A large part of the problem, as a local friend points out, is the abusive environment. One could, theoretically, move about as freely as one does elsewhere and enjoy local delights, but one learns that it is not so simple — unpleasantness comes when you least expect it, but often, and “just avoid it” or “just ignore it” or “let it go” are ignorant remarks on that issue.
By way of illustration: a friend wants me to avoid Latin America entirely because of the possible violence. The violence of daily life here is worse, but she wants me to just ignore that, “not let it affect me,” and so on. This is poor reasoning.
In any case, the factor cannot be ignored, must be taken into account, because if not one will feel it is a personal failing when one’s plans fail due to the violence, due to not having planned for it but rather having tried to ignore it as the self-righteous exhorters advise.
If they are in a position to successfully ignore it, that is lovely, but we who live here have to give ourselves credit for being exhausted by it, plan to expect it so that we are not bowled over by it, and have recovery plans.
This having been said, things I used to do, do elsewhere, and do not always do here are: sleep enough, exercise enough, avoid all processed anything, always do something fun every day, always do something research oriented, always put sanity and my own work and pleasure first, and feed my head. These things which sound egotistical and self indulgent because they are not martyrdom but which actually allow me to be the person people like and also the one I am paid to be.
Impediments here are the environment and the responsibilities — I do not have many things but I am tired of having a house and a car and this many books and papers, and I want to get rid of what is practical to do, at least of house and office contents.
But moreso it is the habit of serving I got ingrained in Reeducation, which really does not do anyone any good. The yoga and balance is between and among remembering to do what I would do, and protecting myself from the violent environment outside the house which is where much of what I would do lies, while not always spending the money it would cost to really escape the possibility of violence (e.g. by always going to Houston/Austin or New Orleans, civilized places).
The real issue is having learned to put my own work and life last, and to just provide care and serve.
Also during all of that time, I received many exhortations about how to do academic work. You had to constantly step up the amount of time you were putting in, push harder and faster — for reasons I never understood, since I had always been systematic and organized and done well.
The exhortations were to push harder and faster and also to take more time off and spend more money in hopes of reaping a fancy job later — and also spin more wheels on stress because that was “real life.”
It was the ideas of speed and pushing and suffering and compensating by risk taking with cash that I found so exhausting — and the simultaneous pressure to take more time off, as well as to spend more time on stress and worry. I still do not understand why I got all of these warnings, given that in fact what I was doing was what the wise also advise.
Is the problem called this: being naïve and getting intimidated by people who are self righteous, but also really unhealthy?