I went out last night and it was amazing how many times I heard this phrase: “I can’t stay out too late. I have to be up early in the morning.” Yes, I know that most people have to get up early to go to work, but … should that really stop you from having a good time?
Call me crazy, but I think you can be responsible and still enjoy yourself, no? What is it about the city of New York that makes people feel like they can’t do both.
Now, I’m not saying you should blow off your responsibilities to have a good time. All I’m saying is that there is a way to achieve a balance. And it’s all about perspective.
Living in Madrid has changed my perspective on things. I still work as hard as I did in the past, but have realized that work is not all that matters. I’m not defined by what I do…It is not who I am. Instead of focusing on getting ahead in my career I now put more emphasis on taking advantage of every opportunity, to relax, have fun, and enjoy each minute of the day.
Before moving to Madrid I used to get bummed out because I was always wanting. I wanted x to happen so y would follow. I wanted z to happen so that I’d truly be happy with myself. All I did everyday was want. Well, I still have wants, but now I have more appreciation for what I already have. I appreciate all the simple things: a piece of gum that tastes delicious, making food in my apartment, sitting and talking for hours with friends, e.t.c. All of these little things make me happy. And when you’re happy what more do you want?
So now’s the hard part. It’s easy to go out and buy a Spanish coffee maker or a lunch tray to make things feel more like Madrid, but it’s more difficult to keep perspective when surrounded by others without that said perspective.
In Madrid I rarely complain because I don’t have anything to whine about. I won’t sit down for drinks with a friend and talk about all the wants I have because that’s not how people there live.
I know Madrid is slow. I know that New York is all about convenience … fast. And I know that Madrid beats in the present and New York in the future. But how do I make New York slow? How do I make New York present? Or, really, how do I stay present and take pleasure in the simple things when I’m in a place that is focused on working for your future and buying the next biggest and best thing.
I know nobody can change anybody else, which is why I’m focusing on how to continue to be the person I like in a place that might not be able to nurture it.
So my new mission is to find ways to keep my perspective on enjoying life; to keep myself present in a city where everyone has to wake up early the next day.
Going out now to buy a bottle of nice red wine!by