muster any enthusiasm, autumn is too busy for clarity, and winter I do not particularly like. I guess spring is my season.

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Chasing the Sun

Choices

When we make a choice, we are choosing something over something else. We choose A over B.  And in that split second we make a decision, we are setting the path for that part of our life.

Do you ever think of the path you didn’t choose? I very rarely do. The temptation is great but I do not see much sense dwelling on that which did not happen.

The way I see it is that every decision is taken in a particular moment. It is one instance, with a background of events going on around it, and with a specific mind frame and set of emotions. Every choice is made in that arena, in that moment. A choice made a second later could lead to a hundred, different results.

Actually, thinking about it is pretty intimidating. We make on-the-spur decisions, in a moment, and they are binding ones. We rarely get second chances.

Thinking about the untaken choice is unfair, because all those factors which featured in making the first choice might not be present the second time round. Thinking in retrospect is a bitch. We are all experts afterwards.

My friend L and I were talking about this the other day. That question, “What if?…” Is it worth anything? We can’t live life thinking about the choices we didn’t choose. Think of all the useless energy we would be wasting!

My comment earlier on about not revisiting the past? Confession time.Here goes.

There is one instance which remains with me always. It took me 8 years to fully understand how much it had affected me. The minute it happened, I very conveniently forced myself to forget it and I went on living as if it had never happened.

And then my 2014 life upheaval happened and I had to face the facts head-on, without any cushioning or downplaying.

One Monday evening back in 2006, my father called us from New York. He talked to my mother, then my brother and he then asked to talk to me. For a silly reason, I didn’t want to. I had just returned from America a couple of weeks before with luggages and luggages of things, all sponsored by him. So when I asked for something else for him to bring me, his, “Didn’t she buy enough yet?” made me angry. Mum told me not act in that childish manner, but I kept on refusing.

He hung up and the next day he passed away.

I remember blaming myself for what happened, hating myself for not talking to him on the phone, and yearning to turn the clock back a couple of hours. The guilt added to the pain and suffering of those days was too much for me, so I made myself forget and dismiss the incident. It came up later on (oh yes it did), I dealt with it and life was clearer and lighter in a way.

The choice I made back then was insignificant at that time. I did not think about it again till the moment my life shattered into a million pieces. With hindsight of course I would have done things differently, but I learnt that I could not undo a choice, and I could not judge myself over something which had already happened under different circumstances.

So I stopped judging myself,  I accepted the fact that it was a choice I made, a very bad one as it turned out, but I would not feel guilty about it anymore. Because that was the way it was meant to be. That was the way things had to turn out.

And if life has taught me anything so far it is that we are the sum total of our choices and decisions. They shape us and make us. We are where we are now because of our choices. Stop blaming yourself. Again, hindsight is a bitch. A Bitch.

Own It!

Have you ever found yourself starting to say something and stop yourself before you do? There are many situations when I think something, disagree with someone or really want to say something but don’t. I keep quiet and keep my thoughts to myself.

And then I ask myself why I don’t just say what I want and mean to say.

Maybe it’s the looks I am afraid of gathering, maybe it’s the reaction I don’t want to see. Whatever it is, this holding back bothers me. I have always been a strong believer of saying what you believe in and owning it. Yet sometimes I can’t even practice what I believe in.

So yes, I do spend time on Facebook, and yes I do play Candy Crush Saga. I also buy ridiculous items on sale which I never use and I then remove tags and receipts to make it less obvious to anyone other than me.

I still love reading a trashy fiction book every once in a while, and deep down I know I’m not the ideal housewife. Cooking is sometimes a chore, and I do sometimes keep the girls quiet with sweets in order to get something done round the house.

I love seeing other people’s photos on Facebooks, more so if they’re not my friends. I am constantly filling up online shopping bags on every site I know of, not necessarily resulting in a purchase. And I procrastinate, too much for my own good at times.

Phew!

What about you?

 

Self-care

I’m liking the way my year is turning out to be. For the first time in a really long time, if ever, I am in a happy place. I’m appreciating my life and those in it. I’m proud of myself for taking the step of ridding myself of what I do not need. I’m embracing the positive and shunning the rest. I’m moving forward, skipping actually, perhaps with less people around me but with an overall much better aura.

The decision to stop pleasing others and focusing on myself proved to be the turning-point. Perhaps it’s my age or reaching a saturation point of sorts, but my priorities have changed and with them, my life has shifted. I have come to realize that any time spent on things or people who are not worth it, is wasted time. I have given up on past friendships not with any antagonism, not at all. I just choose to spend the time I have with friends and family who give me something worth holding onto. It is a hard decision giving up on something or someone who meant so much to you in the past. But when you do so, the feeling of lightness and rightness which accompanies the action, is mind-lifting.

I do not care for any bull in my life. At 36 years of age, I finally know what I want in my life. And I consider myself fortunate to have people in my life who can and are giving it to me. Gone are the times when I used to set off, going out of my way to please someone, without any acknowledgment, thanks or reciprocated action. How many times have I done something for someone, only for them to shun away when I used to ask for something in return? We are all humans. We all expect help from our close ones in times of need. And when your priorities are not theirs, then there is a problem.

In every post I have written this year, I have always said how this year was going to be my year. I made it a priority to better my life and myself . It was not easy and it took hard work and keeping my eyes on the prize to move forward. Today I am with less people around me. I probably come across as sometimes direct and abrupt. But I am no less sensitive. than I was before. I am not crass or arrogant.  I only choose more carefully when to show what side of me.

I have, in a way, spring-cleansed my life. I have opened up myself, let the negative air and presences go out, and allowed the positive in my life. I have found the courage to admit to myself what I want out of this life, whom I want in my life, and what I need to do to achieve my own peace, and I’m slowly getting there.

I will not apologize for this. I am looking out for myself and my own. I suggest you try doing this. Clarify what and who you want in your life, and set out the way to achieve it.

I am telling you – the feeling is great.

I may not be doing it right. This may be the least correct way of doing it, but what works…works.

 

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This is not about hate or disrespect. It’s about self-care.

 

Strolling By

I haven’t written in what seems to be ages. Not from lack of events, far from it. Finding the time to put thoughts into words is the ultimate feat.

Bettina turned one, Cesca started her second year at school, I started full-days at work, our house is slowly being erected. Life is good. Hectic, tiring and exhausting, but nothing to complain about. Our life sometimes resembles a family sitcom show – the evenings especially are crazy, and when I finish cleaning up the kitchen, Anthony handles the toys and the girls are put to bed, I let out a huge sigh of relief. For as much as I love the girls, I love them that bit more when they’re both laying in bed, clean and happy and ready for the night.

Juggling work with family is not easy.

I am not one to complain. Yet sometimes I yearn for the stay-at-home lifestyle. Returning home after a full day of work to start what is a second full-time job is tiring. Sometimes I struggle to make the bed or think up the evening’s menu. But I think motherhood toughens us up, and we move on and forward. I falter, I trip along the way, but I try and move on. Sometimes, I hobble along to end the day, but somehow we’re all good. So things must not be as bad as I sometimes think they are.

So two months of not writing here is because of this. It’s not about not having anything to write or say. It’s just not having the energy and time to sit down and concentrate for an hour.

For now I’ll probably just write small snippets here and there. But I promise I’ll be back properly.

Can’t promise when though.

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Let Them Go

There comes a point where you have to just let it go.

The first and most difficult step is realizing that things change, situations alter you and your perspective and thoughts change in the process.

The ‘you’ of ten years ago did things differently than ‘you’ today. You may live in a different village now, you may have a family, you may have certain life experiences under your belt, you may have been hurt, loved, betrayed, forgiven, you may have hurt others yourself and learnt from it. Small knicks that shape your life and make you the ‘you’ of today.

You may think that some people will remain in your life forever. But it is not so.

I have learnt this lesson through several episodes in my life. More so recently.

So as much as it hurts, I accept that we all change and we all move forward. I will treasure some people and my memories of them in my heart forever. I will smile and laugh when I remember past times, but I will not stay stuck in the past. I will not wallow in sadness and cry for the ‘why’s’ and ‘how’s’ and the ‘what-if’s’. We are all responsible for our actions. We take our decisions and we move on.

The most important thing is letting go without regrets. It’s waking up in the morning with a clear conscience, knowing you did what you could, and realizing that sometimes you can’t fight for something alone.