Some say the soul of the city’s the toll of the bells…the bells of Notre Dame!

I am compelled to make a post about the on going fire at Notre-Dame cathedral. Maybe because it is a place I have dreamed about visiting… because it’s an architectural beauty, because of the history within each brick.

I am addicted to history… addicted to cathedrals and addicted to exploring religious sites and buildings during my travels. Notre-Dame is always on my bucket list.

Today we are reminded of how long historical monuments can stand around us, to the point where we are so accustom to them just being there that we forget the chance of tragedy, forget that it could be changed or ruined at any moment. We are reminded of the fragility of time…

The cathedral has lasted through battles and world wars. It was more than just a place of worship but an icon for many from every religion, background and race.

The cathedral is a historical monument, it holds treasures and secrets beyond public knowledge. No matter the scorch marks, there is so much history within those walls.

whatever your religion maybe, you can appreciate the heart and soul that goes into the design of cathedrals, Notre-dame is a marvel in its own class.

Hopefully the building can be saved, hopefully it’s treasures were removed safely and hopefully no lives are lost battling the fire.

I encourage you to explore the wonders around you. Visit monuments, museums, cathedrals, churches and state parks. Explore everything you can while it is still around, you never know when it could disappear… or be engulfed in flames that can’t be contained.

We will hear the bells toll again from the towers of Notre-dame, it will take time, it will take patience but the story is not over.

Love is like a tree: it grows by itself, roots itself deeply in our being and continues to flourish over a heart in ruin. The inexplicable fact is that the blinder it is, the more tenacious it is. It is never stronger than when it is completely unreasonable.

A self deprecating mindset

The world around us influences our thoughts and actions… but we control how we respond.

The problems we are running into nowadays is that some of us have a self deprecating mindset. We focus on the negative and our weaknesses and insecurities.

The world of social media can poison your thoughts about the world, poison your opinions about yourself and create a feeling of not being good enough.

When you look at the notorious “Instagram influencers” most are what society would consider the “perfect body/face/skin/hair/personality”… if you follow any one of them you see the glorious life they are paid to lead where they travel the world, staying in gorgeous locations most of the time for free. It’s easy to find yourself feeling down.

On average we spend a few hours a day on social media scrolling through these images, we are basically brainwashing ourselves into comparing the lives we lead and how we look verses the influencer cookie cutter. That’s really not healthy… it makes you notice what you perceive as the “imperfections” that don’t make you good enough to “get those followers”.

The thing with social media… it’s a great platform to meet people with similar interests, share photos of your vacation/kids/family/pets/food… but it’s not supposed to be used to compare your lifestyle. It’s not a competition… you create your own image on social media and with that let me tell you… even the influencers have bad days, they get pimples (no matter what product they are advertising).

I wish we didn’t live in a world where we were so focused on comparisons, if you feel beautiful-own it, if you don’t feel beautiful… know that you are beautiful to your family and friends.

You are the only one of you in the world, you are an individual, you are beautiful and you are incredible.

When ever I have too many stressful things going on in my life I find myself falling down a hole of self deprecation… I beat myself down worse than the world around me and it takes more and more time to climb back out.

When you find yourself doing this you need to remember all the great things that people love about you, remember the great things that YOU love about you. Insecurities hold us back from living the life we want to lead… when we should be owning who we are, owning where we are, owning the moment because it’s the only life you get to live.

Stop the self deprecation, love yourself. It goes a long way to changing your world.

Live your life in wander, not worry.

Recently I have sunken into a negative, hopeless, frustrated spiral leading down… I reached the point where I was exhausted all the time, physically, mentally and emotionally… I have slept more everyday and felt less rested.

Lacking energy to do anything more than eat… and make terrible choices whilst eating. It’s a new low for me and I don’t like it. I find myself worrying about work, worrying about home (we have a dead rat somewhere in the attic and as of last night I discovered that there are at least three living rats in the attic/garage).

Every noise I hear during the night wakes me up in a panic, worrying at what point is the rat going to find it’s way into the bedroom. The pest control team came out, they basically said $100 a week to trap for $800 a year to trap and treat and prevent. But I won’t be in this house in a year. At this point… I am not sure what my options really are. As of last night I set traps by myself. I am fed up. I am tired. I am drained.

This is the point like I said where I feel like I am spiraling down.

I find myself talking about things that worry me and my worries seem to be getting larger and larger every day.

I have wonderful supportive friends and family who keep pulling me up out of the pool of worry.

I need to find my sense of wander… I need to look forward into what wanders I will find and explore.

I need to remember that the smell of a rat decomposing isn’t permanent.

Escaping the ordinary-a post about change

When we think of an ordinary life… it goes according to the routine and plans we set in place, never pushing our selves outside of our comfort zone. The ordinary life to some is a perfect routine of days coming and going with mile markers you pass, checking each item off of the list. Keeping track of your accomplishments and then one day you lay down peacefully and pass on to the next life. Well.. that’s the hope anyway.

The thing with an ordinary life… it might not be filled with extraordinary things all the time, it might not be an exciting novel of twists and turns and the adventures that are beyond your wildest dreams. There is nothing wrong with an ordinary life with extraordinary moments in every chapter. Those extraordinary moments remind us that life is worth living for every second… and every mundane ordinary day doesn’t have to repeat itself into the next, turning into a monotonous cycle.

As long as you are aware of the control you have over your life, the paths you take sometimes are not the easiest, but if you tread purposefully on your way down your chosen path, it will lead you to who you are and where you want to go.

Sometimes the path you have ignored in the past, because of how difficult it appears to be, can lead you way out of your comfort zone. Hanging from the edge of a cliff inching your way to the destination… when we have those moments where we are so scared of living and we are looking down, we forget that there is a sunrise coming up in front of us, all we need to do is look up.. hold on tight and keep inching but we need to stop looking down and stop looking back. Your comfort zone is a wonderful place in an ordinary life… but make sure you push yourself out of your comfort zone every now and then. Find those extraordinary moments to look back on and say “wow did I really do that”.

Living an extraordinary life all the time would be exhausting… but finding a balance between those safe ordinary moments and those breath taking extraordinary moments, that’s really the purpose of your life. If you find the adventure in your life the ordinary moments won’t feel mundane but safe and comforting, then you hold onto the ordinary and the extraordinary.

I recently changed work locations, far outside of my comfort zone, it has been 3 days and every day I have learnt more about myself, I have learnt more about what I look for in a work environment and I have realized that change is scary for a lot of people… not just the person finding themselves in a new location but the existing people in the area.

Change is an inevitable part of life, you can either fight it and refuse to accept it or you can learn and compromise, work as a team and develop.

Sometimes we don’t realize the ordinary life and routine we have put ourselves in until we escape it.

Going home…a two way trip

Late last week i boarded an 8 hour night flight from Orlando to Manchester… it has been 3 years since I had been back to England and a lot of things in my life have changed.

My dad met me at the airport, I haven’t seen my parents in almost 2 years. I was stressing my self out the entire flight… my excitement/anxiety levels were all over the place and I couldn’t settle down enough to sleep. So needless to say when I walked out of the airport at 8:30am… I was exhausted.

Walking into my parents house and getting a hug was like a miracle cure for any illness. The comfort that lies in a simple family embrace is incredible. Now I didn’t grow up in this part of England, I didn’t visit it when I was a child… but it still felt like home. I have spent the week with my parents for every second of the day and it has been wonderful.

I almost cried in sainsburys (a super market) because the price of the food was so cheap and the quality was great… all the food that I grew up taking for granted was sitting there waiting for me to consume. All the chocolate, the fresh pastries, the sandwiches and biscuits and crips. My mum told me she did the same thing when they first arrived back.

I have eaten every stereotypical English food you could imagine… fish and chips, kebab, pasties, sausage rolls, pork pies, a carvery, an Indian and many other random treats. My diet doesn’t count this week because I am basically eating happiness.

I have two days left here with my parents and that makes me sadder than I realized it would. I don’t know when they will be back in the US, or when I will be back in England… my dad and I had a conversation where he asked me if I would move back to England… I told him yes, but it would be an adjustment. I explained how every trip back to England tells me that I am home both here in England and back in Florida. It’s like two different versions of my life…. both places have good things and bad. I finally settled on telling him, I have two homes but don’t feel i belong in either… and that’s not a bad thing.

I cannot wait to get home to my loving partner and my adorable pup. It will be the only thing keeping me sane through the 9 hour flight back. But there are things that I learnt that I missed on this trip that I do want to try and bring into my lifestyle back in the US to maybe feel a bit more “at home”.

There are traditions and things from our childhood that we forget as we grow up… those things we look back at now and smile… those are the parts of ourselves that we need to hold on to. Because home isn’t really a physical place but a feeling inside us… a feeling of being safe and loved. Home can be more than one place. It just means home is sometimes a two way trip.

To live a selfless life…

I have been thinking about this post since a tragedy happened yesterday at Orlando International Airport and my shift following in. I interacted with many families who were stranded or held up by the repercussions of that incident. Most of whom felt the need to complain about their own loss of time and the inconvenience it caused.

For those of you who don’t know, a TSA agent jumped from a balcony high above the atrium at MCO. A terrible loss of life in a horrendous way. So many people witnessed it… of every age and background. Including some of the agents coworkers. Obviously this is traumatizing for anyone who witnessed it and that’s not OK.

There was one family I spoke with that was impacted with a delayed flight going home. The husband and I spoke briefly but he mentioned how sad he felt for the family of that agent. One person.

Suicide is considered a selfish act by many people… but what those people forget is what could be going through that Individuals mind, what put them in the position they are in where they feel that they have no way out and no one to turn to.

Suicide is a mental illness… but it gets ignored… it’s the elephant in the room that people suffer with and they are afraid to talk about. Afraid of what others will think and afraid of the judgment that follows… when you admit “I have had suicidal thoughts” people automatically think you are being over dramatic of that you are looking for attention.

So here I am today admitting that through my teenage years the thought of suicide crossed my mind. Trying to figure out who I was as a young gay man, on top of the society norms of being a teenager…was terrifying, the fear of not knowing if I would be accepted or loved… what would society think, what would my grandparents think? Would I be disowned? At one point in my life I slightly ashamed to admit, but self harm was the route I took… I am lucky to have a wonderful accepting family, but when you are 13 years old… you don’t know what to think.

I am in no way justifying self harm or suicide… I am telling you that even the people who smile the most have their secrets in their closet. I am 30 years old and am trying to adult the best way I possibly can, I am proud of myself for pushing back the thoughts of “maybe the world is better off with me not in it” and making it to the point in my life I am at. I figured out that I had people who needed me, I had a life I wanted to lead and all the bullshit I was overthinking through my teenage years was not going to be the end of my story.

The world today is so self centered, some people only think about themselves and they don’t think about the things that could have pushed someone over the edge… 13 years in hospitality has taught me that most people are about the I, We, Me… living a selfish life in their bubble…

There is something about selfless acts, when you think of others, when you open your heart and care… that makes you a better human, it makes the world a better place…. and that could bring someone down from a ledge.

If you are someone struggling with the thought of suicide… talk to someone, a loved one or a support line. Please… the world needs you here.

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org

Live a great story

I recently stumbled upon a brand on Instagram called Live a Great story and the title alone hit me…. so much that i went straight to their website www.liveagreatstory.com, made a purchase and became a little bit more inspired..Their purpose is simple “Share a positive message, spread the flame of inspiration and inspire others #liveagreatstory”. 

How awesome of a message is that??!?!? Remind yourself that every day is another page in your story and that every single moment of your life helps you move onto the next. It really made me think about how often we rush through our days wishing for the weekend, wishing for vacation, wishing for the holidays… when we are really just wishing our life away. We will get to the point where we have been rushing towards the finish line and we will realize that the finish line… isn’t something we should have been running for. Those experiences that we brushed off because we were in such a hurry or those things we were too scared to try…We are all going to reach the same end, why do we feel the need to compete with each other about who can get their first. Life is not a competition, you don’t get a medal for winning.

The best thing you can do with your life is live a great story. Every person you meet is a character in the novel that is your life. Every mile stone is a new chapter and every hurdle you have to jump, whether you fall flat on your face or successfully maneuver it adds something to the person you are. Remember that everything changes constantly but all you can do is keep pushing through.

At the end of the day, when you are old and grey, what you will look back on is those stories, those memories and the people you met. The food you have eaten and the ones you loved. Don’t you want to have some great stories to share? Don’t you want to look back and smile, cry tears of happiness and be able to relive those moments. Maybe everyday won’t be great but if you can find something great in every week, it will make you feel so much happier.

My purchase from their website was for their sticker pack… not because I am going to go around stickering this message across the world. But I want to be able to remind myself every day to live a great story. I plan on sharing the stickers with those who ask about them, or ask what it means.

If I am 100% honest, I feel like Exploring life always and living a great story really go hand in hand. If you can explore everything in life, your story will be truly inspired.