This is a list of life’s aspects that I find important. It is not a list of rules to live by. Each value has to be considered and weighed in daily life, and these considerations may change over time. Note also that two values can conflict with each other, and they often do. Two balances play a key role: ‘safety vs freedom’ and ‘autonomy vs feeling connected’. Every day, I learn a bit more about experiencing corresponding feelings, and having intuition. Add a bit of rationality to the mix, and that’s what I’m trying to balance and weigh. Toughest of all, I’m taking decisions and living with and learning from the consequences.

Safety. It’s important to me to have a certain level of safety in life. A house I can withdraw in, an income to match, and a neighborhood I feel safe in. This is the cornerstone of my existence, upon which I build my life. The keywords in the first sentence are ‘certain level’: this level changes over time, and is balanced with other values.

Autonomy. I need sufficient freedom in life to ‘do my own thing’ or ’to do things my way’. In practice, this means that I find out how much freedom I have, if it is sufficient for me, and I communicate about it. I like working in ‘vague projects’, because they typically allow me to shape the work I do. Autonomy also means that I pay attention to others’ need for autonomy, and that we cocreate a cooperation.

Recognition. I put a lot of myself into my hobby’s, the people around me, and the work that I do. It’s important to me to get some recognition for that. Without confirmation that I added something to the world around me, life seems lonely to me.

People come first. In the end, what matters most is the people around me: my family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues. When working on a project with colleagues, the cooperation with them and jointly achieving a result is what gives me energy. I hate seeing people not fulfilling their potential, or struggling with bore-out of burn-out. It’s amazing to see how people grown when they do things they enjoy and value.

Feeling connected. I spend a lot of time meeting new people. In those conversations, I always look for the interests or experiences that we have in common. That feeling of sharing something is like a fuel for me. Those shared experiences shape relationships, especially if they are very positive or very negative. Together we live and continue to do so.

Authenticity. I want to be myself, including all the positive and negative aspects. I’ve tried to act tougher than I am, smarter than I am, being purely logical and rational, and very sociable. It doesn’t work, and I made an ass of myself a few times.

[Photo by Pelle Asplund on Unsplash].

Honesty. Lying generally gets me into trouble and makes me feel queezy, Just telling the truth is usually the most fitting way, although that also gets me in trouble now and again. But at least I can look myself in the eye at the end of the day.

Curiosity. I like learning new things, and often want to know how things work. The topics are diverse, and are a continuous source of inspiration. Sometimes, learning a new thing takes a lot of time, or it requires me to do many things I’ve done before. No problem: as long as the curiosity is strong enough, I’ll go for it. Curiosity is also a great benifit when looking for topics to connect with people, and in being creative.

Creativity. I like creating something from nothing. It’s amazing to imagine something in my mind, and making it real. Sometimes, I’m stuck on a problem and just know that if I let my mind wander for a while, I’ll come up with an idea. When you walk through my house, you’ll see many little additions and workarounds to customize my living space. When ‘something can’t be done’, a part of me often says ‘we’ll see about that :-)’. I really like this part of me!