Bastiaan Reinink

Aug 232014
 

What do you do when you have nothing left to wish for?

I have a roof over my head (two actually, in different countries), enough yummy food to fill my belly ten times over, a never-ending tap of water in my kitchen and an almost-never ending tap of beer in my local pub. I have family to love and to be loved by. I am happy with my work, enjoy the intellectual problems that it brings, get satisfaction from the interpersonal challenges it presents me. I feel cherished as a friend and respected as a colleague. If I want I can travel the world (and do so with some regularity).

"Be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it..." But what if I wish for something to wish for?

“Be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it…” But what if I wish for something to wish for?

And still…

Something is missing.

What do you desire when you have everything? What do you strife for when there is nothing left to strife for?

Sure, I could attain more. More money, more time, more friends. More…

But in the end, does it make a difference?

One of the most striking accidental insights I’ve gotten through this blog was when I wrote “I’m always happy, never content.” This one line struck a chord, stayed with me and has helped me understand myself in ways I never did before I wrote it. It still helps me to gain further insight in myself; it was the discontentment itself that made me happy. The idea that there was always more. Not to have, but to do. To experience, to feel, to give.

That feeling seems to be gone.

I’m well aware that I haven’t experienced, felt, given everything there is. But it does feel as though what is still out there is just “more of the same”.

This is a feeling. Intellectually I know that the chance of that actually being the case is minimal. It’s more probable that I simply don’t know what’s out there. Or perhaps won’t allow myself to think about it; though I love adventure, it still scares me to death as well.

I’m well aware of the irony here: I’m discontent with the fact that have nothing to be discontent with. Or maybe it’s slightly less irony if I say that I’m unhappy with not having anything to be discontent with?
And that is perhaps the crux of the matter. If you have everything that you desire, the only thing that can happen is that you lose some of it. Or: when you’re at the top, the only way is down.

I have security, safety. It encapsulates me, keeps me warm and safe. But perhaps in a way it also restricts, keeps me captive?

Am I willing to give up (some of) that safety? Would I trade it for the chance at a new source of discontentment? What would I give up for happiness?

I can’t answer these questions right now. But I have a feeling that I may be able to some time in the not too distant future…


Bastiaan ReininkI’m Bastiaan. I write this blog 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!

Aug 162014
 

For the last few weeks I’ve been taking sword-fighting classes. You take a plastic sword, a plastic buckler (small shield) and you cut, stab, parry, riposte and other things I know the name of but have clue how to actually execute.

One more skill on my list for becoming a real pirate!

One more skill on my list for becoming a real pirate!

Last class was dedicated to sparring. 1-on-1, trying to score a hit, whilst not getting hit yourself. A score on the limbs is 1 point (or 1 life off of the other person) and a score on the torso or head (fencing mask!) is 2 points / lives (it feels a bit like a real-life Super Mario game…).

Being the least-experienced I wasn’t getting my hopes up of actually scoring any hits, resigning myself to being out before I could really get my sword up.

I could’ve played in two ways. The first was to keep on defending, biding my time for that perfect opening. The second was to go all out, try to stab them before they stabbed me.

As I didn’t really have a clue what I was doing and I wouldn’t see an opening if it bit me in the ass, the defensive way would’ve just meant that I was defeated slowly. Going on the offense however gave me at least a fighting chance (so to speak).

The motto for the sword-fighting club I practice at: “…because one day the bullets will run out!” I feel more prepared for the Zombie Apocalypse already!
I was pleasantly surprised to find that it wasn’t actually that hard to score a hit. Many a brave knight fell before my sword! The thing that was very difficult however was not to get hit back at the same time! I fell before many a brave knight’s sword while they were falling for mine…

Still, I managed to get in a few hits in without getting decapitated (figuratively) myself. Woohoo!

Life, as any game, can be played in two ways. You can play not to lose. Or you can play to win.

Personally I’m happy to always play to win. In life that means taking your chance, even if it means you leave yourself open to the sword of misfortune.

Trying means you can fail. Not trying means you won’t ever succeed. Which is worse?


Bastiaan ReininkI’m Bastiaan. I write this blog 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!

Aug 102014
 

I remember the very first time I got money in my bank account from my real and full-time job! I can’t really remember exactly how much it was, but it was loads! In my memory…

Gold isn't strong enough to hold someone. The problem is, you don't want to escape...

Gold isn’t strong enough to hold someone. The problem is, you don’t want to escape…

Probably if I got that amount now I’d still be very happy. If however I would have to live on that amount for a month, it would be very tough!

That money became “normal” very quickly. And where as a student I was perfectly happy to live on a fraction of it, it wasn’t until long when I couldn’t do without it. I had a real job so I could get a real apartment instead of a student’s room. I could afford to shop at a “real” supermarket instead of the discounters I’d been going to. If I wanted something new, hell, I’d just buy it!

A year later and I got my first pay raise! Which I got used to as well. Quickly too, I might add.

So it went through the years. Every bit of additional monthly income very quickly became normal. And while it’s very easy to get used to having more it’s definitely not easy to get used to having less.

Did all of this bring me more happiness? Sure, I enjoy going out for dinner or getting fresh strawberries even in the dead of winter. But is that happiness? Is ever more consumption the thing to go for?

The one “raise” I got that really made me happy was when I moved from one company to the other. At the first I had a 40 hour workweek, at the second it was 36. Half a day off every week, which in practice became a day off every other week. A mini-vacation every other week: Pure bliss!

I just saw that it’s been more than a week since I posted anything. It’s quite uncommon for me to go this long without having something on my mind that desperately needs sharing. Having just spent a weekend doing absolutely nothing, I’m starting to realize maybe I have been trying to do too many things in too little time…
“Buying time” however isn’t that easy either. Not as a freelancer anyway: I’m expected to spend a full week at the job, else they’ll just get someone else.

Or… That’s my assumption. You see, I never tried. Never tried asking whether I could work for 4 days. Or even less? I assume that I won’t get the job if I don’t put in the hours. And I’m sure there will be some gigs where I really would have to put in my 40+ hours. And then the question becomes, am I willing to say “no” then, to let something interesting pass me by, hoping for something that better suits what I would like?

It’s scary. Luckily I’ll be “stuck” in my current assignment for a bit longer. I’ll give it some more thought…


Bastiaan ReininkI’m Bastiaan. I write this blog 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!

Aug 022014
 

Without the stage to frame it, this could've been right out of a movie

Without the stage to frame it, this could’ve been right out of a movie

One of the things that London does is plays and musicals. Recently I had the chance to go to two, a play (“39 steps”) and a musical (“The Commitments”).

In both cases the plot was threadbare, the jokes were simplistic and neither seemed to a have a real ending. Still… I loved both to pieces!

There is a stage, just a few tens of square meters. There are actors, one or three hand fulls of them (depending on the play). And there is magic.

At the beginning of the month I usually reflect on last month’s “personal challenge”. This time it was “be more opinionated”. I have however been way too busy being in London that this was very far away. I’ll just keep this for another month, so if I feel “at home” enough to actually think about my personal development 
The magic is in the set. The pieces of wood and cardboard and plastic and iron. It happens before your eyes, but within seconds what was a busy Dublin street is transformed into a nightclub, into a living room, into a cafe, back into a street. Lights are lowered from the ceiling, a two-story living-and-bedroom contraption is wheeled up on the stage. Without missing a beat an actor steps through the (still being moved-in) door to start a conversation with his parents. The focus is there, whilst “outside” the scene is transmogrified into a lively party, lights still dimmed but visible nonetheless. The actor steps out again and exactly on cue the lights hit, the music starts (as though it had been playing all along) and he starts to sing.

Sleight of hand on a massive scale. No mirrors, a bit of smoke. Entertainment for the masses (who happily show up to fill the theater, be it massive or tiny). Wonder and amazement. If you’re ever in London (or have the chance to go see a show somewhere else) I would very highly recommend it!


Bastiaan ReininkI’m Bastiaan. I write this blog 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!

Jul 292014
 

“Hi, I’m here for my appointment to set up a corporate bank account.”

“Ah, mr. Reinink, yes, yes, of course, have a seat, so glad to have you, welcome.” (The guy wasn’t wringing his hands together. Yet…) “Your passport, good, good. And your deed of incorporation, great! And… Oh… You ehm… Brough a lease as your proof of residence…?”

Jep, that's me. Except for the flames perhaps...

Jep, that’s me. Except for the flames perhaps…

It all started a while back. I got a phone call from one of the intermediaries I was in contact with once and awhile. “We’ve got the perfect job for you, how would you feel about building a model in London?”

Before he had stopped speaking I was doing laps and high-fiving random people, though coolly I answered: “Well, maybe. Let me think about it…”

I had a chat with the manager who seemed to like me and the job seemed interesting; we both said yes.

That’s when the hoops started.

The client was British, so they didn’t know what to do with a Dutch sole trader. “Set up an English limited or you’re not getting the job!” Was their solution. Not a big problem, but very inefficient tax-wise.

“Can’t my intermediary hire me?” – “No!”
“Can’t someone else set up the company and you hire me through that company?” – “No!”
“Can I set up a shell company in the Caymans that then sets up a different company in the UK which buys up your bank but only siphons off just enough money to pay me for the work I do?” – “No!”
“Can you pay me more to at least make up for part of the tax benefits I’m missing?” – “N… Oh, all right then, but stop whining!”

Besides having to jump through some hoops I actually am very happy to be here in London. I guess it’s good to have some frustration so you can enjoy the good parts even more. If I keep telling myself that, maybe I’ll actually start believing it?
So I had to set up a UK company. Which was a bit of a hassle: Getting incorporated, buying insurance. Nothing too serious though.

Until I tried setting up a bank account.

“Mr. Reinink, we really do need proof of residence. And this lease, the one paper that actually allows you to stay in the place you’re living, well, it obviously isn’t good enough! Don’t you have a UK driving license, don’t you pay London taxes, don’t you have a utility bill?”

Seriously?!?

And guess what? No bank account, no place to send my money and thus no payments…

Go to London they said. It’ll be fun they said…

Grmbl!!!


Bastiaan ReininkI’m Bastiaan. I write this blog 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!