Light At the End of the Tunnel.

I think I’m getting there, finally. After months of uncertainty and doubt and worries and frustration, I am now finally seeing the path before me. I never expected that the road to a new life would be this tough to travel – particularly considering that there are no economic worries and no other “objective” problems that bother me. But problems are subjective, and just because judging from the outside it seems like you should have a magnificent life doesn’t mean that you will. Happiness happens internally, not because the outside thinks you ought to be happy.

There are two things I will do from now on, and they work hand in hand and complement each other. For one, I will keep working on the political issues that concern me and that I am worried about. By continuously reading and then writing on my (other) blog, I can be engaged in political discussion and in the thinking and learning about what is going wrong in the world. And out of that, I am producing a show together with my new friend Maik, who’s a journalist, about where the world is headed, and how we – as responsible citizens – can respond in our daily lives to the challenges that humanity is facing. This respects to my need to do something for my conscience and to try and feel like I am doing something worthwhile with my life.

And then, I will produce and direct films. It sounds a little grandiose – but I found out that I’m actually good at this. In the past months, a small team of people – which I have joined essentially through my involvement with the Berlin English language Improv scene – has started working on a comedy short film, and I’ve grown into a producer / director role within that project. And it’s not only that I enjoy doing these things, but more particularly that I feel like I’m actually good at them. I understand both what it takes to run a project like this (I’ve been managing things and people for years, after all, and that helps me now), and how visual storytelling in the medium works. I can have informed debates about it, and justify creative choices. And in Ian, an English musician turned camera man, I have found a really great partner to make these things happen with. We work really well together, and we have a list of ideas already that we’d like to make happen.

So I will be, or better: I am, a media producer and director of sorts, both within the context of my political work, and within the context of my film work. Making it clear and phrasing it like this allows me, for the first time, to properly understand what I am, or who I am, professionally now and for the foreseeable future. And that is incredibly helpful. It enables me to finally leave this vague bubble of uncertainty and enter a much more defined mental space, with boundaries (we all need boundaries!) and a more or less specific realm of activity.

This last weekend actually provided the last building block for this concept of myself. I went to visit Lynn, a film maker whom I met months ago through a family connection. I’d met with her a couple of times in the city where she lives (on the Western end of Germany), she’d been to Berlin for the Berlinale, we’d also met then, and we also had a few phone calls in between, to discuss a documentary film project that we want to do together. I spent Friday evening and all of Saturday with her (and returned to Berlin on Sunday morning). And it was incredible helpful to spend so much time talking to a creative mind who thinks in similar terms, but then also has a very different point of view based on a very different personal history. On Saturday evening, she took me to a dance performance. I would have never considered going to anything of the sort, and the experience was incredibly inspiring. It was actually there and then that I realized what my role is within the political show project. I’d spent months talking to Maik and other people involved in the project, always feeling slightly insecure about what my specific role in the project is. Maik, after all, is a journalist, and so naturally it would be his role to think helm the journalistic content side of things. I have very specific ideas of things that I want to talk about, but at the same time if we had to distribute roles (and we do have to, at some stage) it’s clear that Maik’s role is the one of editor in chief of our project. So what is my role? And as I was watching the dance performers do their thing on Saturday night, at some point I suddenly realized that I needed to be concerned about the actual show quality of our work — of making sure that people would come to our event and not just say “oh that was interesting”, but rather say “fucking hell, what was that, that was amazing!” And so it turns out, while Maik is Chief Editor, my role is that of a Creative Director or Art Director. It’s a bit scary because I have no training in that field, but at the same time it’s incredibly inspiring and liberating.

The weekend with Lynn was not only interesting because of this. It was interesting, inspiring, fun, funny, and all kinds of things in many ways. On Saturday night after the show, we came home and spent hours on the sofa, watching films, and talking, and eating, until 5 in the morning when the sun was up, and … there were some moments when I was wondering if this wasn’t the moment when I should try and kiss her, but I didn’t, and I am a bit concerned about this, well, maybe not, … I think now that the weekend is over, I am slowly but surely falling in love with her … From a distance. And a little voice inside me says it’s good that this is happening incredibly slowly, because she has some hurt and fear inside her, and so do I, and we also have complicated lives (she has a small daughter, with her ex), and we live 500 km apart. But I want to keep pursuing this because I just like to think of her now, and something felt very close and warm about the weekend. Even though nothing “happened”, as they say.

And another nice thing was that at the beginning of last week, I spent three days in Italy, with my friend Pac. Months ago, he had invited me to go to a concert with him on Tuesday, and so I had planned a little three-day trip, and he took Tuesday off, and we hung out, and talked a lot. It was incredibly helpful to spend time with him. He is both funny and wise, in some ways that are hard to explain, and he is a much more relaxed and much calmer person than me, much less stressed. And spending time with him, and being exposed to his very different way of being greatly helped me reevaluate some of the things I do and think in life, and I came back from that trip already a slightly changed person.

I am very grateful to both Pac and Lynn, for having had this effect on me and my life during these past few days.

Posted in Film, Friendship, Life, Relationship | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Search Meaning and Make Meaning.

I have a very tough weekend behind me – emotionally tough. I went to see my parents and keep working on the project in the little country house. And we all were, all three of us, in really bad shape. It began with my mother giving me a call while I was on the way there, and on the phone it became clear that she had another depressive episode, she was crying, and at some point she said something so outrageous that I started screaming — literally screaming — on the phone, and we had to finally end the conversation like that. It’s a pattern now, when my mother calls me in a severely depressed state, I literally flip and cannot handle it. Well, I went straight to the little house and started working there, but the emotional distress that I’ve been going through again lately had come back (I’d watched the film Tomorrow the night before, and this thought that we only have 40 years left as a species on this planet was just badly messing with me). So when my father came over to the little house to check in on me, I was not in a good state of mind, mentally speaking, and so we quibbled a little, and had little arguments, and they turned into a really nasty full-blown fight by the end of that day, after we’d both gone home for dinner. The next morning, everyone was depressed.

But we salvaged the situation somehow, and calmed the waters, and got over it.

And then later in the afternoon, as I was thinking about all of this, I realized something: in order to function in this life, we as humans have to do two things – we have to search meaning, and we have to make meaning. Searching meaning is basically all about trying to find your place in the universe. And that, I think, is incredibly tough for me these days, because of all the disaster that I am observing, and that I feel helplessly confronted with. And if this is all the meaning you can occupy yourself with, it definitely becomes overwhelming. So in order to counterbalance this, we must make meaning. That is seeing meaning in the little things – not thinking about your role in the universe, but finding meaning in the smallest things, and in the smallest interactions, and in a laugh that I can share with my parents, and in a happy breath of fresh air, in a flower, in a nice note from a friend, and in a cup of tea.

One without the other makes you crazy, the other without the one makes you myopic and naive. We need both.

I will try to remember this.

Today I had a good day, I ran a workshop with a small company that I know, they are friends, I was trying to help them figure out how they could develop their business. It was something I hadn’t done in a long time, and it was really fun, and produced a helpful outcome for them, I think.

It’s really warm in Berlin these days.

Posted in Environment, Family, Life | Tagged , ,

The Rollercoaster Keeps On Keeping On.

My last text here had quite a serene feel to it. But since then, I have been on a bit of an emotional rollercoaster ride once more. A couple weeks after publishing it, I actually wrote a kind of “personal crisis text” on one of my other blogs. It felt like all was becoming a bit too much. In the text, I attributed it to the fact that I have basically chosen to open myself to everything that’s going wrong in the world. And once you do that, you’re essentially bombarding your brain with disaster. There is just so much to be upset about, and so much to worry about, that you essentially end up with a feeling of utter helplessness. There are so many (good!) texts on the web that you can read every day, which talk about pollution, outrageous political decisions, incredible foolishness, greed, basically insanity on a planetary level. And it’s incredibly easy to succumb to all that.

I think there was a lot of truth to that, and I think that does contribute to the way I felt. But there were two specific issues that drove my anxiety and helplessness more than anything else. One, the election in France. The prospect of having this idiotic woman dismantling the European Union was just too much to bear. I am not saying that Macron will save the world, I have quite some doubts about that, but still, I felt a huge relief when the results came in. Two, a very personal project: I am still looking for an apartment to buy, and there is one that is basically earmarked for me, it’s currently under construction, it’s the top floor of a building, they’re turning it into apartments, the guy who is building the project is really nice, and down to earth, and he’s very accommodating about my personal ideas for the space. But he ran into some issues regarding clearance for the project, and had to go hunting for signatures of other owners in the house, and so a few doubts were cast on the project. So I started looking around again, and quite surprisingly another place in quite a cool location, with a remarkable terrace on the rooftop, and 360° view, became available, and all of a sudden there was a lot of stress, and the need to take decisions, and my parents and a friend of theirs came to town, to help me look at it, and I was suddenly under a lot of pressure to make a 600,000 EUR decision – for the new spot, and against the other one, which I described above. And being in this kind of limbo, having to make a decision, with incomplete information, and under pressure, just really messed with me. I finally decided against the new offer that came up, and I am sticking with the older project. Last week, we went to visit that as well, and it really feels like I made the right choice.

So after these two issues were resolved, I finally managed to catch my breath. Also, I am experimenting with changing my schedule around some, and reorganizing my days. Currently, all my weeknights and all my weekends are busy with stuff, and that’s a bit much as well. But in part that’s also due to the fact that I’m really getting into Improv Theater lately, and that takes up an increasing amount of my time now. It’s just a really good way to both hang out with cool people, and spend your time in a very creative way. And there are various projects developing around the Improv crowd I am hanging out with – with a little team I am working on this comedy short film, I am trying to form a little Improv team myself, there are other film ideas, etc., it’s really nice. I am realizing that I am now doing what I had been wanting to do way back when I (erroneously?) decided to go into business studies: hang with artsy people and develop creative media projects.

The way I do my work is still a bit of a puzzle for me. I am often not sure if I’m on the right track with my projects, and whether I know what I am doing, and if this will ever make any money. But I think I just have to keep pushing and figure things out as I go.

Other smaller stuff includes the fact that I decided to sell my electric motorbike. It’s still in Munich, where I had it repaired, and just as they were supposed to send it up here with a freighter, I felt like it’ll just be a hassle and something else to take care of. So I told them to put it up for sale. And then I went on another online date, and again, it’s like they often are: “nice”. But now what? Also, I went on a trip to Brussels a couple weeks ago, to go see a show that I was interested in, and to stay with an old friend. My parents are doing very well, my father is helping me so much with the changes we’re making to the country house, I am incredibly grateful for that. They also came to visit me for the first time here at my new flatshare, and we had a very nice dinner with them, and with one of my flatmates. I cooked for them, actually for the first time ever, maybe, and I think everyone quite enjoyed it.

Posted in Family, Job, Life | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

The Best Thing We Can Hope for Is A Peaceful Cup of Tea.

I drove past a traffic light today, and I saw an old lady, standing there. She had a cane. And even though my parents are in that same age range, and incredibly active, I thought to myself: “What does that old lady have to look forward to, how does she make meaning?”

And then I thought she might be looking forward to returning home and making herself a nice cup of tea. And to sitting down and enjoying that cup of tea.

And I realized that this is probably the best thing anyone can hope for. To be able to go home from wherever we are, and make a cup of tea, and sit down to enjoy that. (Well. In case tea is not your thing, maybe it’s coffee. Or a cold drink.) And when we realize that, when we understand that just being here, breathing (mostly) fresh air, experiencing this, is all that there is — life gets simpler, suddenly.

This realization of mine didn’t come out of thin air, though. It built on the last weekend. I spent it with a new friend I’ve found, we went to our country house, in order to work on a project that we want to do. We did make nice progress with that, but we also spent at least half the time talking about our lives. He is in his early 40s, just a couple years younger than me, and he also has no relationship and no children. So that was something we could bond over. I learned two things this past weekend: One, the story I am telling myself about how attractive and interesting women do not want to be with me, is a lie. Because I have quite a number of stories that prove it wrong. I just always focus on the failures. He pointed this out to me, and that was a good thing to realize. And two (and that came right after the weekend), he sent me a text by email about how we cannot spend our lives looking for things. How we must stop searching, because every search will end in disappointment — either we don’t find what we’re looking for, or we do, but it doesn’t quench the thirst it’s meant to quench. And I’ve had both happen to me so many times, particularly when it came to women, that this thought really did make sense to me. And then today, I had this realization about the old lady.

A cup of tea is all we should hope for.

We should stop looking for things or people that we think will make us whole.

I have been with quite a number of very attractive women in my life.

If I manage to keep these thoughts in my mind and in my heart, there is no reason for me not to be a happy man.

My father celebrated his 80s birthday three times, in the past two weeks. Once with friends in my hometown. (I gave a little speech there). Once with the family in the West of the country. (I had prepared a little presentation with old photos that I had collected for the family tree. And I also showed the family tree to people.) And once with a bunch of his former colleagues from his car job. (I just came along to be there for him.)

My father is probably one of the coolest 80 year olds anyone can imagine. And so is my mother, well, she’s already 81. I love them so much, and I am afraid of the day when they will no longer be there.

Now I’m trying to have my “Discipline Month of April”. It’s not yet working the way I hoped it would. But there is still time. I am trying to refocus on my blog, on reading and writing. The weeks are still full with other things, and projects, and meetings. But over Easter, I will make more progress. I’m staying home, trying to move things along.

The Italian girl didn’t want to meet with me, in the end. But I think it’s because she has a boy-friend. And anyway, I am not hoping or waiting anymore.

Unless it’s for a cup of tea. Or coffee.

Posted in Family, Friendship, Relationship | Tagged , , , , ,

Odds and Ends.

On Friday night, I flirted with a young Italian woman. I hope I can see her again. She’s not the “amazing woman” that I immediately think I will marry, and who then ends up not wanting me. She’s a young woman who’s smart and fun and cute. And I am beginning to think that’s all it should take!

I have been feeling strange lately. My political project is kind of up in the air, or still becoming, rather than being, and I don’t deal well with that kind of lack of clarity. At the same time, politically, so much is happening. The fact that Wilders didn’t get elected in the Netherlands is giving me some hope. Emmanuel Macron is giving me more hope. Martin Schulz is giving me a lot of hope. On the other hand, a conference project that I’d really been working towards fell through, they did not accept my proposal.

I am still in the process of finding out what I am. People are telling me that my writing is important (not here, on my other political blog), and that I should keep doing that. Maybe I should try and be a full time professional blogger? I have also started going to the “Pulse of Europe” demonstrations, and I think they’re awesome!

Coupled with that, I’ve been traveling too much lately, and that’s been stressing me out somewhat. I’ve been traveling for various reasons, I went to Hamburg to go to a concert with Nana, the concert was a bit of a failure, but seeing her was fun. I traveled to the West of the country, to get some more dental treatment at my cousin’s, and collect more old family photos (I’m doing that for my father’s birthday, he will turn 80 in a few days). And I helped my father last week with a big leaf collection project, in order to protect two chestnut trees at our country house against bugs.

The rest of the month will still be somewhat busy, but for April I am determined to stop the traveling and really stay home and focus on my writing and studying. And to return to a regular exercise regimen. It will become easier because I’m giving up my office space at Drew’s, and will relocate my office back to the apartment where I’m now staying. That will make it much easier for me to find the time to go running, and to cook for myself. So more experimenting with my life.

I am having weird dreams lately. Last night I dreamt that I was working at Tesla, which was strange and nice, and in my dream I even had a conversation with a very relaxed Elon Musk. What the hell does that mean? A few weeks ago, I had a dream in which I could fly, and it felt so familiar that it seems like I may have had very similar dreams before. And I was a bit puzzled for a couple hours after waking up, as to whether there might be some truth to my flying ability, it felt so very real and comfortable. There is also more flirting going on in my dreams. I wake up happier now than I used to for quite some time. Also, Donald Trump is much more absent from my thoughts. Which is probably a good thing.

Now I need to work some more on the photos for my father. That project is stressing me a little.

Posted in Health, Politics, Relationship, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Another One Bites the Dust.

The title refers to the Date. In the past days, there were a couple more (long!) encounters of various sorts with her, and while I was getting steadily more excited about the woman, I also got increasingly frustrated with the whole thing. We had this incredible connection, yet at the same time she always kept her distance, very thoroughly. Yesterday it got to the point where I just had to say something, and mentioned that I was a little confused by what was going on between us. I soon thereafter heard the oh so familiar words “I was thinking of this as a friendship”, and “You want something I cannot give you.”

Blah-di-blah.

On the one hand, this is really horrible, because it is amazing how much we shared, and how we could spark off one another. And because it’s such an awful time-travel back to my school and early university days, and to those traumas with girls then. It seems like I haven’t learned anything. Why is there this pattern that when I find someone who seems absolutely perfect, that I then get into a connection with the person which is somehow destined to not become a relationship? Is there something I am doing wrong? I don’t understand. I really don’t, still today at 44 I don’t. And that really scares me. Am I just becoming unsexy when I really like someone? How can it then ever work out with the right person?

At the same time, it’s really good that I no longer need to think about it. My brain was blocked and occupied by thinking about this, and now I feel free again. My work actually suffered because of it as well. And also, I am beginning to think that this is not an issue with me, but maybe more with her. She’s 43, she’s really beautiful and incredibly smart, and I would think that men have always, and still are beating down her door. Why can she not find someone to be with? Does she have issues with connecting with people, letting her guard down? Does it scare her how well we connected?

I don’t know. And I don’t want to think about it anymore.

Last night I then ended up having a date with someone else, someone I had been writing with for a couple of weeks, originally from a dating website. It was new and fresh, and not as exciting as the other person, but still worth pursuing, I think.

Posted in Relationship, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , ,

The Date.

I hinted at this towards the end of my last post. We’ve had three dates so far. And each one was absolutely remarkable — in the way we were sharing, and talking, and scheming, and having political ideas, and even starting to experiment with a political project, and basically getting along with each other in absolutely remarkable ways. But at the same time, the whole thing feels a little soulless, or distant, she keeps her distance in ways that I don’t understand. And I am really clueless as to what to do next.

Other than that, Trump is now President. And how. I keep reading about Bannon and how they may ultimately want to basically overthrow the system, and have wars, and go all out. It’s scary as hell. And at the same time, Martin Schulz is the new candidate of the left in Germany. And there is hope.

And I am still talking to countless people, and having ideas, and working on my political projects, and meeting with my Improv friends, and living in my new shared flat, and on Tuesday I’ll do my first five minutes on an open-mic comedy stage.

Posted in Job, Politics, Relationship | Tagged , , , , ,