Feb 092015
 

This weekend was my first in a long time spent in the Netherlands without any other reason than than “seeing my friends” (and I ended up spending most of it in Germany…).

My time in the Netherlands is limited. And being very Dutch, I want to use it optimally. I know that “cramming in more” might be efficient, but it’s definitely not effective, so “seeing everybody for a little while” doesn’t work. Instead, I’ll have to make choices on whom I see when.

Friends help you move. Real friends help you move bodies.

Friends help you move. Real friends help you move bodies.

Before I knew it, before I really wanted to, I was creating a mental list of my friends, ranked in order. At first I was quite appalled by myself, doing something like this. But thinking about it a bit further, everybody has best friends, good friends, friends, good acquaintances, acquaintances, vague acquaintances… So instead of railing against this, maybe it’s more interesting to see what puts someone where in the ordering.

So, things that for me make better friends:

  • Time spent together: The more time you spend together, the better friends you become. And the better friends you are, the more time you spend together… Maybe this isn’t just a desirable “quality”, but just the definition of friendship? But that’s not entirely true, I have really good friends, whom I can’t spend a lot of time with due to circumstances (distance mostly)…
  • Trustworthiness: Finding a knife in your back is a sure end of a friendship. But it’s also subtler than that. Not canceling when meeting up (and being on time when you don’t cancel), keeping a secret, basically “doing what you say you would”. And in some cases, going well beyond that. I’m very happy that there are a few people in my life that would come and pick me up from a South American jungle if I really needed them to…
  • Enjoying the same things as I do: It’s nice if you are able to enjoy activities together, ranging from a night in the pub or club, making music, playing games or going for a (long) hike. This makes the “spending time” easier and more enjoyable.
  • Speaking with a passion, listening with compassion: A lot of talking is involved in being friends. So I want people who have something interesting to say (and say it in an interesting way), while also being able to listen to what I have on my heart. There should be a fair balance in this, with both parties contributing more or less an equal amount (over time). This also means listening to my woes, while sharing theirs (which is very different from complaining, see below), as well as support to carry on and / or to do the right thing.
  • Being fun: This means for me being optimistic, having a laugh, doing something silly, being game for something interesting and / or new. It also means not complaining or bitching, not bragging, not being obnoxious.
  • Perhaps I shouldn’t be, but thinking about all this I was a bit surprised that my girlfriend very neatly ticks all of my “friendship” boxes as well (though we still need to work on the “time spent together” ;-) ).
  • Mixing well: I enjoy large(r) gatherings, of having a group of friends together for whatever. So, “playing nicely with others” is a definite boon. This can be because you’re part of the same group of friends (that always works well of course), but also just a general “openness of character”.
  • Being admirable: I like looking up to people. I like my friends to do cool, interesting and important stuff with their lives. This doesn’t have to be “finding a cure to cancer” (though one, in a very limited way, actually is doing that!), simply being good at something and being a good person is enough for that. I enjoy being inspired.

I wonder if other people would have markedly different things in their list (if so, post a comment?). Until then however I’m just going to assume that other people are just like me and that this is what others desire as well. So, if I want to be the best friend that I can (which I do want!), the above is what I will have to do as well. I think I do ok most of the time, but perhaps I could focus on it for a bit more?

Happy friendships!


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!

Oct 042014
 

I’m going to be donating some money (see the story here).

One of the more promising ideas for space colonization: A city floating in the clouds of Venus

One of the more promising ideas for space colonization: A city floating in the clouds of Venus

There are hundreds, thousands, millions of worthy causes in this world, all most likely very happy to receive my little bit. Meaning that I have a choice to make. How to allocate? Which in the end comes down to: “What do I find important?”

Thinking about it for a bit I came to the conclusion that there are three major categories in which “good” is done:

  • Keeping the (worthwhile) status-quo: Saving endangered species from extinction, keeping Wikipedia up and running
  • Making a bad situation better: Disaster relief, research into Alzheimer
  • Creating something new: Building a school, nano-tech research

Of course there will be large overlaps: A school is built to make a bad situation (lacking education) better. And after it’s set up it’s the status-quo, which needs money to be preserved…

Mars One is proposing to send people on a (one way!) trip to Mars. I very seriously considered applying. In the end it wasn’t the no-return that stopped me, but the fact that they will be sending too few people; four at first, then two more every year. I like my social interactions too much to deal with that…
Still, what I feel myself drawn to most is the last category, doing (trying) something new. I’m an adventurer at heart, I like change, maybe the answer is just around the next corner… Of course I’m well aware that “new” stuff in general creates as many problems as it solves, but call me a hopeless optimist, I do believe in “progress”.

So, some kind of research, preferably blue-sky. But into what exactly?

One thing I believe would benefit the world would be space exploration. Energy, resources and just straight space are incredibly plentiful out there. Maybe ESA will take my money? Or I could donate to Mars One or SpaceX?

This of course ties in very well with my adventurer spirit; we ran out of (physical) frontiers on this tiny speck of sand. And even from a more work-related perspective this makes sense: Putting all your eggs in one basket (all your humans on one planet) just isn’t very good risk management…

If anybody else knows anything related that might be worthwhile, do let me know!


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!

Sep 042014
 
  • Waking up while it’s light, getting home while it’s light
  • The invention of glasses (and contacts)
  • Cheese
  • Someone singing to themselves in the street (could be me…)
  • Here is to hoping that at least -someone- will get the reference

    Here is to hoping that at least -someone- will get the reference

  • A photograph of some place beautiful I went to
  • Remembering a time before the internet (yeah, I’m old…)
  • The fact that so many people feel the need to write a book (never shy for something to read)
  • A message from an old friend that you didn’t expect
  • People moving far away so I can come and visit them
  • Squirrels
  • Ties (mostly when taking them off)
  • The boomerang. Think about it, how cool is that?
  • Maps. And the implication of how much there is left to explore
  • Hearing Spanish in the street and almost understanding what is being said
  • Friends throwing parties
  • Getting lost and finding something unexpected that you never would have found otherwise
  • A meeting that gets canceled, so I can get some actual work done
  • Someone planning a meeting so I get a moment’s break from the boring work
  • The sun reflected on water. With a duck
  • The sound that freshly fallen snow makes when you walk on it
  • Finally getting it right
  • Quantum physics (I don’t see economists putting cats in boxes to proof their theories!)
  • Semi colons
  • Being too ill to go to work but not ill enough to feel really bad (don’t want to infect the others you see…)
  • Writing random things to be grateful for and have other people read them…
  • Hats
  • Hugs
  • Being the first to tell someone the good news

Take a moment. What random things are you grateful for?


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!

Aug 272014
 

What’s the worst mistake you made in your life? Or, if you could go back in time to change one thing (in your own life), what would it be?

Ok, probably she would've been scared out of her panties (hehe) if I had this in store for her...

Ok, probably she would’ve been scared out of her panties (hehe) if I had this in store for her…

I like thought experiments like this, the “alternate history”. What path might my live have taken if I had kissed that girl (I was 16 and way too shy)…?

Two things.

First: I’m happy with my life (well, mostly) and I wouldn’t want to run the risk of ruining what I have now by changing the course of history in such a way that I end up somewhere completely different (those who have seen “The butterfly effect” or “Sliding doors” should know what I mean).

Second: When is something a mistake? If you look back on an action (and it’s subsequent string of reactions) and you’re not happy with the outcome? But that’s too easy, as everybody can predict the past.

Given the information you had at the point of deciding, would it have been logical / reasonable to have made a different decision? If so, then yes, it was a (very stupid!) mistake. But most of the time, it’s not. You take the information you have and you do what you think is best at that moment. It doesn’t always come out the way you expected (much less hoped for), but does that make it a mistake? Personally, I think not. It’s just the unpredictability of the universe making itself felt (which is a good thing too, imagine that the future was perfectly predictable. How boring!). You learn from it and you move on.

It does happen though that you make a decision you know is not in your best interest. I should have kissed that girl and I knew at the time that I should and I did regret not doing so. My emotions hijacked me from doing the “right” thing (fear in this case).

Would you change anything from your past if you could? And if so, what?
But even here we deserve some lee-way. Fighting against your own fear (or other emotions) sounds very nice on paper, but is extremely difficult in practice. Who has never stood there in front of a beautiful girl (or guy, if you’re so inclined), knowing what you wanted (and quite sure what she (he) wanted), yet did nothing? Should you beat yourself up over your stupid mistake?

I think it’s better to take this as anything else that the universe throws you that doesn’t go quite your way: Learn from it and move on.

I did learn. Not too long after, this horrible mistake still fresh in my memory I had another chance and (after due courage-finding) I took it. A kiss never tasted sweeter…


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!

May 282014
 

Tomorrow is ascension day (it has something to do with some dead religious guy, don’t really know (ok, I actually do, I just don’t care)). A national holiday. And I’ll be spending it at work.

Even if you're just a little cog, you can still be fabulous!

Even if you’re just a little cog, you can still be fabulous!

First, I’m very happy that I can plan my own work, even if it is a national holiday (one of the sucky ones though, so I’m not missing out). Sure, not working is great, but I just have to finish something!

Which is silly!

I work at a bank for crying out loud. What could possibly go wrong (in the bigger scheme of things) if I did not build some formulas in Excel, did not copy-paste the resulting pictures to Powerpoint and did not E-mail them round.

I’m confident that nobody would die. I’m quite sure that nobody would even eat a bite less. Though some people might lose some sleep over it… Me, for one…

There is this thing called “sense of responsibility”. And I’ve got it aplenty (too much perhaps?) I said I would, so I’m going to do it (dammit!).

Nobody would die or get hurt if I don’t. But people may be disappointed if I don’t do as I said. And we’re hardwired to dislike disappointing about as much as getting physically hurt.

Which (in the bigger scheme of things) is very handy. It means that we do stuff even though (on a micro level) they are silly (like building Excel formulas).

Though our society isn’t (exactly) built upon people pushing numbers back and forth in spreadsheets, it is one of those tiny cogs that keeps the big machine running smoothly. Sure, we could do without a lot of those tiny cogs and nothing bad would seem to happen (for a while). But at some level, they do add up (pun intended).

The other day I was at a pub and they told me that it was made by monks and that they were not allowed to make a profit. Thus, all profit went to charity: Improving the world by drinking beer… Life is good!
The numbers I push around lead to understanding the outcomes from a model, which help to convince the world that the bank I work at is a safe place, which means that people will keep their savings there, which allows the bank to lend money, which can be used to start new businesses, so that more people have a job, allowing them to earn money, to put food upon the table.

Yes, it’s indirect. Yes, the world could do without me in particular. But me and you and the rest of the world do help (in our own tiny way) to keep things ticking along. So that (somewhere down the road) people get to eat.

Even better: Those people are you and me!


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!