Gewoon doen, or what I learned from the Dutch

I’m seatted in front of a blank blog post page. I decided I’d finally kick-start the blog this week, despite not having written for a (long) while. Surprisingly, I’ve been able to stick to my decisions lately. Gewoon doen, they say in dutch.

Woke up around 07.30, which felt slightly bizarre. I guess this thing about getting up to the chirping of birds is still quite new to me. Four hours and a yoga class later, I’m sitting at my current favourite coffee place, and ready to start. My mind goes blank for a while. Of course it does. That’s nothing new, I admit from the height of many years of procrastination. Gewoon doen.

The best cappuccino in town is ready, at my side. There are three other (freelancers?) working on their macs around the rectangular marble table. The only difference between them and me is that my mac dates back to 1999 and I barely know how to type (!) Embarassment makes me still for a while. When I finally start typing I feel fully ‘steriotyped’ into some sort of a millenial creative freelance professional – whatever that means -, which I did do my best to avoid.

Gewoon doen, banging in my head.

I fuel up the writing of this blog post with cappuccino, even though I know that caffeine barely has the same effect it did five years ago, when I arrived in Amsterdam. I started drinking coffee here, as black a potion as I could get it but in time I gave in to capuccino coziness. I guess that, for me, coffee makes up for grey skies. Welcoming cafes – like the one I am at – became a refuge, and a way of dealing with the lack of sun in The Netherlands. Among other high-priority ideas, I wanted to write about them, and leave the weather situation to the Gods, as it should be.


I struggled with the conceptualization of this blog for a long time. Should I write in Dutch or in English? Writing a blog in the local language would make me master it in no time. English, on the other hand, would be a ‘more inclusive’ option, and would enable friends and family to ‘read me’. But what to do about the horrendous initial blog-template? And how could I manage the mandatory social-media blogging evil? How could I possibly fix all of that on my own? Is there anything close to gewoon doen for perfectionists? A couple of years and tons of frustration later, I dared to ask for help. And I dared to make the simplest decisions. In English it will be. Mistakes included. And very, very slowly, things have started to flow.

It’s gewoon doen or sink forever, I said to myself.

One of the freelancers already left the table. There are still four other in the room. How will I possibly be able to blog on a regular basis if I am taking so long with just one post? I let this thought go by, and I order a piece of lemon cake. I guess the minimalism of Tokiho is what makes the place so attractive to a legion of freelancers. It’s just so much easier to think in a clean, de-cluttered space. Excellent coffee and friendly baristas do the rest. All the furious typists at the table laugh at the lyrics of a particular song. Sweet, they’re not robots after all. Meanwhile, I decide I’ll start posting every Tuesday, and build up from there. I also consider who could I email my blog post to for some English editing. Or is it too much of a hassle asking that to a friend? Gewoon doen, it is. And it’s almost time to go home to cook asparagus for lunch.

*’gewoon doen’ – dutch version of the ‘just-do-it’

6 thoughts on “Gewoon doen, or what I learned from the Dutch

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