Yessir, I’m officially one year older today. 42 years, wow! ‘And playful woman, what have you learned from this?’ (This is a reference to the Dutch television show ‘The big mister Cactus show’ – in case you were wondering ;) ) That’s a very good question. Let’s ponder on that one for a moment…
1) The more you learn, the more you find out you have so much to learn
It’s a cliché, I know, but it’s also very true. I’ve learned so much in the past few years, but there are still questions that remain unanswered, and also new questions pop up. Some questions are very dynamic, like ‘what do I want to achieve in my life?’ This question had me puzzled yesterday. A year ago I wrote down who I wanted to be, what I wanted to achieve and how I was going to do that. Yesterday I looked back on what I wrote and found out that some things I have already achieved, while some other things don’t matter to me anymore. As we grow as a person, our wishes and needs change. And through the years the picture of who you are and what you want usually becomes clearer. I think it’s good to write down for yourself what you want, and evaluate it every now and then.
2) I’m never fully satisfied with myself
When I think about who I was 20 years ago, I wish I could go back in time and console myself. ‘It’ll be all right, you’re fine just the way you are.’ But still I can be harder on myself than I would be on my friends. And I can make life difficult for me because of the high standards I set for myself. So that’s still a learning point for me. Thankfully, I can also be very proud of myself. But that inner critic can be a pain in the ass sometimes. ‘You’re too fat, when are you going to stop smoking you spineless woman, you’re not good enough, who the hell do you think you are?’ Sound familiar? We are all a work-in-progress.
3) I have a lot to be grateful for
At the same time I continue to realise more and more I have so much to be grateful for. My parents are both still alive. When I’m hungry I can eat, and when I’m thirsty I can drink. My basic needs are met and I’ve got enough money to buy what I really need. I’ve got good friends, and even a little fan base! That last thing really amazes me. I’ve been given the chance to follow my dream and I have found my true passion, which also allows me to inspire others. That feels like a lot of wealth. I can give more examples, and it’s good for me to realise how blessed I am.
4) You bring yourself anywhere you go, and money isn’t the answer
Sometimes we tend to think: ‘if I can do this, or have that, everything will be better’, only to find out that after that, we still have our weaknesses and shortcomings, only in a different environment. If there’s anything that you don’t like about yourself, there’s only one thing that can help: take a hard look at it and deal with it. I used to think ‘if only I won the lottery, my life would become so much better!’. But now I think it would have robbed me of many opportunities to grow if I had become rich all of a sudden. Because really, if you can buy anything you desire, you never really have to make an effort anymore. And if you have difficulty communicating with people around you, you can just pack up your things and leave. Easy as that. But that way you’ll never improve your communication skills. So yes, now I understand how these things work. But I would still like to win that jackpot though. ;)
5) You can choose where you focus your attention
I’m starting to learn this, but I really need to remind myself regularly. You can choose to watch the news and get upset about everything that’s not in your power to change. Or you can choose not to. You can choose to give attention to criticism from others, or to ignore it. Of course, it’s not always this simple. But when stuff bothers you, you can learn to focus on other things. Just realising you have this choice can make a difference. I’m realising more and more that it’s most effective for me to focus on the things I can actually make a contribution to. My sphere of influence, as it were. That’s where I can make a difference. Outside that circle, I can’t. That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t make an effort to serve a greater good, like sending a letter to a minister and telling him it’s not ok to allow glysophate in Europe again. Some things are worth fighting for and I believe we should do that more often. I’m talking about small actions that can make a difference if a large number of people do the same. But getting upset over something and then doing nothing about it, that’s pointless. Even here you have a choice.
6) Tiny Living suits me
I love my house, my surroundings, this way of life. Yes, it suits me like a glove. All I need now is a nice community with several Tiny Houses and their owners. I’m sure this will also provide challenges, but I’m up for it. Will this happen this year? Why wouldn’t it? Yes, I am choosing to believe it will.
It may be my birthday today, but I’ve already had my birthday party on June 3rd. I threw a ‘One year in a Tiny House’ party which also counted as my birthday party. It was a beautiful day for a garden party, I’m so lucky to be born in June! So today is just an ordinary day for me, but it still is something special, having a birthday. Ready, set, go for an exciting new year! What will this year bring me? J
All amazing photos, except the last one, are by Alexander Sanchez, Pictorista