If I were to say I’m not enjoying the weather in Lisbon I’d be deceiving you. While friends ice skated along the canals of my lovely Amsterdam I sat in the sun in a tank top in Lisbon. While friends shoveled their cars from under one meter of snow in the Northeast of the USA, I strolled along the beach at night wearing a Spring coat, near Lisbon. And though it is true that heating in Portuguese homes is completely crap, a hot water bottle a friend sent me is keeping me warm at night. So not too terrible.
“Busy” is my middle name these days and my mind is constantly found in Economics-ville. I’m pulling a carriage uphill here with all this studying so I have no time to deal with any annoyances (though I wonder about this post…). So to make it through my remaining four months in Lisbon I’ve decided to take the advice of other expats: forget the locals, hang out with other expats. I must say the advice’s implementation is working out pretty well and from what I can tell I’m part of a majority who doesn’t exactly love the locals.
In any case I’ve realized something: our view of the world is a reflection of what we look like inside, in fact, generally when my insides look like a few pints of Belgian beer things look great! But I’m not even talking about beer goggles here: there will always be a douchebag pushing you in the subway (like the old lady who shoved me onto other passengers the other day, I mean, really!) or a jackass cutting your line (like the entire populations of Spain, Paris, Brazil and Italy at least) or just the French being French (though I keep meeting exceptions, yay!). And sure this is all annoying but we can decide to let it consume us or we can let it go and the latter is a most wonderful feeling! Oh, yes, it is!
Let’s examine an example: I used to stress a lot about people in the subways. After all, subways are the second biggest source of irritation in urban life, according to imaginary statistics that help me make a point. Ever wonder why there are so many rich people in NYC? It’s because they just couldn’t stand the subway anymore so they got rich simply to avoid taking the darn subway. The Lisbon locals who ride the subway all seem like they’re on the thing for the first time, acting like every stop and every subway that comes by are the last of all time and there’s a fire right behind us all!
This was getting on my nerves big time and I think the reason we all let such petty things get to us is that we aren’t really looking at them, we are looking at our own fears and hurts and whatever other negative things. We’re annoyed at the mirror we’re looking at – which isn’t to say that people won’t continue to annoy us, it’s just that we can let it go more easily when we realize this. So the other day it hit me that I’m working hard towards achieving an ambitious goal so all these petty things became insignificant, at best funny at times. Now when some local dumbass is trying to do the whole Latin “I’m better than you so I get to race just ahead of you on your left and then turn right” I might grumble or shake my head but I remember that I need to focus my energy elsewhere: on achieving goals. There will always be dumbasses, there will always be some envious girl trying to upstage me – what I can do is stay away from them, let them live their little lives.
To top it off, these people will always contribute with ugliness to the world so it’s better for everyone (especially me!) if I cut down on the ugliness inside and increase my inner-beauty contribution. I’m convinced that the world can only be beautiful if we can reflect our inner beauty onto it.