by Niall Doherty

1.

Reading words from Malcolm X. He writes about that deep-rooted racism he grew up with, whites looking at him like he was a pet rather than a human being. They weren’t bad people necessarily; they just didn’t realize how fucked up their beliefs were. Makes me wonder: what fucked up beliefs of my own am I oblivious to? And what about you?

2.

The honeymoon might be coming to an end here in Amsterdam. Still love the city, but reality is starting to hit now that I’m registered as a resident, suddenly on the hook for €60 municipal tax and a €15 water charge. Paid rent yesterday too so I feel like I’m bleeding money all of a sudden. Life on the road was exhausting, but it was also a lot cheaper.

3.

My mastermind buddy gave me a much-needed kick up the ass last night on our monthly call. One simple question: “Is there any reason you need to be doing all this stuff at the same time?” Shit, how fast I forgot the lessons of Essentialism, somehow ended up juggling multiple projects and making solid progress in none. Time to refocus.

4.

Nervous for tonight. Too nervous, really. I sit and write some sense into myself. All I have to do is be present. The question isn’t whether she’s going to like me, it’s whether I’m going to like her. What interesting things will I learn about this girl? Is she just a pretty face or more than that? I finish writing, meditate for fifteen, then head out.

5.

Buzzing after a chat with Sam in a coffee and coconut shop that was built as a cinema ninety-five years ago. We talk about stories and storytelling and bicycles and Serbians and dating and meditation and curiosity and travel and dreams and how to memorize a deck of cards and that thing I’ll probably go do in 2017.

The last leaves of Autumn in Amsterdam.

The last leaves of Autumn in Amsterdam.

6.

Almost nine and I’ve got that limitless vibe going. I’m late but in no hurry, grab a coffee across the street and banter with an Indian dude there, then head towards the bike, striking conversations and evoking smiles en route. My tongue is loose, eyes nice and easy, self-doubt cast out. It’s a Friday night in Amsterdam, and I’m in the prime of my life.

7.

What sound does a rooster make? Ask an American and they’ll tell you cock-a-doodle-doo. Ask an Italian and they’ll tell you key-kiri-key. Ask a Dutchman and he’ll tell you coo-curu-coo. Ask a Korean and they’ll tell you jack-jack. Dogs and cows also make different noises depending on the language. I’m not making this shit up.

8.

Malcolm almost lost me in the middle, ranting on and on about the devilish white man. He turned a corner near the end though, seeing that it’s not the color of a man’s skin that makes him “devilish,” but the quality of his character. It’s fifty years now since his assassination. I wonder if he’d think we’d made much progress in race relations.

9.

Starting to devote bigger chunks of time to my most important work. As an experiment, I’ve pushed my first email check of the day until 5pm, and blocking Facebook from nine to six, will give it two weeks and see if anything falls apart. Feels good already, starting the day off proactive rather than reactive.

10.

A date of sorts at this bar atop the W, her suggestion. The lights are dim, the tea ain’t cheap, and I’m early. When she finally appears she looks like Cate Blanchett as the female lead in some classy Russian spy movie. She offers a handshake. We chat for a bit. I feel relaxed. She seems nervous. I pay and we leave together.

Dual monitor setup at the home office.

Dual monitor setup at the home office. But does it make me more productive?

11.

Webinar this eve, had been prepping for it for weeks, ended up being a lot more work than expected (mostly due to my pesky perfectionism). Time finally came and we ran into a tech issue, couldn’t resolve, had to abandon and apologize to the attendees. I think we handled it well though, didn’t get flustered, came up with a solid Plan B.

12.

I had a moment today. By myself, in my apartment, taking a break from the work stuff. I was in my fluffy puppy slippers, mug of green smoothie in hand, dancing to the sounds of Nancy Sinatra. And it struck me harder than usual, how lucky I am to be living this life, how much I enjoy it, and how I’ll look back on these days as some of my best.

13.

“Did you hear what’s happening in Paris?” This comes as I’m leaving Mezrab. I head home and look up the latest, lie awake for hours trying to forget about it. It’s not fear, but disappointment and frustration. How can we keep doing this to ourselves? How sick and miseducated do you have to be to consider this a righteous act? Fucking humans.

14.

There are only six of us in this little dance studio, five watching. The elderly Asian lady introduces herself and then commences the performance low on all fours growling like a dog. She moves very slowly like this for two minutes. I look over at J and he points a thumb towards the door. Not quietly enough, we stand and make our exit.

15.

A friend put me in touch with a literary agent in Ireland, and the agent asked me to send along a synopsis and chapter breakdown of The Cargo Ship Diaries. A long shot, but could end up getting the book printed and in book stores. Which is great, and yet I had a voice in my head today telling me to forget it, doesn’t matter that much, book’s not that good anyway.

Cheat day toastfest.

Cheat day toastfest.

In the comments below, let me know which of the above Momentos is your favorite. Which can you relate to?

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