Rivalry between young people

On a cold wednesday evening my brother and I went for a few drinks in a bar in Austria. We were there on a one-week skiing trip with the family. The place was quite crowded. People from different ages gathered to watch a Champions League game. While the bartender was preparing our drinks, I looked around  to kill time. All of a sudden a guy, sitting on the other end of the bar, wanted to fight with me. For no reason. A perfect example of today’s society.

To this date I still can’t figure out what triggered this guy. Maybe it was the alcohol, maybe it just was alpha-male behavior. Either way, it was stupid and useless.

On the drive back home (approximately 12 hours) I found myself reflecting on this. If I’m really honest with myself I see a little bit of myself in that guy. Only when I consume alcohol, that is. The alcohol triggers something in my brain that makes me much more irritated and violent. I’m determined to change this stupid behavior.

Anyway, after that incident another thought came to mind. For the past few months I’ve been noticing this recurring ‘trend’. I just didn’t know what it actually was, until now: a rivalry between young people.

I can easily recall a dozen of situations where I didn’t feel at ease surrounded by other young people. As soon as you walk into a place (bar, coffee bar, store, concert, …) all eyes are on you. Who are you? What do you do here? What are you looking at? A negative feeling immediately hits you in the face. You have to prove yourself.

Nowadays young people are too busy trying to impress each other. To be honest: been there, done that… It’s a hard thing to admit. But it’s definitely a relief when you do so. You’ll feel better.

That feeling of ‘I need to prove myself when I walk in there‘ will slowly fade away. You’ll feel more comfortable. Ignore the negative vibes and send out positive vibes yourself. You’ll attract good people, and you’ll ban the people that use you to feel better themselves.

It’s not about being the toughest, coolest or most handsome. It’s not about rivalry between youngsters. There’s already too much hate in the world we live in. Why not enjoy the things we like, together?

The moments after a diagnosis

It was 5 pm. A cold wind was hitting my face while I was walking home. All of a sudden my phone rang. That moment the world stood still for a moment. My step-dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He died a year after the diagnosis.

The other day I was watching a Flemish movie called ‘Tot Altijd’. One of the main characters of the movie was diagnosed with MS (Multiple sclerosis). The way he told his friend about it was really interesting to me. He said that his world had been standing still ever since he had heard the diagnosis.

He was upset that everyone else’s world just kept going, like nothing bad had happened. 

He illustrated that thought by describing the moments after he got diagnosed. He was walking home and saw children playing, people smiling, … They all didn’t have a clue about the painful news he had just received. He felt invisible to the world. He wanted them to have compassion for what he was about to undergo.

I found this pretty interesting to think about, because things like that could happen to each one of us. How will we react to a life-changing diagnosis? How will we see the world? 


Looking back upon my time in Sweden

I clearly remember the moment I touched soil in Sweden. It was a moment of relief. I arrived in a foreign country. I was about to meet new people and experience a new culture.

I was only 20 years old. Six months earlier I decided to embark on this journey. The exchange programme I applied for would be a life-changing experience, an addition to my life. Something I would never forget, nor regret.

Looking back upon it I must admit that I’m having some mixed feelings about how I spent my time in Sweden. If only I could turn time back and leave again, I would definitely do things differently.

I was living in a house with 60 international students. Everyone had their own room (some had to share a room with someone else) and there was a shared bathroom and kitchen for every ten students. In the middle of the building there was a common room in which we would throw parties and just chill out.

And that’s exactly how we spent the majority of our time: partying and chilling. We would go out two or three times a week. We were drinking and having fun. Nothing could stop us. We we’re on top of the world.

After a few weeks I had made more friends than I ever could have imagined. We would do everything together. It felt like I knew these people for such a longer period of time. But in fact, we had only met a few weeks ago.

But where are they now? Of course it’s now easy to maintain friendships through Facebook or Skype. To be honest: I never talk to 90% of the friends I made in Sweden. I just can’t be bothered. I feel like the ‘friendship’ we established was just so hollow and superficial. We needed each other because we were in a different country without our true friends from home. We felt alone.

In other words I’ve spent the majority of my time in Sweden going out and drinking, which I partly regret. If I would do it all over again, I’d try and get in contact with locals more and try to establish genuine connections.

If I did that, I would be able to go back to Sweden to meet real friends. I’d feel warmly welcome. We could be on top of the world, and stay there.