Holiday? If not, learn a new skill

Why do you go on holiday? The reasons vary from individual to individual of course. Many people go away in search of better weather. It is common in the United Kingdom to go away for a spot of winter sun, when the winter is cold and the hours of daylight can give rise to seasonal affective disorder.

But it is not just winter when people escape for better weather. They do so in the summer too. Some escape to the United Kingdom in the summer for a holiday. Now this might make you feel incredulous, but not so much so after you consider that a large majority of these visitors are from even warmer climates such as the middle East, where summer Celsius temperatures can reach the mid forties in the shade, so the United Kingdom climate is cooler in comparison. You might even see some people wear tracksuits because the surroundings feel cool to them!

When you are on holiday it is a good idea to disconnect from your daily life as much as you can. After all, your daily life is probably hectic, which is why you went to have a break in the first place. But going on a break means just that. Avoid the things you do in your daily life, otherwise it will seem like you were never away mentally even though your body was in a different space. And when you return to work you will feel twice as tired, and the holiday will have been counterproductive!

And if you cannot afford the time and expense to go on a holiday, maybe doing something out of the ordinary would be good. Perhaps take up a skill like cooking, art, or playing the piano. It may provide a welcome distraction just to break the monotony of life! More importantly, it allows you to establish a level of control over your life, and would give you some sense of well-being and happiness!

Starting anew

Belated Happy New Year! This blog has been going on for some time now but this is the first post about a new year. Did you stay up on new year’s eve to ring in the changes? If you did then quite possibly your new year’s eve might have been spent playing board games in the evening with other members of your family. Maybe even the monopoly board has had a bit of an airing, instead of being holed up in the loft. If you were out and about, you might have attended a public event with singing, magic shows and other performances by well-known celebrities while every so often in between acts the compere might remind you of how many hours and minutes there would be left before the clock struck midnight. Does that all sound familiar?

One of the things that people like to do in the new year is to make new year resolutions. Has that ever happened to you before? For many of us, the new year is a chance to wipe the slate clean, to start afresh and to forget the mistakes of the past year. We all make mistakes in our lives and starting afresh is a good chance to look positively towards the future instead of being haunted or affected by the things you did wrong in the past and letting them adversely affect us.

A new year is also a good time to try something new. Learning to repair windows. Or perhaps improve your culinary skills. Take up a sport. Learn a musical instrument. There are so many things you can do, taking the opportunity of a new year to encourage yourself. Like the Piano Teachers Muswell Hill website suggests, take ten or fifteen minutes a day to pick up a new skill. You may find that after a year, this time next year, you may have acquired a better level of mastery.

Why not make THAT your resolution this year?

Various forms of fommunication

Would you prefer for yourself to be described as a hot or cold person? Most people actually prefer to be described as the former. And why is that? While neither of the two adjectives are actually favourable, some at least prefer to be described as having a certain degree of emotion than none at all.

For example, when you are described as a hot person, it suggests two things. One could be that you are actually quite attractive and that onlookers would be attracted to you. When the phrase “you’re hot” is used to describe you, it would mean that you get someone’s body temperature rising and you get their senses going. But that’s only half of the equation. Sometimes when you are described as “hot”, there could also be another connotation in that you are annoyed, angry or made – that something has got your temperature going instead. So when you hear the words “he’s hot” or “she’s hot” out of context – there is some mental working out to be done to figure out what the speaker actually means.

But what about “cold”? Coldness is usually used to signify frostiness and a lack of emotion. If someone is described as a cold person, it usually is used to mean emotions are missing or muted in that indiidual.
The English language has many of such contradictions. “Hot” either means angry (unattractive) or attractive, and while “cold” is more definitive, what about “cool”? Expressing the idea that someone is cool may suggests he is quite popular and people like him. Yet when we say someone is cool to an idea, it implies their enthusiasm has been muted. “It’s a cool idea” is a different expression from “I’m cool to the idea”!

Verbal communication can hence be skewed, which is why sometimes general, non-verbal communication is useful at times, particularly in those who suffer from autism. Music is sometimes prescribed as a form of therapy from those who suffer from it, because it allows them to express feelings that they might find difficult to articulate. But one need not worry about how long it takes to learn the instrument. Piano talent is not hereditary but developed and practised (as evidenced here) and if learnt well, can also be useful as a qualification if you take piano exams! And if you are interested in learning the piano, perhaps here are some facts about it that may interest you too!

Inventions, and music

Sometimes if you look at the things around us in our daily lives you can see how simply they are, yet how they serve a functional purpose. Life without them would have been very difficult. For example, imagine a small thin section of metal, perhaps an inch long, with a flat head and threaded sides. You have a metal screw. And who invented it? If you look around us now, at all the things we have in our daily lives that require a screw, can you imagine how life must have been like before its invention?

The ubiquitous things around us often reveal to us how simple designs can serve great functions and go on to great popularity. For example, the simple brick that is the basic building block of construction is now so widely used, that without it we might be living in an era of tin huts or mud huts!

One of the inventions we have in our lives that displays similar simplicity is barbed wire. Made in the 1800s, it was used to enclose land and still is in the present day. It merely consists of wire intertwined with each other. At its outset, the fragile wire was not perceived to be strong, but its inventor, one John Gates, put it to great use by showing how it could enclose wild animals! It made him a great fortune!

But inventions may not need to be physical things. They can be things such as music. Dizzy Gillespie pioneered a style of music called bebop – you can learn more about it from this post here – and revolutionised the music world!

The human spirit is intertwined with creativity. Keep inventing and keep trying to find new ways to do old things, or find solutions to improve efficiency. And remember you may not necessarily come up with a new physical thing, even a new process can actually become a new invention as well!

Single Parenting and Music

Western societies are generally accepted to be more liberal than others and more accepting and tolerant of what other societies might consider to be taboo. One such arrangement is single parent families. In certain countries single parent families are increasingly commonplace, as breakdowns in relationships are often routinely referred to divorce courts. In some places, particularly with strong religious links, divorce is taboo, so single parent families are less common. We may accept that these will increasingly become routine as work and family pressures increase and adults increasingly find it difficult to keep the family together. But single parenting may only alleviate the burdens of family may muting the disagreements between couples, and replacing them with other pressures passed on to the children.

In Japan single parent families are frowned upon culturally, and one such parent was concerned about the impact the lack of a father figure was taking on her daughter. Her daughter was emotionally withdrawn, and in the company of her peers she did not fully participate, and was at times unknowingly or knowingly made fun of because there was no father at home. Her mother took the unusual step of hiring an actor to play the role of her father – the actor pretended to want to make an attempt at reconciliation and after gaining the trust of the daughter, continues to do so. But are there any other problems with doing this? Certainly so. The actor wondered if he was doing more harm by deceiving the girl, and wondered what her life would be like when she had children – would they call him, the actor, grandpa? Would they only be building a house of cards?

Single parents sometimes struggle to occupy their children – unlike dual parent households, there is only one parent to go around! But it would be worthwhile to engage children in activities that would benefit him, such as sport and music. In fact, learning to play an instrument like the piano develops patience, willingness to persist and try, teaches life skills such as scheduling and revision. Like the Piano Teacher N8 website suggests, it would be a good thing that children can teach themselves on their own to do; the piano is also quite instantly gratifying, unlike another instrument like the violin which can take years just to get a nice sound out of it. So if you are a single parent, it would be a good idea to involve your child in music – at least something to occupy them!