Dec 202014
 

I’ve been somewhat unsettled lately. I had (have!) the feeling that I’m not doing what I want to be doing.

The third option is usually the best...

The third option is usually the best…

There was the option of taking on a new contract at the place I’m currently working, a contract that sounded like a lot of fun, where I would get to use both my technical and inter-personal skills to the hilt, whilst taking a look at some things that are new to me. A year back I would have jumped at the opportunity! Good work and the knowledge of a steady income.

But as I wrote in this blog post, there was also the option of choosing something else. Choosing freedom, choosing to go my own way. Much more scary and with a lower expected pay-off (in monetary terms) to boot. Is the value of freedom higher than its price?

A little under a month has passed since then, I’ve had the time to think and to talk and to let my feelings convalesce. And the most important feeling, as I wrote in my previous post, was one of a lack of meaning. Or perhaps in this context, a lack of direction is more appropriate.

What do you do when you have no sense of direction? You wander, until you find it.

It feels like there are a million (mental) paths that I need to follow, at least a small way down. Which takes time. Not only that, it’s scary as hell. Who knows what kinds of bears, boars and dragons I might find whilst lost in the woods?

And then there is my my experiment for this month: Enjoy the process. I think I would enjoy the process of wandering, of being lost. Just maybe… Not too lost? Perhaps it’s (for now) enough to head out into the jungle, but stay close enough to the big city to once and awhile hear the wail of a siren? Because enjoying the process is hard when you’re scared out of your mind…

Even the feeling of having a way forward makes things feel a lot better. I guess that’s part of “enjoying the process”?
Finally: The universe provides. Or things will work out. Instead of having to choose between diving into the deep end of complete freedom and the straight-jacket of continued corporate-droneness, a third option presented itself. It turns out that my current manager really would like to keep me on for a while longer. But he could be flexible, give me just a bit more freedom. So, as of the new year, for two more months, I’ll be safely inside the well-known boundaries of a structured job for four days per week, giving me an additional day per week to search, walk, get lost, and try.

Two months to try out a bit more freedom. Two months to think of what a next step would be, to perhaps work up a bit more courage to take that next step. Two months in sufficient comfort to enjoy the process of learning to be free.


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!

Dec 172014
 

I’m not one for religion, spirituality, new-age mumbo-jumbo. After I’m dead I’ll be gone forever and happy with the prospect. And there is no deeper meaning to life than to simply be.

The in-between stuff has got cat's, that's got to count for something?

The in-between stuff has got cat’s, that’s got to count for something?

Until not too long ago that was it and I had no interest in digging deeper.

Friends, fun, career, food, intellectual stimulation, travel, books, playing the saxophone, afternoon naps. All working together to make “simply being” more than enough to occupy my days.

Life was about more and better. Another step up the career ladder, getting better at playing the sax, adding another notch to my bed post.

I still enjoy all those things. But some things have changed. Call it wisdom, call it realism, call it getting jaded, but most of it just seems to matter so much less!

Even if you win the rat race, you’re still a rat. And no matter how good I’ll get, there will be someone who can get a cooler rif out of that sax than I can.

Letting go of each of these “things” individually is a liberation, one less item to worry about. But collectively they leave me feeling empty. If it’s not the next promotion, not the next fancy meal, not the next girl in my bed, what is it then?!?

“Of course! The meaning of life can’t be found at the bottom of a bottle of beer! It can be found on TV!” (Free after Homer Simpson)
I’ve looked, but no supermarket sells meaning (now with 10% extra!). And I’ve read a lot of books, but failed to discern the cosmic truth of purpose hidden among any of their pages (there are some blatantly obvious cosmic truths in many of them, but they just don’t seem to be my cosmic truths).

My question was: What is the next thing? And with the above it becomes obvious what that will be: A search for meaning, for purpose.

Which is about as vague an answer as you can get of course. Still, it’s better than nothing I guess. Does anybody have any good tips on where I might start looking?


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!

Dec 152014
 

I climbed up the stairs towards the train that I’ve been taking every (work day) morning since moving into my current crib. There was a train standing there and just when I got to the top I saw the doors closing and it driving off. “Lewisham” it said, the one I could have taken to work. No worries though, a new one will leave some time between 3 and 5 minutes from now…

Been there, done that. Now look at the road ahead, you idiot!

Been there, done that. Now look at the road ahead, you idiot!

Except that it didn’t. The next train had a different destination. And though that wasn’t the original plan, it turned out that it would heading to the mechanic’s yard; it took them 30 minutes to get the thing moving at all and it most certainly wouldn’t be transporting passengers any time soon.

30 minutes, during which normally a train per minute would be leaving. That is 30 trains worth of people packed together on a not-overly-large platform. I love people, but that was a bit excessive… I guess we were lucky that it’s getting close to the holidays and there were in fact less people than normal…

And while I was getting up close and personal with a whole lot of strangers, a thought flitted through my mind: “If only I’d left home half a minute earlier…”

Yes, I would have been at work at my normal time. And I wouldn’t have gotten some real-life experience of what a sardine feels like. Definitely preferable.

But, how could I have made that decision? Sure, technically there would have been no problem with leaving half a minute earlier. But I could do that every day and then after a few months I would be arriving at work an hour earlier than need be. Moreover, though I would have sidestepped this particular incident, I still would be presented with other obstructions. There is no avoiding misfortune.

Or is it better to say, “there is no avoiding life”?

It’s impossible to foresee exactly what is going to happen. I made the best choice I could with the information (and assumptions) available at the time: If I leave at my normal time, I’ll probably arrive at my normal time.

Reality proved me wrong. Unfortunately

If someone says “Expect the unexpected”, slap them in the face and say: “I bet you weren’t expecting that!” (This, by the way, is not an invitation to slap me in the face!)
Knowing what I know now, I would have made a different choice. But I didn’t know what I know now. And that is almost always true any time you make a “bad” decision; It’s only bad in retrospect (if it’s a bad decision with the information you have at the moment of making it, it’s a stupid decision).

Life will throw curve-balls. Things will work out differently than expected. Sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. That however is no reason to start second-guessing yourself.


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!

Dec 082014
 

It was 8.23 in the morning, I was walking from the tube station to the big glass box where the computer stood that I was to stare at for the coming 8 hours.

Unfortunately, I'm not that cool...

Unfortunately, I’m not that cool…

As I walked, people were milling around me, dressed up warmly in shawls, hats, gloves and thick winter coats; December in London is cold!

I wasn’t really paying attention, but something was nagging in the back of my head. Something was different, missing perhaps.

It took me a while, but then I realized what it was: Color!

Whereas in summer the London business district is already relatively monochrome, it now really had taken on just a single color: Black.

Black coats as far as the eye could see, an ocean of stern winter wool!

And there I was, walking in my fireman-red snowboard jacket. For a moment I felt awkward, distinctly out of place.

The moment and the feeling passed, luckily enough, but it was an interesting experience. Wear something else than the masses and the herd-instinct gives you a kick towards conformity.

To stand out is outstanding!
Fit in. Don’t be different. Don’t rock the boat. And it’s not even that they make the push, it’s our own conscience that makes us “behave”. Because it’s safe to be one with the crowd. You won’t be singled out, won’t be left behind.

On the other hand, if the herd is crashing head-long for the edge of the cliff, you will be going down alongside everybody else. And if you want to achieve something out of the ordinary, you’ll have to >somehow be out of the ordinary.

It took a moment, but then I was feeling a whole lot happier with my bright-red jacket!

In what ways do you stand out?


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!

Dec 082014
 

It was 8.23 in the morning, I was walking from the tube station to the big glass box where the computer stood that I was to stare at for the coming 8 hours.

Unfortunately, I'm not that cool...

Unfortunately, I’m not that cool…

As I walked, people were milling around me, dressed up warmly in shawls, hats, gloves and thick winter coats; December in London is cold!

I wasn’t really paying attention, but something was nagging in the back of my head. Something was different, missing perhaps.

It took me a while, but then I realized what it was: Color!

Whereas in summer the London business district is already relatively monochrome, it now really had taken on just a single color: Black.

Black coats as far as the eye could see, an ocean of stern winter wool!

And there I was, walking in my fireman-red snowboard jacket. For a moment I felt awkward, distinctly out of place.

The moment and the feeling passed, luckily enough, but it was an interesting experience. Wear something else than the masses and the herd-instinct gives you a kick towards conformity.

To stand out is outstanding!
Fit in. Don’t be different. Don’t rock the boat. And it’s not even that they make the push, it’s our own conscience that makes us “behave”. Because it’s safe to be one with the crowd. You won’t be singled out, won’t be left behind.

On the other hand, if the herd is crashing head-long for the edge of the cliff, you will be going down alongside everybody else. And if you want to achieve something out of the ordinary, you’ll have to somehow be out of the ordinary.

It took a moment, but then I was feeling a whole lot happier with my bright-red jacket!

In what ways do you stand out?


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!