|Source: After the Cups|
Have you ever felt like you are currently in a transitional phase, and that everything in your life will be much better once you have completed this tiny little thing that's bugging you? I have. And I would imagine my new life with a lot of new habits and great happy moments ahead, but that I can enjoy only if I'm done with this little thing. Well, I have decided to change that mindset.
First, let me give you concrete examples of what I am talking about here. After I came back from Japan, I decided to rethink all my interior decoration and imagine how my life would be once I bought the furniture and decorations I was saving for.
I imagined myself living in that appartment, drinking tea on the couch, reading a book in that great wooden armchair, inviting friends over, cooking more often, waking up earlier in the morning and enjoying a healthy breakfast, putting some jazz music on and writing short stories on the week-ends...
But how many of these habits are really related to furniture and decoration? I had that similar feeling when I started editing my wardrobe - all these things I'd be able to do once I'd be stylish again. Have you ever imagined how your life would be if you:
- Lost a few kgs
- Had finished decorating your home
- Had bought that particular object you badly want
- Had completed your wardrobe editing
- Were finally done with this exam or that work project and will have more time
- Were more fit and exercised more regularly
- Cooked home meals more often
This is just a short list but maybe it gives you a better idea of the situation I'm trying to talk about. I noticed that in these situations, we tend to project ourselves in a sort of perfect future where completing this tiny little thing changes everything about our lives.
It is quite similar as comparing our lives with somebody else's really, we compare our life with our future self, and think we only need to achieve that one thing to magically reach it. Well, I've been thinking about the past years of my life, and it didn't really work that way.
Getting all of these new decorations after Japan certainly helped reclaiming my living space after one year away, but they didn't magically create that perfect future I was dreaming about. And it is the same for all similar situations I've lived before.
There were habits I did implement and change over the years though, but they didn't magically appear thanks to a new object or situation. I worked on them for months or even years.
So I have decided to consciously fight that kind of fantasized future magically appearing if only I got that "tiny thing I'm currently obsessing about", and actually do something to make that future happen instead. I want to read books on week-ends, invite friends over and eat healthy breakfasts? Then why not start doing it now? What's stopping me? There is no such thing as a transitional phase, we are in the real life now, so we'd better start living it.
I have applied this when I moved to Paris. I had this whole fantasized Parisian life before I moved in: espresso coffees in terrasses, casual walks in le Marais or Saint Michel, museum and exhibit visits, long week-end reads at a Starbucks, writing short stories while listening to Jazz music in my mini-home, Sunday market visits and purchases...
When I arrived, I decided to actually do all these things. And sometimes, when I am into my mind a bit too much, or on a week-end with no idea what to do, I remember this dreamed life, and pick one activity I was dreaming to do once I moved in Paris. I now apply this to other aspects of my life - I enjoy my wardrobe even if it's not "complete" yet, I maintain my weekly restaurant and occasional bakery treat even when I'm in a Christmas weight loss phase, I keep exercising even if I'm not "fit"...
It may sound a bit abstract, but something really clicked in my head when I became aware of that process. Besides, we tend to overestimate the positive when we think about future, as this TED talk suggests, so it is an unfair comparison, as is the one to other people. Does this make any sense? Have you lived that type of situation before?