“We are all broken … that’s how the light gets in.” (Hemingway)

We are all broken … that’s how the light gets in.” (Hemingway)

   Is anybody around here perfect? Am I perfect? No. By no means, I am not. Should I be? Well, this is another story, one that has been on my mind for many years. What is perfect, after all?

   Remember my last blog post? I said that rather than getting out of the comfort zone, we should aim to enlarge it, to expand it with each experience that we live, with each step that we take. Because seeing it like that makes me want to do more. In my eyes, the equations look like this: getting out = to leave; to expand = to include, to add, to grow. And ultimately what I want for myself is to grow.

   Much the same way, my idea about being perfect is not going to be – probably – the same idea that the majority of people share. But you see, to be perfect is not my goal. One definition of perfect (the first one that popped out in my Google search) is “having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as it is possible to be”, or, in other words, to have no flows. Nobody can have all qualities or characteristics… Who said the you need to be tall and blonde to be perfect? Or that you need an MBA? And having no flows whatsoever does not even seam human to me. Perfection, much as beauty, is “in the eye of the beholder” (Shakespeare).

   So, I‘d rather take Hemingway’s side on this one: each and every one of us is “broken”, none of us are perfect (and no standards apply). We are build broken, imperfect and incomplete – and the only thing that we need to do is to let the light get in. This is perfect enough for me.

   Lots of sunshine to you all!

Near 40 Dana

The journey

The journey

   Life is a journey, not a destination. I do not remember who said that. I must have read it somewhere, as it remained so fresh in my mind. I loved it for it is so simple, and yet so true. I remember it hit me hard – what matters is the journey, the path you take, the ideas you follow, and the dreams you dream and then create, the principles that guide you and the light in your eyes. What matters is enjoying the trip and not racing towards the finish line. Because nobody knows what is beyond the finish line anyway.

   There are times you need to struggle, you need hustle, to push yourself beyond what you previously thought were your limitations. And there are times to stop, to enjoy the scenery and reflect.

   But even during the hustle times, you need to really enjoy it, as positive results cannot come from something you hate.

   What must not happen under any circumstances is for you to forget that today is part of your journey, even if it is bad, even if it hurts. Goals can change. People evolve and mature. Children grow up. The journey of life is so precious, so immensely precious! Nobody will give you back the years which you lost hating the present because it is not perfect, hating yourself for not being there where you thought you deserved. You need to be opened to the endless mysteries of your life journey and you need to trust that you will make the correct choices so as to achieve the things that you want to achieve.

   And if you fail, as sometimes we all do, well, the only thing definitive in life is Death (this one is not a quote; it is only the most important lesson that this almost 40, nearly 40 person, soon to be 40 something has learned during these almost 40 years). Failure is part of our journey, as much as success is. Failing does not make you a failure. Failing just makes you human. Only you can make yourself a failure. Only if you do that, you truly fail.

Lots of sunshine to you all!

Near 40 Dana

How to build a lifestyle-part I

How to build a lifestyle

Part I

   Living is not that easy … Years pass by and we grow older, but sometimes it takes ages to discover that we forgot the journey and we are just chasing something, day in, day out, something that we cannot define, nor attain. My frustration grew exponentially when I realized that it happened to me. It seemed like each day was beginning and then ending in the same way – with no joy, other than my family, and with no other goal than to tend to the obvious chores, to go to work, come home – do more chores, eat, sleep and all of that over again.

   It did not occur to me – for many, too many years – that life is a journey and not a destination. It did not occur to me that enjoying the present, loving the journey, is actually the goal! And when I finally woke up, I was already almost 40 and in need of redefining my way of leaving or else ….

   So: how to build a lifestyle that matches your core identity and that gives you the most fulfillment and joy? How to overcome the power of the habit? Because living each day like I was leaving was only due to the habits that I have created and then mentally nourished all those years.

   Well, first of all, do the obvious: do something that breaks the pattern of learned behaviors and that makes you feel alive. Like taking some tae bo classes or starting to attend lectures on your favorite topic of the moment. Alternatively, simply use YouTube as a source of inspiration and find free materials on whatever topic might interest you. Slowly, implement new habits that give you a sense of doing stuff for fun and because you want to, not because you need to. I know it sounds a bit strange: you will not be decluttering your already busy life, you will be starting things to do on top of the usual TO DO list! But trust me on that one: it works! You will find that it is possible to more and you will find that the mental freedom that you gain is priceless. Give up some of the old habits, if you can. This will feel like a victory! But the war is not won. Yet.

   Realize this: you are building a lifestyle that ultimately leads you to the life of your dreams. So start to plan: set goals, chase them and make them come true. Plan for “off times”, little islands of time for yourself, and design them in such a way that they feel like real rewards for the hard work you will still be doing day in and day out. Plan for the perfect vacation and – when things get tough – visualize yourself already there. I seldom imagine myself on the beach, listening to the waves and admiring a sunset painted in all the right colors!

   Make the right choices for you and for your body and soul. Meditate or do yoga if you can, eat right and think about nutrition rather than calories. Postpone desert until Saturday or Sunday – or any other day you might decide it is “your day off” in what regards food and so you are allowed to eat whatever you like. Drink lots of water, green tea (did you know that it is high in antioxidants that can improve the function of both your body and your brain?).

   Move in a way that makes you feel right – do not lift weights or run because it is trendy! If you love to swim, go swimming! If you just enjoy walking, than do not take bus all the way home: try to walk for at least 30 minutes a day.

   Stop and enjoy: a coffee, a beautiful flower, a painting, a dress, a car! Create the habit of giving yourself 5 minutes each time you find something you like and just enjoy it.

   Building the lifestyle you enjoy makes the journey that much loveable and precious! All that stands between you and loving it all is just a construct of your own mind – “I am too busy” or “I am too tired” or whatever excuse you use can be deleted as they are not you. You can overcome them. You just have to try, and try and try again until you do! Next week we are going to talk about more practical things.

Until then, lots of sunshine to you all!

Near 40 Dana

My thoughts for you on Women’s Day

My thoughts for you on Women’s Day

   Today is the 8 of March and in many parts of the world it is a day dedicated to women. Today we celebrate the International Women’s Day. It is our day. It is the day that we receive flowers and the men in our lives sometimes give us gifts. In some countries even, this day is also called Mother’s Day.

   In our hectic world, filled with violence and stupid wars, with endless political battles, with ideology clashes, today, it only feels right to do something positive for a change.

   Have you ever thought about what difference do you make in peoples lives? You are the first one to wake up in the house, you are the one preparing meals, you clean, you wash, you iron clothes, you go to work, you sometimes forget you are alive, because your working days never end at 5. You are the one that needs to do it all and you are the only one that can. Who can heal the pain of your child better than you can? Who can chase fever away and who wakes up in the middle of the night because the little one cries? Who suffers for them all: for all the times your significant other fails, for all the hard times life is hard on him, for all the tears your child cries? Who always feels their pains? Who always cares?

   Today is the day that we need to acknowledge our own value. Today we should all remember what powerful souls we have, how our hearts are brave and generous because they always give even when they are in pain. Today we need to remember that we MATTER.

   Each of us is a world of opportunities and promises and dreams, each of us is important and unique! We give love and we are LOVE! We give life and we are LIFE!

   Today should be a day for HOPE. Hope for a better future for us all. Hope that one day we will not need a Women’s day to celebrate all that we are!

   So, happy Woman’s Day to all of you!

Until next time, lots of sunshine to you all!

Near 40 Dana