What about me?

I made myself a promise on my 21st birthday. That whenever I would die- may that be tomorrow or in 50 years- I could say I lived a purposeful life without regret and as free as possible. A very romantic but hard promise to keep because society prioritizes investments and a career instead of a meaningful life. Not that I cared. I started traveling, reading, studying and discovering new ways of living by meeting beautiful people from all over the world. But how beautiful this backpack freedom was, at some point it felt meaningless because I didn’t know what to do with it. Who was I, and what did I want in this world? By the time I got to my thirties I booked a flight back home carrying the cross of an unfulfilled quest on my back while all my class mates were getting promoted.

Back home, in Belgium, I tried to do things more domestically in order to outline my identity. After all, you can travel the whole world but real freedom is the space between your ears. Right? I got ‘a real job’ as a freelance journalist, a motorcycle, a husband, two dogs and we rented a house in the countryside. People were relieved, “She finally grew up”. But me, I struggled quite some time to combine this feeling of (not) being attached, with what I really stand for. I felt free when my only possession was a backpack but I felt complete when my husband and friends were close. How could I feel complete and free at the same time?

I contemplated a lot on what freedom is without identity (unworldly?) and what is identity is without freedom (a marketized, hollow, social media life?).

While working in a popular bar and a bookshop I noticed many confused people with the same kind of imbalances. And they had kids, busy jobs and heavy loans in a world gone crazy! Like always I found the answer in literature, by reading everything from pulp to classical literature: Freedom is being able to evolve your personality. The catch is that you need a lot of discipline to get there. Oh, girl.

My answer to world peace: get a grip on yourself, you chicken:-)!

Easy? Nope, discipline you know. Anyway I banned flatscreens in the house, didn’t buy processed food anymore, read more specialised magazines & books, took care of my body, faced my fears, got out of my comfort zone,… This period was quite a battlefield. But at some point I became the somehow personality I aimed for. I started to see things more clearly. I understood how mixed up it is to click your personality with external things like a beautiful car or a nice designed phone. I realised how much lifestyle rubbish I gathered, how absurd it was to be in daily traffic jams, I stopped believing blindly what (social) media & advertisements tried to impose on me and stopped following trends (Scandinavian furniture, retro clothes, coffee mania, Halloween in Belgium, fashion & Instagram food hypes). I didn’t need it anymore and felt fucking relieved: freedom was at the horizon.

It is absurd how more and more skilled consumer society manipulates our fears & desires, and we all get fooled by it.

This is what Buddhists mean with: “Freedom is a state of mind.” This is what the Greek meant with “Happiness is a state of activity and only depends on ourselves.” This is what the sjamans mean when they say that we are only visitors passing through, our purpose here is to learn, to grow and to love… then we return home.” Oh, this old wisdom, that existed a long time before institutionalised religion….

What about this blog?

Anais Nin - Quote
Illustration: Lisa Congdon

First of all: people are amazing! We are the daring kind! But people are often too pissed off & confused to see things as they are. We get angry, frustrated, depressed and give non-constructive critics on the internet while our collective memory starts to accept it because we don’t know where everything started and who the hell is ‘guilty’. Society demands too much and became too complicated while elected governments invests more in international business deals than in empowering its people. This blog aims to do where government- and people, yes, fail (wow, no shit!): to empower people by giving all kinds of information. Providing small stories, interviews with ordinary & amazing people, proposing good ideas, asking questions, finding answers to paralysing populist politics and offering alternatives to polluting & dehumanising industry.

How I am going to do this? No idea, I am only human. But I do know that I will learn a lot on the way. Together with you instead of fighting each other I hope.

I believe when people are able to create an own, constructive opinion with clever arguments instead of copying (social) media and being influenced by fear we can start building beautiful neighbourhoods & communities with trustworthy neighbours from all over the world.

This isn’t a spiritual website and I have no intention to tell you what to do with your life. I don’t feel like being the next Eckhart Tolle or a mommy figure:-). Life is not simple and I just want to show things as they are. What you do with it is your choice.