This is my first try at putting into words something very personal. Even though it might not look personal as such, it feels that way. Sometimes deepest feelings feel more close to you than your deepest worldly secrets. So here they are. An ode to nature. About feeling lost. I read an essay by Henry David Thoreau on walking. Inspired by that piece, I tried to write something similar in my own voice. Here it is.
Last week I wrote about Arianna Huffingtons’ book Thrive, and the impact the book had on me. And still has. It moved me to rethink my life. And also my blogging strategy, the way I embedded blogging in my life. I’ve always appreciated quality over quantity. With a full-time job, projects on the side and a big family, I just can’t post qualitative articles on a very regular basis. Add something valuable. And I don’t want Quarterlife Adventures to become an empty publishing machine.
I did some research on the internet and in my head. I feel like there is a tendency where bloggers write for the sake of publishing, and readers read for the sake of fast and thoughtless entertainment more and more. True inspiration doesn’t come to you by reading tons of ‘list’ blogposts, other peoples diaries or masked advertisement online. It comes from Life. From real people. From the World.
Let’s all move back there, out of our digital realities. Try to visit the internet less frequently. See the beauty around you. Write on paper with a real pen. And type it all up once you feel happy about what you’ve written. Because blogging still is a beautiful way of sharing information, inspiration and stories about life. Super accessible for anyone. I can’t tell you how happy I am to have discovered some bloggers from all over the world and their beautiful style of writing, living, thinking. So keep publishing. For some that might be every day, for others every week. Maybe even ‘only’ once a month. That’s ok. As long as the piece adds value. Reduce information pollution, please.
So I read a book. The first one this vacation that I’ve finished. And I’m dreading it. I dread the fact that this book didn’t have more pages, that it cannot be read forever, that Arianna didn’t repeat the same message in different lines in a second book, that it’s unfortunately not a trilogy. This must be one of the first books in my adult life, that I truly feel I will read again. And again. And again. Please, you, read it as well.
When I started reading the book I had planned on writing a thorough review of it. The book being such a bestseller and probably loads of people will have it on their wishlist. But I’ve changed my mind. It might be better to just tell you a bit about how this book (already) changed me.
I’m a few days into my vacation now. Boy, did I feel stressed and empty when it started. Like I just wanted to lay in bed for the rest of the week. Even cry, maybe, or eat a lot of chocolate to avoid that. I felt trapped in my life. It has been that way for a while now, but I just couldn’t find the source of this feeling. Arianna shone a light on it. My life is in overdrive, overdrive in the wrong directions. It feels like I am caught in a web of Ambition, Passion, Career, Money, Work. That’s not what life is about, ultimately. I felt taken by the hand by a book. Crazy? No, it felt very natural.
The book reads like a guide, and a memoir at the same time. It is a realistic story and one I can relate to (except for the fact that I’m luckily not that attached to my phone as Arianna describes some of her acquaintances to be). The book reads like a long conversation with a wise friend, a very intellectual friend as well, I must say. And one that is truly inclined on helping others find balance again. Not in a traditional self help way. There is wisdom in this one, there are sources and studies and quotes from famous philosophers. No empty words that give you a temporary high, and make you fall down a black hole moments after, because you have no idea what to do with them. Arianna Huffington has given us a true guide, practical as well as intellectual.
There is more to life than careers and money, than professional ambition. And we are lucky we get the chance to make good use of it. I feel this book is one of the pioneers in a new movement that will hopefully grow further. The movement that brings us back to our human roots, away from our digital and enclosed lives. From the shallowness of striving only for a career or prestige because of earning money or empty successes.
For example, the book inspired me to start Slow Blogging. Not just pumping out articles on a daily basis for the sake of blogging and being read. No, I want my articles to hold more value than that. To not be like fastfood but more like a small portion of haute cuisine food. There is an abundance of information and of empty blogposts already, and I’m guilty as charged I fear. Now, it’s time to put quality above quantity. Second, Arianna Huffington inspired me to de-digitalize myself more. To put my phone and laptop away for longer periods of time. Hold digital detox-days and evenings. Put pen to paper instead of staring at a computer screen. Most of all, to go look for the human connection again. The REAL connection, the giving, the sharing, the loving.
I applaud this book and its writer.
Did this spark your interest in the book? You can buy Arianna Huffington Thrive here
Dutch people are born with a bike attached to them. No wonder I try to find one wherever I am. Otherwise the longing for a two-wheeler grows too strong. I’m sorry. I think it’s an addiction. Who knew that aside from the healthy benefits of riding a bike, it also gives you new insights in a city and its residents.
Now, this ain’t gonna happen… Don’t we all have those days where we feel like there’s already enough on our plate, and we might as well leave out that necessary workout. You need to sit down. Relax. Take a breather. Let me stop you there. Nothing is as important for relaxing your body, as a workout. Sounds strange? Not really…
When your mind is tired, but your body has been sitting all day, you are out of balance. This might cause sleep problems, concentration issues or even depressed feelings. When you move, your body produces serotonin, which in turn causes you to feel happy, relaxed and statisfied (it’s even recommended for people who are sensitive to depression and anxiety).
Sometimes a week is just that – a week. You go to work, sleep, work. Heat took over Berlin and I went to the office 5 days in a row. And that’s totally fine with me. The end of the week had a dark cloud hovering over it, especially in the Netherlands. No words can describe.
After having introduced myself (and you guys) last week to Adventure Days, this week couldn’t be anything other than an eventful one. Wednesday was my Adventure Day and I really pushed myself to try out new things and live without fear. It worked, at the end of the day I felt awesome. This week I visited Berlin Ethical Fashion Show, had my best – and oldest – friend over for the weekend, and watched the last World Cup games.
Until last Wednesday I watched the World Cup. Great fun. Especially since I’ve found out that you can learn so many great life-lessons from it. Since ‘our’ World Cup experience has come to an end (you might know the Dutch team lost against Argentina), I figured I’d share some of those learnings with you, to pump up our spirits (no self high-fiving necessary though)!
What you can learn from watching the World Cup:
Living each day as if it’s your last. As much as I would want to do that, it’s exhausting. You can never live every day of your life with this thought in the back of your head without going crazy. But I would like to have some regular days where I push myself a bit to live on the edge, to do something totally new. To set aside all my fears and doubts and just go.
This idea was re-awakened when Ricardo Semler told us about his terminal days, during his seminar a few weeks back. Terminal days? Yep, not the most fun title I would say. But he explained it as follows: two days a week he dedicates to live like he knows he doesn’t have that many left. Not to cross off his bucket list (he has done that already, lucky him), but to just do what he intrinsically wants to do and feels like he needs to do. Mostly this involves spending time with family and doing crazy fun stuff. What a life, right.
Sometimes I feel like the weeks rush by without me having enough time to do all that I wanted to do. This week was one of those weeks. There was so much to do at the office, with new colleagues coming in (yay!) and new projects being launched. It gave me a lot of energy and curious enough, being presented the latest projects from my colleagues left me with the feeling of wanting to start my own project. Like, really ‘my own’, ASAP.
When I was still in University and High School I made sure to always have an entrepreneurial project running on the side. This way I made a business trip to China, set up a foundation and wrote a book (a long time ago). But now I’m 25 and I suddenly feel like I’m on the verge of starting my own business, or moving to a new country in search of new adventures, of taking a new leap and not feeling super insecure about it. As if all that talk about life experience and growing as a person has materialized into me feeling ready. My brain started working overtime this week, and I can’t stop thinking about all the exciting opportunities that are looming everywhere.