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Getting back to my (green) roots

IMG_0465So here I am, almost 7 months since my last post. It’s been a bit of a rough spell these last few months. But spring is here once again and that alone is enough to make me feel better. This year however, spring did not only bring flowers, sunshine and vitamin D. It also gave me perspective.

A couple of weeks before my birthday(always a good time to start over or contemplate your future) I felt so incredibly stuck. Frustrated and stuck. Stuck at work, stuck with myself, stuck with finding a new job. And frustrated at the world. Frustrated because I want to change this world. Help it become a better more humane place. One in balance with nature. The problem was that I had no idea how. No matter how I tossed or turned I could not come up with a plan to ‘fix’ the world into becoming a sustainable one. There was so much I wanted to do. Help reduce plastic, built forests, stop animal cruelty, help humanity see that we need all the different species of animals and creatures on this planet. That we should care for them instead of exploiting them. But you know as well as I do that there’s no single cure. So I tossed and turned, frustrated at my helplessness and unable to find how I want to contribute to a better planet. So, before you get your hopes up, no I didn’t magically find the way to a better future. But I gave up, in a way, of trying to fix it right now. If I didn’t know how I wanted to do it, I couldn’t do anything. I had thought about it over and over again but I just couldn’t find a way that I’d be able to follow right away(or in the near future). So instead of forcing myself to keep thinking and hitting that brick wall I let go.

I let go and the moment I did I realised that even though I couldn’t do anything big this instant, but I could start small(I already knew a small change can have a big impact since I’ve been a vegetarian for almost 10 years but somehow forgot). So I vowed to cut down plastic use, and become more aware of where I put my money(we vote with our money, so might aswell do some research and ‘vote’ for the type of companies I’d want to support). I had already vowed to use up the tea bags we had left and only buy loose tea in the future, started experimenting with different oils(in glass bottles) to try and stop using moisturizer from plastic containers, bought a Mooncup after reading a positive review on Ikbenirisniet(which I haven’t had the chance to try yet) and become more aware of what I bought that came in/with plastic overall. Flashforward to my birthday, where I got a two small greenhouses which then caused me to create a square meter vegetable garden on our balcony and, suddenly, trying to produce at least a part of our own vegetables was on the list too.

After my birthday in March I went on a yoga & meditation silence retreat (Human Awakening, who were absolutely amazing and I definitely want to come back next year but I’ll save that for another time!) which allowed me to create more space and quiet in my head too. In the meanwhile I also started as some sort of intern/starter at the IVN (Institute for Nature Education and Sustainability). Which seriously, is my cup of tea. An organisation solely focused on bringing people in contact with nature and educating them, with loads of different projects focused both at children, adults and the elderly. This is the type of company I had been looking for all along. This change in work really helped improve my overall feeling too. Even though I’m not directly responsible for the projects they do, I help with them, and in turn do atleast something remotely helpful to our natural world.

So here I am now. 3 weeks into my new job and so happy with the progress I’m making. Even though the steps are small, and some take time (such as stopping to use teabags(I had a LOT of teabags) atleast I’m doing something. I also absolutely adore how my new job allows me to dive into projects related to nature and engagement. It’s a lot of reading, but I get to learn a lot and read a lot. I’m so happy to be able to use my brain again haha!

I’m hoping to pick up on writing again, but I won’t be too hard on myself. Either way, I’m already excited at the thought of keeping you guys up to date about all of this!

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The fluid nature of habits

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Two months ago me and Imke we’re on our way back to the Netherlands. Goodbye Ireland and welcome back life as we know it. The last two months have been very hectic, after an amazing last road trip through Ireland we were suddenly thrown back into our life back home, temporarily living at Imke’s parents’ place while working on our side job and trying to get our apartment in a state suitable for moving in. It was like having two full-time jobs. Whenever we weren’t at work, we were at the apartment, doing shopping for the apartment or taking care of preparations. Alas, a little bit less than a month ago we finally moved in; and spent most of the week afterwards unpacking, sorting, selecting and doing the necessary throwing away. Now we’ve pretty much finished up, only a few things to be sorted out and 2 lamps to be hung up, neither can be done before we get the cabinet from Imke’s aunt.

So here I am, back in the Netherlands, finally getting settled down again, but I miss my old habits. I noticed over the past 5 years that moving, and specifically living abroad temporarily, really messes with your habits(As well as relationships tbh). I used to regularly do yoga and meditate before Imke and I got together. Way before I left for Finland I was eating super healthy, I used to hang out with friends a lot more than I do now, or did after I came back from my year abroad. Each new environment gives you new habits. Every Thursday sauna(often with Hanna-marie) in Finland, reading a book a week in London, going into the park in evenings to play Frisbee in Ireland etc. Every new surrounding gave me new habits, but it also reset my old ones. In Ireland my social circle didn’t extend much further than 2 or 3 people, and a couple of friends that came to visit. And I noticed coming back here that I lost my habit of keeping in touch with friends. All in all I miss some of those things that I used to have a habit of doing. Be it writing, yoga, playing the piano or hanging out with friends.

There are certain habits that I want to get back, and a couple of new ones that I’d like to add to my schedule. The last few weeks there were so many evenings I spent aimlessly watching tv shows that I didn’t even care about. I’d rather spent my time doing things I actually.

According to popular science it takes a minimum of 21 days to form a habit. In “Making Habits, Breaking Habits: Why We Do Things, Why We Don’t, and How to Make Any Change Stick”Jeremy Dean researches how long we actually need to form a habit: an average of 66 days though it depends on how difficult the habit is to form.

So here’s the challenge: One habit a month.

Each month I will start with a new habit. Which will then continue after the month has passed of course. I don’t know yet for how long I will keep adding a new habit(it’s a limited process of course, I can’t keep adding without taking time off!) But for now I will focus on these last 3 months of 2016. My aim is to create a new rhythm in my life without forcing it too much. After all, I’m just getting settled in our apartment and trying to get my life in the Netherlands back on track, so what better time than now to start new habits?! There are too many things in life that I want to do and learn!

This first month will be focused on getting my yoga habit back! I absolutely enjoyed having a short yoga session each morning but I’m not good at doing it when someone is in the room with me. Now we finally have the space that I can actually go to a different room! So here’s to the new habit of a 15-min morning yoga practise!

I’ll keep you guys posted!

 

 

Having second thoughts about your choice in a degree or university? Here’s some advice.

©Helewidis @deviantart.com

A while ago I was talking with a fellow student who wasn’t quite sure about her studies any more. Did she really want to continue here or was she in the wrong university after all? This made me think back on my own life.  After highschool I did a college degree of 4 years in Multi media design, already in my second year I noticed that  this was not something I would want to do for a living. I enjoyed designing and everything around it, I just didn’t enjoy it when I was forced to do it for someone else. I did continue and graduated in order to be able to go to University. My university choice was something different, Environmental science. But in the first semester I realised that the courses were not at all like I had imagined, I quickly dropped out after that. Suddenly I had no other options, nothing else I knew of that I wanted to study. I travelled for a couple of months and then it hit me, I wanted to go into the field of Leisure& Tourism management however, after having chosen the wrong study twice I was very doubtful of my own mind and scared that I would make a mistake again. But now I know, I finally made the right decision. Not because my university is good, or the courses are interesting, but because I now know what I want to learn and what I want to do with it after graduation. Because to be honest, my university isn’t always that good, and the courses sometimes are really boring. But I can now find the motivation to deal with it and keep my motivation high because I know where I’m going.

But how do you find a course that fits to your needs??

©tabascoterrier @deviantart.com

  1. It’s important that you know what you want. I’ve met a lot of people who are studying just to be studying. Ofcourse you will have trouble with motivation then, if you don’t know where you want to go you’re less likely to take steps forward.

  2. There is no such a thing as a perfect university or perfect degree.  I realized that many students do not fully grasp this concept. They believe their university should be perfectly aligned to what they want to do later on in life. But here’s a fact: There are too many different people with different wishes in similar fields as you are in. There never was and there will never be a degree or university that directly connects to your wishes and needs alone.

  3. You are in charge of your own learning process.  Once you accepted that your degree course will not supply you with everything you want to learn, it’s important to become pro-active. My university never taught anything about theatre productions, so I joined a theatre group and produced a play for it. I know for sure that I learned  about 90% more about theatre productions through this experience than if my university had given me a theatre production course. Being pro-active is so important, I can’t press it enough. If you’re following a tourism course and you’d like to be involved in eco-tourism but you feel your university doesn’t give you enough courses about that, don’t just sit around! Go to the library, find books online, follow eco tourism blogs, go eco volunteering, find courses outside of your own university that might cover it! You will learn so much more if you do it by yourself! And you know what is a bonus? You will be creating unique knowledge! If there are 50 students from your university applying for the same job, all with the same degree and skills, those who took developed knowledge outside of university are more likely to stand out positively!

  4. Don’t be ashamed or afraid of doing more degrees. When I graduated in Design, I thought I would never use the skills again, aside from personal use. How wrong I was! Studying management  I realized what a blessing it is! How many newly graduated managers are specialized in design as well? By having two completely different degrees I suddenly created my unique selling point(which also really helped me in getting the internship I wanted). If there is any advice I would give you it’s: Go on, get a degree in something you’re interested in, and then get another degree is something that you also like but is something totally different! You’re young, you still have time!

In the end, the choice is yours. What really helped me as well was trying to imagine with which choice I would be happier in the future. Ask yourself “If 5 years from now, I would look back on the decision I’m about to make now, which choice do I think would make me feel more satisfied or happy (or which one am I least likely to regret?)” It’s a long shot, but sometimes it just gives you this extra push. It pushed me to go to New Zealand and quit the degree I didn’t enjoy, back then I asked myself this question and New Zealand was the answer. Looking back on it, I could’ve never have made a better choice. What will make you happy.

Any thoughts or tips are very welcome. If you have a question or are stuck with your decision, don’t hesitate to ask me 🙂