Month: June 2016

It’s A Matter of Perspective

Life is a matter of perspective. Of course, there’s more to life than perspective but how something is viewed can determine much about it.

Let’s take the Thames, for example. While running alongside it three times per week, if rain permits, I find the air coming off it energising. It beats the stuffy air of a gym any dry day, and certainly that of running along a road, where there are cars and so on. It edges out running in a park just slightly, only because I have to go quite a distance to get to the park when all I need to do is go a few yards to reach the Thames nowadays.

But let me be clear, I don’t find it appealing. Sure the buildings around it catch my eye, some of them more than others, but the water itself is rather murky. Sometimes while stretching, I stare at it and am able to see beyond its obscurity, but for the most part, it is dim water to me.

A change of perspective, however, got me seeing a much more attractive river, one where boats can sail smoothly, well on certain days, where the water can flow and shimmer, even under cloudy skies. Friday I decided to take the River Bus instead of a taxi to Embankment and walk from there to Covent Garden to meet Paul for dinner and theatre.

So glad I did. For starters the ride took my focus off the problems of the world and got me concentrating on life on and alongside the river. As much as I’ve seen The Church of St Mary, it was picture pretty from the Thames and the Albert Bridge was even more impressive than when running or walking on it.

The Thames Under Cloud
The Thames Under Cloud
The Albert Bridge Up Close
The Albert Bridge Up Close

You see it is all about perspective. Now to put perspective to the test with real life experiences! With the uncertainty of Britain since Friday’s decision to leave the EU and the upcoming presidential elections in November, I’ll have plenty of opportunities to look at life from a different perspective. I might need to stand on my head to catch a fresh glimpse of these two world events but hey, it’s a different perspective.

Disheartened: Five Tips to Emerge

1) Go for a run alone, walk, do whatever you do, just get active. That’s what I did this morning, I went running after Britain voted to leave the EU. And as my mind was thinking, trying to understand the seismic shift that was made overnight seemingly, I didn’t feel any ways tired. Quite different from what I felt sitting on my bed staring at the talking heads on the television.

An American expat, who doesn’t have an official say in elections here, I had a lot riding on the decision, like all decisions made here, and in the US, too, where I do have a say. But sometimes just getting used to the thoughts in your own head before going head on into a debate or a drawn out commiseration with others informs a healthier discussion, a healthier you.

2) Accept the change. Acceptance of a change is not the same as embracing or supporting it, it is more about coming to terms. What does it really mean? Some broadcasters referred to the decision as a divorce from Europe. Well, unless you can over turn a divorce, and you probably wouldn’t want to, best to accept it to avoid a long drawn out disaster? And figure out what it really means and how to reinvent.

Of course, on a national level the consequences of the Brexit decision will unfold, but what does it mean today? Also, on a personal level, what does it mean now? Whether jubilant or disillusioned or somewhere in between, don’t rush to judgment or operate in fear of the future. Take it one day at a time and use acceptance to steer your course.

3) Take responsibility. Responsibility comes with winning. Now what? Someone has to steer the course and let’s pray the winners have a plan and a jolly good one. But responsibility comes with losing, too. Sore losers storm off, take their ball and go home. My goodness that is the last thing we ought to do right now. Otherwise, the winners take all, not only the important decision, but heart and soul, too. But let me be clear, I support David Cameron’s decision to pass the baton, which doesn’t mean quitting if you ask me, but it means accepting reality. It’s a game, if you will, that he did not win so how can he possibly coach the next round. Surely, there is someone more suitable for that.

In the meantime, he can take responsibility for the country now and keep it stable! Who can argue with that? As for the rest of us, we could gain from getting on with business as usual, too, as best as we can.

4) That’s the next tip. Get on with business as usual. We can all do that. That’s partly why I went running. Surely, had I stayed stuck in front of the television, I’d still be there in shock. Yet, I am out and about minding my business.

In a personal kerfuffle, I remember getting on with business and a family member angrily saying how can you do that at a time like this. I remember thinking if I don’t, I’ll become stagnant, toxic and so on and more harmful than helpful to the cause we were fighting. To me, getting on with it is a bit like acceptance, not supporting or going with the crowd, but continuing to do the right thing, even under a dark cloud. Of course, watch the market (s) and so on but people stall things and people, by George, start them too.

5) And finally, about that debate, that commiseration, relate to somebody. If you are like me, you work alone. And at times such as these, working alone can be lonely. After checking out what’s on social media, phone a friend and go for a coffee. Can’t reach a friend, go for a coffee alone and make new ones. Just relate! Umm, great thought. I think it is time for a break.

What’s Right About Summertime?

Summer is here at last, whether it looks like it or not. With daylight seeping through the blinds at just after half past four these days, who can second-guess it?

Might as well embrace the early mornings and the extended evenings, even if the days do mimic Southwest Georgia in the fresh spring, rain or shine.

Ever present in the moment, I’ve learned to take summer as it is. Never mind what is wrong with it, I focus on what is right with it. Though subjective, at the top of  many lists will be holidays and the sporting events that often bring as much pain as they do gain for players and fans alike. As such, I like a good holiday now and then but don’t tend to follow too much sport. Yet there is one that lands in my top five things to do in London in the summertime.

  • Catch a pro tennis match. Not much for queuing in the sunshine or rain, I haven’t been to Wimbledon since my early expat days. Still waiting for that corporate invitation…hint, hint. In the meantime, however, I’m nearly as happy to attend the championship at Queen’s Club, also in West London. This year the world number two, Andy Murray, went away with a record breaking win—the only player to win Queen’s five times. Congrats Andy, though we didn’t have tickets for the final event. Just as well as Sunday was Father’s day and we had a family day in, but we did enjoy a day of tennis on Friday, an intimate witness of tennis on the lawn, and true British summertime fun with the good friends who invited us
  • Attend the summer exhibition at the Royal Academy. This presents an opportunity to not only see some fantastic art from emerging artists and established ones, but also a chance to snap up some of it. Life DrawingThis year, having been invited for a private viewing as a corporate guest, I jumped at the opportunity to participate in a life study class before viewing the art. Though I was born with artistic ability to draw, I haven’t nurtured it over the years and consequently am as amateurish, well, as an amateur. Never mind, it was a great to focus on the reality of the moment.
  • Walk about London without a jacket or a coat. Haven’t done that one since summer became official but a couple of weeks ago, at least two days in a row, I, alongside scores of others, sashayed about as if in the South of France. Never mind the holiday in sunny Spain, Florida and the likes, might as well catch the rays in London as and when they come. Sunglasses, sandals, sun cream. Ready!
  • Eat outdoors. Now there is a real southern experience if I have ever heard of one. Growing up in Georgia, we often had barbecues in the backyard or picnics in the park. In London with the inclement weather, eating outdoors cannot be taken for granted. Never mind that I no longer have a back garden. So when the opportunity hits, we take to the balcony or head out to a restaurant with plenty of outdoor space.
  • People watch. What makes people so special to watch during the summer? Everything, everything and everything, encompassed in the atmosphere ranging from exciting to easy going. Whether on a bus, a bicycle or in a Bentley, ladies and gents step out in their glad rags, come rain or shine, for the summer garden parties, summer events such as Ascot and Henley, or private functions including weddings.

So what else is right about summer? Do tell, right here on