• Leon de Leeuw

The first thing I tell myself each morning: "It's a beautiful day to be alive". Nothing else life throws at me will get me down after that. I get up, take a shower, make a coffee and sit down to reflect. When I look outside and realize how lucky I am to live and to be in control of my life, I'm ready to start the day. Because it's easy to get caught up in negativity - by reading the news or listening to some complaining acquaintance. But life is good, probably better than it ever was. It's a challenging time to be alive, because social life has changed. But speaking of opportunities and freedom, there was never a better time. Yes, there's work, but you get paid for that and spend money on whatever you want. Life is good, better than before, and tomorrow will probably be better than today.

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  • Leon de Leeuw

Who's to say what you should do with your free time? Nobody. Just live it for yourself, not someone else. One distinction to make - is whether you spend your free time on what you really want or does it serve the purpose to impress others (acquainted or not)? Are the trips you make to enjoy yourself or to fill up your social media feed? Do you go because you feel you have to or is it really your initiative? It doesn't hurt to ask these questions. Perhaps, you'll find you do many things just because you expect you should or because you see others doing the same. If you tread in other people's footsteps, stop and think "Is it me wanting this, or is it society telling me to?"

And what is it you would actually do if you had nobody else to take into account? Let's say you were a millionaire. After working hard or winning the lottery, it doesn't matter in this train of thought. What is it you're going to do? You might imagine yourself flying to an exotic destination, lying down comfortably at the beach and ordering your first cocktail. You really deserved this. You take your first sips, then regret that because you forgot you need the drink on Instagram. Now that you had some sips it doesn't look as wholesome but you still post it. Some filters will do the rest. You order a second cocktail because hey, you deserved this.

Now you're slowly getting sunburnt and the sand blows in your face. You take a selfie with your smartpone and indeed, kind of red on the cheeks. You put your phone back down and now it shuts off because it's been in the sun too long, overheated. Seems phones don't handle that well. You get back to your room and find yourself annoyed by the fact that you can't check your social media feed until your phone's cooled off. Everyone back home will know you're really enjoying yourself half across the world. You sit down on the bed. The room is neither hot nor cold. You shake off the sand from your towel. You're a bit tense. Then you walk out onto the balcony, look at the sunset and it kind of stings your eyes. And then you wonder, why am I even doing this?

You enjoy the buzz the cocktails gave you but it wears off quickly. You kind of miss your buds back home, they must be having some after-work drinks. And you slowly start to realize you really don't know what to do with the money and free time that bought you. Will you write a book? "Sure, but about what? How I won the lottery? Or no, I'll start a business, improve the world! But again, what?"

The point of this post is not to make you feel worthless. The contrary. It's to make you think before you stand on that balcony, no matter if it's halfway across the world or in your own cheap rental. You'll want to know what do with life. And know what to do just for you. If you strip your life down to the bare bones - without external money, without validation, having to impress others, without status, with or without money - what would you do? And forget about going or being somewhere. That enjoyment only lasts so long. What is it you're going to do on a day-to-day basis? You'll probably be hard pressed to give an answer without deep thinking. And it's tough for me to come up with an answer just as much.

By the way, if you're on that hotel balcony, get to some place where travelers gather and have fun. Don't be too hard on yourself either. The thinking must be done but not necessarily tonight.

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  • Leon de Leeuw

Not making any choice is a choice. So is getting stuck in life. If you want to remain flexible, live minimalistically so you're able to stay on the move. If the thought of staying in the same place bothers you so much, don't settle. Keep developing skills, so you'll pick up and go when the time comes. There will be people holding you back or raining on your parade, like with most things. Keep in mind that people are reflecting their own insecurities upon you, it doesn't have anything to do with you. If you're confident with your life choices, even if they go against the grain, you'll attract some negativity from people around you. And a lot of positivity from people who are actually well-grounded in their own lives. But most often, people are wrapped up into themselves and are so afraid of insecurity that someone who seems to be confident and spreading their wings, raises a sense of fear of missing out on life.

If the uncomfortable feeling of staying in the same place gets so strong, you'll eventually have to go. You don't really have to, but who's to say you'll live contently if you stay? Keep in mind that people work everywhere, so you can find a job everywhere. Don't be missing out on life, because a life lived to the fullest is short but a live filled with regrets is very long.

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