jueves, 27 de octubre de 2016

11 ways to create a life you don’t need to escape

“Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life you don’t need to escape.” – Seth Godin


Life just isn’t how you envisioned it. Work or school is fine, but it’s not giving you any sort of lasting pleasure. Days, weeks, months, perhaps years have zipped by, and while you’ve had a good time, you have constant pangs of doubt that this may not be the life you’re supposed to be living.
You have options. You can join the cult of the eternally busy, ignore your intuition, push these fears aside, and plow through life looking forward to semi-annual vacations (you know, the ones where you can mentally recharge for a week at a nice hotel, maybe snap a few photos, then hop back into the life that pays for it all). In the end, you’ll probably end up with a solid retirement account and relative financial and familial stability — and that’s great and respectable and comfortable, there’s no denying that.
But is it what you want? Is it what you dreamed for yourself when you went to bed as a child, looking out the window, thinking of all the scary but exciting possibilities that awaited you? Did you ever perhaps dream of painting or curating a museum or writing a novel or starting a business or working on human rights policy or being in the movies?
When you get down to it, I think we can all admit it would be nice to have a life that makes you genuinely happy, where existential crises about your significance and your happiness aren’t countenanced on the daily.
Sure, you could make the argument that the grass is always greener — that just because you’re doing what you love doesn’t mean the world instantly transforms into Technicolor as if Dorothy were stepping into Oz. And you’d be right. A mere job doesn’t dictate your happiness. Yet the satisfaction of knowing that you’re doing exactly what you want to do — perhaps what you’ve always wanted to do – in your job, in your relationships, in your day-to-day life might be enough to keep you engaged in the life you have, not perpetually pining for a way out. After all, vacations are never long enough.
As for actually creating that life for yourself, a few ideas:

1. Move to another country
While moving away isn’t a magic wand to solve your problems, it can open you up to different possibilities, types of people, and ways of life. Besides, it doesn’t have to be forever. You may find that you love your new locale and in that case you’ll find a way to stay; but, even if you’re not totally sold, you can still return with a better understanding of yourself and your desires, ready to create a new life for yourself in the same place.

2. Live Below Your Means
Nothing keeps you as anxious as feeling like you need to constantly spend money. This descent into nervous materialism often happens in two ways: 1) There’s a desire to keep up with the Joneses, the rat race, etc. that drives you to buy ever bigger, live ever grander. 2) You get a job and all is well, but then you become bored and decide to buy more things to become un-bored, then you continue to buy more things, for which you’ll have to continue working long hours to pay for, and then, all of a sudden, the once bored (but free) you is now stuck in a hamster wheel stocked full of things but void of any real freedom.

3. Meditate
Each day. 10 minutes. It will always give you more energy, but, most importantly, blocking out the noise of the world will help you find out who you are and what you really want because you need to:

4. Stop trying to prove yourself
Family, friends, culture, even yourself can all get in the way of you doing what you actually want to do. It’s rarely malicious; rather, it’s often presented in a seemingly helpful way (“we just want you to find some stability,” or “we want you to be able to lead a normal life”), but all of these voices – our own included — can make us steer our goals away from what we really want and towards impressing others. It’s immensely difficult to tell your parents or girlfriend or whomever that while you respect their desires, it’s your life you’re living. But with this claim, chains will fall off and your life will again become yours. Imagine that.

5. Have a chat with your childhood self
If you could have anything, time and money aside, what would it be? What did you dream of when you were younger? Could you make that happen now?

6. Figure out what you’re trying to leave behind
The last time you muttered, “I need a vacation” or “wow, I could use a drink” what were you responding to? Maybe it’s a job that’s too stressful or a relationship that’s no longer working. Whatever it is, once you find the epicenter of your troubles, you can work to phase them out of your life.

7. Tiny changes work too
While big changes like moving, switching jobs, or leaving a harmful relationship can all be game changers, starting small can also make a real difference. It’s best to start with yourself, namely with the way you let yourself think. Humans are wired to complain, to think too much about themselves, and to find minuscule problems and blow them out of proportion. If you can take control of your mind and reflect more often, life will become significantly rosier. In fact, it may no longer seem like you even need to “escape.”

8. Seek out people with similar interests
Twitter is a ridiculously great resource for finding (and contacting) people who have lives you’d like to emulate. Also, Wikipedia. Getting sucked into a Wikipedia black hole where one moment you’re looking up the Treaty of Versailles and the next you’re reading about Salvador Dali’s childhood can actually prove useful in this instance. Identifying personally inspirational figures, then reading up on what they did to get where they are is a surprisingly useful blueprint for realizing your own desires.

9. Do something — because happiness takes effort
Some people think that happiness comes from simply not doing things that are unpleasant, painful or dull. But let me pose a question: have you ever seen an unhappy person who’s writing a story or dancing to great music or skiing down a mountain at full-speed? Scared maybe, but unhappy, not really — unhappiness is a mood that’s mainly reserved for long days on the couch.


« There's a wonderful old Italian joke about a poor man who goes to church every day and prays before the statue of a great saint, begging, "Dear saint-please, please, please... give me the grace to win the lottery." This lament goes on for months. Finally the exasperated statue comes to life, looks down at the begging man and says in weary disgust, "My son-please, please, please... buy a ticket.»  

10. Flesh out this escape plan
Who are you with? Where are you? What are you doing? Is place more important to you than the people there? Are you okay with working as an English teacher or freelancer or does the quality of life you desire require a certain amount of money? Write it all down. Plan it all out. Make it happen! A goal without a plan is just a wish.

11. Think of your life as a story
Is it something you would want to read? If not, perhaps it would be wise to start a new chapter. 

sábado, 3 de septiembre de 2016

Rituales de sábado

La verdad es que estuve intentando encontrar donde nacieron mis ganas de viajar, de descubrir. Y no estoy segura, pero se me vinieron a la mente los innumerables sábados en los que mis viejos preparaban el mate y nos subían al Volvo para ir a recorrer pueblitos fantasmas en los alrededores de Paraná. Era una especie de ritual. Yo lo amaba. Me sentaba en el asiento de atrás (y en el medio, por ser en ese entonces la chiquita de la familia), y con vergüenza y algo de picardía saludaba a los autos que pasaban. Siempre íbamos a lugares distintos, y si eran los mismos, yo no los distinguía. Así conocí todos los alrededores de la ciudad en la que nací, sábados soleados, nublados, fríos o sofocantes. Aunque ahora que lo pienso, también podía ser un ritual de domingo.

Para mí siempre era una aventura nueva. Nueva comida, nuevas calles, nueva gente. Hasta que ya llegando a la adolescencia lo empecé a ver como un castigo “¿Ay por qué siempre se les ocurre ir al medio del campo? ¡Quiero ver a mis amigas, no ir a un pueblucho!”. Adolescentes. Adolecer. Adolecer significa sufrir ¿Sabían? Qué monstruos horribles que son los adolescentes. Si escuchara a mi yo adolescente estoy segura que le calzaría una piña para que no diga tantas estupideces por un segundo. Pero bueno, en fin, con la adolescencia se acabaron esos viajecitos. Entonces mis viejos terminaron llevando a mi hermanita menor a pasear. Aunque, como era de esperarse, ahora que ella está en plena adolescencia “ya no está para esas cosas”… y no puedo culparla por pensar así.



 




domingo, 28 de septiembre de 2014

Llenate de experiencias

Staring at the blank page before you. Open up the dirty window, let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find. Reaching for something in the distance, so close you can almost taste it. Release your inhibitions; feel the rain on your skin! No one else can feel it for you, only you can let it in; no one else, no one else can speak the words on your lips. Drench yourself in words unspoken, live your life with arms wide open. Today is where your book begins: The rest is still unwritten...
 
Ignoremos el hecho de que la canción es intro de The Hills. No va al caso. El tema acá es caer en la cuenta de que todos los días de nuestra vida son una nueva oportunidad de hacer eso que nos encanta. Y no siempre tiene que ser algo a gran escala, o mejor dicho a lo que es llamado gran escala. Porque todos somos distintos, todos queremos cosas distintas, entonces lógicamente nuestras escalas de algo grande o chico están graduadas de manera diferente. En mi caso, mi gran meta de la vida es ser feliz. Ser feliz sin que eso implique la infelicidad de terceros. Ser buena gente. Hacer algo grande. Y con algo grande, en mi escala, me refiero a hacer algo que me llene el alma. Eso capaz un día implica irme de viaje al Congo y ofrecerme de voluntaria para construirle casas a gente que lo necesita, y tal vez otro día sólo es pasear a mi perro por el parque acompañada de un buen libro.
Hace un tiempo me puse a pensar en que el día de mañana, si llego a vieja, voy a ser una Abraham Simpson cualquiera, super hartante con historias viejas. Pero bueno, mi consejo siempre va a ser un simple "llenate de experiencias". Viví todo lo que tengas que vivir. Todo lo que tengas GANAS de vivir. Conectate con gente que no sea de tu entorno. Conocé todas las realidades. En particular, creo que todo sirve de experiencia, y en la vida mientras más experiencias vivas más rico sos, más puntos de vista distintos conocés, y eso, de a poco, te abre la cabeza.

"La experiencia, tanto de logros como de fracasos, nos deja lo más simple y radical de la vida: la experiencia de lo contingente. De lo vulnerable que es la vida. La fragilidad. Eso que los antiguos llamaban la experiencia de la finitud: el saber que se vive pero podría haberse no vivido. Y es esa fragilidad, en ese descubrimiento de la vulnerabilidad de la vida, es allí como uno se reconcilia con ella.
(...)
La experiencia no nos permite solucionar problemas, pero sí encararlos hasta padecerlos también nosotros. Porque la experiencia, paradójicamente, no se hace, se padece. No es lo vivido por nosotros, sino más bien en nosotros, en nuestro propio corazón. La experiencia nos transforma. No sé si a todos por igual. Hay quienes son más sensibles que otros. Porque cuando la experiencia es honda es una metamorfosis. Lo que ya se conocía, lo que se afirmaba hasta ese momento, de alguna manera muere. La experiencia es la marca de las transformaciones que nos han sucedido, por el amor, el desengaño, las traiciones y fidelidades, el dolor, la gratitud. Siempre es subjetiva, no puede probarse, su valor es únicamente testimonial, porque sólo la información se constata, no la experiencia. La transformación sucede bajo tierra, por así decirlo. Se expresa, se la siente en los actos que van jalonando una vida, en los rasgos de los rostros, en ciertos gestos en que aparece el alma." Ernesto Sábato - España en los diarios de mi vejez.