Before I Fall – What Would You Do On Your Last Day?

Now on Netflix, the movie Before I Fall features Sam a mean girl that is about to live the last day of her life over and over again until she makes a difference. The plot might not be the most original one, but it does bring up a question in all of us, what would we do knowing that today is our last day, to make a difference?

I’ve always wanted to do more, to make myself present and make a difference, yet sometimes I try to reach high and fail to see the small things that can be impacted. Can I make a difference in a normal yet boring day? Can I really change someone’s destiny? Or can I maybe change my own in just 24 hours? My answer is yes, how can this be possible can only be found out by each and every one of us.

Designed to look for the great moments, for the amazing experiences we fail to acknowledge the ones that really matter, and yes, those are the regular ones, the routine, the time we think we lose by doing nothing spectacular. We live for the future, worried about the past and completely ignoring the reality that is the present. Forever waiting to receive the Oscar, forgetting that getting and holding it is nothing without the regular and boring day preceding the celebration, the one where you simply get out of bed and got to work. The simple moment when you buy a cup of coffee, the cup is too full and you sip from it and taste the coffee. The moment you put on your seat-belt and turn on the music, the crossroad where you let the one stuck on the side road to pass in front of you because you have nowhere to rush and that person says thanks to you.

It’s often said that we have to lose something to truly appreciated, the ones that don’t understand that meaning are the luckiest people on Earth, it means that they’ve never lost someone they love. It is to the regular and ordinary moments that you turn to, it’s to the desire to be yesterday’s one more and for you to relive one lost normality. It’s the moment when you know nothing will ever be the same again that hurts the most, and here I am not talking about graduating high-school or college and just moving forward, although those might hurt as well.

If I were to make an exercise and think about today and what would I do different if it would truly be my last day, well it would be simple, I would have smiled more, I would have petted my animals a little bit more, got up a little bit earlier to drink my coffee with my loved one, I would have picked up my phone to call my grandpa, I would have had a little bit more patience with a mum and her kid when crossing the road that cost me my car’s paint since I hit the curve. I would have been nicer to everyone around me, look at their faces while walking or daydreaming a little bit more before opening the laptop, I would have not spent any time on Facebook and I would have not been judging anyone for their mistakes.

Some would say that if today would be your last day they would quit the job and get on a plane, well guess what, I wouldn’t, I think the difference would be small if I were to spend my last day alone, or just trying to get somewhere it’s impossible to get in 24 hours, running a lost marathon. I would do what I do on a regular, boring day, just a little bit more slowly and with more attention to details so that I can remember it.

Yet if you are reading this, just as I am writing it, means this isn’t your last day, you don’t have to worry about spending your last 24 hours and even if you didn’t get the chance to do everything perfectly you have another shot tomorrow and the day after tomorrow and so on. We don’t have to change anything about the day, we just have to live it. How we will do it, is completely up to us, the difference stands in our hands, whether we decide to act upon it or not. But one thing must be kept in mind when that last day will come, and none of us will escape it, we will not have that opportunity to relive it.

P.S. Watch that movie if you haven’t already, is exactly what the present you needs, food for the sole. Even the grumpy ones will love it!

 

 

10 Things That Make Me Happy

Leaving aside traveling, there are a couple of smaller things that will instantly put a smile on my face even in the darkest times. Here is my list of happiness bringers:

  • Spring and warm weather

I am very influenced by the weather and the most difficult time of the year is winter, that is why I am so happy that Spring has finally arrived and with it the warm weather, nothing makes me happier than ditching the winter clothes for the lighter ones.

  • Sunny days

Cannot help but loving the sunny days when the blue is so intense that it hurts your eyes. If you combine this with a sea view then the smile is guaranteed.

  • Swimming in the sea

For many, this might not be a very pleasant experience because of the salty water and the effects it has on the hair and skin, but for me swimming in the sea is one of the best things. The smell of the salty water and the cold feeling that you get when entering the sea, are just what I am enjoying most.

  • Horseback riding

One of the sports that I practiced as a kid, horseback riding will always hold a very important place in my heart. From the moment you get in the saddle to the moment you get off, all my problems vanished. There is no way of better enjoying the present moment than when you are practicing the noble sport.

  • Shopping

Shallow? Yes! Pleasant? Also yes! Even if nowadays I am trying to cut back on the shopping, I am still enjoying the moments when I go for a shopping sprint.

  • Reading a great book

All the bookworms out there will understand the feeling you get when you start a great book and you lose yourself in the author’s universe. Not knowing when hours passed, I am unable to distance myself from the book until I turn the last page, only to miss it once it’s gone. As a kid, I remember crying when I finished the last book in a series that I fell in love with.

  • Going out for dessert

A guilty pleasure that I like to indulge in is eating a great dessert. Ever since I could talk, I had a sweet tooth and I was madly in love with sweets. Nowadays I like to keep the cravings under control, but every once in a while I love to go out and try different deserts.

  • Dressing up

Nothing changes my mood than dressing up, especially when there is no special occasion. Whether is accessorizing my outfit or simply changing from the basic jeans to a skirt,  this is my go-to treatment for the blue days.

  • Walking hand in hand with my significant other

Even the worst day can be changed in a second when I am walking hand in hand with my loved one. It helps with recharging my batteries and offers me a different perspective on whatever happened.

  • Coffee

Saved the best for last. There is nothing like a great cup of coffee to change my mood, even if I know that I spend a lot on coffee, this is the one vice I totally indulge in.

We all have our bad days, but even in those not so pleasant times, there are fast remedies that can better your mood. What makes you happy?

Book Review: 365 Days of Happiness: Because happiness is a piece of cake! by Jacqueline Pirtle

As you’ve probably seen in my last posts, 2019 is the year in which I want to make peace with myself and learn as much as I can about happiness, and what better way to learn about it than reading a book aimed to teach us how to embrace it?

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If you were a fan of The Secret, I have great news, you might have found another book to add to your reading list since 365 Days of Happiness starts from the idea of positive thinking and takes you through ways you can make it a routine in your life. We all know that we should put out positive energy in the Universe in order to receive it back, but how will we accommodate this?

Jacqueline’s book is a divided into 365 small chapters that act as the days that we have in a year, each day you learn how to accept happiness into your life, how to accept yourself for who you are, be present, to recognize when happiness is at your door.

One of the points that I absolutely loved was to accept sorrow and sadness when they come and visit, to live through these feelings but also to walk away from them when it no longer feels good. I read a lot of books that wanted to teach me to be happy by walking away and denying any negative feelings, unfortunately, life’s not working like that, we cannot run away from them, bad things will happen and we will have to go through them, but as the book says we should accept them, but also move away from them and not settle in unhappiness.

Another takeaway point was the idea of treating your happiness as a part of yourself, one that you have to nourish, to understand and to respect. To constantly try to create a healthy relationship with it and to be thankful for what you have. Even if these might sound like something obvious I am pretty sure most of you, like myself, forget to be kind to oneself and to take care of your own happiness. Instead of being thankful for what we have, we focus on what we would like to achieve and on the pitfalls of our life. Instead of focusing on the empty half of the glass, we should try to focus on the fact that we have the glass, to begin with, to understand why it’s not full, but to be happy and grateful that half of glass-filled.

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To be honest I would have loved to follow the author’s advice and keep the book by my bed and each morning to read one of her chapters, but unfortunately, I was way too curious so I went through all 365 days in a week and a half. That doesn’t mean that I will not turn to this book once I feel I need to be reminded. Personally, I loved the idea of small chapters that are perfect for reading in the morning while enjoying the first cup of coffee, starting the day with the correct mindset that should be kept until the next day.

I feel like 365 Days of Happiness is the type of book that you should have on your mobile phone or on an ebook that you always keep by your side, for whenever you feel down or that you just want to give up, pull it out and read a few chapters, it will make you feel lighter and positive in a few minutes.

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Being happy might not be something that will happen overnight, it’s something that needs to be understood, recognized and praised, and Jacqueline’s book can really help with getting a few steps closer to the overall goal, to be happy.

Book Review: The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well by Meik Wiking

Who better to preach about happiness than the happiest people in the world, the Danish! The author, Meik Wiking is studying happiness and is here to show us how we can be hygge, just as they are in Denmark.

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Hygee is a Danish word that doesn’t have an exact translation in English, placed between comfort, hominess, relaxation and of course, happiness, it describes how to be present, enjoy the moment and embrace the northern lifestyle.

Divided into fourteen chapters, the book will describe what this word is all about, how the Danish people achieve this state of hygee and how you can try to get it at home, wherever that is. Learning from the best how we can find what everyone is looking for, the hygeeness!

2019 is the year in which I would like to know more about happiness and how each and everyone can achieve it. I would say that this book made me realize a couple of things, some of them perhaps might sound obvious to you.

The place that you live in needs to be a real home, a place where you feel safe and where you enjoy spending time.

Being present and thankful for what you’ve got, even if it might not great, it’s more than enough.

Comfort should always come first, you cannot be happy unless your body is too.

Money is not going to bring you happiness, it might offer your ego what it needs but not your sole.

Having people to share the important moments is priceless.

Whenever you feel blue, you can always grab something sweet and light up a candle, this will also cheer up your spirit.

The weather should not affect your mood if it’s rainy outside enjoy the sound of rain if it’s snowy make a snow-man, if it sunny go for a walk, every moment can be a happy one if you find a way to make it.

The happiest people in the world, live in a place where it is cold, windy and dark half of the year and they make the most of it. What’s your excuse?

Happiness is also found in routine and monotony, not only in the big moments, those are pretty rare and don’t last very long, so enjoy the first ones better.

Riding a bike can make you happier. I know this might not sound very promising but Copenhagen is the most bike-friendly city in the world, and as you’ve probably heard also one with the happiest people on Earth, coincidence? I don’t think so!

I definitely want to visit Denmark and especially Copenhagen!

The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well is exactly what you need during the winter months when it’s cold outside and you feel like you need the summer to be happy again. Feel the hygee at home, alone or with your friends or family, during winter or summer, when you are at your favorite coffee shop or when you are in the park, during Christmas or while cooking. As a plus, in the book, you will also have a few receipts for traditional Danish dishes for you to try. Trust me when I tell you, reading this book will make you have a hygee moment! Happy reading everyone!

The Life Lottery

I will have to disclose a couple of things about myself, I am not really a believer, don’t think God is real, even though like any human I tend to pray when I am in trouble, I don’t believe there is a greater force, nor that faith decides my destiny, don’t really believe in karma or that if you are a good person only good things will happen and the other way around. What I do believe in, is luck, each day is a lottery and each day you either win or lose.

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What do I mean by life lottery? Well, it’s like this, each day you get out of the house and you don’t get hit by a car is a win, each time you get through the day without finding out you have a critical condition or you lost a loved one, is a win. Even if it’s easier to think that these will never happen to us, guess what? They are happening to someone, be happy that someone is not you. Or that it’s not you today since it’s unlikely you will escape a life without going through stuff as I mentioned.

But why do things seem to happen only to certain people, what is wrong with the losers or how they can switch sides? If there is something that I learned from my sister that is to be confident and wish for more. When I was in college I almost never found a parking space near the building, but when my sister came she always did. One day as we drove to the university I told her that we will never get a space at that hour, but she said that for her there will always be a space. When she got to the building someone was just leaving and she found a space right at the entrance. Ever since I educated myself to “find the spot” and guess what, in the upcoming year I almost always found a spot.

What is the secret here? Positive thinking! As I said I don’t believe in karma, I’ve seen so many confident evil people that went through life making everyone else miserable and without ever paying the price and amazing people who died because they cared too much and suffered for all the evil in the world. So what will make a difference is how each individual decides to live and think about his or her life.

If an optimistic person will lose a finger, he will be so happy for being only this, for making it alive and for not suffering other injuries. If a pessimistic person will go through the same thing they will complain about things only happening to them, of the injustice of losing a finger, of the pain they had to go through, etc. Same story different reactions, one will feel blessed one will feel damned.

There are certain things that we cannot control, no one knows how his or her life will turn, the only thing we can really change is how we will feel about that and how we will react. I am not saying that you are not allowed to suffer or to be sad, but there is a silver lining between letting yourself down and never getting up, and getting your s*it together and enjoying life. Even with positive thinking, I don’t always find that parking spot, but when I do I enjoy it. Good things happen every day, it up to us to see ourselves like the lottery winners since you are not granted tomorrow I suggest you enjoy what you gain today.

Happy holidays everyone!

My Wish List for the New Year

With the 2018 end, it’s time for the traditional list of to do’s for 2019. A tradition that I started since 2012, was to write down all my wishes for the upcoming year and to check it only at the end of the next year. So here are a couple of the items that will go on my list in case you needed some inspiration for yours.

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Investing in health

With my 29th birthday around the corner, I want to invest as much as possible in my health. Exercising regularly, eating healthier food, meditating and doing all the medical check-ups are all on my list since health is the most important asset that one can have. Even if in the past I was not very strict in this area, I want to make a change in the upcoming year when I wish to say bye-bye to junk food and skipping the workout day. 2019 is the year to get back in shape.

Me time

Sometimes I have the tendency to put everyone else’s needs before mine and I try to please everyone. That behavior has to stop and I am planning on being more self-centered next year, even if I have to say no to someone else. Friends will understand and fake friends will disappear, so a win-win situation for me.

More time spent with my boyfriend and my pets

With everything that has been going on in 2018, the time spent with my family of 4 (me, my boyfriend and my 2 cats) has decreased a lot. Having 2 jobs and a blog made me a workaholic that forgot to breathe and relax. I plan on setting some ground rules when it comes to working in the following year so that I can enjoy as much time as possible with the most important beings from my life.

Time for reading, painting, writing, and Netflix

Doing the things I love the most is saving me from burnout and I plan on investing all the free time in them. Since the new apartment will accommodate a library, a place to paint by the window, my cozy bin bag and since I just made my first subscription to Netflix you can image how anxious I am to make the most of all of them. As for writing, I want to keep my rule of at least one article a week up.

Travel the world  

Traveling is extremely important to me and I have no desire to slow down onto this area, even if the list is not yet set, I am hoping that I will conquer some more ground in the next months. Whether it will be the crazy city of Tokyo, the old fashioned Havana or the most beautiful place on Earth for me, New York City, I am sure 2019 will bring some great experiences with it.

‘PM’ me I am ready!

No, I am not talking about private messaging, but about Project Management, a role that I have been dreaming and working my a*s of for the last 3 years is about to be offered to me. Both excited and frightened by it, I cannot wait for this new chapter to begin. If this will be a perfect fit for me or not, I am not sure, but I will definitely find out in the months to come.

Don’t know for you guys, but for me laying on a paper all the plans that I have for the following year have worked great. I am not a believer in “New Year, new me” but in “New year, better me”, so on each 1st of January I write down my wishes and for the rest of the 364 or 365 days I work on those wishes, some will come true, others won’t, some will make me happier others will make me realize that I have to sacrifice too much to make them true. It’s a new begging so cheers to that! Hope you guys will make yourselves a great new year, you deserve it!

Home Sweet Home

For a while now I had my mind set on buying an apartment in my current home city, Cluj Napoca, and even if the market was against me this year, I finally managed to find and seal the deal on an amazing place that I fell for from the first moment I saw it.

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Buying a home is a huge decision and I tried to avoid it until now when I felt that purchasing a place of my own might be a good decision and a great investment. As everywhere around the globe, the market was pretty high in the past years, but I really wanted a bigger place but didn’t want to pay a huge rent, so I started to look for something to fit my needs.

From the beginning, I had my eyes on a one-bedroom apartment with a big living area, fully furnished, with a nice terrace and a good location within the city. Another important item was to have a parking space, unfortunately, this apartment didn’t come with one, but I am hoping I can purchase one from one of my neighbors in the future, happily the other points were checked and the bank agreed to give me the loan and therefore I became a landlord.

Upgrading to a bigger apartment was a great decision, now I have enough storage space, not to mention 2 huge closets, even my cats are happier with a larger space to play. Having a separate kitchen was not on my list, since I also like the open space set-up, but now that I have it like this, I have to say it’s great, we have a place to eat that is not in the living area, and some extra points for not having the food smell spread around the house.

I have to say that the regular wishes, like owning a house and a car, were never for me, I was more of a person that dreams about going around the world and doing some extreme shopping. So I never invested much on the place I lived, always thought it has to be practical and should not cost a fortune, since the Instagram set-up can easily be done with some IKEA furniture, but I have to admit that having your space feels great and wanting to make that place home is more intense than ever.

As days go by I have to say that I am happier and happier with my choice, although I still don’t what a house to limit me. My plan is still to focus on traveling the world, but to also try to pay the loan faster, how well these 2 plans will go together, I cannot say, but “I will think about it tomorrow when I am at Tara“.