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Category Archives: Life

Life is too short to put things off

I am not into new year’s resolutions. I never needed this kind of stimulus to make changes in my life. Whenever something feels not right, I try to change it as soon as I get the courage and summon the power of will to do so.

This year somehow something did not feel exactly right. In particular, I was in this job, which I enjoyed but was getting a bit bored at. I had a steep learning curve at the beginning but things had begun to taper off. Given that this is my first industry job, and coming from an environment where you always want to learn more, there is always something else, some new skill and technique to add to your arsenal, I decided I was too young, and was at too early a stage at my career, to become that comfortable. So, I made a switch. And unlike the first time when I looked for a job (you can read about my experiences which were anything but a walk in the park here), this time things worked out quote smoothly.

Then the next thing I really wanted and needed to do was to take a month off between assignments. Most people will do that after high school or college. But after high school I had no money to travel, nor after undergrad and grad school. After completing my PhD, from my new job they wanted me to immediately start working. So I split my vacations between going back home and stealing a weekend here and there. But that’s it. No where super exciting. Nowhere you need shots to go to. And when if not now? After all, what to do with some draining savings if not invest them in life experiences?

It is an overused cliché, but life is indeed too short to postpone what you want to do. A completely different life could be only a decision away. And a few steps out of your comfort zone.

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Posted by on March 19, 2017 in Holidays, Life, Uncategorized

 

Abandoned places in Bulgaria

To be honest I do not always closely follow all news that involve my home country. Of course, I keep up-to-date with the major events, and strangely with the (less important) news from my region and home town. Certain things (such as political news, corruptions and all kinds of scandals), I prefer to ignore. I, however, do not apply this ostrich approach to humane feature stories; I do not close my eyes and ears for the daily misery and tragedy that engulfs lives of many people in Bulgaria.

There are a certain type of photo features (or you might say photo journalism) that I especially appreciate and devour. These are photo series of now almost abandoned places, usually villages in some mountainous location in Bulgaria. There is so much nostalgia oozing from these photos. I am transported to the days of my own childhood when I used to visit my grandparents who lived in a small town themselves. At the same time, I notice the lonely, small, cobbled streets, the houses which are falling apart, and the few, most often old people living there. I cannot help but think that after them, no one will be left, and these villages will become complete ghost places, until the wind and the rain dissolves and washes away anything left from the old barrack-like structures, and nothing will be left from its former residents. A part of me is saddened that these villages, once prosperous, housing sizeable populations, were bursting with activity and now are sleeping in silence. Yet another part of me, appreciates the silence, even envies it. That part of me sometimes, when life gets hard, dreams of escaping everything and everyone and finding solance and refuge in such a place.

But let me stop rumbling, and leave you strol through some forsaken places in Bulgaria. I can look at these forever..

Disclaimer: I have nothing to do with taking these photos, I found a number of these series on the High View Art site that I follow on social media.

 
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Posted by on December 17, 2016 in Life, Nostalgia

 

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Never forget to take care of yourself first

You know how during the airplane safety instructions they always tell you to put your own mask first and then to assist those around you who need help – even if these are your loved ones. After bitter experience, I am trying to follow that credo when it comes to many other things in life. Let me explain.

A few months ago I was under extraordinary stress. Some of it was real, other parts had been piled up there due to my tendency to over think and overall issues with anxiety. I was so busy juggling between a new job, finishing my dissertation, finalizing the job I was doing on the side, language course, and personal life. I was, subconsciously or not, trying to please everyone. Whenever people would request more from me, I would not even think twice and go out of my way to do the given task. I never said no to additional work they would give me in the second job, at time-consuming (and often boring) tasks at my first one. I would try to go out of my way to accommodate the needs of my parents, my partner, and everyone else in my immediate surrounding. I was so busy and somehow so unequipped to deal with this new type of stress in my life, I was at my wit’s end.

Then I started having problems sleeping. I would fall asleep easily but 2-3 hours later, I would wake and not be able to get a wink of sleep anymore. That would make me even more tired and irritable. Everything would annoy me, I would be so alert, at times I felt I could just explode. I did not have time to do sports but even exercise would not help me to stay asleep. Then I started feeling very itchy on my arms, calves and legs. I scratched until it hurt. And it still itched some more. And the less I slept, the worse it would get.

After a consultation with a doctor, it turned out I most probably have a stress-induced (and more common among women) inflammation of the skin and urgently need to get some sleep. So I started taking supplements which are supposed to calm you down, and had to take them for the coming 4 months. At first they did help a lot. I remember I was so happy after sleeping through the night, I felt reborn. My mood improved, the irritation on my skin decreased. The short-run effect was immediate but also short-lived.

The most important change had to come from within. I had to learn to let go of worry, especially when the thing I worry about is out of my control. Sometimes when I am very anxious about something, I try to remember what my father always said to me when I was young and worried about some triviality. He would ask me, “So what if that happens? Think about it, will it really be the end of the world?.”¬† Thinking and learning to accept the worst case scenario long before it happened is actually very helpful to me. If you calmly and rationally access these options and scenarios, you would be better prepared to act upon it, in case it happened.

These days my life is down a few sources of stress but it is long-term battle. I notice just when I get moe nervous and worried about something, my skin inflammation is back. I have also made some healthy choices in my diet in order to stress my body less. I try to find more time for myself and for the things I extract good vibes from. Most nights I sleep through the night, but sometimes I need to have a rational conversation with myself to induce it. And I am still learning and findings new ways from the sure path of a heart attack before I am 30 that I was on to. And I hope to get better at it soon because it is so empowering and such a relief just to let go and care less.

 

stressed

 
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Posted by on June 11, 2016 in Life, Stress

 

The magic of passion

And now that I got your attention with a racier title, let me cool things down by saying I will most definitely not be talking about the kind of summery passions that make your knees soften and the butterflies in your stomach go berserk. Those are great too, just not what I want to discuss here.

I am talking about the passion you get from doing something, the crazy drive that makes you spring from the bed in the mornings, the things you can spend hours discussing and never get bored of. Those are super great, aren’t they?

You don’t need to have life all figured out in order to have found your passion. And your passion could have nothing to do with your occupation, it could be other things that make the hours from 9 to 5 tolerable. It could be a thing you do alone, a thing you do with friends and loved ones, it could something super random (say, bird watching on early summer days), or very conventional (a movie junkie anyone?). Bukowski was right when he said, “Find what you love and let it kill you.” And I am almost sure he was drunk when he said/wrote that.

Some passions are with us for life. Most of us, since our early years have taken a profound interest in certain activity and continue to do it long in our adulthood. It follows us and shapes us, it defines us and brings us to where we are. I, for example, have a thing for books. I nagged the adults around me to teach me how to read, so I knew how to do that 2 years before starting school — simply because the world of books has always been magical. I did not have an easy time in my childhood and sometimes books were the only consolation I had around. They were my best friends, they were familiar and safe. When the world around me was too unbearable, the books opened up doors to another reality. Till this day, I am an avid reader. I just do not understand how with so many interesting things going on, with so much important information around us, some people go through life and their minds remain, as Descartes said “tabula rasa.” Ignorance can be very convenient but quite scary. In the past few months, I read a few books that revealed such important issues and problems I was vaguely familiar with. One had to do with North Korea and the other with he genocide in Rwanda in the 90s. They were both brilliant books and I felt a bit shamed I did not know more about these issues before reading these books. I can only feel intimidated by my ignorance regarding numerous other issues out there.

But, as usual, I’ve digressed. I was talking about passions. So, some people are blessed to have discovered their passions and have made them their occupationss. Not everyone is lucky enough to have the chance to do for a living what they love, and some of us do not even discover where our real talents lie. Some of us have to settle for wherever we have gained some expertise and skills about. And it’s okay not to have it all figured out (especially at certain ages in life). Uncertainty is good, it’s fascinating and full of opportunities, if you keep an open mind, of course. Sure, we can all stay in our comfort zone and masterfully grill and grind on the few things that we know how to do well, or we can strive for constant change and development. Why do people stop learning, stop striving? You don’t have to have it all figured out, but simply at what you do, do it with all that you have, all your focus and energy, so that you are proud of it. People seem to forget that how we do things is who we are and who we are going to become all in one. I do not have respect for the type of job a person has but for they way that they do it. Sweep the streets for all anyone cares, but do it with ease. Do it with passion.

 
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Posted by on June 19, 2015 in Books, Life

 

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