Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

How are you?

This morning my mother asked how I am. I ducked answering that question and just confirmed that the sun is shining again. My girlfriend asked me the same question when she was back on the boat to the mainland. I said that I am not doing well. I sent her a picture of my face and she said that I look sad. Indeed I did and probably still do. There are many reasons for my sadness.

These reasons relate to my past and to my future but not so much to the present. Feeling the sun again on my face is enough to make the present feel good. It’s just that the “loose ends” relating to my past feel heavy on my mind. And it doesn’t help at all that I have still haven’t found a new role in my future. My writing is usually enough to feel useful but not always.

Yesterday evening my partner advised me to see a doctor as she is concerned about me. I will not do that as I know very well what is happening to me. I must be careful not to slip back to where I was in 2013. That fight will again take energy. Energy that I can find outside in the sun and wind. Energy that is drained by electronic communication and social media. Today I spent some time outside in the sun, wind and cold and that allowed me writing this blog.

It felt like a weird coincidence to find a Guardian article in today’s newsletter saying almost the same: “Feeling on the verge of a midlife crisis? The key to a happier you can be simple: switch off your mobile now and again, listen to music, head outdoors, or spend some time with friends”. The article refers to a recent UK wellbeing study that concluded that “middle-aged people are the least happy, have the lowest levels of life satisfaction and the highest levels of anxiety”.

Frankly, the Guardian graphic to the left is far less impressive than I would have assumed based on its accompanying article. 

Guardian: “The report (pdf) suggests that the multiplying responsibilities of middle age could be taking a toll on people, with many facing the twin pressures of looking after young children and ageing parents at the same time”.

The above explanation is far too simple in my view. 

I think the real reason for my dip, or anyone else in that middle-aged group, is a feeling of failure. Failure in raising your children into sensible adults, failure in marriage, failure in a new relationship, failure at work, failure as a breadwinner, failure as an adult in taking care of your parents, etc.

Failure is a complex emotion, especially as that feeling may just be in your own mind. Other people may still consider you being successful: new car, new child, new house, new job, new wife, etcetera. Perhaps that is why walking outside in the sun allows the wind to clean up your thoughts.

Lou Reed (1942-2013) – Perfect Day (1972) – artist, lyrics, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Oh, it’s such a perfect day

I’m glad I spent it with you

Oh, such a perfect day

You just keep me hanging on

You just keep me hanging on

Just a perfect day

Problems all left alone

Weekenders on our own

It’s such fun

Just a perfect day

You made me forget myself

I thought I was someone else

Someone good


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