February.

New acquaintances,

Drinks in a bar

The introduction of an “appreciation jar”

After weeks of preparation, the baby shower was a success.

Cold weather intensified,

Travel woes multiplied

Distant memories of beach holidays fade.

Family gatherings, charity fundraisers… an array of events

Phone conversations and emails that don’t make sense

Already, we’re two months into the year.

 

February.

 

Five Things That 20-Somethings Can Learn From Elders

When my bestie and I were invited to a charity fundraising event, we squealed with delight and immediately started planning our outfits. Sad, I know! But, one of my favourite things to do in life – aside from travelling and experiencing new cultures, helping the people I love and watching them achieve success, shopping, flicking through the pages of my favourite fashion magazines… (this list could go on!): is getting dressed up and going out “all fancy!” I really do enjoy a good occasion; it’s my favourite way to spend a Saturday night. In fact, any night!

We arrived at the venue slightly earlier than the scheduled start time, grabbed our glasses of champagne, found our seats, and then mingled and people watched. Whilst the most undoubtedly glamorous attendees were amongst the young, I found watching the elder audience way more intriguing. And through observing them, I came away with a few take-away pointers that inspired today’s post: 5 things that 20-somethings can learn from our elders.

Here goes.

1. Dance Like Nobody’s Watching

Apparently (or so I’ve heard – I have it on good authority!), once you turn 30, you care less what others think of you. I like this outlook. Why not live life for yourself? Why not do the things that make you happy? A certain amount of self-assurance and a good dose of wisdom come with age. I look forward to it. But in the meantime, I’ll do my best at incorporating some of the below philosophies into my everyday life.

2. Don’t Mix Your Drinks

Aside from being less likely to suffer from a hangover the morning after the night before, sticking to one drink of choice shows a sense of conviction: you know what you want, and you are confident that you made the right choice, the first time around.

 3. Show Up On Time

There’s a time and a place for everything. More often than not, being “fashionably late” is so passé. Get. It. Together. Leave that in 2012. Showing up late only solidifies the notion that you have no regard for others’ time leaves you rushing around at the last minute, and you end up arriving at the venue dishevelled, sweaty and stressed. Whereas arriving on time, or even a little early, allows you to grab a good seat, to mingle and network. And there’s nothing more professional than preparation, which arriving on time requires.

4. Wear Appropriate Shoes

As a life-long devotee of high-heeled shoes, I fully appreciate that anyone who personally knows me and ever happens across this blog will probably fall off of their seats with laughter at the title of this point. But bear with me. What I mean here, is that we live in a world of aesthetics; a world where perception is reality… when it comes to appearance. There is absolutely no point in wearing expensive, too-high-to-do-anything-but-sit-down-and-look-pretty-in shoes. It’s ridiculous. Stop it.

5. Making A Graceful Exit Is Just As Important (If Not Moreso) As Making An Entrance

Know when to make your excuses and leave an event. Arrive early, don’t drink too much, and leave early. No one wants to be the one person still dancing when the lights are turned on at the end of a club night, and having to be ushered out of a venue by security. It’s so much more appealing to be the one that left early – perhaps dashing off to another event on your social calendar – appearing to perennially be in demand. Leave them wanting more.

Celebrate Love

This time of the year – a little after the festivities and over-indulgence of Christmas and New Years, enough time after the hurdle and financial difficulties of January, and long after thoughts of resolutions have filtered away – the air is filled with love.

This week is Valentine’s week.

I watched the second instalment (out of six) of BBC3’s The Year of Making Love documentary last night. A show that presented strangers with their scientific ‘love match,’ and paired people based on responses to compatibility tests, it poses the question of whether science can shorten the odds of finding love versus using non-scientific methods. So far, the outcome is neither here nor there; much like the reality of dating off-screen, the couples on-screen find that a lack of chemistry, or (as was the case with a twosome from the first episode) when the interest levels are disproportionate, long-term romantic success can prove elusive. What The Year of Making Love has reiterated to me thus far, is that whilst dating, as with anything else, you have to take things slowly.

You can have too much, too soon.

What some of the women featured in episodes one and two have failed to recognise, is that the reality is: if you are ‘chasing’ a man (whether you are initiating all contact or constantly awaiting returned calls/texts), inevitably, that means he is running away. Conversely, an interested man – as displayed in the relationships that have been successful – isn’t afraid to show his interest. It’s always easier to comment from the outside looking in, but who doesn’t want that kind of love, where feelings are clear and everyone knows where they stand? Why play games and engage in guesswork when it can all be so simple?

Psychology teaches us that there are different levels of love (according to C. S. Lewis the main types are: Agape – unconditional love; Eros – erotic/romantic love; Philia – friendship and Storge – affection/familial love). Although traditionally a time to recognise the romantic love interest in your life, in addition on 14th February, we should take time out to appreciate all of the love in our lives – from partners, parents, friends and family. For those that don’t have a romantic Valentine this year, celebrate other kinds of love. And practice self-love. It’s so easy to get caught up in daily happenings and to look at life through a perspective of lack, instead of appreciation and gratitude.

 

Have a Happy Valentine’s Day lovers.

Happy Valentine's Day

Count Your Blessings

I attended a family friend’s baby shower last weekend.

Baby Shower Balloons

Baby Shower Cake

I guess everyone has a few ‘peripheral’ people in their lives that they only really see for momentous occasions (like weddings, birthdays, baby showers, etc.). This was one of those events for me. After suffering and plastic smiling through the obligatory ‘what have you been up to’ conversations getting reacquainted with people I hadn’t seen for a little while… I thought about how visibly children help mark the passage of time. As someone that is yet to be a parent, I don’t really give it much thought on a day-to-day basis, but when I meet up with friends that are parents, it’s much easier to distinguish how much time has passed since our last interaction with children in the picture, as you can physically see how much they’ve changed/grown since you last saw them.

With that in mind, after I left the baby shower, my thoughts turned to appreciation. Sometimes, we can get so caught up in daily tasks and working towards goals, that we forget to stop and count our blessings. We forget about the small victories and everyday wins. In an attempt to remedy that and stop overlooking the little things, I decided to adopt an idea I’d come across on Twitter.

The best of 2013.

Jar of Appreciation

A jar of appreciation. Much like a photography scrapbook, the idea is to take note of memorable moments – no matter how small – throughout the year, pop the notes in the jar, and then open it up on New Year’s Eve and re-live the wonders of the year.

Can’t wait to watch this beauty fill up!