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My Inefficient Life

[Listen to me read this reflection here]

Moving to a new continent, country and culture has shown me how inefficient my new lifestyle is, and more importantly, how I feel about it.

There is a conflict with my desire for the new, and my conditioning to expect efficiency in every part of life.

The new for me comes in learning to live in a new place. From where to buy food, connecting with new friends, navigating a new system, there is so much that I am faced with daily that is new to me.

I find it interesting, yet highly inefficient.

The same might be the case for one who is starting a new job, moving into a new home, entering in a new relationship, and more.

My conditioning though is to expect efficiency everywhere. From the society and system that I am a participant of, from the people I interact and engage with, and most of all, from my own abilities to move through it all, I expect it all to be highly efficient and optimized. All the time.

This is where the conflict arises. My limited resources of time, money and energy are clear examples of this conflict.

Time. I continue to get lost moving around Portugal, as the one way streets mean that I do not come back the same way I go, and the one lane streets often invite frequent small delays that Google Maps is not designed to pick up. Every time I go to a restaurant, I am reminded of how used to a rushed culture I am, as the relaxed culture here always takes longer than I expect, every time. In these examples, and in many more, I am surprised with the inefficient use of my time.

Money. From buying cheese and olives that I later discover I do not actually enjoy, to surprise charges from my bank, electricity or cell phone providers, it is difficult to accurately budget or plan, as I do not really understand the true cost of my lifestyle. In these examples, and many more, I am surprised with the inefficient use of my money.

Energy. When making new friends, exploring new events, going on dates, trying new classes, and wandering into new places, I can sometimes feel exhausted or unsatisfied. To curate optimal daily interactions when everything is new feels impossible. In these examples, and many more, I am surprised with the inefficient use of my energy.

Despite observing the countless examples of where my time, money and energy have not been used with an efficiency that I am used to, or that I expect, I feel at peace with it all.

This is a new feeling for me, as in a previous chapter when living in New York, where the efficiency of my time, money and energy was highly optimized, I rarely felt at peace with how my resources were being spent. I felt there was always more possible.

The key to unlock this shift has been to learn to tolerate inefficiency in life.

As my tolerance for inefficiency continues to increase, a byproduct of living in Portugal, my level of satisfaction and peace in life also increases.

Tolerance for the society and system of which I am a participant of.

Tolerance for the people that are present in my everyday lifestyle.

Tolerance for myself, and my own expectations of my abilities.

It becomes a little easier to tolerate something or someone that I know is temporary. And as everything is temporary, including me, I can learn to tolerate it all.

Embracing the inefficiencies in my life is how I continue to move through my days with a smaller frown, and a bigger smile.

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