On my travels I gained a lot of insights. Insights into who I am and how I want to live my life. I asked myself the Why question a lot and even though I am just getting started, it influenced the quality of my life tremendously already.

When you really want to discover things about your life, about who you are, what you want and think is important, and how you are going to achieve that, the Why question is an important one. The Why  question touches on meaning, on origin, on motivation and passion. Why digs deeper than How and What. How and What flow from Why, and give it practical use.

The Why question

The Why question helps me to uncover the origin of my thoughts, behavior and actions. Research into this origin helps me to re-evaluate; if I understand it and if it still suits me. And, if not, can I change this origin? When change is not possible in the Why, I could take another route; changing my How and What for the same origin.

Let me explain. One of the most important themes for me, before and at the start of my travels, was why I had the feeling that I could sleep for at least three years, that I was exhausted, and that I could not go on like I did. I found the answers to those questions. I have never totally accepted myself for who I am. I was in denial about having Borderline Personality Disorder and that this disease brings things to the table. And I did not give it space. And with that, I lost energy by the minute. Energy that I did not have. Energy I borrowed. It led me to burn-out and heavy depressions. Desperate attempts of my body and soul to refill on energy. I also lost myself more and more. Because, without energy you can never be yourself fully, just a hollowed out version of you.

My origin will not and cannot change. I am Bouwke, a whole person, with Borderline. But then, then you reach the How and What. And beautiful things can happen. Because, there are multiple ways to reach Rome.

Being yourself

How can I be Bouwke? How can I be myself completely? So simple. So clear. In accepting and giving space to all sides of me. And How can I live my life in a way that all sides of me are facilitated? These How questions led me to so many important answers. I cherish loving, supporting, meaningful relationships. Also, I love playing sports and find it important to have peace and quiet once in a while. I like appreciation, love to help others and love to use my intelligence and creativity. At certain times I need to be alone. And so much more.
All this is part of me and it can help me rearrange my life. The What. What can I do? After revisiting my Why, and looking at my Why’s, I am now at a point in my life where I can try to put my insights into practice. One of them for example, is work. What do I want with work? My first decision is that I want to try to work only 24 for hours a week. 24 hours should be enough moneywise to cover the basics and some more. I would have enough time to recover and take rest and have enough time left to see friends, play sports, help others and for creativity.

Balancing work and private life

I have been working 24 hours a week for a while now, and I can say I am on the right track with this decision. Only recently I had a talk with one of my best friends. She asked me about our mutual friends. How they were doing. She’s been wanting to call them, but she is very busy. She shreds when I tell her that I am worried about one of our mutual friends. Oh, she should have called. She feels guilty. And though this is true for so many of us, and kind of normal already (that everyone is busy busy busy), I am happy that I created the time, space and energy to to talk to or see my friends and help them if they need it. And to just spontaneously help others. Just because I can. And If I do, I still have time to slowly wake up in the morning with a cup of coffee in bed. Or to do nothing on a Sunday and just recover. Without too much stimuli. All this gives me quality of life.

Making these choices is not always or only easy. A 24 hour work week brings in way less money and it proves to be difficult to find a fitting job. It will never work all at once. I just work now. Finding something where I can also use a lot of my capabilities will be a challenge. Or maybe I can find something in my free time that challenges me. Either way, I will be patient. Because I discovered what 24 hours does with my life. And I truly believe in why I do this. I have a lot of faith in my future, if I keep using my Why as a compass.

Do you ever ask yourself the Why question? I recommend you to try this once in a while. And have look at how you express your why and what you do. I think it can give you a lot of insights. Have fun with learning about you!

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Deel dit artikel! Als dit artikel voor jou inzichtelijk was, deel het dan met je omgeving - laten we het samen hebben over mentale gezondheid.


NiceDay Writer. Organizational and work psychologist. I love nature, traveling and photography. I like to move and exercise, especially tennis, pilates / yoga and walking. With my story I am committed to more openness about mental health and I want to reduce stigmas around these topics. You can find me on Instagram: I am one Movement and backpackingbouwke and on Twitter: @iambouwke

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