I’m going to get sciency for a bit, but hang in there; I promise it’s a good metaphor. Homeostasis is the ability of our bodies to maintain equilibrium. It keeps our temperature regulated, makes sure our immune system kills the right things, and so many other functions that I can’t begin to bore you with and describe inaccurately. Basically, it keeps us in a normal state of functioning and being, physiologically, and in some ways, psychologically.
Currently, scratch that, since I’ve been in Sweden, I’ve ultimately failed at maintaining homeostasis within my life. I am typically very neat and well organized. My room and work area is spotless, my files are perfectly nested in a well organized hierarchy of folders on my Mac, my inbox is cleaned out everyday, and I have lists of everything I need to do, both for work and everyday life.
Apparently this makes me boring to some, but it’s how I function, achieve homeostasis, and is ultimately the source of my productivity. All of that has been out the window for some time now.
As of now, I’m back too my well-organized self. Everything is in its place. But I can’t remember the last time I let things careen out of control like this. I put off my school work for most of the semester, took on too many responsibilities without realizing the monster I was creating for myself, and of course, partied like a rock star. I began by devoting too much time to my social life and ended with myself entrenched in my apartment pulling a series of all-nighters while neglecting things in my personal life. Suffice it to say, it sucked, and I’m still recovering from it.
It’s a learning exercise. I’m traveling, living somewhere else, adapting to a new environment, and planning to do it again, multiple times. Of course, I must be productive and make money in order for this to be a sustainable way of life. And it would be helpful to have the ability to adapt to any environment with a creative and working mentality. To achieve that, homeostasis must be maintained. But how? Obviously my first attempt was not a desirable result, but I think I have gleaned a few things from the experience worth sharing, so here they are.
1. Maintain Self-Control - The student life I have experienced in Lund is like nothing I have known before. Every night there is something to do and often times I’m choosing between three different events on a weekend night. There’s a lot of room to just go bonkers, basically. Although I’m very for making the most of experiencing and enjoying a new country, it’s important not to take advantage of that mentality in order to justify buying up the bar every night. Unless you’re lucky enough to have a trust-fund, you will have responsibilities no matter where you are in the world. Be conscientious, address what is important, and punctuate it with fun and adventure.
2. Explore New Opportunities Carefully - If you don’t know how to network effectively, simply spend time abroad. You already have a network where you’ve been living. It’s just been such a long and natural process that we sometimes don’t recognize the effort. When you go somewhere new, you start from scratch. However, you meet people with the same interests no matter what language they speak, and new and exciting opportunities will quickly accumulate in your lap. It’s a tricky situation. We naturally want to jump at something in another country because we can establish a presence there. Thing is, responsibilities take time, and that’s an international fact. Weigh what is truly important before acting in order to capitalize on your time more efficiently and enjoyably.
3. Organization Enables Focus - It is an impossible feat for me to be able to focus and work in a cluttered environment. It seems like common sense that a cluttered desk can be distracting and hinder progress, but it’s just one of those things that we say we’ll deal with later. Luckily, when we live a mobile lifestyle it’s easier to square everything away because we have less stuff. The toughest part is getting organized mentally and developing a new routine when almost every time you take a stroll outside your door it guarantees a new experience. Organize your stuff, organize your thoughts, and just establish a firm home base before going crazy. When its time to work, there will be less to cloud your focus.
The more you know, right? I had to make some mistakes to learn these few things, even though they seem completely obvious laid out in front of me. It’s all part of the journey. Well, I’m currently on sabbatical in Iceland, which I will write about later. Now I’m feeling lazy and can’t think of a clever way to wrap this up, and I will indulge in every lazy urge while I’m here. Kind of contradictory to this whole post of getting into equilibrium while you’re traveling. A sabbatical is a bit special though, and I’ll be writing about why you should take one for my next post.