Time is fleeting.

Time is fleeting. A general knowledge. It should be a general knowledge. Yet how easily we forget. How easily I forget. There is always this bright tomorrow, right? This sunny tomorrow filled with new opportunities, filled with what seems an eternity of time. If I can’t do it now, I can always do it tomorrow.

Caught up in the now, in this very moment, I can’t grasp this mortality of mine. I forget that one day I too shall grow old and die. I am not immortal. I don’t have time on my side. Time is fleeting, as it always does. Time is neutral. It doesn’t care about me or anyone else for that matter. Its only job is to keep on ticking. Tic Toc Tic Toc.

Days go by in front of my eyes. Days turn into weeks and weeks into months. Before I know years have gone by without my knowledge. Years gone by – unaware. Yet it doesn’t seem that long ago. Yet again it seems eternities ago. So many things have happened – both good and bad. Opportunities grabbed – opportunities lost. Yet why is it mostly the lost ones that haunt me now? Why do the things I could have achieved but did not haunt me now? Why am I time-aware all of a sudden? Time is fleeting. And yet at important moments I forget the clock ticking. Yet time keeps on fleeting.

Growing old. Growing older. A child no longer.
It’s time to remember.
Life is no dress rehearsal.
And one day – I too shall fall.



Reasons why to study now and not later (or tomorrow)

In a very Game of Thrones manner: “Winter is here.” Besides Christmas and New Year, the coming of winter also signifies exams for a Belgian university student. Yes, we have a 3 weeks break. But no, it is not a holiday unlike the calendar proclaims it to be. It is more of a “study-holiday”. Can we say “stuliday”?  

It is three weeks of studying to pass the exams. Three weeks to be on your guard for all the distractions, which by the way have thousandfold-ed since the “holiday” started. I think a lots of students can relate to this problem. The moment you realize you actually don’t have time, your brain suddenly finds ten thousand things it wants to do.
(Re)Watching movies. Reading. Watching YouTube videos. Day dreaming. You name it.

So, I am in my first week of studying and I already squandered my two precious first days on the above mentioned itinerary. And than realization hit me. In order to have a long, relaxed 3 months long summer holiday, I need to pass all my exams. And to pass, I need to work hard. Luck has been with me in the past, but I can’t solely depend on it.  So only thing left to do: STUDY. WORK HARD. 

 I have been working well the past few days. But today lack of concentration hit me. And I had also forgotten my purpose and lacked vision. I had forgotten why I was studying hard the past few days. Then as a typical person might do, I googled “motivation for studying”. A thing I somehow frequently tend to do. Funny enough.. cause by now I’m sure I am a pro in do’s and don’ts while studying. Yet I hope or anticipate to find a new magic formula that will miraculously help me concentrate better.  And I ran into this tip to write down your: 

© https://www.goconqr.com/en/examtime/blog/study-motivation-tips/

And that’s what I did. A few days ago I made my list of “Reasons why to study now and not later“. Maybe that was the reason for my good concentration in the past few days. And here I was today lacking focus and purpose. So, I decided to make a new list. It obviously still contains the same items but writing it down once again helped me revisualize my WHY, my REASONS. This time my list was more structured as well. These are a few examples…  

1) Pass all exams

2) Long summer holiday filled with new opportunities & adventures

3) Exchange program next year!! Pass all exams= destination confirmation in July!
4) You have time now.
5) Tomorrow you will have less time!
6) Tomorrow you will regret not working today! For Sure.
7) Self – fulfilment

So, hopefully tomorrow will be a new productive day. And when I get stuck again I won’t hesitate to make another “Reasons why to study now and not later” list.
Yesterday is gone. Today is real. And tomorrow simply doesn’t exist.
So, Forget Yesterday. Work Today. Don’t think about Tomorrow. 

This is why I choose to study today and not later (or tomorrow). What about you? Wanna give it a try too?

A clean slate each day to discover your personality traits, doesn’t that sound wonderful?

© Mantova Outlet Village (photo)

As a 90’s kid I grew up watching and loving As Told by Ginger. Obviously at that age you don’t think things through and it was nothing but a fun cartoon with cool storyline. Being a grown up and re-watching all the episodes brings back a lot of good childhood memories. On the other hand, it helps me love the cartoon series with more depth than I ever imagined possible. Yes, I am a grownup. YES, I still watch As Told by Ginger. It is my unicorn island.

  In a certain episode ( Stuff ‘ll kill ya, Season 3, episode 51) the main character Ginger has started high school and feels burdened with the high expectations of school teachers. While trying to step up her game and perform better, her situation is reversed, resulting in poorer performance. The same goes for her brother Carl, who has a “bad boy” reputation. While entering elementary school, Carl wants to turn the pages and become a “good boy” in his sister’s footstep. But his former principle has already gone around distributing Carl’s “File of wrongdoings.” Thus, before Carl is fully settled in the elementary school environment, he is branded as a “bad boy”. His first impression is stolen from him. All his new teachers are prejudiced. He has no clean slate.

Ginger, being a smart and sensitive girl, wonders: “I can’t help wondering if Zorsky somehow expecting the worst of me actually brought out the worst of me. And if same could be true of Carl and his behaviour over the years, is it possible for one to succeed when absolutely everyone expects you to fail? And that said, are the Foutley kids victim of the system? Or just total goofballs?

Recently I also read I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou.
“There were no favourite students. No teacher’s pets. If a student pleased her during a particular period, he could not count on special treatment in the next day’s class, and that was as true the other way around. Each day she faced us with a clean slate and acted as if ours were clean as well. Reserved and firm in her opinions, she spent no time in indulging the frivolous.” P. 231

The quotes above are the opposites of each other.

 In the first, your first impression is shadowed by your (former) reputation.
In the second, you have no reputation since each time your reputation is erased.

Each day is a new beginning without expectations. A new day to prove yourself.  To become a better version of yourself. Could this mean that reputation kills you from reaching your potential? The word “reputation” is often used with a negative connotation. While “image” is more neutral if not positive. But at the end “reputation” = “image” = “personality”. And throughout the days, months & years, our image is created. Fixed. We are such and certain person in society. People assume you to react in a certain way to things or behave in a certain way.

People expecting you to behave in a certain way, might lead you to behaving in a certain way… You are even made to play the part, to quote Taylor Swift. 
A heavy burden of expectations can be the consequence sometimes.
But where is the fun in that? Being the same dull person each day anew…
Isn’t it nicer to explore our personality traits and fully be?

Isn’t it way better to be Maya Angelou’s former teacher and wipe the slate each day. A brand-new start, not only for yourself but for each person you encounter.

No expectations.
No judgements.
Life would be so much easier.  
But then comes the question of reliability. How is “someone who is constantly changing” reliable? At a certain moment you just wouldn’t know what to expect of that person right? But that’s the point. Maybe don’t expect this or that. Maybe their change is just their growth.  

Yes, I am being an idealist. Yet here I lay wondering how to reach that state of being able to give each person his own clean state. May be by giving myself a clean state each day to “be”?

To achieve something, you need to get uncomfortable

There I was cycling up that hill in Ireland. Sweating as hell and wanting to give up. Just as I had given up multiple times yesterday and the day before.
But the words of the famous Youtuber Superwoman were drumming in my ears in a sound beat. “Get uncomfortable.” So were the words of Mary, a friend, “You really need to reach the point of feeling uncomfortable while going to the gym for it to work.”

Basically what they were both trying to say is that in order to reach the next level, you need to battle that dragon without hesitation and kill it in order to reach the next level. Even if you are sweating fear that you might get killed in a seconde. You need to get out of your comfort zone. You need to feel uncomfortable. And foremost you need to keep pushing yourself to unlock the next level. With that thought in the back of my mind I pushed myself to the top of that hill. I felt my face turn red, sweat all over the place, tears of frustration about to explode. I felt like crying and giving up.  Yet I kept yelling at myself inside my head “not to give up”. I was screaming things like “don’t be a pussy” & “keep paddling”. And I kept going. I kept paddling with all the energy I could gather without bursting into tears. And I also reached that hilltop. I reached my next level of determination. I reached my next leven of perseverance. So this is what being uncomfortable is really about. Unlocking levels. Climbing the ladder.

I felt so glad and proud of myself on that hilltop. When the next hilltop was in sight, I smiled because I felt that I could handle this too. This is do-able I thought. And I did. I rode uphill again & again & again. I believed that I was capable of riding up hills without stopping every other minute to rest and catch breath. A new comfort zone, that is were being uncomfortable got me. A brand new physical border.

This experience made me a believer of the “Get uncomfortable”-quote. In order to achieve something you need to get uncomfortable. Of course this might not be applicable to all situations, but you decide that for yourself.
Sometimes we are so happy in our bubble called “Comfort Zone” that we stop growing as a person, even when we are unhappy the way we are right now. So, I give this advice too: “Get uncomfortable”. Maybe it would even be better to say:

Get comfortable being uncomfortable.

Why kill curiosity at its birth while you can create a bridge?

How often did you wonder about something? A question that just popped up in your head… An answer you clearly didn’t know. But you wondered. And sometimes you kept on wondering. I know I do. Being a very average person, I too am prone to procrastination and furthermore to forgetting. So, in a way I had an abortion. I killed the curiosity in me at its birth. I sometimes even nipped it in the bud by giving it little to no genuine attention.

Of course sometimes you search it up and you know. But for me that’s not often the case, most of the time I simply forget. Recently I had been wondering how ballons were made and I still don’t know the answer to it. 

It’s about time I went looking for the answers to my questions. How else will I know, right? How else will I create the bridge to “the wiser me” ? 

You are the average of 5 people you spend the most time with.

I had heard this saying before. Now I have started to believe it. The past few days I have been wwoofing in Ireland with this wonderful family and I do feel inspired. 

Wwoofing is a concept of going on a farm or somewhere else where you go help out certain hours per day in exchange of free accommodation. For students like me this is a great way to travel on a low (er) budget. But not only that, wwoofing is a wonderful way to really get to know the locals, their history, daily lives, culture & tradition. And now I have come to realization that this is what travel is going to be about for me. Not only visiting nice places but really trying to get the essence of the place through interactions with the locals.

 I had wanted to wwoof for a few years now. But it had stayed “a dream”, somehow unreachable. So, one day I just took a leap of faith and booked a return ticket (Brussels – Dublin) with twee weeks inbetween. This without having found a host. Right now I am so glad I booked the flight. Having already spent around 90 euros did force me to contact as many host as I could. And wonder above wonder I found a host.  Perhaps if I hadn’t booked that flight, I might have brushed the lack of interested host off as me being late to send all those emails. And I might have said maybe next year… But when we put off things for later, how big are the chances of them getting fulfilled right? So in a way I bet my 90 euros on those plane tickets. And aren’t I glad I did. 

County Waterford, Ireland. That’s where I am. My first wwoofing experience but also my first solo travel ever. And I am learning new things everyday. About plants, bees, Irish history, gender salary gap… 

In the past few days I was in company of people who read history books, who preferred reading history of China. People who were really aware of the things that had happened or things that are happening right now in the world. Of the art around the world. The lifestyle of some other cultures. I got asked tons of questions too. About Brussels, its inhabitants and its government. And although I do know certain things, some questions I just couldn’t answer. I felt stupid in a way while at loss of words. I wondered how come  I didn’t know this or that. I felt like looking up all those unanswered questions later in the evening, so next time I would know. Not only that but all those conversation also made me curious about the Chinese history or the beehives or the Irish famine and immigration. I wanted to read. I wanted to know. While meeting people who love to read informative books and not only fiction, made me realize the importance of daily reading! With this gained knowledge in mind I do hope to open more books, more often.

So in a way: yes! You could definitely be the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. I wonder who my 5 people are. Do you know your 5 people? 

Chunks of soul left behind

Revisiting places evokes old faded memories in me. Some are bittersweet, others best left forgotten. Some I had totally forgotten about only to realize that they aren’t forgotten at all. May be we just tend to put some memories in a box until we reopen it one day.

No matter what, memories they remain. A present that might still exist somewhere in some dimension. But long gone and ungraspable in this reality. How things were and how they no longer are the same. 

This reality evermore points out how everything is and remains momentary. And time lapse becomes a fact. A truth. 

It makes me realize the importance of now.  And to live it to the fullest! Makes me appreciate every second, every minute. Because eventually I am merely a book and every single day of my life a page turned over. 

During my travel I left a chunk of my soul behind. But I also left a little richer with a crate full of priceless memories and lessons learned. 

So until we are reunited with those specific chunks of our souls left behind, let the adventures of our lives continue. Let’s keep shedding chunks of our souls and gaining new precious memories. Xx