pianoOnce in a restaurant* in Brussels my mum and I sat at a table next to an elderly couple who were celebrating their 50th anniversary. Our tables were close enough that the interaction between us happened naturally. I say naturally because my mum is incredibly interactive and communication with strangers is not uncommon for her.

By seeing that we were impressed by how long the couple were together, the man gave us a piece of advice:

“Hobbies! That’s our secret for staying together for so long. You need to have hobbies. Hobbies that you can do together and, most importantly, hobbies that you do on your own. Because when it all goes, jobs, kids, that’s what you’ll have and what will keep your minds sane.”

This kept in my mind and I believe it has directly influenced me to start a few hobbies like learning to play the piano. Sometimes it can be difficult to fit hobbies in our day to day, when we’re so busy, but it’s worth the effort (for these reasons). Who knows, when we’re celebrating our 50th anniversaries, we can then pass on the advice.

*If you like mussels and you go to Brussels, check out the restaurant Leon de Bruxelles. They are also located in London and in Paris, but if you can, go to the original.

Running out of patience

Running has been a good exercise for me not only for the physical aspect of it but for the mind. Besides being a good way to release stress, running long distances (10k, 15k, 20k) has been a great exercise for patience and determination. The former I find the most challenging.

In our day to day, we are constantly connected and being distracted. We are not used to feeling bored anymore, we change subjects, we change channels, we pick up our phones. Being on your own with your own thoughts for a long period of time, whilst struggling, can feel boring. Oh, so very boring at times! “Why am I doing this? I want to stop.” but you just keep going.

While running, you hit the famous “running walls”. For me these are around 3k, 5k and 10k. When you hit these walls, you are aware of how much more there is ahead of you. This is not an easy thought. Boredom is a big part of running but you just learn to be more patient and you keep going because you know that at the end you’ll feel awesome because you made it!

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Photo copyright: Photo by Glen Carrie (Licensed under CC0 1.0)