Bastiaan Reinink

Jan 302015
 

My original stint in London was supposed to have been 3 months. At the end of that, they weren’t tired of me yet, so I got extended by another 3. Not too long after that I was asked to stay a bit longer still.

That actually looks like quite a cool job... And a great one to take a day off of

That actually looks like quite a cool job… And a great one to take a day off of

Even though I was enjoying my assignment, I was also thinking about “moving on”. In other words, I wasn’t as attached to the job as I had been. Which gave space for some re-negotiating…

It’s a well known saying: “You work to live, you don’t live to work”. And so I asked whether they would consider keeping me on for four days, instead of the five I had been doing so far. Which, after some thinking, was accepted.

As mentioned, this was a while back, meaning that until my new contract came into force, I would still be on my old schedule. There is another relevant saying: “Good things come to those who wait” (with the addendum that you do have to ask first).

I’ve patiently waited and this week, today, was my first “day off”.

Bliss!

A recent article said that the more you earn, the more “valuable” your time seems and thus the more you have the feeling you have too little of it. One more thing to help make the trade-off between time and money…
Getting up normal time (as my girlfriend did have to go to work normally), catching up on E-mail, doing laundry, getting all sorts of goodies from the big(!) supermarket a bit further away, doing preparations to turn said goodies into a small all-british feast at dinner (they say that English cooking is one of the worst in the world. Try their roasts or puddings and you’ll think twice!), an afternoon nap, reading, some more preparations, writing this blog post.

And all of this without any sense of haste or the feeling that things have to be done.

It really is true, it’s much better to work to live than the other way around.

Maybe they’ll let me work three-and-a-half days per week?


Bastiaan ReininkI’m Bastiaan. This blog is meant to give you some insight into the things I run into and perhaps to inspire you to go in search of your own life extraordinaire.

I love to connect, so if you have thoughts, ideas or questions based on this (or another) post, please leave me a comment!

Jan 282015
 

My last blog post was about what gives me pleasure.  There I also remarked on the second thing you need for happiness: Purpose.

Teaching Peruvian kids English felt purposeful. When I got them to pay attention...

Teaching Peruvian kids English felt purposeful. When I got them to pay attention…

So, in this post I want to go into what feels “purposeful” for me (doing something that feels useful):

  • Writing (whether it’s my book, a blog post or my diary. Even (or perhaps especially) writing a todo list feels purposeful)
  • Cooking (when it’s not just for myself)
  • Playing sports (which also was on my pleasurable list)
  • Sleep (though not always; mostly when I really need it)
  • Giving a gift or doing something for someone
  • Making plans (perhaps this is why I do my monthly experiments; they let me think of what I’m going to do in the future)

As interesting as what is on this list (and on my list of pleasures), is what is not on it.

Commuting is definitely not on either list, even though it is something I spend a fair amount of time doing. Strangely enough, traveling is something that does give me pleasure, even if it is sitting dumbly on a bus. Interestingly, I’m writing this on my tube ride back home and that really does seem to make it better!

Second, work is not on either list. Parts off it could be, as I enjoy the creative part of programming or solving a particularly difficult (mathematical) problem. Some pleasure, but very little of it actually has purpose for me. There is the “making money” but that is more a necessity than that it is purposeful.

I imagine that work for a lot of people would be something that gives purpose. Maybe I’ll spend some more time (and another blog post) on analyzing that further.

Then there are some things that I think would feel full of purpose, but that I don’t actually do (that much). Most importantly, volunteering. I’ve done some in my life (giving children of asylum seekers an enjoyable day and doing the finances for an organization that built homes for people who had lost theirs in an earthquake). I enjoyed them, but I missed the (intellectual) challenge in them after a while.

What in life feels purposeful to you?

Jan 212015
 

Recently I read something interesting on leading a happy life.  The idea is that to be happy you need to have both pleasure and purpose in your life. 

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Beautiful sights definitely are easiest to come by far away...

This resonated with me quite soundly, and being on my way back from a great vacation, the pleasure part has adequately been taken care of (I’m so happy to be heading back to my 9-to-5 existence…).

Pleasure (like a good vacation) for me consists of a number of things:

  • Good food
  • Being active (hiking, sports)
  • Companionship (spending time with friends, loved ones)
  • Experiencing something new (new food, different cultures, trying a new activity)
  • Sex (no need to explain I would hope)
  • Rest (afternoon naps, reading a book, lying by the sea / pool)
  • Beauty (beautiful sights, scarcely clad women, impressive paintings)

Being on vacation definitely makes it easier to indulge in the above, but all of them are possible to get a healthy dose of in every day life as well (though the boss might frown upon afternoon naps and scantily clad women might be hard to find in wintry London as well).

Vacation is great, but that is definitely in part because it’s a change from something else; eternal leisure would start to chafe at some point…
Reading back through the list above I feel that “being active” could use a boost in my daily life; on vacation there is time for everything, but with work getting in the way so much, the rest of the time we need to prioritize more. Still, it might be worthwhile to sacrifice a bit of rest (internet surfing) for that one and awhile.

What is on your list of pleasures? And are you happy with the balance between the different items?

Jan 122015
 

The world is a big place. That might seem really obvious, but never does it become more so than when you’re actually taking through it. Say, by sitting on a ramshackle bus going from one cute, quaint and unpronounceable Thai town to another…

The first thing you learn when traveling is that other places don’t work quite the same as they do at home. You don’t speak the language,  food is different, customs are weird.  And so you need to be prepared…

Bring clothes for hot weather and cold weather, mosquito repellant, sleeping bag, rain coat, camera, camera charger, additional camera battery…And I’m a backpacker, so all that stuff I have to lug around myself.

Over time however I have found that my backpack is getting lighter and lighter, each time I take a trip. “If I really need it, I’ll buy it“. Or I’ll do without. Or I’ll improvise something. Because most of the stuff I used to bring was “just in case”. Just in case what I wouldn’t be able to tell you though. But still.. Just in case…

Traveling means getting out of your comfort zone. Bringing along stuff is like bringing some of that comfort zone with you. A very tactile reminder that you have what it takes.

With experience I’ve come to realize I always have what it takes.  Not because I’m carrying it on my back, but because I’m carrying it in my head. Something very useful to know, not just while traveling, but in every day of life.

Jan 112015
 

It is hard to imagine that the first blog post I wrote (on a different incarnation of this blog) was in September 2010. Four entire years, plus a few months, I’ve been typing away. I strongly believe that people get something out of what they do, thus so must I, I’d think.

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I'm writing this on a plane, so not a lot of possibility to look for a fitting picture. Instead, have some llamas!

When I started I wrote about my travels, with the idea that this way I wouldn’t have to send out endless emails. But already during that first long trip I found it meant more to me. Writing (for me) is a way to order my thoughts and to make sense of my feelings. Once upon a time I used a diary for that, but I’ve found that writing where others can read it helps me to stay on target, limit my words and think this through just a bit better; I write less nonsense (can you imagine what my diaries were like?!?).

Also, I have a small hope of actually touching the people that read my blog.  Maybe you will think deeper about something,  be inspired or will wholly disagree with my words. I like to connect.

The thing is,  I don’t really know. I know that I have a group of readers who come back regularly. But I don’t know why. What do you get out of this?

Do I connect with you? Do you feel obliged because you know me in real life? Which posts do you enjoy, which are boring? What would you like more of, what less?

This blog exists for me, but just as much for you. So please let me know what you think? Write me a message (b period d period reinink at gmail period com) or just leave a comment? Thanks!