The fluid nature of habits


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!




The way of the wind


Have you ever looked at grass in the wind? And I mean really looked at it? Because if you have, you would have seen the way the wind blows. How certain air streams twist and bend. The wind is not one entity, it doesn’t all come from the same direction with one single airflow. It’s an multiple being consisting of many separate airflows, bending, twisting and turning. All caused by obstacles, some nearby, some miles away.

I love how the grass, the leaves on the trees or trash floating about, can all make the invisible visible; suddenly it’s very clear how the wind turns and twists, which path each individual air flow takes and where it joins up with others.

I could literally sit on a hill for hours, just gazing at the way the wind blows through the grass. This majestic thing that is so powerful yet only visible through other matter fascinates me.

It all started out as a mild curiosity in a junkyard

We all(or at least most of us) know TED(Ideas worth spreading). I usually stumble across one or two interesting TED video every few weeks. Recently I came across some TEDed (Lessons worth sharing) videos named “What’s invisible?” and “Questions no one knows the answer to” . They both contain questions I myself have been wondering about as long as I can remember. TEDed is definitely worth checking out if you’ve only been familiar with TED.  Obviously there are a lot more videos just as interesting and intriguing as the ones I mention here!

One of the reasons that I love TED video’s is that they always make you think. I have never watched a TED video and afterwards just moved on with my life without sparing it a second thought. I like thinking, and I like discovering new ideas or looking at familiar things and suddenly see it in a new light.

The part about the universe(s) are intriguing in particular. Sometimes I think about this so long that it gives me a headache. I don’t have a problem believing that the universe is expanding, that there might be tons of other universes with different laws of physics OR that there are numerous parallel universes.  But what is really difficult for me to grasp is “Where does it all go into?”. Let’s focus on our universe for now. If it is constantly expanding, it has to expand into something, some kind of space area. If it continues infinite it might be spiralling around. But let’s say our universe is an ever expanding ball. But then this ball should be somewhere. How can anything ever be no where? How can it ever be just the universe, how can there ever be nothing outside of it. (Is there even a thing as nothing? Some people claim that Nothing is Dark matter. but then it’s not nothing any more, it’s something) And even with the other universes(parallel or not), they all have to fit in somewhere. Is there really nothing that holds them together? Or is our universe ball in a big bowl(of Dark matter?) filled with universe balls? But then where is that bowl?(And is that expanding too? Or are there also universes compressing?)and if there an end or beginning to Dark Matter. Are there any borders? Either way, it has to be somewhere, and that somewhere has to be somewhere. It’s an never ending question.  (and also one I will probably never know the answer of). However, not knowing this answer will never stop me from wondering. Quite the contrary, not knowing will only make me wonder more.

What is your opinion about these subjects? Any questions you’ve always been asking yourself but never get the answer to? I’m very curious to hear your comments!


A snapshot of Riga, Part 3(Final)

Here it is, the last of my posts about Riga(for now). Here’s an overview of the different places I mentioned(plus the ones I will mention today) Todays post includes a bookshop, a free tour, and something that boggles my mind.

Roberts books
To all the book lovers, especially those who like reading in English, Roberts books is the place to go. A short fifteen minute walk away from the old town on Dzirnavu Street 51, in a small alley, this second hand bookshop is quite easy to miss. The outside of the shop is nicely decorated, and once you’re inside two rooms filled with English books are there to greet you. Surprisingly, it is about as big and as well stocked as any second hand bookshop in a native English country. The soft music, nice interior and yellow lightening make it easy to immediately feel content and just curl up on one of the comfy chairs with your newest discovery.

Yellow suitcase free tour
If you’ve been to Tallinn you might have heard of the yellow suitcase tours before. The ones in Riga claim that they were first, but who knows! Either way, this free tour is run by young locals and gives you a completely different take on the city. Instead of just showing you what every tourist knows they share interesting stories about parts of the city that might otherwise be easily overlooked. The tour starts every day at 12 in front of the St. Peterschurch and lasts for about two and a half hours.

Something that you’d walk past easily (and that I’m still breaking my mind over)
In the park surrounding the city canal, opposite of the National Opera, there is a flower bed(when I was there it was without flowers). Now this might not strike you as odd, and I would’ve walked past as well, it if it hadn’t been pointed out to me during the Yellow Suitcase tour. The flower bed is ringed by flat stones, in a perfect circle and in the middle of the dirt in this flower bed, is a flat round stone. “Stand in the middle and just say something” is what we got told. Surely enough, when others did it nothing really happened, aside from the surprise you would see registered on their face after speaking their first word. Soon I found out myself, the flower bed plays a weird acoustic trick, making it sound like you aren’t standing outside in the open air, but in a small glass dome placed on top of the flower bed. It only seemed to work if you were standing on the flat stone in the middle, but outside the flowerbed your voice would be heard normal without any acoustic effect (Standing with two worked as well, only when we were with 4 and not talking towards the outside of the circle, would the acoustics be less – The geek in me obviously immediately thought about other dimensions, force fields and all that Doctor Who induced stuff.)
Ofcourse I have my own logical thoughts about how this could work(My mind doesn’t just go “Aliens”), but I’m very interested to hear your opinion about how you think this works!! If you know excactly how it works, even better!