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Masaya Volcano Nicaragua

Black sheep of the family

I got an interesting e-mail a few days ago: off my dad. The thing is, I’ve always been the black sheep of the family. I strongly believe in following my own path and that path can’t be further off the path most of my family is following. No worries: we get along good, but that doesn’t say we understand each other always.

A big part of my family believes in ‘having’ as the road to happiness. I don’t. I believe in being. And I always had this big urge inside of me to know why things are the way they are, why people are the way they are. I can’t explain why. It has been there from child onwards. I can remember that I saw a physically disabled kid walking through our street. The kid limped a bit. I wanted to know why it was walking like that, so I started to limb as well, upsetting my mum by doing so.

This urge to know all is one of the main reasons I became a journalist. Not directly. When I was done with pre university I had no clue what to study. And having not a lot of finances to do so I decided to start working. I became a credit manager and – supported by the company I was working for – studied MBA and Marketing in the evening. It made me follow the path my dad had walked: same studies, same job. So when I decided to change, it upset him. Years later, when my stories where published throughout the whole country, including the paper he read, he became proud on me and even started writing himself more and more.

Halfway 2014 he didn’t understand why I was selling my yoga school. After I slow financial start, investing my whole retirement, living off a few dollars a week – sometimes having nothing to eat but a cup of soup – I was finally making some money. My yoga school became the second biggest of Tilburg and I was teaching yoga concerts in the Concert Hall, with every concert being sold out. So why sell when it was finally going the right way?

I explained that I was working seven days a week (doing to much voluntary work on the side), that I was doing loads and load of email and administration and that the school wasn’t making enough to employ somebody doing it. That this was why I started doing yoga. I started to see where yoga good take me, to see what answers I would get through yoga on the big questions of life. That I wanted to travel, meet different cultures, find teachers who good help me on my path, finding answers. That I wanted to walk all seven continents, study, teach and do yoga. To have my own practice again; every morning. Something I didn’t had any energy or anymore, running my school and being serious sick, because of a parasite I got in India. Antibiotics took care of it, but recovering would take me a year. I didn’t want to wait that long, I wanted to be a yogi: wander. He just look at the ‘career’ and ‘money’ I was trowing away.

It didn’t matter in what way I explained. My dad didn’t understand. Until, until last week. Until his e-mail. He turned 69 years old on the 13th of March. Sixtynine. One more year and he will be seventy. And that made him wonder. It’s a magical number, when you are young, it’s confronting when you’re almost seventy. Having the seven in your age means for most people they have to say goodbye to life. When you turn sixty freedom is close: retirement. Freedom. Filling your days you want, enjoying your freedom, as long as your body allows you too. But the years you are free, are only short.

And then the end follows. The end that put a tear in my eye. After summing up the trips he has planned for the next few months. He writes: I wish you strength and a lot of fun. I’m happy you didn’t wait till you were 65 to see the world and enjoy your freedom.

Maybe one day we will understand each other.

Fumes coming from Masaya volcano: the view I'm waking up to for half a year.

3 Responses to Black sheep of the family

  1. Avatar
    Ingrid 24 March 2015 at 08:06 #

    Mooi stuk John, alles zal rech kom, hakuna matata. En ook dit met je vader is weer een stap dichter bij, je wordt steeds lichter al gaande weg….en dat moet n fijn gevoel geven

  2. Avatar
    Anonymous 24 March 2015 at 08:12 #

    I am fortunate to have you in my life!

    Namaste Guru!

  3. Avatar
    Anonymous 24 March 2015 at 21:10 #

    Je doet het goed en ik blijft je volgen. Groet Andre