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Spilling soy sauce

I rode my skateboard to the supermarket and fell on the way back. A glass bottle in my bag broke. Someone now has a huge puddle of soy sauce in front of their house.

Playing outside used to be like that. We learnt by falling and getting up. We learnt how to use waveboards and go-karts and roller skates. I once spent six weeks learning how to ride a unicycle. And we'd always come back home with holes in our trousers and mud on our knees.

Back then, adults pretended to have their shit together. They were old, we were kids. They knew how life works, we listened to what they said.

Flash forward and suddenly you're in your twenties. It turns out that adults know jack shit about the world, nor life, and no one really knows what they are doing. Everyone just kind of pretends they do.

But having your shit together is kinda lame. It means you are comfortable where you are. You have mastered everything you do. You settled for what it is and lost the ambition to learn and to grow.

I suck at skating. I'm falling often and hard. But I also sucked at English at some point, and now it rolls off my tongue like my native language (I'm even writing articles about soy sauce). Today I'm a full-fledged divemaster - two years ago I didn't know anything about scuba diving. I once didn't know how to read, and now I'm nearing graduation.

We learnt everything we do today by starting out completely clueless. At some point we couldn't walk and talk and eat without help. We couldn't read, nor write, nor add and subtract. We couldn't cook pasta. We couldn't ride a bicycle.

We couldn't do any of the things we can do today, and it's easy to forget that we got where we are by being idiots. All the things we do, and all the things we’re good at, are the results of years of trying and failing. Of not having a clue about what we’re doing and practising until we did.

My elbows full of scrapes and my legs all bruised means I’m learning to skate. Having issues, conflicts, stress, and trouble, means you're learning to live.

Things go wrong and things go right and sometimes we run so fast we're almost flying, until we trip and fall hard. Then we get up, wipe the mud off our knees, and get on with it.

Not knowing what's going on means anything can happen. Not knowing where you're going means you can go anywhere. Not having a clue about what you're doing means you are learning.

It's why things are more understandable in hindsight. You will know things you don't know today. Life is easier backwards, but it has to be lived forwards. And the less you have your shit together now, the more sense it will make later.

Imagine knowing exactly what you’re doing because you’ve been doing the same thing over and over and over again. Imagine being good at something and knowing nothing else. Imagine not trying new things because you can already do one or two.

Imagine not learning how to boulder or to speak Japanese or to knit because you're afraid you might fall or fail or hate it. Imagine living life in the same way every single day because you know how to do that. Imagine having your shit together.

I’d rather spill some soy sauce and live.


1 Comment

Els Laurense
Els Laurense
Sep 23, 2019

Ach, kind toch, wat jammer van de sojasaus. Ziet je knie er ook zo uit? Dat hoop ik niet voor je. Was het eten zonder saus toch wel lekker? Of moest je toch weer nieuwe kopen met je skateboard of .....lopend?

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