One person’s box of chocolates is another’s kaleidoscope…

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Life is like a kaleidoscope – you never quite know which colour you’re going to get. Cue deep South American accent, a hangdog expression and a buddy named Buba 🙂

But seriously, I’ve been thinking a lot recently (no change there then!) and I feel like depending on the metaphorical glass slide I pick (or in some cases is picked for me) – life and the people in it can appear to be so many different things from one day to the next. Like sometimes you wake up and life is pretty darned perfect and another time you wonder what the hell you’re doing? Or one day you feel like you have the best buddies in the world and the next you wonder where all the good ones went…

So how do you know which colour is real? Which perspective on your life is the ‘right’ one, the truest one?  And then linked to that, during which time do you make your biggest life decisions?

Okay, so in case anyone reading this thinks I’ve gone doo-lally (or doier-lallier than usual that is!) or I’ve been at the vino / cough medicine / coffee cupboard, let me try to illustrate my thinking with real life examples (i.e. the colours of my life)…particularly since we all know I just love laying myself out on the line 🙂 So here are my kaleidoscopic perspectives for one and all to see…

Clear glass
I’m a twenty-something singleton in no great hurry to change my life to a life ‘for two’ – I like waking up in the morning not having to think of anyone else and I like having the bed to myself to get a good night’s kip. That said I certainly wouldn’t be averse to sharing the odd night or two with a hottie and if the right person came along I’d be open to it 😉 I’m pretty successful at work – earning a decent wage, working at a brilliant place with freedom to use my creativity when I so wish. I’ve travelled some great places, with some great people but wish I had more friends who were able and willing to travel more with me… I have a great bunch of friends who I give a lot to but who (on the most part) I also get a lot back from – there’s a pretty equal balance with most of them and I love them to bits. I have a brilliant, independent but loving family who I see as frequently as I can without putting myself out too much. I’m generally fit, healthy and a half decent catch but could do with hitting the gym and loving my salad a bit more. All in all I have a good life with great people in it – I could do better but I could do much much worse 🙂

Rose-tinted
I’m a sassy young twenty something – fiercely independent and single out of pure choice. I’m too busy being successful and doing the things I want to do to bother with men, marriage, babies etc. I’m not bad looking and I can work the curves to great effect…I’ll hit the gym to tone up but all in all I like my curvaceous figure. I don’t even need a man in the bedroom – I can sort that all on my own 🙂 At work I’m doing well for my 27 years and well on my way to climbing the career ladder. I’ve travelled more than many have in their life and I’ll keep doing the same – with or without friends to accompany me. I’m a pretty good daughter and I’ll always stop by on my parents at least once a week and my brothers and sister whenever they’re in Notts or I’m their way. I have loads of friends who love me and I’m ALWAYS there for them – I never let anyone down and try my hardest to help someone in strife. All in all life is brilliant – I’m young, getting fitter by the day in the gym, doing really well at work, getting time with brilliant friends and seeing the world! ROAR – watch out world I’m coming to get ya!

Mellow-yellow
Life is good but I’m craving a life affirming moment, an epiphany when all of a sudden I’ll ‘get’ what life is all about but at the moment something is missing. I’ve had some annoying setbacks in my life so far but they must be a test – something to prepare me for when life really begins. My life isn’t perfect but next year (or the one after that, or the one after that etc) something will happen and I’ll really start living. Everything up until that point will just be a warm up. In my mellow-yellow perspective I can just spend days reading a book, strolling around outside, watching a film / TV…it’s enough to just ‘be’ and not be so concentrated on achieving things all the time.

Blue (da-be-da-ba du…those clubbing in the early 00ies will get that reference!)
Life is so frustrating! Why do I even bother?! Friends don’t appreciate all the efforts I go to (little pressies, trying to arrange get togethers, offering advice etc), work don’t appreciate me, I’ve not done nearly enough travelling and I’m comfort eating and not toning my curves! Aaaaagggh! Why am I wasting my life? When I was young this was not where I saw myself in the late twenties. My love life is a disaster and I keep living vicariously through films and tv shows – where’s my ruddy prince charming and why has the cow down the road got happiness when I haven’t?! My life is a waste and I sometimes wonder who would miss me if I just vanished into thin air! Life shouldn’t be such hard work

Keen for the green
I want to escape and run away to green forests and blue lakes. I want to give up work, home, etc and go live in a log cabin in America where I can write books, have sex all day with an exotic and intriguing guy and own dogs that I can walk on the luscious lake shores. My life here is uninspiring – I need to surround myself in beauty and adventure if I really want to start living. Where can I find that adventure? Hmmm perhaps I’ll book myself a holiday…

So, at the end of those little insights now you think I truly am whacky right? Well I don’t care – I’m having me a rose-tinted moment 🙂

I suppose the point of all of this is to muse on how you ever know which is the ‘real’ you and the truest reflection of your life. Or perhaps, much like a kaleidoscope, reality is a mixture of all these different coloured perspectives.

But why is this even important I hear you cry…well I think it comes down to its impact on decisions and life choices. For example, how do you recognise when you’re having a ‘blue’ day and try to avoid making too many snap decisions on those days? Or how do you become aware you might be having a ‘green’ moment and should avoid booking holidays for the time being? In essence, I’m left wondering how you get to such a state of self-awareness that you know when you’re being realistic or when really you’re just being blue, green or yellow?

A prime area for me is often with my friends…sometimes I feel good about my relationships and sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I’m inspired by how the least expected friends really come through for you and sometimes left disappointed by the way your closest don’t. I could easily make snap decisions at those points but then perhaps I need to consider that issues may be more down to my changeability than theirs?

For example, I had a thought the other day that perhaps I hadn’t been as good a friend as I should have been recently (not sure why but hey-hum!!) and that for once I could do something nice and tangible to show my nearest and dearest how much I appreciate them. A day later and I’m kind of regretting it as it’s not exactly been rushed to or received as I’d hoped… Which begs the question, did I perhaps jump too quickly during a blue moment (while ill) and do something that didn’t need to be done? Or am I experiencing a blue moment now in feeling a little dejected that my creative and well-meant gesture isn’t being snapped up? Either way having just written it down I’ve decided to forget it and move on…I’m making tomorrow my Rose-Tinted day 😉 But it illustrates my dilemma – when do you act on your perspectives and when do you have enough self-awareness to know you should probably wait a day or two til the colours change?!

And so, in true daydreamer blog style what are things I have come to learn through penning my quite random thoughts this time around? Well here you go: – 

1. Be glad to live your life in colours and not in grey. Colour is what keeps the world vibrant and interesting…being able to experience and appreciate different perspectives is a good thing and having days where things feel ‘different’ to the last, well that’s just plain cool 🙂

2. You can adjust your kaleidoscope whenever you need – you’re not a slave to it. If you think you’re slipping into a ‘blue’ day when really you want to have a ‘rose-tinted’ day, well change your perspectives to suit your wants. The great thing about the kaleidoscope analogy is that it puts your hands at the control of the colours you see…so get twisting and see what happens!

3. Too much over-thinking hurts the brain. I’m well aware that many will look at this latest blog and feel that perhaps I’m over thinking things a teeny weeny bit…perhaps they’re right! There certainly are times where things can be over-thunk! Don’t hurt your brain – it’s far too precious 😉

4. Pause, take a breath and then make your decisions. I think by taking time to think about what shade of perspective you’re in, it allows you a second to consider everything before you make a decision…and that’s no bad thing! Snap decisions sometimes work out, but more often than not they don’t so if nothing else, always take a minute to consider whether you’re making the right choice…all things considered 🙂

I know I’m guilty of number 4 more than most, hence the need for a blog from time to time. But that said, I also take pride in thinking about and questioning things – to me it’s the sign of a healthy mind and a restless spirit 🙂

My kaleidoscope theory I know is a random one but I like to think that those who know me best would expect nothing less! I also know that those who matter will love me for all my colours, as I do them 🙂 And to those who don’t love it, well chuff off back to your world of black, white and grey – I’m busy playing in the paint pot of life 😉

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The great escape…

My mind has been wandering recently. It’s been on adventures far and wide to crystal blue waters, dramatic mountain views and lush green forests. To those places where both literally and metaphorically you could get lost for days. For some, when their mind wanders to such places (and lets admit it, we’re all daydreamers to a certain degree!) it would be an imagined place in the mind’s eye full of tranquillity and calm…but for me my daydreams take me to an amalgamation of all those beautiful places I’ve been lucky enough to experience already in my lifetime. Those breathtaking views I’ll always have emblazoned in my memory like some sort of mental collage or picture book.

Travel and escapism is the theme for this post as I’ve come to realise recently how important having those moments of pure awe and inspiration are to truly enjoying life and finally realising the beauty of the world that surrounds us. That last bit sounds pretty naff, I know it does, but I just can’t think of a better way to describe it. For me, the feeling that comes with standing over a beautiful mountain view or a wild, untameable waterfall just can’t be beaten and it truly makes me feel like a different person. Like all those everyday niggles and worries might just fall away with the cascade of the water or evaporate into the fresh mountain air, leaving behind only admiration and enjoyment of the amazing sight around me. That feeling of ‘just being’ I suppose is what makes travelling so addictive – it’s so rare to experience it in everyday life we often need to physically be taken away to do it.

As I’m writing, I realise this post has gotten quite deep very quickly… I hear 50 Shades does the same actually (ooops sorry couldn’t resist popping in a cheeky innuendo somewhere! ;))
I can’t (and don’t really want to) apologise for the slightly different tone to this, such is the way that ‘escaping’ makes me feel. But to give it some context, I’m personally at a point in life where I’m working out which things truly matter to me and when are the times when I’m at my happiest and most inspired. One of the top three ‘happy times’ for me has to be the experience of travelling to the national parks around America over the past 5 years… The other two? Well I’ll let you muse those over 😉

Travelling and experiencing the new has always been a passion of mine, I suppose because adventures and beautiful places capture the imagination and I’ve always been very well endowed on that front! Even when I was younger my favourite Disney films were Alice in Wonderland and Pocahontas and my favourite TV series, Dreamstone…all of which are an exploration of dreams and adventures with a slight bit of ‘wackiness’ thrown in for good measure 🙂 But I always remember thinking that one day I’d get out there and seek my own adventures…

And so, a little less than four years ago I decided to embark on a tour of America from the East to the West as far as my limited funds would take me. To say I fell in love with the country would be an understatement…the diversity of opportunities, landscapes and people just felt great to me. But my most amazing memories, the ones that form my mind’s collage, are from all the beauty of the national parks along the way…my words simply won’t do them justice. Something just ‘clicked’ for me as I went from one beautiful place to the next, it was amazing to me that one country could hold so many stunning places…so much so I also decided to return two years later. And I still only feel I’ve scratched the surface…

My mind constantly flicks back to those memories of beautiful American landscapes – from dramatic Wild West Navajo country to Grand Teton mountainsides and the lush shores of Yosemite. The indescribable feeling of watching an earth shattering geyser bubble up and shoot from Yellowstone’s lands out into the sky to being just feet away from bears, buffalo and wolves. Watching the sun set over the orange sands at Arches to looking out at snow capped mountains over Grand Teton. Floating out on a boat through the vast, clear blue, peaceful expanse of Lake Tahoe… I just can’t find the words to describe in full how these experiences make me feel and how they have shaped me as a person…and trust me, words are not something I would usually struggle with 😉

Looking out from the top of a mountain, from the forest floor and desert covered lands to such incredible landscapes you just feel like a different version of ‘you’. Like all of a sudden you think ‘okay…so this is what life is all about’. If I could just spend my life looking out at this view forever more I would be a happy lady (probably pretty bored and hungry once a year passes by mind you!:) ). It’s no wonder people nowadays are so desperate to travel…the cynics among us muse that it’s because people are never satisfied with what they’ve got, no matter how much they have – well TRUE! I’m certainly not satisfied when I know what a brilliant world there is out there for us to explore and experience.

The thing that people also tend to forget about travel is that not only do you see some pretty darn amazing sights but you really do learn a lot along the way. What I’ve learnt through travelling is that I know what inspires me and makes me tick – it’s looking out across a vast, lush landscape and realising how much inspiration and ‘just being’ can make me feel re-energised to really, wholeheartedly live my life. When going about everyday tasks, it’s just so easy to forget about the rest of the world still yet to see and to get bogged down with frustrations and disappointment. I just wish I could bottle the feeling and sell it on ebay – I’d make my fortune and go set up house in Yosemite 😉 But in my usual style there are also other things I would share as learnings / musings:

1. Inspiration is as unique to us as a fingerprint. What makes us tick and what moves us within will undoubtedly differ from person to person. I know that dramatic mountainsides, lush green forests, wild waterfalls and crystal clear waters are some examples of scenery that inspire me; another person may be just as inspired by a sparse desert ridden expanse. The point is you have to know what ‘it’ is and try to experience as much as you possibly can in life.
2. Don’t let those brilliant memories fade – use them in times of frustration to re-energise and reinvigorate. Whether it’s through photos, painting a picture, writing it down or whatever, try to keep your memories alive and use them to remind yourself of how you felt at those points in time.
3. Stay hungry for more – the world is ridiculously huge. I just happened to stumble upon America as my dream destination in terms of having all the parks I could possibly want, but I also loved Croatia and Spain before that and I’m also well aware there is a much bigger world out there to pay attention to. When I look back in 50 years time, I want to be able to say I saw all I wanted to see. To have some brilliant memories that comfort me when my physical body is unable to fulfil my adventurer spirit’s demands.

And so ends a short reminisce of the wonderful places I’ve had the privilege of experiencing to date – I could have gone on for pages (my first novel perhaps!!:) ).
Little more than a few years have passed since I was out there exploring my beloved American landscape yet it feels like a lifetime ago, better yet that perhaps it hadn’t even happened at all and I’d dreamt it all. Exactly like that moment in Alice in Wonderland when she wakes up and realises she was asleep the whole time. But that’s also how I know it’s now time to get back out there, get re-inspired and start seeing the brilliant world we live in – it’s those moments, those adventures, those memories that help to make us ‘us’.

I already know where my next adventures will take me (Chimney Rock NP North Carolina and Banff NP Canada if you must know!) – do you know where yours will be? 🙂