Green Monday… Ah wait, it was BLUE

Hello. It’s 15 of January, the third Monday of the year. Did you even realized that it is the famous Blue Monday – the day claimed to be the most depressing one in the whole year?

Exactly. I also wouldn’t notice if a friend hadn’t told me during a boring lecture. And it just probably popped up on her Facebook wall… Yes, if noone told us to be unhappy, maybe we would not be unhappy?

(c) Ana Estrada #AE

My day was totally fine. Good breakfast, succesfull appointment in student assistance office, a not-bad lecture, fruitfull meeting with my supervisor, watching a great movie (Like stars on Earth, I can recommend), first yoga after the holiday, hot chocolate in the evening. What could make me depressed today? Nothing which wouldn’t get my down yesterday, tomorrow or in this period of time in general.

This is probably the biggest success of my mind – finally, even having second thoughts, concerns bothering me, worries about the future, fears of unpredictable – I deal with my mind. Most of the times I can turn it off, mute it for a sec or even convince myself that it’s not a real reason to worry.

If I manage to live with everything which happens in my mind, why would anyone tell me that exactly today I should be sad and misereable? And even if it is statistically proven, why would I conform to that?

Fun fact, there is even a mathematical formula proving that the third Monday of January is the worst day ever (yes, my brain got so ‘engineerized’ that I really found it exciting).

Cliff Arnall published it in 2006. The formula uses many factors, including: weather conditions, debt level, time since Christmas, time since failing our new year’s resolutions, low motivational levels and feeling of a need to take action.

\frac{(C \times R \times ZZ)}{((Tt + D) \times St)} + (P \times Pr)>400

where Tt = travel time; D = delays; C = time spent on cultural activities; R = time spent relaxing; ZZ = time spent sleeping; St = time spent in a state of stress; P = time spent packing; Pr = time spent in preparation.

If I was to calculate that (and had any idea how to do it), I would rather rely it on: time until the next travel, amount of chocolate around, number of new episodes to watch and prices of the coctails in a bar, but maybe that’s why I am not a mathematician…

Stay happy, Monday is almost over!

Of course this formula is bulls**t. You can read about it HERE. But this shows another fun (or rather sad) fact – average person will believe it automatically cause ‘if it looks like Maths, it must be true. It’s science!’.

Christmas fairytale

Ho ho ho! Merry Christmas everyone. Have you been nice this year, kids? Let me tell you a story.

There was once an Elf. Just an usual elf, no superpowers, no Lamborghini, no criminal record.

Elf wanted to learn something new every day, experience every moment, try new things.
Elf always claimed that it’s better to do something and regret it than regret never doing it.
Elf didn’t waste his time reading or watching contents wasting his time or influencing him negatively.
Elf would do anything for friends.
Elf failed and fell apart a couple of times, but always got over it.
Elf tried to bring smile to everyone’s life, although was also sad or angry sometimes.
Elf went mad facing any kind of discrimination or stereotypes.
Elf did not believe in any particular god, but believed that nothing happens without the reason and that there is some energy around.
Elf tried to treat others as he would want to be treated himself.
Elf never wanted to hurt anyone and could say he is sorry.
Elf rarely regretted anything, usually just learned from his mistakes.
Elf really listened what people talked to him and was ready to discuss and compromise.
Elf accepted things as they were, strived for more but contented with less.
Elf was passionate, could show feelings, express emotions and be open with people.
Elf tried to mirror or the good thing which life brought him to give the positive energy to the others.
Elf surrounded himself with other positive elves.

Do you know such an Elf? You should. You should find him in yourself, at least partially. Life is easier when you follow his simple rules. And that’s what I wish you this Christmas: be an Elf.

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Keep lagom

It’s the first day of winter today. Not that it matters, but noticing such facts gives me some time structure and orientation. Maybe I just treat my life like a tv series and divide it into episodes? When I think about the past, I can clearly see them separately, and it is very often connected to the season of the year… Anyway. That’s not what I wanted to write about.

I’ve mentioned lagom a couple of times already… A very meaningful word expressing ‘not to little, not to much, just perfect’. I heard it many times in Sweden. It must be apparently some kind of ‘Swedishness coefficient’ – they all want to be so correct, levelled and… simple?

I recently borrowed this book from a friend and wanted to share the most memorable  lagom facts. It’s great that someone (Linnea Dunne to be precise) wrote the whole theory guidebook of what the Swedes have in their blood…

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Everything is automatically more appealing if I photograph it on my very-oh-so-instagrammable rug 😉

         § What is lagom about? In the most basic meaning it describes something which is ‘enough’ or ‘proper’ – good amount of milk in coffee or the perfect touch of the massagist. In the intangible meaning the meaning is more subtle – it means that the balance reached perfection, which results in many social codes. Lagom means that accepting the invitation to your friend’s summer house, you bring your own bed sheets to share the laundry responsibility. Lagom is the right to stay at home with your sick child, but not overusing this right. It’s buying a practical, sustainable car even if it does not look appealing. It’s painting just one wall in significant color and leaving the rest white, because too much of color would be overwhelming. It’s painting lips in wine red but reducing the rest of the make up. Lagom is a burger without french fries because moderateness is a virtue.

         § Did you know that – according to researchers – money does give happiness, but just up to some extent? Money contents the poor, but this effect does not occur in the rich. Lagom amount of money is sufficient. Above this level happiness depends on different factors.

         § Lagom mentality: when you already learn how to catch some distance and do not allow your thoughts for meaningless circulation, you will live more authentically and concentrated, accepting both good and bad experiences.

         § If your tasks at work are done well, it means that you devote them lagom amount of time.

         § Mindfullness meditation aims at reaching non-judgemental consciousness of the now and can help you accept things which you cannot change. 

         § In the end think, what happiness is for you. Our expectations are a heave weapon – if you look for euphoria, your life will be mainly the point of disappointment. From the lagom perspective, the life is about accepting problems, looking for solutions, but also enjoying little moments, peace and joys of everyday reality. If you learn to speak directly, but cooly, you will handle all the feelings and dramas with no problem.

From Lagom. The Swedish Art of Balanced Living. by Linnea Dunne.

Apart from purely psychological and philosophical aspects, you can find there many tips about lagom life (hobbies, sports, interest clubs), cooking, fashion and interior design – so all I love in Scandinavian production!

The book has lovely and cozy design and is perfect to read under the blanket on snowy evenings when it’s called outside… Ok, no blogger bull-sh*t 😀 Of course I was reading it in the crowded trams while commuting in the morning.

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And Hygge… I’ve read this book a year ago and I am still in love. There must be something addictive in Scandinavia!

What to LIKE about autumn

It’s 5pm. Although it’s far too early to sleep, I am lying in bed under 3 blankets, with tea which Dad generously made me, sticking the nasal spray and the pack of tissues to my hand. Yes, I caught a cold again, like the third time this season (the older I get, the worse my immunity is, honestly). Not that I got a shot for influenza barely 2 weeks before… Well, life is life.

But instead of complaining about how much I hate autumn (yes, I do), I wanted to write what do I LIKE about it. Let’s try to be positive, it’s sh**ty enough outside to make it even worse with our grey and bitter faces.

(c) Bence Fejes – Mumbai is not as cold as autumn, but surely as wet!
  • Pumpkin spice latte – there is no better flavored coffee than that. Although I am a fan of americano or flat white (depending on the time of the day), pumpkin spice is the best when it’s rainy outside and you really admire yourself that you even got out of the house.
  • The trees are pretty – or at least they were a month ago. Every day walking to and from the public transport which takes me to the city centre, I pass Sowińskiego street, which is full of lindens growing along. It looks gorgeous in every season (from fluffy snow to fresh green buds), but it’s all so yellow there in October!
  • Wooly clothes – I personally own much more pieces of clothing I can wear October to March than April to September. All the huge blanket-like scarfs, decent heavy shoes, fluffy sweaters with funny patterns… It all looks as if everyone was a pillow you can hug!
  • Leafs to kick – I just love it. Kicking the leafs can release any kind of emotions – from anger to euphoria. Unless you kick the dog’s surprise… Than it results in anger.
  • Wine – I don’t know what happened to me recently, but I don’t remember the last time I drank a beer. It’s all about wine now! And when you offer me mulled wine with orange, I am all yours. With all the Christmas markets I recently attend, I guess I should get a backpack with thermos and straw to plug it directly to my mouth. I love mulled wine.
  • Netflix – during the summer it feels pathetic to spend time in front of your laptop and ANOTHER series or a movie. In autumn? I do not feel like social outcast staying at home.
  • Last but not least: one extra hour of your life – yes, I know we lose it back in the spring, but for the time being – I love the feeling of getting one more hour to do stuff. I am so busy that my day should last at least 30 hours and I still would fill it up, but this one hour is precious.

From the top of my head

  • Great friendship is when you let your mate soak his biscuit in your tea. But the modern trust is when you share with each other the passocodes to your phones. Appreciation is expressed with ‘likes’ or even ‘reactions’ on Facebook. There are algorithms and TV shows to find you a perfect partner or even a father for your baby. Welcome to the 21st century.
  • Together with December many Xmass gifts ideas pop up on the internet. I am the faithfull fan of jumpers. Many of my uni mates wore Christmas sweaters on the 6th of December – lots of snowmans, raindeers and Santas around! My personal favorite is the jumper dedicated for two people – double space for the body, sleeves as usual (well, you lose the utility of one hand then, unless you want to scratch your friends back underneath). I also loved the one with a pocket dedicated for the bottle of wine. Really my type of thing. Or the wineglass you screw directly into the bottle? Not bad, not bad. I am easy to bestow this year.
  • I’m gonna spend this Christmas with Eiffel tower and I am really happy about it. I’ve never been to Paris, I need some time alone. I tend to overthink even when I am not alone, but I feel like some days just with myself will make some stuff more clear for me. Lots to think about. I’ve realized my life and mind are not as clear as I thought.
    I want croissants, fromage and crepes. I get pierogi and barszcz all year long (yes, it’s simplification of Christmas, but you know I am not a family person).
    Additionaly, I’m surprised myself how fast my life plan change. Two days of exchanging e-mails and I am not sure anymore where I will end up in two-three months. But the plan is great and I will publish it as soon as it is settled. It’s all about traveling, of course.
  • There are many weird things online. And when you are at the point when you think that not much can surprise you anymore, you come across a bomb. Just watch this video.

  • Sometimes you know people for years and you realize you haven’t really know them. This weekend I had a pleasure to say ‘– Wow! When the hell did you become so smart and mature?‘ and I really ment it. Great surprises which make me double think about people I have around. But the best thing you can here from me is ‘– You are a very interesting person‘. It happens sometimes. But well, I still claim that it is super easy to criticize and pour lots of sh*t on each other, while it’s rare to say or hear something really nice. That is why I break this convention.
  • On Monday 11th of December I’ve written the last exam at this university. I didn’t realized it is totally THE LAST ONE until someone made that point when we were waiting for the teacher in the hall. And this information really changed my mindset. Jesus, I am almost graduated! After all those years in school I will finally have a diploma, formal higher education and a professional title with my surname! I’m not sure yet how these three letters will change my life, but surely I will add them to the automatically added signature in my e-mails 😀
  • I encountered the theory that electronic devices work just because of the ghosts or elfs placed inside of them. If it wasn’t like that, they would not be that intelligent and would not hold magical powers, such as instant information exchange irrespectively of the distance between the aparatus. Interesting.
  • thoughts and prayers policy and change
(c) Bence Fejes

To live on your own terms vol.1

A friend of mine sent me recently an article which popped up somewhere on her Facebook wall and which corresponded to what we recently talked about – this is what we do: bombard each other with everything from anatomy handbooks to funny cats.

50 ways to live on your terms by a PhD candidate in Motivation Psychology. ‘Just 50?’ I thought. I guess I am doing pretty fine and since quite long time do not really let anyone rule me. Next I’ve seen the first point: ‘Stop depending on caffeine’ and I immediately thought that I will close the website soon and keep scrolling the pictures of my friends’ breakfasts. I CANNOT live without caffeine. And it is stated in my own terms :D. But I kept reading and it started making more and more sense.

(c) Bence Fejes

Read 1 book per week, write a journal for 5 minutes per day. As simple as that. Not that I do it – number of books I read depends on the time I spend commuting each week (and if there are places to sit in a tram and if my backpack is not too heavy to carry an additional book…), but I notice the difference. I like having some anecdotes in my sleeve! It’s always great to impress someone with your knowledge – like last week when I told my friend where the HeLa cell line with which she is working on her thesis experiment comes from.

When it comes to writing – I don’t do it every day either, but I think about it more than 5 minutes per day. Writing process means usually an hour with a keyboard once in a couple of days. But I have so many ideas every they that I often catch myself building sentences in my head.

Marry the person you love. I would rather say – marry someone who is not only love, but also the best friend for you. If you plan to spend the whole life with someone, you must be absolutely sure you will never stop to at least like each other. I wouldn’t marry a person I have been with for less than 5 years. I wouldn’t marry a person with totally different ideology, personality and views for life. A couch potato. Disco polo fan. Isn’t it at least a bit as important as love? But what do I know, my longest relationship lasted a year and I rather see myself getting a Noble prize than getting married…

Make a bucket list and actively knock items off. THIS IS SOMETHING I CAN TRULY RECOMMEND. I have a life-long bucket list, I had bucket-lists for my 3 months in India, for last 29 days in Sweden, for the next week (well, that’s more of to-do list). And maybe I am just a psycho obsessed with good organization (alles musst in Ordnung sein!), but it really keeps me motivated and fulfilled.

(c) Bence Fejes

Fast from the internet 24 hours once per week. That seems like a challenge for me, maybe I am gonna try it in some time – for now I’m far too addicted. It is really much harder to withdraw today, since we all have internet at home, school, office, tram, smart phone. But I know the feeling of relief! I still cannot make my mobile data work in roaming (any Play or iPhone users with the same problem?) so when I go abroad, connect to Wi-Fi just once or twice a day and I am SO HAPPY and free. We are seriously making ourselves crazy with the amount of information we process every day. And yes, world breaking news, uni group chat, new music releases and a professional e-mail are important to follow, but we REALLY can live without the cute pandas, videos of a pizza with a burger inside, your far friend’s grandma’s sister birthday party and next collection of galaxy yoga pants. Ok, withdraw. Give me my pandas back.

Say ‘No’ to people, obligations, requests and opportunities you’re not interested in from now on. I am so proud of myself that I’ve learnt it! I do not talk with people who make my upset, discouraged or anxious anymore. Being a poor student just about to graduate, I have recently rejected a good job offer just because it is not consistent with my life plans (I am not staying in Poland no matter what). I don’t force myself to go to the catholic church just because it befits according to family obligations (do you know how many kilometers I’ve done pushing the strollers with my little cousins around the church during all the first communions happening in my family? :D). I am not nice to anyone who treats me bad, even if I shouldn’t. If I have a choice to sleep properly or prepare something for school last-minute, I will take care of myself and go to sleep. School can wait and the world will not end. As it goes for many other things.

More is yet to come.

And what do you find crucial to your well-being?

My approach to art

I tend to say that art is one of my hobbies, but what does it really mean? I don’t know much about it. I don’t know what is the historical background, symbolics, stream or general idea. Sometimes I can meddle with something, but most of the times I am pretty laical.

(c) Bence Fejes – real artist!

I just know if I like something or not and usually can give a valid reason for my opinion, however sometimes it’s just a feeling. I can tell you that I loved the exhibition I’ve been to last weekend (COMING OUT of the best graduates of Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, I truly recommend!) – it was fresh, innovative, I’ve seen many things I’d never seen before. The approach was young and untouched, dealing with what surrounds us: the aspect of refugees was mentioned so many times, I understood the perspective of all the authors cause I can put myself in their eyes and imagine what kind of people they are. Trivial thing, but I also loved being surprised so many times – something can be a simple idea, but I was so astonished and wondered so deeply HOW someone even came up with the idea to present the idea in this particular way.

One of my best friends (and the harshest critic of the blog ^^) is already the Bachelor of Arts in field of History of Art. Going with her to the museum or traveling is a pleasure – it’s like having a guide who will tell you only the most interesting things which you will surely memorize! And I am always so impressed how broadely she percepts art – I just usually see a pure pleasure, decoration, enterteinment in it!

(c) Bence Fejes

I can believe that many artists work the best while stoned, drunk or after an orgasm. I’ve even heard that huge Polish writers – Juliusz Słowacki or Stanisław Lem – took drugs while working on their masterpiece… I am really not surprised. Personally maybe I do not do better while drunk, but for sure I am more creative and with more vision and mission to put my ideas into words.

I could not be a fulltime arist. I just tried to plan my week 3 or 4 times and that is a huge step… I usually do it much more often, obsessively stick to my calendar and to-do lists and have panick attacks if I forget about something. I am really bad at working from home, lack of ideas frustrates me to the highest extend and the perspective of being dependent on someone’s opinion makes me feel sick.

I can’t say I am not creative. I keep writing since months and I love it. I am good at photography. I pay a lot of attention to the appearance and thoughtful design and content of my Instagram and Facebook accounts. Creativity helps me a lot in the field of engineering, since I like simple solutions. And I can not imagine pondering about ‘What did the author mean? What is the inner sense?’ all the time. No, it is simple. No, I could not be an artist. Could you? Are you?