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Environment

We rarely think about the spaces we live and work in, but they drive our behavior whether we feel motivated or not. – James Clear 

In many cases, your environment will drive your behavior even more than your personality. – James Clear

It doesn’t matter how small your kingdom is when you are the king. – Some forgotten source

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Yesterday, on the way back to the city, we took a shortcut through a quiet district. It was like stumbling into an entirely different place. The houses and buildings were well-kept, with neat facades. The roads were clean. Most remarkably, there were plants everywhere – trees spilling over people’s fences, growing between the houses, even a canopy of vines stretching from one side of the street to the other. They were growing fruit trees, flowering trees, palms, banana trees and coconuts. It was beautiful. This went on for several blocks, and gradually the streets turned into filth-rivers again.

I make a constant point of hating the city. I hate it because there is no space here. Literally no space on the train. No space for all the trash. Economically, no space for advancement. Morally, no space to be kind to one another. In terms of personal development, no space to become a different person.

It’s suffocating.

 

For quite a while now, I’ve thought that the only solution for myself is to move out of here. It never fails to amaze me how differently people treat each other in developed countries. People here (and many other third-world countries) seem like savages by comparison. However, I no longer think it is the fault of the people but the environment. How can you think about the welfare of your neighbor when you can’t even feed yourself?

But that short trip through that quietly gorgeous district helped to give  me hope again. Maybe we all just need a push and some seeds for us to plant and grow – seeds of ideas, seeds of investments, seeds of morality. Maybe.

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Right now I’m sitting on a swivel chair with my feet up on the bed. During the sunset, everything in the room is golden. I can see the silhouettes of buildings and a single palm tree behind the blinds. The sounds of traffic are dulled by the thick glass window.

On the bedside table is a lamp. In front of the table is an electric keyboard. In front of the keyboard, on the floor, is a half-rolled pink yoga mat.

On the wall, above the bed, is a poster of Tove Lo standing by a fence. Along the banked flourescent lights, I’ve strung fairy lights.

The shelves are filled with books. I’ve hung a corkboard and a clock on the wall beside the desk. The clutter of my clothes, cosmetics and art materials are hidden away in drawers and cabinets.

I haven’t been getting much sleep lately, so I’ve been getting fat. I’m trying to fix that, but it’s hard.

I woke up this morning and read a little bit. Then I took a long walk, and stopped by a small restaurant near my building to buy some food. It was a whole order of spicy tofu and rice which would probably last me for 2 meals, for only 75 pesos. I guess there’s no reason for me to eat fried fat and sugar anymore when I don’t feel like cooking. I wish there could be more places where people can buy quick, healthy and cheap meals to take home. (Not restaurants, to save on space and air-conditioning.)

 

I don’t like expensive things, because I want lots of things, and if I buy an expensive thing, there will be less money to buy other things. I don’t think most people know what things are really worth. Although, it’s possible that my whole perception of reality has been skewed by living where I live. I don’t think the owner of this building realized how little they were charging for rent.

When I wake up every morning, I can be whoever I want to be, because there is no one around to expect me to be anything. I pin and tie my hair back, which I’ve been told is unflattering for me. I wear my glasses. I don’t wear makeup. I wear loose clothes, and no bra most of the time. I walk around and do what I want and no one knows my name.

I don’t know how to explain how good / worrying this feels.

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