I wrote a generally very well received post a few months ago called 10 Things You Should Be Doing Every Day in Spain. (See it at the link… go on I can wait… just make sure to come back here later) It basically glorified a few aspects of living that will make your life in Spain much better than if you don’t do them at all. Anyway, as I said generally it was very well received and shared all over social networks where it was discussed in the strongest terms by people … many of whom totally missed the point.
Despite being called 10 Things You Should Be Doing Every Day in Spain people seem to have misread it as 10 Things You Should Spend Every Waking Hour Doing In Spain. So today in the spirit of total clarity I thought it was time to put right some of the commenters who to say the least have misread my intentions.
1) To all of those who called me lazy, said it was a procrastinator’s diary, told me in no uncertain terms that’s why Spain is in sh*t, shouted at me (YES IN CAPITAL LETTERS) to stop perpetuating stereotypes I just have one thing to say.
Learn to read.
No, let me correct myself there, learn to leave your prejudices and stereotypical thinking at the door before you start to read. Let’s investigate why should we?
1) Lazy? Me! Anyone who knows me will also know I am a workaholic oftentimes working over 100 hours per week (And with a horendous tendency to overuse the word oftentimes when writing). They will also know that within that time I make sure I fit siestas in and that is not lazy. A scientific fact that you may not like is that siestas actually increase concentration, alertness and productivity as reported in The Age for example;
“Research shows it can take as little as a 10-minute shut-eye to increase alertness, improve mood and concentration and even reduce workplace accidents and errors. All with no effort – it doesn’t get easier than that.”
Procrastination? I can procrastinate with the best of them but taking time out actually betters results because your subconscious mind is working on a solution when you get a break from something rather than constantly ruminating over the same problems.
Spain is in sh*t because of the siesta and all of this perceived laziness? Erm no. Spain is in sh*t because of corrupt, inept politicians promoted way above their competence on the back of the old boys network, nepotism, a bank culture that did favours to friends in high places and a lack of encouragement of entrepreneurship, of which the young show great strides until they have it beaten out of them by a system designed to perpetuate the status quo among many other factors. It is not in sh*t because Graham Hunt or Don Pepito have a siesta every now and again.
And speaking of perpetuating, what about those stereotypes? Well I don’t see many in the article. The siesta may be a stereotype but that’s because the rest of the world is effectively catching up with what the warmer countries already know, that working every minute of every hour of every day isn’t necessarily the best way to live. Health problems anyone? (The Spanish have the second highest life expectancy of any country in the world on average despite the amount of smoking, drinking and ham they eat)
2) Jealousy. I couldn’t believe the amount of people who ranted at the article because it promotes slowing down and that totally goes against what they actually believe and do. Do people not realise that they are effectively hamsters on a wheel and they will never get to where they are going unless they take a few steps back from time to time? They criticised Spain for not running around on the same wheel. Take a look at what happens if you carry on doing it by the way.
Might I suggest this is all born out of jealousy. The fact that certain people may be able to stop running on the consumerist wheel and get back to smelling the coffee, the flowers and enjoying life may just be too much for them because they are trapped in their own little preconstructed box and cannot do it.
3) I Don’t Spend All My Life Doing This – As highlighted above, the things you should be doing every day do not take up the whole of my day, a siesta may be 20 minutes (Although my preferred time is 25), a two hour lunch might only be an hour and a half, talking to someone over a coffee may be ten minutes (but can change your life, see this post about the 250 cups of coffee technique and although I aim to do most of the ten every day I don’t do them every day religiously, I am no zealot (At least in that respect).
4) You can’t please all the people all the time. But then again so what? I preach to people a lot that if you ain’t got haters online then you are doing something wrong. If the reaction to what you write is “Meh, so what?” then why the hell did you bother taking time out to write it. You should provoke jealousy, hate, anger, fear and more but on the other side of that same coin you will have people who love what you write, who share it, care for it and promote it. Nobody will promote something that is bland and boring. Get used to it. Enjoy and indulge your haters, after all that p*sses them off even more.
5) Careful of the platforms. Reddit seems to be a place where cellar dwelling lowlives who have never ventured out of Main Street USA vent their spleen. Quora is where people let their pent up anger and frustration at their situation in life and bad experiences into the open, a sort of online therapy session developing into a car crash of sorts in full public view. Facebook is where your friends love your writing 🙂 and Twitter is an echo chamber where the title is repeated ad nauseum but the comments are made on the Facebook comments feature of the blog 🙂
6) Priorities. Work work work! The anglo saxon protestant mantra. Look where it got the bankers and dealmakers on Wall Street in 2008. Sleep is for wimps and a long etcetera of macho alpha male b*llocks. We are here on this Earth for around three score years and ten I believe and tomorrow it could all be taken away as you cross the road while staring at your iPhone and walk under the wheels of a bus (which go round and round)
The 10 things you should be trying to do every day in Spain are actually rules for life wherever you are in general (Maybe not the speaking Spanish bit but you get the idea I am sure as you are an intelligent person as you chose to read this far). Why waste your life doing something you hate doing, that makes you angry enough to criticise somebody who doesn’t follow that particular path and that actually makes you ill? I think it is about time some of the internet warriors asked themselves some questions (If they are able to free up their underpants from the sticky chair in the basement of their parents house and actually get outside and see the light)