Things happen. People do them. Goals are the reasons for those actions. These goals are mostly chosen by emotions. By dreams, hopes, but more often fears. Fear of the unavoidable thought that creeps up on us all once in a while, when we are not doing things that seem to make sense to us: we don’t know why things are. We hardly even know what really is happening, so we can’t even make sense of it all, however much we would try.

But do we need to make sense of it? Do we need to fear what we don’t know, or should we accept that we don’t know anything, and that not knowing makes things more interesting instead of more scary?

We can ask ourselves “what is?”, but exactly what is: we don’t know. And not knowing is all there ever will be.

How else could we be adventurers?

Brigitte kaandorp

Brigitte kaandorp (Photo credit: Roel Wijnants)

The night before last I went to see Brigitte Kaandorp, one of my favorite Dutch cabaret artists. She can relate (in practically any meaning of the word), and has a certain vision of life that I really love (or should I say: I love what I think her vision of life is). Probably my favorite song of hers is titled “Leven zonder angst“, or Live Without Fear (go there and listen). As I couldn’t really find a translation of the lyrics, here is my shot at one:

Dutch (from English (my own try)
Leven zonder angst – Brigitte Kaandorp
Ik kon maar niet slapen
Ik lag te woelen in m’n ledikant
Ik telde 100.000 witte schapen
En die bleven maar staan
En die keken me aan
En ik riep ga nou eens aan de kantIk wil leven zonder angst
Ik wil branden zonder blaren
Ik wil geld zonder te sparen
Ik wil feest zonder gedoe
Ik wil zuipen zonder kater
Een horloge zonder later
Ik wil dansen zonder moe

Ik wil regen zonder jas
Ik wil varen zonder anker
Ik wil roken zonder kanker
‘k Wil een salto zonder net
Ik wil alles weten zonder boeken
Alles vinden zonder zoeken
Ik wil slapen zonder bed

Jij zei vannacht
Joh, je bent niet goed lekker
Je woont niet zomaar gratis op Soestdijk
In het zweet uws aanschijns zult gij uw brood verdienen
En toen keek ik je aan
En toen wou ik je slaan
Want je had zo vervelend gelijk

Maar ik wil liefde zonder eind
Ik wil vrijen zonder zorgen
Van de avond tot de morgen
Ik wil mannen zonder tal
Ik wil doorgaan zonder stoppen
Ik wil binnen zonder kloppen
En een lijf zonder verval

Ik wil vreten zonder dik
Ik wil aangenaam verpozen
Zonder schillen, zonder dozen
Ik wil varkens zonder pest
‘k Wil een kind zonder te baren
En zonder praktische bezwaren
Ik wil zwemmen zonder vest

Ik wil reizen zonder doel
Ik wil zeilen zonder haven
‘k Wil een graf zonder te graven
Ik wil vissen zonder vangst
Ik wil oud zonder bederven
Ik wil dood zonder sterven
Ik wil leven
Ik wil leven
Ik wil leven zonder angst

Live Without Fear – Brigitte Kaandorp
Yesterday night
I just couldn’t sleep
Tossing and turning in my bed
I counted 100.000 white sheep
And they kept standing there
And they looked at me
And I yelled: move aside alreadyI want to live without fear
Want to burn without blisters
Want money without saving
Want a party without hassle
I want to drink without hangover
A watch without later
I want to dance without tired

I want rain without a coat
I want to sail without anchor
Want to smoke without cancer
Want a salto without net
Want to know all without books
Find everything without searching
I want to sleep without a bed

You said last night
Dude, you’re not well
You can’t live just for free at Soestdijk
In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread
And then I looked at you
And I wanted to hit you
For you were so annoyingly right

But I want love without end
Want to make out without worry
From the evening to the morning
I want men without count
I want to continue without stopping
I want to enter without knocking
And a body without decay

I want to munch without fat
I want to enjoy the park comfortably
Without litter, without traces
I want swines without fever
Want a child without birthing
and without practical objections
I want to swim without a vest

I want to travel without aim
Want to sail without a harbor
Want a grave without digging
Want to fish without catch
I want old without decaying
I want dead without dying
I want to live
I want to live
I want to live without fear

I apologize for the strange translation. Some plays on words only work in Dutch, I guess, because they are also strongly connected to cultural phenomena or (then) recent events. Also, trying to keep the translated lyrics in the original shape, I couldn’t always think of a proper word or synonym, so I might have used a weaker or not-quite-the-same translation. I tried to link to explanatory sites wherever one of the above was applicable.

What I like most about hearing these lyrics, is the comparison between inherent effects of causes (most of which are some kind of undesired side-effects), and the implied effect of fear caused by living. Plainly said: you can’t have one without the other, however much you might wish for that.

On another level, almost every side-effect is something you might worry about when (thinking about) doing the action that might cause it. And worrying is the main cause of fear. Whenever you feel fear, chances are that you just thought about what might happen. So in that case, the solution to living without fear would be: living without worrying. The side-effects are inevitable, so there’s nothing to be done about them. But, you still have the choice: you can also choose not to live at all (i.e. just sit and wait until it’s over).

Do you live?

I’m so glad that my last name is a common word in many languages, and my first name isn’t very uncommon either. I’ve been thinking about privacy and sharing personal information lately (as you may know), and once in a while it scares me again how easily you can find information about almost anyone on the internet. You can almost get any information from a social network account, and those are very easy to find if you can remember someones name (or better yet: read it from a name tag (yes, I’m talking to you out there, working in a store or sitting behind a reception desk!)), and have a general idea of where they live or work.


Stalkers (Photo credit: daniellehelm)

And of course, the internet is also meant to share. Share the things you did, the things you like, the things you made. Plan meetings, a night at the club, a vacation, or an online gathering… And for those purposes, it’s very convenient that you can easily find someone you want to share with. But you probably don’t want those things to be public.

That’s one of the reasons that I have closed my Facebook profile (their privacy policy tends to change a lot, and I read that they keep more information about you than you would think), and generally keep a low profile on the internet. But still… I am on the internet, so anyone with a bit of persistence can find me.

Are there alternatives? Well, luckily I’m not the only one contemplating this. I like the upcoming new social networks like Diaspora (or D*), who let you very easily control what you share, and with whom. On the other hand, people don’t use things like encryption very much, and that may well be because it’s not yet that easy.

In the meantime, all we can do is lock up our personal stuff, or don’t post anything personal on the web. Or, we can of course trust anyone who may just know enough about us to find us online.

Umarme einen introvertierten Menschen heute, so geht’s! | Kotzendes Einhorn.

(Translated: Hug an introvert today, this is how!) The picture there is in English.

I recognize myself as an introvert, and the picture is quite accurate!

Meanwhile, this might be nice music to listen to.


Explorer (Photo credit: waferbaby)

So today I went to the kittens once again, and they are really used to me now. Not yet coming to the door on the sound of the key entering the lock, but no longer running away, and greeting me with purring and nudging my leg for attention. They grew bolder, and that makes taking care of them more pleasant.

The only thing that I didn’t really like, was the fact that they had managed to climb on the windowsill and throw over a plant. The dirt was all behind some drawer-chests and on top (and some inside) a PlayStation. It took a bit of cleaning-up, but I could hardly blame them. Well, just a bit, but I guess that long days in a quiet house are not their primary idea of fun.

While cleaning, I thought of the ways in which we grow to be more adventurous, and also make some mistakes. I know I’ve pushed the metaphorical pot off the windowsill, and I think we shouldn’t be afraid to do so. It happens. Let’s not sit and bemoan it, but clean it up (if possible) and go on adventuring.

For instance, last week I heard that the management of a company decided that some people would be let go. The people whom it concerned would be notified in a week time. Of course, that caused quite a bit of uncertainty with regards to the future. One could ask: will I be one of those? If so, what would I do? Where would I go?

But instead of being afraid and letting yourself be petrified because of that, you could also opt to see both possibilities as an opportunity to learn something new. Anyone might make some mistakes, run into walls and even lose some things that they love. But in the end, you will have lived your life as an adventurer, and it will be filled with life! Just thinking that everything will go wrong, will not make any of that better. Enjoying the strawberries that hang around, all the more.



Weather.. (Photo credit: Tim Patterson)

Ein Liebeslied (Yes, another German song)

It’s so easy to tell someone to stop wallowing in self-pity. Why would we do that? Because we like to see people when they’re happy, and wallowing makes us feel as helpless as them. It’s harder to tell yourself to stop, though. And why should you?

Nothing is wrong with feeling bad about something you think is wrong or missing. Emotions are like the weather: we can’t help but get wet when it rains. Don’t fight the weather, that’s quite useless. Also, have you ever seen a hippo wallowing in the mud? It might look like it’s getting dirty, but actually, the mud helps him get clean and healthy skin.

On the other hand: we might as well enjoy the weather. Have you ever seen people sing and dance in the rain? We might “enjoy” our sadness by seeing it as a confirmation that what we have lost was real. That we are human after all. That it clears the way for new situations to come. “Negative” emotions help us learn something about who we can also be. And about what we want, what we dream of, and why reality is different from what we expected. We learn to live with our expectations, and change then if we want to. They may even help us plan for future situations, clear our minds from false assumptions about what we had, and open our eyes for possibilities that we didn’t really see before.

Enjoy the rain, wallow if you want to, and know that all weather is temporary. You are who you are, whatever the weather. And you have every right to be here!

Another song about rain