The Underestimated Importance of Documenting My Days

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Last year, at the end of each month, I would take the time to write a small, or sometimes rather extensive piece, about the month that had just come to pass. This year I decided not to; concluding that it was quite a lot of work & I wasn’t even sure whether many people were actually interested in reading my monthly ramblings. I’m still not sure about the latter, but I do know that I miss it. I miss that moment of reflection, that quiet time to relive, process & give order to the days of my life.

Of course, I still don’t know if anybody wants to read it. But just the other day, I think I realized that all this documenting is not for anyone but myself. I am the one that apparently needs that neat dot behind the days gone by. I am the one that wants to take a little while to look back, learn & understand what’s going on in life. It gives me a sense of order, a sense of completion. It’s like storing away one month to make space for the new. It helps me to live out my days more consciously, more fully in a way. And prevents the days, the months & the seasons from melting into one another, until they become a faceless, nameless mess, called ‘Yet-another-year-gone-by’.

The thing is; I’ve been feeling a little adrift lately, a little uninspired to document anything about my life, whether it be on this blog, in a letter or even in my head. The days of this summer have had the tendency to fall together, blend into a massive whole, instead of the separate moments I would love to take them for. And I’ve been blaming time itself; for moving too rapidly, for not granting me sufficient time to stop & reflect. I have been blaming a lack of good sleep, the weather, the news, & I suppose, I have even blamed life itself.
But yesterday I decided it was time to stop blaming anything or anyone but myself. It isn’t time, nor sleep, nor life that has gotten in the way of things. It is me. I’m the only one preventing myself from living each & every day of this life with eyes & mind wide open. And I’m also the only one stopping myself from making a beautiful whole of all the little priceless moments that make up for my lovely life.

And so, I have decided to stop sulking & start documenting again. At the end of August I will once again collect my photos, my words, my thoughts & I will share them here, like I used to & in a way that works for me. And, of course, you are ever so welcome to come along on this old/new journey with me….

Goodbye October

Goodbye October, you have come & gone. I have been running late & before long, I might forget what made our time together so special & valuable. And that would be such a waste, wouldn’t it?
So, before you go, let me take a moment to thank you. Thank you for celebrating nature at its best. The showers of yellow, orange, red & brown, the leafs dancing in the streets, the bright blue skies & the silent, early mornings. You amazed me, you had me looking up & up & up. Had me mesmerized; constantly captivated by all your glorious beauty.

Goodbye Beautiful October, I’m sad to see you go, but you have certainly fuelled me for the winter months to come. I will treasure the days, hours & moments we spend together.
As time went by, your days grew shorter, your wind sharper & more whimsical. But at the best of times, I could still leave my coat at home. I got to see the sun climbing into the sky, witnessed the start of so many perfect autumn days. I stared up at the trees, their colourful canopy like a party in the sky. Cycling, I had to course correct, remind myself to put daydreams on hold & pay attention to the world in front of me.
During the comforting time we spend together, I ran into challenges, big & beautiful. And, despite the fear & the mix emotions which go hand in hand with all newness, I grabbed opportunities with both hands, ready to learn, not so ready to stumble. I took a moment to embrace the underrated joy of hearing a new masterpiece. I celebrated the birth of the greatest person on earth. I mourned the loss of those I’d never know. I cooked new things, reintroduced old favourites. As always, I planned & planned, mostly too much, but never really enough. I learned, I read, I loved, I thought & then thought some more. And in the midst of our time together, I ran into a new side to myself. Thinking I knew it all, thinking I had peeled back every single layer of the person I have always aimed to become, I wandered into unfamiliar territory. And I have been wondered about this unexpected insight ever since.

Goodbye Dear October, you have been ever so sweet. But you’ve also been wild, ruthless & unforgiving. You had hurricanes sweeping in, tearing away everything from those who had nothing to begin with. I watched the world as it unravelled into a battle of right & wrong, decent & savage. I felt us inching towards a time in history I’m afraid I will never be able to understand. The overflowing boats, the vicious seize-fires, the never-ending tug of war between rightfulness & reality. And even though I know I am supposed to be some sort of vague part of it all, I never felt further removed from the world & all its boundless violence.

Goodbye lovely October, you will be missed. Your days were busy, unorganised at the worst of times. There were moments I wanted to pause you, take a breath & reset everything. But more than anything, you were magnificent & my life was beautifully whole & lovely incomplete at the same time. Thanks you for everything; the confidence gained, the lessons learned & the beauty given. Thank you for the music, the words & all the inspiration. Thank you for the evenings, spend in the safety of all I know. And thank you for the days full of colourful wonder.
I’ll wrap this up now. November is here, she has already begun & it’s time for you to go. Take care, sweet October, let’s meet again next year.

Love, Naomi

Book: ‘Waiting for Wednesday’ & Thursday’s Child’ both by Nicci French
(now I might aswell finish the series:)
Movie: ‘Das Leben das Anderen’,
a beautiful touching movie, which I have seen about three times now.
Songs of the month:
You want it darker – Leonard Cohen
Deep Waters – Jack Savoretti
It seemed the better way – Leonard Cohen
All of me – Milow (cover)

Goodbye September

Goodbye September, with your bright blue skies, uncharacteristically warmth temperatures & your incredible high spirits. You were a holiday, a gift; a getaway from life as it tends to be. You brought me arms full of freedom, legs full of miles & a head full of refreshed dreams. And all I can say to you is: thank you!

Goodbye beautiful September, what a lovely time we had together. So much sunlight, so much air to breath, so many adventures to go on & so many hours to spend exploring the world and my place in it. There was nature everywhere. There was the mesmerizing sea; the cold water stinging, the waves rolling in. Like a child, stretching my arms, trying to catch a ride to shore. There were the wide, empty beaches; there were unexplored possibilities in every direction, there were tracks to follow & there were seagulls going their own way. There was sand, grass & wind. There were birds, like great white clouds, sailing away from me. There were seashells in my hand, there were ships on the horizon, colourful parasols creating shade where needed. There were fields filled with flowers, curious goats at lunch, evenings to stay out & mornings to have breakfast at the break at dawn. The sun turned my skin a golden brown, white feet where my socks used to be.
Days passed. Sunny days. I followed my sand covered shoes around. Sometimes walking, sometimes peddling, sometimes resting in the spaces between. I read books, experimented in the kitchen, happily celebrated new life on the way. I was filled with joy, then filled with doubts. Conversations drifted in & out of me. A head full of things to say, I found words for some things, unexpected silence for others. I thought of all the possible things I said & all the possible things I should have said. I felt happiness & it was large as life itself. I felt both pride & regret. I remembered all the lessons I learned along the way, only to forget them moments later. And through it all, I think I was growing somehow; growing up as well as down.

Goodbye September, goodbye to your never-ending tale of human sorrow. Summer is come & gone and some of us are still waiting in vain. Waiting at borders, waiting in between the rubble which once was a city, waiting for aid, a solution or simply waiting for some compassion. Waiting for this world to become a better place, a safe haven for all & not just for a selected few. As I lived out the days of my incredible life, old & new stories sprang to life all around me. People stood gathered, remembering & mourning. Committees were assembled, summits took place, citizens from far and wide took to the streets & demanded a little bit of everything for everyone. It was good, it was brave, it was the best they could do, while I sat & wondered whether it would ever be enough.

Goodbye dear September, our time to part has come. October is waiting. Autumn is setting in. Leafs are falling. The months ahead will carefully wash the traces of this past summer from my skin. But even as I turn a lighter shade of pale, I won’t forget you, nor the colourful days you brought me. Thank you, sweet September. Thank you for all the time you gave me. All the sleep & all the waking hours. Thank you for the seaside, for the fields, the forest & the cool canopy of its trees. Thank you for the safe travels, the memories made & the promise of moments to come. And more than anything, thank you for granting me the time & space to reinvent my ‘extra’ordinary life, just in time for the holiday to end. Take care & I hope we’ll meet again…

Love, Naomi

Book: I read two Nicci French novels (my guilty holiday-pleasure:), called ‘Blue Monday’ & ‘Tuesday’s gone.
And I read a beautiful little book called ‘For one more day’, written by Mitch Albom. It’s a great story about a son who gets to spend one last day with his deceased mother; beautifully written & great food for thought.
Series: E.R, still:)
Songs of the month:
The promise – Tracy Chapman
Motherland – Natalie Merchant
We must be crazy – Milow
Hey, that’s no way to say goodbye – Leonard cohen
Take me home – Jack Savoretti

Goodbye August

Goodbye August, with your bright sunny days & your warm, sleepless nights. How generous you have been; delivering an abundance of sweet summer sun, gorgeous bright mornings & countless numbers of mosquitos. I asked for summer & you gave me summer. And I would like to thank you for it.

Goodbye sweet August, I’ve had a great time with you. Although my legs were heavy sometimes, my throat unexpectedly sore a few days & my arms a little useless every now and then, I still had the best of times with you. Your promising mornings had me longing for fresh air; you took me out into the forest, the fields & onto the water. I went canoeing, I sat at the water’s edge, ate veggies wraps, embraced the world around me, while listening to the voices of the people I have loved all my life & will love forever more. I climbed a hillside, curious cows watched me watching them. Their beautiful brown eyes, those long lashes & the smell of life as I remember it from bygone years. With the world still half asleep, I caught the golden light of day, thanking my mind & eyes for all its wondrous wandering.
Some days, life was as it always is. I made the beds, filled bags with groceries, stood in line & wasted time. I cycled up & down this little town. I saw familiar streets, but every day in a different light. Yes, most of life was as it usually is. But it was lovely, it was sweet & it was how I wanted life to be. New cards arrived, filling me with happiness & pride. Recipes were tested; some worked out, some didn’t. I ate mangoes, blue berries, too many tomatoes & not nearly enough strawberries. My mother came: travelled hours on the train to tell me that she loves me & I couldn’t begin to explain how much that meant to me. I liked almost all of your days; especially the ones spend hiking, exploring, recharging, learning, succeeding, catching up & catching on. There was always something new & always something familiar. And I was grateful for loving the combination of the two.

Goodbye Dear August, this is a summer of broken records. A summer of moments to cheer, moments to cry, moments of joy mixing in with times of disbelieve & cold despair. This is a summer of a trembling earth, victorious athletes, disappearing villages, crazy campaigns, exploding bombs & destructive weddings. The summer of a small boy, a childlike ghost, momentarily shaking us awake, opening our eyes, until it feels appropriate to close them once again. This wondrous world kept spinning & spinning, and I was spinning along as always. Everything changed & changed, yet everything stayed the same & the same. I tried to understand, comprehend & compartmentalize. At the end of every day, I was still there & I felt thankful for it.

Goodbye beautiful August, thank you for being wonderful. Thank you for being warm, bright, kind. Thank you for the golden mornings, the empty streets, the endless walks & the lightness of it all. Thank you for the cats, the cows, the juvenile birds. Thank you for the box of mangoes, which turned out to be juicy and tasty, just like they’re supposed to be. Thanks you for all the talks, the silence & thank you for the quiet reassurance of everyday life.
September is here now; sneaking a chill into the morning air, bringing autumn a little closer. I had a wonderful time with you & hope to see you again, in all your glory, sometime next year…

Love, Naomi

Book: I haven’t been able to finish a book this month. I’m having a holiday soon though, so hopefully I can make it up in September:)
Series: E.R & some episodes of Early Edition. I watched the new episodes of Masterchef Australia 2016, which has been great so far!
Movies: ‘Heaven on Earth‘, the wonderful sequel to the equally wonderful Swedish movie;
As it is in Heaven.
Songs of the month:
Rivers – The Tallest Man on Earth
Humble me – Norah Jones
The Boy in the Bubble  – Paul Simon

Goodbye June

Goodbye June. Goodbye to your restless days; the showers, the changes & all those hopeful new beginnings. Thank you for the grasslands growing, the grain swaying, the birds overhead & the rivers flowing. There was more rain than the ground could take, more heartache than our souls should take. There were swallows dancing, clouds gathering, lightning striking. You were wild & unpredictable, yet you were beautiful & brave. And I’d like to thank you for that.

Goodbye sweet June, thank you for the days I got to walk through. In the midst of your confusing sadness, you have taken the time to once again remind me of the importance of all things little. You have warned me about the weight of things larger than life; the heavy burdens of everything I cannot possible change, nor carry. And so, I set out looking for the sun behind the clouds, the silver lining at the end of the day. With a renewed lightness in my step, I hiked up a hill, I watched the sky in wonder & I adjusted my heartbeat to the unexpected rhythm of your season. And, suddenly, I felt so much lighter than before.
Living through your days, I hoped, I feared, I tried, I managed, I failed. Some things came to an end, while other patiently waited to begin. I learned new words with the same meaning. I created & conquered. I made long lists which I never finished, I set goals I decided not to reach. I watched games unite & divide. I cheered for Spain & cried for England. I let the world get to me. I read the news & became painfully aware that I too am part of a greater whole. Part of something. Something nameless & abstract, yet something that seemed to be coming apart at the seams. And all of a sudden, I felt frightened over the prospect of losing the sense of unity I had never felt before.

Goodbye Dear June. Do you wonder, like I do, what will happen now? Where we might go from here? Why do we do what we do? Why do we let fear cloud our judgement, let prejudice get in the way of who we ought to be? When did our world turn into a place where parties turn into massacres, holidays into horror? I broke down, I cried in disbelieve. I felt the loss in my heart, mind & my soul. And all that while, I understood that it was alright to feel too much at once. That the feeling of devastating sorrow, which sat in my chest, was what the world needed from me that very moment.
It ought to hurt, because it is an crime & it’s a terrible, terrible disgrace. And we should never be allowed to be numbed by all the suffering, but we should be outraged & empowered instead.

Goodbye June, thank you for everything. Let’s make way for your friend July, see if she holds the summer we somehow were unable to find. Thank you for all the wonderful moments of togetherness you send my way. Thank you for the sweet strawberries, the tasty dinners & yummy cakes. Thanks for the love of those who love me; their words, their laughter & their reassuring nearness. Thanks for the walks, the wide skies, the rain that soaked my clothes & the shower that warmed my skin. It’s time to wave goodbye now. Take care & hope to see you next year.

Love, Naomi

Book: unfortunately, I didn’t manage to finish a book this month:(
I am half way a novel called; The Shock of the Fall, by Nathan Filer. It’s promising so far…
Series: still watching E.R & mixing it up with a Netflix original called Bloodline. Furthermore, I’ve been watching a few soccer matches from the European Championships:)
Songs of the month:
Up & Up – Coldplay
Nearly Morning – Luke Sital Singh (with Gabriella Aplin)
Hold back the River – James Bay
Young as the morning, old as the sea – Passenger

This month I would love to include a lovely, colourful & incredibly creative music video I’ve been playing on repeat. This song lifts my spirit whenever it needs lifting & even though, I’m normally not crazy about music videos, I’ll gladly make an exception for this creative, funny & inspiring piece of art. Of course, it helps that I’m a huge Coldplay fan, but give it a go & who knows, you might like it too…

Goodbye May

Goodbye May. Goodbye to all of your unexpected surprises. The rain, the storm, the sunlight, the misty mornings & tropical afternoons. You could never quite make up your mind, could you, whether you wanted it warm, cold, wet or dry? It seems to me like you, therefore, decided to give us a bit of everything. And in the meantime, you made trees explode into life, you painted the grass the brightest shade of green, you swept clouds across the sky & flowers across the street. It was beautiful. It really was.

Goodbye Dear May, thank you for being so lively & wondrous. Your days have been colourful, challenging, rewarding & memorable, all in one. At times, you amazed me with your ability to combine such a range of emotions into one single day or into one single person. But you did. You left me feeling proud some days. Worried & anxious on others. ‘Not quite sure’ on the many days in between. During your restless days of spring, I learned many new things & rediscovered old abilities. I got lost in the pages of a book, I found my thoughts entangled with the lives of others.
On sunny days, I wandered through the newly decorated forest, marvelling about nature & how it always takes its course. On wet days, as I felt rain drops slide down the warm skin of my back, I decided to stop avoiding the puddles & started to look up at your wonderfully wild skies instead.
Packages arrived, prints were delivered, songs were sang & memories were made. I took a train, a bus, a boat, a bicycle, my shoes. But sometimes, I didn’t move at all & watched time go by without me. It moved so rapidly, hardly taking notice of me & my old fashioned daydreaming. And as I stood there, witnessing time & all its frantic passing, I was relieved to discover that I can still pause whenever I think I need to.

Goodbye May. You leave us in a world unchanged. A world were so many are still left to fend for themselves. A world were decisions are made, but no solutions are found. At times, I can’t help but feel disappointed. Disappointed in myself for my inability to take a stand or make a change. Disappointed in the facts and the figures & more than anything, disappointed in the seemly narrow margins of our human compassion. At the same time, I refuse to give up hope, refuse to give up on the idea that we’ll pull through somehow & will able to look back at these troubled times with a sense of achievement rather than shame. I hold on to my own soul & my own kindness with all I’ve got, because I realize, now more than ever, that it is all I’ve got. And that it’s worth more than I could ever imagine.

Goodbye, sweet May, thank you for all the beauty you gave me. Thank you for giving me 15 years with my dear, beautiful cat. Thank you for all her wit, her cuddles, her bright eyes & her stubborn nature. Thank you for bringing the swallows back to fly speedily pass my window & nest above my head. Thank you for all the words; spoken & unspoken. All the thoughts & all the wondering. Thank you for health, for love, for life & all those other, slightly sappy, nouns we tend to take for granted.
Oh, and yes, thank you for white asparagus, thank you for red strawberries & dark chocolate ice cream. I’m leaving you now, June has already started & the days are flying by. Time to wrap you up and say goodbye. Thank you for everything & I hope we’ll meet again!

Love, Naomi

Book: ‘Room’ by Emma Doneghue (Beautiful, very impressive book, which will leave you wondering for days after finishing it)
Series: How to get away with murder & E.R
Movies: The Broken circle Breakdown
Songs of the month:
Frail love – Cloves
The Fast Lane– Milow
If I needed you – The Broken Circle Breakdown
99 red balloons – Sleeping at last (cover)

Goodbye March


Goodbye March, with all your spirited showers & your scattered sunlight. How beautiful you have been; throwing towering clouds & bright, sunlit days around, like one does confetti on a party. You found extra hours in a day, you chased darkness from the mornings, then the evenings. And although, at times, the world grew cold & dark, you were kind for me & for those I love most.

Goodbye Dear March, thanks for taking me outside all those lovely hours. I put my hiking boots on, stood in an awakening forest, where everything was proudly brimming with beginnings. I closed my eyes, turned my face towards the sun & felt the winter melt from within me. It always seems to take so long, those last days of winter slumber. But there was evidence of life everywhere & it made my heart sing out with joy.
Cards were send, unexpected packages arrived, letters were written & send. I tried to read, I found myself listening instead. Some days I felt more lost than others, but most days I was merely grateful for always being so safely bound. I looked for inspiration, tried to strive for more & less every day. I created, tested the water, felt proud, felt fearful, satisfied & disappointed. The future was taking shape around me, I could see it, I loved it, but as always it frightened me all the same. And so, I was reminded that some things never change at all.

Goodbye March, with your painful lessons to be learned. It felt like bombs went off everywhere & all the time, ending the lives of men and women, young and old. And no matter who they were or where they came from, they were all lost to us. And I saw it all, I read it all, I felt it all. I read & read, until I understood nothing & felt less than I felt before. At times, at the end of the day, I feel my soul will burst with all the sorrow of this world. But at the same time, these troubled times make me feel stronger & less alone than I might have felt before. Because the darker it gets, the more I am drawn towards the light. The harder it is, the kinder I become. And even though it might not make much sense, I embrace it all the same.

Goodbye good old March, another month gone. I let you go & make room for your kind friend April. Thanks you so much for being your unpredictable self, I loved the surprises that came my way.Thank you for all the walks, the flowers, the clouds & more than anything, thank you for the sun. Thank you for the comfort of weighty words, small talk & familiar silliness. Thank you for new directions, quiet moments of clarity & important hours of uncertainty. I will step away from you with a renewed sense of curiosity, eagerly looking forward to the days to come.

Love, Naomi

Book: Ashamed to say, I haven’t finished a new book yet. There goes my first new year’s resolution:( I did start in ‘The Rosie Project’- Graeme Simsion, but haven’t finished it.
Series: Downton Abbey, Once upon a Time (again:)
Songs of the month:
Us against the world – Coldplay
After the storm – Mumford & Sons
The Other side – David Gray
Fix You – Coldplay

Goodbye January

January (2)

Goodbye January, with your spring like, winter weather & your indecisive state of mind. You’re the start to everything; you’re both the second change & the new beginning. You come early every year; catch me by surprise & throw me off a little. But it is fine & it’s not your fault. It’s me, not you. I should know how this whole annual thing works by now.

Goodbye sweet January, I had a great time with you. A promising beginning, which makes me wonder what else is in store. I walked through your uncharacteristically mild days, left my gloves at home, stumbled into new ideas & got reintroduced to my all too familiar hesitations. I google-eyed the house, I read one book, saw three movies, watched 3 seasons of one series, played 3 different board games, cooked 2 new dishes, played one cd on repeat & had 5 favourite songs to listen to.  I thought, I wondered, I planned & I made lists. Oh boy, did I make lists; to- do- lists, how-to- lists, when- to- lists & why- to- do lists. But some days no list could help me straighten out which thoughts should come first & which could wait till later. I guess some things never change, no matter what year it is.

Goodbye January, I know it’s hard for you to go, leaving this world in the same chaos you found it in. But we both know that chaos is not going anywhere anytime soon. And really, it is not your concern, it’s ours. I just wish I could promise you that better times are coming, while truth is that I just don’t know. None of us do, I suppose. All I know is that I feel it is time for us we recover & regroup, before it is too late for all of us to get back to who we once were. Or at least, who we thought we were or who we aspired to be.

Goodbye Dear January; it’s time for us to part. But not before I take a moment to thank you for all the lovely days & moments we shared together. Thank you for the conversations I had, the plans I made, the inspiration that struck. Thank for the music that drifted my way, the images that filled my mind & the words I got to read. Even though you might have seemed commonplace at certain times, I don’t want to take our time together for granted. Because, after all, this has been a lovely start of something which still seemed rather huge & intimidating 31 days ago. You have been able to turn my apprehensive ship around & now, I’ve got my eye on the horizon.

Thanks again & goodbye sweet January

 

  

Book: Dingen die fijn zijn – Claudia de Breij (Dutch)
Movies: Wild, About Time & The Time Travellers Wife
Series: Suits
Songs of the month:
Catapult – Jack Savoretti
The Scientist – Coldplay (this version)
Emmylou – First Aid Kit
Wish I was here – Cat Power & Coldplay
Adventure of a lifetime – Coldplay

 

One photo a day, 2015 – week 48

26) Finn

26) Finn

‘The best portion of your life
will be the small, nameless moments
you spend smiling with someone
who matters to you’

-Unknown-

Wrapping up my November theme with just a handful of memories to share. Only five images, instead of the usual seven, because in my next post, the last of this year, I’m sharing all my December images with you at once. This way I’ll be able to finish my photo project, just in time for the New Year to start.
A new year, without a new photo challenge, but hopefully with a lot a creative & colourful ideas to brighten up the days, weeks & months.

Love for now & feel free to stay tuned for my December ‘A year in pictures’ theme…