Polish Girl Independence

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This month there was 100th Independence anniversary of Poland and such a celebration  made me wonder what it means to me? Poland disappeared from the world map for 123 years. Only after the First World War it gained its independence back. How about its people? How about me? What does it mean to be independent?

For me independence, and in the same freedom, is the ability to make my own decisions, deal with its consequences, and most importantly – not to be judged as well as lead the life I want to live. When I have a good look at Polish history, my analysis brings me to a conclusion that during the communist times I would never be able to buy my own flat and live on my own! I would need to get married to leave my parens home. It wouldn’t mean to live only with the husband and starting a new family with him, probably I would need to move from my parents’ to my husband‘s family as during these times it was not at all easy to get your own apartment. You had to sign up a wating list and wait a few long years to be assigned one. Of course it was not even certain you would! I remember in the flat of 54 m², where I spent my childhood, were living three generations: my grandparents, my parents, me and my brother. Three rooms – three separate ones – each for one of the generations. Nowadays, when I compare the conditions I spent my childhood in with the ones I live now, it shows me how my perception of having my own space changed. I live in a flat of 48 m² and cannot imagine having a kid there. However I remember spending my childhood and sharing a room with my brother of 9 m². We managed, there was no other way. I remember I envied my friends who, when living with their parents and their siblings, still had their own room. For me that meant they had their own space and were allowed some privacy. I can’t say I had such an opportunity. That is probably why now I need a lot of my own space and privacy. In my opinion everybody needs it. We need to have our own corner where we are able to calm ourselves down and know that is the only place no one else has access to without our permission.

From one hand independence and freedom for me is to have my own physical space in life. On the other hand it is also making my own decisions without being judged. I tend to claim that the only person, at the end of each day, that is allowed do judge me in any way – is myself.

I also think that I happen to live in the most incredible times! Yes!!! Amazing ones 🙂 I can travel as much as I can, and where I want, as long my budget allows me to do so. I think money is just money, these can always be earned. The most important is that I can choose whatever destination, then take a flight and just go! 🙂 Isn’t that lovely? Within a few hours I can be on the other side of the globe! I wouldn’t be able to do so, in such an easy way, during the communist times. Luckily I was only seven when capitalism arrived to Poland and I don’t really remember a lot from communism. I think with my free spirit and eager to travel, meeting international people, visiting as many places as possible, I would feel a prisoner in Poland about 40 years ago. I am incredibly happy living in a free country now that allows me to buy my own flat, to make my own decisions, keep the passport at home and use it whenever I want it, to host foreigners, to observe how the city I was born in and live is changing and how colourful blocks of flats are becoming as well as notice how many tourists are coming to visit Poland. I am amazed how much Warsaw, the capital, grately changed during only 28 years of capitalism. Looks like freedom also means development.

Independence is something you cannot buy in my opinion. It is something you need to fight for, like I was fighting to buy my own flat that brought a lot of autonomy into my life. Nobody controls who I am inviting into it and in the same into my life. If I was still living with my parents, they would see who I am meeting and most probable they would make their own observations and comments about my friends I would not really want to listen to. I do not like being controlled by anyone or judged, even if these people are parents who do not wish me bad. As a grown-up I know, and I am aware, that the only person responsible for my life is myself. I stick to my beliefs, try to make reasonable decisions, and if some occur to be wrong I deal with the consequences, so I only try to make these that don’t hurt. 😉 Apart from living on my own, making my own decisions and sharing my positive emotions with others, taking responsibility for myself is the biggest independence and freedom I have ever achieved in my life. Even though capitalism may not be one the best systems, it gave me the possibility to have at least a bit of autonomy in this crazy, egoistic and commercialized world. 🙂

Guilty Laziness

Today I came into thinking why do I, and probably most of the people, while resting and doing nothing, feel guilty about it. I woke up in the morning, around 9 am, as it was a Sunday and I did not need to rush anywhere, had some breakfast, some morning coffee, watched a bit of TV, and by 11 am I decided to lay down again and have some rest. A few hours later I found myself lying on my bed, hugging a teddy bear, [I know I’m 35 and still hugging a teddy bear ;)] and almost falling asleep again. I did not allow myself to do so, as I kept having this thought on my mind that I’m not being productive. It did not matter it was a lazy Sunday morning, and I did not have to rush anywhere, I was being unproductive!

Then the question came to my mind – why the hell do I feel guilty? It’s my day off, I don’t have any kids to take care of, moreover it’s a national holiday in Poland, so all of the shops and shopping malls are closed. Not that my way of spending Sunday morning is shopping, it just came into my mind as an excuse and explanation to allow myself a bit of laziness. Why don’t I allow myself just to lay down for a couple of hours on a Sunday? Do I always need to be productive? Do I always need to do something to feel useful for the society? Isn’t it good sometimes just to do nothing even if it takes the whole morning? Where does it come from that we quite often feel guilty when we allow ourselves to take things slow, even very slow? 🙂 Probably these who are mothers would envy me having such an opportunity to do nothing for a few hours, yet even by being a bit privileged I felt guilty. On the other hand I don’t feel that guilty when I’m lying down on the couch watching TV, but lying down on my bed and being with myself in silence made me feel acting lazy. The weather also wasn’t helping, because it was grey outside. And after a few hours of doing nothing I decided to put my clothes on and go out jogging. It made me feel at least a bit productive for the day 🙂

However it still makes me wonder why, even if I allow myself such a Sunday once in a few months for this kind of laziness, it still makes me feel remorseful. Why do I always demand from myself to be so responsible and reasonable and not to waste time? Isn’t spending time in silence, just with yourself and your own thoughts, also a productive time? May you then find out many things about yourself as well as develop emotionally? I decided that I will allow myself  to be lazy on Sunday mornings more often 🙂 It is really not a bad thing, especially if you don’t have a day fully planned and booked with tasks. That is usually how my working week looks. Isn’t it that we kind of feel obliged by the society to be always in shape with many tasks on our hands, just to feel useful? And it feels soooo good to lay down, from time to time, and just do nothing! 😀

When Enough is Really Enough?

I was wondering lately what does it mean to have enough. When enough is really enough? And what does it mean to have enough in life?
I started analyzing it was after hearing in a radio a commercial created for one of a discount shop in Poland. The guys there were singing about buying more and again buying more. It made me then wonder when it will be enough? Not only for them, but mostly for myself. What enough means for each of us? What is enough for me? Do I still want more? Do I really need more? Or do I have enough?
In my case enough was buying my own flat, even though I am still paying the mortgage for it. I can’t say I need a bigger one or I would like to buy a house – that would mean not having enough and still wanting more. Do I want more? No I don’t. So I think I have fulfilled my need of having enough. 🙂 By realizing this fact I am now able to enjoy my “enough” fulfilled dream 🙂
However what is enough for others? Have they reached their enough level? Will they ever have enough? Will they always want more or will they get into the point when they will finally have enough? Will they even enjoy their enough? Or are we, as human beings, will always be wanting more and will never have enough? Is this happening because of the society always requiring from us to have and want more? Do we feel better by buying more and more things we usually don’t need that much, but the commercials we see around and on every corners are so convincing, that we believe we don’t have enough and shall want more?
For me enough is to have a nice and warm flat; to fulfill my basic needs as having something to eat and a central heating for the winter; to afford incredible and adventurous travels; read an interesting and educating books; go to the cinema or theatre once in a while; meet and talk to interesting people over a glass of wine or a beer from time to time and exchange our points of view about life; host some foreigners and learn from them their way of life; and the most important – to feel free. Kind of basic needs I would say 🙂
Summing up I need to admit I have reached my enough level. It makes me feel happy in my life 🙂 How about you? Have you reached your enough level? Or are you still searching to get an answer of what enough means in your life?

Travelling Perception

I have been thinking lately how my way of travelling changed during the past few years. I am not counting the time when I was 19 and left Poland for 3 years to live in France, but the time when I came back, started my professional career at the age of 22 and started travelling. At the beginning it was just for holiday once a year, later on a few times per year. I remember my first holiday – it was Rodos, a Greek island. And an organized trip :/ Crap, did I really do that?! Did I really buy an organized trip by a travel agency? Was I that lazy? Yeah, I did it :/ I do not blame myself for that, it was just easy. I was young, did not have much experience in travelling, not mentioning traveling on my own, and wanted to go abroad. But ss they say – there always has to be the first time for everything. It came, a bit later on when I made some observations about traveling and decided how I really want to travel.

Travelling with an agency is simple – they organize everything for you and you do not need to worry about anything. My opinion now is that even though it is that simple, you might miss a lot. First of all – if you buy an all-inclusive trip you will not eat outside and taste local cuisine as you are provided with the food in the hotels’ restaurants, so what is the point of spending more money to try local cuisine? You have already paid quite a lot for you trip, haven’t you? Second of all – you will probably not move from the hotel. And again – you have paid already for accommodation, so what is the point of going to and exploring another place as you already have what you need. Third of all – you are so lazy to make an effort to organize a trip on your own that you make it the easiest way possible and just stay in one place the whole holiday. My question is – so what is the point of traveling if you want to stay only in one place, eat and drink just because you paid for it? You can eat and drink at home too, can’t you? 😉 These are the observations based mostly on myself. I used to travel like that a bit, luckily only a few times. It happened I went to all-inclusive trip 3 times in my life. I visited already 20 counties so far and some of them more than once. That means most of my trips were prepared by myself and for myself 🙂 In Greece I was 8 times already and I know it is not the end 🙂 So in general out of around 50 times I flew abroad, only 3 were all-inclusive. However my way of travelling changed so much over these past few years.

These all-inclusive trips are not such a bad idea if you know how to make most of them. However in my opinion these are usually used to go abroad, especially to a warm country, stay in a hotel for a week, get drunk every night, eat a few times a day, go to a beach, and have fun. And there is nothing wrong with that. Just it is not my style of travelling at all! I want to explore the place I am in, meet new people, either locals of foreigners; try local food; get on a local bus and admire the views; organize everything on my own – book the hotel I want to stay in, Airbnb or a much better option – Couchsurfing; eat in local restaurants, see how local people live and work there. Yet that way of traveling took a bit of time for me to learn. Now I mostly travel on my own. To be free. To feel free. To get the emotions travels give me – like getting lost and finding the way out, or making my brain work quickly in finding a solution no matter what might happen. And adventures always happen when you travel 🙂 People I meet on my way are always helpful and amazing. Those I met through Couchsurfing will stay in my heart forever as they teach me and show me that all of us, around the world are good, warm, and open-hearted 🙂 If I was only traveling through all-inclusive trips I would never experience such incredible places and meet such great people. It required a bit of courage for a lonely, young girl to pack one day and say to herself – ok, I am doing it on my own, I do not need a companion, we will see what world has for me to offer and hell yeah, I am going on my solo trip! 🙂 I do not even member now what country I chose for my first lonely trip, yet I gave myself a chance to do so and knew I could make it on my own. No regrets at all! The best decision I ever made! Now, when I want to travel I just buy a fight ticket, make a plan for my trip and off I go. I do not search for people to keep me company, the best company I am already in , and that is myself 🙂

I do remember, at the beginning, that I felt a bit ashamed to sit in a restaurant and have dinner on my own. As if I needed company, either male or female, does not matter who, but there had to be someone with me. As if I was not allowing myself to have a meal on my own, as if I would be judged by the society that I am a single girl nobody wanted to go on holiday with. So, I felt, there had to be something wrong with me, right? Now I know the only thing that was wrong, was my way of thinking. Everything is totally ok with me. I have right to sit in a restaurant and eat on my own. I have right to travel on my own. I have right to see all of the places I want to see on my own. I have right to be on my own! 🙂 I do not need others to make me feel good, because my mood depends only on myself. If I do not feel good with myself, no one will make me feel better, not even a traveling companion. Another thing I have learnt – how I manage my emotions is the key to my happiness. The truth is I never feel lonely while travelling – there is always nature right next to me, there are always amazing views surrounding me, there are always people around even though they are strangers, there are always thing happening 🙂 And I love walking around in a foreign country, admiring life happening there, enjoying every single moment, tasting coffee and food, seeing how people rush to work or relax by the beach. I think life is amazing, and the only thing you need to do is wanting to see it that way. Not being afraid of being on your own with your own thoughts is another succesful key if you want to travel alone 🙂 I stick to that. No more all-inclusive trips in such case 🙂 Just experiencing beautiful life happening around every single day!