Conscious Living is a series which takes a closer look at living a life full of thoughtful choices and conscious decision making in order to live a life full of meaning, self-love, and respect for ourselves and the world around us
Go ahead and grab a cuppa, because boy have I got a story to share with you today…
Over the last few weeks, I have come to realize that the one area we tend to systematically be just a wee bit too optimistic is when it comes to how much time we have and how much we can accomplish in this amount of time. We often overestimate our enthusiasm, energy levels, and attention span and grossly underestimate how long a task actually takes.
During the better part of the last two months, I have come to learn this through my own personal experience of moving house while trying to still hold everything else together. Luckily, since I have taken a dive into the wonderful (read: completely terrifying and stressful) world of freelancing, although LFB has sadly suffered as a result, I have been able to make the move and am 80% finished. There are still things to deal with in the old flat and the new, but it’s manageable and I am back to a semi-normal work schedule. I swear, if I still had my regular 9-5 plus LFB, I think I would have just sat down in one of the empty rooms of this new flat and just cried.
Still, even if I had not made what has turned out to be the biggest move in my life – I had moved from shared flats to shared flats and dorm rooms to summer housing before, but those moves, although also frustrating and time/labor-intensive, do not compare to moving a complete flat to another flat – life somehow seems to get in the way of, well, life… and always at the most inopportune of times.
Take for example what happened to me last Wednesday: I was all settled down at my desk for a nice long day of productivity, thinking how nice it was to finally be getting back into the swing of things with LFB, when lo and behold, the doorbell rang. I say, rang, but it was more like an incessant constant ringing, as if someone was button mashing the buzzer next to my name downstairs. It only came to a stop after I made it to the intercom and picked up the receiver.
On the other end was a man who worked for the house in which I rent my flat, come to yell at me for not throwing away my garbage correctly. You see, in Germany there are bins for white glass, dark glass, paper, plastic, compost, and normal garbage, and the paper bin was overflowing. This man had found a box with my last name on the packaging, so he had come a-ringing at my door. I was steamrolled with a slew of reasons why it was not okay and how I was going to get reported, until I interrupted him stammering, “Can I please can i please get a word in edgewise?” (Okay, I didn’t really say this because we were speaking German the whole time, but you get my point)
I told the man that I was well-aware of the garbage problem, because over the 6+ weeks I had been in my new flat, the paper was not once removed. Had the paper garbage can been emptied in a timely manner, there would not nearly be as much paper garbage build up as there was.
You see, in Germany, the only paper that is removed is the paper that fits INSIDE of the garbage bin. I explained that in the beginning, I broke down my boxes to fit snugly in it’s resting place, but as the garbage was not picked up, I (and my neighbors) were left with no choice but to pile the garbage on top. I of course did not break down the excess garbage into tiny little pieces because they would have just ended up as a pile on the floor and I would be the asshole that did it (although apparently had I had done that, it would have technically been the correct thing. LOGIC?!?!)
I also added that I might have had my name on a box, but considering the fact that the restaurant downstairs and the two neighboring houses share the garbage bins with my house, it’s pretty safe to say all of the garbage did not come from me. (If there is anything I have learned in Germany, making a solid AND logical – this being the most important feature – argument that cannot be refuted is the only way in which your point will ever be taken into consideration/you will receive some kind of respect in return). I also explained that I had already contacted the housing company to express my disappointment, but the woman had not yet set up an appointment with me.
Upon hearing my sass, evaluating it, and realizing I was entirely correct, I was told that they would wait to file a report until next week, but that I should at least remove my boxes so that when they return next week to “photograph the evidence,” they can make an extra note that I have disposed of my garbage properly.
I had explained to the man that it was insane to spend over 4 hours just breaking down boxes to dispose of somewhere else, but guess what? That is exactly what I did with a friend of mine. FOR FOUR FREAKING HOURS. Yup, you read that correctly. We basically spent the entire afternoon and evening breaking apart boxes, renting a DriveNow and physically driving the garbage to another garbage location where the size of the garbage can was equivalent to the amount of people using said garbage can. (A lot of the garbage was mine, as I had a lot of moving boxes from Ikea, which is why it took so long, but I made sure to leave all other garbage right where it was as to make a point. Because principles, amirite?)
Long story short, shit happens. A lot and often and usually when you least expect it. And this shit sets you back and fucks with your initial plans, but you just sort of have to go with it, and be happy you were able to at least check off a few things from your to-do list that day.
Sometimes life just feels like one giant never-ending to-do list, but this is why I think it’s more important than not to step back and also take time out to enjoy the sunny weather, have a laugh with friends, or oh, I don’t know, binge-watch 6 episodes of HIMYM (Sorry Not Sorry). It’s also important to remind yourself, that while you may have a road map with overly positive estimations of completion times, you are most likely going to overshoot those estimations by a long shot. And you know what? That’s okay!
There are a lot of plans I have for my photography website as well as LFB and most of these plans have been bouncing around my head and ending up on lists for months. And although I wish I could snap my fingers and make all of these things happen straight away, life doesn’t work like that.
Now, I do believe in working hard and being ambitious, and I’ll be damned if I don’t at least eventually make that things that I want to happen happen, but I’m going to adjust my estimations,add in a lot of room for slack and cut myself a break. Because I am trying my hardest and I know you guys are too. So give yourself that well-deserved pat on the back and keep going. Because I know you guys are worth it, but even more importantly, you should know you are.
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