“You can choose what you do; you can’t choose what you like to do”. – Gretchen Rubin

” I tended to overrate the fun activities that I didn’t do and underrate my own inclinations. I felt like the things that other people enjoyed were more valuable, or more cultured…more, well, legitimate. But now it was time to ‘Be Gretchen’. I needed to acknowledge to myself what I enjoyed, not what I wished I enjoyed.”  – Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project).

“Over the last few years, I’ve started figuring out what I really find fun. I realised I had a lot of stuff and activities in my life that I didn’t enjoy. These were things that others find fun, but they just weren’t to me.

“Accepting that what others find fun won’t necessarily be fun for me felt like a huge breakthrough. It’s hard enough to stay in touch with what’s fun for you, without thinking that you should like something that others find fun.”  – Anon blog reader (The Happiness Project).

I love trying new things, and I can get real obsessed and passionate about a new activity, and then go and buy all the paraphernalia, but I can just as quickly lose interest and get distracted by something else. My brother says I’m fickle. Maybe I am. I’m not a master of anything, I don’t have the desire to commit to any one thing, and put in the hours to become skilled at it, but I’ve embraced that part of me, and realised that I am instead a constant struggling interested student/amateur/learner of a lot of things. I’m an introvert at heart, and a lot of the activities I enjoy doing are quiet and solitary. I’ve given myself permission to do things I like doing, and not be concerned with what I should like doing, or what others like doing. We are all different and have our own unique likes and dislikes of what we like to do for fun in our spare time.

A list of some of the things I enjoy and like doing (this list is nowhere near exhaustive):

  • reading books
  • watching films (at the cinema/home), tv shows
  • writing in my notebook – verbatim notes of things I read in books that I love and find inspirational – for no reason other than having a collection of my favourite writings
  • listening to music (both live at concerts/gigs, and on my iPod)
  • learning to play the piano (no matter how badly I sound or how slow I am)
  • visiting museums, and exploring new places like cafes and restaurants. And castles – I have a thing about castles.
  • going to theatre shows
  • writing
  • taking pictures
  • reading about positive psychology and creativity.

Reader, what things do you find fun and enjoyable? Share your own list in the comments below!

Mustard Sandwich (Story Time)

🍯 Scene: My cousin and I are working at my Aunt’s SubShop sandwich place in Seattle during my summer holidays when I was a teenager.

We’re making sandwiches for incoming customers…
Me: “I freaking love this mustard beef sandwich we sell, this american mustard tastes so good. Today I’m going to have it for my lunch. But I’m going to add extra mustard”.
Later…
I’m making my sandwich..
My cousin looks alarmed at the amount of mustard I’m adding: “uh, Lala, go easy with the mustard.”
Me: “I love this mustard, don’t worry.”
We sit down to eat. My cousin looks worried at the amount of mustard I’ve drowned my beef sandwich in:
My cousin: “That’s a lot of mustard. I think there’s more mustard than actual beef”.
I wave her concerns away: “You can never have too much american mustard”. I take a bite, mustard is dripping from the sandwich.
My cousin says nothing but just looks at me.
Me: “uh I think I might have gone a little overboard with the mustard”.
My cousin silently shakes her head and eats her sandwich – which contains the normal amount of condiments.

Grabbing the URL of a specific time in a YouTube video

I was trying to see if there was a way of “bookmarking” a specific place in a YouTube video, but instead accidentally discovered a neat feature where you can get “video URL at current time”.

* Pause the YouTube video at the desired time
* Right click on the timeline
* Pop-up box will appear with the URL of the specific time
* Copy the url

Very handy little trick YouTube.
youtube

An Oasis in East London

I’ve decided 2015 is the year I embark on my social experiment/project: “Talking to Strangers”. And I shall blog about my little random adventures, for no reason – other than to practice my writing. I’m pretending I’m a character in a book, and people I meet are also characters. I know it sounds weird. I know I’m weird. But I love writing, just for the sake of it, even if it’s not good, clever or entertaining. I’m writing for me. I’m writing for the future me. 

Wednesday 4 March: An Oasis in East London. 
My friend is a musician and invited me to a gig tonight at the Kings Head, she even kindly put me on the guest list. I googled the place “a private members club”. Private members – sounds exclusive. Sounds posh. Somewhere I normally would never get in.
I get to the destination and for a second I was worried I got the wrong place, because it looked like it was shut down, it looked like an abandoned, derelict building, with all the windows and doors boarded up. I looked around nervously, there was no entrance. Then a man with big dreadlocks came out of a door, out of nowhere it seemed. 
Me: “uh, I’m here for a gig” 
The Man With Big Dreadlocks smiled encouragingly, nodded and simply said “Yes”. I felt like maybe he was the Oracle. He pressed a buzzer. And then the door magically opened (okay it didn’t magically open – the doorman/bouncer on the other end opened it). I walked in. 
Hostess behind the counter: “Hello”
Me: “Oh hi, erm my friend is playing in a gig tonight, and I think I’m on the guest list” I gabbed on, without actually giving my own name, until she had to ask me. Ha ha. Oops. 
I was then led through thick black velvet curtains and behind it a room that was breathtaking exquisite. 
Chandeliers, elegant paintings, and a gigantic “stuffed” tiger over the bar. 
Me to the barman: “wow this place is very posh. The decor is so nice. Is that a real tiger? I thought I got the wrong place because the outside is all boarded up and looks shut down” 
Barman smiled knowingly: “yes, that’s the idea. We don’t take in walking customers. It’s members only”. 
All of a sudden I felt privileged being let in. I ordered a virgin mojito, the barman even made a little flower out of mint leaves. Cute. 
I then explored the place, and accidentally walked into the gents toilets, those are funny looking sinks…
There were a lot of stuffed animals dotted about  – I don’t know if they were real or not, but the baboon at the bottom of the stairs gave me a fright.  
I eventually ventured downstairs to where the gig was taking place and the room was enveloped in sparkly blue lights – I  suddenly felt like I was in a dystopian world where only certain people were allowed in this secret club and I just stumbled across it by accident. 

I found an empty seat next to a couple and asked the girl if it was free and she smiled yes. 

I listened to the live music whilst looking around admiring the atmosphere and wondered how rich everyone was. Apparently membership is very very expensive!
I then noticed a “stuffed” monkey, standing on a chair, handcuffed to and holding rifle. I think that was my favourite decor piece. 

After the band finished the set, I turned to the girl… 
Me: “Isn’t this place beautiful? Who are you here to see? 
Finnish girl (later I find out she’s from Finland): “yes, it’s lovely. I met my boyfriend here last year. He organised this gig night”. 
We got to chatting and bonded over our mutual love of horror movies, and exchanged emails and made plans to meet up to watch a scary film one day. Because people who like scary films are very rare and we gotta stick together.