PLAYING THE HAND YOU ARE DEALT

There are bullet-points in life. Points of pleasure and of heartbreak. In hindsight I believe that I have learned my greatest lessons from the latter. Occasionally it happens that they are a combination of both. In the moment the experience doesn’t feel particularly great, but in the long run it will set you up for success.

This is the case with sobriety. It doesn’t feel good the first months, but over time you slowly become more yourself than ever before.
Then there are specs of time, when it appears as if everything suddenly makes sense. You come to understand why this was the only way forward. The puzzle-pieces start to fit together perfectly.
Frankly there are still times, when things aren’t awesome, and by now I am nearly four years into this game. I don’t think life will ever be a constant bliss.
When you give up addiction, you got nowhere to run to. This tends to create descent amounts of anxiety and fear. It’s almost like the tax of being sober and alive; at a certain point life will start demanding that you face yourself. Continue drinking and it will end up very, very terribly. Running with my deficiencies is a luxury I can no longer afford. It would ultimately be the end of me. Professionals agree.

My father taught me this well. Maybe that is in part why I came to my senses, hit rock bottom or made a complete mess out of things, so early on in life.
I don’t think I am special in that way. I just have a tendency to latch onto ideas and beliefs, the belief in this case being that I have a genetic illness called alcoholism. Dad has it too. It’s nobody’s fault per-say. We don’t get to choose the hand we are dealt, but we are responsible of how we act and how we play the cards. These aren’t new ideas, but lessons I have learned from people with more experience than I.

Pleasure is lovely. There are moments in life that we should hold close to your hearts. Cherish.
But in the end I’ve been raised by pain. I understand that suffering teaches me lessons I can use and accumulate practically in life.

What person willingly makes their vacation out to Poland, to experience a 74-year-old concentration camp, in order to explore an existential inner crisis. It’s strange. Most would choose to lay on a beach. I guess am I different that way.

Okay? Okay.

Freja Blay,
Aarhus, Denmark.
4th of July 2017

BOOK REVIEW “The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9–5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich” by Timothy Ferriss

“The opposite of love is indifference, and the opposite of happiness is boredom.” –Timothy Ferriss

The influence we as humans have on each other, are unavoidable. This impact that extend far beyond physical interactions.  There are people, fictional or otherwise, who inspire and motivate me to change and see things from a different perspective. They can be viewed as temporary teachers. Exemplary, the author, have the mastery and power in his possession to influence others regardless of physical presence.

Timothy Ferriss is one of those people who have played such a role in my life. Tim is the author of ‘The 4-Hour Work Week’, ’The 4-Hour Body’, ’The 4-Hour Chef’ and most recently ‘Tools of Titans’. He is also the creator of the ever-popular podcast ‘The Tim Ferriss Show.’

First and foremost, the 4HWW is practical. It’s very easily to accumulate the information provided, and immediately put it to practical use. And. It. Works! This is the book, I can honestly NOT stop recommending to everyone. Feel deprived in life? Read the 4HWW. No money? Want to travel? Read the 4HWW. Problems with your grandma? READ IT.

The 4HWW have taken me from ‘being stuck in the daily maze of 9-5’ to living a life based on personal freedom, opportunities, and the ability to do MORE with my time. Most importantly? It has created mental space. The book gives a practical road-map to get ‘unstuck’ from what is ‘normal and expected’ in today’s society. It gives a foundation for putting a why in front of easily accepted truths, that surrounds us on a daily basis. 
One of the most important takeaways, was the ability to do things differently and allowing everything to be possible. The principals in this manual allows you to question everything you thought you knew, and swim against the stream. Even if just a few of the keys in this book is applied, the changes still have the ability to have life-changing impact. I didn’t have to start my own company to apply the necessary foundations otherwise mentioned in the literature and see a mayor changes in my life.

The 4HWW is my first review because it has been one of the biggest game changers, added to my life in years. It’s the one thing that really pushed me to taking a closer look at my fears, and actually getting on that airplane to Poland (ALONE). It was less than a month and a half after reading it, when I found myself 1000 kilometers away from home, feeling excited and proud of my newly found courage and freedom. This book helped expand my horizon and possibilities. It eliminates excuses that clutter life, mind and our ability to maximize the potential we got right in front of us. The potential to truly and freely happy. I suggest you give this book a go. Apply what is appropriate, and leave the rest for someone else. Honestly my life has become much more exiting and real since I picked up the 4HWW. Globe-trotting has become one of my new favorite activities. (Did I mention I’m leaving again next month after finals?)

Freja Blay,
Aarhus, Denmark.
2nd of May, 2017.

 

Grinding it Out

“Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.”
Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

Yesterday. Yesterday just so happened to be one of those days, where peace finally set in after another storm. That’s a metaphorical storm and in my opinion, the worst kind. The state of rollercoaster sadness and heartaching despair is awful. 
I have these days, quite too many if you ask me, where life is barely sustainable. Times like these, where it becomes a task to just get through my daily grind and functioning to a reasonably normal standard in society is a challenge itself.

Hold fast to me here; I’m not going down some self-pity train of destruction, or taking an ego trip. Stay with me.

I think it’s quite common to strike periods where the grind gets tougher and shit hits the fan. It’s quite normal to have rough days (maybe not as many as my OCD laden self, but still.) You don’t get used to pain, but there are ways to cope, when the lightning strikes.
Let me just say, I do not consider myself even remotely graceful in suffering or painful situations of life, but I am still here and that means I survived life this far. I think of myself sort of like an elephant in a glasshouse, which to my astonishment and wonder aren’t breaking.

There are tools to get through times, despite things that actually include directly running in the opposite direction of  the pain. I don’t try and run away from the painful states because (1.) It’s not durable, and (2.) even if it works shortly, it is just that: Temporary. Non-sustainable. (Like using alcohol or drugs to dull the pain.) 
I don’t run from fear, unless maybe at the exception of a lion, or something that will be of immediate danger to my existence.

The only thing I’ve found of long time sustainability is persistence and grinding it out. I know that ain’t the sexy answer, most would like to hear, but I have found that regardless of the situation, the suffering or pain never lasts forever. Though it may seem that way at times, everything comes to an end. Pain, happiness and even life itself at some point. (Another unsexy truth. I’m on a roll here.)
The second tool that I’ve found useful is continuing my daily routines, such as school, work and going to the gym to train, follow my mealplan etc. If this is possible, it is the best way to cope.
It isn’t good for me to give into suffering, I need to get out and get on with life. If I can pull off going to school, the gym and so on, there is a chance that I will survive yet another day, with my mind ‘sort of intact’. My life is most often better, after I have created meaning outside of myself and put in a decent amount of ‘Doing.’  It may still not be great or optimal, but most often it is better than I woke up crying and not wanting to get out of my apartment.

Too much time to think, will be potentially poisonous in the midst of a mental meltdown. Getting out (literally moving my ass, from point A. to point B.) and talking to other humans, is by far the best emergency plan I’ve come up with. The worst decisions are made without consulting others and letting my fears grow into monsters.

Yesterday. Yesterday was the first warm day, leading into summer. It was lovely and awesome. These thoughts are floating around inside of my being, not because I am sad in this instant. No, because I’ve just gone through yet another rough path. Everything seemed to be going to hell (but didn’t) once again, for no apparent reason. It is like losing a job or breaking a leg, like my whole world is collapsing, without evidence of reason. It sucks.

But now, it is better and lighter and lovelier outside, and I’m grateful for that. I am grateful to have this life, despite it’s challenges. It is a good life.
If you are looking for something to read, I can recommend ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ by Holocaust survivor Victor Frankl. It puts suffering and pain in perspective and gives reason, or at least reflection to pain, loss and prosperity. It’s a book that I’m currently working though, since I’m going to Poland in the beginning of next month, with the sole purpose of visiting the Auschwitz concentration camps.

More on that later!

Thanks for reading,

Freja Blay. Aarhus, Denmark.
24th of March 2017.

The life of being a non-instant

“The time that leads to mastery is dependent on the intensity of our focus.”
Robert Greene, Mastery

Let it be told, that I do not in any particular way or form, fit into a world where ‘instant’ is becoming the norm and a necessary of social behaviour. I kindly reject the compulsive tendency to make everything live. I am a perfect contemplator. I greatly prefer thinking things over (a million times) before making my move. I need time to think. I resent making rash attempts or sudden changes, for the sake of making them. I like strong and steady, so when the storm comes I’ll be prepared.

I don’t like instant messenger, or the expectation that I’ll instantly respond to messages and the fact that other people can actually see that I read their message and presume an – instant – response, makes me frigid and anxious at times. Which also lead, in part, to the deleting of my non-active Facebook account, after deciding that it didn’t bring reasonable amounts of joy into my existence and therefore had no purposely good reason, to continue its annoyance of me.

My Instagram is a perfect example of this factor. Most of my posts are either written or taken days, and sometimes weeks, prior to the actual posting date. I’ve had quite different reactions to this matter, because it apparently is expected that instant, actually means ‘This is happening in this very moment. RIGHT NOW’ If this is your belief, then I apologize, because it ain’t the case, and probably won’t ever be, at least for me. I prefer giving the best of my best and maximize quality over quantity. The sad truth is that I can’t perform BOTH. Really well written posts don’t come cheaply, they cost a greater deal of my mental capacity. It takes time for me to dig out the best pictures and footage from let’s say, leg day.

Maybe it’s a bit to perfectionistic of me to put so much energy and though into something like Instagram, but that dear Hudson is simply a part of my personality. I like that the things I give life aren’t shit, and my Instagram is, well, many hours of work and something I’m proud of.

If you take a look at it, you will see a pattern of Amino Acids and daily pictures of my life. Individually they can be broken up, and will tell a story. If you on the other hand, look at it as a whole you’ll see a pattern of art as well. It’s not a strange coincidence that my Instagram profile happens to be that way, it was well though through and mapped out, -before I even started. That’s just how I roll baby, welcome to my OCD* laden world, where everything is symmetrical and the Oxford English Dictionary* is laden with hours of potential entertainment.

(*I kid you not, I have one, it’s porn)

My Amino Acids (on my Instagram) for example are a product, of probably roughly 15 hours of total work including research. I got a back land of an amino acid study, because I actually didn’t know a dahm thing about the amino family, before I stated looking into it. Instagram became my tool or so-called presentation of the ‘finished’ product.

So, in a world of rush I prefer to be slow and calculated. Don’t get me wrong here, it’s both a blessing and a curse. I tend to just not get as much shit done as my peers. What I do get done is aced and diced to the needlepoint, which isn’t a great quality in, let’s say, getting out of a burning building, but when it comes to life in general I’ll take gradual over instant anything any day.

It takes around 10.000 hours to master a skill and become an expert, and there is nothing ‘instant’ about that.

*Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Yes, I am in fact, actually diagnosed with this magical mindset.

Thanks for reading,

Freja Blay. Aarhus, Denmark.
17th of March 2017.