Today is Sunday, the first day of the week on which I had no obligations whatsoever. I finally had the time to do some things in the house; wash my sheets, vacuum clean the entire house, clean the bathroom and do grocery shopping. I knew it was a long time ago since I wrote an article on this blog and I felt bad about it. I love to write and share and when I noticed that I didn’t succeed at finding a moment to write I became a bit sad. That’s why I decided to force myself on sitting behind my laptop and just start writing. The past three weeks I have only been occupied with my study at the conservatory (so playing a lot of hours a day) and with my work (teaching, playing in orchestras). That’s basically the only thing I was doing, from morning till evening. I let myself think that everything that I did was so important that I couldn’t rest and do something for myself. ‘Work comes first’ seemed to be my motto, or even better, as Rihanna would say ‘workworkworkworkwork’.
I noticed I didn’t eat that well because I didn’t take the time to eat properly. That had a consequence: I felt like I didn’t have any energy and I was exhausted in the mornings. I kept telling myself to keep going and that I would have my rest in a few days. Does this sound familiar to any of you? This is not the first time I bump into this problem, it happens quite frequently. And every time I have to tell myself that I should take it easy and treat myself nicely. The positive side of it is that I do really love what I do; the music I play, the people I play with, the orchestras I play in, the children I teach, I love it all.
So what happened yesterday basically was a wake-up call again. Just before I had to catch a train to a concert location I went into a bookshop at the central station of Utrecht. I don’t like waiting at the platform when it’s cold, so I always go into shops whenever I have enough time. I like going to bookshops to see if there is something new. However, I don’t buy books that often, because I have the tendency of starting in a book and not finishing it because I want to read another book as well. Yesterday I stumbled upon a book that looked adorable, that was, in fact, the reason why I was drawn to it and I started reading the back of the book. The book is called ‘The little book of Lykke – The Danish search for the world’s happiest people’. Interesting, I thought. I wanted to buy the book but said to myself ‘no, you have better things to spend your money on’. But then I stood there for a minute and thought ‘you know what? I never buy this kind of books, but I would like to see if it’s something I like’.
I bought the book and it instantly made me happy in a way. I had something else to do on the train than wasting my time on my cell phone. I read the first two and a half chapters, which contained all sorts of ‘logical’ observations, yet things you tend to forget. For example: if you think of your most happy moment you are most likely going to come up with a moment that you shared with another person or other people. So this sense of togetherness apparently works on your sense of happiness. There was also a chapter about eating together and sharing stories. I could instantly relate to that feeling, thinking back of the summer holiday I spent in Georgia with my family. The most precious moments are the moments we would sit together, have a meal, make jokes, discuss topics and exchange thoughts. I think I even told my dad that it is my favourite part of the day.
Another thing that is described in the first few chapters is the difference between ‘happy right now’ and ‘being happy overall’. What can you say about your types of happiness? Being happy right now doesn’t mean you’re necessarily happy overall and being happy overall doesn’t mean you are always happy. Again, sounds logical right? But do you always separate those two?
So was I ‘happy right now’ (read: the last three busy weeks)? Maybe not always, but I am quite certain that I do feel happy overall. Do I want to have more ‘happy right now’-moments? Yes! So that’s why I decided that today fun things come first and study comes second, which is usually the other way around with me. So what did I do? I had a long sleep till 11:30 in the morning, woke up, did some things around the house, as I described earlier and sat behind the laptop with a cup of tea and chocolate. I watched some interviews of Alan Rickman and Ralph Fiennes (because I’m into Harry Potter again!) and after that, I decided to write something on this blog with some nice music in the background (underneath you’ll find the playlist if you like to get cosy on this grey Sunday). Brahms and Dvorak, come through, thank you very much! I do try to see the beauty in grey and cold weather as well, I think it would make the winter more bearable for me. Denmark, how did you get to be the Worlds Happiest Country, along with a lot of other Scandinavian countries? I know the weather isn’t better than in the Netherlands, so how?! Now that’s something we can learn from.
It’s turning seven ‘o clock in the evening and I haven’t played one note yet. Do I feel a little bit guilty about it? Yes, but I try not to. It is difficult, especially when you have a big sense of responsibility. Am I happy that I wrote an article on my blog today? Most definitely! And it was worth it.
Author: Nino Natroshvili
Violinist and student at the Utrecht Conservatory, the Netherlands.