Archives for February 2019

February 13, 2019

The Three Points System

A way to explore your town for an hour as if it was a long-lost kingdom.

We all get in a rut every now and then. At some point, we grow a little too comfortable in our own routines, making our daily lives agonizingly predictable.

Routines can be important for many reasons, of course. They can help in the conversation of mental energy for the more demeaning tasks, as well as with the management of time over the course of the work day. But when our routines begin to make us feel dull, when they begin to numb our curiosity and desires for new experiences, that’s when it’s time to go back to the drawing board and try something a little different.

International travel is something we all dream of doing, whether that be in the form of an exhilarating hike up a fjord in Iceland, or through the humble experience of relaxing in a café in downtown Buenos Aires, tapping in on the local’s discussions, whilst sipping on some mate. And while having experiences overseas or across a boarder is a chapter in the book of life everyone should read up on, it’s equally important to explore your own city—be like a tourist for an hour or two every once in a while in your own town.

It is interesting how many of us travel off to these faraway cities when searching desperately for something new to experience, and eventually begin to feel better acquainted with something like the endless districts of a Nambian city, or with the roads of a sprawling Parisian neighborhood, much more than the ones that are right outside our front door.

Shortly before moving across the country to Portland, Maine from Northern California, I had begun to fall into the daily trap of unnecessary angst. My sense of curiosity for exploring the areas around me was beginning to dwindle. I told myself that I had seen it all within my locality, and there was nothing left to see. However, that is never actually the case—there is always something out there to be experienced.

To push myself away from falling into the cycle of monotony again, I’ve begun acting on something I like to call the Three Points System every other day over the last several weeks.

The idea behind the Three Points System is simple: pick three points within the vicinity of your city or area and follow that up by getting delightfully (and strategically) lost for an hour using your two feet. These points can be based off anything from landmarks to iconic storefronts, they can be something like small neighborhood bakeries, or even a random address.

Once you’ve established a point (or all three), simply use that point as your base and walk around for an hour, in any direction, scanning for visual cues that gather your curiosity to make sudden turns or changes in your course. You’ll notice immediately that there will be something new or unknown to you; whether that be in the form of walking past a coffee shop that may have just opened across town, coming across a sweet urban hiking trail to go running on, or by having an experience with someone through a conversation that wouldn’t have been had if you weren’t walking around.

An easier way to start out is by making your home one of the three points. In this way, you become better acquainted with the surrounding areas of your town as well as what’s immediately around you.

How you find the points are up to you—using Google Maps to get a bird’s eye view of your exploring area, randomly driving around until you pick a spot that suits your fancy, or by simply strapping on your boots, grabbing a water, and walking out the front door.

The funny thing about the Three Points System is that it doesn’t really have a clear goal or end in sight, nor in mind. The motive behind the system is quite simple: to get you outside and moving, to push you to experience a place you probably hadn’t been to before, and to feed and grow your curiosity for your own town or city, which I think is a wonderful thing.

February 6, 2019

Rushing out of Time

When we talk about Minimalism, we usually think about things, but what about your time?

It is a curious thing to think about the speed of life nowadays. A steady pace is no longer deemed sufficient as we run from task to task, optimizing all that we can in the pursuit of more.

I am sure that we have all recently heard things like “Where has this year gone”, or “It’s Christmas already!” Twenty-four hours are not enough and the week goes by without being seen. The weekends? I have friends who say they have not felt them since high school. Really, time seems shorter, more condensed, and entirely out of our control.

Of course, what has actually changed is something we do have control over—our daily lives and how we spend them. This is obvious when you think about it.

For me, the rush became a part of my body in a way. From the great city centers to the quiet suburbs, haste is present everywhere; at the time of sleeping, waking, eating, working out, and commuting.

By analyzing a little, it is possible to conclude that it is difficult for us to leave this way of life. We all want to embrace the world and give it our best. We want to answer that email, update our social media, and talk to our friend, as well as finish that presentation and play with the children. All of this during dinner! However, if we behave like this, there is no time left for the life-affirming activities that bring us a sense of happiness and well-being. In the mindset of today’s society, we have become too objective and therefore, mundane and stagnant. It is surely a sad affair when we do not have time for reflection on our attitudes and preferences. To rush is to bring further haste into our lives. It is a self-propelling process.

To live differently, we can apply minimalism to our agendas. We have to find time to reflect on our lives; to admire nature, to enjoy leisure time, and to spend time with those we love. The rush hour lifestyle cannot win if we refuse to play.

Be strong. Be disciplined. After all, we all have the right to well-being at our own pace.