by Niall Doherty

1.

The best thing about spending the winter is in Amsterdam is being in Amsterdam. The city remains magical, just a bit colder and less leaves on the trees. Cycling around this evening the sky was all lit up pink and orange and reflected in old canal-side windows. I passed a girl walking and smiling to herself and I was grateful for whatever inspired that smile.

2.

There’s a little park along a canal by my place with a zip line and a couple of statues, one for the war, one for a dead writer. Rambled through there this eve on the way back from the ice rink and the tunnel through the Rijks. I volunteered to go first but the line hung low and I ended up with my ass in a black puddle. It was the best of times.

3.

I thought people at the gym were just anti-social but then there was this Colombian dude who said hello to everyone and they all said hello back. Took me a while to realize what he was doing different: he wasn’t waiting for permission to say hello, he just did it, no strings, no fear of getting blanked. I’ve taken his approach. Things are better now.

4.

€4k/year for my accountant has raised some eyebrows, but I don’t think it’s a significant expense at all. He’s handling everything you’d expect and acting as secretary for my company besides. More to the point, if I can’t afford to pay an accountant €4k/year at this stage, working full-time at my business, I seriously need to rethink being self-employed.

5.

Boundary issues become more pronounced around kids. Adults will often hold themselves back from taking advantage, but kids don’t know any better. They’ll trample all over you if you don’t stand firm. Hanging with my friend’s kids today at the beach, methinks I’ve improved in that area. Hard balance though, being fun and firm at the same time.

Winter in Amsterdam.

Winter in Amsterdam.

6.

Existential crisis averted today by taking a nap. It’s amazing how often a wrecked head or a dose of the sads comes down to something basic, like low blood sugar or lack of sleep or being surrounded by assholes. Hit the ground running when I awoke from the winks and all organized now for the week ahead.

7.

Cycling home through quiet streets, third time in four nights I’ve been for dinner with friends. Starting to feel a real sense of community here. It’s a little before midnight now, and warm for December. A hedgehog wobbles across my path outside Vondelpark. Two young men jam The Pink Panther theme in the tunnel through the Rijks.

8.

Was hoping I could focus exclusively on course-building for the next couple of months and get the thing launched, but looks like I’ll need to get back to freelancing in the new year and pad the savings a bit. Bills are mounting up and I haven’t earned much the past few weeks. Thinking this hiccup might turn out to be a very good thing.

9.

Tiredness happens on two levels: macro and micro. Micro is the day-to-day. You feel tired because you only got five hours sleep last night, but a solid sleep the next night and you’re back firing on all cylinders. Macro tired can’t be fixed so easily. What you need is a week or two away from everything, full decompression. Looking forward to that over Christmas.

10.

Rainy night under the widest bridge in town, writing letters to Iran, Uzbekistan, Saudi Arabia. It’s a charity thing, but I really just came to get out of the house and be social. Not sure what impact these letters have. One is to the king of Saudi. What are the chances he’ll actually read it, or that enough will be received to raise powerful eyebrows?

Not exactly beach weather.

Not exactly beach weather.

11.

A brave young man gets on stage at the Mezrab and talks about his brother’s tragic death just three weeks prior. And I reflect on how lucky I’ve been, more than half my life now since I’ve lost anyone close to me. My grandmother will be gone soon though, can’t hold on much longer. Didn’t think I’d see her again, but she may make it to Christmas.

12.

That point in a relationship where you reveal the first impressions you had of each other. She knew I was going to come talk to her that night, then puzzled as to why I didn’t ask for her number after we hit it off. Yeah, I messed that up, waited too long and then it was too late. But we’re here now in front of the fire. So it all worked out okay.

13.

On second thought, I’ll push through with the product-building in January. Gonna be cutting it tight with the finances but I’ll make it work somehow. Otherwise I won’t get this course launched until March at the earliest, and that’s just taking the piss. People are asking for it, willing to pay. I just need to knuckle down and do the work.

14.

Signed up for AFF a few months back, had two dates from it, nothing more. Forgot to cancel and accidentally renewed but called them up last week, closed the account and got a refund. Think I’ll stick to offline going forward. I attend a few events each week and push myself to go talk to whoever I find attractive. That’s been going well.

15.

I was eating 1.4 kilograms of peanut butter a week, had developed an insatiable craving for the stuff. A friend pointed out that it added up to almost 9,000 calories per week. Way too much. So I stopped buying peanuts, haven’t had any for ten days now. I want to be in control of my cravings, not be a slave to them.

Parkour! Part of the Amsterdam Light Festival.

Parkour! Part of the Amsterdam Light Festival.

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

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