Today on a walk i thought about what to do for the post for tomorrow. It entered my mind: slow. Slow is exactly how i feel my life is going. Slow and precise. Careful. Teeny tiny steps.
I do feel that at one point during this year 2021 my life will make a turn. But not right now. With the pandemic covering the world, all the measures taken by governments to stop the spreading of this virus, it is not the right time yet. Besides, i still have some money.
Moving slowly with my eyes on the world, paying attention to as many things i can let in. But also simply living my life.
I gave a dinner party on 12 January 2020 for my friends from the gardens and my neighbours. A couple of vegan salads, cooked potatoes, a baked Brie, a vegan pumpkin and nut roast, a roasted goose, a self made chicken liver pate, a vegan trifle and a chocolate mousse. A lovely evening.
At the end of January i had to move out of my house. I still feel sad about this, but at the same time i knew this was an important step for me to take. I do not know my future, but i am still full of hope and determination.
Early February 2020 i fell on the street completely through my own fault. I broke one front tooth, a corner tooth was bend inwards. Half of the front tooth flew out through the flesh above my mouth. Luckily only two stitches were needed. It was quite a clean wound, apparently. Since then i am way more careful while i walk on the streets or even inside house.
Four months i lived with friends. Still thankful they offered me some space to get used to living more temporary.
A warm summer in another room. The quite attractive house lord was a bit of a distraction. Happy i got out of this room with no attachments.
A month in a room close to the Vredestuin Noord. My own bathroom, balcony and small kitchen. A breakfast each day was included. Lovely place.
In the house of a Facebook friend with her husband and a little daughter. Fantastic. Watched all the Batman movies. And Firefly!
This place was not really to my liking. I left a week earlier.
The place i am currently in. Good house lord with whom i talk with about all sorts of things. In the West part of Rotterdam, close to the house i used to live in between 1985 and 1995. I decided in December to get more serious with my keto diet, after a year of being a bit more nonchalant with it. No more fries and croissants anymore on Saturday. Carbs only from vegetables and nuts. I am more serious measuring my glucose early in the morning and during the day. I hope to loose a bit of weight. Feeling good! No keto flu so far.
For the past few weeks i have been thinking about my last post of the year. This one. I want to write about sense of wonder. I have known this concept since my teens. Especially in reviews of science fiction novels i came across this. But in this post i want to write about my personal experience of sense of wonder.
The past year has been a roller coaster for me. From the first of February i have been living with other people. Friends first, than strangers who i paid to live in a room in their house. Some were friendly, some were absent, some i didn’t like that much. But in each house i learned something. This past year has been a valuable school for me.
Life is asking you to approach what is happening to you with a curiosity and a sense of wonder rather than a “why me” attitude. The story doesn’t matter — only what insights and learnings you have gained about yourself and life.
I am not sure how long this will last. I know my money is running out in about ten months or so. But i don’t worry about it too much. Sometimes it crosses my mind. But to me this is still a long period in which so many things can change.
I enjoy my walks. I enjoy being outside and looking up at the sky and seeing the plants and the trees. I enjoy watching the people walking around like they know what they are doing. I enjoy gardening. I enjoy being by myself. I enjoy being with other people. Sometimes, i must add 🙂
The world is full with the legacy of people who have lived their lives before us giving us advice over the lives worth living.
If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life, as an unfailing antidote against the boredom and disenchantments of later years, the sterile preoccupation with things that are artificial, the alienation from the sources of our strength.
I am trying to get back to this sense of wonder, this childlike view on the world, a view i have lost over the years. I am loosing all the things i have built up over the years. Consciously. I realize my friends may worry about me occasionally, but i do not worry. I know i will make it. I believe in myself. I have complete trust in myself. It is difficult. Of course. Isn’t anything that makes life worth living difficult?
This is my last post of the year 2020. I am giving myself a two weeks holiday, to spend my time with Christmas and New Year alone by myself. I am not unhappy about that. I simply accept that.
I do hope you, dear reader, will have some pleasant moments in these dark times.
Over the last few weeks this word was humming in my mind: outsider. That is what i feel like. Through my own actions. I sold my house, against the advice of my family and of my friends. I am living in rooms now and my money is getting less. All my decisions.
Why? Why am i doing this to myself? Why not trying to find a job, trying to make things work in this world, find a feeling of security in myself.
I have asked these questions before. I am still not sure of the answers. It does come done to that feeling i had in 2014, that hit with a sledgehammer telling me i need to work work work! Which is what i am doing today. Still responding. Still not letting go, still biting my teeth and trying to go through this, this moment of not knowing, feeling helpless and unsure of what to do next. Feeling like i am almost giving up. Almost.
I have driven myself outside of this Western European society i am living in, the Netherlands. I still walk through town, watching the people riding or walking by. I let the dogs sniff my hands if they want to. I smile when i see an opening in someone’s eyes. But i am an outsider.
There are many more people like me living outside of the main working body of this Dutch society. Homeless people, people without work, old people, young people with still so many possibilities in front of them.
But i have picked my path. I am sticking to it. I try to walk it with dignity, quiet, paying attention to what surrounds me. I still make mistakes. Sometimes i am not sure of what to do next. But this is my path, the way i walk steadily with conviction. Unsure, yes. But determined. Yes.
Today i went to the storage company where i rent 15 cubik meters to put away some more things: my pillow, some clothes i do not wear, my drawings things, my English Dutch dictionary, a book from Kate Raworth. Still room for those things. I went on my bike, but i did step of for a short time. I got a bit tired.
I found myself in this landscape with cars and a highway and stop signs. Lots of cars. Not my world really. Still, cars have their uses.
I was thinking about this post, the follow up to Stubborn and Patience. This word came up in my mind: Determination. Something which i feel even more than being stubborn and being patient. The wolf i drew a couple of weeks ago shows that to me. I can feel this growl inside of me. Grrrr. I don’t think people around me are very aware of this. I am on the whole quite nice, friendly, open. Not wolf like at all. But yes, i feel this inside me. Not giving up, not letting go, having my teeth in a piece and growling.
I do hope things will turn out good for me. I do hope i will not sleep on the streets, out in the open. I do hope i will find friends. And i do hope i will find someone to love and share my life with. But until then i want to live my life as i see fit. And actually, after that too!
My post yesterday came from the bottom of my heart. This one is from even deeper: patience.
I try to live in the moment as much as possible. This year to me seems like the longest year ever in my life. Which to me is a good thing. Mainly because i do move a lot. I have been living shorter in the rooms i have been renting. I started out in the beginning with living four months, then three months, then a month each time in a room. The one before this one was only a week. This does make it feel longer.
Patience. So important. I don’t always have it, i confess. And yes, at times i am inpatient. But on the whole i do keep up, i do trust myself to do the right thing at the right time. Hopefully!
I am stubborn. This is not something that comes out easily. I am not even sure friends realize i am this stubborn. They might, considering how i am living right now. Hopping from place to place. Staying cheerful usually. Not always of course.
I do want to lead my own life, face the consequences of my own actions. In this world. This stupid world.
I do not know what the future will bring to me. I have only my dreams, wishes, desires. And i have my life as it is right now. Hopping from room to room, talking with people about so many things: sex, the world, corona, gardening. I don’t know where this is headed to. I do wish though. Meeting people who i can genuinely call my friends. Living in a house with a garden and a large kitchen, in which i can cook meals for the people around me. Leading a life which is worth living. Talking to so many people all around the world about the current state, about how we want the world to be, want it to become. Living a life true to myself. Fighting.
Not this nasty little world with its nasty little rules and its nasty little people keeping me down and keeping me locked up inside. No!
Today, Tuesday 3 November, i made a walk through town. I walked past the garden Tuin op Hofbogen. I talked with Bob and Wendy about the plans of the municipality and other companies for the surrounding area of the garden and the old train tracks. I walked further with Wendy. We talked about loneliness, friendship. A good talk! I walked on. Through de Vredestuin where i saw people working. A short chat and a smile and laughter. On wards, past the woman with the nice dogs. To the butcher on the Meent, where i bought a sandwich with ham. On wards to the Laurens church, where i sat down and ate the sandwich. Through town to the Oude Binnenweg where i bought a Surinam sandwich. I watched the television there for a short time. Politics. To the Westersingel where i ate the sandwich. On to the van Oldenbarneveltstraat, back to the Hofplein and past the Grafisch Lyceum. A quick selfie.
I was thinking many different things. The talk with Wendy first was a good one. We talked about loneliness. I saif everybody is alone. It is just some people forget. We also talked about the help people ask for. Some justified, some not, in our opinion.
My housing situation. I move out of my current place this Thursday, November 5. I still haven’t found a place to stay. People are canceling or saying no. I try not to worry. Successfully! I still have money, so i could go to a more expensive place for the next week and look further.
And my work. This website, ellenpronk.com. Which i am not giving up. I am not sure where this determination comes from. But it is there. Growling.
Yesterday morning i went into the city with my house lady and her little daughter. So much fun. Dali is so cheerful, so open, smiling and taking it all in. The shops we wanted to go to were still closed, so we bought some coffee and a babyccino. In the bookstore Dali walked about and carried some books with her we had to get back in their proper places.
On our way back we went into the garden. I had suggested we should pick some flowers there. We walked through the muddy paths and got cosmos, zinnia, nasturtium, kale, chard, fennel and some other nice looking leaves. Look at the last two photos i published yesterday to see this magnificent flower bouquet.
We chatted. One description of me stuck with me: city nomad (stadsnomade in Dutch). This past year has been exactly that for me, wandering through the city, living in different homes, experiencing all different families, people. Walking through the city, looking at all the people shopping, sitting and feeding the birds, working in the garden, playing with other children, eating chips or a sandwich.
Thinking about the world. Thinking about what we do to ourselves. Thinking about the rules we set up to follow. Thinking about what we build, what we decide, the laws, the endless talking of the news and the government. On and on and on and on.
Inside, i feel a wolf growling and biting something it doesn’t want to let go of. A deep growl. A firm, unwavering determination to not let go.
Of course everybody is getting older. It is a fact of life. Time flows in one direction only. Going forward, all the time. I know i am approaching the end of the plateau phase of life. The phase in which nothing much seems to change.
I try to look good. As good as possible. Within the limitations i set for myself. Hardly any make-up. No botox. No cosmetic operations. No fillers. But yes, i do use the Ordinary serums. I do want to use a retinoid soon. I do try to loose a bit more weight. I do think i look alright. For being 56 years old.
But it is not the most important thing in the world. I know that. Your smile, the way you look at people, your openness, your interest in other people, all that is so much more important than the way you look.
Young people have a joy in their faces, in their eyes. Intoxicating. A thirst for the experience of living, an exuberance in experiencing life as it presents itself to you. A freshness of attitude.
Most young people have this anyway. I’m sad for the young people who do not feel like this.
I have been shy. Not knowing what to say. Quiet. Withdrawn. But also happy with myself. Content in living my life as it came. Happy to draw.
I had to learn to pay more attention to the people around me. This didn’t come naturally to me. Now i enjoy watching people. Saying hello, good day, good afternoon when i pass someone on the streets. I enjoy that.
Right now i live in a young family’s house. The sunshine in the house: a toddler girl of sixteen months old. So bright, happy, energetic. Not always, of course. But still, a smile to brighten your day.
The Julia Roberts smile from Pretty Woman was on my mind after a talk i had yesterday with my landlady. The Kylie Jenner images i posted yesterday were posted with the same thoughts. I look with a critical eye, but i also want to keep seeing the innocence in an image or movie. No matter what the thoughts are in the minds of the people making these images.