Entanglement

When I wrote my “53 things to do while I´m 53” the whole idea was having some fun. I thought that once I had solved some of my problems I would be able to recover some of the lost things that I was missing, fun being one of the most important.

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I never thought that things were going to get so entangled.

I moved into my new apartment. Very small, very bright, very ventilated and with an amazing view of the city. Oh yes, my nightmare of contractors, things that went very wrong, hard work, debts and the kind was finally coming to an end. Some things needed to be done here but nothing compared to what I had been through in the past two years.
I thought that when this problem was solved I would finally have time to make some changes in other areas of my life that needed attention, work being one of them.

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I never thought that work would become a threat but it did. I wanted to make some changes, I was trying to climb a step to a better place inside my area but then I learnt that I was going to be fired. What came as a shock at first as days went by turned into an opportunity for a real change. But the wheel of fortune was not in my favor and instead of proposing me to leave with my 15 year compensation, they wanted me to resign. I´m my sole provider so losing my income is not something to take lightly.

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Now I´m trying to put some light on these events and to do so I took a prolonged leave of absence to give me time to think about my next steps.

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I just wish I´m strong enough to disentangle this mess in the days to come. A friend of mine gave me a piece of advice that I´m taking. She said “when you don´t find a solution, change the focus otherwise you´ll get obsessed and the answers won´t come”

It´s what I´m doing right now.

53 things to do while I´m 53

This is not an original idea. I´ve taken it from somebody else. I´d like to give her/him the credit but I cannot remember where I read it. Not even sure if it was the exact same thing or just the gist.

I turned 53 the first week of September and I wrote down on a notebook 53 things to do while I´m 53. It took me a while and at times I really wished I were 20! but I completed the list the day before and I was ready to start living my 53 with the notebook next to me. And see where it goes.

There is no need to reproduce my whole list here. It´s like having  a birthday cake with some many candles that you need a fireman to put out the fire to make a wish instead of just having two candles, each one with a number, easy to blow and make your wish without putting your friends and house at risk let alone the poor fireman.

Number 3 on the list was “learn a new language” and I´ve just started a course to learn Chinese.  I had tried in the past but it was an intensive course and I need to learn at a slower pace, specially Chinese that it´s so different.  I decided to give it/me  a second chance while I´m 53.

Number 6 on the list was “take a photograph every day”. I didn´t mean the usual challenge “a photo a day” if not “reconnect with photography because it´s something you love and you are not doing it”.  If you do things you don´t want to do every day but you have to, such as going to work when you are not happy with it, why not having the same commitment with things you do want and make you happy?

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It´s been 7 days now and I´m happy I wrote that list because it´s a cheerful reminder of all the nice and fun things I can do even if life gets complicated or hard.

September

I´ve finally sold my little house to buy my tiny apartment.

I needed the change for many reasons, the main one being I was worn out after almost three years of trying and trying even harder to make my little house home. There is a point you have to bow before the evidence: it´s not working.

I did.  Bow before the evidence.  I didn´t want to feel I was the walking version of the definition of insanity. You know, doing the same thing over and over and expect a different result?

I said goodbye to contractors, goodbye to worries every time it rained or when I heard a noise coming from the rooftop, or when hailstones hit on the glass roof and I knew it was left unprotected. That sort of things.

Now I just enjoy the urban landscape from my balcony without thinking that some poor job may hurt me or others.

I have a lot to do in here but as it´s small I don´t care much.

View from the kitchen

2014-2015

I’m not the kind of person who says “I wish this year ended soon” because that “ended” means nothing in itself. What is ongoing, it´s still ongoing a day later when 2015 arrives. What ended the previous day it is already in the past, whether the number of the year changes or not.

So I am not going to tell you the story of 2014 but the continuation of stories, the new stories and stories that ended, and that happened to have taken place in 2014.

To start somewhere,  I’m going to talk about the building of my physical place in the world. This is a story that began in 2013, took place in 2014 and most likely will take place in 2015. No one knows when it will end.

I will be brief because you are going to read the whole story when I publish my novel “how to build a house and not die while trying”.

By way of example. In February the roof that got fixed in July 2013 leaked and I had to make a choice between redoing it or using a geomembrane. In August this year the geomembrane that I used in February failed and I had to make a choice between redoing it or using a water proofing product on it. And now I´ve applied this product that I´m sure will present a new decision making situation again, who knows when. And when that happens, I´ll chose to make a huge garden instead of a room and place a gazebo in the middle. Problem solved.

This brief story tells the story of so many other things I had to do, redo, undo, and do again. And like María la paz, la paz, la paz (1) one step forward and two backwards, I didn´t finish anything. Pending kitchen, rooms, hall, front of the house. “Pending” is the key word

(1) María la paz is a game played by the kids in Bailén, Spain. They accompanied the rhymes with actions so they went a step forward, two backwards, to the sides, as the song was giving them directions.

I spent the summer “traveling”. Traveling between Villa Luro, Once and Barracas (2) mainly. I developed patience. And people were patient with me. Mainly the person who I stayed with during this time who had to deal with a tired Ellen at times, desolated at times, depressed at times, on the verge of a nervous breakdown at times. People who spent with me most of their hours, that is, my coworkers who had to deal with a tired, devastated, depressed, on the verge of a nervous breakdown me and they had to count up to 100 not send me to hell  on more than one occasion. My friends also had to “suffer” me that summer. In the end, all my environment had to be patient while I was learning to develop patience.

(2) Villa Luro, Once and Barracas are the names of neighborhoods

Forever grateful. Without my support net I would have not survived.

Some beautiful things of the summer: my mornings of brisk walking in Plaza España, in front of the apartment where I was living and my moments of meditation after walking. I can talk about the funny things that happened between my host and moi, two independent women who are used to living alone and don’t have to share space with anyone who surprisingly didn´t “murder” each other.

The same summer I wanted to find a way to get paid without having to go to work and I went to see a psychiatrist, since it is the right profession to determine that a person is stressed and needs rest. And I didn´t have to lie. I had more than one sign of stress. But it turns out that this psychiatrist determined that I wasn’t stressed if not depressed so I went from looking for some days off to having to deal with a depression that was a more serious problem.   I rolled up my sleeves and worked on a solution. Oh more work in my life, I wanted less and now I had more. I started to see a a psychologist who turned out to be so talkative that I ended up knowing more of her life that she about mine. And after three months of therapy, I concluded that it was not what I needed and I had to find another way.

The summer ended and not only did I not get rid of my stress but also couldn´t guess where my depression came from. Ellen proposes and life disposes. I couldn´t find the source and stoped searching. Or the search was temporarily on hold, who knows. But this story of psychiatrist and psychologist is one of those that started and finished in 2014

When summer ended tiredness was beating me so I came to live in my house, no kitchen, no connected gas, without bedroom except for the small room upstairs, I came to live to my little house against all good sense that said “is not necessary to go through this type of hardship”. but I had to chose between what tired me less.

Summer went by and it was followed by autumn which in turn was followed by winter. not much more happened, until it happened.

Nothing changes until something moves. Sometimes it is a tiny pebble that slides a micron pulling down a mountain. And no matter what the pebble represents, what matters is that a pebble slid and a mountain came down . It doesn’t matter if the year began or ended. If next year it will continue slipping. Or not. Causing movements. Or not. But whatever happens, it has nothing to do with changing the number of the year.

And I began to let go, let go. I let go my house and put it on sale. Let go my job and used those hours minding my own business. I let go people who didn´t want to be in my life. I let go old habits that I kept out of pure habit. I let go obligations which didn’t make sense anymore. i let go of objects that I didn´t need in my house. I let go some dreams that were there just because I once had dreamed them. I let go of some bad memories. I let go some guilt that was stored in my brain. . I let go. And I cried a lot.

And after the winter, spring came. I blew my nose and moved on, already lighter because I had let go things. Suddenly I had the urge to see the sea. I didn´t know how much I missed it until I walked by the shore, until I sat down to see the waves braking, until I smelled the salt mixed with sand, until I heard the sound of the ocean, so powerful. And I thought a lot. And I felt a lot. So many things. I wanted more escapades  and I went to a lagoon. I wanted to see what it was beyond my own nose and I contacted -through a workshop- with representatives of different cultures that expanded my horizon. I wanted to prepare myself to tackle a project that excites me and as part of it I attended a course in teaching Spanish for foreigners. And I also gave me the pleasure of attending a photography workshop in which I basically was looking for inspiration since my camera had been stored for so long that it had become already noticeable as to receive a mail asking me why I wasn´t taking pictures and if I was feeling ok!

And all that put me in touch with people who bring to your life new emotions, new ideas, new adventures and other things that we cannot predict. Again we go back to the pebble. We don’t know where it can roll, how much it can roll or what it can move.

And the summer followed spring. Again.

And here I am. These days?  Working on my smile. And this is both metaphorical and literal, ask the dentist!I am also planning the final stage of the work in my house. Also daydreaming again about traveling. Writing my novel (to build a house  without dying). Reading a novel. Going swimming.. Going out with my camera since I am again in a “Photo Hunt” which is a game in which one has to find certain objects at a certain time to then swap them with other “hunters”. Spending some time in my hammock. Sharing moments with friends. This is my everyday life. The little things. The tangible. The intangible.

In other words. This is life. Not always great things if not a lot of small things that together are generally larger than a single great thing.  This is the one thing that philosophers called “life”.. And for once I agree with philosophers. That´s why I don´t want that “it´were Friday” and “the year ends” or “this week goes by soon”. Because with the arrival of Friday, the rapid passing of the weeks, the year, it is your life that passes quickly . Very fast. What I want is longer days, as long as they were when a kid, when being an adult was something so so far, when the year 2000 was the future in which cars were flying and people wore costumes that looked like astronauts. Those long days. I´d like to feel that I am living every minute and not a few minutes every now and then.

Although this change of number of the year doesn´t change anything I think it is good time – now that some have been reading this far and since I’m a qualified typist – to thank all of you that are part of my life to be present in one way or another. Despite being a loner I enjoy sharing my days with you, my friends.

It is my wish for everyone to find that something that makes you happy regardless of the year month week day or time in which you find it. And most of all, live. With capital letters. Wanting. With illusion. With desire. Live.

Note: the original was written in Spanish and I´m a lousy translator so please forgive me if I sound “funny” at times. I included two aclaratory notes too since the things I mention don´t make sense unless you live here

Cartoons

I wouldn´t define myself as a cat person or a dog person because I love both cats and dogs.

However, if asked, I relate more to cats. They are Independent, curious, adventurous, intelligent, observant, affectionate without being clingy, a little bit moody too.

And there is one more thing, they are sympathetic too !!!

I-hate-Mondays

A tale of one city

I really didn´t know how to start posting again after months of utter silence. I tried but I couldn´t.  Till today, I was going over old files and I found a piece of writing I posted years ago when I had a Myspace account.  It downed on me that it was a good start, even if old. With minor changes it pretty much reflects what is going on in my life right now.

Here it goes …

 

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

It was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness.

It was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity.

It was the season of light, it was the season of darkness.

It was the summer of hope, it was the summer of despair.

I had everything before me, I had nothing before me.

I was all going direct to hell, I was all going direct the other way.

I moved.

It was the best of times because I was going to have my own house for the first time in my life.
It was the worst of times because I got it out of a painful event.

It was the age of wisdom because I thought it was the best I could do given the circumstances.
It was the age of foolishness because I thought it was not the best I could do given the circumstances.

It was the epoch of belief, I was going home.
It was the epoch of incredulity, was it home?

It was the summer of hope because I thought I was going to find some peace.
It was the summer of despair because I didn´t find it.

I had everything before me, countless written pages.
I had anything before me, countless blank pages.

I was all going direct to hell, letting negative thoughts grow.
I was all going direct the other way, when I started fighting them.

So I moved. So I´m here. A new place. Still not “me” but on its way.

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