We happened to come to Barcelona just in the middle of the historical events. But that didn’t happen by chance. My man is Catalan and born in Barcelona, he wanted to come for voting in the referendum. There has been a long process leading to this moment, both for him and for his country.
On Saturday, a day before referendum, we went to Salou, a tourist town close to Tarragona, for the celebration of the wedding anniversary of his friend. Saturday night was spent in eating, laughing and dancing. Sunday morning the alarming reports started to leek in. The police were closing the stations. The government was closing the systems for registrations. But then it became possible to vote in any place. So we searched for a school in Salou and found a crowd of people outside, but the voting was not possible because the system was down. We got directions for another place, but decided to drive back to Barcelona and do it there.
On Sundays I have digital detox, and it feels so refreshing. As it is great to be back online on Mondays 🙂 I wanted to test this habit for a long time, and at last in March I said to myself that I will run it as experiment: I will keep my Sundays free of all internet. My first Sunday was a day without social media, but then it turned into a day totally offline (with two exceptions: I answer the messenger, and take pics for IG stories which for me is a ritual of appreciating the surroundings. As long as I am not tempted to check the feed). From March into April, and now into May – I am very content with my experiment and I want to keep this habit now.
How many of you have fallen in love with this statement “follow your passion”? And how many of you have come to realize that this call is not enough to lead you in some certain direction?
I tell you, I did. I just loved this sentence when I saw it – how many years ago now? As much as I loved it, I didn’t feel guided by it, it was such a diffuse promise. So what are my passions, I asked myself. Dancing, reading, travelling. And what do I exactly do with it? Become a professional dancer? But first, I am not so young to start this carrier (I was over 30 then), and second, do I really want to be a professional dancer? Well, no. I want to enjoy dancing as often as possible – but I don’t want to perform on stage and practice for hours, let alone mentioning the competitions. And some of my other passions are just like this: I enjoy doing them once a while – but I don’t want to build my whole life around them.
I feel that I stumbled upon some great finds this week – and I feel that I just cannot keep them to myself. Here is a list of books and talks that make me bubbling with inspiration. Their subject is happiness, change of thinking, work and positivity. If you are into it also, let’s go!
I wish that Norwegian spring were more predictable, but it’s not. Before the end of March it is early to speak of the spring altogether – March is a winter month here, with a sudden snow and a biting freezing wind. Thanks to Instagram we have a daily reminder how gorgeous spring can be: there are first crocuses in Germany, and the blossoming trees in Paris and Vienna. While I decided to go check the forest for the first tiny sprouts last week – only to find there the rests of snow. Complaining is my old friend, but it doesn’t help me here, so I learn to reinvent myself and look for the ways to change my attitude. This year I learn not to wait for the spring, but to create it. Here are my tiny tricks so far.
If I were 18 now I would have ADHD or concentration problems. I would switch between studying and checking my Snapchat every 15 minutes. I would have distorted image of real life. I would believe that the people on Facebook and Instagram have a lot of fun in their real life, and I don’t. I would have distorted image of myself. Well, it was already distorted, so maybe, it would not be that worse)). But my self-esteem would suffer since I would compare myself not to the glossy images on TV, but to “real” images of beauty bloggers of Youtube and those Instagram divas with styled brows, big lips and sexy limbs which they are not shy to show.
Yes, I am talking about the social media and how it changes our ways. I don’t want to make an apocalyptic analysis here, and I don’t want to draw a totally negative picture – I am just really curious about how did happen that we got addicted to sharing, and what does it do to us? I imagined how that would have shaped me when I was growing, and to be honest, I am happy that I grew up in the pre-Internet era. But today’s youth seem to cope with it somehow, and I wonder how they do it. I also wonder how people manage to keep balance in the time when it is so easy to get absorbed into all those distractions. The smartphone is called “A cigarette of modern age” – I find this metaphor aptly as I see the mobile glued to the hand of everyone like a cig was in the movies of 60s. So how do the people cope with this new addiction?
Lately I have seen that all the discoveries I was coming up with were kind of obvious things. I would get that aha moment and the light bulb in my head would go “I need to share it!”. But then I would start thinking and suddenly see that my idea is not really my idea, that I have read about the thing before, and I have even known it for a while. I was writing posts on my Russian-speaking blog, and felt like I was expressing very obvious things.
At first I felt like I hit the showstopper. So what do I do now? Do I sit around and wait for a really original idea? And indeed, are there so many original ideas that are shared out there? I guess, it is just my big ego that wants me to come up with something genial and groundbreaking, but that – instead of motivating me – keeps me procrastinating and stuck.
“This is my mind, and I want it to work for me, not against me”, my friend said. “Let other people say to me negative things, I can ignore them. But why should I say those negative things to myself?”
We have our thinking habits, and my habit is to focus on the negative. To see my past as a disadvantage, to look into future and catastrophize, and interpret the present events in a negative light. But all the habits are an object of change, if you want. It takes time and effort, but it is possible to change the thinking patterns just as it is possible to change lifestyle habits like eating and exercising. This is a period of my life that can be named “change”. I have always been interested in self-development and growth, but it seems like right now this process is even more intense than usually. There are many tools and ideas that inspire me to change and I hope to share some of them here on the blog. And today I want to share some thoughts about success.Read More »
My favorite kind of profile on Instagram is a travel profile. Once I was showing my new finds to my friend: girls in floating dresses being photographed in beautiful and exotic sights. My friend replied: “Yes, it is cool, all those faraway places and adventures. But right now I prefer the exploration of the everyday life. When you can find something that makes your life here and now more wonderful. Like when you taught me once to enjoy staying at home, infusing it with chill-out music and relaxed attitude. This is more interesting to me than traveling”.
That got me thinking. How often I see pictures of sandy beaches with palms, or canyons and waterfalls, or old Italian streets with colorful houses and think: “This is the life worth living”. While the everyday life in my city, right now, seems gray and boring in this light. But is it so? Or better say, it is not the matter of proving that thought wrong or right, the question is: is such thinking good for me? Does it make me feel like I want to feel?
Isn’t it a good subject worth exploring? The art of everyday life. Art de vivre, as I like to call it, inspired by the French who gained their fame for knowing how to live the life with ease and pleasure. I want to devote myself to study of this art, as I believe it can be learnt just as all other forms of art. For me it is more than eating breakfast in hipster restaurants and taking photos of shoes, bags and Starbucks cups, or whatever is trendy now among the lifestyle bloggers of Instagram.
Outside my window the snow is falling. Such a peaceful moment. It is the first snow of this winter. I live in Norway where winters are long and can start early, with heavy snowfalls in the middle of November. But this winter has been different, mild and snowless. So the snow feels like a good sign right now. Like setting a blank white page in front me, ready for my story.
My story is about new beginnings. It is about a girl finding her voice. Learning to trust it. It is about new dreams. New freedom and new lifestyle. Perfect for the beginning of the new year. I feel like 2017 will be something special in my life (and the horoscopes say the same thing too :)).