by Niall Doherty


You know what’s scary for me now? What’s scary is that I’m all out of excuses. The past few years I could blame all that overland travel for getting in the way of big business success. Now I look ahead at a long and empty stretch of work days and weeks and months, time like bricks there for me to build.


Cycling south over the Halvemaansbrug, sky dark and air crisp, eyes dazzled by the Munt, beyond where Rembrandt once lived. But it’s not just the view that has me delighted in the moment. There’s also everything that came before. Having battled and defeated Resistance several times since sunrise, I feel courageous, alive.


So I’m caving in tonight. Tomorrow’s a workday but I’ve invited her to sleep over. I felt lonely and frustrated last weekend, lacking intimacy, while at the same time resisting this wonderful woman. I thought maybe I could neglect that side of my life for several months and focus entirely on work, but that just makes me miserable. Time for a change.


Now. After just four hours of sleep last night, would I still get up and clock in and do what needed to be done? Well, I wasn’t at my absolute best, but I got out of bed at 6:30 as usual and stuck to my schedule pretty good all through the day. I did my exercise, meditation, writing, client work. It was a good day, the kind dreams are made of.


My friend is late and I opt to enjoy the wait, first bantering with a few strangers then riding my bike like a whisper down along the Brouwersgracht. There’s a drawbridge over my shoulder and a little Asian girl cycling past all cute with streamers and pink shoes. In my head Buddy Holly sings about true love and rollercoasters.

Friday night storytelling at Mezrab.

Friday night story time at Mezrab.


I like to think that I’ll be selfish for just a few years more, then I’ll get serious about finding a partner. But maybe this selfishness never goes away. Maybe I’m not cut out for long-term monogamy. Maybe I’m not hard-wired that way. Though part of me certainly wishes I was. Sometimes I envy the guy who commits in his twenties and never wavers.


Battling the dragon four times a day. First there’s exercise, twenty minutes first thing. Easier not to do it. Then there’s writing. At least an hour after breakfast. Easier not to do it. Then there’s client work after lunch. Easier not to do it. Then in the evening there’s approaching at least one attractive woman and giving her a genuine compliment. Easier not to do it.


There are less people in the park these mornings. The leaves have begun to turn and the sky is that bit darker at 7am. I wonder if I’ll keep coming when it gets really cold. We only have so much willpower. It’s not an infinite resource. But I like these early mornings, alone on the grass, doing my stretches, watching the birds.


On the way to the park this morning, had to stop and admire the sky for a minute as I crossed the Singelgracht. It was a bruised horizon, reflected on the canal, with a slice of moonlight crowning it all. I stood and watched my breath disappear into the scene, until some dude on rollerblades zipped past me, wearing a bright green thong, a tight vest, and a very serious look upon his face.


I’ve written nine blog posts in the past two days. Done and dusted, just need videos for them now. By the end of the month I should be finished all my big freelance projects, can then focus on my own stuff full-time, writing articles and creating products that will help a lot of people. Trusting that the money will take care of itself. This path feels right.




I sit down with five women at the Waterkant and chat for a few minutes, get them all laughing, come away with the cute Bulgarian as a new friend on Facebook. Turning back to the guys, they’re somewhat in awe, but they didn’t see me flame out twenty minutes prior with a hot Brazilian. Plus, Facebook friends doesn’t mean shit.


First trip to Amsterdam-Noord, stepping off the free ferry alongside an ancient submarine and newlyweds posing beneath a bungee crane. It’s an old warehouse district, now home to quirky cafes and Europe’s biggest flea market.  We opt not to use our tech and head in a direction we assume to be north, looking for a sunflower maze.


Caught in two minds today. I didn’t venture outside, didn’t have any human interaction. Part of me wants to share these down days with someone, so I’m not alone on the couch watching TV shows everyone else saw years ago. But at the same time I enjoy the solitude, feel like I need the occasional day like this.


On the call with Caroline, and she tells me how to hold a butterfly. Close your fist too tight and you crush it. Leave your palm open and it flies away. The trick is to cup it in two hands, not too tight, not too loose. For the most part, I’ve gotten where I am by crushing butterflies. But what got me this far won’t take me further.


On a call with Andrew, helping me get more clarity on this limiting belief. I pride myself on the ability to make a plan and see it through. But that very tendency can often hold me back. I’ll have a fixed idea in my mind about how something should unfold, and that causes me to resist surprises, even pleasant ones. How to overcome this? Make a plan and see it through? Ah, fuck.

Exploring Amsterdam-Noord.

Exploring Amsterdam-Noord.

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

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