Celebrate your Wins

Why do so many people take so much time to worry about the future, yet spend a minimal amount of time to take a breath, look back and see how far they’ve come? Asking for a friend…

Continue reading Celebrate your Wins

Twists and Turns

This post won’t further increase any panic you might be experiencing, promise.

No doubt, 2020 so far has not exactly been what we had hoped for. This virus is another setback. It’s weird how life can change in such a short period of time, how suddenly you no longer feel in control. Many people are suffering and many are fighting- it’s easy to lose sight of anything positive in these times. But not all is bad, not all is lost.

Many of us have been looking forward to a break. Because life can be exhausting. It’s demanding. Sometimes it’s annoying. For many, the everyday life has become so stressful that all they can do is look forward to quitting time, to the weekend, to the holidays. And it can feel like you don’t have time to breathe, as though your air supply was limited.

This is a situation in which our lives are restrained. We’re forced to cut back in some aspects. But in the right light, this is also a chance. This is your chance to take a breath. Take one, take another.  Take as many as you need. Then take some more. You don’t know when you’ll have the chance to take in as much air again. It is also a chance to find back to something many have given up due to everyday business. A chance to resume old hobbies you gave up because time was lacking. To begin new hobbies you’ve been thinking about forever. To read books you’ve been piling up. To watch movies and series that have been on your list forever. To learn how to cook. To reestablish relationships with people you lost contact with, but never stopped loving (of course, via messaging platforms for now). To realize that being part of a community means more than benefitting from rights. A chance to find back to yourself. Take it.

BUT if you’re going to spend the next two weeks(+) scrolling down social media, just lying in bed or on your couch, panic will kick in at some point. Of course media is going to fuel this topic as much as they can. Media wants panic. Because panic means reactions. Reactions mean interaction. Interaction means clicks and clicks mean money. Even in times of global concerns and insecurity, money owns people, that’s reality. It’s your job to avoid being pulled in.

If you’re like me, this is the first time in your life where you don’t exert control about what to do with your time. It’s challenging but I think there’s a lot to learn from this situation. The first lesson I learnt? There are many more unteachable and obstinate people than expected. The second thing is that you’re allowed to change your opinion. A week ago I was laughing about this virus- now I don’t. Many people have said it before: don’t panic, but don’t underestimate the situation. We all are part of this society. As a member of this community you have rights, which you are free to exert. You do however have obligations as well. If you think that this problem does not concern you, because you’re young and probably won’t be affected by this virus, you’re no better than all the boomers who do not care about climate change and who you have been (rightly) bashing in the last months and years. Just because it does not directly have an impact on your life, does not mean you get to ignore the problem. This is a time in which all of us have to assume responsibility.

Even if you do not care so much about the risk groups- think about all the people who in these times are the pillars on whom life as we know it depends. Doctors, nurses, paramedics, scientists etc. etc. They need our help and it’s not too much to ask.

Let’s build a world in which we can count on one another. This is not an easy situation for many of us. Still, I sincerely hope you see the silver lining in all of this.

Invent yourself (now more than ever!!!)

CK

Die Corona Lehre

Quarantänehäuser spriessen,
Ärzte, Betten überall
Forscher forschen, Gelder fliessen-
Politik mit Überschall.
Also hat sie klargestellt:
Wenn sie will, dann kann die Welt.

Also will sie nicht beenden
Das Krepieren in den Kriegen,
Das Verrecken vor den Stränden
Und dass Kinder schreiend liegen
In den Zelten, zitternd, nass.
Also will sie. Alles das.

-Thomas Gsella

audentes fortuna iuvat

The reasons that keep me from writing, from creating anything that might or might not be of artistic worth are numerous, or so I keep telling myself. Keeping up with university work, Sports, Netflix, meeting friends to have 27 drinks too many, the thereof resulting hangovers, the endless and mindless scrolling through the same 3 apps a 100 times a day. All these things, I tell myself, are the reasons that delay my writing. But honestly, I know that they are not the true reasons, I know that I could easily find time to do what I really like to do. Here’s why I really keep myself from sitting in front of my desk, open WordPress and my notes on my phone (consisting of random small ideas and single words that no longer make any sense to me at all, but at the time of writing them down seemed to be brilliant ideas for new posts) and why I prefer to lie in bed to rewatch Friends over and over again.

I’m afraid to fail. Always have. I’ve always had the stupid idea in my head that failing at anything would put me in a dangerous place in terms of mental health. As in, I thought of myself as being unable to deal with failing. As in, I forbid myself to fail to preserve my strength. As in, me failing at anything would make a failure out of me. I grew up in an extremely fortunate environment: teachers that really cared about my grades and well-being, parents who would drop everything to help with anything school-related. I am thankful everyday and I know that the people around me tried to protect me from everything to spare me any trouble.

But every coin has two sides. While, up to now, I never had any major trouble in terms of my academic path, it prevented me from ever having to deal with failure. I never had to endure the pain of knowing that I would probably fail my year or even just a class and therefore never developed the consciousness of my own strength, of the possibility to get myself out of difficult situations. I know I have it in me, I know I’m much more resistent than I tend to think of myself and I know every single person on this planet has it in them. Some people, like me, just never have dared to look for it, because they’re afraid that they would be looking for something only to find out that it doesn’t exist.

That is why I refrain from starting new projects, because I know I will not immediately be good at it (crazy concept…) and why I refrain from starting to write. I’m aware of the possibility of failure at any time and I’m worried that I wouldn’t be able to deal with not succeeding in my endeavors, that it would hinder my development as a writer. A thought process, which from this new perspective I recently adopted, is non-sense. The only thing that can really keep me from progressing in my projects is if I do not engage with them at all. The only real obstacle any of us have to face is fear.

Life has a plan for everyone. Even when we think that we’re going in circles, that we’re going backwards or that we’ve have lost sight of the path we once took, it’s still there. What I’ve been trying to teach myself is that mistakes, wrong decisions and failures do not blur our vision of the path we’re walking. Every situation in which we accept the possibility of defeat, of failure, of hurting ourselves, is like a lens that improves our sight of the track that’s under our feet. With every risky decision that might come back at us, that might hunt us for a while, that keeps us awake at night, we start to see clearer until one day our perception of the path will be so crystal clear that we’ll wonder how we could ever doubt its existence.

Failure does not make us weak. We should always see it as a result of courage, of daring to take blind steps into the unknown. If we dare to fail, we set up success. audentes fortuna iuvat. Fortune favours the bold. Be bold enough to fail.

Invent yourself, CK

“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default. -J.K. Rowling

Plea for humanity

‘Back on the ship, away with the junk’, ‘Like grasshoppers, a deadly plague’, ‘We’ve helped enough of them’, ‘Our country will soon consist of nothing but refugees’ ‘Why build a mosque for them? Will they build a church for us?’, ‘If they want to practice their religion, they should leave our country’

Yet again, people show their true face. Hard pill to swallow, considering that these comments all came from Luxembourgish people in one of the richest countries in the world. How deeply flawed human nature is. How easy it is to manipulate it. We live in a world in which people have allowed mainstream media to blind them, paired with devices that allow people to write faster than they can think. Reading through these comments made me realize two things in particular. 1. Maybe we shouldn’t have taught all old people how to use a smartphone, it would have spared us many stupid comments. 2. Young people maybe won’t be able to change their minds, but at least the majority of people under 30 seem to feel more empathetic towards any kind of stranger (or so I hope, for they/we are the future of this world)

How do I know that I’m not the one who has been brainwashed? How do I know that I’m not being blind to see the truth; that these people do not come here solely to exploit the wealth and good-heartedness of the people in this country? I know because empathy is not something we learn by reading the paper or any social media feed, it’s something we learn as children, on the playground, a virtue we should value highly and practice daily. It isn’t my head that tells me that welcoming people from other countries in financial or political trouble is the right thing to do, it’s a natural feeling. Natural as in innate. Natural as in necessary to maintain a life in community. Natural as in I know I have the responsibility to help. I emphasize not because I have to but because it is human and humane.

Arguing that whoever agrees with the government accommodating refugees should themselves invite them to their house is as invalid, narrow-minded and one-dimensional as it gets. The problem is not with those who are welcoming people into our country without offering them a bed in their own home, it is with those that think that more people could make their life worse. That only they should profit from the richness of their country, because they have been born here. And what exactly did you contribute to being born in a rich country? YOU WERE LUCKY. It’s not a merit and it’s certainly not a free ride to being racist and trying to exclude people. We obviously cannot host a million refugees, but what we can realistically do, we have to. There are always ways, and if there are none, we, as human beings are trained to create them. The answer to problems can never be hate towards those who are both least responsible and still have to live with the consequences.

I do believe, however, that another problem is the unfortunate combination of stupidity coped with the desperate need to make yourself be heard. Whoever shouts the loudest wins? Back on the playground, are we? Comments approving the government’s choice to help those in need are the minority in most comment sections. That is, so I believe, not an indication of the majority of the inhabitants being racist, but rather a sign of intelligible people refraining from unnecessary and aimless arguments, that will end in nothing but personal offense. These comment sections, as foolish as they may appear, serve the racists. Through the likes and comments their contributions get, they feel strengthened and supported in their convictions. It makes them think that they are in the right. A sign that their opinion is not based on personal experience or research, but rather on listening to the ones that shout the loudest. Vicious circle..

‘I’m not a racist, but..’  

 Yes, you are. Any sentence following this phrase will erase any doubt about you being racist. You are. Starting your sentence this way does not allow you to make any xenophobic comment. It’s like insulting someone and then saying ‘no offense’. Discrimination of any kind is inexcusable behavior. How dare you judge over anyone but yourself, judging over other people is a merit not a single person in this world has earned or will ever earn.

I know many people are tired, tired of being ignored by the government. People with real problems, with hungry families they have to feed. People feeling neglected and made fun of because they don’t get the help they’ve been promised. And all of a sudden, people who haven’t had to pay taxes for this country for their entire lives, people who’ve come here, seemingly not adding anything to society, they get to live here for free, get to live without having to work, without even knowing the language. But hate and racism can never be an answer. It is not the refugees’ fault that they are here, they didn’t choose to flee their own countries, their homes and families. These people are in need, they rely on other people to help them. It’s not their fault that they are being helped. Ignorance of the problems of others, hoping for them to leave as soon as possible is not going to solve your problems. These aggressions against people who seek nothing but protection, who want to live a life without the constant fear of being bombed, who want to live a normal life, will not better yours.

I get it, humans are animals. Our brains are trained to protect us. What we don’t know, we fear. But this is not the Stone Age. This is 2019. Fearing and rejecting someone because we don’t know them and they might look different is no longer tolerable. The best thing that can happen to us is by being open, by learning about others, because believe it or not, we all still have a lot to learn and if you think that the life you’re living is perfect, you are closing your eyes before much greater things that could enhance your life. We are animals, but we’re also social beings.

Compassion and love can go a long way. Don’t you dare ever forget that we’re all humans. We’re all the same and if someone needs help, it’s our responsibility to help them as much as we can. And as a country which does have the financial and spatial possibilities to help, we have to.

‘First of all,” he said, “if you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view […] until you climb into his skin and walk around in it’ -Atticus (To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee)

Invent yourself, CK

Neglected Qualities

 

Many people give up on goals, on diets, on careers, on ideas and ideals. Why? They don’t allow for instant results.

A big problem we have today is that many people do no longer feel the need to learn the trait of patience. Things have to be accessible at once. If they aren’t, they are forgotten about. Sadly, most things that are instantly accessible, are not worth it. Patience and consistency however are crucial for anyone to reach something of worth. But in today’s world, we’re no longer taught to fight for what we want. We want to be rewarded for everything we do, we don’t like to wait and would rather not have something at all than having it later. We seek instant gratification. We’re growing up with the feeling that we do not have enough time and anything that doesn’t show results right away, never will. Yet the many things that are worth achieving; those goals you would be proud to have reached demand steadiness and discipline. But these are qualities you have to master on your own, no one can and no one will do it for you.

Another problem is that we seem to have adapted a mentality that prevents us from being appreciative of what we have. Rather, we’re always looking out for more, for bigger, for better. We don’t allow ourselves to just be happy with what we have. It always has to be more. No doubt, this way of living can be a way of reaching more. A way of finding out how far you can go.

But it also rules out self-appreciation, gratitude and recognition. It rules out the possibility of having a good life. Because as I see it, there is no definition of a good life that suits everyone. It is whatever you want it to be. Yet there are people who think of themselves as worthy of defining what a good life is, thereby presenting a certain image of what it is supposed to be. People, who have yet to figure out what a good life is to them, who have yet to realize that they are the only ones who are worthy of assessing their lives, will follow this path, striving for a life they do not want. And eventually, they’ll realize just how much time they wasted going through life with their eyes closed to the things that genuinely matter to them.

You can obviously live your life trying to have more and be more. Or you stop and take a breath. Think about how much you have reached, how many bad days you’ve gone through, how many true friends you’ve found, how much love you’ve felt.

Being grateful is hard for many people, but as I see it, you either learn this trait or you go through life blinded by the sparkling world of the more, the bigger, the better  and never see how much you already have. And one day you will die and you’ll not look back to all the good you have had but wish for just one more day on earth.

 

CK

2019 We Shine Bright

Lesson nr 1

You’ll trip and fall and it’ll hurt like shit. And it’ll feel like you’ve fallen into the deepest of holes. It’ll feel like you’re dying. Except you’re not.

2019, give it your all, give it all you’ve got. Be kind to one another. Set goals. Have fun. Call people when you miss them. Spend time with those who matter. Find out who and what makes you happy- rely on these things. Remind yourself that nothing is worth losing your self-respect. Remind yourself that belief is all it takes.

2019, allow feelings, allow yourself to be down. You already know suppression is the wrong way. Don’t hide in darkness, talk to people. Let yourself be helped.

2019, don’t think of yourself too much and don’t take yourself too seriously, no one likes egocentrics. Think of and help others. Be interested in what they have to say. You never learn something new when you’re talking, only when you listen. Try to understand. Judge and gossip less. Let people be. They’ll find out for themselves if they’re in the wrong.

2019, don’t look away. Intervene and react when you see something that’s wrong. Fight for what is right. Never allow yourself to accept something just because it has always been this way. Respect and tolerance are the only way. You have rights, but so do others. You don’t stand above anyone. Don’t ever feel entitled.

Don’t live in the past, it’s not coming back. New things happen and there’s a reason for that. 2019 find out what that reason is. Try to make sense of it. Try to find purpose. Wake up everyday and work towards a future that works for you, not against you. You decide where you’re going. Every decision you take shapes your path. Be conscient when you’re taking decisions, but do not turn away from risks. Risks are to life what seasoning is to cooking. Without them, both would be boring.

Trust your body, it will know what’s best for you. Eat and rest well. It’s nice to have some cash but don’t let it define you. You’re much more than your bank account. Don’t focus on what others have. Don’t judge people based on how much money they have. Spend your money as you wish. Treat yourself. Worry more about how you spend your time than your money. Money comes and goes- time just goes.

2019 can be a good year but we’ve all got work to do. We have to work on our attitudes, on our habitudes and on the way we treat one another. We shine bright not by killing the light of others but by merging theirs with ours.

Happy New Year

CK

Forgiveness

Should you forgive people who have wronged you?

I believe that, while forgiving others can be both a gesture of your own greatness and stupidity (fool me once…), more thought should be attributed to the forgiveness of yourself. We all walk down our own path of life and sooner or later you are going to take decisions that will change your life for the better or the worse. Let’s focus on these decisions that’ll turn out to be bad. You’re going to look back one day and realize that what you did was wrong.

And you’ll realize that you can’t take back words you said, nor can you undo the things you did. You don’t get to press restart. Maybe you’ve hurt somebody. And you feel regret and you’d do anything to go back to that particular day. Because it’s all you think about and you want to show that what you did was a mistake, you want to show the world and yourself that this mistake is not who you are, prove that you’re not a bad person.

But as appealing as it is, that’s not how things work. You ruin your inner peace because you won’t stop thinking about that one mistake and you start judging yourself. Because you don’t let go of the past. Because you don’t forgive yourself. Because you do not accept that you’re flawed. You do not want to accept that mistakes are part of life.

But a mistake is a mistake and it will still be a mistake in 20 years. You can spend the rest of your life looking back at that moment, accusing yourself. Or you choose to forgive yourself and let the past be in the past. Let yourself be human. Because forgiving yourself does not mean that you ignore what you did. It does not mean that you choose to delete part of your past. It merely means you’re ready to accept imperfection.

Make the mistakes work for you, let them teach you to become a better you.


“The past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it or learn from it.” -Rafiki (The Lion King)

Invent yourself, CK

When it Rains it Pours

Update: the most important thing I’ve learned from living on my own is that I do not want to live alone again. Ever.

I do not intend this to become a blog about myself, as in me writing about the random stuff that happens in my life that no one cares about anyway, I just want you to know why I’m writing what I’m writing.

I dropped out of university 2 weeks ago for multiple reasons, the main one being that I felt like my mind was going crazy. Now I’m back in Luxembourg, constantly wondering if I overreacted and if I should have given it more thought, maybe after some time I would have liked it. I’ll never know.

But here’s what I want to say and what I believe.

There is literally nothing on this earth that matters more than your mental health. Nothing. No money, no friends. No school or workplace.

If you suffer, and think that you won’t ever be able to sleep again because your mind won’t stop producing the weirdest stuff, you’ve got to do something.

When I came back last week, I was lucky enough to talk to a friend who had dropped out a few weeks before me. When I found out that he was having the same thoughts, the same feeling of panic, the same uncertainty, I felt much better because it showed me that I wasn’t alone.

My point is that first of all, you are allowed to feel bad and depressed and worry about your future. You are allowed (and encouraged) to annoy your people with any worries you have. It sounds like some lame Tumblr post but talking is the most effective medicine. If you feel like you need help, get help. You were born alone and you’ll die alone, but in between, you don’t have to be lonely.

Second of all, do not forget that we are still young. And when you’re young you underestimate your own strength and overestimate every mishap in your life. Every bad thing always seems like it’s the end of the world.  It often seems like life will never be good again, and everything and everyone is going against you. You feel betrayed by life, because your mind no longer takes into consideration how lucky you are to be alive.

But you are, and life will pay you back for all the suffering you had to go through. It won’t rain forever. Try to remind yourself of all the good things in your life, they are there. Try to remind yourself everyday of all the things you are grateful for. And the bad things will eventually fade. Promise.

The average age of death in Luxembourg is 81. We have spent less than 1 quarter of our lives. Do not expect yourself to have it all figured out. Hang in there.

Invent yourself, CK

Recall

I remember how when we started going to high school, it was all about becoming famous and being liked by everyone. Back when Instagram had only but launched and Facebook was still leading the social media empire. It was all about having more likes on your profile pictures than anyone else.

It was so stupid because once you had reached some kind of fame (which is ridiculous in itself because our population consists of about 3 people)  rumors started. We wanted to be who people talked about but we wanted people to have good opinions about us. Rumors, however are not usually positive and when we heard about how other people thought we were, all we wanted was being left alone.

Back then, Formspring was still a thing and for a year or so it was the hotspot for rumors. People answered questions about other people, spreading lies to restore their own image. Acting and reacting. We knew that lies about us were being told, yet when we heard something about someone else, we didn’t think twice, believed and passed it on.

I don’t know why  people feel the need to be known by everyone. It might just be some sort of transition phase, part of growing up. I think that it’s the result of social pressure, that we put on ourselves. We think that we’re good people when others believe we are. We give others too much control over our self-esteem and self-evaluation. We fear to lose our individuality and want to stand out, have something that others want, do something others can’t.

Now, looking back to this period, I feel like I spent too much time comparing myself to others. While I enjoyed growing up in this society( and still do), I think I could’ve been happier if this comparison hadn’t taken place to this extent.

Uniqueness is wealth. Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not other people.

Invent yourself, CK


“How much time he gains who does not look to see what his neighbour says or does or thinks, but only at what he does himself, to make it just and holy.” ― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

nicotine is out

In times of endless possibilities to keep in touch with others, we’ve become more anti-social than ever. We’re slowly becoming a society full of people who live in their phones , rather than using it as a tool. The roles are reversed, phones have started telling their owners what to do. They own people.

The various profiles we created to fake a perfect life, made us so aware of how we’re supposed to present ourselves, to show the best of us in every situation. We’re worried that people will notice that this is not who we are in real life. We’re no longer hiding behind false fronts, we have turned into them.

On the one hand, when we’re in public, we’re looking at our phones, pretending to be really busy, hoping no one looks at us or judges us. As soon as we look up, we see other people avoiding social contact in just the same way, for what?

On the other hand we’re seeking social contact, we’re looking for social interaction. That’s something you can’t find on a phone, yet we replace real, face to face communication with chats. We’re becoming robots, machines, addicted to our phones. While social networks are meant to communicate, we’re losing the ability to actually keep up a real conversation, simply because we’re no longer used to it. An online chat is not an alternative to a real conversation.

We’re bored of reality, we think that we can find real life on the internet and hope to find purpose on our phones, where all we really find are Donald Trump memes. How  do people not realize that phones are keeping them from living? How much more could we do if  we spent this time, looking down at phones, to improve our lives and change the world around us. We’re so keen to find out who we are, who we want to be, yet we waste our time because we’re afraid of real life and would rather be entertained. In my view, exchanging personal growth with entertainment is not too great of a deal.

You’re human, perfection is not an option, accept it. Don’t hide who you are. Put down your phone  and talk to the people you love.

Invent yourself,CK


The more social media we have, the more we think we’re connecting, yet we are really disconnecting from each other. – JR