BloPoMo conclusion

I’ve run out of October days, which means Blogtober is over. And just like the time I tried to post a blog a day a couple of years ago, I found it really hard. I don’t understand how other people do it…

At this point I am satisfied I managed an average of a post “(almost) every other day”.

As far as work stress is concerned, I probably should have chosen a different month… I’ve been really tired after work, feeling like I never get enough sleep, even though I did usually manage my 7-8 hours of shut-eye.

C&H timeout.gifSo maybe I should give it a go again in the new year, when things have settled back down at work and my energy levels are restored.

To all of you that completed the Blogtober “blog a day” goal: you are awesome!!!

 

Oh hi there, November… You sure sneaked up on me. Make yourself comfortable, old friend. You are most welcome here!

 

Surprise! I don’t like surprises.

A couple of weeks ago my boyfriend, G, came home after work and told me he had found out about something really cool that I was going to love and that I needed to ask such-and-such Friday off from work.

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I asked him what this cool thing was, where it was, why I would love it, if I needed to take my bathing suit with me or hiking shoes, if we were going by train or bus or bike… and guess what; he just smiled and told me “wait and see”.

So I did… and then completely forgot to ask the Friday off. (In my defence; I did tell him he should remind me again; maybe text me or something…) When we woke up on Saturday morning and I told him I needed to work that day, he looked really disappointed.

I realized I had forgotten to not-work on Friday and even added an extra day to the workweek… Wupps…

And then, on Saturday evening his frown (luckily) turned upside down when he found out the super-special-special-mystery-thingamajig-I-shouldn’t-ask-about-but-would-totally-love would also be available for us on Sunday… which was today…

 

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I have to admit, I had the hardest time convincing myself to not tie him to a chair and force more information out of him somehow. Admission number two: I was kind of surprised (and taken aback) by my reaction to all of this… and I think G was too…

After a truly lovely day (that I will tell you more about in a blog later in the week) we got home and twisted comfortably back into our evening routines. I was exhausted though, which had very little to do with the actual physical strain of the day.

So yeah, what the hell, right?

G told me he thought this was an important lesson for me and that he would continue to organize little surprise outings for me every now and then until I learnt to deal with them properly…

My first thought:

Pfff… Thanks for making me feel like a five year old, dude….

And immediately after that:

OMFG, why can’t I just be grateful and trust that he knows and loves me enough to only take me to awesome places?!

He said I surprised him with little thoughtful gifts and gestures all the time and that he wanted to be able to return the favor, which… yah… is a sweet thought (all though I don’t recall being such a tease with anything I ever gave him, but hey…).

I told him I would prefer he would just tell me he was taking me somewhere on the day of the actual outing and not leave me in the dark for a whole week first.
He said that this method was necessary so that I could ask a day off from work.

I told him I didn’t get the point of being so secretive about it. If he would tell me he had found out about a super special place and would describe it then and there, I would be super excited to go with him. Why build the anticipation like that?
He said he wanted it to be special. He felt talking about it beforehand would ruin the magic and might even make it disappointing.

I told him keeping expectations low was actually one of my specialties; keeping my cool while handing over all control to someone else was not.
He said “trust me”.

 

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But I do trust him.

 

Just not as much as I trust myself.

 

 

I’m working on it.

 

Blogtober

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My mind is cluttered and slow but my motivation is back. The only way to get this blog train going again is by hopping on the Blogtober wagon. So that’s what I’m going to do.

The last time I challenged myself to do a blog a day was August 2015, aka Blogust. It was actually quite challenging and I definitely didn’t manage to write something every day, but it was good practice.

Wish me luck.

 

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Heal the world

Imagine walking through the desert. It’s hot. You’re thirsty. You see something glistening in the sand… Is it water? A mirror? Is it your imagination playing tricks on you? No, it is actually your lucky day and you’ve just stumbled upon of those super rare genie bearing lamps! What were you doing out here in the desert anyhow and why are these things always found in the middle of nowhere? Nevermind… Quick quick, rub it and see how many wishes you’ve been granted….

POOF! A genie! But not just any genie… This one went to University! That’s Dr. Genie for you! And you get ONE wish. A very specific one too, it’s all in the small lettering at the bottom of the page, I assure you… The bill will be sent to you in a couple of weeks. Now please sign here…

The instructions: You may name any disease or ailment, physical or psychological and the world will be rid of it.

Such a precious wish. But it’s just the one, so you must choose wisely!

There are so many diseases cutting valuable lives short. So many wonderful people being taken from their loved ones. Sure, some of them are probably ass holes but they still didn’t deserve to die like that, right? According to this list the top ten deadliest diseases are:

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Still, I would not name any of these diseases to be annihilated because I am one of those horrible beings that believes people need to die at some point. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t enjoy losing people, I cry at funerals and hope those I love live as long and prosperly as possible. My dad has (had) at least three of the ailments from that top ten list and I’m glad they didn’t kill him (yet).

Making these diseases disappear will decrease mortality rates and only increase the world’s population. Sure, It will prevent some individual’s personal losses and hypothetical traumas. They will not thank me though. They will not value the no-longer-dying person more, nor will they make the most of the time they have just won. They probably never even knew their time was running short. And even if they did, you don’t know what you’ve got ’till it’s gone anyway. They might never value life like they would have if they’d had lost their mother, brother, father or child to that mortal disease.

Now that all of you think I am a horrible person I could go on and say that I wish to rid the world of hatred, or I could go full blown hypocrite and say that I will eradicate cynicism but I’m not here to troll.

The ailment that I wish to wipe out is depression. I’m sure some will say this doesn’t qualify as a disease, but I disagree. Seeing people I love suffer from depression is the worst thing. I have never been depressed myself and am quite certain I never will be touched by this dark demon but I do see its shadows in my environment every now and then. It’s horrible horrible horrible.

It’s a disease that doesn’t kill you, but makes being alive feel pointless. All the beauty of the world is lost to those suffering from it. No “I love you” ever enters their heart, no matter how often you say it. They still feel worthless and alone, no matter how tight you hug them. I hate that bloody disease and would ask the genie if I could give that wretched black mut of a dog one last kick in the balls before he blasts it off the planet.

Men are funnier than women

Isn’t that just a wonderful thing to say? I have no idea who William James was, or if he had a last name at all, but I like him already… I totally agree! Or not, because I must admit sometimes I lean abit towards the bizar with my sense of humor; the hysterically absurd if you will. Some might prefer to call it retarded or obscene. I don’t care, as long as it makes me chuckle.

Earlier this month I read a blog that touched the subject of humor, something I find extremely important. Being a woman however, I do know that I can’t get away with everything in this respect. This specific blog even went so far as to say that being funny might influence my chance of reproducing (long story short and very much simplified, for the full story do check out the original blog on Evolutionist X)

I must confess I don’t particularly like watching female comedians myself. I’m sure the ladies on stage are extremely funny to be around and great company on a night out, but as comedians they always seem to either try too hard or completely miss the mark. Or both.

Many comedians thrive on jokes at their own expense. So Eddy Murphy and Chris Rock make jokes about black people, Jerry Seinfeld and Jon Stewart make jokes about jews, Tim Minchin and Conan O’Brien make jokes about gingers. They touch taboos, say things we may have thought at some point but didn’t dare say because of its political incorrectness.

So yes, female comedians make jokes about women but for some reason, I just don’t find that amusing for very long. Why not? Is it because all taboos surrounding women have already been busted open? Does nothing women do or say shock us anymore? Are pussy jokes getting old, stale and unoriginal? Or is it because I find many jokeworthy traits women have extremely annoying in real life? I can’t put my finger on it!

SO, are men indeed funnier than woman? Hell no! They just don’t do well on stage, for some reason (all though they are getting better lately). The best jokes are the spontaneous, quick and clever ones in my opinion anyway, so to hell with stand up comedy. Humor is the biggest turn on in the world and I don’t buy for a second that men don’t find that attractive in women.

Sure, I know funny women (especially the sarcastic ones) may be considered “a bit much” by some. I also happen to know some men absolutely hate being verbally outgunned  (which makes it that much more amusing to do, if the right crowd is there to witness it) and some prefer the doe-eyed giggly kind of girl. That’s totally fine, to each their own.

Mission Impossible – Cocoa protocol

choco protocol

Have you every heard of the Harkin-Engel protocol before? It is often referred to as the cocoa protocol. Never heard of it? Me either, even though it involves the world’s favorite snack: chocolate.

This protocol is “an international agreement aimed at ending the worst forms of child labor and forced labor in the production of cocoa, the main ingredient in chocolate”, according to wikipedia. The two initiators of this agreement were Senator Tom Harkin and Representative Eliot Engel. The protocol was signed in September 2001.

choco childlabour

In 2004 investigative journalist from the Dutch TV program “Keuringsdienst van Waarde” found out that non of the major chocolate producers were complying with the rules formulated in the agreement. As they themselves were regular chocolate consumers, they feared they might be contributing to the problem. One of the journalists, Teun van de Keuken, then ate one more chocolate bar and then turned himself in, confessing he was a knowing accessory to child slavery.

The indictment was not accepted by the court of law after which they appealed to a higher court to reconsider. This drew great media attention to their case and re-opened the discussion about slavery and especially the exploitation of children in the cacao sector. In the end, Teun van de Keuken was not convicted due to lack of evidence.

This was not the end of it though… Teun realized he couldn’t beat them, so decided he should join them instead. So that’s what he did. He started his own brand of chocolate, guaranteed to be slavery-free, and named it Tony’s Chocolonely.

Ofcourse they were sued by other chocolate companies stating they couldn’t guarantee their chocolate was 100% child labor free either. In 2007 a Dutch judge decided in favor of Tony’s Chocolonely and stated they had demonstrated sufficiently they their chocolate was indeed being produced without slavery or child labor playing a role.

And the best part is that Tony’s chocolate bars are really tasty! They started out with only milk and dark varieties but have expanded their selection in recent years, now including:

The classics:

  • melk (milk)
  • puur (dark)
  • melk hazelnoot (milk hazelnut)
  • melk noga (milk nougat)
  • melk caramel zeezout (milk caramel sea salt)

The exclusives:

  • melk coffee crunch (milk coffee crunch)
  • puur meringue kers (dark meringue cherry)
  • puur sinaasappel rozemarijn (dark orange rosemary)

Special editions:

  • melk pecan marshmallow (no translation needed)
  • melk rabarber crumble  (milk rubarb crumble)

The ones that are written in chocolate are the ones I have already tried. My favorite is the one with caramel and sea salt. I actually just opened a bar of milk pecan coco, which is a special edition from a previous month and it’s pretty darn good. Not as coconutty as I would’ve thought, but real nice. And guilt free! 😀

Movie yays and boos

You know how, back in the days when people still used to buy these things, guests would stroll over to the cabinet with all the CDs and DVDs and rate your taste? It says so much about a person, don’t you think? I’ve written blogs about my musical preferences in the past, so it’s time to reveal where I stand on a filmographic scale. It was really hard to limit these two lists to just ten movies but I managed, in the end.

thumbs up

All though the thumbs-up-list was much longer than the thumbs-down-list a couple of minutes ago, I managed to bring it back to ten, with pain in my heart. The movies that survived the cuts are all movies that I recommend to anyone. They’re not the best or most complex movies I’ve ever seen but I could definitely re-watch any of these on any giving moment for the ten millionth time and not mind for a second.

I will give every movie three key words to illustrate my affection for them.

  1. Snatch
    hilarious, quotable, interesting
  2. American History X
    confronting, intense, thought provoking
  3. the Mexican
    odd, light-hearted, amusing
  4. The Dark Knight
    dark, troubled, awesome
  5. Hotel Rwanda
    tear jerking (only movie that ever accomplished that with me), important, full of love
  6. Finding Nemo
    Deep 😉 , inspiring, beautiful animation
  7. La Vita e Bella
    unique approach of WWII theme, motivating, heart warming
  8. Shrek
    Fun, amusing, clever
  9. Sleepers
    captivating, gruesome, stirring
  10. Collateral
    Surprising(ly good acting), entertaining, uncomplicated

thumbs down

The next ones are pretty bad, all though I still think I owe a special shout out to every movie ever made starring Steven Seagal… Let’s bowe our heads in sorrow for all those mistakes and hope they some day stop being aired on TV.

I’m afraid I can’t summarize in 3 words how and why these movies are so bad, but I’ll try to be brief.

  1. From Paris with love
    Oh John… I never even gave the rumors about your alleged homosexuality any thought until this movie came along. You tried so hard to be manly and bad-ass and failed so terribly horribly miserably.
  2. Saving Private Ryan
    Did we REALLY go to this much trouble to retrieve one insignificant dude from behind enemy lines? Just to save one random mother from any more grief? I.just.don’t.get.it.
  3. the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
    I like Sean Connery, but wtf was this? I’m even into superhero stuff, but this was such a weak attempt that it failed in all senses. A pity, because it did have potential, imo.
  4. Lost in Translation
    Slow, boring, overrated. I want to say how much I hate Scarlett Johansen’s acting (in general, not just in this flick), but I know how guys get when I say that, so I’ll just leave it… 😛
  5. World War Z
    Apparently zombies are hot & happening, and I was prepared to embrace this fact, as I thought Brad knew his way around the undead since his stint with the vampires twenty years ago (!), but boy was I wrong. This was just disappointing, predictable and boring.
  6. Seven Pounds
    Watching Will Smith being depressed for 123 minutes is not my idea of fun. It’s a total downer. No happy ending or nothing. It doesn’t suit you, Will. I like you funny.
  7. Gran Torino
    This wasn’t even a disappointment as I kind of knew it might suck but I also kind of hoped Clint had one more good movie in him… but nope… just meh.
  8. Crash
    I actually don’t hate this movie. I actually was quite impressed with it, I just never want to watch it again as it plummeted my faith in humanity down to an all time low. I don’t need that kind of truth. I am cynical enough as it is.
  9. Pitch Perfect
    Beside the fact that the story was uninteresting, boring and predictable, the singing wasn’t particularly inspiring either. Can’t think of any good reasons to watch this again in my life.
  10. Indiana Jones – Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
    All though I’ve put this movie on nr ten, it definitely doesn’t mean it’s the least bad of all of them. It’s actually the only one that actually made me angry, because I was actually looking forward to it. I wanted it to be AWESOME. I craved for another Indiana Jones movie. Bad special effects are totally OK. A little self-mockery is fine too… but this was really truly an insult to everyone. This should never have happened and I regret having spent money on it. Shame on you, Harrison, but most of all you, STEVEN SPIELBERG!

Lyrical confusion

Once again, I am behind on schedule. I have missed out on some blogging deadlines (placed there by nobody other than myself, which made them that much easier to break). My inspiration is running a bit dry so this blog is going to be a pretty simple one.

One of the lists I have been adding items to lately on Wunderlist, is one about songs with confusing lyrics.

For example, the song Boy with a Coin. Beautiful song with a beautiful but totally unrelated (as far as I can tell) video.

I sort of get the first verse, but then he starts changing the iron:wine ratio, it seems and goes full on delirium when he sings:

A girl with a bird she found in the snow
Then flew up her gown and that’s how she knows
If God made her eyes for crying at birth
Then left the ground to circle the earth

I guess the bird is some sort of sexual metaphor? Symbol of her virginity? If so, I would imagine the bird would be flying OUT from under her gown and abandoning her forever, as she apparently becomes pregnant?

Someone who DOES know about contraceptives is Alanis Morisette, or at least that is what I thought the “jagged little pill” she dedicated her album to referred to. Thinking on it a bit harder and listening to the song that these words actually come from, it might actually refer to some sort of hallucinogenic drug, but it’s open to interpretation….

But that’s not the song I wanted to mention here anyway. The lyrical confusion I wanted to share comes from one of my favorite songs by her, which is “Not the doctor”. I won’t post the whole song here, but you can check it out on youtube. The part I have always wondered about goes like this:

Visiting hours are 9 to 5 and if I show up at 10 past 6
Well I already know that you’d find some way to sneak me in and oh
Mind the empty bottle with the holes along the bottom
You see it’s too much to ask for and I am not the doctor

What’s this bottle with holes along the bottom?? Can’t think of any medicine or drug that comes in a bottle with holes along the bottom… I have even asked doctors this question… and if it’s a metaphor, than what does it symbolize?? Anyone?

Another song that always leaves me in this bundle of confusion is this song by Nelly Furtado (but written by Chris Martin, if I remember correctly) is “All good things (come to an end)”. Again, the videoclip is totally unrelated to the lyrics and kind of weird all together, but it kind of fits because:

Dogs were whistling a new tune barking at the new moon
Hoping it would come soon so that they could die

That’s some pretty depressive stuff, don’t you think? So your breakup was so heavy that even the dog wants to kill himself now?? Geesh!

And this isn’t the first time Chris Martin’s lyrics confused me…. All though I have almost all Coldplay records and listened to them fanatically in high school, I always skipped this one weird song: Yellow. I don’t get it!!

Look at the stars,
Look how they shine for you,
And everything you do,
Yeah, they were all yellow.

OK, nothing weird there. Stars can totally be yellow, right? And they’re shining for me, yeah! But then it gets weird:

I came along,

I wrote a song for you,

And all the things you do,

And it was called “Yellow”.

What did I do? and who or what was called yellow? No comprendo!

So then I took my turn,
Oh what a thing to have done,
And it was all yellow.

Did you drop a can of paint maybe? or did you squish a banana? Did life give you lemons? eggs? corn? sunflowers?

I swam across,
I jumped across for you,
Oh what a thing to do.
‘Cause you were all yellow,

Ok, I get it…… You’re talking about the minions movie now, right?

I drew a line,
I drew a line for you,
Oh what a thing to do,
And it was all yellow.

Did you use a yellow marker to draw the line? Yellow chalk? And why did you draw a line anyhow? Chris be honest…. are you high?

If any one of you out there has any ideas about these lyrics, do enlighten me… And if you know any other confusing songs, do share! 🙂

Smug in the now

In these crazy times many people are turning to Buddhism (or its derivatives) to find peace. I have never attended a yoga class or read any Buddhist teachings (unless the dozens of pretty quotes I see daily on social media count…) but I do appreciate the thoughts behind it.

Mindful quote 2For those of us who are not prepared to go all the way and declare ourselves true followers of the Buddha but do like our occasional yoga lesson and chew on superfoods every now and then, there is Mindfulness.

Again, I’m not sure if I ever got to the core of it, but what I have taken from leafing through the bestselling self-help books sold on every corner of any self-respecting town, is that it’s about breathing consciously, loving yourself, living in the now, valuing life and being positive.

I can do that! I like the idea of focusing on the present (and not only because I don’t want to think about that bill that just landed on my doormat). I appreciate the moon and the summer breeze and the song of the birds outside my window. I make sure to be kind to my neighbors and give the cashier an honest smile when I buy my hypothetical almond milk and goji berries, brief as this encounter may be.

However, I have come to the conclusion that I am not a big fan of the rest of the mindful clan. Actually, it is because of them that I have decided I am not mindful at all, just because I don’t want to be part of their little hypocritical, preachy little chanting circle.

harmony boy color

I must admit some of my anti-mindfulness feelings may have a dislike for the attitude of some of my ex-colleagues at its core. I have had this draft sitting on my dashboard for many months and knew I needed to get rid of some of my bitterness towards them before I could publish it. I switched jobs since then, which makes it easier for me to analyze it. I guess sometimes you need to not be in the now to be able to see something clearly. 😉

If I could explain to them now what it is exactly that bothered me, what would I say? Let’s make a list!

1) Privileged by unique knowledge

People that practice mindfulness (or other “live in the moment and love yourself”-ideologies) are told to be very self-aware. They analyze their breathing and how they feel in the presence of a certain energy. They get to know themselves better through meditation and self analysis. In the process of learning more about themselves they learn more about mankind in general, about emotions and reactions and feelings. I’m sure some of this is very valuable information that undoubtedly can reveal subconscious issues blocking someone’s growth.

However, sometimes people lose their mirror along the way and start applying their new found wisdom on those around them instead of themselves. This self righteousness is not only extremely irritating it is sometimes also wrong.

2) The over-analyzing whatever I am about to put in my mouth.

Mindful quote 5I have this idea that as long as you feel good about what you are eating, it can’t be all that bad. Of course, I understand that eating purely deep-fried food is a bad idea. Luckily, that’s not something I would crave for anyhow. What I mean is that if you eat all the best vegan, raw, superduperfoods, nuts and seeds available and do this without actually liking its taste, and are craving for a donut while swallowing your quinoa-salad, eating becomes a punishment. I believe that you might as well eat that donut, firstly because stress is probably the worst thing you can do to your body and secondly because living 10 years longer thanks to your diet without ever again enjoying the ritual of eating seems like a pretty pointless extra decade…

Anyhow, here is a list of the things I have been condemned for eating / drinking:

  • meat
  • tuna
  • soy-milk
  • chocolate
  • vegetables / fruit grown the wrong way
  • a smoothy I bought (ergo, not made by my own hands)
  • unpeeled apples (because the peels contain gluten?!)

Especially when I heard that last comment I almost lost it… Dafack is wrong with you?!?! Where do I even start to explain how moronic you sound? Do me (and the world) a favor and go ahead and eat your apple whatever way you want to and just let me die of a gluten overdose, will you?? (hmm, sorry about that, it seems I haven’t gotten rid of all my bitterness after all…)

3) Quoting exotic luminaries

I wrote this point down a long time ago and I have to admit I can’t remember the exact occasion that triggered it but I can imagine how it went.

Let’s say I blew up in someone’s face after they expressed their concerns about me eating an apple with peel and all. The person I would be directing my words at would look at me, probably nodding but with a blank expression demonstrating their inability to process the information being thrown at them, and would then quote some guru to invalidate whatever I just said.

You know Sarublabla Yogi Nagchampa once said that being angry is a choice… And sometimes you might believe you are doing this consciously, but it’s really just a compulsion. If you practice this often you can learn to stand above your emotions and find inner peace…

… and then they might smile, in true belief they just did me a huge favor… Or perhaps follow it up by telling me my energy was messing with their aura, or something….

4) The eternal search for the deeper meaning for things.

As a sarcastic soul, it is hard for people in general to sometimes get me. But these self-aware spiritual types get their panties in a twist trying to grasp the deeper meaning behind my words. The beauty of sarcasm is that it is often pretty straight forward communication in a “what you see is what you get”-kind of way. There is no deeper meaning and if you feel you are being mocked, it’s because you probably are. It’s not meant to be hateful or mean and I am not being negative, on the contrary. I am actually having a lot of fun, but I must say your slow analysis of what is going on is kind of killing my buzz.

Sarcasm without the right audience feels like screaming into a black hole. It’s like saying you don’t believe in fairies (you know one dies somewhere on the planet when you say that, right?) and as if the joke was never made. Such a loss…

5) Avoiding life

This point is actually a very interesting one, in my opinion. I have discussions with my father about this quite often, as I believe his loyalty and dutifulness is killing him. He does things purely because he believes he ought to, because it’s what people are counting on or because it’s written on some decades old piece of paper. When I told him I thought he wasn’t doing a very good job at being happy he told me not to worry. He admitted there was a lot of nastiness in his life and that it affected him at times but that it was a load he could carry… Not exactly the response I hoped to hear and all though it’s in no way reassuring, I guess he’s a grown man and knows what he’s doing…

I put quite a high value on my own happiness and make decisions based on the belief that it will be better for me and my state of mind. I believe that when a situation gives you negativity and stress without the prospect of improving any time soon and there is no satisfaction or success for you in it prospect, you should remove yourself from this situation and go into self-protection mode. I am a great promoter of this and apply this to my career as well as my personal life. It works for me.

Now, back to the part that I DON’T like… I believe that there are people that, in the name of mindfulness, run away from challenges without ever giving it an honest try, out of fear for how the bad vibes might affect them. They shut down difficult conversations without ever even having had a discussion about it. They cocoon themselves in an incense scented world of herbal tea, relaxation music and mandalas.

Besides the fact that I don’t buy that fake smile for a minute, it isn’t right. Having a discussion can be healthy and productive, despite the annoyance and grey hairs that come with it. Avoiding confrontation all together just feels so odd to me, as you sometimes need some friction to bring out the beauty.

I also think people that choose this strategy are fooling themselves because avoidance just helps the fear build up inside and I don’t believe all the meditation and yoga in the world can help you get rid of it without confronting it head on.

6) Killing emotions

Last but not least, I want to say that feeling things is wonderful. Strong feelings like anger, fear and sadness are not all bad. If you eliminate them all together, how can you ever appreciate true joy again? I myself love a good fight and we all know the value of a good fright! Sadness, admittedly, is one I am not good at expressing and according to some it is something I should work on, as a good sob is supposedly extremely relieving as well.

So, what would Buddha say about all of this? Something like this:

Mindful quote 4

Amor fati

A couple of weeks ago I read this column in the Guardian (in all fairness, I saw it on FB, but it was originally posted in the Guardian 😛 ) about living with no regrets by adopting a motto inspired by Nietzsche: Amor Fati, as opposed to the world most tattooed Latin phrase attributed to HoraceCarpe Diem. I shared the article on my own wall and got some strong reactions to it, which helped me rethink what I had read and ultimately, write this blog.

The friends that reacted to the post had fully embraced the YOLO-mentality and didn’t like to see it being criticized. For them it wasn’t just a phrase. It was a way of healing. A way of life. The yellow brick road. A lesson they needed to embrace to be able to enjoy life, live in the moment, value the small things and let go of the petty ones. You catch my drift. Totally inspirational stuff. You know I love it.

So yes, I guess I can imagine it must sting when someone says living by the motto carpe diem is nothing more than “a desperate, panicky effort to avoid future sadness”.

My friend responded to this by pointing out that she wasn’t making decisions based on panicky fear but was actually applying it as “an accurate way of dealing with and solving current sadness”. I guess that’s a fair point.

But all though the way Oliver Burkeman put it into words in this column may rub some “carpe diem”-followers the wrong way, he did win me over for this new road to happiness.

He recaps carpe diem as follows:

According to this philosophy [of carpe diem], you should always take the plunge and quit your stultifying job; ask that person on a date; or (in the lower reaches of yolo culture) empty a carton of milk over your head and post the video on YouTube, all to forestall an old age full of stinging regrets. I can’t be alone in finding this all rather stressful, not least because regret seems inevitable: choosing any path always means rejecting others. So how to choose? We’re glibly told you regret the things you don’t do, not the ones you do. But this is meaningless, since any bold choice can always be rephrased as a timid one. By leaving your marriage, you opted not to discover what might happen if you’d bravely stuck it out.

And presents Amor fati like this:

Amor fati is all about living with no regrets, but not in the modern way. Carpe diem means making daring decisions, so as not to feel regret later on, whereas amor fati means (among other things) learning to love the choices you’ve already made, daring or not. After all, if a given aspect of life is truly “necessary”, refusing to embrace it means rejecting reality. And what could be more truly necessary than the past, which has already happened and can’t be undone?

loesje int 4I actually don’t think you need to choose between these two life mottos, as one encourages you to make the best of now and the other to love what has already been. They are both focused on having no regrets and I think both are valuable lessons to live by.

The only thing that I don’t like about this Nietzsche-based phrase is that it includes the word “fate”. Not a big fan of that one, as it implies things are predestined. People that have resigned themselves to have sucky lives because “that’s just how it is”, deserve a serious talking to or maybe even a kick up their behinds to knock some carpe diem into them.

I had already been applying amor fati in my life, in the sense that my average state of being is pretty much “content”. Sometimes I say to myself that I have an awesome guardian angel because nothing ever really goes wrong in my life but in reality I think that’s not even true. Things do go wrong. I am clumsy and forgetful, so things break or get lost. I just never really let it get to me. I seize every day and am totally fine with things totally blowing up in my face, all though again, I couldn’t really name an occasion when things actually did go miserably wrong. Is there even a thing as wrong? Things just evolve, no need to give it a plus or minus sign.

So to summarize it in a really sappy conclusion: Seize the day and value every step you have taken to get here.