I do not do now year’s resolutions. As if I am going to let the success rate of my life depend on a date some Roman ever invented, and which also only shows up once every 365 or 366 days? Besides, I’m not that patient. If I want something (else), I want it now.
When you spend all year trying to improve yourself, a moment which emphasises this even more is probably the last thing you need. Maybe that’s where things go wrong. Perhaps I should exempt myself of setting good intentions. Some good intention that would be, huh.
Always wanting to keep growing
I really want to keep growing. Not standing still at the very least. I want to get rid of bad habits and I want to do what my heart and head make a jump for joy. They aren’t the most exceptional things, you know, the stuff I want. Neither do I want them because I feel that others expect ’em from me, or because I want to impress people and with that feed my ego. I just want to be happy. Be myself. And I find it kinda nice that I don’t except all too much of myself. That I subsequently almost non-stop think about that, is something I’m not too satisfied with though.
I know few people who are so self-analytical as myself. Although they might just be doing a rock solid job in hiding it, like I do. I’m afraid I am too much of a perfectionist. Until a few years back, I used to be proud of this ‘nice’ character trait. Especially during job interviews I would smilingly point it up. But it is indeed something to be proud of? To be honest, they might just enormously be getting my little chunks of happiness in the way. I’ll elaborate.
My never-ending criticism
For a month and a half I now ‘live’ in Portugal. On the way I’ve seen many places already. From the romantic city of Porto to simple peasant villages where our car seems to be the first in many years with a foreign license plate. We’ve seen beautiful nature, but also the touristic bustle in the Algarve in the south. All these different areas, but everywhere I looked I saw this same thing going on. Wherever I were, I would often think: if you guys had been just a little bit more savvy with handling this or that, your country would have perhaps been in better shape as opposed to the financial crisis you’ve been facing for a while now.
For instance, the other day, right before Christmas, I stood before a closed door of a nice restaurant someone had recommended. On a piece of scrap paper someone had written: due to the holidays we’ll be open again on January 7th. I was amazed. There we were, in the city centre of Porto, where in this particular week there seemed to be more tourists than ever. Isn’t this the time of year when they’re supposed to cash in, next to summer? And so you close down? In term of commercialism, the Portuguese do not quite measure up to the Dutch, I thought to myself, disappointed and a bit cross.
But yeah. Apparently the restaurant owner also wanted some time off. Maybe his family lived quite far away and he felt like visiting them during the holidays. Or maybe he found he’d already earned enough during the summer. Closing his joint, just because he can.
Moment of truth
I now have to make the decision: do I let myself get inspired by the visible ease with which the Portuguese seem to lead their lives, or do I remain being annoyed by the small stuff they’re not so good at?
Looking at how happy and satisfied people look over here, I begin to believe that my point of view isn’t all that superior. And to be honest, I don’t even really miss al these perfectly finished Dutch hipster cafés with their well thought out details. Al this thinking, improving, perfecting, maybe we should stop doing that for a while. Just because we can.
This article has previously been published in Dutch on 365dagensuccesvol.nl