I don’t know how many of you know the “Never-ending Story” by Michael Ende. The original (“Die Unendliche Geschichte”) is considered a classic German children’s novel, one I really loved reading when I was young. I recently rediscovered it reading it to my oldest one as bedtime story. Most of the story takes place in “Phantasia”, the land of stories. Beside the gripping story there is a lot of food for thought hidden inside, most of it probably going unnoticed by the younger readers.

One of the strange places in Phantasia is the “temple of 1000 doors”, a sort of maze consisting of an endless array of rooms with doors leading to more rooms with doors. Every door in Phantasia can temporarily be an entrance to the temple, any of the doors inside could lead outside again – if you open it for the right reason. The trick is that – once inside – you can only escape it by finding a wish, coming right from your heart. You need to choose the doors that by their shape, colour or material remind you of your wish. If you choose rightly, after a couple of doors you are outside, in a place that will bring you closer to your wish. If you cannot find a true wish, or do not manage to choose the right doors, you will wander the maze forever.

How often are we stuck inside this maze without even realising it? That was the question that floated in my mind yesterday late in the evening. How many of our daily choices lead nowhere, only to more choices? And how many of them come from a true wish?

And how many of the choices we take lightly turn out to be big ones when looking back? Things we discarded with a quick shaking of the head, could they have changed our lives? For the better or the worse?

And what about my choices? Do I regret any of them? (The big ones, not the ones about which pizza to choose for dinner.)

I don’t really know the answer to the first two questions. But strangely enough, when pondering about the third one, the answer was no. As far as I can say today, the big choices where good ones (apart from some not so great pizzas). There is no point in my life that I look back to and say “I should have (not) done this”. Of course I did things I am not so proud of now, and I would do a lot of things differently today, act more kindly or more brave. But looking at the crossroads of my life so far, I am happy that I took the turns I did.

Which probably means I am happy with the life I am living.

Which I am.

(And no, it probably is no coincidence that these thoughts came up at the end of the year… It is a (bad?) habit to reflect on your life in December.

By the way: Happy New Year, when it comes!)




Autumn Thoughts

Last weekend, autumn showed itself from its best side in the Netherlands. Many people see it as a sort of hobby to complain about Dutch weather, but last Saturday I think even the most dedicated critics were silent. The sun was shining in a clear blue sky, there as almost no wind, the temperature was mild. I went for a walk in the park and was surrounded by colour.

Leaves everywhere, a lot still on the trees, but also masses of them covering the ground like a carpet. Yellow ones, some with green bits, some with red, orange ones, dark caramel ones, fiery red ones. I started picking some up, feeling like a child again.

As so very often when I am walking on my own, my thoughts started to fan out. I thought about the seasons, how good it was to experience different ones. I love spring, I adore summer, but constant summer, no. There is much to be said about autumn and winter too. And what about the seasons of a person’s life? Isn’t it good to have them too? I certainly would not like to be stuck in a constant spring. Being a teenager forever? Not thank you. Summer is great, but what about autumn and winter?

So what age rage would I assign to the seasons? 20 years a season would make calculating really easy, but that would mean summer would end with 40 and winter would start with 60, which does not feel right. (Might also be influenced by the fact that with this range, I would have entered “autumn” last year, and I am not so sure about that yet…) So, what about spring until 25, summer until 50, autumn until 75 and winter from there on? Feels about right. That way, not only I can assign myself a couple of more years of summer 😉 but also my parents-in-law would still be in autumn, which does seem to be the case, active as they are. My mum would be in winter, and I guess that is correct too.

So, what is the point of all this? I am not sure there is.

Does one always have to have a point? Maybe not. This blog being what it is – a home for my random thoughts, a place for them to settle down instead of humming around in my head – I can just leave it like this.

But maybe, if there is a point, it might be this: Walking through this park, enjoying the beauty of autumn, I felt not only good about the seasons in the outside world, but also about the seasons in me. Even if I still place myself in summer, just to be sure. 😉

Why is it so hard to stop procrastinating?

Just a short question here today: Why oh why is it so hard to stop procrastinating???

I watched one of those TED talks the other day, where a guy encouraged everyone to ask himself the question “What is it you cannot not do?” – meaning what is it you feel drawn to so powerfully that you cannot imagine not doing it? Apart from caring for my loved ones, the answer for me is clearly “writing” (and reading).

But if that is true, why do I then not just sit down and do it? Why do I tell myself that the washing needs folding instead?

Answers, anyone?

(I will check later if anyone came up with a good one – now you have to excuse me, I need to go and fold the washing…)