From Write-Off To Write On

You know how it is.

You go about the house getting on with chores when you hear a crash. What now, you ask yourself rushing towards the noise. Turns out one of the wardrobe doors fell off, as they do. John gets home, inspects the damage and we decide repair isn’t cost effective.

WP_20150709_006You know what we do? We decide to up-cycle into…chalkboards! Well, I whine first and then we come up with the idea. Such a lot of fun!!

Chalk paint’s just awesome, by the way. Paint on the wall right next to your pantry shelves for a thrifty restocking list-maker, or create chalkboards out of anything including picture frames. For the creative types- you could even refurbish/repurpose furniture. Lauren from The Thinking Closet has the best post about this. You can find it here. We found the following articles useful too: eHow, more eHow, and painting on wall.

We have been using our chalkboards for studying, & brain storming. I make more to-do lists (of course), and John leaves quirky messages that always make me smile. It’s never really what happens to you; it’s how you respond to it. I need to remember that!

PS: John & I would love to have you as a regular reader of our blog! It’s easy to do: sign up via “Follow This Blog via Email” link on the right side of your screen. That way our post will arrive in your mailbox every time; which is about once a month.

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Posted in Home, How Tos, Pursuit of Happiness, Thrifty Life, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Logistics of Dreams

“The great enemy of communication, we find, is the illusion of it.” –W.H. Whyte.

My parents, happily married, dreamt of a future together. But after witnessing many heartbreaks I realised that they had very different ideas about the work-life balance needed to build that future. Decades later, I now hear my friends describing the same differences: “I didn’t know he would be gone this often”, “Why is she missing so much of our kids’ lives”, or “I didn’t sign up to raising our family on my own”. To them these represent an unacceptable price to pay.

Not everyone has an accurate picture of a future that exists only in conversations but we all have an idea of the kind of work-life balance we want. These are so integral to us that we sometimes believe our partners understand this even if we haven’t articulated it. And we know each other well, don’t we?! Married a long time, or love each other lots; or those date nights (ah, those date nights)! But do we really know what life looks like to our partners as we build that future dreamt of together?

I have seen couples adapting well to a life sans those core expectations but not if done indefinitely or one-sidedly. The logistics of their dream cost them their marriage. I have also listened to many who never realised they were denying their partners’ expectations whilst their partners thought they realised perfectly well. These cracks only develop as relationships go through life’s pressures, subject to an illusion that conversations have taken place. I did not want this to happen to us. So one evening whilst researching a career change to Medicine I decided to try something different.

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Posted in Communication, Goals, Home, Logistics of Dreams, marriage, Purpose, Pursuit of Happiness, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We Cannot Give What We Do Not Have

Dining table, cups of tea gone cold, and lots of financial calculations. We were checking through our budget. “You will hate this, but we can’t buy them anything. Just no room.” I heard John say as I started at the calculator. We have found ourselves managing a very different mature student life than the one planned for. In spite of all the years of great salaries we cannot even get little gifts for two of our loved ones. It was annoying the life out of me!

hate arriving at celebrations with presents I know should have been more: I had found the stuff you like or need but here, we got you crap instead! Granted that none of our loved ones care about gifts; they just want to spend happy times together. But I love seeing the joy on their faces when they unwrap a gift that they wanted! It isn’t being materialistic, it is just one of those things we all do to make life a little bit more special.

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I went outside to our dilapidated backyard all gloomy when something occurred to me. Both of our loved ones have happy memories tied to mint! The kind you get in supermarkets but doesn’t really taste as good? What if I took cuttings off our lush green mint plant, grew 2 bespoke herb pots just for them?! I dashed around the house happily gathering containers, clipped branches and soaked them in water (with a little soil to encourage root formation!). I cannot wait to tend to these little plants till they grow into what I know would be useful. To be honest I am more excited to see the look on their faces when we give them their first homegrown herb pot!!

You know, we cannot give what we do not have. So let’s give what we have! I will keep you posted.

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Selfie & A Coffee- so what?!

I got there 30 minutes early. I was short on time to work on the agenda of our meeting, & needed every extra minute before my mentor arrived. I grabbed a table at the most desolate corner of the hospital cafeteria & started typing.

Soon a bunch of people grabbed the table next to me, high on life & noisy. Of all the tables they had to pick this one, I grumbled internally. The more they chatted the more I fumed. I just couldn’t concentrate on my work. One of the group, a girl with short auburn hair wanted to take a group selfie. This increased the jollity as well protest. Another bl**dy annoying instafood photo that no one cares about, I muttered under my breath. I looked up to glare at the crowd when I noticed someone sneering. “Oh let’s post a selfie on Facebook. Look! We drink posh coffee & have a lot of friends”, he derided. Girl with short auburn hair, the target of this sneer looked so deflated! It made me pause. I had not said anything out loud, but in my irritation I was just as judgemental as that guy.

The group had a good time & my meeting went well yet I still felt bad about the girl with short auburn hair. We have all sneered like that guy: be it post-run photos, status updates about someone’s day or relationship, photos of kids doing what kids usually do, baked goods; you name it. Heck, it’s so common place that there are piles of articles about what annoys people on social media!

We all update social media when something matters to us yet we judge others based on what brings them joy. Isn’t that hypocritically silly? What do they say about glass house & stones? In principle that girl posting about a cuppa with friends is the same as us posting about a run we enjoyed, a trip we want to promote, or snowfall on a winter evening. It’s an expression of what made us happy. If we sneer at it because we arbitrarily think someone is showing off, perhaps it says more about us than the person we deride.

Reminds me of what The Minimalists once wrote-

“…Judgement is but a mirror reflecting the insecurities of the person who’s doing the judging.”

So, Girl with short auburn hair- you go ahead & post selfies that capture moments of joy. The rest of us will learn to be happy for you!

Posted in Pursuit of Happiness | 2 Comments