After two-and-a-half years of big life events I felt I had earned some time. Time to just be. Time to rest and take stock. From 2021 until now I have seen the happiest of happies, loss like I hadn’t experienced before, and everything in between. Among other things, in those few years, I’ve divorced, changed my career, then changed jobs again, and moved twice.
So, I decided to give myself the most precious thing I have, which is time. I am lucky enough that I could arrange that – for the time being. I cut my working hours in half and made a plan. I needed a plan, because I know myself: if I don’t set goals, I will watch Netflix for a year. I have thought about it for months, and this week I finally found it. This year will be A Year of Happy Chaos. A Year of Happy Chaos is one year in which I attempt to figure out how to ‘do’ life in a way that suits me best. IT consists of two parts.
- First off, I am going to track how I am doing: am I happy enough? Reasonably healthy? Am I sleeping well? Am I planning the right way? Am I getting things done? I am going to build routines that are easy and that I can stick to. When a course of action doesn’t work, I’ll tweak it or change it. By the end of the year I should have a pretty good idea of how I can best live my life.
- Then the goal setting. Like I wrote: if I don’t pick goals, I don’t do a thing. And that will make me miserable. To make sure the goals are not too big, I will pick a new, tangible goal each month. This can be basically anything. Make one work of art, try to get an exhibition, make a small book, follow a course, take a trip, etc.. As long as it is something I love to do and makes me happy.
Of course, I could do those things quietly in the privacy of my own home, but that is too dull for me. Plus, I love to learn from others. So this whole year will be documented on this site. Please tag along for the ride!
Before I leave you though, let me answer some questions I think you might have.
Why do you call it ‘Happy Chaos’?
Last year, I met with a dear friend, who is also a psychologist. We have been friends for thirty years. And since about a decade we have a tradition of going to the spa once a year to catch up properly, because we don’t see each other that often. During one of these spa days, in our bathrobes, with our feet in a warm bath, I sighed and told her: “I think I might have some form of ADHD.” My friend, who is quite a composed, calm person, and generally thinks before she speaks, blurted out: “Duh!”.
Now, I haven’t been diagnosed, and I don’t think I will seek diagnosis anymore. I tried once, but there weren’t enough indicators: I performed very well in school and I was quite composed and happy during the interview. Still, even if I don’t have ADHD, I think I can use the resources, because, well, I walk, talk, swim and look like a duck*, even if the psychologist looked under the hood and decided I’m a pigeon.
Last month, when I tried to figure out how to move on – with this chaotic brain but without a diagnosis – I turned to the realm of the podcast and found Future ADHD. There I heard something amazing: the owner, Grace Koelma, stopped trying to perform like a neurotypical person and followed her ADHD instead of trying to fight it. She will perform at her best for two days, then do basically nothing for three. And she appears to be thriving in every way – she even owns a successful business.
That sounded awesome to me. I want to thrive! I want to use my smart, chaotic, weird, happy, fumbling brain just the way it is. I don’t care anymore if it’s ADHD or just the way I am. I want to stop fighting the chaos and finally start enjoying life. So. Happy Chaos it is.
When will it start?
Now! First, I wanted to perfect everything beforehand, lay out the whole plan for the year, but then I thought: nope. We’re doing this and we’re doing this now. My contract was reduced per September 1st and I have already started with my September project. I will write about it next week. Earlier, I would have thought: I should have planned this! Make sure I could post per September 1st, if I want to do it ‘right’. Or start per October to make it neat.
But I am not doing that. This will be the whole vibe of the website. No plan except for the monthly goals. I will post when I feel like it, no matter what my hair looks like or if I have done my make-up or if it’s the best time of the day or the week. I don’t want to sell you anything, at least not yet, so I don’t care. Ha!
Why are there Dutch blog posts on your website?
They are valuable for the project. These blog posts were the first steps I had to take to finally end up with the idea of A Year of HC. Google Translate should get you quite the way, but let me know if you have questions. Also, if you search well enough, you can also still find information about my book and my PhD. I needed to take some distance from both, but I don’t want to fully erase my past, it got me where I am now.
Edit: I have decided to make the blog bilingual. It will contain more English posts than Dutch ones, but I want to keep the freedom of writing in my own language, especially when it concerns a Dutch topic. Like a Dutch book review. I don’t know if I will write one. But I might.
I want to drop you line, how do I do that?
Go here and find me. I’d love to here from you. Although I can’t promise to get back to you. I’ve done that in the past, then got lost in my head and disappoint people. Or try to do something I promised and then make a mess because I wasn’t motivated enough. I don’t want to make promises I can’t keep. I can only promise that I will be happy and grateful to hear from you. Unless you’re a mean troll or a person who is going to tell me what I should do instead. Then you can stay away. I am going to figure stuff out by myself, with the help of the people I like and love.
* How I walk, talk, look and swim like the ADHD duck: my mind is chaotic, my thoughts are always racing, sometimes they repeat themselves to annoying extent. I have trouble keeping track of time, making and keeping plans, and I lose things constantly. I have a gazillion ideas but hardly anything ever comes to fruition, when I start a project I often abandon it. When I do finish, like I did my PhD, it comes at too high a cost. I talk a lot. I tend to hijack conversations, unless I force myself not to. I have extremely little internal motivation to do tasks. Strangely enough, for both the things I hate (cleaning!) as well as the things I love (knitting). Once I do get going, like in building this website, I cannot stop myself and forget to eat and drink. If someone gives me a task and a deadline, I will do it though, so work is generally fine. My emotions throw me around like a rag doll. When the clock hits 6 in the evening, I am exhausted, even if I didn’t technically do much.