Thursday, November 4, 2010

Growing Up:

As I grow older, and continue to 'work', it becomes more and more clear to me who is a 'do-er' and who is a 'say-er'. Those who become the 'say-ers' in life, aren't necessarily the most attractive, or smartest–but came to be in their position through blind determination and ambition. I read a piece on the New York Times last week about centenarians–that select group of people that lives to be 100 or more years old. It was interesting. Most of them said they didn't have much money when they were young(er), pushed all negatives out of their life, and usually maintained close family ties–and enjoyed life with a certain loved one by their side. Aging is so complex, and at one point you stop growing physically, and your body begins aging. Age creeps up on you. But as I get older (and I'm probably writing this because my birthday is on Saturday), I can't help but look back on my past, reflect, pause, and continue. For starters, I couldn't be more proud of where I am or how I arrived 'here'. And I do not mean the Netherlands when I say 'here'.

I have already accomplished so much, at such a young age.

My life has taken the 'design/architecture/writing/editing/publications' route. And I'm more than ok with that. But I also know that there has to be more to life than working 40 hours a week, Monday through Friday. And by moving to the Netherlands–or maybe it's just growing up–I now realize how privileged I am to live in a city with running water, proper sanitation of waste, rubbish removal, paved streets, etc. This appreciation has came to be through the paying of my income tax to the Netherlands. This applies to everyone in the Netherlands  But then again, the Netherlands is an almost completely artificial county, and everything (meaning the soil, trees, bushes, etc.) have all been touched by human hands. Almost all of the Netherlands could easily be a postcard. It is beautiful. And the price of maintaining this beauty is high. I get that. But I also get that, realizing that tomorrow can be better (as I recently heard Oprah say in her 2008 Stanford commencement address), is the only way up. Not that today isn't great, you see. But everything can always be better.

I think that social classes and social hierarchy are all completely made up and based off emotions and self-presentation. J.K Rowling recently said in an interview that the only thing that has really changed about her, since becoming a billionaire, is that she dresses better. And of course she's able to buy lots of stuff. But stuff doesn't make you happy, and it certainly doesn't make me happy. As Oprah also so gracefully says, 'Surround yourself with those who are going to lift you higher.' I think she's totally right with this one. But it also means respecting those who you surround yourself with. Maintaining your ground. But aspirations, and ambition, will get you everywhere. And so will a dream. You have to see it before it can happen.

As I grow up, I realize that while I make more money now than I ever have in my life... that I'm still relatively young, and that this (yearly) amount can only grow higher, as I continue to grow. Also I also heard Oprah say in her Stanford speech (And what's my deal with Oprah, by the way?), that when she was her early 20s she made $22,000 a year and thought to herself: 'Wow! $22,000. Imagine what I'll make when I'm 40–$40,000 a year!' And look where she is now. It is very interesting to study who and how some people rise, while others tend to fall, or falter.

I'm determined to rise, to never let myself forget how much I've accomplish, and to only continue to push on further toward my dream–which I develop and paint (in my head) each and every day. I will do great things. I feel I already am. And I am curious as to which great things I will do in the future, where my dreams will take me, and who it is that I will choose to surround myself with. The world is my canvas, and I want to make sure I paint every possible inch. Or maybe I'll leave some spaces on the canvas open–you just never know.