It’s Been Three Months

When you’re waiting for something, eagerly anticipating the arrival of your favourite season or perhaps a much awaited holiday, three months seems like an absolute age. In the grand scheme of things, three months isn’t very long.

The average life expectancy of a British female is 82.8 years. Which is to say, if I’m your average female (and trust me, I most certainly am) then I’ll probably live to see a grand total of 331 lots of three months.

It seems like a lot of time, right? But I promise you, it’s not.

What were you doing towards the end of January? Do you remember? Well, whether your memory is up to scratch or not, that was just three months ago.

And before that, what were you doing towards the end of October? That was three months before three months ago. Two lots of three months.

Now, think about that space of time between the end of October and the end of January. Think about it really hard. What did you do? Where did you go? Did you do any of your favourite things? Did you go to the cinema? Did you catch up with friends? Did you eat your favourite food? Did you tell your husband/wife/parent/friend that loved them every single day? Did you laugh so hard that you cried?

I’ll tell you what I did in that space of time, between October and January.

Towards the end of October, I was in Goa. I had a really nice time with new friends. I got a fish tattooed on my ribcage. I saw a few pretty sunsets and ate a delicious bowl of penne arrabbiata. I can still taste it now. Not because it was mouth-wateringly fantastic, but because I promise that if you manage to hunt down a half decent bowl of penne arrabbiata in India, then you will remember it until your dying day!

It’s like finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. 

Come the beginning of November, I was back in Kerala. My days were a haze of zooming around on the back of friends’ motorbikes running errands with them, falling asleep at the local arcade while watching mind-numbingly boring games of Fifa (but secretly enjoying it because spending time with friends is the best) and going on illicit date nights to McDonald’s.

Towards the end of November, I came home. My stepfather picked me up from Sophia Gardens in the middle of the night and we drove home. The next day jetlag had me up before the birds, so I baked a cake using Rosie’s recipe to take to my friend’s house later that day for our annual Christmas get together (in November, yep, it turns out grown-ups are busy bees).  Nobody ate any of my cake. I don’t really know why because it was actually a fantastic cake – one of the best I’ve ever made! Anyway, we talked and we laughed and we played games and ate Cathedral City Extra Mature cheddar cheese.

A few days later, I flew to Riga. I went with my cousin and her boyfriend, and it was a wonderful little trip. A bit of a shock to the system after the ridiculously hot Indian climate I’d grown accustomed to at that point, but I packed some fluffy pink Stormtrooper socks so I soldiered on. Some would say I was a trooper…

Then came Christmas. My whole family came to my house, as they do every year, and we celebrated. Then came New Year. I guess I worked? I don’t really remember.

Around the 20-somethingth of January, I went to Poland with one of my best friends. We ate a lot of pierogi, paid our respects at Auschwitz and basically had a very culturally rich trip.

In between all of the above, I probably went to the cinema a good handful of times (hey Cineworld Unlimited card!), ate too many fajitas, pasta and countless bowls of dal and maybe saw some friends once or twice.

If you’re a long-time reader (or at least, a three month-time reader) of this blog, you’ll know what happened after Poland.

On 30th January, my mother passed away.

It wasn’t a shock, but it certainly wasn’t expected either. It didn’t completely floor me, as some would expect, but it certainly shook me to my core. It put a lot of things into perspective, and in her passing, I’ve inadvertantly rewired my way of thinking, my way of processing.

Let’s talk about the three months since then. January until now.

After she passed, there was a lot of coming and going at the house. Family came, doctors came, the Pastor came. We were drowning in sympathy cards, most of them from people I’d never met or even heard of before. About a million sympathy messages came through by text, Facebook, Instagram, email, you name it.

On the evening of the day she passed, I went to a Harry Potter quiz with some friends. I didn’t tell them about what happened, just because I wanted a little bit of normality for one more day. I didn’t want sad eyes and pitying looks, half-smiles and awkward glances. After I got home that night, I told everybody.

Two days later I went for dinner with a different set of friends. We went to Pizza Express and I had dough balls followed by the leggera padana, no dessert and a bottle of coke.

Three days later I went back to work at the restaurant, but I left after just 2 hours. This wasn’t because I was particularly emotionally fragile, but because I had one hell of a cold and sort of accidentally overdosed on cough syrup on the way into work so was falling asleep while standing.

Her birthday was on the 11th of February, the same day Wales played England in the Six Nations. My brother and his family, my uncle and his family, and my unofficially adopted grandmother all came over that night and we looked at old photos, reminisced about “old times” and ordered Chinese, featuring my mother’s favourite dish of king prawns and green peppers in black bean sauce.

We held her funeral on 13th February.

Since then, I’ve been to the cinema 9 times and could name each and every film if you asked me. I’ve ordered Domino’s three times, had Sunday dinner four times (only twice on a Sunday, I am a rebel) and met with friends for dinner once (because like I said earlier, ‘grown up’ is actually a synonym for busy bee). I could go on, but I’m not going to.

Do you see the difference between my recollection of what happened between October and January compared to January until now? 

Before, my memories were focused around big events. Holidays and little getaways and celebrations. I associated specific years with which country I visited, as opposed to the year itself (i.e. for me, 2011 is not 2011, but the year I went to Peru).

I’ve always been so focused on the big things, the things that make you go WOW for just a split second, that I’ve neglected the little things, those little nuggets of goodness that interweave themselves together to make a nice and cosy little familiar blanket that makes your life feel consistently WOW.

Now I appreciate the value of time. There are 24 hours in a day, 60 minutes in an hour and 60 seconds in a minute. Approximately 7,776,000 of those tiny little seconds make up three months. And I want to make each and every one of those seconds worth something.

At some point on Monday it’ll be approximately 7,776,000 seconds since my mother took her last breath. I will have spent 7,776,000 seconds without her here. When she passed away, she was just shy of having seen 200 lots of 3 months. Out of the 331 lots she hypothetically should have got, that doesn’t seem like a lot, right?

I don’t want to sound cliché, but life is short. It really, really is.

Tomorrow isn’t a certainty for any one of us. As much as we’d like it to be, nobody is guaranteed those 331 lots of three months.

You need to make every second count, and not necessarily in those too good to believe ways you read about on motivational posters and Pick Me Up magazine.

Tell someone you love them, order that dessert, make time for your friends, climb that mountain (figurative and literal), learn to salsa dance, change your screensaver to something that makes you smile, take yourself out for dinner, smile at a stranger, go to the cinema every single day, take that leap of faith, adopt a mountain goat, learn how to make candles, do everything you’ve always wanted to do and more.

For the next three months, take note of the little things that make you smile. That cute baby who smiled at you on the bus, the double rainbow you saw after getting drenched in the rain, the pair of Christmas socks you totally forgot about until you stumbled upon them by chance (sprouts with Christmas hats, hell yeah!), that memory from almost a year ago that still makes you smile like an absolute tool.

Remember it all, take note of every little detail, no matter how mundane, and I promise you, you’ll be so much better off for it.

 

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16 Comments

  1. 28th April 2017 / 10:18 am

    I dont really have words to say to this post but I really appreciate you writing it and I’m sending lots of love your way.

    • rhiydwi
      4th May 2017 / 12:30 pm

      xxxx

  2. 28th April 2017 / 12:42 pm

    This is honestly one of the best posts I think you’ve ever written. It is so so true that we shouldn’t take any of our time on this earth for granted and it’s a shame that it often takes something lifechanging to realise it. Thank you for writing this and reminding me that it’s just as important to look at the small, seemingly insignificant things in life. 💜

    • rhiydwi
      4th May 2017 / 12:30 pm

      Thanks Caroline! It’s not until the seemingly insignificant things don’t exist anymore that you truly appreciate them. Like a Cadbury’s Spira bar.

  3. 29th April 2017 / 12:03 am

    ‘Take note of the little things’. That is what I do every day because who knows if there will be a tomorrow. That was a lovely post, it reminded me of some of my favourite Blake lines “To see the world in a grain of sand, and to see heaven in a wild flower, hold infinity in the palm of your hands, and eternity in an hour.”

    • rhiydwi
      4th May 2017 / 12:28 pm

      I haven’t heard that quote before, but it’s so apt! Thanks for sharing it 🙂

  4. 2nd May 2017 / 9:46 pm

    You are so right. As travel obsessives (let’s face it!), it’s easy to get so focussed on the big trips that we ignore all the things that happen in between, all the day to day stuff with family and friends or just on our own that constitute normal life. I’m sorry that’s the way you had to learn it, but thank you for sharing the lesson with the rest of us. Sounds like your mum would be proud.

    • rhiydwi
      2nd May 2017 / 11:34 pm

      I used to roll my eyes and think people were so sad for getting excited over something as “mundane” as what they’re having for tea or a night out on the town. These days I celebrate those little things. Like, they served egg curry (my favourite!) in work today and you wanna bet I’ll be celebrating for days. Thank you for saying that Jill, I hope she would be 🙂

  5. 4th May 2017 / 8:31 am

    You have a really strong message here of ‘Taking note of small things’. With passing days we tend to forget and value those itsy bitsy things which are the most important ones. I absolutely loved reading this post, one of the best i have come across so far. It has all the humanely feelings possible coming to me.

    • rhiydwi
      14th May 2017 / 9:10 pm

      Thank you so much for your lovely comment Ketki!

  6. 5th May 2017 / 1:29 am

    Wow, this is such a beautiful post. I’m so sorry for your loss. Thanks so much for posting this, we all need a little reminder every now and then to make the most of every moment!

    • rhiydwi
      14th May 2017 / 9:09 pm

      Thank you Lottie!

      Definitely. We sometimes get so taken away with the big things that we totally neglect the little ones.

  7. 5th May 2017 / 8:28 pm

    Thanks for the recipe shout-out, Rhiannon 🙂 Reading this made me realise how over the years, the things I remember the most are the silliest, most trivial-sounding little parts of my life – things like my Mum cooking fish fingers and chips and putting them in paper bags from the greengrocer’s so my sister and I would feel like we were eating McDonald’s; making homemade pizzas and using the toppings to make smiley faces; the time I went to a friend’s house when I was about 8, and her gran spelt our names out in those alphabet letters. The little things are just as rewarding and important as the bigger landmarks in life 🙂

    • rhiydwi
      14th May 2017 / 9:08 pm

      No problem – I’ve already told you, right? It’s my stepdad’s firm favourite and he won’t let me make anything else!

      Those sound like great memories to hold on to! What you said is kind of similar to what I used to do at my grandparents’ house – they’d get chips from the chip shop and we’d call it “chips in paper”. When you’re a kid there’s just something super special about eating with your hands out of paper and/or cardboard boxes, and nothing comes close to that!

  8. 12th May 2017 / 2:15 pm

    Your blog is my favourite of any I’ve found to read because you articulate things so perfectly, it’s a joy to read even when the subject matter is sad. What you’ve said is so very true. The past 3 months have been incredibly significant for me, but I’ve wished them away and as a result it feels like this year is flying by. We’ll never get this time back and I really want to make more of an effort to appreciate all the little things each day.

    • rhiydwi
      14th May 2017 / 8:58 pm

      Aw thanks Amy! <3

      I just cannot believe we're already halfway through May. How did that even happen?! It's mad. Can Mr. Time just take a break for a while please?

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