Sunday, 31 August 2014

About doing things out of your system

I have to admit it, I'm not the biggest fan of doing things out of your system.
Not that I deny that it's a useful practice, but I think that it's kinda overrated nowadays.
Our society seems to be pushing us at becoming some sort of new-age superheroes, claiming that it's just a matter of slipping into the correct state of mind and then you'd be able to do just everything you want - empowering your hidden skills with the "If you want you can" kind of mantra in all its declinations.
Well, this is not true.
I don't mean that one shouldn't do everything in his power to pursue his dreams (since it's also what I'm doing, anyway); but it's not true that it's just a matter of wanting and we can obtain everything.
It's quite a dangerous thing to claim: we cannot do everything we dream, we are not able to have any possible skill on earth we'd wish to have - and we must be very well aware of it.

So, concerning the Things-Out-of-your-System habit, while I think it can sometimes turn into a useful and constructive practice, in the meantime I also do not think you necessarly "have" to do it compulsorly.

I guess that the first useful step should be definying what "your system" is.
Whether it is somehow a self-built sort of prison, where the borders of your own comfort zone are actually defined by some sort of laziness or fear of self-growth and change; or if instead it's been built after a continous trial and analysis of who you are and of what you really want, which already allow yourself towards change and exploration and implies borders which are a dynamic and everlasting work in progress.

The thing is - when you get out of your doorstep, and you start to go... then it gets so difficult to stop...

In the first case I'd say that a push out of the system should be much needed.
Not because what you are is "wrong", but because you don't even know yet what you really are: you get content about building your personality with whatever is given you in your surroundings, but avoid to seek for anything more which might perhaps feed you with more substance.
And you forget that human beings are not pools, but rivers: they constantly flow, they constantly need to change in order to stay themselves.
The core of their personality builds its balance constantly, day after day, accepting the challenges that might  menace its stability and finding new triggers every now and then. If you don't do this, you actually don't grow: your personality collapses, you stop being yourself. You become the captivity version of yourself - starving and crumbling in prison.
So "going out of your system" becomes a way to know yourself better, to try and taste different dishes not only to discover which one might become your fave - but also to find out which one nourishes your soul the way it needs it. Life is better described as a path, and rarely a path is straight: it's through deviations that you might find your desired destination.

Just take time to daydream, to travel inside yourself as well...

Instead, if "your system" is already built with a good degree of self-awareness, actually the need of going out of it every now and then should already come spontaneous.
It's a strange but beautiful chemistry, that when you are quite a lot in aware and acceptance of yourself you get to be more in love with life than ever.
And therefore curious about it. Curious about trying new things.
You get kind of hungry, about everything.
It's no longer an effort to be constantly rebuilding your own borders, because you almost feel like you no longer have borders: there is so much to do, try and feel outside of yourself, that you just can't wait to open the door and get out there - and bring with you the best stuff when you'll come back.

When you decide to set your own borders you can also decide to not set them at all...

Most of your limits are no longer just embedded with fear, but they end up being trasformed into lists of things you want to try.
It doesn't mean that fear will automatically disappear, nor it means that you won't feel clumsy, or stupid, or inadeguate while trying it - it just means that curiosity and hunger somehow becomes stronger than it, and will push you to try what you would have never thought you would have the courage or boldness to try.

Travel and write, write and travel...

One of my fave quotes says that "You don't have to compare yourself to others, you have to compare yourself to the person you used to be".
Not only each one of us has a different journey, each journey has also a different start: some of us live next to the airport, some others have to wake up at 4 am in order to catch a flight that leaves at noon.
If I take a distance and look at my life the way it is today, objectively it might not seem like it is made of brave achievements nor of breakthrus which turn you upside down; but if I turn my head and turn the look behind my shoulders, then I'm quite proud of all the steps I've made so far in my journey.
Sometimes I've gone backwards and run back away, losing touch with the direction I was taking; and then I still haven't managed to get rid of certain burdens which slow my pace (for the sheer reason that I feel attached to such burdens, for as much painful as they sometimes are) - but if I look at myself the way I was 15 years ago, and if I start to count all the things that I've been doing since, which I would have never thought I would have done back then, then I think life can often be pretty much surprising, and that I'm happy to have done all the steps that have lead me at this point.

..."but my real dream was that one day I would write something that people would actually read"...

I used to be a lonely teenager pretty much lost in her own little world, with not many friends except my books - what a stereotype, huh.
I used to feel quite clumsy about making the first step in building some kind of friendship, opening up and talking, inviting people to share moments. I thought I wasn't an interesting person, and all in all the whole didn't just come natural to me.
This is one thing that I've obliged myself to do "out of my system": but then it got so rewarding that nowadays making friends, or travelling the world to meet them (or travelling the world *with* them, come to that), no longer feels out of my system.

Cheers!!! To friends and travels

It's got pretty well integrated. I must say that writing has given me a big hand in the whole process: I've started penpalling aged 17 and I had found how much easier it was for me to "talk" in a written form.
The written interaction helped me to gain assureness about the value of myself in a friendship's exchange, and then the further step of meeting in person made me aware that I was perfectly able to translate the same skills in a face to face interaction as well. works very well with ice creams too!

Travelling was quite out of my system as well, back then.
It was a constant dream of mine, declined into some very specific goals which had the shape of the green landscapes of Ireland, of the mysteries of Prague and of the peculiar elegance of London - but back in those days the only destination where my family & I were venturing was the seaside of Northern Italy.
Mind, not even the crystal blue waters of Sardinia or Sicily - just the flat beaches of Riviera Romagnola, haunted by gutterish seaweeds, or the narrow ones in Liguria.

Nowadays is going at the seaside that feels out of my system. I don't even know how long it's been that I don't do some kind of "proper" seaside holiday - like, laying on the beach the whole day doing nothing.
I bet it must be 14 years or more.
The only thought feels kinda dreadful, most of the times.
Well, not really dreadful, but usually I'm not blessed with too many days off, therefore I prefer making the best out of them: the best for me, obviously, which includes some other kind of destinations and a more active approach to the days spent there.
But - having blessed with an incredible amount of days off this year, I felt I wanted to do something different as well.
I felt I could deal with a few days spent laying in front of the sea doing nothing. Or well, reading perhaps.
I felt like I wanted to feel the sea breeze again, its smell, the salt crusting on my skin. I felt like I wanted to dip my feet in humid sand again, to walk along the beach at sunset contemplating the sea turning red and golden, hearing the seagulls screaming and eating ice creams.

Can't be too bad, huh?

Has this really given me something "more" than my usual (so called) cultural holidays? Do I have many memorable posts to write about this? Perhaps no, but still it felt good.
And I guess that "doing nothing the whole day" may feel just right every now and then.
Expecially when this year my so-called "free time" (aka the time off from my "official", paid job) has been so crazy and hectic by trying to run in an almost professional way this blog and also by squeezing in everything else.
So doing things out of your system sometimes can also be a way to allow you to get a rest from yourself.
To stop for a while and see things from the outside. To breathe new air and let your nostrils feel every single element of it.

I guess it's good to sit down every now and then, look back and enumerate all the things out of your system that you've done in the meanwhile.
I think the most relevant one I have done this year so far has been trying to drive on the left side in the Isle of Skye, Scotland.
Might not be a big thing for many, but to me it's been quite a challenge, because I don't like driving at all and it had been one year or so that I hadn't done a proper drive.
Now I won't tell things like "Hey, it's great to push your limits, then you will feel so good and powerful and you will laugh at your fears" or something.
It didn't feel any great, to be honest, it just felt pretty much exhausting and frustrating.
My left arm was aching so badly because of not being used to the gears on that side, and my back and shoulders were all stiff and painful because of the tension.
I've liked that this way we've managed to see amazing landscapes that we would have probably have missed otherwise; but all in all it felt quite tensed and not enjoyable.
Might you tell me that the second time will be better? Maybe, but I'm just not sure I'd want a second time.
It doesn't always have to be rewarding. But still - I wanted to try it and I did.
And who's to say - maybe it will come a day when I will want to try it again.

Nourishing my core...
After all the definition of what's in your system is pretty much dynamic.
Because *we* are dynamic, as human beings: we keep on changing, we keep on being moved towards new things, we keep on undergoing challenges that provide us different attitudes towards life.
I guess our core always stay the same, but day after day it gets to be nourished by different ingredients.

Looking back, basically there have been only two things which have always been "in my system": travelling and writing.
But it's been thanks to these two that through the years I've managed to get more and more out of my initial borders.
And to grow...


  1. OMG that was one of the best icecreams ever! Is that our wine, too? I know it's hard to do things out of your system ... but it's good! And scary! But afterwards you feel so much better. I'm off to Argentina tomorrow and I have to give the control over our blog to M. who I totally trust. Since our numbers have been dropping a bit I'm really nervous about it since I want to keep the visitors we get but last night he told me: "I'll look into it and do things my way. Your way has become a routine and maybe a new, fresh point of view on how to promote us, will do the trick." So that means way out of my system, not handling our social media for 2 weeks ... we'll see what's gonna happen :-)

    1. Glad that you've liked it!!
      And yes, that was our wine as well.
      I think it's really healthy to try to do something out of your basket every now and then.
      And I agree with M. that the fact that he will be follow the blog management while you are away might bring some useful tips. That's the power of team work, after all - of course when the team is actually a good one, and yours is!
      Good luck that this might bring a good improvement :)