In the society I grew up there was a strange tacit agreement: “Once you’re adult, play-time is over and the things that give you joy belong to your free time.” So you wait for the weekend, because during the week you are too tired from working long hours in a job that you might not even care about. Then you wait for the vacations, but that is 50 weeks of bad time per 1 or 2 weeks of good time, bad math. Then you wait for your retirement, so you feel you can’t risk doing changes in your job. To make things worse, there’s the environment issue: Close to you, the grey city involves nothing but work and stress. Far away, on some beach you can’t reach, there’s freedom and relax. Those are the most common discussions I have with wall neighbours around the world.
I think this is the old paradigm, younger people don’t really think like that, but they still get anxious about the future. I come from an undeveloped country, stretching time with multiple jobs, knowing that retirement pension will not exist, so waiting for “the free time” is not really an option.
So the most radical thing to do in that system, is choose a job that gives you some degree of satisfaction (since you’re in for life). Although that might seem scary or unreachable. Many people think I can’t understand because as an artist, I’ve been blessed with some sort of magical life. So when I try to share with them the complexity of turning something you love into a job, I get hit by this raw fact: many people have no idea what gives them joy.
So I go back to something more urgent that is never too late to try: the daily acknowledgement of small things, and your response to them. Where can joy start? I play my way around it: I like seeing random people as fantastic creatures, their actions as rituals from another world, imagine the entire backstory of something that caught my attention, look at unusual points of view when walking, put on my headphones and let the music choreograph everything I see. Sometimes I get so inspired I feel the entire street is an installation.
That’s why I love cities, there’s so many things happening in the most common places: work, study, the supermarket. Paying attention I found remarkable actors and scenarios, even scenes in which we can intervene. It is not necessary to wait for the cinema to catch a good story, let alone wait for the sunset on that beach to feel good. There´s free and continuous poetry happening around us, if we decide to participate.