Momentos: April 16th – April 30th, 2016


Last Saturday I was out and about loving life as a bachelor. Today I feel a deep yearning for someone sweet and long-term to curl up on the couch with. I think of several amazing women who’ve offered me that kind of relationship over the years, and how I’ve turned them all down. Some days, like today, the loneliness hits hard. But not the regret. At least not yet.


It is weird, this being human thing. There’s that urge to grow and progress and be better than before. Or maybe it’s not an urge. Maybe it’s just a paradigm we’ve all bought into. No other animal worries about maximizing its potential, about getting the most out of life. A cat can lie about all day and not feel like a loser.


Coming up on a year since I moved to Amsterdam, gave up the vagabond lifestyle and settled in one place. I’ve enjoyed living here, but I thought I’d be further along business-wise by now. I figured the main thing holding me back was lack of routine, lack of focus, but perhaps there’s more to it than that.


You know how we look back at our younger selves and roll eyes at things we did and things we wish we hadn’t done? I wonder what things I’m doing and not doing right now that will have my eyes a-rolling a decade down the line. I’ll probably be thinking a lot different about business and relationships by then. But different how?


Squeezing in client work between Skype calls. I’m trying to do a minimum of two paid hours per day at my €75/hour rate. Manage that consistently and I’m cracking €3k per month just from freelancing, with plenty of time left over to focus on marketing 3M1K and building other products. Simple in theory, but it’s always a bit messy in reality.

Kayaks on a canal in Amsterdam.
Kayaks on a canal in Amsterdam.


Almost three months since I launched 3M1K. Sales haven’t been as steady as I’d like, but the results and feedback from those who signed up have been encouraging. Next month I need to kick the marketing into high gear, do a big push for guest posts. I’ll try get quality articles published on popular sites, sending new leads my way.


Maybe like me you often get caught up thinking you must do big things to make an impact, to move people. But nah, it’s more about doing the small things, consistently. Wrote a quick piece about sobriety for my mailing list today, nothing fancy, just raw and truthful. Sent it out and got some nice responses. Impact made, people moved. Good reminder for myself.


Evening in Dam Square and I stand and watch and listen. Seeing things happening, thinking of things that happened. The birth of this town, a funfair across the way, Napoleon on a white horse, tulips swaying in the breeze, drunk Nazis shooting into a crowd, tourists walking where philosophers and kings and hippies walked before.


I think happiness is overrated. We all have different happiness baselines, and a bit of sadness and grief is good for you every now and then. Today alone all day in my apartment I can’t say that I’m happy, but I am content. I’m healthy, warm, well-fed and rested, with meaningful work and time with friends ahead of me this week.


Teddy Roosevelt once wrote, “I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.” I like to remind myself of those words whenever I’m feeling stuck or frustrated, though of course I recognize the vanity in it; compared to most people on this rock, I’m living a charmed life.

The never-ending Winter :-(
The never-ending Winter 🙁


Bike’s got a flat. Seems some fecker stole the insert of my valve stem. I’m late to meet friends and no bike shops open at this hour. So I walk the block, find another fiets with a flat and pay forward the thievery, figuring that bike’s not going anywhere anyways. Mentioning it here so I’m more likely to make amends later.


Don’t know, maybe I’m getting tired of the single life. Out and about for King’s Day and didn’t have the buzz to go chatting up chicks, would have preferred someone familiar by my side. Not sure I’ve felt it this strong since three years back in Bangkok, right as I was souring on the dating scene there, right before I fell in love.


When I was an employee I loved a day off on a Wednesday. Now, being self-employed, it kinda sucks. Trying to get back into the work stuff today was a massive struggle. Farted around and didn’t get a whole lot done. Wondering if there’s something bigger wrong here. Such low energy. Diet maybe? Or just burnt out on the trying…


Sometimes I think of running away from Amsterdam. It’s not the cheapest city, and summer is taking its sweet ass time arriving. I could pack everything and move to Thailand next week, save about €800/month on rent alone. But no, I need to stick it out. Had my fill of moving in recent years. No place is perfect. Neither am I. Gotta accept that.


She’s telling me about a retreat she just got back from. They explored and embraced their sexuality, their wildness. One time she held space in front of the group, letting her body move. Several men tried to meet her there, to match that energy. None could… but one. Only he could claim her. I ask because I want to know: what did he have that the others didn’t?

Rollicking about on King's Day.
Rollicking about on King’s Day.

In the comments below, let me know which of the above Momentos is your favorite. Which can you relate to?

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  1. Man, I read about human design thing, and one lady interpreted my “profile”, which is exactly what I am. Maybe that;s kind of yours too: our motto is CHANGE. We are looking for perfect place in this world even though we know it doesn’t exist. As soon as there’s stability and consistency, things are getting poisonous and we need to change things again.
    Kind of thought..

  2. Thanks yet again for sharing. I like 17. Thats a good point. I always feel that I can do better, and I’m actually pretty terrified that I’ll get to the end of my life and feel that I didn’t reach my full potential. I think a lot of it is a paradigm we’ve bought into. And what the heck does ‘being better’ and ‘reaching potential’ fully looking like? I will have to come up with my own definition for myself I think. I know people like my brother who seem to be happy to just keep doing the same thing and not be better than before (from my perspective). Is he really content with that? Why do I judge him on not reaching his ‘full potential’? whats his definition? its obviously different to mine, which is totally fine.

    Anyway thats what just came out of my brain when I read that. I also identify with 16 and 27 alot… I feel really happy about being single, but sometimes it is lonely… but thats a whole other can of worms =)

    1. 22 and 17 were most thought provoking to me.

      i certainly must be doing BIG things to make an IMPACT, to MOVE people! yet i wonder if i do so? Am i on the right path in my life at see?

      as to 17, live with or without the one is bloody confusing. yearn for then when not with them – and looking for the door when getting claustrophobia so in their extremes your not at equilibrium and unhappy. no answers from me!

  3. Hey Niall!

    Thanks for sharing your momentos with us, it’s nice to see that most of us have to deal with more or less the same problems on a daily basis and they’re not that big of a deal.

    I really liked the number 16: A cat can lie about all day and not feel like a loser. It made me think a lot, these last weeks have been difficult for me, I have been lazy and haven’t produced as much as I wanted and I ended up feeling like a failure.

    Momento 28: I’ve also had the same problem these past weeks, thought the same as you, maybe it has to do with the season changing. It was easier for me to overcome the struggle of going back to work when I was employed, that external force was strong enough to shut down the bullshit, but now that I am in charge of my time is way more difficult.

    Keep up the good work! See you in the next momentos.

    Take care and may God forgive you for number 26 😛

  4. I have never left a comment but I just wanted to say how much I love reading these. Going through a difficult time right now and your words, for whatever reason, have brought me comfort. Maybe it is just knowing that there is someone else out there who is trying to figure out the balance of wanting to grow and progress with just being content with what is. Anyway, just wanted to say thank you and encourage you to keep writing.

  5. Loneliness becomes less painful as you get older. In my experience. Self-reliance becomes stronger as you genuinely start to believe in who you are and what you’re capable of. In my experience. Or maybe it’s just that the libido dies a little and you don’t feel so much like a slave to it. Fucked if I know. But I definitely don’t struggle as much with being alone as I used to. And you’re way ahead of where I was at your age, I think, in terms of self-knowledge. But then, of course, we’re all different.

    I don’t agree that happiness is overrated. I just think that sadness is underrated, or misunderstood. Of course we need to feel sad or down now and then, to remind us how lucky we are the rest of the time.

    Have a good weekend.

  6. Management by objectives

    Cheers Niall, been following your blog since the Hong Kong days and find inspiration in both your upbeat and downbeat momentos.

    28 resonates quite loud. What’s everybody’s best recipe for fighting procrastination? Mine is sitting down in the morning and charting a short list of attainable goals to reach for the day. This helps the brain visualize the end results and readies the body into execution mode.

  7. Niall, once again thanks for sharing.
    I always look forward to reading your momentos and I really appreciate the honesty in them. I find it inspiring, so please keep writing them 🙂
    No 17 got me thinking this morning. It would be much easier to be a cat, but probably quite boring in the long run.

    1. In the long run, the cat might actually be happier. It doesn’t know that one day it will die, doesn’t know the joys of fine art or theatre, doesn’t know that a larger world exists just beyond the horizon. It also doesn’t worry about politics, money, expenses, and the sort.

      The trade off comes from the lack of awareness.

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