Just going over my internet presence, I realized I have been focussing a lot of time and energy elsewhere and not on here. More than two months not giving an update apart from updating my “now” page. Well, here it is with some pictures 🙂
I guess I will start with the most important day of the year, my birthday. Just kidding, I wished I wouldn’t happen, but, yes, I am 27. Gathering some lovely people, we went to the other side of the Tejo river and enjoyed some deep talks, a few beers, and a fulfilling sunset with a view on the Lisbons bridge.
November was interesting, to say the least. Next to working at beta-i, Fabi and I focussed on our problem statement. We were researching, having visitors in Lisbon, and also made some beautiful Van trips. My buddy Alvaro and his girlfriend Lola from Madrid, as well as Nura, my friend from Granada, and Roman Fabis college friend visited, and we spend fun days around the city and the beach.
I finally made it to Nazaré, where the biggest wave of the world can be found. That day they were “only” 13 meters high. Still impressive to see the people in the water looking small on the big waves.
Some realizations and insights were captured as well. Like this one: “People don’t see the world as it is, but as they are.”
Here some pictures:
December was excellent, too. After finishing our qualitative interviews, we made the road trip back to Germany. On the way, we visited Salamanca, San Sebastian, and then spent time in Toulouse to get to know Fabis friends from his exchange time there and met Arnold, my buddy from Columbia. Wassim, Fabi’s old roommate, and his wife cooked Indian food for us. They especially focussed on not putting so much spice but is still burned my lips 😉 Here are some pictures: we went to the “Cafe de Los Artistas” in Toulouse. Maybe we will become famous artists now, who knows.
Back in Germany, I spent all my time with family and old friends. Then I road-tripped again with my buddy Raphael, to spend new years in Madrid at Alvaro’s place, and then enjoy Granada, and Malaga, before going back to Lisbon.
I met so many refreshing and inspiring people on the way that I am very grateful for. Let me give you one example:
This guy we met at a camping fire when Raphi and I came back to the van after a few drinks. He started to play the guitar and sing, and, man, I literally started to cry. This guy told me that he has nothing except a sleeping bag and his hopes that life will turn out well. He goes dumpster diving, relies on people’s help, and “only” has stories and (excellent) music in exchange. He told me he has learned to live without money for the last two years, and now he is thinking about making some money from street music to travel to Colombia. If this is not some lesson in humility and a different way of life, I don’t know what is. He recommended a book: The Moneyless Manifesto. And he inspired me to write this piece about two roads in life.
I love the life I’m living, even though (or maybe because) it is frugal. I am only spending money on what is really meaningful to me. I read a shit ton of books and learn something every day. I am investing a lot in myself, I am thinking about the why and how of living a good life. I learn something new every day. After figuring out that all the stuff I am learning/reading/teaching isn’t for everyone, I figured a more empathetic approach is needed to help others break out of their belief systems, if I want to inspire the ones that are open to living differently.
Some more realizations and intentions for 2020: I enjoy the process of journaling and meditation to get to know myself. Past-me would have laughed at this and told present-me what kind of spiritual bullshit that is. But it’s true. I have never had such a good relationship with my emotions and relationships. 2019 was the year where I first told a person loved her and also dealing with the break up of the same. Now, you can assume the why and how everything went down, but I don’t care because I now know myself and don’t need to validate my decision or my life by other people’s opinions. That is real freedom to me.
My intentions for 2020 are “focus” and “walking the talk.” I dropped some endeavors to focus more on the ones that really matter. I reflected on it here. I am just following my process, more on that later.
Fast forward to March: as everywhere, Portugal is also being affected by the C19 pandemic and, thus, I am spending more time at home that I would like to spend here. But, like many others, I have realized that this invisible threat is not about me, it’s about all the vulnerable people in our society that a prone to develop severe symptoms when affected. It’s collectivism over individualism, to not overwhelm the health system.
It is funny how everything went down. At first, I was ignorant about the situation. Then I was devastated after I read about the situation and its impact. Then I coped with it and rationalized everything to feel good, telling myself that this will only be a matter of a few weeks. Then, I realized, “wow, this will be a long game,” causing me to struggle on some days. Other days, however, I was super focussed on my projects, as there aren’t a lot of activities to distract me.
At makesense, my volunteering job, we pivoted and offered virtual “learn & engage exchanges” to support Lisbon’s Impact Initiatives. With Fabian, I worked a lot on our problem-solution fit, analyzed our survey, and developed a value proposition for our idea. We are still some days out to finalize the website with all the content we have prepared, but if you want to get an idea, here it is. Then I have stepped up my writing game on medium, by merely prioritizing to focus on writing 1 hour a day. These are my articles:
- About listening as a tool to be an effective leader
- Then I made a case for meditation to increase happiness in these times
- Also, I reshared an old article about doing the thing you love, which has been perceived well
- Sometimes I also write about more psychological pieces like this one and this one.
Super happy with the process, which has also filled my backlog with many meaningful articles to be shared. The routine I am following at the moment is working great. Getting up early, exercising, cold shower, meditating, coffee and morning-pages-journaling, learning something, writing an hour, and then 3 hours concentrated (no phone) deep work on our business idea. In the afternoons, I edit my writing, work on the Lacrosse platform or makesense stuff, call friends, read or, like the last two weeks, attend my Portuguese class.
“You are doing it right” – That’s how some people respond when hearing what I do right now. Well, what is “right”? Everyone can live like this when escaping the societal norms and living more minimalistic than what their western world environment suggests.
I am happy but angry, too. Angry on how our current system has fucked up this world. Don’t get me wrong, capitalism has brought some great invention but it is time to change the system to capitalism 2.0: Prioritizing the planet and people rather than shareholder profit. We are so wealthy, more than ever in history, but many people suffer. Three times as many people die from obesity than from malnutrition – we have been gone wrong somewhere.
People don’t know what’s valuable anymore and seek to express their value in the material things they possess. I have been there. I am happy I am not anymore. What is really valuable to me is compassion, freedom, wisdom, integrity, cooperation, sustainability, joyfulness, and courage.
I know that know. It took some time. This time that people that are deep in the hamster wheel don’t have. That’s the problem, people value money over time. I will dedicate my life to changing that and living my (current) personal definition of success:
Being free, wise and courageous to advance connection and collaboration to build a fair and sustainable society that works for all.
Uff, that was some rant in the end I guess. And, I just meant to give you an update on my journey. Let’s hope some of this makes you think or inspires you. Reach out to me via email if you want to have a chat.
Meanwhile, be good, do good and focus on the present moment. The world needs it right now.
Btw, my plant from the moving in September is still alive, this is the longest time I have had a plant. Her name is Selina: