Just realised after a conversation with my stepmom that I have become very tough, and a little bit of a snob. I called her to seek consult for a few things that were troubling me, I hardly do that in general but just needed someone to complain to, someone who is as Dutch and as independent as I am. I told her that my carefree life is over after I graduated, that every aspect has its complications. Throughout our conversation, where she listened patiently, she reassured me that everything can be resolved, that my troubles are nothing compared to what life will bring, and that life has just started, but my carefree life is not over.


I felt so much better after our talk, just a simple conversation between mother and daughter, where I realised that only family knows how to bring us back to our path when we feel lost. I am lucky, that after my parents decided to dissolve their unsuccessful marriage amicably for the best interest of their only child, that I was gifted with the love and skills of four different kind of parents, each taught me different aspects of life. I was gifted with the company of three younger brothers. I took care of them when they were young, they help me out now they’ve grown up. Strong bodyguards towering over me, whose strengths I only realised when they helped me move.


I have lived by myself for so long, trying to resolve things without calling my mom or dad. Become the strong and independent woman that I am. The burdens I carried over my shoulders and still achieved what I have today. A little bit at a time. But the little moments when life becomes too much, the advise of a parent can soften our heart, make us the kind person they raised, and not the tough fighter who resort to legal means whenever possible. Some things can be resolved with kindness too. A little smile at a time. A gentle word at a time. The family that keeps me grounded, when I act snobbish without being aware of it.


In all earnestness, I admit that I feel this special bond when conversing with my colleagues from the legal profession. It’s like we share a part of our brain that enables us to converse in secret language that only the other understands. I really missed that after graduating. Strategising in our head with cases and treaties, and treaty provisions, when we read about an event or just a fact. The family that I have joined. The big family I became a part of, with cousins I have never even met before.


There’s also the family that I chose, who kept me strong over the years, the family that builds me up when I feel down. Who strengthens my identity and reminds me of who I am. My army of friends.


Life is not just about what we can achieve. It’s about the way we interact with our fellow human beings in the meantime.


With this realisation, and the gratitude that follows, I feel happy and peaceful again. We don’t have the power to tell others how to behave, but we have the power to control our own behaviour. We can choose how we treat another human being. At the end, that is what defines us. And the world will be a better place when the chain of reaction starts with selfless love.