It happens to the best of us: we get so lost and caught up in the daily rut of life, in making it through our routines, our social obligations, things we must do to make it through, that our life loses its charm and we stop appreciating the sheer beauty of living, as corny as that might sound.
Come to think of it, breaking out of your humdrum mode and actually seeing your own life with new eyes can be impossibly tough: we aren’t talking of radical things like ‘quit your job’, ‘travel the world’, ‘dive off a plane’. How is it possible, then, to stick to some kind of semblance of the life you’re familiar with, the one you’re already living and are settled in, the job you enjoy, the people you don’t want to change, but still find something magical and inspiring in this familiarity?
I’ve fallen victim to blaming my life for being dull, unromantic, and monotonous too – the typical dreamy case of believing life is straight out of a thrilling novel, and that it is life’s duty to be entertaining and ensure I’m happy.
Obviously, things don’t work that way. As one of my favourite characters says in John Green’s book The Fault in Our Stars, ‘The world is not a wish-granting factory.’ It didn’t owe me a thing, and it was up to me to make the most of it, and make sure I was riding high on a wave when I left.
As you take charge of making your life count, you need to begin with a quick reality check. Reflect on whether you’re happy with those essentials that govern your life: your university, what you’re studying, your job, where you live, your workplace/fellow students, the way things are functioning with your family and friends – all the little things which make up your life and everything around you. Do you have time to do things you enjoy? Do you enjoy the things you have to do?
This isn’t really the time for skepticism – you might think there isn’t any point in this exercise, changing a job or starting on a new course altogether isn’t after all a practical idea, for the purpose of ‘finding magic’ in your life, but once you can figure out there’s something amiss with what you’re spending all your energy in life doing, you can always look for ways to make the process enjoyable, rather than something which saps you of energy.
It isn’t necessary to deconstruct everything from your life and start anew, maybe all you need is a little tweaking, and you’ll be good to go! Things like ‘see the beauty in life’ might seem cliché and overdone, but looking at your surroundings with a fresh perspective can help immensely. To start with, you could try opening an account on Instagram, or taking up a 365 days project on a personal blog: the excitement of posting something new on a virtual space which belongs to you is a great way to notice things and people around you, little snippets which you could capture about your day. If you aren’t much of a social media person, or prefer to not take up yet another account on a website, you could create a simple pin-up board in your living space and scribble stick-notes or Polaroids.
If you aren’t enjoying what you do in life, find ways to make it fun again – remind yourself why you chose to invest your energy in it, re-plan your schedule if possible to see if something can work better for you, meet new people or reconnect with people you are surrounded by, take a different route to work, have something new for breakfast – sometimes, all it takes is something incredibly simple to make you realize that all the negative energy stems from a general disconnect from the present.
Find time to do something every day you’re excited about – do something for you! It could be redecorating your room, baking a cake, signing up to an interesting magazine, anything that adds a little something to your days. The important thing is for it to be something you’re passionate about, something which gives you a sense of freedom and of doing something you love.
Another sure-shot way of making your day feel amazing is to do something for other people! At the toll-booth near where I live, it’s a common practice for people to randomly pay for the car behind them in the line, and it’s something which immediately brightens up the day of both the person who pays, and the person pulling up at the booth behind them. Something as insignificant and tiny as this will definitely add a feel-good factor to your day. Even looking at people around you in a way that allows you to think of ways you could make them happy, make just anyone smile, is an active way of ‘being present’ that will set you forth on enjoying your days.
Reminding yourself of the human connection, and being more aware of the magnificence of what is around you, these two simple things are really all you need to appreciate your life. You could use the suggestions here, or be creative, play around and find your own ways to make things work – either way, don’t feel any obligation to stick around in a life which doesn’t inspire you – as Ezra Pound said, ‘make it new!’