About the Cult of Stress and Being Aylyak

Author : Torben Stein - 25 years old
Siegen, Germany

I am trying to find out, why I feel like somebody has lifted a 4-pound weight from my shoulders since I live in Plovdiv. Surely, one can trace this back to the fact that I do not have to match anybody’s expectations right now. Fair enough, one expects that I appear around 9 a.m. at my work place, complete my tasks and clean my desk when I call it a day at 5:30 p.m. I must give the devil his due.
But, in the end, I think it has far more to do with the fact, that self-esteem in Bulgaria, or in Plovdiv respectively, is less regulated by your daily achievements. In Germany, as my suspicions are confirmed, you can only appear before the public in all conscience, if you worked hard all day, the whole week, all year round, learned a lot and spent a lot time for other things not being under the slightest suspicion to arouse joy. Only when the German suffers, he can look at himself in the mirror with a quiet conscience. If you are relaxed, it is important to deliver a reason why you deserve it or to tell that, soon, there is a moment when dolce vita comes to an end.
Now, it does not seem to me as if the total amount of work in Bulgaria is less. Most of the colleagues at Plovdiv 2019 are already at work when I arrive and have not disappeared by the time I leave. But it has not yet happened that someone with a sorrowful face stated how many hours he had worked this week, how early one would come, how late those days would be, and, oh, the children, oh this and that. To be honest, the people in my foundation work so hard because they identify with the project, explains my language teacher. Elsewhere, employees were less motivated. What is somewhat understandable with a € 200 monthly salary. Temperatures of nearly 40 degrees in the summer have a share in smoothing the willingness for long working hours.
Who is, then, not in the mood for work, is aylyak. The word cannot be adequately translated into English. It has great deal in common with the Italian dolce far niente, the sweet idleness. It describes a certain state of mind and lifestyle. Anyone who is aylyak feels just comfortably relaxed, free from external expectations and open to the pleasant side of human existence. Work is only a means to an end and not a virtue. I personally feel how the pressure drops to be as productive and stressed as possible. The light does the rest. For almost three weeks now, the temperatures have been between 20 and 24 degrees. The sun shines almost continuously.