Throwing It Back

This is an article I wrote for the first edition of the Polyca Magazine, edited by a friend of mine, almost exactly a year ago. This is one of the first times that I’ve reread something and I laughed when I did, because obviously, in March 2020, I misinterpreted the situation entirely and I promise to refrain from making predictions from now on, you’ll see what I mean. Anyway, enjoy reading.

The Downfall

An act of futility? A drop in the ocean? Our attitude in the post-corona world will supersede the importance of the present containment measures in the future of our species. It’s time we became conscious.

Luxembourg, March 19th 2020. Enter: State of Emergency. Enter: National Lockdown

42 days later, we’re still waiting for good news, for numbers to drop, for a step back to normal. And we will go back to normal, no doubt about it. Some researchers claim it will affect life until 2022 at least. But I’ll take every bet that 12 months from now, Corona will again be associated with beer, not a pandemic.

Don’t get me wrong, people won’t forget about it, they won’t forget that they were quarantined for a few weeks – of course not. People never forget when they’re treated unfairly. They’ll probably even remember the number of days they spent in their houses without seeing friends and family and will gladly tell the story about how they met online to have drinks with friends before 4:00 PM (Can you imagine that! How silly!)

And they’ll remember cursing this invisible monstrosity that had pressed pause on their lives during one of the sunniest Aprils Luxembourg had ever seen. Thank you very much, climate change. We know you’re there. You don’t have to rub it in our faces when we’re not even allowed to enjoy destroying our planet.

They’ll remember the man who, presumably, ate a bat and brought about this virus. And where they had been when they heard the news of the lockdown. Such a sudden and unforeseeable measure.

Except it wasn’t. And that’s the point – it was not sudden at all. And if you think it was, you’re at least as responsible for the magnitude of the lockdown as the man who ate a bat. The government of Wuhan imposed a lockdown on January 23rd of this year – it took Europe almost two months to recognise that this virus does not care about borders.

We are now in a process of deconfinement, taking baby steps back to normal life, and yes, that is due to ours reacting accordingly. The problem was analysed and measures were taken. This, however, does not mean that we acted comme il faut.

Had we not turned our back to problem that was visible in other countries, had we not refused to ponder the possibility of being influenced by a virus transmitted through respiratory droplets (as we already knew weeks before the first case was reported in Luxembourg), maybe the consequences would have been milder. Who knows. But that was far, far away, therefore it couldn’t reach us, therefore not our problem. That is the mindset that brought us here. Not an unprecedented attitude either: When did we start caring about ISIS? When it started to affect Europe, no sooner. Same difference.

Maybe, just maybe, that is something we need to think about. As a species, that is. The future will hold many more problems, some of which are already affecting life on Earth for other species. Not so much for humans; the malefactor walks free for now. Ever heard of the Pinta Island Tortoise? The first species to go extinct because of the results of climate change in 1989. Many more would follow. What about the Australian bushfire season earlier this year, which destroyed an area of 186.000 square kilometers, burning roughly 1/5 of the continent’s forested area and killing an estimate of a billion animals? You don’t think that we might have contributed to its severity? Issues like these won’t be controlled by staying home, and they’ll not restrict themselves to the ‘vulnerable groups’.

Might that be the downfall of mankind? Will we kill ourselves by restricting our thoughts to the imminent future? By ignoring problems until they can’t be ignored any longer. By looking the other way, by closing doors and windows until the problem forces away in, having had time to become strong enough to become undefeatable. By being complacent and by hoping that the problems disappear if we turn a blind eye for long enough.

Or else, will we regard the circumstances as what they are? A warning to reconsider how we’re treating our home. A warning to remind ourselves how vulnerable and dependent we are. It might just have been the last one.


Disclaimer: I disagree with what I said about being as responsible as the guy who ate a bat if you think that the arrival of the virus and the measures taken to limit it were ‘sudden and unforeseeable’. I now believe that is the government’s fault, pandemics are not exactly unprecedented and people paid to serve their country ought to deal with that accordingly: act rather than react.

CK

Why You Shouldn’t Make Money With Your Hobby

How often have you thought about how great it would be to make a living with something you enjoy doing? ‘Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life’ is a great maxim to live by, and I agree with it – but only to an extent. It’s certainly so much easier to get up in the morning, knowing that you won’t have to spend the day hating your job for 8 hours, then go home to get rest just to do the same thing the following day. But I’ve been thinking about how people have started to feel pressured into ‘making it’ with the things they enjoy. I certainly have.

There seems to be no downside to being paid for enjoying a hobby. Except, there is.

To be independent, to be your own boss, to materialise your own ideas and make them work in a way that allows you to live comfortably, I bet these are dreams many of you have had in the past, as have I. The problem with that is that I’ve now arrived at a point where I have to restrain myself from trying to make a business out of everything I enjoy. Of course, for me, it would be awesome if someone paid me to write. It’d be great to see someone willing to pay me for something I like doing. There seems to be no downside to being paid for enjoying a hobby. Except, there is.

The issue

The problem with being paid is that people expect something in return for their money (who would have thought?) And what does that do to people? It stresses them out. Because now suddenly they have all this responsibility and pressure to perform. Expectations to be met, deadlines to respect and other people’s goals to reach. It’s just not your own anymore. You’ve probably felt that way in school/university/work before, when you had to read a book or even just watch a movie. Despite the fact that you would have enjoyed reading or watching the movie, (or at least not hated it) if you didn’t have to do it for school, university or work, now suddenly the task has become a burden. Why? Because you’re no longer the one who chooses to do, or not do it. You’re forced to and that makes it infinitely less appealing and, at the same time, lowers the probability for you to do a decent job at it. It prevents real enjoyment because apparently the connection between pleasure and the feeling of control is much more profound than we think. As a result, you lose interest in it, and, simultaneously you lose your hobby.

People aren’t happy when they are stressed.

Your hobby is deprived of the very essence that had drawn you to it in the first place. Because what is a hobby at its core? It’s something you enjoy doing, something you enjoy spending time on without expecting anything in return expect for fun, satisfaction and, plain and simple, happiness.

But people aren’t happy when they are stressed. And people don’t like to do something when they feel they are forced too. I don’t exactly know why that is, probably something to do with self-determination and feeling in control, (please go ahead and hit me up if you know better). Stress takes the fun away and now suddenly your hobby is your job and you’re forced to do it rather than freely choosing to, which is why I don’t know if I can agree with the aforementioned quote.

meme for reference

Because what does it imply? It implies that you should find something you enjoy and then start making money with it. I’m not sure I want to pay the price for that.

Perspective…

Consciously take the time to treat your hobby as just that, a hobby.

Of course, many many people have to wake up everyday to earn money with a job they hate, so financing yourself with your hobby is a luxury that one should not foolishly discard, it’s also not something I suggest. What I want to say is to ensure that you still have space for yourself, a zone of control that enables you do the things you enjoy without having to stress about pleasing a client. Consciously take the time to treat your hobby as just that, a hobby. A way of spending time according to your preferences. An escape from daily stress and expectations. An avenue towards happiness.

(I repeat, I WILL write for money if offered, don’t get me wrong. Don’t hesitate to slide into my DMs 🙂 I just want to make sure I still have time to write for fun, too)

CK

Do It Today Or You Won’t Ever

This title may be a little dramatic and exaggerated but I’m trying to make a point here, bear with me.

I like people with ideas. I enjoy listening to people talk about projects and future events that they want to launch and work on. I enjoy the enthusiasm people spread when they are talking about how they will make this world a little better, how they’re motivated by having an impact on this world. And I don’t think we can have too many of these people. I don’t think there can be too much creativity, too much initiative or too much individuality. We need that kind of people and the world needs them even more.

But if your words remain without action, they lose their worth. Promises that aren’t kept are shells without content and how much are shells worth if they have no content to protect? I know how easy it is to lose track of time, to lose track of promises you made to yourself and to others. Life has a way of accelerating time whenever you need it to stop and stop when you’d rather want it to hurry.

Promises that aren’t kept are shells without content and how much are shells worth if they have no content to protect?

Which is why you need to do it now. ‘It’ can be anything. It is that one thing that has been on your mind forever, running riot because it hasn’t been given the attention it deserves. The thing you said you’d do on the weekend but then the weekend came and you felt tired from an exhausting week, and so you didn’t do it. The thing you promised yourself you’d start doing on the 1st of January but then that day came and it turned out to be a day where you absolutely needed to stay in bed half the day and a friend wanted to meet up for coffee later, and so you didn’t do it. Maybe it’s the thing you actually took a day off to do but then sat in front of your television and accidentally dosed off, and so you didn’t do it. And then you postponed it to the next day, week, month or even year.

Your thing then ends up at the back of your subconscious mind, which rarely reminds you of it and when it does, it’s at 3 in the morning when you can’t sleep. Why can’t you get sleep? You can’t sleep because your subconscious mind is annoyed at your inability to stick to your promises and because you’ve shirked your responsibility. You’ve passed that responsibility on to your subconscious mind, a data-bank that cannot ever really forget something, so it has to store everything you come up but never engage with. How annoying that must be. And so you’ve made your subconscious mind bitter, and you expect it to let you sleep at night? That’s not how it works and that’s not what your mind deserves. It’s not what you deserve.

You’ve passed that responsibility on to your subconscious mind, a data-bank that cannot ever really forget something, so it has to store everything you come up but never engage with.

Or else, you made the effort to write your thing on some to-do list. Congrats! One less dust collector in your mind. But now that list is lying under a bunch of more important and impending files on your desk, not collecting any dust because it never sees daylight. Equally pointless.

The point I want to make is that you have to assume responsibility. You can talk all you want about what you’ll do in the future but if you’re all talk and no action, no one will keep listening to you for very long and more importantly, you’ll never get anything done. And don’t get me wrong: I know that many projects cannot just be kickstarted from nothing, many projects need to be prepared and planned ahead and, arguably, that’s even the most important thing. But at some point, you’ll have to be honest with yourself and decide if you’re actually preparing your thing or if you’re using preparation as an alibi. Is what you say you want to do something you really want to do or is it something you use to boast your confidence, a sort of decoration you wear to make yourself feel better and impress others? I’ve found that it’s really painful to truthfully answer that question, and yet it is crucial.

if you’re all talk and no action, no one will keep listening to you for very long and more importantly, you’ll never get anything done.

Why is it so important to be honest with yourself?

Because the worst thing you can do to yourself is give yourself up. There can’t be a worse breach of trust than the one between you and yourself. If you keep postponing your thing on a daily, weekly or yearly basis, in some way you keep giving yourself up and even if you manage to keep it out of your consciousness for some time, it never really leaves you.

The goal here is not to accomplish every single project that crosses your mind. You can’t possibly do everything. The goal is to hold yourself accountable, to be honest with yourself and discard the ideas that, deep down, you know you won’t do. And there is no issue with that at all. There is nothing to be ashamed of in deciding that you want to spend your time with something else. It is even necessary. You need to make space in your head for other ideas and for a better relationship with yourself. Once you’ve done that, that is when the real work begins. When you have a clear view of your thing, because you’ve been honest with yourself and discarded all the projects you know you won’t engage with, you’ll be able to focus on your thing. Once you’re focused, there’s no going back. Make use of the spirit and energy of new beginnings, know that it’ll wear off if you don’t exploit it, and start.

you need to make space in your head for other ideas and for a better relationship with yourself.

No postponing. No excuses. No weekend off. No meeting up with a friend. No accidental naps. When life comes in the way, fight back. Don’t let your thing get dusty. Do it today or you won’t ever.

CK

When did we grow up?

Having started my last year of High School today, I have realized how far I’ve come without being aware. Where did the time go? When did we replace faking to be older than we are to actually being old enough to enter nightclubs?

Often enough we worry about being stuck, about our life not moving forward fast enough or not at all. Whenever something goes wrong we’re afraid that our life does not turn out the way we want it to and that we can’t get things done. Yet, looking back on 6 years of secondary school, it’s crazy how much I’ve been through. 

In less than a year, it’ll all be about exams and only a few weeks and probably the maddest week in Lloret later, we’ll be living on our own, pretending to be grown-ups. From asking to be allowed to go to the toilet- to cooking, washing and being responsible in general in less than a year. 

We’ve come a long way and for those in the same position as me, it’ll be the most challenging year in our lives. It will be all about finding time to make the most of the last year as non-graduates while preparing the final exams.

Time flies by and this year will be over soon enough- if you’re ready or not. Remind yourself that if you intend to leave Luxembourg to study abroad, this is the last year to turn things right, to prove haters wrong, to spend time with the people you love and who love you. 

In less than a year, your life will take a turn. Be ready, and trust the universe, it’ll take you where you need to be.
Invent yourself,CK