“Life should be lived to the point of tears.” – Albert Camus

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One of the things we enjoy the most as human beings is to lose ourselves in an experience. To find ourselves in a situation where the gravity of the moment, the weight of the now is so powerful that we find ourselves outside of ourselves. You become what you behold. In these moments our neurotic inner critic, anxious of the future, paralyzed or saddened by the past, this inner critic goes silent. There is a grace to this moment. The weight of the now in all of its gravity and splendor, purges us temporarily from the angst.


When you have this moment, whenever you put yourself outside of yourself, I am able to pierce the veil. I am able to see beyond my concerns and constraints. I connect with something larger than myself. It’s something we can all relate to.


It’s something that we seek out. These moments are medicinal to our soul, they change us. It’s existential medication, we hit the Pause button of our existential angst. Death transforms from an imminent panic to a metaphysical abstraction. The constant thoughts of our mortality dissipate and we momentarily live in the space of the eternal now. It can be the most amazing lake ever, Burning Man, a moment with your family, a walk on the beach – anything. These moments become transformative experiences. We push ahead.


And then the angst is gone.

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One year of travel is coming to an end. 20 countries. More than 40 different beds, endless nights in airplanes and countless hours of jet lag and naps throughout the day. We experienced one major fire, no visit to any emergency room or doctor, every bag made it to its destination, no major flight delays. Some food didn’t like us, some beds were too soft or too hard, there were pulled backs and muscles, the longest summer of our lives and a growing love affair with a city.


And I wore a poop on my head.

When we decided to leave the daily life for a year, I didn’t have any philosophical insights or deep thoughts on why we did it. The stars just were aligned and we did it. Looking back, my main driver was to rid myself of this angst. At least, quiet it down for a while. When the daily routine turns into a daily adventure, those moments of now seem to happen on a daily basis. They not only happen at the Taj Mahal or Uluru.

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They happen when your daughter takes her first subway ride alone.

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Or you’re about to eat the perfect lunch.

I never understood the pursuit of happiness. The way I see it, happiness is like sleep. We can’t force ourselves to sleep. The harder we try to sleep, the less likely it will happen. The most we can do with sleep is to create external and internal environments that will allow sleep to occur. Ultimately, sleep comes only when we create an internal environment, that is, a particular physical and mental state, notably when our bodies are relaxed and our minds are clear and unburdened.

The same holds true for happiness. Happiness doesn’t arise from the presence of something (good relationships, passion, etc.), but rather the absence of something, notably angst. When we are free from angst we are better able to embrace and experience predictors of happiness.

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The angst is never fully gone but we pushed it aside on a daily basis by moments of the eternal now.