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Go with the flow

Go with the flow

Photographer:Fotograaf: Loraine Bodewes

Laura (24): “I have a problem when things don’t go according to plan. If the train is delayed, if I have a flat tyre, or it rains when I have to cycle, I get into a bad mood. How can I deal with these things better?”

Ingrid: Since the arrival of the precipitation radar, we cycle and walk in the rain less often and because of our navigation systems we spend hardly any time at all in traffic jams. These days, my e-reader ensures that I am never without a book. You should know that I feel awful when I’m not able to immerse myself in a novel. All of this has to do with getting, having and keeping control. Control is the highest objective, or so it seems. Just think about it, if you meet someone you know, you can greet him or her by saying ‘everything under control?’ That is quite normal. Nobody thinks this is strange. It suggests that we may have everything in hand and therefore things are going very well for us.

We control and manipulate in order to have a long and happy life. We are fairly successful at achieving the first. Our life expectancy is increasing, but are we also becoming happier? I don’t think so. The rising number of control mechanisms, such as precipitation radar, goes hand in hand with the decrease in our frustration tolerance. The result: steam coming out of your ears when you get wet from the rain for once.

In the Dutch TV series Sunny Side of Spirit, filmmaker Sunny Bergman goes in search of new solutions for our mind’s problems. In the first episode, she visits Ghana. Take things as they come, is this country’s motto. They are good at that, those Ghanaians. Nobody gets into a tizzy if the bus is late or an appointment is cancelled. Remarkably, the Ghanaian languages do not even have a word for depression. Could those two facts – taking things how they are and not having a word for depression – be connected? It wouldn’t surprise me.

Challenge yourself, Laura, and let go of control. Leave the house without checking the precipitation radar and take things the way they come. Go with the flow or as someone once wrote, “Have the courage to change what you can change, the courage to bear what you cannot change and the wisdom to see the difference.”

Ingrid Candel      

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