My giant panda

This picture was taken during a trip I made to China years ago. It was a very candid shot, as this was #shotoniphone and the panda was suddenly in front of me!

Also I am testing out a new platform to share my photographs. So far VERO seems to check the boxes, it does automatic tagging, allows for embeds and you stay the owner of your posted content.

My political life

You probably have heard it: “I don’t want to get political” or “I don’t want to talk politics”. When life suddenly becomes very real and certain morals and values collide, things start to get political. 

However, when you look at everything in the world, from the step you take every morning when you leave your house for work, college, family or friends, ‘till the very moment you come back home. Everything we do is because of the political landscape we are in.

Let me put it a bit in perspective. I live in the Netherlands, which has decent social services. I have a roof over my head and basic things like healthcare, food and shelter are guaranteed, whether I would have the money for it or not. I will not become bankrupt if I suddenly become ill and need medical attention. When you would look to other countries, you suddenly realize that this certainty I have, is not a given in countries like the United States of America. 

I for example also have a right to privacy, a personal space and the right to express my opinion (against the government). If you were to look at countries like China, then you already know that the people there are very restricted in what they can say or do. 

Politics also determine things like, what movies you can watch, what games you can play and even who you can love… 

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My hellish nostalgia

The original Diablo from 1996 has been a huge part of my early teens. It was one of those games you could play over and over again. And that is exactly what we did, in a hot attic with 2 more people, connected through a local area network, grinding our way down in the depths of hell. Being scared to face the Butcher after he screams “fresh meat!” and hiding behind a barred door so you could fire arrows at him and abuse a small glitch so he could not come after you.

This adventuring continued with the release of Diablo 2 and later Diablo 3, but no other ARPG ever came to the same experience we have had in those days. Sure I also had great fun with Marvel Heroes Online, which was made by some of the veterans of Blizzard North, but that game sadly is no more.

When Blizzard announced Diablo Immortal for mobile devices, I was (one of the few) who actually was excited. I knew they were also working on a Diablo 4, so was not bothered with all the negativity surrounding the announcement. And when the game finally released a couple of weeks ago, I was…. disappointed… the game – due to its monetization being based on gambling mechanics – would not be releasing in the Netherlands. However a quick workaround was possible with selecting a different App Store country and off we were.

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My frustration

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

George Santayana

I have a hard time of letting things go every now and then. In my mind I always tend to be 10 – well to be honest 100 – steps ahead. I guess this is second nature to me as I am always pondering all possible variations stuff can go either good or bad. You can call this my own multiversal mind.

The problem with this mindset is that when I eventually see a “timeline” going as I have thought it out and things take a turn for the worst. I often feel anxious and depressed. This is something I have to work on, as you cannot change people’s behavior if they are not willing to listen and learn.

This train of thought fits nicely with a book I recently finished: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck.

People who base their self-worth on always being right will prevent themselves from learning from their mistakes.

Mark Manson

So advice to my future self and others in similar situations. It isn’t you, you should not worry if people always want to be right and do not want to learn from past mistakes. Try to be at peace with the situation or either leave the situation so you can be at peace.

My hopeful world

Together we create the world we inhabit.

David Graeber

From his book Bullshit Jobs I recently finished (write up will follow soon). This was an hopeful message worth repeating. An example he gives is the world we are currently living in, is controlled by capitalistic values. But… if one day we would all wake up and stop buying things and don’t get motivated by capitalistic ideals, capitalism would (eventually) stop to exist. And when you think about it, this is at the core on how we can change the world. You already see it by the next generation becoming more politically engaged, unionizing and so on.

We are the future and we can determine how the world is shaped for us and generations after us. We will create a better world, we just have to.

My pandemic

Well, keeping my fingers crossed, I guess we can say the pandemic is over right? Unless Monkeypox becomes the new hotness and we all will die… again…

*sigh*

When it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic, I was slightly relieved. Not because of the disease itself and the deaths it brought, but more about the social adaptation our society had to endure. Here in the Netherlands we also had lockdowns, but they were less strict compared to other countries. We worked from home and we were still allowed to walk in nature, meet your direct family members and get groceries. And for me this was more than enough. I guess I’m a bit of an introvert and avoid most social interactions, even though I can fake being sociable when required.

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My gift to you

Writing this article was a lot harder for me compared to previous articles I have written. Not because The Gift: 12 lessons to Save Your Life by Dr. Edith Eva Eger is a bad book, no, it is because this book has opened a couple of doors, some of which I have kept shut for many decades.

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My frustration

It’s easy to make things hard, but hard to make them easy

Jos de Blok

Currently reading Humandkind by Rutger Bregman and this quote was mentioned. It made me think of life and work in particular. Why is it that we often choose to make things difficult when the answer is so simple. Like just calling someone to verify a story, getting people together so any miscommunication or tension can be talked about or just simply listen to someone as they vent, instead of wanting to solve everything.

Life as it is, is complex already. Why make it hard for yourself? Remember that you have only one life to live, so use your time well. You can only spend it once.

My human rights

What is the value of free speech if we have nothing of value to say.

What purpose does freedom of religion service if we no longer believe in anything.

Rutger Bregman

This quote is from his book Utopia for Realists, which I wrote about a couple of days ago. Something to think about when we stand for basic human rights. We keep fighting for them for various reasons, but do we add value to society with things we are saying, doing or believing? Or is most of it just for selfish reasons.

My Christmas quest

I love Christmas and it isn’t just because of the presents, which now that I am older I no longer get, but it is for “the season”. Early December it starts here in The Netherlands. You can see the decorations everywhere and the cheerful music which gets played more on the radio and in shopping centers. It is just a period of positivity.

This of course being a pandemic, being positive can be challenging at times. But whenever I feel dark and gloomy, I put up a nice new Christmas movie, which this year for me was 8-bit Christmas.

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