Aesthetic (adj.): Beauty or the appreciation of beauty; giving or designed to give pleasure through beauty (Oxford English Dictionary).
I have to be honest. There is a risk that I will end up sounding like a completely self-absorbed, hedonistic and shallow individual. But I hope in reading this you will connect with if not all, then some of the themes I am sharing.
So what is an aesthetic life? I define it as a life that involves the constant search for, and discovery of, all things beautiful – beautiful people (emotionally and physically), beautiful scenery, beautiful experiences, beautiful interactions, beautiful places, beautiful things. I am more than just a passive enjoyer of all things pleasurable, I actually become emotionally and physically affected by my surroundings and circumstances.
The following 5 tips are those which I aspire to live by – I don’t always succeed, but I am much happier when I do. I hope you enjoy them.
Tip 1 : Love (and be kind)
Love your family. Love your partner. Love your friends. But most of all, love yourself. Be your own best friend.
Oh, and show kindness to others – strangers and acquaintances alike. You will feel infinitely better by making someone else’s day a little brighter. But definitely don’t show kindness to horses. I hate them.
Tip 2 : Laugh (and be silly)
Laugh now and laugh hard. Laugh with your friends, laugh with your colleagues, and laugh at yourself. Life should be fun and I try to approach life with amusement and a sense of the ridiculous.
And seriously, who said that life (and the world of high finance) has to be so HUMOURLESS? Who encourages these middle aged British men in ill-fitting black suits, scuffed shoes, pale blue striped or checked shirts, maroon ties, wire-rimmed glasses and navy socks to be SO. DAMN. DULL? One day, just to keep things interesting, I will write and perform an interpretative dance about a joint venture in Eastern Europe with a private equity firm involving a double LuxCo tax efficient structure with a senior guaranteed note, a subordinated junior note and leverage (EURIBOR + 75bps) applied at the HoldCo level. The protagonist will be called ‘Bond. Junk Bond’. It will be riveting.
Tip 3 : Move (and be moved)
The female body is amazing, intriguing and sometimes just downright embarrassing (whyyyyyy? Just, whyyyyyyyy?). But for me, a fit and healthy body makes me a much happier and more confident person, and I am still exploring what makes me feel at my best.
What I do know is that I used to HATE yoga. The positions challenged me and were sore, the movements were too slow, the breathing was annoying. Then my sister told me about her 30 day yoga challenge, and as I am prone to serious cases of FOMO (fear of missing out), I needed to get involved. It won’t come as a surprise that now I LOVE yoga. I love how it challenges me to be in the moment. To breathe. To stop my mind racing, thinking about what I will have for breakfast or who I forgot to call. I try to do it most mornings for 20 – 30 minutes, and once on the weekend for an hour. I am so Zen when I finish a session that I am just a much nicer person, but I still wouldn’t share my dessert with my boyfriend. That would just be reckless.
I also really love boxing. To be precise, it is any boxing class at Frame, this super duper exercise studio I go to in Kings Cross or Victoria. It is basically just 45 minutes of bouncing around kicking and punching the air. I make my boyfriend join me. He LOVES it and he looks super adorable shadow boxing in a room full of tiny, Lycra-clad dancers, models, executives and groupies. I am so smug and happy after a 45 minute boxing class that I even smile at people on the tube, which is extreme.
TIP 4 : Be curious (and explore)
You have heard about IQ (intellectual quotient, measuring mental ability) and you have heard about EQ (emotional quotient, measuring ability to perceive, control, and express emotions), but have you heard about CQ? Curiosity quotient, which concerns having a hungry mind, being inquisitive and open to new experiences.
For me, CQ manifests itself in exploration – searching out new vegan restaurants in London, travelling and really immersing myself in the culture of a place, learning a new language, meeting new people and finding out about their lives.
The point here is to find what works for you, and you don’t need to get on a plane in order to find adventure. But if you do, I have the perfect sleep mixture (do not take if you are pregnant or want to be awake for each and every meal served on the plane): 2 Boots sleeping tablets + a glass of champagne on take off + a glass of port 45 minutes in (enough time for one meal and two episodes of The Mindy Project) = 7.5 hours uninterrupted sleep. Check your face for a pillow imprint before you leave the plane.
TIP 5 : Create (and design. Influence the environment around you)
I have some easily implementable solutions:
Buy some awesome cushions! I love House of Hackney cushions, they are so quirky and fun and they make me smile every time I see them (check out the prints, some are pretty amusing).
Paint your nails! One should never be without a polished nail.
Buy a designer bag or shoes! For example, right now I would trade my Executive MBA degree for a Valentino Rockstud ballet shoe in every colour and a bright yellow Balenciaga City bag.
Cook delicious plant-based meals! Yes, you do make friends with salad.
Redecorate your entire office! No more grey walls, fraying carpet and ugly cubicles. Think chaise lounges and lush wallpaper, maybe a living wall, a cinema and a nail bar.
Thank you for reading, have a lovely day.
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