We have all been there. Some more than others. We are introduced to something new and suddenly everything about our genuinity and standards fly out the window!
What the hell is that about?
Sometimes going from our crappy studio apartment to a week in the Bahamas, staying at an all inclusive can give us a big head. The great part about vacationing is you can really be anyone you want. You can blow your spending money on whatever you want. You can finally let loose, get drunk, go wild and crazy, and dance with that hot foreigner who’s staying at your same hotel. Vacations are amazing!
But sometimes, ending a vacation is easier than ending the vacation mindset. We bring the attitude back in our carry-ons. We go home and demand more, ask less. We get into the habit of talking about ourselves more, as if the people we’re around everyday really want to hear our life story – again.
It’s natural to want to keep the vacations going. When we go on more, the dream of another one never goes away. In fact, sometimes we dream of vacations and “a better life” so often, we let our real life go by in a total blur. We dont realize how great our current life is. How much we love cleaning our place up, or working out for two hours at the gym, or cleaning up after the kids. We go through the motions and neglect the people, things, and activities we care about most.
Always dreaming of something more stops us from enjoying the moments we currently live in. We forget to make our moments special. Thinking only a vacation can give that to us.
Well, if you have been guilty in those thinking traps, you’re not alone. It’s a common phase we all go through once or twice.
So in those moments of loss, remember some of these helpful tools that even I live by:
1. Taking Time To Be Grateful
Every morning when I am sitting at the trax station, waiting for the train, I spend the 15-20 minutes usually expressing what in my life I am grateful for. Sure, I wish a lot of times I was back in China. Yeah, I would love to up and move to NYC or Seattle. Go live in South America just to learn the language. I want these things so badly that sometimes I can lose sight of what I already have. So I give thanks. I thank God everyday that I have a chance to live with my mom for the time being to really solidify our relationship. I thank God for all the blessings, friends, experiences, jobs, and wisdom life has given me. I am grateful to grow up and live where I do, because I truly think there is no better place.
Once you start giving thanks for what you do have, versus what you don’t have, you will see life in a new way.
2. Pretending You’re On A Vacation
Now I know this one may come off a little weird. Sometime about a year ago, I read a blog from marcandangel.com about ways to be happier. Number 19 on that list was to pretend you are in a different place. So sometimes, as I ride my bike, I look at the environment as if I had never been there before. Not that I purposely get lost, but I pretend like I am getting to know a new city. The beauty of somewhere different. For example, a lot of the times, I imagine I am in London. The days we have a beautiful cloudy sky, the mornings with fresh Snow….. I do pretend I am across seas. Not only am I openly happier about each situation that comes up, but I am more inclined to build rapport with strangers and am able to make their day as well (or vise versa). Making yourself happy and being able to make someone else happy, is one of the greatest feelings I believe a person can get.
3. Evaluating Self-Progression
As we have all heard – we are where we are today because of our choices. With every action is an equal and opposite reaction. What goes around comes around. What you put in, you get in return. There are hundreds of different ways to say it, but point blank – Whatever successes or failures we have this very moment is because of what we have decided to do. President Obama didn’t sleep his way to the White House. The RZA didn’t just build one of the greatest, most influential rap groups in history just by chance. And Michelangelo didn’t make a masterpiece in one night. They worked their asses off to get to where they wanted to go. If they weren’t progressing or if they felt stuck in life, they took a step back and calculated every action up until that point. They thought about what was working, what was the worse of the two decisions, and what they could do differently to keep climbing that mountain.
So if you notice that you are routinely doing the same things everyday, while your mind is dreaming up new and exciting things – experiences and goals you want to work on and explore – you need to take a seat, maybe get out a pen and paper and write down all the things you are doing now. With another column down the same paper, make a list of all the things you want to start doing. With your last column, maybe on the bottom part of the paper, between the top two, make a list of how you are going to make it happen. You need to decide which things aren’t exactly time beneficial, such as 3 hour naps a day, 2 hours of TV time, 2 hours of mindless internet gazing. What are you doing now in the day, that you could replace with something productive? Something that will allow you be the better and more successful person you can be?
Remember: Wishing won’t accomplish your goals. Dreaming won’t make your success real.
Working hard and putting in 100% effort will bring you everything you want out of life. No matter what it is you are doing.
4. Taking the Focus Off Of Yourself
Naturally, for most human beings, we are our favorite subject to talk about. But the minute you start asking questions and taking the attention off yourself, the more you learn about other people, other places, and other things. Your imagine grows. Your conversational skills advance. You grow more trust in people and in turn, people pay more attention to you. You start coming together to make things happen. You build lasting friendships and fantastic first impressions. We are not the most important thing on this Earth.
5. “It Could Always Be Worse”
Enough beating around the bush…. STOP COMPLAINING!! Whether it’s the co-workers who make you want to pull your hair out, or the gossip that goes on in school, or the fact that “Oh my God did you see who Travis came to Monica’s party with?” or even the traffic that takes 30 extra minutes because of a highway accident…. whatever you are complaining about, STOP IT NOW!!! Think about it this way, You should feel lucky that you even have a job. You can make the decision to ignore gossip. And who cares who Travis is with? If he is gonna play you, gurrrrl, you are better off being single. So you have a longer commute to work, so what? That gives you more time to double check if you are on the up and up, listen to that kick-ass new song on the radio (or any music source you have set up), or drink your coffee.
Whatever is going on in your life that you feel makes it sooooo horrible, just remember that somewhere – millions of people are unemployed. Some people don’t have cars. Some people don’t have food or houses or shoes. Some kids will never get the chance to go to school. Some kids never see the light of day where they have friends. A lot of people in this world live an unfortunate life that we can’t even fathom. Sometimes in China, their streets are actually covered in mud and sewage. That’s right. You walk in poop. Feel lucky you can flush toilet paper down the toilet. Be grateful you have a dryer and a stove, because some places, don’t provide those in their countries.
Whatever problems you’re facing in your life, don’t ever forget that things could always be worse. That could be you in the car accident on the highway. Would you be mad then? Would you wish you could stand up and shout to the other cars slowly going by “I’m sorry for the hold up but I just went through my own winshield!”? I know I would.
One of the best pieces of advice I received was both from my mom and close friend Wang Dong Mei. They told me, “Ashlyn, before you take any action, on whatever it is, think, think, re-think, and think again.” Only after that was when I could take action, if I still believed in my heart of hearts it was the right one. When I do these five things, I fully enjoy my life more. I don’t need the world anymore, because I have the most important people and things around me. I have the relationships I have always dreamed about. I complete the goals I want to complete. I take fault for my actions. I own up to my life and realize that even though I am not rich or have a trust fund or that I can’t afford all the name brand I want to, I still live a pretty kick ass life, and no material item or all inclusive hotel that top that. Those are just bonuses. Because we can’t take the beauty with us when we go. We can’t take anything. So enjoy it while you can and remember what you have.