This beautiful photograph is made by one of my old school friends. She discovered nature photography a while ago and has made the most beautiful pictures. Like this one of a little robin that just flew against the window and is still a bit confused. The last time we photographed together was this summer. A field of wild orchids around sunset. Moments in nature like these stay with me for a long time. If I close my eyes, it's almost if I am back there.
Two blogs today! Or two in one actually. Because I skipped the one from yesterday. I got up at 4.30 am to get to work. (I have an extra evening/weekend job to make some extra money.) Afterwards I had to do three interviews for Camp Rising Sun. All in all, a pretty full day. In between I needed a moment to do nothing, for a long bath and watching a nature documentary. As I was listen to David Attenborough, I realised that I had absolutely no interest in writing. So I questioned myself: why do I commit to writing? I am not going to follow up with my goal, if I miss a day? I came to the conclusion that even though I accepted a challenge to write every single day, I realised that forcing myself into it, is not going to be helpful to anyone. The only thing I wanted last night was to relax.
So today was a free day. Re-energizing from working the past few days and getting ready for another day of work tomorrow. Since it was lovely weather earlier today, I went outside and checked out some of my favourite thrift stores along the Oudegracht, everyone's favourite street in Utrecht. Got home with two beautiful dresses and two pairs of trousers for just a few euro's each. One of the trousers is even from a brand that it trying it's best to produce more fairly. Double win!
About two years ago I moved to Spain. The Basque country to be exact. The second semester of my Masters took place in Bilbao at the international institute of human rights at the University of Deusto. For me, that semester was a semester of rediscovering the joy in learning, green hills and most of all my love for walking. All things that I knew I loved, but I sort of forgot in the semester before. That one was spent working in a conference center without day light and travelling in busy trains to take a class here and there in Amsterdam. Looking back, I was on the edge of a burnout. Being in Bilbao saved me.
Sometimes I write posts in advance, more often I just write what comes up in my head. It's sort of therapeutic in a way, because by writing about something, I process my thoughts. Like yesterday when I wrote about saying 'no'. I usually come up with ideas throughout the day. It has become a sort of new level of awareness. A thought, an expression by someone or something small becomes inspiration for a new post. Today I had this idea about writing a summary of January and where I am right now. But then I saw a text from a friend with the picture that I just had to write about. Because saying 'no' is more important than ever. Because things are not okay.
I don't know about you, but I find saying 'no' one of the hardest things in the world. But I do believe that being successful, or even just simply not getting a burn-out, is to say 'no'. Today I received a beautiful, hand-made wedding invitation in the mail. I want to attend that day and share in the joy of a new chapter in the life of friends, but on the same day is important family event celebrating 60 years of marriage of my grand parents. Both on opposite sides of the country. I can't be in both places at the same time, so I am going to have to say 'no' to one of them.
This morning I cycled to work. It was raining, which isn't very uncommon in January in the Netherlands. Cold and wet I arrived at the office and I wasn't the only one that wasn't too happy with the grey and rainy day. Complaining about weather is something that the Dutch are very good in. But complaining doesn't necessarily make you a happier and positive person.
For a couple days in row I wrote about being a millennial, about friendships, missing people and being scared to commit. Establishing ties with this world is a strange thing. To some extend I will always be a stranger and a pilgrim, I guess. That okay. I've come to terms with never being home completely as long as we are imperfect people in an imperfect world. I would like to finish my weekend and this Sunday with three thoughts and three related Le Petit Prince quotes from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Bits and pieces of wisdom to give you hope for a new week to come.
Yesterday I wrote about being scared to commit. Today I have been pondering these thoughts. I did a funny test from the Guardian about how millennial I am. Turns out I have some characteristics, but I am not that much of a meme and emoji fan, so I am not a complete crazy and lost millennial. But in one thing, I am definitely a typical millennial: commitment. That remains an issue. Not that I don't commit at all. Because I once I say 'yes' to a project or meet a friend that I would like to get to know, I am all in. But those big things in life, like allowing myself to really fall for someone or commit to a long-term job perspective. Is something wrong or is it only typical millennial behaviour?