What do you fear most in life?
Three things. On entirely different levels.
First, I fear a life controlled by fear. A life in which I shy away from things that scare me, or that cause me discomfort. Because I think that if I don’t shy away from them, those things ultimately lead to all the best that life has to offer. Creating something, or figuring out something intellectually, is an intensely scary, discomforting experience, because it forces you into positions where you really wrestle with yourself. It’s self-doubt, anxiety, stress, effort, … before the light emerges and something wondrous is brought into existence. Engaging with people and life is also immensely scary because you have to expose yourself, step out of your circle of control. These things don’t come easy to me. Also, when you read much, you get inundated with stories that skew your perception of actual risk. You start to be afraid of things that have statistically low odds of occurring. Think about running alone along deserted paths in the village, or walking out at night. Being afraid of flying and therefore not going places or visiting people you miss.
Second, I fear losing all my securities in life. Where I am exposed to prosecution, violence, poverty, exclusion, ill health. I don’t know whether it is because of the types of books I used to read as a child, or because of my distrust of people’s ability to overcome destructive herd mentality, or whether it is just in my nature, but I live with this constant uneasy feeling that everything we have achieved as a society, and on a personal level, can be erased in the blink of an eye. Basic human rights. A level of cultivation as a society that takes responsibility for the less fortunate. An openness for personal differences of opinion, race, gender, sexuality, religious beliefs, capabilities. The level of basic comfort that seem to be a given these days: adequate healthcare, education, a fair justice system, … That all of that could be taken away or all that we’ve achieved could be overturned, by forces or chains of events that I have absolutely no control over.
Third, I fear that I might wake up one day and realize that all the opportunities and potential I once had are gone forever, and that I did not take advantage of them because I failed to spot them, or because I didn’t have the courage to act upon them or because I was to busy watching TV.
Do you love yourself? Why/Why not?
I find that a very difficult question to answer these days. Because I feel that I have lost myself to some extent. I don’t always recognize the person I’ve become. I love my authentic self, the person at the core of my existence. She’s definitely still there, and I would have her as a friend. But I dislike other things: the fact that I can snap and be moody at the expense of those around me. The fact that I am pretty weak and fail to commit to things that I know would significantly improve my life. The fact that I never stick to things for very long. The fact that I let certain social circles intimidate me, like the local/wealthy elite. Despite having grown up in it. I think that I love myself in pretty much every context, but within the latter, I turn into a socially awkward, self-conscious twerp that I find very difficult to love.
Is there anything you are running away from?
Not sure. If it wasn’t for Jo, I’d be running away from Latem and everything that it stands for. But I’m not sure that’s a bad thing. Maybe I’m running away from risk, from situations that would require me to swim or sink, professionally. Like, doing what I really want to be doing, but running for safe financial cover? Does that count?
Is there something you are still holding on to? Is it time to let it go?
If anything, it’s probably feelings and emotions associated to having been dumped twice in long-term relationships. I don’t think I’m holding on to that, but they rear their ugly head at my lowest of times. I’m holding on to some grudge against my dad for leaving my mum. Which I should probably completely let go of, although it is nowhere near as big as it used to be. Things I hold onto have been fading over time. I should let go of the merits of life I lead during my Msc and PhD years, which were socially active, physically active, outdoorsy and healthy, and in which I wrote for a larger audience, in which I actively engaged in debates, social issues and politics. It’s like I use those years as some sort of testimony of who I really am, while it’s been 10 years and I’ve not lived like that since. It’s time to let go of that as an excuse. If I feel that that is who I am, then I should simply live my life like that now.
Are you settling for less than you are worth? Why?
Don’t think so.
What are you busy with today? Will this matter 1 year from now?
Professionally: Serious Games and behavior change. This will probably not matter greatly in the big scheme of things.
Personally: I’m learning more about the Microbiome, Healthcare, Existentialism etc, which will stay of importance.
Are you putting any parts of your life on hold?
Many. I tell myself there’s just not enough time to do it all, but that’s probably a lame excuse. It’s the same things as mentioned in earlier questions: physical activity, travel, social contact, healthy living, ….
What is your inner dialogue like? The story you tell yourself?
The story I tell myself is that I probably inherited many of the things I have an aversion of in my ancestors. I tell myself that I am less than the full me and that I currently lack the skills to really get back there. I tell myself that other parents will consider us weird, inferior, awkward and not on a par with them, and that I am therefore setting our son up for less than he is worth. I also tell myself that I am a drama queen, and all of the above is bullshit, to toughen up. I also tell myself that I am smarter and more switched on than everyone else around me, that they will therefore fail to see or understand the things that matter, but also that I am destined to succeed in anything I put effort into. At the same time, I tell myself that I am pretentious arrogant twat for even thinking that. A little bit schizo really.
What limiting beliefs do you hold onto? What empowering beliefs can you take on instead?
I believe that it takes money to make money. I believe that money corrupts and draws away from an authentic life.
What opportunities are you looking for? How can you create them?
I truth, I am looking for a financial break, where we don’t have to worry about money, and where I can do only the professional activities that I really want to work on, invest in a business, and expand without having to lie awake at night about having to pay off debts of the investment. And where I can just organize my life so that there is time for travel, physical activity, reading and focused time as a family. I’m not sure I can create those.
What bad habits do you want to break? What good habits do you want to cultivate
I want to stop moaning and nagging. I want to be more mindful of what I eat and how healthily I live and act accordingly. I want to stop fleeing into this overwhelming need to “plan”, make to do lists, organise and control everything, but learn to live in the moment and letting things go.