I have shared before that the fun thing about having your own publication is that you can write about anything you wish. From the metaphysics of Death, the relationship between Genius and Insanity, the existential Who Are We? and Codependency, to Bidets, Words I Made Up, Why Cats Give Massages, and erotic Memoirs of My Incognito Friend, that is precisely ― and eclectically ― what I choose to do on One Lucky Soul. Now let us get started with a new creation.
For the last six years of my life I have been living in different countries, far away from where I was born and raised. This meant I have been surrounded by people who didn't know me, or know of me, or remember me from childhood or from previous jobs. All of them only got to know the new ‘me’, some of whom occasionally ask me personal questions.
Then there are people who have known me for much longer. I went to school with some, university with others, and worked with some others. To a portion of them, the new ‘me’ may be slightly confusing. So them, too, ask me personal questions every once in a while.
Since these questions are somewhat repetitive, and since my answers rarely change ― at least until now ― I thought it would be an interesting idea to write them down.
1- How do you sustain yourself?
This is the most asked question, so it has the longest answer.
Sometimes I receive it through private messages from curious readers. Other times, it's an ex-colleague or someone I had recently met. Depending on who the asker is, it's usually coupled with “if you don't mind me asking”. I never mind. Actually I like to answer.
For some of them, the question stems from pure curiosity. For others, curiosity is still involved, but it's because they are flirting with the idea of following their passion ― often includes art ― and leaving their jobs behind ― mainly corporate ― or they had recently done so.
Of course the full question would be: How do you sustain yourself without a ‘job’? [Knowing that I have been living ‘abroad’ for those past years, which naturally entails more spending]
Well, the easy answer is that I rent my apartment in Cairo and this covers my rental whether in Canada or the U.S. Note that it's a full flat while where I reside in North America is usually a studio or even just a bedroom in a shared house. As a matter of fact, my entire rented place in Toronto, including the balcony, the kitchen, and the bathroom were smaller than my bedroom in Egypt. But I was happier.
Other than that, I currently make little money through my art — whether it's writing, editing, translating, photography, or blogging. However, I published my first article less than three and a half years ago and began seriously working on the blog about two years ago. So my artistic enterprise is still taking its first baby steps. For some bewitching reason, though, I have an inner hunch that magick is awaiting, which is a great feeling that pushes me forwards.
This optimistic vision is probably related to how passionate I am towards my relatively new vocation ― something I have never experienced throughout ten long years of working in jobs I never genuinely care about.
What made me fine with breaking up with the security of the paycheck is the realization that the key to financial balance largely lays in our spending priorities. My new simple life revolves around dropping the car, so I don't pay gas or parking; rarely every going out to parties or clubs, because I have done and redone my share; also not buying anything I do not need.
Further, I came to the conclusion that uncertainty with a chance of happiness will always win over certainty with guaranteed unhappiness. So that was how I chose to look at life ― to take a risk into the unknown.
You can read about the few days I was stranded in Venice Beach with a dollar & thirty four cents in me pocket and still felt fine on Here.
Now, let us further ponder this money-work issue since it affects a significant number of people and their happiness, which makes it notably important.
The word ‘work’ is ambiguous. To work, the verb, means to do something. If you are convinced by that something and can be fully and passionately immersed into it, then you're one of the lucky ones. If you're not, then you're part of the majority.
Work also means to create. The value of what you create may only be significant to you, but it honestly doesn't matter. In art for example, there is a certain thrill in reliving our own conceptions; for leaving something that wasn't there before; for being co-creators of the Universe.
When you consistently keep doing that something, out of repetitions, you become good at it. So you keep doing it more and get even better. Again, if you're doing it with love and passion, then that's a big plus and you'll likely go places in Life. That's how I see it.
In general, I have noticed that not many from the older generation can relate to what working independently means. They were all workers of some sort; one way or another they were part of the system. And I was too, for 10 years. Then I realized that it's not for me, though I had always sensed I had a different calling.
So ‘work’ doesn't necessarily have to be for someone and you can be independent like the case of artists, adventurers, explorers...and mystics. It could be more of a journey, a vocation, rather than a mere job. And money or applause aren't the destination.
Likewise, work does not have to be from 9 to 5 or in shifts. It equally does not, or should not, have to be something we don't like but just do to keep up with the system. Apart being a form of slavery, these kinds of soul-sucking jobs are mental suicide.
All the people who lived full, meaningful, inspiring lives said that in order to excel and shine, one has to follow the path of their heart. If we're working because we feel that we must, just like a homework, then we can't really go far.
If you think about it, you'll find that whatever we call ‘work’ nowadays usually has negative connotation. The meaning of the word came to imply doing something we don't enjoy or want to do, something unnatural ― again, think homework. That's why we are given money to do it, you see.
What makes the majority of people not look at it in such a way is the mere fact that the traditional emphasis on external rewards such as grades, report cards, and gold stars is indoctrinated into us since birth; later in life, they are exchanged with raises, promotions, and incentives. Whether it's through our parents, teachers, bosses, even religion, we are constantly reminded that external rewards can induce interest and participation in something we may have no initial interest in. Out of repetition, some people end up believing this common ideology to be true, which is a grave, multifaceted issue.
Mark Twain said that work and play are words used to describe the same thing under differing conditions.
Many centuries before him, Confucius said: Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. Truly, it's all in how you look at it.
All that said, I hold that if you're good enough, money and abundance will come to you; no need to sell yourself or exchange your reality for a role and some papers. These views are specifically why some think of me as a Bohemian dreamer with a poetic way of looking at things. Maybe I am, but as long as I'm happy and I'm keeping busy doing what I love, which is mainly writing a book now, then I'll be just fine.
2- How did you become who you are today?
Well, the secret is...there is no secret. I had to ‘deal’ with this mad dude in the photo since I was 19, and only by 34 have I succeeded in fully accepting him as he is. When I did that, everything changed for the better. Simply because I have embraced the madness; I recognized and admitted it, à la Jung. This step has allowed me to stop lying to myself, which keeps me truthful and grounded. Now I love the person that I am because I fought hard to become him.
The Kingdom of Heaven is truly within us, you won't find it elsewhere.
More details can be found on Things I Got Rid Of To Become Happier as well as on Opiated Then Hatin' It.
3- Don't you miss meat?
Not really. I think eating meat (red and white) maybe six times a week for almost 34 years was quite enough for me not to want to go back after quitting about a year and a half ago. Even though the last three years included lots of marinating and cooking and grilling, but I think this was one great way to say goodbye.
Dropping the meat made me feel healthier; I lost two sizes in waist, I feel better, I breathe better, I sleep better, and I poo better. So my decision was based on a conscious choice.
4- Have you ever really loved a girl/woman?
This question resurfaced a few days ago while chatting with my parents about past relationships. My short answer is: I loved them all, more or less.
The longer answer is: Of course I loved some more than others. I also convinced myself a couple of times that this was maybe it. Once I even put lots of effort to make a certain relationship work, but it didn't. The reality is, to spend the rest of our entire lives with only one person is a magnanimous decision. So let us say that I still haven't found this femme spéciale yet.
5- Don't you get bored?
That one is usually a response to one of two things: When I say that I “work/play” all day, every day, mainly from home. And when I talk about being single for periods of time at this age ― or still unmarried, more likely.
The answer is, Definitely not. Only boring people get bored. One simply does not get bored from doing things that they love. It's actually the complete opposite; we get bored from doing things we don't feel like doing, things we have no passion for.
As for being totally fine with being single, first, I love my solitude. It is when I create, which is what I do in life now.
Second, Rumi said: Give me more wine or leave me alone. This is my philosophy concerning, not only dating, but all kinds of relationships with others. If they have anything to add to my life, even if just smiles, then it could be worth the time and effort. But if they don't, then I'm certainly much better off without them.
Who Are We?
Things I Got Rid Of To Become Happier
The Significance of Letting Go
Things I Couldn't Quite Understand After Being On The Road For Seven Months
Some Soulful Travel Quotes