How to Chase Unfamiliarity in Daily Life

In the summer of 2015, I said yes to a new adventure and in a month’s time I was on my way to Shanghai. Everything was unfamiliar – the people, language, food, you name it. Even though I was so disoriented, I felt more alive than I had in many many years. I knew I was exactly where I was supposed to be. My mind felt so alive and attentive that I swear I heard my lungs whisper “Save us!”. Anyhow, from that point onwards, everything went uphill. In six month’s time, I found myself at the airport, this time, waiting for a flight back home. I was so happy that the thought of missing my flight and living illegally in Shanghai never occurred to me.

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Unspeakable Melancholy; A perfume shop in Shanghai had a fragrance for how I felt when I left the city.

My first one month back home was tougher than I had imagined. I barely went out and with the exception of my family and few friends, no one knew I was back. I had reunited with the people I love, so why was I feeling so anxious? Why did I feel like running away and what was I trying to run away from?

Familiarity.

I realised that familiarity was a place I didn’t like to live in for too long. I’m sure many people experience this. But since no one really talks about the hard part of travelling, I coped with my anxiety the way I knew best.

I devised a new escape plan.

Starting then for a little over a year, I lived in a fabricated future, not fully living in my present. And as planned, I rendezvoused with unfamiliarity again. That feeling of being alive came back only to leave again in three months. The process of withdrawal was the same as last time and I often caught myself reminiscing about my travels or fabricating future trips. But thankfully I was two experiences wiser this time and soon realised how unhealthy this was for my mind.

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I miss exploring from 10am to 10pm.

After several minor anxiety attacks, discussions with people who matter and self-thinking, I came across the concept of  ‘starting where you are’ in an interactive self-exploration book by Meera Lee Patel (thankful to my best friends who gifted it to me). Though executing exercises isn’t my thing, the concept made sense to me and I decided to adopt it. It really is as simple as it sounds:

Take your time. Use what you have. Start where you are.

But how can I chase unfamiliarity in my daily life at home? By pushing my boundaries. By learning new things even if they’re not big things. Since I’m obsessed with lists, I made a list of things I have always wanted to do and be good. Turns out, there are zillion things but I had complained away much of time and ended up learning none of those things. These are some of the ways that keep me inspired and help me grow on a daily basis:

TRY SOMETHING NEW FOR 30 DAYS

I came across TED talk by Matt Cutts last year and found it to be very inspiring. Is there is something you’ve wanted to but just never got around to doing it or you started but couldn’t keep up with it? If you went “Yes!” in your mind, this challenge is for you. They say it may take 21 days to form a habit, Have a look at the video and start your challenge!

MICROMASTERY

If you’re feeling lost about how to start an activity, you should definitely read Micromastery: Learn Small, Learn Fast and Find the Hidden Path to Happiness by the author, traveller and lecturer Robert Twigger. Micromastery is learning the expertise and skills of many small things instead of aiming to completely excel in just one area.

BLOCK OUT THE NEGATIVITY
SURROUND YOURSELF WITH PEOPLE WHO ENCOURAGE AND INSPIRE YOU
WAKE UP EARLY, EXERCISE AND EAT RIGHT

I realised I needed to slow down, embrace myself and make the most of where I am while working towards my bigger goals. This is a fairly recent realisation and I am looking forward to reading more, learning how to cook a poached egg, improving body posture and many more things.

Let’s grow together.I come across books and talks that help me stay inspired and I will share them with you. Follow my progress on this blog where I will post every Sunday and feel free to say hi and share your story.

As Nayyirah Waheed quotes,

be easy.
take your time.
you are coming home.
to yourself
.
— the becoming

(P.S So grateful to my best friend for inspiring me and always having my back.)


Thank you for reading!

Connect with me on InstagramFacebook, Tumblr and Twitter. If you would like to work with me, you can also e-mail me on shwetaravipatil@gmail.com.

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Author: Shweta Patil

An inveterate traveller and visual storyteller.

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