2017: the year of connectivity

2017 started 13 days ago and for the first time in years I haven’t wrote my New Year’s resolutions and goals lists. It is very odd that I don’t have a list of goals, as this is so characteristic of me. I always have lists. Truth is that I’ve been feeling a little off lately. A weird and chronic exhaustion, mixed with fear and instability. I had great experiences and accomplishments along the last 3 years, and as we walk into 2017 I can’t think of what to do next.

This is how big the crises in my head is: what personal goals do I want to achieve? I have a beautiful family, two cute dogs and a wonderful house. It’s pretty good, isn’t it? What comes next? What career goals do I want to achieve? Should I be taking more education? In what? How long do I want to stay in my current job? Should I change careers? What do I want?

Not having an answer to these questions causes such an anxiety that I feel like I’ve been suffering a constant anxiety attack since the last week of December. It is hard to focus on plans, it is hard to focus on performance, on achieving, on enjoying anything because I am always so anxious about deciding what I want to be doing.

In the middle of this emotional crisis, I realized something huge: I have been cheating on my goals. Inedvartelly, I’ve been avoiding my fears by creating different fears and going after them. But the original fear that causes all this trouble still inside. I am afraid of showing myself to the world. I am afraid of being exposed.

Last year I got really inspired when I heard about the Live Your Legend group and since then I have started participating in forums, attended some of the meet ups, and started this blog. I’m trying to put myself out there and connect with other people, or that’s what I said. The truth is that even though I feel inspired by the people I have met, my doors and walls are still up. I am afraid of opening up to people, afraid of being rejected and afraid of not being part of this group either.

I realized that the big thing I’ve been missing is connection. And I have been sabotaging this search all along. Since my teenager years, I’ve been part of many different groups, considered many people as friends, and with time felt like an outsider, felt like I didn’t belong there. Today, I barely spoke with any of these people. I became a very isolated and introspective person, because I am SO tired of getting excited and inspired by this connection with a group of people and then not belonging there.

People seem to have so much in common , and they get along, and they connect and they create this family like bounding. I never quite feel that, and as a result I feel like an impostor, an outsider and step away from the group. I’ve been doing this for years.

I realized that overcoming my fear of not belonging to any group is my biggest challenge, and that is what I want to work on in 2017. I want to work on becoming more open to people, on truly connecting and putting myself out there. And maybe the way to start is by putting my defences down and being more open, letting people know the true me.

To 2017, a year of connectivity.

We don’t need more nostalgia

Nostalgia, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is a wistful or excessively sentimental yearning for return to or of some past period or irrecoverable condition.  Nostalgia is that weird and indescribable  feeling that you have when you look back to a moment of your life and remembers how good it felt.

Nostalgia is not necessary associated with something bad. In a way of speaking, it is great that we feel it, because it means that we experienced something beautiful and remarkable that even after years have passed by, still provokes our emotions and still makes us smile at that wonderful memory.

I am a true believer that our memories and past experiences influence our future and I value on the highest rank any memory and moment of my past life. The moments I laughed and cried are the moments that defined who I am and brought me to where I am today and I will always look back to this moments with my heart in my hands.

But recently I’ve been observing a different development of the ways people experience nostalgia, which have completely dissociated all the benefits of this bittersweet feeling and replaced it with what I believe to be one of the greatest problems of our current world: nostalgia is no longer remembering, but a failed and corrupted attempt of bringing back the past.

When I look for something to watch on the TV, all I can find is new versions of old time classics. There is a new take on the Snow White and Beauty on the Beast. New movies actually shows that a lot of the villains were victims. Pokemon has now three thousand different generations. All the TV shows I used to watch ten years ago now are releasing revivals. And although some of this new productions are great, most of them is just trying to revive that feeling and get the attention of those people that once loved this or that show.

In the attempt of reviving something that was successful ten years ago, the biggest accomplish is to ruin the memory and frustrate those who once actually enjoyed the originals.

Is it really possible that we have extinguished humanity’s available creativity  and  all that is left is  reruns of what is already here?

But the corrupted experience of nostalgia doesn’t stop there. It is also present in every other aspect of out daily lives. People are too busy remembering and commenting on how great things used to be to focus on our recent challenges and opportunities. I have friends who spend hours commenting how great our lives were in high school and how hard things are now, instead of getting out of bed and looking for a job. Desperate to revive that nostalgic existence, they try to get back to who they were in that time of their lives, which only means that you don’t develop, but keep trying to be a person you were more than a decade ago. What a wasteful decision!

I am sure that we have all experienced great moments in our lives and we all feel nostalgic from times to times. I can also understand that when life is rough we tend to remember even more vividly those  good times. What we can’t forget is that nostalgia is only good as a memory, and trying to live in the past will only cause us to waste our present. The same way, we many times remember only the goods, without remembering that even on our moments of greatness life presented its challenges and if we can now look at those moments with nostalgia, is only because they are now finished.

We don’t need more nostalgia, we need more people engaged with the present, more people visioning the future. We need more people who are ready to create and explore new good moments, new moments of greatness and face the challenges that our society presents to us now.

 

 

 

What do you do that makes you feel invincible?

27 Questions to Ignite your Spark

Question 2:

What do you do that makes you feel invincible?


We are exposed to many different situations on the course of our lives, and in many of them we face fear, insecurity, anxiety, challenge. My observation and experience makes me think that we focus more on these situations than on the situations that make us feel good. But there are also lots of things in life that make us feel confident, secure, calm, happy. Why don’t we focus more on them?

I think we take for granted our skills and abilities. We are always thinking and saying “I can’t do this” or “I’m not good at that” instead of “I prefer doing this” and “I was really good at this.” So this is the question for today: What do you do that makes you feel invincible?

My answer is something that might be considered very nerd, but it is something that always makes me feel good: organizing. Whenever I’m in a down mood, feeling like a failure, confuse and full of questions, if I take some time to organize something – really, anything! My closet, the kitchen, my desk, anything. – I feel invincible. No matter how bad my day is going or how terrible I am in getting something done, I know I am always able to organize anything and make it practical.

My mom was a very smart woman, who decided to go back to university and work when she had two kids at home. During our childhood, she came up with different sorts of games: organizing the house for your friend’s visit, who could make the bed in less time, who would beat the record of doing dishes that week… These games were great for us, helped her to keep her sanity and the house clean, but most of all, gave me the 101 of organization.

 My mom also had another habit. Once in a while, she would decide to move everything in the house to a different place. We tried every single setting possible for the living room furniture, and the kitchen, and the bedrooms… Whenever we were done, we would feel a lot better about the house. It looked cleaner, more practical, more organized and we felt like we accomplished something.

Growing up, I develop that habit as well. There were many times that I was sitting on my bedroom trying to find an answer for a problem or resolve a math exercise, study for that important test, etc and I reach that breaking point when nothing that you do seems to be productive. I need to recollect myself. I need to regain focus. So what do I do? I organize.

So this might be a very silly and little thing, but this is what makes me feel invincible. Organizing is something I can always do when I need to feel accomplished, secure, confident. Once you find something that gives you this confidence, you always have a way of rebuilding your self esteem and charging the batteries before going ahead.

What about you? What do you do that makes you feel invincible?

What makes you happiest in your life? What excites you?

27 Questions to Ignite your Spark

Question 1:

What makes you happiest in your life? What excites you?


If I ask you to tell me three things that you hate, would you take long to give me an answer? I wouldn’t. I can very easily think of things I hate. Things that annoy me, things that I complain about daily. From what I see and the people I know, looks like most of us have a list of complaints and annoyances that could go on forever.

Would you be as fast to tell me what things make you happy?

It seemed like a silly question when I first read it, but when I was trying to put an answer together I realized that it was a lot harder than I thought! I am so fast to say the things I hate, the things that upset me, but when I tried to think about things that make me happy I can only come up with little and temporary things like: a cup of coffee, chocolate, a day off.

How can it be? Is it possible that I don’t really know what makes me happy? I mean, when you ask me about what upsets me I can come up with really concrete examples: we can start with almost everything that is math related – it makes me sad and it gives me headaches – hypocrisy, rudeness, being in small spaces, social inequity, lack of organization… (I can go on forever). But when you ask me about happiness, I think of a warm cup of coffee, and how it makes me feel better after a bad day.

See, what I notice is that most of the things that I list as happiness are really a way of balancing out things that upset me. Following this line of thought, I realized that if I was unhappy and unsatisfied it was mainly because I didn’t know what I wanted. What made me happy. And if you don’t know what makes you happy, you don’t know which direction to go, which decisions to make, where to focus.

Part of my unhappiness was caused by my lack of self-knowledge.

When I started working on my list, I got to the most important things: Family, Friends, a feeling of belonging somewhere. This are great things, they all make me very happy, but in order to find your passion you need to go deeper than that, right?

Finding out what you love, and what makes you happy can be hard!

After thinking for a long time, I got to my preliminary list. I still think that this is a work in progress, and that maybe you have to review your list from time to time, because things change.

I am happy when I feel like I am doing something that means something. I am happy when the effort I put into something helps people, inspires people. I’m happy when I am exposed to a new perspective, when I hear a story from someone new, when I learn about new places, new experiences, when I feel like part of something bigger. The idea of talking to people and listening to their stories excites me. I am happy when I am writing – no matter about what -and when I meet new, interesting people.

So this might be a very raw answer, but it is the beginning of a long process of finding myself and learning who I am. For now, I am trying to find ways of adding this to my life: I am trying to meet new people, talk and learn about their stories; I’m volunteering and looking for opportunities where I can be meaningful.

What about you? Have you found what makes you happy yet?