Wow. Things I love. This isn’t as easy as I thought it would be. Things that make me happy, things that I like, I could type with my eyes closed. I know there are lots of different types of love, but still, I think using the word is a serious business sometimes. I’m going to be writing about stuff I really love, those things that make me feel whole somehow, or pull at me somewhere inside. Here goes.
Family. This is an obvious one. As I grow older, I begin to realise what a wonderful family I’m part of. Families come in all different shapes and sizes. Some work and some don’t. My family has helped me grow and learn and have always supported me no matter what. They have taught me to expect the best from myself, and it’s because of them that I expect the same from those around me. I love them more than I can say and, though I may complain, I’m eternally grateful that I’m allowed to be a part of this close, loving and very special group.
Hugs. I am a very affectionate person. I always respond to people by giving them a hug, or putting my arm around them, or some gesture of affection when I think it’s needed. It’s how I was brought up. In my house, hugs were always plentiful. I wish it were the same for everyone. A hug is everything you need to say without a single word. It can congratulate, encourage, sympathise, cheer up, heal... Holding on to someone you love can change their world. I get quite uncomfortable when I find out someone doesn’t like physical contact (what do I do? I always touch people on the arm when I talk to them... what if they burst into flame?), but mostly I pity them, because they're missing out on a very special part of life.
Music. It can bring back so many memories and have so many different meanings and associations for different people. Sharing music with someone is like saying “Do you know what I mean?” And when they like it, or it means something to them, it’s like “I understand.” I love music and am always out to find something new or different, so when I share it with people it’s usually because I trust them and want them to know me better.
Books. Books are, like music, a way of realising that someone, somewhere, has gone through the same things as you. Sometimes, reading a book, I’ll realise that I’m not the only one with this opinion, that passion, this concern, that fear. It makes me feel like it’s OK to be who I am and I’m not alone in the world. Moreover, books can take you out of yourself for a little while. They can give you something extra to experience until you’re ready to deal with what’s going on in real life. They too are a bridge to friendship. When you press a book into someone’s hands, you are telling them everything and nothing. Everyone has a different glimpse of the world inside a book, but at the same time all of its readers are connected by the experience.
Knowing people. I love to get to know people. Not just because I’m nosy, though that is part of it. I love to know the ins and outs of everyone’s personality, and it’s a great feeling when that’s reciprocated and someone understands mine. I don’t have a huge group of friends, but the ones I have I get very close to. I love for them to share things with me so I know just how the world makes them feel, and what to do to make them happy.
Education. Not the education system. Don’t get me started on the education system. But I live to learn. I can’t wait to gather all that undiscovered knowledge. I love understanding how things work, what happened in the past, why it happened, how it’s shaping the future... I adore history probably most of all. And then there are languages, learning to make beautiful stories not just in my mother tongue. I don’t think I’ll stop drinking in information until the day I die. I’ve asked questions since I could talk, and I’m blessed that those around me have either known the answers, or gone to the trouble of finding them out.
Faith. My religious denomination is nothing to do with anything, but I think faith is ever so important. Believing in things, no matter what they are, is the best way to make sense of it all. We all find ourselves wondering what the “point” is sometimes, and I think the only way we can get through some things is to realise that there is more to life than what’s on the surface. Having faith in oneself and other people, other things, whether real or questioned, is important to me because it either helps us find the answers or encourages us to look for them.
Effort. I’m the sort of person who puts my all into everything. It’s what I love about myself and I never feel happier than when I see the same in others. You can tell by the face of a student, a doctor or nurse, and artist—anyone who ever did anything—whether they care passionately about what they do, about being the best. It’s not about beating everyone else; it’s about creating something you’re proud of. When I’ve done that, I feel like I’ve shown everyone what being me really is.
Cooking. We all know I enjoy food, perhaps more than I should, but it’s cooking I have a real and proper love for. I’m always making something for my parents, brothers or friends. I know I complain, but I love having three big boys at home to feed when they’re there. Not to sound sexist, but I think it’s kind of a female instinct to want those people you care about to be well fed and looked after. Imagine back when we were cave men and women. I am not tough. I’d be rubbish at fending off wild animals, or protecting my family from danger. But I would be able to cook for them. It’s something I can give.
Myself and my friends. That’s right, everyone, I love myself. Don’t think badly of me for saying it. It wasn’t always the case, but now I’ve come to realise that it’s important to love yourself and that everyone deserves to feel that way. Who helped me to get here? My friends. I’ve had good ones and not so good ones, but right now my friends are pretty wonderful. They don't hesitate to tell me that they’re proud of me or that they love me. I’m always astonished at the efforts they’ll go to just to make me smile. They’ve helped me to love myself and of course I love each and every one of them, too. Thank you all.