I always loved reading, I loved imagining the sceneries, the characters, and their adventures. I was one of those people who when the book was really good I couldn’t think of anything else. Before going to sleep “one more chapter” would turn into 5 or 6 and I would go to sleep at 4:00 in the morning. I would wake up the next day waiting for the moment when I would have time to read more. I was never a non-fiction person, I used to have reading as an escape from reality, a sacred space to forget about myself and everything around me.
Recently I’ve found myself more interested in non-fiction books, maybe it’s maturity and the desire to better understand what I arbitrarily ignored before, maybe it’s my son who is growing up and has been questioning more and more about the behavior he observes, or maybe it’s the world we live in and which I have difficulty assimilating and understanding.
In an attempt not to completely freak out I try to categorize my concerns. There are personal and family issues that are an immediate priority for me and to which, most of the time, actions can and should be taken. Then comes the community in which I am in (work, friends, country), problems that I can observe, and in some aspects, I have the opportunity to interfere. And the human being in general, patterns that are repeated around the world, which are, perhaps, the problems that concern me the most and that I have very little control over.
Taking care of my sanity
I usually say that living abroad is a roller coaster, but in fact, life anywhere is like that, with ups and downs. There are times when I’m ashamed to complain about life and the opportunities I have, at other times I confront every choice of the past and wonder what could have been different.
Some time ago I posted about my financial incompetence and a friend recommended me a book, which teaches the basics of financial education through short stories – The Richest Man in Babylon – George S. Clason. Not only did I get a positive response about the blog (people are reading 🙂 ), which I sometimes wonder why I have/maintain it, but I started taking my first steps towards a healthier financial life.
At the moment, I’m reading a book by Augusto Cury (he is Brazilian) about anxiety, which is one of the emotions that bothers me the most. It’s always been a problem, but since I moved to China, and the extended time away from my family and my roots, maybe it got a little worse. The list of anxieties is endless and there are many times when I would rather not even get out of bed, but I do. I’m learning that it’s possible to have a different perspective, and change habits. Reinvent yourself is painful but positive if you really believe and try.
Accepting my bubble
I believe we live in bubbles, you can’t say you know the whole society well if you don’t go to all sectors of it. Today, my bubble is very small, I don’t speak the language of the country I live in, so my interactions with local people are limited, the people I live with are middle class and, therefore, money solves many problems. However, it is undeniable that being in another country, another continent, the local culture is different in many ways, some are easier to understand than others. Today I prefer natural or warm water, at the same time, I can’t understand why it’s so difficult to recognize when you don’t know something or make a mistake (lose-face).
One day, Stephen R. Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People fell into my hands or rather was shared in the book group I’m in. I haven’t finished reading it yet, because in the preface and in the chapter where I left off it was necessary to put into practice a certain habit before continuing. It is a book to be read little by little so that ideas are assimilated and observation added to practice resulting in a better relationship with yourself and the world more pleasant. This book has changed the way I see the others, but mainly I have understood a little more that we are all different and we are living different moments in our lives. Of course, certain attitudes still bother me and I can’t be so understanding, but after the emotions calm down again I can reflect better on what happened.
From wars to Kardashians
From my bubble, I try to stay informed about the world, which isn’t too difficult when you have the internet. Although there is a problem, no matter what website I open, most of the time, the main headline is something negative, and as you keep scrolling down the disappointment continues. If not fatalities, then futility. I understand that bad things happen in the world, but a lot of good things happen too. Why do we give so much preference to violence? When did we lose the compass and started seeing brutality as the best form of entertainment?
The closer to the macro, the more complex it becomes for me to be able to explain my feeling. Because while I have the impression that the media, a very small elite group of powerful people, and the State enjoy making the rest of society destroy itself without realizing their influence, I also believe that a small action can become big. That’s why I need to assess my attitudes and start the change for myself.
This year I finally managed to finish 1984 – George Orwell, not that the story is difficult to read (maybe a little at first), but the parallel that can be drawn with our reality is frightening. How could a book written in 1949 predict so many things? Or did politicians, reading the book, see it as a source of inspiration to create the perfect government system for them?
The fact is that fiction or reality is much harder for normal citizens like you and me to be able to create a real impact in the society, as much as I invest in myself and in improving the community around me, there is still a very large society that is completely outside my real power of influence. What to do? How to change something that is clearly wrong, but so far no one has found the right way? Or was it found and not heard, or was it silenced? And here my dear reader is where the thoughts of this ordinary writer begin to form a tornado of emotions, questions, and few answers.
Taking advantage of the fact that last week was Book day (at least in Brazil) and today’s article I mentioned some books, I would like to ask for suggestions to answer some of my questions and calm this writer’s feelings, I will be forever grateful.