Seeking a balanced life: you can’t have it all at once

Thoughts on slowing down have led me to consider the meaning of a balanced life.

What does that exactly mean? It looks different to each one of us.

This poem by Kenneth Koch, though, is a game changer at least for me.

Poem originally published in The New Yorker, May 18, 1998 P 80.

What’s true is of these three you may have two and two can pay you dividends but never may have three. These are the strongest verses in my opinion. It’s a hard pill to swallow, and if you think about it, there’s truth in it. You can’t have it all at the same time.

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Post-pandemic world: readjusting priorities

As days go by, and as we feel that it’s a little safer to go outside, the post-pandemic world brings a few questions to mind. What’s really going to change for us? What if we’re more comfortable in my personal space than in a public one? What if some of us don’t want to return to the office and share a desk with others?

New realities require changes, but every person and every company is going to take a different approach. And that’s fine. However, we’re free to choose our own way according to new priorities.

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Thinking in decades to track our growth

Lately, the idea of thinking in decades has been resonating more than ever. More thoughts have triggered after finding this quote:

Days are long, but decades are short.

I haven’t stopped reflecting on this ever since I read it in this article. I’ve been thinking what it means to me, and if this is going to change the way I live my life.

On the other hand, perception of time also enters the equation. Sometimes, days feel too short, and we wish we had more than 24 hours to do all the things we want to do.

In a different scenario, we wished certain days ended faster. Headaches and other issues that pop up make us beg for less hours so that the struggle goes away. Some days are really difficult.

Time is relative, but it’s one of the resources that doesn’t renovate itself. The way we spend our days determine the things we accomplish in decades.

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20 things that made my 2020 interesting

An unforgettable year is ending. In spite of all the terrible events that took place around the world, I found value in highlighting 20 things that made my 2020 interesting in my personal life.

This exercise gives me a sense of accomplishment, and it’s also a great way to practise self-reflection. From now on, I’ll do it every year to see where my focus has been and celebrate my own efforts.

Here’s the 20 things that made my 2020 interesting:

  1. Reconnecting with myself through therapy. Yes, this was the year I finally realized I needed help to solve issues from the past. The pandemic moved all my emotions and decided to pay attention to what was happening. Fortunately, I’m in a much better place right now.
  2. Knowing that my family has been supporting me throughout this process. I wouldn’t be able to do it without them.
  3. Discovering the orange book on Twitter. This account was quite the discovery in the middle of my personal crisis. Whenever I read this person’s tweets, I always get new ideas and feelings about life. It’s simply that powerful.
  4. The 99u conference. This year, it adapted a digital format and anyone in the world could access it for free. In spite of the circumstances, it was wonderful to gain knowledge in every conference and meet the brilliant speakers who make things happen. My two main takeaways were: an hour of your time can make a difference to nurture your creative self, and noticing the world around you can fortify your creativity.
  5. Writing my first book! I’m taking the self-publishing route and, if everything goes well, I’ll publish it next year. Whoa.
  6. Speaking of self-publishing, my personal journey is allowing me to learn other aspects of writing. The editing process is crucial, and it’s important to invest in it and learn what kind of editing you need.
  7. Rediscovering bossanova music. Every difficult moment got better as soon as I listened to happier and more energetic tunes, such as Magalenha by Segio Mendes.
  8. Music always makes a difference under any circumstance. Here’s a more specific list of songs that defined the sound of 2020 for me.
  9. With strange highs and strange lows, these things helped me find light in times of darkness.
  10. Learning about compound knowledge. It’s a mindset worth adopting, and something tells me it’ll define how 2021 will unfold for me.
  11. Watching Sailor Moon with the same enthusiasm as my six-year-old self.
  12. Joining Tim’s listening party on Twitter when A Certain Ratio was featured. I missed the one with Friendly Fires, though.
  13. Speaking of Friendly Fires, “Sleeptalking” is one of their most perfect songs.
  14. In terms of music albums released in 2020, Petals for Armor by Hayley Williams and Freeze/Melt by Cut Copy were outstanding.
  15. Getting to know María Félix through her movies.
  16. Blogging in Spanish again.
  17. Paying off student loans.
  18. Deciding to diversify my personal library. From now on, I’m reading genres I had not read before. Here’s a list of books I’m hoping to get next year.
  19. Getting Live Spirits by Depeche Mode delivered to my home after waiting for it for six months.
  20. Being able to create my e-newsletter.

The sound of 2020: tunes that helped me get through the year

What’s the sound of 2020? I recently discovered a fantastic online time capsule of music. It’s called “2020 IS A SONG“, and it has a simple objective: sharing with the world the one song that got you through this crazy year.

While it’s hard to choose only one song, for this time capsule I decided that mine had to be Sleeptalking by Friendly Fires.

I’ve written about the importance of noticing the world around. In an attempt to explain to myself why certain songs helped me more than others, I’m sharing a list of the tunes that brought me solace, peace or joy and why. Here’s the sound of 2020 for me.

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Life lessons from the mysterious Orange Book

What else can we say about 2020?

It’s going to be an unforgettable year. It’s hard to visualize what 2021 has in store for humanity, but all we have is the present. This moment.

There’s still a lot to do to reshape our mindsets and move forward and navigate turbulent waters.

One of the sources that kept me grounded was the Orange Book on Twitter. The person who owns this account is brilliant and mysterious at the same time. No one knows who he or she is, but every thought that he/she posts is deep and meaningful.

I want to share how these posts helped me know myself better.

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Learning mode: a constant process of discovery

We all need to be on learning mode at any stage of our lives.

It doesn’t matter how experienced we are in our professions. It doesn’t matter if we aren’t going to school anymore.

As snow falls outside and confinement remains the same, I’ve been thinking about my days as a university student. I look back and see myself sitting near the lecturer’s desk to avoid any distractions. I see my notebook ready for notes along with a black pen and a red pen to scribble as much as possible.

I was receptive to learning.

For the real world, I believe that same formula is worth implementing. Our lives and professions nowadays are demanding us to adapt to new forms of operating. The transition turns difficult when there’s resistance; however, in learning mode, it is possible to approach challenges with new eyes.

At the same time, learning means being willing to accept that there’s a whole world inside of ourselves that we know little about. We need to stay curious to unblock our own minds.

Learning is discovery, the discovery of the cause of our ignorance. However, the best way of learning is not the computation of information. Learning is discovering, uncovering what is there in us. When we discover, we are uncovering our own ability, our own eyes, in order to find our potential, to see what is going on, to discover how we can enlarge our lives, to find means at our disposal that will let us cope with a difficult situation.

(…)

Learning is definitely not mere imitation or the ability to accumulate and conform to fixed knowledge. Learning is a constant process of discovery and never a concluding one.

bruce lee

Quotes taken from brainpickings.org

What are you learning about yourself nowadays?

Special Needs

Sometimes, I don’t want to talk.
I don’t want to share
what you won’t understand.
We shouldn’t waste our time.

Playing devil’s advocate
doesn’t cheer me up
on a day I want to give up.
You don’t know, but I suffocate.

I just want to be okay again.
Life should be simpler than this.
So listen to my truth and believe me.
Pain does exist.

Do you know what that means?