MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “list”

11 thoughts that keep you awake at night

tom_awake at nightIf you’re not one of those people who fall asleep as soon as their head hits a pillow, then you know what it’s like to toss and turn through the night wondering when you’ll finally fall asleep so you can stop thinking. In moments such as these, there are usually a million things cramped in your head. And it’s not just the sheep you are trying to count in the hope of dozing off.

Here are just eleven of the thoughts that may keep you up at night:

  1. Did I turn off the lights/lock the door/shut the fridge door? (Yet always too lazy to get up and check)
  2. Did I feed the dog/cat/fish?
  3. Why hasn’t s/he called today?
  4. What if s/he doesn’t want to talk to me/ isn’t thinking about me as much / doesn’t care?
  5. Why didn’t I be more aggressive at the meeting this morning? Subtleness is only understood by intelligent people and that was clearly not the case.
  6. Was I productive enough today? I should do more exercise.
  7. What if I had taken that job in Hawaii two years ago?
  8. I wondering what (ex) is doing now…
  9. I’m tired. Maybe I should call (friend) for drinks tomorrow and a chat. I need people to talk to.
  10. What am I going to wear tomorrow?
  11. If I fall asleep right now I will get roughly four hours of sleep.

What keeps you up at night?

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Things you never tell

confidentialEveryone – no matter age, gender, social background, or political beliefs – has things they always want to say but never do. Things are just left boiling up inside of us, yet are never uttered. No matter the instance or the person, there are similarities we all share. Here are a few:

– I dislike rude people. Even more so when they work at service desks, either in person or over the phone. Also hypocrites. They are possibly worse.

– I cannot stand people who think they are so important that everyone must set out the red carpet whenever they simply show up. Self-interest, self-prioritisation and greed are possibly the worst of humanity’s greatest evils.

– I am deeply disappointed by people who so boldly state that they will always be there when you need them, but are nowhere to be seen when that time actually comes. Equally despicable are those who pretend to listen but never do.

– I despair with the fact that I cannot get paid for the work I produce, which is doing something that I love.

– I hate that another so easily manages to engage in doing exactly what I am still striving to achieve. I hate it more because I envy them. Yet, some are now doing what they previously scolded me for pursuing so ardently.

– I love what my work allows me to do, but I am opposed to sending my work out with someone else’s credentials, simply because they cannot produce the work they so proudly proclaim they can do.

– I get irritated by people who think they are educated simply because they graduated from a university, but cannot correctly compose a simple text, while they have difficulty even in articulating a few words.

– I despise the fact that money may not be everything but it definitely helps in getting you everywhere faster.

– I resent the truth in the saying “do good constantly and you will never be remembered, do wrong once and you will never be forgotten”.

– I am heartbroken that things never turn out the way you want them, no matter how hard you try, and you always have to settle for the next best thing. Unless you’re the guy next door. Because it seems for the neighbor, everything is always so much easier.

Also part of Daily Prompt: Break the Silence

On being happy and being content

happy penguinWhen you meet someone either by chance or intentionally, the first question that usually flies in the air is “how are you?”. It is usually one intended to find out the state of your health. Physically. So the answer that often follows is “I am well”. Hardly anyone will ever come up to you with the first question they are eager to ask being “are you happy?”. Yet being happy is intrinsically linked to the positive state of your health. We just sometimes choose to ignore it.

We all know it is important to be happy, or at least try to be. And it is not only because of the cringe marks that you get when you frown. It is because when you’re happy, you feel like you’re flying. Like you’re weightless and floating on a cloud. Feeling happy makes you view the world in a brighter and more positive light. And given the problems and stress that are constantly weighing down on us during these times, we need to feel happy.

But more often than not, we aren’t happy. We are simply content.

We may be satisfied with the life we have, what we achieve, and be pleased with ourselves overall. But are we truly happy? Do you feel that spark in your eyes when you smile? Or that flutter in your stomach whenever you see a loved one? Do you have a skip in your step? Do you see the world clearly in a dazzling light or is it dim in your eyes?

Being happy and being content are two different things.

Happy is when you indulge in the fascinating world of a book, when you mingle among the characters, discover the very depths of their beings, and are anxious to learn all their dirty little secrets.
Content is when you turn the last page of the book and re-emerge into the real world, which you realise is nothing at all like the one you just read.

Happy is watching a movie. Being so immersed in it that you block everything out. That you feel part of the plot itself, so close that you can even sense the warm breath of the characters down your neck.
Content is when your viewing is interrupted for some reason and you have to wait to see the ending. And then, it is after witnessing that emotional rollercoaster and acknowledging that life is nothing close to that movie.

Happy is being close to your family; sharing emotions and experiences; and holding long conversations about anything and everything.
Content is when you realise that this family is all you have, as you’re too afraid to go looking for someone who could become part of a new / extended family.

Happy is achieving your dreams and ambitions and being acknowledged for the work you do.
Content is having all that, but no-one to share it with.

Happy is one of Snow White’s seven dwarfs. He is bubbly and bright, friendly and cheerful.
Content is not one of the dwarfs, or any other character for that matter. Being content implies a limitation in the feeling of satisfaction and certainly does not radiate the perkiness of someone who is truly happy.

So, you see, for the sake of the dwarf alone, it is worth being happy. And although there is so much written on how to achieve this, what to do and what not – including the fact that being happy is simply a decision you have to make – happiness will truly flow into your heart when you allow it to. When you stop overthinking, over-wallow, and oversulk, and just be. Don’t compare, don’t compete, just be the best you can be.

10 ways texting can make you smarter

TextingTalking is defined as the action of communicating or exchanging ideas, information etc., by speaking, or by uttering sounds of some sort. In the modern digital world, talking is equivalent to texting. We spend so much time in front of a screen that our way of communicating has evolved to be through instant messages, emails, or simply put, texts of any kind.

In whatever way it may come about, talking is essential. Because it is always better to share something with others rather than keep it locked up inside of you. Particularly when something good comes along, not having anyone to tell and join in the excitement, sort of sucks out half the joy.

So here is a short list of why talking (in any form, and preferably with others) can make you smarter:

  1. In the quest to share ideas and find conversation starters or goers, you will eventually be incited to read more, thus learn more and expand your intellectual capacity. You will discover worlds out there you never knew existed and will be amazed by how isolated we used to be. You may even be shocked at how things we still take for granted are daringly fought for by others.
  2. If you can’t express what it is you think or desire, then perhaps you are not clear about it either. Albert Einstein had said that “you do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother.” Just remember you can’t (or rather, shouldn’t) comment on things you don’t know about.
  3. There is no other way of getting your point of view across (well, no other peaceful way) other than clearly stating your position. Don’t expect others to guess what you want unless you state it. The struggle to develop a coherent and solid argument will open the door to interesting information for you too.
  4. You will learn to appreciate the views of others. It’s always easier to criticize than comprehend. Every interaction should celebrate the diversity of views among us. Voltaire vowed to “defend to the death your right to speak”, even if he did disapprove of what you say. Freedom of speech and opinion is a fundamental right we so often take for granted and are so willing to boldly proclaim whenever it is violated.
  5. Twitter’s limitation of 140 characters has made every word count, forcing us to squeeze our minds into making those few words mean the most they can, and constraining us to say everything we need to in the fewest amount of words possible. Consequently, it has made us appreciate all the more the power of words. And spelling. And perhaps enticed us to flick through a dictionary. Or thesaurus.
  6. Talking to others makes you look at the other side of the coin. We all view life through our own one-sided perspective. But what about asking someone in a different situation how they view things? It will give you a different lens through which to view the facts and will open your mind to new thoughts and ideas. It may even bring you a step closer to understanding this world we live in.
  7. Through conversations you can learn how to do a lot – about how to turn a pessimistic person around to having a glimpse of optimism for things in their lives. How to become witty in order to respond to petty comments. Perhaps you will find like-minded people out there, or someone who challenges you intellectually and stimulates a dialogue from which you may all gain. It may lead to arguments you didn’t know you had until someone made you think of them.
  8. Talking may lead to the next great discovery. The innovation we’ve been all waiting for. Exchange ideas, develop them, compliment them through conversations. You’d be surprised at the outcome.
  9. The more you talk, the more you learn. And it is not just about the gossip. The more information and points of view you hear, the more you will be able to distinguish between the truth and the lies; between propaganda and realism. And the more you will be able to develop your own informed opinion about the state of things.
  10. Ultimately, talking and being able to express your thoughts makes you more attractive. It shows you are not a feeble by-stander in this exciting world. You take part and have a view. And there is nothing as powerful as a mind in action.

The resolutions list

checklist1When Myriam decided to compile her list of New Year’s resolutions, she thought it would be best to keep it simple. She had learnt from last year that placing things that were…surreal on the list, would not mean they would get accomplished. She still had bungee jumping from the Grand Canyon and kayaking in the Nile pending from last year’s list. But this time it would be different, because she would keep it real.

So she took out a clean piece of paper, took her silver ball-point pen in hand and began to note:

  1. Get my own place (preferably with a walk-in closet)
  2. Find someone to share it with, who will love me unconditionally.
  3. Write a book and publish it.
  4. Get paid to write.
  5. Travel around Europe (at least)
  6. Exercise more.
  7. Be more spontaneous.
  8. Live (and love) life to the fullest.

But when she began swirling her pen to form the number nine it hit her. All of the above were things she would like to finally accomplish this year. Dreams she wanted to realise. But they could all be summed up under two words, and these were the two she placed in capital letters on top of the list:

BE HAPPY!

In the cynical and increasingly pessimistic world we live in, where people constantly complain about everything and anything, we have forgotten how little it takes for us to be happy and truly acknowledge what we do have. So, Myriam set it upon herself to do this above all. To begin her day with a smile. If she brought the sunshine, everything else would surely follow.

Happy New Year!

Santa run

santa-claus-is-flying-in-a-sleigh-with-reindeerThe white-haired man with the white beard and big belly that had an abnormal affinity for red suits was once again spotted around the park. He was looking at all the young children playing carefree on the swings and in the playground and appeared to be checking a list that he drew out of his side pocket and seemed to have no end. What on earth was he doing? This could take a very ugly turn.

And it did.

Marissa was an old lady who couldn’t hear very well. She couldn’t see very well either, despite the fact that she wore glasses with lenses as thick a piece of gammon at Christmas lunch. She also used a cane to walk, which she would also occasionally use as a weapon lest any “young rascal” would try to steal her bag. She would take her young grandson to the park every afternoon and sit at the bench watching him (or at least someone who looked like him from afar) enjoy himself in the playground. She had become acquainted with the other children and parents who spent their time there too. Therefore, whenever a “newbie” arrived, everyone would notice. They were as easy to recognize as a fly drowning in milk.

The past few days, however, ever since the beginning of December, Marissa noticed the frequent presence of a rather fat and peculiar old man. He was oddly jolly with everyone and was very fond of children. Perhaps too fond, according to Marissa. And he was always there. From the moment she and little Everett arrived, to the moment they left, that old man was sitting on the adjacent bench taking notes.

A week later, after Marissa had ran through her mind all the possible things this man might be noting – all of which were remarkably anomalous, no matter how you looked at it – she decided it was time to take action. She did consider walking over there and whacking him on the head with her cane, then grabbing his list and running to the police to file a report against him as a pedophile. But there were two problems with that: she couldn’t see very well and due to the holiday season more and more people began to draw a liking to red clothing and she might thus end up hitting someone else; and then she couldn’t run very fast, so by the time she had made her way out of the park, he might regain consciousness and chase after her. So, Marissa decided to do the only proper and responsible thing she knew: she would call the police.

Her report said that an old man with white hair and beard, dressed in a red suit that was unflattering for his age, was constantly roaming around the park, observing the kids and making notes. Just to be sure that the police wouldn’t make fun of her, she did send an instant message from her tablet (that had a big enough screen for her to be sure she had captured at least part of the man in question).

It didn’t take long for the police to arrive. The German Shepherd dog accompanying them was already growling, but for some strange reason it stopped the minute its eyes located the old man. And surprisingly it sat down and refused to go near or attack, no matter how much the policemen were yelling. The old man did not even budge.

Yet, all of a sudden, chaos broke out. Seeing that the dog had no intention of chasing or attacking the suspect, the police officers decided to take matters into their own hands. They began to scream, whistle and shout – if there was the appropriate music, it would even seem that they were trying to do the Twist.

And then began the run.

The old man, seeing a handful of unusually frightening young men in police attire racing like raging bulls towards him, got up and began to run too. The kids, thinking this was some sort of festive game, thought it would be fun to join in. And the German Shepherd dog decided it was time to get a move on too. The parents, afraid the dog might attack the children or the police might fire a shot that may reach an unintentional target, raced like mad and white as ghosts, behind the mob. It was complete havoc. And on the side, Marissa was taking photos on her tablet – you know, for evidence.

The old man ran into the forest-y area of the park where a wooden shed was located, he rushed in before the police closed up – the dog was for some reason being intentionally slow at catching up.

And then…

Police, dog, children, parents, the kiosk-owner who had approached out of curiosity, the candyman who was looking for kids to sell his produce to, and Marissa (who was still taking photos), all looked up at the sky, rubbing their eyes. They could not believe what they saw. A sleigh. Yes, a sleigh, a red one with a small turbo engine at the back and a dozen reindeer – yes, those horned animals that look like deer – pulling it along. It all disappeared before the bedazzled crowd managed to take a second blink.

The police stormed the wooden shed, with the dog barking happily beside them. There was nothing in there apart from some hay – most of which appeared to have been consumed – and some firewood. Nothing else.

So where did the old man dressed in red go? And did they really see what they thought they saw?

When the police questioned Marissa, she told them she had photo evidence. But when they confiscated her tablet to see for themselves, all they found was funny-looking selfies of a befuddled old lady in the park.

How to spend 8 hours in an airport

photoAirports are supposed to be interesting places to spend time in. There are so many people to observe and so much to absorb. Yet sometimes spending too much time in an airport is not that exciting, no matter how big it is and how many shops there are. Especially if you spend a third of your day in there and arrive so early that your flight does not even appear on the boards. Nonetheless, here are some things I learnt while waiting for a flight home:

–   Airports are perhaps the busiest places there are, with people all yelling in their own languages as though no one else can understand them, to the extent that you can hear every word they are saying (particularly when you understand the language) even despite the loud music coming from your headphones.

–   There are rude and kind people everywhere. You would just expect an airport to have more of the latter. Not everything is so obvious in a huge airport with a global population moving around in there – like for example the fact that you need to search for the right machine to issue your boarding pass before checking in your baggage.

–   Some security checks are just over-exaggerated. Especially if the security control is borderline molestation. Next thing you know they’ll be x-raying underwear for explosives…

–   Airports that are as huge as those in Central Europe have the luxury of offering guided tours. Because that is the way to spend your time there. And your money.

–   Some airports advertise “duty free for all”. What they don’t tell you is that the prices are all increased so you think they are cheaper than outside…

–   The shop windows at airports are extremely enticing. Then you go in and they tell you they don’t have the items advertised.

–   Why is water in Germany so expensive? – half a litre is €3. It is as if they don’t have a great river flowing through the country…

–   The time I spent wandering in the airport, my friend who left five hours before me could have actually caught another flight to his home and have landed before I even boarded the plane.

–   Having slept for 20 hours over the past five days, you realise this was not enough. And you start thinking in French, talking in German while everyone thinks you are either Italian or Spanish (but never Greek which you are). At least you’re European.

–   In this digital age everyone is constantly looking at a screen. And a place to charge it. Even when walking in the middle of a very busy airport.

This post was written and posted while at the gate before boarding. By the time I arrive I will have completed 14 hours travel time. Or rather, waiting time.

Written at Frankfurt airport on 13 April 2014.

Also part of Daily Prompt: Terminal Time

Also part of Daily Prompt: In Transit

Things to do with a bucket

bucketA bucket is a very useful object to have. Mainly because it is light and very useful for a range of things. Here are some ideas:

1)      You can kick the bucket – but you don’t want to do that metaphorically – literally, however, you may consider it, especially if at the receiving end there is something (or someone) that will help you vent out your anger, given that you still haven’t obtained that punch bag we were talking about.

2)      You can always fill the bucket with water and leave it on the edge of your window/balcony. The ‘woosh’ as it falls and the water splashing out into the air as it hits the ground (hopefully not any passer-by) is priceless.

3)      You can always use it for what it was initially meant to be used for – that is to fill up with water to be used for things such as cleaning. Just don’t forget the mop, otherwise it’s not much use.

4)      You can loan it to a circus. Buckets are a big part of clown acts. You know, one clown steps into the bucket of (usually) paint, and gets stuck, the other climbs a ladder and drops another similar bucket on the head of the other clown, and so forth – you get the picture.

5)      You can use it as a basin to contain the water leaking from a broken pipe or a hole in the ceiling that causes your apartment / house to obtain its own little puddle, as those responsible procrastinate in ever fixing the problem.

6)      You can use it as a prop in an animated version of the catchy-song between Henry and Lisa – but you might want to open a hole in it first, so as to match the theme.

7)      You can use it to create your own “bucket list” – it is simple: create any list and place it inside the bucket. There you go!

There are many things to do with a bucket – some even involve tearing it apart and using the pieces for e.g. ornaments, etc. – all you need is some imagination!

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