00:00

‘I was by myself for a pretty long time. I needed to do that. I think everyone that I know has wanted to do that or needed to do that at some point. I think when you spend enough time when it’s quiet around you and you don’t open your mouth for three or four days, there’s parts of your brain that can kind of rest. I think when we’re out in the world and we have to talk to people, we edit ourselves. You know, we have to like, act a little bit. As honest as we may be as humans, when we’re out here, we’re all kind of wearing mirrors on our faces. You know, constantly reacting to how to react to the people around you. And I think when you’re alone for a long enough time, you can feel a lot more peace.’

Justin Vernon of Bon Iver

I enjoy the stillness of being in a room by myself, and I enjoy not having to speak to people (sometimes). I think it is such a simple way of getting back to myself, a way of returning to my calm state, an easy recharge of my inner self. One of my favourite quiet times is to go for a walk by myself; occasionally I enjoy a run too. It gives me an opportunity to get out in the world and see things, not people, things. Whether that be nature, the high street, rain, sun, snow, I really don’t mind. It gives me time to think and mull over anything that’s going on inside my mind, to keep my mouth closed and to be the person that I want to be.

It’s true that when you’re alone for long enough, you can feel more peace.

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01:53

I am thankful for my family, so very thankful. My dad left to go to Newcastle for work so our short family gathering has come to an end. I am due back in Edinburgh in 6 days so the family home will only be housing 3 members. Although the time we get to spend all together is relatively short, I have never been so grateful for these times.

A few little things that always bring a smile to my face:

  • My dad’s laugh and the way he makes lame jokes (the majority of which do not make sense).
  • My mum’s cheerfulness and dedication to her work, also how I can speak to her about anything.
  • My older brother’s talent in piano playing, it is so wonderful to wake up to the sound of music.
  • My little brother’s carefree attitude and his openness with me.

Our family shapes who we are and they are the people who mould us into responsible adults. Take the opportunity to spend time with family, while we ourselves get older we sometimes forget that our family gets older too.

00:45

‘What is normal? Normal is only ordinary; mediocre. Life belongs to the rare, exceptional individual who dares to be different.’

V.C. Andrews – My Sweet Audrina

I don’t want to live a life that is mediocre, a sorrowful life of ‘what ifs’, one which is filled with dull moments. When and if I get to the ripe old age of 60/70 years old, I would like to think that I can look back at my life and know I lived it to its fullest. I would like to know that I took every single opportunity given to me, that I spent crazy amounts of money to visit a friend, that I travelled because I had the time to. I don’t want to reflect and find I lived an ‘ordinary’ life.

We live in a world where we seek to fit in, where we look to be a sheep in the flock, but is it all that bad to stand out from the crowd?

00:44

‘Your 20s are your ‘selfish’ years. It’s a decade to immerse yourself in every single thing possible. Be selfish with your time, and all the aspects of you. Tinker with shit, travel, explore, love a lot, love a little, and never touch the ground.’

Kyoko Escamilla

As my birthday draws nearer I always find myself reflecting on the past year and the changes that I’ve noticed in myself and also those that others have noticed in me. Twenty something will soon turn to twenty something plus one. I think for this year I have learnt to pursue my own happiness, be a little more daring and open with my emotions, and I’ve really settled into who I am. I know who the most important people in my life are, the essential notions of making time for others, and the need for solitary time once in a while. I hope that through the eyes of others I have grown and matured to be a person worth knowing and someone who is dependable.

00:59

My whole family is finally back together again, these rare few days will be cherished and fully appreciated.

With myself and my younger brother away at university and my dad travelling around the country for work (with limited holidays), the days we get to spend together as a family at home are rare. Though the days are few this month, in June we will be spending two weeks on holiday in Hong Kong and Japan.

I think it is definitely something I took for granted when I was younger. I would come home from school and see my parents and brothers, we would live our lives side by side and no one would ever be away from home. Now that we’ve all grown and matured, we live our separate lives in different parts of the country and have to find time to gather together at home.

I remember in my first year of university I found it quite difficult to adjust to life away from my family and I felt homesick quite often. Now that I have just finished my third year of university and whilst I enjoy my independence, sometimes the feelings of homesickness rear their heads. I know that my family is important and I really cherish the moments we have together. I think the fact that the moments are few and short make them even more precious. Having the whole family under one roof makes me feel like I’m glowing, so I can go to bed happy and content.

01:50

After a few solid hours of reading; I finished The Book Thief. I am so glad that I have a principle of always reading a book before its film adaptation, I can already tell that the film will not be a patch on the written words.

I liked the narration from Death and the flitting back and forth from characters. Liesel is written in a way which is relatable and Zusak really makes her character grow and develop throughout the course of the book. Rudy’s storyline (whilst intertwined with Liesel’s) stands on its own two feet and he faces hardships and suffering, and as a reader I didn’t dismiss his storyline as a secondary character’s. I felt Rudy’s passion and stubbornness as he changed from a youngster into an adolescent, and his emotions were so raw and true.

I loved the relationship between Liesel and her foster father, Hans Hubermann. Also, Liesel’s relationship with Max. I think the reason I love these two relationships the most is because of the underlying reasons why the characters grew to be so intimate. Firstly, the love of books – reading, writing, learning, absorbing knowledge and wisdom. Secondly, the ability to endure hardships together. Their resilience is astounding. This second point reminds me of a belief my friend once told me, ‘Friends don’t truly become friends if it’s smooth and happy all the time.’ What this means to me is that you can never truly know someone until you’ve seen them at their worst (or in a bad place). Liesel experienced much sorrow in her youth yet she also had to bear the burden of others’ sufferings too, she saw the hurt and loss of those around her and did what she could to help.

Reading through the ending was heartbreaking. Don’t worry, there are no spoilers here! I had previously read in reviews of the book that there would be tears, and even on the back cover of the book itself various readers say it is a sad, moving book. I was unprepared for the emotions that I was to experience in the latter half of the book. The last group of chapters took me through happiness, shock, awe, surprise, sadness, heartbreak, tears and relief (not necessarily in that order). After reading the last page I closed the book and held it in my arms, closed my eyes and meditated on the words I had just read. It has been a while since a book has touched me in such a poignant way.