Counting down to a big change...........or will this be amrageddon for me.

Dear Bloggers,

I wanted Bruce Willis to play the starring role in a movie about my life. I wanted to write a book about my job the way Paolo Coelho does. I wanted to speak to large groups of eager educators and make them laugh with my nutty remarks. These were all goals of mine when I was not suffering from anything, and was full of energy and ideas before I started sailing. I wanted to find happiness through success and this would only happen if you worked hard and did your very best. At least that was what I thought when I started years back making something out of my miserable life, when I did my days in the army I had to find a job to make some money. I was motivated and focused to make a difference and become something in live. I started off as a dishwasher in a local hotel and worked myself up as a bartender and waiter in the hotel restaurant. After a few years I became headwaiter.

Unfortunately there was only work in the summertime and during the winters I did many different tempsjobs. I worked in factories, became an iceskate essembler, was taxidriver and freelanced in the weekends as a bartender in one of the bigger towns. After a few years I had finished my education as
bartender/waiter and dreamt about earning good money and start my own bar elsewhere. First of all I went to Australia with a friend and worked for a wholesaler in Sydney. We made enough money to support ourselves and had a good time. But when the recession broke out we lost our jobs and had to turn back after a few months that was the first setback in my life, but soon I carried on.

And that spring I found a new challenge I wanted to become a sailor with a great salary. My past from the army gave some hindrances and I had to try again, and I ended up on a cruiseship. The life onboard was not very glamorous and the sun and Jim Beam became my best friends. When I came back home I applied for a job as a bartender on a ferry again. This was luxury compared to the liner as I had my own cabin. I hoped that I could climb up the carreerladder and be headbartender at least. Those where all soapbubbles about to burst as in the higher ranks there was no place for me and I saw a lot of good and bad "bosses" in my sailing days. The months between contracts and ships I filled with doing temp jobs and later on I worked as a freight driver. I drove the big cemetmixing trucks and delivered beers and soda for the Heineken company. Until I could not lift heavy anymore due to costochondritis and I needed to do an office job. I started to work as a receptionist on board again.

Everything was going exactly as I had hoped for and planned. I got a job onboard a ferry to the United Kingdom and everything in life was picking up again and we bought a new house to have more space. I never felt at home in this house so we did put up the for sale sign again and will move back to where we came from. The housing market is very slow and we did not have any serious buyers, but we have time as we do not need to sell. If we sell it, it is another part of my life that can be closed. There were good moments and bad moments for us and believe me there were more bad than good ones. It relieved me when my wife agreed with me that I could not really be happy here and that we both missed the lake, why did we move here anyway? My wife and I wanted to live closer to her parents so they could easier help out babysitting. We hardly ever had any benefit out of it and our kids went to a nanny two blocks away.

I did a good job as there were not many complaints on my behalf, paperwork was not my hobby and will never be. And I really enjoyed what I was doing although there were deadlines to catch. And those deadlines were giving me at least a lot of stress situations as I was mr. plentyfix and I could turn a bad situation into a reasonable one. Until the load was getting to heavy as I could not say NO. When slowly my body started to give up on me. It started with pain in my hands and fingers.The rest of my body quickly followed and by the next month, I was changed into an old man as I was completely turned into a rheumatic person. I was diagnosed with FMS is a rare neurological condition that involves neurotransmitters giving the wrong signals and telling the system of muscles and the nerves throughout the body that I should feel pain. It is rarely damaging, but recovery can be very slow and often patients are left with residual effects. There is also the possibility of relapse when you have a lot of stress.

After being diagnosed with fibromyalgia by the rheumatologist from the local hospital, I was in good health, but body and mind were still ravaged from the syndrome. I was unable to stand or walk for a longer period of time and had very poor use of my hands. I spent the next three months in a local health center where I received three intense therapy sessions a week. By the end of the summer. I was fully discharged from the care of doctors and specialists and had no residual effects. I felt nearly like the same person I was the day before this all started. At least, I thought I was the same person. Until a moisty day came along and I was hit by muscle pains from hell.

Life is like a pop quiz. You can’t plan for it and you only get one chance to do your best. My breakthrough came one day in rehab when I was asking for help to get through everything. I stopped asking when I realized that I had to beat this on my own. I needed to listen to people who couldn’t help
themselves and reach them a helping hand. I knew that I was strong enough to fight this battle with my body and I felt left alone. I learned life doesn’t follow your planner or your schedule. I had to learn to walk instead of running all the time. Life has only one purpose…to happen. If you only focus on all the things that can go wrong and being afraid that your body will give up, you will simply miss the beauty in the things that happen around you and also the small successes that you book yourself. I changed a lot during the course of those months, but more than anything, my belief in the power of the human spirit changed the most. People are capable of extraordinary things. We all have the power to take our current situations in life and make them better. The road to change is littered with obstacles, but they are not permanent hindrances, only temporary roadblocks.

I returned to recently to the job market and applied for lighter jobs the last few months and quickly I realized things were different. From a sailor with no energyloss, I had become a relaxed housedaddy that does not care about stressed situations anymore. A new episode in my book of life had started by ripping out the balck pages. I felt like I was watching someone else and I soon realized that it was the new me. That man in the faded green shirt wasn’t the man who started of this year as a slightly handicapped person. I no longer wanted to change the world. I didn’t want any awards or taps on my shoulder, telling me that I did a good job. I wanted to be happy and I couldn’t be that as a sailor do to the long working days, I needed to start off in something completely new. This summer, I will say goodbye to my career as a sailor and take a job as a busdriver on the citybus with a limited amount of working hours. While taking a drop in pay and, in some peoples eyes, taking a step backwards in my career, I found I had taken a huge step forward. I was doing something again, working with people something I cared deeply about.

I will start working again on Monday and I am really looking forward to it, as it has been a tough year with a lot of ups and downs. And people in offices that do not understand at all why you want to go back to work so badly. They do not see the financial trouble that you have as you need to fight the governments to get some benefits that you are entitled to. Also sitting at home is not my hobby and I am defenitly a lousy housekeeper. The disadvantage that you have as your curriculum vitae tells that you are a person full with adventure as you did so many different jobs. And the lack of experience will give you a lot of rejected applications and therefor very stressfull.

In addition to a change in my career, I had a change in my priorities. I decided to put my wife and family first and everything else as a distant second. I focused on being a "good" husband and having a happy marriage. I rediscovered my passion for my wife and also for recreative cycling, something I had started to lose during my last years of sailing. I took advantage of every good weather day and made sure that I would get a fair set of kilometres on the clock and biked like it was my last day on Earth. Of course the next day I was hoping it was the last day on Earth as usual I was a complete wreck due to the pain as I had overdone it again. I was totally out of balance and I could not except that the old me was not coming back. A psychologist told me that there was no need for finding the old me as he was dead and buried.

Together with my doctor, fysiotherapist, ergotherapist and a dietician I have put my life on the tracks again. And my train is not the fastest but at least it is rolling again. Only when we go uphill we need a bit of help, all the other parts I do without any help. The big difference with the old train is that this one has a break and there is no doubt that it will be used. The new me looks quite similair to the old me but inside there have been big changes.

Hopefully the new me will be a success and I do not need to get higher up. I have the ambition to do a job as good as it gets. I still hope one day there’s a movie made about me. I still hope Bruce Willis will be in the starring role. I still want to write a book. I still want to speak to large groups. These are all goals of mine. I am still motivated and focused. But I have to take care about my energy levels and make sure that my body can handle it. I now hope to find success through happiness. I want to be me…and I’m fine enough with that. Maybe I should change my hair, my house, my clothes, my future, my soul and my name.

How would that sound "The Old Busdriver?"

The Old Sailor,


  1. Goedenavond Old sailor,
    Ik weet niet goed hoe ik moet beginnen,
    U heeft het niet gemakkelijk gehad en nog niet,
    ik vind het heel erg knap hoe u er voor vecht om toch een geschikte baan te vinden, aan u doorzettingsvermogen zal het niet liggen,
    denk dat de meeste het al op gegeven hadden,
    ik hoop ook van harte dat het u gaat lukken,
    en wens u daarbij heel veel succes,
    ook met de gezondheid,

    fijne pinksterdagen,


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