The most democratical asset

There’s something we all have. Each and every one of us, no matter where we live, our social status, skin color, or our finances. And that something is time. All of us, no matter how different our lives might be, share the same 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Or, how a good friend once told me, Beyonce’s day has also 24 hours, it’s all in how you use those hours.

And that was the point where I’ve clicked. I’ve never been an organized person, to begin with. My discipline was limited at Don’t miss the deadline. but I’ve never understood the people who got their whole days and weeks scheduled and planned. I mean… Why?

But one day came, and I discovered that behind all this is a simple answer, coming from another woman that’s dear to me: we need to be this organized because our minds are chaotic enough. And there it was, my simple, yet never really thought about it that way answer.

 Turning into an organized person is a whole journey. For me, at least. Personally, I wouldn’t be able to try and do this if I’d feel mentally unstable. Because it might be true that all of us have 24 hours every day, but what are we able to do with those hours is conditioned by a lot of factors.

Being diagnosed with a chronic illness or having mental health issues are two of the factors with the biggest impact on our time management. That’s why trying to become a better manager of your time in difficult times for your mental health will always fail.

And it’s not necessarily something about you. It’s about learning to cope with a condition that will impact everything: your priorities, your way, your pace of doing things, the way you manage your time, resources, and relationships. That’s why our journeys are so, so different, despite having the same amount of time.

It can be just as tough even if you’re not being affected by any medical condition, but you’re suffering because of instability. It might be caused by your job, or maybe your finances, your personal life, or even all at once. The main thing to be understood is that one can’t become an organized person in times dominated by uncertainty. And this has another reason that sounds so stupid that it’s actually true. Becoming an organized individual is a huge energy consumer. Huge. Especially if you’ve been used to roam around chaotically and get everything done, eventually.

This is something hitting me like…every two days. I look to my Excel sheet, I re-read the things I’ve said I’m going to do that day, and I’m just sitting there, like… No, I can’t do this. What on earth was on my mind when I got myself in it?

But then I just go, take a deep breath and do the things. Because I know how it used to be when I’ve lived in a chaotic loop. And maybe I can do better.

Because time is like money, it has to be budgeted. The big difference between the two is that not everyone has the same amount of money, but everyone has the same amount of time. Budgeting that universal amount of time, though, that’s a really personal job.

It’s personal because it takes a lot of discipline and will often force you to do uncomfortable things. Like going to bed earlier than you like to. But learning how to budget your time will also bring you good things. Like getting things done, the satisfaction that comes from getting those things done, and actual progress. Or like avoiding the burn-out. Because it won’t take you more than a week or two to test and see how many things you can put on your plate and keep them together. And knowing how much is too much for you is one of the most important things you need to know.

I know it’s this trend, to talk about self-care all over the Internet. And it is a really, really important thing, to take good care of yourself. But this is rarely all about taking long baths or buying pretty things. It is more about doing those uncomfortable things we keep postponing, even if we know those are the right things to do. Maybe being more careful with our money, or maybe our time. Organizing our wardrobe, or maybe eating cleaner. Going to sleep earlier, or maybe give up on that toxic job/environment we’re spending so much time on. But all these start with a small step, which often is called being honest with yourself. With the understanding of the fact that what we’ll do today will impact the person, we’ll be tomorrow. That you deserve a life with continuously high quality. And this is why, even though it is such a personal path to walk, you’ll never be able to walk it all alone. Getting yourself an accountability partner is the best thing you can do. Just make sure you trust that person and that their intentions on you aren’t evil. Because dealing with all the discomfort this kind of journey will bring isn’t easy. Not when you come from a place where you had to dive into the chaos to resist. But it is worth it, and getting to be in control when it comes to your time is a powerful move. It is self-love and self-care. And it totally is something you deserve to know how it feels like.

Letter to my teenage self

Hello, darling

I’m writing you this letter because I know how insecure you are, and to let you know that things will sort themselves out just fine. Not in a regular way, but in your own kind of way, and that’s part of what makes your journey awesome.

Who am I? Good question, yet funny answer: I’m your ten years older version. And I will drop here some spoilers about what this timeframe will mean for you.

You will discover what makes you happy

Yes, you will be happy. And, of course, there will be some things that will bring you happiness. You will find them early and respect them. You will build little routines around them that will work as small but effective pills for the dark times that will come.

You will like yourself more

Of course, there will still be days when you’ll feel like you’re a total failure, but, as a difference from today, you’ll be able to see your good parts as well. You will like yourself more than you do now, and, obviously, less than you will like yourself when you’ll be 35. You will also stop belittling your accomplishments and will understand that a bad day is not a bad life. And, unbelievable, you will actually get to like yourself. Sounds pretty much like a fictional character, eh? Just give yourself some time, and watch.

You will talk about the things you try to hide now

For now, you try your best to seem as normal as a teenage girl could. But in less than ten years from now on, not only that you will talk about your disease with people without feeling ashamed. You will even write about it, and you’ll see people coming to you and sharing stories of their children having the same diagnosis as you do. And this will empower you, as well as your community.

You will still have friends from your childhood by your side

And they won’t be the ones you’d think. But they will be there for you when you’ll have good news, bad news, and whenever you’ll need to be slapped with that hard to swallow truth pill. They are not that many as you’d hope, but they will be there, and that’s what makes them living wonders.

You’ll make peace with your body

And this will be a game-changer. You’ll get thinner, you’ll learn about what kind of aesthetic you match best with, and will allow yourself to finally be happy in your own body, not in a future, perfect version of it. You will learn to stop postponing goodness for later, and that will help you a lot. Even so, you still won’t be able to see yourself as a beautiful woman, but you will only get to care less about this aspect.

You’re gonna do things your way

Maybe things won’t make that much sense seen from the exterior, but you will remain faithful to your values and your determination of walking on that one path, instead of the easier ones, will often seem like stubbornness at first. But it will also be the one thing that will bring you other people’s respect- the fact that you will never quit on something just because it’s hard.

You will keep your priorities aligned

This means you will put on hold anything that won’t give you the chance to grow, learn, or be yourself. You will keep learning on various domains, will keep writing, and will become a volunteer.

Volunteering will help you learn about how to be useful to others while not emptying your own cup of well-being. You will learn that you can give to others and receive at the same time, and the moments you’ve made those children smile will remain some of your most precious memories.

But this also means that you will cut people out of your life just because they don’t allow you to grow your way. And you won’t be sorry for doing so.

You will become your own kind of woman

It’s not very clear how will that woman be, for now, but I only can tell you that you’d love her if you’d met her. She’s funny, passionate, smart, relaxed, and smart. But I can tell you that she won’t be the kind of woman your family hopes you’ll become. She won’t care this much about how other people see her. She will have learned, by now, to put herself first. Do you know those lists with personality traits from the drawer? She checks them all and adds some more bullet points.

You will learn to say no

And you’re gonna love it! You will reach that point where you will learn that saying no is not an insult, but a proof of self-respect, and you will act like it. You will start to say no to whatever you feel like it doesn’t suit yourself: people, opportunities, everything that feels off.

You might not always know what you want, but you will always have a clear sight of what you don’t want, and that will do just fine in the long run.

You’ll bring magic up to your life

Not only that you will learn how to work with magic, but you will also learn to trust your inner voice, not other’s opinions about how you should be doing this or that. And every time you will listen to that inner voice, you’ll win. But it will be some hard to learn part of the journey, even for you. You will, as time goes by, discover that you are stronger than you’ve thought you could possibly be. And the thing that you can find happiness in the smallest things is one of the traits that root that power of yours.

These are only a small, small part of what your journey will be like. A teaser, if you want to. Because, by the way, you will be a pro at teasing people, too. Even if now it does not really sound like you, it will. Just be patient.

I think this will be any teenage girl that will trust her personal journey more than other people’s opinions about how her life should be, but today is not only about them, it’s especially about you. Because one of the most important lessons that you’ll be learning during this decade is the fact that a woman will only succeed if she will help other women, too. You will be empowered and inspired in your journey by wonderful, astonishing women, and you will find the power to give the same gift back to the young girls.

Because, if it’s anything that you are certain of, by now, is the fact that it needs a whole community to raise a woman who is unapologetically herself, capable to share and put boundaries as well. But, in the end, it is always worth it.

Viata ca o inghetata de menta


Multe plante m-au fascinat pe mine-n viata asta, dar nici una asa cum o face menta. Nu pot spune ca-s neaparat o fana, dar m-a fascinat dintotdeauna capacitatea ei de a genera iluzii. Orice contine menta si e comestibil pare mult mai cald sau mai rece decat e de fapt. Si chestia asta ma face s-o vad ca pe analogia cea mai congruenta cu felu-n care mai curge viata azi.

Mereu m-am gandit si m-am uitat in jur ca la un puzzle ce trebuie completat, ca la o problema doar pe jumatate definita. Si asta a implicat, cel mai adesea, sa stiu. Ce? Orice mi-a lasat impresia ca o sa-mi foloseasca- nu concret, neaparat- la intelegerea a ce se intampla in jurul meu. Indiferent cat de mult a luat sau de enervant a putut deveni. Si asta mi-a facut lista de nedumeriri sa fie enorma.

Nu pricep, de exemplu, ce-are toata lumea cu latura practica si latura frumoasa a vietii. De ce le tratati toti de parca s-ar exclude. Nu se exclud, decat in cazuri patogene. Altminteri, avem nevoie si de util, dar ne trebuie si frumosul, indiferent de cat de inutil ar fi din perspectiva practica. Are si el utilitatea lui clara si concreta: ne bucura. De asta nu pricep eu de ce trebuie sa sacrifici una pentru alta.

E fumata si dezintegrata zicerea aia cu ”Life’s short, eat dessert first”, si cel mai adesea auzita in contexte unde nu i-ar fi, poate, locul. Ca nu-i nici despre mancare, nici despre experiente ale momentului, ci despre prioritati. Da, stiu, am zis cuvantul bau-bau. Scuze! Dar despre asta e vorba. Despre a le prioritiza, astfel incat sa ai vreme si de ”desert”, dar si de restul mesei, ca sa nu ramai flamand. Despre cum iti faci timp de lucrurile care-ti fac inima sa bata mai tare, si de cele care-ti fac ziua de maine sa fie un gand fara griji. Ca, oameni fiind, avem nevoie de ambele. Avem nevoie de frumos, de bun, de amuzant, de drag, la fel de bine cum avem nevoie de util, de pragmatic, de rational, de cert, de functional. Daca reusesti sa le amesteci intr-un mod coerent, poti spune ca esti unul dintre rasfatati. Daca nu, esti la fel ca noi, aia care am inteles, intr-un fel sau altul, ca a sacrifica o dimensiune pentru alta e o prostie, o falsa alegere. La fel cum unele femei ”aleg” intre cariera si familie. E ca si cum ai avea de ales intre con si inghetata, orice alegere faci, frustrarea ramane, fiindca ne trebuie amandoua.

Dar pot intelege, fiindca daca nu ai un bun control al timpului, lucrurile pot sa alunece usor intr-o parte sau alta a balantei, e inevitabil. Si de obicei ajungi sa constati ca partea mai ”neimportanta” (fiindca orice n-aduce folos material, acum sau pe viitor, e neimportant si inutil, teoretic) ocupa ”prea mult timp”, inevitabil ajungi sa o neglijezi in favoarea celei vazute ca fiind mai importanta. Iar majoritatea oamenilor n-au reusit sa-si dezvolte genul asta de control fara sa pice-n capcana rigiditatii cu nuante de fixism. Asa am ajuns si eu la ideea de sandwich- incep cu ceva ce-mi place, continui cu ceva ce e musai de facut, ca sa inchei tot cu ceva ce-mi place. Mi se pare nu egoism, nu privilegiu (si aici sa nu-mi sariti in cap cu comunitatile ce traiesc la limita saraciei extreme, ca vorbim de marea medie gri aici, nu de exceptiile alb-negru, si nu tot ce intra la bucurie costa), ci masura de siguranta. De conservare a unei minime sanatati mintale.

Sau ideea conform careia o femeie e mult mai fericita daca are langa ea un barbat care s-o faca fericita. Ei bine, asta poate fi adevarata doar partial. Nu neg ca fericirea de a te simti iubita si apreciata de un barbat e ceva frumos, ceva aparte, dar de aici si pana la a avea convingerea ca asta e tot ce inseamna fericirea…e drum lung. Un drum lung si trist, pe care inca nu pricep de ce l-ar parcurge cineva, in ce circumstante. Fericirea, bucuria vietii, e ceva nediscriminatoriu, accesibil oricui. In asta si consta farmecul ei, in faptul ca-i a tuturor. O femeie singura poate fi fericita la fel de bine cum o femeie care are un barbat alaturi se poate simti neimplinita, singura in viata ei. A avea pe cineva langa tine e o sansa-n plus, nu o garantie ca ajungi la fericire. Pentru ca adevarata masura a fericirii n-o da parcursul unei zile, ci cele cateva minute de dinainte sa adormi- atunci, cand esti doar tu cu tine, stii cum si cine esti. De asta respingem si singuratatea, si ideea ca omul poate fi fericit si singur, nu doar langa alt om. Pentru ca, in majoritatea cazurilor, singuratatea e urma ramasa a unei experiente de marginalizare, nu o alegere deliberata. Asa ajungem sa ne intrebam „Ei, da’ cine dracu’ vrea sa fie singur?” si sa dam verdicte la fel de dezechilibrate ca emitatorul.

Si de asta bag inghetata de menta in aceeasi cutie cu oglinzile care te fac sa pari mai slaba decat esti, cu iluziile optice: fiindca toate ne-arata, in felul lor senzorial, cat de diverse sunt nuantele in care o viata de om poate fi inteleasa si traita. Abia asta ma fascineaza cu adevarat, restul nu-s decat pretexte. Iar textul asta n-a fost gandit cu intentia de a te invata cum sa traiesti, ca nimeni n-are, in afara sarlatanilor de profesie, retete pentru asta, singurul fel in care poti afla e…sa traiesti. Indiferent ce-nseamna asta pentru tine.