23 June 2014

Perfect day

If you have ever experienced a run of misfortune, you'll know that it can leave you feeling as if nothing will ever go right again. For anxiety sufferers, it might take no more than a couple of incidents to start this spiral into negativity. 

Once in that frame of mind, even minor knocks assume significance. You mentally catalogue every last little thing that has gone wrong, your thoughts racing in a dismal litany of 'and then that happened...and then this...and then that...'. They are all fuel for your conviction that life has gone irretrievably bad, and contrive to make you fear what will come next.

This year has been much like that for me. It's as if I've been playing a game of snakes and ladders, with a couple of three-runged ladders in a jungle's worth of snakes.

Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography/
Now and again, though, the fates seem to turn back in your favour. And so it was on my birthday, earlier this month. 

It was a 'big' one this year and I felt I should make something of it, but was short of ideas: all I knew was that I wanted to celebrate it somewhere with a view. So, at fairly short notice, my boyfriend and I booked an evening at the Paramount restaurant at the top of the Centre Point building, in central London - drinks in their 360° viewing gallery, on the 33rd floor, followed by dinner in the restaurant, one floor down. 

The venue was something of an unknown quantity: the TripAdvisor reviews were mostly good, but with some brickbats. To add to the uncertainty, as the day drew near, storms were forecast. Would we end up eating measly portions of over-priced food, peering through rain-lashed windows at a possibly invisible London?

Against the odds, the sun came out, affording us spectacular views from the gallery, to accompany our champagne. On to dinner, where the waitress steered us to a table beside the window, just as we'd hoped. As darkness fell, and the lights came on, the city skyline became even more beautiful.

At the end of the evening, we found ourselves reeling off everything that had made it so special. From the friendly couple next to us in the bar and the professional, yet approachable waiter, to the iridescent cloud brightening the sky and the mouth-watering chocolate fondant dessert. An altogether different list of 'and thens', adding up to magic rather than misery.

Image courtesy of Sura Nualpradid/
Not only did we have a truly memorable evening, but it seemed as if it might mark a turning point in the year. Although I have had other enjoyable days, amidst the traumas, this one felt different, and I have been a lot more relaxed since then.

Perhaps simply choosing to see this as a turning point has actually made it one. My mind so often tricks me into finding cause for worry; maybe I have tricked it back.

Whether they're the result of truth or trickery, positive thinking and peace of mind certainly make a refreshing change.


Tina Fariss Barbour said...

Your dinner sounds like it was wonderful! I'm so glad you enjoyed your time and were able to see it as a turning point. You make a good point: Perhaps we can make our own turning points in life.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Tina. I think it was a turning point because you made it a turning point.I believe our own attitudes really affect how we feel.Your evening sounds amazing!

Helen Barbour said...

Thanks, Tina and ocdtalk. It was a revelation to me that a simple - but deliberate - change of attitude could make such a difference to how I feel, and how I see things. If you ever get to London, I can certainly recommend our dinner venue - and let me know if you do come here!