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A better 2021!


Usually, I wish people “A happy [insert year here]!” This year however, I’ll leave it at “A better 2021!”. This of course inspired by the countinuous loop of Counting Crows lyrics that has been plaguing me for the last three weeks:

A long December and there’s reason to believe
Maybe this year will be better than the last

While New Year, New You is mostly nonsense every year, this year it’s complete hogwash. We’re still in the middle of a pandemic, and it will take a while for everybody to be vaccinated. Even then it’s still a guess when the world will revert back to “normal” and what that “normal” will look like. Not that I have any hopes that this pandemic will lead to any drastic long lasting universal changes in regards to how we humans treat each other, other animals and the planet we live on.

As we have seen this year, the majority of people are extremely attached to the lifestyle they’re used to and feel zero need to critically (re)consider their ideas and/or the way they live, let alone change anything about them. There are of course underlying societal structures in place with the sole goal of keeping things the way they are, but the lack of willingness to even consider adapting your life a tiny bit for “the greater good” for lack of a better term, was some intense bullshit if you ask me. Compassion, more specifically the lack of it, was also a thing I didn’t expect to be, well, such a thing. I do believe that we’ll eventually mostly go back to how things were “before”. There will of course be changes and certain things will not come back, but I’m afraid that they will mostly be the types of things that were already undervalued and/or subsidized. Let’s hope I’m wrong. And let’s also hope that I don’t have to find inspiration in Counting Crows lyrics next year, because DAMN.

Anyway, happy you’re all still here and a better 2021!


La Rentrée


Sure, you can “start over” or begin doing new things every day of your life, but everybody knows that there are specific days on which “rebooting” is easier: Mondays, or the first day of the month, or January 1st. The French have their very own version of this type of day: on September 1st, it’s La Rentrée (“The Return”). It is the first day of school, and it marks the official end of the summer holidays. The summer holidays in France last two months (July and August), and especially in August, the whole country comes to a halt.

Today it’s September 1st, 2020. This year is almost over, and while I don’t believe in “Your life changes from one moment to the next, just because of the date on the calendar changing”, I do believe that having a particular date on which you plan to start your life back up, can be a way of holding yourself accountable.

I have noticed that the Covid19 pandemic, the political state of the world, and the recent heatwave that is of course the result of severe climate issues that the powers that be refuse to address adequately have left me deflated. The last few months have not been the most inspiring ones, that’s for sure. Now that it has cooled off significantly, and I no longer live in constant fear of having to be admitted to the hospital due to overheating (I am on medication that causes issues with my body temperature regulation), it’s time to get back to work on my still semi-extensive to do list.

Wanting to start off with a bang, I deactivated my Facebook account. While I have never actively used it, deactivating was… a thing. Having resisted getting a Facebook account for more than 10 years, I finally made one for an internship I was doing, and to use later during the master degree I was accepted into. I had to quit the internship due to having a stroke, and the master’s degree then also didn’t happen because it took me quite a while post-stroke to find the courage again to finish up my thesis and earn my bachelor’s degree.

Deleting my Facebook account forever stirred up a lot of feelings. I remembered how I felt when I got that dream internship and decided that being able to do the internship was more important than my principle of definitely not wanting a Facebook account. I remembered how promising my future was at that moment, and how having a stroke completely destroyed that future. It’s sad to think about, and in hindsight, that’s why it took me so long to finally deactivate my account: I just didn’t want to deal with those feelings being brought to the surface so intensely. However, now that the account is deactivated, I mostly feel relief. I never wanted a Facebook account, and now I don’t have one anymore. Things make sense again.

In the next few months I will not only eagerly await the Covid19 vaccine and continue to finish up my long lingering projects, I will also continue decluttering things that, like my Facebook account, have served its purpose. Things like 5 years’ worth of emails, every document I’ve ever had to download for my studies, 15 years’ worth of pictures: the stuff that is invisible, but takes up loads of gigabytes on both my laptop and a variety of external hard drives. Speaking of pictures: I have found a couple of photo series of museum visits that I haven’t posted yet, that I will post soon. And yes, the articles I’ve promised to post “soon” three times by now, are also coming up.


Look who we have here!


First of all, right on the cusp of February: Happy 2020! I hope everybody entered this year with the exact same amount of limbs, pets, and house mates as they had before the fireworks started. And my wish for the coming year is that this will be the one in which The Netherlands gets their shit together when it comes to the laws regarding said fireworks.

I have two pet peeves when it comes to blogging: 1) bloggers that abandon their blogs without any notice, and return months later saying: “Sorry for not blogging”, and 2) the list of excuses/apologies/actual reasons why they haven’t blogged. Because while there are of course exceptions, it’s usually not relevant nor interesting. However, for the first time in my almost 18 years of blogging, I will put my feelings concerning this aside and both apologise and explain:

I’m sorry for abandoning my blog without any announcement or explanation. I am well aware that I haven’t been missed by millions, but I am of the firm opinion that that doesn’t matter: no matter if you have 5 or 500.000 readers, you don’t just ghost on them. Why I ghosted anyway? Because every week I was convinced that “this will be the week in which I catch up”, and every week something new happened which caused me to not finish my blog post. There’s 53 semi-finished blog posts waiting in my drafts folder as we speak. This post will be the first post I managed to finish since April.

Because despite fancying myself ~an artiste~, I completely lack any natural talent. I was literally 35 years old by the time I learned to write sorta kinda decently (let’s not talk about the level of my other artistic skills), and it’s still a difficult process to get there. Contrary to what people seem to think, I’m not somebody to whom writing comes easy. Crafting a text takes up mental space, contemplation, and time to let ideas “marinate” a bit, so to speak. And the little energy I had for that kind of process in 2019, I spent on finally finishing my thesis.

2019 was intense. I constantly felt like I was standing in front of a tennis ball machine set to warp speed, with the added handicaps of not only having extremely mediocre tennis technique, but also having to play with my ancient wooden Dunlop racket. It was just one damn thing after another, and while I do have a lot of experience solving ad hoc problems (it used to be my job at some point), when it comes to solving issues that concern me personally, the mental load in particular is a lot heavier. On top of everything, it was the year that I moved out of the apartment I had lived in for the last 22 years. It was the year that I returned to California for three weeks. And it was also the year in which there finally, finally, FINALLY came an end to the absolute HELL that was my BA degree.

As to be expected, I then fell face forward into post-performance depression, after which I caught the sonic death flu.

It’s January 24 today, in a bit I’ll be putting on my cap and gown and pick up my diploma. For the non-Dutchies: we do not wear cap and gowns at graduation here in The Netherlands. In my case, it’s not even an actual graduation ceremony: I will just be going to student services, where a bored student doing his temp job will shove a piece of paper in my direction that says “BA degree in English, good luck being unemployed!” or whatever it says on there. As this is too depressing of an end to my 8 year struggle, I am going in full regalia, because it’s my party and I’ll be as extra as I can be if I want to. After this, I’m done.

This year, 2020, I don’t have to do “anything”. No studies to finish, no housing coops to convince of the fact that maybe they should fix the roof and not let us live in wet squalor, no moves to plan, no paperwork to organise, no travels to plan, no hospital tours to manage. I don’t have to do anything at all.

While doing “absolutely nothing” is my greatest ambition in life, I know I’m not the type who can keep it up for long: two weeks has been my max. Therefore, I have decided to start with the basics: catch up on my journal writing, catch up on my blog, finish up projects that have been lying around since I don’t know when, weed out 40.000+ pictures, unpacking, sorting and recycling the stuff in the last few boxes that are still in a corner somewhere, finally arrange my new office and move my stuff out of the living room, read the 60 books on my TBR pile.

This is the first time in my life that I am fortunate enough to have the privilege to be able to finish up all my stuff before I (have to) embark on new things. It is also the first time in a long while that I will have the time to figure out what that “new thing” will be. I can’t say much about it at this time. Not because I’m afraid of jinxing anything, but because I literally have no idea. Everything I wanted to do in life, I have either done by now, or are things that are outside of reality. Yes, I have a 3/4 finished blog post about this lying around somewhere, to be posted at some point.

TL;DR: sorry for ghosting y’all, I am back, how you doin’?