From Celebration to Action: International Women’s Day Must Move Beyond Tokenism

International Women’s Day (IWD) is a global event that has been celebrated for over a century, serving as a reminder of the achievements of women and the ongoing struggle for gender equality. However, in recent years, there has been growing concern about the commercialization and tokenism that have come to define the event. 

While Women’s Day may offer an opportunity to raise awareness about women’s rights, it is no longer enough to simply celebrate women’s achievements and call for gender equality. In order for Women’s Day to truly make a difference, it must move beyond tokenism and become a catalyst for action that addresses the structural inequalities that perpetuate gender-based discrimination and violence.

The first Women’s Day was observed on February 28, 1909, in New York City, organized by the Socialist Party of America to honor the 1908 garment workers’ strike in New York, where women protested against their working conditions. The event inspired the creation of International Women’s Day in 1910, which was proposed by Clara Zetkin, a German socialist, during the International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen.

The primary purpose of IWD is to raise awareness about gender equality and advocate for women’s rights. It is a day to celebrate the progress made toward gender equality while recognizing the work that still needs to be done. Women’s Day is now celebrated worldwide, and each year has a different theme that highlights a specific issue impacting women globally.

This year’s theme, “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality,” highlights the role of innovative technology in promoting gender equality and meeting the health and developmental needs of women and girls

What follows is a list of the themes for International Women’s Day starting from 1975 to 2019. I couldn’t help but notice the recurring theme of violence against women, over the decades.

  1. 1975: “International Women’s Year”
  2. 1976: “To Honour Women on International Women’s Day”
  3. 1977: “International Women’s Year”
  4. 1978: “Education and Training of Women”
  5. 1979: “United Nations Decade for Women: Equality, Development and Peace”
  6. 1980: “Equal Rights, Equal Opportunities: Progress for All Women”
  7. 1981: “International Year of Disabled Persons”
  8. 1982: “Equal Access to Education, Training, and Science and Technology: Pathway to Decent Work for Women”
  9. 1983: “Health is a Women’s Issue”
  10. 1984: “Women and Science”
  11. 1985: “Women and Survival in the Cities”
  12. 1986: “Women and the Family”
  13. 1987: “Women and Peace”
  14. 1988: “Women and the Environment”
  15. 1989: “Towards a Just and Sustainable Development”
  16. 1990: “Equal Rights, Equal Opportunities: Progress for All”
  17. 1991: “Women and Education”
  18. 1992: “Women and Environment”
  19. 1993: “Violence Against Women: The Hidden Health Burden”
  20. 1994: “Women and the Peace Process”
  21. 1995: “Women Paving the Way to the 21st Century”
  22. 1996: “Celebrating the Past, Planning for the Future”
  23. 1997: “Women at the Peace Table”
  24. 1998: “Women and Human Rights”
  25. 1999: “World Free of Violence Against Women”
  26. 2000: “Women Uniting for Peace”
  27. 2001: “Women and Peace: Women Managing Conflicts”
  28. 2002: “Afghan Women Today: Realities and Opportunities”
  29. 2003: “Gender Equality and the Millennium Development Goals”
  30. 2004: “Women and HIV/AIDS”
  31. 2005: “Gender Equality Beyond 2005: Building a More Secure Future”
  32. 2006: “Women in Decision-making”
  33. 2007: “Ending Impunity for Violence Against Women and Girls”
  34. 2008: “Investing in Women and Girls”
  35. 2009: “Women and Men United to End Violence Against Women and Girls”
  36. 2010: “Equal Rights, Equal Opportunities: Progress for All”
  37. 2011: “Equal Access to Education, Training, and Science and Technology: Pathway to Decent Work for Women”
  38. 2012: “Empower Rural Women – End Hunger and Poverty”
  39. 2013: “A Promise is a Promise: Time for Action to End Violence Against Women”
  40. 2014: “Equality for Women is Progress for All”
  41. 2015: “Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity: Picture It!”
  42. 2016: “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality”
  43. 2017: “Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030”
  44. 2018: “Time is Now: Rural and Urban Activists Transforming Women’s Lives”
  45. 2019: “Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change”

The theme of ending violence against women has been a recurring one for International Women’s Day, not only reflecting the global concern about the widespread issue of violence against women but also as an indication that more needs to be done.

Since the 1990s, the United Nations has recognized violence against women as a human rights issue and a form of discrimination. The 1993 International Women’s Day theme was “Violence Against Women: The Hidden Health Burden,” which aimed to raise awareness about the health consequences of violence against women. The 1999 theme was “World Free of Violence Against Women.” 

In 2003, the theme was “Gender Equality and the Millennium Development Goals,” which recognized that gender inequality and violence against women are major obstacles to achieving the goals of poverty reduction and sustainable development.

In recent years, the focus on ending violence against women has intensified, with themes such as “A Promise is a Promise: Time for Action to End Violence Against Women” in 2013 and “Women and Men United to End Violence Against Women and Girls” in 2009. These themes aimed to raise awareness about the need for a comprehensive and coordinated response to violence against women and to emphasize the importance of engaging men and boys as allies in ending violence against women.

Over the past 50 years, there have been over 1,500 reforms implemented in countries worldwide aimed at enhancing women’s economic empowerment. Despite this progress, legal gender equality on a global scale has yet to be achieved, highlighting the need for continued efforts to drive reform. To accelerate progress toward this goal, more initiatives in identifying discriminatory laws and regulations that hinder women’s prospects as entrepreneurs and employees must be put into action. More projects aimed to advance women’s economic inclusion and remove barriers to gender equality.

Over the decades, progress has been made in raising awareness about violence against women and improving the legal framework for addressing this issue. Many countries have enacted laws and policies to prevent and respond to violence against women, and there has been greater recognition of the need to provide support services to survivors of violence. Additionally, international efforts, such as the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, have put a spotlight on the issue of violence against women as a barrier to achieving gender equality and sustainable development.

However, despite these efforts, violence against women remains a pervasive and persistent problem around the world. According to the World Health Organization, one in three women worldwide has experienced physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the urgent need to address violence against women, as lockdowns and other measures have led to a surge in domestic violence cases.

We’ve seen progress in raising awareness and improving the legal and policy framework for addressing violence against women, but more needs to be done to prevent and respond to this issue. Ending violence against women requires a sustained effort that involves multiple stakeholders, including governments, civil society, the private sector, and individuals at all levels of society.

Moreover, the commercialization of Women’s Day has diluted its significance for many people, turning it into another occasion for consumerism and materialism.

While many companies genuinely support women’s rights and use International Women’s Day (IWD) as an opportunity to promote gender equality, some have been accused of using the occasion to advance their own agenda without any real benefits for women, and in some cases it backfired.

  1. The sponsor of the iconic Fearless Girl statue, State Street Bank, faced criticism against the backdrop of a $5 million discrimination settlement for female and black employees. 
  2. The International Women’s Day Picasso exhibit at Tate Modern in 2018 generated significant controversy and criticism due to the artist’s well-documented fixation with one-dimensional female stereotypes and his treatment of women.
  3. NBCUniversal’s decision to rebrand the station ‘E!’ to ‘She!’ and feature a week of female-focused content was met with skepticism, given the company’s history of sexual harassment accusations and enforcement of silencing NDAs. 
  4. KPMG’s release of a video celebrating female leadership was called into question, as the company was, at the time, facing a class action lawsuit for denying promotions to women and penalizing them for taking maternity leave. 
  5. Bic South Africa’s assertion that women should ‘look like a girl… think like a man’ has been widely condemned as sexist and offensive.
  6. Nobel Peace Prize’s attempt to honor IWD in 2017 by highlighting the fact that women represented only 6% of total winners in the prize’s history has underscored the ongoing need for greater recognition of women’s achievements and contributions.
  7. McDonald’s: In 2018, McDonald’s flipped its golden arches upside down in honor of IWD, creating a “W” to stand for “women.” However, the move was widely criticized as a hollow gesture, given the company’s track record of paying its female workers less than their male counterparts and failing to address harassment and discrimination in its workplace.
  8. Hooters: The restaurant chain known for its scantily clad waitresses once ran an IWD promotion offering free wings to women who shred a photo of their ex-partner. The promotion was widely criticized for being misogynistic and insensitive to survivors of domestic violence.
  9. Spirit Airlines: In 2019, Spirit Airlines released an IWD ad featuring a woman in a tight-fitting flight attendant uniform with the tagline “Get home early to celebrate.” The ad was widely criticized as sexist and perpetuating harmful gender stereotypes.
  10. Pornhub: In 2020, the adult website released a series of IWD-themed videos and graphics featuring sexualized images of women. The move was widely condemned as exploitative and demeaning to women, with critics arguing that it undermined the very message of IWD.

These are but a few examples of companies that have been accused of using IWD for their own purposes without genuinely supporting women’s rights and gender equality. These examples clearly point to the need for a more transformative approach to Women’s Day that goes beyond the surface-level celebrations and engages in meaningful action toward gender equality. It is important we maintain the focus on the original purpose of Women’s Day, which is to celebrate the achievements of women, raise awareness about their struggles, and renew our commitment to creating a world where women can live free from discrimination, violence, and oppression.

Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast

In the morning nothing feels quite right. At least for some of us. Do you hit the snooze button endless times before grudgingly dragging yourself out of bed, and only because your bladder is screaming at you? Do you have a permanent scowl until you’ve had at least two cups of coffee? Do you dream of a world where breakfast doesn’t come before noon?

We’ve all heard motivational quotes urging us to wake at dawn. Quotes such as, “The early bird gets the worm” or “Wake up early and tackle the day before it tackles you.” I have a far better phrase for you, and it’s from Alice In Wonderland: ” Why sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

I come bearing good news. There are six impossible things you can do before breakfast that might make your mornings a little brighter and more bearable.

I understand if you’re skeptical. The idea of doing anything remotely enjoyable before breakfast seemed like a far-fetched concept for me as well. However, give these ideas a chance. They’re not only achievable but have the potential to make your mornings something to anticipate.

Dance like nobody’s watching. Yes, even if you’re in your pajamas and your hair is sticking up in all directions. Blast your favorite song and let loose. Who cares if your neighbors think you’ve lost it? Besides who says they’re any better at mornings than you are?

Next: give yourself a pep talk in the mirror. I know, I know, it sounds cheesy and so cliché. But what have you got to lose? You can always brush your hair while you’re at it. Look yourself in the eye and tell yourself that you’re going to kick ass today. Say it like you mean it. Bonus points if you do it in 3 different accents.

An invigorating rush of cold water will snap you out of your morning haze and jumpstart your day. Not only will a cold shower wake you up faster than a shot of espresso it will literally shower you with a ton of health benefits as well as work wonders on your utility bills. Use your imagination, you can pretend you’re in an Arctic survival movie and feel like a badass.

Who says you can’t have bruschetta for breakfast? Or tiramisu? Or both? Give yourself something to look forward to in the morning. You might even find yourself getting excited about waking up early.

Do a quick workout. I’m not suggesting you run a marathon here. Just a few jumping jacks, some push-ups, and maybe a yoga pose or two. It will get your blood flowing and your energy up, and make you feel like you’re on top of the world.

And last but not least: Avoid starting your day with the news. Read and remember that laughter is the best medicine. There are perks to reading something really funny early in the day; you can share it with your coworkers and pretend you’re a morning person with a solar disposition.

So, there you have it, six impossible things you can try before breakfast to help you shake off the morning blues and start your day revving like a sports car ready to hit the road. Give them a go, mix and match them, and see what works best for you. Who knows, you might even become a morning person after all. Then again, there’s always more coffee.

From the Battlefield to the Runway: The Unexpected Evolution of Boots as a Fashion Staple

Historically, boots were primarily seen as practical footwear worn for protection from the elements and rough terrain. They were commonly worn by soldiers, workers, and outdoorsmen, but were not seen as fashionable.

In medieval Europe, boots became a symbol of wealth and status, with high-quality leather boots becoming increasingly popular among the nobility. Women also began wearing boots during this period, with many styles featuring intricate embroidery and decorations. However, boots were still primarily seen as practical footwear, worn for protection from the elements and rough terrain.

During the Industrial Revolution, advances in technology allowed for the mass production of boots, making them more affordable and accessible to the general public. This period also saw the rise of specialized bootmakers, who developed new techniques and designs to meet the demands of their customers.

Boots And Wartime Restrictions

Until the late 1780’s women only wore boots for horse riding, at some point they began wearing boots for walking as well and so it was that the fashion for boots gained popularity. Boots became the chosen footwear for bicycling and walking until skirt hems rose, and the shafts of boots grew taller. Unfortunately, wartime saw demand for leather required for military use and as a result, in 1917, boot height was restricted to eight inches in England.

In the 20th century, boots became an iconic fashion statement, with women’s boots taking on a wide range of styles, from practical and sturdy work boots to sleek and stylish high-heeled boots. The popularity of boots for women continued to grow, with many designers experimenting with new materials, textures, and colors to create unique and eye-catching designs.

Boot lovers can now choose boots for functional purposes, such as work boots, motorcycle boots, and climbing boots, or simply choose to wear boots as a fashion or sexual statement.

In the history of fashion, boots took a long time to catch on. There are several reasons for this:

  1. Practicality: Historically, boots were primarily seen as practical footwear worn for protection from the elements and rough terrain. They were commonly worn by soldiers, workers, and outdoorsmen, but were not seen as fashionable.
  2. Material Availability: Early boots were typically made of leather, which was a scarce and expensive material. This limited their availability and made them primarily accessible to the wealthy or to those who needed them for practical reasons.
  3. Cultural Norms: In many cultures, boots were associated with masculinity and were not considered appropriate for women to wear. It was only in the 19th century that women’s fashion began to embrace more practical footwear options like boots.
  4. Design limitations: In the past, boot design was limited by the materials and manufacturing techniques available. This made it difficult to create boots that were both functional and fashionable.

Despite these challenges, boots eventually caught on in the world of fashion. Today, boots continue to be a popular and versatile footwear option, with a wide range of styles and designs available to suit different tastes and needs. From rugged work boots to sleek high-heeled boots, boots have come a long way from their practical origins to become an essential part of fashion footwear.

It is difficult to pinpoint the first boot designer that rocked the world of fashion, as there have been many influential designers throughout history who have contributed to the evolution of boots as a fashionable footwear option. Here are a few designers who are widely recognized for their contributions to the world of fashion boots:

  1. Roger Vivier: A French shoe designer who is credited with popularizing the stiletto heel in the 1950s. Vivier also designed a range of high-heeled boots that became popular among celebrities and fashion icons.
  2. Nancy Sinatra and Beth Levine: In the 1960s, Nancy Sinatra’s hit song “These Boots Are Made for Walkin'” helped popularize knee-high boots, which were designed by American footwear designer Beth Levine.
  3. Manolo Blahnik: A Spanish fashion designer who is best known for his high-end women’s shoes, including a range of stylish and luxurious boots.
  4. Christian Louboutin: A French fashion designer who is famous for his red-soled shoes, including a range of fashionable boots in a variety of styles and colors.
  5. Stuart Weitzman: An American shoe designer who has created a wide range of stylish and innovative boots, including the iconic 5050 over-the-knee boot.

These designers, among others, have contributed to the evolution of boots as a fashionable footwear option, experimenting with new materials, styles, and designs to create unique and eye-catching boots that have become popular among fashion enthusiasts around the world.

How did boots designed for practical purposes turn into a fashion item? A perfect example would be Cowboy boots. These were originally designed for practical purposes, such as horseback riding and ranch work. However, over time, they became a global fashion trend due to their unique design, cultural significance, and versatility. The pointed toe, high heel, and tall shaft of the boot were specifically designed to help the rider stay in the stirrups and protect their feet and legs from brush, rocks, and other hazards. As these boots became more popular among cowboys and ranchers, they gained a reputation for being tough, durable, and functional.

In the mid-20th century, cowboy boots became popularized through Hollywood Westerns and the rise of cowboy actors like Roy Rogers and John Wayne. These movies and icons helped to popularize cowboy boots as a symbol of rugged masculinity and American culture. Country music also played a role in the popularity of cowboy boots, with musicians like Hank Williams and Johnny Cash often wearing Western-style clothing and footwear. As country music became more popular around the world, so too did cowboy boots.

In the 1980s and 90s, cowboy boots experienced a resurgence in popularity thanks to the rise of Western-inspired fashion trends. Designers like Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein incorporated cowboy boots into their collections, and celebrities like Madonna and Lady Gaga helped to turn these into fashionable accessories.

Today, cowboy boots remain a fashionable accessory, worn by both men and women in a variety of styles and colors. This transformation from a practical piece of footwear to a worldwide fashion item is a testament to the enduring appeal of cowboy boots’ timeless design and cultural significance.


The association of certain boot styles with fetish fashion can be traced back to several factors, including cultural and historical influences, as well as the materials and design elements used in boot construction.

One of the main reasons certain boot styles have been appropriated by fetish fashion is their association with power, sexuality, and control. Boots are a form of footwear that is often associated with strength and protection, and certain styles like thigh-high boots, platform boots, and stiletto boots are designed to accentuate the leg and create a sense of height and dominance.

The materials used in boot construction also play a role in their association with fetish fashion. Leather, latex, and other shiny or patent materials are commonly used in fetish fashion due to their association with sensuality and eroticism.

Another factor that has contributed to the association of certain boot styles with fetish fashion is their historical and cultural significance. For example, the popularity of knee-high boots can be traced back to the 1960s, when they were worn by popular figures like Nancy Sinatra and were associated with the sexual revolution and women’s liberation.

While certain boot styles may have been appropriated by the fetish fashion community, their association with the genre does not necessarily define their overall style or purpose.

Here are some factors that have contributed to the association between certain boot styles and fetish fashion:

  1. Material: Leather, latex, and PVC are commonly used materials in fetish fashion, and boots made from these materials have a shiny, sleek look that is often associated with sexiness and eroticism.
  2. Height: High heels and platforms have long been associated with femininity, and are often seen as a way to accentuate the curves of the legs and hips. High-heeled boots in particular are a popular choice in fetish fashion due to their association with power and dominance.
  3. Coverage: Boots that cover a large portion of the leg, such as thigh-high boots, can create a sense of mystery and intrigue, and may be seen as a symbol of power and control.
  4. Symbolism: Certain boot styles, such as those with multiple buckles or straps, can be seen as a symbol of restraint or bondage, which is a common theme in fetish fashion.

The association between certain boot styles and fetish fashion is also influenced by cultural and historical factors. For example, the prevalence of leather and rubber boots in military and police uniforms may have contributed to their association with power and authority. Additionally, the popularity of punk and goth fashion in the 1970s and 80s may have helped to popularize certain boot styles, such as platform boots, which have since become associated with fetish fashion.

  1. boots offer a unique and stylish look that can’t be achieved with other types of footwear. From classic leather boots to trendy ankle boots, there are many styles to choose from that can complement a variety of outfits and personal styles.
  2. Durability: Boots are often made of high-quality materials, such as leather or suede, that can withstand wear and tear over time. This makes them a popular choice for people who want footwear that will last for many years.
  3. Comfort: While some boots can be uncomfortable or restrictive, others are designed with comfort in mind. For example, boots with cushioned soles or adjustable straps can provide a comfortable fit that is ideal for all-day wear.
  4. Protection: Depending on the style and material, boots can provide protection from the elements, such as rain, snow, and mud. This makes them a popular choice for outdoor activities like hiking, camping, and gardening.
  5. Functionality: Certain types of boots, such as work boots or military boots, are designed with specific purposes in mind. These boots are often built to be tough and durable, with features like steel toes or waterproofing that make them ideal for certain types of jobs or activities.

Ultimately, the decision to wear boots as opposed to shoes or sports shoes is a personal choice that depends on individual preferences, needs, and style. While shoes and sports shoes may be more popular for certain activities or occasions, boots offer a unique and versatile option for those who appreciate their unique features and benefits.

El Sindrome De La Gata Flora

There are those who are never content with what they have and are often attracted to extremes that don’t normally find common ground. It’s a tendency that seems to be embedded deep in some people’s DNA, leaving them constantly yearning for more.

We’ve all heard the saying “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone,” often used to describe the pain of a lost love. But what if the reason so many of us end up longing for what we’ve lost is because of the pervasive myth that “the grass is always greener on the other side”? What if our innate desire for more, for something just out of reach, is what keeps us from truly appreciating what we have in front of us?

This colloquial expression, El Sindrome De la Gata Flora, a phrase commonly used in Latin American culture, refers to a situation in which a person is indecisive, fickle, or unable to make up their mind. The term “Gata Flora” literally means “Flower Cat” and is derived from the fable of the Cat and the Flowers, in which a cat is unable to choose which flowers to eat and ends up starving to death.

Are you or someone you know afflicted by this syndrome?

Is It Devine Discontent?

When you’re single you want to be in a relationship and when you’re in a relationship you start thinking about being single again?

If so, you might want to consider a long-distance relationship, it has its advantages and could prove to be longer-lasting for those afflicted by El sindrome de la gata flora.

El sindrome de la Gata Flora loosely translates to “divine discontent.”

The Literal Translation:
When you stick it in she screams. When you pull it out she cries.

A certain amount of anguish, restlessness, and confusion is guaranteed when hanging with a person who is afflicted by the Gata Flora Syndrome, whether in the bedroom or the boardroom, as you’ll never know where they or you stand.

The sindrome de la Gata Flora, very graphically describes that oftentimes some of us really don’t know what we want or what we feel. We all want a lot from life and this means making difficult choices.

You’ve reached the fork in the road, where to now?

The concept of “sindrome de la Gata Flora” highlights the difficulty of decision-making and the challenges of having multiple desires, goals, and interests. In modern society, we are presented with countless options and opportunities, and it can be overwhelming to choose which path to take. This can lead to a sense of indecision and a feeling of being stuck.

Don’t get blinded by Indecision

Whether dealing with difficult choices in our relationships, or careers, to overcome this syndrome, it is essential to reflect on our priorities, values, and long-term goals. We need to learn to make choices that align with our values and aspirations, even if they are not always easy or convenient. It is also essential to embrace the fact that making choices involves trade-offs, and we may need to give up some things to gain others.

Ultimately, the syndrome of the Gata Flora reminds us that life is full of difficult choices. Still, we can navigate them by being clear about our priorities and values, staying focused on our goals, and being willing to make sacrifices in order to achieve them.


Puglia is More Than a Destination: It’s a Feast for the Senses

Puglia is more than a destination, it offers a rejuvenating natural experience that delivers rich emotions, captivates your heart, and ignites all of your senses. This enchanted land of sun and hospitality, hugged by two spellbinding seas, is a fertile terrain where centuries-old history, customs, breathtaking vistas, and joie de vivre weave the fabric of everyday existence.

Picture gilded sandy shores descending into transparent turquoise waters.

Inland, unspoiled nature rules supreme, with magnificent valleys and softly undulating hills swathed in centuries-old olive groves, vineyards, and luxuriant forests. The region boasts an extraordinary heritage, including four outstanding UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Castel del Monte is an enigmatic fortress located near the town of Andria, Italy, and built by the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II. Its octagonal shape and unique architectural features have puzzled historians for centuries, leading to many theories about its purpose and symbolism. Some believe it was a hunting lodge or a symbol of the emperor’s power, while others suggest it was used for astronomical observations or even as a secret meeting place for the Knights Templar.

The San Michele Arcangelo Sanctuary in Monte Sant’Angelo is a stunning example of medieval art and architecture. Built during the 5th century, the sanctuary has been a pilgrimage destination for centuries and is still considered one of the most important religious sites in Italy. The interior of the church is adorned with beautiful frescoes and mosaics, and its crypt is said to contain the tomb of Saint Michael the Archangel.

The Foresta Umbra Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests are located in the heart of the Gargano National Park and are home to some of the oldest and most impressive beech trees in Europe. The forest has been protected since the 16th century and is a unique example of the natural heritage of the area. Visitors can explore the forest on foot or by bike, and admire its stunning landscapes and rich biodiversity.

The town of Alberobello is a UNESCO World Heritage site famous for its unique trulli houses. These traditional homes are made of local limestone and have conical roofs. Walking through the streets of Alberobello feels like stepping back in time to a bygone era.

In this ancient land, there is a deep reverence for ancient traditions and customs. From the cyclical celebration of nature’s bounty to the rituals honoring the earth and sea, the region is awash with the beauty of age-old practices. These timeless customs are a testament to the rich cultural heritage of the land, and traditions that have been passed down through generations. To experience the poetic beauty of Puglia is to glimpse the essence of its people grounded in the ancient ways that still thrive today.

From the lively celebrations that light up the streets to commemorate their devotion to patron saints to the flavorful delicacies served at the table, Puglia’s ancient customs and traditions are woven into every aspect of life and perpetuated through rituals related to harvests, fishing, and the work of master craftsmen. 

Perhaps the most authentic experience of Puglia can be found at the table, where food and wine reign supreme. The region’s cuisine is a sensory explosion of exceptional flavors, where every bite tells a story of the land’s heritage and traditions. The secret to this culinary mastery lies in the ingredients, all locally grown and genuine, that produce the finest extra virgin olive oil and exquisite wines.

In  Puglia, visitors can immerse themselves in a world where time-honored practices continue to thrive, allowing them to experience the beauty of a land steeped in history and culture. You’ll feel at home everywhere you go. The spirit of hospitality is woven into the fabric of everyday life, making Puglia more than a destination and a place where travelers can truly feel embraced by the warmth of its people.

  1. Ostuni – Known as the “White City,” Ostuni is a stunning town with beautiful white-washed buildings that glimmer in the sunlight. Its winding alleys are a joy to explore, and visitors can enjoy beautiful views of the surrounding countryside from the town’s hilltop position.
  2. Polignano a Mare – Perched on cliffs overlooking the sea, Polignano a Mare is a charming town with breathtaking views and a lively atmosphere. The town has a beautiful historic center, and visitors can enjoy exploring the narrow streets and alleys that wind through it.
  3. Lecce – Known as the “Florence of the South,” Lecce is a stunning town with beautiful baroque architecture and charming streets. Visitors can admire the town’s beautiful churches and piazzas, and enjoy delicious local cuisine in one of its many restaurants.
  4. Martina Franca – This picturesque town is known for its elegant architecture, historic landmarks, and thriving cultural scene. Visitors can explore its beautiful baroque churches and palaces, and enjoy the town’s lively events and festivals.
  5. Monopoli – A beautiful seaside town with a rich history, Monopoli boasts stunning beaches and a charming historic center. Visitors can stroll through the town’s winding streets, visit its beautiful churches and museums, and enjoy delicious seafood in one of its many restaurants.
  6. Locorotondo – This charming hilltop town has stunning views and a quaint, historic center. Visitors can explore its beautiful white-washed buildings, enjoy its delicious local wine, and take in the stunning scenery of the surrounding countryside.
  7. Cisternino – A beautiful town with winding streets, whitewashed buildings, and delicious food, Cisternino is a delight to explore. Its historic center is home to beautiful churches and palaces, and its restaurants serve some of the best meat dishes in the region.
  8. Gallipoli – A coastal town with a charming historic center, stunning beaches, and vibrant nightlife, Gallipoli is a popular destination for visitors to Puglia. Its beautiful old town is home to stunning baroque architecture, and visitors can enjoy delicious seafood in one of its many restaurants.
  9. Otranto – A seaside town with a beautiful castle, historic landmarks, and a lively atmosphere, Otranto is a must-visit destination in Puglia. Visitors can explore the town’s beautiful churches and museums, stroll along its picturesque harbor, and enjoy the stunning beaches that surround it.

Depending on how much time you have or if this isn’t your first time in Puglia and you should consider exploring the interior of Puglia. The towns in the heart of Puglia are a sight to behold. Here are some well-worth a visit:

These are some of my travel photographs from my time spent in Matera, Altamura, Gravina, and Polignano in June and July 2023.

  1. Matera – Although not strictly in Puglia, this stunning town is located just across the border in the neighboring region of Basilicata. It literally looks as though Matera was carved out of the rocks. Famous for its cave dwellings and historic center, Matera has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. Visitors can explore its winding streets and ancient churches, and learn about the town’s fascinating history.
  2. Altamura – This historic town is known for its beautiful architecture and delicious bread. The town’s cathedral is a stunning example of Romanesque architecture, and visitors can also explore its beautiful palaces and piazzas. Altamura bread is famous throughout the region and is a must-try for visitors.
  3. Nardò – Located in the Salento peninsula, Nardò is a charming town with a rich history and beautiful architecture. Its historic center is home to stunning baroque buildings and churches, and visitors can also explore the town’s impressive castle and archaeological museum.
  4. Gravina in Puglia – This picturesque town is known for its stunning natural scenery and rich history. Visitors can explore its beautiful cathedral and other historic landmarks, and enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside from the town’s hilltop position.
  5. Ceglie Messapica – This charming town is known for its delicious food and beautiful historic center. Visitors can explore its stunning baroque churches and palaces, and enjoy local specialties like orecchiette in one of the many restaurants.
  6. Martano – A picturesque town located in the heart of Salento, Martano is known for its beautiful historic center and vibrant cultural scene. Visitors can explore its stunning baroque architecture, participate in local events and festivals, and sample delicious wines and food.
  7. Ostuni – Although already mentioned as a coastal town, Ostuni is also located inland, and its historic center is a must-visit destination for visitors to the region. Its stunning white-washed buildings and narrow alleys are a joy to explore, and visitors can enjoy beautiful views of the surrounding countryside from the town’s hilltop position.

Who goes to Puglia without hitting one of its numerous stunning beaches? Here’s a list of the top beaches in Puglia. With 800 km of coastline and 2 extraordinary seas, Puglia boasts a wide variety of stunning shorelines and exquisite beaches. 

  1. Porto Selvaggio: This stunning beach is located in a nature reserve near the town of Nardò, and features crystal clear waters and a rocky shoreline. It’s perfect for swimming and snorkeling, and there are plenty of shady spots to relax in.
  2. Baia dei Turchi: This beautiful sandy beach near Otranto is surrounded by pine trees and features clear blue waters. It can get crowded during peak season, but it’s worth the visit.
  3. Punta Prosciutto: This long stretch of white sand beach near Porto Cesareo is popular for its crystal clear waters and soft sand. It’s perfect for families with young children, and there are plenty of amenities nearby.
  4. Torre dell’Orso: This beautiful beach near Lecce is framed by a picturesque tower and features clear blue waters and soft white sand. There are plenty of restaurants and cafes nearby, making it a great place to spend a day.
  5. Polignano a Mare: This beach is located in a charming town known for its cliffside homes and beautiful old town. The beach is small and rocky, but the crystal clear waters make it a great spot for swimming and snorkeling.
  6. Pescoluse: This long stretch of golden sand near the town of Salve is known as the “Maldives of Salento” for its clear blue waters and stunning scenery. There are plenty of amenities nearby, including restaurants and beach clubs.

Planning Your Trip To Puglia

Puglia is a region with so much to see and do that planning your itinerary in advance is essential to make the most of your trip. I’ve been to Puglia three times and I still haven’t seen it all. If you are planning to travel around Puglia without a car, it is best to base yourself in one of the larger towns or cities, such as Bari or Lecce, and use public transportation to explore the surrounding areas. There are frequent trains and buses that connect the major towns and cities, and local buses and taxis are available for shorter trips.

On the other hand, if you are planning to travel by car, it is recommended to rent a car at the airport or in one of the major towns or cities. This will give you the flexibility to explore the region at your own pace and to visit some of the more remote towns and villages that are not easily accessible by public transportation. Be aware that driving in some of the larger cities, particularly Bari, can be challenging, so it is best to park outside the city center and use public transportation to get around.

When planning your itinerary, be sure to include some of the region’s major attractions, such as the towns of Alberobello and Ostuni, the city of Lecce, and the Gargano National Park. But also, consider visiting some of the region’s lesser-known gems, such as the cave churches of Matera, the historic town of Gravina in Puglia, or the beautiful countryside of the Itria Valley. Finally, make time to sample some of the region’s delicious food and wine, such as burrata cheese, orecchiette pasta, and Primitivo wine, which are all unique to the region.

From the stunning coastline to the charming hilltop towns, and from the delicious food to the warm hospitality of the people, Puglia is more than a destination, it is a place like no other. Its unique character is woven into every aspect of life, from the ancient traditions and customs that are still practiced today to the modern innovation and creativity that keeps flourishing with the younger generation. Whether you visit Puglia for its history, its culture, its food, or simply to soak up the sunshine and the stunning scenery, your heart will long to return again and again.

Journey Through Time: Explore the Oldest Natural History Collection in the World

If you’re planning a visit to the iconic Leaning Tower of Pisa, don’t limit yourself to just a couple of hours in Piazza dei Miracoli. There’s a wealth of sights and experiences waiting for you beyond this famous square. Venture into the Calci and Valgraziosa areas to discover a world of hidden treasures just waiting to be explored. Don’t miss out on the chance to immerse yourself in the rich culture and history of this beautiful region, step off the beaten path.

Imagine stepping back in time to the end of the 16th century and witnessing the birth of one of the world’s oldest natural history collections. That’s exactly what you’ll experience when you visit the Natural History Museum of the University of Pisa, located in the stunning Certosa di Calci. 

This awe-inspiring museum is home to some of the oldest and most fascinating collections in the world that have been curated over centuries. From fossils to minerals, and skeletons to naturalized animals, the museum offers a window into the diverse beauty of our planet’s natural history But that’s not all – the museum’s Cetacean Gallery is a must-see attraction, considered the most important in all of Italy. Set against the backdrop of the majestic Monte Pisano, the gallery features a remarkable collection of present-day and prehistoric cetacean skeletons, as well as life-size models of dolphins and whales. And towering above it all is the blue whale, the largest animal ever to have roamed the earth, greeting visitors of all ages.

There’s one exhibit that truly takes your breath away – the Cetacean Gallery. Housed in the loggia of the Carthusian Monastery, this gallery boasts the most important collection of its kind in all of Italy. From the towering skeleton of a blue whale – the largest animal ever to have existed – to life-size models of playful dolphins and majestic whales, the gallery offers a glimpse into the world of these magnificent creatures.

But the wonder doesn’t stop there. The Mammal Gallery is equally impressive, with over 300 specimens on display, showcasing both the museum’s historical collection and recent acquisitions. And if you’re a fan of freshwater biodiversity, you won’t want to miss the largest freshwater aquarium in Italy, home to over 100 species swimming in a staggering 60,000 liters of water.

With its permanent exhibitions and rotating temporary exhibitions, the Natural History Museum of the University of Pisa is a treasure trove of scientific knowledge and natural beauty. It’s a journey through time and space, a chance to witness the wonders of the natural world up close and personal.

In 1591 Grand Duke Ferdinando de’ Medici of Tuscany first began his eccentric collection of natural oddities and curiosities. This collection was one of the very first “museums” of its kind, boasting an incredible array of objects that fascinated and intrigued visitors from around the world.

Inspired by a German concept of a “Wunderland,” the collection grew over time to include an extensive range of minerals, zoo animals, skeletons, fossils, and a plethora of other small trinkets. Despite its eclectic mix of items, the collection was meticulously curated and organized, with a focus on scientific research and education.

In the 1980s the university recognized the value of this unique collection. They carefully gathered and organized the objects and established a permanent exhibition in the Certosa buildings. Today, visitors can explore this extraordinary collection and marvel at the strange and fascinating specimens that make up the Natural History Museum of the University of Pisa.

A visit to the Natural History Museum of Pisa will take you on a fascinating journey through time and across the globe. Whether you’re a seasoned scientist or simply curious about the wonders of the natural world, you’re sure to be captivated by this museum’s eclectic collection, not to mention the stunning grounds and astounding view of the surrounding Tuscan hills.

A Taste of Heaven: Val d’Orcia and Pienza

Escape to a world of picturesque charm, where every corner is a snapshot waiting to be captured. Discover the stunning Val d’Orcia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site nestled in the heart of Tuscany, where rolling hills, vibrant vegetation, and panoramic views come together to create a utopian town unlike any other.

Step back in time and marvel at the masterful architecture of Pienza, a town that embodies the perfect blend of Renaissance elegance and medieval simplicity. Taste the tantalizing flavors of locally-produced cheeses and wines, as you immerse yourself in the region’s rich culinary heritage. Stroll through the quaint streets and immerse yourself in the vibrant culture, as you indulge in the simple pleasures of life that have been cherished here for centuries.

Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or simply looking to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life, Val d’Orcia and Pienza offer the perfect mix of architecture, food, and tradition. Come and experience the magic of this utopian city for yourself, and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Nestled within the serene and stunning Val d’Orcia lies a small, yet enchanting village that simply begs to be explored. Pienza, located just 20 kilometers east of Montalcino and a stone’s throw away from Montepulciano, sits perched on a hilltop, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding valley.

view of Val d'Orcia from Pienza

This picturesque village is renowned for its history as the “ideal city of the Renaissance,” a vision brought to life by the illustrious humanist, Enea Silvio Piccolomini, who later went on to become Pope Pius II. Using his wealth and influence, Piccolomini transformed his humble birthplace of Corsignano into the embodiment of a utopian city, perfectly representing the philosophy and principles of classical times and the Italian Renaissance.

As you wander through Pienza’s charming streets and alleyways, you’ll be transported back in time to a world where beauty, culture, and knowledge reign supreme. It’s a place where art, architecture, and natural beauty come together in perfect harmony, creating a truly unique and unforgettable experience. Pienza is the realization of a dream that has withstood the test of time. 

This charming village exudes the essence of the Renaissance in all its glory.

In the heart of Pienza lies the magnificent Piazza Pio II, a masterful example of architectural harmony and grace. Surrounded by buildings crafted from stunningly bright travertine stone, the square exudes an air of solemnity and dignity that captivates all who visit.

One of the highlights of the square is the “well of the dogs,” a beautiful fountain that adds to the tranquil and serene atmosphere of the surrounding area. Across from the well is the Cattedrale dell’Assunta, or Duomo, which houses some of the finest paintings by renowned artists of the era. The octagonal bell tower standing over the ancient crypt with the same shape adds to the grandeur of the cathedral, dominating the landscape and making its presence felt from afar.

To the right of the Duomo stands the imposing Palazzo Piccolomini, which boasts a magnificent Loggia and a delightful hanging garden offering breathtaking panoramas of the Val d’Orcia Valley. It’s no surprise that Franco Zeffirelli chose to film some scenes of his famous and romantic movie Romeo and Juliet at this location, using the Palazzo Piccolomini to represent the Capulets’ home and the site of the lovers’ first encounter.

In Pienza, every corner holds a treasure, every building a story, and every view a unique and unforgettable experience. So come and immerse yourself in the rich history and enchanting beauty of this charming Tuscan village.

Strolling along the narrow streets of Pienza is akin to gazing at a masterpiece painting of a Renaissance city come to life. The perfectly proportioned buildings create a sense of awe and wonder that transports you to another time and place. The meticulous attention to detail in every corner of the village is a testament to the skill and craftsmanship of the architects and artisans who created this enchanting town. Pienza is truly a living work of art and a must-see destination for anyone seeking to experience the magic of Tuscany.

While visiting Val d’Orcia don’t miss out on the sensory experience of a lifetime. We all know how good the wine and food are in Tuscany and that goes without saying. I’m referring to the stunning and invigorating natural hot springs across the Tuscan territory, from the Lunigiana up north to the Val d’Orcia in the south. While many hot springs are now part of enclosed spa centers, there are several very popular – and beautiful – outdoor hot springs remaining in Tuscany, such as Saturnia and Bagni San Filippo (see the photo below) that can offer a unique experience of Tuscany. But if you are not in the immediate area of those and want to enjoy some “warm waters”, just take a look at road signs near you and ask the local tourism office – most places with “terme” in their name mean there are “thermal waters” nearby!

The beauty of outdoor hot springs is they are accessible day and night. You have no idea what an awesome experience it is to bathe in natural hot spring pools and cascading waters, under a full moon. I was fortunate enough to experience this in Saturnia.

Val d’Orcia and Pienza are a true testament to the beauty and grandeur of Tuscany, offering an idyllic mix of stunning natural landscapes, magnificent architecture, delicious food, and rich traditions. The sheer beauty of the rolling hills, charming small towns, and impressive monuments is unparalleled, and the region’s cultural and historical significance is a testament to its enduring appeal. Whether you’re a lover of art and history, or simply want to immerse yourself in the peaceful atmosphere of the Tuscan countryside, Val d’Orcia and Pienza are sure to captivate your heart and leave you with unforgettable memories.

Surviving in an Overcrowded Marketplace: Harnessing the Benefits of SEO Content and Customer Reviews

Words are a powerful tool in the world of business, and they have been for a long time. In the past, when the internet was not as prevalent as it is today, television commercials and testimonials were the go-to methods for promoting products and services. These were effective in building trust and credibility, just like branding and customer reviews do today. In the digital age, however, the game has changed. With the explosion of e-commerce and online shopping, businesses need to be proactive in their approach to marketing and promoting their products and services. This is where SEO content and customer reviews come in – two essential tools for the success of any business in today’s world. In fact, customer reviews will benefit your SEO. In this article, we will explore the necessity and benefits of SEO customer reviews and SEO content.

With the rise of e-commerce and online shopping, customer reviews have become more important than ever. Nowadays, people rely heavily on reviews to make purchasing decisions. In fact, research shows that the majority of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. A product or service that has a high number of positive reviews is more likely to catch the attention of potential customers and drive sales.

On the other hand, businesses that lack reviews or have low ratings are less likely to be considered by potential customers. This is why it’s crucial for businesses to prioritize getting positive customer feedback and displaying it prominently on their website and social media channels.

There are numerous ways in which customer reviews can benefit the SEO of your online business. Here are the key advantages of leveraging reviews for your business’s online success:

Reviews Provide Valuable SEO Content

Reviews are not just a form of customer feedback. They are a source of SEO content that can significantly enhance your website’s online presence. Every review that a customer writes provides Google with valuable data regarding your business, products, and services, thereby improving your website’s positioning on search engine result pages.

Competitive Edge

In the competitive online marketplace, customer reviews can give your business the edge it needs to stand out from the crowd. Positive reviews from satisfied customers can differentiate your business and attract new prospects to your website.

Improved Search Engine Rankings

Reviews have become an integral part of SEO for online businesses, as search engines like Google trust and rank reviewed businesses higher than those without any reviews. Collecting reviews on your website can, therefore, improve your search engine rankings and visibility.

Increased Credibility

Positive customer reviews can quickly establish your company’s credibility and earn the trust of potential customers. People tend to trust the opinions and ratings of their peers when making online purchases, and Google also favors websites with reviews. In essence, reviews can significantly enhance your website’s credibility and SEO rankings.

More Reviews Lead to More Sales

Having numerous positive reviews on your website demonstrates that your business is established, reputable, and trustworthy. Reviews serve as a testament to your company’s values, mission, and excellence, and the more reviews you have, the more engaged people will be with your business. Responding to customer reviews also shows that you value your customers’ feedback and care about their overall experience with your business.

In conclusion, reviews have become a crucial standard for professional websites. Whether your business provides services, products, or both, potential customers are likely to seek out reviews to gauge the experience of others. Incorporating customer reviews into your website’s SEO strategy can significantly improve your online presence, attract new prospects, and ultimately lead to more sales.

Why SEO Content is Vital for your Business

SEO content is created with the goal of improving a website’s search engine rankings. This type of content is optimized with specific keywords and phrases that potential visitors would use to find a website through a search engine. 

The content may include blog posts, articles, product descriptions, landing pages, and more. The goal of SEO content is to make it easier for search engines to find and index a website, as well as to provide valuable information to potential visitors. 

By creating high-quality, relevant SEO content, businesses can attract more organic traffic to their website and improve their online visibility. If you’re a small business owner, seeking the help of a writer that specializes in SEO content can be incredibly beneficial. These professionals can help you improve your online visibility and reputation, making it easier for potential customers to find you and trust your brand. 

An SEO content writer can be vital in elevating a business’s online presence and credibility. Here are some ways that an SEO content writer can help:

  1. Creating high-quality content: An SEO content writer can create high-quality, engaging, and informative content that resonates with the target audience. This can include blog posts, articles, whitepapers, and other types of content that establish the business as an authority in its industry.
  2. Incorporating keywords: An SEO content writer can research and integrate relevant keywords in the content to optimize it for search engines. This can help the business rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs) for relevant search queries, increasing its visibility and attracting more traffic to the website.
  3. Optimizing meta descriptions and title tags: An SEO content writer can optimize the meta descriptions and title tags on the website to make them more appealing to users and search engines. This can increase click-through rates and improve the website’s overall SEO performance.
  4. Building backlinks: An SEO content writer can create high-quality content that other websites link to, which can improve the website’s domain authority and search engine rankings.
  5. Establishing a brand voice: An SEO content writer can help a business establish a consistent brand voice across all its content. This can help build trust with the audience and establish the business as a credible and trustworthy source of information.

Overall, an SEO content writer can help a business improve its online presence and credibility by creating high-quality content that resonates with the target audience, optimizing it for search engines, and establishing a consistent brand voice. By doing so, your business can attract more traffic to its website, generate more leads, and ultimately drive more sales.

How A Freelance SEO Content Writer Can Help Your Business Thrive

Hiring a freelance SEO content writer can provide several benefits for businesses. Firstly, freelancers typically offer more flexible scheduling and can often work on short-term projects, making them ideal for businesses with fluctuating workloads. Secondly, freelance writers often have a diverse range of skills and experience, meaning they can provide high-quality content across a variety of niches and topics. Additionally, freelance writers can often provide more affordable rates than traditional agencies, as they have lower overhead costs. Freelancers also tend to work closely with their clients, offering more personalized and customized services. Finally, hiring a freelance SEO content writer can provide businesses with fresh perspectives and creative ideas, helping to enhance the overall quality and effectiveness of their online content.

By leveraging the power of SEO Content and online reviews, you can take your business to the next level and stand out in a crowded marketplace.

The Business of Aging

The world’s most lucrative consumers are aging, and a marketplace already flooded with anti-aging solutions and magic potions is finding new angles, and manufacturing new trends for aging women. Fads are nothing new, and as such nothing has changed. Take the Keto diet as an example, another fad diet that eliminates entire food groups, promising rapid weight loss and better health. The keto diet business is expected to generate over 15 billion U.S. dollars by 2027, by introducing a cornucopia of new products with a low-carb or no-carb claim. I wonder whether Acheta Domesticus (crickets) will feature prominently in Keto diets since they are considered a nutritious, protein-rich, environmentally sustainable alternative to meat.

Weight loss and fad diets have been trending for decades, and overweight public figures, actors, and actresses often bore the brunt. Remember how the media and public shamed Elizabeth Taylor for gaining weight as she aged? What would Elizabeth Taylor say today if she saw all the inflated, fake booty strutting the streets? Even Madonna had implants surgically placed in her buttocks to stay in vogue. Yet as much as cosmetic surgery is on the rise, this blade has a double edge. As of late, cosmetic surgery and fillers are becoming taboo, and even Madonna is being heavily scrutinized and criticized for her numerous interventions. The media’s approach is frighteningly passive-aggressive.

All my social media feeds have been flooded with posts showcasing and praising actresses for not wearing makeup, with bold statements on how they’ve chosen to age naturally, as though it were some new religion.

Political correctness is being used as a weapon, and those that are constantly in the public’s eye, either play along and spread the new gospel or get shamed and/or canceled. Why aren’t women allowed to age according to their own standards?

Women who let their hair go white are now being exalted and encouraged by the media, as they adhere to new social standards. At the 2023 Oscars, female celebrities that rocked different shades of white and grey hair were being pined after by the paparazzi. You may have seen Andie MacDowell’s stunning grey curls at last year’s Cannes Film Festival, which unleashed this particular trend. Once you discover how much time it took to get that perfect layered mane of silver hair, and the products used to achieve this natural aging look, you realize it’s just another trend.

Every major hair color manufacturer now offers varying tones of grey, white, and silver, and YouTube is brimming with DIY videos. I got 9.710.000 google results for videos on how to dye your hair white. I also got 61,700,000 results for white hair dye for dark hair. The global hair dye market grew from $21.19 billion in 2022 to $23.3 billion in 2023 and it is estimated it will reach USD 34.13 Billion by 2028.

In the 1700s, white hair became very fashionable for a short while, and everyone wore powdered wigs, with all of the ensuing discomforts, which ranged from creepy crawlers to mice nesting in their white, super-heavy wigs. Let’s see how long this trend lasts for us.

There’s a visceral reaction to women aging, whether they opt to intervene with surgery or not. For those women that have gained star status, it’s as though the public is let down by the fact that these ‘stars’ are mere mortals after all. They are being served up, by the media, to provide women the inspiration on their journey to faking aging naturally. The media are the executioners and the gullible public, the facilitators. It’s called catch-22, you’re dammed if you do and dammed if you don’t.  

Is Change Good?

We’ve all heard it at least once. Uttered by a friend or family member, encouraging us or consoling us, telling us that change is good. But is change actually always good? I’ve been a great advocator for change and my life is a shining example of this, and it is for this reason that I can confidently say that change is not always good. 

Just ask the man with 3 kids who just lost his job, his wife, or both. Ask the kid who lost a leg or your neighbors who lost their homes in a flood. Some might answer that God works in mysterious ways. Another one of those flat-out absurd quotes that have been bouncing around far too long. I understand that in times of need people seek hope, but what good can it possibly do to believe that there is an entity up in the sky that has a plan cut out for each of us, and no matter how twisted and torturous this plan might be, it will magically all be ok in the end. Parents that have lost young children might not be so easily soothed by God’s mysterious ways.

What prompted me to write this article was the avalanche of pretty quote posts on social media. Have people become tired or are they simply at loss for their own words? These quotes are often overly simplified sentiments being presented out of context, such as ‘Change Is Always Good’. We live in an age where quotes are being slung at us left and right as some sort of medicine or special mantra that will magically dispel our strife and suffering. 

Quotes can be inspirational, however, simply because a famous author or popular public figure might have once stirred the hearts and minds of people, with an eloquent and touching phrase, does not turn those words into a talisman. Quotes online come in categories such as Stay True, Be Real, Stay Simple, and I Don’t Care quotes, to name but a measly few. We’ve got hashtags for the quote of the hour, the quote of the day, the quote of the week, and the month.

In my opinion, the internet has turned many people into self-proclaimed philosophers and counselors. There are quote Gurus crawling out of every social media corner. I ask myself whether, before the internet, people were so strung out on quotes to live their lives by and do their bidding. The only quotes I ever came across were those I read in books and those passed on to me by my family, but those are an entirely different breed of quotes. My mother turns 85 this year and I’m having a T-Shirt printed with her lifelong favorite quote and mantra; La Vita è Una Fregatura which translates into Life is a Ripoff.  You could say I inherited my pragmatic outlook from her.

Change is part of life, however, it is not always good. Distinguishing between self-induced change and change that is out of our control, such as natural disasters sweeping people’s homes and lives away, is a good start.

If you decide and choose to leave your job because you need a change and you know you can do better, as a supporting friend, I could say, change is always good, and in this instance, it would be ok, or I might be the kind of friend that tells you to think it through, maybe find another job before quitting, and since you’re already behind on your mortgage and one more missed payment might mean losing your home, you stop to think about it.

On the other hand, if you lost your job quite unexpectedly and not only were you not prepared, you actually loved your job and were distraught at the prospects that lay ahead, especially since you happen to be 59 years old, still don’t have enough years for a decent pension, and statistics indicate that your chances of getting hired at 59 are slim or next to none, then, as a good friend, I would commiserate with you and I would probably say life is a ripoff. 

Difficult times can teach us how to take a negative situation and turn it to our advantage. If so, then the question is not so much whether change is always good, it should be whether change makes us into better or stronger persons. If a man loses his job and his reaction is to shower his colleagues and employer with a spray of bullets, has the change done him good? Our reaction and response to change are the keys to whether or not we can make the leap to a better version of ourselves, despite difficult and unexpected changes.

Some thrive on change whereas others will do just about anything to resist it. Small changes can translate into big successes, such as a new diet and fitness routine or quitting cigarettes. These self-imposed changes are aimed at self-improvement and even these can at times lead to disasters, such as fad diets that create vicious cycles and no weight loss, or botched esthetic treatments. Change needs to be addressed with thoughtfulness and consideration for the fallout and probable outcome, whether it’s happening to us or we are making it happen.

Changes can make us feel assertive and in control of our lives, but change for the sake of change is a risky endeavor because no matter how much we prefer to have things go according to our terms, plans can backfire. 

I’ve made many changes throughout my life, moved and relocated to different cities, countries, and continents, and I have made several major career changes along the way, all orchestrated by me. Over the years, pondering over my life I can’t help but wonder what it would have been like had I not left a certain place, friends, or job and I’ve often asked myself whether change is actually always good. It would be pure speculation for me to think that had I done A instead of B, I might now be happier, wealthier, more successful, or a better person, but it often nags at me.

Change is all about adapting and whether or not one anticipated the change in question. Take the pandemic for example. I won’t elucidate on that event, I’m sure you get the gist. Change teaches us to be resilient. We are constantly changing as we grow and age and I suspect that although aging is a gradual change that we all anticipate, many would gladly renounce it. This points to the idea that change isn’t inherently good or bad, it is simply inevitable.  It takes courage and passion in life to overcome difficult changes and follow the burdensome path to becoming a better person.

Turn and face the stranger
Pretty soon you’re gonna get a little older
Time may change me
But I can’t trace time

David bowie