Jul 112014
 

I consider myself to be open-minded, non-discriminating. Which makes it all the more worrying when you catch yourself at being a horrible bigot…

The world would be even cooler if we had green and blue people (and I'm not just talking about a jealous or cold white person)

The world would be even cooler if we had green and blue people (and I’m not just talking about a jealous or cold white person)

My current job is in Canary Wharf, the (new) financial district of London. Glass-and-steel highrises, a huge underground mall, lots of eateries and pubs, all interspersed with bits of water from the old docks. And people. Lots of people. In suits (mostly).

It was during my afternoon walk-for-a-bit-of-lunch. As I mentioned, lots of eateries, so good to try things out (“pulled pork” is quickly becoming a favorite). I had gotten my lunch (a sandwich, if I recall correctly) and was strolling through one of the parks. I saw a guy with dark skin in a suit. And the thought popped into my head: “They should wear that more often.”

Now, as far as discriminatory ideas go, this wasn’t by far the worst of what the world has brought us. But it was a shock, as it was my thought!

I grew up in a smallish town in the North of the Netherlands. There was a hand full of Asian people around, but that was about it. When I studied just about everybody was as pale as a ghost as well. I’ve lived in Haarlem and Utrecht, also not known for their populations of dark-skinned people. I’d see someone of a different color than myself once and awhile, but this was definitely the exception rather than the rule.

I’ve tried being as politically correct as I could, so I very much hope I didn’t offend anybody. Not a simple subject to write about, but perhaps because of that all the more worthwhile.
Here in London however the people are an incredibly mixed bunch, with high percentages of people ethnically from Asia, Africa, South America, with a rainbow of skin colors to match. And it’s something I (seemingly) am not used to.

Two things:

  • I’m happy that I caught myself thinking something I’m not happy to be thinking. This way at least I can actively do something about it.
  • I’m hoping that living in such a highly multi-cultural society will make it more common (and thus more “normal”) to be around people different from myself (in whichever way).

Unknown makes unloved (in The Netherlands the highest number of voters for our right-wing anti-foreigner populist party are from regions where the number of foreigners is actually lowest). Which is a shame. Because I do love the new and the exotic!


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 062014
 

The house I grew up in was practically opposite a primary school called “Panta Rhei” (I didn’t go to that school, even though it was really close. It’s funny how you just accept things as a kid, my parents had decided that I would go to a different school so that was that…). Panta Rhei means “everything flows”. In my youth I was obviously not aware of any deeper meaning (things had names. This was the name of the school opposite us. You know, the one I didn’t go to).

Heraclites, the ancient Greek godfather of flow.

Heraclites, the ancient Greek godfather of flow.

Everything flows.

Hollywood (and especially Disney) have one-and-a-half to three hours to introduce their characters, get them in trouble and then get them out of it again. After which they live happily ever after.

Real life isn’t like that. Our adventures hardly ever are cinema-screen-worthy (though sometimes they are!), but more importantly, there is no happily ever after.

Everything flows. Everything changes. We have our times of happiness and our times of sadness. There isn’t a moment in life after which everything is fine, after which we can sit down and simply enjoy. The world will take it upon itself to bestow novelty upon us. And if the world is a bit too slow, we inevitably do it to ourselves. For better or worse…

The opposite of flow is stagnancy. A lack of movement, of growth.

Having been in London for a week now this is something I’m feeling deeply. Yes, it’s definitely not as easy here as back home: A hundred things that I need to arrange, not a lot of friends around, trying to figure out how this (huge, wonderful, amazing, weird) city works.

Another way of looking at it: “This too will pass”. Letting go can however be very difficult…
It’s not easy. But it’s good!

I’m learning, changing, growing, moving. I’m falling, failing, making a fool out of myself.

Everything flows. It’s good to be in that flow!


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!

Jun 252014
 

If you want to do something, you set a goal. I’ve found this out myself, having that spot on the horizon to work towards really helps to focus. And focusing then helps to actually achieving the thing that you want.

Just not with you...

Just not with you…

For the short term I’m quite good at this. Finish this document, do my laundry, etc. These are all small things that though perhaps not directly enjoyable, they will in the foreseeable future make my life better (in the form of not getting scolded by the boss and having clean clothes to wear).

The medium term also works fairly well. Get an assignment and do it well, so that I have money to buy food (and pay my mortgage) and so that they might conceivably hire me again. Have someone put extra isolation in my house so that I pay a bit now but in the long run pay less.

The above are relatively “survival” related (survival in the modern world, not survival as in preventing myself from dying (though without work to earn money to buy food…). With the survival going well, I find myself in the luxury position of having time to think about other things. Vague things like “what do I want from life?” You know, the big things.

The short answer is that I don’t know. I don’t know what I want. In the big scheme of things.

Writing can be so useful! This post was going to be about reaching goals in general. During writing however things started to click, sending my subject into a tailspin, but resulting in some very strong insights for myself!
I figured something out though. Wanting something big has to do with passion, with really finding something important. I don’t tend to find things that important. I don’t allow myself to find things that important. Because ”Who am I to know better?” It’s (too) easy for me to see the different sides of an argument. And none of them are completely right (or completely wrong). How could I ever pick one and pour my heart into it? Because I might be wrong (the horror!)!

It’s funny (just not haha-funny): I don’t believe in black-and-white, everything or nothing. I strongly believe that it’s good to make mistakes. For others. For myself I have to be right or I should shut the hell up.

This doesn’t give me the answer as to what my life’s goal might be. But it does give me a building block in my search. In order to find my life’s goal, I should voice what’s important to me. I’m going to be more opinionated, share my feelings and thoughts more. Accept that others might disagree. Accept that I might be wrong.

This very much ties in with my recent monthly challenges, of caring less, of telling the truth. I do have these opinions. I just generally don’t allow myself to voice them.

So even though it’s a bit early, my monthly challenge for the coming month: Voice my opinions!


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!

Jun 112014
 

I wasn’t feeling particularly happy, a little bit blue. I’m sure we all have these spells once and awhile. And after about a lifetime of this happening at times, I even know what reasonably well how to put a stop to them: Be amongst people.

As long as electronic connections are enablers of and not replacements for real life connections, I'm happy with them

As long as electronic connections are enablers of and not replacements for real life connections, I’m happy with them

Just a few drinks in town, meaningless banter, a laugh or two, then home early(ish) so as to get enough sleep for work tomorrow. The usual.

I decided to check whether some of people people I would like to hang out with were on Telegram, so that I could send a group message and didn’t have to go through the works of sending individual SMS-es (or even worse: Calling!). One of them wasn’t on it. And already being blue, this was perhaps more of a downer than one would’ve normally expected.

I knew this was basically my own fault: I migrated to Telegram, away from Whatsapp, which everybody uses, in a desperate gambit to get away from the Evil Facebook Corporation.

And it struck me: I might not be going out, not see my friends, continue to be down and out. Sure, this mostly had to do with my low levels of energy, making even the sending of individual SMS’ too much. I could battle this, but as anybody that has ever been blue (which is about everybody) can tell, even the tiniest expenditures of mental energy can be too much.

So I considered installing Whatsapp again.

The horror!

I quit it because it was part of a big evil corporation that was going to abuse my data. How? Mostly (probably) for trying to sell me stuff. Add-blockers take care of that quite effectively. And yes, there is a real risk of real abuse. But that would fall at the feet of everybody using Whatsapp. A few gazzilion users have a lot of power when push comes to shove. So should I worry about this?

The big question now is of course: Should I get back on Facebook as well?!? Basically the same reasoning holds, but it still feels more like selling my soul (data) to the devil…
Life is about balancing risks and rewards. Yes, there is a risk here. And that’s what I mostly (solely) looked at before. But put this in perspective of the reward: Contact with my friends (all of them, not just “quite a few” of them). I can’t begin to describe how important that is. And thus the choice was quickly made.

I reinstalled Whatsapp, sent out a message and had drinks (not with everybody of course; we are Dutch and we obviously do need to make appointments in advance…)

There was one final thing to do: Admit that I had made a wrong (limited) assessment. Which is why you are now reading this post.


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!

Jun 092014
 

A bit back I was doubting whether to continue down the path of being an entrepreneur or whether I should consider going back to a “normal job”. I then already concluded that going back to being a wage slave was a form of giving up that I wasn’t quite ready for.

We're actually lucky: Stones need to be in perfect balance, whereas we only need to strive towards it...

We’re actually lucky: Stones need to be in perfect balance, whereas we only need to strive towards it…

Based on that post I got a very touching and wise E-mail from my father (who is very much the entrepreneur). And as this helped my, I decided that it would be the perfect basis for a blog post, in the hopes that others might also make use of his insights (filtered through my own perception of course).

The main point that I took away from the mail was that life is a constant search for balance (my mom would say that my dad and me are both typical Libras :-) ). Balance between freedom, security, work, entertainment, love, money, energy. The important insight however is that this balance can only be found temporarily. The world changes, people change, we change ourselves. Our world is in turmoil and thus we are ourselves and we look for stability. Then we find this and after a while we get bored so create some new turmoil (at least that is what I do). There is a constant striving to “make things better”. This will however never be a stable point, only a temporary resting point.

Perhaps balance in life is less that of the scales and more that of the bicycle: You have to keep moving forward in order not to fall down.
The second thing I took away from his words is that it’s usually impossible to satisfy our myriad of different wants and needs exactly. That means that sometimes we choose one over the other. We sacrifice a bit of one part in favor of another. This as well is temporary, the scales at some point will tip the other way again.

On the one hand this is frustrating, there is no perfect balance. On the other hand it is liberating as well: I can stop searching for it.

Instead it’s better to continuously take steps towards something better. Yes it’s a moving target, but perhaps that’s the thing that makes it worthwhile. Or perhaps it couldn’t be anything else; perfect balance would get boring quite quickly… :-)

Thanks dad, for your thoughts and wisdom!


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!