I guess it’s that time of the year where I have to write a post about new years’ resolutions and promise to post more often, and write more, and take my camera with me more than once a month… But to be honest, there is really just one thing I want to change this year, everything else is going quite well. This¬†one problem – and it’s more than time to get rid off that – is my habit of feeling extremely happy in my comfort zone and falling into routines where there seems to be no¬†escape from.
Don’t get me wrong – I love routines. I love my morning routine, and my daily breakfast in bed (yes, studying on a campus makes it possible!), hours spent at the library (I have this one spot and I make damn sure no one takes it from me), my afternoons in the gym or in the park, movie nights and the occasional glass wine in that one¬†bar around the corner we always go to. Every one or two weekends I cycle to the centre, walk around the canals, see what’s new in the stores (and always ending up with nothing more than tea from Marks & Spencer). Once a month I might even make it to a museum, usually FOAM or Huis Marseille, it seems kind of obligatory living in a city like Amsterdam. This is all pretty great and I couldn’t imagine a better city than Amsterdam to live these routines. But this is the problem: my comfort zone is too good, too comfortable to leave.
I have been planning to go and explore Antwerp since the beginning of last year. Last autumn I bought a museum card to go and visit museums more than once a month and so far I have used it once. I spent one (!) weekend outside my campus last semester, and that although D√ľsseldorf is barely more than 2 hours away from Amsterdam, and so are Brussels and Antwerp, and Rotterdam and The Hague and Maastricht, and Paris isn’t a lot further. I study in one of the best located cities in the world and yet, every Saturday morning I cross the street and walk to the library which is opposite our student housings.
I guess it’s obvious where I’m trying to go here. This new year I will leave my comfort zone (aka. Amsterdam Oost). Literally – it’s about time I finally visit Antwerp and Rotterdam, and cycle along the beach¬†and go camping somewhere by the North Sea. I will give my best to break out of my routines and do things differently. Spend a whole Saturday laying in bed. Go¬†for a run in a neighbourhood I’ve never been to. Have drinks in a¬†bar on the other side of the city. Visit a museum which doesn’t exhibit black and white photography but Dutch landscape paintings. Enjoy the first spring days cycling along the Markermeer and not just¬†in the park next to our campus, which I know¬†by heart, every single pathway.
It’s so easy to fall into routines, to get used to doing the same things over and over again, because they are just good enough to keep going without any problems. It’s so easy to look back on the past weeks and months and realise you have done nothing but the same nice stuff, every day, every week. The most difficult part, I guess, is getting started. It’s not that I haven’t made¬†those plans of weekend trips and concerts – ¬†I did think about it, wishing not to spend another weekend on campus, another day with the same routine. But taking the first step and just starting to actually do those things is a whole different level. So for this year¬†my new years’ resolution is not to blog more, to work out more, read more…It’s to leave my comfort zone and routines behind and do things differently, every now and then. Try out new places, do things in a different order. Study in a different place or just don’t do anything although I feel like I should. I’m pretty sure everything else will follow.
(Oh and btw, blogging more is of course¬†also on my list of stuff I want to do this year. So let’s see where this is going… Maybe less photos and more of these texts. Or maybe more iPhone photos to keep you updated about my daily life. Or maybe, I’ll finally pull myself together and finish that Amsterdam Guide that is overdue anyways… We’ll see.)