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Let's slow down

Since I was a kid, I always wanted to grow.

Everything needed to be done as quickly as possible, for yesterday. I needed to be 18 now so I could have a tattoo and be of legal age. I needed to be 20 now and have saved up some money to move out of my parents' house. I need to be 30 to feel safe and comfortable in myself and financially...

I literally ran through the streets and was pissed off when I missed a bus or when someone was late for an appointment. A daily strees in this race that is to reach "success".

I remember the first time I heard the song Vienna, by Billy Joel,

"Slow down you crazy child You're so ambitious for a juvenile But then if you're so smart tell me Why are you still so afraid?

Where's the fire, what's the hurry about? You better cool it off before you burn it out You got so much to do and only So many hours in a day (...)"

I remember thinking this song was for me. Although at the time I romanticized the idea of ​​being a busy person chasing my dreams, over time I realized the impact this has on my routine and also the impact that American culture - the American Dream - has on São Paulo. It's bizarre!

I say São Paulo because it's where I see everyone running in the streets, horns, traffic, 1001 businessmen, 1001 more success stories... But I believe that this happens in many other places in Brazil, anyway.

These days I've been fascinated by Europe, because in the various research I've been doing to support the possibility of living in Portugal, I started to consume a lot of content from people who live there, but mainly from Americans who moved there.

What most people talk about is how you can see the difference in the rhythm there. Compared to the United States, everything is much slower, and it can be taken on the negative side (eternal bureaucracies, delays, closed establishments) or on the positive side (calm, enjoy time, rest, less work). Consuming this kind of content, I came to the conclusion that São Paulo is a very busy place, I've always been a very busy person.

In my mind my financial success was above everything.

Yes, financial stability is very important, and I was only able to slow down today, having reached this "stability", so it's a privilege to be able to talk about it. Because I can pay my bills and have a reserve, I can take a break and decide to rest more, as a self-employed professional.

With that, I've been thinking a lot about what's important to me, now that I've achieved a lot of what I wanted.

What makes me happy?

My job makes me happy, because I chose to work with a passion, but in excess, it made me a nervous, anxious person, who always compared myself to others and tried to occupy myself almost 24 hours a day to have clients, to have something to post, have visibility, have work guarantee. This started to weigh on me. Work was no longer enjoyable, it was stressful.

Years of living like this, without vacations, without division of personal and professional life, I challenged myself to break the routine. 5 working days per week instead of 7, rest on weekends. And this last month I did more, 4 days a week instead of 5, a midweek break to breathe.

I've been trying to take Wednesday off to focus on studying languages, reading books and most importantly, resting, not thinking about work. I decided to embark on this challenge - funny to call something that seems so easy a challenge, right? - also because of the flexibilities and urgencies of being a freelancer. Often my weekends are eaten up by an urgent delivery, so I decided to secure another day, which is theoretically without work, in the week.

I was able to take this midweek break because I organize the week ahead of time to see everything I would need to move forward on Monday and Tuesday, or everything that could wait until Thursday and Friday. Without organization things don't work, at least for me.

And what have I learned in these last few weeks?

  • Not thinking about work on Wednesday made me think about Thursday with excitement, instead of a full and tired head, I was already thinking about how cool it would be to do things the next day;

  • Having specific time to do hobbies ended up forcing me not to think about work. Sometimes it's inevitable, design ideas, post, product, video, pop into my head without me wanting to, but focusing on something else made me... well, focus on something else;

  • Reserving a day to read will not necessarily make me a great reader. I thought that if I focused on studying and reading, I would study and read, but there really are days when I'm just lazy and stayed on the couch watching Netflix hahahaha (and that's okay!);

  • Living the day without haste. As I had no commitments or schedules (unlike weekends that are often busy with social engagements, meeting family, friends...), I went for a walk and enjoyed the sun, I lay on the hammock looking at the sky, prepared food calmly, I spent a long time petting the cats and just watching these perfect creatures.

And feeling these changes, I understood that rest is as important as work, for professional success. It's something a lot of people talk about, but few people actually try to do. If I work harder, I can make more money, but to what extent is that healthy, sustainable?

So you, who have flexibility in your routine, you who also work like me, I invite you to do this Wednesday off challenge! I invite you to make tea and sit on the couch for nothing, I invite you to start a visual diary, I invite you to reflect on the important things in your life, I invite you to talk to yourself.

Let's slow down.

Life is short and time goes by fast, but stopping to live instead of just working makes it go a little slower.

I want to share a few things related to this with you:

  • I discovered illustrator Rebecca Green's blog and I'm obsessed. It became one of the reasons why I continue to write here and exchange this idea with you. I highly recommend reading it, it has both more "technical" subjects of illustration, as daydreams and reflections on life:

  • I started a visual diary. I read in a post on Rebecca's blog about this and decided to give it a try. Since I was little I always kept a diary, but there was a moment when the rush made me stop. At the end of August I took one of the sketchbooks from the store (Corações) and started documenting my day. From banal things to longer reflections. I'm sure reading this later will be so much fun! Besides, writing about the day makes me discover different things about myself.

  • I've been thinking a lot about Billy Joel's song, so I'll leave it here for you too:

  • On Monday I have a super special launch at Loja Papoulas Douradas and I have a product that is perfect for this post, the "Bloquinho Reflexões". In it, each page has 3 topics, you write 3 themes or 3 questions to answer in the day and write. I prepared some cool content for @loja.papoulasdouradas suggesting some topics, but here are 3 questions for you to try to answer:

  1. What is your earliest childhood memory?

  2. What are you afraid of?

  3. What's your favorite scent?

  • I've binge-watched the Netflix series "Partner Track" and it talks a lot about chasing success. I liked it a lot and cried a lot too, I recommend it and I'm looking forward to the next season!

That's it for today, thanks for listening!

And rest this weekend, huh?


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