It’s One Broke Gal’s first birthday! Hurrah. One whole year of blogging, and hopefully all you readers have gained a little something from this blog.
For me, this blog has (not to sound too dramatic) changed my life.
Let’s just say that it has altered my way of thinking, and even veered me onto a different path of life, to sound marginally less theatrical.
Before I started writing on here, I was feeling quite lost, to say the least. I had no idea what I was doing and I had a mini quarter-life crisis day after day, “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood”/Robert Frost kind of crises.
I thought I had limited myself and wasted so much time that I had two choices. Move to Madrid and become a teacher, or stay in Edinburgh and work in the service industry, and both those options would be life-long.
But now, I have realized that neither of those paths is for me. And though I still don’t fully know which way to go, I know that much. And I believe that my future involves writing, and I’m pretty content with that, for now.
On the note, it’s been rather hard to maintain this positive outlook when the temperature in Madrid is hitting the high thirties every day. As much as we crave the heat when we’re not in it, I have a low threshold to bear it when I am.
I’ve been seeking solace in air conditioning and cool spots, and I try to distract myself with thoughts of icy winters in Edinburgh when I walk in the direct sun.
So far, I seem to be coping just fine.
The worst part isn’t the sweat or the constant consumption of water. It’s the lack of motivation, to do just about anything.
Whatever about productivity levels, I can barely handle reading a book or watching a series. My mind just keeps drifting… to sleep.
I had envisioned spending my free time this summer reading stacks of books, writing a novel’s worth of material with some leftover time to sip wine on a terrace and people-watch. So far, no dice.
With a lot of procrastination, and a lot of down-time, I’ve compiled a list of specific podcast episodes that have perked me up, kept me interested and motivated and really stimulated my brain to focus on things other than what series to watch next on Netflix and whether or not I should buy that Asos dress (the answer is always no).
To celebrate my much needed renewed perspective that I have gained from this blog, I’ve narrowed down my top 3 podcast episodes that are for spring cleaning any stagnant, unproductive energy you are withholding inside and to get your brain in gear.
1. Brene Brown on Under the Skin with Russel Brand.
Listening to this episode was electrifying, and the chemistry between Brand and Brown was palpable at times. Russel Brand has been met with worldwide skepticism over the years for his wildly erratic behaviors and general inappropriateness, but now that he’s clean and extremely zen, and he has proven himself to be well-spoken and intelligent beyond his humor.
His podcast Under the Skin is overflowing with mindful conversations and deconstructions of society, relationships, and spirituality. Brene Brown is well known for her talks revolving around vulnerability and coupled with Brands outside of the box nature, this podcast episode will leave you with a lot to dwell on.
They discuss a mixture of politics, faith, mass psychology, and how vulnerability and boundaries are necessary for all. They mix old wisdom and knowledge with in-time realizations and joint epiphanies as their discussion weaves upon different paths. Their mixed backgrounds allow them to challenge each other, disagree and find common ground, particularly regarding the meaning of spirituality.
Regardless of your beliefs or ideas, this podcast is sure to inspire some organic thoughts that might just be the remedy for a day of foiled by procrastination.
2. David Brooks on The Ted Interview.
Before listening to this episode I had no idea who David Brooks was, and while I was listening I was in awe of him. I found his opinions and perspectives on life and society so refreshingly simplistic.
When I finished, I, of course, turned to google to gain more background information and was surprised to find that though he has been a successful New York Times journalist for many years, he is not very well-received and people refer to him as ‘boring’. I shoved that bias out the window and listened to this episode again to really absorb his ideologies.
In a world where we are constantly told that we are free-standing, unique individuals who should be completely self-sufficient, I was rather engaged by Brooks’ idea that the only way for us to feel truly fulfilled is by giving and receiving love. He says that we are in need of a cultural and relational revolution before it is too late because our ‘You do you’ mantras are nothing to base life upon because what’s worth wanting should be shared.
He explains that the central lie of this self-built individualist culture is that we can make ourselves happy because tribalism always trumps individualism. For someone who has always maintained the importance of independence and self-happiness over-all, it was like a breath of fresh air to realize that maybe our species did intend for us to depend.
This episode is perfect if you want to challenge the way you view our life and culture, and to provoke thought about the cusp of change that we are heading toward.
3. Mo Gawdet on How to Fail with Elizabeth Day.
I think this is the only podcast that I’ve ever nearly cried while listening to, and teared up at when re-telling its contents. How to Fail is a podcast that celebrates the things that haven’t gone right and shows us that learning how to fail ultimately teaches us how to succeed.
Mo Gawdet is a former, extremely successful, Google executive, who despite his success and wealth, wasn’t happy. He then decided to use his scientific mind to develop an algorithm for happiness which ultimately led him to an equation;
Happiness (is greater than) > your perception of your life – (minus) your expectation of how it should be.
After his 21-year-old son died during a routine operation, he set out on his quest for happiness, what it is and how to obtain it. He believes that happiness is not given to us in life, it is entirely our responsibility to gain and maintain.
This episode deconstructs our collective dependency on consumerism to fulfill us and how without our unhappiness, it will collapse. We are born with no need to look outward for our happiness, but we seem to be taught it along the way.
Instead of constantly trying to fill ourselves up, we should look at ourselves as mobile phones slowed down by an overload of applications, and we need to remove the unnecessary, rather than add more excess. Conclusively, we are in control of our brains and we must wield that control to our benefit.
This episode is overwhelming, yet uplifting and vital to listen to in this day and age when we can’t tell authenticity from a lie. It is guaranteed to stop you in your tracks and leave you to overcome some confronting statements about how we live.