Tuesday, 30 June 2009

when i grow up...

So I was thinking, why should we have to stick to our teenage dreams regarding our future professional paths?? Most of the adults around us when we are 16, 17 try to convince us that "we have so much to learn" regarding life and everything else. Yes somehow the same people appear concerned when by the age of 17 we have planned our entire academic careers at the graduate and postgraduate levels. Not only that but we are also expected to stick to that decision for the next 30 - 40 years or so.

So I have NO idea what I want to be when I grow up and I am 33. When I was 17, 18 even when I was 25 I remember having dreams about the future, I even remember what they were, I just don't have the same ones any more. So is it so difficult to make my new dreams come true? Is there an age threshold past which all dreams for the future are banned?

Monday, 29 June 2009

For years now during the run up to summer holidays, I make a list in my head with all the possible things that can possibly go wrong before we go. Naturally this is a pretty long list; but I have decided not to do it this year. And I have also decided that for the first time that holidays is most underrated event in our adult lives.. people skip holidays altogether; people are often hindered in their holiday requests; people are asked to take holidays later or not to take more than one solid week.

For me I no longer care about what can go wrong. I need a holiday so badly that I cannot even think about my List. I do not believe I am overworked, but I do believe that there is a lot of grey matter involved in my daily work routine (if you call this routine) for which there is no compensation. The only thing I can think of that can come close to compensation is a few loooong days with a book at the beach.

Friday, 26 June 2009

holy matrimony

Someone I work is getting married right now; not too far from here actually. And she is organising a simple family-only celebration afterwards. Marriage is mysterious, although cohabitation is not; it is not mysterious at all. But somehow the act of matrimony is this fanstastically super event that keeps parents happy and everyone else overwhelmed with joy.

Humans are social animals; most of us do get married but very few of us do it for the same motives... and it appears that there is a whoooole set to choose from. In my (admitedly not too long) life, I have met people who have married out of spite, out boredom, out of lack of options, out of comfort, out of money, out of pressure and also out of love. Whatever love is... as Prince Charles now famously uttered when he and Diana announced their engagement to their world.

Well I am not sure what love is, I bet you noone is. People experience love differently; it is a lot like pain in that respect. We never know what the other is feeling. But love is... and that is enough. Andd when it comes to marriage, it should feature pretty highly on the list of reasons. Not that I criticise anyone but being married for just over two years, I simply cannot understand how people manage it without love. At the end of the day it is two people sharing a bed, and would you really share a bed for a lifetime with someone you are "not really sure about"??

Thursday, 25 June 2009

filtering and other tasks

I was always under the impression that communication is the solution to most problems. You know, keeping communication channels open for signal transmission and reception at all times. I was corrected this morning; while I was boasting that all my communication channels are open hence my tendency to constantly react to my environmental stimuli, I was in fact corrected by a friend who pointed out that what I suffer from is not a lack of communication but rather an overt level of signal processing. In other words not just transmission and reception but a lot more besides.

This is in fact a great notion; my 'problem' lies in the over-analysis of the signals I receive and likewise with the signals I transmit. Could this be? Are we becoming too analytical for our own good? Is there always a hidden meaning? And should we care even if there is one?? This last question I am particularly fond off.

Learning to put barriers up is an art form; barriers are usually full of windows, big gates, tiny doors and general gaps that can open and close at will. Some of us maybe never got round to putting up those barriers in the first places, so every tide washes away everything, leaving us in the midst of destruction at its aftermath. I might not have wall-building skills but at last I might have a little more insight... and that can go a long way

i had a dream...

I woke up this morning trying to put the pieces of last night's dream together. I was definitely on a game show, that much I remember. Some sort of question-answer thing, like Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. For some bizarre reason it was stuck in my head that shoes were not allowed on the TV set and I was walking barefoot throughout. There was a host, loads of lights and I remember walking on what a resembled a basketball court and thinking that I should have worn shoes. I even remembered the type of questions that would be directed at me but we never went that far in the game.

I also remember very distinctly an overwhelming sense of fear and worry that I would get the first question wrong or draw a blank, make a fool of myself and be escorted out!

I was not really afraid of losing, you win some you lose some. It was the disgrace that filled me with fear! Like so much else in life, saving face is more important than the reason behind it. In any case, I do not find it all that surprising that that particular dream formulated itself in my neurons over the course of the night. In actual fact this is probably the only dream I should be having for the last few months, given my state of mind when awake. After all, why should we expect our sleep not to mirror our mood? I woke up actually tired of the mental anguish and it was not until several sips of my coffee later that I realized that art might imitate life but life itself imitates sleep patterns!

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

tomorrow never dies...

If you would like to ruin my life push me around first thing in the morning... and nag me and generally tell me how crap I am at doing something. I knew it this morning; even though the sun was shining and in spite of the cool breeze I knew that come 10:00 am it would all lay in ruins around me. And I was right.

This morning is one of those mornings when one retains a faint memory of what it was like to be calm and collected during your coffee break, or actually have a coffee break.

Things are going wrong, and when things are going wrong even though they were predicted to, tensions rise and it is our job to control tension. That is a key feature of work I believe, manage mounting tensions. Actually, no not just work, this is a key feature of life. But sometimes I cannot help but wonder why we struggle so much? It is as if we are trying to put on a pair of shoes 3 sizes too small. It will not work, yet we try and when friction is created we wonder ... and wonder...

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

crossing lines and back again..

Is there a giant bell that tolls and summons those for whom change is coming up or long overdue? And do these people go away and prepare for that change and make it happen? Just what is it that makes us say the big YES and take the plunge? How much should we tolerate or put up with before we do? Worst-case scenario someone else decides for us, but that may be because we have been hesitating for too long. And in these turbulent times, decisions suffer and those who take them often suffer too. Change is sacrificed out of fear for the unknown

Change is nourishment; it allows us to set new goals, reevaluate ideas and reconsider our position... but going about it is not very nourishing at all! It is exhausting and the doubt and the worrying is almost certain to act as deterrents.. but one thing we should be aiming for is a chance to make the difference in our lives and we deserve that at least

it has come to this...

Over the years I have been known to "suffer" from a host of pathologies, ranging from the mundane to the ultra-exotic... Being a biotechnologist by virtue of my academic inclination did not help in my desire to answer the question "i wonder what's wrong with me?" .

Ok so maybe hypochondria is too strong a word to use but it is likely that the shoe fits in this case! I can take on stress like no other and transform it into a form of physical manifestation that actually causes ailment! This is something that I have come to terms with it but to see it in the people around me fills me with more than sorrow. I have had certain beacons in my adult life; certain people that I turn to and whose happiness I cherish; but above that, I cherish their outlook on life, so when they describe to me mystery symptoms that can be attributed to anxiety it is earth-shattering. When the hell will it stop? This modern attitude to worry and anticipation? Not sure if it is global warming or the financial crisis or something else entirely but it seems that we are slowly placing ourselves in a position of constant worry, almost always circling around the fact that we might lose our status quo. Possessions, life style and general standard of living.

And that is the trap of possession... the price we all pay is anxiety and stress. And even though I hate it is perfectly understandable. I will be more than anxious if we cannot make rent next week; and I will be seriously stressed if we cannot pay utility bills. So why do we choose to place ourselves in this position? Because somewhere along the way we convinced ourselves that aaaall this we now call our lives is better than a small house in the country or on an island with minimal requirements. For years I have been longing to leave the 'metropolis' behind and move the family away but we never quite make it and we are not likely to... so the price tag remains... for now..

Monday, 22 June 2009

how best to handle stolen goods or ancient artifacts... (part 1)

The first thing one has to do is donate them to the British Museum. That way:

- maximum security can be ensured
- lack of legal implications is definite
- complete disregard for state and international laws can be guaranteed.

Once in the British Museum you can rest easy the Museum officials will do anything in their power to make sure that your artifacts (especially if they are barbarically removed from the original site) will NEVER be returned to their origins in spite of global outcry and demand. Furthermore, the Museum officials will enlist the help of every sarcastic nitwit airhead in the Greater London area in order to further its idiotic cause: holding on to stolen goods.

So if you are a bankrupt criminal not sure what to do with your loot, follow Lord Elgin's example, donate it to the British Museum and get the rightful owners off your back once and for all!!

Sunday + lunch = sunday lunch

As my wife and I were putting our son into his car seat yesterday I was already drafting this post in my head... I had a bit of an epiphany yesterday lunch time. Not sure if it was the venue, which was breathtaking or the fact that lunch with my parents and sister was truly enjoyable. Not that it had not been always but I, for a change, could sit back and relax. By no means a seasoned husband and father I usually find myself stressed in family do's, fantastically stressed that is! Which of course leads me straight to indigestion... a wonderful time to be had... BUT yesterday.. was the epitome of the family lunch! Could this be the turning point? The reaching of the balance?

When can we say we have reached at least some level of maturity, experience and knowledge to truly enjoy moments for what they are? Nothing more, nothing less. I am not entirely sure. However, there is hidden treasures to be had all around, a restaurant tucked away in the middle of the forest, a lemon mousse garnished with mint, a smile. And yesterday I savoured all these in away I had not done for a long time.

Friday, 19 June 2009

all this and brains too...

Yes of course I have written a book! A much anticipated crime mystery (well it is hardly mysterious but there you go, I did my best at the time) written in 1997.. 12 years ago. A very interesting time indeed and one of the best times I have ever had. Researching, writing, fixing, rewriting, reading, editing... it was great.. and then somehow I forgot about it; as if the urge had been satisfied. I guess I was destined for other things but what if we really have no idea what we are destined for and we stumble from one judgement error to the next? And besides, the jury is still out on whether we can count on the existence of destiny altogether...

I had invested nothing in writing and yet at the end of the day after I had finished a chapter I could hardly believe that I had produced something, something for me to read, to share with the people around me and perhaps with the world. I never went through the 'publishing-rejection' round not sure I had the stamina for it but as one grows older, decisions and past dilemmas are reevaluated under a different prism and who knows..

But would it not be heavensent to once again wake up with that feeling? A sensation that your day will be filled with purpose, and will not just be devoted to often-futile exchanges, bill paying and commuting... think about it

and it looks great on you too....

I heard a horror incident this morning! I know there are people starving in the world and disease and a lot more besides, however, getting dressed and ready for THE social event only to find another guest wearing the same dress as you once you get there features very very high on the list of Urban Social Disasters.

I will not name names but the story was relayed to me by one of the 'victims'; once she walked up to the red carpet and into the venue, she turned for that "identification" glance, a quick once-over of guests, which she helped invite. And there she saw the Other! And this was not one a little black dress, this was an ornate affair of silk and organza with embroidery and a stand-out belt to match! Everyone must have noticed.. no matter how one chooses to accessorize a dress like that, it can be spotted a mile away.

So what to do on a situation like that? drape a pashmina over your shoulders? leave? dispose of your adversary? what do you suggest? Well in this particular situation they both stayed and waited for the night to end...

Thursday, 18 June 2009

children and other animals

I read the most incredible story: a Canadian mother saved her 3-year old daughter from a cougar attack. The cougar had the young girl pinned down and her paws had immobilized her head and arms. After the rescue the girl turned around and asked her mom: "Mummy why wouldn't the kitty play nice?". Such a refreshing take on things!

I have no idea what curse falls upon as we enter puberty but that kind of outlook on life is really lost past the age of 10. And we become adults and everything is forgotten!

Me and the singer...

Those who know me are well aware of my propensity and fear to physically resemble a well known Greek iconic male singer of the 1970s. My starch + protein combination during lunch has triggered a whole new onslaught of suggestions from my peers that indeed I should start rehearsals very soon!

In an effort to avoid a lifetime of solitude and misery brought on by excessive intake of anything edible, I will ask for you assistance! not sure what form that should take but you better help!

make 'em laugh...

I have already been accused of quoting the people around me too much on these posts and that I am being too austere and serious!! Me?? I have been known to crack a joke or two but not everything is funny!

And besides monologues are rarely funny... give me a line, and I can give you a punch-line, that's how it works! I spend my days trying to humour my way through a series of professional messes and guess what, it works! So yes, i will try to make you laugh from time to time.. but I need help (well you probably already knew that..)

taken for granted...

Friends are a funny human breed.. funny strange not funny ha-ha, well they can be funny ha-ha but that is not the point here. I always thought that being yourself around your friends is a given, but it actually depends (i realised) on how ugly your real self is. Yes friends accept us and can see our point of view but even friends have lines that should not be crossed and then it is time to say goodbye. Not sure if losing friends is like breaking up with lovers, but it takes a lot longer to realise and deal with the pain. So I feel l have lost at least one very close friend recently, well may be not so recently but as I said it has been a slow realisation process. I cannot help but feel guilty, whether or not I should is another story but still that's what I do when faced with such meltdowns.

So what now? The encouraging thing is that friends come in numbers, so we can find solace in the people around us, even if some come and go. New experiences and new faces can be therapeutic if therapy is indeed needed. But there is that nagging feeling...

age of doubt...

just how much of a spill-over should we allow between our personal and professional lives...? I am not talking about workplace romances but rather about workplace catastrophes eating away at our sanity on a daily basis. I constantly find myself listening to or talking about disaster scenarios at work and I wish I could say it leaves me unaffected. I long for those days when work stopped at around 17:30 and it did not cross my mind until 14 hours later.

Naturally things progress and people change along with their responsibilities but I was at the supermarket last night trying to choose the best tomatoes when I realized I was not even thinking about tomatoes I was thinking about work and a client we lost. And it was not the first time either. One of my best friends is having her endurance tested daily by her boss who does not approve her "lack of enthusiasm". Another friend was recently fired and yet another is between jobs trying to make ends meet. So we work to live or live to work? Why can't we just live and work... ? I am not suggesting we completely separate those two states but we have to somehow rebuild those barriers that will not allow us to feel guilty if we leave earlier than 18:30...

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

I received an email (forwarded a while back) full of "insights" into life... although there was a long list I picked out one: Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about. I have done it so often, most of the people I know have done it, again and again. I think only as I grow up I have become more and more critical towards "success" and "claims of happiness" and "easy life".

happy hour snack...

The ever-tormenting question: what to possibly munch on around mid-afternoon when you simply have to eat something!!! Yoghurts, fruits, nuts, chocolate and a whole lot more besides is constantly on the menu. Any suggestions?

how hard could it be possibly be??

for some bizarre twist of fate a few million of us have decided to 'share' a few square miles of an otherwise perfectly fine piece of land and the result: CHAOS!! Why is it so difficult for a HUGE number of us to let go a bit of ourselves so that others can get on with their lives too... Ok I know i moan but come on!!!! why must people park their cars in front of our driveways? because it is convenient for them you say... and that's where the trouble begins! Convenience is SUCH a misunderstood concept, usually expressed as a complete disregard for anything and anyone around! At least that is how it is expressed in my neck of the woods...

another day... another 50c...

As a friend of mine used to say... we drive to work (today in 32 degrees), spend all day typing and then back where we came from. I was faced with an interesting predicament regarding work yesterday and I was called upon to answer a simple (seemingly) question: who owns our work?? Very interesting indeed considering that we produce copious amounts of output on a daily basis and very few of us actually sign it in any way. Apart from the legal aspects of it, which i know very little about anyway, there should be a moral implication behind the ownership of our work. Clients want to own it, we want rights to it and this "thing" which we call work is starting to become more and more complex. My friend is trying to navigate through a series of legalistic and customer-service maneuvers in order to ensure what should come her way naturally: fair compensation for her input. Just something to think about in these troubled times...

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

You have to love technology... and even if you don't it's your loss, and you can lose out on a lot! Within the space of a few hours since this morning I have communicated with the US, Middle East, Cyprus, Athens, Belgium, Spain and the Netherlands. We take if for granted but I have to admit that if it were not for the web I would not have remained half-as-close to people that are not just friends, practically family. So even though I am not as technology-savvy as I would have liked perhaps, I can still say that I have seen the light... and it is online!

Guardian article about the Parthenon Marbles


Of course it is an event when a UK-based newspaper writes an article about the Acropolis museum and the return of the Parthenon marbles. Subtle as it may be there is that ever-present air of superiority and smugness in the writing and naturally in the oh-so-clever title. There is a semblance of balance or at least an attempt but in my view the key message is that they are not coming back.. these Marbles are not being returned by the British Museum, not now or any time soon. It is a shame really just goes to show that there are very few surprises when it comes to international relations!

little pleasures

I had the privilege of gaining my son's permission to put him to sleep last night... I had forgotten what it was like and it had been a while for me; lately he has been using me more as a "walker" and as the "man-for-fetching-stuff" and less for putting him to sleep. It was good... and mellow and am looking forward to next time.

Ears, throats and possibly noses

You would think that with a 21-month old son in the house, the one susceptible to infections and ailments would be him! Well this is the 4th time in less than 3 months that I seem to me coming down with something albeit, throat-, nose- or ear-related.

Mind you I am not the world's most easy-going 'patient', hell I am not even my building's most easygoing patient but still I find it unfair. The fact of the matter is that I am looking forward to getting over this new painful ear of mine, not least because there is only so long one can stand 35 degrees without the A/C on.

Speaking of 35 degrees, with the summer firmly upon us perhaps the thing to do is more blogging and less concentrating on work... but...

Monday, 15 June 2009

Monday blues

Forget Sunday blues, Monday is the new blues-central... well it depends on how your day went but there is something profoundly sad about a Monday morning. Unless of course you are a born-again optimist, in which case it simply does not make a difference what day of the week it is, because the "sun will shine through no matter what"..

I drove to work in the middle of the 8am rush hour, not too heavy on this side of town but still a force to be reckoned with, especially on half a coffee and a warm glass of water. Not many surprises but then again, "day time is the dress rehearsal, anything worth happening happens at night". And even though I cannot take credit for this particular phrase, I must say that it tends to be true for us morning persons as well as for the night-owls out there.
a life in contra... not really against the grain, just KONTRA...

About Me

There is not much to say that is not covered in my posts... this blog was created because, well because writing has been a passion of mine and communicating is high up there on the list too...