Sacrifice now, have fun never.

I’m going to be completely honest with you – it’s one of those days where my brain is dead and I am completely stuck. I can’t think of anything to blog about – actually, that’s a lie. I have a lot to blog about but I just don’t want to. The only thing I can think about right now is looking back to last year, when I started this blog and evaluating where I am today. So I’ll reminisce and ramble a little today… bare with me :)

Starting this blog was more than just a fun way to share my travels and fun – it was more about documenting a transitional phase I was going through. Like a change of mindset almost. I’ve mentioned it a few times before (like in my post “Learning to appreciate the opportunity to do nothing“) I’ve always kept myself super busy – too busy to even realize how busy I was. I always told myself over and over again, “sacrifice now, have fun later.” But last year, around this time, I started realizing how much that meant I wasn’t paying attention to things and appreciating the little moments – meaning I was losing a lot more than gaining in the end. And of course, I wasn’t that happy. I mean, I was – in a sense that I always had something to do, had people around me, accomplished things but I was torturing myself mentally and physically.

Why did I start thinking differently? I think it was little things that accumulated over time but here are a few things that have made me change over time.

1) My blog is definitely something that has had the most impact on how I act and think now. As I was back home traveling and documenting my travels, I started to pay attention to the little things a bit more, slowing down and noticing more things. I started appreciating the little moments and learned to laugh at frustrating situations because in the end, I get a good story and an amazing experience out of it.

2) This song, Vienna by Billy Joel, is probably one of my favorite songs to listen to. I love Billy Joel but this song couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. As soon as I listened to the song (beautiful piano intro. by the way), I knew he wrote it for me :P No, but really – listen to the lyrics.

3) Laos. When people ask me where my favorite place is, I say “Laos.” And when people ask me what I did there, I say “Absolutely nothing and it was amazing.” It really was. Laos is beautifully slow. There’s not much to do and everything closes really early. I spent most of my days in Vientiane walking, taking photos and reading. I grabbed my camera, and just walked and walked and walked until I found a cafe – then I sat outside and read for hours. That’s when I started to really appreciate having nothing to do. I used to hate having nothing to do – I used to get panic attacks and think that I needed to get out and do something, meet people, be productive – but Laos taught me to slow down and relax.

4) Speaking of Laos and reading, I bought a book at a second hand book store when I was in Laos. I love second hand bookstores because you never know what you are going to find and there are so many books you’ve never heard of before. That’s when I picked up a book by Paulo Coelho called Veronika Decides to Die. I don’t think I’ve found a book like that since. I still read a lot and I especially love Paulo Coelho’s books but none I’ve been as into as this one. I finished Veronika Decides to Die in a day in Laos (sitting at a cafe). The character in the book kind of goes through a similar transitional phase. As she finds out she is going to die soon, she starts living more, experiencing more and appreciating more. Read it.

5) This poster by Holstee, the Holstee Manifesto. I first read it back last summer when I got to Cambodia. A friend from high school is friends with the founders of Holstee, Dave, Mike and Fabian. I read the manifesto and loved it right away (like everyone else who reads it). It’s my desktop background and I also had the poster hosted on my blog for a while. I got to meet Fabian when he came to Boston as well and received a card with the manifesto on it. If you haven’t yet, check out Holstee’s manifesto and the store. You can also read about how the manifesto changed peoples’ lives on their blog, mylife.holstee.com.

So these are the few things that have helped me change the way I think and live my life. Now I know that if I sacrifice today and don’t have fun, I never will. And that if I don’t learn to appreciate the little moments in life and take things for granted, I’ll miss out on much greater things. I don’t ever regret the 3 years in Boston, which I spent most of the time working and studying because no experience is ever wasted and in the end, I came out realizing I need to slow down, take my time and live a little.

What are some things that have made you change? A person? A song? An event?

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