Apr 092014

As you might have noticed I write on this blog quite regularly. What I try to do is to take something from my life and generalize that. It might be an anecdote on something that happened a mistake or an insight. It seems inspiration is everywhere…

But I'm not the only one...

But I’m not the only one…

By default this becomes (somewhat) personal. Which is fine by me. It’s my life and I don’t mind sharing if I believe it can somehow benefit someone (including myself: I get a lot out of my writing, such as a time to reflect and sometimes completely new insights as well).

I try to be very careful when I write about others. It’s not their blog, they don’t (usually) have direct influence on what I write. And not everybody likes having their (personal) life shared here.

This is one reason I haven’t been writing overly much about my most recent relationship(s).

Or at least this is the excuse I’m using…

Because to be completely honest, I’m scared to write about it!

My relationships are out of the ordinary. Uncommon. Strange. Weird!

I’m dating a girl who has a girlfriend. I’m seeing someon on the side as well.

When I talk to people about this reactions range from interested to incredulous (and usually a bit of both).

Reactions however have never been downright negative. I’ve gotten the “that would not be for me”, which I can understand. Or “I’d be so incredibly jealous”, which I also get.

I do things differently. Because it works better for me than doing things the way most people do them. I make my own choices whilst respecting the choices of others. Is it then so strange to expect the same from those others, to have my choices respected, if not agreed with?

As I’m writing this I’m on my way home to have dinner and then go to a discussion night with my lover and her girlfriend. You need to make extraordinary choices to have an extraordinary life.
The thing to do is to face your fears and do it anyway: Fear only gets conquered by stepping over it and going ahead as though it doesn’t bother you (brave people are still afraid, they just don’t let their fear influence their behavior).

Recent experience seems to indicate that my choices do get respected. And every time that happens it becomes just that bit easier to talk about them. Easy enough to now (again) face my fears, to write about something that cuts extremely close to the bone.

I’m very happy with the choices that I make. I’d like to stop being afraid that others would want to take away some of that happiness.

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!

Apr 052014

My minion (sorry, my co-worker) is a very smart girl. Still, she is new to field of modelling and finance and so she doesn’t know everything. Completely natural and to be expected. I therefore encourage her to try things. And yes, that means making mistakes once and awhile as well.

Some mistakes are just more ironic than others...

Some mistakes are just more ironic than others…

It is my firm belief that mistakes are good: If you’re not making mistakes, then you are already able to do what you’re doing, meaning you’re not being challenged and thus aren’t growing.

Theoretically perfectly sound and a good way to live.

Until I make a mistake of my own…

The model was done, results produced and discussed with the client. They were happy, I was happy, everybody was ready to break out the champagne.

When we found a mistake.

And not just any kind of mistake. The fundamental I’ve-known-this-since-I-built-my-first-model-at-my-first-job-and-now-I-did-it-wrong kind of mistake. And on top of it being fundamental, it also had a big impact.

I was horrified!

I’m a professional! I know my stuff! I certainly should know better!

But I didn’t…

Bruised ego, fears of getting kicked out, etc.

Until I took a moment to compose myself, to think back on my challenge for the past period(s).

Why does it bother me so much? Yes, I made a mistake. Yes, I’m going to fix it. And this might mean having to restate some stuff, some more work for other people. But really, is it such a big deal? Nobody died (or even got slightly injured!). Are these people going to hate my guts? Most likely not, and even if they do then please let them. Is my reputation destroyed? A bit battered perhaps, but that’ll eventually be restored as well. The worst that could happen is that these specific people won’t give me a job again. I don’t think this likely but even if, I can live with that (plenty more jobs out there…)

To err is human, to moo is bovine. I did feel a bit like a cow when this came to light though…
I got back to why I believe it’s good to make mistakes once and awhile: You learn from them. I’ve learned to double-check, not just my inputs, but also the most fundamental parts of the model itself.

But more importantly, this was a very good meta-learn. Yes, I make mistakes. And yes, this might influence people’s opinion of me. But it’s never as bad as I fear it to be. And even if people’s opinions change (for the worse), that isn’t the end of the world either.

So, make lots of mistakes, you learn from them!

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!

Apr 012014

These last two months I’ve been working hard at caring less. Or perhaps a better way of putting it would be: Doing what I feel like doing.

The less you care about, the more time you have for the things you care about

The less you care about, the more time you have for the things you care about

I have these things in my head: Thoughts of how I think people want me to behave, ideas on what others expect of me.

After working with this for two months I’ve been figuring out that (almost?) all of these are projections. Mental kinks that I somehow convinced myself are out there instead of in here.

I can’t read minds (and after my experiences these two months, I’m not sure anymore whether I would want to or not). So I can’t (really) know what someone else wants; particularly what they want me to do. Perhaps I could make educated guesses. But they would be much more guesses than educated.

Last month has been somewhat less “revelational” than the one before that. Yes, I bumped into myself quite a few times where I (almost) did something because I thought that was what I was “supposed” to do (and I’m sure there was an equal number of times where I didn’t catch myself and let my actions be dictated by my projections). I do feel I still have a lot to learn in this:

  • If someone calls me to meet up and I can’t make it on the suggested date, then I have to come up with an alternative (even though I’m not overly fond of planning too far into the future).
  • Don’t look, even when she’s pretty. Especially when she’s pretty.
  • It’s not ok to hug acquaintances: They are sure to feel awkward.
  • Giving a compliment to a total stranger is just plain creepy.
  • Leaving work 10 minutes to 5 means I’m a lazy bastard and everybody there will think so.

She looked back. Looking at pretty girls who look back is pretty neat! ;-)
The above I got over. But I’m sure there is still ample to be working on, especially now that I’m in a new situation again (back to work that is), where there are ample new opportunities to practice. So my monthly challenge for April: Notice when I’m projecting and step over my own projections.

Or in other words: Care even more less!

I love writing this blog (else I would’ve stopped a long time ago), and I know there are people actually reading it. What I would love even more is to get a bit of interaction, so leave me a nice comment (or comment on someone else’s comment)!

Mar 272014

I wasn’t worried. Not yet anyway. Not really. I mean, I could foresee getting worried. Maybe even in the near future. But that was still the future. So I wasn’t worried. Yet.

It was swell while it lasted...

It was swell while it lasted…

Today I had my first day of full-time work again in more than 3 months. Money wise I could’ve done without for a bit longer, but for my general sense of “being useful” it was very good to get this now. And also not finding an assignment was getting to me just the tiniest bit. Not that I was worried of course… ;-)

So this is the end of an era. An era of vacation, of lazing about, of afternoon naps, of some work, but definitely not too much.

The thing that surprises me most is how little I achieved in this time. Ok, I was on vacation for quite a bit of it, but I had ample time at home as well.

I didn’t write (edit) my book. I didn’t do sports. I didn’t finish up the white paper that has been floating in my head for a few months. I didn’t program. I didn’t get my stairs fixed.

The thing was, I could always do it tomorrow. Because there would be a tomorrow. And that would be just as “empty” as today was. So no rush. And no rush means not done.

Work itself was nice enough, though the first few days are usually a lot of reading and today wasn’t any different. I’m looking forward to sinking my teeth into some juicy mathematical problems…
This morning I stepped onto the train to get to work and I wrote for my book, for the first time in over three months. On the way back I started this blog post. Now I’m home and I’m dying to cook something fancy (just for myself), to play saxophone, to work on that white paper…

I’m happy when I’m busy. And yes, relaxing is very good as well, but I do know my boundaries (meaning that I know exactly when I am crossing them :-) ).

It was swell, but I really am happy to be ending this era!

Mar 232014

It had been a busy and enervating night. But now it coming to an end.

No, I'm not dating a sculpture... And no, they had slightly more clothes on...

No, I’m not dating a sculpture… And no, they had slightly more clothes on…

Frances (name changed, because she thought that was a good idea, and who am I to argue?), the girl I’m dating, organizes a get-together for people who live a non-monogamous life. The theme for the night had been “the big scary future”: Where do you see yourself (and your love life) in a few years from now? Answers ranged from “living in a big farm with my lovers and their lovers and their lovers…” to “in a happy triangular relationship, including a bunch of kids…”.

Interesting discussions, deep thoughts and a lot of laughter as well. But all (good) things must come to an end and so did this one. Mostly everybody had already left, except for Frances (obviously, as she was the organizer), myself and Ayha (again, name changed), Frances’ girlfriend.

I’d met Ayha on a few other occasions: Smart, quick to smile, with a core of inner strength; I can see why Frances fell for her.

It had already been decided that I would be sleeping over and it was getting to bed time. I gave a hug to Ayha, before passing her along to Frances.

And something strange and beautiful happened. These women, who have been together for three years, said their goodbyes.

I try not to write overly much about other people, but this post made it impossible not to do so. Of course I asked whether the involved parties were ok with this (before putting this online). A reply came quickly: I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many hearts in an instant message… :-)
A hug, a lingering kiss, something in their eyes.

A lot of things were going through my mind.

Just a bit of jealousy: Who was this girl to be kissing my date?!? That passed quickly enough though (oh right, it’s her girlfriend…).

Then the male fantasy given flesh: Two beautiful women making out in front of your eyes (forgive me for being a guy :-) ).

But mostly it raised a sense of beauty, to see these two people who so obviously loved each other dearly, to feel myself filled with a sense of happiness for them, to enjoy their joy, to feel my heart lift at the lifting of theirs.

And it struck me again, something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately: Happiness, joy, love, these don’t diminish by sharing. They only grow.