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Markus Anecdotes - Fireworks in Dordrecht

Written and with Photos by Markus

Happy new year!! It will be a great and healthy 2023 for you and your loved ones.

It was the first time I’ve celebrated New Year ’s Eve in Dordrecht. As expected, many people around my house started playing with fireworks, starting at around 6pm on New Year Eve. Groups of kids were walking around with a bag of fireworks, lighting some at every street corner. Only small fireworks are allowed in the Netherlands, so many people pop across the border to Belgium and Germany to buy bigger fireworks that is illegal in the Netherlands. If caught, you’ll lose your fireworks and maybe get a small fine.

So what I could see from my room was a cat and mouse game between small groups of kids and the police. I situated myself in front of my window, together with my daughter, dog and cats and we watched this unfold.

While staring out of the window, with the lights of fireworks and police cars in the background, listening to the cheesy Christmas songs we all know, combined with the fake sound of a fireplace coming from my TV, I made some decisions for 2023. A bunch of resolutions one could say, but one can see them as bit to-do items as well.

They are:

1) Staying away from Cryptos and NFT’s: tried it several times and never with the results I was hoping for. Instead of playing around with trading, I just put the money I would have used into a separate account and start saving.

2) Saving for big ticket items: together with a simple savings plan, put aside money in a locked account that I can’t access easily, to get enough to buy the car that I want as well as buying a house for myself AND a starter-apartment for my daughter. Yes, to buy a house is a multi-year plan, but every month making the “savings deadline” means being one month closer to my goals.

3) Clean up unneeded subscriptions, most of them online, and not commit to new subscriptions: It’s easy to spend money online with a few simple clicks. It’s even easier to spend money online without doing anything. This in the form of subscriptions. I’ve cancelled about a dozen, saving an easy 100 Euro per month. And in 2023 I will not commit to new (social media) related subscriptions. I also cancelled some unnecessary insurances (who needs a perpetual travel insurance if you don’t travel), phone subscriptions that are spare accounts as well as downgraded car- and health-insurances (where I was over insured). All of this to keep monthly (re-occurring) recurring charges as low as can be.

4) Instead of having a job and a dozen small side hustles, in 2023 I will focus on my job and be involved in max 2 side hustle (being import of Solar Panels & jewelry). This means more stability and therefore less stress in my job whilst having more time for my side hustle giving this a chance to become something more substantial.

5) Spend at least 2 full days a month with my daughter, doing something we both enjoy, but we were too busy & lazy to engage with family holidays and hobbies. Topics are: getting her the right driver’s license, horse riding, small plane flying permit (we already went to take a look at the Rotterdam flying school) and stuff like that.

Big items, that very much go against item 3 (to avoid recurring cost), but worth it. In my opinion, seen that she just turned 18, soon she’ll have her own life and doing things with dad will not be high on her list of priorities. Adding these topics to the savings plan will show the impact and delay in obtaining the big ticket items.

6) Cease my current volunteer work at the animal shelter and find something that is more suitable for my skills, for example instead of shoveling cat & dog poop, offer to do their bookkeeping instead. Let’s see how this works out…

7) And last but not least: cut smoking with 30%. Assuming I’d smoke 20 cigs a day, this is now 14. I keep at least 7 empty boxes and put 14 sigs in there. This now is my “ allowance” for the day. So far this works very well as when I look in my box, I can see how many are left and often I think: “nah, not now. Perhaps in an hour or so…”.

Of course many more improvements could be implemented, but if too many, I may lose my motivation. I think above is just nice. I’ve started to implement above points and am very happy to do so. It gives a good feeling to stabilize things. Hopefully in one year I can report progress on all mentioned items.

I’m curious though, what are your resolutions that can be achieved and you are serious about?

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