The first snowflakes fall from the sky
The temperatures drop like dead birds
And people crawl back inside to find that warm hug once again.
It is time for another set of lists
What went good last year? What went wrong?
What were great albums? What was disappointing?
Where did love take us? Where didn't it take us?
All almost useless questions, but every once in a while it pays to look back on your life. A moment to rethink, a moment to learn. For a person who doesn't know his or her past, will never know his or her future. If you don't know where you are, retrace your steps and then you'll see where you were headed.
I like to do just that every year, in December. Mentioning the things that were memorable to me. I used to do it only on one forum, but as I grow, so does my circle of friends and acquaintances. Some people I call by name, others by nickname, and yet others not at all. I'm not passing judgment on people, nor is this a popularity contest. Some people just had more or more specific contact with me this last year, and that can be totally different than last year, and next year will be different again.
On personal level it has been a roller-coaster again, completely with ups, downs, thrills, spins and loops. All in all a much moved year. There has been an incident which almost cost me a few friends. But that was handled and I'm glad it worked out this way. The last couple of months I have worked a bit more on keeping my family ties tied. The last few years I haven't done much of a job at keeping in touch, and I'll try to better it the next year. Also, due to several reasons, I haven't been able to meet up with all the persons I wanted. I didn't miss the festivals, but I definitely missed seeing my friends.
Starting the year working at the Lays factory, and actually enjoying it more than I thought I would. But it finally became time to start my further education. After having failed last year to enter uni, I retried this year to enter through a colloquium doctum. And now, I have beaten the wolf! So, I started Italian Language & Culture at the university of Amsterdam. So far it seems to be going pretty well. I really love the group that I am in, the people are really kind and the motivation in general is pretty high. (Though we need holidays, we're all quite tired it seems). The only real downside was the last presentation I had to do, the first one went quite good, but I had two great persons in my team to pull us through, but this time I was alone, and I've never been fond of speaking publicly. But we'll see what the teacher will give for it. Maybe it will be a nice Christmas surprise.
I've come to realize that even though I haven't been consciously trying to find love again after my last relationship, I have been doing so unconsciously. After a small crush during summer I had decided that I'd give being a single a chance. Or rather, I'd consciously not make any attempt at any relationship no matter how I feel. But as always, love can't be dictated. And though I was trying not to fall for anyone, I did meet someone. She apparently is smarter than me, she had figured my feelings for her out before I had. But alas, it was not meant to be.
It is becoming a bit painful at times, to see all my friends have relationships, getting married, getting kids, all while I am left alone, continuously “fishing behind the nets” as the dutch proverb goes. (Of course, there is no person among my friends that doesn't deserve their happiness, as a matter of fact, I'm really really happy for all of them. Just to make that clear as well ) I'm not the kind of person who is cut out to be alone, but it seems that I have to be for some time to come. Whether it is fate, or a higher power.... Who will tell?
On that note, a few years ago I tried meditation, and even though I only mastered only the very most basic parts, it helped me. I wonder why I stopped, but I think it is my lack of discipline. I've become aware of the need to start over again some time ago, but up to now I haven't had the discipline to actually start it. I guess that will have to be one of my new years resolutions. But besides becoming aware of the need to meditate again, the last year I've come to realize more and more that my ideas about the universe and the higher spiritual powers therein just have to be right. It seems so logical, even if some people might laugh at me. But at the same time, I also come to realize that the huge amount of similarities between all religions on the world are not so much messages from god, but more messages from our inner self about becoming a better person.
I find it an important aspect of my own spiritual beliefs to do all within my power to become as good a person as I can be. A friend of mine from university quite correctly described it as 'trying to be the noblest knight.' It has a romantic ring to it, doesn't it?
An interesting year in many aspects. First we'll take the economical crisis, last year the banks got billions and billions of government aid in almost all countries. This year it seems that the bankers haven't yet learned their lesson, and they started giving exorbitant bonuses again, only this time from the taxpayers money. How wrong do things have to be before people will finally stop being the greedy bunch they are now?
Greed doesn't only come in the form of money, but also in the form of power. We're seeing a few power hungry people becoming more and more lustful to that power. We might mention mister Berlusconi, who gladly is not immune to prosecution anymore. Although it doesn't change too much unless the trial times get reduced to less than 5 years. His supposed involvement with the mafia is interesting, especially considering the supposed ringleaders that have been captured over the last year.
From corruption it is only a small step to fraud. How many elections have been rigged this last year? Democracy seems far from a common good. Furthermore there are still too many wars in the world. Was there nothing good in this world? Of course there was, but nothing that lingered in my memory.
It seems a pretty normal year on the sports area, not much special things happening. However, there were some things that stand out, as always. It seems, for example, that the cyclist Michael Rasmussen indeed never used performance enhancing drugs. But the most interesting thing in cyclism is the dutch cyclist Robert Gesink, whose bad luck was unending. A fall in the Tour de France had him quit with a broken arm, and when he was taking over the leader jersey in the Vuelta in Spain, another fall left him wounded again. This time he managed to finish the full race, but he lost his leadership. Impressively he became only 6th.
In speed-skating the last season ended as expected. But this season started very slowly for the dutch teams. It seems there is a large amount of illnesses and injuries. But luckily not only around the dutch teams (though sadly the dutch seem to be more hit by this). The winter Olympics promise to give a lot of spectacle on some distances.
In other sports I've noticed a good dutch trend to win in swimming. Especially the women seem good. Of course the women hockey team has been in top form for years now, and nothing was different this year.
In the area of music it has been a strange year. No multiple day music festival for me, even though I had two planned. Over the course of time I have also grown more and more into the progressive rock scene. Mostly new young bands with original things to add. That doesn't mean I dislike what I listened to before, it just means I listen to it less...
Concert wise it showed that as well, considering that the ones that stayed in my mind the strongest were those from non-metal bands. (except BG's gig at Graspop, but I guess that day was the only metal day this year). Particularly I remember Pure Reason Revolution, not only because it was my birthday, and not only because they were awesome live, but also because they had a good support act that I fell in love with: Quidam.
Other concerts that are memorable were the ones from Múm and Efterklang. Especially Efterklang had a great support act as well. Also Cuby & the Blizzards were awesome, even if they are ancient.
I'd like to send out some personal greetings and thanks to people, a small personal message to those who had a big part in this last year.
Lyza: new friends are always valuable, I'm looking forward to expand that basis in a solid friendship for years to come.
Femmeke: old neighbors just as valuable, renewed contact may bring fortune to both.
Patri: you're a great gal, a great guide. And definitely an Iberian diamond.
Javi: my old friend, even after a few years with scarce contact, your kindness is unsurpassed. And now you have finally done it! Good luck!
Cris: good luck with the old bathtardo! You're a sweetheart. Next time I come around, I hope you feel better.
Mickkay: over the past years we've become closer friends, a process that should not stop. And we definitely need to have another group-holiday, I missed it this year.
Dome and Andrea: both a source of indirect aid in my studies. I hope to see you two again in the coming year, then we can make my practice more direct.
Maria: we've been through several similar phases this last year, helping each other through. As always I'll be here for you.
Joost: I really appreciate our periodical chats over a nice glass of beer. We should try to keep that up.
Arwen and Anna: I had wished to have seen you both last year, but alas, it was not to be, you were both dearly missed.
Last, but not least, I'll share my thoughts, hopes and wishes for the coming year. First of all, I'll continue trying to be the best man I can be. I'll continue being open, honest and fair. I'll always keep trying to think well about everything I do. And I'll try to be more disciplined.
But in general, 2010 might become a year of two extremes. One one hand I feel that a lot of things can and will go wrong in the world. But on the other I feel that I, and I hope you all as well, will be able to face up to those challenges and stand firm. On that note, I'll conclude with an adapted quote from The Count Of Monte Cristo.
Life is a storm, my dear friends. You will bask in the sunlight one moment, be shattered on the rocks the next. What makes you a friend is what you do when that storm comes. You must look into that storm and shout as I do now. Do your worst, for I will do mine! Then the fates will know you as I know you: as a good person, a true friend.