Grown-up Fun

Ever caught yourself looking at kids playing around and wishing you could be as worry-free and just have all the fun in the world? Know those moments when you’re looking at a swing in a playground or a cool toy in a shop and secretly wishing you could just jump at it. Play. Laugh. Have fun?

Well you know what, it’s time to grow-up from being too grown-up. Life’s too short to keep that inner-child hidden beneath the grown-up gown.

I released my inner child last weekend in a trampoline park, where I went with two other grown-up friends, and without any children for cover-up. We got so excited jumping around, tossing soft balls at each other and falling down that we forgot to worry about being grown-ups doing kids’ stuff. We were just having a good laugh. And it felt amazing!

Being a grown-up, an adult, is excellent fun because you get to decide for yourself what you’re gonna do. As a kid, you probably had to beg your parents to buy you that new toy you desired, take you to a fun park or to a playground, and have your parents shouting their warnings at you. As a grown-up, you can climb any tree you wish to, swing as fast as you can and jump around to your heart’s desire. If you catch other people giving you a look of disapproval, so what? They are just jealous you’ve let your inner child out while they are still holding it in.

It can be so much fun being a grown-up, I highly recommend trying it out!


Happy Things

We are in charge of our own happiness. But how to reach it? Can we measure happiness, and our own content with our level of happiness? And these different levels are needed, because no one can be “bursting out of happiness, over-joyous” all of the time – that would be very exhausting. Such moments and phases are absolutely needed but equally we need to appreciate the middle and lower level happiness times and factors. Appreciate and take joy out of various things, moments, achievements and people in our lives.

I use the word happy a lot in my life. I believe in happiness – on different levels. I call myself as generally a happy person, much due to the fact that it’s easy to give me moments of happiness. Anything pink will do. Pink is my happy color – my motorbike was pink, my phone cover is pink, my wrist supports in the office are pink. My water bottle is pink, my notebook is pink, my office scarf is pink (wait, pretty much all the scarves I have are pink). The pattern is clear – I try to fill my “everyday life” moments with pink because seeing anything pink (in a right shade) gives me at least a brief moment of feeling happy.

Pink is my happy color but I have other “happy” things as well. Reading a book makes me happy, practicing head stands at yoga, playing netball. I already wrote a text about the joy I get from hanging out at airports. I experience happiness everywhere, constantly. Like when my frequently visited food stall keepers remember my order. Happiness is everywhere. Slightly too spicy som tum (and most of my favorite dishes for that matter). Videos of my niece and nephew, laughing. Sun shining on my skin. Random messages from friends, skype calls with family. Smell of horses – anything related to horses. German language. Diving. Pink dive gear. Rock’n’roll music & 50’s lifestyle. Sunday newspapers. The Moomins. The list goes on.

Happiness should not wait for the big things – sources for happy moments  are everywhere. Sometimes we forget this and get indulged in our unhappiness, sadness, boredness, etc. I had started getting into that state recently. I allowed that myself for a short while but decided that an unsuccessful attempt at a relationship can’t be let take over my emotional state of mind. I was too deep to be  rescued by a look at a pink phone cover or eating salmiakki, and since a German TV show couldn’t lift up my spirits either, I had to rely on the next level of sources. So I went diving for the weekend, on a liveaboard, using my pink gear, accompanied with a good book. 50 hours spent diving, eating, sleeping and chatting with new friends made on the boat, did the trick. It  didn’t heal me but gave me the strength to feel relaxed and happy and not worry for a while. A weekend diving trip is a great reminder of how well things are. I’m not happy about everything in my life but I’m a happy person and can enjoy the good things while working on the less favorable parts.

Happiness. It’s a magical thing but fortunately, magic is everywhere. You just have to believe in it and want it. A lesson for life – learn to be happy. Learn what it means to you to be happy, what the sources in your life can be. Pink or blue or orange – the options are everywhere.

Need versus Want

“What do you need?” – Was the question my friend asked me as I half-jokingly begged her to talk sense to me, fearing a shopping fever on our way to the dive expo last weekend. I had been there the day before to check out on the offers and had made a long wish list.

A backplate system, was my answer, and a torch. And a knife. Being modest, as my wishlist also included pink fins, new pink dive computer and pink rash guards. Pretty much anything that is made in pink. You see the pattern here. It’s pink, it makes it on my wishlist. Truthfully, “nothing” would have been the correct answer as I do have a full set of gear that is perfectly functional. Just not pink.

I ended up with the backplate system, and a few small fun stuffs but dropped the expensive but pink additionals. But the shopping spree had me thinking of this whole “I want” culture. Because in reality we need very little, but want a lot.

I’m reading a book telling a story of a poor Indian country-boy who becomes a successful business man. At the stage of still being poor, he is wondering about how the dreams of the rich and the dreams of the poor never overlap. “The poor dream all their lives of getting enough to eat and looking like the rich. And what do the rich dream of? Losing weight and looking like the poor.”

Do we really confuse the need and the want or is that just a way of speaking? Few of us actually need new shoes, a phone or a backplate system for diving. It’s an easier justification for the purchase than the honest “wanting”, but in a way just an abuse of language. Want and need are not a matter of perspective only.

Why are we so reluctant to admitting just wanting something? Why do we need to hide it behind the need? If you can afford it, and your want is not harming anybody, why not be up-front with the wanting.

I could have continued with my jacket-model BCD but wanted the backplate for an improved dive experience and convenience. I want it to be pink because pink is my happy color. I want pretty much all my accessories to be pink, because pink is a color that makes me smile. I don’t need to be happy or smiling – but I do want to be.


The Inevitable

There’s one aspect in life that has mastered full equality – death. Rich or poor, white or black, believer or atheist. We’ll all die one day, we all have only limited time given to us to make the best of our time. Make the best of our selves.

It’s the one thing fully out of our control. Unavoidable. Commonly, we choose not to think too much about death. Better so, as the life matters more than the death. But what about when the limited time left becomes known to us?

A loved one in my family was diagnosed with breast cancer just 8 months ago. Breast cancer being often treatable, we weren’t too worried. Now I learned the cancer has spread to the lungs. Now it’s no longer curable. Now it’s real – a death sentence. The unavoidable is drawing close.

In a situation like this, the treatment options are for potentially postponing the inevitable, not about the cure. I heard from my mom, that when her mom was diagnosed with lung cancer (a long time smoker) towards the end she refused the treatments which might have given her more time but decreased the quality of the time left. She had understood and accepted it. But all the more so, my mom felt now hurt and betrayed that her sister, now with the terminal stage lung cancer, still refuses to give up smoking. It’s understandable – those staying behind want to hold on to the remaining precious moments and not let go. It feels wrong that a person chooses to cut the already short time even shorter. We are used to being on a fighting mode – always keep fighting, don’t give up, miracles happen.

But it’s not that black and white. Whereas I would definitely urge smokers to quit, I do understand it’s easier to say than to do. Especially hard it’s understandably when you’ve been given the final warning.

Our lives are filled with unhealthy treats and habits. Unbalanced diets, lack of exercise, stress, deserts, alcohol, cigarettes and long list of other stuff are known to affect our chances for a healthy long life yet we still keep going. There are many ways for measuring quality of life but I’d say it’s every individual’s choice to define what matters for them.

I’m not judging my auntie for not giving up smoking as I believe in her mind it’s too late and she’s not ready to add to her burden. She probably needs the cigarettes for their calming effect and doesn’t have the strength for fighting the side effects of quitting. At the same time I understand m mom’s anxiety, losing a second family member to the cigarettes and being able to do nothing about it. People are not perfect. It’s horrible to lose a loved one and even worse so when you have to watch them destroying themselves and not being able to do anything about it.

People are different. Some have stronger self control than others. Some cope better under pressure as others. It’s also in our human nature to try and protect our loved ones. And it’s hard to let go.

I have no idea how it is to live knowing there’s only very little time left. That you might not make it to the next Christmas, are unlikely to have another birthday party. If I were to receive a message like that, I’d likely be tempted to grab something calming as well. I would hope there to be no big regrets present at the final moments. In my auntie’s case, I hope she’ll be able to find her peace.

Those of us who’ll stay behind, we do have the option to make choices which could give us more quality and time. Perhaps some damaging habits can be overcome with healthier options. At the end it matters how we lived our lives. The actions we took, the words spoken, love shared. Death is not the goal, life well lived is. To be able to say on the deathbed that we made the best out of the given time. Then there are no regrets shadowing the last moments.

Make the best out of your life, be the best person you can be. That’s my way forward.