Chiaroscuro — between two worlds

From the movie Rocketman

I crave it, I fight it. My life, my freedom. Let me live or let me die. Fuck-off, with the lies, the bullshit, the false promises. Just let it be. No agenda, please! Thank you!

What do I have become? A stoic? A hedonist? Or something in between? M’I successful? In what measure? Who decides that?

From a very young age, I lived in a very strong environment of achieving. On top of that, I was depressed for years and even wanted that my life would end, literally. I was a stoic, someone that lives only to strive after idealistic things, there was nothing for joy or pleasure. Everything was a must, I must have this, I must reach this, I must do this.

If I lived well, did well I would end-up in heaven. People in my Christian community considered me as an example. Someone you can follow. In the way of living. On top of this, the Dutch culture where I grew up has a very Calvinistic way of living. Everything has to be achieved. For me, it seems that the Dutch want to be first in everything. In sports, science, technology, art and being progressive as a society.

On my 25th-birthday I ended up in a burn-out. I burned-out well! I was an emotional wreck. I could hardly fall asleep and slept light the whole night. I had concentration problems, I could not read a book or listen to a course without missing a lot. Sirene sounds or sudden slapping of a door made me shock and shiver. I was almost hospitalized for an allergic reaction to some chocolate with nuts in it, in reality, it was a reaction to stress!

What was my net output anyway? What did I achieve, with my overachieving way of living? I started to question my sanity and what one individual could achieve! Elon Musk, the guy who is one of the founders of Tesla, Solar City, Space X. Said, that by working 80 or 100 hours a week you can reach double than people who work 40 hours a week. I honestly doubt that statement!

There are a lot of motivational speakers. Most of them speak about how to fulfill your dreams. How to get a morning routine, how to manage your time, how to eliminate stuff from your life that could prevent you from reaching your fucking dream.

We crack-up, with our desire to prestige. We do not have limits in building new, in reaching another milestone, in knowing more. What do we get from that? Will we live longer, enjoy more the moment? No, the opposite.

I can say this from the heart. I myself started to read and follow the motivational speakers. How to get a better morning routine, how to not waste time and use your resources better.

After I reached my goal/dream, there was a next. When I reached it, I was relieved, not glad, my ego got another boost, that was it. After my short rush, I was restlessly searching for another goal, dream whatever. Meanwhile, I ended up in a burn-out, with sleep problems and allergies.

This whole thing of accomplishing was so deeply rooted, that when I was out enjoying time with friends, I sometimes thought, what new thing do I need to learn, do, reach, how to get more out of something. Bang bang, going to do the next thing. Instead of laying back and enjoying my life as it is.

But what about winning some award, reaching more followers, earning more money, looking for another step in my career. Instead of being what I am, I try to be else, better, smarter, quicker, etc… always checking in or checking out of something, pushing an agenda. When we reached it, what is our next step? Mars!?

Where is the joy? Where is the art in our industrial society? Where is your art? It is smashed? Marginalized and put after the profit of capitalism?

Maybe, it is our western past, our colonial history. The thing that made western society great was the competition in technology war gear. Now, everything comes back harder, in burn-outs, loneliness, and unlivable environments. This is maintaining a sustainable direct way for burn-out, of ourselves, of society and of our planet. How will we deal with that?

There is a big difference in achieving and progressing. Achieving is easy to reach, progression not at all. We can achieve almost everything, but did we progress as well!?

No, it is the other person, with the right people, the right person, you will get a step ahead! More than going after some dream, some idealistic goal!

I discovered that life is good when it’s “boring”. When there is not too much stress, not too much change and no overload in what you are capable of. Just enough you can handle, without getting bored or ending up in depression. The right amount of tension, change, new and experiences.

It all lies in your competence. You can do whatever society tells you to achieve, that gives you money, fame, and achievement! I am asking, is this really you? Is this that resonates with you most deeply?

Most people die and stay stuck in their boring life. They die because they do what is asked of them, they die because there is no creativity in doing what is being laid-out and following that. They die because they have no fucking clue how to enjoy themselves. Neither did I… I was a stressed-out, overworked someone of whom “nobody” cared about!

Where are my likes, my followers, my fame, my influence, my money?! This defines ME! This gives me the ego-boost.

Living a life that is prefabricated filled for seeking validation, will make you into something that is dead. A zombie.

A life that is built according to some ideal you are trying to mold to, you will lose yourself along the way.

I had to fight and still do with my doubtful self, against the gender roles society projects on me. Against the definition of success.

I spoke and thought it along with my best friends. One of the hardest things is to accept yourself as who you are.

The only thing you can do in the end is to work on your potential and be happy with the results.

Writing about the Human Experience