Take your pick

You know that feeling when you’re in love? How much energy you have at that moment? You are in your love bubble and giving love and receiving love makes you ecstatic, it lifts you up. You’re probably at the highest peak of emotions and energy you can be. So why don’t we hold on to that feeling?

You also know the feeling when you despise someone? When you absolutely can’t stand a person for whatever reason and might even dare to hate him or her? You then also know how it the hatred feels and how it sucks all the life out of you. How your energy gets lower the more you talk about it, the more you think about it and the more time you invest in it.

If you know and can imagine the difference in these two emotions, then why not always choose for the first option of love? Wether you love your partner, your child, your friend or mother. Love is love and the positivity of love literally gives you energy. Even when you had a rough night and a lack of sleep, a phone call from someone you love can get you through the day.

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The opposite is then also true. When you had a rough night and a lack of sleep and you’re talking about or thinking about something or someone you hate that makes your day even rougher. Your energy level drops even more and nothing can make you smile. So we all have moments we don’t like something, someone or a situation. How can we turn that around so you can get energy instead of losing it?

The first step is to realize you’re stuck in a bad emotion. You’ve been whining, complaining or crying for too long and you need to put a stop to it. When you realize what you’re doing it’s time to change. It’s literally about making a conscious choice how you will use your energy. Imagine you “hate” or dislike someone for something that they’ve done to you. Do you think spending hours of hating them will change the situation? Will it make anything better? Will you feel better? Probably not.

So the choice is yours. What you can do is first to accept that the situation is what it is. You’re hurt for example and that’s it. So how to move forward? The second step is to use your time for things that make you happy. Instead of complaining for an hour, you can write a message with words of gratitude to someone who’s always there for you. Which of the two will make you happier?

And it’s a matter of practice. A few years ago when I felt hurt I was so angry and at moments I hated the world. Nothing seemed right. But all the time I spent feeling angry and sorry for myself really never made me feel better. When I decided that nothing would change for the better until I started thinking positive it finally started to get better. So take your pick.

Date Night

When you’re in a relationship it’s easy to forget about date night. However I think especially when you’re not just dating anymore, but you are in a relationship ‘dating’ is important. So my boyfriend and I decided that at least once per month we have a ‘date night’.

So why do we only date when we’re ‘dating’? The point of dating is to get to know the other person, but also to have quality time together. When you’ve been together for a long time, you probably know each other pretty well, but quality time might be hard to schedule.

After a while, when the newly-together phase is over, you can get ‘stuck’ in the routine of your every day life. Usually this is when we can forget about romance and being a couple versus to just living together and having breakfast and dinner.

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And that is why we decided on having a ‘date night’. Our minimum is once per month and we haven’t even been together that long, but it is also just something fun to look forward too. And yes even though our relationship is quite new, we’ve had a lot of family events, visits with friends or birthday parties. That’s why when we have our date night we can ask questions we haven’t asked before and go to places we haven’t visited together yet.

So what did we do on our last date night? We went to the restaurant where we first met. My boyfriend used to work there and we saw a lot of his old colleagues, which was fun. We then had some wine, some nachos, our main course and of course desert. And it was so lovely to have a night away from home, no TV, no phones, just eating and talking.

I hope that ten years from now, when our family perhaps has grown, we’ll still have the tradition of date night. That we won’t forget to keep on dating each other and we’ll keep asking new questions. At this moment it’s no effort at all and probably then it isn’t either, but I always want to keep the romance alive. And one of the ways to do so is by dating.

Double the trouble?

About ten months ago I got a baby brother and sister. Yes twins and yes new siblings at my age. If you’re wondering I’m 28 and no I don’t have kids of my own, well apart from the fur-babies I don’t. So what happens when you babysit two?

First of all I was a bit hesitant to babysit my brother and sister, because I thought how am I going to combine that with walking the dogs? My boyfriend promised we would do it together and he could help out too. Ok, so that was settled. Well it was, until it turned out he had to work that specific weekend, the whole weekend.

But spoiler alert, I did manage to do it mainly on my own. Some parents might be thinking now of course you can do that by yourself. Just remember I don’t have kids, I’m not used to having kids and I’m not ready for kids. Even though I did used to babysit a lot I just find my dogs a lot easier. Also I don’t have an elevator so my mom came to help and carry the babies down the stairs. After that we went for a family-walk.

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Surprisingly it was one of those special days in the Netherlands. A day when the sun is shining and it was hot. It literally was one of the hottest days of the year probably. My mom was babysitting my nephews of five and two, so it was a gathering of small little humans. When walking a stroller for two you do notice how heavy those things are! I immediately didn’t feel bad for skipping the gym that day anymore.

The walk took us to the center of my city. In the center a fountain or sprinkler-thing is installed for children to play with. The twins are still too small, so while my nephews were running around the sprinklers, I was relaxing with the twins under a tree. And I must say these babies are so chill. They were just sitting on a towel playing with their toys and picking grass and that’s it. No whining, no crying, just happy. If babies when they come in a pair are a ‘happy-package’, then I can handle two for sure.

Of course at night they were a bit more reluctant and didn’t want to sleep. By this time my boyfriend was home and we took turns soothing a baby. He took my sister and I went to cuddle my brother. I guess we did a good job and the twins decided we earned our sleep, because they didn’t wake up until 7:30 am the next morning. Thank you babies!

So what’s the conclusion? Are twins indeed double the trouble or twice the fun? Well, when they’re happy they’re still a lot of work, but no trouble at all. When they’re smiling it indeed is fun multiplied by two. Now you’re wondering if I can’t wait to have my own? Oh I can wait, no problem. I stil find my two doggies more than enough for now.

I’ll see you in Amsterdam

Sometimes we have to wait a long time to see those we love. When I moved back to the Netherlands that is what happend. I left my Spanish friends behind. Luckily we can catch planes and last week I met a dear friend in Amsterdam. So how was it?

First of all, I know that the Netherlands is a small country, but for Dutch people traveling from one side to the other feels long. My boyfriend and I took the train and it took us a whole two hours! Yes two hours to go from the east (I live almost in Germany) to the west. Ok, my friends had to travel three hours by the plane, so I won’t complain, but I did cross my country twice that day. Just saying.

Going to Amsterdam to me also feels like being a tourist on a day-trip, although I used to work there. What did we do as ‘tourists’ when we got there? You probably know all the stereotypical things about Amsterdam? Eating cheese, drinking coffee and shopping? Oh no, I meant the other more controversial things, even though what’s on your mind is not controversial in my capital city.

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So now imagine some Spanish and Dutchies in a boat on the canals of Amsterdam. Passing by cool boat houses and having a little picnic. What did my tourist friends bring? Some beers, some chips and some marijuana. I personally don’t smoke, but it was a funny sight to comply with the stereotypical tourist activity.

But what was the best part? To see my friends and especially my dear friend Amanda. It had been a year since I last saw her and a lot had happend. Of course we already knew the big things, but now it was time to share the details around the big things. She got engaged, so I wanted to know exactly how her boyfriend proposed and the wedding is going to look like. And I got to share the details of how I met my boyfriend. Just the typical girl-friends stuff.

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And what is the good thing about amazing friends? It literally doesn’t matter that a year has gone by and that you live on opposite sides of Europe, because when you’re together it’s like no time has past. It’s exactly the same as when we would meet every week opposed to meeting just once a year. And that we got to meet on little boat cruising the canals of Amsterdam made it all the more fun. Because let’s be honest who doesn’t have fun in Amsterdam?

Never knew I needed

What makes you happier? Being in a relationship versus being single? I think this depends on your personal preferences. What I am sure of is that you first should understand what you need and what you deserve.

I guess for a long time I didn’t understand this. I didn’t get that I also deserved and could have unconditional love. Of course I knew this from my family and my friends, but I still didn’t fully get the picture. Perhaps it’s also due to the fact that I felt lost for a long time. I didn’t know what I wanted and needed.

Now that I do know this I believe I deserve this unconditional love. Having moved to different countries forced me to overcome difficulties, learning to be on my own and growing as a person. And I finally learned to love my self unconditionally.IMG_4768This might sound silly, but I think we often forget how important that is. If you accept yourself, your strengths and your flaws, you learn to value yourself. If you value yourself you don’t accept anything less from another person. You won’t allow someone else to continuously treat you poorly, because you know you deserve better.

It took me a while to understand what I was worth, to get to know me better and understand what I needed. I guess that is why I went from a not so good relationship to another not so good one. When I finally got it, hallelujah, and then I didn’t mind being single. Why? Well I rather be alone than be with someone that doesn’t make me happy. I could make myself perfectly happy. I felt loved by myself, by my family, friends and of course my dogs.

And that is when it happend. When I learned to be truly happy by myself I crossed paths with my boyfriend. We met years ago when I was on a holiday in the Netherlands, but it wasn’t until now that we went on a date. Just like years ago it instantly clicked and we never looked back. Sometimes I’m still surprised of how good he treats me and then I remember that now I believe I deserve that. Before I accepted the minimum, because I gave myself the bare minimum.

So I guess that is my point. It doesn’t matter what you prefer, being single or being in a relationship. The key point to remember is that you shouldn’t accept anything less than what you are worth and you deserve. It is then up to you to know your self-worth. To first know how to love yourself before you ask someone else to do so.

Read me one more time

Ever since I was little I loved to read. I know some people prefer not to read more than the instructions on the back of a lasagna box, but reading can actually be good for you. Of course everyone can like or dislike what they want, but why could it benefit you?

So in school we’re forced to read a ton of things. Most of those books you probably didn’t like. Books about geography, math, biology, history and what more. There were also the books that were sometimes a free choice with simply stories. But what was the purpose?

Well in school the obvious point of reading was to learn. I guess that is where it begins. People either start to love or hate reading. I was one of those kids that loved to read and to learn for that matter. I didn’t like math books, but I loved stories about other worlds and other times. I remember being bored in primary school and finishing all my chores early, so I could read more books. You might think oh nerd-alert, but who cares, as long as you’re happy doing what you like.

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With a friend I would stroll around the library for hours. I picked out the biggest books, because I thought big books were cool. So even though we were not religious at home I picked up a huge bible for children only so people thought I could read big books. I must have been six, but my parents won’t let me forget about that story.

And why do I think reading is good for you? First of all you’re completely alone with your own thoughts. It’s one of the few activities that you’ll do completely by yourself. Sometimes a little ‘me-time’ can be really good. It can help you relax, get your thoughts together or get completely lost in ‘another world’.

Another benefit is the input of new knowledge. Whether it’s a fantasy book, a biography or romance novel. Usually there is a ‘problem’ in the story that needs to be solved and the main character usually evolves through the story. Following that story line can give you insights in your own life. It can help get perspective on your own problems. And before you know it, it can help you evolve too.

Lately I love to read books about how to live a conscious life. You know books about positivity, being grateful, being mindful and living in the here and now. Why do I choose those type of books? Well, because at times I actively want to search for books that can help me grow. When I seek for new ways to let go of stress, forget about negative thoughts and so what more I turn to those books.

So whatever you like to read, enjoy it. Whether it´s just the lasagna box instructions or ‘life’ instructions. Whether it’s just one page a day or a book per week, it really doesn’t matter. And if you really want to relax while reading I can recommend to get a cup of tea, a little blanket, a comfy couch and of course a good book.

Don’t stress about it

I wish I could say I’m a stress-free person. Unfortunately I’m not. I try to be, but I don’t always succeed. Especially when it comes to emotional issues I experience stress. How can you turn that off? Or at least minimize it?

When you look at the situations that causes you stress, you often notice that in the end the freaking out wasn’t worth it. Why do we even experience stress? It is supposed to help us survive and make us take action when necessary. Many times however we stress about things that we can’t change, have no influence on or are situations that are better to be left alone.

For example constantly receiving messages and input on my phone is one of the things that gives me a stress reaction. I often ignore my phone, but secretly I still feel the need to check it every ten minutes when I’m expecting input. The other night I was so exhausted and tired from “discussions” on my phone, my boyfriend had a simple solution. Putting my phone on silent didn’t work, so he just turned it off. I must say it was a relieve.

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It might seem silly and quite a simple solution, but it worked. It gave a sense of rest not being able to see if there were new messages. And guess what? The next morning when I turned it on, I didn’t even have new messages! So one of the ways I’m going to create more rest is to turn my phone off more frequently, especially at night. Because in the end stressing about needing to respond is not worth it. Who really cares? It’s not like I’m going to save lives having my phone on. At least not in my case.

So in general I notice that the daily things that causes me stress are not important enough to stress about. Perhaps in that moment it seems important, but then I think ‘Is this important in a week from now? A month from now? A year?’. If the importance decreases the more time goes by you know it’s not worth freaking out about. In case you can’t even influence the situation then it’s definitely better to just let it go.

And even if it seems important on the short term or the long term, will the stress make it better? Or can you shorten the time that you feel stressed? It could be that for a short moment you encounter stress and it’s good because it makes you take action. After taking action however you should let it go. How can you do this?

I think it takes practice, but what can help is to write anything down that you need to remember. For example you can create a to do list and set reminders in your calendar. In between this time stop yourself every time you start worrying. Replace the habit of stressing with a healthier habit like going for a walk or reading a book.

And if you are stressed from too much input, then put a time limit until when you can receive new input. Whether this is from news, social media, your phone or something else. Set an alarm clock when you will shut yourself off from the world and take a moment for yourself. I know these are actions I’m going to make new habits of. I promise I’ll let you know if it works and I start feeling all ‘happy-go-lucky‘.