Today I’m not reflecting back on last week.
I weirdly can’t remember much of it. It’s all a blur. I remember walking home after my hairdresser’s appointment on Monday evening, only to find out the next day that a girl was raped at the very same park I walked through, roughly at the same time I passed by.
I didn’t hear a thing. It was only 6:30pm in the evening. It shouldn’t be dangerous walking through a park with so many people around early in the evening.
I no longer walk through the park at night, most days. Some days I’m angry that women in this day and age are advised not to walk through a park in the afternoon, just to be on the safe side, so I walk through it and I’m ready to fight whoever tries to even touch me.
I remember Mike’s birthday lunch and the fire at Waterstone’s whilst we were at Turtle Bay. How sad to see all the books, all the beautiful books with amazing stories on their pages, all the philosophy, science, literature, fiction books that open up our minds and teach us valuable lessons burnt.
And I remember having delicious pies for lunch on Thursday. This is it. The rest is nonsensical in my brain.
What I vividly remember is waking up one day during the week in tears. I was terrified, panicking. Panicking this year is going so fast, too fast. I cannot believe it’s already March.
I went through a whirlwind of emotions, thoughts. I’ve been contemplating about life a lot this week.
‘Am I good enough?’
‘What should I do next?’
‘What do I really want to do next?’
‘What if I die right now?’
‘What have I achieved in my life so far?’
‘I am running out of time. I’m almost 32, what should I do?’
Excruciatingly painful questions with no simple answers.
And then I remembered. I remembered a video my lovely Lou sent me.
A simple, minute and a half long video going through examples on how people achieve different things at different times. One might have become a CEO when they were 22 and then died a year later whereas someone else became a CEO when they were 50 and lived until their 90. Just an example to show that we all work on our own time zones, some might seem ahead and some might seem behind you, we shouldn’t mock them or envy them. Because we are all running our own race, in our own time, our own time zone.
So simple, yet so powerful. I’m in my own time zone, as you are in yours.
It’s incredibly tough to not compare yourself to others. Society norms dictate and often measure your success on others. But that’s not the case.
I recently finished reading one of the best books I’ve ever read and I would recommend it to anyone and everyone, Emotional Intelligence, why it can matter more than IQ by Daniel Goleman.
I’ve learned a lot from this one book, from the neuroscience behind it to what Emotional Intelligence is to how developing it can benefit yourself, others, the society, the world, but I won’t go into much detail, one must read it to get the full picture.
Emotional Intelligence, recognising your own emotions and managing them effectively, motivating yourself, recognising emotions in others and handling relationships is what can make or break you. Emotional Intelligence in contrast to the highly regarded by many IQ can be cultivated and improved at any age. And it should. It’s vital and essential. It all starts from a very young age. The way your parents raise you up even since you are a toddler affects your whole life but you have the power to change it. It should be taught at school, it should be taught from a young age.
Why? Because when we finally become adults we can cope better in life. We learned how to be good, loving caring humans. We are aware when and why we are happy, upset, angry. We recognise how others behaviours affect us and how to change that, we know how to treat people truly respectfully without letting prejudices affect us. We are more resilient to social pressure and all of the social rules dictating our lives. We won’t feel the need to measure our success by comparing our lives to others, because we have the emotional intelligence to recognise that’s just emotions and feelings imposed by others.
What is success anyway? Money, fame, reaching the top of your career ladder?
No, not really. Many have done that and if you ask them years later they all say the same thing. They’d rather have spent more time doing things they love, with the people they love, making memories.
Of course it’s important to love what you do. And I respect people who love their work. But work is not everything and it shouldn’t define us. And not all of us are lucky to be doing what we love for a living.
In one of the first Derren Brown books I read, Derren whilst explaining how he memorises and recalls people’s names, mentions that when he meets people he never asks them what most would ask, what they do for a living, because some might hate their job and what they do doesn’t define who they are, but he instead asks them what they do in their spare time, what their hobbies are, what they love doing, and then associates their name with some of their favourite things. What a great way to remember people’s names!
I’ve met many ‘successful’ people in my life. Most could only talk about their job and their career, understandably because they love it but they couldn’t discuss about anything else. They rarely read any book, they rarely had time, or made time, to go on a holiday or explore another culture, they haven’t listened to music or went to the theatre for months. They couldn’t remember the last time they’ve seen a film, they had no knowledge or experience in anything else other than their work.
If that’s success, then I do not want it.
What I loved about my lunch with Charlie yesterday is that we could chat about films, life, society, Higher Education, music to travelling and life. Because we both love learning, trying new things and our life doesn’t revolve around work. What we do for a living does not define us and it shouldn’t.
What the world needs is more well-rounded people like Charlie. Well-rounded, emotionally intelligent, loving, caring humans. People who have what the Japanese called Ikigai, ‘a reason for being’.
Some of them might have reached success in the conventional sense, some might not. But it doesn’t matter.
I don’t know if anyone in years to come would even remember who I was, I don’t know if I leave a big mark on this crazy world, but we all leave our mark, big or small.
What I’ll leave for others is what I learned from my life through my blog, I’ll leave thousands of photos of delicious food and beautiful places and stories of amazing humans.
The feature image I used for this post today is an example of what I’ll leave for others. A gorgeous moment I captured whilst walking to work. I stopped walking for a second because I wanted to take in the beauty of this world. The sun coming out of the clouds, shining gloriously, brightening the beautiful park. Every time I stare at the sun I think of all my friends and family who live far away but at that moment standing there, the same sun is shining where they are. At that moment they don’t feel that far.
We are on our own time zones, literally and metaphorically but we are part of each other’s life, we are part of each other’s time line, in the most beautiful way. Because we love and care about each other. And I smile.
It’s all about the little things, it’s all about enjoying every single moment, trying new things and for me right now, doing more things I want to but I’m scared of. And everything will fall into place. Just like that.
There is no better way to end this post with a poignant quote by my favourite lady, Leslie Knope.