The Walk

Old age

“Old age: the crown of life, our play’s last act.”
~ Marcus Tullius Cicero

I had a lovely vacation this summer. I went to Slovenia and Croatia. I’ve visited some beautiful places and saw some impressive sceneries. When on the last day I sat on a bench in a nice park in Zagreb, thinking how grateful I am to have the chance to make this journey, I saw two women walking by. One pushing a wheelchair and one leaning on a cane. I guess the wheelchair is meant for the lady with the cane. My educated guess is that they’re in their late 70s maybe even early 80s. I couldn’t help but to follow them with my eyes.

The women walked slowly. My impression was that the lady with the cane couldn’t walk too fast and gets tired easily. They set a few steps and then they will stop to rest for a minute or two. The lady pushing the wheelchair awaits patiently for the lady with the cane to take lead and carry on. I couldn’t make out their relationship. They might be sisters or just good friends. Best friends even, I guess. They’ve definitely known each other for a long time. It’s like they are willing to stand by each other no matter what.

When I look at them, I couldn’t help but to think how their life must have been. Are they married, do they have kids, what have they endured? Are they happy? Do they have regrets? What are their biggest achievements. Are they grateful? Do they visit church every now and then or did they gave up hope and belief a long time ago?

All sort of questions crossed my mind. I would’ve loved to have a chat with them. To hear their stories. To get to know the things that they have experienced. To listen to their achievements and share their regrets, if they have any. I always think of people of old age as one big treasure chest, full of inspiration.

When I was sitting there, watching the treasure chests, my mind started to wander off. Slowly, just like the lady with the cane and it stops for a pause, too, at my past. I’ve learned to let that go a long time ago. But sometimes it still hits me. Don’t want to waste too much time in the past, I urged my mind to carry on and it wandered to my future. What will my future look like? That’s the most mysterious question no one can ever answer. My mind started to come back to me and it accompanied me again at watching the old ladies. And then it told me: make sure you don’t have regrets when you’re at that age. Live today and enjoy life! Whether it’s good or bad. Accept the things that cross your road. Be grateful for the things that you have. And keep on learning. Keep inspiring people and be inspired by life. The past gave you a present to build the future. So, live the present!

Life’s a funny thing. We’re not guaranteed a tomorrow. So, we must get the most out of it today. And if we are lucky to live till the age of the ladies in my photo we have to make sure that every day counts and that we don’t have regrets on the last day of our lives.

The women went on their way. So did I. As our ways separated I turned back a few times to watch them. They became smaller each time I turned around until eventually they’ve disappeared into the distance. This was the best scenery I’ve seen this vacation. I wish them both the best last act of their play.

Be your own Supergirl

“In order to live, we have to keep daring.”
~Cat Grant from Supergirl

My daughter and I started to binge watch Supergirl on Netflix lately. I am so glad that we’ve finally reached the point that we can watch same level tv programmes together. No more Dora the Explorer or Powerpuff girls anymore! Still have to deal with some teenage TV programs though, but I consider it an upgrade.

Something has kept me from watching Supergirl for a long time. There are three seasons streaming on Netflix, but I never felt the need to watch it until my daughter started it. I guess it’s because I was quite disappointed in The Flash and Green Arrow. Not to mention Legends of Tomorrow.

I love superhero movies and TV programs. Even if they seem exaggerated sometimes. But hey, they are superheroes. Everything is exceptional! But to me, the storylines of The Flash and Green Arrow are stuck in a rut after several seasons.

After three seasons, Barry Allen a.k.a Flash still keeps whining “I can’t do this” whenever he’s facing a strong villain. Seriously, I lost count on how many times he’s used that phrase. It just seems he doesn’t learn from his earlier mistakes.

And Oliver Stone still can’t get over his past after five seasons! Boring.

Men! They only cause drama. Hell! Grow up fellas! You need to improve yourselves!

Supergirl is different. And not just because of the female leads. (Hell, yeah! It’s about the female leads!) The story is actually very well written. Kara Danvers becomes Supergirl and she turns into a superhero in no time. She has her flaws, of course, but she learns from her mistakes. She’s open about what’s eating her up and finds a way to solve the problem.

The subtexts of many dialogues hit me straight to the heart too. Especially the advices from the witty Cat Grant to Supergirl / Kara Danvers. Her advices are actually very inspirational. Cat Grant is absolutely my favourite in this show! And the humor in this series, just…extraordinary!

That’s how stories should be told! That’s how a good show should be. This series is not just about entertainment. It also moves the audience. Taking them on the Hero’s Journey and let them feel the hero.

The message of Supergirl is clear; never lose hope and stand up and fight! If you believe in something, fight for it and hope for the best! Don’t just sit and think about your limits. Think about your possibilities! Supergirl does it all. She stands up and fight for her city. If she faces a setback, she doesn’t go back to the headquarters and whine. She’s pragmatic. She focuses on the possibilities and finds ways to solve the problem.

I think we should all learn from her. Sometimes when we have to face difficult things, it’s easy to pull back and hide. But it doesn’t solve the problem. You need to dare and face the problem. And find a way to solve it.

I believe we can all do that. We just need to show some courage and be our own Supergirl.

See! I told you! Inspirational!

Oh, and did I mention that Cat Grant is my favourite?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is death without life

“Nothing is a matter of life and death except life and death.”
~ Angela Carter

Last week I attended the funeral of my cousin’s wife. Her death was totally unexpected to me. She was a brisk woman and always active. Although she was much older than I am (my mother took a gamble for a daughter after three sons and the result is an age gap of 18 years between me and my eldest brother) and we don’t see each other very often, but there was always some sort of connection between us. After all we are family.

Death is something that we don’t talk about much. People from my culture are superstitious. It’s bad luck even by mentioning it. But just because we don’t talk about it, doesn’t mean it won’t affect us. Even though my cousin’s wife was in her seventies she was still a very active woman with a lot of friends and busy social life. But one day she was hit by a cyclist and fell on her head. The accident didn’t take her life immediately. She suffered nine months before she past away.

One accident can change your life and the lives of your loved ones drastically. Life and death lie closer to each other than we think. So, live your life to the full. Stay positive even if life is hard at some times. Be grateful with everyone and everything in you life. Love your family, friends and even your enemies. For a feud has no meaning when life comes to an end. Right or wrong, love or hate, rich or poor, all of it doesn’t matter when your time has come.

Do the things you want to do. Don’t wait and think that you have plenty of time. Say “I love you” to your loved ones as often as you can. You can never show too much love, but you will regret it at the end when you’ve shown too little. Choose wisely when life hits you hard at some point. Remember that nothing is a matter of life and death except life and death. Make every minute of your life count, so you can leave without regrets when the end is near.

Carpe diem!

My heart goes out to my cousin and his family. I wish them lots of love and strength for the hard times they have to go through right now.

Live or survive

“If there’s no struggle, there is no progress.”
~ Frederick Douglass

It’s been a few months now that I’ve been jobless. Last October my boss gave me the news that my services weren’t needed anymore after 1st January. At first I was very surprised. The news hit me like a thunderclap because I didn’t see that coming at all. After the feeling of surprise was gone, the feeling of fear showed up. Finding a new job is just a hard thing to do nowadays. There are so many people looking for work, the competition is huge. But I do also realise that I can not give in to fear. All the fear I have is just about money. No income means trouble. Especially if I still need to pay off some debts. But I can not let that fear control my life. And to be honest, I didn’t really mind that I lost my job. Long before my boss announced the termination of my contract I have already thought about quitting. But I didn’t quit because of…money.

As of today I still haven’t found a new job yet. At least, not one in which I get paid. In the past few months I’ve been struggling with the well-known problem; lack of income! But not just that. I also struggled to be myself. The constant fight between my heart and my mind makes me crazy sometimes. I know I have to find a paid job to survive life. But stubborn as I am, I don’t want to give in to my ego. My heart tells me that I won’t be happy if I have to go to a boss on daily basis doing the things I don’t really like to do. And that is true. It would kill me slowly. But I need to survive! I just don’t want income coming from a daily job behind a desk at a boss’ office. I wan’t to be my own boss. Doing the things I love to do. And there comes struggle number three! I have quite a few things that I love to do and that I want to use to earn my money with.

I love to write, to construct stories all day long. I love photography. I want to take photos all day long if possible. Filmmaking, another thing that I would love to do on a regular basis.  And last but not least, making my own graphic designs, I just don’t do it, because I don’t know what use they have. I love to do all these things and I can use them to earn money. But somehow i just don’t know where to start or how to start.

Something is holding me back. But what exactly is it? If I dig deep, the answer takes me back to where I started; fear and ego. Although I have practised these skills for many years, I’ve never done that on a professional level. My biggest problem: lack of confidence. Ego 1 – 0 Jessica. The chance to earn an income with these skills and establishing a career from this point just seems impossible to my ego. It keeps telling me that I need money and I need it fast. To be honest, worrying about money and struggling to get bills paid do really keep me awake at nights. The best way to solve this problem: find a job, any job. Just not the one I want.

Is it the right reason to give in? Am I too stubborn? Maybe. But it just don’t feel right to do things against my will just because I need money. I’ve done that for the past twenty years. There has to be other ways! I just refuse to give in to fear. So, as stubborn as I am, I will keep finding a way to earn my living by doing things that I love. And I found one that might just work.

I started a webshop selling t-shirts with prints that I design. My photos, my designs! Two things that I love to do. it gives me an opportunity to show my work to the world. It might work, it might not. But I won’t allow my ego to win. I will try with all my heart to find a way that works for me to earn my living doing things that I love to do!

If it succeeds, and I do believe it will, then after all those struggles, progress will definitely show! And I don’t have to work anymore. Because I will be doing things that I love to do.

Please check out my first step of combining two things I love do: DL3 store.

Do what you love

“Don’t aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally.”
~ David Frost

Have you ever felt like you don’t know what you’re doing? As if you are lost on the road of life? No? Great! You’re happy with who you are and what you’re doing. Be grateful and enjoy every moment.

For those of you out there who do struggle with your jobs sometimes; I know how it feels. Sometimes you just got the feeling that you’re doing it merely to survive rather than enjoying it. You want to change that, but you’re too afraid to change the steady life that you’re living. Because every change will cause insecurity and you don’t know what it’ll bring. It’s okay. I get it. It is scary. But do keep in mind that it’ll always stay the same way. If you don’t change it, it won’t change itself.

But why giving up something that is safe and start doing something that we can’t predict the outcome of…

Let me tell you why: because you won’t be happy if you keep doing something that you don’t really enjoy. Imagine something that you hate to do and you have to do it the rest of your life. For instance, I really don’t like vacuuming at all, but I have to do it, otherwise I get a dirty house. I can make myself comfortable by listening to music while I vacuum and that’s okay. I can survive it once in a while. Even when I have to do it twice a week, it’s still be fine. But now let’s assume that vacuuming is my job, I have to do it day in, day out…. It’ll drive me crazy in no time. If that is what you feel about your job, then it’s time to change! Because if you don’t it’s not only affecting you but at some point it will also affect your surroundings; your family and friends. People you care about. So, step over your fear and start doing the thing that you love. So you can be really happy.

One of the reasons that we’re not eager to change what we’re doing, is the fear that it will be not successful. We tend to think about the outcome instead of the process. That’s because we live in a material world. Bills need to be paid, mouths need to be fed. But when we think that way, success will not come. We all know some stories about successful people. If you compare those stories they will have one thing in common: they didn’t think about the outcome when they started to do the thing that made them successful. They just did it because they believe in it. Sometimes we need to be bold and just start. Deep down in your heart you know what you have to do. But instead of listening to our heart we let our minds overrule.

Now, you don’t have to quite your job or change your life drastically in order to do the thing that you love. But you have to at least make a start and do it. Make time for it and pay attention to it. If you want to be a painter, start to paint! Do it in the mornings, the evenings or at night! But just start picking up a brush and dip it in the paint and make something cool! If you want to be a writer, all you have to do is pick up a pen and a notebook and start doing it. Jot down your thought, your ideas, start a blog, share your stories. If you believe in it and you believe in yourself, you will make it successful!

Believe in yourself, believe in the thing that you love to do. Pay attention to it and let it grow. Baby steps at a time, but give it a chance to let it grow!

 

I finally did it!

“It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.”
~ Tony Robbins

111.

11 January.

Today I’ve finally uploaded my first vlog on Youtube! I didn’t pick the date on purpose. It just happened to be this day. I already had a story and shot the footages in early December. But destiny seems to want me to have everything ready by this day. So, I can launch my vlog on a memorable date.

This is my journey to fulfilling my dreams! In September I posted a blog about what I wanted to do the most. I’ve told everyone I love to be a screenwriter and that I wanted to start a vlog on Youtube. In the mean time I have made a lot of new writers friends and even joined a film team to assist their script team. And with my first vlog online I’ve gained another mini win. I very much enjoy creating the contents and I intend to make more of them.

I’d like to create different contents about diverse subject matters and I would love to hear from you what you think of it. I love to capture every day moments of life. Moments that happen, because they happen. I urge myself to enjoy the little things that cross my roads, things that we see but might not notice. But if we pay a little more attention to it, it might make us very happy.

To me, life is about following your heart and do the things you want to do. Although it might be a bit scary, but when you dare to loose your footing for a short moment you can gain so much satisfaction when you found your balance again.

Live your life with joy and remember your dreams.

Dare to laugh even when the road of life is a bit rough.

Do the things you love the most and do it with all heart.

I invite you to come along with me on my new journey. It’ll be a very exciting one!

 

Enjoying the journey

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.
~ Lao Tzu

It’s been more than a month since I’ve attended the London Screenwriter’s Festival. Time really does go by too fast.

I have enjoyed every bit of this wonderful event! Starting from the opening speech till the last drinks with fellow writers at the Globe, a lovely pub. I’ve met a lot of new friends, fellow voyagers on the writer’s journey. I learned a lot from well-known speakers; heroes of every screenwriter. Above all, it provided me exactly what I was looking for: acknowledgment. Fellow writers who treat me as writer too.

A few years back when I finally had the courage to take a step onto the writer’s journey, I was pumped with energy. It felt good! It still feels good. Like I’ve finally found the right path. I started with a blank screen and now I can call myself the writer of a feature screenplay and several short scripts.

But as the journey advances I started to feel lonely too due to the lack of fellow travellers who understand what I’m doing and what I stand for. I have no one in my surroundings with whom I can share my struggles and discuss about writing. It’s like being lost in the ocean holding just a raft. While I was trying to keep my head above water, I started to lose my motivation. Slowly procrastination became a habit.

Fortunately, somewhere in the ocean there is an island called LSF. And I started to swim to it. When I’ve reached it, I found out that it is a very big island. I felt a bit tense stepping onto this island for the first time. But tense faded away immediately when a fellow writer reached out to me. And from that moment on I’m reassured that this is a safe haven for writers!

Everyone is welcome at LSF! Whether you’re a novice writer or a seasoned master of the craft, LSF greets everybody with a warm embrace. Complete strangers would make contact with each other and it doesn’t feel strange, because we all have one thing in common: the passion for writing. It’s like one big family and I am grateful to have found this family.

Although I started this journey many years ago, it is not until now that I finally feel to have leapt one big step forward. With so many fellow travellers around to share my adventures with this trip can only get better and better! And I can safely explore the ocean without feeling lonely again!

You too can be part of this big family! LSF is offering an early bird ticket now. Go to the website HERE and grab this deal!

Dare to live

“To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. Not to dare is to lose oneself.”
~ Soren Kierkegaard

I’m sitting here staring at my screen, desperately to write something. Anything! But I got zip inspiration. Nothing. Nada!

So, I’m trying to figure out what I want to write about. Is it about writing? About filmmaking? About books? Films? Kids? Oh, hell, about football then?! I really don’t know. After a while it sudden occurs to me that I just want to write about life. Yes. Life! You might think: “How boring! Again a blog post about life! Don’t people have better things to write about?” Just pause for a minute. Rewind. And think again. Isn’t everything we read and watch about life?

Every book we read, at some point we will relate it to our own lives. Every film we watch there are always some scenes in it that we can relate to our own life. If we play with our kids we will feel life. Why? Because, in my opinion, life is the most precious thing we have.

Life can be cruel sometimes. But I think it doesn’t intentionally mean to harm us. It’s just that we need to learn how to live it. In time you will learn to live a happy life.

I see many people around me struggling with life. I guess sooner or later we all reach a point that we realise the life we live isn’t the life we want for ourselves. But we’re merely living up to someone else’s expectations. Be it your parents, your siblings, your partner. Most of us are living just to please somebody else. And when we realise that, we become truly unhappy. But it is also the first step to awakening.

You just have to make sure you stay awake and change your way of life. Dare to break the circle. Stand up for yourself. Tell your parents, siblings, partner what you really want. Do the things you like. Live the life you’ve always dreamt of.

I know it’s easier said than done. Many of us have experienced this feeling. But how many of us really dare to stand up and fight for life? It’s a scary fight. I give you that. A fight that one must fight on his own. And staying true to oneself is the only way to win. Along the road you will hurt people. You will lose precious relationships. But in the end the ones that stand by you, those are the ones who really love you for who you are.

If you’re feeling life is a burden, don’t bury your head in the sand. Pull your head out and stop for a moment. Think about your life. Don’t let the most beautiful thing be a struggle. Embrace it, face it, live it. Because we only get one life. Dream, dare, do. Live, laugh, love!

Happy life to you all!

Things I’ve learned from being unsuccessful

“Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.”
~ Albert Einstein

There had been moments in my life when I felt myself being useless, even a failure. When I thought about what I have achieved and what my parent’s expectations were, I could really cry. I felt like I have disappointed them in so many ways. Although they are not here anymore it still weigh on me sometimes.

But what exactly is success? Who decides if you’re successful of not?

It took me some years but I finally realise that success is merely a measurement and every person handles a different scale.

Allow me to share with you what I’ve learned over the past decade and how I measure success now.


Self-pitying does not help

It all starts with self-pitying. You see family or friends achieving one success after another. Family and friends always talk about the ONE who has accomplished a big thing. Your head is spinning, thinking what did I accomplish? Why don’t they talk about me? Well, who cares? Today they talk about the one, tomorrow they’ve already forgotten the one.

The point is, don’t compare yourself to others. Because in your eyes they will be always more successful than you. Focus on yourself! Start thinking what you did. Did you start writing that novel you always wanted to write? Did you start baking a three-layered cake you’ve always wanted to bake? Or maybe you want to climb the Mount Everest in a Pokemon cosplay suit? Put on the suit and start training! Just do it!

The moment you start to do whatever you want to do, even the smallest amount of effort is already success. You can now tell people you actually did it! If people know, it will motivate you to finish it. But if you don’t start, you will never taste success. And miss out all the fun of seeing peoples astonished faces when you tell them you’ve actually put on a Pokemon suit and climbed a wall!


Shift your focus to feel success

For a long time I only think I failed because it took me a very long time to finish my first screenplay. Actual writing became the measurement of success. If there are no words flowing from my fingers and hitting the computer screen, I think of it as a failure.

But then I realise that I have done research for the topic I’m writing about. I’ve read books about screenwriting. My head spins thinking about plots and story.

I’m not failing my writing. No words on my computer screen doesn’t mean I’m not writing. Because every minute of the day I am thinking about the story and I jot down notes. That is part of the writing process too.

So, not doing exactly what you want to do, does not mean you’re not successful. It’s the process that counts.


Recognise you successes

No matter how much success you gain, if you yourself does not recognise it you will still be unsuccessful.

Start with the small things. If you have achieved 2 pages of writings added to you story instead of ten, tell yourself that it is okay. Because you have two pages instead of zero!

Learn to be satisfied with even the smallest thing you have achieved.


It’s all in your mind!

Change your mindset! Tell yourself you are already very successful! I might be a screenwriter with zero productions. Yet! But I am a successful screenwriter. Because I have actually finished a screenplay and I’m working on other scripts too.

Hell, I am a successful mother taking good care of my kid, cooking for her, helping her with homework and tuck her in bed.

I am a successful employee as I always give a 100% at work and carry out my duties with great care.

I am a successful friend as I always make my friends laugh and have fun when we’re together.

Get it?


And remember: success is just a measurement

Success does not mean the same to everyone. No matter what you do, there are always people who think it could be done better. But there are also people who admire you for what you’ve done! Don’t lose yourself to the negative comments. Stick close to yourself and listen to what your heart tells you.

So, in the end, what’s my story about?

It’s simple. If, on a scale from 1 to 10 you always set 10 as being successful, I can assure, you will always be a failure.

Nobody is perfect and certainly nobody can achieve tens all the way. If you succeed to achieve a 10 once, twice or maybe three times, well, spread it over a life time, I can really say, u suck.

But instead, why not just set your scale at 3 or 4 or maybe 6, wouldn’t you feel a lot more comfortable and successful?

Life is not just about successes. It is, well, about life! About being alive! Enjoy every moment of it. Enjoy every moment you are chasing success and don’t just fixate on reaching success. Let the ride thrill you as well. Although at the end you don’t succeed in what you wanted to do, you have at least tried and enjoyed doing it.

Downton Abbey, reviver of my writing spirit

“To persevere, trusting in what hopes he has, is courage in a man.”
~ Euripedes

In the past few months I’ve finished and rewritten my first screenplay. I’ve even sent it out to some screenwriting contests. I was very proud and satisfied and It gave me strength to carry on.

The idea for my first story came to me rather easily and I do strongly believe in this story. But now that it is finished I felt myself falling into a dark hole. I have another story in mind but it doesn’t feel as strong as the first one. So, I started to doubt. I doubt myself, I doubt my capabilities, I doubt my skills.

While I was self pitying I thought I might as well watch some TV series or movies to cheer myself up (and for research of course!). As I was curious why Downton Abbey was so highly recommended (and because of the wonderful Dame Maggie Smith) I started to watch it on Netflix. After the first episode I was already hooked.

It was not a very good idea, starting to watch it; I finished watching four seasons in three days! After that my mind could only think of Downton Abbey! And every character flows in my mind all day long. I think about the fate and fortune of all characters. The good ones and the ill-minded ones. That doesn’t happen often when I watch a movie of series. I did not only enjoy the serie, I actually learned a great deal from it!

Every scene of every episode is so well constructed. Every bit of it contains intrigue, suspense, conflict and mysterious twists that moves the story forward and hook the audience. Every character is so well built that makes the audience curious about all their fates. From the earl to the footmen, from the ladies to the kitchen maids. Every story line is just so fabulously written. Watching the serie is almost like you’re a part of it yourself!

It could discourage a novice writer like me. Because watching such a masterpiece can make a novice writer, who struggles with story construction and writing, feel very small. But the odd thing is, I don’t feel that way! Downton Abbey was a wonderful gift to me (or rather, a subscription on Netflix was a wonderful gift I gave myself). It gave me courage to persevere writing. Julian Fellowes has shown me the tricks of how a good story should be and what good scenes need in order to push the story forward. He gave me strength to keep on constructing stories. And I just hope that one day I will have such a masterpiece of my own that people will love to watch.