Monday, April 10, 2017

Why We Need Solitude

Solitude––the state or situation of being alone. Something so blissful and joyous. The freedom you have while spending time by yourself. The possibilities!

How absurd that sounds; to want to be alone. But there’s no other time when you can absolutely be yourself, or become your own person. It the this that gives us the strength to independence without ever forcing independence upon ourselves. Most don’t know why they need ‘time to themselves,’ they just do. Is it a break from the world? A breather? Some people can’t be in solitude and the danger is a reliance on others. 

We require solitude––separation from society––to be able to form and possess our own thoughts and opinions and conclusions. We love our friends, but if you never spend time apart from them you’ll never disagree with them. There’s an undying pressure when being in the presence of others, whether you feel like you’re being judged consciously or subconsciously. And you’re right, you probably are being judged! But lets’ face it, no one ever stops judging. We’re constantly having thoughts about the people and things around us––just don’t let these opinions be someone else’s! 

When I say alone, I don’t mean sitting alone in your room scrolling through Facebook. I mean away from society––from other people. You then have the freedom (and strength even) to think about whatever you want; or whatever you don’t want. You don’t have to agree with people just for the sake of reputation. Because no one’s watching or judging you (people can’t read minds). You’re not being pressured by anyone to think a certain way––to suffer. Because there is only suffering in pretending to like someone that you don’t; just because someone you like likes them. 

How can we change and grow as individuals if we’re under the constant influence of society? How can we have our own opinions if we never escape the people who tell us how to think. We can never be our own person! And forever we will be miserable until we learn to do so. 

Many tell us to go to university, get a fancy degree, a high paying job, get married, have kids, buy a house, etcetera etcetera… And most people do it! Just because they are told it’s what’s best. How awful! How miserable one can be, doing what’s ‘best’ yet not wanting to do so at all. I wish I could travel the world, they say. But no one ever does it. For the longest time, I thought I wanted to be an engineer. Why? Because people said I’d be good at it––because it makes a lot of money. Mind you, people that I don’t even talk to anymore. And on my own I realized what I wanted; what I like and what I enjoy. All because I didn’t have people around me that I felt I needed to impress or be accepted by. It wasn’t that, that was important. And in being able to distance myself, I was able to create my own opinions and thoughts about the world. Not about what was right, wrong, good or bad, but what was worth doing for myself.

And thus I became my own person instead of one of those people. 

Sunday, April 9, 2017

A Short Poem

There are so many reasons to be happy and I can’t find one of them.
It’s like a hot cup of tea that’s been cooled down and poured out,
There are so many reasons to smile but no one’s got a clue.
It’s like numbness to the cold and everyone thinks they’re on fire.
You think I don’t feel the cold but I’m not paralyzed,
it’ll take ages for these layers to melt.
You say there’s reason but tell me, what are they?
A bright mind creates its own chains faster than light. 
I’m on no hunt; I’m trapped in a maze of understanding.
I sit a breath because the doors are locked.
But it rains 
water fills my lungs.
I do feel.
Whoever told you to be optimistic has never known what it’s like
with the lights off. 

An Excerpt from New York (or... America in general)

Oh yes. This is the big one. The empire, where you do what you want, where your dreams come true. It’s the land of opportunity. The land of the free!

Said Trump.

New York city is a mosh pit of diversity and millions of people clawing their way up the ladder. Everyone wants to come here and everyone wants to leave. I think if I had to sum this city up into one word it’d be chaos. 

The streets are flooded by a symphony of car horns and angry people screaming ‘asshole.’ Mostly because everyone’s got places to be and don’t have time to wait for the walking man light up on the crosswalk sign. This is the true definition of hustle and bustle, ladies and gentlemen. But don’t worry, I haven’t seen anyone get run over yet. How tragic that would be to mine eyes.

Since we’re already getting a feel for New Yorkers, allow me to go on. I’m not new to the ‘city life,’ I live in London, but these people are batshit crazy. I forget how open Americans are, they just don’t give a shit! Talk about taking land of the free literally. Did you hear about the guy that killed a man with a sword because he didn’t like black people? Not a joke. I’m sure you could find every type of person and language in this city. I walked through Union Square the other day and an Asian man wearing massive headphones was circling and screaming (or rapping, who knows), and just a few steps later a line of guys were chanting from a bible behind posters with a diagram of the devil and America will burn. And just after, another man passed by and (non discretely) yelled, “ah, I hate that kinda shit!” Then there are the ones that tell you to move from 10 feet away, the girls gossiping about their friends, and the other ones that don’t seem to have a clue. It’s astonishing! I don’t understand how people can be utterly oblivious to absolutely everything. 

From what I understand, many come to New York (or America in general) because there’s opportunity. Now is there really? Well, that’s for another time. I think the real opportunity in a big city is the amount of perspective you get. You see all walks of life; the struggle; the success; the poor and the wealthy side by side. It’s all about the things you see and the people you meet, and it’s all here. It’s ironic because a majority of them have probably never seen outside of it. They don’t leave because they don’t feel the need to––they have everything they’ll ever need. That’s how a big city can turn people’s lives into a small world.

The best part about about this place is that you access to the best shows, great events, and any type of food you want. It exciting, it’s busy, it’s a show it itself. The downside is, it’s a tough place to live in. It’s expensive, there’s competition, and if you’re not on wall street or on TV you’re probably spending most of your time in a restaurant. It’s one of those places where people reach their peak or hit rock bottom. Especially if you didn’t grow up here. Let me tell you––I’ve been to several big cities by myself and done myself just fine––I can not figure out the subway system here for the life of me. For one, there are multiple lines running on the same track. The 5 and 6 stop here… and sometimes the 4. Jesus Christ, whose idea was it to name the trains numbers and letters? ’Take the 7 to Grand Central then take the L to 200th St then the B to 700289th St.’ And then, you have to walk about 100 steps down just to get to the train, to find that it’s not on that platform because you have to walk down further, so you do, then by the time you find it the train doors are closing and it’s taking off without you. Then you get to your destination and have to walk back up the 100 steps. And it’s no going to change because this is what New Yorkers are used to. 

So deal with it. 

I must say, there’s much to be seen here (even if you don’t want to), but I’m still at a discomfort in terms of where this country is as a whole. I was astonished to see so many Trump products and posters. There was shirt that had a picture of Trump and Make America great again! on it, displayed in front on the store. Also mind that this was on the border of Little Italy and China Town. And the amount of struggle you witness throughout everyday is a little heart wrenching. Most people won’t say anything because they’re used to it, but I’ll allow it to change my perspective in one way or another. 


Thursday, September 1, 2016

What Americans Can Expect in Europe

What do you think of when you think of Europe? Is it France? Spain? Germany? I think most people tend to think of a specific country, but let me tell you, they’re all very very different. 

The one thing I can say is that Europe as a whole is much more different from U.S. than the European countries are from each other (with a few exceptions of course). And I’ve heard many American opinions about their visits to Europe, and many of them seem to be misconceptions. 

I’ve spent quite a bit of time in Europe (heck, I’m here right now) and I absolutely love it! Sometimes I forget that I’m the outsider because I’m so used to it already––but that’s the best part, isn’t it? 

So Americans, before you come to Europe for the first time, here are a few things not to get too worked up about... Culture shock is real!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

2 More Ways to Spice Up Avocado Toast

We all seem to be eating avocado toast as if avocados were on the brink of extinction (yes, extinct fruit). And when did avo-toast become so popular anyway? 

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Why You Should (and shouldn't be afraid to) Travel Alone

Traveling all on your own can seem pretty daunting. Heck, traveling to a foreign country in general is terrifying. But let me tell you, traveling by yourself is one of the amazing experiences you’ll ever have. Guaranteed.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Super Light Peanut Butter, Banana & Coconut Smoothie Bowl

Light, decadent, yummy yummy yummy. And did I mention it's healthy? I wasn't always a breakfast person, but over the years it's become one of my favorite meals. Having something you really enjoy (alongside a great cup of joe) can set the mood for the day, and there are so many possibilities!

© Elegantly Improvised
Maira Gall