A month ago, I was in Thailand and right after I returned, I started thinking of the next vacation. To think of that in March, is slightly unusual here. Norwegians usually plan their summer vacation already  in January, after the Christmas and New Year’s festivities are over, a time that also happens to be the darkest and coldest of the year.

It’s good to have something to look forward to, or is it? Yes, we all need rest, we all need breaks for everyday life in order to recharge our batteries and be more productive again, but I can’t help but to wonder, does our everyday life have to be so draining?

It’s only natural that a person, who spends their week working, managing and micromanaging non-stop, will by the end of the week be fed up, have high expectations about the weekend and probably end up with a serious case of Sunday blues. In the same way, investing all our hopes for fun on our vacation might leave us disappointed, as we only have a limited amount of days off.

Coming from a country where people, despite the financial challenges they face on a daily basis, still find a way to enrich their weekdays with activities and get togethers, I have as a goal for myself to live a life, which I don’t constantly feel the need to escape. I believe, that the more we’re looking for an escape, the less effort we put into making our whole lives a journey.

Vacation is a time for rest and travelling is an opportunity to discover the world, but it’s not the only thing that defines the quality of our lives. Quality of life for me, means that I hopefully won’t wake up one day when I’m forty or fifty and regret the life I’ve lived so far. It’s the joy lying in our every day and waits for us to discover it. And in more practical terms, here are some of the ways in which you can enrich your every day journey.

 

  • Take nothing for granted. Just because you’ve had your job for a long time, doesn’t mean you have to stop trying. Just because your partner is there for you every day, doesn’t mean they can’t leave. Re-earn and rediscover what you already have.  Cherish it and put effort into it. It’ll make you feel more alive and worthy.

 

  • Be spontaneous. You’re not a robot, so don’t live like one. I end up frustrated when I do only whatever is predetermined, as if I am on autopilot. Sometimes, it might seem like a luxury to ask yourself, “what do I want? Right now?”, especially if you have small children or a very busy schedule. It is however a necessary luxury, one that will remind you that you matter as well and that your wishes and desires have a place in this world. Do something that is not arranged, but that your really want to do in that specific moment.

 

The more we’re looking for an escape, the less effort we put into making our whole lives a journey

 

  • Go for a coffee. Coffee drinking with friends is a very popular activity in Greece and not without good reason.  Meeting up with friends, being social and sharing your worries or a good laughter, will add a lot to your every day life. Don’t wait for the weekend, meet your friends, go for a coffee, dinner, a movie, or take initiative and call those who you miss.

 

  • Don’t stop growing. I know by myself that sometimes nothing is better than hitting the couch after work and stare at the TV without necessarily watching something, but that only happens sometimes. What about the rest of the times? Challenge yourself and don’t just waste your time when you don’t really need to. Learn something new, a language, take an online course, read, educate yourself, volunteer. Getting out of you comfort zone is tiring, but it pays off in the long run as you become a version of yourself, that you like better.

 

  • Don’t overdo it. Be kind to yourself. The world, will never give us permission to take a break and our “to do” lists are endless, but can you really be satisfied with your life when you’re constantly tired?  When you feel like you’re burned out and exhausted, claim the down or alone time you need. Take care of yourself, your health, sleep more, exercise, eat well.

 

  • Be creative, express yourself. You don’t need to make masterpieces, but  expressing through creation, feelings that otherwise can’t be expressed, can be very liberating. At the same time, you are creating something that is entirely yours and that is enabling you to come in contact with new sides of yourself and see yourself in a different light. Allow yourself to be passionate about something, even if it’s not your 9 to 5 job.

 

  • See the greater picture. Take a moment every now and then to appreciate your life. Show understanding towards yourself and your choices. Acknowledge your efforts and respect the journey that’s brought you where you are. Don’t forget what you’ve learned and loved along the way.

 

  • Laugh and have fun, don’t take life too seriously. Children can have fun because they’re children, but adults have to work and wait until the weekend to be jolly? Now that is a bit unfair! You can be more playful in all aspects of your life. If you have a sense of humour, use it to brighten up dark days and to make the unanswered questions  that we all have to live with, appear smaller.

 

  •  Dream, there is no bigger escape than that. We need to dream, because it also helps us to figure out our next steps. Dreaming is wanting and wanting is the greatest force that helps us imagine, map and shape a great future.

 

  • Don’t wait. Don’t postpone doing what you need. As I’ve written before, today is a perfect day to do anything you want to do. The journey is to be travelled every day, so don’t spend your days trying to escape it.

Dreaming is wanting and wanting is the greatest force that helps us imagine, map and shape a great future

Published by Eleni Riga-Johansen