A few years back, I got really unhappy with my life and felt really stuck. I had begun a job that I was madly in love with, only to find out that it wasn’t all that it cracked up to be, and I was living in conditions where I felt like I wasn’t allowed to be myself. I needed a new life.
Despite the fact that I was in the most loving relationship ever and I had good friends who supported me, I was noticeably unhappy throughout the day and constantly stressed. I wasn’t having fun anymore, even when I was having fun (if you know what I mean). One rainy afternoon I was wondering why the hell I had fallen into this state. I mean, I never was an unhappy person in my life. Never. I was that person that people said smiled all the time, even when I was trying to give a ‘screw’ face. One feeling, in particular, was bothering me – the feeling that life was passing me by. It scared the living sh*t out of me. So for the afternoon I decided to just chill and think, all I could on what makes life pass us by so quickly. Why, I wondered, was life speeding up as I got older? And how could I slow it down? And that’s when I realised something:
The less present you are during the day, the more quickly it feels like time is passing. And generally, the less you are doing activities you enjoy, the less you are in flow, and the more you think. The more you think, the less you are paying attention to life and the more unhappy you get.
When you’re unhappy, you tend to be thinking a lot about life. When your job sucks, you’re not engaged. You’re listless and googling shit (like I was), and in general not enjoying what’s going on. When you love your work, or a class you’re in, or a hobby after work, you’re fully present because you’re having a great time. When you’re present, you aren’t thinking. When you aren’t thinking, you’re generally happy. You’re not looking for an out. The time that is passing is “worthwhile.” If you feel like life is passing you by, if you’re unhappy, or if you feel stuck and feel resistance in every direction, I think its all about investing your time in things/people who intensely make you present and turn off your mind.
For me I knew this involved me de-activating my Facebook until I was ready to be apart of that world again. In the past when I made my ‘major’ life changes, guess what I would do at least 20 times a day? Check my Facebook here and there for 2 minutes. Look through old pictures when I actually enjoyed my life. Look at friends posting their holiday pictures. Look at happy couples. Look at people bragging about their lives (even if they hated them, they made them look good on Facebook). Interestingly enough, they even did a study on Facebook showing it to be a major source of envy and unhappiness. The other problem for me (yes my opinion) with social networks I found was that it was pulling me as far away as possible from the present. When you’re present, for example while doing something you love, you aren’t thinking. This is the easiest way to be happy long-term. Watching your friend’s latest trip to Paris, whilst you’re stuck in the office just makes you jealous and feel worse about your life. When you’re focusing on the sh*t that you have to do now, to improve your life now, your mind turns off……so stop letting life pass you by, and go do something.
P.s Just a few days left of my travels around the world hence wanted to share some pics from the last two stops, Rio and NY 🙂