Four/five years ago I had what many people would have considered a dream job, a good life-style, an amazing group of friends, a loving boyfriend, a cute cozy rented studio…all in all, a good life in a city I loved.
Yet, I felt completely stuck. Stuck in a job I didn’t like, stuck in a long-distance relationship I couldn’t understand anymore, stuck in too many conversations around finance and stock market, stuck in a 9 to 5/6/7/8/9/10 routine, stuck in my cozy rented studio at weekends because I was mentally too tired to do much, stuck in my head, stuck in a vicious circle I couldn’t break, stuck in meaningless phone conferences, stuck in meetings, stuck in my virtual life, stuck at dinner parties I didn’t want to attend, stuck in useless small talks with colleagues whose personalities I didn’t like, stuck at networking events, stuck smiling and being polite. Stuck. Completely stuck.
And I can tell you one thing for sure: feeling stuck sucks big time.
When the software stops working, restart
My solution? Just leave and live. Ctrl+Alt+Delete. Restart – I wasn’t a computer geek in high school for nothing. Based on personal observations, 90% of IT issues are solved with a restart. Why couldn’t my problem be solved the same way?
These past two/three years since I’ve restarted, I’m constantly amazed by how many options are out there. Access to internet opens up the world. Why feel stuck in a job/relationship/city/country when there’s so much to choose from?
There’re so many people living an alternative life style, loads of people who are not discussing about credits, but maybe about the wonderful culture of a small village in China or about travelling by train in Tanzania or about hiking in Pakistan with a white donkey or about the kindness of people in Afghanistan or about the feeling you have when you’re on top of the Himalayas or about living in a small hut for an entire winter in Siberia without electricity or about meditation or about biking around the world or about opening a social enterprise/NGO or about potential solutions to poverty or about cool books or about building schools in Nepal or about art or about music…whatever it is that subject that you’re sometimes thinking about and then dismissing because of lack of time.
How much is your time worth?
Time…it’s incredible how little value we assign to our time. We sell our time for money, but time never comes back, while money always comes and goes anyway. We prioritize around things we HAVE TO do. Yoga? Not today, no time. Bike trip? Maybe tomorrow. Working out? Too tired. Reading a good book? Mentally not there after a full day of work. But death is the only certainty in life, so our time is limited. How do we use it?
We fill our time with things that (we think) we have to do for some reason: money, family obligation, returning a favour, politeness. And days pass by…and they pass by…and they pass by some more and so does life…it passes by. Just like that. Without much living or living someone else’s life.
We take ourselves too seriously. We forget to laugh. We forget to be spontaneous. We want everything planned for us. We want certainty in our lives.
They say that before dying, most people regret having worked too much during their lives and not having done things that actually brought them joy and a feeling of fulfillment. Take the risk, they say. Seize the moment, they say. Live each day as if it were your last, they say.
Do we do that? Not really. Instead we let life pass by until we will get on our death bed and we will start giving others the same advice: take the risk, seize the moment, live each day as if it were your last.
If life were a party, would you get plastered?
If life were a party, ideally I’d want to leave the party with a good feeling, maybe a bit tipsy, but definitely in a good mood. After a good party, when I leave I look back and I feel grateful that I was invited. I laugh at the good time I had with my friends, I laugh when I picture my stupid dancing moves, sometimes there would even be a funny tune in my mind.
So when the party’s over, even if someone had puked on my jacket (yes, it actually did happen to me once), it’s ok. I had fun, I danced on all the songs I felt like dancing on, I talked to everyone I wanted to talk to. I leave in a good mood, at peace, not resentful or feeling that I should have danced on another song.
And that’s exactly the feeling I hope I’ll have when I die.
“The most dangerous risks of all – the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later.”
So…the cheesy question: if today were your last day, what would you do?
Image from Telegraph.co.uk