If you’re like me, the mundane nine-to-five lifestyle fills every square-inch of your body with dread. You wake up, get dressed, go to work, slave away, go home, eat, sleep, repeat. People can go their entire lives doing the same things over and over again like a broken record before one day waking up to reality and realizing that they wasted it all doing something they didn’t even like doing.
We try to escape this grim reality though, even if for a moment. For some, this means watching your favourite sports team, or going on a date with that girl you’ve always liked. It means learning to play the guitar, or binging a new show on Netflix. For far too many it means buying a whole bunch of useless things to try and fill the void in your life with stuff.
Travelling is a great method by which a lot of us choose to escape, including myself. Not only are you mentally removed from the stress of life, but you are often literal oceans and continents away. Nothing beats exploring the ancient city streets of Rome, or wandering through medieval castles in the English countryside. Or seeing the lights of Tokyo gleaming down on you like Blade Runner, or laying on the white sandy beaches in the hot beating sun of Thailand. There is something wondrous and freeing about being in total control of what you do, where you go, and how you choose to schedule your day.
The problem is that no matter how much we try to escape, or compensate for the discontent in our lives, the reminder of our harsh reality is always there lurking in the background. You still have to be back at work on Monday, you still have those bills to pay, and you still need to get the oil changed in the car.
When you’re back in the mundane nine-to-five nature of life, you might find yourself daydreaming, longing, or yearning for those brief moments of escape, repeatedly playing them back like a movie in your head, wishing that you could live in them forever.
That feeling of longing, yearning, and nostalgia is Saudades.
A word only found in the Portuguese language, Saudades can best be captured by Fado music, which is known for its melancholic and expressive nature. Musicians will often sing about the struggles of life, and the helplessness in facing the seemingly uncontrollable nature of existence.
While emotional, Fado music isn’t necessarily meant to be sad, and can in fact be inspiring. It is about accepting the hand you were dealt, acknowledging the realities of life, and making the effort to better yourself and your situation.
Seeking Saudades is the quest to make those brief moments of escape a permanent fixture in your life; to break out of the mold and pursue your passions. To control the one and only life you have to live. Nothing in life comes easy, and only you can be the master of your own destiny.
So, what are you waiting for?