March 18, 2017

How to slow down?

"Slow Down" Collage by Me;
Before you jump to the conclusion that this post is going to be another dry manual on how to balance your life, you cannot be more mistaken. I accepted the fact that my life will never be balanced and when I came to terms with it, I felt at peace, maybe for an entire day or so, until doubt crawled in. 

This morning, I have watched an interview with a Polish actor who was trying to make a spectacular comeback on a big screen. When asked whether he was feeling fortunate that things were finally coming together, he answered that even after 15 years of being in show business, he would never be sure whether becoming an actor was the right choice. I felt so good when I heard that. From time to time I face the mental barrier, and I start comparing myself to others thinking my career is not following the most linear of paths. I am absolutely never sure whether what I am doing is going to take me to a dreamed professional destination or will be another dead end. The more I read about creative people who are trying to make life work somehow, to squeeze their passions in between 9-5 jobs and never-ending lack of certainty that it will someday lead somewhere,  the more I think it is a very common dilemma. 

Those thoughts could be paralyzing and frightful and make me think that I should make bolder choices, quit doing things that suck me out of energy and focus only on what matters. I end up being overwhelmed and frustrated and to bring myself back to the core of now, I know I have to slow down. 

How to slow down when life seems like a one-way highway with no opportunities to stop your car and just leave? We all have our own little ways to deal with it. The realization itself is a key to refrain from being so hard on yourself. Whenever I have too much doubt about things in my professional and personal life, I just choose to focus on doing things I love. It is not easy to believe me, but once I reframe my thoughts towards fun, there is nothing more fulfilling than that.

Lately, I spent a lot of time at home being sick, and that reminded me how important is freedom stemming from a simple fact that we are in good health. My mind was still operating in "fast-work needs to be done" mode, and I was trying to work from home, although I really did not feel up to it. Finally, after a good few days, I managed to actually forget about it and do things I like, Ferris Bueller's Day Off-style, although I was not really able to leave the house. First, I was looking for new music, and I fell in love with Andrew Bird's song "I want to see Pulaski at Night." As I left New York 3 months ago, his statement about leaving Chicago that he gave in the interview for Vogue really resonated:

I miss Chicago, and when I go back now, I finally feel the proper nostalgia and good feelings. But it took a while. When you live somewhere for so long and have so many failed relationships in one place, every street corner is imbued with some kind of heaviness.

When I want to escape the daily madness, I always watch old movies. My favorite are American screwball comedies from the 1930' and 1940's and "Awful Truth" is on the top of this list. It totally deserves a separate post on this blog, which will happen one day. 

Another way to slow down, which almost always works, are great books, especially the ones that I just cannot put down. Recently, my perfect read was "Uninvited" by Lysa Terkeurst. She is one the best and most convincing and honest advocates of slowing down I ever was introduced to.

Finally, when nothing works, walking for hours takes me out of my discomfort zone, reminds me of being close to nature and being in the moment and simply takes stress off my to daily to do list. There are so many other methods to really center yourself, one of my very favorite ones is spending time with my friends. However, sometimes we need to take care of our inner needs and calm the voices of criticism in our heads and then it is entire up to us to find our own, unique way of doing it. I wonder what works for you!


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