Stream of Consciousness – August 2020 : System Failure

Aaand I missed my deadline for July. Frankly I didn’t feel any willingness to write about this month regarding things that happened. Losing my grandmother in July took quite a toll on the family, having to spend our “holidays” in a locked-down country killing almost all the plans we made and going through one of the hottest summer in Belgium wasn’t quite what I had in mind. This year still keeps on giving.

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about how I see a lot of things about productivity. This obsession about productivity is one of the main reason I stopped publishing my newsletter and reading self-development books. Most of those things are oriented toward work productivity and it’s mind-bogging to me. I’ve always worked fast, not perfectly, hence I’m able to accomplish a lot of things in a very short timeframe. But not with a 98% precision, it’s something I was never able to do and having a hyperactive mind killed any obsession for details I could have, hence why I oriented my whole career toward jobs that allowed me to work on a bigger picture, not on obsessive detail work.

Lately I feel some kind of disconnection with this whole productivity thingy. A lot of us are working 35-40h a week, but when I speak to everyone around me, except manual workers, the real “work time” is half this. Half our time is occupied with meetings, endless talks, emailing, wandering on the Web, … Hence why I think this whole constant productivity is so overrated. We’re working more than enough, we shouldn’t aim to work more, but really aim to work the time needed to accomplish our tasks, just that. Out with this talk about being “pro-active”, “going over the hedge”, … most of the companies that ask that from their employees will be the same that frown upon you when you will dare to ask for a raise.

We are all different, and we’re not working at the same pace, schedules should be able to fluctuate to accomodate that, the same as freelancer have to price the value they bring to a project, not the personal time it requires from them.

Things I found interesting lately:

  • Stoopinbox: I love newsletters and the value they bring, but I don’t like seeing them clutter my inbox. Stoopinbox helps you gather all your newsletters in one place, like a Pocket for newsletters!
  • Giving up user cookies for content-targeted ads: Finally an interesting proposal that merge the need for privacy and the business needs <3
  • How to cope with this “new normal” as a business (French): An interesting view on how business can adapt with the consequences of the corona crisis
  • The Reasons I Left Facebook: I couldn’t agree more with this. I deactivated my Facebook profile two months ago, and decided to leave my Twitter account too. People have become way too much tribalist on those networks and it was doing nothing good except increase my stress level. I’m still on Instagram as far as social medias go (because I love diving into beautiful pictures) and focusing on messaging apps for one to one connection. And this blog for the one-to-many.

Stream of Consciousness – June 2020 : Comparative Nostalgia

Feeling a bit lost as June ended on a family disaster with the death of my beloved maternal grand-mother. This woman supported me in every step of my life and had quite her load of hardships in her life. She was so brave, kind, funny while also having an unique strength of character that I never saw elsewhere. Losing here, while it was something we all expected to happen sooner or later as she had just reached her 90’s in January, was quite a blow to all of my family and myself included.

In a year that already feel so strange, it seems things are getting harder and harder and I find it mentally exhausting. It looks like every week brings its deal of hardships and bad news and it’s really hard to stay sane and cope with it.

Time keeps on passing by at fast speed and I’m feeling quite overwhelmed by it and losing control of myself from time to time. I realized lately that my mind was often living in a state of what I called “comparative nostalgia”, longing for how I was in the past, how things were much simpler perhaps, or missing things from it. My mind keeps on going back to the past and I have to put a lot of efforts into focusing on the present time. This is something I hope to be able to work with my psychologist and fix.

I realized also that I was still looking for / hoping for an approbation from people I didn’t really care about anymore. “Famous” online Belgian figures, old friends, people that hurt me but were “influent”… I realized that often I wasn’t saying exactly what I thought as I was afraid that it might have an impact on how they perceived me. I realized that was quite a foolish way to think at 32 years old now… I started then to clean my online life of those figures as they were only relevant to my past and didn’t have any impact on my actual life. It’s funny how we can still be afraid of our teenage nightmares even years later.

I’m feeling nervous and angry a lot of the time. By digging, I discovered that this angriness and nervousness started a bit before my burn out and hasn’t left me since. I’m unable to compose with stupid thoughts or acts and explode or start to get agressive really quickly. It’s not something I like and I really don’t like the way it makes me act but I don’t know how to cope and deal with this. But it feels like the whole world is slowly getting dumber and dumber and it makes me loose my sanity slowly.

I’m starting to feel quite lost at work as it looks like I have to explain my position every two weeks (when old friends are still convinced I’m a graphic designer and I’m just exhausted to explain it all over again) and have to deal with a lot of both incomprehensions and office politics. I’m trying the best I can to be the voice of the customer and try to bring back topics that are important for them, but it looks always crushed with false pretenses and blatantly wrong explanations. When my only wish is to be able to do my work and invest my energy into the work and work as a whole team, it looks more and more as if a lot of people are only playing solo and I can’t do anything about it. And it’s really making me quite sad.

Lately we had to deal with a lot of incompetency, it looks as if it’s harder and harder to find competent people in the world and it’s as if the few that are left are not enough to make people realize how crazy it all starts to look. Time to realize things keep getting longer and longer and when they are done they are done so badly that it would make me ashamed of my work. I try the best I can to do my work as good as I can, but a lot of time I’m wondering if it’s even worth it as it’ll be crushed by anyone with a bit more of politics but false pretenses, or by anyone that can abuse someone with no technical background.

Not the brightest or happier stream of consciousness, but this is how things are at the moment… I will just hope for the best and hope that hardships will stop but it doesn’t look as if it will lately. At least I can escape a bit in books and games, but it’s beginning to get harder and harder to breath in a world like this.

Stream of Consciousness – May 2020 : Time Warp

Quarantine made the whole concept of time really hard to follow… The end of this quarantine period was really hard for me as I missed friends and family deeply, more than I thought I would. This led to an increase of depression and sleepiness while my body somatized the whole period. I really hope we won’t have to live through such a strange time again.

On the side, working remotely helped me to gain an helpful distanciation with some work related stress and tensions and helped me to discuss things and projects in a clearer way, away from a lot of office politics and behaviors. While work has some down side, I’m lucky to work for a company that stayed strong during the quarantine and let us work the best we could. I was astonished of some of the progress we were able to make and how I was able to still connect with colleagues even remotely.

I really hope we well all take a lot of learnings from this period and evolve toward a better work-life balance through the help of remote work. Which will also mark the end of some kind of “surveillance manager”.

End of May was also the time to move out to a new flat with my companion. I couldn’t handle the neighborhood we were living in before, feeling unsafe, constantly in noise and frankly quite dirty. We were able to find a new flat in a really nice neighborhood where for the first time in my life I think I might be able to actually appreciate the Parisian life (look ma’, I’ll become a baguette influencer !).

It was also the time to see some friends back and I think I was this close to burst in tears when I saw my first friend after so many months. For someone who believed I would be able to live with not much social contacts, I was so wrong.

Seeing everyone trying to cope with this traumatizing period, I don’t think we’ll see a “new world” emerge. We’re all deeply traumatized, missing a lot of relationships, activities we loved, … This isn’t the time for global consciousness awakening, but more a time to heal our wounds and find back how much we crave human relationships.

This quarantine was quite a time to realize how a lot of people around me were living in a real bubble, thinking the whole world was suddenly gaining an eco-consciousness and becoming anti-growth. Most of the people don’t have a single thought about this neither do they grasp the whole growth concept. They miss their friends, sharing drinks, going out, going to the theater, buying something that sparks a little of pleasure.

This time made me realize how online platforms were riddled by activists living in their bubble thinking the whole world was acting as they do. The time after quarantine might prove to be quite hard for those people.

My learnings for this month were quite important :

  • Cherish my friends and family as they bring me so much joy and energy
  • Learn to let go of some relationships that don’t bring anything anymore and are riddled with tensions
  • Be thankful for the work I have, the chance I have to be able to work remotely and in a good environment
  • Take some distance from social networks and their biased views of the world
  • Reach out to people that seems interesting and propose to meet them in real life, create new connections
  • Create a bubble of calm in a noisy world

Stream of Consciousness – April 2020 : Into the unknown

Looks like Covid-19 stopped the world for more than a month. Things have been quite hard as every day started to look the same to me. I must admit I didn’t saw April come and go but also had the feeling it lasted for an eternity. I won’t lie saying this has been and is always really hard for multiple reasons.

Being locked-down at home felt at first like a chance. I always wanted to work remotely to have more control off my life, this was my chance. While some people are against full-remote work, this is something I aim for and wish I could do one day. But the locked-down also removed me from friends and family (except my boyfriend and my best friend with whom I currently live). While I always pictured myself as a “not too social-needy person”, I realized I was totally wrong about this part of myself. While I don’t handle well groups of people I need to see people, more often than I could admit. I missed my friends and family, and still miss them greatly as the post lock-down isn’t exactly the end of this nightmare.

Work has been quite challenging too, as I just went through a big management change just before the lock-down happened and suddenly we had to handle a lot of changes. I have troubles picturing my exact position in the company and how to be an efficient voice of the customer in the current power play. Power plays are something I never handled well and that always pissed me off as I always pictured a company as a group of people working together toward the same goal. Unfortunately, after 10 years of work, I must admit this is an utopia as power plays are more the core of almost any company I saw than its product(s). It makes me sad and also a bit lost about what I could possibly do and how to evolve on the professional side.

Regarding my daily routine, things went clearly sideways. While I tried to maintain it at the beginning of the lockdown, slowly things started to go wrong. I got sick, then sick again, then depressed, … and lost almost all my routine. As days started to look all the same, keeping a routine made them more and more alike and I couldn’t handle the mental toll. Getting back on track won’t be easy, but I already did it. I just focus on my global health at the moment as my body decided to somatize what my brain couldn’t handle on the conscious level apparently.

On top of the lockdown, several friends had to go through really hard times in life, and still are going through. While living in France and not anymore in Belgium, I knew I would have hard times being there for them when those things hit, but still this lockdown made me feel really powerless and useless toward them except by taking news through messages or phone calls. I wish I could do more, I hope things won’t get any worse for them and I hope we’ll have the chance to see each of us again soon.

On the contrary, I had the chance to exchange again with people I thought I lost through the years. I had long phone calls, deep exchanges through Instagram, learned a lot about a lot of people. On the contrary, people I thought the closest to me felt really distant and almost uninterested. This started a lot of questions about my social circles and how I handle my time and with whom I handle it.

Same way I deleted my Facebook account (not Messenger) because I couldn’t handle some posts from my friends and family which were, to say the less, utterly stupid. While everyone is entitled to their opinion, I don’t think we should know everything that our friends and family think about and Facebook made me more and more distant to some people. I must admit I don’t miss it at all.

The world post-lockdown is quite frightening. I’m lucky to be able to work remotely for at least another month, as I’m totally frightened at the idea of taking any public transport. I’m trying the best I can to handle this fear and be objective about it, but it took roots deep inside my mind and I’m really terrified about this. As we’re supposed to go back to Belgium in the middle of June, I have no idea how I would handle this.

Seeing people all around us with masks on outside is also a saddening vision. It’s really hard to keep things objective in my mind and to accept that it won’t last but will be there for some time, but that this isn’t all our futur. I miss seeing people without fearing contamination, I miss the innocence we had and never realized how precious it was.

I hope this nightmare will end soon. I hope we’ll have the chance to meet again soon. I hope we’ll recover some of our innocence. I’m not looking forward to “the world after”, I’m just wishing for some bits of “the world before” back. See you soon. Love.

Stream of Consciousness – March 2020 : Strange Times Indeed

Since the 17th of March, we’re all quarantined. What a time to be alive, what a strange year it already is. While I wanted to be able to work a bit more from home, I must admit this went a bit overboard even for my taste. But we have to deal with what’s happening a day at a time.

First a check on my state of mind. Being more of an introvert, I must admit this quarantine doesn’t affect me as much as other people. I’m able to dedicate a bit more time to myself, and live according to my own rhythm. This made me realize that even like this my days keeps on going at full speed and that I didn’t have the time to accomplish all the things that I wanted to, so I lowered a bit my expectations.

A bit before the quarantine I decided to tackle my To-Read list, starting from the bottom. I was able to lend some books from the library and started to read a lot of different things: Georges Bernanos, Nathan Filer, Anne Frank, Paolo Giordano. I’m currently in the middle of a very interesting book about Freud from Michel Onfray. While I must say I wasn’t very affectionate about Freud before reading it, this book only confirm a lot of what I was thinking.

I’m following two online cursus, one teaching me how to draw (again) (and I’m a bit behind this one as you can see below), the other one about being a life coach. While I don’t know if this is a path I want to take, I must admit this one force me to go deep inside my mind and force some questions about myself I was reluctant to ask. Still I’m at 25% of the cursus, so there’s quite a path ahead of me for the time going.

A drawing of what we can see outside of our balcony from our street

Regarding work a lot of things changed in the last weeks. Some bad but a lot of things changed for a better. I’m looking forward the coming months and how things are going to evolve. As usual I’m a bit frustrated about how slow things are moving, but I realized this was something I had to work on for myself.

Last week, I also finally decided to leave Facebook. While I didn’t want to make a lot of noise about this decision, I must say that it was necessary. In the times we’re living, a lot of people are frightened and tend to post a lot of stupid things because of their fear. Facebook made me more and more realize what set me apart from some friends than what made us closer. The more I stayed there, the more I realized how different we were and a lot of their actions made me quite angry because of them being totally biased and illogical. I decided to remove my account to avoid seeing all of this, and can’t draw conclusions yet but I must admit I way more calm.

Since the beginning of the quarantine, I also started posting some cards from a set called “So…” on Instagram. Those cards ask interesting questions about ourselves, and it allowed me to open myself a bit more while also connecting with a lot of people I wasn’t talking enough to for several times. This made me discover a lot of interesting sides of those people and the exchange we have almost everyday are really warming my heart.

A picture of the set of cards with the Daily Stoic book from Ryan Holiday

During this quarantine, I also realized how a lot of us tend to dig deep into our biases, thinking “this is it, this is the moment” our paradigm will change. I saw a lot of people thinking that this was the collapsing point of our civilization, some others thinking it was the end of times, … While I think we might learn some lessons from this, I’m afraid we will simply quickly go back to how things were before with small improvements. We’re after all creatures of habits, willingly or not.

Things I think we should see after the quarantine:

  • A bit more scrutiny about some expenses of our states. And more spendings on health care and prevention. After all 9/11 increased expenses on security, same path should be followed.;
  • More laws and regulations about trading and perhaps a bit more scrutiny about how each country handles health;
  • Some companies will refocus on producing things locally. China will still remain a big part of the production chain for big companies I think, but smaller ones will tend to go more local. This will be safer for them while also being a good marketing argument;
  • For a lot of us, we should integrate a bit more remote in our working lives. For those dreaming of a full remote work, I’m afraid this isn’t it, this can be observed by the way a lof of companies handle the remote at the moment, overloading their employees with video-meetings and calls. However at the end of our quarantine it would be our duty to ask for more rework. We now have a working proof of how possible remote work is, this is our card to play;
  • While I think this could be a momentum for ecologist political groups, I’m afraid more people will take the far right path. People are frightened and at the beginning of the pandemic we saw a lot of people acting in a racist way toward asian people, I’m afraid this will be reflected in the next elections;
  • Unfortunately we will see a lot of job losses. A lot of companies won’t survive this crisis. For a lot of startups, I think this is for the best, as unfortunately a lot fo them are constructed on a pure bullshit foundation, this is the chance for a clean slate and a demonstration of the survival of the fittest. However I’m more worried about all my freelance friends working with companies which are a bit lost about remote work and stopped contracts. I just hope they will survive those strange times. I started mailing some small shops and sending money for “futur orders after the quarantine“, hoping this will help them get through.

I don’t know exactly when this will end, I hope this will be over by the beginning of June but still, a lot of things are still unknown at the moment. While I’m not having a hard time, I must say that I miss seeing a lot of my friends and my family. And I’m looking forward to seeing them again once this is all over.

In the meantime, take care of yourselves, be patient, be strong, we’ll get through this. Sending all my positive thoughts and vibes to all of you.

Stream of Consciousness – February 2020 : Lack of passion & coping mechanisms

We’re already one month in 2020, time fly incredibly fast… So it’s time for another of those stream as promised. There are a lot of things on my mind lately, mainly about my professional life, work and what we expect exactly from it and what it evokes for me.

For most of my life I’ve been lost regarding my professional life, unsure about what I wanted to do exactly, jumping from job to job (which I still consider normal) and rethinking my career as I was seeing things more interesting in one domain or the other. This helped me build a career I’m kinda proud of for the moment and allowed me to grow and learn a lot.

However, this career has never been built on a deep and real passion. Having the chance to encounter a lot of passionate people, people that have a lot of goals, passions, rules, … this is something that I always truly missed. I sometimes have the feeling that I’m always waiting for some “true calling” to appear sometime in my life, but it doesn’t and I don’t think it will. This always left me feeling like I was missing a piece, like I was somehow empty regarding a lot of other people.

But I have a lot of things I like and I’m interested in. I read a lot, write (wish I took more time for this one), play games, learn philosophy and psychology, listen to quite a lot of different music, started weight training and fitness, travel, draw a bit, … And sure, perhaps I don’t have “one” passion but multiple interest but I can’t keep thinking that in those multiple interests I don’t really dwelve deep into. I’m often feeling I’m surfacing a lot of things as I don’t have a deep will to go in things deeper. I even have quite a track record of things I gave up upon (hello learning guitar, music, drawing lessons, swimming lessons, rock climbing, …).

Those last weeks I’ve started a training in Life Coaching. Mostly for me. This training allows me to keep on working on myself, learn things and keep on searching things, digg a little more. I’ve realized there’s still quite a way ahead of me, things to learn, try, test and see. But still this lack of passion really makes me feel like I’m missing some fuel that could help me pursue things in a good way.

This also blocks me to understand the behavior of a lot of people. Like I don’t get at all sports / music / whatever aficionados, the way they can defend something they like against all odds or even against all logical sense. Even when I like an artist, I can criticize a lot of things about them, but I love seeing how some people react like they are personally attacked when you express the slightest thing against their passion. This is something I’m really missing and wish I had.

The last two weeks I’ve been quite hard, being sick and exhausted and having to face a lot of problems at work, it didn’t help this sense of helplessness. I’m happy to have taken big steps toward a more healthy life, as I had to cope with a constant fatigue for a long time, those steps really help me regain a lot of energy. Therefore, getting sick last week and having to deal again with such an enormous fatigue took me quite aback and depressed me a bit.

On top of that, things got hectic at work because of several communication problems. While I’m not the most skilled in the soft skills area (mostly I’m a loud mouth about a lot of things), I’m often surprised about how the biggest problems I had in my career where always because of people having serious trouble to communicate and express things. Not even “say things clearly”, just express them. As I often feel the need to speak out, often in a rash way, I really have troubles understanding people that are afraid to speak and when I have to work with such personality, problems are quick to arise. Still wondering how you can find a common ground with someone who doesn’t dare to speak, but it’s something I’ll have to discover later I think.

I also realized several coping mechanisms I had when I was feeling sad / depressed / anxious / nervous and started working on them. First I quickly solved the craving toward cigarettes when I have a drink, thanks to hypnosis. One session and it was gone. Next is my tendency toward compulsive buying. I like gadgets, I love games and books, but sometimes I buy way too much things because I’m feeling bad more than because I really want them. This got quite out of hands as my “to-read” “to-play” piles keep on growing while I feel that time is always slipping through my fingers and that my week-ends are always too short (thanks god I forced myself to finish my endless “movies to watch” list). It’s the next thing I have to work on.

There’s still a lot of things on my mind, but I’m having trouble to put things in words exactly at the moment, so I guess it will go in another stream 🙂 And for my fellow readers, nice to see you here, I hope you’re having a good day, thanks for spending some time reading my mind 🙏🏻

Stream of Consciousness – January 2020

As promised, here is the stream for January, or a least some mind emptying as February is starting. I realized the work I have done through exploring my psyche through hypnosis by confronting past pains and scars and realizing that they didn’t hurt me as much as they did before. Doing the gratitude exercise for my birthday also helped me quite a lot envisioning things through another lens, calmer, quieter.

I’ve kept my promise of journaling every day, keeping track of my mood, this helped me to realize that I’m feeling in fact quite good (neutral good) 90% of my days, but bad days tend to taint the whole week once they happen. Keeping track of my moods and journaling helps me reframing each day to what it is only : 24 contained hours. Writing down 3 things I’m grateful for each night also helped me see things on a brighter side.

On difficult things, I took the time to express gratitude towards the persons and events that hurt me in the past, allowing me to reframe those past events through a more positive lens which helps me to move on. By reading The Velvet Rage, I realized some wounds I collected around the way growing gay and the depth of the feeling of loneliness I had growing up. While it’s not a problem, this feeling left a scar in my inner child and is something I’m working on to heal slowly.

I started listening to more podcasts (finally), learning a lot of things. At the moment some of my favorites are: Daily Stoic, The Art of Manliness, Shrink for the Shy Guy, Meditation Minis, The Knowledge Project, Myths and Legends, … I’m listening them mostly while I’m working out, sometimes to relax and slowly a bit more at work when I need less focus than usual. I’m also slowly gathering ideas to develop one of my own with a friend, I’ll work on that and perhaps you’ll hear more in the coming months. I just discovered a great Youtube channel full of meditations and hypnosis sessions !

I realized I was searching a lot of validations from others in the past years, and it cost me a lot on my mental health. Slowly I’m allowing myself to be more independent and to see things in another way.

I realized that most of the problems I had with some people or groups where mostly due to problems I had about how I was seeing myself, and that by allowing myself to accept those issues, and to not worry about what people I don’t care about could think about me, I could grow and feel better about myself. There’s still quite a path to walk, but I’m realizing things bit by bit and it’s allowing me to grow at my pace.

I started a drawing lesson on Udemy, while I’m not constant in my practice, it’s something I aim to develop more as I need something more creative in my life. Perhaps I’ll come back to writing things, but at the moment I don’t have a clear inspiration to pursue. I hope I will be able to show you my drawing progress in the coming months.

I finished the 21 Day Mindset Reset created by Carla White, which allowed me to do quite a lot of progress about what I want, expect, and where I’m coming from. Knowing where I want to go for the next years is my main goal for this year, so it will be a focus for the next streams I think and it’s something I’m working a lot on.

I realized I was quite nostalgic of having missed a lot of things in my youth, but I think it’s something we all have to live with. I don’t feel the need to catch on, it’s more a kind of “I wish I had more enjoyed those times when I had the chance“, and also “I wish I hadn’t based my decisions on my relationships” (sorry dad you were right).

I’m happy of what I have accomplished, I just realized that I could have taken an easier path with a hell less of problems and heartaches to reach this point in life. But those problems and pains made me who I am, so there was something to gain, and I hope that one day I’ll reach a part of the path where those feelings of regrets and pain will be gone 🙂

The more I grow old, the more time tend to speed up and I must admit it’s quite frightening… Weeks feel long but months pass at the speed of sound, I’m sometimes really afraid about how much time has already passed and how fast it is going. I wish I had more time to enjoy the people around me, to learn and grow, to feel more at ease, to concentrate on the things I want to grow but time seems to go faster and faster slipping through my fingers (I’m even having nightmares about this to say the least).

Until next month, I wish you all the best, I’m honored you’re taking some of your time to read this. And if you want to exchange, don’t hesitate to reach out 🙏🏻

32 Gratitudes

Today I’m 32 years old, looking backward at that strange teenage boy with no willingness to live I’d never have thought I’d reach that age and in the same time I’m so glad to have. Therefore it was important for me to take the time to express my gratitude about my life at this stage.

  1. I have a wonderful companion, supporting me and pushing me to evolve and improve every day.
  2. I have a wonderful close family, even if I’m living in another country now, I know they are always supportive and we can always talk.
  3. I have good relationships with both my parents, something I thought I’d not have anymore when I came out at 16 years old and that evolved greatly over the years.
  4. I’m grateful for the friends I have in Belgium, who supported me in my idea to move out from the country and whom I can see every time I come back as if it was yesterday. And also for this friend who also moved to Paris and often forces me out of my confort zone.
  5. I’m so happy to have found rich, interesting and welcoming new friends when I arrived in Paris. Without them, I don’t think I’d have survived living in this city.
  6. I’m so lucky to have been born in this part of the world that allows me so much freedom, possibilities and security.
  7. I’m lucky to have been born in an era where I can be myself and love who I want to love without fearing of being killed.
  8. I’m grateful to have access to such an amount of knowledge, books, movies, and so much music, more than I could ever listen to in one life.
  9. I’m grateful for my cat, even if I gave him two names and wasn’t sure of his gender until he was one year old. But I’m so grateful to cuddle with him when I come back from work.
  10. I’m grateful to have found a work in which I can find equilibrium between a lot of the things that interest me and that I don’t hate.
  11. I’m lucky to be able to travel and see the world and its wonder, to have seen Reunion Island, Iceland, Italy, and so many more places.
  12. I’m grateful to have all my senses and be able to experiment the world in its glory.
  13. I’m grateful to have such a wonderful extended family that I enjoy seeing every time we have the chance to gather.
  14. I’m grateful to be able to speak and/or write several languages which allow me to build bridges with other human beings and learn from them.
  15. I’m happy to have kept a small part of the child in me, that allow me to not take everything too seriously and to not have become one of those suited drones.
  16. I’m happy to have reached a professional level where I can say no, where I can say I quit, where I can say that I want to change and where I’m not shackled.
  17. I’m grateful for all the books I have read that were written by greater men, and for all those I still have to read and learn from.
  18. I’m happy to slowly find my way in life and understand myself more and more everyday.
  19. I’m grateful to always have met such wonderful colleagues in each one of my jobs.
  20. I’m grateful to have an acute business vision that allows me to make decisions quickly about projects viability and interest.
  21. I’m glad to have found people I can turn to when I need advice and guidance.
  22. I’m glad at 32 years old to have finally integrated sport in my life and to have greatly improved my health.
  23. I feel honored to have people that look up to me when I feel I still have so much to learn.
  24. I’m grateful to be hypersensitive and to be able to experiment such strong and colorful emotions.
  25. I’m grateful to slowly learn to be happy with my body and how I look.
  26. I’m lucky to live in a place at peace, not having to worry about wars.
  27. I’m lucky to finally feel safe financially and be able to not have to worry about money anymore.
  28. I’m grateful to have the time to think, reflect and question my life, situation, goals and dreams each and every day.
  29. I’m grateful for all the memories I’ve gathered through the years which now live in my head.
  30. I’m grateful for the pain and bad times I went through for what they taught me.
  31. I’m happy to have survived my suicidal tendencies and decided to “give a shot” at life.
  32. I’m lucky to have loved, love and will love.

2019: The Road so Far

Right on time to kick off this year, time to do a small wrap up of the year that past, the end credit of an annual stream of consciousness.

Talking about the blog, I must admit I don’t feel the urge to write that regularly. However, in 2020, I set a goal of writing a stream of consciousness each month to ensure some regularity and to go hand in hand with my gratitude journal habit. So let’s start this wrap up.

Work

It’s been almost a year that I joined Bankin’ and discovered the French startup ecosystem. There I had the chance to encounter wonderful colleagues from whom I learn a lot every day. Even if, with the strike still ongoing in France since beginning of December, I miss them quite a bit working remotely, they’re still present every day through Slack and I’m looking forward to see them back.

The work had its challenge. I had the chance to build an UX vision from the start, and while I’m already proud of what we achieved, I feel a lack of structure in the way I can handle things and I’m looking forward to lay some better foundations for our product process in 2020. But for 2019 I had the chance to :

  • Gather all our users feedbacks in one single place
  • Ensure that all feedbacks are tagged by expressed need
  • Give a full visibility and hierarchy of our user needs
  • Did 30+ user interviews accross France and give an overall picture of our users
  • Build the first Bankin’ persona based on user behaviors
  • Worked on several product improvements with the team
  • Deployed several user metrics (NPS, UEQ & UMUX Lite)

For 2020, on top of the structure, I also aim to inject more positivity in the way I see things and try my best to adopt a non defensive way of seeing things at work.

Health & Spirituality

2019 was a major change on this path. I gained a lot of weight, which led me to encounter a lot of problems with my self esteem and self image. And I couldn’t handle seeing any photograph of myself.

Thanks to Aadam from Physiqionomics, I started working on myself since september. In the space of 5 months, I went from 88kg to 73kg and still working on it. I’m now working out at least 3 times a week through weight training, and doing some cardio on the other days. I’m feeling more and more at ease with myself and started accepting again photographies of me 🙂

For the first time in my life, this weight loss is done in a healthy way, through meal prep and sport, and not dangerous cutting off food or bad health behavior.

Brainfood & Mental Health

Since February, I’m also seeing a hypno-therapist with whom I’m working a lot on curing past scars. This really helped me even if it’s for the long haul, but the benefits keeps on showing and I’m feeling really lucky to have found her. I’m still seeing her once a month and it’s always a great gift to myself.

I kept on journaling but only for the gratitude part, this helps me end the day on a positive note and give me a great way of seeing the time that has passed (thanks to this app).

This year I wasn’t able to finish my goal of books reading, but managed to reach around 40 books still. It was mainly due to changes in the way I traveled to work (by bike now) and also by the fact that my new life changes took quite a lot of energy to set in motion. Still aiming for 50 books next year, and will do my best to carve a bit of space to read.

I stopped publishing new things in my newsletter for several reasons. First I grew tired of self-development books and wanted to read more fiction, to dream, hope, whatever. Second, I discovered that self-help books put all the toll on the individual and while I think people have a lot of responsibility in their life, you can’t always “look at the bright side” when bad things happen to you, and sometimes society has its problems too. Thirth, I discovered that when I wrote I couldn’t express myself exactly how I wanted and always felt that there was something missing about what I wrote and that I was able to say more things when I was talking than writing. So perhaps I’ll start a podcast, perhaps not regarding the amount of podcasts already existing now, but we’ll see where this project goes.

In 2019, I had the chance to keep on developing a great group of friends on whom I really can rely on when I need and with whom I’m able to talk on a deep level (or get drunk and do stupid things, can’t lie). I’m still happy also in my love life and looking forward to have a place of our own in 2020 🙂

The Road Ahead

I’ve just finished setting my goals for 2020 on 4 axes :

  • On the economical side: try to spare more and build a good security net. I achieved being debt free in 2019 and started aiming toward this, so it’s on the track.
  • On the brainfood side: aim to read 50 books (and at least 5 biography), attend some meet ups and write 12 streams of consciousness. I’ll aim also to attend more cultural events. Get rid of the toxicity of online networks by decluttering my feeds or learn to get rid of bad people (mute, block, whatever).
  • On the health side: keep on working out 3 times a week, aim to feel good in my body, meal prep every week for lunch and also aim to declutter all my rooms and get rid of the things I don’t need or feel attached to.
  • On the work side: try to find that makes me vibrate and feel alive, and try to learn how to develop a side of myself that feel at ease at work and empowered by my work. Try to learn also to see what I have accomplished and not only what’s left to accomplish.

So that’s a first step to kick off this new year, and I’m looking forward to keep on building up things for 2020.

Rewind Repeat | Stream of Consciousness #4

It’s been quite a long time since the last time I had the chance to write a post here, so here we go… It’s now been two years in Paris and things have been quite moving, changing and evolving

Professional Life

Since the last post, I left my previous company, after a bit more of one year, because I wasn’t feeling in line with the values and the way things worked in it. The things on which I was working on were also quite heavy on my mental health and slowly killing me, so after having to take a several medical break because I was having a serious nervous breakdown, I decided to quit.

I joined a startup here in Paris which aims to help people to learn how to handle their financial life (yes, I work for this, me :D) and get to know how to improve and evolve. I had the chance to find some really great people in here, with a deep human touch and interesting projects. Not everything is always great, but I’m hardly satisfied so that’s ok.

However, I’m slowly reaching a stage in life where I’m putting quite a lot of things on hold to give me some time to think about. At this point, I’m not sure about how I want to evolve in a professional way for the years to come, nor where exactly I want to work. I’m taking quite some time to think all this through, helped by some friends, workshops and new mental models. We’ll see how it goes.

Personal Projects & Growth

So the newsletter is currently on hold, after around 50 editions, but because a lot of things changed and I to be honest, I didn’t have the time to read that many books in 2019. With the new work, my time to go to work changed from 50 minutes to around 15 minutes, most of the time done by bike (so it’s quite hard to read and ride at the same time :D).

However, this year has been quite big on the personal level :

  • After years having a hard time to live with it, I finally had a masectomy. I had hormonal troubles since I was a teenager, leading to a small breast and some level of pain, most of it psychological leading me to have a real trouble to expose myself bare. The surgery was a real success and it’s really helping my mental health. I’m not ashamed anymore and I can finally breath 🙂

  • During the last four months I worked with Aadam (Physiqonomics) who coached me to improve my nutrition and develop gym habits. Since working with him I lost more than 10kg and it’s still going on. I learned to cook all my lunchs for the week during the week-end, to ensure a good meal and the best macronutrients. I started the weight training recently and I’m in the “oh my god I’m so sooooore” phase, but it’s a proof that my muscles are working (dying). After years doing things by myself and evolving like a yo-yo it feels good to have a good structure and someone to work with. I’ve got so much more energy now and feel pretty good most of the time.

  • For now almost a year, I’m working with a psychotherapist doing hypnosis to help me cope with some scars from my past. It really helped me and continues to do so. I see her one time a month and we work on a lot of things, but my mind is finally getting clearer which is great 🙂 In the meantime, I’m back on medication, having finally accepted my depression and well, if it helps, let’s do it (and it does help). I’m alternating between meditation and hypnosis mp3 on a daily basis, and it really helps.

  • I (mostly) stopped smoking (ok I still fails sometimes when I’m drinking, but as I also stopped this except for special occasions, this is getting rarer and rarer).

  • I dyed my hair in white (or gray depending on the mood), because I wanted to test it and I’m really happy with the result. This also break a big part of my Body Dysmorphic Disorder, as my mind has now a hard time trying to affect my self perception with this big change

  • I started to clean my social life, getting rid of toxic influences and allowing myself to be more blunt about what I accepted or not. This also affected my online life. After years of trying not to get in a bubble, I decided I just couldn’t take the aggressiveness of a lot of people online and so I block on sight. Or piss them off until they block me. But I just can’t take this “two-sides” mentality going on nowadays, so I’m burning bridges. This also goes for some old acquaintances who became quite anti-science and started to dwelve into conspiracy theories : good ridance.