Long Distance (Family) Relationships

Just said goodbye this evening to my parents before they fly back to HK tomorrow. They’ve been living there for almost a decade, and yet I still haven’t quite got used to saying goodbye to them. Weirdly it’s just got worse as time goes on. I struggle to not well up when saying goodbye. It’s always awkward, and looking at my dad always sets me off – he’s the one who’s also welling up. Then comes the awkward shoulder grip and pat that’s loaded with emotions as we force smiles that are a mix of happy of having spent time together but sadness to be separating again.

They brought us over here in ’96 to help enrich our lives and give us a unique opportunity that many kids in HK would never get – for that I will always be grateful. But it has caused a difficult conundrum when they moved back to HK and we stayed here. Trying to navigate familial bonds when your parents are a 12 hour flight away and 7/8 hours ahead (depending on time of year) is difficult at best, painful when you or they are going through harder times where other families may band together, we don’t have that luxury. I hate that word is even somewhat applicable.

It certainly forced me to become self-reliant in a sink or swim fashion and that is something that I identify as a fundamental part of my personality. But still I want to acknowledge the pain that come along with this process.

In a bittersweet way, the distance does make the time that we spend even more precious. But until next time, I will go back to being the island that I am.

The Person You Are Today

I remember when I was a young teenager, when coming across someone who was in their mid/late twenties and thinking “Wow, that’s so old! I’ll never get there”. It just seemed like such a distant concept that my mind couldn’t quite comprehend how I would get there.

Today, as a 28 year old, I look back and recognise that version of myself. I am no longer that person, but that person is part of me. The person I am today encompasses every single day and every single version of myself I have been but I am more than them. And the person I am today, will be less than the person tomorrow, next week and in a year’s time.

There is no wasted time, for all that you’ve learnt, thought and gained comes from the people you have been whether that’s been the life you wanted by design or lived but desperately wanted to get out of. Those circumstances have left you with the motivations and viewpoints you have now so as with so many things in life, acceptance is the key to be able to make peace with who you have been and are. This will enable you to harness all the powers you have in your fingertips. The person you are today is magnificent and I look forward to seeing who you are tomorrow.

Getting What You Wished For

I have tried and struggled to put into words the multiple times that I have attempted to process this relationship. It’s a very new and slightly puzzling experience to try and express how I feel but never feeling like I’m doing it justice.

Throughout my life thus far, I have been learning – always learning – particularly about things I may not want in a relationship. I had resigned myself to the fact that to be in a relationship I will end up having to compromise a fair amount because where am I going to find someone particular in the same ways as me? I still pinch myself from time to time to make sure I haven’t just made him up in my mind.

It’s a weird feeling to have, he makes me so happy but the kind of happy where it’s not overly animated. In a way that you are content with life. I know this is something special.

The Root of Relationships

What is the root reason that we as a species seek romantic relationships? If familial bonds and friendships are close enough, why is it we still sought out that additional dynamic?

Maybe part of it is the level of acceptance that we seek from these relationships that we cannot gain from others. We bare our souls to reveal our weaknesses and vulnerability in the process. It’s a terrifying process with no real guarantee that you will be truly accepted, but if you hold back then you limit the gains. It’s hard to let go like that when you’ve been hurt, and we as a species can be awful to one another.

I’ve met someone who I’m still learning as a person, but we have been uncensored in the way we have shared ourselves with each other. It feels amazing to not have to restrain myself in any way and be able to speak about all thoughts. It feels even more amazing for him to say what he thinks, express what he likes and for me to naturally be able to accept it. He is an incredible human being. I didn’t really think this level of not having to compromise and admiration in a relationship could exist. Long may it continue.

Checking In

It’s been a little while since I’ve done any writing. The last month to 6 weeks have been manic – I’ve barely had time to have a thought to myself. So much for my intention of coming back into London life and making more time for myself. Sadly, I just get too caught up in wanting to do things so that everything planned just happens at once. It’s a perpetual cycle of doing too much, doing too little, doing too much, doing too little. The problem with doing too much is that I don’t get much time to self-reflect or process things as they happen. You get so caught up with trying to get things done that there is no real thinking behind it. I wonder if it’s a London thing or if it’s a me thing. I certainly didn’t have this pace in lifestyle when I was away travelling.

I am very tired. Hopefully June will be slower paced but who knows…

 

 

Breathe and Let Go

Expectation is such a double edge sword. On one hand, it helps give the motivation and confidence to fully commit to things because you expect to be able to do it. On the other hand, it does create this discord within oneself when you fail to meet your expectations. It’s so easy to fall into that rabbit hole of berating yourself and falling deeper into the vicious circle.

We all would do well to remind ourselves from time to time that we are not invincible and we are not limitless. To be able to listen to oneself and to take a more overview perspective to be able to see the upwards trend in progression is so important. Yes we should set goals and work with expectations but we are the only person we will ever get to be in this life. If you are keep knocking yourself down from not meeting expectations, to what purpose does that serve?

April’s Fool

I recently went through a wobble in relation to my work and lifestyle at the moment. Coming back from travelling into a full blown long hours London lifestyle was something I chose for several reasons:

– because I craved working in the mentally stimulating environment of the business sphere

– it was a good way for me to support myself with a decent wage whilst trying to figure out what it was I ultimately wanted

– because it was familiar

Having seen that I don’t need a lot of money to be happy, it’s felt wrong to be here since I’ve been back. I got so caught up trying to use this period as a stepping stone that I had a mini freak out at the idea that I might be settling back down. The last thing I want is to get too comfortable and then never leave. What is it with my mind and always thinking like each new development is the end all and be all?

I am slowly accepting that the person I am today is similar but not the person I was last November. I think it was just harder this time round because I had such hopes and expectations built into that version of me and the path that I would take. There’s no reason why I couldn’t go back down that path again though.

There is no rush Louisa. You can enjoy your time whilst you are here. As the tattoo on your leg reminds you, “this too shall pass” so you may as well try and be present whilst you can.

It Baffles Me

Just how the guys I date all seem to have the same recurring faults. Why is it none of you seem have any sort of emotional maturity? Or even know how to deal with emotion? And then those of you who don’t know how to communicate, who just shut off, how have you managed to get this way? I really struggle to understand.

If you think it’s easy to find just a male who can communicate competently and can express their emotions I think you’ll find you are very wrong.

I’m not sure I even know what to think anymore. I would love to find someone who can communicate, who possesses empathy and is comfortable expressing emotions. Along with all the other criteria, reliable, affectionate, intelligent, self assured, adventurous. I think I’m chasing a ghost, better off just focusing on that comfy sofa and big dog.

New Year, Old Me

Just some scattered, rambling thoughts today. I like to use writing like a silent therapist/ philosopher buddy.

How is it that we trust? It’s an interesting aspect of human connections and although it is not unique to homo sapiens, what makes it remarkable is that it is something which we can build and place in complete strangers who we have no right to meet in the natural world. Someone born in South America can very conceivably meet and become friends with someone from Europe in this day and age which suggests location is not a limiting factor.
So what is it then? Thinking through it, I distilled it into a couple of elements:

1) Meeting the expectations set. In the sense, if you have a good friend, likelihood is they are seen as reliable by you that if you were in a time of need, they can be there for you. When someone suddenly drops off with no explanation, it can bring about feelings of abandonment and neglect since we do not expect that. So long as said friend meets the expectations held for them, this helps continue the trust. Although I would argue that perhaps this is a variable factor in its importance of trust depending on the individual.

2) Your impression of that person. You think you know that person, so therefore they are a relatively known quantity and thus you can make the judgement of whether you can place trust in them or not depending on the scenario. However, and this is the bit I don’t understand, people are never a fixed quantity. We are constantly changing, adapting, learning and we continuously have to learn new things about ourselves. So how is it that we view the people in our lives as set personalities?

In response to the second point, I think partly we have to operate on this level to be able to conduct our own lives with us in the centre, we cannot try to learn and understand down to the smallest detail all the people around us. Time is limited and therefore we build “profiles” of what we know about people in order to understand where we sit (and thus what the options are) and how to move forward.

But humans are a perfect example of a paradox in so many ways. Particularly, for the purpose of this essay, in the way that we crave change but at the same time hate change and crave routine and/or stability. The modern society churns out people who are eager to go to school, go to university (optional but preferable), find a job in a career, find a partner at some point, settle down and start a family. And yet, as mentioned above people are ever-changing so how can this restrictive template fit all people? Perhaps that’s why it’s a cliche that people go through some sort of crisis anywhere between 20-60 or perhaps even later (because we all know that cliches have some element of truths). We are conditioned from such a young age that there are constants in your life – or near enough. And this helps creates feelings of being connected, purpose and security. And yet, those of us with curiosity and the courage to explore, will not be satisfied by just those. If those three aspects were the only things we ever craved then no-one would ever move away or travel.
As I write this, I realise I am wholly speaking for me and possibly other people who might think along similar lines to me. I am aware that there are masses of people who are born, grow up, live and die in the same town – knowing the same people, same routines their whole lives. Each to their own but I don’t personally understand that. Side note – how much does it count as philosophy if the conclusions you draw are very much biased to only you? Hmmm….

Another implication of the thinking you know someone (because you think of them based on your prior knowledge and experience of them), is that your library of knowledge is limited by being built from historical interactions. Since we do not spend 24 hours of everyday with anyone, not even our partners, how is it that we feel like we know someone? How much do we fill in the gaps with our imaginations? And is it even possible to know someone? (That one’s a real con in the relationship debate)

The last paragraph was driven by me having just re-watched Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (great but very sad movie) in which there is a point that is made that you can continue to learn about someone even if they have expired. Just for context. But it’s a very real question that circles in my mind. Any opinions are welcome.

I don’t really make New Years Resolutions because as a true realist, I know new habits do not take unless you build them into your routine. But for 2019 and onwards, I do aim to try and adopt the perspective that people are less of a permanent quantity. For some who may read this piece, it might sound not that big of a deal, for me as I am it is.

Happy New Year and Good Luck to all in 2019