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Driving (#6)


I distinctly remember the months in which I took my driving lessons. My brain has them catalogued as the worst time of my life. Never before or since have I felt so much anxiety all. the. time. I was terrified and angry at myself and upset with my instructors and in general, things just sucked.
However, the worst part was probably that I loved the idea of driving. I could see myself in an old red convertible, speeding down Route 66 wind in my hair shades on my nose blasting an epic cinematic soundtrack.

One of the main problems I had with driving was the awareness of not being alone on the streets and not being able to estimate my 'new' radius. It's obvious that other cars wouldn't just disappear once I got behind the steering wheel but the picture I had painted in my head was just me by myself on the highway without deadly threats looming left right and centre.

In a way, we all face a similar conundrum every day. The fact that we are not alone on this planet and that we can't always quite predict the impact we have on each other puts us on a very slippery road. I am often amazed that (in general) we all manage to navigate and communicate in this world.

We all have a certain image of who we are. Actually, we know our personalities better than anyone else. Then how come others might see us completely differently?

For this problem, I like to imagine myself as a driver in a car. I am behind the wheel, I know how fast I'm going, can tell how long until I need to fuel up and I can hear what's playing on my radio. I can also see the road in front of me but the side windows and the mirrors only allow me to see parts of what's behind me. Also, the roof of my car and underneath is not in my view. Anything could be happening there. Additionally, in true human nature, I won't always be paying 100% of my concentration to traffic. Thoughts might distract me and may make me forget to activate the blinker, turn off the bright headlights and will not make me notice the angry gestures of the driver coming at me.

You knew all of this. We know that we can't influence how others see us all the time. But it is in our power to - say - paint our car red, yellow or blue. And then others will see a red, yellow or blue car.

So, what happens when you don't know what colour to paint your car. You will probably pick a neutral finish like silver or black because you don't want to label yourself so distinctively. Now people might think you're an assertive person, not adventurous, safe, boring perhaps.
You're not - it's just that people can't hear the music you're playing in your car.

So here's a question: Will it make life better if you make people see your true personality - ditching the car metaphor now - or at least your personality in the way you perceive it? Will it make you happier? More vulnerable? Or more confident in the long run?
And if you haven't got yourself quite figured out yet - hello most people - is it better to display the diversity going on in your playlist (god, jumping through metaphors here) or to temporarily pick one trait/aspect to showcase as "your main thing"?

So sorry if you came here for answers. This is not one of those places.



Quote (#5)


"A study shows that most people who quote studies don't know what the hell they're actually talking about." 

One of the things I value most in another person is the ability to share an interesting and meaningful conversation or discussion. Something where at the end I'll feel elated and inspired to learn and do more. Also, I am the first to admit that I am terrible at defending my point of view. I can never seem to remember all the backing facts and figures and all too often I find myself saying things like "But I feel like so and so is the case..." or "I once read something" when I can only vaguely remember what that article was about. Thank god (or unfortunately) this doesn't only happen to me.

Especially in sensitive debates - discrimination, politics, safety, privacy and topics that touch personal fields like parenting or even nutrition -  we are tempted to cherrypick our 'facts' to defend our beliefs. That seems as natural as it is dangerous. I like to think that most of the time people are telling the truth when they are sharing a point of view backed with facts. At least what they believe to be the truth. I almost don't want to say it but 'Fake News' is a huge deal nowadays. Basically, I could be lied to every time a journalist quotes a study because I mostly don't have the time, interest or understanding to read it myself.

So, do we need to fact check everything we read and watch? Yes, if we plan on spreading those facts or if we want to act on them. But at the end of the day, there are sources we can and should trust - the only other option is to become conspiracy theorists. And that's not something I'm planning on.

Last but not least, another way to learn more and broaden our horizons is to discuss and listen. Something else I highly value in fellow humans is the ability to listen, evaluate and perhaps even accept a different perspective. The phrase "actually I've never thought of it that way" can earn you so much respect.

Trinity (#4)


To hope and to fear 
to seek what is real 
to live and to die 
with a spark in your eye 

To listen and read 
to work and succeed 
to fail and to try 
and remembering why

To touch and to feel 
to love and to heal
to hold and to hear 
as your heart skips a beat

< passion wisdom love >

Comfort (#3)

Photo by Iker Urteaga on Unsplash

Your worst enemy is comfort.

While to feel comfortable is usually more enjoyable than discomfort, this state can turn into a golden cage. 

"Don't fix something that isn't broken" we often hear. But to grow we need to fix and build and to do that we need to break. The idea of breaking is likely to induce fear in most people and we much prefer being comfortable than anxious. 

Like for many my age, or even older, Lego used to be one of the favourite games as a child. There are so many options, each new block represents a decision: colour, size, positioning. In the end, you have a creation composed of a string of multiple decisions where each brick is variable. 

Imagine watching a child complete a Lego house it has worked on for a few hours. What you will also see that after a while the child starts to take apart the house and begins to alter its appearance or to completely change course and build a plane instead. That doesn't mean that the child wasn't happy with the initial house or doesn't recognize the labour that went into the construction. It simply shows that the fun in Lego is in the act of building, the process, not as much in the final result. It also shows that the child understands that the house it had built is only one of infinite possibilities and the curiosity of finding out those other options outweighs the rather mundane activity of admiring one's work. 

Perhaps this is what lies at the core of most our dilemmas. Perpetually being torn between a longing for stability and a yearning for novelty. Ultimately, the human nature of inevitable growth (physical and mental) dictates a certain dynamic which we will want to mirror in our actions. 

It can't be a coincidence that most songs tell stories of heartache, injustice or sadness instead of happy families and sunshine picnics (ok, ignoring country here). Discomfort sparks creativity. In search of solutions to our problems, our mind is stimulated more than if everything were just fine. Pain, especially, makes us poetic, dramatic even. 

To break free of comfort takes courage and passion. Finding a reason why the status quo isn't doing it for you anymore and then deciding to take action are the first two steps in a long process. It won't be as easy as taking apart lego bricks and it will also take a lot longer. Choosing discomfort is like getting out of bed on a cold and rainy Monday morning - hard, stressful but worth it in the long run. 

And if you've taken the first step you can take so many more. 


Cold (#2)




I used to be a winter girl. I still love the idea of winter, the romantic strolls on icy ground, the smell of cinnamon and gingerbread, the calming falling of snow. The cold never bothered me, it was just an excuse for chunky knits and scarves.

Today, the cold leaves me anxious. I have begun to feel the cold and it comes with tension that tortures not only my body but my mind too.
Every gusty wind and breezy air makes me squirm like a trapped mouse. Like needles piercing my skin and shackles wrapping around my bones.

When did I become so cold?

My mother used to fight with me about my scarce use of the radiator; I would catch the flu for sure and why wouldn't I wear the wooly socks?

Do we all get cold? Is it perhaps even necessary that at some point in our lives we are made to feel incredibly uncomfortable so that we are forced to take action? And by action I mean more than just putting on socks. I mean taking on the tedious task of insulation. Yes, perhaps that is it: Self insulation. Working, prepping, building your self up to become more weather resistant. Keeping the warm in and the cold out.

I am terrible at metaphors.

Wall (#1)


One day there was a wall. You didn‘t notice its appearance. You were too busy comfortably sitting in your corner watching the world through a window. It was only as the wall  slowly cast a shadow across your face that you began to feel anxious. Now there was no way to go and the sanctuary you had built for yourself was turning into a prison. The view out of the window remained clear but the scenes you once indifferently observed turned into a tantalizing reminder of your inability to join the picture.

Every now and then you would get up and cautiously approach the wall, contemplating giving it a push hoping it would cave and set you free. Your arms however had grown weak of lack of movement in your confined space and could not move the wall an inch.
As time passed your mood darkened while your mind ran in circles, chased by doubt and fear.


If only you had stripped your gaze away from the window long enough. If only you had observed the wall more closely. Then you would have come to realize that the wall in fact was a curtain, waiting to be pulled aside and longing to expose a whole new world.

(PURPOSE)


Happiness isn‘t the main goal in life. It is fleeting. Valuable, essential but fleeting. Apparently.
Mindfulness and finding purpose is what could lead us to absolution in the end. That‘s what the trend seems to be anyway.

And I don‘t disagree at all, it does make perfect sense and it is a theory I can identify with.


But.


Finding purpose has proven to be an extreme stressor in my life. Well, obviously the key to fulfillment  isn‘t going to be just lying around - that would be too easy. Still, I would have hoped to be closer to an answer by now. I wish that I could give my 16 year old self a somewhat more sufficient answer to the question I already posed in my diary over 5 years ago: What am I supposed to do with my life?

Instead of an answer I only have doubt, feel like I have taken a wrong turn but not sure because I don‘t know what the alternative route is.

Probably I am greedy in expecting that at 21 I could know where my purpose lies. It is just very hard witnessing teenagers launch start ups and lead organisations that seem so much more meaningful than anything I have ever done.


Sigh.


However, on the bright side: I have come to realise that my purpose isn‘t going to come and find me whilst I‘m in bed wondering what my purpose is.

And that is a good place to start.

(GLÜCK)


Stop chasing the next best thing. 
Take time to cherish what you already have and you'll be surprised by the joy it brings you. 

True happiness comes from gratefulness, when you become aware of the value of the people and things surrounding you. When you feel something can't just be replaced, that the absence of something could cause such a disruption at heart it would take your breath away. Then happiness will consume you at the realisation that this thing, person, moment is yours. 

Hold on to that feeling and don't let it go for the glimpse of more. 

Mass Creation


I just want to make something.
Create something.
To do this thing and look back on it and see something that wasn't there before.

It is a force that drives me but lately it's only been driving me against a wall. A big fat concrete wall.

Mass-Creation 
Thousands of sounds, images and words are unleashed to the public every second every day. When the whole world turns into a microphone it seems as though everything has been said. Not many of these thousands of sounds, images and words are new. Barely any. If that is the case, if the only thing we could perhaps contribute is the form of a message that has been conveyed in abundance, why do we bother? What is it that causes us to keep creating? The tiny hope of finding the needle in the haysack? Or simply to urge to compete with the noise?

Because noise is all I hear lately. Mass-creation, born out of opportunity, thriving on social and economic greed. I admit I am naive and idealistic while also not being a bit better than anyone else out there. The feeling of dissatisfaction despite abundance leaves me hollow. Like feeding on pounds of plain rice when all you wanted was a single sweet berry.

Being swamped by feeds of creations that I acknowledge with the flick of a finger has drained me of belief in originality. Especially my own. I can't create for I can't stand knowing that somebody has already done that thing, most likely even better.
There is only one thought that is worse: To stop trying. Because I know that there are treasures buried and ideas wandering through the night waiting to be found. Ideas that are young and fresh, ideas that will change everything. And shouldn't that alone be worth creating? And even if I will never be the person to discover them, I should be damned if I gave up on everything else I can learn from trying.


Let this mark the beginning of making an effort for the sake of myself and my creativity.

When Excited Ponies Go Casual


The combination of being young and the times we live in creates the perfect breeding ground for being casual. Not only romantically but in most aspects we find ourselves floating around - may that be in geographical or just general “figuring out life” terms. The world has become smaller but has simultaneously grown in our perception causing us to be on high alert for opportunities that might arise, tapping around like excited ponies. 

When our lifestyles change - why shouldn’t our relationships? Well, of course they have already, but don’t we still sometimes feel that what we’re doing isn’t the “proper” way of doing things? Don’t we sometimes think that we should be having epic country song worthy romances and ride off into the sunset instead of scheduling dates in our iCal? 
I believe we shouldn’t be ashamed or apologetic about the way we date. There’s no need for you to hide the dating apps on the last page of your “Travel” folder on your phone. There’s no need to make up excuses for missing board games night with colleagues again because you’ve got your second date this week. 

Although the problem with excited ponies is that their attention span is very short because half of their brains are occupied with wondering if this is the best they can do. This of course expresses itself in their dating habits such as arranging multiple dates because they know other’s are as flakey - sorry busy - as they are and so they have back-up. Others take casual way too literally and don’t make an effort at all or just ghost you.

What may occur with casual dating is the same sad phenomenon you endure after eating too much candy: it’s not as good as it was in the beginning and your tastebuds go numb. As casual as you think you are you probably still value human connections and personalities and not just their willing genitalia. An overdose of getting to know so many people may make you indifferent to their specialness (or - alternate version - more sensitive about the bullshit you have to put up with). 

I don’t think casual dating quite earned the bad reputation it has (well a bit of it but humans will be humans and all). Apart from the obvious perk of plenty of sex casual dating will also give you that much needed reality check - especially if you grew up watching all the chick flicks. Dates and sex with people you don’t know that well are prone to be less sexy/romantic and more awkward than Hollywood makes it out to be but - and here comes the most important advantage of dating - it doesn’t matter. Most likely you don’t care too much about these people which means that gives you a type of freedom you perhaps won’t have with someone you have feelings for. This is the ultimate gift because you can stop worrying about how you look (or if we’re being honest here: how they think you look) this is your time to put yourself first and to quit playing games (or start playing games, if you can be a dick it’s to someone who cares as little about you as you do about them - just kidding, be nice, kids). 

The great thing about dating apps for example is that you meet people who have no connection to your established life, meaning you get to know them (and vice versa) without hindering context such as friends or work. This  gives you the opportunity to find out what kind of people - and what about them - you actually like. Maybe you have a type you never knew about or realise you’re really into people who can cook. I’ve had quite a few Heureka moments while dating and I am positive it will one day help you find a very suitable long-term partner. As a bonus you could happen to have great conversations that spark new interests in you even if your date turns out to be absolutely not your thing. 


I’m definitely not saying that casual dating is for everyone. It can sometimes require endurance, patience and being able to distinguish sex and love. And if you’ve already found your dream human at age nineteen then I am not the one to say you should break up and live a hippie lifestyle. But neither should we frown on those who empower themselves to have a good time that fits into their current life.  


Essentially you just need to know when to move on, hold on or get some. 
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