Oct 012014
 

Most of my monthly challenges have been failures, more or less. Sure, most times I would do something, but it was haphazard, inconsistent, unorganized.

Too bad I'm usually too busy wheezing my lungs out to mind the surroundings much...

Too bad I’m usually too busy wheezing my lungs out to mind the surroundings much…

Last month was different. Last month was a great success! It was at the same time a great failure.

My challenge was to run every day. And to really push myself I decided to make a little bet with myself / the universe, at the value of a thousand Euros.

Last blog post I already mentioned that I cheated. And though I did do what my intention was (to exercise), I didn’t do what I said I would (to run!). I had been doing a very good job of talking myself out of that, but luckily I have some very observant reader(s) who kindly reminded me to “put my money where my mouth was”. Which is absolutely correct of course and to be frank I’m very happy that there are people out there keeping me honest, so thanks! Before the year is over I will have donated a thousand Euro to a worthy cause (suggestions are welcome).

So far the first part of my failure.

The second part was something I could’ve thought of as well: Running every day is a lot for your body. Especially if you’re not used to running and when your knees aren’t an 18-year-old’s anymore. The first week-and-a-half gave muscles-ages. The last week-and-a-half gave not quite painful, but not entirely ok knees either.

Kids: When doing sports, you also need time to recuperate!

And then the success: I did run (ok, exercise) every day!

To keep into the spirit (but not over-tax myself) I’ll keep on running (exercising!), but I’ll tone down the frequency. SMART: I will run (exercise!) twice per week, on Monday and Thursday. I’ll review this by the end of the month.
Knowing that this was something I would need to do made me plan my day around it (sortof); if I knew that I wouldn’t be able to run right out of work, then I just had to get up a bit earlier and do it in the morning. Every day means there is no forgetting (I’m sure putting some money on it helped with that as well. Too bad it wasn’t enough…) and whether you run or don’t is also very easy to measure.

Lessons learned from this:

  • A SMART challenge really helps to do it
  • It’s very important to think about exactly what it is that I’m getting myself into, whether it really is attainable in the form I write it down
  • Going for a run is really nice, once it gets to the point where it is something that you just do (instead of forcing yourself to it)

Despite the failure(s), I consider this challenge a success!

And of course I need a new challenge. I’ve been thinking about wanting to write more, but I never make the time for it. I know that my biggest hurdle is starting. So as an experiment I’m not going to make my challenge to write, but instead I’m going to make it my challenge to open the file of my book, six days per week. I don’t have to work on it, but my expectation is that once I’m over the very first hurdle I’ll get to it anyway. Let’s see what happens…


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 272014
 

My challenge for this month is to run every day. The challenge has been going pretty well, but more about that some other time.

However: "The scenery only changes for the lead rat"

However: “The scenery only changes for the lead rat”

Because a few days the challenge did not go so well. It’s not that I didn’t do it. It’s that I cheated.

On one of my first few days I ran to the bus. 100 meters, if that. Not really what I had in mind, though technically it counted (I never specified how far or long I would run). Then there were the days I didn’t run at all, but I did do something else quite strenuous (hike for an hour, bike for an hour). Technically I didn’t do what I said I would, but in spirit this was perfectly ok.

I like to keep my word. Especially if I made it in (semi) public.

Is it ok to re-interpret my challenge to allow technical compliance and compliance in spirit?! Tough question!

“He who dies with the most toys, still dies”
In the end I came to this: I’m doing this for myself. I feel happy with what I accomplished. I think what I did was maybe not in line with the letter of my challenge, but life is not about the fine print anyway (or even the large print)! Conclusion: Challenge still going strong!

Thinking about this triggered a whole new train of thought: What do I measure myself by in general. How do I know I’m doing what I should be doing? How do I know I’m successful?

If you don’t set your own goals, don’t decide for yourself what is important, there are lots of other places to look. People will deem you to have “made it” if you become rich, if you have a “career”, if you’re famous.

But: ”Even if you win the rat race, you’re still a rat!”

I desperately do not want to be famous. I said goodbye to the traditional career when I became a freelancer. Having money still is nice, but it’s only an enabler, not a goal in itself.

What then? What makes me successful? How do you measure that? And perhaps more importantly, when do you measure that? On your death bed, looking back? When you’ve “made it” (and afterwards you can stop – living, trying?)? Or minute by minute, day by day, month by month? I don’t believe in the second one, but both the first and last have a certain ring to it. A balance between the short term and the long term.

I don’t know exactly what success means for me. But I’m one step closer in figuring it 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!

Sep 242014
 

This past weekend I was in the Netherlands to celebrate two very good friends getting married. And I didn’t just get to celebrate, I got to be a very intimate part of it, as they had asked me to be master of ceremonies (luckily together with four other lovely people)!

I'm not really the marrying kind, but throwing a party like that must be awesome!

I’m not really the marrying kind, but throwing a party like that must be awesome!

Seeing a wedding “from the inside” is definitely something! So far I’ve only had to enjoy the occasion, drink my beer, have some cake, congratulate the bride and groom, hand over some gifts (and get them handed back, to be dropped at the ubiquitous “presents table”) and then go back to drinking beer, talking to old friends and having a dance.

Don’t worry, I got to do all of the above. But in between I was helping to drag big flower pots back and forth, hanging decoration, greeting guests that were early to arrive, directing guests to the right location when they were late to arrive, making sure that people knew they got to go on a picture with the happy couple, announcing speeches, announcing funny songs, helping to set up dinner, getting the bride a glass to drink, pointing, directing, helping.

At the end of the day I was feeling just a tad tired. But when I finally got to crash down on my air mattress (because why wouldn’t you go camping after a nice wedding?!), I couldn’t sleep. Too many things still dripping through my subconscious to let my consciousness get the rest it deserved.

One of the things that came to me was: “I’m happy!”

Happy that my friends had a beautiful day and that they had announced to the world that they loved each other. Happy to have been a part of it, to have helped with it. Even if it’s not your turn in the limelight, it’s still awesome to be directing the beam!

And something that had been at the back of my head for some time came to the fore: To be happy you have to do something.

The downside of never getting married: You don’t get a bachelor party either!
Helping to organize a wedding is a lot of work and especially at the moment you have to start it, it feels like a burden. Yet during all the time I was busy with it, I enjoyed myself immensely. Afterwards I felt very good indeed.

I have a tendency to be tired after a long day (like everybody?) and I make the easy choices; to surf the web or watch a series, instead of doing something that may cost some energy but in the end will make me feel so much better. To go out for a walk (however small). Or to write. And I find that when I do do something, energy comes flowing back very quickly.

I’m not sure whether I’m going to be helping anybody organize their wedding anytime soon though… :-)


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 142014
 

A while back I wrote that I had nothing left to wish for. A while before that I wrote a piece about being careful what you wish for, because you just might get it.

Under the bridge downtown, is where I drew some blood...  Under the bridge downtown, I could not get enough...

Under the bridge downtown, is where I drew some blood…
Under the bridge downtown, I could not get enough…

I’ve got something to wish for…

When I first came here it was for a 3 month contract. That has been extended for an additional 3 months (yay!). Having planned to be here for just month though I signed a lease agreement for my room for 3 months. And if I wanted to extend my current lease it would have had to sign up for an additional full year. Not so handy… So I decided not to. I mean, how hard could it be to find something in a place as dynamic as London?!?

Let me tell you: A lot harder than I had thought!

The first time round there were lots of places being offered, so many even that I got multiple messages on the add that put online (most of them completely unsuitable btw, but enough that did seem to be ok). In the end I had a choice of 2 that were both very suitable to my needs.

Now however it’s the beginning of the school year, meaning that lots of students are looking for rooms. And like me, they prefer to be some place central… Meaning that the pickings are slim, things gone well before I have a chance to reply, messages don’t get replied to and phones don’t get answered.

At moments like this I need to remind myself that you can’t have an adventure without some adversity…
I’ve always firmly believed there were two kinds of occurrences in life: Those that you could do something about and those that you couldn’t. The first you fixed, the latter you ignored. No need to stress.

Now however I’m stressed! This is something in between. Yes, I can do something about this (vigilantly scour the internet for something suitable), but for the most part it’s out of my hands. And the fact that I really do need a place to live doesn’t make this any better!

In the end it’ll work out. The universe will provide (perhaps the universe will provide an over-priced hotel room, but still…).

On the map I’ve been living underneath London Bridge. I hope I won’t literally have to live underneath London Bridge…


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 072014
 

I would like to do things differently. I would like to not take on any assignments for a while, seclude myself in a Scottish hamlet (or more probably, my own house) and create.

Wouldn't it be better to go forward to work?

Wouldn’t it be better to go forward to work?

There is this book which has been sitting on my hard drive for quite a while now, softly whispering at night: “Finish me…”.

There is the idea of a model in the back of my head, something that just might be what the industry is looking for, that speaks to me in my daydreams: “Build me…

I could take a month or 2 off and not take on any assignments. Being a freelancer I’ve worked hard at building up a buffer for when I wouldn’t be able to get a new gig immediately, so I would survive a month or two without income. And as both projects might very well be profitable (ok, the model might be, the chances of the book actually making anything are very slim indeed), it could even be seen as a risky-but-worthwhile investment of time. So nothing to stop me really.

And yet…

It’s scary!

This month my personal challenge was to run every day. I’ve found that making this public helped a lot with actually doing it; yesterday night was a friend’s bachelor party and let’s just say I wasn’t really in the mood to go for a run in the morning. Pounding asphalt they call it. Into my head, it seemed.
Taking on a new assignment is the safe thing to do. Because what if I squander my two months with nothing really to show for it (a book that nobody in their right minds would pay for and a model that’s unusable) and then I’m not able to find anything for a year? What if instead I’d just said yes to that juicy job right after getting off of my current one instead? Also, what do I say to all those nice intermediaries that are working so hard just to find me something fun to do? “No”?!? I couldn’t do that!

Yes there’s a risk. I could be left without an assignment for long enough for me to starve (or worse, forced to get a normal job again!). But I also know myself well enough that I’ll manage. And as for the nice intermediaries, they’re just saleswomen, trying to push their latest gadget (though, if they’re selling me to a company, doesn’t that make them pimps?).

Fear is a bad advisor, but it’s hard not to listen to it. Come December (when my current gig finishes) and you see me walking around with my fingers in my ears, you’ll know what it is I’m not listening to.


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!