To be myself I have to be in control of my life. I tend to be quite resistant to events or circumstances that shift the control to someone else. If you want to provoke me, taking control of my life away from me is the best way to do it.
It's been a long time since I wrote this kind of blogpost, mostly because I've been 'asleep at the wheel'. In my early days of blogging I would throw any weird thought out there, but that's because I just had a lot of thoughts to write down at the time. That's something which gradually diminished over time. This happened partly because I felt less inclined to share all my thoughts with the world, and partly simply because interesting stuff stopped happening to me. Another good reason is that when I am simply working full-time without changes in residence and relationship, interesting thoughts do not form. I am simply content.
But every once in a while I feel the need to reconcile recent events, to summarize them on my blog. I've often wondered why I do this, whereas everyone else in my extended group of friends seems to have given up on blogging. Am I the only one who hasn't outgrown this?
I think there's a different reason. My personality is (I think) quite mold-able. I'm susceptible to the behaviors of others, and I tend to act differently towards different groups of people. Although I'm aware of this and it bothers me, sometimes I can't help it, and I can't help but get the impression that different groups of people get a different image of me. Blogging my thoughts here is my way of reconciling everyone's views of me, to force my perception of myself upon them. I've written before about how my personality tends to change especially when switching languages, so having an 'objective' point of reference tends to help me by serving as a 'fallback' personality that I can (and want to) use with everyone. Interestingly enough, I am not writing my objective point of view in my native language, but am using English instead. I think that shows how uncomfortable I've become with my past (Dutch) self.
This particular train of thought was prompted by a meeting with an old friend. We ended up talking a lot about quite intimate topics, and the stories I heard were of a world well beyond my comprehension. Fantastic tales of stuff that I can't imagine happening even in movies, yet he talks about it casually as if it's the most normal thing in the world. We live in different worlds, and although I believe myself to be open-minded and capable of change, I don't think I could ever change my personality as much as to become capable of living in the world that he does. I do not envy this part of him.
But another part of him left me impressed and dumbfounded. When I first met him all those years ago, he was still learning the tools of the trade. I helped him out on occasion and he asked me intelligent questions from time to time. But if I were to be perfectly honest, I did not think he was particularly talented beyond his peers.
Fast forward to now. He has an app out for mobile phones, which solves a very specific problem that I tried to solve a couple of years ago. I gave up because I was stuck at a technical side-issue and because I was too busy being on holiday and slacking off, but he succeeded. I feel greatly humbled and put in my place, as I have accomplished almost nothing in the past years, whereas he set up this great network of opportunities. To my friend: respect for you, and I will be looking out for your future work.
I do not regret the past, nor the present. The choices I've made were made fully aware, and I'm prepared to accept the consequences. He's done it one way, I'm trying it a different way. I'd like to pride myself on having vision and overview, something which requires procrastination and free time on my part in order to achieve the necessary mental focus. But vision and overview is not always necessary. You need to know when to drop it when it's not needed and just pull an all-nighter doing the grunt work.
There's many things I can do to improve myself. By far the best decision I've made recently was to change my job to part-time. By working one day a week I'm still doing useful work and making a useful contribution to the project, but all the mission-critical things (and the stress that accompanies it) have moved to the next-in-line. The startup I'm doing creates its own kind of stress patterns, but they don't seem to affect me. This is probably because I am in full control there and am not responsible for others (yet).
I am free in mind and spirit. I am making progress in my personal life. This will be an exciting year.
..and there will be a cycling trip!