To ensure that we learn from other people’s experiences, we offer a life-changing insight from a notable Dutch person every week.
This week, Paul Mijksenaar (74), founder of Mijksenaar:
‘I think books with titles like One Thousand Places to See before You Die are quite ridiculous. I myself would hardly call standing on deck of a cruise ship watching the northern lights during a group tour an ‘experience’ – I’d rather choose one or two places and return to them year after year. Finding my way around and enjoying learning how to decipher incomprehensible metro lines may take time, but as experiences they are much less shallow.
At some point you realize: it’s simply not possible to see, read or hear everything. Not even if you limit yourself to the best films in the world – and if you try, you end up confusing them. But The Day of the Jackal, for example, I’ve watched twenty times. I knów how it ends. De Gaulle never gets killed, but it’s still exciting, every time. I’ll suddenly notice details I missed before: a table covered with documents topped by a leaflet of the car in which the hired assassin later drives to Paris, things like that. And much more fun than looking for new books, I think, is to reread Elsschot’s Lijmen/Het been, experiencing it very differently than I did ten years ago. It isn’t nostalgia; I just like to deepen my understanding. My wife and I now visit Paris, one of my favourite cities, one quartier at a time. We’ve gotten to number six. The fact that I don’t have the time to revisit all twenty of them again bothers me more than the fact that I’ve never been to Bangkok.’
Translation of Weg met de bucketlist: ga herlezen, herkijken en herluisteren by Margot C. Pol in de Volkskrant.
Image: The Louvre, Paris by Paul Mijksenaar.