Reality (aka “What Ifs” Are Nothing But Trouble)

[noun; ~Pronunciation: /ree-al-i-tee/]

  • Definition: The world we live in, as it is. Not our thoughts, not our prayers, not our wishes, but that which we see when we open our eyes is reality. No erasers to get rid of our mistakes, no re-set button to start over. Ongoing life, eternal reality.
“Since we cannot change reality, let us change the eyes which see reality”Nikos Kazantzakis

Yesterday my mother had a silly accident when she went swimming with her grandchildren. Nothing too serious, but she miss-stepped getting into the pool and hurt both of her knees in the process.

She got home safe, which is exactly the point of this post, because she managed to make a fifty minute drive with aching knees without causing any accidents. When she got home and showed me her legs, her knees about three times their normal size, I immediately put her on the sofa and brought her a cold pack. My father came in later, but when he heard the knee-story he got all upset.

Really, properly, madly upset. At my mother. For being irresponsible and hopping behind the wheel (quite literally, I can imagine) instead of calling us to pick her up.

I get it, I totally do. He was worried her stubbornness could have led to something worse than two swollen knees. But in life, there are no “what ifs”. There’s only reality.

Sure, you think of risks before you undertake anything, such as with going on a faraway trip (what do you mean, personal example?). You weigh the pros versus the cons and make a decision: do I go? What if the organisation I go with is a bad one? What if I don’t like my travel companions? What if I get sick on the trip? And so on. Many of these future-what-ifs can be put to rest by checking credibility of the travel agency, for instance, or making sure you’ve got extra phone numbers from your health care and travel insurance on you during your vacation. But basically, those are “just in cases” and not so much “what ifs”. The latter can ruin your brains for real, let me tell you!

A few examples:

  • “What if I had gone to a different high school, would I have been bullied as much?”
  • “What if I had stayed at the new gym as an instructor, would I have been happier now?”
  • “What if I had kissed that guy years ago, would we still be a couple today?”
  • “What if I had put in more effort in high school, would I have graduated cum laude? Would that change anything now?”
  • “What if I hadn’t gone to college and had kept working for company B, would I be in charge of my own store now?”

The sad truth is: you can’t change reality. If an accident happened, you can think of all possible different things you could have done to prevent it, but it won’t change the fact that it’s happened. You can’t go back in time and change the future, no matter how many movies or video games they make on the subject. Life is life, you only get one chance, one shot, and no second try.

“What ifs” are horrible, they keep us looking back, thinking about what we could have done to change the present outcome, while in fact we should focus on what lies ahead. Learn from our mistakes and move on.

“What ifs” are not real. They won’t help you change reality, they only make you suffer.

What if my mum hadn’t gone swimming? She might have fallen down the stairs and hurt her knees there. You simply don’t know.

There’s only one reality, and that is the life we are currently living. Don’t hurt yourself by thinking how you could have done something different. Reality is: you didn’t. Now stop worrying about it and look forward. Take whatever happened (or didn’t happen) as a lesson to change your future reality.

I bet you my mother is never going to pay attention to a zillion different things while climbing down a pool ladder, as she’s not very fond of her current reality. I don’t think she’d like to repeat this in the future.

Just saying.

Heart to Post

Wednesday Wisdom-Tile

Still thinking of Belgium and all the attacks that happened before.


Status Update


Today I wanted to write about my dentist. Not because I am scared of going there, but because I look forward to it every six months. He’s kind of hot, actually, and I always forget why I don’t fancy him more, until I go and he starts talking. And talking. And talking. And adds some more talking.

He’s really nice, but honestly, I am not an idiot. You don’t have to explain everything you do to my teeth or gums in six-fold, thank you.

Anyway, I have some jaw issues I hoped he could solve (by slapping my jaw back into position or something… I don’t know, dentists are known to be cruel!), but it turns out it’s just muscle pains…

I’ve heard it all now. I’ve had muscle pains in every part of my body, two Freedom Sculpt classes ago I couldn’t even walk after finding out I had used more back-muscles than I knew I had, and now I can happily add “jaw muscles” to the list. Although, leave out the “happily”.

Leave out happy altogether, for the first thing I heard when I switched on the radio was “there has been a second bombing in a metro station.”

When do people stop this!? What is their to gain by blowing up your own kind? I’ll never, never understand!

I’ve been to Brussels, I’ve been to Zaventem. I’ve walked through that targeted hallway years ago. I have friends in Belgium.

I am utterly stupefied and at loss for words. So no real Tuesday blog post. I couldn’t fit it in with today’s crazy schedule anyway (chaos in a perfectionist’s world) , I am too tired to function properly, and my last resources and energy have taken a huge blast from another major disappointment in the human race.

So I’m going to leave it at this, with these words on your screen and my thoughts in Belgium.

Be safe everyone, and appreciate what you have.


Sunday Summary

(Week 11)

sunday_summary_new“Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely”Auguste Rodin

First of all: I am sorry for not replying to a lot of comments, emails, texts… I don’t know what’s come over me, but I suspect it has something to do with the changing of the seasons. When you’re done laughing: I always get super exhausted when winter becomes spring and when summer makes way for fall (although funnily enough autumn and spring are my favourite seasons). It must be the air or the weather or something.

Point is: I am so tired all the time, I feel I could sleep forever and still be tired!

I solemnly promise to go through all unanswered messages ASAP and reply/get back to you. Just bear with me, please. It usually lasts for a few weeks before I’m the neurotic old me again 🙂

Okay, back to what you came here for: my weekly summary! My theory is simple: if you learn something new each day, by the end of the week you’ll have gained seven points of wisdom. Well, this is the end of the week for me, so here are my learning moments:

  1. I have a motor control deficiency, but only on the left side. Growing weirder each week, so it seems, I discovered I do not do well physically when left is the way to go. A little elaboration is necessary: I took my first XCORE class last Monday and all went well when the target direction was right. XCORE uses a tube-like object that’s filled with grit. If you want to see how it’s done, check the link above.
    Now, as I said, everything was just peaches with the single-single-shakes to the right. But then we had to do the same starting to the left and my brains couldn’t handle it! It got even worse when there was footwork involved. A single step-touch while shaking my tube to the left became mayhem! I hope I’ll do better tomorrow. After all, practice makes perfect, right?
  2. You don’t always have to speak. For some reason, I always think I need to have the last word to say or need to know everything about everything. Last Tuesday, however, I felt cranky beyond limits and as my mother was blabbing on about something irrelevant (and very uninteresting) I felt too tired to talk back. So I didn’t. I was so relieved! I didn’t have to think about what to say, or about how I was going to say it, or about how my mother (or anyone else) would interpret it. I was alone and quietly pleased with myself. Especially quietly.
  3. Old habits die easier than I thought. When I decided I wouldn’t eat chocolate during the week (bad skin, bad for health, etcetera), I never in a million years would have thought I wouldn’t miss it. The same goes for cheese.
    But lately, after I’ve had about three to six chocolate Easter eggs (yes, my mum’s at it again! She keeps buying them and places them in front of me, knowing I find it hard to resist them -_-) I am done. Seriously spooky stuff, but it’s true! My body is now getting used to not munching on chocolate all the time, so it’s not asking for it any more! The same goes for cheese! Totally bizarre, but it’s proven then: breaking old habits is easier than everyone always states.
  4. A tree’s roots grow underground the way its top grows into the air. I am not exactly sure if this is the case, but I saw someone on TV mention it to a tree-expert and he nodded wisely without correcting her, so I’m guessing it is. I never knew this.
    Please note they probably don’t mean the tree is precisely mirrored under the ground the way it looks above, but on TV it was all about the range of a tree’s roots. Apparently they take up more space than anyone ever told me!
  5. Don’t feel guilty for having a better life than a lot of people, but use it as a motivation to improve someone else’s life. All my life, or at least for the majority of it, I’ve felt guilty for having had it so easy. I live in a decent house, have two nice parents, was allowed to become whatever it was that I wanted to be, never experienced war first-hand, never had any serious worries, and was able to go to school and learn something. I fully understand there’s a whole lot of people out there whose lives aren’t as mellow and easy as mine. People who are younger than me, are poorer than me, are living on the streets. I feel bad that I’ve had it so great without putting in any effort to get here.
    A few nights ago I dreamed of my grandfather. He told me he was proud of me (always nice to hear), but that I needed to stop worrying about my life being this good in comparison to the lives of many others in the world. He said I should use my life’s easiness as a starting point: if I think everyone deserves to have as great a life as I have, I should use it as a reason to help other people instead of merely feeling guilty. I agree.
  6. Running makes the world a happier place and me a happier person. Sometimes people ask me why I run, often because they can’t imagine having a more boring hobby. For a long time, I didn’t know the answer. It’s not the running itself, as I always come home panting and dizzy. And during the last minutes of my workout I am notorious for pulling pained faces and grunting, silently cursing my timer for not being anywhere near to zero yet.
    But the answer came to me today. I run because it makes me happy. Literally. After my stretches and shower, I can’t think of anything better than lying on the couch with a book or my DS and a cup of tea. It’s a state of complete and utter zen. I feel like I can take on the world, no matter what I encounter on my path. Running makes the world appear as a lovelier place. Ahh, the power of endorphins! 🙂
  7. This week’s paper wisdom could have been written by Nietzsche: You identify yourself with nothing. In this world there is nothing you call your possession and you are not sad about not owning a thing. You have found peace. Well, this is not completely true, as I do identify myself with the things I own, but merely because it reflects what kind of person I am. Do I care a lot for my possessions? No, not really. Apart from my first stuffed panda, pretty much everything is replaceable. Basically, the way I see it is that we can’t take anything materialistic with us to the afterlife, so why care so much about items? I much rather be free, indeed, and take with me happy life experiences and memories.

This week’s Earworm has been stuck in my head for a good day or… four. It’s one of my favourite Irish folk songs, and in the (belated) light of St. Patrick’s Day, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.


There it is for this week! What have you learned?


Masquerade (aka Theory Versus Practice)

[noun; ~ Pronunciation: /mas-kuh-reyd/]

  • Definition: In a way, life is nothing but a giant masquerade. We all wear different masks at different times and occasions to please different people (including ourselves). The question is: who are you really when you put down your social disguise?
“Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask and he will tell you the truth”Oscar Wilde

First of all, I want to say the following about The Phantom Of The Opera: it’s magical. The only movie/theatre play I’ve ever seen that’s actually better than the book it was based on. Watch the video clip if you haven’t already or go book tickets for any show near you. Now!
I saw it live in London on my 25th birthday and this song (among many others) still gives me goosebumps (it also reminds me I should watch the DVD some time again soon – ❤ Gerard Butler!).

Right, back to business. I was pondering what to write about today, until I was applying a new layer of lipstick while looking at myself in the mirror. I wondered why I put make-up on my lips while having no intention of leaving the house any more today (I was in the process of starting to cook dinner). My answer: no idea.

This morning, before I went to Body Sculpt (another one of the group exercise classes I take. I know, I’m spiralling out of control! – not really, though) I plastered on some mascara before I left. Why? No clue. But even so, it’s impossible for me to leave the house with at the very least a little mascara on my eye-lids.

It’s my mask.

And that’s what got me thinking. About social roles, and acting, and pretending. We all do it! Life is one big masquerade!

When someone asks you how you’re doing, how often do you honestly tell them you’re feeling horrible? Probably never. Unless you’re down at the doctor’s office. And even then many of us lie.

How many times have you faked being happy for someone, while in fact you couldn’t care less? Or the other way around? How many times have you been the actual YOU around others? The person you are when nobody is around, the real you, the core you?

When I’m out with friends, I find myself faking I am cooler than I am. I fake knowledge of the TV shows they talk about, only so I don’t feel left out. Or like a total loser. I try to sing along to the songs they sing along to, but it’s not really me. I only sing when I’m home alone. But around them, I hum as if it’s all I ever do.

Sometimes I hear myself say something. I hear my mouth make up words and sentences my mind didn’t necessarily approve of, as if I am listening to someone else. It’s strange.

The person I am in theory (or the person I think I am in theory) doesn’t always come out when there’s others around. Actually, she only ever shows herself on very rare occasions, usually when it’s just me, one of my best friends, and some alcohol.
The truth is, in practice I put on a mask and pretend I am someone close to the real me, but not quite her exactly. Which is good in some ways (like when you really want to slap someone because they upset you, but you hold back and smile instead), and bad in other situations (e.g. when I’m being patronised and I want to stand up for myself but don’t).

When do you put on what mask and when do you put your disguise down? Does it always happen automatically or is there a manual override? I’d like to find out.

People can change and so can the masks we wear. But we will use them until the end of time, because life is, and always will be, a big masquerade.

So let’s all put on our favourite disguise and burst into song! 😀 (Really: go see the show. Or at least the movie!)

And then when you get home, all tired and sore from dancing and singing, you can put all your masks down and reveal the real you. Who are you in theory? What happens when you take off your disguise?

Me? I’m just a blonde girl who likes to sing and dance when there’s no one around to watch. Or listen. Or judge.